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

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St. Chrysostom:

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

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

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

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


Homily XXXIV.

1 Cor. xiii. 8

But whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.

Having shown the excellency of love from its being requisite both to the spiritual gifts, and to the virtues of life; and from rehearsal of all its good qualities, and by showing it to be the foundation of exact self-denial; from another, a third head, again he points out its worth. And this he doth, first from a wish to persuade those who seemed to be accounted inferior that it is in their power to have the chief of all signs, and that they will be no worse off than the possessors of the gifts, if they have this, but rather much better: secondly, with regard on the other hand to them that had the greater gifts and were lifted up thereby, studying to bring them down and to show that they have nothing unless they have this. For thus they would both love one another, envy as well as pride being hereby taken away; and reciprocally, loving one another, they would still further banish these passions. "For love envieth not, is not puffed up." So that on every side he throws around them an impregnable wall, and a manifold unanimity, which first removes all their disorders, and thereby again waxes stronger. Therefore also he put forward innumerable reasons which might comfort their dejection. As thus: both "the same Spirit," saith he, is the giver; and He "giveth to profit withal; and divideth as he will," and it is a gift which He divideth, not a debt. Though thou receive but a little, thou dost equally contribute to the body, and even thus thou enjoyest much honor. And he that hath the greater, needs thee who hast the less. And, "Love is the greatest gift, and 'the more excellent way.'"

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Now all this he said doubly to bind them to each other, both by their not considering themselves disparaged while they had this; and because, after pursuit and attainment of it, they henceforth would not feel human infirmity; both as having the root of all gifts, and as no longer capable of contentiousness even though they had nothing. For he that is once led captive by love is freed from contentiousness.

And this is why, pointing out to them how great advantages they shall thence reap, he sketched out its fruits; by his praises of it repressing their disorders: inasmuch as each one of the things mentioned by him was a sufficient medicine to heal their wounds. Wherefore also he said, "suffereth long," to them that are at strife one with another; "is kind," to them that stand mutually aloof, and bear a secret grudge; "envieth not," to them that look grudgingly on their superiors; "vaunteth not itself," to them that are separated; "is not puffed up," to them that boast themselves against others; "doth not behave itself unseemly," to them that do not think it their duty to condescend; "seeketh not her own," to them that overlook the rest; "is not provoked, taketh not account of evil," to them that are insolent; "rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth," to them again that are envious; "beareth all things," to them that are treacherous; "hopeth all things," to the despairing; "endureth all things, never faileth," to them that easily separate themselves.

[2.] Now then after that in every way he had shown her to be very exceedingly great, again he doth so from another most important head, by a fresh comparison exalting her dignity, and saying thus; "but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease." For if both these were brought in in order to the faith; when that is every where sown abroad, the use of these is henceforth superfluous. But the loving one another shall not cease, rather it shall even advance further, both here and hereafter, and then more than now. For here there are many things that weaken [216] our love; wealth, business, passions of the body, disorders of the soul; but there none of these.

But although it be no marvel that prophecies and tongues should be done away, that knowledge should be done away, this is what may cause some perplexity. For this also he added, "Whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away." What then? are we then to live in ignorance? Far from it. Nay, then specially it is probable that our knowledge is made intense. Wherefore also he said, "Then shall I know, even as also I am known." For this reason, if you mark it, that you might not suppose this to be done away equally with the prophecy and the tongues, having said, "Whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away," he was not silent, but added also the manner of its vanishing away, immediately subjoining the saying,

Ver. 9. 10. "We know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

It is not therefore knowledge that is done away, but the circumstance that our knowledge is in part. For we shall not only know as much but even a great deal more. But that I may also make it plain by example; now we know that God is every where, but how, we know not. That He made out of things that are not the things that are we know; but of the manner we are ignorant. That He was born of a virgin, we know; but how, we know not yet. But then shall we know somewhat more and clearer concerning these things. Next he points out also how great is the distance between the two, and that our deficiency is no small one, saying,

Ver. 11. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child; but now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things."

And by another example too he manifests the same thing again, saying,

Ver. 12. "For now we see in a mirror." Further, because the glass sets before us the thing seen indefinitely, he added, "darkly [217] ," to show very strongly that the present knowledge is most partial.

"But then face to face." Not as though God hath a face, but to express the notion of greater clearness and perspicuity. Seest thou how we learn all things by gradual addition?

"Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I have been known." Seest thou how in two ways he pulls down their pride? Both because their knowledge is in part, and because not even this have they of themselves. "For I knew Him not, but He made Himself known [218] to me," saith he. Wherefore, even as now He first knew me, and Himself hastened towards me, so shall I hasten towards Him then much more than now. For so he that sits in darkness, as long as he sees not the sun doth not of himself hasten to meet the beauty of its beam, which indeed shows itself as soon as it hath begun to shine: but when he perceives its brightness, then also himself at length follows after its light: This then is the meaning of the expression, "even as also I have been known." Not that we shall so know him as He is, but that even as He hastened toward us now, so also shall we cleave unto Him then, and shall know many of the things which are now secret, and shall enjoy that most blessed society and wisdom. For if Paul who knew so much was a child, consider what those things must be. If these be "a glass" and "a riddle," do thou hence again infer, God's open Face, how great a thing It is.

[3.] But that I may open out to thee some small part of this difference, and may impart some faint ray of this thought to thy soul, I would have thee recall to mind things as they were in the Law, now after that grace hath shone forth. For those things too, that came before grace, had a certain great and marvellous appearance: nevertheless, hear what Paul saith of them after grace came: "That which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth." (2 Cor. iii. 10.)

But that what I say may be made yet clearer, let us apply the argument to some one of the rites then performed, and then thou wilt see how great is the difference. And if thou wilt, let us bring forward that passover and this, and then shalt thou be aware of our superiority. For the Jews indeed celebrated it, but they celebrated it "so as in a mirror, and darkly." But these hidden mysteries they never at any time did even conceive in their mind, nor what things they prefigured. They saw a lamb slain, and the blood of a beast, and door-posts sprinkled with it; but that the Son of God incarnate shall be slain, and shall set free the whole world, and shall grant both to Greeks and Barbarians to taste of this Blood, and shall open heaven to all, and shall offer what is there to the whole human race, and having taken His blood-stained flesh shall exalt it above the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, and, in a word, above all the hosts on high, of the angels and archangels and all the other powers, and shall cause it shining in unspeakable glory,--to sit down upon the throne itself of the King, on the right hand of the Father these things, I say, no one, either of them or of the rest of mankind, either foreknew or was able ever to conceive.

[4.] But what say those who shrink from nothing? [219]That the expression, "now I know in part," is spoken in dispensations; for that the Apostle had the perfect knowledge of God. And now he calls himself a child? How sees he "in a mirror?" How "darkly," if he hath the sum of knowledge? And why doth he refer to it as something peculiar to the Spirit, and to no other power in the creation, saying, "For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. ii. 11.) And Christ again sayeth that this belongs to Himself alone, thus saying, "Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is from God, He hath seen the Father," (John vi. 46.) giving the name, "sight," to the most clear and perfect knowledge.

And how shall he who knoweth the Essence, be ignorant of the dispensations? since that knowledge is greater than this.

"Are we then," saith he, "ignorant of God?" Far from it. That He is, we know, but what He is, as regards His Essence, we know not yet. And that thou mayst understand that not concerning the dispensations did he speak the words, "now I know in part," hear what follows. He adds then, "but then shall I know, even as also I have been known." He was surely known not by the dispensations, but by God.

Let none therefore consider this to be a small or simple transgression, but twofold, and threefold, yea and manifold. For not only is there this impiety that they boast of knowing those things which belong to the Spirit alone; and to the only-begotten Son of God, but also that when Paul could not acquire even this knowledge "which is in part" without the revelation from above, these men say that they have obtained the whole from their own reasonings. For neither are they able to point out that the Scripture hath any where discoursed to us of these things.

[5.] But however, leaving their madness, let us give heed to the words which follow concerning love. For he was not content with these things, but adds again, saying,

Ver. 13. "And now abideth, faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love."

For faith indeed and hope, when the good things believed and hoped for are come, cease. And to show this Paul said, "For hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopeth for that which he seeth." Again, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen." (Rom. viii. 24; Heb. xi. 1.) So that these cease when those appear; but love is then most elevated, and becomes more vehement. Another encomium of love. For neither is he content with those before mentioned, but he strives to discover yet another. And observe: he hath said that it is a great gift, and a still more excellent way to these. He hath said, that without it there is no great profit in our gifts; he hath shadowed out its image at length; he intends again and in another manner to exalt it, and to show that it is great from its abiding. Wherefore also he said, "But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." How then is love the greater? In that those pass away.

If now so great is the virtue of love, with good reason doth he add and say, "Follow after love." For there is surely need of "following," and a kind of vehement running after her: in such sort doth she fly from us, and so many are the things which trip us up in that direction. Wherefore we have ever need of great earnestness in order to overtake her. And to point out this, Paul said not, "follow love," but, "pursue [220] " her; stirring us up, and inflaming us to lay hold on her.

For so God from the beginning contrived ten thousand ways for implanting her in us. Thus, first, He granted one head to all, Adam. For why do we not all spring out of the earth? Why not full grown, as he was? In order that both the birth and the bringings up of children, and the being born of another, might bind us mutually together. For this cause neither made He woman out of the earth: and because the thing of the same substance was not equally sufficient to shame us into unanimity, unless we had also the same progenitor, He provided also for this: since, if now, being only separated by place, we consider ourselves alien from one another; much more would this have happened if our race had had two originals. For this cause therefore, as it were from some one head, he bound together the whole body of the human race. And because from the beginning they seemed to be in a manner two, see how he fastens them together again, and gathers them into one by marriage. For, "therefore," saith He, "shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be for one flesh." (Gen. ii. 24 [221] .) And he said not, "the woman," but, "the man," because the desire too is stronger in him. Yea, and for this cause He made it also stronger, that it might bow the superior party to the absolute sway of this passion, and might subjugate it to the weaker. And since marriage also must needs be introduced, him from whom she sprang He made husband to the woman. For all things in the eye of God are second to love. And if when things had thus begun, the first man straightway became so frantic, and the devil sowed among them so great warfare and envy; what would he not have done, had they not sprung from one root?

Further, in order that the one might be subject, and the other rule; (for equality is wont oftentimes to bring in strife;) he suffered it not to be a democracy, but a monarchy; and as in an army, this order one may see in every family. In the rank of monarch, for instance, there is the husband; but in the rank of lieutenant and general, the wife; and the children too are allotted a third station in command. Then after these a fourth order, that of the servant. For these also bear rule over their inferiors, and some one of them is oftentimes set over the whole, keeping ever the post of the master, but still as a servant. And together with this again another command, and among the children themselves again another, according to their age and sex; since among the children the female doth not possess equal sway. And every where hath God made governments at small distances and thick together, that all might abide in concord and much good order. Therefore even before the race was increased to a multitude, when the first two only were in being, He bade him govern, and her obey. And in order again that He might not despise her as inferior, and separate from her, see how He honored her, and made them one, even before her creation. For, "Let us make for man," saith He, "a help meet," implying that she was made for his need, and thereby drawing him unto her who was made for his sake: since to all those things are we more kindly disposed, which are done for our sakes. But that she, on the other hand, might not be elated, as being granted him for help, nor might burst this bond, He makes her out of his side, signifying that she is a part of the whole body. And that neither might the man be elated therefore, He no longer permits that to belong to him alone which before was his alone, but effected the contrary to this, by bringing in procreation of children, and herein too giving the chief honor unto the man, not however allowing the whole to be his.

Seest thou how many bonds of love God hath wrought? And these indeed by force of nature He hath lodged in us as pledges of concord. For both our being of the same substance leads to this; (for every animal loves its like;) and the woman being produced from the man, and again the children from both. Whence also many kinds of affection arise. For one we love as a father, another as a grandfather; one as a mother, another as a nurse; and one as a son or grandson or great-grandson again, and another as a daughter, or grand-daughter; and one as a brother, another as a nephew; and one as a sister, another as a niece. And why need one recount all the names of consanguinity?

And He devised also another foundation of affection. For having forbidden the marriage of kindred, he led us out unto strangers and drew them again unto us. For since by this natural kindred it was not possible that they should be connected with us, he connected us anew by marriage, uniting together whole families by the single person of the bride, and mingling entire races with races.

For, "marry not," saith the Lord, (Lev. xviii. 6.) "thy sister, nor thy father's sister, nor any damsel which hath such consanguinity with thee," as utterly hinders the marriage;" naming the degrees of such relationship. It is enough for thine affection towards them that ye were the fruit of the same birth-pangs, and that the others are in a different relation to thee. Why dost thou narrow the breadth of love? Why dost thou idly throw away a ground of affection towards her, such as that thou mightest thereby provide thyself with distinct source for affection to spring from; I mean, by taking a wife from another family, and through her a chain of kinsmen, both mother, and father, and brethren, and their connexions!

[7.] Seest thou by how many ways He hath bound us together? Nevertheless, not even this sufficed Him, but He likewise made us to stand in need of one another, that thus also He might bring us together, because necessities above all create friendships. For no other reason neither suffered He all things to be produced in every place, that hence also He might compel us to mix with one another. But having set us in need of one another, He on the other hand made the intercourse easy. Since if this were not so, the matter would have turned out painful and difficult in another way. For if one that wanted a physician, or a carpenter, or any other workman, had need to set off on a long foreign sojourn, the whole had come to nought. Here then is why He founded cities also, and brought all into one place. And accordingly that we might easily keep up intercourse with distant countries, He spread the level of the sea between us, and gave us the swiftness of winds, thereby making our voyages easy. And at the beginning He even gathered all men together in one spot, and did not disperse them until they who first received the gift abused their concord unto sin. However, He hath drawn us together in every way; both by nature, and by consanguinity, and by language, and by place; and as he willed not that we should fall from paradise; (for had He willed it, He would not have placed there at all "the man whom He had formed," but he that disobeyed was the cause;) so neither was it His will that men should have divers tongues; since otherwise He would have made it so from the beginning. But now "the whole earth was of one language, and all had one speech." (Gen. xi. 1.)

Here is the reason why, when it was needful that the earth should be destroyed, not even then did He make us of other matter, nor did He translate the righteous man, but leaving him in the midst of the deluge, like a kind of spark of the world, He rekindled our race from thence, even by the blessed Noah. And from the beginning He made one sovereignty only, setting the man over the woman. But after that our race ran headlong into extreme disorder, He appointed other sovereignties also, those of Masters, and those of Governors, and this too for love's sake. That is, since vice was a thing apt to dissolve and subvert our race, He set those who administer justice in the midst of our cities as a kind of physicians, that driving away vice, as it were a plague to love, they might gather together all in one.

And that not only in cities, but also in each family there might be great unanimity, He honored the man with rule and superiority; the woman on the other hand He armed with desire: and the gift also of procreation of children, He committed in common to both, and withal He furnished also other things apt to conciliate love: neither entrusting all to the man, nor all to the woman; but "dividing these things also severally to each;" to her entrusting the house, and to him the market; to him the work of feeding, for he tills the ground; to her that of clothing, for loom and distaff are the woman's. For it is God Himself who gave to woman-kind skill in woven work. Woe be to covetousness, which suffers not this difference to appear! For the general effeminacy [222] hath gone so far as to introduce our men to the looms, and put shuttles into their hands, and the woof, and threads. Nevertheless, even thus the forethought of the divine economy shines out. For we still greatly need the woman in other more necessary things, and we require the help of our inferiors in those things which keep our life together.

[8.] And so strong is the compulsion of this need that though one be richer than all men, not even thus is he rid of this close conjunction, and of his want of that which is inferior to himself. For it is not, we see, the poor only who need the rich, but the rich also the poor; and these require those more than the others them. And that thou mayest see it more clearly, let us suppose, if it seem good, two cities, the one of rich only, but the other of poor; and neither in that of the rich let there be any poor man, nor in that of the poor any rich; but let us purge out both thoroughly, and see which will be the more able to support itself. For if we find that of the poor able, it is evident that the rich will more stand in need of them.

Now then, in that city of the affluent there will be no manufacturer, no builder, no carpenter, no shoe-maker, no baker, no husbandman , no brazier, no rope-maker, nor any other such trade. For who among the rich would ever choose to follow these crafts, seeing that the very men who take them in hand, when they become rich, endure no longer the discomfort caused by these works? How then shall this our city stand? "The rich," it is replied, "giving money, will buy these things of the poor." Well then, they will not be sufficient for themselves, their needing the others proves that. But how will they build houses? Will they purchase this too? But the nature of things cannot admit this. Therefore they must needs invite the artificers thither, and destroy the law, which we made at first when we were founding the city. For you remember, that we said, "let there be no poor man within it." But, lo, necessity, even against our will, hath invited and brought them in. Whence it is evident that it is impossible without poor for a city to subsist: since if the city were to continue refusing to admit any of these, it will be no longer a city but will perish. Plainly then it will not support itself, unless it shall collect the poor as a kind of preservers, to be within itself.

But let us look also upon the city of the poor, whether this too will be in a like needy condition, on being deprived of the rich. And first let us in our discourse thoroughly clear the nature of riches, and point them out plainly. What then may riches be? Gold, and silver, and precious stones, and garments silken, purple, and embroidered with gold. Now then that we have seen what riches are, let us drive them away from our city of the poor: and if we are to make it purely a city of poor persons, let not any gold appear there, no not in a dream, nor garments of such quality; and if you will, neither silver, nor vessels of silver. What then? Because of this will that city and its concerns live in want, tell me? Not at all. For suppose first there should be need to build; one does not want gold and silver and pearls, but skill, and hands, and hands not of any kind, but such as are become callous, and fingers hardened, and great strength, and wood, and stones: suppose again one would weave a garment, neither here have we need of gold and silver, but, as before, of hands and skill, and women to work. And what if one require husbandry, and digging the ground? Is it rich men who are wanted, or poor? It is evident to every one, poor. And when iron too is to be wrought, or any such thing to be done, this is the race of men whereof we most stand in need. What respect then remains wherein we may stand in need of the rich? except the thing required be, to pull down this city. For should that sort of people make an entrance, and these philosophers, for (for I call them philosophers, who seek after nothing superfluous,) should fall to desiring gold and jewels, giving themselves up to idleness and luxury; they will ruin everything from that day forward.

[9.] "But unless wealth be useful," saith one, "wherefore hath it been given by God?" And whence is it evident, that being rich is from God? "The Scripture saith, `The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' and to whomsoever I will, I will give it." (Hag. ii. 8.) Here, if I were not doing an unseemly thing, I could at this moment laugh loudly, in derision of those who say these things: because as little children admitted to a King's table, together with that food they thrust into their mouth everything that comes to hand; so also do these together with the divine Scriptures privily bring in their own notions. For this, "the silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," I know to have been spoken by the Prophet; but that, "to whomsoever I will, I will give it," is not added, but is brought in by these offscourings [223] of the people. And as to the former, why it was said, I will explain. The Prophet Haggai, because he was continually promising to the Jews after their return from Babylon, that he would show the temple in its former appearance, and some doubted of the thing spoken, and considered it to be well nigh impossible that after being reduced to dust and ashes, the house should appear again such as it was;--he, to remove their unbelief, in the person of God saith these things; as if he said, "Why are ye afraid? and why do ye refuse to believe? `The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' and I need not to borrow from others, and so to beautify the house." And to show that this is the meaning he adds, "and the glory of this house, the latter glory shall be greater than the glory of the former." Let us not then bring in spiders' webs upon the royal robe. For if any person, detected in weaving a counterfeit thread in a purple vest, is to suffer the severest punishment, much more in spiritual things; since neither is it an ordinary sin, which is hereby committed. And why say I, by adding and taking away? By a mere point, and by a mere circumstance of delivery in the reading, many impious thoughts have not seldom been brought into being.

"Whence then the rich," saith one? "for it hath been said, `Riches and poverty are from the Lord.'" Let us then ask those who object these things against us, whether all riches and all poverty are from the Lord? Nay, who would say this? For we see that both by rapine, and by wickedly breaking open of tombs, and by witchcraft, and by other such devices, great wealth is gathered by many, and the possessors are not worthy even to live. What then, tell me, do we say that this wealth is from God? Far from it. Whence then? From sin. For so the harlot by doing indignity to her own body grows rich, and a handsome youth oftentimes selling his bloom with disgrace brings himself gold, and the tomb-spoiler by breaking open men's sepulchres gathers together unjust wealth, and the robber by digging through walls. All wealth therefore is not from God. "What then," saith one, "shall we say to this expression?" Acquaint thyself first with a kind of poverty which proceeds not from God, and then we will proceed to the saying itself. I mean, that when any dissolute youth spends his wealth either on harlots, or on conjurors, or on any other such evil desires, and becomes poor, is it not very evident that this hath not come from God, but from his own profligacy? Again, if any through idleness become poor, if any through folly be brought down to beggary, if any, by taking in hand perilous and unlawful practices; is it not quite evident, that neither hath any one of these and other such persons been brought down to this their poverty by God?

"Doth then the Scripture speak falsely?" God forbid! but they do foolishly, who neglect to examine with due exactness all things written. For if this on the one hand be acknowledged, that the Scriptures cannot lie; and this on the other hand proved, that not all wealth is from God; the weakness of inconsiderate readers is the cause of the difficulty.

[10.] Now it were right for us to dismiss you, having herein exculpated the Scripture, that ye may suffer this punishment at our hands for your negligence concerning the Scriptures: but because I greatly spare you and cannot any longer bear to look on you confused and disturbed, let us also add the solution, having first mentioned the speaker, and when it was spoken, and to whom. For not alike to all doth God speak, as neither do we deal alike with children and men. When then was it spoken, and by whom, and to whom? By Solomon in the Old Testament to the Jews, who knew no other than things of sense, and by these proved the power of God. For these are they who say, "Can He give bread also?" and, "What sign showest Thou unto us? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert:--whose God is their belly." (Ps. lxxviii. 24; Matt. xii. 38; John vi. 31; Philip. iii. 19.) Since then they were proving Him by these things, He saith to them, "This is also possible with God to make both rich and poor;" not that it is of course He Himself who maketh them, but that He can, when He will. Just as when he saith, "Who rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers," (Nahum i. 4.) and yet this was never done. How then doth the prophet say so? Not as though it were a doing always, but as a thing that was possible for Him to do.

What kind of poverty then doth He give, and what kind of wealth? Remember the patriarch, and thou shalt know the kind of wealth that is given by God. For He made both Abraham rich, and after him Job, even as Job himself saith; "If we have received good from the Lord, shall we not also receive evil?" (Job ii. 10.) And the wealth of Jacob thence had its beginning. There is also a poverty which cometh from Him, that which is commended, such as He once would have introduced to the knowledge of that rich man, saying, "If thou wouldest be perfect, sell thy goods, and give to the poor, and come, follow Me." (Matt. xix. 21.) And to the disciples again, making a law and saying, "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor two coats." (Matt. ix. 10.) Say not then that all wealth is His gift: seeing that cases have been pointed out of its being collected both by murderers, and by rapine, and by ten thousand other devices.

But again the discourse reverts to our former question: viz. "if the rich are no way useful to us, wherefore are they made rich?" What then must we say? That these are not useful who so make themselves rich; whereas those surely who are made so by God are in the highest degree useful. And do thou learn this from the very things done by those whom we just now mentioned. Thus Abraham possessed wealth for all strangers, and for all in need. For he who on the approach of three men, as he supposed, sacrificed a calf and kneaded three measures of fine flour, and that while sitting in his door in the heat of the day; consider with what liberality and readiness he used to spend his substance on all, together with his goods giving also the service of his body, and this at such an advanced age; being a harbor to strangers, to all who had come to any kind of want, and possessing nothing as his own, not even his son: since at God's command he actually delivered up even him; and along with his son he gave up also himself and all his house, when he hastened to snatch his brother's son out of danger; and this he did not for lucre's sake, but of mere humanity. When, for instance, they who were saved by him would put the spoils at his disposal, he rejected all, even to "a thread and a shoe-latchet." (Gen. xiv. 23.)

Such also was the blessed Job. "For my door," saith, "was open to every one who came: (Job xx. 15.) "I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame: I was a father of the helpless, the stranger lodged not without, and the helpless, whatever need they had, failed not of it, neither suffered I one helpless man to go out of my door with a empty bosom." And much more too than these, that we may not now recount all, he continued to do, spending all his wealth on the needy.

Wilt thou also look upon those who have become rich but not of God, that thou mayest learn how they employed their wealth? Behold him in the parable of Lazarus, how he imparted not so much as a share of his crumbs. Behold Ahab, how not even the vineyard is free from his extortion: behold Gehazi: behold all such. Thus they on the one hand who make just acquisitions, as having received from God, spend on the commands of God: but they who in act of acquiring offend God, in the expending also do the same: consuming it on harlots and parasites, or burying and shutting it up, but laying out nothing upon the poor.

"And wherefore," saith one, "doth God suffer such men to be rich?" Because He is long-suffering: because He would bring us to repentance; because He hath prepared hell; because "He hath appointed a day in which He is to judge the world." (Acts xvii. 31.) Whereas did He use at once to punish them that are rich and not virtuously, Zacchæus would not have had an appointed time [224] for repentance, so as even to restore fourfold whatever he had unjustly taken, and to add half of his goods; nor Matthew, to be converted and become an Apostle, taken off as he would have been before the due season; nor yet many other such. Therefore doth He bear with them, calling all to repentance. But if they will not, but continue in the same, they shall hear Paul saying that "after their hardness and impenitent heart they treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation, and righteous judgment of God: (Rom. ii. 5.) which wrath that we may escape, let us become rich with the riches of heaven, and follow after the laudable sort of poverty. For thus shall we obtain also the good things to come: 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, and honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[216] chaunounta. [217] en ainigmati. [218] egnorise, made me know Him. [219] The Heretics here referred to were the Eunomians or Anomoeans, so called from Eunomius their chief Teacher, (for Aetius first promulgated their opinions,) and from their maintaining not merely the inequality but the dissimilarity (to anomoion) of the Son's nature to that of the Father. By this he carried out Arianism, and made it more consistent and more impious. It seems that he arbitrarily selected the term hagennetos, "unbegotten," as setting forth not merely the attribute of the Father, but the very substance of the Godhead, and upon this proceeded, of course, to deny the proper divinity of the Son, because He was confessed to be gennetos, "begotten." And he not only thus implied, but expressly maintained, that knowing thus much of God, we know His whole Nature: whence it followed, that St. Paul's professions of ignorance referred not to the Substance, but to some parts of the Providence of God, called here, "dispensations." Against this result of Eunomius' impiety, St. Chrysostom preached the series of five Homilies, "On the Incomprehensible Nature of God:" in the first of which, (t. vi. 393. ed. Saville,) he argues on this passage almost in the same words. The same fallacy may be seen refuted by St. Basil also, Ep. 234, 235; Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 989, &c.: Theodoret, ii. 418; and by others. The whole doctrine as grounded on the word hagennetos is exposed at large by St. Basil in his five books against Eunomius, t. i. ed. Bened. In the Appendix to that volume, Eunomius's own treatise is given. The whole forms a melancholy example, how men may deceive themselves by following after simplification and logical consistency, without due reverence for sacred things. [220] hoiokete. [221] eis sarka mian. [222] blakeia. [223] surpheton. [224] prothesmian.


Homily XXXV.

1 Cor. xiv. 1

Follow after love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts; but rather that ye may prophesy.

Thus, inasmuch as he had with exactness rehearsed unto them all the excellence of love, he exhorts them in what follows, with alacrity to lay hold of it. Wherefore also he said, "Follow after:" for he that is in chase beholds that only which is chased, and towards that he strains himself, and leaves not off until he lay hold of it. He that is in chase, when by himself he cannot, by those that are before him he doth overtake the fugitive, beseeching those who are near with much eagerness to seize and keep it so seized for him until he shall come up. This then let us also do. When of ourselves we do not reach unto love, let us bid them that are near her to hold her, till we come up with her, and when we have apprehended, no more let her go, that she may not again escape us. For continually she springs away from us, because we use her not as we ought, but prefer all things unto her. Therefore we ought to make every effort, so as perfectly to retain her. For if this be done, we require not henceforth much labor, nay rather scarce any; but taking our ease, and keeping holiday [225] , we shall march on in the narrow path of virtue. Wherefore he saith, "Follow after her."

Then that they might not suppose that for no other end he brought in the discourse of charity, except that he might extinguish the gifts, he subjoins as follows;

Ver. 1. "Yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts; but rather that ye may prophesy."

Ver. 2. "For he that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth; but in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries."

Ver. 3. "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, and comfort."

At this point he makes a comparison between the gifts, and lowers that of the tongues, showing it to be neither altogether useless, nor very profitable by itself. For in fact they were greatly puffed up on account of this, because the gift was considered to be a great one. And it was thought great because the Apostles received it first, and with so great display; it was not however therefore to be esteemed above all the others. Wherefore then did the Apostles receive it before the rest? Because they were to go abroad every where. And as in the time of building the tower the one tongue was divided into many; so then the many tongues frequently met in one man, and the same person used to discourse both in the Persian, and the Roman, and the Indian, and many other tongues, the Spirit sounding within him: and the gift was called the gift of tongues because he could all at once speak divers languages. See accordingly how he both depresses and elevates it. Thus, by saying, "He that speaketh with tongues, speaketh not unto men, but unto God, for no man understandeth," he depressed it, implying that the profit of it was not great; but by adding, "but in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries" he again elevated it, that it might not seem to be superfluous and useless and given in vain.

"But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, and comfort."

Seest thou by what he signifies the choice nature of this gift? i.e., by the common benefit? and how every where he gives the higher honor to that which tends to the profit of the many? For do not the former speak unto men also? tell me. But not so much "edification, and exhortation, and comfort." So that the being powered by the Spirit is common to both, as well to him that prophesieth, as to him that speaketh with tongues; but in this, the one (he, I mean, who prophesieth) hath the advantage in that he is also profitable unto the hearers. For they who with tongues were not understood by them that had not the gift.

What then? Did they edify no man? "Yes," saith he, "themselves alone:" wherefore also he adds,

Ver. 4. "He that speaketh in tongue edifieth himself."

And how, if he know not what he saith? Why, for the present, he is speaking of them who understand what they say;--understand it themselves, but know not how to render it unto others.

"But he that prophesieth edifieth the Church." Now as great as is the difference between a single person and the Church, so great is the interval between these two. Seest thou his wisdom, how he doth not thrust out the gift and make nothing of it, but signifies it to have some advantage, small though it be, and such as to suffice the possessor only?

[2.] Next, lest they should suppose that in envy to them he depresses the tongues, (for the more part had this gift,) to correct their suspicion he saith,

Ver. 5. "I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the Church may receive edifying."

But "rather" and "greater," do not mark opposition, but superiority. So that hence also it is evident that he is not disparaging the gift, but leading them to better things, displaying both his carefulness on their behalf, and a spirit free from all envy. For neither did he say, "I would that two or three," but, "that ye all spake with tongues" and not this only, but also, "that ye prophesied;" and this rather than that; "for greater is he that prophesieth." For since he hath established and proved it, he next proceeds also to assert it; not however simply, but with a qualification. Accordingly he adds, "except he interpret;" since if he be able to do this, I mean the interpreting, "he hath become equal unto the prophet," so he speaks, "because then there are many who reap the advantage of it;" a thing to be especially observed, how this throughout, before all else, is his object,

Ver. 6. "But now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?"

"And why speak I," saith he, "of the rest? Nay, let the person who speaketh with tongues be Paul: for not even so will any good come to the hearers." And these things he saith to signify that he is seeking their profit, not bearing any grudge against them that have the gift; since not even in his own person doth he shrink from pointing out its unprofitableness. And indeed it is his constant way to work out the disagreeable topics in his own person: as in the beginning of the Epistle he said, "Who then is Paul? and who is Apollos? and who is Cephas?" This same then he doth also here, saying, "Not even I shall profit you, except I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of prophesying, or of knowledge, or of teaching." And what he means is, "if I say not somewhat that can be made intelligible to you and that may be clear, but merely make display of my having the gift of tongues;--tongues which ye do not understand, ye will go away with no sort of profit. For how should you profit by a voice which ye understand not?"

[3] Ver. 7. "Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they give not a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped?"

"And why do I say," saith he, "that in our case this is unprofitable, and that only useful which is clear and easy to be apprehended by the hearers? Since even in musical instruments without life one may see this: for whether it be pipe or harp, yet if it be struck or blown confusedly and unskilfully, without proper cadence or harmony, it will captivate none of the hearers. For even in these inarticulate sounds there is need of some distinctness: and if thou strike not or breathe into the pipe according to art, thou hast done nothing. Now if from things without life we require so much distinctness, and harmony, and appropriateness, and into those inarticulate sounds we strive and contend to infuse so much meaning, much more in men indued with life and reason, and in spiritual gifts, ought one to make significancy an object.

Ver. 8. "For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war?"

Thus from things merely ornamental he carries on his argument to those which are more necessary and useful; and saith that not in the harp alone, but in the trumpet also one may see this effect produced. For in that also there are certain measures; and they give out at one time a warlike note, and at another one that is not so; and again sometimes it leads out to line of battle and at others recalls from it: and unless one know this, there is great danger. Which is just what he means, and the mischief of it what he is manifesting, when he saith, "who shall prepare himself for war?" So then, if it have not this quality, it is the ruin of all. "And what is this to us," saith one? Truly it concerns you very especially; wherefore also he adds,

Ver. 9. "So also ye, unless ye utter by the tongue, speech easy to be understood, ye will be speaking into the air:" i.e., calling to nobody, speaking unto no one. Thus every where he shows its unprofitableness.

[4.] "But if it be unprofitable, why was it given?" saith one. So as to be useful to him that hath received it. But if it is to be so to others also, there must be added interpretation. Now this he saith, bringing them near to one another; that if a person himself have not the gift of interpretation, he may take unto him another that hath it, and make his own gift useful through him. Wherefore he every where points out its imperfection, that so he may bind them together. Any how, he that accounts it to be sufficient for itself, doth not so much commend it as disparage it, not suffering it to shine brightly by the interpretation. For excellent indeed and necessary is the gift, but it is so when it hath one to explain what is spoken. Since the finger too is a necessary thing, but when you separate it from the other members, it will not be equally useful: and the trumpet is necessary, but when it sounds at random, it is rather an annoyance. Yea, neither shall any art come to light, without matter subject to it; nor is matter put into shape, if no form be assigned to it. Suppose then the voice to be as the subject-matter, but the distinctness as that form, which not being present, there will be no use in the material.

Ver. 10. "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and no kind is without signification:" i.e., so many tongues, so many voices of Scythians, Thracians, Romans, Persians, Moors, Indians, Egyptians, innumerable other nations.

Ver. 11. "If then I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian." "For suppose not," saith he, "that this happens only in our case; rather in all one may see this taking place: so that I do not say this to disparage the voice, but to signify that to me it is useless, as long as it is not intelligible." Next, that he may not render the accusation unpalatable, he makes his charge alike for the two, saying, "He shall be unto me a barbarian, and I to him." Not from the nature of the voice, but from our ignorance. Seest thou how by little and little he draws men to that which is akin to the subject. Which is his use to do, to fetch his examples from afar, and to end with what more properly belongs to the matter. For having spoken of a pipe and harp, wherein is much that is inferior and unprofitable, he comes to the trumpet, a thing more useful; next, from that he proceeds to the very voice itself. So also before, when he was discoursing to show that it was not forbidden the Apostles to receive, beginning first with husbandmen, and shepherds, and soldiers, then he brought the discourse on to that which is nearer to the subject, the priests in the old covenant.

But do thou, I pray, consider, how every where he hath given diligence to free the gift from censure, and to bring round the charge to the receivers of it. For he said not, "I shall be a barbarian," but, "unto him that speaketh, a barbarian." And again, he did not say, "he that speaketh shall be a barbarian," but "he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me [226] ."

[5.] "What then must be done?" saith he. Why, so far from disparaging, one ought to recommend and to teach it; as indeed himself also doth. Since after he had accused and rebuked it and shown its unprofitableness, he proceeds to counsel them; saying,

Ver. 12. "So also ye, since as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may abound unto the edifying of the Church."

Seest thou his aim every where, how he looks to one thing continually and in all cases, the general utility, the profiting the Church; laying this down as a kind of rule? And he did not say, "that ye may obtain the gifts" but, "that ye may abound," i.e., that ye may even possess them in great plenitude. Thus, so far am I from wishing you not to possess them, that I even wish you to abound in them, only so that ye handle them with a view to the common advantage. And how is this to be done? This he adds, saying,

Ver. 13. "Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret."

Ver. 14. "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful."

Ver. 15. "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

Here he shows that it is in their power to obtain the gift. For, "let him pray," saith he, i.e., "let him contribute his own part," since if thou ask diligently, thou wilt surely receive. Ask accordingly not to have the gift of tongue only, but also of interpretation, that thou mayest become useful unto all, and not shut up thy gift in thyself alone. "For if I pray in a tongue," saith he, "my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." Seest thou how by degrees bringing his argument to a point, he signifies that not to others only is such an one useless, but also to himself; if at least "his understanding is unfruitful?" For if a man should speak only in the Persian, or any other foreign tongue, and not understand what he saith, then of course to himself also will he be thenceforth a barbarian, not to another only, from not knowing the meaning of the sound. For there were of old many who had also a gift of prayer, together with a tongue; and they prayed, and the tongue spake, praying either in the Persian or Latin language [227] , but their understanding knew not what was spoken. Wherefore also he said, "If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth," i.e., the gift which is given me and which moves my tongue, "but my understanding is unfruitful."

What then may that be which is best in itself, and doth good? And how ought one to act, or what request of God? To pray, "both with the spirit," i.e., the gift, and "with the understanding." [228] Wherefore also he said, "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

[6.] He signifieth the same thing here also, that both the tongue may speak, and the understanding may not be ignorant of the things spoken. For except this be so, there will also be another confusion.

Ver. 16. "Else," saith he, "if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?"

Ver. 17. "For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified."

Observe how again here he brings his stone to the plumb-line, [229] every where seeking the edification of the Church. Now by the "unlearned" [230] he means the laymen, and signifies that he also suffers no little loss when he is unable to say the Amen. And what he saith is this: "if thou shalt bless in a barbarian tongue, not knowing what thou sayest, nor able to interpret, the layman cannot respond the Amen. For not hearing the words, `forever and ever,' which are at the end [231] , he doth not say the Amen." Then again, comforting him concerning this, that he might not seem to hold the gift too cheap; the same kind of remark as he made above, that "he speaketh mysteries," and "speaketh unto God," and "edifieth himself," and "prayeth with the spirit," intending no little comfort from these things, this also he utters here, saying, "for thou indeed givest thanks well," since thou speakest being moved by the Spirit: but the other hearing nothing nor knowing what is said, stands there, receiving no great advantage by it."

[7.] Further, because he had run down the possessors of this gift, as though they had no such great thing; that he might not seem to hold them cheap, as being himself destitute of it, see what he saith:

Ver. 18. "I thank God, speaking [232] with tongues more than ye all."

And this he doth also in another place intending, namely, to take away the advantages of Judaism and to show that henceforth they are nothing, he begins by declaring that himself had been endowed with them, yea, and that in very great excess; and then he calls them "loss," thus saying, "If any man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; as touching zeal, persecuting the Church; as touching the righteousness which is the law, found blameless." (Philip. iii. 4-7.) And then, having signified himself to have the advantage of all, he saith, "Howbeit what things were gain to me, those have I counted loss for Christ." So also he doth here, saying, "I speak with tongues more than ye all." Do not ye therefore glory as though ye only had the gift. For I also possess it, yea more than ye.

Ver. 19. "Howbeit in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also."

What is that, "speak with my understanding, that I might instruct others also?" "Understanding what I say," and "words which I can both interpret to others, and speak intelligently, and teach the hearers." "Than ten thousand words in a tongue." Wherefore? "That I may instruct others," saith he. For the one hath but display only; the other, great utility: this being what he everywhere seeks, I mean the common profit. And yet the gift of tongues was strange, but that of prophecy familiar and ancient and heretofore given to many; this on the contrary then first given: howbeit it was not much cared for by him. Wherefore neither did he employ it; not because he had it not, but because he always sought the more profitable things: being as he was free from all vain-glory, and considering one thing only, how he might render the hearers better.

[8.] And here is the reason of the faculty he had of looking to the expedient both to himself and to others: viz. because he was free from vain-glory. Since he assuredly that is enslaved by it, so far from discerning what is good to others, will not even know his own.

Such was Simon, who, because he looked to vain-glory, did not even see his own advantage. Such also were the Jews, who because of this sacrificed [233] their own salvation to the devil. Hence also did idols spring, and by this madness did the heathen philosophers excite themselves, and make shipwreck in their false doctrines. And observe the perverseness of this passion: how because of it some of them also made themselves poor, others were eager for wealth. So potent is its tyranny that it prevails even in direct contraries. Thus one man is vain of chastity, and contrariwise another of adultery; and this man of justice, and another of injustice; so of luxury and fasting, modesty and rashness, riches and poverty. I say poverty: since some of them that were with out, when it was in their power to receive, for admiration's sake forbore to receive. But not so the Apostles: that they were pure from vainglory, they showed by their doings: in that, when some were calling them Gods and were ready to sacrifice-unto them oxen with garlands, they did not merely just forbid what was doing, but they even rent their clothes. (Acts xiv. 13, 14.) And after they had set the lame man upright, when all with open mouths were gazing at them, they said, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power we had made this man to walk [234] ?" And those, among men who admired poverty, chose to themselves a state of poverty: but these among persons who despised poverty and gave praise to wealth. And these, if they received aught, ministered to the needy. Thus, not vain-glory but benevolence, was the motive of all they did. But those quite the reverse; as enemies and pests of our common nature, and no otherwise, did they such things. Thus one sunk all his goods in [235] the sea for no good purpose, imitating fools and madmen: and another let all his land go to sheep common. [236]Thus they did every thing for vain-glory. But not so the Apostles; rather they both received what was given them, and distributed to the needy with so great liberality that they even lived in continual hunger. But if they had been enamored of glory, they would not have practiced this, the receiving and distributing, for fear of some suspicion arising against them. For he who throws away his own for glory, will much more refuse to receive the things of others, that he may not be accounted to stand in need of others nor incur any suspicion. But these thou seest both ministering to the poor, and themselves begging for them. So truly were they more loving than any fathers.

[9.] And observe also their laws, how moderate and freed from all vain-glory. Thus: "Having" saith he," food and covering, let us therewith be content." (1 Tim. vi. 8.) Not like him of Sinope [237] , who clothed in rags and living in a cask to no good end, astonished many, but profited none: whereas Paul did none of these things; (for neither had he an eye to ostentation;) but was both clothed in ordinary apparel with all decency, and lived in a house continually, and displayed all exactness in the practice of all other virtue; which the cynic despised, living impurely and publicly disgracing himself, and dragged away by his mad passion for glory. For if any one ask the reason of his living in a cask, he will find no other but vain-glory alone. But Paul also paid rent for the house wherein he abode at Rome. Although he who was able to do things far severer, could much more have had strength for this. But he looked not to glory, that savage monster, that fearful demon, that pest of the world, that poisonous viper. Since, as that animal tears through the womb of her parent with her teeth, so also this passion tears in pieces him that begets it.

[10.] By what means then may one find a remedy for this manifold distemper? By bringing forward those that have trodden it under foot, and with an eye to their image so ordering one's own life. For so the patriarch Abraham.--nay, let none accuse me of tautology if I often make mention of him, and on all occasions: this being that which most of all shows him wonderful, and deprives them that refuse to imitate him of all excuse. For, if we exhibit one doing well in this particular, and another in that, some one might say that virtue is hardly to be attained; for that it is scarcely possible to succeed in all those things together, whereof each one of the saints hath performed only a part. But when one and the same person is found to possess all, what excuse will they have, who after the law and grace are not able to attain unto the same measure with them that were before the law and grace? How then did this Patriarch overcome and subdue this monster, when he had a dispute with his nephew? (Gen. xiii. 8.) For so it was, that coming off worst and losing the first share, he was not vexed. But ye know that in such matters the shame is worse than the loss to the vulgar-minded, and particularly when a person having all in his own power, as he had then, and having been the first to give honor, was not honored in return. Nevertheless, none of these things vexed him, but he was content to receive the second place, and when wronged by the young man, himself old, an uncle by a nephew, he was not indignant nor took it ill, but loved him equally and ministered to him. Again, having been victorious in that great and terrible fight, and having mightily put to flight the Barbarians (Gen. xiv.) he doth not add show to victory, nor erect a trophy. For he wished to save only, not to exhibit himself. Again, he entertained strangers, yet did he not here act vain-gloriously, but himself both ran to them and bowed down to them, not as though he were giving, but receiving a benefit, and he calleth them lords, without knowing who they are who are come to him, and presents his wife in the place of a handmaiden. (Gen. xviii.) And in Egypt too before this, when he had appeared so extraordinary a person, and had received back this very woman, his wife, and had enjoyed so great honor (Gen. xii.) he showeth it to no man. And though the inhabitants of the place called him prince, he himself even laid down the price of the sepulchre. (Gen. xxiii. 6.) And when he sent to betroth a wife for his son, he gave no command to speak in high and dignified terms of him, (Gen. xxiv.) but merely to bring the bride.

[11.] Wilt thou examine also the conduct of those under grace, when from every side great was the glory of the teaching flowing round them, and wilt thou see then also this passion cast out? Consider, I pray, this same Apostle who speaks these things, how he ever ascribes the whole to God, how of his sins he makes mention continually, but of his good deeds never, unless perchance it should be needful to correct the disciples; and even if he be compelled to do this, he calls the matter folly, and yields the first place to Peter, and is not ashamed to labor with Priscilla and Aquila, and every where he is eager to show himself lowly, not swaggering in the market place, nor carrying crowds with him, but setting himself down among the obscure. Wherefore also he said, "but his bodily presence is weak." (2 Cor. x. 10.) i.e., easy to be despised, and not at all accompanied with display. And again, "I pray that ye do no evil, not that we may appear approved." And what marvel if he despise this glory? seeing that he despises the glory of heaven, and the kingdom, and hell, for that which was pleasing unto Christ: for he wishes [238] himself to be accursed from Christ for the glory of Christ. For if he saith that he is willing to suffer this for the Jews' sake, he saith it on this account that none of those without understanding might think to take to himself the promises made to them. If therefore he were ready to pass by those things, what marvel is it if he despise human things?

[12.] But the men of our time are overwhelmed by all things, not by desire of glory only, but also, on the other hand, by insult and fear of dishonor. Thus, should any one praise, it would puff thee up, and if he blame, it would cast thee down. And as weak bodies are by common accidents injured, so also souls which grovel on earth. For such not poverty alone, but even wealth destroys, not grief only, but likewise joy, and prosperity more than adversity. For poverty compels to be wise, but wealth leads on oftentimes into some great evil. And as men in a fever are hard to be pleased in any thing, so also they that are depraved in mind on every side receive hurt.

Knowing therefore these things, let us not shun poverty, let us not admire riches: but prepare our soul to be sufficient for all estates. For so any one building an house doth not consider how neither rain may descend, nor sunbeam light on it, (for this were impossible,) but how it may be made capable of enduring all. And he again that builds a ship doth not fashion and design any thing to keep waves from breaking against it, or any tempest from rising in the sea: (for this too were impossible:) but that the sides of the ship may be ready to meet all. And again, he that cares for the body doth not look to this that there may be no inequality in the temperature, but that the body may easily endure all these things. So accordingly let us act in respect of the soul, and neither be anxious to fly poverty nor to become rich, but to regulate each of them for our own safety.

Wherefore, letting alone these things, let us render our soul meet both for wealth and poverty. For although no calamity, such as man is subject to, befall, which is for the most part impossible, even thus, better is he that seeks not wealth, but knows how to bear all things easily than he that is always rich. And why? First, such an one hath his safety from within, but the other from without. And as he is a better soldier who trusts to his bodily powers and skill in fighting, than he that hath his strength in his armor only; so he that relies on his wealth, compared with him that is fenced in by his virtue, is inferior. Secondly, because even if he do not fall into poverty, it is impossible that he should be without trouble. For wealth hath many storms and troubles; but not so virtue, but pleasure only and safety. Yea, and it puts a man out of the reach of them that lay snares for him, but wealth quite the contrary, rendering him easy to be attacked and taken. And as among animals, stags and hares are of all most easily taken through their natural timidity, but the wild boar, and the bull, and the lion, would not easily fall in the way of the liers-in-wait; just so one may see in the case of the rich, and of them that live voluntarily in poverty. The one is like the lion and the bull, the other like the stag and the hare. For whom doth not the rich man fear? Are there not robbers, potentates, enviers, informers? And why speak I of robbers and informers, in a case where a man suspects his very domestics?

[13.] And why say I, "when he is alive?" Not even when dead is he freed from the villainy of the robbers, nor hath death power to set him in safety, but the evil doers despoil him even when dead, so dangerous a thing is wealth. For not only do they dig into houses, but they even burst open tombs and coffins. What then can be more wretched than this man, since not even death can furnish him with this security, but that wretched body, even when deprived of life, is not freed from the evils of life, those that commit such wickedness hastening to war even with dust and ashes, and much more grievously than when it was alive? For then, it might be, entering his storehouse, they would remove his chests, but abstain from his person, and would not take so much as to strip the body itself but now the accursed hands of the tombbreakers do not even abstain from these, but move and turn it about, and with much cruelty insult it. For after it hath been committed to the ground, having stripped it both of its covering of earth and of that which its grave-clothes constitute, they leave it thus to be cast out.

What foe then so deadly as wealth, which destroys both the soul of the living, and insults the body of the dead, not suffering it even to lie buried in the ground, which is common even to the condemned and to them that have been taken in the vilest crimes? For of them the legislators having exacted the punishment of death, inquire no further; but of these, wealth even after death exacts a most bitter punishment, exposing them naked and unburied, a dreadful and pitiable spectacle: since even those who suffer this after sentence and by the anger of their judges, do not suffer so grievously as these. For they indeed remain unburied the first and second day, and so are committed to the ground; but these, when they have been committed to the ground, are then stripped naked and insulted. And if the robbers depart without taking the coffin too, there is still no thanks to their wealth, but in this case also to their poverty. For she it is that guards it. Whereas most assuredly, had we intruded wealth with even so much as this, and leaving off to form it of stone, had forged it of gold, we should have lost this also.

So faithless a thing is wealth; which belongs not so much to them that have it, as to them that endeavor to seize it. So that it is but a superfluous argument which aims to show that wealth is irresistible, seeing that not even on the day of their death do its possessors obtain security. And yet who is not reconciled with the departed, whether it be wild beast, or demon, or whatever else? The very sight being enough to bend even one who is altogether iron, and quite past feeling. Wherefore, you know, when one sees a corpse, though it be an enemy public or private whom he sees, yet he weeps for him in common with his dearest friends; and his wrath is extinguished with life, and pity is brought in. And it would be impossible, in time of mourning and carrying out of burial, to distinguish an enemy from him who is not such. So greatly do all men revere their common nature, and the customs which have been introduced respecting it. But wealth not even on obtaining this, remits her anger against her possessors; nay, it renders them that have been no way wronged enemies of the dead; if at least to strip the dead body be an act of persons very bitter and hostile. And nature for her part reconciles even his enemies to him then: but wealth makes foes of them that have nothing to accuse him of, and cruelly intreats the body in its utter desolation. And yet in that case there are many things which might lead one to pity, the fact of its being a corpse, its inability to move, and tending to earth and corruption, the absence of any one to help: but none of these things soften those accursed wretches, because of the tyranny they are under from their base cupidity. For the passion of covetousness, like some ruthless tyrant, is at hand, enjoining those inhuman commands and having made wild beasts of them, so brings them to the tombs. Yea, like wild beasts attacking the dead, they would not even abstain from their flesh, if their limbs were any way useful unto them. Such is our enjoyment of wealth; to be insulted even after death, and deprived of sepulture which even the most desperate criminals obtain.

[14.] Are we still then, tell me, to be fond of so grievous an enemy? Nay, I beseech you, nay, my brethren! but let us fly from it without turning to look: and if it come into our hands, let us not keep it within, but bind it fast by the hands of the poor. For these are the bonds which have more power to hold it, and from those treasuries it will never more escape; and so this faithless one abides for the time to come faithful, tractable, tame, the right hand of Mercy producing this effect on it.

As I have said then, if it ever come to us, let us hand it over to her; but if it come not, let us not seek after it, nor fret ourselves, nor count its possessors happy; for what sort of a notion of happiness is this? Unless thou wouldest also say that those who fight with beasts are to be envied, because those high-priced animals are shut up and reserved by the proposers of such contests for themselves: who however not daring themselves to approach or to touch them, but fearing and trembling because of them, hand over others to them. Something like this, I say, is the case of the wealthy, when they have shut up their wealth in their treasuries as if it were some savage beast, and day by day receive from it innumerable wounds: in this latter unlike to the beasts: since they, when thou leadest them out, then, and not till then, hurt such as meet them: but this, when it is shut up and preserved, then destroys its possessors and hoarders.

But let us make this beast tame. And it will be tame, if we do not shut it up, but give it into the hands of all who are in need. So shall we reap from this quarter the greatest blessings, both living in the present life with safety and a good hope, and in the day that is to come standing with boldness: to which may we all attain, through the grace and mercy, &c. &c.

Footnotes

[225] panegurizontes. [226] ho emoi lalon, he that speaketh unto me. [227] [From this phrase--a similar one occurs in the next homily--it seems that Chrysostom held the tongue to mean the power of speaking in a language not before acquired. Most modern expositors understand by it an ecstatic utterance, a view which Tertullian alone of the patristic writers held.--C.] [228] dianoia. [229] pros ten sparten ton lithon agei. [230] idioten. [231] i.e., at the end of the Long Thanksgiving in that part of the Service for the Holy Eucharist, which is called the Anaphora. Vid. Brett's Liturgies, 1838, p. 9, 16, 37, &c. [232] lalon. Rec. vers. "I speak." [233] proepion. [234] Acts iii. 14, e eusebeia om. [235] Aristippus. See Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 100; Cic. de Invent. ii. 58. [236] Democritus. See Hor. Ep. i. 12. [237] Diogenes the Cynic. [238] [Rather he could wish, i.e., if it were proper. C.]


Homily XXXVI.

1 Cor. xiv. 20

Brethren, be not children in mind; howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men.

As might be expected, after his long argument and demonstration he adopts a more vehement style and abundance of rebuke; and mentions an example suited to the subject. For children too are wont to gape after trifles and to be fluttered, but of things very great they have not so much admiration. Since then these also having the gift of tongues, which was the lowest of all, thought they had the whole; therefore he saith, "Be not children," i.e., be not without understanding where ye ought to be considerate, but there be ye childlike and simple, where unrighteousness is, where vain-glory, where pride. For he that is a babe in wickedness ought also to be wise. Since as wisdom with wickedness would not be wisdom, so also simplicity with folly would not be simplicity, it being requisite both in simplicity to avoid folly, and in wisdom wickedness. For as neither bitter nor sweet medicines in excess do good, so neither doth simplicity by itself, nor wisdom: and this is why Christ enjoining us to mix both said, "Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matt. x. 16.)

But what is it to be a babe in wickedness? Not even to know what wickedness is: yea, such he willed them to be. Wherefore also he said, "It is actually reported that there is fornication among you." (1 Cor. v. 1.) He said not, "is done," but is "reported:" as if he said, "ye are not without knowledge of the thing; ye have heard of it some time." I say, he would have them both to be men and children; the one however in wickedness, but the other in wisdom. For so even the man may become a man, if he be also a child: but as long as he is not a child in wickedness, neither will he be a man. For the wicked, instead of being mature, will be but a fool.

Ver. 21. "In the law it is written, By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers will I speak unto this people; and not even thus will they hear me, saith the Lord."

Yet surely it is no where written in the Law, but as I said before, he calls always the whole of the Old Testament, the Law: both the prophets and the historical books. And he brings forward his testimony from Esaias the prophet, again covertly detracting from the glory of the gift, for their profit; nevertheless, even thus he states it with praise. For the expression, "not even thus," hath force to point out that the miracle was enough to astonish them; and if they did not believe, the fault was theirs. And wherefore did God work it, if they were not to believe? That He might in every case appear to do His part.

[2.] Having shown then even from the prophecy, that the sign in question is not of great use, he adds,

Ver. 22. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving: but prophesying is for a sign not to the unbelieving, but to them that believe."

Ver. 23. "If therefore the whole Church be assembled together, and all speak with tongues, and there come in men unlearned or unbelieving, will they not say that ye are mad?"

Ver. 24. "But if all prophesy, and there come in one unbelieving or unlearned, he is reproved by all, he is judged by all:"

Ver. 25. "And thus the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed."

Great in this place is the difficulty which one seems to find arising from what is said. For if tongues are for a sign to them that believe not, how saith he, if they that believe not should see you speaking with tongues, they will say that "ye are mad?" And if prophecy be "not for the unbelieving, but for them that believe," how shall also the unbelievers gain thereby?

"For if there come in," saith he, "when ye are prophesying, one that believeth not, he is reproved by all, and judged."

And not only this, but also after this another question hence springs up: since the tongue will appear on the contrary greater than the prophecy. For if the tongues are for a sign to the unbelieving, but prophecy to them that believe, that which draws in aliens and makes of the household, is greater than that which regulates those of the household. What then is the meaning of that expression? Nothing difficult nor obscure, nor contrary to what went before, but rather very agreeable to it, if we give heed: viz., that prophecy is suitable to both, but then tongue not so. Wherefore having said of the tongue, "it is for a sign," he adds, "not to them that believe, but to the unbelievers," and to them "for a sign," i.e., for astonishment, not so much for instruction.

"But in the case of prophecy too," saith some one, "he did the very same thing, saying, `but prophesying serveth not for the unbelieving, but for them which believe.' For the believer hath no need to see a sign, but requires only teaching and catechizing. How then sayest thou," saith he, "that prophecy is of use to both, when Paul saith `not to the unbelieving, but to them which believe?'" If thou wilt accurately examine, thou wilt understand what is said. For he said not, "prophecy is not useful to them unbelieving," but, "is not for a sign," as the tongue," i.e., a mere sign without profit: nor is the tongue any way useful to believers; for its only work is to astonish and to confound; the word "sign" being one of those which may be taken two ways: as when he saith, "show me a sign," (Ps. lxxxvi. 17.) and adds, "for good:" and again, "I am become as a wonder unto many," (Ps. lxxi. 7.) i.e., a sign.

And to show thee that he introduced the term "sign" here, not as a thing which of course did some good, he added that which resulted from it. And what was this? "They will say," saith he, "that ye are mad." This however not from the nature of the sign, but from their folly. But when thou hearest of unbelievers, do not suppose that the same persons are in every case intended, but at one time they which are incurably diseased and abide uncorrected, and at another they which may be changed; such as were they who in the times of the Apostles admire the mighty things of God which they hear of; such as in the case of Cornelius. His meaning accordingly is this; that prophecy avails both among the unbelieving and among them that believe: as to the tongue, when heard by the unbelieving and inconsiderate, instead of profiting by it, they rather deride the utterers as madmen. For, in fact, it is to them but for a sign, i.e., in order to astonish them merely; whereas they who had understanding used also to profit by it: with a view to which the sign was given. Even as then there were not only certain who accused them of drunkenness, but many also admired them as relating the wonderful works of God. It appears then that the mockers were those without understanding. Wherefore also Paul did not simply say, "they will say that ye are mad," but added, "unlearned and unbelievers."

But prophecy is not for a sign merely, but is also suitable and useful for faith and for profit unto both classes. And this, if not directly, yet in the sequel he more clearly explained, saying, "he is reproved by all. For, if all prophesy," saith he, "and there come in one unbelieving or unlearned, he is reproved by all; he is judged by all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed."

So that not in this only is prophecy greater, in its availing with each class [239] , but also in its attracting the more shameless of the unbelievers. For it was not the same wonder, when Peter convicted [240] Sapphira, which was a work of prophecy, and when he spake with tongues: but in the former case all shrank into themselves; whereas, when he spake with tongues, he got the credit of being even beside himself.

[3.] Having said then, that a tongue profited not, and having again qualified [241] this statement by turning the charge upon the Jews, he proceeds to signify that it even doth injury. "And wherefore was it given?" That it might go forth with interpretation: since without this, it hath even the contrary effect among them that are without understanding. "For if," saith he, "all speak with tongues, and there come in unbelievers or unlearned, they will say that ye are mad;" as indeed even the Apostles incurred the suspicion of being drunken: for "these men," it saith, "are filled with new wine: (Acts ii. 13.) but it is not the fault of the sign, but of their unskilfulness; therefore he added, "unlearned and unbelievers," to show that the notion belongs to their ignorance and want of faith; for, as I before said, his object is to rank that gift not among things that are disparaged, but among those which do not greatly profit, and this, in order to repress them, and bring them to a necessity of seeking for an interpreter. For since the greater part looked not to this, but made use of it for display and rivalry, this is what he especially withdraws them from, intimating that their credit is injured, they bringing on themselves a suspicion of madness. And this especially is what Paul continually attempts to establish, when he wants to lead men away from any thing: he shows that the person suffers loss in respect of those very things which he desires.

And do thou accordingly likewise: if thou wouldest lead men away from pleasure, show that the thing is bitter: if thou wouldest withdraw them from vain-glory, show that the thing is full of dishonor: thus also was Paul used to do. When he would tear away the rich from their love of money, he said not merely that wealth is a hurtful thing, but also that it casts into temptations. "For they that desire to be rich," saith he," fall into a temptation." (1 Tim. vi. 9.) Thus, since it seems to deliver from temptations, he attributes to it the contrary of that which the rich supposed. Others again held fast by the wisdom that is without, as though by it establishing Christ's doctrine; he signifies that not only it gives no aid to the cross, but even makes it void. They held to going to law before strangers, thinking it unmeet to be judged by their own, as if those without were wiser: he points out that going to law before them that are without is shameful. They clave to things offered in sacrifice to idols, as displaying perfect knowledge: he intimates that this is a mark of imperfect knowledge, not to know how to manage in the things which concern our neighbors. So also here, because they were wild [242] about this gift of tongues, through their love of glory, he signifies that this on the other hand more than any thing brings shame upon them, not only depriving them of glory, but also involving them in a suspicion of madness. But he did not at once say this, but having spoken very many things before, when he had made his discourse acceptable, then he brings in that topic so very contrary to their opinion. And this in fact is no more than the common rule; that he who intends thoroughly to shake a deep-rooted opinion and to turn men round to its contrary, must not at once state the opposites: otherwise he will be ridiculous in the eyes of them that are preoccupied by the contrary conviction. Since that which is very much beside expectation cannot be from the beginning easily received, but you must first well undermine by other arguments, and then give it the contrary turn.

Thus for example he did when discoursing of marriage: I mean, since many regarded it as a thing which brings ease, and he wished to intimate that the abstaining from marriage was ease; if he had said this at once he would not so easily have made it acceptable: whereas now, having stated it after much other matter and timing its introduction exactly, he strongly touched the hearers. This also he did in respect of virginity. For before this having said much, and after this again, at last he saith, "I spare you," and, "I would have you to be free from cares." (1 Cor. vii. 28, 32.)

This then he doth in respect of the tongues, showing that they not only deprive of glory, but also bring shame upon those who have them in the eyes of the unbelievers. But prophecy, on the contrary, is both free from reproach among the unbelievers, and hath very great credit and usefulness. For none will say in regard to prophesying, "they are mad;" nor will any one deride them that prophesy; but, on the contrary, will be astonished at and admire them. For "he is reproved by all," i.e., the things which he hath in his heart, are brought forward and shown unto all: now it is not the same thing for any one to come in and see one speaking in Persian and another in Syriac, and to come in and hear the secrets of his own mind; as whether he cometh in as a tempter and with evil mind, or sincerely; or that such and such a thing hath been done by him, and such another designed. For this is much more awful and more profitable than the other. For this cause therefore, whereas of the tongues he saith, "ye are mad;" not however affirming this of himself, but of their judgment: i.e., "they will say," saith he, "that ye are mad;" here, on the contrary, he makes use both of the verdict of the facts [243] , and that of those who are the objects of the benefit. "For he is reproved by all," saith he, "he is judged by all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is around you indeed. Seest thou that this is not capable of two interpretations: how in the former case what is done may be doubted of, and here and there an unbeliever might ascribe it to madness? whereas here there will be no such thing, but he will both wonder and worship, first making a confession by his deeds, and then by his words also. Thus also Nebuchadnezzar worshipped God, saying, "Of a truth, your God, He is the God that revealeth secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret." (Dan. ii. 47.) Seest thou the might of prophecy, how it changed that savage one and brought him under instruction and introduced him to faith?

[4.] Ver. 26. "What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."

Seest thou the foundation and the rule of Christianity? how, as it is the artificer's work to build, so it is the Christian's to profit his neighbors in all things.

But since he had vehemently run down the gift; lest it might seem to be superfluous, for with a view to pull down their pride and no more, he did this:--again he reckons it with the other gifts, saying, "hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a tongue." For of old they used also to make psalms by a gift and to teach by a gift. Nevertheless, "let all these look to one thing," saith he, "the correction of their neighbor: let nothing be done at random. For if thou comest not to edify thy brother, why dost thou come here at all? In fact, I do not make much account of the difference of the gifts. One thing concerns me, one thing is my desire, to do all things "unto edifying." Thus also he that hath the lesser gift will outrun him that hath the greater, if this be not wanting. Yea, therefore are the gifts bestowed, that each might be edified; since unless this take place, the gift will rather turn to the condemnation of the receiver. For what, tell me, is the use of prophesying? What is the use of raising the dead, when there is none who profits by it? But if this be the end of the gifts, and if it be possible to effect it in another way without gifts, boast not thyself on the score of the signs, nor do thou bewail thyself to whom the gifts are denied.

[5.] Ver. 27. "And if any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that in turn; and let one interpret."

Ver. 28. "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the Church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."

What sayest thou, tell me? Having spoken so much of tongues, that the gift is a thing unprofitable, a thing superfluous, if it have no interpreter, dost thou command again to speak with tongues? I do not command, saith he, neither do I forbid; as when he saith, "if any of them that believe not bid you to a feast and ye be disposed to go," he saith it not laying down a law for them to go, but not hindering them: so likewise here. "And let him speak to himself and to God." If he endure not to be silent, saith he, but is so ambitious and vain-glorious, "let him speak by himself. [244] " And thus, by the very fact of so permitting, he greatly checked and put them to shame. Which he doth also elsewhere, discoursing of converse with a wife and saying, "But this I say because of your incontinency." But not so did he speak, when he was discoursing of prophecy. How then? In a tone of command and legislation: "Let the prophets speak, two or three." And he no where here seeks the interpreter, nor doth he stop the mouth of him that prophesies as under the former head, saying, "If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence;" because in fact he who speaks in a tongue is not sufficient of himself. Wherefore if any hath both gifts, let him speak. But if he hath not, yet wish to speak, let him do so with the interpreter's aid. For the prophet is an interpreter, but of God; whereas thou art of man. "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence:" for nothing ought to be done superfluously, nothing for ambition. Only "let him speak to himself and to God;" i.e., mentally, or quietly and without noise: at least, if he will speak. For this is surely not the tone of one making a law, but it may be of one who shames them more even by his permission; as when he saith, "but if any hunger, let him eat at home:" and seeming to give permission, he touches them hereby the more sharply. "For ye come not together for this purpose," saith he, "that ye may show that ye have a gift, but that ye may edify the hearers;" which also he before said, "Let all things be done unto edifying."

[6.] Ver. 29. "Let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern."

No where hath he added, "at the most," as in the case of the tongues. And how is this, one saith? For he makes out that neither is prophesy sufficient in itself, if at least he permitteth the judgment to others. Nay, surely it is quite sufficient; and this is why he did not stop the mouth of the prophet, as of the other, when there is no interpreter; nor, as in his case he said, "if there be no interpreter let him keep silence," so also in the case of the prophet, "if there be none to discern, let him not prophesy;" but he only secured the hearer; since for the satisfaction of the hearers he said this, that no diviner might throw himself in among them. For of this also at the beginning he bade them beware, when he introduced a distinction between divination and prophecy, and now he bids them discriminate and spy out the matter, so that no Satanic teacher might privily enter.

Ver. 30. "But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence."

Ver. 31. "For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted."

What may this be which is spoken? "If when thou prophesiest," saith he, "and art speaking, the spirit of another stir him up, be silent thenceforth." For that which he said in the case of the tongues, this also here he requires, that it should be done "in turn," only in a diviner way here. For he made not use of the very expression, "in turn [245] ?" but "if a revelation be made to another." Since what need was there further, that when the second was moved to prophesy the first should speak? Ought they then both? Nay, this were profane and would produce confusion. Ought the first? This too were out of place. For to this end when the one was speaking, the Spirit moved the other, in order that he too might say somewhat.

So then, comforting him that had been silenced, he saith, "For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." Seest thou how again he states the reason wherefore he doeth all things? For if him that speaks with tongues he altogether forbid to speak, when he hath not an interpreter, because of the unprofitableness; reasonably also he bids restrain prophecy, if it have not this quality, but createth confusion and disturbance and unseasonable tumult.

Ver. 32. "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."

Seest thou how he put him to shame earnestly and fearfully? For that the man might not strive nor be factious, he signifies that the gift itself was under subjection. For by "spirit" here, he means its actual working. But if the spirit be subject, much more thou its possessor canst not justly be contentious.

[7.] Then he signifies that this is pleasing also to God, subjoining and saying,

Ver. 33. "For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as [I teach] in all the Churches of the saints." [246]

Seest thou by how many reasons he leads him to silence and soothes him, in the act of giving way to the other? By one thing and that the chief, that he was not shut up by such a proceeding; "for ye all can prophesy," saith he, "one by one." By a second, that this seems good to the Spirit Himself; "for the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." Besides these, that this is according to the mind of God; "for God," saith he, "is not a God of confusion, but of peace:" and by a fourth, that in every part of the world this custom prevails, and no strange thing is enjoined upon them. For thus, saith he, "I teach in all the Churches of the saints."

What now can be more awful than these things? For in truth the Church was a heaven then, the Spirit governing all things, and moving each one of the rulers and making him inspired. But now we retain only the symbols of those gifts. For now also we speak two or three, and in turn, and when one is silent, another begins. But these are only signs and memorials of those things. Wherefore when we begin to speak, the people respond, "with thy Spirit [247] ," indicating that of old they thus used to speak, not of their own wisdom, but moved by the Spirit. But not so now: (I speak of mine own case so far.) But the present Church is like a woman who hath fallen from her former prosperous days, and in many respects retains the symbols only of that ancient prosperity; displaying indeed the repositories and caskets of her golden ornaments, but bereft of her wealth: such an one doth the present Church resemble. And I say not this in respect of gifts: for it were nothing marvelous if it were this only: but in respect also of life and virtue. Thus the list of her widows, and the choir of her virgins, then gave great ornament to the churches: but now she is made desolate and void, and the tokens only remain. There are indeed widows now, there are also virgins; but they retain not that adornment which women should have who prepare themselves for such wrestlings. For the special distinction of the virgin is the caring for the things of God alone, and the waiting on Him without distraction: and the widow's mark too should be not so much the not engaging in a second marriage, as the other things, charity to the poor, hospitality, continuing instant in prayers, all those other things, which Paul writing to Timothy requires with great exactness. One may see also the married women exhibiting among us great seemliness. But this is not the only thing required, but rather that sedulous attention to the needy, through which those women of old shone out most brightly. Not as the generality now-a-days. For then instead of gold they were clothed with the fair array of almsgiving: but now, having left off this, they are decked out on every side with cords of gold woven of the chain of their sins.

Shall I speak of another repository too emptied of its hereditary splendor? They all met together in old time and sang psalms in common. This we do also now: but then among all was there one soul and one heart: but now not in one single soul can one see that unanimity, rather great is the warfare every where.

"Peace," even now, "to all," [248] he that presides in the Church prays for, entering as it were into his Father's house: but of this peace the name is frequent, but the reality no where.

[8.] Then the very houses were churches: but now the church itself is a house, or rather worse than any house. For in a house one may see much good order: since both the mistress of the house is seated on her chair with all seemliness, and the maidens weave in silence, and each of the domestics hath his appointed task in hand. But here great is the tumult, great the confusion, and our assemblies differ in nothing from a vintner's shop, so loud is the laughter, so great the disturbance; as in baths, as in markets, the cry and tumult is universal. And these things are here only: since elsewhere it is not permitted even to address one's neighbor in the church, not even if one have received back a long absent friend, but these things are done without, and very properly. For the church is no barber's or perfumer's shop, nor any other merchant's warehouse in the market-place, but a place of angels, a place of archangels, a palace of God, heaven itself. As therefore if one had parted the heaven and had brought thee in thither, though thou shouldest see thy father or thy brother, thou wouldest not venture to speak; so neither here ought one to utter any other sound but these which are spiritual. For, in truth, the things in this place are also a heaven.

And if thou believest not, look to this table, call to mind for Whose sake it is set, and why: consider Who it is that is coming forth here; tremble with awe even before the time. For so, when one sees the throne only of a king, in heart he rises up, expecting the king's coming forth. And do thou accordingly thrill with awe even before that thrilling moment: raise up thyself, and before thou seest the veils drawn aside and the choir of angels marching forth, ascend thou to the very heaven.

But the uninitiated knows not these things. Well then, it is necessary with a view to him also to introduce other topics. For neither towards him shall we want reasons able to stir him up thoroughly and cause him to soar.

Thou then who knowest not these things, when thou shalt hear the prophet [249] saying, "Thus saith the Lord," quit the earth, ascend thou also unto heaven, consider who it is that by him discourses with thee.

But as things are, for a buffoon who is moving laughter or for a whorish and abandoned woman, so vast an assemblage of spectators is set, listening in entire quietness to what is spoken, and this when none commands silence [250] ; and there is neither tumult, nor cry, nor any the least noise: but when God is speaking from heaven on subjects so awful, we behave ourselves more impudently than dogs, and even to the harlot women we pay greater respect than to God.

Doth it make your flesh creep to be told of these things? Nay then, much rather let it creep when ye do them.

[9.] That which Paul said of them that despised the poor and feasted alone, "What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not?" (1 Cor. xi. 22.)--the same allow me also to say of those who make a disturbance and hold conversations in this place. "What? have ye not houses to trifle in? or despise ye the Church of God, and corrupt those even who would be modest and quiet?" "But it is sweet and pleasant for you to converse with your friends." I do not forbid this, but let it be done in the house, in the market, in the baths. For the church is not a place of conversation, but of teaching. But now it differs not from the market; nay, if it be not too bold a word, haply, not even from the stage; in such sort do the women who assemble here adorn themselves more wantonly than the unchaste who are to be found there. Accordingly we see that even hither many profligates are enticed by them; and if any one is trying or intending to corrupt a woman, there is no place, I suppose, that seems to him more suitable than the church. And if anything be to be sold or bought, the church appears more convenient than the market. For on such subjects also there is more talk here than in the shops themselves. Or if any wish to say or to hear any scandal, you will find that this too is to be had here more than in the forum without. And if you wish to hear any thing of political matters, or the affairs of private families, or the camp, go not to the judgment-hall, nor sit in the apothecary's shop; for here, here I say are those who report all these things more accurately; and our assemblies are any thing rather than a church.

Can it be that I have touched you to the quick? I for my part think not. For while ye continue in the same practices, how am I to know that you are touched by what hath been said? Therefore I must needs handle the same topics again.

Are these things then to be endured? Are these things to be borne? We weary and distract ourselves every day that ye may not depart without having learned something useful: and none of you go away at all the better, but rather injured the more. Yea, and "ye come together unto judgment," having no longer any cloak for your sin, and ye thrust out the more modest, disturbing them with your fooleries on every side.

But what do the multitude say? "I do not hear what is read," saith one, "nor do I know what the words are which are spoken." Because thou makest a tumult and confusion, because thou comest not with a reverent soul. What sayest thou? "I know not what things are said." Well then, for this very reason oughtest thou to give heed. But if not even the obscurity stir up thy soul, much more if things were clear wouldest thou hurry them by. Yea, this is the reason why neither all things are clear, lest thou shouldest indulge indolence; nor obscure, lest thou shouldest be in despair.

And whereas that eunuch and barbarian (Acts viii. 20.) said none of these things, but surrounded as he was with a crowd of so important affairs and on his journey, had a book in his hands and was reading: dost thou, both abounding in teachers, and having others to read to thee privately [251] , allege to me thine excuses and pretexts? Knowest thou not what is said? Why then pray that thou mayest learn: but sure it is impossible to be ignorant of all things. For many things are of themselves evident and clear. And further, even if thou be ignorant of all, even so oughtest thou to be quiet, not to put out them that are attentive; that God, accepting thy quietness and thy reverence, may make the obscure things also plain. But canst thou not be silent? Well then, go out, not to become a mischief to others also.

For in truth there ought to be but one voice in the church always, even as there is but one body. Therefore both he that reads utters his voice alone, and the Bishop himself is content to sit in silence; and he who chants chants alone; and though all utter the response, the voice is wafted as from one mouth. And he that pronounces a homily pronounces it alone. But when there are many conversing on many and diverse subjects, why do we disturb you for no good? since surely unless ye thought that we are but disturbing you for no good, ye would not in the midst of our speech on such high matters, discourse on things of no consequence.

[10.] Therefore not in your conduct only, but in your very estimation of things, there is great perversion. And ye gape after superfluities, and leaving the truth pursue all sorts of shadows and dreams. Are not all present things a shadow and dreams, and worse than a shadow? For both before they appear, they fly away; and before they are flown, the trouble they give is much, and more than the pleasure. Let one acquire in this world and bury in the earth ever such abundance of wealth, yet when the night is past, naked he shall depart hence, and no wonder. Since they too who are rich but in a dream, on rising from their couch have nothing of what they seemed to have while sleeping. So also are the greedy of gain: or rather not so, but in a much worse condition. For he that dreams of being rich, neither hath the money which he fancied he had, nor is any other mischief found to have accrued to him from this phantasy when he arises, but this man is both deprived of his riches, and hath also to depart, filled with the sins which arise out of them; and in his wealth having but enjoyed a phantasy, the evils resulting from his wealth he sees not in fancy any more, but in the very truth of things; and his pleasure was in dreams, but the punishment ensuing on his pleasure turns out no more a dream, but is matter of actual experience. Yea rather, even before that punishment, even here he pays the heaviest penalty, in the very collecting of his wealth wearing into himself innumerable sadnesses, anxieties, accusations, calumnies, tumults, perturbations.

In order therefore that we may be delivered both from the dreams and from the evils that are not in dreams, instead of covetousness let us choose almsgiving, instead of rapine, mercy to mankind. For thus we shall obtain the good things both present and to come, 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.

Footnotes

[239] i.e. en apistois kai pistois. [240] elenxen. [241] hupotemomenos auto touto. [242] eptoento. [243] i.e., the actions of the man's life, and his conscience, which answers to the prophecy. [244] kath heauton. [245] ana meros. v. 7. [246] [Chrysostom connects this clause with what precedes as do Alford, Tregelles, Edwards and the Rev. Ver. He is doubtless right here, but not in his addition of didasko, for which there is no adequate support. C.] [247] The "Anaphora," or more solemn part of the Liturgy begins with the Versicle and Response here alluded to, in the Clementine Liturgy, and in those of St. Mark, St. Chrysostom, St. Basil, and the Roman Missal. [248] See Bingham, xiii. 8. 13.; S. Chrys. 3 Hom. in Coloss. t. iv. 106. Ed. Savile. [249] Because the Catechumens and others, as it seems, were allowed to hear the Lessons read, though not to be present at what was strictly called the Communion Service. See Bingham, xiv. iii. 1. [250] An allusion to the injunctions for silence used by the Deacon occasionally in the Church: see Bingham, ii. 20. 14: and the Apost. Constit. ii. 57. as quoted by him; "Let the Deacon oversee the people, that none whisper, or doze, or laugh, or nod;" and afterwards in the time of the offering, "Let some of the Deacons observe the people, and make silence among them." Chrys. Hom. 24. on Acts, says, "Prayer is going on, and here are young persons talking and jesting with one another even while on their knees. Do thou who standest by, young or old, rebuke them, if thou seest it; reprimand them more sharply; if he take it not well, call the Deacon." [251] hupanaginoskontas, perhaps, `repeating what is read in a lower tone.'


Homily XXXVII.

1 Cor. xiv. 34

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Having abated the disturbance both from the tongues and from the prophesyings; and having made a law to prevent confusion, that they who speak with tongues should do this in turn, and that they who prophesy should be silent when another begins; he next in course proceeds to the disorder which arose from the women, cutting off their unseasonable boldness of speech: and that very opportunely. For if to them that have the gifts it is not permitted to speak inconsiderately, nor when they will, and this, though they be moved by the Spirit; much less to those women who prate idly and to no purpose. Therefore he represses their babbling with much authority, and taking the law along with him, thus he sews up their mouths; not simply exhorting here or giving counsel, but even laying his commands on them vehemently, by the recitation of an ancient law on that subject. For having said, "Let your women keep silence in the churches;" and "it is not permitted unto them to speak, but let them be in subjection;" he added, "as also saith the law." And where doth the law say this? "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Gen. iii. 16.) Seest thou the wisdom of Paul, what kind of testimony he adduced, one that not only enjoins on them silence, but silence too with fear; and with as great fear as that wherewith a maid servant ought to keep herself quiet. Wherefore also having himself said, "it is not permitted unto them to speak," he added not, "but to be silent," but instead of "to be silent," he set down what is more, to wit, "the being in subjection." And if this be so in respect of husbands, much more in respect of teachers, and fathers, and the general assembly of the Church. "But if they are not even to speak," saith one, "nor ask a question, to what end are they to be present?" That they may hear what they ought; but the points which are questioned let them learn at home from their husbands. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 35. "And if they would learn any thing, let them ask their own husbands at home."

Thus, "not only, as it seems, are they not allowed to speak," saith he, "at random, but not even to ask any question in the church." Now if they ought not to ask questions, much more is their speaking at pleasure contrary to law. And what may be the cause of his setting them under so great subjection? Because the woman is in some sort a weaker being and easily carried away and light minded. Here you see why he set over them their husbands as teachers, for the benefit of both. For so he both rendered the women orderly, and the husbands he made anxious, as having to deliver to their wives very exactly what they heard.

Further, because they supposed this to be an ornament to them, I mean their speaking in public; again he brings round the discourse to the opposite point, saying, "For it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church." That is, first he made this out from the law of God, then from common reason and our received custom; even when he was discoursing with the women about long hair, he said, "Doth not even nature herself teach you?" (c. xi. 14.) And everywhere thou mayest find this to be his manner, not only from the divine Scriptures, but also from the common custom, to put them to shame.

[2.] But besides these things, he also shames them by consideration of what all agreed on, and what was every where prescribed; which topic also here he hath set down, saying,

Ver. 36. "What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone?"

Thus he brings in the other Churches also as holding this law, both abating the disturbance by consideration of the novelty of the thing, and by the general voice making his saying acceptable. Wherefore also elsewhere he said, "Who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in all the Churches." (1 Cor. iv. 17.) And again, "God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the Churches of the saints." (c. xiv. 33.) And here, "What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone?" i.e., "neither first, nor alone are ye believers, but the whole world [252] ." Which also writing to the Colossians he said, "even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world," (Col. i. 6.) speaking of the Gospel.

But he turns it also at another time to the encouragement of his hearers; as when he saith that theirs were the first fruits, and were manifest unto all. Thus, writing to the Thessalonians he said, "For from you hath sounded forth the word of God," and, "in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth." (1 Thess. i. 8.) And again to the Romans, "Your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world." For both are apt to shame and stir up, as well the being commended of others, as that they have others partakers in their judgment. Wherefore also here he saith; "What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you only?" "For neither can ye say this," saith he; "we were made teachers to the rest, and it cannot be right for us to learn of others;" nor, "the faith remained in this place only, and no precedents from other quarters ought to be received." Seest thou by how many arguments he put them to shame? He introduced the law, he signified the shamefulness of the thing, he brought forward the other Churches. [253]

[3.] Next, what is strongest of all he puts last, saying, "God ordains these things even at this time by me."

Ver. 37. Thus: "if any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you that they are the commandments of the Lord."

Ver. 38. "But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant."

And wherefore did he add this? Intimating that he is not using violence nor contention, which is a sign of them who wish not to set up their own things, but aim at what is profitable to others. Wherefore also in another place he saith, "But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom." (1 Cor. xi. 16.) But he doth not this everywhere, but only where the offences are not very great, and then rather as putting them to shame. Since when he discourses of other sins, he speaks not thus. But how? "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor effeminate, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.) And again, "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing." (Gal. v. 2.) But here, since his discourse was of silence, he doth not very keenly inveigh against them, by this very thing attracting them the more. Then, as he is ever wont to do, unto the former subject whence he digressed to say these things, he brings back his discourse as follows:

Ver. 39. "Wherefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues."

For this too is his wont, not only to work out what is before him, but also starting from that to set right whatever seems to him in any way akin to it, and again to return to the former, so as not to appear to wander from the subject. For so when he was discoursing of their concord in their banquets, he digressed to their Communion in the Mysteries, and having thence put them to shame, he returns again to the former, saying, "Wherefore, when ye come together to eat, wait one for another." (1 Cor. xi. 33.)

And here, accordingly, having discoursed of good order in their gifts, and of its being a duty neither to faint in the lesser, nor to be puffed up on account of the greater; then having made an excursion from thence to the sobriety becoming women and having established it, he returns again to his subject, saying, "Wherefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." Seest thou how to the end he preserved the difference of these? And how he signifies that the one is very necessary, the other not so? Wherefore of the one he saith, "desire earnestly [254] ," but of the other, "forbid not."

[4.] Then, as in brief summary, setting all things right, he adds the words,

Ver. 40. "Let all things be done decently and in order."

Again giving a blow to them who chose to behave themselves unseemly without cause, and to incur the imputation of madness; and who keep not their proper rank. For nothing doth so build up as good order, as peace, as love; even as their contraries tend to pull down. And not only in things spiritual, but also in all others one may observe this. Thus whether it be in a dance, or a ship, or in a chariot, or a camp, if thou shouldest confound the order, and casting the greater out of their proper place, shouldest bring in the lesser into their rank, thou destroyest all, and thus things are turned upside down. Neither let us then destroy our order, nor place the head below and the feet above: now this is done when we cast down right reason, and set our lusts, passions, and pleasure, over the rational part: whence violent are the billows, and great the confusion, and intolerable the tempest, all things being wrapt in darkness.

And, if thou wilt, let us first examine the unseemliness which arises herefrom, and then the loss. How then may this be clear to us, and thoroughly known? Let us bring forward a man in that frame of mind; enamoured of a harlot and overcome by a dishonorable passion; and then we shall see the mockery which this comes to. For what can be baser than a man watching the doors before the harlots' chambers, and beaten by a whorish woman, and weeping, and lamenting, and turning his glory into shame? And if thou wilt also see the loss, call to mind, I pray, the expenditure of money, the extreme risks, the contests with rival lovers, the wounds, the stripes received in such affrays.

Such also are they who are holden by the lust of wealth; or rather they behave themselves more unseemly. For whereas these are wholly occupied about one person; the covetous busy themselves about all men's substance alike, both poor and rich, and long for things that are not; a thing which above all denotes the wildness of their passion. For they say not, "I would fain have the substance of such a person or of such another," only, but they want the very mountains to be gold, and the houses and all that they see; and they go forth into another world, and this passion they feel to a boundless degree, and at no point cease from their lusting. What discourse can set before us the tempest of those thoughts, the waves, the darkness? And where the waves and tempest are so great, what pleasure can there be? There is not any; but tumult, and anguish, and black clouds which instead of rain bring great sorrow of heart: the kind of thing which is wont to happen in the case of those who are enamoured of beauty not their own. Wherefore they who have no passionate love at all are in more pleasure than any lovers.

[5.] This however no man would gainsay. But to me even he who loves, but restrains his passion, seems to live more pleasurably than he who continually enjoys his mistress. For though the proof be rather difficult, nevertheless even at that disadvantage the argument must be ventured on: the cause of the increased difficulty not being the nature of the thing, but because of the want of meet hearers for this high morality. Thus: whether is it pleasanter, tell me, to the lover, to be despised by his beloved, or to be honored, and to look down upon her? Evidently the latter. Whom then, tell me, will the harlot value more? Him that is a slave to her and is already led captive at her will, or him that is above her nets and soareth higher than her arrows? Every one must see, the latter. And about whom will she take more thought, the fallen, or him that is not yet so? Him that is not yet so, of course. And which will be more an object of desire, he who is subdued, or he who is not yet taken? He who up to this time is not yet taken. And if ye disbelieve it, I will produce my proof from what takes place within yourselves. As thus: of which woman would a man be more enamored; one that easily submits and gives herself up to him, or one that denies, and gives him trouble? Evidently of this last; since hereby the longing is more vehemently kindled. Of course then in the woman's case also exactly the same thing will happen. And him will they honor and admire more who looks down upon them. But if this be true, so likewise is the other, that he enjoys greater pleasure who is more honored and beloved. Since the general too lets alone the city that hath been once taken, but that which stands out and maintains the struggle he besets with all diligence: and the hunter, when the animal is caught, keeps it shut up in darkness as the harlot doth her lover, but pursues that which flies from him.

But I shall be told, "the one enjoys his desire, the other not so." But freedom from disgrace, and from being a slave under her tyrannical commands, the not being led and dragged about by her as a drudge, beaten, spit upon, pitched head foremost; dost thou consider this to be a small pleasure, tell me? Nay, if one would accurately examine these things, and were able to gather into one their insults, complaints, everlasting quarrels, some arising from their tempers, others from their wantonness, their enmities, and all the rest, such as they only that feel them know;--he will find that there is no war but hath more truces than this wretched life of theirs. What pleasure then meanest thou, tell me? The temporary and brief enjoyment of intercourse? But this speedily doth strife overtake, and storms, and rage, and the same madness again.

[6.] And these things have been said by us, as one would speak discoursing with licentious youths, who do not very patiently submit to hear our discourses of the kingdom and of hell.

And now that we are bringing forward these topics also, it is not even possible to say how great is the pleasure of the continent; if one frame in one's own mind his crowns, his rewards, his converse with the angels, the proclaiming of him before the world, his boldness, those blessed and immortal hopes of his.

"But intercourse hath a certain pleasure:" for this they are continually repeating: "while the continent continually suffers pain contending with the tyranny of nature." Nay, but one shall find just the contrary result. For this violence and tumult is present with the unchaste rather: there being in his body a violent tempest, and no sea in a storm so grievously vexed as he; never withstanding his passion, but ever receiving blows from it; as the possessed and they that are continually rent in the midst by evil spirits. Whereas the temperate like a noble champion continually giving blows to it, reaps the best of pleasures, and sweeter than ten thousand of that kind; and this victory and his good conscience, and those illustrous trophies, are ornaments for him continually to deck himself withal.

As to the other, if after his intercourse he hath a little respite, it must be counted nothing. For again the storm comes on, and again there are waves. But he that commands himself doth not suffer this tumult to lay hold of him at all, nor the sea to arise, nor the wild beast to roar. And even if he endure some violence in restraining such an impulse, yet so doth the other also, continually receiving blows and stabs, and unable to endure the sting: and it is like as if there were a wild horse furious and struggling, and one should check with the bridle, and hold him in with all skill: while another giving him the rein to escape the trouble, were dragged along by him and carried hither and thither.

If I have spoken these things more plainly than is becoming, let no man blame me. For I desire not to make a brave show by a gravity of words, but to make my hearers grave.

Therefore also the prophets spare no such words, wishing to extirpate the licentiousness of the Jews, but do even more nakedly inveigh against them than we do now in the things we have spoken. For so a physician wishing to remove an ulcer doth not consider how he may keep his hands clean, but how he may rid the patient of the ulcer; and he who would raise on high the lowly, first makes himself lowly; and he who seeks to slay the conspirator stains himself with blood as well as the other, and this makes him the more brilliant. Since if one were to see a soldier returning from the war, stained with gore and blood and brains, he will not loathe him nor turn from him on this account, but will even admire him the more. So then let us do, when we see any one returning, covered with blood after the slaughter of his evil desire, let us the more admire him and become partakers of his battle and victory, and say to those who indulge this wild love, "show us the pleasure you derive from lust; for the continent hath that which comes of his victory, but thou none from any quarter. But if ye should mention that which is connected with the criminal act, yet the other is more manifest and satisfactory. For thou hast from the enjoyment something brief and hardly apparent; but he from his conscience, hath both a greater and an enduring and a sweeter joy. The company of a woman hath surely no such power as self-command, to preserve the soul undisturbed and give it wings."

Well then: the continent man, as I said, thus evidently makes his pleasure out to us: but in thy case I see the dejection arising from defeat, but the pleasure, desiring to see, I find not. For what dost thou consider the moment of pleasure? That before the criminal action? Nay, it is not so, for it is a time of madness and delirium and frenzy: to grind the teeth and be beside one's self is not any pleasure: and if it were pleasure, it would not produce the same effects on you which they who are in pain endure. For they who strike with their fists and are stricken grind their teeth, and women in travail distracted with pains do the same. So that this is no pleasure, but frenzy rather, and confusion, and tumult. Shall we say then, the time after the action? Nay, neither is this. For neither could we say that a woman just delivered is in pleasure, but in release from certain pains. But this is by no means pleasure, but weakness rather and falling away: and there is a great difference between these two. What then is the time of pleasure, tell me? There is none. But if there be any, it is so brief as not even to be apparent. At least, having zealously sought in a great many ways to detect and apprehend it, we have not been able. But the time of the chaste man's pleasure is not such, rather it is wider and evident to all. Or rather, all his life is in pleasure, his conscience crowned, the waves laid, no disturbance from any quarter arising within him.

Since then this man's life is more in pleasure, while the life spent in love of pleasure is in dejection and disquiets; let us flee from licentiousness, let us keep hold on continence, that we may also obtain the good things to come, through the grace and mercy, &c., &c.

Footnotes

[252] Rom. i. 8. katangelletai. [253] [The sharp rebuke contained in this verse is restricted by Meyer to the regulation laid down respecting women, but it rather refers, as Chrysostom views it, to all the points touched upon in the preceding discussion. As Principal Edwards says, "The Corinthians acted as if they had originated the Gospel or were the only Christian Church; that is, as if the Gospel took its coloring from local influences and were not broad as humanity itself nor destined to survive nationalities." He thinks too that it is a question whether they asked the Apostle's advice as touching the Spiritual gifts, as the way in which that subject is introduced in the first verse of the twelfth chapter as well as the words of this verse make it doubtful. C.] [254] zeloute.


Homily XXXVIII.

1 Cor. xv. 1, 2

Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand; by which also ye are saved: in what words I preached it unto you. [255]

Having finished the discourse of spiritual gifts, he passes to that which is of all most necessary, the subject of the resurrection. For in this too they were greatly unsound. And as in men's bodies, when the fever lays actual hold of their solid parts, I mean the nerves and the veins and the primary elements, the mischief becomes incurable unless it receive much attention; just so at that time also it was like to happen. Since to the very elements of godliness the mischief was proceeding. Wherefore also Paul uses great earnestness. For not of morals was his discourse henceforth nor about one man's being a fornicator, another covetous, and another having his head covered; but about the very sum of all good things. For touching the resurrection itself they were at variance. Because this being all our hope, against this point did the devil make a vehement stand, and at one time he was wholly subverting it, at another his word was that it was "past already;" which also Paul writing to Timothy called a gangrene, I mean, this wicked doctrine, and those that brought it in he branded, saying, "Of whom is Hymenoeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Tim. ii. 17, 18.) At one time then they said thus, but at another that the body rises not again but the purification of the soul is the resurrection.

But these things that wicked demon persuaded them to say, not wishing to overturn the resurrection only, but also to show that all the things done for our sakes are a fable. For if they were persuaded that there is no resurrection of bodies, he would have gradually persuaded them that neither was Christ raised. And thereupon he would introduce also this in due course, that He had not come nor had done what He did. For such is the craft of the devil. Wherefore also Paul calls it "cunning craftiness [256] ," because he doth not straightway signify what he intends to effect, for fear of being detected, but dressing himself up in a mask of one kind, he fabricates arts of another kind: and like a crafty enemy attacking a city with walls, he secretly undermines it from below: so as thereby to be hardly guarded against and to succeed in his endeavors. Therefore such snares on his part being continually detected, and these his crafty ambushes hunted out by this admirable and mighty man, he said, "For we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. ii. 11.) So also here he unfolds his whole guile and points out all his stratagems, and whatsoever he would fain effect, Paul puts before us, with much exactness going over all. Yea, and therefore he put this head after the rest, both because it was extremely necessary and because it involves the whole of our condition.

And observe his consideration: how first having secured his own, he then proceeds even beyond in his discourse, and them that are without he doth abundantly reduce to silence. Now he secures his own, not by reasonings, but by things which had already happened and which themselves had received and believed to have taken place: a thing which was most of all apt to shame them, and capable of laying hold on them. Since if they were unwilling to believe after this, it was no longer Paul but themselves they would disbelieve: which thing was a censure on those who had once for all received it and changed their minds. For this cause then he begins also from hence, implying that he needs no other witnesses to prove his speaking truth, but those very persons who were deceived.

[2.] But that what I say may become clearer, we must needs in what follows attend to the very words. What then are these? "I make known unto you, brethren," saith he, "the gospel which I preached unto you." Seest thou with what modesty he commences? Seest thou how from the beginning he points out that he is bringing in no new nor strange thing? For he who "maketh known" that which was already known but afterwards had fallen into oblivion, "maketh known" by recalling it into memory.

And when he called them "brethren," even from hence he laid the foundation of no mean part of the proof of his assertions. For by no other cause became we "brethren," but by the dispensation of Christ according to the flesh. And this is just the reason why he thus called them, at the same time soothing and courting them, and likewise reminding them of their innumerable blessings.

And what comes next again is demonstrative of the same. What then is this? "The gospel." For the sum of the gospels hath its original hence, from God having become man and having been crucified and having risen again. This gospel also Gabriel preached to the Virgin, this also the prophets to the world, this also the apostles all of them.

"Which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand. By which also ye are saved, in what word I preached unto you; if ye hold it fast, except ye believed in vain."

Seest thou how he calls themselves to be witnesses of the things spoken? And he saith not, "which ye heard," but, "which ye received," demanding it of them as a kind of deposit, and showing that not in word only, but also by deeds and signs and wonders they received it, and that they should hold it safe.

Next, because he was speaking of the things long past, he referred also to the present time, saying, "wherein also ye stand," taking the vantage ground of them that disavowal might be out of their power, though they wished it never so much. And this is why at the beginning he said not, "I teach you," but, `I make known unto you' what hath already been made manifest."

And how saith he that they who were so tossed with waves "stand?" He feigns ignorance to profit them; which also he doth in the case of the Galatians, but not in like manner. For inasmuch as he could not in that case affect ignorance, he frames his address in another way, saying, "I have confidence toward you in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded." (Gal. v. 10.) He said not, "that ye were none otherwise minded," because their fault was acknowledged and evident, but he answers for the future; and yet this too was uncertain; but it was to draw them to him more effectually. Here however he doth feign ignorance, saying, "wherein also ye stand."

Then comes the advantage; "by which also ye are saved, in what words I preached it unto you." "So then, this present exposition is for doctrine clearness and interpretation. For the doctrine itself ye need not," saith he, "to learn, but to be reminded of it and corrected." And these things he saith, leaving them no room to plunge into recklessness once for all.

But what is, "in what word I preached it unto you?" After what manner did I say," saith he, "that the resurrection takes place? For that there is a resurrection I would not say that ye doubt: but ye seek perhaps to obtain a clearer knowledge of that saying. This then will I provide for you: for indeed I am well assured that ye hold the doctrine." Next, because he was directly affirming, "wherein also ye stand;" that he might not thereby make them more remiss, he alarms them again, saying, "If ye hold it fast, except ye believed in vain;" intimating that the stroke is on the chief head, and the contest for no common things but in behalf of the whole of the faith. And for the present he saith it with reserve, but as he goes on and waxes warm, he throws off the veil and proceeds to cry out [257] , and say, "But if Christ hath not been raised then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain: ye are yet in your sins:" but in the beginning not so: for thus it was expedient to proceed, gently and by degrees.

Ver. 3. "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received."

Neither here doth he say, "I said unto you," nor, "I taught you," but uses the same expression again, saying, "I delivered unto you that which also I received:" nor again here doth he say, "I was taught," but, "I received:" establishing these two things; first, that one ought to introduce nothing from one's self; next, that by demonstration from his deeds they were fully persuaded, not by bare words: and by degrees while he is rendering his argument credible, he refers the whole to Christ, and signifies that nothing was of man in these doctrines.

But what is this, "For I delivered unto you first of all? [258] " for that is his word. "In the beginning, not now." And thus saying he brings the time for a witness, and that it were the greatest disgrace for those who had so long time been persuaded now to change their minds: and not this only, but also that the doctrine is necessary. Wherefore also it was "delivered" among "the first," and from the beginning straightway. And what didst thou so deliver? tell me. But this he doth not say straightway, but first, "I received." And what didst thou receive? "That Christ died for our sins." He said not immediately that there is a resurrection of our bodies, yet this very thing in truth he doth establish, but afar off and by other topics saying that "Christ died," and laying before a kind of strong base and irrefragable foundation of the doctrine concerning the resurrection. For neither did he simply say that "Christ died;" although even this were sufficient to declare the resurrection, but with an addition, "Christ died for our sins."

[3.] But first it is worth while to hear what those who are infected with the Manichæan doctrines say here, who are both enemies to the truth and war against their own salvation. What then do these allege? By death here, they say, Paul means nothing else than our being in sin; and by resurrection, our being delivered from our sins. Seest thou how nothing is weaker than error? And how it is taken by its own wings, and needs not the warfare from without, but by itself it is pierced through? Consider, for instance, these men, how they too have pierced themselves through by their own statements. Since if this be death, and Christ did not take a body, as ye suppose, and yet died, He was in sin according to you. For I indeed say that He took unto Himself a body and His death, I say, was that of the flesh; but thou denying this, wilt be compelled to affirm the other. But if He was in sin, how saith He, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" and "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me?" (John viii. 46; xiv. 30.) and again, "Thus it becometh Us to fulfill all righteousness?" (Matt. iii. 15.) Nay, how did He at all die for sinners, if Himself were in sin? For he who dies for sinners ought himself to be without sin. Since if he himself also sin, how shall he die for other sinners? But if for others' sins He died, He died being without sin: and if being without sin He died, He died--not the death of sin; for how could He being without sin?--but the death of the body. Wherefore also Paul did not simply say, "He died," but added, "for our sins:" both forcing these heretics against their will to the confession of His bodily death, and signifying also by this that before death He was without sin: for he that dies for others' sins, it followeth must himself be without sin.

Neither was he content with this, but added, "according to the Scriptures:" hereby both again making his argument credible, and intimating what kind of death he was speaking of: since it is the death of the body which the Scriptures everywhere proclaim. For, "they pierced My hands and My feet," (Ps. xxi. 18.) saith He, and, "they shall look on Him Whom they pierced." (John xix. 37, Zech. xii. 10.) And many other instances, too not to name all one by one, partly in words and partly in types, one may see in them stored up, setting forth His slaughter in the flesh and that He was slain for our sins. For, "for the sins of my people," saith one, "is He come [259] to death:" and, "the Lord delivered Him up for our sins:" and, "He was wounded for our transgressions." (Is. liii.) But if thou [260] dost not endure the Old Testament, hear John crying out and declaring both, as well His slaughter in the body as the cause of it: thus, "Behold," saith he, "the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world:" (John i. 29.) and Paul saying, "For Him Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him:" (2 Cor. v. 21.) and again, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us:" (Gal. iii. 13.) and again, "having put off from himself principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them;" (Col. ii. 15.) and ten thousand other sayings to show what happened at His death in the body, and because of our sins. Yea, and Christ Himself saith, "for your sakes I sanctify Myself [261] " and, "now the prince of this world hath been condemned [262] ;" showing that having no sin he was slain.

[4.] Ver. 4. "And that he was buried."

And this also confirms the former topics, for that which is buried is doubtless a body. And here he no longer adds, "according to the Scriptures." He had wherewithal, nevertheless he adds it not. For what cause? Either because the burial was evident unto all, both then and now, or because the expression, "according to the Scriptures," is set down of both in common. Wherefore then doth he add, "according to the Scriptures," in this place, "and that He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures," and is not content with the former clause, so spoken in common? Because this also was to most men obscure: wherefore here again he brings in "the Scriptures" by inspiration, having so conceived this thought so wise and divine.

How is it then that he doth the same in regard of His death [263] ? Because in that case too, although the cross was evident unto all and in the sight of all He was stretched upon it; yet the cause was no longer equally so. The fact indeed of his death all knew, but that He suffered this for the sins of the world was no longer equally known to the multitude. Wherefore he brings in the testimony from the Scriptures.

This however hath been sufficiently proved by what we have said. But where have the Scriptures said that He was buried, and on the third day shall rise again? By the type of Jonah which also Himself alleges, saying, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall also the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. xii. 40.) By the bush in the desert. For even as that burned, yet was not consumed, (Exod. iii. 2.) so also that body died indeed, but was not holden of death continually [264] . And the dragon also in Daniel shadows out this. For as the dragon having taken the food which the prophet gave, burst asunder in the midst; [265] even so Hades having swallowed down that Body, was rent asunder, the Body of itself cutting asunder its womb and rising again.

Now if thou desirest to hear also in words those things which thou hast seen in types, listen to Isaiah, saying, "His life is taken from the earth," (Is. liii. 8, 10, 11.) [266] and," it pleaseth the Lord to cleanse Him from His wound...to show unto Him light:" and David before him, "Thou wilt not leave My soul to Hades, nor wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption." (Ps. xvi. 10.)

Therefore Paul also sends thee on to the Scriptures, that thou mayest learn that not without cause nor at random were these things done. For how could they, when so many prophets are describing and proclaiming them beforehand? And no where doth the Scripture mean the death of sin, when it makes mention of our Lord's death, but that of the body, and a burial and resurrection of the same kind.

[5.] Ver. 5. "And that He appeared to Cephas:" he names immediately the most credible of all. "Then to the twelve."

Ver. 6. "Then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep."

Ver. 7. "Then he appeared to James; then to all the Apostles."

Ver. 8. "And last of all, as unto one born out of due time, he appeared to me also."

Thus, since he had mentioned the proof from the Scriptures, he adds also that by the events, producing as witnesses of the resurrection, after the prophets, the apostles and other faithful men. Whereas if he meant that other resurrection, the deliverance from sin, it were idle for him to say, He appeared to such and such an one; for this is the argument of one who is establishing the resurrection of the body, not of one obscurely teaching deliverance from sins. Wherefore neither said he once for all, "He appeared," although it were sufficient for him to do so, setting down the expression in common: but now both twice and thrice, and almost in each several case of them that had seen Him he employs it. For "He appeared," saith he, "to Cephas, He appeared to above five hundred brethren, He appeared to me also." Yet surely the Gospel saith the contrary, that He was seen of Mary first. (Mark xvi. 9.) But among men He was seen of him first who did most of all long to see Him.

But of what twelve apostles doth he here speak [267] ? For after He was received up, Matthias was taken into the number, not after the resurrection immediately. But it is likely that He appeared even after He was received up. At any rate, this our apostle himself after His ascension was both called, and saw Him. Therefore neither doth he set down the time, but simply and without defining recounts the appearance. For indeed it is probable that many took place; wherefore also John said, "This third time He was manifested." (John xxi. 14.)

"Then He appeared to above five hundred brethren." Some say that "above [268] ," is above from heaven; that is, "not walking upon earth, but above and overhead He appeared to them:" adding, that it was Paul's purpose to confirm, not the resurrection only, but also the ascension. Others say that the expression, "above five hundred," means, "more than five hundred."

"Of whom the greater part remain until now." Thus, "though I relate events of old," saith he, "yet have I living witnesses." "But some are fallen asleep." He said not, "are dead," but, "are fallen asleep," by this expression also again confirming the resurrection. "After that, He was seen of James." I suppose, His brother. For the Lord is said to have Himself ordained him and made him Bishop in Jerusalem first. "Then to all the apostles." For there were also other apostles, as the seventy.

"And last of all he appeared unto me also, as unto one born out of due time." This is rather an expression of modesty than any thing else. For not because he was the least, therefore did he appear to him after the rest. Since even if He did call him last, yet he appeared more illustrious than many which were before him, yea rather than all. And the five hundred brethren too were not surely better than James, because He appeared to them before him.

Why did He not appear to all at the same time? That He might first sow the seeds of faith. For he that saw Him first and was exactly and fully assured, told it unto the residue: then their report coming first placed the hearer in expectation of this great wonder, and made way before for the faith of sight. Therefore neither did He appear to all together, nor in the beginning to many, but to one alone first, and him the leader of the whole company and the most faithful: since indeed there was great need of a most faithful soul to be first to receive this sight. For those who saw him after others had seen him, and heard it from them, had in their testimony what contributed in no small degree to their own faith and tended to prepare their mind beforehand; but he who was first counted worthy to see Him, had need, as I have said, of great faith, not to be confounded by a sight so contrary to expectation. Therefore he appears to Peter first. For he that first confessed Him to be Christ was justly also counted worthy first to behold His resurrection. And not on this account alone doth He appear to him first, but also because he had denied Him, more abundantly to comfort him and to signify that he is not despaired of, before the rest He vouchsafed him even this sight and to him first entrusted His sheep. Therefore also He appeared to the women first. Because this sex was made inferior, therefore both in His birth and in His resurrection this first tastes of His grace.

But after Peter, He appears also to each at intervals, and at one time to fewer, at another to more, hereby making them witnesses and teachers of each other, and rendering His apostles trustworthy in all that they said.

[6.] "And last of all, as unto one born out of due time, he appeared to me also." What mean here his expressions of humility, or wherein are they seasonable? For if he wishes to show himself worthy of credit and to enrol himself among the witnesses of the resurrection, he is doing the contrary of what he wishes: since it were meet that he exalt himself and show that he was great, which in many places he doth, the occasion calling for it. Well, the very reason why he here also speaks modestly is his being about to do this. Not straightway, however, but with his own peculiar good sense: in that having first spoken modestly and heaped up against himself many charges, he then magnifies the things concerning himself. What may the reason be? That, when he comes to utter that great and lofty expression concerning himself, "I labored more abundantly than all," his discourse may be rendered more acceptable, both hereby, and by its being spoken as a consequence of what went before and not as a leading topic. Therefore also writing to Timothy, and intending to say great things concerning himself, he first sets down his charges against himself. For so all persons, when speaking in high terms of others, speak out freely and with boldness: but he that is compelled to praise himself, and especially when he also calls himself to witness, is disconcerted and blushes. Therefore also this blessed man first declares his own misery, and then utters that lofty expression. This then he doth, partly to abate the offensiveness of speaking about himself, and partly that he might hereby recommend to their belief what he had to say afterwards. For he that truly states what things are discreditable to him and conceals none of them, such as that he persecuted the Church, that he laid waste the faith, doth hereby cause the things that are honorable to him also to be above suspicion.

And consider the exceeding greatness of his humility. For having said, "and last of all He appeared to me also," he was not content with this: "For many that are last shall be first," saith He, "and the first last." (Matt. xx. 16.) Therefore he added, "as unto one born out of due time." Neither did he stop here, but adds also his own judgment and with a reason, saying,

Ver. 9. "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God."

And he said not, of the twelve alone, but also of all the other apostles. And all these things he spake, both as one speaking modestly and because he was really so disposed as I said, making arrangements also beforehand for what was intended to be spoken and rendering it more acceptable. For had he come forward and said, "Ye ought to believe me that Christ rose from the dead; for I saw Him and of all I am the most worthy of credit, inasmuch as I have labored more," the expression might have offended the hearers: but now by first dwelling on the humiliating topics and those which involve accusation, he both took off what might be grating in such a narrative, and prepared the way for their belief in his testimony.

On this account therefore neither doth he simply, as I said, declare himself to be the last and unworthy of the appellation of an apostle, but also states the reason, saying, "because I persecuted the Church." And yet all those things were forgiven, but nevertheless he himself never forgot them, desiring to signify the greatness of God's favor: wherefore also he goes on to say,

[7.] Ver. 10. "But by the grace of God I am what I am."

Seest thou again another [269] excess of humility? in that the defects he imputes to himself, but of the good deeds nothing; rather he refers all to God. Next, lest he might hereby render his hearer supine, he saith, "And His grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain." And this again with reserve: in that he said not, "I have displayed a diligence worthy of His grace," but, "it was not found vain."

"But I labored more abundantly than they all." He said not, "I was honored," but, "I labored;" and when he had perils and deaths to speak of, by the name of labor he again abates his expression.

Then again practicing his wonted humility, this also he speedily passes by and refers the whole to God, saying, "Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." What can be more admirable than such a soul? who having in so many ways depressed himself and uttered but one lofty word, not even this doth he call his own; on every side finding ways, both from the former things and from them that follow after, to contract this lofty expression, and that because it was of necessity that he came to it.

But consider how he abounds in the expressions of humility. For so, "to me last of all He appeared," saith he. Wherefore neither doth he with himself mention any other, and saith, "as of one born out of due time," and that himself is "the least of the apostles," and not even worthy of this appellation. And he was not content even with these, but that he might not seem in mere words to be humble-minded, he states both reasons and proofs: of his being "one born out of due time," his seeing Jesus last; and of his being unworthy even of the name of an apostle, "his persecuting the Church." For he that is simply humble-minded doeth not this: but he that also sets down the reasons utters all from a contrite mind. Wherefore also he elsewhere makes mention of these same things, saying, "And I thank him that enabled me; even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that He counted me faithful, appointing the to his service, though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." (1 Tim. i. 12, 13.)

But wherefore did he utter at all that same lofty expression, "I labored more abundantly than they?" He saw that the occasion compelled him. For had he not said this, had he only depreciated himself, how could he with boldness call himself to witness, and number himself with the rest, and say,

Ver. 11. "Whether then it be I or they, so we preach."

For the witness ought to be trustworthy, and a great man. But how he "labored more abundantly than they," he indicated above, saying, "Have we no right to eat and to drink, as also the other Apostles?" And again, "to them that are without law as without law." Thus, both where exactness was to be displayed, he overshot all: and where there was need to condescend, he displayed again the same great superiority.

But some cite his being sent to the Gentiles and his overrunning the larger part of the world. Whence it is evident that he enjoyed more grace. For if he labored more, the grace was also more: but he enjoyed more grace, because he displayed also more diligence. Seest thou how by those particulars whereby he contends and strives to throw into shade the things concerning himself, he is shown to be first of all?

[8.] And these things when we hear, let us also make open show of our defects, but of our excellencies let us say nothing. Or if the opportunity force it upon us, let us speak of them with reserve and impute the whole to God's grace: which accordingly the Apostle also doth, ever and anon putting a bad mark upon his former life, but his after-state imputing to grace, that he might signify the mercy of God from every circumstance: from His having saved him such as he was and when saved making him again such as he is. Let none accordingly of those who are in sin despair, let none of those in virtue be confident, but let the one be exceeding fearful and the other forward. For neither shall any slothful man be able to abide in virtue, nor one that is diligent be weak to escape from evil. And of both these the blessed David is an example, who after he slumbered a little, had a great downfall: and when he was pricked in his heart, again hastened up to his former height. Since in fact both are alike evils, both despair and slothfulness; the one quickly casting a man down from the very arch of the heavens; the other not suffering the fallen to rise again. Wherefore with respect to the one, Paul said, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall:" (1 Cor. x. 12.) but unto the other, "To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts: (Heb. iv. 7.) and again, "Lift up the hands that hang down and the palsied knees." (Heb. xii. 12.) And him too that had committed fornication but repented, he therefore quickly refreshes, "that such an one might not be swallowed up with his overmuch sorrow?" (2 Cor. ii. 7.)

Why then in regard of other griefs art thou cast down, O man? Since if for sins, where only grief is beneficial, excess works much mischief, much more for all other things. For wherefore grievest thou? That thou hast lost money? Nay, think of those that are not even filled with bread, and thou shalt very speedily obtain consolation. And in each of the things that are grievous to thee mourn not the things that have happened, but for the disasters that have not happened give thanks. Hadst thou money and didst thou lose it? Weep not for the loss, but give thanks for the time when thou didst enjoy it. Say like Job, "Have we received good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job ii. 10.) And together with that use this argument also; that even if thou didst lose thy money, yet thy body thou hast still sound and hast not with thy poverty to grieve that it also is maimed. But hath thy body too endured some outrage? Yet is not this the bottom of human calamities, but in the middle of the cask thou art as yet carried along. For many along with poverty and maiming, both wrestle with a demon and wander in deserts: others again endure other things more grievous than these. For may it never be our lot to suffer all that it is possible for one to bear.

These things then ever considering, bear in mind them that suffer worse, and be vexed at none of those things: but when thou sinnest, only then sigh, then weep; I forbid thee not, nay I enjoin thee rather; though even then with moderation, remembering that there is returning, there is reconciliation. But seest thou others in luxury and thyself in poverty: and another in goodly robes, and in preeminence? Look not however on these things alone, but also on the miseries that arise out of these. And in thy poverty too, consider not the beggary alone, but the pleasure also thence arising do thou take into account. For wealth hath indeed a cheerful mask, but its inward parts are full of gloom; and poverty the reverse. And shouldest thou unfold each man's conscience, in the soul of the poor thou wilt see great security and freedom: but in that of the rich, confusions, disorders, tempests. And if thou grievest, seeing him rich, he too is vexed much more than thou when he beholds one richer than himself. And as thou fearest him, even so doth he another, and he hath no advantage over thee in this. But thou art vexed to see him in office, because thou art in a private station and one of the governed. Recollect however the day of his ceasing to hold office. And even before that day the tumults, the perils, the fatigues, the flatteries, the sleepless nights, and all the miseries.

[9.] And these things we say to those who have no mind for high morality: since if thou knowest this, there are other and greater things whereby we may comfort thee: but for the present we must use the coarser topics to argue with thee. When therefore thou seest one that is rich, think of him that is richer than he, and thou wilt see him in the same condition with thyself. And after him look also on him that is poorer than thyself, consider how many have gone to bed hungry, and have lost their patrimony, and live in a dungeon, and pray for death every day. For neither doth poverty breed sadness, nor wealth pleasure, but both the one and the other our own thoughts are wont to produce in us. And consider, beginning from beneath: the scavenger grieves and is vexed that he cannot be rid of this his business so wretched and esteemed so disgraceful: but if thou rid him of this, and cause him, with security, to have plenty of the necessaries of life, he will grieve again that he hath not more than he wants: and if thou grant him more, he will wish to double them again, and will therefore vex himself no less than before: and if thou grant him twofold or threefold, he will be out of heart again because he hath no part in the state: and if you provide him with this also, he will count himself wretched because he is not one of the highest officers of state. And when he hath obtained this honor, he will mourn that he is not a ruler; and when he shall be ruler, that it is not of a whole nation; and when of a whole nation, that it is not of many nations; and when of many nations, that it is not of all. When he becomes a deputy, he will vex himself again that he is not a king; and if a king, that he is not so alone; and if alone, that he is not also of barbarous nations; and if of barbarous nations, that he is not of the whole world even: and if of the whole world, why not likewise of another world? And so his course of thought going on without end does not suffer him ever to be pleased. Seest thou, how even if from being mean and poor thou shouldest make a man a king, thou dost not remove his dejection, without first correcting his turn of thought, enamored as it is of having more?

Come, let me show thee the contrary too, that even if from a higher station thou shouldest bring down to a lower one him that hath consideration, thou wilt not cast him into dejection and grief. And if thou wilt, let us descend the same ladder, and do thou bring down the satrap from his throne and in supposition deprive him of that dignity. I say that he will not on this account vex himself, if he choose to bear in mind the things of which I have spoken. For he will not reckon up the things of which he hath been deprived, but what he hath still, the glory arising from his office. But if thou take away this also, he will reckon up them who are in private stations and have never ascended to such sway, and for consolation his riches will suffice him. And if thou also cast him out again from this, he will look to them that have a moderate estate. And if thou shouldest take away even moderate wealth, and shouldest allow him to partake only of necessary food, he may think upon them that have not even this, but wrestle with incessant hunger and live in prison. And even if thou shouldest bring him into that prison-house, when he reflects on them that lie under incurable diseases and irremediable pains, he will see himself to be in much better circumstances. And as the scavenger before mentioned not even on being made a king will reap any cheerfulness, so neither will this man ever vex himself if he become a prisoner. It is not then wealth that is the foundation of pleasure, nor poverty of sadness, but our own judgment, and the fact, that the eyes of our mind are not pure, nor are fixed anywhere and abide, but without limit flutter abroad. And as healthy bodies, if they be nourished with bread alone, are in good and vigorous condition: but those that are sickly, even if they enjoy a plentiful and varied diet, become so much the weaker; so also it is wont to happen in regard of the soul. The mean spirited, not even in a diadem and unspeakable honors can be happy: but the denying, even in bonds and fetters and poverty, will enjoy a pure pleasure.

[10.] These things then bearing in mind, let us ever look to them that are beneath us. There is indeed, I grant, another consolation, but of a high strain in morality, and mounting above the grossness of the multitude. What is this? That wealth is naught, poverty is naught, disgrace is naught, honor is naught, but for a brief time and only in words do they differ from each other. And along with this there is another soothing topic also, greater than it; the consideration of the things to come, both evil and good, the things which are really evil and really good, and the being comforted by them. But since many, as I said, stand aloof from these doctrines, therefore were we compelled to dwell on other topics, that in course we might lead on to them the receivers of what had been said before.

Let us then, taking all these things into account, by every means frame ourselves aright, and we shall never grieve at these unexpected things. For neither if we should see men rich in a picture, should we say they were to be envied, any more than on seeing poor men there depicted we should call them wretched and pitiable: although those are surely more abiding than they whom we reckon wealthy. Since one abides rich in the picture longer than in the nature itself of things. For the one often lasts, appearing such, even to a hundred years, but the other sometimes, not having had so much as a year to live at his ease in his possessions, hath been suddenly stripped of all. Meditating then on all these things, let us from all quarters build up cheerfulness as an outwork against our irrational sorrow, that we may both pass the present life with pleasure, and obtain the good things to come, 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 forever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[255] tini logo euengelisamen humhin. [256] methodeian. Eph. iv. 14. [257] gumne loipon te kephale boa. [258] en protois. [259] hekei. LXX, echthe. [260] As a Manichæan. [261] John xvii. 19. huper auton. [262] John xvi. 11. katakekritai. rec. text kekritai. [263] The Benedictines insert a negative here, which contradicts the sense, and is not in Savile. [264] This sign is variously yet without contradiction interpreted by the Fathers. St. Augustin considers it a type of the glory of God, inhabiting the Jewish people, yet not consuming the thorny hardness of their heart. t. v. p. 25. St. Cyril (in Exod. t. i. p. 263.) of the Divine Nature inhabiting the Human, yet not consuming it, in the person of our Lord. Theodoret (in loc.) says, "The power and mercy of God are proclaimed by the circumstance, that the bush being mere brushwood was not consumed by the unquenchable fire: I think however that other intimations are conveyed by this circumstance: as that Israel, plotted against by the Egyptians, should not be consumed, but overcome his enemies; and that the Only-Begotten, being made incarnate and dwelling in the Virgin's Womb, shall keep that virginity inviolate." Tertull. (adv. Gnost. c. 1.) alludes to it, as representing the Church in the fire of persecution. [265] Bel and the Dragon, v. 27. [266] LXX. in our vers. "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him...He shall see...and be satisfied." [267] [It is generally considered that "the twelve" is simply a designation of the Apostolic college. C.] [268] epano. [One wonders that Chrysostom should mention this meaning of the word, yet it has been adopted by Peter Martyr and Seinler. It is certainly far more natural to take it as given in the A.V., especially as it is connected with a numeral. Had the Apostle intended to express the meaning "from above," he would doubtless have used the word anothen. C.] [269] heteran conj. Savile. heteras Bened.


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