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

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St. Chrysostom:

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

On the Second 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 VI.

2 Cor. iii. 1

Are we beginning, again to commend ourselves? or need we, as do some, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?

He anticipates and puts himself an objection which others would have urged against him, `Thou vauntest thyself;' and this though he had before employed so strong a corrective in the expressions, "Who is sufficient for these things?" and, "of sincerity...speak we." (2 Cor. ii. 16, 17.) Howbeit he is not satisfied with these. For such is his character. From appearing to say any thing great of himself he is far removed, and avoids it even to great superfluity and excess. And mark, I pray thee, by this instance also, the abundance of his wisdom. For a thing of woeful aspect, I mean tribulations, he so much exalted and showed to be bright and lustrous, that out of what he said the present objection rose up against him. And he does so also towards the end. For after having enumerated numberless perils, insults, straits, necessities, and as many such like things as be, he added, "We commend not ourselves, but speak as giving you occasion to glory." (2 Cor. v. 12.) And he expresses this again with vehemence in that place, and with more of encouragement. For here the words are those of love, "Need we, as do some, epistles of commendation?" but there what he says is full of a kind of pride even, necessarily and properly so, of pride, I say, and anger. "For we commend not ourselves again," saith he, "but speak as giving you occasion to glory;" (2 Cor. v. 12.) and, "Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? For [563] in the sight of God speak we in Christ. For I fear lest by any means when I come I should not find you such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not." (ib. xii. 19, 20.) For to prevent all appearance of a wish to flatter, as though he desired honor from them, he speaketh thus, "I fear lest by any means when I come I should not find you such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not." This however comes after many accusations [564] ; But in the beginning he speaketh not so, but more gently. And what is it he saith? He spoke of his trials and his perils, and that every where he is conducted as in procession [565] by God in Christ, and that the whole world knoweth of these triumphs. Since then he has uttered great things of himself, he urges this objection against himself, "Are we beginning again to commend ourselves?" Now what he saith is this: Perchance some one will object, `What is this, O Paul? Sayest thou these things of thyself, and exaltest thyself?' To do away then with this suspicion, he saith, We desire not this, that is, to boast and exalt ourselves; yea, so far are we from needing epistles of commendation to you that ye are to us instead of an epistle. "For," saith he,

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Ver. 2. "Ye are our epistle."

What means this, "ye are?" `Did we need to be commended to others, we should have produced you before them instead of an epistle.' And this he said in the former Epistle. "For the seal of mine Apostleship are ye." (1 Cor. ix. 2.) But he doth not here say it in this manner, but in irony so as to make his question, "Do we need epistles of commendation?" more cutting. And in allusion to the false apostles, he added, "as do some, [epistles of commendation] to you, or letters of commendation from you" to others. Then because what he had said was severe, he softens it by adding, "Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known of all,

Ver. 3. "Being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ."

Here he testifieth not only to their love, but also to their good works: since they are able to show unto all men by their own virtue the high worth of their teacher, for this is the meaning of, "Ye are our epistle."

What letters would have done to commend and gain respect for us, that ye do both as seen and heard of; for the virtue of the disciples is wont to adorn and to commend the teacher more than any letter.

Ver. 3. "Written in our hearts."

That is, which all know; we so bear you about every where and have you in mind. As though he said, Ye are our commendation to others, for we both have you continually in our heart and proclaim to all your good works. Because then that even to others yourselves are our commendation, we need no epistles from you; but further, because we love you exceedingly, we need no commendation to you. For to those who are strangers one hath need of letters, but ye are in our mind. Yet he said not merely, "ye are [in it]," but "written in [it]," that is, ye cannot slide out of it. For just as from letters by reading, so from our heart by perceiving, all are acquainted with the love we bear you. If then the object of a letter be to certify, "such an one is my friend and let him have free intercourse [with you]," your love is sufficient to secure all this. For should we go to you, we have no need of others to commend us, seeing your love anticipateth this; and should we go to others, again we need no letters, the same love again sufficing unto us in their stead, for we carry about the epistle in our hearts.

[2.] Then exalting them still higher, he even calleth them the epistle of Christ, saying,

Ver. 3. "Being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ."

And having said this, he afterwards hence takes ground and occasion for a discussion on the Law. And there is another [566] aim in his here styling them His epistle. For above as commending him, he called them an epistle; but here an epistle of Christ, as having the Law of God written in them. For what things God wished to declare to all and to you, these are written in your hearts. But it was we who prepared you to receive the writing. For just as Moses hewed the stones and tables, so we, your souls. Whence he saith,

"Ministered by us."

Yet in this they were on an equality; for the former were written on by God, and these by the Spirit. Where then is the difference?

"Written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh."

Wide as the difference between the Spirit and ink, and a stony table and a fleshy, so wide is that between these and those; consequently between themselves [567] who ministered, and him [568] who ministered to them. Yet because it was a great thing he had uttered, he therefore quickly checks himself, saying,

Ver. 4. "And such confidence have we through Christ to Godward,"

And again refers all to God: for it is Christ, saith he, Who is the Author of these things to us.

Ver. 5. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account any thing as from ourselves."

See again, yet another corrective. For he possesses this virtue, humility I mean, in singular perfection. Wherefore whenever he saith any thing great of himself, he maketh all diligence to soften down extremely and by every means, what he has said. And so he does in this place also, saying, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account any thing as from ourselves:" that is, I said not, "We have confidence," as though part were ours and part God's; but I refer and ascribe the whole to Him.

Ver. 5, 6. "For [569] our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant."

What means, "made us sufficient?" Made us able and fitting. And it is not a little thing to be the bearer to the world of such tables and letters, greater far than the former. Whence also he added,

"Not of the letter, but of the spirit." See again another difference. What then? was not that Law spiritual? How then saith he, "We know that the Law is spiritual?" (Rom. vii. 14.) Spiritual indeed, but it bestowed not a spirit. For Moses bare not a spirit, but letters; but we have been entrusted with the giving of a spirit. Whence also in further completion of this [contrast,] he saith,

"For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Yet these things he saith not absolutely [570] ; but in allusion to those who prided themselves upon the things of Judaism. And by "letter" here he meaneth the Law which punisheth them that transgress; but by "spirit" the grace which through Baptism giveth life to them who by sins were made dead. For having mentioned the difference arising from the nature of the tables, he doth not dwell upon it, but rapidly passing it by, bestows more labor upon this, which most enabled him to lay hold on his hearer from considerations of what was advantageous and easy; for, saith he, it is not laborious, and the gift it offers is greater. For if when discoursing of Christ, he puts especially forward those things which are of His lovingkindness, more than of our merit, and which are mutually connected, much greater necessity is there for his doing so when treating of the covenant. What then is the meaning of "the letter killeth?" He had said tables of stone and hearts of flesh: so far he seemed to mention no great difference. He added that the former [covenant] was written with letters or ink, but this with the Spirit. Neither did this rouse them thoroughly, He says at last what is indeed enough to give them wings [571] ; the one "killeth," the other "giveth life." And what doth this mean? In the Law, he that hath sin is punished; here, he that hath sins cometh and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he liveth, being delivered from the death of sin. The Law, if it lay hold on a murderer, putteth him to death; the Gospel, if it lay hold on a murderer, enlighteneth, and giveth him life. And why do I instance a murderer? The Law laid hold on one that gathered sticks on a sabbath day, and stoned him. (Numb. xv. 32, 36.) This is the meaning of, "the letter killeth." The Gospel takes hold on thousands of homicides and robbers, and baptizing delivereth them from their former vices. This is the meaning of, "the Spirit giveth life." The former maketh its captive dead from being alive, the latter rendereth the man it hath convicted alive from being dead. For, "come unto me, ye that labor and are heavy laden," (Matt. xi. 28.) and, He said not, `I will punish you,' but, "I will give you rest." For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table. Consider then how high is the dignity of the Spirit, seeing that His tables are better than those former ones; seeing that even a greater thing is shown forth than the resurrection itself. For indeed, that state of death from which He delivers, is more irremediable than the former one: as much more so, as soul is of more value than the body: and this life is conferred by that, by that which the Spirit giveth. But if It be able to bestow this, much more then that which is less. For, that prophets wrought, but this they could not: for none can remit sins but God only; nor did the prophets bestow that life without the Spirit. But this is not the marvel only, that it giveth life, but that it enabled others also to do this. For He saith, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." (John xx. 22.) Wherefore? Because without the Spirit it might not be? [Yes,] but God, as showing that It is of supreme authority, and of that Kingly Essence, and hath the same power [with Himself,] saith this too. Whence also He adds, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." (ibid. 23.)

[3.] Since then It hath given us life, let us remain living and not return again to the former deadness: for "Christ dieth no more; for the death that He died, He died unto sin once:" (Rom. vi. 9, 10.) and He will not have us always saved by grace: for so we shall be empty of all things. Wherefore He will have us contribute something also from ourselves. Let us then contribute, and preserve to the soul its life. And what is life in a soul, learn from the body. For the body too we then affirm to live, when it moves with a healthy kind of motion; but when it lies prostrate and powerless, or its motions are disorderly, though it retain the semblance of life or motion, such a life is more grievous than any death: and should it utter nothing sane but words of the crazy, and see one object instead of another, such a man again is more pitiable than those who are dead. So also the soul when it hath no healthiness, though it retain a semblance of life, is dead: when it doth not see gold as gold but as something great and precious; when it thinketh not of the future but crawleth upon the ground; when it doth one thing in place of another. For whence is it clear that we have a soul? Is it not from its operations? When then it doth not perform the things proper to it, is it not dead? when, for instance, it hath no care for virtue, but is rapacious and transgresseth the law; whence can I tell that thou hast a soul? Because thou walkest? But this belongs to the irrational creatures as well. Because thou eatest and drinkest? But this too belongeth to wild beasts. Well then, because thou standest upright on two feet? This convinceth me rather that thou art a beast in human form. For when thou resemblest one in all other respects, but not in its manner of erecting itself, thou dost the more disturb and terrify me; and I the more consider that which I see to be a monster. For did I see a beast speaking with the voice of a man, I should not for that reason say it was a man, but even for that very reason a beast more monstrous than a beast. Whence then can I learn that thou hast the soul of a man, when thou kickest like the ass, when thou bearest malice like the camel, when thou bitest like the bear, when thou ravenest like the wolf, when thou stealest like the fox, when thou art wily as the serpent, when thou art shameless as the dog? Whence can I learn that thou hast the soul of a man? Will ye that I show you a dead soul and a living? Let us turn the discourse back to those men of old; and, if you will, let us set before us the rich man [in the story] of Lazarus, and we shall know what is death in a soul; for he had a dead soul, and it is plain from what he did. For, of the works of the soul he did not one, but ate and drank and lived in pleasure only. Such are even now the unmerciful and cruel, for these too have a dead soul as he had. For all its warmth that floweth out of the love of our neighbor hath been spent, and it is deader than a lifeless body. But the poor man was not such, but standing on the very summit of heavenly wisdom shone out; and though wrestling with continual hunger, and not even supplied with the food that was necessary, neither so spake he aught of blasphemy against God, but endured all nobly. Now this is no trifling work of the soul; but a very high proof that it is well-strung and healthful. And when there are not these qualities, it is plainly because the soul is dead that they have perished. Or, tell me, shall we not pronounce that soul dead which the Devil falls upon, striking, biting, spurning it, yet hath it no sense of any of these things, but lieth deadened nor grieveth when being robbed of its wealth; but he even leapeth upon it, yet it remaineth unmoved, like a body when the soul is departed, nor even feeleth it? For when the fear of God is not present with strictness, such must the soul needs be, and then the dead more miserable. For the soul is not dissolved into corruption and ashes and dust, but into things of fouler odor than these, into drunkenness and anger and covetousness, into improper loves and unseasonable desires. But if thou wouldest know more exactly how foul an odor it hath, give me a soul that is pure, and then thou wilt see clearly how foul the odor of this filthy and impure one. For at present thou wilt not be able to perceive it. For so long as we are in contact habitually with a foul odor, we are not sensible of it. But when we are fed with spiritual words, then shall we be cognizant of that evil. And yet to many this seemeth of no importance [572] . And I say nothing as yet of hell; but let us, if you will, examine what is present, and how worthy of derision is he, not that practiseth, but that uttereth filthiness; how first he loadeth himself with contumely; just as one that sputtereth any filth from the mouth, so he defiles himself. For if the stream is so impure, think what must be the fountain of this filth! "for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matt. xii. 34.) Yet not for this alone do I grieve, but because that to some this doth not even seem to be reckoned amongst improper things. Hence the evils are all made worse, when we both sin, and do not think we even do amiss. [573]

[4.] Wilt thou then learn how great an evil is filthy talking? See how the hearers blush at thy indecency. For what is viler than a filthy talker? what more infamous? For such thrust themselves into the rank of buffoons and of prostituted women, yea rather these have more shame than you. How canst thou teach a wife to be modest when by such language thou art training her to proceed unto lasciviousness? Better vent rottenness from the mouth than a filthy word. Now if thy mouth have an ill-odor, thou partakest not even of the common meats; when then thou hadst so foul a stink in thy soul, tell me, dost thou dare to partake of mysteries? Did any one take a dirty vessel and set it upon the table, thou wouldest have beaten him with clubs and driven him out: yet God at His own table, (for His table our mouth is when filled with thanksgiving,) when thou pourest out words more disgusting than any unclean vessel, tell me, dost thou think that thou provokest not? And how is this possible? For nothing doth so exasperate the holy and pure as do such words; nothing makes men so impudent [574] and shameless as to say and listen to such; nothing doth so unstring the sinews of modesty as the flame which these kindle. God hath set perfumes in thy mouth, but thou storest up words of fouler odor than a corpse, and destroyest the soul itself and makest it incapable of motion. For when thou insultest, this is not the voice of the soul, but of anger; when thou talkest filthily, it is lewdness, and not she that spake; when thou detractest, it is envy; when thou schemest, covetousness. These are not her works, but those of the affections [575] and the diseases belonging to her. As then corruption cometh not simply of the body, but of the death and the passion which is thus in the body; so also, in truth, these things come of the passions which grow upon the soul. For if thou wilt hear a voice from a living soul, hear Paul saying, "Having food and covering, we shall be therewith content:" (1 Tim. vi. 8.) and "Godliness is great gain:" (ib. 6.) and, "The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Gal. vi. 14.) Hear Peter saying, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee." (Acts iii. 6.) Hear Job giving thanks and saying, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." (Job i. 21.) These things are the words of a living soul, of a soul discharging the functions proper to it. Thus also Jacob said, "If the Lord will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on." (Gen. xxviii. 20.) Thus also Joseph, "How shall I do this wickedness, and sin before God?" (ib. xxxix. 9.) But not so that barbarian woman; but as one drunken and insane [576] , so spake she, saying, "Lie with me." (ibid. 7.) These things then knowing, let us earnestly covet the living soul, let us flee the dead one, that we may also obtain the life to come; of which may all we be made partakers, through the grace and love toward men of our Lord Jesus Christ, though Whom and with Whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[563] hoti, which is not found in the Received Text. [564] Others read, "with much accusation." [565] pompeuetai. [566] Or, perhaps, a special aim, allos. [567] i.e. the Apostles. [568] Moses. [569] gar, Rec. text, halla, [which is retained by all critics. C.] [570] haplhos. [571] pterosai. [572] adiaphoron. [573] [Chrysostom's view of this verse is correct as far as it goes. But a fuller statement is that the letter kills by demanding perfect obedience which none can render, by producing the knowledge of sin and guilt, and by exasperating the soul in holding forth to it a high standard of duty which it neither can nor wishes to obey. The spirit, on the other hand, gives life by revealing a perfect and gratuitous righteousness, by exhibiting God's love and awakening hope instead of fear, and by transforming the soul through the Holy Ghost so that it bears the image of God. The letter is equivalent to the Law; the spirit to the Gospel. The contrast is not between the Old covenant and the New, considered as successive dispensations of the one system of grace, but between the Mosaic economy as conditioning acceptance upon works ("Do this and live"), and the Christian as offering salvation to every one that believeth. C.] [574] itamous. [575] pathon. [576] parapaiousa.


Homily VII.

2 Cor. iii. 7, 8

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses, for the glory of his face; which glory was passing away: how shall not rather the ministration of the Spirit be with glory?

He said that the tables of Moses were of stone, as [also] they were written with letters; and that these were of flesh, I mean the hearts of the Apostles, and had been written on by the Spirit; and that the letter indeed killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. There was yet wanting to this comparison the addition of a further and not trifling particular, that of the glory of Moses; such as in the case of the New Covenant none saw with the eyes of the body. And even for this cause it appeared a great thing in that the glory was perceived by the senses; (for it was seen by the bodily eyes, even though it might not be approached;) but that of the New Covenant is perceived by the understanding. For to the weaker sort the apprehension of such a superiority is not clear; but the other did more take them, and turn them unto itself. Having then fallen upon this comparison and being set upon showing the superiority [in question], which yet was exceedingly difficult because of the dulness of the hearers; see what he does, and with what method [577] he proceeds in it, first by arguments placing the difference before them, and constructing these out of what he had said before.

For if that ministration were of death, but this of life, doubtless, saith he, the latter glory is also greater than the former. For since he could not exhibit it to the bodily eyes, by this logical inference he established its superiority, saying,

Ver. 8. "But if the ministration of death came with glory, how shall not rather the ministration of the Spirit be with glory?"

Now by "ministration of death" he means the Law. And mark too how great the caution he uses in the comparison so as to give no handle to the heretics; for he said not, `which causeth death,' but, "the ministration of death;" for it ministereth unto, but was not the parent of, death; for that which caused death was sin; but [the Law] brought in the punishment, and showed the sin, not caused it. For it more distinctly revealed the evil and punished it: it did not impel unto the evil: and it ministered not to the existence of sin or death, but to the suffering of retribution by the sinner. So that in this way it was even destructive of sin. For that which showeth it to be so fearful, it is obvious, maketh it also to be avoided. As then he that taketh the sword in his hands and cutteth off the condemned, ministers to the judge that passeth sentence, and it is not he that is his destruction, although he cutteth him off; nay, nor yet is it he who passeth sentence and condemneth, but the wickedness of him that is punished; so truly here also it is not that [578] destroyeth, but sin. This did both destroy and condemn, but that by punishing undermined its strength, by the fear of the punishment holding it back. But he was not content with this consideration only in order to establish the superiority [in question]; but he addeth yet another, saying, "written, and engraven on stones." See how he again cuts at the root of the Jewish arrogancy. For the Law was nothing else but letters: a certain succor was not found leaping forth from out the letters and inspiring them that combat, as is the case in Baptism; but pillars and writings bearing death to those who transgress the letters. Seest thou how in correcting the Jewish contentiousness, by his very expressions even he lessens its authority, speaking of stone and letters and a ministration of death, and adding that it was engraven? For hereby he declareth nothing else than this, that the Law was fixed in one place; not, as the Spirit, was present everywhere, breathing great might into all; or that the letters breathe much threatening, and threatening too which can not be effaced but remaineth for ever, as being engraved in stone. Then even whilst seeming to praise the old things, he again mixeth up accusation of the Jews. For having said, "written and engraven in stones, came with glory," he added, "so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses;" which was a mark of their great weakness and grovelling spirit. And again he doth not say, `for the glory of the tables,' but, "for the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away;" for he showeth that he who beareth them is made glorious, and not they. For he said not, `because they could not look steadfastly upon the tables,' but, "the face of Moses;" and again, not, `for the glory of the tables,' but, "for the glory of his face." Then after he had extolled it, see how again he lowers it, saying, "which was passing away." Not however that this is in accusation, but in diminution; for he did not say, `which was corrupt, which was evil,' but, `which ceaseth and hath an end.'

"How shall not rather the ministration of the Spirit be with glory?" for henceforth with confidence he extolleth the things of the New [Covenant] as indisputable. And observe what he doth. He opposed `stone' to `heart,' and `letter' to `spirit.' Then having shown the results of each, he doth not set down the results of each; but having set down the work of the latter, namely, death and condemnation, he setteth not down that of the spirit, namely, life and righteousness; but the Spirit Itself; which added greatness to the argument. For the New Covenant not only gave life, but supplied also `The Spirit' Which giveth the life, a far greater thing than the life. Wherefore he said, "the ministration of the Spirit." Then he again reverts to the same thing, saying,

Ver. 9. "For if the ministration of condemnation is glory."

Also, he interprets more clearly the meaning of the words, "The letter killeth," declaring it to be that which we have said above, namely, that the Law showed sin, not caused it.

"Much rather doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory." For those Tables indeed showed the sinners and punished them, but this not only did not punish the sinners, but even made them righteous: for this did Baptism confer.

[2.] Ver. 10. "For verily that which hath been made glorious hath not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth."

Now in what has gone before, indeed, he showed that this also is with glory; and not simply is with glory, but even exceedeth in it: for he did not say, "How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory?" but, "exceed in glory;" deriving the proof from the arguments before stated. Here he also shows the superiority, how great it is, saying, `if I compare this with that, the glory of the Old Covenant is not glory at all;' not absolutely laying down that there was no glory, but in view of the comparison. Wherefore also he added, "in this respect," that is, in respect of the comparison. Not that this doth disparage the Old Covenant, yea rather it highly commendeth it: for comparisons are wont to be made between things which are the same in kind. Next, he sets on foot yet another argument to prove the superiority also from a fresh ground. What then is this argument? That based upon duration, saying,

Ver. 11. "For if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory."

For the one ceased, but the other abideth continually.

Ver. 12. "Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech."

For since when he had heard so many and so great things concerning the New [Covenant,] the hearer would be desirous of seeing this glory manifested to the eye, mark whither he hurleth him, [even] to the world to come. Wherefore also he brought forward the "hope," saying, "Having therefore such a hope." Such? Of what nature? That we have been counted worthy of greater things than Moses; not we the Apostles only, but also all the faithful. "We use great boldness of speech." Towards whom? tell me. Towards God, or towards the disciples? Towards you who are receiving instruction, he saith; that is, we speak every where with freedom, hiding nothing, withholding nothing, mistrusting nothing, but speaking openly; and we have not feared lest we should wound your eyesight, as Moses did that of the Jews. For that he alluded to this, hear what follows; or rather, it is necessary first to relate the history, for he himself keeps dwelling upon it. What then is the history? When, having received the Tables a second time, Moses came down, a certain glory darting from his countenance shone so much that the Jews were not able to approach and talk with him until he put a veil over his face. And thus it is written in Exodus, (Exod. xxxiv. 29, 34.) "When Moses came down from the Mount, the two Tables [were] in his hands. And Moses wist not that the skin of his countenance was made glorious to behold. And they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called them, and spake unto them. And when [579] Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But when he went in before the Lord to speak [with Him], he took the veil off until he came out."

Putting them in mind then of this history, he says,

Ver. 13. "And not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, so that the children of Israel should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away."

Now what he says is of this nature. There is no need for us to cover ourselves as Moses did; for ye are able to look upon this glory which we are encircled with, although it is far greater and brighter than the other. Seest thou the advance? For he that in the former Epistle said, "I have fed you with milk, not with meat;" saith here, "We use great boldness of speech." And he produces Moses before them, carrying forward the discourse by means of comparison, and thus leading his hearer upwards.

And for the present he sets them above the Jews, saying that `we have no need of a veil as he [580] had with those he governed;' but in what comes afterwards he advances them even to the dignity itself of the Lawgiver, or even to a much greater.

Mean time, however, let us hear what follows next.

Ver. 14. "But their minds were hardened, for until this day remaineth the same veil in the reading of the Old Covenant, [it] not being revealed to them [581] that it is done away in Christ."

See what he establisheth by this. For what happened then once in the case of Moses, the same happeneth continually in the case of the Law. What is said, therefore, is no accusation of the Law, as neither is it of Moses that he then veiled himself, but only the senseless Jews. For the law hath its proper glory, but they were unable to see it. `Why therefore are ye perplexed,' he saith, `if they are unable to see this glory of the Grace, since they saw not that lesser one of Moses, nor were able to look steadfastly upon his countenance? And why are ye troubled that the Jews believe not Christ, seeing at least that they believe not even the Law? For they were therefore ignorant of the Grace also, because they knew not even the Old Covenant nor the glory which was in it. For the glory of the Law is to turn [men] unto Christ.'

[3.] Seest thou how from this consideration also he takes down the inflation of the Jews? By that in which they thought they had the advantage, namely, that Moses' face shone, he proves their grossness and groveling nature. Let them not therefore pride themselves on that, for what was that to Jews who enjoyed it not? Wherefore also he keeps on dwelling upon it, saying one while, "The same veil in the reading of the old covenant remaineth," it "not being revealed that it is done away in Christ:" another while, that "unto this day when Moses is read," (v. 15.) the same "veil lieth upon their heart; "showing that the veil lieth both on the reading and on their heart; and above, "So that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which" (v. 7.) glory "was passing away." Than which what could mark less worth in them? Seeing that even of a glory that is to be done away, or rather is in comparison no glory at all, they are not able to be spectators, but it is covered from them, "so that they could not steadfastly look on the end of that which was passing away;" that is, of the law, because it hath an end; "but their minds were hardened." `And what,' saith one, `hath this to do with the veil then?' Because it prefigured what would be. For not only did they not then perceive; but they do not even now see the Law. And the fault lies with themselves, for the hardness is that of an unimpressible and perverse judgment. So that it is we who know the law also; but to them not only Grace, but this as well is covered with a shadow; "For until this day the same veil upon the reading of the old covenant remaineth," he saith, it "not being revealed that it is done away in Christ." Now what he saith is this. This very thing they cannot see, that it is brought to an end, because they believe not Christ. For if it be brought to an end by Christ, as in truth it is brought to an end, and this the Law said by anticipation, how will they who receive not Christ that hath done away the Law, be able to see that the Law is done away? And being incapable of seeing this, it is very plain that even of the Law itself which asserted these things, they know not the power nor the full glory. `And where,' saith one, `did it say this that it is done away in Christ?' It did not say it merely, but also showed it by what was done. And first indeed by shutting up its sacrifices and its whole ritual [582] in one place, the Temple, and afterwards destroying this. For had He not meant to bring these to an end and the whole of the Law concerning them, He would have done one or other of two things; either not destroyed the Temple, or having destroyed it, not forbidden to sacrifice elsewhere. But, as it is, the whole world and even Jerusalem itself He hath made forbidden ground for such religious rites; having allowed and appointed for them only the Temple. Then having destroyed this itself afterwards He showed completely even by what was done that the things of the Law are brought to an end by Christ; for the Temple also Christ destroyed. But if thou wilt see in words as well how the Law is done away in Christ, hear the Lawgiver himself speaking thus; "A Prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; (Deut. xvii. 15, 19.) Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall command you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed [583] ." (Acts iii. 22, 23.) Seest thou how the Law showed that it is done away in Christ? For this Prophet, that is, Christ according to the flesh, Whom Moses commanded them to hear, made to cease both sabbath and circumcision and all the other things. And David too, showing the very same thing, said concerning Christ, "Thou art a Priest after the order of Melchizedek," (Ps. cx. 4;) not after the order of Aaron. Wherefore also Paul, giving a clear interpretation of this, says, "The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law." (Heb. vii. 12.) And in another place also he says again, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not. In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hadst had no pleasure: then said I, Lo, I come." (Heb. x. 5, 7.) And other testimonies far more numerous than these may be adduced out of the Old Testament, showing how the Law is done away by Christ. So that when thou shalt have forsaken the Law, thou shalt then see the Law clearly; but so long as thou holdest by it and believest not Christ, thou knowest not even the Law itself. Wherefore also he added, to establish this very thing more clearly;

Ver. 15. "But even unto this day, whensoever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart."

For since he said that in the reading of the Old Testament the veil remaineth, lest any should think that this that is said is from the obscurity of the Law, he both by other things showed even before what his meaning was, (for by saying, "their minds were hardened," he shows that the fault was their own,) and, in this place too, again. For he said not, `The veil remaineth on the writing,' but "in the reading;" (now the reading is the act of those that read;) and again, "When Moses is read." He showed this however with greater clearness in the expression which follows next, saying unreservedly, "The veil lieth upon their heart." For even upon the face of Moses it lay, not because of Moses, but because of the grossness and carnal mind of these.

[4.] Having then suitably [584] accused them, he points out also the manner of their correction. And what is this?

Ver. 16. "Nevertheless when [one] shall turn to the Lord," which is, to forsake the Law, "the veil is taken away [585] ."

Seest thou that not over the face of Moses was there that veil, but over the eyesight of the Jews? For it was done, not that the glory of Moses might be hidden, but that the Jews might not see. For they were not capable. So that in them was the deficiency, for it [586] caused not him to be ignorant of any thing, but them. And he did not say indeed, "when thou shalt let go the Law," but he implied it, for "when thou shalt turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away." To the very last he [587] kept to the history. For when Moses talked with the Jews he kept his face covered; but when he turned to God it was uncovered. Now this was a type of that which was to come to pass, that when we have turned to the Lord, then we shall see the glory of the Law, and the face of the Lawgiver bare; yea rather, not this alone, but we shall then be even in the same rank with Moses. Seest thou how he inviteth the Jew unto the faith, by showing, that by coming unto Grace he is able not only to see Moses, but also to stand in the very same rank with the Lawgiver. `For not only,' he saith, `shalt thou look on the glory which then thou sawest not, but thou shalt thyself also be included in the same glory; yea rather, in a greater glory, even so great that that other shall not seem glory at all when compared with this.' How and in what manner? `Because that when thou hast turned to the Lord and art included in the grace, thou wilt enjoy that glory, unto which the glory of Moses, if compared, is so much less as to be no glory at all. But still, small though it be and exceedingly below that other, whilst thou art a Jew, even this will not be vouchsafed thee [588] ; but having become a believer, it will then be vouchsafed thee to behold even that which is far greater than it.' And when he was addressing himself to the believers, he said, that "that which was made glorious had no glory;" but here he speaks not so; but how? "When one shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away:" leading him up by little and little, and first setting him in Moses' rank, and then making him partake of the greater things. For when thou hast seen Moses in glory, then afterwards thou shalt also turn unto God and enjoy this greater glory.

[5.] See then from the beginning, how many things he has laid down, as constituting the difference and showing the superiority, not the enmity or contradiction, of the New Covenant in respect to the old. That, saith he, is letter, and stone, and a ministration of death, and is done away: and yet the Jews were not even vouchsafed this glory. (Or, the glory of this.) This table is of the flesh, and spirit, and righteousness, and remaineth; and unto all of us is it vouchsafed, not to one only, as to Moses of the lesser then. (ver. 18.) "For," saith he, "we all with unveiled face reflecting [589] as a mirror the glory of the Lord," not that of Moses. But since some maintain that the expression, "when one shall turn to the Lord," is spoken of the Son, in contradiction to what is quite acknowledged; let us examine the point more accurately, having first stated the ground on which they think to establish this. What then is this? Like, saith one, as it is said, "God is a Spirit;" (John iv. 24.) so also here, `The Lord is a Spirit.' But he did not say, `The Lord is a Spirit,' but, "The Spirit is the Lord." And there is a great difference between this construction and that. For when he is desirous of speaking so as you say, he does not join the article to the predicate. And besides, let us review all his discourse from the first, of whom hath he spoken? for instance, when he said, "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life:" (ver. 6.) and again, "Written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God;" (ver. 3.) was he speaking of God, or of the Spirit? It is very plain that it was of the Spirit; for unto It he was calling them from the letter. For lest any, hearing of the Spirit, and then reflecting that Moses turned unto the Lord, but himself unto the Spirit, should think himself to have the worse, to correct such a suspicion as this, he says,

Ver. 17. "Now the Spirit is the Lord." This too is Lord, he says. And that you may know that he is speaking of the Paraclete, he added,

"And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

For surely you will not assert, that he says, `And where the Lord of the Lord is.' "Liberty," he said, with reference to the former bondage. Then, that you may not think that he is speaking of a time to come, he says,

Ver. 18. "But we all, with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord."

Not that which is brought to an end, but that which remaineth.

"Are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."

Seest thou how again he places the Spirit in the rank of God, (vide infra) and raises them up to the rank of the Apostles. For he said before, "Ye are the Epistle of Christ;" and here, "But we all with open face." Yet they came, like Moses, bringing a law. But like as we, he says, needed no veil, so neither ye who received it. And yet, this glory is far greater, for this is not of our countenance, but of the Spirit; but nevertheless ye are able as well as we to look steadfastly upon it. For they indeed could not even by a mediator, but ye even without a mediator can [look steadfastly on] a greater. They were not able to look upon that of Moses, ye even upon that of the Spirit. Now had the Spirit been at all inferior, He would not have set down these things as greater than those. But what is, "we reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image." This indeed was shown more clearly when the gifts of miracles were in operation; howbeit it is not even now difficult to see it, for one who hath believing eyes. For as soon as we are baptized, the soul beameth even more than the sun, being cleansed by the Spirit; and not only do we behold the glory of God, but from it also receive a sort of splendor. Just as if pure silver be turned towards the sun's rays, it will itself also shoot forth rays, not from its own natural property merely but also from the solar lustre; so also doth the soul being cleansed and made brighter than silver, receive a ray from the glory of the Spirit, and send it back. Wherefore also he saith, "Reflecting as a mirror we are transformed into the same image from glory," that of the Spirit, "to glory," our own, that which is generated in us; and that, of such sort, as one might expect from the Lord the Spirit. See how here also he calleth the Spirit, Lord. And in other places too one may see that lordship of His. For, saith he, "As they ministered and fasted unto the Lord, the Spirit said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas." (Acts xiii. 2.) For therefore he said, "as they ministered unto the Lord, Separate me," in order to show the [Spirit's] equality in honor. And again Christ saith, "The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth;" but even as a man knoweth his own things, so doth the Spirit know the things of God; not by being taught [them,] for so the similitude holdeth not good. Also the working as He willeth showeth His authority and lordship. This transformeth us. This suffereth not to be conformed to this world; for such is the creation of which This is the Author. For as he saith, "Created in Christ Jesus," (Ephes. ii. 10.) so saith he, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in my inward parts." (Ps. li. 10, LXX.)

[6.] Wilt thou that I show thee this also from the Apostles more obviously to the sense. Consider Paul, whose garments wrought: Peter, whose very shadows were mighty. (Acts xix. 12; v. 15. XX.) For had they not borne a King's image and their radiancy been unapproachable, their garments and shadows had not wrought so mightily. For the garments of a king are terrible even to robbers. Wouldest thou see this beaming even through the body? "Looking steadfastly," said he, "upon the face of Stephen, they saw it as it had been the face of an angel." (Acts vi. 15.) But this was nothing to the glory flashing within. For what Moses had upon his countenance, that did these carry about with them on their souls, yea `rather' even far more. For that of Moses indeed was more obvious to the senses, but this was incorporeal. And like as fire-bright bodies streaming down from the shining bodies upon those which lie near them, impart to them also somewhat of their own splendor, so truly doth it also happen with the faithful. Therefore surely they with whom it is thus are set free from earth, and have their dreams of the things in the heavens. Woe is me! for well is it that we should here even groan bitterly, for that we who enjoy a birth so noble do not so much as know what is said, because we quickly lose the reality, and are dazzled about the objects of sense. For this glory, the unspeakable and awful, remaineth in us for a day or two, and then we quench it, bringing over it the winter of worldly concerns, and with the thickness of those clouds repelling its rays. For worldly things are a winter, and than winter more lowering. For not frost is engendered thence nor rain, neither doth it produce mire and deep swamps; but, things than all these more grievous, it formeth hell and the miseries of hell. And as in severe frost all the limbs are stiffened and are dead, so truly the soul shuddering in the winter of sins also, performeth none of its proper functions, stiffened, as it were, by a frost, as to conscience. For what cold is to the body, that an evil conscience is to the soul, whence also cometh cowardice. For nothing is more cowardly than the man that is rivetted to worldly things; for such an one lives the life of Cain, trembling every day. And why do I mention deaths, and losses, and offences, and flatteries, and services? for even without these he is in fear of ten thousand vicissitudes. And his coffers indeed are full of gold, but his soul is not freed from the fear of poverty. And very reasonably. For he is moored as it were on rotten and swiftly shifting things, and even though in his own case he experienced not the reverse, yet is he undone by seeing it happen in others; and great is his cowardice, great his unmanliness. For not only is such an one spiritless as to danger, but also as to all other things. And if desire of wealth assail him, he doth not like a free man beat off the assault; but like a bought slave, doth all [it bids], serving the love of money as it were a severe mistress. If again he have beheld some comely damsel, down he croucheth at once made captive, and followeth like a raging dog, though it behoveth to do the opposite. For when thou hast beheld a beautiful woman, consider not how thou mayest enjoy thy lust, but how be delivered from thy lust. `And how is this possible,' saith one? `for loving is not my own doing.' Whose then? tell me. It is from the Devil's malice. Thou art quite convinced that that which plotteth against thee is a devil; wrestle then and fight with a distemper. But I cannot, he saith. Come then, let us first teach thee this, that what happeneth is from thine own listlessness, and that thou at the first gavest entrance to the Devil, and now if thou hast a mind, with much ease mayest drive him off. They that commit adultery, is it from lust they commit it, or simply from desire of dangers? Plainly from lust. Do they then therefore obtain forgiveness? Certainly not. Why not? Because the sin is their own. `But,' saith one, `why, pray, string syllogisms? For my conscience bears me witness that I wish to repel the passion; and cannot, but it keepeth close, presses me sore, and afflicts me grievously.' O man, thou dost wish to repel it, but thou dost not the things repellers should do; but it is with thee just as with a man in a fever, who drinking of cold streams to the fill, should say, `How many things I devise with the wish to quench this fever, and I cannot; but they stir up my flame the more.' Let us see then whether at all thou too dost the things that inflame, yet thinkest thou art devising such as quench. `I do not,' he saith. Tell me then, what hast thou ever essayed to do in order to quench the passion? and what is it, in fine, that will increase the passion? For even supposing we be not all of us obnoxious to these particular charges; (for more may be found who are captivated by the love of money than of beauty;) still the remedy to be proposed will be common to all, both to these and to those. For both that is an unreasonable passion, and this, is keener and fiercer than that. When then we have proved victorious over the greater, it is very plain that we shall easily subdue the less also. `And how is it,' saith one, `that if this be keener, all persons are not made captive by the vice, but a greater number are mad after money?' Because in the first place this last desire appears to be unattended with danger: next, although that of beauty be even fiercer, yet it is more speedily extinguished; for were it to continue like that of money, it would wholly destroy its captive.

[7.] Come then, let us discourse to you on this, the love of beauty, and let us see whereby the mischief is increased; for so we shall know whether the fault be ours, or not ours. And if ours, let us do everything to get the better of it; whereas if not ours, why do we afflict ourselves for nought? And why do we not pardon, but find fault, with those who are made captive by it? Whence then is this love engendered? `From comeliness of feature,' saith one, `when she that woundeth one is beautiful and of fair countenance.' It is said idly and in vain. For if it were beauty that attracted lovers, then would the maiden who is such have all men for her lovers; but if she hath not all, this thing cometh not of nature nor from beauty, but from unchaste eyes. For it was when by eyeing too curiously [590] , thou didst admire and become enamored, that thou receivedst the shaft. `And who,' saith one, `when he sees a beautiful woman, can refrain from commending her he sees? If then admiring such things cometh not of deliberate choice, it follows that love depends not on ourselves.' Stop, O man! Why dost thou crowd all things together, running round and round on every side, and not choosing to see the root of the evil? For I see numbers admiring and commending, who yet are not enamored. `And how is it possible to admire and not be enamored?' Clamor not, (for this I am coming to speak of,) but wait, and thou shalt hear Moses admiring the son of Jacob, and saying, "And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored exceedingly." (Gen. xxxix. 6, LXX.) Was he then enamored who speaketh this? By no means. `For,' saith he, `he did not even see him whom he commended.' We are affected, however, somewhat similarly towards beauties also which are described to us, not only which are beheld. But that thou cavil not with us on this point:--David, was he not comely exceedingly, and ruddy with beauty of eyes? (So 1 Sam. xvi. 12 & xvii. 42. LXX.) and indeed this beauty of the eyes, is even especially, a component of beauteousness of more despotic power than any. Was then any one enamored of him? By no means. Then to be also enamored cometh not [necessarily] with admiring. For many too have had mothers blooming exceedingly in beauty of person. What then? Were their children enamored of them? Away with the thought! but they admire what they see, yet fall not into a shameful love. `No, for again this good provision is Nature's.' How Nature's? Tell me. `Because they are mothers,' he saith. Then hearest thou not that Persians, and that without any compulsion, have intercourse with their own mothers, and that not one or two individuals, but a whole nation? But independent of these, it is hence also evident that this distemper cometh not from bloom of person nor from beauty merely, but from a listless and wandering soul. Many at least it is certain, oftentimes, having passed over thousands of well-favored women, have given themselves to such as were plainer. Whence it is evident that love depends not on beauty: for otherwise, surely, those would have caught such as fell into it, before these. What then is its cause? `For,' saith he, `if it be not beauty that causeth love, whence hath it its beginning and its root? From a wicked Demon?' It hath it indeed, thence also, but this is not what we are inquiring about, but whether we ourselves too be not the cause. For the plot is not theirs only, but along with them our own too in the first place. For from no other source is this wicked distemper so engendered as from habit, and flattering words, and leisure, and idleness, and having nothing to do. For great, great is the tyranny of habit, even so great as to be moulded into [591] a necessity of nature. Now if it be habit's to gender it, it is very evident that it is also [habit's] to extinguish it. Certain it is at least that many have in this way ceased to be enamored, from not seeing those they were enamored of. Now this for a little while indeed appears to be a bitter thing and exceedingly unpleasant; but in time it becometh pleasant, and even were they to wish it, they could not afterwards resume the passion.

[8.] How then, when without habit one is taken captive at first sight? Here also it is indolence of body, or self-indulgence, and not attending to one's duties, nor being occupied in necessary business. For such an one, wandering about like some vagabond, is transfixed by any wickedness; and like a child let loose, any one that liketh maketh such a soul his slave. For since it is its wont to be at work, when thou stoppest its workings in what is good, seeing it cannot be unemployed, it is compelled to engender what is otherwise. For just as the earth, when it is not sown nor planted, sends up simply weeds; so also the soul, when it hath nought of necessary things to do, being desirous by all means to be doing, giveth herself unto wicked deeds. And as the eye never ceaseth from seeing, and therefore will see wicked things, when good things are not set before it; so also doth the thought, when it secludes itself from necessary things, busy itself thereafter about such as are unprofitable. For that even the first assault occupation and thought are able to beat off, is evident from many things. When then thou hast looked on a beautiful woman, and wert moved towards her, look no more, and thou art delivered. `And how shall I be able to look no more,' saith he, `when drawn by that desire?' Give thyself to other things which may distract the soul, to books, to necessary cares, to protecting others, to assisting the injured, to prayers, to the wisdom which considers the things to come: with such things as these bind down thy soul. By these means, not only shalt thou cure a recent wound, but shalt wear away a confirmed and inveterate one easily. For if an insult according to the proverb prevails with the lover to give over his love, how shall not these spiritual charms [592] much rather be victorious over the evil, if only we have a mind to stand aloof. But if we are always conversing and associating with those who shoot such arrows at us, and talking with them and hearing what they say, we cherish the distemper. How then dost thou expect the fire to be quenched, when day by day thou stirrest up the flame?

And let this that we have said about habit be our speech unto the young; since to those who are men and taught in heavenly wisdom, stronger than all is the fear of God, the remembrance of hell, the desire of the kingdom of heaven; for these are able to quench the fire. And along with these take that thought also, that what thou seest is nothing else than rheum, and blood, and juices of decomposed food. `Yet a gladsome thing is the bloom of the features,' saith one. But nothing is more gladsome than the blossoms of the earth, and these too rot and wither. Do not then in this either give heed to the bloom, but pass on further inward in thy thought, and stripping off that beauteous skin in thy thought, scan curiously what lies beneath it. For even the bodies of the dropsical shine brightly, and the surface hath nothing offensive; but still, shocked with the thought of the humor stored within we cannot love such persons. `But languishing is the eye and glancing, and beautifully arched the brow, and dark the lashes, and soft the eyeball, and serene the look.' But see how even this itself again is nothing else than nerves, and veins, and membranes, and arteries. Think too, I pray, of this beautiful eye, when diseased and old, wasting with despair, swelling with anger, how hateful to the sight it is, how quickly it perisheth, how sooner even than pictured ones, it is effaced. From these things make thy mind pass to the true beauty. `But,' saith he, ` I do not see beauty of soul.' But if thou wilt choose, thou shalt see it: and as the absent beautiful may be with the mind admired, though with one's eyes unseen, so it is possible to see without eyes beauty of soul. Hast thou not often sketched a beauteous form, and felt moved unto the drawing? Image also now beauty of soul, and revel in that loveliness. `But,' saith he, `I do not see things incorporeal.' And yet we see these, rather than the corporeal, with the mind. Therefore it is, for instance, that although we see them not, we admire angels also and archangels, and habits of character, and virtue of soul. And if thou seest a man considerate and moderate, thou wilt more admire him than that beautiful countenance. And if thou seest one insulted, yet bearing it; wronged, yet giving way, admire and love such, even though they be striken in age. For such a thing is the beauty of the soul; even in old age it hath many enamored of it, and it never fadeth, but bloometh for ever. In order then that we also may gain this beauty, let us go in quest of those that have it, and be enamored of them. For so shall we too be able, when we have attained this beauty, to obtain the good things eternal, whereof may all we partake, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory and might, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[577] methodeuei. [578] i.e., the Law. [579] epeide, so also LXX. E.V. "till." [580] i.e., Moses. [581] So he reads the text. [582] hagisteian. [583] So Chrysostom, though the LXX agrees with the E.V. [584] hikanos. [585] [There are various methods of supplying a nominative to the verb "turn" in this sentence. Calvin makes Moses the subject, as representing the law which when it is directed to Christ causes the veil to be removed. Stanley also makes Moses the subject, but as representing the people, and renders, "When Moses turns to the Lord, he strips off the veil." But Chrysostom gives what is the generally accepted view, which is that "the heart of Israel is that which turns," indicating of course a general conversion (cf. Rom. xi. 26) yet including the case of each individual that turns to Christ. As Beet well says, "The Apostle cannot leave his people in their darkness without expressing a hope that they will some day come to the light." C.] [586] Or, "He." [587] St. Paul. [588] Two mss. insert here, "the Jews of that day therefore saw it not, nor do they now;" but Dr. Field rejects the insertion. [589] This version of the verb was followed by Luther, Bengel and others, and is found in the Revised Version. It is objected to by Meyer, Hodge, Beet et al., as being at variance with the usage of the language since the middle voice of the verb never has this meaning elsewhere, and at variance with the context which lays the stress on free and unhindered seeing and not upon reflecting. But it is urged in reply that Chrysostom may be trusted to know what Greek usage is, and as to the context the splendor which shone in Moses's face, that which suggested this whole train of thought, was a reflection of what he saw in the Mount. Fortunately whichever way the point is decided, the blessed result remains for all believers of a growing transformation into the image of Christ, from glory to glory (like from strength to strength in Ps. lxxxiv. 7), i.e., from one degree of glory to another,--a process going on without intermission under the influence of the Lord, the Spirit. C.] [590] periergos. [591] kathistasthai. Ben. methistasthai, to pass into. [592] epodai.


Homily VIII.

2 Cor. iv. 1, 2

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy we faint not, but we have renounced the hidden things of shame.

Seeing he had uttered great things and had set himself and all the faithful before Moses, aware of the height [593] and greatness of what he had said, observe how he moderates his tone again. For it was necessary on account of the false Apostles to exalt [594] his hearers also, and again to calm down that swelling; yet not to do it away, since this would be a trifler's part [595] . Wherefore he manages this in another manner, by showing that not of their own merits was it, but all of the loving-kindness of God. Wherefore also he says, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry." For nothing more did we contribute, except that we became ministers, and made ourselves subservient to the things given by God. Wherefore he said not `largess [596] ,' nor `supply [597] ,' but `ministry.' Nor was he contented with this even, but added, "as we obtained mercy." For even this itself, he saith, the ministering to these things, is of mercy and loving-kindness. Yet it is mercy's to deliver from evils, not to give so many good things besides: but the mercy of God includes this also.

"We faint not." And this indeed is to be imputed to His loving-kindness. For the clause, "as we obtained mercy," take to be said with reference both to the "ministry," and to the words, "we faint not." And observe how earnestly he endeavors to lower his own things. `For,' saith he, `that one who hath been counted worthy of such and so great things, and this from mercy only and loving-kindness, should show forth such labors, and undergo dangers, and endure temptations, is no great matter. Therefore we not only do not sink down, but we even rejoice and speak boldly.' For instance, having said, "we faint not," he added,

Ver. 2. "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully."

And what are "the hidden things of shame?" We do not, he saith, profess and promise great things, and in our actions show other things, as they do; wherefore also he said, "Ye look on things after the outward appearance;" but such we are as we appear, not having any duplicity, nor saying and doing such things as we ought to hide and veil over with shame and blushes. And to interpret this, he added, "not walking in craftiness." For what they considered to be praise, that he proves to be shameful and worthy of scorn. But what is, "in craftiness?" They had the reputation of taking nothing,, but they took and kept it secret; they had the character of saints and approved Apostles, but they were full of numberless evil things. But, saith he, "we have renounced" these things: (for these are what he also calls the "hidden things of shame;" being such as we appear to be, and keeping nothing veiled over. And that not in this [our] life only, but also in the Preaching itself. For this is, "nor handling the word of God deceitfully."

"But by the manifestation of the truth."

Not by the countenance and the outward show, but by the very proof of our actions.

"Commending ourselves to every man's conscience."

For not to believers only, but also to unbelievers, we are manifest; lying open unto all that they may test our actions, as they may choose; and by this we commend ourselves, not by acting a part and carrying about a specious mask. We say then, that we take nothing, and we call you for witnesses; we say that we are conscious of no wickedness, and of this again we derive the testimony from you, not as they (sc. false Apostles) who, veiling over their things, deceive many. But we both set forth our life before all men; and we lay bare [598] the Preaching, so that all comprehend it.

[2.] Then because the unbelievers knew not its power, he added, this is no fault of ours, but of their own insensibility. Wherefore also he saith,

Ver. 3, 4. "But if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that are lost; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the eyes of the unbelieving."

As he said also before, "To some a savor from death unto death, to others a savor from life unto life," (ch. ii. 16.) so he saith here too. But what is "the God of this world?" Those that are infected with Marcion's notions [599] , affirm that this is said of the Creator, the just only, and not good; for they say that there is a certain God, just and not good. But the Manichees [600] say that the devil is here intended, desiring from this passage to introduce another creator of the world besides the True One, very senselessly. For the Scripture useth often to employ the term God, not in regard of the dignity of that so designated, but of the weakness of those in subjection to it; as when it calls Mammon lord, and the belly god. But neither is the belly therefore God, nor Mammon Lord, save only of those who bow down themselves to them. But we assert of this passage that it is spoken neither of the devil nor of another creator, but of the God of the Universe, and that it is to be read thus; "God hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this world [601] ." For the world to come hath no unbelievers; but the present only. But if any one should read it even otherwise, as, for instance, "the God of this world;" neither doth this afford any handle, for this doth not show Him to be the God of this world only. For He is called "the God of Heaven," (Ps. cxxxvi. 26. &c.) yet is He not the God of Heaven only; and we say, `God of the present day;' yet we say this not as limiting His power to it alone. And moreover He is called the "God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;" (Exod. iii. 6. &c.) and yet He is not the God of them alone. And one may find many other like testimonies in the Scriptures. How then "hath" He "blinded" them? Not by working unto this end; away with the thought! but by suffering and allowing it. For it is usual with the Scripture so to speak, as when it saith, "God gave them up unto a reprobate mind." For when they themselves first disbelieved, and rendered themselves unworthy to see the mysteries; He Himself also thereafter permitted it. But what did it behove Him to do? To draw them by force, and reveal to those who would not see? But so they would have despised the more, and would not have seen either. Wherefore also he added,

"That the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ should not dawn upon them."

Not that they might disbelieve in God, but that unbelief might not see what are the things within, as also He enjoined us, commanding not to "cast the pearls before the swine." (Matt. vii. 6.) For had He revealed even to those who disbelieve, their disease would have been the rather aggravated. For if one compel a man laboring under ophthalmia to look at the sunbeams, he the rather increases his infirmity. Therefore the physicians [602] even shut them up in darkness, so as not to aggravate their disorder. So then here also we must consider that these persons indeed became unbelievers of themselves, but having become so, they no longer saw the secret things of the Gospel, God thenceforth excluding its beams from them. As also he said to the disciples, "Therefore I speak unto them in proverbs [603] , (Matt. xiii. 13.) because hearing they hear not." But what I say may also become clearer by an example; suppose a Greek, accounting our religion [604] to be fables. This man then, how will he be more advantaged? by going in and seeing the mysteries, or [605] by remaining without? Therefore he says, "That the light should not dawn upon them," still dwelling on the history of Moses. For what happened to the Jews in his case, this happeneth to all unbelievers in the case of the Gospel. And what is that which is overshadowed, and which is not illuminated unto them? Hear him saying, "That the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ who is the Image of God, should not dawn upon them." Namely, that the Cross is the salvation of the world, and His glory; that this Crucified One himself is about to come with much splendor; all the other things, those present, those to come, those seen, those not seen, the unspeakable splendor of the things looked for. Therefore also he said, "dawn," that thou mayest not look for the whole here, for that which is [here] given is only, as it were, a little dawning of the Spirit. Therefore, also above as indicating this, he spoke of "savor;" (c. ii. 16.) and again, "earnest," (c. i. 25.) showing that the greater part remaineth there. But nevertheless all these things have been hidden from them; but had been hidden because they disbelieved first. Then to show that they are not only ignorant of the Glory of Christ, but of the Father's also, since they know not His, he added, "Who is the Image of God?" For do not halt at Christ only. For as by Him thou seest the Father, so if thou art ignorant of His Glory, neither wilt thou know the Father's.

[3.] Ver. 5. "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake."

And what is the nature of the connexion there? What hath this in common with what has been said? He either hints at them [606] as exalting themselves, and persuading the disciples to name themselves after them: as he said in the former Epistle, "I am of Paul and I of Apollos;" or else another thing of the gravest character. What then is this? Seeing that they waged fierce war against them, and plotted against them on every side; `Is it,' he says, `with us ye fight and war? [Nay but] with Him that is preached by us, "for we preach not ourselves." I am a servant, I am [but] a minister even of those who receive the Gospel, transacting every thing for Another, and for His glory doing whatsover I do. So that in warring against me thou throwest down what is His. For so far am I from turning to my own personal advantage any part of the Gospel, that I will not refuse to be even your servant for Christ's sake; seeing it seemed good to Him so to honor you, seeing He so loved you and did all things for you.' Wherefore also he saith, "and ourselves your servants for Christ's sake." Seest thou a soul pure from glory? `For in truth,' saith he, `we not only do not take to ourselves [607] aught of our Master's, but even to you we submit ourselves for His sake.'

Ver. 6. "Seeing it is God that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in your [608] hearts."

Seest thou how again to those who were desirous of seeing that surpassing glory, I mean that of Moses, he shows it flashing with added lustre [609] ? `As upon the face of Moses, so also hath it shined unto your hearts,' he saith. And first, he puts them in mind of what was made in the beginning of the Creation, sensible light and darkness sensible, showing that this creation is greater. And where commanded He light to shine out of darkness? In the beginning and in prelude to the Creation; for, saith he, "Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." Howbeit then indeed He said, "Let it be, and it was:" but now He said nothing, but Himself became Light for us. For he [610] said not, `hath also now commanded,' but "hath" Himself "shined." Therefore neither do we see sensible objects by the shining of this Light, but God Himself through Christ. Seest thou the invariableness [611] in the Trinity? For of the Spirit, he says, "But we all with unveiled face reflecting in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as from the Lord the Spirit." (c. iii. 18.) And of the Son; "That the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the Image of God, should not dawn upon them." (v. 4.) And of the Father; "He that said Light shall shine out of darkness shined in your hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." For as when he had said, "Of the Gospel of the glory of Christ," he added, "Who is the Image of God," showing that they were deprived of His [612] glory also; So after saying, "the knowledge of God," he added, "in the face of Christ,' to show that through Him we know the Father, even as through the Spirit also we are brought unto Him.

Ver. 7. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves."

For seeing he had spoken many and great things of the unspeakable glory, lest any should say, `And how enjoying so great a glory remain we in a mortal body?' he saith, that this very thing is indeed the chiefest marvel and a very great example of the power of God, that an earthen vessel hath been enabled to bear so great a brightness and to keep so high a treasure. And therefore as admiring this, he said, "That the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;" again alluding to those who gloried in themselves. For both the greatness of the things given and the weakness of them that receive show His power; in that He not only gave great things, but also to those who are little. For he used the term "earthen" in allusion to the frailty [613] of our mortal nature, and to declare the weakness of our flesh. For it is nothing better constituted than earthenware; so is it soon damaged, and by death and disease and variations of temperature and ten thousand other things easily dissolved. And he said these things both to take down their inflation, and to show to all that none of the things we hold [614] is human. For then is the power of God chiefly conspicuous, when by vile it worketh mighty things. Wherefore also in another place He said, "For My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 9.) And indeed in the Old [Testament] whole hosts of barbarians were turned to flight by gnats and flies, wherefore also He calleth the caterpillar His mighty force [615] ; (Joel ii. 25.) and in the beginning, by only confounding tongues, He put a stop to that great tower in Babylon. And in their wars too, at one time, He routed innumerable hosts by three hundred men; at another He overthrew cities by trumpets; and afterwards by a little and poor [616] stripling, David, He turned to flight the whole army of barbarians. So then here also, sending forth twelve only He overcame the world; twelve, and those, persecuted, warred against.

[4.] Let us then be amazed at the Power of God, admire, adore it. Let us ask Jews, let us ask Greeks, who persuaded the whole world to desert from their fathers' usages, and to go over to another way of life? The fisherman, or the tentmaker? the publican, or the unlearned and ignorant? And how can these things stand with reason, except it were Divine Power which achieveth all by their means? And what too did they say to persuade them? `Be baptized in the Name of The Crucified.' Of what kind of man [617] ? One they had not seen nor looked upon. But nevertheless saying and preaching these things, they persuaded them that they who gave them oracles, and whom they had received by tradition from their forefathers, were no Gods: whilst this Christ, He Who was nailed [to the wood,] drew them all unto Himself. And yet that He was indeed crucified and buried, was manifest in a manner to all; but that He was risen again, none save a few saw. But still of this too they persuaded those who had not beheld; and not that He rose again only, but that He ascended also into Heaven, and cometh to judge quick and dead. Whence then the persuasiveness of these sayings, tell me? From nothing else than the Power of God. For, in the first place, innovation itself [618] was offensive to all; but when too one innovates in such things, the matter becomes more grievous: when one tears up [619] the foundations of ancient custom, when one plucks laws from their seat. And besides all this, neither did the heralds seem worthy of credit, but they were both of a nation hated amongst all men, and were timorous and ignorant. Whence then overcame they the world? Whence cast they out you, and those your forefathers who were reputed to be philosophers, along with their very gods? Is it not quite evident that it was from having God with them? For neither are these successes of human, but of some divine and unspeakable, power. `No,' saith one, `but of witchcraft.' Then certainly ought the power of the demons to have increased and the worship of idols to have extended. How then have they been overthrown and have vanished, and our things the reverse of these? So that from this even it is manifest that what was done was the decree of God; and not from the Preaching only, but also from the title of life itself. For when was virginity so largely planted every where in the world? when contempt of wealth, and of life, and of all things besides? For such as were wicked and wizards, would have effected nothing like this, but the contrary in all respects: whilst these introduced amongst us the life of angels; and not introduced merely, but established it in our own land, in that of the barbarians, in the very extremities of the earth. Whence it is manifest that it was the power of Christ every where that effected all, which every where shineth, and swifter than any lightning illumeth the hearts of men. All these things, then, considering, and accepting what hath been done as a clear proof of the promise of the things to come, worship with us the invincible might of The Crucified, that ye may both escape the intolerable punishments, and obtain the everlasting kingdom; of which may all we partake through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[593] huperboles. [594] hepairein. The Benedictine Latin translates, "necessary to exalt [himself] both on account of the false Apostles, and his hearers." [595] paizontos. [596] parochen. [597] choregian. [598] apogumnoumen. [599] See Epiphanius adv. Hær. lib. i. tom. iii. 33. [600] For a full account of Manichæism, see Library of the Fathers, St. Augustin's Confessions, Note A. [601] [This is one of the few instances in which the expositor allowed himself to be diverted by dogmatic considerations from the true meaning of the word. It is exceedingly awkward to make of this world depend upon unbelievers, and not upon the substantive God which immediately precedes. The natural and legitimate construction is the one given in both the English versions, "the God of this world (or age)." But Chrysostom was led to depart from it, as Augustin was afterwards, and Origen and Tertullian had been before, by a desire to resist the Marcionites and the Manichæans who were accustomed to quote this passage in favor of their doctrine of two eternal principles, the one good, the other evil. But the ordinary rendering of the phrase gives no countenance to the Dualism, which for so many centuries opposed and embarrassed the early Church. It is, alas, too certain that Satan rules this world as if he were a God, and from the multitude he receives the service which is due to the Most High alone, but this fact by no means exalts him to an equality with the maker of all or makes him an original and co-eternal principle of life and action. It is because men turn away from the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ that God permits Satan to destroy, in whole or in part, their capacity for spiritual vision. Such a work is eminently appropriate in him who is prince of "the world-rulers of this darkness" (Ephes. vi. 12 Rev. Ver.), and the element of whose being is deceit and falsehood. C.] [602] Literally "physicians' sons." [603] Rec. Text "parables." [604] ta hemetera. [605] Or "than." [606] Sc. the false Apostles. [607] nosphizometha. [608] "Our" Rec. Text, [which is correct. C.] [609] meta prosthekes. [610] The Apostle. [611] aparallakton. [612] God's. [613] to euthrauston. [614] ton kath hemas. [615] dunamin. LXX. A.V. army. Gen. 11. [616] heutelous. [617] Poiou. [618] So one ms. at any rate; Ben. "this innovation." [619] hanamochleue.


Homily IX.

2 Cor. iv. 8, 9

We are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken.

He still dwells upon proving that the whole work is to be ascribed to the power of God, repressing the highmindedness of those that glory in themselves. `For not this only,' saith he, `is marvelous, that we keep this treasure in earthen vessels, but that even when enduring ten thousand hardships, and battered [620] on every side, we [still] preserve and lose it not. Yet though there were a vessel of adamant, it would neither have been strong enough to carry so vast a treasure, nor have sufficed against so many machinations; yet, as it is, it both bears it and suffers no harm, through God's grace.' For, "we are pressed on every side," saith he, "but not straitened." What is, "on every side?"

`In respect of our foes, in respect of our friends, in respect of necessaries, in respect of other needs, by them which be hostile, by them of our own household.' "Yet not straitened." And see how he speaks contrarieties, that thence also he may show the strength of God. For, "we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened," saith he; "perplexed, yet not unto despair;" that is, `we do not quite fall off. For we are often, indeed, wrong in our calculations [621] , and miss our aim, yet not so as to fall away from what is set before us: for these things are permitted by God for our discipline, not for our defeat.'

Ver. 9. "Pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed." For these trials do indeed befal, but not the consequences of the trials. And this indeed through the power and Grace of God. In other places indeed he says that these things were permitted in order both to their own [622] humble-mindedness, and to the safety of others: for "that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn," (2 Cor. xii. 7; ib. 6.) he says: and again, "Lest any man should account of me above that which he seeth me to be, or heareth from me;" and in another place again, "that we should not trust in ourselves:" (2 Cor. i. 9.) here, however, that the power of God might be manifested. Seest thou how great the gain of his trials? For it both showed the power of God, and more disclosed His grace. For, saith He, "My grace is sufficient for thee." (2 Cor. xii. 9.) It also anointed them unto lowliness of mind, and prepared them for keeping down the rest, and made them to be more hardy. "For patience," saith he, "worketh probation, and probation hope." (Rom. v. 4.) For they who had fallen into ten thousand dangers and through the hope they had in God had been recovered [623] , were taught to hold by it more and more in all things.

Ver. 10. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body."

And what is the "dying of the Lord Jesus," which they bare about? Their daily deaths by which also the resurrection was showed. `For if any believe not,' he says, `that Jesus died and rose again, beholding us every day die and rise again, let him believe henceforward in the resurrection.' Seest thou how he has discovered yet another reason for the trials? What then is this reason? "That his life also may be manifested in our body." He says, `by snatching us out of the perils. So that this which seems a mark of weakness and destitution, this, [I say,] proclaims His resurrection. For His power had not so appeared in our suffering no unpleasantness, as it is now shown in our suffering indeed, but without being overcome.'

Ver. 11. "For we which live are also [624] delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in us in our mortal flesh."

For every where when he has said any thing obscure, he interprets himself again. So he has done here also, giving a clear interpretation of this which I have cited. `For therefore, "we are delivered,"' he says, `in other words, we bear about His dying that the power of His life may be made manifest, who permitteth not mortal flesh, though undergoing so great sufferings, to be overcome by the snowstorm of these calamities.' And it may be taken too in another way. How? As he says in another place, "If we die with him, we shall also live with Him." (2 Tim. ii. 11.) `For as we endure His dying now, and choose whilst living to die for His sake: so also will he choose, when we are dead, to beget us then unto life. For if we from life come into death, He also will from death lead us by the hand into life.'

Ver. 12. "So then death worketh in us, but life in you."

Speaking no more of death in the strict sense [625] , but of trials and of rest. `For we indeed,' he says, `are in perils and trials, but ye in rest; reaping the life which is the fruit of these perils. And we indeed endure the dangerous, but ye enjoy the good things; for ye undergo not so great trials.'

[2.] Ver. 13. "But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, and therefore did I speak; we also believe, and therefore also we speak; that [626] He which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus." (Ps. cxvi. 10.)

He has reminded us of a Psalm which abounds in heavenly wisdom [627] , and is especially fitted to encourage [628] in dangers. For this saying that just man uttered when he was in great dangers, and from which there was no other possibility of recovery than by the aid of God. Since then kindred circumstances are most effective in comforting, therefore he says, "having the same Spirit;" that is, `by the same succor by which he was saved, we also are saved; by the Spirit through which he spake, we also speak.' Whence he shows, that between the New and Old Covenants great harmony exists, and that the same Spirit wrought in either; and that not we alone are in dangers, but all those of old were so too; and that we must find a remedy [629] through faith and hope, and not seek at once to be released from what is laid upon us. For having showed by arguments the resurrection and the life, and that the danger was not a mark of helplessness or destitution; he thenceforward brings in faith also, and to it commits the whole. But still of this also, he furnishes a proof, the resurrection, namely, of Christ, saying, "we also believe, and therefore also we speak." What do we believe? tell me.

Ver. 14, 15. "That He which raised up Jesus, shall raise up also, [630] and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound unto the glory of God."

Again, he fills them with lofty thoughts [631] , that they may not hold themselves indebted to men, I mean to the false Apostles. For the whole is of God Who willeth to bestow upon many, so that the grace may appear the greater. For your sakes, therefore, was the resurrection and all the other things. For He did not these things for the sake of one only, but of all.

Ver. 16. "Wherefore we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."

How does it decay? Being scourged, being persecuted, suffering ten thousand extremities. "Yet the inward man is renewed day by day." How is it renewed? By faith, by hope, by a forward will, finally, by braving those extremities. For in proportion as the body suffers ten thousand things, in the like proportion hath the soul goodlier hopes and becometh brighter, like gold refined in the fire more and more. And see how he brings to nothing the sorrows of this present life.

Ver. 17, 18. "For the [632] light affliction," he saith, "which is for the moment, worketh [633] more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."

Having closed the question by a reference to hope, (and, as he said in his Epistle to the Romans, "We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope;" (Rom. viii. 24.) establishing the same point here also,) he sets side by side the things present with the things to come, the momentary with the eternal, the light with the weighty, the affliction with the glory. And neither is he content with this, but he addeth another expression, doubling it and saying, "more and more exceedingly [634] ." Next he also shows the mode how so great afflictions are light. How then light? "While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen." So will both this present be light and that future great, if we withdraw ourselves from the things that are seen. "For the things that are seen are temporal." (v. 18.) Therefore the afflictions are so too. "But the things that are not seen are eternal." Therefore the crowns are so also. And he said not the afflictions are so, but "the things that are seen;" all of them, whether punishment or rest, so that we should be neither puffed up by the one nor overborne [635] by the other. And therefore when speaking of the things to come, he said not the kingdom is eternal; but, "the things which are not seen are eternal," whether they be a kingdom, or again punishment; so as both to alarm by the one and to encourage by the other.

[3.] Since then "the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal," let us look to them. For what excuse even can we have, if we choose the temporal instead of the eternal? For even if the present be pleasurable, yet it is not abiding; whilst the woe it entails is abiding and irremissible. For what excuse will they have who have been counted worthy of the Spirit and have enjoyed so great a gift, if they become of grovelling mind and fall down to the earth. For I hear many saying these words worthy of all scorn, `Give me to-day and take tomorrow.' `For,' saith one, `if indeed there be such things there as ye affirm, then it is one for one; but if there be no such thing at all, then it is two for nothing.' What can be more lawless than these words? or what more idle prating [636] ? We are discoursing about Heaven and those unspeakable good things; and thou bringest forth unto us the terms of the race-course [637] , yet art not ashamed nor hidest thy face, whilst uttering such things as befit maniacs? Blushest thou not that art so rivetted to the present things? Wilt thou not cease from being distraught and beside thyself, and in youth a dotard? Were Greeks indeed to talk in this way, it were no marvel: but that believers should vent such dotage, of what forgiveness doth it admit? For dost thou hold those immortal hopes in utter suspicion? Dost thou think these things to be utterly doubtful? And in what are these things deserving of pardon? `And who hath come,' saith one, `and brought back word what is there?' Of men indeed not any one, but God, more trustworthy than all, hath declared these things. But thou beholdest not what is there. Neither dost thou see God. Wilt thou then deny that there is a God, because thou seest Him not? `Yes,' he replies, `I firmly believe there is a God.' If then an infidel should ask thee, `And who came from Heaven and brought back word of this?' what wilt thou answer? Whence dost thou know that there is a God? `From the things that are seen,' he answers, `from the fair order existing through the whole creation, from its being manifest to all.' Therefore receive also in the same way the doctrine of the judgment. `How?' he asks. I will question thee, and do thou answer me. Is this God just, and will He render to each according to his deserving? or, on the contrary, doth He will the wicked should live happily and in luxury, and the good in the contrary things? `By no means,' he answers, `for man even would not feel thus.' Where then shall they who have done virtuously here, enjoy the things that be good? and where the wicked the opposites, except there is to be a life and retribution hereafter? Seest thou that at present it is one for one, and not two for one. But I will show thee, as I proceed, that it is not even one against one, but it shall be for the righteous two for nothing; and for the sinners and these that live here riotously, quite the contrary. For they that have lived riotously here have received not even one for one; but those who pass their life in virtue two for nothing [638] . For who are at in rest, they that have abused this present life, or they that followed heavenly wisdom? Perhaps thou wilt say the former, but I prove it of the latter, summoning for my witnesses those very men that have enjoyed these present things; and they will not be so shameless as to deny what I am going to say. For oftentimes have they imprecated curses upon matchmakers [639] and upon the day that their bridal chamber [640] was wreathed, and have proclaimed them happy who have not married. Many too of the young, even when they might have married, have refused for no other reason than the troublesomeness of the thing. And this I say, not as accusing marriage; for it is "honorable;" (Heb. xiii. 4.) but those who have used it amiss. Now if they who have lived a married life, often considered their life not worth the living; what shall we say of those who have been swept down into whores' deep pits, and are more slavishly and wretchedly treated than any captive? what of those who have grown rotten in luxury and have enveloped their bodies with a thousand diseases? `But it is a pleasure to be had in honor.' Yea, rather, nothing is bitterer than this slavery. For he that seeketh vain honor is more servile than any slave, and desirous of pleasing any body; but he that treads it under foot is superior to all, who careth not for the glory that cometh from others. `But the possession of wealth is desirable.' Yet we have often shown that they who are loose from it and have nothing, enjoy greater riches and repose. `But to be drunken is pleasant.' But who will say this? Surely then if to be without riches is pleasanter than to have them, and not to marry than to marry, and not to seek vainglory than to seek it, and not to live luxuriously than to live so; even in this world they who are not riveted to those present things have the advantage. And as yet I say not how that the former, even though he be racked with ten thousand tortures, hath that good hope to carry him through: whilst the latter, even though he is in the enjoyment of a thousand delights, hath the fear of the future disquieting and confounding his pleasure. For this, too, is no light sort of punishment; nor therefore the contrary, of enjoyment and repose. And besides these there is a third sort. And what is this? In that the things of worldly delight do not even whilst they are present appear such, being refuted [641] both by nature and time; but the others not only are, but also abide immovable. Seest thou that we shall be able to put not two for nothing only, but three even, and five, and ten, and twenty, and ten thousand for nothing? But that thou mayest learn this same truth by an example also,--the rich man and Lazarus,--the one enjoyed the things present, the other those to come. (Luke xvi. 19. &c.) Seems it then to thee to be one and one, to be punished throughout all time, and to be an hungered for a little season? to be diseased in thy corruptible body, and to scorch [642] miserably in an undying one? to be crowned and live in undying delights after that little sickness, and to be endlessly tormented after that short enjoyment of his goods. And who will say this? For what wilt thou we should compare? the quantity? the quality? the rank? the decision of God [643] concerning each? How long will ye utter the words of beetles that are for ever wallowing. in dung! For these are not the words of reasoning men, to throw away a soul which is so precious for nothing, when there needeth little labor to receive heaven. Wilt thou that I teach thee also in another way that there is an awful tribunal there? Open the doors of thy conscience, and behold the judge that sitteth in thine heart. Now if thou condemnest thyself, although a lover of thyself, and canst not refrain from passing a righteous verdict, will not God much rather make great provision for that which is just, and pass that impartial judgment upon all; or will He permit everything to go on loosely and at random? And who will say this? No one; but both Greeks and barbarians, both poets and philosophers, yea the whole race of men in this agree with us, though differing in particulars [644] , and affirm that there are tribunals of some sort in Hades; so manifest and uncontroverted is the thing.

[4.] `And wherefore,' saith one, `doth he not punish here?' That He may display that longsuffering of His, and may offer to us the salvation that cometh by repentance, and not make our race to be swept away, nor pluck away those who by an excellent change are able to be saved, before that salvation. For if he instantly punished upon the commission of sins, and destroyed, how should Paul have been saved, how should Peter, the chief teachers of the world? How should David have reaped the salvation that came by his repentance? How the Galatians? How many others? For this reason then He neither exacts the penalty from all here, (but only from some out of all,) nor yet there from all, but from one here, and from another there; that He may both rouse those who are exceedingly insensible by means of those whom He punishes, and may cause them to expect the future things by those whom He punishes not. Or seest thou not many punished here, as those, for instance, who were buried under the ruins of that tower; (Luke xiii. 4, 7.) as those whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices; as those who perished by an untimely death amongst the Corinthians, because they partook unworthily of the mysteries (1 Cor. xi. 30.); as Pharaoh; as those of the Jews who were slain by the barbarians; as many others, both then, and now, and continually? And yet others too, having sinned in many things, departed without suffering the penalty here; as the rich man in the story of Lazarus; as many others. (Luke xvi.) Now these things He does, both to arouse those who quite disbelieve [645] in the things to come, and to make those who do believe and are careless more diligent. "For God is a righteous Judge, and strong, and longsuffering, and visits not with wrath every day." (Ps. vii. 11. LXX.) But if we abuse His longsuffering, there will come a time when He will no more be longsuffering even for a little, but will straightway inflict the penalty.

Let us not then, in order that for a single moment (for such is this present life) we may live luxuriously, draw on ourselves punishment through endless ages: but let us toil for a moment, that we may be crowned for ever. See ye not that even in worldly things most men act in this manner; and choose a brief toil in order to a long rest, even though the opposite falls out unto them? For in this life indeed there is an equal portion of toils and reward; yea, often, on the contrary, the toil is endless whilst the fruit is little, or not even a little; but in the case of the kingdom conversely, the labor is little whilst the pleasure is great and boundless. For consider: the husbandman wearieth himself the whole year through, and at the very end of his hope of times misses of the fruit [646] of those many toils. The shipmaster again and the soldier, until extreme old age, are occupied with wars and labors; and oftentimes hath each of them departed, the one with the loss of his wealthy cargoes, the other, along with victory, of life itself. What excuse then shall we have, tell me, if in worldly matters indeed we prefer what is laborious in order that we may rest for a little, or not a little even; (for the hope of this is uncertain;) but in spiritual things do the converse of this and draw upon ourselves unutterable punishment for a little sloth? Wherefore I beseech you all, though late, yet still at length to recover from this frenzy. For none shall deliver us in that day; neither brother, nor father, nor child, nor friend, nor neighbor, nor any other: but if our works play us false, all will be over and we must needs [647] perish. How many lamentations did that rich man make, and besought the Patriarch and begged that Lazarus might be sent! But hear what Abraham said unto him: "There is a gulf [648] betwixt us and you, so that they who wish to go forth cannot pass thither." (Luke xvi. 26.) How many petitions did those virgins make to their fellows for a little oil! But hear what they also say; "Peradventure there will not be enough for you and for us;" (Matt. xxv. 9.) and none was able to bring them in to the bridal chamber.

Thinking then on these things let us also be careful of that which is our life. For mention what toils soever and bring forward besides what punishment soever; all these combined will be nothing in comparison of the good things to come. Instance therefore, if thou wilt, fire and steel and wild beasts, and if there be aught sorer than these; but yet these are not even a shadow compared with those torments. For these things when applied in excess become then especially light, making the release speedy [649] ; since the body sufficeth not unto intensity at once and long continuance of suffering; but both meet together, both prolongation and excess, alike in the good and the grievous. Whilst we have time then, "let us come before His presence with confession," (Ps. xcv. 2, LXX.) that in that day we may behold Him gentle and serene, that we may escape altogether those threat-bearing Powers. Seest thou not how this world's soldiers who perform the bidding of those in authority drag men about; how they chain, how they scourge them, how they pierce their sides, how they apply torches to their torments, how they dismember them? Yet all these things are but plays and joke unto those punishments. For these punishments are temporal; but there neither the worm dieth nor is the fire quenched: for that body of all is incorruptible, which is then to be raised up. But God grant that we may never learn these things by experience; but that these fearful things may never be nearer unto us than in the mention of them [650] ; and that we be not delivered over to those tormentors, but may be hence made wise [651] . How many things shall we then say in accusation of ourselves! How many lamentations shall we utter! How many groans! But it will thenceforth be of no avail. For neither can sailors, when the ship hath gone to pieces and hath sunk, thereafter be of any service; nor physicians when the patient is departed; but they will often say indeed that so and so ought to have been done; but all is fruitless and in vain. For as long indeed as hopes remain from amendment, one ought both to say and do every thing: but when we have no longer any thing in our power, all being quite ruined, it is to no purpose that all is said and done. For even then Jews will then say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord:" (Matt. xxiii. 39.) but they will be able to reap none advantage of this cry towards escaping their punishment; for when they ought to have said it, they said it not. That then this be not the case with us in respect to our life, let us now and from this time reform that we may stand at the tribunal of Christ with all boldness; whereunto may all of us attain through the grace and love toward men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory and might for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[620] perikrouomenoi, a term especially used of striking upon vessels, to sound them. [621] halogoumetha. The Ben. Ed. has halgoumen in defiance of mss. [622] i.e., the Apostles'. [623] hanenenkontes. [624] So Chrysostom: Rec. text "always," [which is correct. C.] Just below he inserts, as will be seen, "in us," [without authority. C.] [625] Literally, the death. [626] Knowing that &c. Rec. Text [which is well sustained. C.] [627] philosophian. [628] aleiphein. [629] diorthousthai. [630] [It is singular that the preacher in citing this verse omitted a clause of great importance, found in all the chief mss., viz., with Jesus, words which teach that believers are raised up in union with Christ and by virtue of that union, and therefore in his fellowship and likeness. This it is that made the resurrection the one great, all-absorbing object of anticipation and desire to the early Christians. They were to be with their Lord and like him. C.] [631] phronematos. [632] Our, A.V., [the true text.] [633] Worketh for us, A.V., [the true text.] [634] kath huperbolen eis huperboeln. [635] biazesthai. [636] lerodesteron. [637] hippodromion. Vid. Field Ann. [638] "For one." Bened., against most mss. [639] promnestoiais. [640] hai pastades. [641] elenchomena. [642] apoteganizesthai. [643] taxin. The Ben. translate "ordinem Dei aut sententiam." [644] ei kai me homoios. [645] diapistountas. [646] Or, "at the very end ofttimes misses of his hope, the fruit, &c." [647] Or, `utterly.' [648] chaos, Chrys. who varies from the text in other respects. [Not, however, so as to affect the sense of the passage. Perhaps in quoting he took only that portion which suited his purpose. The word he uses for gulf or chasm is employed in the LXX. in the same sense. C.] [649] Si gravis, brevis: si longa, levis: Cic. Tusc. Disp. [650] mechri rhematos stenai. [651] enteuthen sophronisthenai. Ben. entautha against the mss.


Homily X.

2 Cor. v. 1

For we know, that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.

Again he arouses their zeal because many trials drew on [652] . For it was likely that they, in consequence of his absence, were weaker in respect to this [need]. What then saith he? One ought not to wonder that we suffer affliction; nor to be confounded, for we even reap many gains thereby. And some of these he mentioned before; for instance, that we "bear about the dying of Jesus," and present the greatest proof of His power: for he says, "that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God:" and we exhibit a clear proof of the Resurrection, for, says he, "that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." But since along with these things he said that our inward man is thus made better also; for "though our outward man is decaying," saith he, "yet the inward man is renewed day by day;" showing again that this being scourged and persecuted is proportionately useful, he adds, that when this is done thoroughly, then the countless good things will spring up for those who have endured these things. For lest when thou hearest that thy outward man perishes, thou shouldest grieve; he says, that when this is completely effected, then most of all shalt thou rejoice and shalt come unto a better inheritance [653] . So that not only ought not one to grieve at its perishing now in part, but even earnestly to seek for the completion of that destruction, for this most conducts thee to immortality. Wherefore also he added, "For we know, that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved: we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." For since he is urging [654] again the doctrine of the Resurrection in respect to which they were particularly unsound; he calls in aid the judgment of his hearers also, and so establishes it; not however in the same way as before, but, as it were, arriving at it out of another subject: (for they had been already corrected:) and says, "We know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Some indeed say that the `earthly house' is this world; But I should maintain that he alludes rather to the body. [655]But observe, I pray, how by the terms [he uses,] he shows the superiority of the future things to the present. For having said "earthly" he hath opposed to it "the heavenly;" having said, "house of tabernacle," thereby declaring both that it is easily taken to pieces and is temporary, he hath opposed to it the "eternal," for the name "tabernacle" often times denotes temporariness. Wherefore He saith, "In My Father's house are many abiding places." (John xiv. 2.) But if He anywhere also calls the resting places of the saints tabernacles; He calls them not tabernacles simply, but adds an epithet; for he said not, that "they may receive you" into their tabernacles, but "into the eternal tabernacles." (Luke xvi. 9.) Moreover also in that he said, "not made with hands," he alluded to that which was made with hands. What then? Is the body made with hands? By no means; but he either alludes to the houses here that are made with hands, or if not this, then he called the body which is not made with hands, 'a house of tabernacle.' For he has not used the term in antithesis and contradistinction [656] to this, but to heighten those eulogies and swell those commendations.

[2.] Ver. 2. "For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven."

What habitation? tell me. The incorruptible body. And why do we groan now? Because that is far better. And "from heaven" he calls it because of its incorruptibleness. For it is not surely that a body will come down to us from above: but by this expression he signifies the grace which is sent from thence. So far then ought we to be from grieving at these trials which are in part that we ought to seek even for their fulness [657] , as if he had said: Groanest thou, that thou art persecuted, that this thy man is decaying? Groan that this is not done unto excess and that it perishes not entirely. Seest thou how he hath turned round what was said unto the contrary; having proved that they ought to groan that those things were not done fully; for which because they were done partially; they groaned. Therefore he henceforth calls it not a tabernacle, but a house, and with great reason. For a tabernacle indeed is easily taken to pieces; but a house abideth continually.

Ver. 3. "If so be that being unclothed [658] we shall not be found naked."

That is, even if we have put off the body, we shall not be presented there without a body, but even with the same one made incorruptible. But some read, and it deserves very much to be adopted, "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." For lest all should be confident because of the Resurrection, he says, "If so be that being clothed," that is, having obtained incorruption and an incorruptible body, "we shall not be found naked" of glory and safety. As he also said in the former Epistle; "We shall all be raised; but each in his own order." And, "There are celestial bodies, and bodies terrestial." (1 Cor. xv. 22, 23.) (ib. 40.) For the Resurrection indeed is common to all, but the glory is not common; but some shall rise in honor and others in dishonor, and some to a kingdom but others to punishment. This surely he signified here also, when he said; "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."

[3.] Ver. 4. "For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan [659] , not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon." Here again he hath utterly and manifestly stopped the mouths of the heretics, showing that he is not speaking absolutely of a body differing in identity [660] , but of corruption and incorruption: `For we do not therefore groan,' saith he, `that we may be delivered from the body: for of this we do not wish to be unclothed; but we hasten to be delivered from the corruption that is in it.' Wherefore he saith, `we wish not to be unclothed of the body, but that it should be clothed upon with incorruption.' Then he also interprets it [thus,] "That what is mortal may be swallowed up of life." For since putting off the body appeared to many a grievous thing; and he was contradicting the judgments of all, when he said, "we groan," not wishing to be set free from it; (`for if,' says one, `the soul in being separated from it so suffers and laments, how sayest thou that we groan because we are not separated from it?') lest then this should be urged against him, he says, `Neither do I assert that we therefore groan, that we may put it off; (for no one putteth it off without pain, seeing that Christ says even of Peter, `They shall "carry thee," and lead thee "whither thou wouldest not;"--John xxi. 18.) but that we may have it clothed upon with incorruption.' For it is in this respect that we are burdened by the body; not because it is a body, but because we are encompassed with a corruptible body and liable to suffering [661] , for it is this that also causes us pain. But the life when it arriveth destroyeth and useth up the corruption; the corruption, I say, not the body. `And how cometh this to pass?' saith one. Inquire not; God doeth it; be not too curious. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 5. "Now he that hath wrought us for this very thing is God."

Hereby he shows that these things were prefigured from the first. For not now was this decreed: but when at the first He fashioned us from earth and created Adam; for not for this created He him, that he should die, but that He might make him even immortal. Then as showing the credibility of this and furnishing the proof of it, he added,

"Who also gave the earnest of the Spirit." For even then He fashioned us for this; and now He hath wrought unto this by baptism, and hath furnished us with no light security thereof, the Holy Spirit. And he continually calls It an earnest, wishing to prove God to be a debtor of the [662] whole, and thereby also to make what he says more credible unto the grosser sort. [663]

[4.] Ver. 6. "Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing."

The word "of good courage" is used with reference to the persecutions, the plottings, and the continual deaths: as if he had said, `Doth any vex and persecute and slay thee? Be not cast down, for thy good all is done. Be not afraid: but of good courage. For that which thou groanest and grievest for, that thou art in bondage to corruption, he removes from henceforward out of the way, and frees thee the sooner from this bondage.' Wherefore also he saith, "Being therefore always of good courage," not in the seasons of rest only, but also in those of tribulation; "and knowing,"

Ver. 7, 8. "That whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord."

That which is greater than all he has put last, for to be with Christ is better, than receiving an incorruptible [body.] But what he means is this: `He quencheth not our life that warreth against and killeth us; be not afraid; be of good courage even when hewn in pieces. For not only doth he set thee free from corruption and a burden, but he also sendeth thee quickly to the Lord.' Wherefore neither did he say, "whilst we `are' in the body:" as of those who are in a foreign and strange land. "Knowing therefore that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: we are of good courage, I say, and willing to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord." Seest thou how keeping back what was painful, the names of death and the end, he has employed instead of them such as excite great longing [664] , calling them presence with God; and passing over those things which are accounted to be sweet, the things of life, he hath expressed them by painful names, calling the life here an absence from the Lord? Now this he did, both that no one might fondly linger amongst present things, but rather be aweary of them; and that none when about to die might be disquieted [665] , but might even rejoice as departing unto greater goods. Then that none might say on hearing that we are absent from the Lord, `Why speakest thou thus? Are we then estranged from Him whilst we are here?' he in anticipation corrected [666] such a thought, saying, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Even here indeed we know Him, but not so clearly. As he says also elsewhere, (1 Cor. xiii. 12.) "in a mirror," and "darkly."

"We are of good courage, I say, and willing." Wonderful! to what hath he brought round the discourse? To an extreme desire of death, having shown the grievous to be pleasurable, and the pleasurable grievous. For by the term, "we are willing" he means, `we are desirous.' Of what are we desirous? Of being "absent from the body, and at home with the Lord." And thus he does perpetually, (as I showed also before) turning round the objection of his opponents unto the very contrary.

Ver. 9. "Wherefore also we make it our aim whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing unto him."

`For what we seek for is this,' saith he, `whether we be there or here, to live according to His will; for this is the principal thing. So that by this thou hast the kingdom already in possession without a probation.' For lest when they had arrived at so great a desire of being there, they should again be disquieted at its being so long first, in this he gives them already the chief [667] of those good things. And what is this? To be well "pleasing." For as to depart is not absolutely good, but to do so in [God's] favor, which is what makes departing also become a good; so to remain here is not absolutely grievous, but to remain offending Him. Deem not then that departure from the body is enough; for virtue is always necessary. For as when he spoke of a Resurrection, he allowed [them] not by it alone to be of good courage, saying, "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked;" so also having showed a departure, lest thou shouldest think that this is enough to save thee, he added that it is needful that we be well pleasing.

[5.] Seeing then he has persuaded them by many good things, henceforth he alarms them also by those of gloomier aspect [668] . For our interest consists both in the attainment of the good things and the avoidance of the evil things, in other words, hell and the kingdom. But since this, the avoiding of punishment, is the more forcible motive; for where penalty reaches only to the not receiving good things, the most will bear this contentedly; but if it also extend to the suffering of evil, do so no longer: (for they ought, indeed, to consider the former intolerable, but from the weakness and grovelling nature of the many, the latter appears to them more hard to bear:) since then (I say) the giving of the good things doth not so arouse the general hearer as the threat of the punishments, he is obliged to conclude with this, saying,

Ver. 10. "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat."

Then having alarmed and shaken [669] the hearer by the mention of that judgment-seat, he hath not even here set down the woful without the good things, but hath mingled something of pleasure, saying,

"That each one may receive the things done in the body," as many [670] as "he hath done, whether" it be "good or bad."

By saying these words, he both reviveth [671] those who have done virtuously and are persecuted with those hopes, and maketh those who have fallen back more earnest by that fear. And he thus confirmed his words touching the resurrection of the body. `For surely,' sayeth he, `that which hath ministered to the one and to the other shall not stand excluded from the recompenses: but along with the soul shall in the one case be punished, in the other crowned.' But some of the heretics say, that it is another body that is raised. How so? tell me. Did one sin, and is another punished? Did one do virtuously, and is another crowned? And what will ye answer to Paul, saying, "We would not be unclothed, but clothed upon?" And how is that which is mortal "swallowed up of life?" For he said not, that the mortal or corruptible body should be swallowed up of the incorruptible body; but that corruption [should be swallowed up] "of life." For then this happeneth when the same body is raised; but if, giving up that body, He should prepare another, no longer is corruption swallowed up but continueth dominant. Therefore this is not so; but "this corruptible," that is to say the body, "must put on incorruption." For the body is in a middle state [672] , being at present in this and hereafter to be in that; and for this reason in this first, because it is impossible for the incorruption to be dissolved. "For neither doth corruption inherit incorruption," saith he, (for, how is it [then] incorruption?) but on the contrary, "corruption is swallowed up of life:" for this indeed survives the other, but not the other this. For as wax is melted by fire but itself doth not melt the fire: so also doth corruption melt and vanish away under incorruption, but is never able itself to get the better of incorruption.

[6.] Let us then hear the voice of Paul, saying, that "we must stand at the judgment-seat of Christ;" and let us picture to ourselves that court of justice, and imagine it to be present now and the reckoning to be required [673] . For I will speak of it more at large. For Paul, seeing that he was discoursing on affliction, and he had no mind to afflict them again, did not dwell on the subject; but having in brief expressed its austerity [674] , "Each one shall receive according to what he hath done," he quickly passed on. Let us then imagine it to be present now, and reckon each one of us with his own conscience, and account the Judge to be already present, and everything to be revealed and brought forth. For we must not merely stand, but also be manifested. Do ye not blush? Are ye not astonied? But if now, when the reality is not yet present, but is granted in supposition merely and imaged in thought; if now [I say] we perish conscience-struck; what shall we do when [it] shall arrive, when the whole world shall be present, when angels and archangels, when ranks upon ranks, and all hurrying at once, and some caught up [675] on the clouds, and an array full of trembling; when there shall be the trumpets, one upon another, [when] those unceasing voices?

For suppose there were no hell, yet in the midst of so great brightness to be rejected and to go away dishonored;--how great the punishment! For if even now, when the Emperor rideth in and his train with him, we contemplating each one of us our own poverty, derive not so much pleasure from the spectacle, as we endure dejection at having no share in what is going on about the Emperor, nor being near the Sovereign; what will it be then? Or thinkest thou it is a light punishment, not to be ranked in that company, not to be counted worthy of that unutterable glory, from that assemblage and those untold good things, to be cast forth some-wither far and distant? But when there is also darkness, and gnashing of teeth, and chains indissoluble, and an undying worm, and fire unquenchable, and affliction, and straitness, and tongues scorching like the rich man's; and we wail, and none heareth; and we groan and gnash our teeth for anguish, and none regardeth; and we look all round, and no where is there any to comfort us; where shall we rank those that are in this condition? what is there more miserable than are those souls? what more pitiable? For if, when we enter a prison and see its inmates, some squalid, some chained and famishing, some again shut up in darkness, we are moved with compassion, we shudder, we use all diligence that we may never be cast into that place; how will it be with us, when we are led and dragged away into the torture-dungeons [676] themselves of hell? For not of iron are those chains, but of fire that is never quenched; nor are they that are set over us our fellows whom it is often possible even to mollify; but angels whom one may not so much as look in the face, exceedingly enraged at our insults to their Master. Nor is it given, as here, to see some bringing in money, some food, some words of comfort, and to meet with consolation; but all is irremissible there: and though it should be Noah, or Job, or Daniel, and he should see his own kindred punished, he dares not succor. For even natural sympathy too comes then to be done away. For since it happeneth that there are righteous fathers of wicked children, and [righteous] children of [wicked] fathers; that so their pleasure may be unalloyed, and those who enjoy the good things may not be moved with sorrow through the constraining force of sympathy, even this sympathy, I affirm, is extinguished, and themselves are indignant together with the Master against their own bowels. For if the common run of men, when they see their own children vicious, disown [677] and cut them off from that relationship; much rather will the righteous then. Therefore let no one hope for good things, if he have not wrought any good thing, even though he have ten thousand righteous ancestors. "For each one shall receive the things done in the body according to what he hath done." Here he seems to me to be alluding also to them that commit fornication: and to raise up as a wall [678] unto them the fear of that world, not however to them alone; but also to all that in any wise transgress.

[7.] Let us hear then, us also. And if thou have the fire of lust, set against it that other fire, and this will presently be quenched and gone. And if thou purposest to utter some harsh sounding [679] [speech], think of the gnashing of teeth, and the fear will be a bridle to thee. And if thou purposest to plunder, hear the Judge commanding, and saying, "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness," (Matt. xxii. 13.) and thou wilt cast out this lust also. And if thou art drunken, and surfeitest continually, hear the rich man saying, `Send Lazarus, that with the tip of his finger he may cool this scorching tongue;' (Luke xvi. 24.) yet not obtaining this; and thou wilt hold thyself aloof from that distemper [680] . But if thou lovest luxury, think of the affliction and the straitness there, and thou wilt not think at all of this. If again thou art harsh and cruel, bethink thee of those virgins who when their lamps had gone out missed so of the bridal chamber, and thou wilt quickly become humane. Or sluggish art thou, and remiss? Consider him that hid the talent, and thou wilt be more vehement than fire. Or doth desire of thy neighbor's substance devour thee? Think of the worm that dieth not, and thou wilt easily both put away from thee this disease, and in all other things wilt do virtuously. For He hath enjoined nothing irksome or oppressive. Whence then do His injunctions appear irksome to us? From our own slothfulness. For as if we labor diligently, even what appears intolerable will be light and easy; so if we are slothful, even things tolerable will seem to us difficult. [681]

Considering then all these things, let us think not of the luxurious, but what is their end; here indeed filth and obesity, there the worm and fire: not of the rapacious, but what is their end; cares here, and fears, and anxieties; there chains indissoluble: not of the lovers of glory, but what these things bring forth; here slavery and dissemblings, and there both loss intolerable and perpetual burnings. For if we thus discourse with ourselves, and if with these and such like things we charm perpetually our evil lusts, quickly shall we both cast out the love of the present things, and kindle that of the things to come. Let us therefore kindle it and make it blaze. For if the conception of them, although a faint sort of one, affords so great pleasure; think how great the gladness, the manifest experience itself shall bring us. Blessed, and thrice blessed, yea, thrice blessed many times, are they who enjoy those good things; just as, consequently, pitiable and thrice wretched are they Who endure the opposite of these. That then we may be not of these but those, let us choose virtue. For so shall we attain unto the good things to come as well; which may all we attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; by Whom, and with Whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, and honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[652] epagesthai. [653] lexin. [654] gumnazei. [655] [In this view that the building from God is the resurrection body, Chrysostom has the support of nearly all the recent expositors--Hodge indeed contends stoutly and ably that the house not made with hands is heaven itself, yet not with success. For if the earthly house is a body, the heavenly house must be one also, else the comparison fails much in force and point; moreover, a body which is said to be now in heaven and afterwards to come from heaven can hardly be identical with heaven. C.] [656] pros antidiastolen antetheken. [657] to katholikon. [658] ekdusamenoi. This doubtless was what St. Chrysostom wrote, as appears from what follows; but the mss. all agree in reading endusamenoi, as the Rec. text of the N.T. reads in the Epistle. [659] "Being burdened," Rec. text, which St. Chrysostom omits. [660] hallou kai hallou. [661] patheton. [662] hopheileten tou pantos. [663] [The argument of these verses is thus presented by Beet, in lo. "By Christians now death is looked upon without terrible recoil, as being the only entrance into Life. We bow to the inevitable. But in the early Christians the possibility of surviving the coming of Christ woke up with new intensity man's natural love of life, and made death seem very dark. They therefore longed eagerly for Christ's return, hoping thus to clothe themselves with immortal raiment without laying aside their mortal bodies. This yearning for an immortal body, Paul felt to be divinely implanted, and therefore not doomed to disappointment. But the possibility of death was to Paul too real to be ignored. Therefore, in view of it, his yearning for an immortal body assured him that if his present body be removed by death a heavenly body awaits him. For otherwise, he will stand before Christ as a naked spirit, in utter contradiction to yearnings which he felt to be divine and of whose realization he had a divine pledge. In other words his instinctive clinging to his present body was to him a divine intimation that when Christ comes we shall not be naked spirits, but spirits clothed in bodies; and was therefore a proof that if our present body be removed by death a heavenly and eternal body awaits us. Thus a purely human instinct, not weakened but intensified by Christianity, and sanctified by the felt presence of the Holy Spirit, is seen to be a prophecy of God's purpose concerning us. Similar argument in Romans viii. 23." C] [664] ta sphodra potheina. [665] alue. [666] prodiorthose. [667] to kephalaion. [668] skuthropoteron. [669] kataseisas. [670] So Chrysostom here, but below with the Received text, "according to that," &c. [671] anista. [672] meson. [673] euthunas apaiteisthai. [674] to stuphon. [675] harpagai. [676] basanisteria. [677] apokeruttousin. [678] epiteichizon. [679] apeches. [680] pathous. [681] [Chrysostom appears distinctly to accept the common faith of the church that the things done in the body (literally, "through the body," as the channel by which purposes pass into actions) furnish the basis upon which the last assize proceeds. He makes no reference to any post mortem probation, but (on pages 331, 332) asserts the contrary, "Here the opportunities of salvation exist, but there are found no longer." Nor is his view of the retributions of the judgment inconsistent with his repeated assertions of salvation as wholly gratuitous. Entrance into eternal life is God's free gift to all who believe. But the degree of glory will be measured by the faithfulness of service, just as the degree of the punishment of the lost will be by the number and aggravation of their sins. Hence it follows that although the salvation of any is due to God's undeserved favor, still each one that stands at the bar will receive an exact recompense for his entire conduct in the days of his flesh. "A remembrance of this exact recompense," it has well been said, "will make us comparatively indifferent about life or death, and emulous so to act as to please our Judge." C.]


Homily XI.

2 Cor. v. 11

Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men but we are made manifest unto God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

Knowing therefore, he says, these things, that terrible seat of judgment, we do every thing so as not to give you a handle nor offence, nor any false suspicion of evil practice against us. Seest thou the strictness of life, and zeal of a watchful soul? `For we are not only open to accusation,' he saith `if we commit any evil deed; but even if we do not commit, yet are suspected, and having it in our power to repel the suspicion, brave it, we are punished.`

Ver. 12. "We are not again commending ourselves unto you, but speak as giving you occasion of glorying in our behalf."

See how he is continually obviating the suspicion of appearing to praise himself. For nothing is so offensive to the hearers as for any one to say great and marvellous things about himself. Since then he was compelled in what he said to fall upon that subject, he uses a corrective, saying, `we do this for your sakes, not for ours, that ye may have somewhat to glory of, not that we may.' And not even this absolutely, but because of the false Apostles. Wherefore also he added, "To answer them that glory in appearance, and not in heart." Seest thou how he hath detached them from them, and drawn them to himself; having shown that even the Corinthians themselves are longing to get hold of some occasion, whereby they may have it in their power to speak on their [682] behalf and to defend them unto their accusers. For, says he, `we say these things not that we may boast, but that ye may have wherein to speak freely on our behalf;' which is the language of one testifying to their great love: `and not that ye may boast merely: but that ye may not be drawn aside.' But this he does not say explicitly, but manages his words otherwise and in a gentler form, and without dealing them a blow, saying,

"That ye may have somewhat to glory towards those which glory in appearance." But neither this does he bid them do absolutely, when no cause exists, but when they [683] extol themselves; for in all things he looks out for the fitting occasion. He does not then do this in order to show himself to be illustrious, but to stop those men who were using the thing [684] improperly and to the injury of these. But what is "in appearance?" In what is seen, in what is for display. For of such sort were they, doing every thing out of a love of honor, whilst they were both empty inwardly and wore indeed an appearance of piety and of venerable seeming, but of good works were destitute.

[2.] Ver. 13. "For whether we are beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we are of sober mind, it is unto you."

And if, saith he, we have uttered any great thing, (for this is what he here calls being beside himself, as therefore in other places also he calls it folly;-- 2 Cor. xi. 1, 17, 21.) for God's sake we do this, lest ye thinking us to be worthless should despise us and perish; or if again any modest and lowly thing, it is for your sakes that ye may learn to be lowly-minded. Or else, again, he means this. If any one thinks us to be mad, we seek for our reward from God, for Whose sake we are of this suspected; but if he thinks us sober, let him reap the advantage of our soberness. And again, in another way. Does any one say we are mad? For God's sake are we in such sort mad. Wherefore also he subjoins;

Ver. 14. "For the love of God [685] constraineth us, because we thus judge."

`For not the fear of things to come only,' he saith, `but also those which have already happened allow us not to be slothful nor to slumber; but stir us up and impel us to these our labors on your behalf.' And what are those things which have already happened?

"That if one died for all, then all died." `Surely then it was because all were lost,' saith he. For except all were dead, He had not died for all [686] . For here the opportunities [687] of salvation exist; but there are found no longer. Therefore, he says, "The love of God constraineth us," and allows us not to be at rest. For it cometh of extreme wretchedness and is worse than hell itself, that when He hath set forth an act so mighty, any should be found after so great an instance of His provident care reaping no benefit. For great was the excess of that love, both to die for a world of such extent [688] , and dying for it when in such a state.

Ver. 15. "That they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again."

If therefore we ought not to live unto ourselves, `be not troubled,' says he, `nor be confounded when dangers and deaths assail you.' And he assigns besides an indubitable argument by which he shows that the thing is a debt. For if through Him we live who were dead; to Him we ought to live through Whom we live. And what is said appears indeed to be one thing, but if any one accurately examine it, it is two: one that we live by Him, another that He died for us: either of which even by itself is enough to make us liable; but when even both are united consider how great the debt is. Yea, rather, there are three things here. For the First-fruits also for thy sake He raised up, and led up to heaven: wherefore also he added, "Who for our sakes died and rose again."

[3.] Ver. 16. "Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh."

For if all died and all rose again; and in such sort died as the tyranny of sin condemned them; but rose again "through the laver of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus iii. 5.) he saith with reason, "we know none" of the faithful "after the flesh." For what if even they be in the flesh? Yet is that fleshly life destroyed, and we are born again [689] by the Spirit, and have learnt another deportment and rule and life and condition [690] , that, namely, in the heavens. And again of this itself he shows Christ to be the Author. Wherefore also he added,

"Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more."

What then? tell me. Did He put away the flesh, and is He now not with that body? Away with the thought, for He is even now clothed in flesh; for "this Jesus Who is taken up from you into Heaven shall so come. So? How? In flesh, with His body. How then doth he say, "Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth no more?" (Acts i. 11.) For in us indeed "after the flesh" is being in sins, and "not after the flesh" not being in sins; but in Christ, "after the flesh" is His being subject to the affections of nature, such as to thirst, to hunger, to weariness, to sleep. For "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." (1 Pet. ii. 22.) Wherefore He also said, "Which of you convicteth Me of sin?" (John viii. 46.) and again, "The prince of this world cometh, and he hath nothing in Me." (ib. xiv. 30.) And "not after the flesh" is being thenceforward freed even from these things, not the being without flesh. For with this also He cometh to judge the world, His being impassible and pure. Whereunto we also shall advance when "our body" hath been "fashioned like unto His glorious body." (Philip. iii. 21.)

[4.] Ver. 17. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature."

For seeing he had exhorted unto virtue from His love, he now leads them on to this from what has been actually done for them; wherefore also he added, "If any man is in Christ," he is "a new creature." "If any," saith he, "have believed in Him, he has come to another creation, for he hath been born again by the Spirit." So that for this cause also, he says, we ought to live unto Him, not because we are not our own only, nor because He died for us only, nor because He raised up our First-fruits only, but because we have also come unto another life. See how many just grounds he urges for a life of virtue. For on this account he also calls the reformation by a grosser name [691] , in order to show the transition and the change to be great. Then following out farther what he had said, and showing how it is "a new creation," he adds, "The old things are passed away, behold, all things are [692] become new."

What old things? He means either sins and impieties, or else all the Judaical observances. Yea rather, he means both the one and the other. "Behold, all things are become new."

Ver. 18. "But all things are of God."

Nothing of ourselves. For remission of sins and adoption and unspeakable glory are given to us by Him. For he exhorts them no longer from the things to come only, but even from those now present. For consider. He said, that we shall be raised again, and go on unto incorruption, and have an eternal house; but since present things have more force to persuade than things to come, with those who believe not in these as they ought to believe, he shows how great things they have even already received, and being themselves what. What then being, received they them? Dead all; (for he saith, "all died;" and, "He died for all;" so loved He all alike;) inveterate all, and grown old in their vices. But behold, both a new soul, (for it was cleansed,) and a new body, and a new worship, and promises new, and covenant, and life, and table, and dress, and all things new absolutely [693] . For instead of the Jerusalem below we have received that mother city which is above (Gal. iv. 26.); and instead of a material temple have seen a spiritual temple; instead of tables of stone, fleshy ones; instead of circumcision, baptism; instead of the manna, the Lord's body; instead of water from a rock, blood from His side; instead of Moses' or Aaron's rod, the Cross; instead of the promised [land] [694] , the kingdom of heaven; instead of a thousand priests, One High Priest; instead of a lamb without reason [695] , a Spiritual Lamb. With these and such like things in his thought he said, "all things are new." But "all" these "things are of God," by Christ, and His free gift. Wherefore also he added,

"Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation."

For from Him are all the good things. For He that made us friends is Himself also the cause of the other things which God hath given to His friends. For He rendered not these things unto us, allowing us to continue enemies, but having made us friends unto Himself. But when I say that Christ is the cause of our reconciliation, I say the Father is so also: when I say that the Father gave, I say the Son gave also. "For all things were made by Him;" (John i. 3.) and of this too He is the Author. For we ran not unto Him, but He Himself called us. How called He us? By the sacrifice of Christ.

"And gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation."

Here again he sets forth the dignity of the Apostles; showing how great a thing was committed to their hands, and the surpassing greatness of the love of God. For even when they would not hear the Ambassador that came, He was not exasperated nor left them to themselves, but continueth to exhort them both in His own person and by others. Who can be fittingly amazed at this solicitude? The Son Who came to reconcile, His True and Only-Begotten, was slain, yet not even so did the Father turn away from His murderers; nor say, "I sent My Son as an Ambassador, but they not only would not hear Him, but even slew and crucified Him, it is meet henceforth to leave them to themselves:" but quite the contrary, when the Son departed, He entrusted the business to us; for he says, "gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation.

[5.] Ver. 19. "To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their tresspasses."

Seest thou love surpassing all expression, all conception? Who was the aggrieved one? Himself. Who first sought the reconciliation? Himself. `And yet,' saith one, `He sent the Son, He did not come Himself.' The Son indeed it was He sent; still not He alone besought, but both with Him and by Him the Father; wherefore he said, that, "God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Christ:" that is, by Christ [696] . For seeing he had said, "Who gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation;" he here used a corrective, saying, "Think not that we act of our own authority [697] in the business: we are ministers; and He that doeth the whole is God, Who reconciled the world by the Only-Begotten." And how did He reconcile it unto Himself? For this is the marvel, not that it was made a friend only, but also by this way a friend. This way? What way? Forgiving them their sins; for in no other way was it possible. Wherefore also he added, "Not reckoning unto them their tresspasses." For had it been His pleasure to require an account of the things we had transgressed in, we should all have perished; for "all died." But nevertheless though our sins were so great, He not only did not require satisfaction, but even became reconciled; He not only forgave, but He did not even "reckon." So ought we also to forgive our enemies, that ourselves too may obtain the like forgiveness.

"And having committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

For neither have we come now on any odious office; but to make all men friends with God. For He saith, `Since they were not persuaded by Me, do ye continue beseeching until ye have persuaded them.' Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 20. "We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God."

Seest thou how he has extolled the thing by introducing Christ thus in the form of a suppliant [698] ; yea rather not Christ only, but even the Father? For what he says is this: `The Father sent the Son to beseech, and to be His Ambassador unto mankind. When then He was slain and gone, we succeeded to the embassy; and in His stead and the Father's we beseech you. So greatly doth He prize mankind that He gave up even the Son, and that knowing He would be slain, and made us Apostles for your sakes; so that he said with reason, "All things are for your sakes." (2 Cor. iv. 15.) "We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ," that is, instead of Christ; for we have succeeded to His functions.' But if this appears to thee a great thing, hear also what follows wherein he shows that they do this not in His stead only, but also in stead of the Father. For therefore he also added, "As though God were entreating by us." `For not by the Son Himself only doth He beseech, but also by us who have succeeded to the office of the Son. Think not therefore,' he says, `that by us you are entreated; Christ Himself, the Father Himself of Christ, beseeches you by us. What can come up to this excess [of goodness]? He was outraged who had conferred innumerable benefits; having been outraged, He not only exacted not justice, but even gave His son that we might be reconciled. They that received Him were not reconciled, but even slew Him. Again, He sent other ambassadors to beseech, and though these are sent, it is Himself that entreats. And what doth He entreat? "Be ye reconciled unto God." And he said not, `Reconcile God to yourselves;' for it is not He that beareth enmity, but ye; for God never beareth enmity. Urging moreover his cause, like an ambassador on his mission, [699] he says,

Ver. 21. "For Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our account."

`I say nothing of what has gone before, that ye have outraged Him, Him that had done you no wrong, Him that had done you good, that He exacted not justice, that He is first to beseech, though first outraged; let none of these things be set down at present. Ought ye not in justice to be reconciled for this one thing only that He hath done to you now?' And what hath He done? "Him that knew no sin He made to be sin, for you." For had He achieved nothing but done only this, think how great a thing it were to give His Son for those that had outraged Him. But now He hath both well achieved mighty things, and besides, hath suffered Him that did no wrong to be punished for those who had done wrong. But he did not say this: but mentioned that which is far greater than this. What then is this? "Him that knew no sin," he says, Him that was righteousness itself [700] , "He made sin," that is suffered as a sinner to be condemned, as one cursed to die. "For cursed is he that hangeth on a tree." (Gal. iii. 13.) For to die thus was far greater than to die; and this he also elsewhere implying, saith, "Becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross." (Philip. ii. 8.) For this thing carried with it not only punishment, but also disgrace. Reflect therefore how great things He bestowed on thee. For a great thing indeed it were for even a sinner to die for any one whatever; but when He who undergoes this both is righteous and dieth for sinners; and not dieth only, but even as one cursed; and not as cursed [dieth] only, but thereby freely bestoweth upon us those great goods which we never looked for; (for he says, that "we might become the righteousness of God in Him;") what words, what thought shall be adequate to realize these things? `For the righteous,' saith he, `He made a sinner; that He might make the sinners righteous.' Yea rather, he said not even so, but what was greater far; for the word he employed is not the habit, but the quality itself. For he said not "made" [Him] a sinner, but "sin;" not, `Him that had not sinned' only, but "that had not even known sin; that we" also "might become," he did not say `righteous,' but, "righteousness," and, "the righteousness of God." For this is [the righteousness] "of God" when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is "the righteousness of God."

[6.] Reflecting then on these things, let us fear these words more than hell; let us reverence the things [they express] more than the kingdom, and let us not deem it grievous to be punished, but to sin. For were He not to punish us, we ought to take vengeance on ourselves, who have been so ungrateful towards our Benefactor. Now he that hath an object of affection, hath often even slain himself, when unsuccessful in his love; and though successful, if he hath been guilty of a fault towards her, counts it not fit that he should even live; and shall not we, when we outrage One so loving and gentle, cast ourselves into the fire of hell? Shall I say something strange, and marvellous, and to many perhaps incredible? To one who hath understanding and loveth the Lord as it behoveth to love Him, there will be greater comfort if punished after provoking One so loving, than if not punished. And this one may see by the common practice. For he that has wronged his dearest friend feels then the greatest relief, when he has wreaked vengeance on himself and suffered evil. And accordingly David said, "I the shepherd have sinned, and I the shepherd have done amiss; and these the flock, what have they done? Let Thy hand be upon me, and upon my father's house." (2 Sam. xxiv. 17. LXX.) And when he lost Absalom he wreaked the extremest vengeance upon himself, although he was not the injurer but the injured; but nevertheless, because he loved the departed exceedingly, he racked himself with anguish, in this manner comforting himself. Let us therefore also, when we sin against Him Whom we ought not to sin against, take vengeance on ourselves. See you not those who have lost true-born children, that they therefore both beat themselves and tear their hair, because to punish themselves for the sake of those they loved carries comfort with it. But if, when we have caused no harm to those dearest to us, to suffer because of what hath befallen them brings consolation; when we ourselves are the persons who have given provocation and wrong, will it not much rather be a relief to us to suffer the penalty and will not the being unpunished punish? Every one in a manner will see this. If any love Christ as it behoveth to love Him, he knoweth what I say; how, even when He forgiveth, he will not endure to go unpunished; for thou undergoest the severest punishment in having provoked Him. And I know indeed that I am speaking what will not be believed by the many; but nevertheless it is so as I have said. If then we love Christ as it behoveth to love Him, we shall punish ourselves when we sin. For to those who love any whomsover, not the suffering somewhat because they have provoked the beloved one is unpleasing; but above all, that they have provoked the person loved. And if this last when angered doth not punish, he hath tortured his lover more; but if he exacts satisfaction, he hath comforted him rather. Let us therefore not fear hell, but offending God; for it is more grievous than that when He turns away in wrath: this is worse than all, this heavier than all. And that thou mayest learn what a thing it is, consider this which I say. If one that was himself a king, beholding a robber and malefactor under punishment, gave his well-beloved son, his only-begotten and true, to be slain; and transferred the death and the guilt as well, from him to his son, (who was himself of no such character,) that he might both save the condemned man and clear him from his evil reputation [701] ; and then if, having subsequently promoted him to great dignity, he had yet, after thus saving him and advancing him to that glory unspeakable, been outraged by the person that had received such treatment: would not that man, if he had any sense, have chosen ten thousand deaths rather than appear guilty of so great ingratitude? This then let us also now consider with ourselves, and groan bitterly for the provocations we have offered our Benefactor; nor let us therefore presume, because though outraged He bears it with long-suffering; but rather for this very reason be full of remorse [702] . For amongst men too, when one that hath been smitten on the right cheek offers the left also, he more avengeth himself than if he gave ten thousand blows; and when one that hath been reviled, not only revileth not again but even blesseth, he hath stricken [his adversary] more heavily, than if he rained upon him ten thousand reproaches. Now if in the case of men we feel ashamed when offering insults we meet with long-suffering; much rather, in respect to God, ought they to be afraid who go on continually sinning yet suffer no calamity. For, even for evil unto their own heads is the unspeakable punishment treasured up for them. These things then bearing in mind, let us above all things be afraid of sin; for this is punishment, this is hell, this is ten thousand ills. And let us not only be afraid of, but also flee from it, and strive to please God continually; for this is the kingdom, this is life, this is ten thousand goods. So shall we also even here obtain already the kingdom and the good things to come; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[682] The Apostles'. [683] The false Apostles. [684] i.e., self commendation. [685] Rec. text, Christ, [which is certainly correct.] [686] [Chrysostom seems to understand this clause in the way given in the Auth. Vers., but all modern critics take the aorist strictly and hold the meaning to be, not that all were previously dead, but that all died in his death (Rom. vi. 8.). Christ's death was the death of all his people. C.] [687] aphormai. [688] tosautes. [689] anothen. [690] katastasin. [691] i.e. creation. [692] ["They are" Rev. Ver., in accordance with the best authorities. C.] [693] haplos. [694] Literally "the promise." Elsewhere St. Chrysostom uses the expression for the promised land. See Hom. xxxix. on St. Matt. Oxf. Trans. p. 563. "We must not only be delivered out of Egypt, but we must also enter into the promise." [695] alogou. [696] [It is clear that Chrysostom did not favor the view given in the A.V., which connects the substantive verb with the phrase "in Christ," and separates it from the participle. He rather agrees with the Rev. Version which obliterates the comma after Christ, and makes the emphasis to lie on the reconciliation effected in or through Christ, and not on the fact that God was in Christ,--a proposition true enough in itself, but not before the Apostle's mind at this time. C.] [697] hauthentai. [698] tithenta ten hiketerian tauten. [699] dikaiologoumenos. [700] autodikaiosunen. [701] [The comparison here made shows clearly how the author understood the closing words of the fifth chapter of the Epistle. Indeed his treatment of the weighty 21st verse is very satisfactory. He does not with Augustin and others take amartian in the sense of a sin-offering, a sense which it is very doubtful if the word ever has, and one that here would be inconsistent with the use of the same word in the clause immediately preceding as well as with the evidently designed antithesis between "sin" and "righteousness." But he regards the abstract as used for the concrete, which is certainly the true view. The phrase is, as Beet says, "practically the same as, but stronger than, made to be a sinner. By laying upon Christ the punishment of our sin, God made him to be a visible embodiment of the deadly and far-reaching power of sin." But Chrysostom shows by his comments his acceptance not only of the vicarious atonement, but also of the gratuitous justification, as set forth concisely yet distinctly in this pregnant utterance. There are passages in these and other Homilies which look as if the author held to justification by works, but here he is outspoken to the contrary. Justification comes by grace, not merit, and the righteousness required is the free gift of God. C.] [702] daknometha.


Homily XII.

2 Cor. vi. 1, 2

And working together with Him we intreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee. And in a day of salvation did I succor thee.

For since he said, God beseeches, and we are ambassadors and suppliants unto you, that ye be "reconciled unto God:" lest they should become supine, he hereby again alarms and arouses them, saying: "We intreat that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." `For let us not,' he says, `therefore be at ease, because He beseeches and hath sent some to be ambassadors; nay, but for this very reason let us make haste to please God and to collect spiritual merchandise;' as also he said above, "The love of God constraineth us," (ch. v. 14.) that is presseth, driveth, urgeth us, `that ye may not after so much affectionate care, by being supine and exhibiting no nobleness, miss of such great blessings. Do not therefore because He hath sent some to exhort you, deem that this will always be so. It will be so until His second coming; until then He beseeches, so long as we are here; but after that is judgment and punishment.' Therefore, he says, "we are constrained."

For not only from the greatness of the blessings and His loving kindness, but also from the shortness of the time he urgeth them continually. Wherefore he saith also elsewhere, "For now is our salvation nearer." (Rom. xiii. 11.) And again; "The Lord is at hand." (Philip. iv. 5.) But here he does something yet more. For not from the fact that the remainder of the time is short and little, but also from its being the only season available, for salvation, he incited them.

For, "Behold," he saith, "now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Let us therefore not let slip the favorable opportunity but display a zeal worthy of the grace. For therefore is it that we also press forward, knowing both the shortness and the suitableness of the time. Wherefore also he said; "And working together we intreat also. Working together" with you; `for we work together with you, rather than with God for Whom we are ambassadors. For He is in need of nothing, but the salvation all passeth over to you.' But if it is even with God that he speaks of working together, he repudiates not even this [interpretation]; for he says in another place, "we are God's fellow-workers:" (1 Cor. iii. 9.) in this way, saith he, to save men. Again, "We entreat also." For he indeed, when beseeching, doth not barely beseech, but sets forth these His just claims; namely, that He gave His Son, the Righteous One that did not so much as know sin, and made Him to be sin for us sinners, that we might become righteous: which claims having, and being God, He displayed such goodness. But what we beseech is that ye would receive the benefit and not reject the gift. Be persuaded therefore by us, and "receive not the grace in vain." For lest they should think that this of itself is "reconciliation," believing on Him that calleth; he adds these words, requiting that earnestness which respects the life. For, for one who hath been freed from sins and made a friend to wallow in the former things, is to return again unto enmity, and to "receive the grace in vain," in respect of the life. For from "the grace" we reap no benefit towards salvation, if we live impurely; nay, we are even harmed, having this greater aggravation even of our sins, in that after such knowledge and such a gift we have gone back to our former vices. This however he does not mention as yet: that he may not make his work harsh, but says only that we reap no benefit. Then he also reminds of a prophecy, urging and compelling them to bestir themselves in order to lay hold of their own salvation.

"For," saith he, "He saith,

"At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee,

"And in a day of salvation did I succor thee:

"behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation."

"The acceptable time." What is this? That of the Gift, that of the Grace, when it is appointed not that an account should be required of our sins nor penalty exacted; but besides being delivered, that we should also enjoy ten thousand goods, righteousness, sanctification, and all the rest. For how much toil would it have behoved us to undergo in order to obtain this "time!" But, behold, without our toiling at all it hath come, bringing remission of all that was before. Wherefore also He calls it "acceptable," because He both accepted those that had transgressed in ten thousand things, and not acceded merely, but advanced them to the highest honor; just as when a monarch arrives, it is a time not for judgment, but for grace and pardon. Wherefore also He calleth it acceptable. Whilst then we are yet in the lists [703] , whilst we are at work in the vineyard, whilst the eleventh hour is left [us], let us draw nigh and show forth life; for it is also easy. For he that striveth for the mastery [704] at such a time, when so great a gift hath been shed forth, when so great grace, will early obtain the prizes. For in the case of monarchs here below also, at the time of their festivals, and when they appear in the dress of Consuls, he who bringeth a small offering receiveth large gifts; but on the days in which they sit in judgment, much strictness, much sifting is requisite. Let us too therefore strive for the mastery in the time of this gift. It is a day of grace, of grace divine; wherefore with ease even we shall obtain the crown. For if when laden with so great evils He both received and delivered us: when delivered from all and contributing our part, shall He not rather accept us?

[2.] Then, as it is his constant wont, namely, to place himself before them and bid them hence to take their example, so he does in this place also. Wherefore also he addeth,

Ver. 3. "Giving no occasion of stumbling, that our ministration [705] be not blamed," persuading them not from considering "the time" only, but also those that had successfully labored with them. And behold with what absence of pride [706] . For he said not, `Look at us how we are such and such,' but, for the present, it is only to do away accusation that he relates his own conduct. And he mentions two chief points of a blameless life, "none" in "any" thing. And he said not `accusation,' but, what was far less, "occasion of stumbling;" that is, giving ground against us to none for censure, for condemnation, "that our ministration be not blamed;" that is, that none may take hold of it. And again, he said not, `that it be not accused,' but that it may not have the least fault, nor any one have it in his power to animadvert upon it in any particular.

Ver. 4. "But in every thing commending ourselves as ministers of God."

This is far greater. For it is not the same thing to be free from accusation; and to exhibit such a character as in everything to appear "ministers of God." For neither is it the same thing to be quit of accusation, and to be covered [707] with praises. And he said not appearing, but "commending," that is `proving.' Then he mentions also whence they became such. Whence then was it? "In much patience," he says, laying the foundation of those good things. Wherefore he said not barely "patience," but "much," and he shows also how great it was. For to bear some one or two things is no great matter. But he addeth even snow storms of trials in the words, "In afflictions, in necessities." This is a heightening of affliction, when the evils are unavoidable, and there lies upon one as it were a necessity hardly extricable [708] of misfortune. "In distresses." Either he means those of hunger and of other necessaries, or else simply those of their trials.

Ver. 5. "In stripes, in imprisonments, in tossings to and fro [709] ."

Yet every one of these by itself was intolerable, the being scourged only, and being bound only, and being unable through persecution to remain fixed [710] any where, (for this is in `tossings to and fro,') but when both all, and all at once, assail, consider what a soul they need. Then along with the things from without, he mentions those imposed by himself.

Ver. 5, 6. "In labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness."

But by "pureness" here, he means either chasteness again, or general purity, or incorruptness, or even his preaching the Gospel freely.

"In knowledge." What is "in knowledge?" In wisdom such as is given from God; that which is truly knowledge; not as those that seem to be wise and boast of their acquaintance with the heathen discipline, but are deficient in this.

"In long-suffering, in kindness." For this also is a great note of a noble soul, though exasperated and goaded on every side, to bear all with long-suffering. Then to show whence he became such, he added;

"In the Holy Ghost." `For in Him,' he saith, `we do all these good works.' But observe when it is that he has mentioned the aid of the Holy Ghost. After he had set forth what was from himself. Moreover, he seems to me to say another thing herein. What then is this? Namely, `we have both been filled with abundance of the Spirit and hereby also give a proof of our Apostleship in that we have been counted worthy of spiritual gifts.' For if this be grace also, yet still he himself was the cause who by his good works and his toils [711] attracted that grace. And if any should assert that besides what has been said, he shows that in his use of the gifts of the Spirit also he gave none offence; he would not miss of his meaning. For they who received the [gift of] tongues amongst them and were lifted up, were blamed. For it is possible for one even in receiving a gift of the Spirit, not to use it aright. `But not so we,' he saith, `but in the Spirit also, that is, in the gifts also, we have been blameless.'

"In love unfeigned." This was the cause of all those good things; this made him what he was; this caused the Spirit also to abide with him, by Whose aid also all things were rightly done of him.

Ver. 7. "In the word of truth."

A thing he says in many places, that `we continued neither to handle the word of God deceitfully nor to adulterate it.'

"In the power of God." That which he always does ascribing nothing to himself but the whole to God, and imputing whatsoever he hath done aright to Him, this he hath done here also. For since he uttered great things, and affirmed that he had manifested in all things an irreproachable life and exalted wisdom, he ascribes this to the Spirit and to God. For neither were those commonplace things which he had said. For if it be a difficult thing even for one who lives in quiet to do aright and be irreproachable, consider him who was harassed by so great temptations, and yet shone forth through all, what a spirit he was of! And yet he underwent not these alone, but even far more than these, as he mentions next. And what is indeed marvelous is, not that he was irreproachable though sailing in such mighty waves, nor that he endured all nobly, but all with pleasure even. Which things, all, he makes clear to us by the next words, saying,

"By the armor of righteousness on the right and the left."

[3.] Seest thou his self-possession of soul and well-strung spirit? For he shows that afflictions are arms not only which strike not down, but do even fortify and make stronger. And he calls those things `left,' which seem to be painful; for such those are which bring with them the reward. Wherefore then doth he call them thus? Either in conformity with the conception of the generality, or because God commanded us to pray that we enter not into temptation.

Ver. 8. "By glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report."

What saying thou? That thou enjoyest honor, and setting down this as a great thing? `Yes,' he saith. Why, forsooth? For to bear dishonor indeed is a great thing, but to partake of honor requires not a vigorous [712] soul. Nay, it needs a vigorous and exceeding great soul, that he who enjoys it may not be thrown and break his neck [713] . Wherefore he glories in this as well as in that, for he shone equally in both. But how is it a weapon of righteousness? Because that the teachers are held in honor induceth many unto godliness. And besides, this is a proof of good works, and this glorifieth God. And this is, further, an instance of the wise contrivance of God, that by things which are opposite He brings in the Preaching. For consider. Was Paul bound? This too was on behalf of the Gospel. For, saith he, "the things which happened unto me have fallen out unto the progress of the Gospel; so that most of the brethren, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word without fear." (Philip. i. 12, 14.) Again, did he enjoy honor? This too again rendered them more forward. "By evil report and good report." For not only did he bear those things nobly which happen to the body, the `afflictions,' and whatever he enumerated, but those also which touch the soul; for neither are these wont to disturb slightly. Jeremiah at least having borne many temptations, gave in [714] upon these, and when he was reproached, said, "I will not prophesy, neither will I name the Name of the Lord. [715] " (Jer. xx. 9.) And David too many places complains of reproach. Isaiah also, after many things, exhorteth concerning this, saying, "Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye overcome by their reviling." (Is. li. 7. LXX.) And again, Christ also to His disciples; "When they shall speak all manner of evil against you falsely, rejoice and be exceeding glad," (Matt. v. 11, 12.) He saith, "for great is your reward in heaven." Elsewhere too He says," And leap for joy." (Luke vi. 23.) But He would not have made the reward so great, had not the contest been a great one. For in tortures the body also shareth the anguish with the soul; for the pain is both of the body and of the soul; but here it is of the soul alone. Many at any rate have fallen by these alone, and have lost their own souls. And to Job also the reproaches of his friends appeared more grievous than the worms and the sores. For there is nothing, there is nothing more intolerable to those in affliction than a word capable of stinging the soul. Wherefore along with the perils and the toils he names these also, saying, "By glory and dishonor." At any rate, many of the Jews also on account of glory derived from the many would not believe. For they feared, not lest they should be punished, but lest they should be put out of the synagogue. Wherefore He saith, "How can ye believe which receive glory one of another?" (John v. 44.) And we may see numbers who have indeed despised all dangers, but have been worsted by glory.

[4.] "As deceivers, and yet true."

This is, "by evil report and good report."

Ver. 9. "As unknown, and yet well known." This is, "by glory and dishonor." For by some they were well known and much sought after, whilst others designed not to know them at all.

"As dying, and behold, we live."

As under sentence of death and condemned; which was itself also matter of dishonor. But this he said, to show both the unspeakable power of God and their own patience. For so far as those who plotted against us were concerned, we died; and this is what all suppose; but by God's aid we escaped the dangers. Then to manifest also on what account God permits these things, he added, "As chastened, and not killed."

Showing that the gain accruing to them from their temptations, even before the rewards, was great, and that their enemies against their will did them service.

Ver. 10. "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing."

For by those that are without, indeed, we are suspected of being in despair; but we give no heed to them; yea, we have our pleasure at the full [716] . And he said not "rejoicing" only, but added also its perpetuity, for he says "alway rejoicing." What then can come up to this life? wherein, although dangers so great assault, the joy becometh greater.

"As poor, yet making many rich."

Some indeed affirm that the spiritual riches are spoken of here; but I would say that the carnal are so too; for they were rich in these also, having, after a new kind of manner, the houses of all opened to them. And this too he signified by what follows, saying,

"As having nothing, and yet possessing all things."

And how can this be? Yea rather, how can the opposite be? For he that possesseth many things hath nothing; and he that hath nothing possesseth the goods of all [717] . And not here only, but also in the other points, contraries were produced by their contraries. But if thou marvellest how it is possible for one that hath nothing to have all things, let us bring forth this man himself into the midst, who commanded the world and was lord not only of their substance, but of their very eyes even. "If possible," he says, "ye would have plucked out your eyes, and have given them to me." (Gal. iv. 15.)

Now these things he says, to instruct us not to be disturbed at the opinions of the many, though they call us deceivers, though they know us not, though they count us condemned [718] , and appointed unto death, to be in sorrow, to be in poverty, to have nothing, to be (us, who are in cheerfulness) desponding: because that the sun even is not clear to the blind, nor the pleasure of the sane intelligible [719] to the mad. For the faithful only are right judges of these matters, and are not pleased and pained at the same things as other people. For if any one who knew nothing of the games were to see a boxer, having wounds upon him and wearing a crown; he would think him in pain on account of the wounds, not understanding the pleasure the crown would give him. And these therefore, because they know what we suffer but do not know for what we suffer them, naturally suspect that there is nought besides these; for they see indeed the wrestling and the dangers, but not the prizes and the crowns and the subject [720] of the contest. What then were the "all things" which Paul possessed, when he said, "As having nothing, and yet possessing all things?" Things temporal [721] , things spiritual. For he whom the cities received as an angel, for whom they would have plucked out their own eyes and have given them to him, (Gal. iv. 14, 15.) he for whom they laid down their own necks, how had he not all things that were theirs? (Rom. xvi. 4.) But if thou desirest to see the spiritual also, thou wilt find him in these things also especially rich. For he that was so dear to the King of all as even to share in unspeakable things with the Lord of the angels, (ch. xii. 4.) how was not he more opulent than all men, and had all things? Devils had not else been so subject to him, suffering and disease had not so fled away [722] .

[5.] And let us therefore, when we suffer aught for Christ's sake, not merely bear it nobly but also rejoice. If we fast, let us leap for joy as if enjoying luxury; if we be insulted, let us dance as if praised; if we spend, let us feel as if gaining; if we bestow on the poor, let us count ourselves to receive: for he that gives not thus will not give readily. When then thou hast a mind to scatter abroad, look not at this only in almsgiving, but also in every kind of virtue, compute not alone the severity of the toils, but also the sweetness of the prizes; and before all the subjects of this wrestling, our Lord Jesus; and thou wilt readily enter upon the contest, and wilt live the whole time in pleasure. For nothing is wont so to cause pleasure as a good conscience.

Therefore Paul indeed, though wounded every day, rejoiced and exulted; but the men of this day, although they endure not a shadow even [723] of what he did, grieve and make lamentations from no other cause than that they have not a mind full of heavenly philosophy. For, tell me, wherefore the lamentation? Because thou art poor, and in want of necessaries? Surely for this thou oughtest rather to make lamentation, [not] [724] because thou weepest, not because thou art poor, but because thou art mean-spirited; not because thou hast not money, but because thou prizest money so highly. Paul died daily, yet wept not but even rejoiced; he fought with continual hunger, yet grieved not but even gloried in it. And dost thou, because thou hast not all the year's provisions stored up, grieve and beat thyself? `Yes,' he replies, `for he had to care only for his own needs, whilst I have besides to care for servants, and children, and wife.' Rather, he alone had not to care for his own needs, but for the whole world's. And thou indeed [hast to care] for one household, but he for those so many poor at Jerusalem, for those in Macedonia, for those everywhere in poverty, for those who give to them no less than for those who receive. For his care for the world was of a twofold nature, both that they might not be destitute of necessaries, and that they might be rich in spiritual things. And thy famishing children distress not thee so much as all the concerns of the faithful did him. Why do I say, of the faithful? For neither was he free from care for the unfaithful, but was so eaten up with it that he wished even to become accursed for their sakes; but thou, were a famine to rage ten thousand times over, wouldest never choose to die for any whomsoever. And thou indeed carest for one woman, but he for the Churches throughout the world. For he saith, "My anxiety for all the Churches." (ch. xi. 28.) How long then, O man, dost thou trifle, comparing thyself with Paul; and wilt not cease from this thy much meanness of spirit? For it behoveth to weep, not when we are in poverty but when we sin; for this is worthy of lamentations, as all the other things are of ridicule even. `But,' he saith, `this is not all that grieves me; but that also such an one is in power, whilst I am unhonored and outcast.' And what is this? for the blessed Paul too appeared to the many to be unhonored and an outcast. `But,' saith he, `he was Paul.' Plainly then not the nature of the things, but thy feebleness of spirit causeth thy desponding. Lament not therefore thy poverty, but thyself who art so minded, yea rather, lament not thyself, but reform thee; and seek not for money, but pursue that which maketh men of more cheerful countenance than thousands of money, philosophy and virtue. For where indeed these are, there is no harm in poverty; and where these are not there is no good in money. For tell me, what good is it when men are rich indeed, but have beggarly souls? Thou dost not bewail thyself, so much as that rich man himself, because he hath not the wealth of all. And if he doth not weep as thou dost, yet lay open his conscience, and thou wilt see his wailings and lamentations.

Wilt thou that I show thee thine own riches, that thou mayest cease to count them happy that are rich in money? Seest thou this heaven here, the sun, this bright and far shining star, and that gladdeneth our eyes, is not this too set out [725] common to all? and do not all enjoy it equally, both poor and rich? And the wreath of the stars and the orb of the moon, are they not left equally to all? Yea, rather, if I must speak somewhat marvellous, we poor enjoy these more than they. For they indeed being for the most part steeped in drunkenness, and passing their time in revellings and deep sleep, do not even perceive these things, being always under cover [726] and reared in the shade [727] : but the poor do more than any enjoy the luxury of these elements. And further, if thou wilt look into the air which is every where diffused, thou wilt see the poor man enjoying it in greater both freshness and abundance. For wayfarers and husbandmen enjoy these luxuries more than the inhabitants of the city; and again, of those same inhabitants of the city, the handicraftsmen more than those who are drunken all the day. What too of the earth, is not this left common to all? `No,' he saith. How sayest thou so? tell me. `Because the rich man, even in the city, having gotten himself several plethra, raises up long fences round them; and in the country cuts off for himself many portions.' What then? When he cuts them off, does he alone enjoy them? By no means, though he should contend for it ever so earnestly. For the produce he is compelled to distribute amongst all, and for thee he cultivates grain, and wine, and oil, and every where ministers unto thee. And those long fences and buildings, after his untold expense and his toils and drudgery he is preparing for thy use, receiving from thee only a small piece of silver for so great a service. And in baths and every where, one may see the same thing obtaining; the rich of it all with perfect ease. And his enjoyment of the earth is no more than thine; for sure he filleth not ten stomachs, and thou only one. `But he partaketh of costlier meats?' Truly, this is no mighty superiority; howbeit, even here, we shall find thee to have the advantage. For this costliness is therefore thought by thee a matter of envy because the pleasure with it is greater. Yet this is greater in the poor man's case; yet not pleasure only, but health also; and in this alone is the advantage with the rich, that he maketh his constitution feebler and collects more abundant fountains of disease. For the poor man's diet is all ordered according to nature, but his through its excess resulteth in corruption and disease.

[6.] But if ye will, let us also look at this same thing in an example. For if it were requisite to light a furnace, and then one man were to throw in silken garments and fine linens, many and numberless, and so kindle it; and another logs of oak and pine, what advantage would this man have over that? None, but even disadvantage. But what? (for there is nothing to prevent our turning the same illustration round after another manner,) if one were to throw in logs, and another were to light his fire under bodies, by which furnace wouldest thou like to stand, that with the logs, or that with the bodies? Very plainly that with the logs. For that burns naturally and is a pleasant spectacle to the beholders: whilst this with the steam, and juices, and smoke, and the stench of the bones would drive every one away. Didst thou shudder at the hearing, and loathe that furnace? Like it are the bellies of the rich. For in them one would find more rottenness than in that furnace, and stinking vapors, and filthy humors, because that, all over in every part, indigestion abounds in consequence of their surfeiting. For the natural heat not sufficing for the digestion of the whole but being smothered under them, they lie smoking above, and the unpleasantness produced is great. To what then should one compare those stomachs of theirs? Yet do not be offended at what I say, but if I do not say true things, refute me. To what then should one compare them? for even what has been said is not enough to show their wretched plight. I have found another resemblance yet. What then is it? As in the sewers where there is accumulation of refuse, of dung, hay, stubble, stones, clay, frequent stoppages occur; and then the stream of filth overflows at top: so also it happeneth with the stomachs of those people. For these being stopped up below, the greater part of these villainous streams spurts up above. But not so with the poor, but like those fountains which well forth pure streams, and water gardens and pleasure grounds [728] , so also are their stomachs pure from such-like superfluities. But not such are the stomachs of the rich, or rather of the luxurious; but they are filled with humors, phlegm, bile, corrupted blood, putrid rheums, and other suchlike matters. Wherefore no one, if he lives always in luxury, can bear it even for a short time; but his life will be spent in continual sicknesses. Wherefore I would gladly ask them, for what end are meats given? that we may be destroyed, or be nourished? that we may be diseased, or be strong? that we may be healthful, or be sickly? Very plainly, for nourishment, creating unto the body disease and sickness? But not so the poor man; on the contrary, by his plain diet he purchases to himself health, and vigor, and strength. Weep not then on account of poverty, the mother of health, but even exult in it; and if thou wouldest be rich, despise riches. For this, not the having money but the not wanting to have it, is truly affluence. If we can achieve this, we shall both be here more affluent than all that are rich, and there shall obtain the good things to come, whereunto may all we attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[703] en to skammati. [704] agonizomenos, as 1 Cor. ix. 25. [705] The ministry. [706] atuphos. [707] brueiu, `blossom.' [708] dusdiexodeutos. [709] akatastasiais, so translated in the margin of the Author. Version, which, it will be seen, agrees best with the comment of St. Chrysostom. [710] stenai. [711] Literally `sweats.' [712] neanikes. [713] ektrachelisthenai. [714] apegoreue. [715] So Chrys. not exactly agreeing either with the English Version or the LXX. [716] akmazousan. [717] ta panton Ben. ta panta. [718] katadikous. [719] dele. [720] upothesin, see below. [721] biotika. [722] edrapeteuse. [723] oude onar. [724] All the mss. have the word "not," but the sense seems to require its omission. [725] prokeitai.

[726] huporophioi. [727] skiatraphoumenoi. [728] paradeisous.


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