Writings of John Chrysostom. On the Epistle 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 XIII.

Ephesians iv. 17-19

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart: who being past feeling, gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."

These words are not addressed to the Ephesians only, but are now addressed also to you; and that, not from me, but from Paul; or rather, neither from me nor from Paul, but from the grace of the Spirit. And we then ought so to feel, as though that grace itself were uttering them. And now hear what it saith. "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart." If then it is ignorance, if it is hardening, why blame it? [317] if a man is ignorant, it were just, not that he should be ill-treated for it, nor be blamed, but that he should be informed of those things of which he is ignorant. But mark how at once he cuts them off from all excuse. "Who being past feeling," saith he, "gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness; but ye did not so learn Christ." Here he shows us, that the cause of their hardening was their way of life, and that their life was the consequence of their own indolence and want of feeling.

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"Who being past feeling," [318] saith he, "gave themselves up."

Whenever then ye hear, that "God gave them up unto a reprobate mind" (Rom. i. 28.), remember this expression, that "they gave themselves up." If then they gave themselves over, how did God give them over? and if again God gave them over, how did they give themselves over? Thou seest the seeming contradiction. The word, "gave them over," then, means this, He permitted [319] them to be given over. Seest thou, that the impure life is the ground for like doctrines also? "Every one," saith the Lord, "that doeth ill hateth the light, and cometh not to the light." (John iii. 20.) For how could a profligate man, one more immersed in the practice of indiscriminate lewdness than the swine [320] that wallow in the mire, and who is a lover of money, and has not so much as any desire after temperance, enter upon a life like this? They made the thing, saith he, their "work." [321] Hence their "hardening" (ver. 19), hence the "darkness of their understanding." There is such a thing as being in the dark, even while the light is shining, when the eyes are weak; and weak they become, either by the influx of ill humors, or by superabundance of rheum. And so surely is it also here; when the strong current of the affairs of this life overwhelms the perceptive power of the understanding, it is thrown into a state of darkness. And in the same way as if we were placed in the depths under water, we should be unable to see the sun through the quantity of water lying, like a sort of barrier, above us, so surely, in the eyes of the understanding also a blindness of the heart takes place, that is, an insensibility, whenever there is no fear to agitate the soul. "There is no fear of God," it saith, "before his eyes" (Ps. xxxvi. 1.); and again, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Ps. xiv. 1.) Now blindness arises from no other cause than from want of feeling; this clogs the channel; for whenever the fluids are curdled and collected into one place, the limb becomes dead and void of feeling; and though thou burn it, or cut it, or do what thou wilt with it, still it feels not. So is it also with those persons, when they have once given themselves over to lasciviousness: though thou apply the word to them like fire, or steel, yet nothing touches, nothing reaches them; their limb is utterly dead. And unless thou canst remove the insensibility, so as to touch the healthy members, everything thou doest is vain.

"With greediness," saith he.

Here he has most completely taken away their excuse; for it was in their power, if at least they chose it, not to be "greedy," [322] nor to be "lascivious," nor gluttonous, and yet to enjoy their desires. It was in their power to partake in moderation [323] of riches, and even of pleasure and of luxury; but when they indulged the thing immoderately, [324] they destroyed all.

"To work all uncleanness," saith he.

Ye see how he strips them of all excuse by speaking of "working uncleanness." They did not sin, he means, by making a false step, but they worked out these horrid deeds, and they made the thing a matter of study. "All uncleanness"; uncleanness is all adultery, fornication, unnatural lust, envy, every kind of profligacy and lasciviousness.

Ver. 20, 21. "But ye did not so learn Christ," he continues, "if so be that ye heard Him, and were taught in Him even as truth is in Jesus."

The expression, "If so be that ye heard Him," is not that of one doubting, but of one even strongly affirming: as he also speaks elsewhere, "If so be that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you." (2 Thess. i. 6.) That is to say, It was not for these purposes that "ye learned Christ."

Ver. 22. "That ye put away as concerning your former manner of life, the old man."

This then surely is to learn Christ, to live rightly; for he that lives wickedly knows not God, neither is known of Him; for hear what he saith elsewhere, "They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny Him." (Tit. i. 16.)

"As truth is in Jesus; that ye put away as concerning your former manner of life, the old man."

That is to say, It was not on these terms that thou enteredst into covenant. What is found among us is not vanity, but truth. As the doctrines are true, so is the life also. Sin is vanity and falsehood; but a right life is truth. For temperance is indeed truth, for it has a great end; whereas profligacy ends in nothing.

"Which waxeth corrupt," saith he, "after the lusts of deceit." As his lusts became corrupt, so himself also. How then do his lusts become corrupt? By death all things are dissolved; for hear the Prophet, how he saith, "In that very day his thoughts perish." (Ps. cxlvi. 4.) And not by death only, but by many things besides; for instance, beauty, at the advance of either disease or old age, withdraws and dies away, and suffers corruption. Bodily vigor again is destroyed by the same means; nor does luxury itself afford the same pleasure in old age, as is evident from the case of Barzillai: [325] the history, no doubt, ye know. Or again, in another sense, lust corrupts and destroys the old man; for as wool is destroyed by the very same means by which it is produced, so likewise is the old man. For love of glory destroys him, and pleasures will often destroy him, and "lust" will utterly "deceive" him. For this is not really pleasure but bitterness and deceit, all pretense and outward show. The surface, indeed, of the things is bright, but the things themselves are only full of misery and extreme wretchedness, and loathsomeness, and utter poverty. Take off the mask, and lay bare the true face, and thou shalt see the cheat, for cheat it is, when that which is, appears not, and that which is not, is displayed. And it is thus that impositions are effected.

The Apostle delineates for us four men. [326] Of these I shall give an explanation. In this place he mentions two, speaking thus, "Putting away the old man, be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man." And in the Epistle to the Romans, two more, as where he saith, "But I see a different law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members." (Rom. vii. 23.) And these latter bear affinity to those former two, the "new man" to the "inner man," and the "old man" to the "outer man." However, three of these four were subject to corruption. Or rather there are three, the new man, the old, and this, man in his substance and nature. [327]

Ver. 23. "And that ye be renewed," saith he, "in the spirit of your mind."

In order that no one may suppose that, whereas he speaks of old and new, he is introducing a different person, observe his expression, "That ye be renewed." To be renewed is, when the selfsame thing which has grown old is renewed, changed from one thing into the other. So that the subject indeed is the same, but the change is in that which is accidental. Just as the body indeed is the same, and the change in that which is accidental, so is it here. How then is the renewal to take place? "In the spirit of your mind," saith he. Whosoever therefore has the Spirit, will perform no old deed, for the Spirit will not endure old deeds. "In the spirit," saith he, "of your mind," that is, in the spirit which is in your mind. [328]

Ver. 24. "And put on the new man."

Seest thou that the subject is one, but the clothing is twofold, that which is put off, and that which is put on? "The new man," he continues, "which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth." Now wherefore does he call virtue a man? And wherefore vice, a man? Because a man cannot be shown without acting; so that these things, no less than nature, show a man, whether he be good or evil. Now as to undress one's self and to dress one's self is easy, so may we see it is with virtue and vice. The young man is strong; wherefore let us also become strong for the performance of good actions. The young man has no wrinkle, therefore neither should we have. The young man wavers not, nor is he easily taken with diseases, therefore neither should we be.

Observe here how he calls this realizing of virtue, this bringing of it into being from nothing, a "creation." But what? was not that other former creation after God? No, in no-wise, but after the devil. He is the sole creator of sin.

How is this? For man is created henceforth, not of water, nor of earth, but "in righteousness and holiness of truth." What is this? He straightway created him, he means, to be a son: for this takes place from Baptism. This it is which is the reality, "in righteousness and holiness of truth." There was of old a righteousness, there was likewise a holiness with the Jews. Yet was that righteousness not in truth, but in figure. For the being clean in body was a type of purity, not the truth of purity; was a type of righteousness, not the truth of righteousness. "In righteousness," saith he, "and holiness," which are "of truth."

And this expression is used with reference to falsehood; for many there are, who to them that are without, seem to be righteous, yet are false. Now by righteousness is meant universal virtue. For hearken to Christ, how He saith, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in nowise enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v. 20.) And again, he is called righteous, who has no charge against him; for so even in courts of justice we say that that man is righteous, who has been unrighteously treated, and has not done unrighteously in return. If therefore we also before the terrible Tribunal shall be able to appear righteous one towards another, we may meet with some lovingkindness. Toward God indeed it is impossible we should appear so, whatever we may have to show. For everywhere He overcometh in what is righteous, as the Prophet [329] also saith, "That Thou mightest prevail when Thou comest into judgment." But if we violate not what is righteous towards each other, then shall we be righteous. If we shall be able to show that we have been treated unrighteously, then shall we be righteous.

How does he say to them who are already clothed, "put on"? He is now speaking of that clothing which is from life and good works. Before, the clothing was from Baptism, whereas now it is from the daily life and from works; no longer "after the lusts of deceit," but "after God." But what means the word "holy"? It is that which is pure, that which is due; hence also we use the word of the last duty in the case of the departed, as much as to say, "I owe them nothing further, I have nothing else to answer for." Thus it is usual for us to say, "I have acquitted myself of all obligations," [330] and the like, meaning, "I owe nothing more."

Moral. Our part then is, never to put off the garment of righteousness, which also the Prophet calls, "the garment of salvation" (Isa. lxi. 10.), that so we may be made like unto God. For He indeed hath put on righteousness. This garment let us put on. Now the word, "put on," plainly declares nothing else, than that we should never at all put it off. For hear the Prophet, where he saith, "He clothed himself also with cursing as with his garment, and it came into his inward parts." (Ps. cix. 18.) And again, "Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment." (Ps. civ. 2.) And again, it is usual with us to speak concerning men, such an one has "put on" such an one. So then it is not for one day, nor for two, nor for three, but he would have us ever arrayed in virtue, and never stripped of this garment. For a man is not so disfigured when he is stripped of his clothing, as when he is stripped of his virtue. In the former case his fellow-servants behold his nakedness, in the latter his Lord and the Angels. If ever thou happen to see any one going out naked through the public square, tell me, art thou not distressed? When then thou goest about stripped of this garment, what shall we say? Seest not those beggars whom we are wont to call strollers, [331] how they roam about, how we pity even them? And yet nevertheless they are without excuse. We do not excuse them when they have lost their clothes by gaming; and how then, if we lose this garment, shall God pardon us? For whenever the devil sees a man stripped of his virtue, he straightway disguises and disfigures his face, and wounds him, and drives him to great straits.

Let us strip ourselves of our riches, that we be not stripped of righteousness. The garb of wealth mars this garment. It is a robe of thorns. Thorns are of this nature; and the more closely they are wrapped around us, the more naked are we made. Lasciviousness strips us of this garment; for it is a fire, and the fire will consume this garment. Wealth is a moth; and as the moth eats through all things alike, and spares not even silken garments, so does this also. All these therefore let us put off, that we may become righteous, that we may "put on the new man." Let us keep nothing old, nothing outward, nothing that is "corrupt." Virtue is not toilsome, she is not difficult to attain. Dost thou not see them that are in the mountains? They forsake both houses, and wives, and children, and all preŽminence, and shut themselves away from the world, and clothe themselves in sackcloth, and strew ashes beneath them; they wear collars hung about their necks, and have pent themselves up in a narrow cell. [332] Nor do they stop here, but torture themselves with fastings and continual hunger. Did I now enjoin you to do the like, would ye not all start away? Would ye not say, it is intolerable? But no, I say not that we must needs do anything like this:--I would fain indeed that it were so, still I lay down no law. What then? Enjoy thy baths, take care of thy body, and throw thyself freely into the world, and keep a household, have thy servants to wait on thee, and make free use of thy meats and drinks! But everywhere drive out excess, for that it is which causes sin, and the same thing, whatever it be, if it becomes excessive, becomes a sin; so that excess is nothing else than sin. For observe, when anger is excited above what is meet, then it rushes out into insult, then it commits every sort of injury; so does inordinate passion for beauty, for riches, for glory, or for anything else. And tell me not, that indeed, those of whom I spoke were strong; for many far weaker and richer, and more luxurious than thou art, have taken upon them that austere and rugged life. And why speak I of men? Damsels not yet twenty years old, who have spent their whole time in inner chambers, and in a delicate and effeminate mode of life, in inner chambers full of sweet ointments and perfumes, reclining on soft couches, themselves soft in their nature, and rendered yet more tender by their over indulgence, who all the day long have had no other business than to adorn themselves, to wear jewels, and to enjoy every luxury, who never waited on themselves, but had numerous handmaids standing beside them, who wore soft raiment softer than their skin, fine linen and delicate, who reveled continually in roses and such like sweet odors,--yea, these very ones, in a moment, seized with Christ's flame, have put off all that indolence and even their very nature, have forgotten their delicateness and youth, and like so many noble wrestlers, have stripped themselves of that soft clothing, and rushed into the midst of the contest. And perhaps I shall appear to be telling things incredible, yet nevertheless are they true. These then, these very tender damsels, as I myself have heard, have brought themselves to such a degree of severe training, that they will wrap the coarsest horsehair about their own naked bodies, and go with those tender soles unsandaled, and will lie upon a bed of leaves: nay more, that they watch the greater part of the night, and that they take no heed of perfumes nor of any other of their old delights, but will even let their head, once so carefully dressed, go without special care, with the hair just plainly and simply bound up, so as not to fall into unseemliness. And their only meal is in the evening, a meal not even of herbs nor of bread, but of flour and beans and pulse and olives and figs. They spin without intermission, and labor far harder than their handmaids at home. What more? they will take upon them to wait upon women who are sick, carrying their beds, and washing their feet. Nay, many of them even cook. So great is the power of the flame of Christ; so far does their zeal surpass their very nature.

However, I demand nothing like this of you, seeing ye have a mind to be outstripped by women. Yet at least, if there be any tasks not too laborious, at least perform these: restrain the rude hand, and the incontinent eye. What is there, tell me, so hard, what so difficult? Do what is just and right, wrong no man, be ye poor or rich, shopkeepers or hired servants; for unrighteousness may extend even to the poor. Or see ye not how many broils these engage in, and turn all things upside down? Marry freely, and have children. Paul also gave charge to such, to such he wrote. Is that struggle I spoke of too great, and the rock too lofty, and its top too nigh unto Heaven, and art thou unable to attain to such an height? At least then lay hold on lesser things, and aim at those which are lower. Hast thou not courage to get rid of thine own riches? At least then forbear to seize on the things of others, and to do them wrong. Art thou unable to fast? At least then give not thyself to self-indulgence. Art thou unable to lie upon a bed of leaves? Still, prepare not for yourselves couches inlaid with silver; but use a couch and coverings formed not for display, but for refreshment; not couches of ivory. Make thyself small. Why fill thy vessel with overwhelming cargoes? If thou be lightly equipped, thou shalt have nothing to fear, no envy, no robbers, no liers in wait. For indeed thou art not so rich in money as thou art in cares. Thou aboundest not so much in possessions, as in anxieties and in perils, "which bring in many temptations and lusts." (1 Tim. vi. 9.) These things they endure, who desire to gain great possessions. I say not, minister unto the sick; yet, at least, bid thy servant do it. Seest thou then how that this is no toilsome task? No, for how can it be, when tender damsels surpass us by so great a distance? Let us be ashamed of ourselves, I entreat you; for in worldly matters, to be sure, we in no point yield to them, neither in wars, nor in games; but in the spiritual contest they get the advantage of us, and are the first to seize the prize, and soar higher, like so many eagles: [333] whilst we, like jackdaws, are ever living in the steam and smoke; for truly is it the business of jackdaws, and of greedy dogs, to be setting one's thoughts upon caterers and cooks. Hearken about the women of old; they were great characters, great women and admirable; such were Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Deborah, and Hannah; and such there were also in the days of Christ. Yet did they in no case outstrip the men, but occupied the second rank. But now it is the very contrary; women outstrip and eclipse us. How contemptible! What a shame is this! We hold the place of the head, and are surpassed by the body. We are ordained to rule over them; not merely that we may rule, but that we may rule in goodness also; for he that ruleth, ought especially to rule in this respect, by excelling in virtue; whereas if he is surpassed, he is no longer ruler. [334] Perceive ye how great is the power of Christ's coming? how He dissolved the curse? For indeed there are more virgins than before among women, there is more modesty in those virgins, and there are more widows. No woman would lightly utter so much as an unseemly word. Wherefore then, tell me, dost thou use filthy speech? For tell me not that they were virgins in despondency or despair.

The sex is fond of ornament, and it has this failing. Yet even in this you husbands surpass them, who pride yourselves even upon them, as your own proper ornament; for I do not think that the wife is so ostentatious of her own jewels, as the husband is of those of his wife. He is not so proud of his own golden girdle, as he is of his wife's wearing jewels of gold. So that even of this you are the causes, who light the spark and kindle up the flame. But what is more, it is not so great a sin in a woman as in a man. Thou art ordained to regulate her; in every way thou claimest to have the preŽminence. Show her then in this also, that thou takest no interest in this costliness of hers, by thine own apparel. It is more suitable for a woman to adorn herself, than for a man. If then thou escape not the temptation, how shall she escape it? They have moreover their share of vainglory, but this is common to them with men. They are in a measure passionate, and this again is common to them with men. But as to those things wherein they excel, these are no longer common to them with men; their sanctity, I mean, their fervency, their devotion, their love towards Christ. Wherefore then, one may say, did Paul exclude them from the teacher's seat? And here again is a proof how great a distance they were from the men, and that the women of those days were great. For, tell me, while Paul was teaching, or Peter, or those saints of old, had it been right that a woman should intrude into the office? Whereas we have gone on till we have come so debased, that it is worthy of question, why women are not teachers. So truly have we come to the same weakness as they. These things I have said not from any desire to elate them, but to shame ourselves, to chastise, and to admonish us, that so we may resume the authority that belongs to us, not inasmuch as we are greater in size, but because of our foresight, our protection of them, and our virtue. For thus shall the body also be in the order which befits it, when it has the best head to rule. And God grant that all, both wives and husbands, may live according to His good pleasure, that we may all in that terrible day be counted worthy to enjoy the lovingkindness of our Master, and to attain those good things which are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, and honor, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[317] ["The cause of this estrangement of the Gentiles from the life of God is the ignorance which is in them through hardening of heart, consequently due to their own fault."--Meyer.--G.A.] [318] ["The estrangement of the Gentiles from the divine life, indicated in the preceding verse, is here proved in conformity with experience."--Meyer.--G.A.] [319] ["The word implies an active giving up, not mere permission."--Meyer, Ellicott, Thayer.--G.A.] [320] [The word "swine" (choiron), though omitted from Field's text, is clearly attested, and cannot be omitted without leaving the sense difficult and obscure.--G.A.] [321] [Namely, "to work all uncleanness," &c.--G.A.] [322] [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of pleonektein, namely, meta summetrias (and compare ametros below) it is evident he understood the phrase en pleonexi& 139;, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. do, "with greediness." But Meyer denies that the word pleonexia ever means anything but "covetousness" in the New Test. So also Ellicott.--G.A.] [323] [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of pleonektein, namely, meta summetrias (and compare ametros below) it is evident he understood the phrase en pleonexi& 139;, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. do, "with greediness." But Meyer denies that the word pleonexia ever means anything but "covetousness" in the New Test. So also Ellicott.--G.A.] [324] [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of pleonektein, namely, meta summetrias (and compare ametros below) it is evident he understood the phrase en pleonexi& 139;, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. do, "with greediness." But Meyer denies that the word pleonexia ever means anything but "covetousness" in the New Test. So also Ellicott.--G.A.] [325] [And David said to Barzillai, "Come and I will sustain thee in Jerusalem." And Barzillai said unto the king, "I am this day fourscore years old: can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?"--2 Sam. xix. 31-35.--G.A.] [326] tessaras anthropous hupographei. [327] mallon de treis eisi, kainos kai palaios, kai houtos ho ousiodes kai phusikos. [328] [Meyer takes a different view, and says: The Holy Spirit is never, in the New Test., designated in such a way that man appears as the subject of the Spirit (thus never: to pneuma humon, and the like, or as here: to pneuma tou noos humon). In the second place, the Apostle is here putting forward the moral self-activity of the Christian life, and hence had no occasion to introduce the point: "Through the Holy Spirit." Hence pneuma here is the "human" spirit, the spirit by which your nous is governed. Otherwise Ellicott: Divine spirit united with the human; and so he understands Meyer, but incorrectly. See Ellicott and Meyer in loc.--G.A.] [329] [This passage in the Hebrew (Ps. li. 4.) reads, "And (that thou mayest) be clear when thou judgest." In the Sept. it is: kai nikeses en to krinesthai se, which is followed by Paul in Rom. iii. 4 (except nikeseis, fut. ind., instead of aor. subj.). We have given here the rendering of the Rev. Ver. of Rom. iii. 4.--G.A.] [330] aphosiosamen. [331] lotagas. The word occurs also in the Constit. Apost. viii. 32 [along with such words as blax, "dolt"; magos, "sorcerer"; mantis, "soothsayer"; therepodos, "beast-charmer"; ochlagogos, "mob-leader"; periammata poion, "amulet-maker."--G.A.]. Its derivation is somewhat uncertain. [Zonaras (Constantinople, 12 cent.), in his Lexicon, gives among other definitions, auletes, "flute-player"; so also Eustathius (Constantinople, d. 1198), in his famous commentary on Homer, Il. 2, 776, defines it, from the fact that lotos sometimes means a "flute." But this derivation is questioned.--G.A.] The persons denoted by it were wandering musicians or buffoons. [332] [This reference to the Monks in the mountains (in the neighborhood of Antioch) is one of the indications that these Homilies on Ephesians were delivered while Chrysostom was still at Antioch, and before his elevation to the archbishopric of Constantinople. Compare also Hom. vi. on Ephesians.--G.A.] [333] [This passage is so like a passage in one of Pindar's Nemean odes that some have thought Chrysostom must have had that in mind. Pind. Nem. 3. 138: esti d' aietos okus en petanois, hos elaben aipsa, telothe metamaiomenos, daphoinon agran posin; kragetai de koloioi tapeina nemontai.--G.A.] [334] [Compare Carlyle's lecture on Cromwell and Napoleon in Heroes and Hero-Worship.--G.A.]


Homily XIV.

Ephesians iv. 25-27

"Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor; for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil."

Having spoken of the "old man" generally, he next draws him also in detail; [335] for this kind of teaching is more easily learned when we learn by particulars. And what saith he? "Wherefore, putting away falsehood." What sort of falsehood? Idols does he mean? Surely not; not indeed but that they are falsehood also. However, he is not now speaking of them, because these persons had nothing to do with them; but he is speaking of that which passes between one man and another, meaning that which is deceitful and false. "Speak ye truth, each one," saith he, "with his neighbor"; then what is more touching to the conscience [336] still, "because we are members one of another." Let no man deceive his neighbor. As the Psalmist says here and there; "With flattering lip and with a double heart do they speak." (Ps. xii. 2.) For there is nothing, no, nothing so productive of enmity as deceit and guile.

Observe how everywhere he shames them by this similitude of the body. Let not the eye, saith he, lie to the foot, nor the foot to the eye. For example, if there shall be a deep pit, and then by having reeds laid across upon the mouth of it upon the earth, and yet concealed under earth, it shall by its appearance furnish to the eye an expectation of solid ground, will not the eye use the foot, and discover whether it yields [337] and is hollow underneath, or whether it is firm and resists? [338] Will the foot tell a lie, and not report the truth as it is? And what again? If the eye were to spy a serpent or a wild beast, will it lie to the foot? Will it not at once inform it, and the foot thus informed by it refrain from going on? And what again, when neither the foot nor the eye shall know how to distinguish, but all shall depend upon the smelling, as, for example, whether a drug be deadly or not; will the smelling lie to the mouth? And why not? Because it will be destroying itself also. But it tells the truth as it appears to itself. And what again? Will the tongue lie to the stomach? Does it not, when a thing is bitter, reject it, and, if it is sweet, pass it on? Observe ministration, and interchange of service; observe a provident care arising from truth, and, as one might say, spontaneously from the heart. So surely should it be with us also; let us not lie, since we are "members one of another." This is a sure token of friendship; whereas the contrary is of enmity. What then, thou wilt ask, if a man shall use treachery against thee? Hearken to the truth. If he use treachery, he is not a member; whereas he saith, "lie not towards the members."

"Be ye angry, and sin not."

Observe his wisdom. He both speaks to prevent our sinning, and, if we do not listen, still does not forsake us; for his fatherly compassion does not desert him. For just as the physician prescribes to the sick what he must do, and if he does not submit to it, still does not treat him with contempt, but proceeding to add what advice he can by persuasion, again goes on with the cure; so also does Paul. For he indeed who does otherwise, aims only at reputation, and is annoyed at being disregarded; whereas he who on all occasions aims at the recovery of the patient, has this single object in view, how he may restore the patient, and raise him up again. This then is what Paul is doing. He has said, "Lie not." Yet if ever lying should produce anger, [339] he goes on again to cure this also. For what saith he? "Be ye angry, and sin not." It were good indeed never to be angry. Yet if ever any one should fall into passion, still let him not fall into so great a degree. "For let not the sun," saith he, "go down upon your wrath." Wouldest thou have thy fill of anger? One hour, or two, or three, is enough for thee; let not the sun depart, and leave you both at enmity. It was of God's goodness that he rose: let him not depart, having shone on unworthy men. For if the Lord of His great goodness sent him, and hath Himself forgiven thee thy sins, and yet thou forgivest not thy neighbor, look, how great an evil is this! And there is yet another besides this. The blessed Paul dreads the night, [340] lest overtaking in solitude him that was wronged, still burning with anger, it should again kindle up the fire. For as long as there are many things in the daytime to banish it, thou art free to indulge it; but as soon as ever the evening comes on, be reconciled, extinguish the evil whilst it is yet fresh; for should night overtake it, the morrow will not avail to extinguish the further evil which will have been collected in the night. Nay, even though thou shouldest cut off the greater portion, and yet not be able to cut off the whole, it will again supply from what is left for the following night, to make the blaze more violent. And just as, should the sun be unable by the heat of the day to soften and disperse that part of the air which has been during the night condensed into cloud, it affords material for a tempest, night overtaking the remainder, and feeding it again with fresh vapors: so also is it in the case of anger.

"Neither give place to the devil."

So then to be at war with one another, is "to give place to the devil"; for, whereas we had need to be all in close array, and to make our stand against him, we have relaxed our enmity against him, and are giving the signal for turning against each other; for never has the devil such place as in our enmities. [341] Numberless are the evils thence produced. And as stones in a building, so long as they are closely fitted together and leave no interstice, will stand firm, while if there is but a single needle's passage through, or a crevice no broader than a hair, this destroys and ruins all; so is it with the devil. So long indeed as we are closely set and compacted together, he cannot introduce one of his wiles; but when he causes us to relax a little, he rushes in like a torrent. In every case he needs only a beginning, and this is the thing which it is difficult to accomplish; but this done, he makes room on all sides for himself. For henceforth he opens the ear to slanders, and they who speak lies are the more trusted: they have enmity which plays the advocate, not truth which judges justly. And as, where friendship [342] is, even those evils which are true appear false, so where there is enmity, even the false appear true. There is a different mind, a different tribunal, which does not hear fairly, but with great bias and partiality. As, in a balance, if lead is cast into the scale, it will drag down the whole; so is it also here, only that the weight of enmity is far heavier than any lead. Wherefore, let us, I beseech you, do all we can to extinguish our enmities before the going down of the sun. For if you fail to master it on the very first day, both on the following, and oftentimes even for a year, you will be protracting it, and the enmity will thenceforward augment itself, and require nothing to aid it. For by causing us to suspect that words spoken in one sense were meant in another, and gestures also, and everything, it infuriates and exasperates us, and makes us more distempered than madmen, not enduring either to utter a name, or to hear it, but saying everything in invective and abuse. How then are we to allay this passion? How shall we extinguish the flame? By reflecting on our own sins, and how much we have to answer for to God; by reflecting that we are wreaking vengeance, not on an enemy, but on ourselves; by reflecting that we are delighting the devil, that we are strengthening our enemy, our real enemy, and that for him we are doing wrong to our own members. Wouldest thou be revengeful and be at enmity? Be at enmity, but be so with the devil, and not with a member of thine own. For this purpose it is that God hath armed us with anger, not that we should thrust the sword against our own bodies, but that we should baptize [343] the whole blade in the devil's breast. There bury the sword up to the hilt; yea, if thou wilt, hilt and all, and never draw it out again, but add yet another and another. And this actually comes to pass when we are merciful to those of our own spiritual family and peaceably disposed one towards another. Perish money, perish glory and reputation; mine own member is dearer to me than they all. Thus let us say to ourselves; let us not do violence to our own nature to gain wealth, to obtain glory.

Ver. 28. "Let him that stole," [344] saith he, "steal no more."

Seest thou what are the members of the old man? Falsehood, revenge, theft. Why said he not, "Let him that stole" be punished, be tortured, be racked; but, "let him steal no more"? "But rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need."

Where are they which are called pure; [345] they that are full of all defilement, and yet dare to give themselves a name like this? For it is possible, very possible, to put off the reproach, not only by ceasing from the sin, but by working some good thing also. Perceive ye how we ought to get quit of the sin? "They stole." This is the sin. "They steal no more." This is not to do away the sin. But how shall they? If they labor, and charitably communicate to others, thus will they do away the sin. He does not simply desire that we should work, but so "work" as to "labor," so as that we may "communicate" to others. For the thief indeed works, but it is that which is evil.

Ver. 29. "Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth."

What is "corrupt speech"? That which is said elsewhere to be also "idle, backbiting, filthy communication, jesting, foolish talking." See ye how he is cutting up the very roots of anger? Lying, theft, unseasonable conversation. The words, however, "Let him steal no more," he does not say so much excusing them, as to pacify the injured parties, and to recommend them to be content, if they never suffer the like again. And well too does he give advice concerning conversation; [346] inasmuch as we shall pay the penalty, not for our deeds only, but also for our words.

"But such as is good," he proceeds, "for edifying, as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear."

That is to say, What edifies thy neighbor, that only speak, not a word more. For to this end God gave thee a mouth and a tongue, that thou mightest give thanks to Him, that thou mightest build up thy neighbor. So that if thou destroy that building, better were it to be silent, and never to speak at all. For indeed the hands of the workmen, if instead of raising the walls, they should learn to pull them down, would justly deserve to be cut off. For so also saith the Psalmist; "The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips." (Ps. xii. 3.) The mouth,--this is the cause of all evil; or rather not the mouth, but they that make an evil use of it. From thence proceed insults, revilings, blasphemies, incentives to lusts, murders, adulteries, thefts, all have their origin from this. And how, you will say, do murders? Because from insult thou wilt go on to anger, from anger to blows, from blows to murder. And how, again, adultery? "Such a woman," one will say, "loves thee, she said something nice about thee." This at once unstrings thy firmness, and thus are thy passions kindled within thee.

Therefore Paul said, "such as is good." Since then there is so vast a flow of words, he with good reason speaks indefinitely, charging us to use expressions of that kind, and giving us a pattern of communication. What then is this? By saying, "for edifying," either he means this, that he who hears thee may be grateful to thee: as, for instance, a brother has committed fornication; do not make a display of the offense, nor revel in it; thou wilt be doing no good to him that hears thee; rather, it is likely, thou wilt hurt him, by giving him a stimulus. Whereas, advise him what to do, and thou art conferring on him a great obligation. Discipline him how to keep silence, teach him to revile no man, and thou hast taught him his best lesson, thou wilt have conferred upon him the highest obligation. Discourse with him on contrition, on piety, on almsgiving; all these things will soften his soul, for all these things he will own his obligation. Whereas by exciting his laughter, or by filthy communication, thou wilt rather be inflaming him. Applaud the wickedness, and thou wilt overturn and ruin him.

Or else he means [347] thus, "that it may make them, the hearers, full of grace." For as sweet ointment gives grace to them that partake of it, so also does good speech. Hence it was moreover that one said, "Thy name is as ointment poured forth." (Cant. i. 3.) It caused them to exhale that sweet perfume. Thou seest that what he continually recommends, he is saying now also, charging every one according to his several ability to edify his neighbors. Thou then that givest such advice to others, how much more to thyself!

Ver. 30. "And grieve not," he adds, "the Holy Spirit of God."

A matter this more terrible and startling, as he also says in the Epistle to the Thessalonians; for there too he uses an expression of this sort. "He that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God." (1 Thess. iv. 8.) So also here. If thou utter a reproachful word, if thou strike thy brother, thou art not striking him, thou art "grieving the Holy Spirit." And then is added further the benefit bestowed, in order to heighten the rebuke.

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit," saith He, "in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption."

He it is who marks us as a royal flock; He, who separates us from all former things; He, who suffers us not to lie amongst them that are exposed to the wrath of God,--and dost thou grieve Him? Look how startling are his words there; "For he that rejecteth," saith he, "rejecteth not man, but God:" and how cutting they are here, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit," saith he, "in whom ye were sealed."

Moral. Let this seal then abide upon thy mouth, [348] and never destroy the impression. A spiritual mouth never utters a thing of the kind. Say not, "It is nothing, if I do utter an unseemly word, if I do insult such an one." For this very reason is it a great evil, because it seems to be nothing. For things which seem to be nothing are thus easily thought lightly of; and those which are thought lightly of go on increasing; and those which go on increasing become incurable.

Thou hast a spiritual mouth. Think what words thou didst utter immediately upon being born, [349] --what words are worthy of thy mouth. Thou callest God, "Father," and dost thou straightway revile thy brother? Think, whence is it thou callest God, "Father"? Is it from nature? No, thou couldest never say so. Is it from thy goodness? No, nor is it thus. But whence then is it? It is from pure lovingkindness, from tenderness, from His great mercy. Whenever then thou callest God, "Father," consider not only this, that by reviling thou art committing things unworthy of that, thy high birth, but also that it is of lovingkindness that thou hast that high birth. Disgrace it not then, after receiving it from pure lovingkindness, by showing cruelty towards thy brethren. Dost thou call God "Father," and yet revile? No, these are not the works of the Son of God. These are very far from Him. The work of the Son of God was to forgive His enemies, to pray for them that crucified Him, to shed His blood for them that hated Him. These are works worthy of the Son of God, to make His enemies,--the ungrateful, the dishonest, the reckless, the treacherous,--to make these brethren and heirs: not to treat them that are become brethren with ignominy like slaves.

[350] Think what words thy mouth uttered,--of what table these words are worthy. Think what thy mouth touches, what it tastes, of what manner of food it partakes! Dost thou deem thyself to be doing nothing grievous in railing at thy brother? How then dost thou call him brother? And yet if he be not a brother, how sayest thou, "Our Father"? For the word "Our" is indicative of many persons. Think with whom thou standest at the time of the mysteries! With the Cherubim, with the Seraphim! The Seraphim revile not: no, their mouth fulfills this one only duty, to sing the Hymn of praise, to glorify [351] God. And how then shalt thou be able to say with them, "Holy, Holy, Holy," [352] if thou use thy mouth for reviling? Tell me, I pray. Suppose there were a royal vessel, and that always full of royal dainties, and set apart for that purpose, and then that any one of the servants were to take and use it for holding dung. Would he ever venture again, after it had been filled with dung, to store it away with those other vessels, set apart for those other uses? Surely not. Now railing is like this, reviling is like this. "Our Father!" But what? is this all? Hear also the words, which follow, "which art in Heaven." The moment thou sayest, "Our Father, which art in Heaven," the word raises thee up, it gives wings to thy mind, it points out to thee that thou hast a Father in Heaven. Do then nothing, speak nothing of things upon earth. He hath set thee amongst that host above, He hath numbered thee with that heavenly choir. Why dost thou drag thyself down? Thou art standing beside the royal throne, and thou revilest? Art thou not afraid lest the king should deem it an outrage? Why, if a servant, even with us, beats his fellow-servant or assaults him, even though he do it justly, yet we at once rebuke him, and deem the act an outrage; and yet dost thou, who art standing with the Cherubim beside the king's throne, revile thy brother? Seest thou not these holy vessels? Are they not used continually for only one purpose? Does any one ever venture to use them for any other? Yet art thou holier than these vessels, yea, far holier. Why then defile, why contaminate thyself? Standest thou in Heaven, and dost thou revile? Hast thou thy citizenship with Angels, and dost thou revile? Art thou counted worthy the Lord's kiss, and dost thou revile? Hath God graced thy mouth with so many and great things, with hymns angelic, with food, not angelic, no, but more than angelic, with His own kiss, with His own embrace, and dost thou revile? Oh, no, I implore thee. Vast are the evils of which this is the source; far be it from a Christian soul. Do I not convince thee as I am speaking, do I not shame thee? Then does it now become my duty to alarm you. For hear what Christ saith: "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire." (Matt. v. 22.) Now if that which is lightest of all leads to hell, of what shall not he be worthy, who utters presumptuous words? Let us discipline our mouth to silence. Great is the advantage from this, great the mischief from ill language. We must not spend our riches here. Let us put door and bolt upon them. Let us devour ourselves alive if ever a vexatious word slip out of our mouth. Let us entreat God, let us entreat him whom we have reviled. Let us not think it beneath us to do so. It is ourselves we have wounded, not him. Let us apply the remedy, prayer, and reconciliation with him whom we have reviled. If in our words we are to take such forethought, much more let us impose laws upon ourselves in our deeds. Yea, and if we have friends, whoever they may be, and they should speak evil to any man or revile him, demand of them and exact satisfaction. Let us by all means learn that such conduct is even sin; for if we learn this, we shall soon depart from it.

Now the God of peace keep both your mind and your tongue, and fence you with a sure fence, even His fear, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory forever. Amen.

Footnotes

[335] ["And the first exhortation here was suggested by the immediately preceding aletheia. The figurative form of the precept also (apothemenoi, `putting off') is an echo from what precedes."--Meyer.--G.A.] [336] ["`Members' one of another, and to `lie' to one another,--how contradictory!"--Meyer.--G.A.] [337] [eikei, Field's emendation for the reading eike of the mss. He cites the phrase to eikon kai me antitupoun from Plato, Cratylus, 420 D.--G.A.] [338] antitupei. [339] [This seems to be a correct account of the new connection, but the exact force of the first imperative it is not easy to determine. Winer (Grammar of N.T., Thayer's translation, pp. 311, 312) takes it permissively: Be angry (I give you leave), but do not sin. He cites in proof Jer. x. 24, which, however, can be otherwise explained, namely, as the imperative of request, used in prayer. Compare the Lord's prayer. Meyer says it does not seem logical to connect two imperatives by kai unless they are taken in the same sense. If the first imperative were permissive, the combination would be exceptive, and alla, monon or plen (Jer. x. 24.) would be required. Both imperatives then are jussive, and there is an anger which a man not only may, but ought, to feel. So Ellicott and Riddle.--G.A.] [340] ["There does not appear any allusion to the possible effect of night upon anger, as Chrysostom here, and Theophylact also."--Ellicott. The parallel Pythagorean custom is cited by Ellicott (Hammond and Wetstein): "If they were ever carried away by anger into railing, before the setting of the sun they gave the right hand to each other, embraced each other, and were reconciled."--G.A.] [341] [This reference to church life is not implied in the context. He follows up what he said before by saying, Give not to the devil opportunity for being active by an angry state of mind.--G.A.] [342] [Compare Goethe: Die Freundschaft ist gerecht. Sie kann allein, Den ganzen Umfang seines Werths erkennen.--G.A.] [343] baptizomen ten machairan eis to tou diabolou stethos. [344] ["`The stealer (hoklepton) is to steal no more.' The present participle does not stand for the past, but is used substantively (like hospeiron, Matt. xiii. 3.). As there were in the apostolic church `fornicators' (1 Cor. v. 1.), so there were also `stealers,' and the attempts to tone down the word are arbitrary and superfluous."--Meyer.--G.A.] [345] katharoi. The Cathari, or pure, was the title which the Novatians indirectly assumed, by maintaining that none were in God's favor but those who had not sinned after baptism, or who were pure as baptism made them, and by separating from the Church for granting absolution to penitents. The schism originated at Rome in the middle of the third century. Accordingly St. Chrysostom in the text says, that whereas all men need pardon continually, they who affected to be clean or pure without securing it were, as being without it, of all men most unclean. [And he strongly asserts, as against the Novatians, that it is possible to put away the guilt of sins committed after baptism, by ceasing from the practice of them and working that which is good. This view, however, differs from the Protestant view, that the putting away the guilt of sin is at first and always through God's mercy and grace in Jesus Christ.--G.A.] In the sixth of eleven new Homilies edited by the Benedictines, t. xii. p. 355, he says that we may as well talk of the sea being clear of waves as any soul pure from daily sins, though not from transgressing express commandment, yet from vainglory, willfulness, impure thoughts, coveting, lying, resentment, envy, &c., and he mentions as means of washing away sins, coming to Church, grieving for them, confessing them, doing alms, praying, helping the injured, and forgiving injuries. "Let us provide ourselves with these," he proceeds, "every day, washing, wiping ourselves clean, and withal confessing ourselves unprofitable," unlike the Pharisee. "Thus ordering ourselves, we shall be able to find mercy and pardon in that fearful day, &c." This homily was delivered at Constantinople. [On the Novatians, see Schaff, Church History, II., pp. 196, 197.--G.A.] [346] [The clause, "And well does he give instruction concerning our words also" (kalos de kai peri logon didaskei), is omitted in the text of Field, but is well attested (three mss., Sav. text), and almost indispensable to the sense of the passage. Compare note, p. 82, on Field's text in general.--G.A.] [347] ["It means `that it may impart a blessing, bestow a benefit, on the hearers.'"--Meyer and Ellicott.--G.A.] [348] [This is probably a misapplication of Paul's words here. The sealing here mentioned is quite the same as at chap. i. 13.--G.A.] [349] [ennoeson tina eutheos ephthenxo rh& 208;mata techtheis, k.t.l. This evidently refers to baptism and the services and words used in connection therewith. Bingham says, "The catechumens did not learn the creed and the Lord's prayer till immediately before baptism." And Chrysostom says, "An unbaptized person cannot yet call God his Father." St. Augustine also says in one of his homilies, "Now learn the Lord's prayer, which ye must repeat eight days hence, when ye are to be baptized." So they received it (that is, the Lord's prayer) only on Saturday before Palm Sunday, in order to repeat it on Saturday before Easter, which was the day of their baptism. Antiquities, Bk. x. ch. v. sec. 9.--G.A.] [350] [This paragraph has reference to the celebration of the Eucharist, concerning which, see Chrysostom's Hom. xviii. on 2 Cor. (viii. 24).--G.A.] [351] hagiazein. [352] hagios, hagios, hagios.


Homily XV.

Ephesians iv. 31

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice."

As bees [353] will never settle down in an unclean vessel,--and this is the reason why those who are skilled in these matters sprinkle the spot with perfumes, and scented ointments, and sweet odors; and the wicker baskets also, in which they will have to settle as soon as they come out of the hives they sprinkle with fragrant wines, and all other sweets, that there may be no noisome smell to annoy them, and drive them away again,--so in truth is it also with the Holy Spirit. Our soul is a sort of vessel or basket, capable of receiving the swarms of spiritual gifts; but if there shall be within it gall, and "bitterness, and wrath," the swarms will fly away. Hence this blessed and wise husbandman well and thoroughly cleanses our vessels, withholding neither knife nor any other instrument of iron, and invites us to this spiritual swarm; and as he gathers it, he cleanses us with prayers, and labors, and all the rest. Mark then how he cleanses out our heart. He has banished lying, he has banished anger. Now, again, he is pointing out how that evil may be yet more entirely eradicated; if we be not, saith he, "bitter" in spirit. For it is as is wont to happen with our bile, if there chance to be but little of it, there will be but little disturbance if the receptacle should burst: but if ever the strength and acridness of this quality becomes excessive, the vessel which before held it, containing it no longer, is as if it were eaten through by a scorching fire, and it is no longer able to hold it and contain it within its appointed bounds, but, rent asunder by its intense sharpness, it lets it escape and injure the whole body. And it is like some very fierce and frightful wild beast, that has been brought into a city; as long as it is confined in the cages made for it, however it may rage, however it may roar, it will be unable to do harm to any one; but if it is overcome by rage, and breaks through the intervening bars, and is able to leap out, it fills the city with all sorts of confusion and disturbance, and puts everybody to flight. Such indeed is the nature also of bile. As long as it is kept within its proper limits, it will do us no great mischief; but as soon as ever the membrane that incloses it bursts, and there is nothing to hinder its being at once dispersed over the whole system, then, I say, at that moment, though it be so very trifling in quantity, [354] yet by reason of the inordinate strength of its quality it taints all the other elements of our nature with its own peculiar virulence. For finding the blood, for instance, near to it, alike in place and in quality, and rendering the heat which is in that blood more acrid, and everything else in fact which is near it; passing from its just temperature it overflows its bounds, turns all into gall, and therewith at once attacks likewise the other parts of the body; and thus infusing into all its own poisonous quality, it renders the man speechless, and causes him to expire, expelling life. Now, why have I stated all these things with such minuteness? It is in order that, understanding from this bitterness which is of the body the intolerable evil of that bitterness which is of the soul, and how entirely it destroys first of all the very soul that engenders it, making everything bitter, we may escape experience of it. For as the one inflames the whole constitution, so does the other the thoughts, and carries away its captive to the abyss of hell. In order then that by carefully examining these matters we may escape this evil, and bridle the monster, or rather utterly root it out, let us hearken to what Paul saith, "Let all bitterness be" (not destroyed, but) "put away" from you. For what need have I of trouble to restrain it, what necessity is there to keep watch on a monster, when it is in my power to expel him from my soul, to remove him and drive him out, as it were, into banishment? Let us hearken then to Paul when he saith, "Let all bitterness be put away from you." But, ah, the perversity that possesses us! Though we ought to do everything to effect this, yet are there some so truly senseless as to congratulate themselves upon this evil, and to pride themselves upon it, and to glory in it, and who are envied by others. "Such a one," say they, "is a bitter man, he is a scorpion, a serpent, a viper." They look upon him as one to be feared. But wherefore, good man, dost thou fear the bitter person? "I fear," you say, "lest he injure me, lest he destroy me; I am not proof against his malice, I am afraid lest he should take me who am a simple man, and unable to foresee any of his schemes, and throw me into his snares, and entangle us in the toils which he has set to deceive us." Now I cannot but smile. And why forsooth? Because these are the arguments of children, who fear things which are not to be feared. Surely there is nothing we ought so to despise, nothing we ought so to laugh to scorn, as a bitter and malicious man. For there is nothing so powerless [355] as bitterness. It makes men fools and senseless.

Do ye not see that malice is blind? Have ye never heard, that he that diggeth a pit for his neighbors, diggeth it for himself? How, it may be said, ought we not to fear a soul full of tumult? If indeed we are to fear the bitter in the same way as we fear evil spirits, and fools and madmen, (for they indeed do everything at random,) I grant it myself; but if we are to fear them as men skillful in the conduct of affairs, that never. For nothing is so necessary for the proper conduct of affairs as prudence; and there is no greater hindrance to prudence than wickedness, and malice, and hollowness. Look at bilious persons, how unsightly they are, with all their bloom withered away. How weak they are, and puny, and unfit for anything. So also are souls of this nature. What else is wickedness, but a jaundice of the soul? Wickedness then has no strength in it, indeed it has not. Have ye a mind that I again make what I am saying plain to you by an instance, by setting before you the portraits of a treacherous and a guileless man? Absalom was a treacherous man, and "stole all men's hearts." (2 Sam. xv. 6.) And observe how great was his treachery. "He went about," it saith, "and said, `Hast thou no judgment?'" [356] wishing to conciliate every one to himself. But David was guileless. What then? Look at the end of them both, look, how full of utter madness was the former! For inasmuch as he looked solely to the hurt of his father, in all other things he was blinded. But not so David. For "he that walketh uprightly, walketh surely" (Prov. x. 9.); and reasonably; he is one that manages nothing over-subtilely, the man who devises no evil. Let us listen then to the blessed Paul, and let us pity, yea, let us weep for the bitter-minded, and let us practice every method, let us do everything to extirpate this vice from their souls. For how is it not absurd, that when there is bile within us (though that indeed is a useful element, for without bile a man cannot possibly exist, that bile, I mean, which is an element of his nature,) how then, I say, is it not absurd that we should do all we can to get rid of this, though we are so highly benefited by it; and yet that we should do nothing, nor take any pains, to get rid of that which is in the soul, though it is in no case beneficial, but even in the highest degree injurious. He that thinketh that he is "wise among you," saith he, "let him become a fool, that he may become wise." (1 Cor. iii. 18.) Hearken too again to what Luke saith, "They did take their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people." (Acts ii. 46, 47.) Why, do we not see even now that the simple and guileless enjoy the common esteem of all? No one envies such an one when he is in prosperity, no one tramples upon him when he is in adversity, but all rejoice with him when he does well, and grieve with him in misfortune. Whereas whenever a bitter man fares prosperously, one and all lament it, as though some evil thing happened; but if he is unfortunate, one and all rejoice. Let us then pity them, for they have common enemies all over the world. Jacob was a guileless man, yet he overcame the treacherous Esau. "For into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter." (Wisd. i. 4.) "Let all bitterness be put away from you." Let not even a remnant remain, for it will be sure, if stirred, as if from a smouldering brand, to turn all within to an entire blaze. Let us then distinctly understand what this bitterness is. Take, for example, the hollow-hearted man, the crafty, the man who is on the watch to do mischief, the man of evil suspicion. From him then "wrath" and "anger" are ever produced; for it is not possible for a soul like this to be in tranquillity, but the very root of "anger" and "wrath" is "bitterness." The man of this character is both sullen, and never unbends his soul; he is always moody, always gloomy. For as I was saying, they themselves are the first to reap the fruit of their own evil ways.

"And clamor," he adds.

What now, and dost thou take away clamor also? Yes, for the mild man must needs be of such a character, because clamor carries anger, as a horse his rider; trip the horse, and you will throw the rider.

Moral. This let women above all attend to, them who on every occasion cry aloud and bawl. There is but one thing in which it is useful to cry aloud, in preaching and in teaching. But in no other case whatever, no, not even in prayer. And if thou wouldest learn a practical lesson, never cry aloud at all, and then wilt thou never be angry at all. Behold a way to keep your temper; for as it is not possible that the man that does not cry out should be enraged, so is it not that the man who does cry out should be otherwise than enraged. For tell me not of a man being implacable, and revengeful, and of pure natural bitterness, and natural choler. We are now speaking of the sudden paroxysm of this passion.

It contributes then no little to this end, to discipline the soul never to raise the voice and cry aloud at all. Cut off clamor, and thou wilt clip the wings of anger, thou dost repress the first rising of the heart. For as it is impossible for a man to wrestle without lifting up his hands, so is it not possible that he should be entangled in a quarrel without lifting up his voice. Bind the hands of the boxer, and then bid him strike. He will be unable to do so. So likewise will wrath be disarmed. But clamor raises it, even where it does not exist. And hence it is especially that the female sex are so easily overtaken in it. Women, whenever they are angry with their maid-servants, fill the whole house with their own clamor. And oftentimes too, if the house happens to be built along a narrow street, then all the passers-by hear the mistress scolding, and the maid weeping and wailing. What can possibly be more disgraceful than the sound of those wailings? [357] What in the world has happened there? All the women round immediately peep in and one of them says, "Such a one is beating her own maid." Whatever can be more shameless than this? "What then, ought one not to strike at all?" No, I say not so, (for it must be done,) but then it must be neither frequently, nor immoderately, nor for any wrongs of thine own, as I am constantly saying, nor for any little failure in her service, but only if she is doing harm to her own soul. If thou chastise her for a fault of this kind, all will applaud, and there will be none to upbraid thee; but if thou do it for any reasons of thine own, all will condemn thy cruelty and harshness. And what is more base than all, there are some so fierce and so savage as to lash them to such a degree, that the bruises will not disappear with the day. For they will strip the damsels, and call their husbands for the purpose, and oftentimes tie them to the pallets. Alas! at that moment, tell me, does no recollection of hell come over thee? What? dost thou strip thy handmaid, and expose her to thy husband? And art thou not ashamed, lest he should condemn thee for it? And then dost thou exasperate him yet more, and threaten to put her in chains, having first taunted the wretched and pitiable creature with ten thousand reproachful names, and called her "Thessalian witch, [358] runaway, and prostitute"?

For her passion allows her not to spare even her own mouth, but she looks to one single object, how she may wreak her vengeance on the other, even though she disgrace herself. And then after all these things forsooth, she will sit in state like any tyrant, and call her children, and summon her foolish husband, and treat him as a hangman. Ought these things to take place in the houses of Christians? "Aye" say ye, "but slaves are a troublesome, audacious, impudent, incorrigible race." True, I know it myself, but there are other ways to keep them in order; by terrors, by threats, by words; which may both touch her more powerfully, and save thee from disgrace. Thou who art a free woman hast uttered foul words, and dost thou not disgrace thyself more than her? Then if she shall have occasion to go out to the bath, there are bruises on her back when she is naked, and she carries about with her the marks of thy cruelty. "But," say ye, "the whole tribe of slaves is intolerable if it meet with indulgence." True, I know it myself. But then, as I was saying, correct them in some other way, not by the scourge only, and by terror, but even by flattering them, and by acts of kindness. If she is a believer, she is thy sister. Consider that thou art her mistress, and that she ministers unto thee. If she be intemperate, cut off the occasions of drunkenness; call thy husband, and admonish her. Or dost thou not feel how disgraceful a thing it is for a woman to be beaten? They at least who have enacted ten thousand punishments for men,--the stake, and the rack,--will scarcely ever hang a woman, but limit men's anger to smiting her on the cheek; and so great respect have they observed towards the sex, that not even when there is absolute necessity have they often hung a woman, if she happen to be pregnant. For it is a disgrace for a man to strike a woman; and if for a man, much more for one of her own sex. It is moreover by these things that women become odious to their husbands. "What then," ye may say, "if she shall act the harlot?" Marry her to a husband; cut off the occasions of fornication, suffer her not to be too high fed. "What then, if she shall steal?" Take care of her, and watch her.--"Extravagant!" thou wilt say; "What, am I to be her keeper? How absurd!" And why, I pray, art thou not to be her keeper? Has she not the same kind of soul as thou? Has she not been vouchsafed the same privileges by God? Does she not partake of the same table? Does she not share with thee the same high birth? "But what then," ye will say, "if she shall be a railer, or a gossip, or a drunkard?" Yet, how many free women are such? Now, with all the failings of women God hath charged men to bear: only, He saith, let not a woman be an harlot, but every other failing besides bear with. Yea, be she drunkard, or railer, or gossip, or evil-eyed, or extravagant, and a squanderer of thy substance, thou hast her for the partner of thy life. Train and restrain her. Necessity is upon thee. It is for this thou art the head. Regulate her therefore, do thy own part. Yea, and if she remain incorrigible, yea, though she steal, take care of thy goods, and do not punish her so much. If she be a gossip, silence her. This is the very highest philosophy.

Now, however, some are come to such a height of indecency as to uncover the head, and to drag their maid-servants by the hair.--Why do ye all blush? [359] I am not addressing myself to all, but to those who are carried away into such brutal conduct. Paul saith, "Let not a woman be uncovered." (1 Cor. xi. 5-15.) And dost thou then entirely strip off her headdress? Dost thou see how thou art doing outrage to thyself? If indeed she makes her appearance to thee with her head bare, thou callest it an insult. And dost thou say that there is nothing shocking when thou barest it thyself? Then ye will say, "What if she be not corrected?" Chasten her then with the rod and with stripes. And yet how many failings hast thou also thyself, and yet thou art not corrected! These things I am saying not for their sakes, but for the sake of you free-women, that ye do nothing so unworthy, nothing to disgrace you, that ye do yourselves no wrong. [360] If thou wilt learn this lesson in thy household in dealing with thy maid-servant, and not be harsh but gentle and forbearing, much more wilt thou be so in thy behavior to thy husband. For she who, though having authority, does nothing of the sort, will do it much less where there is a check. So that the discipline employed about your maid-servants, will be of the greatest service to you in gaining the goodwill of your husbands. "For with what measure ye mete," He saith, "it shall be measured unto you." (Matt. vii. 2.) Set a bridle upon thy mouth. If thou art disciplined to bear bravely with a servant when she answers back, thou wilt not be annoyed with the insolence of an equal, and in being above annoyance, wilt have attained to the highest philosophy. But some there are who add even oaths, but there is nothing more shocking than a woman so enraged. But what again, ye will say, if she dress gaily? Why then, forbid this; thou hast my consent; but check it by first beginning with thyself, not so much by fear as by example. Be in everything thyself a perfect pattern.

"And let railing," saith he, "be put away from you." Observe the progress of mischief. Bitterness produces wrath, wrath anger, anger clamor, clamor railing, that is, revilings; next from evil-speaking it goes on to blows, from blows to wounds, from wounds to death. Paul, however, did not wish to mention any of these, but only this, "let this," saith he, "be put away from you, with all malice." [361] What is "with all malice"? It ends with this. For there are some, like those dogs that bite secretly, which do not bark at all at those that come near them, nor are angry, but which fawn, and display a gentle aspect; but when they catch us off our guard, will fix their teeth in us. These are more dangerous than those that take up open enmity. Now since there are men too that are dogs, who neither cry out, nor fly in a passion, nor threaten us when they are offended, yet in secret are weaving plots, and contriving ten thousand mischiefs, and revenging themselves not in words but in deeds; he hints at these. Let those things be put away from you, saith he, "with all malice." Do not spare thy words, and then revenge thyself in acts. My purpose in chastising my tongue and curtailing its clamor, is to prevent its kindling up a more violent blaze. But if thou without any clamor art doing the same thing, and art cherishing the fire and the live coals within, where is the good of thy silence? Dost thou not know that those conflagrations are the most destructive of all which are fed within, and appear not to those that are without? And that those wounds are the deadliest which never break out to the surface; and those fevers the worst which burn up the vitals? So also is this anger the most dangerous that preys upon the soul. But let this too be put away from you, saith he, "with all malice," of every kind and degree, great and little. Let us then hearken to him, let us cast out all "bitterness and all malice," that we "grieve not the Holy Spirit." Let us destroy all bitterness; let us cut it up by the very roots. Nothing good, nothing healthful, can ever come from a bitter soul; nothing but misfortunes, nothing but tears, nothing but weeping and wailing. Do ye not see those beasts that roar or cry out, how we turn away from them; the lion, for instance, and the bear? But not so from the sheep; for there is no roaring, but a mild and gentle voice. And so again with musical instruments, those which are loud and harsh are the most unpleasant to the ear, such as the drum and trumpet; whereas those which are not so, but are soothing, these are pleasant, as the flute and lyre and pipe. Let us then prepare our soul so as never to cry aloud, and thus shall we be enabled also to gain the mastery over our anger. And when we have cut out this, we ourselves shall be the first to enjoy the calm, and we shall sail into that peaceful haven, which God grant we may all attain, in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now, and ever, and throughout all ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[353] [Chrysostom seems to have observed everything, and he had the "homiletical habit," as Dr. Shedd calls it (Hom. p. 108), in gathering material for illustration. What has been said of a great modern preacher, may be said of Chrysostom: "He watched ships and sailors; he acquainted himself with the customs, good and bad, of commercial life; he curiously inspected a great variety of mechanical processes; he closely observed agricultural operations, and the various phases of rural life; he constantly saw and heard what occurred in his own home and other homes; and always and everywhere he asked himself, What is this like? what will this illustrate?" Dr. Broadus, in Preparation and Delivery of Sermons.--G.A.] [354] [This seems to be in direct contradiction to what is said a few lines above, to wit, "If there chance to be but little of it, there will be but little disturbance if the receptacle should burst." The text in the former passage is in great uncertainty, however, and confusion. Field calls it a locus conclamatus. Perhaps, if the true text of that passage could be recovered, it would not be in conflict with the passage here.--G.A.] [355] [Compare Prov. xxv. 28.--G.A.] [356] [me esti soi krisis; but Sept. (2 Sam. xv. 3.) has hoakouon ouk esti soi para tou basileos, which is well rendered by the Rev. Ver., "But there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee."--G.A.] [357] [We have here followed the text of three codices as against the emendations of Field, Savile, and the Benedictine ed.--G.A.] [358] Vid. Aristoph. Nub. 749, gunaika pharmakid' ei priamenos Thettalen. Schol., mechri kai nun pharmakides hai Thettalai kalountai. [What a fearful picture of the cruelties of the mistresses of Chrysostom's day!--G.A.] [359] [This is direct preaching. Some would call it personal. But as Daniel Webster said of preaching, so ought we "make it a personal matter, a personal matter, a personal matter."--G.A.] [360] [And what a graceful and conciliatory turn he gives his discourse here!--G.A.] [361] [kakia: "`Malice,' the genus to which all the above-mentioned vices belong, or rather the active principle to which they are all due,--animi pravitas, humanitati et equitati opposita (Calvin)."--Ellicott.--G.A.]


Homily XVI.

Ephesians iv. 31, 32

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you."

abandon wickedness, but there must be abundant practice of that which is good also. To be delivered indeed from hell we must abstain from wickedness; but to attain to the kingdom we must cleave fast to virtue. [362] Know ye not that even in the tribunals of the heathen, when examination is made of men's deeds, and the whole city is assembled, this is the case? Nay, there was an ancient custom amongst the heathen, to crown with a golden crown, [363] --not the man who had done no evil to his country, for this were in itself no more than enough to save him from punishment;--but him who had displayed great public services. It was thus that a man was to be advanced to this distinction. But what I had especial need to say, had, I know not how, well nigh escaped me. Accordingly having made some slight correction of what I have said, I retract the first portion of this division.

For as I was saying that the departure from evil is sufficient to prevent our falling into hell, whilst I was speaking, there stole upon me a certain awful sentence, which does not merely bring down vengeance on them that dare to commit evil, but which also punishes those who omit any opportunity of doing good. What sentence then is this? When the day, the dreadful day, He saith, was arrived, and the set time was come, the Judge, seated on the judgment seat, set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left; and to the sheep He said, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat." (Matt. xxv. 34.) So far, well. For it was meet that for such compassion they should receive this reward. That those, however, who did not communicate of their own possessions to them that were in need, that they should be punished, not merely by the loss of blessings, but by being also sent to hell-fire, what just reason, I say, can there be in this? Most certainly this too will have a fair show of reason, no less than the other case: for we are hence instructed, that they that have done good shall enjoy those good things that are in heaven, but they, who, though they have no evil indeed to be charged with, yet have omitted to do good, will be hurried away with them that have done evil into hell-fire. Unless one might indeed say this, that the very not doing good is a part of wickedness, inasmuch as it comes of indolence, and indolence is a part of vice, or rather, not a part, but a source and baneful root of it. For idleness is the teacher of all vice. Let us not then foolishly ask such questions as these, what place shall he occupy, who has done neither any evil nor any good? For the very not doing good, is in itself doing evil. Tell me, if thou hadst a servant, who should neither steal, nor insult, nor contradict thee, who moreover should keep from drunkenness and every other kind of vice, and yet should sit perpetually in idleness, and not doing one of those duties which a servant owes to his master, wouldest thou not chastise him, wouldest thou not put him to the rack? Tell me. And yet forsooth he has done no evil. No, but this is in itself doing evil. But let us, if you please, apply this to other cases in life. Suppose then that of an husbandman. He does no damage to our property, he lays no plots against us, and he is not a thief, he only ties his hands behind him, and sits at home, neither sowing, nor cutting a single furrow, nor harnessing oxen to the yoke, nor looking after a vine, nor in fact discharging any one of those other labors required in husbandry. Now, I say, should we not punish such a man? And yet he has done no wrong to any one; we have no charge to make against him. No, but by this very thing has he done wrong. He does wrong in that he does not contribute his own share to the common stock of good. And what again, tell me, if every single artisan or mechanic were only to do no harm, say to one of a different craft,--nay, were to do no harm, even to one of his own, but only were to be idle, would not our whole life at that rate be utterly at an end and perish? Do you wish that I yet further extend the discourse with reference to the body also? Let the hand then neither strike the head, nor cut out the tongue, nor pluck out the eye, nor do any evil of this sort, but only remain idle, and not render its due service to the body at large; would it not be more fitting that it should be cut off, than that one should carry it about in idleness, and a detriment to the whole body? And what too, if the mouth, without either devouring the hand, or biting the breast, should nevertheless fail in all its proper duties; were it not far better that it should be stopped up? If therefore both in the case of servants, and of mechanics, and of the whole body, not only the commission of evil, but also the omission of what is good, is great unrighteousness, much more will this be the case in regard to the body of Christ.

Moral. And therefore the blessed Paul also, in leading us away from sin, leads us on to virtue. For where, tell me, is the advantage of all the thorns being cut out, if the good seeds be not sown? For our labor, remaining unfinished, will come round and end in the same mischief. And therefore Paul also, in his deep and affectionate anxiety for us, does not let his admonitions stop at eradicating and destroying evil tempers, but urges us at once to evidence the implanting of good ones. For having said, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and clamor, and railing be put away from you, with all malice," he adds, "And be [364] ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other." For all these are habits and dispositions. And our abandonment of the one thing is not sufficient to settle us in the habitual practice of the other, but there is need again of some fresh impulse, and of an effort not less than that made in our avoidance of evil dispositions, in order to our acquiring good ones. For so in the case of the body, the black man, if he gets rid of this complexion, does not straightway become white. Or rather let us not conduct our discourse with an argument from physical subjects, but draw our example from those which concern moral choice. He who is not our enemy, is not necessarily our friend; but there is an intermediate state, neither of enmity nor of friendship, which is perhaps that in which the greater part of mankind stand toward us. He that is not crying is not therefore necessarily also laughing, but there is a state between the two. And so, I say, is the case here. He that is not "bitter" is not necessarily "kind," neither is he that is not "wrathful" necessarily "tender-hearted"; but there is need of a distinct effort, in order to acquire this excellence. And now look how the blessed Paul, according to the rules of the best husbandry, thoroughly cleans and works the land entrusted to him by the Husbandman. He has taken away the bad seeds; he now exhorts us to retain the good plants. "Be ye kind," saith he, for if, when the thorns are plucked up, the field remains idle, it will again bear unprofitable weeds. And therefore there is need to preoccupy its unoccupied and fallow state by the setting of good seeds and plants. He takes away "anger," he puts in "kindness"; he takes away "bitterness," he puts in "tender-heartedness"; he extirpates "malice" and "railing," he plants "forgiveness" in their stead. For the expression, "forgiving one another," is this; be disposed, he means, to forgive one another. And this forgiveness is greater than that which is shown in money-matters. For he indeed who forgives a debt of money to him that has borrowed of him, does, it is true, a noble and admirable deed, but then the kindness is confined to the body, though to himself indeed he repays a full recompense by that benefit which is spiritual and concerns the soul; whereas he who forgives trespasses will be benefiting alike his own soul, and the soul of him who receives the forgiveness. For by this way of acting, he not only renders himself, but the other also, more charitable. Because we do not so deeply touch the souls of those who have wronged us by revenging ourselves, as by pardoning them, and thus shaming them and putting them out of countenance. For by the other course we shall be doing no good, either to ourselves or to them, but shall be doing harm to both by seeking ourselves for retaliation, like the rulers of the Jews, and by kindling up the wrath that is in them; but if we return injustice with gentleness, we shall disarm all his anger, and shall be setting up in his breast a tribunal which will give a verdict in our favor, and will condemn him more severely than we ourselves could. For he will convict and will pass sentence upon himself, and will look for every pretext for repaying the share of long-suffering granted him with fuller measure, knowing that, if he repay it in equal measure, he is thus at a disadvantage, in not having himself made the beginning, but received the example from us. He will strive accordingly to exceed in measure, in order to eclipse, by the excess of his recompense, the disadvantage he himself sustains in having been second in making advances towards requital; and the disadvantage again which accrues to the other from the time, if he was the first sufferer, this he will make up by excess of kindness. For men, if they are right-minded, are not so affected by evil as by the good treatment they may receive at the hands of those whom they have injured. For it is a base sin, and it is matter of reproach and scorn for a man who is well-treated not to return it; whilst for a man who is ill-treated, not to go about to resent it, this has the praise and applause, and the good word of all. And therefore they are more deeply touched by this conduct than any.

So that if thou hast a wish to revenge thyself, revenge thyself in this manner. Return good for evil, that thou mayest render him even thy debtor, and achieve a glorious victory. Hast thou suffered evil? Do good; thus avenge thee of thine enemy. For if thou shalt go about to resent it, all will blame both thee and him alike. Whereas if thou shalt endure it, it will be otherwise. Thee they will applaud and admire; but him they will reproach. And what greater punishment can there be to an enemy, than to behold his enemy admired and applauded by all men? What more bitter to an enemy, than to behold himself reproached by all before his enemy's face? If thou shalt avenge thee on him, thou wilt both be condemned perhaps thyself, and wilt be the sole avenger; whereas, if thou shalt forgive him, all will be avengers in thy stead. And this will be far more severe than any evil he can suffer, that his enemy should have so many to avenge him. If thou openest thy mouth, they will be silent; but if thou art silent, not with one tongue only, but with ten thousand tongues of others, thou smitest him, and art the more avenged. And on thee indeed, if thou shalt reproach him, many again will cast imputations (for they will say that thy words are those of passion); but when others who have suffered no wrong from him thus overwhelm him with reproaches, then is the revenge especially clear of all suspicion. For when they who have suffered no mischief, in consequence of thy excessive forbearance feel and sympathize with thee, as though they had been wronged themselves, this is a vengeance clear of all suspicion. "But what then," ye will say, "if no man should take vengeance?" It cannot be that men will be such stones, as to behold such wisdom and not admire it. And though they wreak not their vengeance on him at the time; still, afterwards, when they are in the mood, they will do so, and they will continue to scoff at him and abuse him. And if no one else admire thee, the man himself will most surely admire thee, though he may not own it. For our judgment of what is right, even though we be come to the very depth of wickedness, remains impartial and unbiased. Why, suppose ye, did our Lord Christ say, "Whosoever smiteth thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"? (Matt. v. 39.) Is it not because the more long-suffering a man is, the more signal the benefit he confers both on himself and on the other? For this cause He charges us to "turn the other also," to satisfy the desire of the enraged. For who is such a monster as not to be at once put to shame? The very dogs are said to feel it; for if they bark and attack a man, and he throws himself on his back and does nothing, he puts a stop to all their wrath. [365] If they then reverence the man who is ready to suffer evil from them, much more will the race of man do so, inasmuch as they are more rational.

However, it is right not to overlook what a little before came into my recollection, and was brought forward for a testimony. And what then was this? We were speaking of the Jews, and of the chief rulers amongst them, how that they were blamed, as seeking retaliation. And yet this the law permitted them; "eye for eye, and tooth for tooth." (Lev. xxiv. 20.) True, but not to the intent that men should pluck out each other's eyes, but that they should check boldness in aggression, by fear of suffering in return, and thus should neither do any evil to others, nor suffer any evil from others themselves. Therefore it was said, "eye for eye," to bind the hands of the aggressor, not to let thine loose against him; not to ward off the hurt from thine eyes only, but also to preserve his eyes safe and sound.

But, as to what I was enquiring about,--why, if retaliation was allowed, were they arraigned who practiced it? Whatever can this mean? He here speaks of vindictiveness; for on the spur of the moment he allows the sufferer to act, as I was saying, in order to check the aggressor; but to bear a grudge he permits no longer; because the act then is no longer one of passion, nor of boiling rage, but of malice premeditated. Now God forgives those who may be carried away, perhaps upon a sense of outrage, and rush out to resent it. Hence He says, "eye for eye"; and yet again, "the ways of the revengeful lead to death." [366] Now, if, where it was permitted to put out eye for eye, so great a punishment is reserved for the revengeful, how much more for those who are bidden even to expose themselves to ill-treatment. Let us not then be revengeful, but let us quench our anger, that we may be counted worthy of the lovingkindness, which comes from God ("for with what measure," saith Christ, "ye mete, it shall be measured unto you, and with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged") (Matt. vii. 2.), and that we may both escape the snares of this present life, and in the day that is at hand, may obtain pardon at His hands, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, both now and forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[362] [This way of putting it would imply that there is an intermediate place, neither hell nor heaven, which Chrysostom felt; and so he corrects himself a little below. This does not appear to be a trick of the orator.--G.A.] [363] [The Athenians, for example, bestowed a golden crown upon Demosthenes, and his celebrated oration "On the Crown" was occasioned by this custom to which Chrysostom refers.] [364] ["Not `be' (este), but `become' (ginesthe), in keeping with the artheto aph' humon, `let it be put away' from you."--Meyer.--G.A.] [365] [Compare Odyssey, Bk. xiv. 33-36, where Ulysses thus quiets the dogs of Eumæus:-- "Soon as Ulysses near the enclosure drew, With open mouths the furious mastiffs flew; Down sat the sage, and, cautious to withstand, Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand." Pope's translation.--G.A.] [366] [Prov. xii. 28, according to Septuagint, which has hodoi de mnesikakon eis thanaton. The Rev. Ver., following the Hebrew, has, "And in the pathway thereof (righteousness) there is no death."--G.A.]


Homily XVII.

Ephesians iv. 32 and v. 1, 2

"And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you. Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell."

The events which are past have greater force than those which are yet to come, and appear to be both more wonderful and more convincing. And hence accordingly Paul founds his exhortation upon the things which have already been done for us, inasmuch as they, on Christ's account, have a greater force. For to say, "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Matt. vi. 14.), and "if ye forgive not, ye shall in nowise be forgiven" (Matt. vi. 15.),--this addressed to men of understanding, and men who believe in the things to come, is of great weight; but Paul appeals to the conscience not by these arguments only, but also by things already done for us. In the former way we may escape punishment, whereas in this latter we may have our share of some positive good. Thou imitatest Christ. This alone is enough to recommend virtue, that it is "to imitate God." This is a higher principle than the other, "for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." (Matt. v. 45.) Because he does not merely say that we are "imitating God," but that we do so in those things wherein we receive ourselves such benefits. He would have us cherish the tender heart of fathers towards each other. For by heart, here, is meant lovingkindness and compassion. For inasmuch as it cannot be that, being men, we shall avoid either giving pain or suffering it, he does the next thing, he devises a remedy,--that we should forgive one another. And yet there is no comparison. For if thou indeed shouldest at this moment forgive any one, he will forgive thee again in return; whereas to God thou hast neither given nor forgiven anything. And thou indeed art forgiving a fellow-servant; whereas God is forgiving a servant, and an enemy, and one that hates Him.

"Even as God," saith he, "also in Christ forgave you."

And this, moreover, contains a high allusion. Not simply, he would say, hath He forgiven us, and at no risk or cost, but at the sacrifice of His Son; for that He might forgive thee, He sacrificed the Son; whereas thou, oftentimes, even when thou seest pardon to be both without risk and without cost, yet dost not grant it.

"Be ye therefore imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us an offering and sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell."

That thou mayest not then think it an act of necessity, hear how He saith, that "He gave Himself up." As thy Master loved thee, love thou thy friend. Nay, but neither wilt thou be able so to love; yet still do so as far as thou art able. Oh, what can be more blessed than a sound like this! Tell me of royalty or whatever else thou wilt, there is no comparison. Forgive another, and thou art "imitating God," thou art made like unto God. It is more our duty to forgive trespasses than debts of money; for if thou forgive debts, thou hast not "imitated God"; whereas if thou shalt forgive trespasses, thou art "imitating God." And yet how shalt thou be able to say, "I am poor, and am not able to forgive it," that is, a debt, when thou forgivest not that which thou art able to forgive, that is, a trespass? And surely thou dost not deem that in this case there is any loss. Yea, is it not rather wealth, is it not abundance, is it not a plentiful store?

And behold yet another and a nobler incitement: [367] --"as beloved children," saith he. Ye have yet another cogent reason to imitate Him, not only in that ye have received such good at His hands, but also in that ye are called His children. And since not all children imitate their fathers, but those which are beloved, therefore he saith, "as beloved children."

Ver. 2. "Walk in love." [368]

Behold, here, the groundwork of all! So then where this is, there is no "wrath, no anger, no clamor, no railing," but all are done away. Accordingly he puts the chief point last. Whence wast thou made a child? Because thou wast forgiven. On the same ground on which thou hast had so vast a privilege vouch-safed thee, on that selfsame ground forgive thy neighbor. Tell me, I say, if thou wert in prison, and hadst ten thousand misdeeds to answer for, and some one were to bring thee into the palace; or rather to pass over this argument, suppose thou wert in a fever and in the agonies of death, and some one were to benefit thee by some medicine, wouldest thou not value him more than all, yea and the very name of the medicine? For if we thus regard occasions and places by which we are benefited, even as our own souls, much more shall we the things themselves. Be a lover then of love; for by this art thou saved, by this hast thou been made a son. And if thou shalt have it in thy power to save another, wilt thou not use the same remedy, and give the advice to all, "Forgive, that ye may be forgiven"? Thus to incite one another, were the part of grateful, of generous, and noble spirits.

"Even as Christ also," he adds, "loved you."

Thou art only sparing friends, He enemies. So then far greater is that boon which cometh from our Master. For how in our case is the "even as" preserved. Surely it is clear that it will be, by our doing good to our enemies.

"And gave Himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell."

Seest thou that to suffer for one's enemies is "a sweet-smelling savor," and an "acceptable sacrifice"? And if thou shalt die, then wilt thou be indeed a sacrifice. This it is to "imitate God."

Ver. 3. "But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints."

He has spoken of the bitter passion, of wrath; he now comes to the lesser evil: for that lust is the lesser evil, hear how Moses also in the law says, first, "Thou shalt do no murder" (Ex. xx. 13.), which is the work of wrath, and then, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Ex. xx. 14.), which is of lust. For as "bitterness," and "clamor," and "all malice," and "railing," and the like, are the works of the passionate man, so likewise are "fornication, uncleanness, covetousness," those of the lustful; since avarice and sensuality spring from the same passion. [369] But just as in the former case he took away "clamor" as being the vehicle of "anger," so now does he "filthy talking" and "jesting" as being the vehicle of lust; for he proceeds,

Ver. 4. "Nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting; but rather giving of thanks."

Have no witticisms, no obscenities, either in word or in deed, and thou wilt quench the flame--"let them not even be named," saith he, "among you," that is, let them not anywhere even make their appearance. This he says also in writing to the Corinthians. "It is actually reported that there is fornication among you" (1 Cor. v. 1.); as much as to say, Be ye all pure. For words are the way to acts. Then, that he may not appear a forbidding kind of person and austere, and a destroyer of playfulness, he goes on to add the reason, by saying, "which are not befitting," which have nothing to do with us--"but rather giving of thanks." What good is there in uttering a witticism? thou only raisest a laugh. Tell me, will the shoemaker ever busy himself about anything which does not belong to or befit his trade? or will he purchase any tool of that kind? No, never. Because the things we do not need, are nothing to us.

Moral. Let there not be one idle word; for from idle words we fall also into foul words. The present is no season of loose merriment, but of mourning, of tribulation, and lamentation: and dost thou play the jester? What wrestler on entering the ring neglects the struggle with his adversary, and utters witticisms? The devil stands hard at hand, "he is going about roaring" (1 Pet. v. 8.) to catch thee, he is moving everything, and turning everything against thy life, and is scheming to force thee from thy retreat, he is grinding his teeth and bellowing, he is breathing fire against thy salvation; and dost thou sit uttering witticisms, and "talking folly," and uttering things "which are not befitting." Full nobly then wilt thou be able to overcome him! We are in sport, beloved. Wouldest thou know the life of the saints? Listen to what Paul saith. "By the space of three years I ceased not to admonish every one night and day with tears." (Acts xx. 31.) And if so great was the zeal he exerted in behalf of them of Miletus and Ephesus, not making pleasant speeches, but introducing his admonition with tears, what should one say of the rest? But hearken again to what he says to the Corinthians. "Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears." (2 Cor. ii. 4.) And again, "Who is weak, and I am not weak?" "Who is made to stumble, and I burn not?" (2 Cor. xi. 29.) And hearken again to what he says elsewhere, desiring every day, as one might say, to depart out of the world. "For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan" (2 Cor. v. 4.); and dost thou laugh and play? It is war-time, and art thou handling the dancers' instruments? Look at the countenances of men in battle, their dark and contracted mien, their brow terrible and full of awe. Mark the stern eye, the heart eager and beating and throbbing, their spirit collected, and trembling and intensely anxious. All is good order, all is good discipline, all is silence in the camps of those who are arrayed against each other. They speak not, I do not say, an impertinent word, but they utter not a single sound. Now if they who have visible enemies, and who are in nowise injured by words, yet observe so great silence, dost thou who hast thy warfare, and the chief of thy warfare in words, dost thou leave this part naked and exposed? Or art thou ignorant that it is here that we are most beset with snares? Art thou amusing and enjoying thyself, and uttering witticisms and raising a laugh, and regarding the matter as a mere nothing? How many perjuries, how many injuries, how many filthy speeches have arisen from witticisms! "But no," ye will say, "pleasantries are not like this." Yet hear how he excludes all kinds of jesting. It is a time now of war and fighting, of watch and guard, of arming and arraying ourselves. The time of laughter can have no place here; for that is of the world. Hear what Christ saith: "The world shall rejoice, but ye shall be sorrowful." (John xvi. 20.) Christ was crucified for thy ills, and dost thou laugh? He was buffeted, and endured so great sufferings because of thy calamity, and the tempest that had overtaken thee; and dost thou play the reveler? And how wilt thou not then rather provoke Him?

But since the matter appears to some to be one of indifference, which moreover is difficult to be guarded against, let us discuss this point a little, to show you how vast an evil it is. For indeed this is a work of the devil, to make us disregard things indifferent. First of all then, even if it were indifferent, not even in that case were it right to disregard it, when one knows that the greatest evils are both produced and increased by it, and that it oftentimes terminates in fornication. However, that it is not even indifferent is evident from hence. Let us see then whence it is produced. Or rather, let us see what sort of a person a saint ought to be:--gentle, meek, sorrowful, mournful, contrite. The man then who deals in jests is no saint. Nay, were he even a Greek, such an one would be scorned. These are things allowed to those only who are on the stage. Where filthiness is, there also is jesting; where unseasonable laughter is, there also is jesting. Hearken to what the Prophet saith, "Serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice with trembling." (Ps. ii. 11.) Jesting renders the soul soft and indolent. It excites the soul unduly, and often it teems with acts of violence, and creates wars. But what more? In fine, hast thou not come to be among men? then "put away childish things." (1 Cor. xiii. 11.) Why, thou wilt not allow thine own servant in the market place to speak an impertinent word: and dost thou then, who sayest thou art a servant of God, go uttering thy witticisms in the public square? It is well if the soul that is "sober" be not stolen away; but one that is relaxed and dissolute, who cannot carry off? It will be its own murderer, and will stand in no need of the crafts or assaults of the devil.

But, moreover, in order to understand this, look too at the very name. [370] It means the versatile man, the man of all complexions, the unstable, the pliable, the man that can be anything and everything. But far is this from those who are servants to the Rock. Such a character quickly turns and changes; for he must needs mimic both gesture and speech, and laugh and gait, and everything, aye, and such an one is obliged to invent jokes: for he needs this also. But far be this from a Christian, to play the buffoon. Farther, the man who plays the jester must of necessity incur the signal hatred of the objects of his random ridicule, whether they be present, or being absent hear of it.

If the thing is creditable, why is it left to mountebanks? What, dost thou make thyself a mountebank, and yet art not ashamed? Why is it ye permit not your gentlewomen to do so? Is it not that ye set it down as a mark of an immodest, and not of a discreet character? Great are the evils that dwell in a soul given to jesting; great is the ruin and desolation. Its consistency is broken, the building is decayed, fear is banished, reverence is gone. A tongue thou hast, not that thou mayest ridicule another man, but that thou mayest give thanks unto God. Look at your merriment-makers, [371] as they are called, those buffoons. These are your jesters. Banish from your souls, I entreat you, this graceless accomplishment. It is the business of parasites, of mountebanks, of dancers, of harlots; far be it from a generous, far be it from a highborn soul, aye, far too even from slaves. If there be any one who has lost respect, if there be any vile person, that man is also a jester. To many indeed the thing appears to be even a virtue, and this truly calls for our sorrow. Just as lust by little and little drives headlong into fornication, so also does a turn for jesting. It seems to have a grace about it, yet there is nothing more graceless than this. For hear the Scripture which says, "Before the thunder goeth lightning, and before a shamefaced man shall go favor." [372] Now there is nothing more shameless than the jester; so that his mouth is not full of favor, but of pain. Let us banish this custom from our tables. Yet are there some who teach it even to the poor! O monstrous! they make men in affliction play the jester. Why, where shall not this pest be found next? Already has it been brought into the Church itself. Already has it laid hold of the very Scriptures. Need I say anything to prove the enormity of the evil? I am ashamed indeed, but still nevertheless I will speak; for I am desirous to show to what a length the mischief has advanced, that I may not appear to be trifling, or to be discoursing to you on some trifling subject; that even thus I may be enabled to withdraw you from this delusion. And let no one think that I am fabricating, but I will tell you what I have really heard. A certain person happened to be in company with one of those who pride themselves highly on their knowledge (now I know I shall excite a smile, but still I will say it notwithstanding); and when the platter was set before him, he said, "Take and eat, children, lest your belly be angry!" [373] And again, others say, "Woe unto thee, Mammon, and to him that hath thee not;" [374] and many like enormities has jesting introduced; as when they say, "Now is there no nativity." [375] And this I say to show the enormity of this base temper; for these are the expressions of a soul destitute of all reverence. And are not these things enough to call down thunderbolts? And one might find many other such things which have been said by these men.

Wherefore, I entreat you, let us banish the custom universally, and speak those things which become us. Let not holy mouths utter the words of dishonorable and base men. "For what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity, or what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. vi. 14.) Happy will it be for us, if, having kept ourselves aloof from all such foul things, we be thus able to attain to the promised blessings; far indeed from dragging such a train after us, and sullying the purity of our minds by so many. For the man who will play the jester will soon go on to be a railer, and the railer will go on to heap ten thousand other mischiefs on himself. When then we shall have disciplined these two faculties of the soul, anger and desire (vid. Plat. Phædr. cc. 25, 34), and have put them like well-broken horses under the yoke of reason, then let us set over them the mind as charioteer, that we may "gain the prize of our high calling" (Philip. iii. 14.); which God grant that we may all attain, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with Whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now, and ever, and throughout all ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[367] ["Now to be God's beloved child, and not to become like the loving Father,--how contradictory were this!"--Meyer.--G.A.] [368] ["And walk in love": "The kai annexes that wherein this imitation of God must consist, namely, that `love' is the element in which their life-work was to take place, love such as Christ also has displayed towards us."--Meyer.--G.A.] [369] ["Sensuality" and "covetousness" are the two cardinal vices of the heathen which are to be avoided by Christians."--Meyer on iv. 19.--G.A.] [370] ["eutrapelia, from eutrapelos, which is derived from eu and trepesthai, `that which easily turns,' and in this way adapts itself to the moods and conditions of those with whom at the moment it may deal."--Trench, Synonyms of N.T. 1 series, p. 167.--G.A.] [371] [gelotopoious, literally, "laugh-makers."--G.A.] [372] [pro brontes kataspeudei astrape, kai pro aischunterou proeleusetai charis.--Ecclus. xxxii. 10.--G.A.] [373] Draxasthe, paidia, me pote orgisthe koilia. [374] ouai soi, mamona, kai to me echonti se. [375] ,'Arti ouk esti genesis. vid. Suicer, Thesaurus, voc. genesis, n. 3.


Homily XVIII.

Ephesians v. 5, 6

"For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience."

There were, it is likely, in the time of our forefathers also, some who "weakened the hands of the people" (Jer. xxxviii. 4.), and brought into practice that which is mentioned by Ezekiel,--or rather who did the works of the false prophets, who "profaned God among His people for handfuls of barley" (Ezek. xiii. 19.); a thing, by the way, done methinks by some even at this day. When, for example, we say that he who calleth his brother a fool shall depart into hell-fire, others say, "What? Is he that calls his brother a fool to depart into hell-fire? Impossible," say they. And again, when we say that "the covetous man is an idolater," in this too again they make abatements, and say the expression is hyperbolical. And in this manner they underrate and explain away all the commandments. It was in allusion then to these that the blessed Paul, at this time when he wrote to the Ephesians, spoke thus, "For this ye know, [376] that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God"; adding, "let no man [377] deceive you with empty words." Now "empty words" are those which for a while are gratifying, but are in nowise borne out in facts; because the whole case is a deception.

"Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience."

Because of "fornication," he means, because of "covetousness," because of "uncleanness," or both because of these things, and because of the "deceit," [378] inasmuch as there are deceivers. "Sons of disobedience"; he thus calls those who are utterly disobedient, those who disobey Him.

Ver. 7, 8. "Be not ye, therefore, partakers with them. For ye were [379] once darkness, but are now light in the Lord."

Observe how wisely he urges them forward; first, from the thought of Christ, that ye love one another, and do injury to no man; then, on the other hand, from the thought of punishment and hell-fire. "For ye were once darkness," says he, "but are now light in the Lord." Which is what he says also in the Epistle to the Romans; "What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed?" (Rom. vi. 21.), and reminds them of their former wickedness. That is to say, thinking what ye once were, and what ye are now become, do not run back into your former wickedness, nor do "despite to the grace" (Heb. x. 29.) of God.

"Ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord!"

Not, he says, by your own virtue, but through the grace of God has this accrued to you. That is to say, ye also were sometime worthy of the same punishments, but now are so no more. "Walk" therefore "as children of light." What is meant however by "children of light," he adds afterwards.

Ver. 9, 10. "For the fruit [380] of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord."

"In all goodness," [381] he says: this is opposed to the angry, and the bitter: "and righteousness"; this to the covetous: "and truth"; this to false pleasure: not those former things, he says, which I was mentioning, but their opposites. "In all"; that is, the fruit of the Spirit ought to be evinced in everything. "Proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord"; so that those things are tokens of a childish and imperfect mind.

Ver. 11, 12, 13. "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. But all things when they are reproved, are made manifest by the light."

He had said, "ye are light." Now the light reproves by exposing the things which take place in the darkness. So that if ye, says he, are virtuous, and conspicuous, the wicked will be unable to lie hidden. For just as when a candle is set, all are brought to light, and the thief cannot enter; so if your light shine, the wicked being discovered shall be caught. So then it is our duty to expose them. How then does our Lord say, "Judge not, that ye be not judged"? (Matt. vii. 1, 3.) Paul did not say "judge," he said "reprove," that is, correct. And the words, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," He spoke with reference to very small errors. Indeed, He added, "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" But what Paul is saying is of this sort. As a wound, so long as it is imbedded and concealed outwardly, and runs beneath the surface, receives no attention, so also sin, as long as it is concealed, being as it were in darkness, is daringly committed in full security; but as soon as "it is made manifest," becomes "light"; not indeed the sin itself, (for how could that be?) but the sinner. For when he has been brought out to light, when he has been admonished, when he has repented, when he has obtained pardon, hast thou not cleared away all his darkness? Hast thou not then healed his wound? Hast thou not called his unfruitfulness into fruit? Either this is his meaning, [382] or else what I said above, that your life "being manifest, is light." For no one hides an irreproachable life; whereas things which are hidden, are hidden by darkness covering them.

Ver. 14. "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee."

By the "sleeper" and the "dead," he means the man that is in sin; for he both exhales noisome odors like the dead, and is inactive like one that is asleep, and like him he sees nothing, but is dreaming, and forming fancies and illusions. Some indeed read, [383] "And thou shalt touch Christ"; but others, "And Christ shall shine upon thee"; and it is rather this latter. Depart from sin, and thou shalt be able to behold Christ. "For every one that doeth ill, hateth the light, and cometh not to the light." (John iii. 20.) He therefore that doeth it not, cometh to the light.

Now he is not saying this with reference to the unbelievers only, for many of the faithful, no less than unbelievers, hold fast by wickedness; nay, some far more. Therefore to these also it is necessary to exclaim, "Awake, [384] thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee." To these it is fitting to say this also, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt. xxii. 32.) If then he is not the God of the dead, let us live.

Now there are some who say that the words, "the covetous man is an idolater," are hyperbolical. However, the statement is not hyperbolical, it is true. How, and in what way? Because the covetous man apostatizes from God, just as the idolater does. And lest you should imagine this is a bare assertion, there is a declaration of Christ which saith, "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (Matt. vi. 24.) If then it is not possible to serve God and Mammon, they who serve Mammon have thrown themselves out of the service of God; and they who have denied His sovereignty, and serve lifeless gold, it is plain enough that they are idolaters. "But I never made an idol," a man will say, "nor set up an altar, nor sacrificed sheep, nor poured libations of wine; no, I came into the church, and lifted up my hands to the Only-begotten Son of God; I partake of the mysteries, I communicate in prayer, and in everything else which is a Christian's duty. How then," he will say, "am I a worshiper of idols?" Yes, and this is the very thing which is the most astonishing of all, that when thou hast had experience, and hast "tasted" the lovingkindness of God, and "hast seen that the Lord is gracious" (Ps. xxxiv. 8.), thou shouldest abandon Him who is gracious, and take to thyself a cruel tyrant, and shouldest pretend to be serving Him, whilst in reality thou hast submitted thyself to the hard and galling yoke of covetousness. Thou hast not yet told me of thy own duty done, but only of thy Master's gifts. For tell me, I beseech thee, whence do we judge of a soldier? Is it when he is on duty guarding the king, and is fed by him, and called the king's own, or is it when he is minding his own affairs and interests? To pretend to be with him, and to be attentive to his interests, whilst he is advancing the cause of the enemy, we declare to be worse than if he breaks away from the king's service, and joins the enemy. Now then thou art doing despite to God, just as an idolater does, not with thine own mouth singly, but with the ten thousands of those whom thou hast wronged. Yet you will say, "an idolater he is not." But surely, whenever they say, "Oh! that Christian, that covetous fellow," then not only is he himself committing outrage by his own act, but he frequently forces those also whom he has wronged to use these words; and if they use them not, this is to be set to the account of their reverence.

Do we not see that such is the fact? What else is an idolater? Or does not he too worship passions, oftentimes not mastering his passions? I mean, for example, when we say that the pagan idolater worships idols, he will say, "No, but it is Venus, or it is Mars." And if we say, Who is this Venus? the more modest amongst them will say, It is pleasure. Or what is this Mars? It is wrath. And in the same way dost thou worship Mammon. If we say, Who is this Mammon? It is covetousness, and this thou art worshiping. "I worship it not," thou wilt say. Why not? Because thou dost not bow thyself down? Nay, but as it is, thou art far more a worshiper in thy deeds and practices; for this is the higher kind of worship. And that you may understand this, look in the case of God; who more truly worship Him, they who merely stand up at the prayers, or they who do His will? Clearly enough, these latter. The same also is it with the worshipers of Mammon; they who do his will, they truly are his worshipers. However, they who worship the passions are oftentimes free from the passions. One may see a worshiper of Mars oftentimes governing his wrath. But this is not true of thee; thou makest thyself a slave to thy passion.

Yes, but thou slayest no sheep? No, thou slayest men, reasonable souls, some by famine, others by blasphemies. Nothing can be more frenzied than a sacrifice like this. Who ever beheld souls sacrificed? How accursed is the altar of covetousness! When thou passest by this idol's altar here, thou shalt see it reeking with the blood of bullocks and goats; but when thou shalt pass by the altar of covetousness, thou shalt see it breathing the shocking odor of human blood. Stand here before it in this world, and thou shalt see, not the wings of birds burning, no vapor, no smoke exhaled, but the bodies of men perishing. For some throw themselves among precipices, others tie the halter, others thrust the dagger through their throat. Hast thou seen the cruel and inhuman sacrifices? Wouldest thou see yet more shocking ones than these? Then I will show thee no longer the bodies of men, but the souls of men slaughtered in the other world. Yes, for it is possible for a soul to be slain with the slaughter peculiar to the soul; for as there is a death of the body, [385] so is there also of the soul. "The soul that sinneth," saith the Prophet, "it shall die." (Ezek. xviii. 4.) The death of the soul, however, is not like the death of the body; it is far more shocking. For this bodily death, separating the soul and the body the one from the other, releases the one from many anxieties and toils, and transmits the other into a manifest abode: then when the body has been in time dissolved and crumbled away, it is again gathered together in incorruption, and receives back its own proper soul. Such we see is this bodily death. But that of the soul is awful and terrific. For this death, when dissolution takes place, does not let it pass, as the body does, but binds it down again to an imperishable body, and consigns it to the unquenchable fire. This then is the death of the soul. And as therefore there is a death of the soul, so is there also a slaughter of the soul. What is the slaughter of the body? It is the being turned into a corpse, the being stripped of the energy derived from the soul. What is the slaughter of the soul? It is its being made a corpse also. And how is the soul made a corpse? Because as the body then becomes a corpse when the soul leaves it destitute of its own vital energy, so also does the soul then become a corpse, when the Holy Spirit leaves it destitute of His spiritual energy.

Such for the most part are the slaughters made at the altar of covetousness. They are not satisfied, they do not stop at men's blood; no, the altar of covetousness is not glutted, unless it sacrifice the very soul itself also, unless it receive the souls of both, the sacrificer and the sacrificed. For he who sacrifices must first be sacrificed, and then he sacrifices; and the dead sacrifices him who is yet living. For when he utters blasphemies, when he reviles, when he is irritated, are not these so many incurable wounds of the soul?

Thou hast seen that the expression is no hyperbole. Wouldest thou hear again another argument, to teach you how covetousness is idolatry, and more shocking than idolatry? Idolaters worship the creatures of God ("for they worshiped," it is said, "and served the creature rather than the Creator") (Rom. i. 25.); but thou art worshiping a creature of thine own. For God made not covetousness but thine own insatiable appetite invented it. [386] And look at the madness and folly. They that worship idols, honor also the idols they worship; and if any one speak of them with disrespect or ridicule, they stand up in their defense; whereas thou, as if in a sort of intoxication, art worshiping an object, which is so far from being free from accusation, that it is even full of impiety. So that thou, even more than they, excellest in wickedness. Thou canst never have it to say as an excuse, that it is no evil. If even they are in the highest degree without excuse, yet art thou in a far higher, who art forever censuring covetousness, and reviling those who devote themselves to it, and who yet doth serve and obey it.

We will examine, if you please, whence idolatry took its rise. A certain wise man (Wisd. xiv. 16.) tells us, that a certain rich man afflicted with untimely mourning for his son, and having no consolation for his sorrow, consoled his passion in this way: having made a lifeless image of the dead, and constantly gazing at it, he seemed through the image to have his departed one still; whilst certain flatterers, "whose God was their belly" (Philip. iii. 19.), treating the image with reverence in order to do him honor, carried on the custom into idolatry. [387] So then it took its rise from weakness of soul, from a senseless custom, from extravagance. But not so covetousness: from weakness of soul indeed it is, only that it is from a worse weakness. It is not that any one has lost a son, nor that he is seeking for consolation in sorrow, nor that he is drawn on by flatterers. But how is it? I will tell you. Cain in covetousness overreached [388] God; what ought to have been given to Him, he kept to himself; what he should have kept himself, this he offered to Him; and thus the evil began even from God. For if we are God's, much more are the first-fruits of our possessions. Again, men's violent passion for women arose from covetousness. [389] "They saw the daughters of men" (Gen. vi. 2.), and they rushed headlong into lust. And from hence again it went on to money; for the wish to have more than one's neighbor of this world's goods, arises from no other source, than from "love waxing cold." The wish to have more than one's share arises from no other source than recklessness, misanthropy, and arrogance toward others. Look at the earth, how wide is its extent? How far greater than we can use the expanse of the sky and the heaven? It is that He might put an end to thy covetousness, that God hath thus widely extended the bounds of the creation. And art thou then still grasping and even thus? And dost thou hear that covetousness is idolatry, and not shudder even at this? Dost thou wish to inherit the earth? Then hast thou no inheritance in heaven. Art thou eager to leave an inheritance to others, that thou mayest rob thyself of it? Tell me, if any one were to offer thee power to possess all things, wouldest thou be unwilling? It is in thy power now, if thou wilt. Some, however, say, that they are grieved when they transmit the inheritance to others, and would fain have consumed it themselves, rather than see others become its masters. Nor do I acquit thee of this weakness; for this too is characteristic of a weak soul. However, at least let as much as this be done. In thy will leave Christ thine heir. It were thy duty indeed to do so in thy lifetime, for this would show a right disposition. Still, at all events, be a little generous, though it be but by necessity. For Christ indeed charged us to give to the poor with this object, to make us wise in our lifetime, to induce us to despise money, to teach us to look down upon earthly things. It is no contempt of money, as you think, to bestow it upon this man and upon that man when one dies, and is no longer master of it. Thou art then no longer giving of thine own, but of absolute necessity: thanks to death, not to thee. This is no act of affection, it is thy loss. However, let it be done even thus; at least then give up thy passion.

Moral. Consider how many acts of plunder, how many acts of covetousness, thou hast committed. Restore all fourfold. Thus plead thy cause to God. Some, however, there are who are arrived at such a pitch of madness and blindness, as not even then to comprehend their duty; but who go on acting in all cases, just as if they were taking pains to make the judgment of God yet heavier to themselves. This is the reason why our blessed Apostle writes and says, "Walk as children of light." Now the covetous man of all others lives in darkness, and spreads great darkness over all things around.

"And have no fellowship," he adds, "with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of; but all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light." Hearken, I entreat you, all, as many of you as like not to be hated for nothing, but to be loved. "What need is there to be hated?" one says. A man commits a robbery, and dost thou not reprove him, but art afraid of his hatred? though this, however, is not being hated for nothing. But dost thou justly convict him, and yet fear the hatred? Convict thy brother, incur enmity for the love's sake which thou owest to Christ, for the love's sake which thou owest to thy brother. Arrest him as he is on his road to the pit of destruction. For to admit him to our table, to treat him with civil speeches, with salutations, and with entertainments, these are no signal proofs of friendship. No, those I have mentioned are the boons which we must bestow upon our friends, that we may rescue their souls from the wrath of God. When we see them lying prostrate in the furnace of wickedness, let us raise them up. "But," they say, "it is of no use, he is incorrigible." However, do thou thy duty, and then thou hast excused thyself to God. Hide not thy talent. It is for this that thou hast speech, it is for this thou hast a mouth and a tongue, that thou mayest correct thy neighbor. [390] It is dumb and reasonless creatures only that have no care for their neighbor, and take no account of others. But dost thou while calling God, "Father," and thy neighbor, "brother," when thou seest him committing unnumbered wickednesses, dost thou prefer his good-will to his welfare? No, do not so, I entreat you. There is no evidence of friendship so true as never to overlook the sins of our brethren. Didst thou see them at enmity? Reconcile them. Didst thou see them guilty of covetousness? Check them. Didst thou see them wronged? Stand up in their defense. It is not on them, it is on thyself thou art conferring the chief benefit. It is for this we are friends, that we may be of use one to another. A man will listen in a different spirit to a friend, and to any other chance person. A chance person he will regard perhaps with suspicion, and so in like manner will he a teacher, but not so a friend.

"For," he says, "the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of: but all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light." What is it he means to say here? He means this. That some sins in this world are done in secret, and some also openly; but in the other it shall not be so. Now there is no one who is not conscious to himself of some sin. This is why he says, "But all the things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light." What then? Is this again, it will be said, meant concerning idolatry? It is not; the argument is about our life and our sins. "For everything that is made manifest," says he, "is light."

Wherefore, I entreat you, be ye never backward to reprove, nor displeased at being reproved. [391] For as long indeed as anything is carried on in the dark, it is carried on with greater security; but when it has many to witness what is done, it is brought to light. By all means then let us do all we can to chase away the deadness which is in our brethren, to scatter the darkness, and to attract to us the "Sun of righteousness." For if there be many shining lights, the path of virtue will be easy to themselves, and they which are in darkness will be more easily detected, while the light is held forth and puts the darkness to flight. Whereas if it be the reverse, there is fear lest as the thick mist of darkness and of sin overpowers the light, and dispels its transparency, those shining lights themselves should be extinguished. Let us be then disposed to benefit one another, that one and all, we may offer up praise and glory to the God of lovingkindness, by the grace and lovingkindness of the only begotten Son with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, honor now and forever and forever. Amen.

Footnotes

[376] [",'Iste ginoskontes: `This you are aware of from your own knowledge,' so that I need not first to instruct you with regard to it, `that,' etc. This is not Hebraism, since ginoskontes is a different verb from iste, but it is like horon kai akouon oida, Xen. Cyr. iv. 1, 14."--Meyer.--G.A.] [377] ["In accordance with the context, this refers to unbelieving Gentiles who sought to palliate those Gentile vices, to make them out as matter of indifference, and so to entice Christians back to the Gentile life."--Meyer.--G.A.] [378] [dia tauta refers not "to deceiving with empty words," but to the "vices" just mentioned. Comp. parallel passage, Col. iii. 6.--G.A.] [379] [ete gar, &c. ete prefixed with significant emphasis, has the force of a "ground": For your former state of darkness (with which those vices were in keeping) is "past." Comp. Rom. vi. 17.--Meyer and Ellicott.--G.A.] [380] ["`Fruit of the light' (not of the spirit, as Chrysostom's text has) denotes figuratively the aggregate of moral effects which Christian enlightenment produces."--Meyer.--G.A.] [381] ["Chrysostom's interpretation is too specific. The words mean `good, right, true,' and embrace the whole of Christian morality."--Meyer.--G.A.] [382] [This difficult passage is thus translated by Ellicott: It is true these things are done in secret, but all of them, when reproved, are made manifest by the light (thus shed upon them); for everything that is made manifest is light (becomes daylight, is of the nature of light).--G.A.] [383] [epipsauseis (instead of epiphausei) is the reading of D* and E, and the Latin versions of these mss. (continges Christum), but it never obtained much acceptance, and hardly appears in extant codices. See Scrivener's Introd. 632, and Westcott and Hort, Appendix, p. 125.--G.A.] [384] ["The words here quoted are not found exactly in this form in the O.T., but certainly occur in substance in Isa. lx. 1. Instead of resorting to the explanation of Meyer or De Wette (which are somewhat rationalistic), it is better to say that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is expressing in a condensed form the spiritual meaning of the passage."--Ellicott. Riddle says: "It is Isa. lx. 1, partly paraphrased and partly condensed, and interpreted in the light of its fulfillment." "This call of God to the sons of disobedience to awake, confirms the necessity of the elenchein, and the promise, `Christ shall shine upon thee,' confirms the salutary influence of the light."--Meyer.--G.A.] [385] [As in other places, the text of Field is here incomplete. (hosper gar esti psuches thanatos, "Psuche gar he hamartanousa," etc.) It omits the clause, hosper gar esti somatos thanatos, which is so necessary to the sense and which is attested by excellent manuscript authority, and adopted by Savile.--G.A.] [386] [This seems strained; for it is not true that they worshiped covetousness, a creature of their own, as Chrysostom calls it, but they worshiped gold and silver, which are creatures of God.--G.A.] [387] [This is a rather doubtful and inadequate account of the beginning of idolatry.--G.A.] [388] hoKa& 187;n ton theon epleonektesen (Comp. pleonexia). [389] [This is what the text seems to mean (palin eis gunaikas apo pleonexias he horme gegonen), and he is proposing to explain the origin of covetousness (which, by the way, most men need go no further than their own heart to find), and not of lust. Moreover, the following context makes lust a source of covetousness, which is true, and not covetousness the source of lust, which is not true.--G.A.] [390] [Compare John Wesley's sermon on the "Duty of Reproving our Neighbor," Works, Vol. II., p. 88 (New York ed.), for a thorough and fearless discussion of this difficult duty.--G.A.] [391] ["Better is open rebuke Than love that is hidden. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are profuse."--Prov. xxvii. 5, 6. "He that rebuketh a man shall afterward find more favor Than he that flattereth with the tongue."--Prov. xxviii. 23. Compare Chrysostom's I. Homily on Eutropius, Vol. IX., p. 249, this series.--G.A.]


Homily XIX.

Ephesians v. 15, 16, 17

"Look then carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

He is still cleansing away the root of bitterness, still cutting off the very groundwork of anger. [392] For what is he saying? "Look carefully how ye walk." "They are sheep in the midst of wolves," and he charges them to be also "as doves." For "ye shall be harmless," saith he, "as doves." (Matt. x. 16.) Forasmuch then as they were both amongst wolves, and were besides commanded not to defend themselves, but to suffer evil, they needed this admonition. [393] Not indeed but that the former was sufficient to render them stronger; [394] but now that there is besides the addition of the two, reflect how exceedingly it is heightened. Observe then here also, how carefully he secures them, by saying, "Look how ye walk." Whole cities were at war with them; yea, this war made its way also into houses. They were divided, father against son, and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against mother. What then? Whence these divisions? They heard Christ say, "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." (Matt. x. 37.) Lest therefore they should think that he was without reason introducing wars and fightings, (since there was likely to be much anger produced, if they on their part were to retaliate,) to prevent this, he says, "See carefully how ye walk." That is to say, "Except the Gospel message, [395] give no other handle on any score whatever, for the hatred which you will incur." Let this be the only ground of hatred. Let no one have any other charge to make against you; but show all deference and obedience, whenever it does no harm to the message, whenever it does not stand in the way of godliness. For it is said, "Render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom." (Rom. xiii. 7.) For when amongst the rest of the world they shall see us forbearing, they will be put to shame.

"Not as unwise, but as wise, [396] redeeming the time."

It is not from any wish that you should be artful, and versatile, that he gives this advice. But what he means is this. The time is not yours. At present ye are strangers, and sojourners, and foreigners, and aliens; seek not honors, seek not glory, seek not authority, nor revenge; bear all things, and in this way, "redeem the time"; [397] give up many things, anything they may require. Imagine now, I say, a man had a magnificent house, and persons were to make their way in, on purpose to murder him, and he were to give a large sum, and thus to rescue himself. Then we should say, he has redeemed himself. So also hast thou a large house, and a true faith in thy keeping. They will come to take all away. Give whatever they may demand, only preserve the principal thing, I mean the faith.

"Because the days," saith he, "are evil."

What is the evil of the day? The evil of the day ought to belong to the day. What is the evil of a body? Disease. And what again the evil of the soul? Wickedness. What is the evil of water? Bitterness. And the evil of each particular thing, is with reference to that nature of it which is affected by the evil. If then there is an evil in the day, it ought to belong to the day, to the hours, to the day-light. So also Christ saith, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matt. vi. 34.) And from this expression we shall understand the other. In what sense then does he call "the days evil"? In what sense the "time" evil? It is not the essence of the thing, not the things as so created, but it is the things transacted in them. In the same way as we are in the habit of saying, "I have passed a disagreeable and wretched day." [398] And yet how could it be disagreeable, except from the circumstances which took place in it? Now the events which take place in it are, good things from God, but evil things from bad men. So then of the evils which happen in the times, men are the creators, and hence it is that the times are said to be evil. And thus we also call the times evil.

Ver. 17, 18. "Wherefore," [399] he adds, "be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is; and be not drunk with wine, wherein is riot."

For indeed intemperance in this renders men passionate and violent, and hot-headed, and irritable and savage. Wine has been given us for cheerfulness, not for drunkenness. Whereas now it appears to be an unmanly and contemptible thing for a man not to get drunk. And what sort of hope then is there of salvation? What? contemptible, tell me, not to get drunk, where to get drunk ought of all things in the world to be most contemptible? For it is of all things right for even a private individual to keep himself far from drunkenness; but how much more so for a soldier, a man who lives amongst swords, and bloodshed, and slaughter: much more, I say, for the soldier, when his temper is sharpened by other causes also, by power, by authority, by being constantly in the midst of stratagems and battles. Wouldest thou know where wine is good? Hear what the Scripture saith, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul." (Prov. xxxi. 6.) And justly, because it can mitigate asperity and gloominess, and drive away clouds from the brow. "Wine maketh glad the heart of man" (Ps. civ. 15.), says the Psalmist. How then does wine produce drunkenness? For it cannot be that one and the same thing should work opposite effects. Drunkenness then surely does not arise from wine, but from intemperance. Wine is bestowed upon us for no other purpose than for bodily health; but this purpose also is thwarted by immoderate use. But hear moreover what our blessed Apostle writes and says to Timothy, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities." [400]

This is the reason why God has formed our bodies in moderate proportions, and so as to be satisfied with a little, from thence at once instructing us that He has made us adapted to another life. And that life He would fain have bestowed upon us even from the very beginning; but since we rendered ourselves unworthy of it, He deferred it; and in the time during which He deferred it, not even in that does He allow us immoderate indulgence; for a little cup of wine and a single loaf is enough to satisfy a man's hunger. And man the lord of all the brute creation has He formed so as to require less food in proportion than they, and his body small; thereby declaring to us nothing else than this, that we are hastening onward to another life. "Be not drunk," says he, "with wine, wherein is riot"; for it does not save [401] but it destroys; and that, not the body only, but the soul also.

Ver. 18, 19, 20, 21. "But be filled [402] with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ."

Dost thou wish, he says, to be cheerful, dost thou wish to employ the day? I give thee spiritual drink; for drunkenness even cuts off the articulate sound of our tongue; it makes us lisp and stammer, and distorts the eyes, and the whole frame together. Learn to sing psalms, and thou shalt see the delightfulness of the employment. For they who sing psalms are filled with the Holy Spirit, as they who sing satanic songs are filled with an unclean spirit.

What is meant by "with your hearts to the Lord"? It means, with close attention and understanding. For they who do not attend closely, merely sing, uttering the words, whilst their heart is roaming elsewhere.

"Always," he says, "giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ unto God even the Father, subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ."

That is, "let your requests be made known unto God, with thanksgiving" (Philip. iv. 6.); for there is nothing so pleasing to God, as for a man to be thankful. But we shall be best able to give thanks unto God, by withdrawing our souls from the things before mentioned, and by thoroughly cleansing them by the means he has told us.

"But be filled," says he, "with the Spirit."

And is then this Spirit within us? Yes, indeed, within us. For when we have driven away lying, and bitterness, and fornication, and uncleanness, and covetousness, from our souls, when we are become kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, when there is no jesting, when we have rendered ourselves worthy of it, what is there to hinder the Holy Spirit from coming and lighting upon us? And not only will He come unto us, but He will fill our hearts; and when we have so great a light kindled within us, then will the way of virtue be no longer difficult to attain, but will be easy and simple.

"Giving thanks always," [403] he says, "for all things."

What then? Are we to give thanks for everything that befalls us? Yes; be it even disease, be it even penury. For if a certain wise man gave this advice in the Old Testament, and said, "Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate" (Ecclus. ii. 4.); much more ought this to be the case in the New. Yes, even though thou know not the word, give thanks. For this is thanksgiving. But if thou give thanks when thou art in comfort and in affluence, in success and in prosperity, there is nothing great, nothing wonderful in that. What is required is, for a man to give thanks when he is in afflictions, in anguish, in discouragements. Utter no word in preference to this, "Lord, I thank thee." And why do I speak of the afflictions of this world? It is our duty to give God thanks, even for hell [404] itself, for the torments and punishments of the next world. For surely it is a thing beneficial to those who attend to it, when the dread of hell is laid like a bridle on our hearts. Let us therefore give thanks not only for blessings which we see, but also for those which we see not, and for those which we receive against our will. For many are the blessings He bestows upon us, without our desire, without our knowledge. And if ye believe me not, I will at once proceed to make the case clear to you. For consider, I pray, do not the impious and unbelieving Gentiles ascribe everything to the sun and to their idols? But what then? Doth He not bestow blessings even upon them? Is it not the work of His providence, that they both have life, and health, and children, and the like? And again they that are called Marcionites, [405] and the Manichees, do they not even blaspheme Him? But what then? Does He not bestow blessings on them every day? Now if He bestows blessings on them that know them not, much more does he bestow them upon us. For what else is the peculiar work of God if it be not this, to do good to all mankind, alike by chastisements and by enjoyments? Let us not then give thanks only when we are in prosperity, for there is nothing great in this. And this the devil also well knows, and therefore he said, "Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him and about all that he hath on every side? Touch all that he hath; no doubt, he will renounce Thee to Thy face!" (Job i. 10, 11.) However, that cursed one gained no advantage; and God forbid he should gain any advantage of us either; but whenever we are either in penury, or in sicknesses, or in disasters, then let us increase our thanksgiving; thanksgiving, I mean, not in words, nor in tongue, but in deeds and works, in mind and in heart. Let us give thanks unto Him with all our souls. For He loves us more than our parents; and wide as is the difference between evil and goodness, so great is the difference between the love of God and that of our fathers. And these are not my words, but those of Christ Himself Who loveth us. And hear what He Himself saith, "What man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matt. vii. 9, 11.) And again, bear what He saith also elsewhere: "Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee, saith the Lord." (Isa. xlix. 15.) For if He loveth us not, wherefore did He create us? Had He any necessity? Do we supply to Him any ministry and service? Needeth He anything that we can render? Hear what the Prophet says; "I have said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord, I have no good beyond Thee." (Ps. xvi. 2.)

The ungrateful, however, and unfeeling say, that this were worthy of God's goodness, that there should be an equality amongst all. Tell me, ungrateful mortal, what sort of things are they which thou deniest to be of God's goodness, and what equality meanest thou? "Such an one," thou wilt say, "has been a cripple from his childhood; another is mad, and is possessed; another has arrived at extreme old age, and has spent his whole life in poverty; another in the most painful diseases: are these works of Providence? One man is deaf, another dumb, another poor, whilst another, impious, yea, utterly impious, and full of ten thousand vices, enjoys wealth, and keeps concubines, and parasites, and is owner of a splendid mansion, and lives an idle life." [406] And many instances of the sort they string together, and weave a long account of complaint against the providence of God.

What then are we to say to them? Now if they were Greeks, and were to tell us that the universe is governed by some one or other, we should in turn address to them the self-same words, "What then, are things without a providence? How then is it that ye reverence gods, and worship genii and heroes? For if there is a providence, some one or other superintends the whole." But if any, whether Christians or Heathen, should be impatient at this, and be wavering, what shall we say to them? "Why, could so many good things, tell me, arise of themselves? The daily light? The beautiful order and the forethought that exist in all things? The mazy dances of the stars? The equable course of nights and days? The regular gradation of nature in vegetables, and animals, and men? Who, tell me, is it that ordereth these? If there were no superintending Being, but all things combined together of themselves, who then was it that made this vault revolve, so beautiful, so vast, I mean the sky, and set it upon the earth, nay more, upon the waters? Who is it that gives the fruitful seasons? Who implanted so great power in seeds and vegetables? For that which is accidental is necessarily disorderly; whereas that which is orderly implies design. For which, tell me, of the things around us that are accidental, is not full of great disorder, and of great tumult and confusion? Nor do I speak of things accidental only, but of those also which imply some agent, but an unskillful agent. For example, let there be timber and stone, and let there be lime withal; and let a man unskilled in building take them, and begin building, and set hard to work; will he not spoil and destroy everything? Again, take a vessel without a pilot, containing everything which a vessel ought to contain, without a shipwright; I do not say that it is unequipped and unfinished, but though well equipped, it will not be able to sail. And could the vast extent of earth standing on the waters, tell me, ever stand so firmly, and so long a time, without some power to hold it together? [407] And can these views have any reason? Is it not the extreme of absurdity to conceive such a notion? And if the earth supports the heaven, behold another burden still; but if the heaven also is borne upon the waters, there arises again another question. Or rather not another question, for it is the work of providence. For things which are borne upon the water ought not to be made convex, but concave. Wherefore? Because the whole body of anything which is concave is immersed in the waters, as is the case with a ship; whereas of the convex the body is entirely above, and only the rim rests upon the surface; so that it requires a resisting body, hard, and able to sustain it, in order to bear the burden imposed. But does the atmosphere then support the heaven? Why, that is far softer, and more yielding even than water, and cannot sustain anything, no, not the very lightest things, much less so vast a bulk. In fine, if we chose to follow out the argument of providence, both generally and in detail, time itself would fail us. For I will now ask him who would start those questions above mentioned, are these things the result of providence, or of the want of providence? And if he shall say, that they are not from providence, then again I will ask, how then did they arise? But no, he will never be able to give any account at all. And dost thou not know that?

Much more then is it thy duty not to question, not to be over curious, in those things which concern man. And why not? Because man is nobler than all these, and these were made for his sake, not he for their sake. If then thou knowest not so much as the skill and contrivance that are visible in His providence, how shalt thou be able to know the reasons, where he himself is the subject? Tell me, I pray, why did God form him so small, so far below the height of heaven, as that he should even doubt of the things which appear above him? Why are the northern and southern climes uninhabitable? Tell me, I say, why is the night made longer in winter and shorter in summer? Why are the degrees of cold and heat such as they are? Why is the body mortal? And ten thousand questions besides I will ask thee, and if thou wilt, will never cease asking. And in one and all thou wilt surely be at a loss to answer. And thus is this of all things most providential, that the reasons of things are kept secret from us. For surely, one would have imagined man to be the cause of all things, were there not this to humble our understanding.

"But such an one," you will say, "is poor, and poverty is an evil. And what is it to be sick, and what is it to be crippled?" Oh, man, they are nothing. [408] One thing alone is evil, that is to sin; this is the only thing we ought to search to the bottom. And yet we omit to search into the causes of what are really evils, and busy ourselves about other things. Why is it that not one of us ever examines why he has sinned? To sin,--is it then in my power, or is it not in my power? And why need I go round about me for a number of reasons? I will seek for the matter within myself. Now then did I ever master my wrath? Did I ever master my anger, either through shame, or through fear of man? Then whenever I discover this done, I shall discover that to sin is in my own power. No one examines these matters, no one busies himself about them. But only according to Job, "Man in a way altogether different swims upon words." [409] For why does it concern thee, if such an one is blind, or such an one poor? God hath not commanded thee to look to this, but to what thou thyself art doing. For if on the one hand thou doubtest that there is any power superintending the world, thou art of all men the most senseless; but if thou art persuaded of this, why doubt that it is our duty to please God?

"Giving thanks always," he says, "for all things to God."

Go to the physician's, and thou wilt see him, whenever a man is discovered to have a wound, using the knife and the cautery. But no, in thy case, I say not so much as this; but go to the carpenter's. And yet thou dost not examine his reasons, although thou understandest not one of the things which are done there, and many things will appear to thee to be difficulties; as, for instance, when he hollows the wood, when he alters its outward shape. Nay, I would bring thee to a more intelligible craft still, for instance, that of the painter, and there thy head will swim. For tell me, does he not seem to be doing what he does, at random? For what do his lines mean, and the turns and bends of the lines? But when he puts on the colors, then the beauty of the art will become conspicuous. Yet still, not even then wilt thou be able to attain to any accurate understanding of it. But why do I speak of carpenters, and painters, our fellow-servants? Tell me, how does the bee frame her comb, and then shalt thou speak about God also. Master the handiwork of the ant, the spider, and the swallow, and then shalt thou speak about God also. Tell me these things. But no, thou never canst. Wilt thou not cease then, O man, thy vain enquiries? For vain indeed they are. Wilt thou not cease busying thyself in vain about many things? Nothing so wise as this ignorance, where they that profess they know nothing are wisest of all, and they that spend overmuch labor on these questions, the most foolish of all. So that to profess knowledge is not everywhere a sign of wisdom, but sometimes of folly also. For tell me, suppose there were two men, and one of them should profess to stretch out his lines, and to measure the expanse that intervenes between the earth and heaven, and the other were to laugh at him, and declare that he did not understand it, tell me, I pray, which should we laugh at, him that said he knew, or him that knew not? Evidently, the man that said that he knew. He that is ignorant, therefore, is wiser than he that professes to know. [410] And what again? If any one were to profess to tell us how many cups of water the sea contains, and another should profess his ignorance, is not the ignorance here again wiser than the knowledge? [411] Surely, vastly so. And why so? Because that knowledge itself is but intense ignorance. For he indeed who says that he is ignorant, knows something. And what is that? That it is incomprehensible to man. [412] Yes, and this is no small portion of knowledge. Whereas he that says he knows, he of all others knows not what he says he knows, and is for this very reason utterly ridiculous.

Moral. Alas! how many things are there to teach us to bridle this unseasonable impertinence and idle curiosity; and yet we refrain not, but are curious about the lives of others; as, why one is a cripple, and why another is poor. And so by this way of reasoning we shall fall into another sort of trifling which is endless, as, why such an one is a woman? and, why all are not men? why there is such a thing as an ass? why an ox? why a dog? why a wolf? why a stone? why wood? and thus the argument will run out to an interminable length. This in truth is the reason, why God has marked out limits to our knowledge, and has laid them deep in nature. And mark, now, the excess of this busy curiosity. For though we look up to so great a height as from earth to heaven, and are not at all affected by it; yet as soon as ever we go up to the top of a lofty tower, and have a mind to stoop over a little, and look down, a sort of giddiness and dizziness immediately seizes us. Now, tell me the reason of this. No, thou couldest never find out a reason for it. Why is it that the eye possesses greater power than other senses, and is caught by more distant objects? And one might see it by comparison with the case of hearing. For no one will ever be able to shout so loudly, as to fill the air as far as the eye can reach, nor to hear at so great a distance. Why are not all the members of equal honor? Why have not all received one function and one place? Paul also searched into these questions; or rather he did not search into them, for he was wise; but where he comes by chance upon this topic, he says, "Each one of them, hath God set even as it hath pleased Him." (1 Cor. xii. 18.) He assigns the whole to His will. And so then let us only "give thanks for all things." "Wherefore," says he, "give thanks for all things." This is the part of a well-disposed, of a wise, of an intelligent servant; the opposite is that of a tattler, and an idler, and a busy-body. Do we not see amongst servants, that those among them who are worthless and good for nothing, are both tattlers, and triflers and that they pry into the concerns of their masters, which they are desirous to conceal: whereas the intelligent and well-disposed look to one thing only, how they may fulfill their service. He that says much, does nothing: as he that does much, never says a word out of season. Hence Paul said, where he wrote concerning widows, "And they learn not only to be idle, but tattlers also." (1 Tim. v. 13.) Tell me, now, which is the widest difference, between our age and that of children, or between God and men? between ourselves compared with gnats, or God compared with us? Plainly between God and us. Why then dost thou busy thyself to such an extent in all these questions? "Give thanks for all things." "But what," say you, "if a heathen should ask the question? How am I to answer him? He desires to learn from me whether there is a Providence, for he himself denies that there is any being thus exercising foresight." Turn round then, and ask him the same question thyself. He will deny therefore that there is a Providence. Yet that there is a Providence, is plain from what thou hast said; but that it is incomprehensible, is plain from those things whereof we cannot discover the reason. For if in things where men are the disposers, we oftentimes do not understand the method of the disposition, and in truth many of them appear to us inconsistent, and yet at the same time we acquiesce, how much more will this be so in the case of God? However, with God nothing either is inconsistent, or appears so to the faithful. Wherefore let us "give thanks for all things," let us give Him glory for all things.

"Subjecting [413] yourselves one to another," he says, "in the fear of Christ." For if thou submit thyself for a ruler's sake, or for money's sake, or from respectfulness, much more from the fear of Christ. Let there be an interchange of service and submission. For then will there be no such thing as slavish service. Let not one sit down in the rank of a freeman, and the other in the rank of a slave; rather it were better that both masters and slaves be servants to one another;--far better to be a slave in this way than free in any other; as will be evident from hence. Suppose the case of a man who should have an hundred slaves, and he should in no way serve them; and suppose again a different case, of an hundred friends, all waiting upon one another. Which will lead the happier life? Which with the greater pleasure, with the more enjoyment? In the one case there is no anger, no provocation, no wrath, nor anything else of the kind whatever; in the other all is fear and apprehension. In the one case too the whole is forced, in the other is of free choice. In the one case they serve one another because they are forced to do so, in the other with mutual gratification. Thus does God will it to be; for this He washed His disciples' feet. Nay more, if thou hast a mind to examine the matter nicely, there is indeed on the part of masters a return of service. For what if pride suffer not that return of service to appear? Yet if the slave on the one hand render his bodily service, and thou maintain that body, and supply it with food and clothing and shoes, this is an exchange of service: because unless thou render thy service as well, neither will he render his, but will be free, and no law will compel him to do it if he is not supported. If this then is the case with servants, where is the absurdity, if it should also become the case with free men. "Subjecting yourselves in the fear," saith he, "of Christ." [414] How great then the obligation, when we shall also have a reward. But he does not choose to submit himself to thee? However do thou submit thyself; not simply yield, but submit thyself. Entertain this feeling towards all, as if all were thy masters. For thus shalt thou soon have all as thy slaves, enslaved to thee with the most abject slavery. For thou wilt then more surely make them thine, when without receiving anything of theirs, thou of thyself renderest them of thine own. This is "subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ," in order that we may subdue all the passions, be servants of God, and preserve the love we owe to one another. And then shall we be able also to be counted worthy of the lovingkindness which cometh of God, through the grace and mercies of His only-begotten Son, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[392] [The oun rather resumes the general directions as to how they are to walk (comp. v. 9.) after the digression in ver. 11-14.--G.A.] [393] [The text of Field omits the clause, "they ended this admonition," leaving the sense obscure and difficult. This clause is attested by five codices, and we have inserted it with Savile.--G.A.] [394] [And with four of these codices we prefer the reading eusthenesterous, "stronger," to Field's reading asthenesterous (which is "weaker").--G.A.] [395] kerugma. [396] ["This is epexegetical of the preceding words, viewed negatively and positively: `presenting yourselves in your walk, not as unwise, but as wise.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [397] [Or rather, "buying up for yourselves the opportunity": a participial clause, which gives a modal definition to the preceding hossophoi, "as wise." "In this figurative conception the doing of that for which the point of time is fitted is thought of as the `purchase-price by which the kairos becomes ours.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [398] [Compare on Gal. i. 4. "This clause, `because the days are evil,' supplies a motive for buying up the opportunity, namely, because moral corruption is now in vogue."--Meyer.--G.A.] [399] ["This `wherefore' refers to verses 15, 16. For this cause, i.e., because ye ought to walk with such exactness, become not such as do not use the mind aright."--Ellicott.--G.A.] [400] 1 Tim. v. 23. Cf. Vol. IX., 335. [401] [sozei: suggested by the word asotia ("riot") which immediately precedes, and which is derived from sozo. Compare asotia in Thayer's N.T. Lexicon.--G.A.] [402] ["The imperative passive finds its explanation in the possibility of resistance to the Holy Spirit. The contrast does not lie in oinos (wine) and pneuma (spirit), otherwise these words would have stood at the beginning of their clauses, but in the two states,--that of intoxication and that of inspiration."--Meyer.--G.A.] [403] ["This `giving thanks always,' etc., is a third modal definition of the `Be filled with the spirit,' likewise coŲrdinate with the two preceding ones, bringing into prominence,--after the general `singing of praise' of ver. 19, which is to take place audibly, as well as in the heart,--further and in particular, the `thanksgiving' which the readers have always for all things to render to God."--Meyer.--G.A.] [404] [Meyer says the context limits panton to "blessings."--G.A.] [405] [On these heretics and their doctrines, see Vol. IX. (this series) p. 65 (notes 3 and 5), and p. 205, second column.--G.A.] [406] [This difficulty is as old as David. Chrysostom does not here suggest David's solution of the problem,--the spiritual compensations here and hereafter. And Paul could say even to a slave in his day, "Wast thou called being a slave? Care not for it. Nay, if thou art even able to be free, make use of thy having been called as a slave, rather than accept thy freedom." (1 Cor. vii. 21.) And even Epictetus said something similar. A little below, Chrysostom touches this higher Theodicy: "One thing alone is evil; that is, to sin."--G.A.] [407] [On Chrysostom's geography and astronomy, see Homily IX., Concerning the Statues, Vol. IX. of this series, pp. 403, 404, with notes by Rev. W. R. W. Stevens, M.A. Compare Ps. xxiv. 2.--G.A.] [408] [Compare what is said by Epictetus concerning his own lameness: "Shall I then, because of one miserable little leg, find fault with the universe? Shall I not concede that accident to the existence of general laws, and cheerfully assent to it for the sake of him who gave it?" And again, concerning his slavery: "He is a slave whose body is free, but whose soul is bound; and on the contrary, he is free whose body is bound, but whose soul is free."--G.A.] [409] [Job xi. 12, the Sept.: anthropos de allos nechetai logois; but the Rev. Ver., after the Hebrew, has: "Vain man is void of understanding."--G.A.] [410] [A striking oxymoron. Compare the Greek, hoagnoon tou huposchomenou eidenai sophoteros.--G.A.] [411] [Compare the Greek again: ou palin he agnoia tes eideseos esti sophotera;--G.A.] [412] [Compare, Unum scio, quod nihil scio.--G.A.] [413] ["The words `subjecting yourselves one to another' still belong to ver. 20 as a fourth modal definition of `Be filled with the Spirit,' and are parallel to `giving thanks for all things to God,' thus adding to this relation toward God the `mutual' relation towards `one another.'"--Meyer.--G.A.] [414] [Not the fear of "God," as Chrysostom, the textus receptus and the Authorized Eng. Version have, but the fear of "Christ" (as Rev. Ver., Westcott and Hort, and all trustworthy authorities). That is, Christ is to be "feared" as the "Judge" (Meyer). Cornelius a Lapide (in Ellicott) says: "Because we reverence Christ and `fear' to offend him": quia scilicet Christum reveremur eumque timemus offendere.--G.A.]


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