Writings of John Chrysostom. To the Galatians and Ephesians

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St. Chrysostom:

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

On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians and Ephesians

The Oxford Translation, revised with additional notes by Rev. Gross Alexander, D.D.,
Professor of New Testament Greek in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

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

Homily I.

Chapter I. Verses 1-2

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, [170] and the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Observe, he applies the word "through" to the Father. But what then? Shall we say that He is inferior? Surely not.

"To the saints," saith he, "which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus."

Observe that he calls saints, men with wives, and children, and domestics. For that these are they whom he calls by this name is plain from the end of the Epistle, as, when he says, "Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands." (Eph. v. 22.) And again, "Children, obey your parents:" (Eph. vi. 1.) and, "Servants, be obedient to your masters." (Eph. vi. 5.) Think how great is the indolence that possesses us now, how rare is any thing like virtue now and how great the abundance of virtuous men must have been then, when even secular men could be called "saints and faithful." "Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." "Grace" is his word; and he calls God, "Father," since this name is a sure token of that gift of grace. And how so? Hear what he saith elsewhere; "Because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Gal. iv. 6.)

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"And from the Lord Jesus Christ."

Because for us men Christ was born, and appeared in the flesh.

Ver. 3. "Blessed [171] be the God," he saith, "and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Observe; The God of Him that was Incarnate [172] . And though thou wilt not, The Father of God the Word.

Ver. 3. "Who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

He is here alluding to the blessings of the Jews [173] ; for that was blessing also, but it was not spiritual blessing. For how did it run? "The Lord bless thee, He will bless the fruit of thy body;" (Deut. vii. 13.) and "He will bless thy going out and thy coming in." (Deut. xxviii. 4.) But here it is not thus, but how? "With every spiritual blessing." And what lackest thou yet? Thou art made immortal, thou art made free, thou art made a son, thou art made righteous, thou art made a brother, thou art made a fellow-heir, thou reignest with Christ, thou art glorified with Christ; all things are freely given thee. "How," saith he, "shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. viii. 32.) Thy First-fruits is adored by Angels, by the Cherubim, by the Seraphim! What lackest thou yet? "With every spiritual blessing." There is nothing carnal here. Accordingly He excluded all those former blessings, when He said, "In the world ye have tribulation," (John xvi. 33.) to lead us on to these. For as they who possessed carnal things were unable to hear of spiritual things, so they who aim at spiritual things cannot attain to them unless they first stand aloof from carnal things.

What again is "spiritual blessing in the heavenly places?" It is not upon earth, he means, as was the case with the Jews. "Ye shall eat the good of the land." (Isa. i. 19.) "Unto a land flowing with milk and honey." (Ex. iii. 8.) "The Lord shall bless thy land." (Deut. vii. 13.) Here we have nothing of this sort, but what have we? "If a man love Me, he will keep My word, and I and My Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John xiv. 23.) "Every one therefore which heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man which built his house upon the rock, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon the rock." (Mat. vii. 24, 25.) And what is that rock but those heavenly things which are above the reach of every change? "Every one therefore who," saith Christ, "shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father which is in Heaven: But whosoever shall deny Me, him will I also deny." (Mat. x. 32, 33.) Again, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Mat. v. 8.) And again, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." (Mat. v. 3.) And again, "Blessed are ye which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for great is your reward in Heaven." (Mat. v. 11, 12.) Observe, how every where He speaketh of Heaven, no where of earth, or of the things on the earth. [174] And again, "Our citizenship is in Heaven, from whence also we wait for a Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philip. iii. 20.) And again, "Not setting your mind on the things that are on the earth, but on the things which are above." (Col. iii. 3.)

"In Christ."

That is to say, this blessing was not by the hand of Moses, but by Christ Jesus: so that we surpass them not only in the quality of the blessings, but in the Mediator also. As moreover he saith in the Epistle to the Hebrews; "And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a Son over His house, whose house are we." (Heb. iii. 5-6.)

Ver. 4. "Even as," he proceeds, "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love."

His meaning is somewhat of this sort. Through whom He hath blessed us, through Him He hath also chosen us. And He, then, it is that shall bestow upon us all those rewards hereafter. He is the very Judge that shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mat. xxv. 34.) And again, "I will that where I am they will also be with Me." (John xvii. 24.) And this is a point which he is anxious to prove in almost all his Epistles, that ours is no novel system, but that it had thus been figured from the very first, that it is not the result of any change of purpose, but had been in fact a divine dispensation and fore-ordained. And this is a mark of great solicitude for us.

What is meant by, "He chose us in Him?" By means of the faith which is in Him, Christ, he means, happily ordered this for us before we were born; nay more, before the foundation of the world. And beautiful is that word "foundation," as though he were pointing to the world as cast down from some vast height. Yea, vast indeed and ineffable is the height of God, so far removed not in place but in incommunicableness of nature; so wide the distance between creation and Creator! A word which heretics may be ashamed to hear. [175]

But wherefore hath He chosen us? "That we should be holy and without a blemish before Him." That you may not then, when you hear that "He hath chosen us," imagine that faith alone is sufficient, he proceeds to add life and conduct. To this end, saith he, hath He chosen us, and on this condition, "that we should be holy and without blemish." And so formerly he chose the Jews. On what terms? "This nation, saith he, hath He chosen from the rest of the nations." (Deut. xiv. 2.) Now if men in their choices choose what is best, much more doth God. And indeed the fact of their being chosen is at once a token of the loving kindness of God, and of their moral goodness. [176] For by all means would he have chosen those who were approved. He hath Himself rendered us holy, but then we must continue holy. A holy man is he who is a partaker of faith; a blameless man is he who leads an irreproachable life. It is not however simply holiness and irreproachableness that He requires, but that we should appear such "before Him." For there are holy and blameless characters, who yet are esteemed as such only by men, those who are like whited sepulchres, and like such as wear sheep's clothing. It is not such, however, He requires, but such as the Prophet speaks of; "And according to the cleanness of my hands." (Ps. xviii. 24.) What cleanness? That which is so "in His eyesight." He requires that holiness on which the eye of God may look.

Having thus spoken of the good works of these, he again recurs to His grace. "In love," saith he, "having predestinated us." Because this comes not of any pains, nor of any good works of ours, but of love; and yet not of love alone, but of our virtue also. For if indeed of love alone, it would follow that all must be saved; whereas again were it the result of our virtue alone, then were His coming needless, and the whole dispensation. But it is the result neither of His love alone, nor yet of our virtue, but of both. "He chose us," saith the Apostle; and He that chooseth, knoweth what it is that He chooseth. "In love," he adds, "having foreordained us;" for virtue would never have saved any one, had there not been love. For tell me, what would Paul have profited, how would he have exhibited what he has exhibited, if God had not both called him from the beginning, and, in that He loved him, drawn him to Himself? But besides, His vouchsafing us so great privileges, was the effect of His love, not of our virtue. Because our being rendered virtuous, and believing, and coming nigh unto Him, even this again was the work of Him that called us Himself, and yet, notwithstanding, it is ours also. But that on our coming nigh unto Him, He should vouchsafe us so high privileges, as to bring us at once from a state of enmity, to the adoption of children, this is indeed the work of a really transcendent love.

Ver. 4, 5. "In love," [177] saith he, "having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself."

Do you observe how that nothing is done without Christ? Nothing without the Father? The one hath predestinated, the other hath brought us near. And these words he adds by way of heightening the things which have been done, in the same way as he says also elsewhere, "And not only so, but we also rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. v. 11.) For great indeed are the blessings bestowed, yet are they made far greater in being bestowed through Christ; because He sent not any servant, though it was to servants He sent, but the Only-begotten Son Himself.

Ver. 5. "According to the good pleasure," he continues, "of His will."

That is to say, because He earnestly willed it. This is, as one might say, His earnest desire. [178] For the word "good pleasure" every where means the precedent will, for there is also another will. As for example, the first will is that sinners should not perish; the second will is, that, if men become wicked, they shall perish. For surely it is not by necessity that He punishes them, but because He wills it. You may see something of the sort even in the words of Paul, where he says, "I would that all men were even as I myself." (1 Cor. vii. 7.) And again, "I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children." (1 Tim. v. 14.) By "good pleasure" then he means the first will, the earnest will, the will accompanied with earnest desire, as in case of us, for I shall not refuse to employ even a somewhat familiar expression, in order to speak with clearness to the simpler sort; for thus we ourselves, to express the intentness of the will, speak of acting according to our resolve. What he means to say then is this, God earnestly aims at, earnestly desires, our salvation. Wherefore then is it that He so loveth us, whence hath He such affection? It is of His goodness alone. For grace itself is the fruit of goodness. And for this cause, he saith, hath He predestinated us to the adoption of children; this being His will, and the object of His earnest wish, that the glory of His grace may be displayed. "According to the good pleasure of His will," he proceeds,

Ver. 6. "To the praise of the glory of His grace, [179] which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."

That the glory of His grace may be displayed, he saith, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Now then if for this He hath shown grace to us, to the praise of the glory of His grace, and that He may display His grace, let us abide therein. "To the praise of His glory." What is this? that who should praise Him? that who should glorify Him? that we, that Angels, that Archangels, yea, or the whole creation? And what were that? Nothing. The Divine nature knoweth no want. And wherefore then would He have us praise and glorify Him? It is that our love towards Him may be kindled more fervently within us. He desireth nothing we can render; not our service, not our praise, nor any thing else, nothing but our salvation; this is His object in every thing He does. And he who praises and marvels at the grace displayed towards himself will thus be more devoted and more earnest.

"Which He freely bestowed on us," he saith. He does not say, "Which He hath graciously given us," (echarisato) but, "wherein He hath shown grace to us." (echaritosen) That is to say, He hath not only released us from our sins, but hath also made us meet objects [180] of His love. It is as though one were to take a leper, wasted by distemper, and disease, by age, and poverty, and famine, and were to turn him all at once into a graceful youth, surpassing all mankind in beauty, shedding a bright lustre from his cheeks, and eclipsing the sun-beams with the glances of his eyes; and then were to set him in the very flower of his age, and after that array him in purple and a diadem and all the attire of royalty. It is thus that God hath arrayed and adorned this soul of ours, and clothed it with beauty, and rendered it an object of His delight and love. Such a soul Angels desire to look into, yea, Archangels, and all the holy ones. Such grace hath He shed over us, so dear hath He rendered us to Himself. "The King," saith the Psalmist, "shall greatly desire thy beauty." (Ps. xlv. 11.) Think what injurious words we uttered heretofore, and look, what gracious words we utter now. Wealth has no longer charms for us, nor the things that are here below, but only heavenly things, the things that are in the heavens. When a child has outward beauty, and has besides a pervading grace in all its sayings, do we not call it a beautiful child? Such as this are the faithful. Look, what words the initiated utter! What can be more beautiful than that mouth that breathes those wondrous words, and with a pure heart and pure lips, and beaming with cheerful confidence, partaketh of such a mystical table? What more beautiful than the words, with which we renounce the service of the Devil, and enlist in the service of Christ? than both that confession which is before the Baptismal laver, [181] and that which is after it? Let us reflect as many of us as have defiled our Baptism, and weep that we may be able again to repair it.

Ver. 6. "In the Beloved," [182] he saith, "in whom we have [183] our redemption through His Blood." [184]

And how is this? Not only is there this marvel, that He hath given His Son, but yet further that He hath given Him in such a way, as that the Beloved One Himself should be slain!

Yea, and more transcendent still! He hath given the Beloved for them that were hated. See, how high a price he sets upon us. If, when we hated Him and were enemies, He gave the Beloved, what will He not do now, when we are reconciled by Him through grace?

Ver. 7. "The forgiveness," saith he, "of our trespasses."

Again he descends from high to low: first speaking of adoption, and sanctification, and blamelessness, and then of the Passion, and in this not lowering his discourse and bringing it down from greater things to lesser, no rather, he was heightening it, and raising it from the lesser to the greater. For nothing is so great as that the blood of this Son should be shed for us. Greater this than both the adoption, and all the other gifts of grace, that He spared not even the Son. For great indeed is the forgiveness of sins, yet this is the far greater thing, that it should be done by the Lord's blood. For that this is far greater than all, look how here again he exclaims,

Ver. 7, 8. "According to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us."

The abovementioned gifts are riches, yet is this far more so. "Which," saith he, "He made to abound toward us." They are both "riches" and "they have abounded," that is to say, were poured forth in ineffable measure. It is not possible to represent in words what blessings we have in fact experienced. For riches indeed they are, abounding riches, and He hath given in abundance riches not of man but of God, so that on all hands it is impossible that they should be expressed. And to show us how He gave it to such abundance, he adds,

Ver. 8, 9. "In all wisdom and prudence, [185] having made known unto us the mystery of His will."

That is to say, Making us wise and prudent, in that which is true wisdom, and that which is true prudence. Strange! what friendship! For He telleth us His secrets; the mysteries, saith he, of His will, as if one should say, He hath made known to us the things that are in His heart. For here is indeed the mystery which is full of all wisdom and prudence. For what will you mention equal to this wisdom! Those that were worth nothing, it hath discovered a way of raising them to wealth and abundance. What can equal this wise contrivance? He that was an enemy, he that was hated, he is in a moment lifted up on high. And not this only,--but, yet more, that it should be done at this particular time, this again was the work of wisdom; and that it should be done by means of the Cross. It were matter of long discourse here to point out, how all this was the work of wisdom, and how He had made us wise. And therefore he repeats again the words,

"According to His good pleasure [186] which He purposed in Him." [187]

That is to say, this He desired, this He travailed for, as one might say, that He might be able to reveal to us the mystery. What mystery? That He would have man seated up on high. And this hath come to pass.

Ver. 10. "Unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, even in Him."

Heavenly things, he means to say, had been severed from earthly. They had no longer one Head. So far indeed as the system of the creation went, there was over all One God, but so far as management of one household went, this, amid the wide spread of Gentile error, was not the case, but they had been severed from His obedience.

"Unto a dispensation," saith he, "of the fulness of the times."

The fulness of the times, he calls it. Observe with what nicety he speaks. And whereas he points out the origination, the purpose, the will, the first intention, as proceeding from the Father, and the fulfillment and execution as effected by the agency of the Son, yet no where does he apply to him the term minister. [188]

"He chose us," saith he, "in Him, having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself;" and, "to the praise of the glory of His grace, in whom we have redemption through His blood,--which He purposed in Him, unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ;" and no where hath he called Him minister. If however the word "in" and the word "by" implies a mere minister, look what the matter comes to. Just in the very beginning of the Epistle, he used the expression "through the will of the Father." The Father, he means, willed, the Son wrought. But neither does it follow, that because the Father willed, the Son is excluded from the willing; nor because the Son wrought, that the Father is deprived of the working. But to the Father and the Son, all things are common. "For all Mine are Thine," saith He, "and Thine are Mine." (John xvii. 10.)

The fullness of the times, [189] however, was His coming. After, then, He had done everything, by the ministry both of Angels, and of Prophets, and of the Law, and nothing came of it, and it was well nigh come to this, that man had been made in vain, brought into the world in vain, nay, rather to his ruin; when all were absolutely perishing, more fearfully than in the deluge, He devised this dispensation, that is by grace; that it might not be in vain, might not be to no purpose that man was created. This he calls "the fulness of the times," and "wisdom." And why so? Because at that time when they were on the very point of perishing, then they were rescued.

That "He might sum up" he saith.

What is the meaning of this word, "sum up?" It is "to knit together." Let us, however, endeavor to get near the exact import. With ourselves then, in common conversation, the word means the summing into a brief compass things spoken at length, the concise account of matters described in detail. And it has this meaning. For Christ hath gathered up in Himself the dispensations carried on through a lengthened period, that is to say, He hath cut them short. For "by finishing His word and cutting it short in righteousness," (Rom. ix. 28.) He both comprehended former dispensations, and added others beside. This is the meaning of "summing up."

It has also another signification; and of what nature is this? He hath set over all one and the same Head, i.e., Christ according to the flesh, alike over Angels and men. That is to say, He hath given to Angels and men one and the same government; to the one the Incarnate, to the other God the Word. [190] Just as one might say of a house which has some part decayed and the other sound, He hath rebuilt the house, that is to say, He has made it stronger, and laid a firmer foundation. So also here He hath brought all under one and the same Head. [191] For thus will an union be effected, thus will a close bond be effected, if one and all can be brought under one and the same Head, and thus have some constraining bond of union from above. Honored then as we are with so great a blessing, so high a privilege, so great loving-kindness, let us not shame our Benefactor, let us not render in vain so great grace. Let us exemplify the life of Angels, the virtue of Angels, the conversation of Angels, yea, I entreat and conjure you, that all these things turn not to our judgment, nor to our condemnation, but to our enjoyment of those good things, which may God grant we may all attain, in Christ Jesus, our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, &c. &c.

Footnotes

[170] [At Ephesus, Chrysostom's text has these words (en 'Epheso) and he betrays no knowledge of any copies which omitted them. But they are omitted by Aleph* B. by some mss., consulted by Basil, and apparently by Origen's text, for he interprets tois ousin (those who are) absolutely, as he would not have done had he read en 'Epheso. The Revisers insert the words but with a marginal note. Westcott and Hort bracket them. See their discussion of the point in Appendix (vol. II. of Greek Text), p. 123. For a full discussion see Meyer's Introduction to Ephesians, Sec. 1, where he earnestly defends "the right of these words to a place in the text."--G.A.] [171] [Compare Rom. ix. 5; 2 Cor. i. 3; Luke i. 68; 1 Peter i. 3.--G.A.] [172] [Meyer holds that the genitive tou kuriou, etc. does not limit Theos, but only pater: "Blessed be God who at same time is Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." So also Ellicott.--G.A.] [173] ["A contrast to the earthly benefits promised to the Jews in the Old Testament is foreign to the context."--Meyer.--G.A.] [174] ["Such a specification of the `sphere' and thence of the `spiritual character' of the action would seem superfluous after the definite words preceding. In four other passages in this Epistle the expression, `in the heavenlies,' seems `local' (i. 20; ii. 6; iii. 10; vi. 12.). So the expression here must be referred as a `local' predication to eulogi& 139; pneumaeke defining the `region' whence the blessings of the Spirit come. Cf. Heb. vi. 4."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [175] [And an argument which can hardly be considered valid, based, as it is, on the literal and etymological meaning of a word in a passage where it is plainly used metaphorically and not literally.--The word is katabole.--G.A.] [176] [Tekmerion kai tes auton aretes, a proposition which will strike a Protestant reader of any denomination with surprise, to say the least. Schaff says, "Chrysostom laid great stress on free will and the co-operation of the human will with divine grace in the work of conversion. Cassian, the founder of Semi-Pelagianism, was his pupil and appealed to his authority. We may say that in tendency and spirit he was a Catholic Semi-Pelagian or Synergist before Semi-Pelagianism was brought into a system." Prolegomena p. 20. Chrysostom's exposition of this passage is inaccurate, inconsistent, illogical and untenable. If He chose us in order that we should be holy how can holiness, or "moral goodness," as Chrysostom says, be an antecedent condition of His choosing us? See note on ch. ii. 10.--G.A.] [177] [These words, en agape, are in the Revised Version and in the text of Westcott and Hort joined with what precedes, hagious kai amomous. So also Alford. Meyer and Ellicott, however, are in accord with Chrysostom and probably right in joining en agape with proorisas, following.--G.A.] [178] [The good pleasure of His will means, "God's free self-determination, independent of all human desert, as regulative of the proorizein."--Meyer.--G.A.] [179] ["As love was the motive for the divine predestination, so is the glorifying of the divine love, here designated `grace,' its divinely conceived ultimate aim."--Meyer.--G.A.] [180] ["The word does not here mean `to make love worthy,' as Chrys., referring to inherent righteousness, but `to grant grace,' just as ver. 7 sets forth simply the work of `pardoning grace.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [181] Different usages were observed as regards the Baptismal Confession. In all cases there was one before Baptism. In some places it was made three times; and in some it was written after it was spoken. vid. Bingham Antique, xi. 7. &c. [182] ["The designation of Christ by hoegapemenos makes us feel the greatness of the divine grace."--Meyer.--G.A.] [183] ["More precise elucidation of what has been said, on the basis of experience (echomen). Meyer.--G.A.] [184] ["`Through His Blood' is a more precise definition of the preceding en ha `in whom.'"--Meyer. "We have redemption not in His work without His Person but in His Person which with His work is a living unity."--Olshausen in Lange.--G.A.] [185] ["`In all wisdom and prudence' is not to be joined, as Chrysostom does, with `having made known' (gnorisas), because it would thus denote the attribute of God operative in the gnorizein, which on account of the pase, `every,' is not admissible. Paul in making known the mystery had to set forth not the display of `grace in itself but as revealed.' Hence some definition to the clause, `which he made to abound toward us,' is necessary and this is the `in all wisdom and prudence.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [186] ["`According to His good pleasure' belongs to gnorisas, stating that God has accomplished the making known in pursuance of His free self-determination, cf. ver. 5."--Meyer.--G.A.] [187] ["`Which He purposed in Him,' in itself redundant, serves for the attaching of that which follows."--Meyer. G.A.] [188] E.G. of the Angels by way of contrast, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister," eis diakonian. Hebr. i. 14. However S. Irenæus says, "Ministral ei ad omnia sua progenies et figuratio sua, id est Filius et Spiritus Sanctus." Hær. iv. 17. And St. Justin Martyr applies to our Lord the word huperetein. Tryph. 61, as scripture does the word Angel or Messenger. The distinction is obvious; our Lord may be named the Minister or Instrument of the Father in the sense in which our reason may be called the instrument of our mind, as being one with it and in it. In this sense St. Hilary calls the Son obedientem dictis Dei Deum. de Trin. v. vid. Petav. De Trin. ii. 7. . 7. [189] [`Which he purposed in him' (i.e. `Christ' according to Rev. Ver. and W. and H.; but `God' according to Meyer and Ellicott, who have hauto) "with a design to the dispensation of the fullness of the times, i.e., the dispensation to be established at the setting in of the fulness of the times. Gal. iv. 4; Mark i. 15."--Meyer.--G.A.] [190] ["A distinction at variance with Scripture."--Meyer.--G.A.] [191] ["This illustration has been again employed by Harless whose view of this passage is that the apostle speaks thus: `The Lord and Creator of the whole body of which heaven and earth are members, has in the restoration of one member restored the whole body; and in this consists the greatest significance of the reconciliation that it is not merely a restoration of the life of earth but a bringing back of the harmony of the universe. This concedes to the ta epi tois ouranois merely an indirect participation in the anakephalaiosis and the de facto operation of the Messianic oikonomia on the heavenly world is set aside,--which appears the less admissible inasmuch as the ta epi tois ouranois has the precedence (in position)."--Meyer. "Heaven and earth have become places of sin (vi. 12;) indeed heaven was the first theatre of sin when a part of the angels fell into sin and away from God (1 Tim. iii. 6; 1 John iii. 8; James ii. 19; 2 Peter ii. 4;) thence it came to earth (2 Cor. xi. 3; 1 Cor. x. 20, 21.) Thus the state originally appointed by God and the development He wished to be without disturbance, ceased (Rom. viii. 18-24,) so that a renewing of the heavens and the earth was taken into view (2 Peter iii. 13.) The center of this renewal is Christ and His redeeming work. Here we may certainly apply what Bengel so aptly remarks on Rom. viii. 19. that pro suo quodque genus captu, `every kind according to its capacity,' participates in this Anacephalaiosis, the evil (angels) as conquered and rejected opponents, the good angels as participating friends, the redeemed as accepted children, the rest of creation as subordinate companions."--Braune in Lange. Similarly Eadie: "Not only has harmony been restored to the universe and the rupture occasioned by sin repaired, but beings still in rebellion are placed under Christ's control, as well as the unconscious elements and spheres of nature. This summation is seen in the form of government: Jesus is universal regent."--G.A.]


Homily II.

Chapter I. Verses 11-14

"In whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will."

Paul earnestly endeavors on all occasions to display the unspeakable loving-kindness of God towards us, to the utmost of his power. For that it is impossible to do so adequately, hear his own words. "O! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out." (Rom. xi. 33.) Still, notwithstanding, so far as it is possible, he does display it. What then is this which he is saying; "In whom also we were made a heritage, being predestinated?" Above he used the word, "He chose us;" here he saith, "we were made a heritage." But inasmuch as a lot is a matter of chance, not of deliberate choice, nor of virtue, (for it is closely allied to ignorance and accident, and oftentimes passing over the virtuous, brings forward the worthless into notice,) observe how he corrects this very point: "having been foreordained," saith he, "according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things." That is to say, not merely have we been made a heritage, as, again, we have not merely been chosen, (for it is God who chooses,) and so neither have we merely been allotted, (for it is God who allots,) [192] but it is "according to a purpose." This is what he says also in the Epistle to the Romans, (Rom. viii. 28-30.) "To them that are called according to His purpose;" and "whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He justified, them he also glorified." Having first used the expression, "to them that are called according to a purpose," and at the same time wishing to declare their privilege compared with the rest of mankind, he speaks also of inheritance by lot, yet so as not to divest them of free will. That point then, which more properly belongs to happy fortune, is the very point he insists upon. For this inheritance by lot depends not on virtue, but, as one might say, on fortuitous circumstances. It is as though he had said, lots were cast, and He hath chosen us; [193] but the whole is of deliberate choice. Men predestinated, that is to say, having chosen them to Himself, He hath separated. He saw us, as it were, chosen by lot before we were born. For marvellous is the foreknowledge of God, and acquainted with all things before their beginning.

But mark now how on all occasions he takes pains to point out, that it is not the result of any change of purpose, but that these matters had been thus modeled from the very first, so that we are in no wise inferior to the Jews in this respect; and how, in consequence, he does every thing with this view. How then is it that Christ Himself saith, "I was not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel?" (Mat. xv. 24.) And said again to his disciples, "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans." (Mat. x. 5.) And Paul again himself says, "It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (Acts xiii. 46.) These expressions, I say, are used with this design, that no one may suppose that this work came to pass incidentally only. "According to the purpose," he says, "of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will." That is to say, He had no after workings; having modeled all things from the very first, thus he leads forward all things "according to the counsel of His will." So that it was not merely because the Jews did not listen that He called the Gentiles, nor was it of mere necessity, nor was it on any inducement arising from them.

Ver. 12, 13. "To the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory, we who had before hoped [194] in Christ. In whom ye also having heard the word of the truth, the Gospel of your salvation."

That is to say, through whom. Observe how he on all occasions speaks of Christ, as the Author of all things, and in no case gives Him the title of a subordinate agent, or a minister. And so again, elsewhere, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he says, "that God, having of old time spoken unto the Fathers in the prophets, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in His Son," (Heb. i. 1.) that is "through" His Son.

"The word of truth," he says, no longer that of the type, nor of the image.

"The Gospel of your salvation." And well does he call it the Gospel of salvation, intimating in the one word a contrast to the law, in the other, a contrast with punishment to come. For what is the message, but the Gospel of salvation, which forbears to destroy those that are worthy of destruction.

Ver. 14. "In whom having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance."

Here again, the word "sealed," is an indication of especial forecast. He does not speak of our being predestinated only, nor of our being allotted, but further, of our being sealed. For just as though one were to make those who should fall to his lot manifest, so also did God separate them for believing, and sealed them for the allotment of the things to come.

You see how, in process of time, He makes them objects of wonder. So long as they were in His foreknowledge, they were manifest to no one, but when they were sealed, they became manifest, though not in the same way as we are; for they will be manifest except a few. The Israelites also were sealed, but that was by circumcision, like the brutes and reasonless creatures. We too are sealed, but it is as sons, "with the Spirit."

But what is meant by, "with the Spirit of promise?" Doubtless it means that we have received that Spirit according to promise. For there are two promises, the one by the prophets, the other from the Son.

By the Prophets.--Hearken to the words of Joel; "I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions," (Joel ii. 28.) And hearken again to the words of Christ; "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts i. 8.) And truly, the Apostle means, He ought, as God, to have been believed; however, he does not ground his affirmation upon this, but examines it like a case where man is concerned, speaking much as he does in the Epistle to the Hebrews; (Heb. vi. 18.) where he says, "That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement." Thus here also he makes the things already bestowed a sure token of the promise of those which are yet to come. For this reason he further calls it an "earnest," (Cf. also 2 Cor. i. 22.) for an earnest is a part of the whole. He hath purchased what we are most concerned in, our salvation; and hath given us an earnest in the mean while. Why then did He not give the whole at once? Because neither have we, on our part, done the whole of our work. We have believed. This is a beginning; and He too on His part hath given an earnest. When we show our faith by our works, then He will add the rest. Nay, more, He hath given yet another pledge, His own blood, and hath promised another still. In the same way as in case of war between nation and nation they give hostages: just so hath God also given His Son as a pledge of peace and solemn treaties, and, further, the Holy Spirit also which is from Him. For they, that are indeed partakers of the Spirit, know that He is the earnest of our inheritance. Such an one was Paul, who already had here a foretaste of the blessings there. And this is why he was so eager, and yearned to be released from things below, and groaned within himself. He transferred his whole mind thither, and saw every thing with different eyes. Thou hast no part in the reality, and therefore failest to understand the description. Were we all partakers of the Spirit, as we ought to be partakers, then should we behold Heaven, and the order of things that is there.

It is an earnest, however, of what? of

Ver. 14. "The redemption of God's own possession."

For our absolute redemption takes place then. [195] For now we have our life in the world, we are liable to many human accidents, and are living amongst ungodly men. But our absolute redemption will be then, when there shall be no sins, no human sufferings, when we shall not be indiscriminately mixed with all kinds of people.

At present, however, there is but an earnest, because at present we are far distant from these blessings. Yet is our citizenship not upon earth; even now we are out of the pale of the things that are here below. Yes, we are sojourners even now.

Ver. 14. "Unto the praise of His glory."

This he adds in immediate connection. And why? Because it would serve to give those who heard it full assurance. Were it for our sake only, he means to say, that God did this, there might be some room for misgiving. But if it be for His own sake, and in order to display His goodness, he assigns, as a sort of witness, a reason why these things never possibly could be otherwise. We find the same language everywhere applied to the case of the Israelites. "Do Thou this for us for Thy Name's sake;" (Ps. cix. 21.) and again, God Himself said, "I do it for Mine own sake;" (Isa. xlviii. 11.) and so Moses, "Do it, if for nothing else, yet for the glory of Thy Name." This gives those who hear it full assurance; it relieves them to be told, that whatever He promises, for His own goodness' sake He will most surely perform.

Moral. Let not the hearing, however, make us too much at our ease; for although He doth it for His own sake, yet notwithstanding He requires a duty on our part. If He says, "Them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed," (1 Sam. ii. 30.) let us reflect that there is that which He requires of us also. True, it is the praise of His glory to save those that are enemies, but those who, after being made friends, continue His friends. So that if they were to return back to their former state of enmity, all were vain and to no purpose. There is not another Baptism, nor is there a second reconciliation again, but "a certain fearful expectation of judgment which shall devour the adversaries." (Heb. x. 27.) If we intend at the same time to be always at enmity with Him and yet to claim forgiveness at His hand, we shall never cease to be at enmity, and to be wanton, to grow in depravity, and to be blind to the Sun of Righteousness which has risen. Dost thou not see the ray that shall open thine eyes? render them then good and sound and quicksighted. He hath showed thee the true light; if thou shunnest it, and runnest back again into the darkness, what shall be thy excuse? What sort of allowance shall be made for thee? None from that moment. For this is a mark of unspeakable enmity. When indeed thou knewest not God, then if thou wert at enmity with Him, thou hadst, be it how it might, some excuse. But when thou hast tasted the goodness and the honey, if thou again abandonest them, and turnest to thine own vomit, what else art thou doing but bringing forward evidence of excessive hatred and contempt? `Nay,' thou wilt say, `but I am constrained to it by nature. I love Christ indeed, but I am constrained by nature.' If thou art under the power and force of constraint, thou wilt have allowance made; but if thou yield from indolence, not for a moment.

Now then, come, let us examine this very question, whether sins are the effect of force and constraint, or of indolence and great carelessness. The law says, "Thou shalt not kill." What sort of force, what sort of violence, is there here? Violence indeed must one use to force himself to kill, for who amongst us would as a matter of choice plunge his sword into the throat of his neighbor, and stain his hand with blood? Not one. Thou seest then that, on the contrary, sin is more properly matter of violence and constraint. For God hath implanted in our nature a charm, which binds us to love one another. "Every beast (it saith) loveth his like, and every man loveth his neighbor." (Ecclus. xiii. 15.) Seest thou that we have from our nature seeds which tend to virtue; whereas those of vice are contrary to nature? and if these latter predominate, this is but an evidence of our exceeding indolence.

Again, what is adultery? What sort of necessity is there to bring us to this? Doubtless, it will be said, the tyranny of lust. But why, tell me, should this be? What, is it not in every one's power to have his own wife, and thus to put a stop to this tyranny? True, he will say, but a sort of passion for my neighbor's wife seizes hold on me. Here the question is no longer one of necessity. Passion is no matter of necessity, no one loves of necessity, but of deliberate choice and free will. Indulgence of nature, indeed, is perhaps matter of necessity, but to love one woman rather than another is no matter of necessity. Nor is the point with you natural desire, but vanity, and wantonness, and unbounded licentiousness. For which is according to reason, that a man should have an espoused wife, and her the mother of his children, or one not acknowledged? Know ye not that it is intimacy that breeds attachment. This, therefore, is not the fault of nature. Blame not natural desire. Natural desire was bestowed with a view to marriage; it was given with a view to the procreation of children, not with a view to adultery and corruption. The laws, too, know how to make allowance for those sins which are of necessity,--or rather nothing is sin when it arises from necessity but all sin rises from wantonness. God hath not so framed man's nature as that he should have any necessity to sin, since were this the case, there would be no such thing as punishment. We ourselves exact no account of things done of necessity and by constraint, much less would God, so full of mercy and loving-kindness.

Again, what is stealing? is it matter of necessity? Yes, a man will say, because poverty causes this. Poverty, however, rather compels us to work, not to steal. Poverty, therefore, has in fact the contrary effect. Theft is the effect of idleness; whereas poverty produces usually not idleness, but a love of labor. So that this sin is the effect of indolence, as you may learn from hence. Which, I ask, is the more difficult, the more distasteful, to wander about at night without sleep, to break open houses, and walk about in the dark, and to have one's life in one's hand, and to be always prepared for murder, and to be shivering and dead with fear; or to be attending to one's daily task, in full enjoyment of safety and security? This last is the easier task; and it is because this is easier, that the majority practise it rather than the other. Thou seest then that it is virtue which is according to nature, and vice which is against nature, in the same way as disease and health are.

What, again, are falsehood and perjury? What necessity can they possibly imply? None whatever, nor any compulsion; it is a matter to which we proceed voluntarily. We are distrusted, it will be said. True, distrusted we are, because we choose it. For we might, if we would, be trusted more upon our character, than upon our oath. Why, tell me, is it that we do not trust some, no, not on their oath, whilst we deem others trustworthy even independently of oaths. [196] Seest thou that there is no need of oaths in any case? `When such an one speaks,' we say, `I believe him, even without any oath, but thee, no, not with thy oaths.' Thus then an oath is unnecessary; and is in fact an evidence rather of distrust than of confidence. For where a man is over ready to take his oath, he does not leave us to entertain any great idea of his scrupulousness. So that the man who is most constant in his use of oaths, has on no occasion any necessity for using one, and he who never uses one on any occasion, has in himself the full benefit of its use. Some one says there is a necessity for an oath, to produce confidence; but we see that they are the more readily trusted who abstain from taking oaths.

But again, if one is a man of violence, is this a matter of necessity? Yes, he will say, because his passion carries him away, and burns within him, and does not let the soul be at rest. Man, to act with violence is not the effect of anger, but of littleness of mind. Were it the effect of anger, all men, whenever they were angry, would never cease committing acts of violence. We have anger given us, not that we may commit acts of violence on our neighbors, but that we may correct those that are in sin, that we may bestir ourselves, that we may not be sluggish. Anger is implanted in us as a sort of sting, to make us gnash with our teeth against the devil, to make us vehement against him, not to set us in array against each other. We have arms, not to make us at war amongst ourselves, but that we may employ our whole armor against the enemy. Art thou prone to anger? Be so against thine own sins: chastise thy soul, scourge thy conscience, be a severe judge, and merciless in thy sentence against thine own sins. This is the way to turn anger to account. It was for this that God implanted it within us.

But again, is plunder a matter of necessity? No, in no wise. Tell me, what manner of necessity is there to be grasping: what manner of compulsion? Poverty, a man will say, causes it, and the fear of being without common necessaries. Now this is the very reason why you ought not to be grasping. Wealth so gotten has no security in it. You are doing the very same thing as a man would do, who, if he were asked why he laid the foundation of his house in the sand, should say, he did it because of the frost and rain. Whereas this would be the very reason why he should not lay it in the sand. They are the very foundations which the rain, and blasts, and wind, most quickly overturn. So that if thou wouldest be wealthy, never be rapacious; if thou wouldest transmit wealth to thy children, get righteous wealth, at least, if any there be that is such. Because this abides, and remains firm, whereas that which is not such, quickly wastes and perishes. Tell me, hast thou a mind to be rich, and dost thou take the goods of others? Surely this is not wealth: wealth consists in possessing what is thine own. He that is in possession of the goods of others, never can be a wealthy man; since at that rate even your very silk venders, who receive their goods as a consignment from others, would be the wealthiest and the richest of men. Though for the time, indeed, it is theirs, still we do not call them wealthy. And why forsooth? Because they are in possession of what belongs to others. For though the piece itself happens to be theirs, still the money it is worth is not theirs. Nay, and even if the money is in their hands, still this is not wealth. Now, if consignments thus given render not men more wealthy because we so soon resign them, how can those which arise from rapine render them wealthy? However, if at any rate thou desirest to be wealthy, (for the matter is not one of necessity,) what greater good is it that thou wouldest fain enjoy? Is it a longer life? Yet, surely men of this character quickly become short-lived. Oftentimes they pay as the penalty of plunder and rapaciousness, an untimely death; and not only suffer as a penalty the loss of the enjoyment of their gains, but go out of life having gained but little, and hell to boot. Oftentimes too they die of diseases, which are the fruits of self-indulgence, and of toil, and of anxiety. Fain would I understand why it is that wealth is so eagerly pursued by mankind. Why surely for this reason hath God set a limit and a boundary to our nature, that we may have no need to go on seeking wealth beyond it. For instance He hath commanded us, to clothe the body in one, or perhaps in two garments; and there is no need of any more to cover us. Where is the good of ten thousand changes of raiment, and those moth-eaten? The stomach has its appointed bound, and any thing given beyond this, will of necessity destroy the whole man. Where then is the use of your herds, and flocks, and cutting up of flesh? We require but one roof to shelter us. Where then is the use of your vast ground-plots, and costly buildings? Dost thou strip the poor, that vultures and jackdaws may have where to dwell? And what a hell do not these things deserve? Many are frequently raising edifices that glisten with pillars and costly marbles, in places which they never so much as saw. What scheme is there indeed that they have not adopted? Yet neither themselves reap the benefit, nor any one else. The desolateness does not allow them to get away thither; and yet not even thus do they desist. You see that these things are not done for profit's-sake, but in all these cases folly, and absurdity, and vainglory, is the motive. And this, I beseech you to avoid, that we may be enabled to avoid also every other evil, and may obtain those good things which are promised to them that love Him, in our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, honor forever. Amen.

Footnotes

[192] [Meyer against the Rev. Version and many scholars makes the meaning here to be: "In whom we were allotted the inheritance." He shows that as pisteuein may take as subject when in passive voice the dative of the active construction, so also may kleroun which takes in the active a dative.--See also verse 14, kleronomia.--G.A.] [193] "Why calls he the grace of God by the name of lot? because in a lot there is no choice, but the will of God; for when it is said, `a man does, he does not,' merits are regarded; and then there is a choice, not a lot. But when God found no merits of ours, He saved us by the lot of His will, because He willed, not because we were worthy. This is a lot," &c. August. in Psalm. xxx. Enar. iii. 13. [194] [Meyer's reference of hemas***tous proelpikotas to Jewish Christians seems precarious. It seems better to make the hemas refer to Christians in general, the pro in proelpikotas refer to the time before the second Advent and the kai humeis to the readers. So De Wette and Theophylact.--G.A.] [195] ["The final consummation of the redemption effected by the lutron of Christ (v. 7.) at the Parousia (Lu. xxi. 28.) when suffering, sin and death are wholly done away and in the glorifying of the body there sets in the doxa of the children of God."--Meyer.--G.A.] [196] Vid. also Hom. ad Pop. Antioch. vii. fin. However, in Act Apost. Hom. x. fin. he considers oaths allowable in order to convince the weak. St. Augustin says the same, de Serm. Dom. i. 51. thus accounting for St. Paul's expressions, Rom. i. 9.; 1 Cor. xv. 31; 2 Cor. ii. 31; Gal. i. 20.


Homily III.

Chapter I. Verses 15-20

"For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus, which is among you, and which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: having the eyes of your heart enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead."

Never was anything equal to the yearnings of the Apostle, never anything like the sympathy and the affectionateness of the blessed Paul, who made his every prayer in behalf of whole cities and peoples, and writes the same to all, [197] "I thank my God for you, making mention of you in my prayers." Think how many he had in his mind, whom it were a labor so much as to remember; how many he made mention of in his prayers, giving thanks to God for them all as though he himself had received the greatest blessing.

"Wherefore," he says, i.e., because of what is to come, [198] because of the good things that are laid up in store for them who rightly believe and live. And it is meet then to give thanks to God both for all the things which mankind have received at His hands, both heretofore and hereafter; and meet to give Him thanks also for the faith of them that believe.

"Having heard," saith he, "of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and which ye show [199] toward all the saints."

He on all occasions knits together and combines faith and love, a glorious pair; nor does he mention the saints of that country only, but all.

"I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers."

What is thy prayer, and what thy entreaty? It is

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation." [200] Two things he requires them to understand, as it is their duty to understand them; to what blessings they are called, and how they have been released from their former state. He says, however, himself, that these points are three. How then are they three? In order that we may understand touching the things to come; for from the good things laid up for us, we shall know His ineffable and surpassing riches, and from understanding who we were, and how we believed, we shall know His power and sovereignty, in turning again to Himself those who had been so long time estranged from Him, "For the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Cor. i. 25.) Inasmuch as it is by the self-same power by which He raised Christ from the dead, that He hath also drawn us to Himself. Nor is that power limited to the resurrection, but far exceeds it.

Ver. 21, 22. "And made Him to sit at His right hand, in the Heavenly places, far above all rule and authority, and power and dominion, and every name that is named: and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

Vast indeed are the mysteries and secrets of which He hath made us partakers. And these it is not possible for us to understand otherwise than by being partakers of the Holy Ghost, and by receiving abundant grace. And it is for this reason that Paul prays. "The Father of glory," that is, He that hath given us vast blessings, for he constantly addresses Him according to the subject he is upon, as, for instance, when he says, "The Father of mercies and God of all comfort." (2 Cor. i. 3.) And, again, the Prophet says, "The Lord is my strength and my might." (Ps. xviii. 1.)

"The Father of glory."

He has no name by which he may represent these things, and on all occasions calls them "glory," which is in fact, with us, the name and appellation of every kind of magnificence. Mark, he says, the Father of glory; (cf. Acts vii. 2.) but of Christ the God. [201] What then? Is the Son inferior to the glory? No, there is no one, not even a maniac, would say so.

"May give unto you,"

That is, may raise and wing your understanding, for it is not possible otherwise to understand these things. "For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) So then, there is need of spiritual "wisdom," that we may perceive things spiritual, that we may see things hidden. That Spirit "revealeth" all things. He is going to set forth the mysteries of God. Now the knowledge of the mysteries of God, the Spirit alone comprehends, who also searcheth the deep things of Him. It is not said, "that Angel, or Archangel, or any other created power, may give," that is, confer upon you a spiritual gift. And if this be of revelation, then is the discovery of arguments consequently vain. For he that hath learned God, and knoweth God, shall no longer dispute concerning any thing. He will not say, This is impossible, and That is possible, and How did the other thing come to pass? If we learn God, as we ought to know Him; if we learn God from Him from whom we ought to learn Him, that is from the Spirit Himself; then shall we no longer dispute concerning any thing. And hence it is that he says,

"Having the eyes of your heart enlightened in the knowledge of Him." [202]

He that hath learned what God is, will have no misgiving about His promises, and disbelief about what hath been already brought to pass. He prays, then, that there may be given them "a spirit of wisdom and revelation." Yet still he also establishes it, as far as he can himself, by arguments, and from "already" existing facts. For, whereas he was about to mention some things which had already come to pass, and others which had not as yet happened; he makes those which have been brought to pass, a pledge of those which have not: in some such way, I mean, as this,

"That ye may know," saith he, "what is the hope of His calling."

It is as yet, he means, hidden, but not so to the faithful.

"And," again, "what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." [203]

This too is as yet hidden.

But what is clear? that through His power we have believed that He hath raised Christ. For to persuade souls, is a thing far more miraculous than to raise a dead body. I will endeavor to make this clear. Hearken then. Christ said to the dead, "Lazarus, come forth," (John xi. 43.) and straightway he obeyed. Peter said, "Tabitha, arise," (Acts ix. 40.) and she did not refuse. He Himself shall speak the word at the last day, and all shall rise, and that so quickly, that "they which are yet alive, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep," (1 Thess. iv. 15.) and all shall come to pass, all run together "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." (1 Cor. xv. 52.) But in the matter of believing, it is not thus, but how is it? Hearken then to Him again, how He saith, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not." (Matt. xxiii. 37.) You perceive that this last is the more difficult. Accordingly, it is upon this that he builds up the whole argument; because by human calculations it is far more difficult to influence the choice, than to work upon nature. And the reason is this, it is because He would thus have us become good of our own will. Thus with good reason does he say, [204]

"The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe."

Yes, when Prophets had availed nothing, nor Angels, nor Archangels, when the whole creation, both visible and invisible, had failed, (the visible lying before us, and without any power to guide us, and much also which is invisible,) then He ordered His own coming, to show us that it was a matter which required Divine power.

"The riches of the glory,"

That is, the unutterable glory; for what language shall be adequate to express that glory of which the saints shall then be partakers? None. But verily there is need of grace in order that the understanding may perceive it, and admit even so much as at least one little ray. Some things indeed they knew even before; now he was desirous that they should learn more, and know it more clearly. Seest thou how great things He hath wrought? He hath raised up Christ. Is this a small thing? But look again. He hath set Him at His right hand. And shall any language then be able to represent this? Him that is of the earth, more mute than the fishes, and made the sport of devils, He hath in a moment raised up on high. Truly this is indeed the "exceeding greatness of His power." And behold, whither He hath raised Him.

"In the heavenly places;"

He hath made Him far above all created nature, far above all rule and authority.

"Far above all rule," he saith.

Need then indeed is there of the Spirit, of an understanding wise in the knowledge of Him. Need then is there indeed of revelation. Reflect, how vast is the distance between the nature of man and of God. Yet from this vile estate hath He exalted Him to that high dignity. Nor does He mount by degrees, first one step, then another, then a third. Amazing! He does not simply say, "above," but, "far above;" for God is above those powers which are above. And thither then hath He raised Him, Him that is one of us, brought Him from the lowest point to the supremest sovereignty, to that beyond which there is no other honor. Above "all" principality, he says, not, i.e., over one and not over another, but over all,

"Rule and authority and power, and dominion, and every name that is named."

Whatever there be in Heaven, He has become above all. And this is said of Him that was raised from the dead which is worthy of our admiration; for of God the Word, it cannot possibly be, because what insects are in comparison of man, this the whole creation is in comparison of God. If all mankind are to be counted as spittle and were counted as the turn of a balance, consider the invisible powers as insects. But of Him that was one of us, this is great and surprising indeed. For He raised Him up from the very lowest parts of the earth. If all the nations are as a drop, how small a portion then of that drop is a single man! Yet Him hath He made higher than all things, "not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Therefore powers there are whose names are to us unintelligible, and unknown.

"And He put all things in subjection under His feet."

Not simply so set Him above them as to be honored above them, nor by way of comparison with them, but so that He should sit over them as His slaves. Amazing! Awful indeed are these things; every created power hath been made the slave of man by reason of God the Word dwelling in Him. [205] For it is possible for a man to be above others, without having others in subjection, but only as preferred before them. But here it is not so. No, "He put all things in subjection under His feet." And not simply put them in subjection, but in the most abject subjection, that below which there can be none. Therefore he adds, "under His feet."

"And gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church."

Amazing again, whither hath He raised the Church? as though he were lifting it up by some engine, he hath raised it up to a vast height, and set it on yonder throne; for where the Head is, there is the body also. There is no interval to separate between the Head and the body; for were there a separation, then were it no longer a body, then were it no longer a head. "Over all things," he says. What is meant by "over all things?" He hath suffered neither Angel nor Archangel nor any other being to be above Him. But not only in this way hath He honored us, in exalting that which is of ourselves, but also in that He hath prepared the whole race in common to follow Him, to cling to Him, to accompany His train.

"Which is His body."

In order then that when you hear of the Head you may not conceive the notion of supremacy only, but also of consolidation, and that you may behold Him not as supreme Ruler only, but as Head of a body.

"The fulness of Him that filleth all in all" he says.

As though this were not sufficient to show the close connection and relationship, what does he add? "The fullness of Christ is the Church." And rightly, for the complement of the head is the body, and the complement of the body is the head. Mark what great arrangement Paul observes, how he spares not a single word, that he may represent the glory of God. "The, complement," he says, i.e., the head is, as it were, filled up by the body, because the body is composed and made up of all its several parts, and he introduces Him as having need of each single one and not only of all in common and together; for unless we be many, and one be the hand, and another the foot, and another some other member, the whole body is not filled up. It is by all then that His body is filled up. Then is the head filled up, then is the body rendered perfect, when we are all knit together and united. Perceivest thou then the "riches of the glory of His inheritance? the exceeding greatness of His power towards them that believe? the hope of your calling?"

Moral. Let us reverence our Head, let us reflect of what a Head we are the body,--a Head, to whom all things are put in subjection. According to this representation we ought to be better, yea, than the very angels, and greater than the Archangels, in that we have been honored above them all. God "took not hold of Angels," as he says in writing to the Hebrews, "but He took hold of the seed of Abraham." (Heb. ii. 16.) He took hold of neither principality nor power, nor dominion, nor any other authority, but He took up our nature, and made it to sit on His right hand. And why do I say, hath made it sit? He hath made it His garment, [206] and not only so, but hath put all things in subjection under His feet. How many sorts of death supposest thou? How many souls? ten thousand? yea, and ten thousand times told, but nothing equal to it wilt thou mention. Two things He hath done, the greatest things. He hath both Himself descended to the lowest depth of humiliation, and hath raised up man to the height of exaltation. He saved him by His blood. He spoke of the former first, how that He so greatly humbled Himself. He speaks now of what is stronger than that--a great thing, the crown of all. Surely, even had we been counted worthy of nothing, it were enough. Or, had we been counted worthy even of this honor, it were enough, without the slaying of the Son. But where there are the two, what power of language must it not transcend and surpass? The very resurrection is not great, when I reflect on these things. It is of Him that he says, "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ," not of God the Word.

Let us feel awed at the closeness of our relation, let us dread lest any one should be cut off from this body, lest any one should fall from it, lest any one should appear unworthy of it. If any one were to place a diadem about our head, a crown of gold, should we not do every thing that we might seem worthy of the lifeless jewels? But now it is not a diadem that is about our head, but, what is far greater, Christ is made our very Head, and yet we pay no regard to it. Yet Angels reverence that Head, and Archangels, and all those powers above. And shall we, which are His body, be awed neither on the one account nor the other? And what then shall be our hope of salvation? Conceive to yourself the royal throne, conceive the excess of the honor. This, at least if we chose, might more avail to startle us, yea, even than hell itself. For, even though hell were not, that we having been honored with such an honor, should be found base and unworthy of it, what punishment, what vengeance must not this carry with it? Think near whom thy Head is seated, (this single consideration is amply sufficient for any purpose whatever,) on whose right hand He is placed, far above all principality, and power, and might. Yet is the body of this Head trampled on by the very devils. Nay, God forbid it should be thus; for were it thus, such a body could be His body no longer. Thy own head the more respectable of thy servants reverence, and dost thou subject thy body to be the sport of them that insult it? How sore punishment then shalt thou not deserve? If a man should bind the feet of the emperor with bonds and fetters, will he not be liable to the extremity of punishment? Dost thou expose the whole body to fierce monsters, and not shudder?

However, since our discourse is concerning the Lord's body, come, and let us turn our thoughts to it, even that which was crucified, which was nailed, which is sacrificed. [207] If thou art the body of Christ, bear the Cross, for He bore it: bear spitting, bear buffetings, bear nails. Such was that Body; that Body "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." (1 Pet. ii. 22.) His hands did every thing for the benefit of them that needed, His mouth uttered not a word of those things which are not convenient. He heard them say, "Thou hast a devil," and He answered nothing.

Further, our discourse is concerning this Body, and as many of us as partake of that Body and taste of that Blood, are partaking of that which is in no wise different from that Body, nor separate. Consider that we taste of that Body that sitteth above, that is adored by Angels, that is next to the Power that is incorruptible. Alas! how many ways to salvation are open to us! He hath made us His own body, He hath imparted to us His own body, and yet not one of these things turns us away from what is evil. Oh the darkness, the depth of the abyss, the apathy! "Set your mind," saith he, "on the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God." (Col. iii. 1.) And after all this, some set their affections upon money, or licentiousness, others are carried captive by their passions!

Do ye not see, that even in our own body, when any part is superfluous and useless, it is cut off, is cut away? It is of no use that it has belonged to the body, when it is mutilated, when it is mortified, when it is decayed, when it is detrimental to the rest. Let us not then be too confident, because we have been once made members of this body. If this body of ours, though but a natural body, nevertheless suffers amputation, what dreadful evil shall it not undergo, if the moral principle should fail? When the body partakes not of this natural food, when the pores are stopped up, then it mortifies; when the ducts are closed, then it is palsied. So is it with us also, when we stop our ears, our soul becomes palsied; when we partake not of the spiritual food, when, instead of corrupt bodily humors, evil dispositions impair us, all these things engender disease, dangerous disease, disease that wastes. And then there will be need of that fire, there will be need of that cutting asunder. For Christ cannot endure that we should enter into the bride-chamber with such a body as this. If He led away, and cast out the man that was clothed in filthy garments, what will He not do unto the man who attaches filth to the body; how will He not dispose of him?

I observe many partaking of Christ's Body lightly and just as it happens, and rather from custom and form, than consideration and understanding. When, saith a man, the holy season of Lent sets in, whatever a man may be, he partakes of the mysteries, or, when the day of the Lord's Epiphany [208] comes. And yet it is not the Epiphany, nor is it Lent, that makes a fit time for approaching, but it is sincerity and purity of soul. With this, approach at all times; without it, never. "For as often," (1 Cor. xi. 26.) saith he, "as ye do this, ye proclaim the Lord's death," i.e., "ye make a remembrance of the salvation that has been wrought for you, and of the benefits which I have bestowed." Consider those who partook of the sacrifices under the old Covenant, how great abstinence did they practise? How did they not conduct themselves? What did they not perform? They were always purifying themselves. And dost thou, when thou drawest nigh to a sacrifice, at which the very Angels tremble, dost thou measure the matter by the revolutions of seasons? and how shalt thou present thyself before the judgment-seat of Christ, thou who presumest upon His body with polluted hands and lips? Thou wouldest not presume to kiss a king with an unclean mouth, and the King of heaven dost thou kiss with an unclean soul? It is an outrage. Tell me, wouldest thou choose to come to the Sacrifice with unwashen hands? No, I suppose, not. But thou wouldest rather choose not to come at all, than come with soiled hands. And then, thus scrupulous as thou art in this little matter, dost thou come with soiled soul, and thus dare to touch it? And yet the hands hold it but for a time, whereas into the soul it is dissolved entirely. What, do ye not see the holy vessels so thoroughly cleansed all over, so resplendent? Our souls ought to be purer than they, more holy, more brilliant. And why so? Because those vessels are made so for our sakes. They partake not of Him that is in them, they perceive Him not. But we do;--yes, verily. Now then, thou wouldest not choose to make use of a soiled vessel, and dost thou approach with a soiled soul? Observe the vast inconsistency of the thing. At the other times ye come not, no, not though often ye are clean; but at Easter, however flagrant an act ye may have committed, ye come. Oh! the force of custom and of prejudice! In vain is the daily Sacrifice, [209] in vain do we stand before the Altar; there is no one to partake. These things I am saying, not to induce you to partake any how, but that ye should render yourselves worthy to partake. Art thou not worthy of the Sacrifice, nor of the participation? If so, then neither art thou of the prayer. Thou hearest the herald, [210] standing, and saying, "As many as are in penitence, all pray." [211] As many as do not partake, are in penitence. If thou art one of those that are in penitence, thou oughtest not to partake; for he that partakes not, is one of those that are in penitence. Why then does he say, "Depart, ye that are not qualified to pray," whilst thou hast the effrontery to stand still? But no, thou art not of that number, thou art of the number of those who are qualified to partake, and yet art indifferent about it, and regardest the matter as nothing.

Look, I entreat: a royal table is set before you, Angels minister at that table, the King Himself is there, and dost thou stand gaping? [212] Are thy garments defiled, and yet dost thou make no account of it?--or are they clean? Then fall down and partake. Every day He cometh in to see the guests, and converseth with them all. Yes, at this moment is he speaking to your conscience; "Friends, how stand ye here, not having on a wedding garment?" He said not, Why didst thou sit down? no, before he sat down, He declared him to be unworthy, so much as to come in. He saith not, "Why didst thou sit down to meat," but, "Why camest thou in?" And these are the words that He is at this very moment addressing to one and all of us that stand here with such shameless effrontery. For every one, that partaketh not of the mysteries, is standing here in shameless effrontery. It is for this reason, that they which are in sins are first of all put forth; for just as when a master is present at his table, it is not right that those servants who have offended him should be present, but they are sent out of the way: just so also here when the sacrifice is brought forth, and Christ, the Lord's sheep, is sacrificed; when thou hearest the words, "Let us pray together," when thou beholdest the curtains drawn up, [213] then imagine that the Heavens are let down from above, and that the Angels are descending!

As then it is not meet that any one of the uninitiated be present, so neither is it that one of them that are initiated, and yet at the same time defiled. Tell me, suppose any one were invited to a feast, and were to wash his hands, and sit down, and be all ready at the table, and after all refuse to partake; is he not insulting the man who invited him? were it not better for such an one never to have come at all? Now it is just in the same way that thou hast come here. Thou hast sung the Hymn [214] with the rest: thou hast declared thyself to be of the number of them that are Worthy, by not departing with them that are unworthy. Why stay, and yet not partake of the table? I am unworthy, thou wilt say. Then art thou also unworthy of that communion thou hast had in prayers. For it is not by means of the offerings only, but also by means of those canticles that the Spirit descendeth all around. Do we not see our own servants, first scouring the table with a sponge, and cleaning the house, and then setting out the entertainment? This is what is done by the prayers, by the cry of the herald. We scour the Church, as it were, with a sponge, that all things may be set out in a pure church, that there may be "neither spot nor wrinkle." (Eph. v. 27.) Unworthy, indeed, both our eyes of these sights, and unworthy are our ears! "And if even a beast," it is said, "touch the mountain, it shall be stoned." (Ex. xix. 13.) Thus then they were not worthy so much as to set foot on it, and yet afterwards they both came near, and beheld where God had stood. And thou mayest, afterwards, come near, and behold: when, however, He is present, depart. Thou art no more allowed to be here than the Catechumen is. For it is not at all the same thing never to have reached the mysteries, and when thou hast reached them, to stumble at them and despise them, and to make thyself unworthy of this thing. One might enter upon more points, and those more awful still; not however to burden your understanding, these will suffice. They who are not brought to their right senses with these, certainly will not be with more.

That I may not then be the means of increasing your condemnation, I entreat you, not to forbear coming, but to render yourselves worthy both of being present, and of approaching. Tell me, were any king to give command and to say, "If any man does this, let him partake of my table;" say, would ye not do all ye could to be admitted? He hath invited us to heaven, to the table of the great and wonderful King, and do we shrink and hesitate, instead of hastening and running to it? And what then is our hope of salvation? We cannot lay the blame on our weakness; we cannot on our nature. It is indolence and nothing else that renders us unworthy.

So far have I spoken of myself. But may He that pricketh the heart, He that giveth the Spirit of compunction, pierce your hearts, and plant the seeds in the depth of them, that so through His fear ye may conceive, and bring forth the spirit of salvation, and come near with boldness. For, "thy children," it is said, "are like olive plants round about thy table." (Ps. cxxviii. 3.) O, then, let there be nothing old, nothing wild, nothing harsh. For of such sort are the young plants that are fit for fruit, for the beautiful fruit, fruit I mean of the olive-tree. And thriving they are, so as all to be round about the table, and come together here, not in vain or by chance, but with fear and reverence. For thus shall ye behold with boldness even Christ Himself in heaven, and shall be counted worthy of that heavenly kingdom, which may God grant we may all attain, in Jesus Christ, our Lord with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[197] [Rom. i. 9; 1 Cor. i. 4; Philip. i. 3, 4; Col. i. 3; 1 Thes. i. 2.--G.A.] [198] ["On the contrary this `wherefore,' dia touto, refers to what precedes ver. 13, 14, `because this is the case that ye too are in Christ and have been sealed with the Spirit.' So Theophylact."--Meyer.--G.A.] [199] [The word `love,' agapen, which gets into the Auth. Ver. from some inferior mss., is omitted by Aleph. A. B. W. and H. Rev. Vers. cf. Col. i. 4.--G.A.] [200] [Chrysostom's hasty and superficial treatment of this great passage would seem to justify the language of Dr. Newman in his preface to the Oxford translation of these homilies on Ephesians. There are "imperfections in their composition which in the opinion of some critics argued the absence of that comparative leisure which he enjoyed at Antioch." Schaff also says: "His life in Constantinople was too much disturbed to leave him quiet leisure for preparation." This, however, in referring to his Homilies on Acts. Prolegomena p. 19.--G.A. [201] [Compare Mat. xxvii. 46; John xx. 17; Rev. iii. 12.--G.A.] [202] ["The words, `in the knowledge of Him,' enepi gnhosei autou, are not to be joined with the words `having your heart enlightened,' as Chrysostom here, which entirely destroys the paralellism and symmetry of the sentence, but with the words, may give you a spirit of wisdom, etc., (in the knowledge of Him)."--Meyer and Ellicott.--G.A.] [203] ["That ye may know what a great and glorious hope is given to the man whom God has called to the Kingdom of the Messiah; and that ye may know what is the object of that hope, namely, the riches of the glory of the inheritance which He gives; and that ye may know that by which this hope is to be realized, namely, the infinite power of God as shown in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ."--Meyer.--G.A.] [204] 'Echontas. [205] Dia ton enoikounta Theon Logon. The `inhabitation' of the Word in our flesh, was a favorite form of speech with the Nestorians, who thereby insinuated that the Word dwelt in `a' man, or denied Christ's unity of person. Yet the phrase is strictly orthodox, as being derived from John i. 14, and is especially maintained by Cyril, the antagonist of Nestorius, in order to denote that God was in human `nature,' vid. Cyril in Schol. 25. Theodor. Eran. ii. Ephræm. Antioch. apud Phot. 229. [206] ;;Imation. Thus Cyril Alex. speaks of Christ as `clothed about' with our nature. In Success. 2 p. 142. Vid. also Epiph. Ancor. . 95. Augustine in Psalm 130. 10. This, as well as other theological terms, was abused by heretical disputants; as if it implied either that the manhood of Christ might be put off from His divine nature, or that it was a mere accidental and unsubstantial medium of manifesting it. [207] Thuomenou. [208] This was the great festival of the Greek Church, being in remembrance of our Lord's Baptism, and, as it would appear, of His birth inclusively. The festival of Christmas, which had been in use in the West from an earlier date, was introduced at Antioch A.D. 376, with much opposition. Chrysostom, A.D. 387, urges its due celebration in his Hom. de Beato Philogon, and Serm. in Diem Natal. J. C. [209] [On Chrysostom's view of the eucharistic sacrifice, see Prolegomena, p. 21, note.--G.A.] [210] i.e. the Deacon, Athanasios prostaxas diakono keruxai euchen k. t. l. Socr. Hist. ii. 11. id qu. anaginoskein, Athan. de fug 24. [211] Vid. Bingh. Antiqu. xiii. 2. and xiv. 5. [The text here seems to be corrupt, Field's text is, "as many as are in penitence, all pray," (deethete pantes) which is evidently inconsistent with the context. The text should probably be, "As many as are in penitence, depart; as many as are not in penitence, pray all." So Field suggests in a note saying, Locus corruptus videtur, sic fortasse redintegrandus: hosoi en metanoi& 139; apelthete, hosoime en metanoia deethete pantes.--G.A.] [212] Vid. Bingh. Antiqu. xv. 2. [213] amphithura, curtains before the choir or altar, vid. Chrysost. in Matt. Hom. 84. fin. where, however, it has not the ecclesiastical sense, Epiphan. Epist. 51. 9. apud Hieron, ed. Vallars. where the curtain had a figure of Christ or some Saint, (to which Epiphanius objects) vid. also Evagr. Hist. vi. 21. [214] The Angelic Hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy, vid. Chrysost. in 2 Cor. Hom. 18. Cyril. Hieros. Myst. v. 6.


Homily IV.

Chapter II. Verses 1-3

"And you did He quicken, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein aforetime ye walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived, in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest."

There is, we know, a corporal, and there is also a spiritual, dying. [215] Of the first it is no crime to partake, nor is there any peril in it, inasmuch as there is no blame attached to it, for it is a matter of nature, not of deliberate choice. It had its origin in the transgression of the first-created man, and thenceforward in its issue it passed into a nature, and, at all events, will quickly be brought to a termination; whereas this spiritual dying, being a matter of deliberate choice, has criminality, and has no termination. Observe then how Paul, having already shown how exceedingly great a thing it is, in so much that to heal a deadened soul is a far greater thing than to raise the dead, so now again lays it down in all its real greatness.

"And you," saith he "when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein aforetime ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience." You observe the gentleness of Paul, and how on all occasions he encourages the hearer, not bearing too hard upon him. For whereas he had said, Ye have arrived at the very last degree of wickedness, (for such is the meaning of becoming dead,) that he may not excessively distress them, [216] (because men are put to shame when their former misdeeds are brought forward, cancelled though they be, and no longer attended with danger,) he gives them, as it were, an accomplice, that it may not be supposed that the work is all their own, and that accomplice a powerful one. And who then is this? The Devil. He does much the same also in the Epistle to the Corinthians, where, after saying, "Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters," (1 Cor. vi. 9.) and after enumerating all the other vices, and adding in conclusion, "shall inherit the kingdom of God;" he then adds, "and such were some of you;" he does not say absolutely, "ye were," but "some of you were," that is, thus in some sort were ye. Here the heretics attack us. They tell us that these expressions ("prince of all the power of the air," etc.) are used with reference to God, and letting loose their unbridled tongue, they fit these things to God, which belong to the Devil alone. How then are we to put them to silence? By the very words they themselves use; for, if He is righteous, as they themselves allow, and yet hath done these things, this is no longer the act of a righteous being, but rather of a being most unrighteous and corrupted; and corrupted God cannot possibly be.

Further, why does he call the Devil "the prince" of the world? Because nearly the whole human race has surrendered itself to him and all are willingly and of deliberate choice his slaves. And to Christ, though He promises unnumbered blessings, not any one so much as gives any heed; whilst to the Devil, though promising nothing of the sort, but sending them on to hell, all yield themselves. His kingdom then is in this world, and he has, with few exceptions, more subjects and more obedient subjects than God, in consequence of our indolence.

"According to the power," saith he, "of the air, of the spirit." [217]

Here again he means, that Satan occupies the space under Heaven, and that the incorporeal powers are spirits of the air, under his operation. For that his kingdom is of this age, i.e., will cease with the present age, hear what he says at the end of the Epistle; "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the world rulers of this darkness;" (Eph. vi. 12.) where, lest when you hear of world-rulers you should therefore say that the Devil is uncreated, he elsewhere (Gal. i. 4.) calls a perverse time, "an evil world," not of the creatures. For he seems to me, having had dominion beneath the sky, not to have fallen from his dominion, even after his transgression.

"That now worketh," he says, "in the sons of disobedience."

You observe that it is not by force, nor by compulsion, but by persuasion, he wins us over; "disobedience" or "untractableness" is his word, as though one were to say, by guile and persuasion he draws all his votaries to himself. And not only does he give them a word of encouragement by telling them they have an associate, but also by ranking himself with them, for he says,

"Among whom we also all once lived."

"All," because he cannot say that any one is excepted.

"In the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."

That is, having no spiritual affections. Yet, lest he should slander the flesh, or lest it should be supposed that the transgression was not great, observe how he guards the matter,

"Doing," he says, "the desires of the flesh and of the mind."

That is, the pleasurable passions. We provoked God to anger, he saith, we provoked Him to wrath, we were wrath, and nothing else. For as he who is a child of man is by nature man, so also were we children of wrath [218] even as others; i.e., no one was free, but we all did things worthy of wrath.

Ver. 4. "But God, being rich in mercy."

Not merely merciful, but rich in mercy; as it is said also in another place; "In the multitude of thy mercies." (Ps. lxix. 17.) And again, "Have mercy upon me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies." (Ps. li. 1.)

Ver. 4. "For His great love, [219] wherewith He loved us."

Why did He love us? For these things are not deserving of love, but of the sorest wrath, and punishment. And thus it was of great mercy.

Ver. 5. "Even when we were dead through our trespasses He quickened us together with Christ."

Again is Christ introduced, and it is a matter well worthy of our belief, because if the Firstfruits live, so do we also. He hath quickened both Him, and us. Seest thou that all this is said of Christ incarnate? Beholdest thou "the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe?" (Eph. i. 19.) Them that were dead, them that were children of wrath, them hath he quickened. Beholdest thou "the hope of his calling?"

Ver. 6. "He raised us up with Him and made us sit with Him."

Beholdest thou the glory of His inheritance? That "He hath raised us up together," is plain. But that He "hath made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," how does this hold? It holds as truly, as that He hath raised us together. For as yet no one is actually raised, [220] excepting that inasmuch as as the Head hath risen, we also are raised, just as in the history, when Jacob did obeisance, his wife also did obeisance to Joseph. (Gen. xxxvii. 9, 10.) And so in the same way "hath He also made us to sit with Him." For since the Head sitteth, the body sitteth also with it, and therefore he adds "in Christ Jesus." Or again, if it means, not this, it means that by the laver of Baptism He hath "raised us up with Him." How then in that case hath He made "us to sit with Him?" Because, saith he, "if we suffer we shall also reign with Him," (2 Tim. ii. 12.) if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him. Truly there is need of the Spirit and of revelation, in order to understand the depth of these mysteries. And then that ye may have no distrust about the matter, observe what he adds further.

Ver. 7. "That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in kindness towards us, in Christ Jesus."

Whereas he had been speaking of the things which concerned Christ, and these might be nothing to us, (for what, it might be said, is it to us, that He rose) therefore he shows that they do moreover extend to us, inasmuch as He is made one with us. Only that our concern in the matter he states separately. "Us," saith he, "who were dead through our trespasses He raised up with Him, and made us sit with Him." Wherefore, as I was saying, be not unbelieving, take the demonstration he adduces both from former things, and from His Headship, and also from His desire to show forth His goodness. For how will He show it, unless this come to pass? And He will show it in the ages to come. What? that the blessings are both great, and more certain than any other. For now the things which are said may to the unbelievers seem to be foolishness; but then all shall know them. Wouldest thou understand too, how He hath made us sit together with Him? Hear what Christ Himself saith to the disciples, "Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. xix. 28.) And again, "But to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give, but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared of My Father." (Matt. xx. 23.) So that it hath been prepared. And well saith he, "in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus," for to sit on His right hand is honor above all honor, it is that beyond which there is none other. This then he saith, that even we shall sit there. Truly this is surpassing riches, truly surpassing is the greatness of His power, to make us sit down with Christ, Yea, hadst thou ten thousand souls, wouldest thou not lose them for His sake? Yea, hadst thou to enter the flames, oughtest thou not readily to endure it? And He Himself too saith again, "Where I am, there shall also My servant be." (John. xii. 26.) Why surely had ye to be cut to pieces every day, ought ye not, for the sake of these promises cheerfully to embrace it? Think, where He sitteth? above all principality and power. And with whom it is that thou sittest? With Him. And who thou art? One dead, by nature a child of wrath. And what good hast thou done? None. Truly now it is high time to exclaim, "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!" (Rom. xi. 33.)

Ver. 8. "For by grace," saith he "have ye been saved." [221]

In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise thee too high, observe how he brings thee down: "by grace ye have been saved," saith he,

"Through faith;"

Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds,

"And that not of ourselves."

Neither is faith, [222] he means, "of ourselves." Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? for "how," saith he, "shall they believe, unless they hear?" (Rom. x. 14.) So that the work of faith itself is not our own.

"It is the gift," said he, "of God," it is "not of works."

Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, saith he, hath required this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith saveth, but it is because God so willeth, that faith saveth. Since, how, tell me, doth faith save, without works? This itself is the gift of God.

Ver. 9. "That no man should glory."

That he may excite in us proper feeling touching this gift of grace. "What then?" saith a man, "Hath He Himself hindered our being justified by works?" By no means. But no one, he saith, is justified by works, in order that the grace and loving-kindness of God may be shown. He did not reject us as having works, but as abandoned of works He hath saved us by grace; so that no man henceforth may have whereof to boast. And then, lest when thou hearest that the whole work is accomplished not of works but by faith, thou shouldest become idle, [223] observe how he continues,

Ver. 10. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them."

Observe the words he uses. He here alludes to the regeneration, which is in reality a second creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were before, that is, the old man, we are dead. What we are now become, before, we were not. Truly then is this work a creation, yea, and more noble than the first; for from that one, we have our being; but from this last, we have, over and above, our well being.

"For good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them." [224]

Not merely that we should begin, but that we should walk in them, for we need a virtue which shall last throughout, and be extended on to our dying day. If we had to travel a road leading to a royal city, and then when we had passed over the greater part of it, were to flag and sit down near the very close, it were of no use to us. This is the hope of our calling; for "for good works" he says. Otherwise it would profit us nothing.

Moral. Thus here he rejoices not that we should work one work, but all; for, as we have five senses, and ought to make use of all in their proper season, so ought we also the several virtues. Now were a man to be temperate and yet unmerciful, or were he to be merciful and yet grasping, or were he to abstain indeed from other people's goods, and yet not bestow his own, it would be all in vain. For a single virtue alone is not enough to present us with boldness before the judgment-seat of Christ; no, we require it to be great, and various, and universal, and entire. Hear what Christ saith to the disciples, "Go, ye and make disciples of all the nations,--teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you." (Matt. xxviii. 19.) And again, "Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven," (Matt. v. 19.) that is, in the resurrection; nay, he shall not enter into the kingdom; for He is wont to call the time also of the resurrection, the kingdom. "If he break one," saith He, "he shall be called least," so that we have need of all. And observe how it is not possible to enter without works of mercy; but if even this alone be wanting, we shall depart into the fire. For, saith He, "Depart, ye cursed, into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the Devil and his angels." Why and wherefore? "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink." (Matt. xxv. 42.) Beholdest thou, how without any other charge laid against them, for this one alone they perished. And for this reason alone too were the virgins also excluded from the bride-chamber, though sobriety surely they did possess. As the Apostle saith "and the sanctification, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 14.) Consider then, that without sobriety, it is impossible to see the Lord; yet it does not necessarily follow that with sobriety it is possible to see Him, because often-times something else stands in the way. Again, if we do all things ever so rightly, and yet do our neighbor no service, neither in that case shall we enter into the kingdom. Whence is this evident? From the parable of the servants entrusted with the talents. For, in that instance, the man's virtue was in every point unimpaired, and there had been nothing lacking, but forasmuch as he was slothful in his business, he was rightly cast out. Nay, it is possible, even by railing only, to fall into Hell. "For whosoever" saith Christ, "shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire." (Matt. v. 22.) And if a man be ever so right in all things, and yet be injurious, he shall not enter.

And let no one impute cruelty to God, in that he excludes those who fail in this matter, from the kingdom of Heaven. For even with men, if any one do any thing whatsoever contrary to the law, he is banished from the king's presence. And if he transgresses so much as one of the established laws, if he lays a false accusation against another, he forfeits his office. And if he commits adultery, and is detected, he is disgraced, and even though he have done ten thousand right acts, he is undone; and if he commits murder, and is convicted, this again is enough to destroy him. Now if the laws of men are so carefully guarded, how much more should those of God be. "But He is good," a man says. How long are we to be uttering this foolish talk? foolish, I say, not because He is not good, but in that we keep thinking that His goodness will be available to us for these purposes, though I have again and again used ten thousand arguments on this subject. Listen to the Scripture, which saith, "Say not, His mercy is great, He will be pacified for the multitude of my sins." (Ecclus. v. 6.) He does not forbid us to say, "His mercy is great." This is not what He enjoins; rather he would have us constantly say it, and with this object Paul raises all sorts of arguments, but his object is what follows. Do not, he means, admire the loving-kindness of God with this view, with a view to sinning, and saying, "His mercy will be pacified for the multitude of my sins." For it is with this object that I too discourse so much concerning His goodness, not that we may presume upon it, and do any thing we choose, because in that way this goodness will be to the prejudice of our salvation; but that we may not despair in our sins, but may repent. For "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance," (Rom. ii. 4.) not to greater wickedness. And if thou become depraved, because of His goodness, thou art rather belying Him before men. I see many persons thus impugning the long-suffering of God; so that if thou use it not aright, thou shalt pay the penalty. Is God a God of loving-kindness? Yes, but He is also a righteous Judge. Is He one who maketh allowance for sins? True, yet rendereth He to every man according to his works. Doth He pass by iniquity and blot out transgressions? True, yet maketh He inquisition also. How then is it, that these things are not contradictions? Contradictions they are not, if we distinguish them by their times. He doeth away iniquity here, both by the laver of Baptism, and by penitence. There He maketh inquisition of what we have done by fire and torment. "If then," some man may say, "I am cast out, and forfeit the kingdom, whether I have wrought ten thousand evil deeds or only one, wherefore may I not do all sorts of evil deeds?" This is the argument of an ungrateful servant; still nevertheless, we will proceed to solve even this. Never do that which is evil in order to do thyself good; for we shall, all alike fall short of the kingdom, yet in Hell we shall not all undergo the same punishment, but one a severer, another a milder one. For now, if thou and another have "despised God's goodness," (Rom. ii. 4.) the one in many instances, and the other in a few, ye will alike forfeit the kingdom. But if ye have not alike despised Him, but the one in a greater, the other in a less degree, in Hell ye shall feel the difference.

Now then, why, it may be said, doth He threaten them who have not done works of mercy, that they shall depart into the fire, and not simply into the fire, but into that which is "prepared for the devil and his angels?" (Matt. xxv. 41.) Why and wherefore is this? Because nothing so provokes God to wrath. He puts this before all terrible things; for if it is our duty to love our enemies, of what punishment shall not he be worthy, who turns away even from them that love him, and is in this respect worse than the heathen? So that in this case the greatness of the sin will make such an one go away with the devil. Woe to him, it is said, who doeth not alms; and if this was the case under the Old Covenant, much more is it under the New. If, where the getting of wealth was allowed, and the enjoyment of it, and the care of it, there was such provision made for the succoring the poor, how much more in that Dispensation, where we are commanded to surrender all we have? For what did not they of old do? They gave tithes, and tithes again upon tithes for orphans, widows, and strangers; whereas some one was saying to me in astonishment at another, "Why, such an one gives tithes." What a load of disgrace does this expression imply, since what was not a matter of wonder with the Jews has come to be so in the case of the Christians? If there was danger then in omitting tithes, think how great it must be now.

Again, drunkenness shall not inherit the kingdom. Yet what is the language of most people? "Well, if both I and he are in the same case, that is no little comfort." What then? First of all, that thou and he shall not reap the same punishment; but were it otherwise, neither is that any comfort. Fellowship in sufferings has comfort in it, when the miseries have any proportion in them; but when they exceed all proportion, and carry us beyond ourselves, no longer do they allow of our receiving any comfort at all. For tell the man that is being tortured, and has entered into the flames, that such an one is undergoing the same, still he will not feel the comfort. Did not all the Israelites perish together? What manner of comfort did that afford them? Rather, did not this very thing distress them? And this was why they kept saying, We are lost, we are perished, we are wasted away. What manner of comfort then is there here? In vain do we comfort ourselves with such hopes as these. There is but one only comfort, to avoid falling into that unquenchable fire; but it is not possible for one who has fallen into it to find comfort, where there is the gnashing of teeth, where there is the weeping, where is the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. For shalt thou conceive any comfort at all, tell me, when thou art in so great tribulation and distress? Wilt thou then be any longer thyself? Let us not, I pray and entreat you, let us not vainly deceive ourselves and comfort ourselves with arguments like these; no, let us practise those virtues, which shall avail to save us. The object before us is to sit together with Christ, and art thou trifling about such matters as these? Why, were there no other sin at all, how great punishment ought we not to suffer for these very speeches themselves, because we are so insensate, so wretched, and so indolent, as, even with so vast a privilege before us, to talk thus? Oh! how much shalt thou have to lament, when thou shalt then consider them that have done good! When thou shalt behold slaves and base-born who have labored but a little here, there made partakers of the royal throne, will not these things be worse to thee than torment? For if even now, when thou seest any in high reputation, though thou art suffering no evil, thou regardest this as worse than any punishment, and by this alone art consumed, and bemoanest thyself, and weepest, and judgest it to be as bad as ten thousand deaths; what shalt thou suffer then? Why, even were there no hell at all, the very thought of the kingdom, were it not enough to destroy and consume thee? And that such will be the case, we have enough in our own experience of things to teach us. Let us not then vainly flatter our own souls with speeches like these; no, let us take heed, let us have a regard for our own salvation, let us make virtue our care, let us rouse ourselves to the practice of good works, that we may be counted worthy to attain to this exceeding glory, in Jesus Christ our Lord with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[215] [The Commentators, except Meyer, refer the nekrous to spiritual death, as Chrysostom does. Meyer refers it to "eternal death, the eternal condemnation," and says the nekrous is proleptic. He distinctly says it does not refer to physical death, though Ellicott represents him as saying that it does.--G.A.] [216] [Paul's motive in this passage is probably not what Chrysostom says, but, on the contrary, to show how desperately bad their state was.--G.A.] [217] ["The word aer which is commonly confined to the region of the air, may be extended to all that supra-terrestrial but sub-celestial region which seems to be, if not the abode, at least the haunt of evil spirits, cf. Job i. 7."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [218] Chrysostom understands the words according to the order in which they stand in the original text, emen tekna phusei orges, "we were natural" or "genuine children of wrath," referring "by nature" not to "we were" but to "children." To say that we were by "nature" under wrath, might have seemed all one with saying that God created Adam under wrath. When then we so speak, we must take the word "nature" in S. Augustine's sense, not to mean our literal nature, but "as referring to our birth." "In eo quod dixi, `naturâ esse malæ animæ nullo modo queunt,' si quæritur quomodo accipiamus quod ait Apostolus, `Fuimus et nos naturâ filii iroe, &c.'" respondemus, naturam in his verbis meis me intelligi voluisse illam, quæ proprie natura dicitur, in quâ sine vitiis creati sumus. Nam ista propter originem natura appellatur, quæ origo utique habet vitium, quod est contra naturam. August. Retract. i. 15. . 6. vid, also de Lib. Arb. iii. 54.] "That man is a born subject of wrath from birth, an object of the divine condemnation, is not at all a doctrine of the Apostle, according to whom man by his actual sin falls under the wrath of God, inasmuch as he becomes subject to and follows the inborn principle of sin in opposition to his moral will which he likewise by nature bears in himself. Certainly man is born with this natural sinful quality, i.e., with the principle of sin, by the awakening and development of which the moral will is vanquished (Rom. vii. cf. John iii. 6.) It is not, however, the mere fact of this inborn presence having its basis in his flesh that in and of itself makes him a child of wrath, but he only becomes so when that constitution of his moral nature, that mingling of the two opposite principles in his natural disposition has brought about the victory of the sin-principle, which however is the case with every one."--Meyer.--G.A.] [219] [Dia ten pollen agapen autou: "namely, in order to satisfy it."--Meyer.--G.A.] [220] [This is Meyer's view. He says: "By virtue of the dynamic connection of Christ with believers as the head with its body their revivification is objectively comprehended in His." Ellicott says; "Though the simple meaning of sunegeiren and sunekathisen seems to confine their reference to what is future and objective; still as sunezoopoiesen though primarily spiritual and present may have a physical and future reference, so here a present spiritual resurrection and enthronement may be alluded to."--G.A.] [221] ["Confirmatory explanation of the truth and justice of the expression, `the exceeding riches of His grace' by a recurrence to the statement made parenthetically in verse 5."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [222] [Meyer objects to this interpretation saying: "How violent is this taking to pieces of the text, since ouk ex humon and ouk ex ergon present themselves in a manner alike natural and weighty as elements belonging to one flow of the discourse! The touto refers to the salvation just designated as regards its specific mode." So substantially Ellicott.--G.A.] [223] [This is not the object of Paul in the statement of v. 10, but as Meyer says: "Ver. 10is the reason assigned for the immediately preceding ouk ex humon...kauchesetai. For if we are God's handiwork our salvation cannot be of our own acquiring, and if we are created in Christ unto good works how could the merit of our works be the cause of our salvation or the subject of our boasting?"--G.A.] [224] [God, before we were created in Christ, made ready for us, prepared a sphere of moral action or (to use the simile of Chrysostom) a road, with the intent that we should walk in it. This sphere, this road was good works, erga agatha."--Ellicott.--G.A.]


Homily V.

Chapter II. Verses 11, 12

"Wherefore remember, that aforetime ye the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."

There are many things to show the loving-kindness of God. First, the fact, that by Himself He hath saved us, and by Himself through such a method as this. Secondly, that He hath saved us, as being what we were. Thirdly, that He hath exalted us to the place where we are. For all these things both contain in themselves the greatest demonstration of His loving-kindness, and they are the very subjects which Paul is now agitating in his Epistle. He had been saying, that when we were dead through our trespasses, and children of wrath, He saved us; He is now telling us further, to whom He hath made us equal. "Wherefore," saith he, "remember;" because it is usual with us, one and all, when we are raised from a state of great meanness to corresponding, or perhaps a greater, dignity, not so much as even to retain any recollection of our former condition, being nourished in this our new glory. On this account it is that he says, "Wherefore remember."--"Wherefore." Why, "wherefore?" [225] Because we have been created unto good works, and this were sufficient to induce us to cultivate virtue; "remember,"--for that remembrance is sufficient to make us grateful to our Benefactor,--"that ye were aforetime Gentiles." Observe how he lowers the superior advantages of the Jews and admires the disadvantages of the Gentiles; disadvantage indeed it was not, but he is arguing with each respectively from their character and manner of life.

"Who are called Uncircumcision." [226]

The honor then of the Jews is in names, their perogative is in the flesh. For uncircumcision is nothing, and circumcision is nothing.

"By that which is called," saith he, "Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. [227]

Ye, saith he, who were thus called by the Jews. But why when he is about to show that the benefit bestowed upon them consisted in this, in having fellowship with Israel, does he disparage the Israelitish prerogative? He does not disparage it. In essential points he enhances it, but only in these points, in which they had no fellowship, he disparages it. For further on he says, "Ye are fellow-citizens of the saints and of the household of God." Mark, how far he is from disparaging it. These points, saith he, are indifferent. Never think, saith he, that because ye happen not to be circumcised, and are now in uncircumcision, that there is any difference in this. No, the real trouble was this, the being "without Christ," the being "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." Whereas this circumcision is not "the commonwealth." Again, the being strangers from the covenants of promise, the having no hope to come, the being without God in this world, all these were parts of their condition. He was speaking of heavenly things; he speaks also of those which are upon earth; since the Jews had a great opinion of these. Thus also Christ in comforting His disciples, after saying, "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," adds the lesser point of consolation, "for so," saith He, "persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matt. v. 10-12.) For this, compared with the greatness of the other, is far less, yet in regard to the being nigh, and believing, it is great and sufficient, and has much force. This then was the sharing in the commonwealth. His word is not, "separated," but "alienated from the commonwealth." His word is not, "ye took no interest in," but, "ye had not so much as any part in, and were strangers." The expressions are most emphatic, and indicate the separation to be very wide. Because the Israelites themselves were without this commonwealth, not however as aliens, but as indifferent to it, and they fell from the covenants, not however as strangers, but as unworthy.

But what were "the covenants of the promise?" "To thee and to thy seed," saith He, "will I give this land," (Gen. xvii. 8.) and whatever else He promised.

"Having no hope," he adds, "and without God." Though gods indeed they worshipped, but they were no gods: "for an idol is not any thing." (1 Cor. x. 19.)

Ver. 13-15. "But now, [228] in Christ Jesus, ye that once were far off, are made nigh in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in His flesh the enmity."

Is this then the great privilege, it may be said, that we are admitted into the commonwealth of the Jews? What art thou saying? "He hath summed up all things that are in heaven, and that are in earth," and now dost thou tell us about Israelites? Yes, he would say. Those higher privileges we must apprehend by faith; these, by the things themselves. "But now," saith he, "in Christ Jesus, ye that once were far off, are made nigh," in reference to the commonwealth. For the "far off," and the "nigh," are matters of will and choice only.

"For He [229] is our peace, Who made both one."

What is this, "both one?" He does not mean this, that He hath raised us to that high descent of theirs, but that he hath raised both us and them to a yet higher. Only that the blessing to us is greater, because to these it had been promised, and they were nearer than we; to us it had not been promised, and we were farther off than they. Therefore it is that he says, "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy." (Rom. xv. 9.) The promise indeed He gave to the Israelites, but they were unworthy; to us He gave no promise, nay, we were even strangers, we had nothing in common with them; yet hath He made us one, not by knitting us to them, but by knitting both them and us together into one. I will give you an illustration. Let us suppose there to be two statues, the one of silver, the other of lead, and then that both shall be melted down, and that the two shall come out gold. Behold, thus hath He made the two one. Or put the case again in another way. Let the two be, one a slave, the other an adopted son: and let both offend Him, the one as a disinherited child, the other as a fugitive, and one who never knew a father. Then let both be made heirs, both trueborn sons. Behold, they are exalted to one and the same dignity, the two are become one, the one coming from a longer, the other from a nearer distance, and the slave becoming more noble than he was before he offended.

"And brake down," he proceeds, "the middle wall of partition."

What the middle wall of partition is, he interprets by saying, "the enmity having abolished in His flesh, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances." Some indeed affirm that he means the wall of the Jews against the Greeks, because it did not allow the Jews to hold intercourse with the Greeks. To me, however, this does not seem to be the meaning, but rather that he calls "the enmity in the flesh," a middle wall, in that it is a common barrier, cutting us off alike from God. [230] As the Prophet says, "Your iniquities separate between you and Me;" (Isa. lix. 2.) for that enmity which He had both against Jews and Gentiles was, as it were, a middle wall. And this, whilst the law existed, was not only not abolished, but rather was strengthened; "for the law," saith the Apostle, "worketh wrath." (Rom. iv. 15.) Just in the same way then as when he says in that passage, "the law worketh wrath," he does not ascribe the whole of this effect to the law itself, but it is to be understood, that it is because we have transgressed it; so also in this place he calls it a middle wall, because through being disobeyed it wrought enmity. The law was a hedge, but this it was made for the sake of security, and for this reason was called "a hedge," to the intent that it might form an inclosure. For listen again to the Prophet, where he says, "I made a trench about it." (Isa. v. 2.) And again, "Thou hast broken down her fences, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her." (Ps. lxxx. 12.) Here therefore it means security and so again, "I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be trodden down." (Isa. v. 5.) And again, "He gave them the law for a defence." (Isa. viii. 20.) And again, "The Lord executeth righteous acts and made known His ways unto Israel." (Ps. ciii. 6, 7.) It became, however, a middle wall, no longer establishing them in security, but cutting them off from God. Such then is the middle wall of partition formed out of the hedge. And to explain what this is, he subjoins, "the enmity in His flesh having abolished, the law of commandments."

How so? In that He was slain and dissolved the enmity therein. And not in this way only but also by keeping it. But what then, if we are released from the former transgression, and yet are again compelled to keep it? Then were the case the same over again, whereas He hath destroyed the very law itself. For he says, "Having abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances." Oh! amazing loving-kindness! He gave us a law that we should keep it, and when we kept it not, and ought to have been punished, He even abrogated the law itself. As if a man, who, having committed a child to a schoolmaster, if he should turn out disobedient, should set him at liberty even from the schoolmaster, and take him away. How great loving-kindness were this! What is meant by,

"Having abolished by ordinances?" [231]

For he makes a wide distinction between "commandments" and "ordinances." He either then means "faith," calling that an "ordinance," (for by faith alone He saved us,) or he means "precept," such as Christ gave, when He said, "But I say unto you, that ye are not to be angry at all." (Matt. v. 22.) That is to say, "If thou shalt believe that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. x. 6-9.) And again, "The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thine heart. Say not, Who shall ascend into heaven, or who shall descend into the abyss?" or, who hath "brought Him again from the dead?" Instead of a certain manner of life, He brought in faith. For that He might not save us to no purpose, He both Himself underwent the penalty, and also required of men the faith that is by doctrines.

"That he might create in Himself of the twain, one new man."

Observe thou, that it is not that the Gentile is become a Jew, but that both the one and the other are entered into another condition. It was not with a view of merely making this last other than he was, but rather, in order to create the two anew. And well does he on all occasions employ the word "create," and does not say "change," in order to point out the power of what was done, and that even though the creation be invisible, yet it is no less a creation than that is, and that we ought not henceforward start away from this, as from natural things.

"That He might in Himself of the twain."

That is, by Himself. [232] He gave not this charge to another, but Himself, by Himself, melted both the one and the other, and produced a glorious one, and one greater than the first creation; and that one, first, was Himself. For this is the meaning of "in Himself." He Himself first gave the type and example. Laying hold on the one hand of the Jew, and on the other of the Gentile, and Himself being in the midst, He blended them together, made all the estrangement which existed between them to disappear, and fashioned them anew from above by fire and by water; no longer with water and earth, but with water and fire. He became a Jew by circumcision, He became accursed, He became a Gentile without the law, and was over both Gentiles and Jews.

"One new man," saith he, "so making peace."

Peace for them both towards God, and towards each other. For so long as they continued still Jews and Gentiles, they could not have been reconciled. And had they not been delivered each from his own peculiar condition, they would not have arrived at another and a higher one. For the Jew is then united to the Gentile when he becomes a believer. It is like persons being in a house, with two chambers below, and one large and grand one above: they would not be able to see each other, till they had got above.

"Making peace," more especially towards God; for this the context shows, for what saith he?

Ver. 16. "And might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the Cross."

He saith, not merely "might reconcile," (katallaxe) but "might reconcile thoroughly" (apokatallaxe [233] ) indicating that heretofore human nature had been easily reconciled, as, e.g., in the case of the saints and before the time of the Law.

"In one body," saith he, and that His own, "unto God." How is this effected? By Himself, he means, suffering the due penalty.

"Through the cross having slain the enmity thereby." [234]

Nothing can be more decisive, nothing more expressive than these words. His death, saith the Apostle, hath "slain" the enmity. He hath "wounded" and "killed" it, not by giving charge to another, nor by what He wrought only, but also by what He suffered. He does not say "having dissolved," he does say "having cancelled," but what is stronger than all, "having slain," so that it never should rise again. How then is it that it does rise again? From our exceeding depravity. For as long as we abide in the body of Christ, as long as we are united, it rises not again, but lies dead; or rather that former enmity never rises again at all. But if we breed another, it is no longer because of Him, who hath destroyed and put to death the former one. It is thou, forsooth, that travailest with a fresh one. "For the mind of the flesh," saith he, "is enmity against God;" (Rom. viii. 6.) if we are in nothing carnally-minded, there will be no fresh enmity produced, but that "peace" shall remain.

Moral. Think then, how vast an evil is it, when God hath employed so many methods to reconcile us, and hath effected it, that we should again fall back into enmity! This enmity no fresh Baptism, but hell itself awaits; no fresh remission, but searching trial. The mind of the flesh is luxury and indolence, the "mind of the flesh" is covetousness and all kinds of sin. Why is it said the mind of the flesh? While yet the flesh could do nothing without the soul. He does not say this to the disparagement of the flesh, any more than when he says the "natural man," (1 Cor. ii. 14.) he uses that expression to the disparagement of the soul, for neither body nor soul in itself, if it receive not the impulse which is far above, is able to achieve any thing great or noble. Hence he calls those acts which the soul performs of herself, "natural; psuchika" and those which the body performs of itself "carnal." Not because these are natural, but because, inasmuch as they receive not that direction from heaven, they perish. So the eyes are good, but without light, will commit innumerable errors; this, however, is the fault of their weakness, not of nature. Were the errors natural, then should we never be able to use them aright at all. For nothing that is natural is evil. Why then does he call carnal affections sins? Because whenever the flesh exalts herself, and gets the mastery over her charioteer, she produces ten thousand mischiefs. The virtue of the flesh is, her subjection to the soul. It is her vice to govern the soul. As the horse then may be good and nimble, and yet this is not shown without a rider; so also the flesh will then show her goodness, when we cut off her prancings. But neither again is the rider shown, if he have not skill. Nay he himself will do mischief yet more fearful than that before named. So that on all hands we must have the Spirit at hand. This being at hand will impart new strength to the rider; this will give beauty both to body and soul. For just as the soul, while dwelling in the body, makes it beautiful, but when she leaves it destitute of her own native energy and departs, like a painter confounding his colors together, the greatest loathsomeness ensues, every one of the several parts hastening to corruption, and dissolution:--so is it also when the Spirit forsakes the body and the soul, the loathsomeness which ensues is worse and greater. Do not then, because the body is inferior to the soul, revile it, for neither do I endure to revile the soul because it hath no strength without the Spirit. If one need say anything at all, the soul is deserving of the greater censure than the body; for the body indeed can do no grevious harm without the soul, whereas the soul can do much without the body. Because, we know, when the one is even wasting away, and has no wantonness, the soul is busily employed. Even as those sorcerers, magicians, envious persons, enchanters, especially cause the body to waste away. But besides this, not even luxury is the effect of the necessity of the body, but rather of the inattentiveness of the soul; for food, not feasting, is the object of the necessity of the body. For if I have a mind to put on a strong curb, I stop the horse; but the body is unable to check the soul in her evil courses. Wherefore then does he call it the carnal mind? Because it comes to be wholly of the flesh, for when she has the mastery, then she goes wrong, as soon as ever she has deprived herself of reason, and of the supremacy of the soul. The virtue therefore of the body consists in this, in its submission to the soul, since of itself the flesh is neither good nor evil. For what could the body ever do of itself? It is then by its connection that the body is good, good because of its subjection, but of itself neither good nor evil, with capacity, however, both for one and for the other, and having an equal tendency either way. The body has a natural desire, not however of fornication, nor of adultery, but of pleasure; the body has a desire not of feasting, but of food; not of drunkenness, but of drink. For in proof that it is not drunkenness that is the natural desire of the body, mark how, whenever you exceed the measure, when you go beyond the boundary-lines, it cannot hold out a moment longer. Up to this point it is of the body, but all the rest of the excesses, as e.g., when she is hurried away into sensualities, when she becomes stupefied, these are of the soul. For though the body be good, still it is vastly inferior to the soul, as lead is less of value than gold, and yet gold needs lead to solder it, and just so has the soul need also of the body. Or in the same way as a noble child requires a conductor, so again does the soul stand in need of the body. For, as we speak of childish things, not to the disparagement of childhood, but only of those acts which are done during childhood; so also are we now speaking of the body.

Yet it is in our power, if we will, no longer to be in the flesh, no, nor upon the earth, but in heaven, and in the Spirit. For our being here or there, is not determined so much by our position, as by our disposition. Of many people, at least, who are in some place, we say they are not there, when we say, "Thou wast not here. And again Thou art not here." And why do I say this? We often say, "Thou art not at (en) thyself, I am not at (en) myself," and yet what can be more material (a stronger instance of corporeal locality) than this, that a man is near to himself? And yet, notwithstanding, we say that he is not at himself. Let us then be in ourselves, in heaven, in the Spirit. Let us abide in the peace and in the grace of God, that we may be set at liberty from all the things of the flesh, and may be able to attain to those good things which are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, and might, and honor, now and henceforth, and for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[225] ["Therefore, because such exalted and unmerited benefits have been imparted to us (vv. 4-10)," (Ellicott vv. 1-7). "These benefits should move the reader to remember his former miserable heathen state in order to appreciate by contrast the value of his present state." Meyer.--G.A.] [226] ["They were those designated `Foreskin' by the people who bear the name of the surgical operation performed on their flesh."--Meyer.--G.A.] [227] ["They were without church, without promise, without hope, without God, and that in the profane wicked world (en to kosmo being in contrast to politeias tou Israel and like it, ethical in reference.) ;'Atheoi may mean ignorant of God or forsaken by God, probably the latter."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [228] ["This too is what they should remember, but the Apostle continues the contrast in an independent sentence."--Riddle, in Popular Commentary.--G.A.] [229] ["The emphatic pronoun is used, autos. But He is not put in opposition to `ourselves' having made the peace, but as Bengel says, `Not merely is He peacemaker, for at the cost of `Himself' He procured peace.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [230] ["The only mode of taking echthran in harmony with the context is not as Chrysostom, "but of the enmity which existed between Jews and Gentiles."--Meyer. ";;En te sarki, `in the flesh,' does not belong to ten echthran, as Chrysostom construes it but to katargesas, `having abolished.'" So Meyer and Rev. Ver.--G.A.] [231] [The order of the Greek is as follows: ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasin katargesas. Chrysostom has because of the order joined en dogmasin with katargesas, as its modal definition. But en dogmasin belongs to entolon meaning `the law of commandments consisting in ordinances,' "entolon denoting the `contents' of the law and en dogmasin the `form' in which they were given;" so Meyer.--G.A.] [232] [en auto: "This is not equivalent to di heautou, as Chrysostom, but it affirms that the unity to be brought about was to be founded in Christ Himself, was to have the basis of its existence and continuance in Him and not in any other unifying principles whatever."--Meyer.--G.A.] [233] [Meyer says the apo strengthens the notion of reconciliation, Ellicott that it not only strengthens but hints at a restoration to primal unity, the apo meaning again.--G.A.] [234] ["`After he shall have slain the enmity &c.;' for it is inserted in the second half of the affirmation of `design' and is correlative to poion eirenen."--Meyer.--G.A.]


Homily VI.

Chapter II. Verses 17-22

"And He came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh, for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father. So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief corner-stone. In whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit."

He sent not, saith the Apostle, by the hand of another, nor did He announce these tidings to us by means of any other, but Himself did it in His own person. He sent not Angel nor Archangel on the mission, because to repair so many and vast mischiefs and to declare what had been wrought was in the power of none other, but required His own coming. [235] The Lord then took upon Himself the rank of a servant, nay, almost of a minister, "and came, and preached peace to you," saith he, "that were far off, and to them that were nigh." To the Jews, he means, who as compared with ourselves were nigh. "For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father."

"Peace," saith he, that "peace" which is towards God. He hath reconciled us. For the Lord Himself also saith, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you." (John xiv. 27.) And again, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John xvi. 33.) And again, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do." (John xiv. 14.) And again, "For the Father loveth you." (John xvi. 27.) These are so many evidences of peace. But how towards the Gentiles? "Because through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father," not ye less, and they more, but all by one and the same grace. The wrath He appeased by His death, and hath made us meet for the Father's love through the Spirit. Mark again, the "in" means "by" or "through." By Himself and the Spirit that is, He hath brought us unto the Father. "So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens with the saints."

Perceive ye that it is not with the Jews simply, no, but with those saintly and great men, such as Abraham, and Moses, and Elias? It is for the self-same city with these we are enrolled, for that we declare ourselves. "For they that say such things," saith he, "make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own." (Heb. xi. 14.) No longer are we strangers from the saints, nor foreigners. For they who shall not attain to heavenly blessings, are foreigners. "For the Son," saith Christ, "abideth for ever." (John viii. 35.)

"And of the household," he continues, "of God."

The very thing which they at the first had, by means of so many toils and troubles, hath been for you accomplished by the grace of God. Behold the hope of your calling.

"Being built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets."

Observe how he blends all together, the Gentiles, the Jews, [236] the Apostles, the Prophets, and Christ, and illustrates the union sometimes from the body, and sometimes from the building: "built," saith he, "upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets;" that is, the Apostles and Prophets are a foundation, [237] and he places the Apostles first, though they are in order of time last, doubtless to represent and express this, that both the one and the other are alike a foundation, and that the whole is one building, and that there is one root. Consider, that the Gentiles have the Patriarchs as a foundation. He here speaks more strongly of that point than he does when he speaks of a "grafting in." There he rather attaches them on. Then he adds, that He who binds the whole together in Christ. For the chief corner-stone binds together both the walls, and the foundations.

"In whom each several building."

Mark, how he knits it all together, and represents Him at one time, as holding down the whole body from above, and welding it together; at another time, as supporting the building from below, and being, as it were, a root, or base. And whereas he had used the expression, "He created in Himself of the twain one new man;" (Eph. ii. 15.) by this he clearly shows us, that by Himself Christ knits together the two walls: and again, that in Him it was created. And "He is the first-born," [238] saith he, "of all creation," that is, He Himself supports all things.

"In whom each several building, fitly framed together."

Whether you speak of the roof, or of the walls, or of any other part whatsoever, [239] He it is supports the whole. Thus he elsewhere calls Him a foundation. "For other foundations," saith he, "can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. iii. 11.) "In whom each several building," he saith, "fitly framed together." Here he displays the perfectness of it, and indicates that one cannot otherwise have place in it, unless by living with great exactness. "It groweth saith he into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also," he adds, "are builded together." He is speaking continuously: "Into a holy temple, for a habitation of God in the Spirit." What then is the object of this building? It is that God may dwell in this temple. For each of you severally is a temple, and all of you together are a temple. And He dwelleth in you as in the body of Christ, and as in a Spiritual temple. He does not use the word which means our coming to God, (prosodos) but which implies God's bringing us to Himself, (prosagoge) for we came not out of ourselves, but we were brought nigh by Him. "No one," saith Christ, "cometh unto the Father but by Me." And again, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." (John xiv. 6.)

He joins them with the Saints and again returns to his former image, nowhere suffering them to be disunited from Christ. Doubtless then, this is a building that shall go on until His coming. Doubtless it was for this reason that Paul said, "As a wise master builder, I laid a foundation." (1 Cor. iii. 10, 11.) And again that Christ is the foundation. What then means all this? You observe that the comparisons have all referred to the subject-matters, and that we must not expound them to the very letter. The Apostle speaks from analogy as Christ does, where He calls the Father an husbandman, (John xv. 1.) and Himself a root. (Rev. xxii. 16.)

Chap. iii. ver. 1. "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles."

He has mentioned Christ's great and affectionate care; he now passes on to his own, insignificant indeed as it is, and a very nothing in comparison with that, and yet this is enough to engage them to himself. For this cause, saith he, am I also bound. [240] For if my Lord was crucified for your sakes, much more am I bound. He not only was bound Himself, but allows His servants to be bound also,--"for you Gentiles." It is full of emphasis; not only do we no longer loathe you, but we are even bound, saith he, for your sakes and of this exceeding grace am I partaker.

Ver. 2. "If so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that grace of God, which was given me to you-ward."

He alludes to the prediction addressed to Ananias concerning him at Damascus, when the Lord said, "Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles and Kings." (Acts ix. 15.)

By "dispensation of grace," he means the revelation made to him. As much as to say, "I learned it not from man. (Gal. i. 12.) He vouchsafed to reveal it even to me, though but an individual for your sakes. For Himself said unto me, saith he, "Depart, for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles." (Acts xxii. 21.) "If so be that ye have heard" for a dispensation it was, a mighty one; to call one, uninfluenced from any other quarter, immediately from above, and to say, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" and to strike him blind with that ineffable light! "if so be that ye have heard," [241] saith he, "of the dispensation of that grace of God which was given me to you-ward."

Ver. 3. "How that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words."

Perhaps he had informed them of it by some persons, or had not long before been writing to them. [242] Here he is pointing out that the whole is of God, that we have contributed nothing. For what? I ask, was not Paul himself, the wonderful, he that was so versed in the law, he that was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel according to the most perfect manner, was not he saved by grace? With good reason too does he call this a mystery, for a mystery it is, to raise the Gentiles in a moment to a higher rank than the Jews. "As I wrote afore," saith he, "in few words," i.e., briefly,

Ver. 4. "Whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive."

Amazing! So then he wrote not the whole, nor so much as he should have written. But here the nature of the subject prevented it. Elsewhere, as in the case of the Hebrews (Heb. v. 11.) and the Corinthians, (1 Cor. iii. 2.) the incapacity of the hearers. "Whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive," saith he, "my understanding in the mystery of Christ," i.e., how I knew, how I understood either such things as God hath spoken, or else, that Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; and then too the dignity, in that God "hath not dealt so with any nation." (Ps. cxlvii. 20.) And then to explain what nation this is with whom God hath thus dealt, he adds,

Ver. 5. "Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit."

What then, tell me, did not the Prophets [243] know it? How then doth Christ say, that Moses and the Prophets wrote "these things concerning Me?" And again, "If ye believed Moses, ye would believe Me." (John v. 46.) And again, "Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life, and these are they which bear witness of me." (John v. 39.) His meaning is this, either that it was not revealed unto all men, for he adds, "which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed;" or else, that it was not thus made known by the very facts and realities themselves, "as it hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit." For reflect. Peter, had he not been instructed by the Spirit, never would have gone to the Gentiles. For hear what he says, "Then hath God given unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as unto us." (Acts x. 47.) That it was by the Spirit that God chose that they should receive the grace. The Prophets then spoke, yet they knew it not thus perfectly; so far from it, that not even did the Apostles, after they had heard it. So far did it surpass all human calculation, and the common expectation.

Ver. 6. "That the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body and fellow partakers." [244]

What is this; "fellow-heirs, and fellow-partakers of the promise, and fellow-members of the body?" This last is the great thing, that they should be one body; this exceeding closeness of relation to Him. For that they were to be called indeed, that they knew, but that it was so great, as yet they knew not. This therefore he calls the mystery. "Of the promise." The Israelites were partakers, and the Gentiles also were fellow-partakers of the promise of God.

"In Christ Jesus through the Gospel."

That is, by His being sent unto them also, and by their believing; for it is not said they are fellow-heirs simply, but "through the Gospel." However, this indeed, is nothing so great, it is in fact a small thing, and it discloses to us another and greater thing, that not only men knew not this, but that neither Angels nor Archangels, nor any other created power, knew it. For it was a mystery, and was not revealed. "That ye can perceive," he saith, "my understanding." This alludes, perhaps, to what he said to them in the Acts, that he had some knowledge that the Gentiles also were called. This, he says, is his own knowledge, "the knowledge of the mystery," which he had mentioned, viz., "that Christ will in Himself make of the twain one new man." For by revelation he was instructed, both he and Peter, that they must not spurn the Gentiles; and this he states in his defence.

Ver. 7. "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of His power."

He had said, "I am a prisoner;" but now again he says, that all is of God, as he says, "according to the gift of His grace;" for according to the power of the gift is the dignity of this privilege. But the gift would not have been enough, had it not also implanted in him power.

Moral. For a work indeed it was of power, of mighty power, and such as no human diligence was equal to. For he brought three qualifications to the preaching of the word, a zeal fervent and venturous, a soul ready to undergo any possible hardship, and knowledge and wisdom combined. For his love of enterprise, his blamelessness of life, had availed nothing, had he not also received the power of the Spirit. And look at it as seen first in himself, or rather hear his own words. "That our ministration be not blamed." (2 Cor. vi. 3.) And again, "For our exhortation, is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile, nor a cloke of covetousness." (1 Thes. ii. 3, 5.) Thus thou hast seen his blamelessness. And again, "For we take thought for things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (2 Cor. viii. 21.) Then again, besides these; "I protest by that glorying in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." (1 Cor. xv. 31.) And again; "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution?" (Rom. viii. 35.) And again; "In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in watchings." (2 Cor. vi. 4, 5.) Then again, his prudence and management; "To the Jews I became as a Jew, to them that are without law as without law, to them that are under the law as under the law." (1 Cor. ix. 20.) He shaves his head also, (Acts. xxi. 24-26.) and does numberless things of the sort. But the crown of all is in the power of the Holy Ghost. "For I will not dare to speak," saith he, "of any things save those which Christ wrought through me." (Rom. xv. 18.) And again, "For what is there wherein you were made inferior to the rest of the Churches?" (2 Cor. xii. 13.) And again, "For in nothing was I behind the very chiefest Apostles though I am nothing." (2 Cor. xii. 11.) Without these things, the work had been impossible.

It was not then by his miracles that men were made believers; no, it was not the miracles that did this, nor was it upon the ground of these that he claimed his high pretension, but upon those other grounds. For a man must be alike irreproachable in conduct, prudent and discreet in his dealings with others, regardless of danger, and apt to teach. It was by these qualifications that the greater part of his success was achieved. Where there were these, there was no need of miracles. At least we see he was successful in numberless such cases, quite antecedently to the use of miracles. But, now-a-days, we without any of these would fain command all things. Yet if one of them be separated from the other, it henceforth becomes useless. What is the advantage of a man's being ever so regardless of danger, if his life be open to censure. "For if the light that is in thee be darkness," saith Christ, "how great is that darkness?" (Mat. vi. 23.) Again, what the advantage of a man's being of an irreproachable life, if he is sluggish and indolent? "For, he that doth not take his cross, and follow after Me," saith He, "is not worthy of Me;" (Mat. x. 38.) and so, "The good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep." (John x. 11.) Again, what is the advantage of being both these, unless a man is at the same time prudent and discreet in "knowing how he ought to answer each one?" (Col. iv. 6.) Even if miracles be not in our power, yet both these qualities are in our power. Still however, notwithstanding Paul contributed so much from himself, yet did he attribute all to grace. This is the act of a grateful servant. And we should never so much as have heard of his good deeds, had he not been brought to a necessity of declaring them.

And are we worthy then so much as even to mention the name of Paul? He, who had moreover grace to aid him, yet was not satisfied, but contributed to the work ten thousand perils; whilst we, who are destitute of that source of confidence, whence, tell me, do we expect either to preserve those who are committed to our charge, or to gain those who are not come to the fold;--men, as we are, who have been making a study of self-indulgence, who are searching the world over for ease, and who are unable, or rather who are unwilling, to endure even the very shadow of danger, and are as far distant from his wisdom as heaven is from earth? Hence it is too that they who are under us are at so great a distance behind the men of those days; because the disciples of those days were better than the teachers of these, isolated as they were in the midst of the populace, and of tyrants, and having all men on all sides their enemies, and yet not in the slightest degree dragged down or yielding. Hear at least what he saith to the Philippians, (Philip. i. 29.) "Because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in his behalf." And again to the Thessalonians, (1 Thes. ii. 14.) "For ye, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judæa." And again in writing to the Hebrews (Heb. x. 34.) he said, "And ye took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions." And to the Colossians (Col. iii. 3.) he testifies, saying, "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God." And indeed to these very Ephesians he bears witness of many perils and dangers. And again in writing to the Galatians, (Gal. iii. 4.) he says, "Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain." And you see them too, all employed in doing good. Hence it was that both grace wrought effectually in those days, hence also that they lived in good works. Hear, moreover, what he writes to the Corinthians, against whom he brings charges out of number; yet does he not bear even them record, where he says, "Yea, what zeal it wrought in you, yea, what longing!" (1 Cor. vii. 11.) And again, in how many points does he bear them record on this subject? These things one shall not see now-a-days, even in teachers. They are all gone and perished. And the cause is, that love hath waxed cold, that sinners go unpunished; (for hear what he says writing to Timothy, (1 Tim. v. 20.) "Them that sin, reprove in the sight of all;") it is that the rulers are in a sickly state; for if the head be not sound, how can the rest of the body maintain its vigor? But mark how great is the present disorder. They, who were living virtuously, and who under any circumstance might have confidence, have taken possession of the tops of the mountains, [245] and have escaped out of the world, separating themselves as from an enemy and an alien and not from a body to which they belonged.

Plagues too, teeming with untold mischiefs, have lighted upon the Churches. The chief offices have become saleable. [246] Hence numberless evils are springing, and there is no one to redress, no one to reprove them. Nay, the disorder has assumed a sort of method and consistency. Has a man done wrong, and been arraigned for it? His effort is not to prove himself guiltless, but to find if possible accomplices in his crimes. What is to become of us? since hell is our threatened portion. Believe me, had not God stored up punishment for us there, ye would see every day tragedies deeper than the disasters of the Jews. What then? however let no one take offence, for I mention no names; suppose some one were to come into this church to present you that are here at this moment, those that are now with me, and to make inquisition of them; or rather not now, but suppose on Easter day any one, endued with such a spirit, as to have a thorough knowledge of the things they had been doing, should narrowly examine all that came to Communion, and were being washed [in Baptism] after they had attended the mysteries; many things would be discovered more shocking than the Jewish horrors. He would find persons who practise augury, who make use of charms, and omens and incantations, and who have committed fornication, adulterers, drunkards, and revilers,--covetous, I am unwilling to add, lest I should hurt the feelings of any of those who are standing here. What more? Suppose any one should make scrutiny into all the communicants in the world, what kind of transgression is there which he would not detect? and what if he examined those in authority? Would he not find them eagerly bent upon gain? making traffic of high places? envious, malignant, vainglorious, gluttonous, and slaves to money?

Where then there is such impiety as this going on, what dreadful calamity must we not expect? And to be assured how sore vengeance they incur who are guilty of such sins as these, consider the examples of old. One single man, a common soldier, stole the sacred property, and all were smitten. Ye know, doubtless, the history I mean? I am speaking of Acham the son of Carmi, the man who stole the consecrated spoil. (Joshua vii. 1-26.) The time too when the Prophet spoke, was a time when their country was full of soothsayers, like that of the Philistines. (Isa. ii. 6.) Whereas now there are evils out of number at the full, and not one fears. Oh, henceforth let us take the alarm. God is accustomed to punish the righteous also with the wicked; such was the case with Daniel, and with the three holy Children, such has been the case with ten thousand others, such is the case in the wars that are taking place even at the present day. For the one indeed, whatever burden of sins they have upon them, by this means lay aside even that; but not so the other.

On account of all these things, let us take heed to ourselves. Do ye not see these wars? Do ye not hear of these disasters? Do ye learn no lesson from these things? Nations and whole cities are swallowed up and destroyed, and myriads as many again are enslaved to the barbarians.

If hell bring us not to our senses, yet let these things. What, are these too mere threats, are they not facts that have already taken place? Great is the punishment they have suffered, yet a greater still shall we suffer, who are not brought to our senses even by their fate. Is this discourse wearing? [247] I am aware it is myself, but if we attend to it, it has its advantage; because this it has not, the quality of an address to please,--nay more, nor ever shall have, but ever those topics which may avail to humble and to chasten the soul. For these will be to us the ground-work of those blessings to come hereafter, to which God grant that we may all attain, in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost be glory and might and honor, now and henceforth, and forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[235] [This passage does not refer to His bodily advent upon earth, as Chrysostom interprets, but following the account of his crucifixion more naturally refers to a spiritual advent, namely in the Holy Spirit, (in so far as it is Christ's spirit) Christ Himself came. He is our peace; yes, and He came and by His spirit and the mouths of the Apostles He preached it.--Meyer and Ellicott.--G.A.] [236] [Field's text has not the words, "the Jews;" but as there is excellent authority for them and they suit the context better, we have left them, with the Oxford translator, in our text.--G.A.] [237] ["It is wrong to take this genitive as the genitive of apposition, as Chrysostom, for the Apostles and Prophets are not the foundation but have laid it. (1 Cor. iii. 10.) Nor are the Prophets here mentioned O.T. prophets but N.T. prophets. (cf. iii. 5; iv. 11.).--Meyer."--G.A.] [238] Col. i. 15. i.e. "Begotten before every creature;" "begotten of His Father before all worlds." It is explained of our Lord's divine nature by Origen, Periarch. i. 2. Tertullian in Prax. 7. in Marcion, v. 19. S. Hilar. de Trin. viii. 50. S. Ambros. de Fid. i. 14. S. Basil in Eunom. iv. in Col. i. 15. Others understand the expression to denote the Only-Begotten considered as becoming the origin of the new creation,--as beginning in His flesh, as being the Only-Begotten, the regenerate world. Thus S. Athanasius Orat. iii. 62, 63. S. Greg. Nyss. de Perfect. p. 722. contra. Eunom. i. p. 24. iii. pp. 113, 114. S. Cyril. de Trin. iv. p. 518. S. August. in Rom. 56. Theodoret interprets the word in both ways, in loc. and in Ps. 88, 28. S. Chrysostom too, Hom. Son. Col. i. 15. may be understood according to either interpretation. Indeed they are quite consistent with each other. [239] ["Chrysostom is wrong in holding that by pasa oikodome is signified every `part' of the building (wall, roof, etc.,) since oikodome rather denotes the `aggregate' of the single parts of the building. Pasa oikodome means `every building' and is here to be interpreted, `every Christian community, each congregation.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [240] [The Syriac Version followed by commentators from Chrysostom to Meyer makes hodesmios predicate, supplying "am." "I Paul am the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles." This is open to grave objections. ;;O desmos is rather in apposition and the broken construction is resumed at ver. 14.--Riddle, Ellicott, Alford, Braune. R.V. Comp. 4: 1.--G.A.] [241] ["Gentle appeal, expressed in a hypothetical form and conveying the hope that his words had not been forgotten."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [242] ["This parenthetical remark of the Apostle refers not to a lost letter but to the section last treated of concerning the Gentiles attaining salvation."--Meyer.--G.A.] [243] [Prophets here refers, as before, to New Testament prophets, and not, as Chrysostom understands it, to O.T. prophets.--G.A.] [244] ["Fellow-heirs (sunkleronoma) denotes the joint possession with the believing Jews of the eternal Messianic bliss."--Meyer. "The following words (sussoma kai summetocha), which seem to have been coined by the apostle, are well rendered by R.V., `fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers,' and bring out more fully the relation of the fellow-heirs to each other."--Riddle.--G.A.] [245] This alludes to the Monks who lived in the mountains about Antioch, where these Homilies seem to have been written. Compare Homily xiii. p. 2. vid. Adv. Oppugn. i. 7, 8. Elsewhere he blames persons who retired, as hiding their talents, vid. I Cor. Hom. vi. 8. [246] The same sin is noticed among other places by S. Basil Ep. 53. S. Ambrose in Luc. lib. ix. 17-19. S. Jerome in Mat. xxi. 12, 13. [247] S. Chrysostom complains that his rich hearers, when the choice lay between theatre or race and Church, preferred the former; alleging the heat and crowd of the latter, vid. t. 3. Hom. iii. xii. and xv. (Ed. Ben.) I Cor. Hom. v. fin. We see his care to consult for the tastes and capacities of his hearers in his preaching, in Ps. 41. init. and t. 3. Hom. vii. n. 3. (Ed. Ben.)


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