Writings of John Chrysostom. On the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians.

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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 Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians

The Oxford Translation, revised with additional notes by Rev. John A. Broadus, D.D.,
President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.

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


Homily VIII.

Colossians iii. 5-7

"Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things' sake, cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience; in the which ye also walked aforetime, when ye lived in these things."

I know that many are offended by the foregoing discourse, but what can I do? ye heard what the Master enjoined. Am I to blame? what shall I do? See ye not the creditors, when debtors are obstinate, how they wear [832] collars? Heard ye what Paul proclaimed today? "Mortify," he saith, "your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." What is worse than such a covetousness? This is worse than any desire. This is still more grievous than what I was speaking of, the madness, and the silly weakness about silver. "And covetousness," he saith, "which is idolatry." See in what the evil ends. Do not, I pray, take what I said amiss, for not by my own good-will, nor without reason, would I have enemies; but I was wishful ye should attain to such virtue, as that I might hear of you the things I ought. [833] So that I said it not for authority's sake, nor of imperiousness, [834] but out of pain and of sorrow. Forgive me, forgive! I have no wish to violate decency by discoursing upon such subjects, but I am compelled to it.

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Not for the sake of the sorrows of the poor do I say these things, but for your salvation; for they will perish, will perish, that have not fed Christ. For what, if thou dost feed some poor man? still so long as thou livest so voluptuously and luxuriously, all is to no purpose. For what is required is, not the giving much, but not too little for the property thou hast; for this is but playing at it.

"Mortify therefore your members," he saith, "which are upon the earth." What sayest thou? Was it not thou that saidst, "Ye are buried; ye are buried together with Him; ye are circumcised: we have put off the body of the sins of the flesh" (c. ii. 11, 12; Rom. vi. 4.); how then again sayest thou, "Mortify"? [835] Art thou sporting? Dost thou thus discourse, as though those things were in us? There is no contradiction; but like as if one, who has clean scoured a statue that was filthy, or rather who has recast it, and displayed it bright afresh, [836] should say that the rust was eaten off and destroyed, and yet should again recommend diligence in clearing away the rust, he doth not contradict himself, for it is not that rust which he scoured off that he recommends should be cleared away, but that which grew afterwards; so it is not that former putting to death he speaks of, nor those fornications, but those which do afterwards grow.

He said that this is not our life, but another, that which is in heaven. Tell me now. When he said, Mortify your members that are upon the earth, is then the earth also accused? or does he speak of the things upon the earth as themselves sins? [837]

"Fornication, uncleanness," he saith. He has passed over the actions which it is not becoming even to mention, and by "uncleanness" has expressed all together.

"Passion," he said, "evil desire."

Lo! he has expressed the whole in the class. For envy, anger, sorrow, all are "evil desire."

"And covetousness," he saith, "which is idolatry. For which things' sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience."

By many things he had been withdrawing them; by the benefits which are already given, by the evils to come from which we had been delivered, being who, and wherefore; and all those considerations, as, for instance, who we were, and in what circumstances, and that we were delivered therefrom, how, and in what manner, and on what terms. These were enough to turn one away, but this one is of greater force than all; unpleasant indeed to speak of, not however to disservice, but even serviceable. "For which things' sake cometh," he saith, "the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience." He said not, "upon you," but, "upon the sons of disobedience."

"In the which ye also walked aforetime, when ye lived in them." In order to shame them, he saith, "when ye lived in them," and implying praise, as now no more so living: at that time they might.

Ver. 8. "But now put ye also away all these."

He speaks always both universally and particularly; but this is from earnestness.

Ver. 8, 9. "Anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth. Lie not one to another."

"Shameful speaking," he saith, "out of your mouth," clearly intimating that it pollutes it.

Ver. 9, 10. "Seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him."

It is worth enquiring here, what can be the reason why he calls the corrupt life, "members," and "man," and "body," and again the virtuous life, the same. And if "the man" means "sins," how is it that he saith, "with his doings"? For once he said, "the old man," showing that this is not man, but the other. The moral choice doth rather determine one than the substance, and is rather "man" than the other. For his substance casteth him not into hell, nor leadeth him into the kingdom, but men themselves: and we neither love nor hate any one so far as he is man, but so far as he is such or such a man. If then the substance be the body, and in either sort cannot be accountable, how doth he say that it is evil? [838] But what is that he saith, "with his doings"? He means the choice, with the acts. And he calleth him "old," on purpose to show his deformity, and hideousness, and imbecility; and "new," as if to say, Do not expect that it will be with this one even as with the other, but the reverse: for ever as he farther advances, he hasteneth not on to old age, but to a youthfulness greater than the preceding. For when he hath received a fuller knowledge, he is both counted worthy of greater things, and is in more perfect maturity, in higher vigor; and this, not from youthfulness alone, but from that "likeness" also, "after" which he is. Lo! the best life is styled a creation, after the image of Christ: for this is the meaning of, "after the image of Him that created him," for Christ too came not finally to [839] old age, but was so beautiful as it is not even possible to tell.

Ver. 11. "Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman: but Christ is all, and in all."

Lo! here is a third encomium of this "man." With him, there is no difference admitted either of nation, or of rank, or of ancestry, seeing he hath nothing of externals, nor needeth them; for all external things are such as these, "circumcision, and uncircumcision, bondman, freeman, Greek," that is, proselyte, "and Jew," from his ancestors. If thou have only this "man," thou wilt obtain the same things with the others that have him.

"But Christ," he saith, "is all, and in all": Christ will be all things to you, both rank, and descent, "and" Himself "in you all." Or he says another thing, to wit, that ye all are become one Christ, being His body.

Ver. 12. "Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved."

He shows the easiness of virtue, so that they might both possess it continually, and use it as the greatest ornament. The exhortation is accompanied also with praise, for then its force is greatest. For they had been before [840] holy, but not elect; but now both "elect, and holy, and beloved."

"A heart of compassion." He said not "mercy," but with greater emphasis used the two words. And he said not, that it should be as towards brethren, but, as fathers towards children. For tell me not that he sinned, therefore he said "a heart." And he said not "compassion," lest he should place them [841] in light estimation, but "a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."

Again, he speaks after the class, [842] and he always does it; for from kindness comes humbleness of mind, and from this, longsuffering. "Forbearing," he saith, "one another," that is, passing things over. [843] And see, how he has shown it to be nothing, by calling it a "complaint," and saying, "even as Christ forgave you." Great is the example! and thus he always does; he exhorts them after Christ. "Complaint," he calls it. In these words indeed he showed it to be a petty matter; but when he has set before us the example, he has persuaded us that even if we had serious charges to bring, we ought to forgive. For the expression, "Even as Christ," signifies this, and not this only, but also with all the heart; and not this alone, but that they ought even to love. For Christ being brought into the midst, bringeth in all these things, both that even if the matters be great, and even if we have not been the first to injure, even if we be of great, they of small account, even if they are sure to insult us afterwards, we ought to lay down our lives for them, (for the words, "even as," demand this;) and that not even at death only ought one to stop, but if possible, to go on even after death.

Ver. 14. "And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness."

Dost thou see that he saith this? For since it is possible for one who forgives, not to love; yea, he saith, thou must love him too, and he points out a way whereby it becomes possible to forgive. For it is possible for one to be kind, and meek, and humbleminded, and longsuffering, and yet not affectionate. And therefore, he said at the first, "A heart of compassion," both love and pity. "And above all these things, love, which is the bond of perfectness." Now what he wishes to say is this; that there is no profit in those things, for all those things fall asunder, except they be done with love; this it is which clenches them all together; whatsoever good thing it be thou mentionest, if love be away, it is nothing, it melts away. And it is as in a ship, even though her rigging be large, yet if there be no girding ropes, it is of no service; and in an house, if there be no tie beams, it is the same; and in a body, though the bones be large, if there be no ligaments, they are of no service. For whatsoever good deeds any may have, all do vanish away, if love be not there. He said not that it is the summit, but what is greater, "the bond"; this is more necessary than the other. For "summit" indeed is an intensity of perfectness, but "bond" is the holding fast together of those things which produce the perfectness; it is, as it were, the root.

Ver. 15. "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful."

"The peace of God." This is that which is fixed and steadfast. If on man's account indeed thou hast peace, it quickly comes to dissolution, but if on God's account, never. Although he had spoken of love universally, yet again he comes to the particular. For there is a love too which is immoderate; for instance, when out of much love one makes accusations without reason, and is engaged in contentions, and contracts aversions. Not this, saith he, not this do I desire; not overdoing things, [844] but as God made peace with you, so do ye also make it. How made He peace? Of His own will, not having received anything of you. What is this? "Let the peace of God rule [845] in your hearts." If two thoughts are fighting together, set not anger, set not spitefulness to hold the prize, but peace; for instance, suppose one to have been insulted unjustly; of the insult are born two thoughts, the one bidding him to revenge, the other to endure; and these wrestle with one another: if the Peace of God stand forward as umpire, it bestows the prize on that which bids endure, and puts the other to shame. How? by persuading him that God is Peace, that He hath made peace with us. Not without reason he shows the great struggle there is in the matter. Let not anger, he saith, act as umpire, let not contentiousness, let not human peace, for human peace cometh of avenging, of suffering no dreadful ill. But not this do I intend, he saith, but that which He Himself left.

He hath represented an arena within, in the thoughts, and a contest, and a wrestling, and an umpire. Then again, exhortation, "to the which ye were called," he saith, that is, for the which ye were called. He has reminded them of how many good things peace is the cause; on account of this He called thee, for this He called thee, so as to receive a worthy [846] prize. For wherefore made He us "one body"? Was it not that she might rule? Was it not that we might have occasion of being at peace? Wherefore are we all one body? and now are we one body? Because of peace we are one body, and because we are one body, we are at peace. But why said he not, "Let the peace of God be victorious," but "be umpire"? He made her the more honorable. He would not have the evil thought to come to wrestle with her, but to stand below. And the very name "prize" cheered the hearer. For if she have given the prize to the good thought, however impudently the other behave, it is thereafter of no use. And besides, the other being aware that, perform what feats he might, he should not receive the prize; however he might puff, and attempt still more vehement onsets, would desist as laboring without profit. And he well added, "And be ye thankful." For this is to be thankful, and very effectively, [847] to deal with his fellow-servants as God doth with himself, to submit himself to the Master, to obey; to express his gratitude for all things, [848] even though one insult him, or beat him.

For in truth he that confesses thanks due to God for what he suffers, will not revenge himself on him that has done him wrong, since he at least that takes revenge, acknowledges no gratitude. But let not us follow him (that exacted) [849] the hundred pence, lest we hear, "Thou wicked servant," for nothing is worse than this ingratitude. So that they who revenge are ungrateful.

But why did he begin his list with fornication? For having said, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth" (c. iii. 5.), he immediately says, "fornication"; and so he does almost everywhere. Because this passion hath the greatest sway. For even when writing his Epistle to the Thessalonians he did the same. (1 Thess. iv. 3.) And what wonder? since to Timothy even he saith, "Keep thyself pure" (1 Tim. v. 22.); and again elsewhere, "Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification," without which "no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 14.) "Put to death," he says, "your members." Ye know of what sort that is which is dead, namely, hated, loathed, dropping to decay. If thou put anything to death, it doth not when dead continue dead, but presently is corrupted, like the body. Extinguish then the heat; and nothing that is dead will continue. He shows one having the same thing in hand, which Christ wrought in the Laver; therefore also he calleth them "members," as though introducing some champion, thus advancing his discourse to greater emphasis. And he well said, "Which are upon the earth," for here they continue, and here they are corrupted, far rather than these our members. So that not so truly is the body of the earth, as sin is earthly, for the former indeed appears even beautiful at times, but those members never. And those members lust after all things that are upon the earth. If the eye be such, it seeth not the things in the heavens; if the ear, if the hand, if thou mention any other member whatsoever. The eye seeth bodies, and beauties, and riches; these are the things of earth, with these it is delighted: the ear with soft strains, and harp, and pipe, and filthy talking; these are things which are concerned with earth.

When therefore he has placed his hearers above, near the throne, he then says, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth." For it is not possible to stand above with these members; for there is nothing there for them to work upon. And this clay is worse than that, for that clay indeed becometh gold, "for this corruptible," he saith, "must put on incorruption" (1 Cor. xv. 53.), but this clay can never be retempered more. So that these members are rather "upon the earth" than those. Therefore he said not, "of the earth," but, "which are upon the earth," for it is possible that these should not be upon the earth. For it is necessary that these [850] should be "upon the earth," but that those [851] should, is not necessary. For when the ear hears nothing of what is here uttered, but only in the heavens, when the eye sees nothing of what is here, but only what is above, it is not "upon the earth"; when the mouth speaketh nothing of the things here, it is not "upon the earth"; when the hand doeth no evil thing--these are not of things "upon the earth," but of those in the heavens.

So Christ also saith, "If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble," that is, if thou lookest unchastely, "cut it out" (Matt. v. 29.), that is, thine evil thought. And he (Paul) seems to me to speak of "fornication, uncleanness, passion, desire" as the same, namely fornication: by means of all these expressions drawing us away from that thing. For in truth this is "a passion"; and like as the body is subject to any affection, either to fever or to wounds, so also is it with this. And he said not Restrain, but "Mortify" (put to death), so that they never rise up more, and "put them away." That which is dead, we put away; for instance, if there be callosities in the body, their body is dead, and we put it away. Now, if thou cut into that which is quick, it produces pain, but if into that which is dead, we are not even sensible of it. So, in truth, is it with the passions; they make the soul unclean; they make the soul, which is immortal, passible.

How covetousness is said to be idolatry, we have oftentimes explained. For the things which do most of all lord it over the human race, are these, covetousness, and unchasteness, and evil desire. "For which things' sake cometh," he saith, "the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience." Sons of disobedience, he calls them, to deprive them of excuse, and to show that it was because they would not be obedient, that they were in that condition. "In the which ye also," he saith, "walked aforetime," and (afterward) became obedient. He points them out as still in them, and praises them, saying, "But now do ye also put away all these, anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking." But against others he advanceth his discourse. Under the head of "passion and railing" he means revilings, just as under "wrath" he means wickedness. [852] And in another place, to shame them, he says, "for we are members one of another." (Eph. iv. 25.) He makes them out to be as it were manufacturers of men; casting away this one, and receiving that. He spoke of a man's "members" (v. 5.); here he saith, "all." He spoke of his heart, wrath, mouth, blasphemy, eyes, fornication, covetousness, hands and feet, lying, the understanding itself, and the old mind. One royal form it hath, that, namely, of Christ. They whom he has in view, appear to me rather to be of the Gentiles. For like as earth, being but sand, even though one part be greater, another less, losing its own previous form, doth afterwards become gold; and like as wool, of whatever kind it be, receiveth another aspect, and hides its former one: so truly is it also with the faithful. "Forbearing," he saith, "one another"; he showeth what is just. Thou forbearest him, and he thee; and so he says in the Epistle to the Galatians, "Bear ye one another's burdens." (Gal. vi. 2.) "And be ye thankful," he saith. For this is what he everywhere especially seeks; the chiefest of good things.

Give we thanks then in all things; whatever may have happened; for this is thankfulness. For to do so in prosperity indeed, is no great thing, for the nature of the circumstances of itself impels one thereto; but when being in extremities we give thanks, then it is admirable. For when, in circumstances under which others blaspheme, and exclaim discontentedly, we give thanks, see how great philosophy is here. First, thou hast rejoiced God; next, thou hast shamed the devil; thirdly, thou hast even made that which hath happened to be nothing; for all at once, thou both givest thanks, and God cuts short the pain, and the devil departs. For if thou have exclaimed discontentedly, he, as having succeeded to his wish, standeth close by thee, and God, as being blasphemed, leaveth thee, and thy calamity is heightened; but if thou have given thanks, he, as gaining nought, departs; and God, as being honored, requites thee with greater honor. And it is not possible, that a man, who giveth thanks for his evils should be sensible of them. For his soul rejoiceth, as doing what is right; forthwith his conscience is bright, it exults in its own commendation; and that soul which is bright, cannot possibly be sad of countenance. But in the other case, along with the misfortune, conscience also assails him with her lash; whilst in this she crowns, and proclaims him.

Nothing is holier than that tongue, which in evils giveth thanks to God; truly in no respect doth it fall short of that of martyrs; both are alike crowned, both this, and they. For over this one also stands the executioner to force it to deny God, by blasphemy; the devil stands over it, torturing it with executioner thoughts, darkening it with despondencies. If then one bear his griefs, and give thanks, he hath gained a crown of martyrdom. For instance, is her little child sick, and doth she give God thanks? this is a crown to her. What torture so bad that despondency is not worse? still it doth not force her to vent forth a bitter word. It dies: again she hath given thanks. She hath become the daughter of Abraham. For if she sacrificed not with her own hand, yet was she pleased with the sacrifice, which is the same; she felt no indignation when the gift was taken away.

Again, is her child sick? She hath made no amulets. [853] It is counted to her as martyrdom, for she sacrificed her son in her resolve. For what, even though those things are unavailing, and a mere cheat and mockery, still there were nevertheless those who persuaded her that they do avail: and she chose rather to see her child dead, than to put up with idolatry. As then she is a martyr, whether it be in her own case, or in her son's, that she hath thus acted; or in her husband's, or in any other's of her dearest; so is that other one an idolatress. For it is evident that she would have done sacrifice, had it been allowed her to do sacrifice; yea, rather, she hath even now performed the act of sacrifice. For these amulets, though they who make money by them are forever rationalizing about them, and saying, "we call upon God, and do nothing extraordinary," and the like; and "the old woman is a Christian," says he, "and one of the faithful"; the thing is idolatry. Art thou one of the faithful? sign the Cross; say, this I have for my only weapon; this for my remedy; and other I know none. Tell me, if a physician should come to one, and, neglecting the remedies belonging to his art, should use incantation, should we call that man a physician? By no means: for we see not the medicines of the healing art; so neither, in this case, do we see those of Christianity.

Other women again tie about them [854] the names of rivers, and venture numberless things of like nature. Lo, I say, and forewarn you all, that if any be detected, I will not spare them again, whether they have made amulet, or incantation, or any other thing of such an art as this. What then, saith one, is the child to die? If he have lived through this means, he did then die, but if he have died without this, he then lived. But now, if thou seest him attaching himself to harlots, thou wishest him buried, and sayest, "why, what good is it for him to live?" but when thou seest him in peril of his salvation, dost thou wish to see him live? Heardest thou not Christ saying, "He that loseth his life, shall find it; and he that findeth it, shall lose it"? (Matt. xvi. 25.) Believest thou these sayings, or do they seem to thee fables? Tell me now, should one say, "Take him away to an idol temple, and he will live"; wouldest thou endure it? No! she replies. Why? "Because," she saith, "he urges me to commit idolatry; but here, there is no idolatry, but simple incantation:" this is the device of Satan, this is that wiliness of the devil to cloak over the deceit, and to give the deleterious drug in honey. After he found that he could not prevail with thee in the other way, [855] he hath gone this way about, to stitched charms, and old wives' fables; and the Cross indeed is dishonored, and these charms preferred before it. Christ is cast out, and a drunken and silly old woman is brought in. That mystery of ours is trodden under foot, and the imposture of the devil dances.

Wherefore then, saith one, doth not God reprove the aid from such sources? He hath many times reproved, and yet hath not persuaded thee; He now leaveth thee to thine error, for It saith, "God gave them up unto a reprobate mind." (Rom. i. 28.) These things, moreover, not even a Greek who hath understanding could endure. A certain demagogue in Athens is reported once to have hung these things about him: when a philosopher who was his instructor, on beholding them, rebuked him, expostulated, satirized, made sport of him. For in so wretched a plight are we, as even to believe in these things!

Why, saith one, are there not now those who raise the dead, and perform cures? Yes, then, why, I say: why are there not now those who have a contempt for this present life? Do we serve God for hire? When man's nature was weaker, when the Faith had to be planted, there were even many such; but now he would not have us to hang upon these signs, but to be ready for death. Why then clingest thou to the present life? why lookest thou not on the future? and for the sake of this indeed canst bear even to commit idolatry, but for the other not so much as to restrain sadness? For this cause it is that there are none such now; because that (future) life hath seemed to us honorless, seeing that for its sake we do nothing, whilst for this there is nothing we refuse to undergo. And why too that other farce, ashes, and soot, and salt? and the old woman again brought in? A farce truly, and a shame! And then, "an eye," say they, "hath caught the child."

Where will these satanical doings end? How will not the Greeks laugh? how will they not gibe when we say unto them, "Great is the virtue of the Cross"; how will they be won, when they see us having recourse to those things, which themselves laugh to scorn? Was it for this that God gave physicians and medicines? What then? Suppose they do not cure him, but the child depart? Whither will he depart? tell me, miserable and wretched one! Will he depart to the demons? Will he depart to some tyrant? Will he not depart to heaven? Will he not depart to his own Lord? Why then grievest thou? why weepest thou? why mournest thou? why lovest thou thine infant more than thy Lord? Is it not through Him that thou hast this also? Why art thou ungrateful? Dost thou love the gift more than the Giver? "But I am weak," she replies, "and cannot bear the fear of God." Well, if in bodily evils the greater covers the less, much rather in the soul, fear destroyed fear, and sorrow, sorrow. Was the child beautiful? But be it what it may, not more beauteous is he than Isaac: and he too was an only one. Was it born in thine old age? So too was he. But is it fair? Well: however fair it may be, it is not lovelier than Moses (Acts vii. 20.), who drew even barbarian eyes unto a tender love of him, and this too at a time of life when beauty is not yet disclosed; and yet this beloved thing did the parents cast into the river. Thou indeed both seest it laid out, and deliverest it to the burying, and goest to its monument; but they did not so much as know whether it would be food for fishes, or for dogs, or for other beasts that prey in the sea; and this they did, knowing as yet nothing of the Kingdom, nor of the Resurrection.

But suppose it is not an only child; but that after thou hast lost many, this also hath departed. But not so sudden is thy calamity as was Job's, and (his was) of sadder aspect? [856] It is not when a roof has fallen in, it is not as they are feasting the while, it is not following on the tidings of other calamities.

But was it beloved by thee? But not more so than Joseph, the devoured of wild beasts; but still the father bore the calamity, and that which followed it, and the next to that. He wept; but acted not with impiety; he mourned, but he uttered not discontent, but stayed at those words, saying, "Joseph is not, Simeon is not, and will ye take Benjamin away? all these things are against me." [857] (Gen. xlii. 36.) Seest thou how the constraint of famine prevailed with him to be regardless of his children? and doth not the fear of God prevail with thee as much as famine?

Weep: I do not forbid thee: but aught blasphemous neither say nor do. Be thy child what he may, he is not like Abel; and yet nought of this kind did Adam say; although that calamity was a sore one, that his brother should have killed him. But I am reminded of others also that have killed their brothers; when, for instance, Absalom killed Amnon the eldest born (2 Sam. 13.), and King David loved his child, [858] and sat indeed in sackcloth and ashes, but he neither brought soothsayers, nor enchanters, (although there were such then, as Saul shows,) but he made supplication to God. So do thou likewise: as that just man did, so do thou also; the same words say thou, when thy child is dead, "I shall go to him, but he will not come to me." (2 Sam. xii. 23.) This is true wisdom, this is affection. However much thou mayst love thy child, thou wilt not love so much as he did then. For even though his child were born of adultery, yet that blessed man's love of the mother was at its height, [859] and ye know that the offspring shares the love of the parents. And so great was his love toward it, that he even wished it to live, though it would be his own accuser, but still he gave thanks to God. What, thinkest thou, did Rebecca suffer, when his brother threatened Jacob, and she grieved not her husband, but bade him send her son away? (Gen. xxvii. 46; xxviii. 1.) When thou hast suffered any calamity, think on what is worse than it; and thou wilt have a sufficient consolation; and consider with thyself, what if he had died in battle? what if in fire? And whatsoever our sufferings may be, let us think upon things yet more fearful, and we shall have comfort sufficient, and let us ever look around us on those who have undergone more terrible things, and if we ourselves have ever suffered heavier calamities. So doth Paul also exhort us; as when he saith, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Heb. xii. 4.): and again, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear." (1 Cor. x. 13.) Be then our sufferings what they may, let us look round on what is worse; (for we shall find such,) and thus shall we be thankful. And above all, let us give thanks for all things continually; for so, both these things will be eased, and we shall live to the glory of God, and obtain the promised good things, whereunto may all we attain, through the grace and love toward man, &c.

Footnotes

[832] [This very natural inadvertence in free speaking is duly changed, by the group of mss. which make so many changes, into "how they put collars on them." These wooden collars were a disgrace, like the stocks.--J.A.B.] [833] Or perhaps, "I could wish...that I might hear from you what is right." Gr. par' humon. [834] axiomatos, wish to maintain dignity. [835] i.e. put to death. [836] [The word is anothen, as in John iii. 3, 7, and here necessarily means anew or afresh,--a sense so rare as to justify calling attention to it.--J.A.B.] [837] [This is a passing allusion to the Manichæans, who held that matter is necessarily the seat of evil, and might try to interpret the apostle as here accusing the earth of being evil. The passage has been expanded in the often above mentioned group of documents, and so in the editions before Field, so as to be fuller and more perspicuous, thus: "But lo! say the heretics, Paul accuseth the creation; for he said before, `Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth;' again he saith, `Mortify your members which are upon the earth.' But the words ` upon earth' are here expressive of sin, not an accusing of creation. For it is thus he calls sins themselves, things upon earth, either from their being wrought by earthly thoughts and upon earth, or from their showing sinners to be earthly."--J.A.B.] [838] As the Manichees interpreted his words. [839] ou pros geras eteleutesen, Lat. "Nec senex mortuus est" (died not old). But the other sense seems more suitable. In either sense it is opposed to the view ascribed to Byzantine artists. See Rio's Poésie Chrétienne. [840] egenonto, i.e. he had before called them holy, c. l. v. 2. [841] ekeinous, "the objects." [842] kat' eidos, from genus to species, as remarked above, on v. 7. [843] parapempomenoi, al. paradechomenoi "receiving one another." [844] [Literally, "not superperfectly," a singular expression, omitted in all editions before Field, but found in all the mss. he cites.--J.A.B.] [845] [Literally, act as umpire, or as judge in the games.--J.A.B.] [846] axiopiston. Usually "worthy of credit," but sometimes rather in a secondary sense, "worthy of honor." [847] This must mean "in a way that has power of prevailing with God," so to speak, "putting Him to shame, if he do not grant the favor." Comp. Hebrew vi. 10. [848] [Compare Chrys.'s famous motto, "Glory to God for all things".--J.A.B.] [849] Sav. [and one ms.] has opheilonta, "that owed," which makes no sense; mss. Par. only ton ta hekaton; Downes conj. apaitounta ta. [850] The sinful passions. [851] The bodily organs. [852] He means that the word used expresses a natural emotion or act, but the abuse of this is intended; and so it may be necessary to speak evil of one. [853] periapta. See on Stat. Hom. xix. p. 470 and note 4. Perhaps it should be epedese, "she hath tied on." [854] i.e. their children, periaptousi. In what he says presently after, he must be referring to the temporal ill effects of immorality. [855] i.e. of direct idolatry. [856] [This abrupt sentence was expanded as usual, in what came to be the common printed text.--J.A.B.] [857] Or (Gr.), "are come upon me." [858] He passes on to the child of Bathsheba. [859] ekmazen. 2 Sam. xii. 24 gives the impression that David laid the crime to his own charge, and regarded her as wronged.


Homily IX.

Colossians iii. 16, 17

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God. [860] And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Having exhorted them to be thankful, he shows also the way, that, of which I have lately discoursed to you. And what saith he? "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly"; or rather not this way alone, but another also. For I indeed said that we ought to reckon up those who have suffered things more terrible, and those who have undergone sufferings more grievous than ours, and to give thanks that such have not fallen to our lot; but what saith he? "Let the word of Christ dwell in you"; that is, the teaching, the doctrines, the exhortation, wherein He says, that the present life is nothing, nor yet its good things. If we know this, we shall yield to no hardships whatever. (Matt. vi. 25, &c) "Let it dwell in you," he saith, "richly," not simply dwell, but with great abundance. Hearken ye, as many as are worldly, [861] and have the charge of wife and children; how to you too he commits especially the reading of the Scriptures and that not to be done lightly, nor in any sort of way, but with much earnestness. For as the rich in money can bear fine and damages, so he that is rich in the doctrines of philosophy will bear not poverty only, but all calamities also easily, yea, more easily than that one. For as for him, by discharging the fine, the man who is rich must needs be impoverished, and found wanting, [862] and if he should often suffer in that way, will no longer be able to bear it, but in this case it is not so; for we do not even expend our wholesome thoughts when it is necessary for us to bear aught we would not choose, but they abide with us continually. And mark the wisdom of this blessed man. He said not, "Let the word of Christ" be in you, simply, but what? "dwell in you," and "richly."

"In all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another." "In all," says he. Virtue he calls wisdom, and lowliness of mind is wisdom, and almsgiving, and other such like things, are wisdom; just as the contraries are folly, for cruelty too cometh of folly. Whence in many places it calleth the whole of sin folly. "The fool," saith one, "hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Ps. xiv. 1.); and again, "My wounds stink and are corrupt from the face of my foolishness." (Ps. xxxviii. 5, Sept.) For what is more foolish, tell me, than one who indeed wrappeth himself about in his own garments, but regardeth not his brethren that are naked; who feedeth dogs, and careth not that the image of God is famishing; who is merely persuaded that human things are nought, and yet clings to them as if immortal. As then nothing is more foolish than such an one, so is nothing wiser than one that achieveth virtue. For mark; how wise he is, says one. He imparteth of his substance, he is pitiful, he is loving to men, he hath well considered that he beareth a common nature with them; he hath well considered the use of wealth, that it is worthy of no estimation; that one ought to be sparing of bodies that are of kin to one, rather than of wealth. He that is a despiser of glory is wholly wise, for he knoweth human affairs; the knowledge of things divine and human, is philosophy. So then he knoweth what things are divine, and what are human, and from the one he keeps himself, on the other he bestoweth his pains. And he knows how to give thanks also to God in all things, he considers the present life as nothing; therefore he is neither delighted with prosperity, nor grieved with the opposite condition.

Tarry not, I entreat, for another to teach thee; thou hast the oracles of God. No man teacheth thee as they; for he indeed oft grudgeth much for vainglory's sake and envy. Hearken, I entreat you, all ye that are careful for this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. If ye will not any other, yet get you at least the New Testament, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If grief befall thee, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take thence comfort of thy trouble, be it loss, or death, or bereavement of relations; or rather dive not into them merely, but take them wholly to thee; keep them in thy mind.

This is the cause of all evils, the not knowing the Scriptures. We go into battle without arms, and how ought we to come off safe? Well contented should we be if we can be safe with them, let alone without them. Throw not the whole upon us! Sheep ye are, still not without reason, but rational; Paul committeth much to you also. They that are under instruction, are not for ever learning; for then they are not taught. If thou art for ever learning, thou wilt never learn. Do not so come as meaning to be always learning; (for so thou wilt never know;) but so as to finish learning, and to teach others. In the arts do not all persons continue for set times, in the sciences, and in a word, in all the arts? Thus we all fix definitely a certain known time; but if ye are ever learning, it is a certain proof that ye have learned nothing.

This reproach God spake against the Jews. "Borne from the belly, and instructed even to old age." (Isa. xlvi. 3, 4, Sept.) If ye had not always been expecting this, all things would not have gone backward in this way. Had it been so, that some had finished learning, and others were about to have finished, our work would have been forward; ye would both have given place to others, and would have helped us as well. Tell me, were some to go to a grammarian and continue always learning their letters, would they not give their teacher much trouble? How long shall I have to discourse to you concerning life? In the Apostles' times it was not thus, but they continually leaped from place to place, appointing those who first learned to be the teachers of any others that were under instruction. Thus they were enabled to circle the world, through not being bound to one place. How much instruction, think ye, do your brethren in the country stand in need of, [they] and their teachers? But ye hold me riveted fast here. For, before the head is set right, it is superfluous to proceed to the rest of the body. Ye throw everything upon us. Ye alone ought to learn from us, and your wives from you, your children from you; but ye leave all to us. Therefore our toil is excessive.

"Teaching," he saith, "and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Mark also the considerateness of Paul. Seeing that reading is toilsome, and its irksomeness great, he led them not to histories, but to psalms, that thou mightest at once delight thy soul with singing, and gently beguile thy labors. "Hymns," he saith, "and spiritual songs." But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knoweth any psalm, but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, and a mockery, and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom; as at once concerning chastity, or rather, before all, of not companying with the wicked, immediately with the very beginning of the book; (for therefore also it was that the prophet began on this wise, "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly"; (Ps. i. 1.), and again, "I have not sat in the council of vanity"; (Ps. xxvi. 4, Sept.), and again, "in his sight a wicked doer is contemned, but he honoreth those that fear the Lord," (Ps. xv. 4, Sept.,) of companying with the good, (and these subjects thou wilt find there in abundance,) of restraining the belly, of restraining the hand, of refraining from excess, of not overreaching; that money is nothing, nor glory, and other things such like.

When in these thou hast led him on from childhood, by little and little thou wilt lead him forward even to the higher things. The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. [863] When he has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then know hymns also, as a diviner thing. For the Powers above chant hymns, not psalms. For "a hymn," saith one, "is not comely in the mouth of a sinner" (Ecclus. xv. 9.); and again, "Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they sit together with me" (Ps. ci. 6, 7, Sept.); and again, "he that worketh haughtiness hath not dwelt in the midst of my house"; and again, "He that walketh in a blameless way, he ministered unto me." (Ps. ci. 6, Sept.)

So that ye should safely guard them from intermixing themselves, not only with friends, but even with servants. For the harm done to the free is incalculable, when we place over them corrupt slaves. For if when enjoying all the benefit of a father's affection and wisdom, they can with difficulty be preserved safe throughout; when we hand them over to the unscrupulousness of servants, they use them like enemies, thinking that they will prove milder masters to them, when they have made them perfect fools, and weak, and worthy of no respect.

More then than all other things together, let us attend seriously to this. "I have loved," saith he," those that love thy law." (Ps. cxix. 165, not exact.) This man then let us too emulate, and such let us love. And that the young may further be taught chastity, let them hear the Prophet, saying, "My loins are filled with illusions" [864] (Ps. xxxviii. 7, Sept.); and again let them hear him saying, "Thou wilt utterly destroy every one that goeth a whoring from Thee." (Ps. lxxiii. 27, Sept.) And, that one ought to restrain the belly, let them hear again, "And slew," he saith, "the more part of them [865] while the meat was yet in their mouths." (Ps. lxxviii. 30, Sept.) And that they ought to be above bribes, "If riches become abundant, set [not] [866] your heart upon them" (Ps. lxii. 10.); and that they ought to keep glory in subjection, "Nor shall his glory descend together after him." (Ps. xlix. 17.) And not to envy the wicked, "Be not envious against them that work unrighteousness." (Ps. xxxvii. 1.) And to count power as nothing, "I saw the ungodly in exceeding high place, and lifting himself up as the cedars of Libanus, and I passed by, and lo! he was not." (Ps. xxxvii. 35.) And to count these present things as nothing, "They counted the people happy, that are in such a case; happy are the people, whose helper is the Lord their God." (Ps. cxliv. 15, Sept.) That we do not sin without notice, but that there is a retribution, "for," he saith, "Thou shalt render to every man according to his works." (Ps. lxii. 12, Sept.) But why doth he not so requite them day by day? "God is a judge," he says, "righteous, and strong, and longsuffering." (Ps. vii. 11.) That lowliness of mind is good, "Lord," he saith, "my heart is not lifted up" (Ps. cxxxi. 1): that pride is evil, "Therefore," he said, "pride took hold on them wholly" (Ps. lxxiii. 6, Sept.); and again, "The Lord resisteth the proud"; and again, "Their injustice shall come out as of fatness." That almsgiving is good, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the needy, his righteousness endureth for ever." (Prov. iii. 34.) And that to pity is praiseworthy, "He is a good man that pitieth, and lendeth." (Ps. lxxiii. 7, Sept.) And thou wilt find there many more doctrines than these, full of true philosophy; such as, that one ought not to speak evil, "Him that privily slandereth his neighbor, him did I chase from me." (Ps. cxii. 9.)

What is the hymn of those above? The Faithful know. What say the cherubim above? What say the Angels? "Glory to God in the highest." (Ps. cxii. 5.) Therefore after the psalmody come the hymns, as a thing of more perfection. "With psalms," he saith, "with hymns, with spiritual songs, with grace singing in your hearts to God." (Ps. ci. 5, Sept.) He means either this, that God because of grace hath given us these things; or, with the songs in grace; or, admonishing and teaching one another in grace; or, that they had these gifts in grace; or, it is an epexegesis [867] and he means, from the grace of the Spirit. "Singing in your hearts to God." Not simply with the mouth, he means, but with heedfulness. For this is to "sing to God," but that to the air, for the voice is scattered without result. Not for display, he means. And even if thou be in the market-place, thou canst collect thyself, and sing unto God, no one hearing thee. For Moses also in this way prayed, and was heard, for He saith, "Why criest thou unto Me?" (Ex. xiv. 15.) albeit he said nothing, but cried in thought--wherefore also God alone heard him--with a contrite heart. For it is not forbidden one even when walking to pray in his heart, and to dwell above.

Ver. 17. "And whatsoever ye do," he saith, "in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

For if we thus do, there will be nothing polluted, nothing unclean, wherever Christ is called on. If thou eat, if thou drink, if thou marry, if thou travel, do all in the Name of God, that is, calling Him to aid thee: in everything first praying to Him, so take hold of thy business. Wouldest thou speak somewhat? Set this in front. For this cause we also place in front of our epistles the Name of the Lord. Wheresoever the Name of God is, all is auspicious. For if the names of Consuls make writings sure, much more doth the Name of Christ. Or he means this; after God say ye and do everything, do not introduce the Angels besides. Dost thou eat? Give thanks to God both before and afterwards. Dost thou sleep? Give thanks to God both before and afterwards. Launchest thou into the forum? Do the same--nothing worldly, nothing of this life. Do all in the Name of the Lord, and all shall be prospered to thee. Whereonsoever the Name is placed, there all things are auspicious. If it casts out devils, if it drives away diseases, much more does it render business easy.

And what is to "do in word or in deed"? Either requesting or performing anything whatever. Hear how in the Name of God Abraham sent his servant; David in the Name of God slew Goliath. Marvelous is His Name and great. Again, Jacob sending his sons saith, "My God give you favor in the sight of the man." (Gen. xliii. 14.) For he that doeth this hath for his ally, God, without whom he durst do nothing. As honored then by being called upon, He will in turn honor by making their business easy. Invoke the Son, give thanks to the Father. For when the Son is invoked, the Father is invoked, and when He is thanked, the Son has been thanked.

These things let us learn, not as far as words only, but to fulfill them also by works. Nothing is equal to this Name, marvelous is it everywhere. "Thy Name," he saith, "is ointment poured forth." (Cant. i. 3.) He that hath uttered it is straightway filled with fragrance. "No man," it is said, "can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (1 Cor. xii. 3.) So great things doth this Name Work. If thou have said, In [868] the Name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, with faith, thou hast accomplished everything. See, how great things thou hast done! Thou hast created a man, and wrought all the rest (that cometh) of Baptism! So, when used in commanding diseases, terrible is The Name. Therefore the devil introduced those [869] of the Angels, envying us the honor. Such incantations are for the demons. Even if it be Angel, even if it be Archangel, even if it be Cherubim, allow it not; for neither will these Powers accept such addresses, but will even toss them away from them, when they have beheld their Master dishonored. "I have honored thee," He saith, "and have said, Call upon Me"; and dost thou dishonor Him? If thou chant this incantation with faith, thou wilt drive away both diseases and demons, [870] and even if thou have failed to drive away the disease, this is not from lack of power, but because it is expedient it should be so. "According to Thy greatness," he saith, "so also is Thy praise." (Ps. xlviii. 10.) By this Name hath the world been converted, the tyranny dissolved, the devil trampled on, the heavens opened. We have been regenerated by this Name. This if we have, we beam forth; This maketh both martyrs and confessors; This let us hold fast as a great gift, that we may live in glory, and be well-pleasing to God, and be counted worthy of the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and lovingkindness, &c.

Footnotes

[860] ["God" is the correct N.T. text (as in Rev. Ver.), and is here given by several mss. of Chrys.--J.A.B.] [861] Not in a bad sense. [862] elenchesthai, not in money to pay, but in power to prevent loss. Or it may be, "must be in process of being found wanting." [863] [This distinction is unfounded. It is likely that by "psalms" the Apostle meant especially the Psalms of the Old Test., and by "hymns" those which were already being written among the Christians; while "spiritual songs" might include both the others, as being contrasted with secular songs. But the distinction cannot be confidently made. Compare Lightfoot here.--J.A.B.] [864] empaigmaton. Evil spirits being supposed to "make sport of" the soul by means of the body. [865] piosin, Savile, marg. and 1 ms. and so Sept. and E.V. "fattest," Edd. pleiosin. [So Chrys. on that Psalm.--Field.--J.A.B.] [866] The mss. omit the negative, which would easily be lost in the preceding word. One might take it, "Beware of them." [Field inserts the negative without remark.--J.A.B.] [867] i.e. an additional explanation, viz. of "singing in your hearts." [868] [He uses en to onomati, which in this connection amounts to substantially the same as the Evangelist's eis to onoma (Matt. xxviii. 19). Compare Acts viii. 16 with x. 48.--J.A.B.] [869] Or, "the matters of the Angels" (ta ton angelon). [870] Gretser de S. Cruce, l. iv. c. 3, quotes the Emperor Leo as speaking of curing a demoniac "by the Sign of the Cross, and the invocation of the Holy and life-giving Trinity." This agrees with what he has said before, Hom. viii. p. 298, on the use of the Holy Sign. G. also quotes Tertullian de Bapt. 6, who alludes to this form of using it. "The Faith sealed (obsignata) in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost." There were, however, other forms, as "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Deus in adjutorium meum intende," &c. Gretser also refers to St. Chrys. Catech. ii. fin., where he bids every one on leaving his house cross himself, saying, "I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy angels, and I place myself with thee, O Christ." St. Cyr. Cat. iv. 10 also connects the Invocation of His Name with the Sign. St. Cyprian, Test. ii. 21, quotes Rev. xiv. 1, so as to imply this connection.


Homily X.

Colossians iii. 18-25

"Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in [871] the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged. Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons with God. (Chap. iv. 1.) Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

Why does he not give these commands everywhere, and in all the Epistles, but only here, and in that to the Ephesians, and that to Timothy, and that to Titus? Because probably there were dissensions in these cities; or probably they were correct in other respects, so that it was expedient they should hear about these things. Rather, however, what he saith to these, he saith to all. Now in these things also this Epistle bears great resemblance to that to the Ephesians, either [872] because it was not fitting to write about these things to men now [873] at peace, who needed to be instructed in high doctrines as yet lacking to them, or because that for persons who had been comforted under trials, it were superfluous to hear on these subjects. So that I conjecture, that in this place the Church was now well-grounded, and that these things are said as in finishing.

Ver. 18. "Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."

That is, be subject for God's sake, because this adorneth you, he saith, not them. For I mean not that subjection which is due to a master, nor yet that alone which is of nature, but that for God's sake.

Ver. 19. "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them."

See how again he has exhorted to reciprocity. As in the other case he enjoineth fear and love, so also doth he here. For it is possible for one who loves even, to be bitter. What he saith then is this. Fight not; for nothing is more bitter than this fighting, when it takes place on the part of the husband toward the wife. For the fightings which happen between beloved persons, these are bitter; and he shows that it ariseth from great bitterness, when, saith he, any one is at variance with his own member. To love therefore is the husband's part, to yield pertains to the other side. If then each one contributes his own part, all stands firm. From being loved, the wife too becomes loving; and from her being submissive, the husband becomes yielding. And see how in nature also it hath been so ordered, that the one should love, the other obey. For when the party governing loves the governed, then everything stands fast. Love from the governed is not so requisite, as from the governing towards the governed; for from the other obedience is due. For that the woman hath beauty, and the man desire, shows nothing else than that for the sake of love it hath been made so. Do not therefore, because thy wife is subject to thee, act the despot; nor because thy husband loveth thee, be thou puffed up. Let neither the husband's love elate the wife, nor the wife's subjection puff up the husband. For this cause hath He subjected her to thee, that she may be loved the more. For this cause He hath made thee to be loved, O wife, that thou mayest easily bear thy subjection. Fear not in being a subject; for subjection to one that loveth thee hath no hardship. Fear not in loving, for thou hast her yielding. In no other way then could a bond have been. Thou hast then thine authority of necessity, proceeding from nature; maintain also the bond that proceedeth from love, for this alloweth the weaker to be endurable. [874]

Ver. 20. "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord."

Again he has put that, "in the Lord," at once laying down the laws of obedience, and shaming them, and casting them down. For this, saith he, is well-pleasing to the Lord. See how he would have us do all not from nature only, but, prior to this, from what is pleasing to God, that we may also have reward.

Ver. 21. "Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged."

Lo! again here also is subjection and love. And he said not, "Love your children," for it had been superfluous, seeing that nature itself constraineth to this; but what needed correction he corrected; that the love should in this case also be the more vehement, because that the obedience is greater. For it nowhere lays down as an exemplification the relation of husband and wife; but what? hear the prophet saying, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitied them that fear Him" (Ps. ciii. 13, Sept.) And again Christ saith, "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" (Matt. vii. 9.)

"Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged."

He hath set down what he knew had the greatest power to seize upon them; and whilst commanding them he has spoken more like a friend; and nowhere does he mention God, for he would overcome parents, and bow their tender affections. That is, "Make them not more contentious, there are occasions when you ought even to give way."

Next he comes to the third kind of authority.

There is here also a certain love, but that no more proceeding from nature, as above, but from habit, and from the authority itself, and the works done. Seeing then that in this case the sphere of love is narrowed, whilst that of obedience is amplified, he dwelleth upon this, wishing to give to these from their obedience, what the first have from nature. So that what he discourseth with the servants alone [875] is not for their masters' sakes, but for their own also, that they may make themselves the objects of tender affection to their masters. But he sets not this forth openly; for so he would doubtless have made them supine.

Ver. 22. "Servants," he saith, "obey in all things your masters according to the flesh."

And see how always he sets down the names, "wives, children, servants," being at once a just claim upon their obedience. But that none might be pained, he added, "to your masters according to the flesh." Thy better part, the soul, is free, he saith; thy service is for a season. It therefore do thou subject, that thy service be no more of constraint. "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers." Make, he saith, thy service which is by the law, to be from the fear of Christ. For if when thy master seeth thee not, thou doest thy duty and what is for his honor, it is manifest that thou doest it because of the sleepless Eye. "Not with eye-service," he saith, "as men-pleasers"; thus implying, "it is you who will have to sustain the damage." For hear the prophet saying, "God hath scattered the bones of the men-pleasers." (Ps. liii. 6, Sept.) See then how he spares them, and brings them to order. "But in singleness of heart," he saith, "fearing God." [876] For that is not singleness, but hypocrisy, to hold one thing, and act another; to appear one when the master is present, another when he is absent. Therefore he said not simply, "in singleness of heart," but, "fearing God." For this is to fear God, when, though none be seeing, we do not aught that is evil; but if we do, we fear not God, but men. Seest thou how he bringeth them to order?

Ver. 23. "Whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men."

He desires to have them freed not only from hypocrisy, but also from slothfulness. He hath made them instead of slaves free, when they need not the superintendence of their master; for the expression "heartily" means this, "with good will," not with a slavish necessity, but with freedom, and of choice. And what is the reward?

Ver. 24. "Knowing," he saith, "that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of your [877] inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

For from Him also it is evident that ye shall receive the reward. And that ye serve the Lord is plain from this.

Ver. 25. "For he that doeth wrong," he saith, "shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done."

Here he confirmeth his former statements. For that his words may not appear to be those of flattery, "he shall receive," he saith, "the wrong he hath done," that is, he shall suffer punishment also, "for there is no respect of persons." [878] For what if thou art a servant? it is no shame to thee. And truly he might have said this to the masters, as he did in the Epistle to the Ephesians. (Eph. vi. 9.) But here he seems to me to be alluding to the Grecian masters. For, what if he is a Greek and thou a Christian? Not the persons but the actions are examined, so that even in this case thou oughtest to serve with good will, and heartily.

Chap. iv. 1. "Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal."

What is "just"? What is "equal"? To place them in plenty of everything, and not allow them to stand in need of others, but to recompense them for their labors. For, because I have said that they have their reward from God, do not thou therefore deprive them of it. And in another place he saith, "forbearing threatening" (Eph. vi. 9.), wishing to make them more gentle; for those were perfect men; that is, "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you." (Matt. vii. 2.) And the words, "there is no respect of persons," are spoken with a view to these, [879] but they are assigned to the others, in order that these may receive them. For when we have said to one person what is applicable to another, we have not corrected him so much, as the one who is in fault. "Ye also," along with them, he saith. He has here made the service common, for he saith, "knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

Ver. 2. "Continue in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving."

For, since continuing in prayers frequently makes persons listless, therefore he saith, "watching," that is, sober, not wandering. For the devil knoweth, he knoweth, how great a good prayer is; therefore he presseth heavily. And Paul also knoweth how careless [880] many are when they pray, wherefore he saith, "continue" [881] in prayer, as of somewhat laborious, "watching therein with thanksgiving." For let this, he saith, be your work, to give thanks in your prayers both for the seen and the unseen, and for His benefits to the willing and unwilling, and for the kingdom, and for hell, and for tribulation, and for refreshment. For thus is the custom of the Saints to pray, and to give thanks for the common benefits of all.

I know a certain holy man who prayeth thus. He used to say nothing before these words, but thus, "We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits bestowed upon us the unworthy, from the first day until the present, for what we know, and what we know not, for the seen, for the unseen, for those in deed, those in word, those with our wills, those against our wills, for all that have been bestowed upon the unworthy, even us; for tribulations, for refreshments, for hell, for punishment, for the kingdom of heaven. We beseech Thee to keep our soul holy, having a pure conscience; an end worthy of thy lovingkindness. Thou that lovedst us so as to give Thy Only-Begotten for us, grant us to become worthy of Thy love; give us wisdom in Thy word, and in Thy fear. Only-Begotten Christ, inspire the strength that is from Thee. Thou that gavest The Only-Begotten for us, and hast sent Thy Holy Spirit for the remission of our sins, if in aught we have wilfully or unwillingly transgressed, pardon, and impute it not. Remember all that call upon Thy Name in truth; remember all that wish us well, or the contrary, for we are all men." Then having added the Prayer [882] of the Faithful, he there ended; having made that prayer, as a certain crowning part, and a binding together for all. For many benefits doth God bestow upon us even against our wills; many also, yea more, without our knowledge even. For when we pray for one thing, and He doeth to us the reverse, it is plain that He doeth us good even when we know it not.

Ver. 3. "Withal praying for us also." See his lowlymindedness; he sets himself after them.

"That God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ." He means an entrance, and boldness in speaking. Wonderful! The great athlete said not "that I may be freed from my bonds," but being in bonds he exhorted others; and exhorted them for a great object, that himself might get boldness in speaking. Both the two are great, both the quality of the person, and of the thing. Wonderful! how great is the dignity! "The mystery," he saith, "of Christ." He shows that nothing was more dearly desired by him than this, to speak. "For which I am also in bonds; that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak." (Ver. 4.) He means with much boldness of speech, and withholding nothing. His bonds display, not obscure him. With much boldness he means. Tell me, art thou in bonds, and dost thou exhort others? Yea, my bonds give me the greater boldness; but I pray for God's furtherance, for I have heard the voice of Christ saying, "When they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak." (Matt. x. 19.) And see, how he has expressed himself in metaphor, "that God may open to us a door for the word"; (see, how unassuming he is; even in his bonds, how he expresses himself;) that is, that He would soften their hearts. Still he said not so; but, "that He would give us boldness"; out of lowlymindedness he thus spoke, and that which he had, he asks to receive.

He shows in this Epistle, why Christ came not in those times, in that he calleth the former things "shadow, but the body," saith he, "is of Christ." So that it was necessary they should be formed to habits under the shadow. At the same time also he exhibits the greatest proof of the love he bears to them; "in order that ye," he saith, "may hear, for that reason, `I am in bonds.'" Again he sets before us those bonds of his; which I so greatly love, which rouse up my heart, and always draw me into longing to see Paul bound, and in his bonds writing, and preaching, and baptizing, and catechizing. In his bonds he was referred to on behalf of the Churches everywhere; in his bonds he builded up incalculably. Then was he rather at large. For hear him saying, "So that most of the brethren being confident through my bonds are more abundantly bold to speak the word without fear." (Philip. i. 14.) And again he makes the same avowal of himself, saying, "For when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Cor. xii. 10.) Wherefore he said also, "But the word of God is not bound." (2 Tim. ii. 9.) He was bound with malefactors, with prisoners, with murderers; he, the teacher of the world, he that had ascended into the third heaven, that had heard the unspeakable words, was bound. (2 Cor. xii. 4.) But then was his course the swifter. He that was bound, was now loosed; he that was unbound, was bound. For he indeed was doing what he would; whilst the other prevented him not, nor accomplished his own purpose.

What art thou about, O senseless one? Thinkest thou he is a fleshly runner? Doth he strive in our race-course? His course of life is in heaven; him that runneth in heaven, things on earth cannot bind nor hold. Seest thou not this sun? Enclose his beams with fetters! stay him from his course! Thou canst not. Then neither canst thou Paul! Yea, much less this one than that, for this enjoyeth more of Providence than that, seeing he beareth to us light, not such as that is, but the true.

Where now are they who are unwilling to suffer aught for Christ? But why do I say "suffer," seeing that they are unwilling even to give up their wealth? In time past Paul also used to bind, and cast into prison; but since he is become Christ's servant, he glorieth no more of doing, but of suffering. And this, moreover, is marvelous in the Preaching, when it is thus raised up and increased by the sufferers themselves, and not by the persecutors. Where hath any seen such contests as this? He that suffereth ill, conquers; he that doeth ill, is worsted. Brighter is this man than the other. Through bonds the Preaching entered. "I am not ashamed" (Rom. i. 16.), yea, I glory even, he saith, in preaching The Crucified. For consider, I pray: the whole world left those who were at large, and went over to those that are bound; turning away from the imprisoners, it honoreth those laden with chains; hating the crucifiers, it worships the Crucified.

Not the only marvel is it that the preachers were fishermen, that they were ignorant; but that there were also other hindrances, hindrances too by nature; still the increase was all the more abundant. Not only was their ignorance no hindrance; but even it itself caused the Preaching to be manifested. For hear Luke saying, "And perceiving that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled." (Acts iv. 13.) Not only were bonds no hindrance, but even of itself this made them more confident. Not so bold were the disciples when Paul was at large, as when he was bound. For he saith, they "are more abundantly bold to speak the word" of God "without fear." (Philip. i. 14.) Where are they that will gainsay the divinity of the Preaching? Was not their ignorance enough to procure them to be condemned? Would it not then in this case too, affright them? For ye know that by these two passions the many are possessed, vainglory and cowardice. Suppose their ignorance suffered them not to feel ashamed, still the dangers must have put them in fear.

But, saith one, they wrought miracles. Ye do believe then that they wrought miracles. But did they not work miracles? This is a greater miracle than to work them, if men were drawn to them without miracles. Socrates too amongst the Greeks was put in bonds. What then? Did not his disciples straightway flee to Megara? Assuredly, why not? They admitted [883] his arguments about immortality. But see here. Paul was put in bonds, and his disciples waxed the more confident, with reason, for they saw that the Preaching was not hindered. For, canst thou put the tongue in bonds? hereby chiefly it runneth. For as, except thou have bound the feet of a runner, thou hast not prevented him from running; so, except thou have bound the tongue of an evangelist, thou hast not hindered him from running. And as the former, if thou have bound his loins, runneth on the rather, and is supported, so too the latter preacheth the rather, and with greater boldness.

A prisoner is in fear, when there is nothing beyond bonds: but one that despiseth death, how should he be bound? They did the same as if they had put in bonds the shadow of Paul, and had gagged its mouth. For it was a fighting with shadows; for he was both more tenderly regretted by his friends, and more reverenced by his enemies, as bearing the prize for courage in his bonds. And a crown binds the head; but it disgraces it not, yea rather, it makes it brilliant. Against their wills they crowned him with his chain. For, tell me, was it possible he could fear iron, who braved the adamantine gates of death? Come we, beloved, to emulate these bonds. As many of you women as deck yourselves with trinkets of gold, long ye for the bonds of Paul. Not so glitters the collar round your necks, as the grace of these iron bonds gleamed about his soul! If any longs for those, let him hate these. For what communion hath softness with courage; tricking out of the body with philosophy? Those bonds Angels reverence, these they even make a mock of; those bonds are wont to draw up from earth to heaven; these bonds draw down to earth from heaven. For in truth these are bonds, not those; those are ornament, these are bonds; these, along with the body, afflict the soul also; those, along with the body, adorn as well the soul.

Wouldest thou be convinced that those are ornament? Tell me which would more have won the notice of the spectators? thou or Paul? And why do I say, "thou"? the queen [884] herself who is all bedecked with gold would not have attracted the spectators so much; but if it had chanced that both Paul in his bonds and the queen had entered the Church at the same time, all would have removed their eyes from her to him; and with good reason. For to see a man of a nature greater than human, and having nought of man, but an angel upon earth, is more admirable than to see a woman decked with finery. For such indeed one may see both in theaters, and in pageants, and at baths, and many places; but whoso seeth a man with bonds upon him, and deeming himself to have the greatest of ornaments, and not giving way under his bonds, doth not behold a spectacle of earth, but one worthy of the heavens. The soul that is in that way attired looks about,--who hath seen? who not seen?--is filled with pride, is possessed with anxious thoughts, is bound with countless other passions: but he that hath these bonds on him, is without pride: his soul exulteth, is freed from every anxious care, is joyous, hath its gaze on heaven, is clad with wings. If any one were to give me the choice of seeing Paul either stooping out of heaven, and uttering his voice, or out of the prison, I would choose the prison. For they of heaven visit him when he is in the prison. The bonds of Paul were the bond of the Preaching, that chain of his was its foundation. Long we for those bonds!

And how, some one says, may this be? If we break up and dash in pieces these. No good results to us from these bonds, but even harm. These will show us as prisoners There; but the bonds of Paul will loose those bonds; she that is bound with these here, with those deathless bonds shall she also be bound There, both hands and feet; she that has been bound with Paul's, shall have them in that day as it were an ornament about her. Free both thyself from thy bonds, and the poor man from his hunger. Why rivetest thou fast the chains of thy sins? Some one saith, How? When thou wearest gold whilst another is perishing, when thou, to get thee vainglory, takest so much gold, whilst another hast not even what to eat, hast thou not wedged fast thy sins? Put Christ about thee, and not gold; where Mammon is, there Christ is not, where Christ is, there Mammon is not. Wouldest not thou put on the King of all Himself? If one had offered thee the purple, and the diadem, wouldest thou not have taken them before all the gold in the world? I give thee not the regal ornaments, but I offer thee to put on the King Himself. And how can one put Christ on, doth any say? Hear Paul saying, "As many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ." (Gal. iii. 27.) Hear the Apostolical precept, "Make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Rom. xiii. 14.) Thus doth one put on Christ, if one provide not for the flesh unto its lusts. If thou have put on Christ, even the demons will fear thee; but if gold, even men will laugh thee to scorn: if thou have put on Christ, men also will reverence thee.

Wouldest thou appear fair and comely? Be content with the Creator's fashioning. Why dost thou overlay these bits of gold, as if about to put to rights God's creation? Wouldest thou appear comely? Clothe thee in alms; clothe thee in benevolence; clothe thee in modesty, humbleness. These are all more precious than gold; these make even the beautiful yet more comely; these make even the ill formed to be well formed. For when any one looks upon a countenance with good will, he gives his judgment from love; but an evil woman, even though she be beautiful, none can call beautiful; for the mind being confounded pronounceth not its sentence aright.

That Egyptian woman of old was adorned; Joseph too was adorned; which of them was the more beautiful? I say not when she was in the palace, and he in the prison. [885] He was naked, but clothed in the garments of chastity; she was clothed, but more unseemly than if she had been naked; for she had not modesty. When thou hast excessively adorned thee, O woman, then thou art become more unseemly than a naked one; for thou hast stripped thee of thy fair adorning. Eve also was naked; but when she had clothed herself, then was she more unseemly, for when she was naked indeed, she was adorned with the glory of God; but when she had clothed herself with the garment of sin, then was she unseemly. And thou, when arraying thyself in the garment of studied finery, dost then appear more unseemly. For that costliness availeth not to make any appear beautiful, but that it is possible even for one dressed out to be even more unseemly than if naked, tell me now; if thou hadst ever put on the dresses of a piper or a flute-player, would it not have been unseemliness? And yet those dresses are of gold; but for this very reason it were unseemliness, because they are of gold. For the costliness suits well with people on the stage, tragedians, players, mimes, dancers, fighters with wild beasts; but to a woman that is a believer, there are given other robes from God, the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself. "For," he saith, "as many as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ." (Gal. iii. 27.) Tell me, if one had given thee kingly apparel, and thou hadst taken a beggar's [886] dress, and put this on above it, wouldest thou not, besides the unseemliness, have also been punished for it? Thou hast put on the Lord of Heaven, and of the Angels, and art thou still busied about earth?

I have spoken thus, because love of ornament is of itself a great evil, even were no other gendered by it, and it were possible to hold it without peril, (for it inciteth to vainglory and to pride,) but now many other evils are gendered by finery, evil suspicions, unseasonable expenses, evil speakings, occasions of rapacity. For why dost thou adorn thyself? Tell me. Is it that thou mayest please thy husband? Then do it at home. But here the reverse is the case. For if thou wouldest please thine own husband, please not others; but if thou please others, thou wilt not be able to please thine own. So that thou shouldest put away all thine ornaments, when thou goest to the forum or proceedest to the church. Besides, please not thy husband by those means which harlots use, but by those rather which wives that are free employ. For wherein, tell me, doth a wife differ from a harlot? In that the one regardeth one thing only, namely, that by the beauty of her person she may attract to herself him whom she loves; whilst the other both ruleth the house, and shareth in the children, and in all other things.

Hast thou a little daughter? look to it lest she inherit the mischief, for they are wont to form their manners according to their nurture, and to imitate their mothers' behavior. Be a pattern to thy daughter of modesty, deck thyself with that adorning, and see that thou despise the other; for that is in truth an ornament, the other a disfigurement. Enough has been said. Now God that made the world, and hath given to us the ornament [887] of the soul, adorn us, and clothe us with His own glory, that all shining brightly in good works, and living unto His glory, we may send up glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, &c.

Footnotes

[871] R. t. and E.V. "unto." [872] [In these apparently hasty notes, perhaps composed by dictation, or more probably taken down in shorthand, we are not surprised to find a frequent lack of clear connection. Here, as often elsewhere, the altered text followed in most editions has inserted clauses to bring out the supposed meaning.--J.A.B.] [873] He seems to class the Romans, Hebrews, Corinthians, and Galatians together, as needing doctrinal instruction before these particulars, and to consider the Thessalonians and Philippians as needing them less from their state of suffering. [874] anekten. He seems to mean, "to be in an endurable position." [Downes suggested, and Field inclines to approve, that the reading should be aneton, "unrestrained," which in another passage is confused in a ms. with anekton.--J.A.B.] [875] monois. One would expect monon, as he speaks to the masters afterwards. But he may either mean that they were chiefly addressed, or that this is the object even of what is addressed to them separately. [876] [The correct text, as in Rev. Ver., is "fearing the Lord." Chrys. very often has an erroneous type of N.T. text, which spread from Constantinople, and became the so-called Textus Receptus.--J.A.B.] [877] [Some documents for N.T. also give "your," but the correct N.T. text has simply "the," and omits "for."--J.A.B.] [878] [Some documents for Chrys., and some for N.T., add "with God."--J.A.B.] [879] The masters. [880] akediosi, generally used of giving up caring for anything in despair. But the name "acedia" amongst the seven deadly sins is of this origin. [881] proskartereite, "persevere." [882] The Lord's Prayer. [883] [Ironical.--J.A.B.] [884] [Meaning the Empress, as king meant the Emperor.--J.A.B.] [885] Downes would remove the negative; but the meaning is "not only when," &c., but "even when he was exposed by the loss of his garment." [886] [The Greek has a word, lotos, not elsewhere found in this sense, but explained (Field's Annotations) by a similar word, lotax, employed and interpreted in another passage by Chrys. The correctors changed lotou into the familiar heilotos, a Helot.--J.A.B.] [887] [The word kosmos denotes order and ornament, and so the world, as being orderly and beautiful.--J.A.B.]


Homily XI.

Colossians iv. 5, 6

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one."

What Christ said to His disciples, that doth Paul also now advise. And what did Christ say? "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matt. x. 16.) That is, be upon your guard, giving them no handle against you. For therefore it is added, "towards them that are without," in order that we may know that against our own members we have no need of so much caution as against those without. For where brethren are, there are both many allowances and kindnesses. There is indeed need of caution even here; but much more without, for it is not the same to be amongst enemies and foes, and amongst friends.

Then because he had alarmed them, see how again he encourages them; "Redeeming," he saith, "the time": that is, the present time is short. Now this he said, not wishing them to be crafty, nor hypocrites, (for this is not a part of wisdom, but of senselessness,) but what? In matters wherein they harm you not, he means, give them no handle; as he says also, when writing to the Romans, "Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, honor to whom honor." (Rom. xiii. 7.) On account of the Preaching alone have thou war, he saith, let this war have none other origin. For though they were to become our foes for other causes besides, yet neither shall we have a reward, and they will become worse, and will seem to have just complaints against us. For instance, if we pay not the tribute, if we render not the honors that are due, if we be not lowly. Seest thou not Paul, how submissive he is, where he was not likely to harm the Preaching. For hear him saying to Agrippa, "I think myself happy, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews." (Acts xxvi. 2, 3.) But had he thought it his duty to insult the ruler, he would have spoiled everything. And hear too those of blessed Peter's company, how gently they answer the Jews, saying, "we must obey God rather than men." (Acts v. 29.) And yet men who had renounced their own lives, might both have insulted, and have done anything whatever; but for this object they had renounced their lives, not that they might win vainglory, (for that way had been vainglorious,) but that they might preach and speak all things with boldness. That other course marks want of moderation.

"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt"; that is, that this graciousness may not lapse into indifferentism. For it is possible to be simply agreeable, it is possible also to be so with due seemliness. "That ye may know how ye ought to answer each one." So that one ought not to discourse alike to all, Greeks, I mean, and Brethren. By no means, for this were the very extreme of senselessness.

Ver. 7. "All my affairs shall Tychicus make known unto you, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord."

Admirable! how great is the wisdom of Paul! Observe, he doth not put everything into his Epistles, but only things necessary and urgent. In the first place, being desirous of not drawing them out to a length; and secondly, to make his messenger more respected, by his having also somewhat to relate; thirdly, showing his own affection towards him; for he would not else have entrusted these communications to him. Then, there were things which ought not to be declared in writing. "The beloved brother," he saith. If beloved, he knew all, and he concealed nothing from him. "And faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord." If "faithful," he will speak no falsehood; if "a fellow-servant," he hath shared his trials, so that he has brought together from all sides the grounds of trustworthiness.

Ver. 8. "Whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose."

Here he shows his great love, seeing that for this purpose he sent him, and this was the cause of his journey; and so when writing to the Thessalonians, he said, "Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone, and sent Timothy our brother." (1 Thess. iii. 1, 2.) And to the Ephesians he sends this very same person, and for the very same cause, "That he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts." (Eph. vi. 21, 22.) See what he saith, not "that ye might know my estate," but "that I might know yours." So in no place doth he mention what is his own. He shows that they were in trials too, by the expression, "comfort your hearts."

Ver. 9. "With Onesimus, the beloved and faithful brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things that are done here."

Onesimus is the one about whom, writing to Philemon, he said, "Whom I would fain have kept with me, that in thy behalf he might minister unto me in the bonds of the Gospel: but without thy mind I would do nothing." (Philem. 13, 14.) And he adds too the praise of their city, that they might not only not [888] be ashamed, but even pride themselves on him. "Who is one of you," he saith. "They shall make known unto you all things that are done here."

Ver. 10. "Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you."

Nothing can surpass this praise. This is he that was brought up from Jerusalem with him. This man hath said a greater thing than the prophets; for they call themselves "strangers and foreigners," but this one calleth himself even a prisoner. Just like a prisoner of war he was dragged up and down, [889] and lay at every one's will to suffer evil of them, yea rather worse even than prisoners. For those indeed their enemies, after taking them, treat with much attention, having a care for them as their own property: but Paul, as though an enemy and a foe, all men dragged up and down, beating him, scourging, insulting, and maligning. This was a consolation to those also (to whom he wrote), when their master even is in such circumstances.

"And Mark, the cousin of Barnabas"; even this man he hath praised still from his relationship, for Barnabas was a great man; "touching whom ye received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him." Why? would they not have received him? Yes, but he means, with much attention; and this shows the man to be great. Whence they received these commandments, he does not say.

Ver. 11. "And Jesus which is called Justus."

This man was probably a Corinthian. Next, he bestows a common praise on all, having already spoken that of each one in particular; "who are of the circumcision: these only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me." After having said, "fellow-prisoner"; in order that he may not therewith depress the soul of his hearers, see how by this expression he rouseth them up. "Fellow-workers," he saith, "unto the kingdom of God." So that being partakers of the trials, they become partakers of the kingdom. "Who have been a comfort to me." He shows them to be great persons, seeing that to Paul they have been a comfort.

But [890] let us see the wisdom of Paul. "Walk in wisdom," he saith, "towards them that are without, redeeming the time." (Ver. 5.) That is, the time is not yours, but theirs. Do not then wish to have your own way, [891] but redeem the time. And he said not simply, "Buy," but "redeem," making it yours after another manner. For it were the part of excessive madness, to invent occasions of war and enmity. For over and above the undergoing of superfluous and profitless dangers, there is this additional harm, that the Greeks will not come over to us. For when thou art amongst the brethren, reason is thou shouldest be bold; but when without, thou oughtest not to be so.

Seest thou how everywhere he speaks of those without, the Greeks? Wherefore also when writing to Timothy, he said, "Moreover, he must have good testimony from them that are without." (1 Tim. iii. 7.) And again, "For what have I to do with judging them that are without." (1 Cor. v. 12.) "Walk in wisdom," he saith, "toward them that are without." For "without," they are, even though they live in the same world with us, seeing they are without the kingdom, and the paternal mansion. And he comforts them withal, by calling the others "without," as he said above, "Your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. iii. 3.)

Then, he saith, seek ye glory, then honors, then all those other things, but not so now, but give them up to those without. Next, lest thou think that he is speaking of money, he adds, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one." That it may not be full of hypocrisy, for this is not "grace," nor "a seasoning with salt." For instance, if it be needful to pay court to any one without incurring danger, refuse not [to do so]; if the occasion require that thou discourse civilly, think not the doing so flattery, do everything that pertaineth to honor, so that piety be not injured. Seest thou not how Daniel payeth court to an impious man? Seest thou not the three children, how wisely they bore themselves, showing both courage, and boldness in speaking, and yet nothing rash nor galling, for so it had not been boldness, but vainglory. "That ye may know," he saith, "how ye ought to answer every man." For the ruler ought to be answered in one way, the ruled in another, the rich in one way, the poor in another. Wherefore? Because the souls of those who are rich, and in authority, are weaker, more inflammable, more fluctuating, so that towards them, one should use condescension; those of the poor, and the ruled, firmer and more intelligent, so that to these one should use greater boldness of speech; looking to one thing, their edification. Not that because one is rich, another poor, the former is to be honored more, the latter less, but because of his weakness, let the former be supported, the latter not so: for instance, when there is no cause for it, do not call the Greek "polluted," nor be insulting; but if thou be asked concerning his doctrine, answer that it is polluted, and impious; but when none asketh thee, nor forceth thee to speak, it becomes thee not causelessly to challenge to thee his enmity. For what need is there to prepare for thyself gratuitous hostilities? Again, if thou art instructing any one; speak on the subject at present before thee, otherwise be silent. [892] If the speech be "seasoned with salt," should it fall into a soul that is of loose texture, it will brace up its slackness; into one that is harsh, it will smooth its ruggedness. Let it be gracious, and so neither hard, nor yet weak, but let it have both sternness and pleasantness therewith. For if one be immoderately stern, he doth more harm than good; and if he be immoderately complaisant, he giveth more pain than pleasure, so that everywhere there ought to be moderation. Be not downcast, and sour visaged, for this is offensive; nor yet be wholly relaxed, for this is open to contempt and treading under foot; but, like the bee, culling the virtue of each, of the one its cheerfulness, of the other its gravity, keep clear of the fault. For if a physician dealeth not with all bodies alike, much more ought not a teacher. And yet better will the body bear unsuitable medicines, than the soul language; for instance, a Greek cometh to thee, and becomes thy friend; discourse not at all with him on this subject, until he have become a close friend, and after he hath become so, do it gradually.

See, when Paul also had come to Athens, how he discoursed with them. He said not, "O polluted, and all-polluted"; but what? "Ye men of Athens, in all things I perceive that ye are somewhat superstitious." [893] (Acts xvii. 22.) Again, when to insult was needful, he refused not; but with great vehemency he said to Elymas, "O full of all guile and all villainy, son of the devil, enemy of all righteousness." For as to have insulted those had been senselessness, so not to have insulted this one had been softness. Again, art thou brought unto a ruler on a matter of business, see that thou render him the honors that are his due.

Ver. 9. "They shall make known unto you," he saith, "all things that are done here." Why didst thou not come with them, says one? But what is, "They shall make known unto you all things"? My bonds, that is, and all the other things that detain me. I then, who pray to see them, who also send others, should not myself have remained behind, had not some great necessity detained me. And yet this is not the language of accusations--yes, of vehement accusation. For the assuring them that he had both fallen into trials, and was bearing them nobly, is the part of one who was confirming the fact, and lifting up again their souls.

Ver. 9. "With Onesimus," he saith, "the beloved, and faithful brother."

Paul calleth a slave, brother: with reason; seeing that he styleth himself the servant of the faithful. (2 Cor. iv. 5.) Bring we down all of us our pride, tread we under foot our boastfulness. Paul nameth himself a slave, he that is worth the world, and ten thousands of heavens; and dost thou entertain high thoughts? He that seizeth all things for spoil as he will, he that hath the first place in the kingdom of heaven, he that was crowned, he that ascended into the third heaven, calleth servants, "brethren," and "fellow-servants." Where is your madness? where is your arrogance?

So trustworthy was Onesimus become, as to be entrusted even with such things as these.

Ver. 10. "And Mark," he saith, "the cousin of Barnabas, touching whom ye received commandments, receive him." Perhaps they had received commandments from Barnabas.

Ver. 11. "Who are of the circumcision." He represseth the swelling pride of the Jews, and inspiriteth the souls of these, [the Colossians,] because few of them were of the circumcision, the greater number of the Gentiles.

"Men that have been," he saith, "a comfort unto me." He shows himself to be set in the midst of great trials. So that neither is this a small thing. When we comfort the Saints by presence, by words, by assiduous attendance, when we suffer adversity together with them, (for he saith, "as bound with those in bonds"; [Heb. xiii. 3.]) when we make their sufferings ours, we shall also be partakers in their crowns. Hast thou not been dragged to the stadium? Hast thou not entered into the lists? It is another that strips himself, another that wrestles; but if thou be so minded, thou too shall be a sharer. Anoint him, become his favorer and partisan, from without the lists shout loudly for him, stir up his strength, refresh his spirit. It follows that the same things should be done in all other cases. For Paul stood not in need, but in order to stimulate them he said these things. Thou therefore in the case of all others, stop the mouths of those who would abuse such an one, procure favorers for him, receive him as he cometh forth with great attention, so shalt thou be a sharer in his crowns, so, in his glory; and if thou do no other thing, but only hast pleasure in what is done, even thus thou sharest in no common degree, for thou hast contributed love, the sum of all good things.

For if they that weep seem to share in the grief of those in sorrow, and gratify them mightily, and remove the excess of their woe, much more do they also that rejoice with others, make their pleasure greater. For how great an evil it is not to have companions in sorrow, hear the Prophet saying, "And I looked for one to lament with me, but there was none." [894] Wherefore Paul also saith, "Rejoice with them that rejoice; and weep with them that weep." (Rom. xii. 15.) Increase their pleasure. If thou see thy brother in good esteem, say not, "the esteem is his, why should I rejoice." These words are not those of a brother, but of an enemy. If thou be so minded, it is not his, but thine. Thou hast the power of making it greater, if thou be not downcast, but pleased, if thou be cheerful, if joyous. And that it is so, is evident from this; the envious envy not those only who are in good esteem, but those as well who rejoice at their good esteem, so conscious are they that these also are interested in that good esteem; and these are they who do glory most in it. For the other even blushes when praised exceedingly; but these with great pleasure pride themselves upon it. See ye not in the case of athletes, how the one is crowned, the other is not crowned; but the grief and the joy is amongst the favorers and disfavorers, [895] these are they that leap, they that caper?

See how great a thing is the not envying. The toil is another's, the pleasure is thine; another wears the crown, and thou caperest, thou art gay. For tell me, seeing it is another that hath conquered, why dost thou leap? But they also know well, that what hath been done is common. Therefore they do not accuse this man [896] indeed, but they try to beat down the victory; and you hear them saying such words as these, "(There) I expunged thee," and, "I beat thee down." Although the deed was another's, still the praise is thine. But if in things without, not to envy, but to make another's good one's own, is so great a good, much more in the victory of the devil over us he breathes the more furiously, evidently because we are more pleased. [897] Wicked though he is, and bitter, he well knows that this pleasure is great. Wouldest thou pain him? Be glad and rejoice. Wouldest thou gladden him? Be sad-visaged. The pain he has from thy brother's victory, thou soothest by thy sadness; thou standest with him, severed from thy brother, thou workest greater mischief than he. For it is not the same for one that is an enemy to do the deeds of an enemy, and for a friend to stand with an enemy; such an one is more detestable than an enemy. If thy brother have gained good reputation [898] either by speaking, or by brilliant [899] or successful achievement, become thou a sharer in his reputation, show that he is a member of thine.

"And how?" saith one, "for the reputation is not mine." Never speak so. Compress thy lips. If thou hadst been near me, thou that speakest on that wise, I would have even put my hand over thy lips: lest the enemy should hear thee. Oftentimes we have enmities with one another, and we discover them not to our enemies; dost thou then discover thine to the devil? Say not so, think not so; but the very reverse: "he is one of my members, the glory passes on to the body." "How then is it," saith one, "that those without are not so minded?" Because of thy fault: when they see thee counting his pleasure not thine own, they too count it not thine: were they to see thee appropriating it, they durst not do so, but thou wouldest become equally illustrious with him. Thou hast not gained reputation by speaking; but by sharing in his joy thou hast gained more renown than he. For if love be a great thing, and the sum of all, thou hast received the crown this gives; he, that for oratory, thou, that for exceeding love; he displayed force of words, but thou by deeds hast cast down envy, hast trodden under foot the evil eye. So that in reason thou oughtest rather to be crowned than he, thy contest is the more brilliant; thou hast not only trodden under foot envy, but thou hast even done somewhat else. He hath one crown only, but thou two, and those both brighter than his one. What are these? One, that which thou wonnest against envy, another, which thou art encircled with by love. For the sharing in his joy is a proof not only of thy being free from envy, but also of being rooted in love. Him ofttimes some human passion sorely disquieteth, vainglory for instance; but thou art free from every passion, for it is not of vainglory that thou rejoicest at another's good. Hath he righted up the Church, tell me? hath he increased the congregation? Praise him; again thou hast a twofold crown; thou hast struck down envy; thou hast enwreathed thee with love. Yea, I implore and beseech thee. Wilt thou hear of a third crown even? Him, men below applaud, thee, the Angels above. For it is not the same thing, to make a display of eloquence, and to rule the passions. This praise is for a season, that for ever; this, of men, that, of God; this man is crowned openly; but thou art crowned in secret, where thy Father seeth. If it were possible to have peeled off the body and seen the soul of each, I would have shown thee that this is more dignified than the other, more resplendent.

Tread we under foot the goads of envy, we advantage ourselves, beloved, ourselves shall we enwreath with the crown. He that envieth another fighteth with God, not with him; for when he seeth him to have grace, and is grieved, and wisheth the Church pulled down, he fighteth not with him, but with God. For tell me, if one should adorn a king's daughter, and by his adorning and gracing her, gain for himself renown; and another person should wish her to be ill attired, and him to be unable to adorn her; against whom would he have been plotting mischief? Against the other? or against her and her father? So too now, thou that enviest, fightest with the Church, thou warrest with God. For, since with the good repute of thy brother is interwoven also the Church's profit, need is, that if the one be undone, the other shall be undone also. So that, in this regard also, thou doest a deed of Satan, seeing thou plottest mischief against the body of Christ. Art thou pained at this man? Wrongly, when he hath in nothing wronged thee; yea, much rather, thou art pained at Christ. Wherein hath He wronged thee, that thou wilt not suffer His body to be decked with beauty? that thou wilt not suffer His bride to be adorned? Consider, I pray thee, the punishment, how sore. Thou gladdenest thine enemies; and him too himself, the man in good esteem, whom through thy envy thou wishest to grieve, thou dost the rather gladden; thou dost by thine envy the rather show that he is in good esteem, for otherwise thou wouldest not have envied him. Thou showest the rather that thou art in punishment.

I am ashamed indeed to exhort you from such motives, but seeing our weakness is so great, let us be instructed even from these, and free ourselves from this destructive passion. Grievest thou that he is in good esteem? then why swellest thou that esteem by envying? Wishest thou to punish him? Why then showest thou that thou art pained? Why punish thyself before him, whom thou wouldest not have well esteemed? Thereafter double will be his pleasure, and thy punishment; not only because thou provest him to be great; but because thou begettest in him yet another pleasure, by punishing thyself; and again, at what thou art pained, he is pleased, whilst thou enviest. See how we deal ourselves heavy blows without perceiving it! He is an enemy. And yet, why an enemy? What wrong hath he done? Still, however, by this we make our enemy the more illustrious, and thereby punish ourselves the more. And herein again we punish ourselves, if we have discovered that he knows it. For perhaps he is not pleased, [900] but we thinking him to be so, are again pained on that account. Cease then your envying. Why inflictest thou wounds upon thyself?

Think we of these things, beloved; of those two crowns for them that envy not; of those praises from men, of those from God; of the evils that come of envying; and so shall we be able to quell the brute, and to be in good esteem before God, and to obtain the same things with those who are of good esteem. For perhaps we shall obtain them, and if we obtain them not, it will be for our advantage; still, even so, we shall be able, if we have lived to the glory of God, to obtain the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[888] Sav. adds ouk, but without necessity. [889] egeto kai ephereto, which is most properly said of property plundered in war. [890] The transition here is so sudden, that one suspects the text; but it may be only that he is catching himself up, to make a longer comment on the last few verses. [There may be two sets of rough notes, prepared for different occasions, with the same general discussion used in both cases, and the two combined by an editor. But the suggestion of the Oxford tr. is supported by a similar practice in several of the Homilies on Acts. Comp. below, on Hom. xii.--J.A.B.] [891] authentein, i.e. in the world, as men of the world. [892] epei siga, i.e. since (if it be not so) be silent. [893] deisidaimonesterous. The word does not convey quite the reproach which the E.V. does. It may be rendered, "I see that ye are rather given to the fear of divinities." [Or more probably, "very religious," as in American App. to Rev. Ver. The adjective may have either the good or the bad sense; and the comparative may mean more than a little, "somewhat," or more than common, "quite," "remarkably," or more than enough, "too." Only the connection can in such cases decide, and that is not here conclusive.--J.A.B.] [894] E.V. marg. Ps. lxix. 20. [895] See Tac. An. xiii. 25. The spectators at theaters and at the games were so eager in their favor toward one or another as sometimes to cause serious breaches of the peace. The factions of the Circus in the time of Justinian are described by Gibbon, c. xi.; see also the massacre of A.D. 501. Tillemont, Hist. des. Emp. t. vi.; Anastasius, art. x. [896] touto, the partisan of the victor. [897] [The persons designated as "we" seem to be conceived as divided into two parts. The altered text has smoothed down the difficulty: "much more in the victory over the devil. For he then breathes the more furiously against us, evidently," &c.--J.A.B.] [898] [Above rendered "good esteem."--J.A.B.] [899] epideiknumenos, al. epainomenos, "by being praised." [900] The Empress Eudoxia is thought to have been reflected on in some of the passages against extravagance. This whole passage probably alludes to the enmity which prevailed at court in consequence, and these words were probably meant to hint at the real love of St. Chrysostom for his bitterest enemies.


Homily XII.

Colossians iv. 12, 13

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness, that he hath much zeal [901] for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis."

In the commencement of this Epistle also, he commended this man for his love; for even to praise is a sign of love; thus in the beginning he said, "Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit." (Col. i. 8.) To pray for one is also a sign of love, and causeth love again. He commends him moreover in order to open a door to his teachings, for reverendness in the teacher is the disciples' advantage; and so again is his saying, [902] "one of you," in order that they might pride themselves upon the man, as producing such men. And he saith, "always striving for you in prayers." He said not simply "praying," but "striving," trembling and fearing. "For I bear him witness," he saith, "that he hath much zeal for you." A trustworthy witness. "That he hath," he saith, "much zeal for you," that is, that he loveth you exceedingly; and burneth with passionate affection for you. "And them in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis." He commendeth him to those also. But whence were they to know this? They would assuredly have heard; however, they would also learn it when the Epistle was read. For he said, "Cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans." "That ye may stand perfect," he saith. At once he both accuseth them, and without offensiveness gives them advice and counsel. For it is possible both to be perfect, and withal not to stand, as if one were to know all, and still be wavering; it is possible also not to be perfect, and yet to stand, as if one were to know a part, and stand [not [903] ] firmly. But this man prayeth for both: "That ye may stand perfect," he saith. See how again he has reminded them of what he said about the Angels, and about life. "And fully assured," he saith, "in all the will of God." It is not enough, simply to do His will. He that is "filled," suffereth not any other will to be within him, for if so, he is not wholly filled. "For I bear him witness," he saith, "that he hath much zeal." Both "zeal," and "great"; both are intensitive. As he saith himself, when writing to the Corinthians, "For I am jealous [904] over you with a godly jealousy." (2 Cor. xi. 2.)

Ver. 14. "Luke, the beloved physician, saluteth you." This is the Evangelist. It is not to lower this man that he placeth him after, but to raise the other, viz. Epaphroditus. It is probable that there were others called by this name. [905] "And Demas," he says. After saying, "Luke, the physician, saluteth you," he added, "the beloved." And no small praise is this, but even great exceedingly, to be beloved of Paul.

Ver. 15. "Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the Church that is in their house."

See how he cements, and knits them together with one another, not by salutation only, but also by interchanging his Epistles. Then again he pays a compliment by addressing him individually. And this he doth not without a reason, but in order to lead the others also to emulate his zeal. For it is not a small thing not to be numbered with the rest. Mark further how he shows the man to be great, seeing his house was a church.

Ver. 14. "And when this Epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans." I suppose there are some of the things therein written, which it was needful that those also should hear. And they would have the greater advantage of recognizing their own errors in the charges brought against others.

"And that ye also read the Epistle from Laodicea." Some say that this is not Paul's to them, but theirs to Paul, for he said not that to the Laodiceans, but that written "from Laodicea."

Ver. 17. "And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." Wherefore doth he not write to him? Perhaps he needed it not, but only a bare reminding, so as to be more diligent.

Ver. 18. "The salutation of me, Paul, with mine own hand." This is a proof of their sincerity and affection; that they both looked at his handwriting, and that with emotion. "Remember my bonds." Wonderful! How great the consolation! For this is enough to cheer them on to all things, and make them bear themselves more nobly in their trials; but he made them not only the braver, but also the more nearly interested. "Grace be with you. Amen."

It is great praise, and greater than all the rest, his saying of Epaphras, "who is [one] of you, a servant of Christ." [906] And he calleth him a minister for them, like as he termeth himself also a minister of the Church, as when he saith, "Whereof I Paul was made a minister." (Col. i. 23.) To the same dignity he advances this man; and above he calleth him a "fellow-servant" (Col. i. 7.), and here, "a servant." "Who is of you," he saith, as if speaking to a mother, and saying, "who is of thy womb." But this praise might have gendered envy; therefore he commendeth him not from these things only, but also from what had regard to themselves; and so he does away with envy, both in the former place, and here. "Always," he saith, "striving for you," not now only, whilst with us, to make a display; nor yet only whilst with you, to make a display before you. By saying, "striving," he hath showed his great earnestness. Then, that he might not seem to be flattering them, he added, "that he hath much zeal for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis." And the words, "that ye may stand perfect," are not words of flattery, but of a reverend teacher. Both "fully assured" he saith, "and perfect." The one he granted them, the other he said was lacking. And he said not, "that ye be not shaken," but, "that ye may stand." Their being saluted, however, by many, is refreshing to them, seeing that not only their friends from among themselves; but others also, remember them.

"And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord." His chief aim is to subject them to him [907] entirely. For they could no more have complaint against him for rebuking them, when they themselves had taken it all upon them; for it is not reasonable to talk to the disciples about the teacher. But to stop their mouths, he writes thus to them; "Say to Archippus," he saith, "Take heed." This word is everywhere used to alarm; as when he saith, "Take heed of dogs." (Philip. iii. 2.) "Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you." (Col. ii. 8.) "Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak." (1 Cor. viii. 9.) And he always so expresses himself when he would terrify. "Take heed," he saith, "to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." He doth not even allow him the power of choosing, as he saith himself, "For if I do this of mine own will, I have a reward: but if not of mine own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me." (1 Cor. ix. 17.) "That thou fulfill it," continually using diligence. "Which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." Again, the word "in" means "through the Lord." He gave it thee, says he, not we. He subjects them also to him, [908] when he shows that they had been committed to his hands by God.

"Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen." He hath released their terror. For although their teacher be in bonds, yet "grace" releaseth him. This too is of grace, the granting him to be put in bonds. For hear Luke saying, The Apostles returned "from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name." (Acts v. 41.) For both to suffer shame, and to be put in bonds, is indeed to be "counted worthy." For, if he that hath one whom he loveth, deemeth it gain to suffer aught for his sake, much rather then is it so to suffer for the sake of Christ. Repine we not then at our tribulations for Christ's sake, but let us also remember Paul's bonds, and be this our incitement. For instance: dost thou exhort any to give to the poor for Christ's sake? Remind them of Paul's bonds, and bemoan thy misery and theirs, seeing that he indeed gave up even his body to bonds for His sake, but thou wilt not give a portion even of thy food. Art thou lifted up because of thy good deeds? Remember Paul's bonds, that thou hast suffered nought of that kind, and thou wilt be lifted up no more. Covetest thou any of the things that are thy neighbor's? Remember Paul's bonds, and thou wilt see how unreasonable it is, that whilst he was in perils, thou shouldest be in delights. Again, is thine heart set upon self-indulgence? Picture to thy mind Paul's prison-house; thou art his disciple, his fellow-soldier. How is it reasonable, that thy fellow-soldier should be in bonds, and thou in luxury? Art thou in affliction? Dost thou deem thyself forsaken? Hear Paul's bonds, [909] and thou wilt see, that to be in affliction is no proof of being forsaken. Wouldest thou wear silken robes? Remember Paul's bonds; and these things will appear to thee more worthless than the filth-bespattered rags of her that sitteth apart. [910] Wouldest thou array thee with golden trinkets? Picture to thy mind Paul's bonds, and these things will seem to thee no better than a withered bulrush. Wouldest thou tire thine hair, and be beautiful to see? Think of Paul's squalidness within that prison-house, and thou wilt burn for that beauty, and deem this the extreme of ugliness, and wilt groan bitterly through longing for those bonds. Wouldest thou daub thee with pastes and pigments, and such like things? Think of his tears: a three-years space, night and day, he ceased not to weep. (Acts xx. 31.) With this adorning deck thy cheek; these tears do make it bright. I say not, that thou weep for others, (I wish indeed it could be even so, but this is too high for thee,) but for thine own sins I advise thee to do this. Hast thou ordered thy slave to be put in bonds, and wast thou angry, and exasperated? Remember Paul's bonds, and thou wilt straightway stay thine anger; remember that we are of the bound, not the binders, of the bruised in heart, not the bruisers. Hast thou lost self-control, and shouted loud in laughter? Think of his lamentations, and thou wilt groan; such tears will show thee brighter far. Seest thou any persons rioting and dancing? Remember his tears. What fountain has gushed forth so great streams as those eyes did tears? "Remember my tears" (Acts xx. 31.), he saith, as here "bonds." And with reason he spoke thus to them, when he sent for them from Ephesus to Miletus. For he was then speaking to teachers. He demands of those therefore, that they should sympathize [911] also, but of these that they should only encounter dangers.

What fountain wilt thou compare to these tears? That in Paradise, which watereth the whole earth? But thou wilt have mentioned nothing like it. For this fount of tears watered souls, not earth. If one were to show us Paul bathed in tears, and groaning, would not this be better far to see, than countless choirs gayly crowned? I am not now speaking of you; but, if one, having pulled away from the theater and the stage some wanton fellow, burning and drunken with carnal love, were to show him a young virgin in the very flower of her age, surpassing her fellows, both in other respects, and in her face more than the rest of her person, having an eye, tender and soft, that gently resteth, and gently rolleth, moist, mild, calmly smiling, and arrayed in much modesty and much grace, fringed with dark lashes both under and over, having an eyeball, so to speak, alive, a forehead radiant; underneath, again, a cheek shaded to exact redness, lying smooth as marble, and even; and then any one should show me Paul weeping; leaving that maiden, I would have eagerly sprung away to the sight of him; for from his eyes there beamed spiritual beauty. For that other transporteth the souls of youths, it scorcheth and inflameth them; but this, on the contrary, subdueth them. This maketh the eyes of the soul more beauteous, it curbeth the belly: it filleth with the love of wisdom, with much sympathy: and it is able to soften even a soul of adamant. With these tears the Church is watered, with these souls are planted; yea, though there be fire sensible and substantial, yet can these tears quench it; these tears quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Remember we then these tears of his, and we shall laugh to scorn all present things. These tears did Christ pronounce blessed, saying, "Blessed are they that mourn, and blessed are they that weep, for they shall laugh." (Matt. v. 4; Luke vi. 21.) Such tears did Isaiah too, and Jeremiah weep; and the former said, "Leave me alone, I will weep bitterly" (Isa. xxii. 4, Sept.): and the latter, "Who will give my head water, and mine eyes fountains of tears?" (Jer. ix. 1.); as though the natural fount were not enough.

Nothing is sweeter than these tears; sweeter are they than any laughter. They that mourn, know how great consolation it possesseth. Let us not think this a thing to be deprecated, but one to be even exceedingly prayed for; not that others may sin, but that, when they sin, we may be heart-broken for them. Remember we these tears, these bonds. Surely too upon those bonds tears descended; but the death of the perishing, of those that had bound him in them, suffered him not to taste the pleasure of the bonds. For in their behalf he grieved, being a disciple of Him that bewept the priests of the Jews; not because they were going to crucify Him, but because they were themselves perishing. And He doeth not this Himself alone, but He thus exhorteth others also, saying, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me." (Luke xxiii. 28.) These eyes saw Paradise, saw the third heaven: but I count not them so blessed because of this sight, as because of those tears, through which they saw Christ. Blessed, indeed, was that sight; for he himself even glories in it, saying, "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" (1 Cor. ix. 1.); but more blessed so to weep.

In that sight many have been partakers, and those who have not so been, Christ the rather calls blessed, saying, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John xx. 29.); but unto this not many have attained. For if to stay here for Christ's sake were more needful than to depart to Him (Philip. i. 23, 24.), for the sake of the salvation of others; surely then to groan for others' sakes, is more needful even than to see Him. For if for His sake to be in hell, [912] is rather to be desired, than to be with Him; and to be separated from Him for His sake more to be desired than to be with Him, (for this is what he said, "For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ" (Rom. ix. 3.), much more is weeping for His sake. "I ceased not," he saith, "to admonish everyone with tears." (Acts xx. 31.) Wherefore? Not fearing the dangers; no; but as if one sitting by a sick man's side, and not knowing what would be the end, should weep for affection, fearing lest he should lose his life; so too did he; when he saw any one diseased, and could not prevail by rebuke, he thenceforward wept. So did Christ also, that happily they might reverence His tears: thus, one sinned, He rebuked him; the rebuked spat upon Him, and sprang aloof; He wept, that haply He might win him even so.

Remember we these tears: thus let us bring up our daughters, thus our sons; weeping when we see them in evil. As many women as wish to be loved, let them remember Paul's tears, and groan: as many of you as are counted blest, as many as are in bridal chambers, as many as are in pleasure, remember these; as many as are in mourning, exchange tears for tears. He mourned not for the dead; but for those that were perishing whilst alive. Shall I tell of other tears? Timothy also wept; for he was this man's disciple; wherefore also when writing to him he said, "Remembering thy tears, that I may be filled with joy." (2 Tim. i. 4.) Many weep even from pleasure. So it is also a matter of pleasure, and that of the utmost intensity. So the tears are not painful: yea, the tears that flow from such sorrow are even better far than those due to worldly pleasure. Hear the Prophet saying, "The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping, he hath heard the voice of my supplication." (Ps. vi. 8.) For where is the tear not useful? in prayers? in exhortations? We get them an ill name, by using them not to what they are given us for. When we entreat a sinning brother, we ought to weep, grieving and groaning; when we exhort any one, and he giveth us no heed, but goeth on perishing, we ought to weep. These are the tears of heavenly wisdom. When however one is in poverty, or bodily disease, or dead, not so; for these are not things worthy of tears.

As then we gain an ill name for laughter also, when we use it out of season; so too do we for tears, by having recourse to them unseasonably. For the virtue of each thing then discovers itself when it is brought to its own fitting work, but when to one that is alien, it doth no longer so. For instance, wine is given for cheerfulness, not drunkenness, bread for nourishment, sexual intercourse for the procreation of children. As then these things have gained an ill name, so also have tears. Be there a law laid down, that they be used in prayers and exhortations only, and see how desirable a thing they will become. Nothing doth so wipe out sins, as tears. Tears show even this bodily countenance beautiful; for they win the spectator to pity, they make it respected in our eyes. Nothing is sweeter than tearful eyes. For this is the noblest member we have, and the most beautiful, and the soul's own. And therefore we are so bowed therewith, as though we saw the soul itself lamenting.

I have not spoken these things without a reason; but in order that ye may cease your attendance at weddings, at dancings, at Satanical performances. For see what the devil hath invented. Since nature itself hath withheld women from the stage, and the disgraceful things enacted there, he hath introduced into the women's apartment the furniture of the theater, I mean, wanton men and harlots. This pestilence the custom of marriages hath introduced, or rather, not of marriages, far be it, but of our own silliness. What is it thou doest, O man? Dost thou not know what thou art at? Thou marriest a wife for chastity, and procreation of children; what then mean these harlots? That there may be, one answereth, greater gladness. And yet is not this rather madness? Thou insultest thy bride, thou insultest the women that are invited. For if they are delighted with such proceedings, the thing is an insult. If to see harlots acting indecorously conferreth any honor, wherefore dost thou not drag thy bride also thither, that she too may see? It is quite indecent and disgraceful to introduce into one's house lewd fellows and dancers, and all that Satanic pomp.

"Remember," he saith, "my bonds." Marriage is a bond, a bond ordained of God, a harlot is a severing and a dissolving. It is permitted you to embellish marriage with other things, such as full tables, and apparel. I do not cut off these things, lest I should seem to be clownish to an extreme; and yet Rebecca was content with her veil [913] only (Gen. xxiv. 65.); still I do not cut them off. It is permitted you to embellish and set off marriage with apparel, with the presence of reverend men and reverend women. Why introducest thou those mockeries? [914] why those monsters? Tell us what it is thou hearest from them? What? dost thou blush to tell? Dost thou blush, and yet force them to do it? If it is honorable, wherefore dost thou not do it thyself as well? but if disgraceful, wherefore dost thou compel another? Everything should be full of chasteness, of gravity, of orderliness; but I see the reverse, people frisking like camels and mules. For the virgin, her chamber [915] is the only befitting place. "But," saith one, "she is poor." Because she is poor, she ought to be modest also; let her have her character in the place of a fortune. Has she no dowry to give with herself? Then why dost thou make her otherwise contemptible through her life and manners? I praise the custom, that virgins attend to do honor to their fellow; matrons attend to do honor to her who is made one of their order. Rightly hath this been ordered. For these are two companies, one of virgins, the other of the married; the one are giving her up, the other receiving her. The bride is between them, neither virgin, nor wife, for she is coming forth from those, and entering into the fellowship of these. But those harlots, what mean they? They ought to hide their faces when marriage is celebrated; they ought to be dug into the earth, (for harlotry is the corruption of marriage,) but we introduce them at our marriages. And, when ye are engaged in any work, ye count it ill-omened to speak even a syllable of what is adverse to it; for instance, when thou sowest, when thou drawest off the wine from thy vats, thou wouldest not, even if asked, utter a syllable about vinegar; but here, where the object is chasteness, introduce ye the vinegar? for such is an harlot. When ye are preparing sweet ointment, ye suffer nought ill-scented to be near. Marriage is a sweet ointment. Why then introducest thou the foul stench of the dunghill into the preparation of thy ointment? What sayest thou? Shall the virgin dance, and yet feel no shame before her fellow? For she ought to have more gravity than the other; she hath at least come forth from the [nurse's] arm, and not from the palæstra. For the virgin ought not to appear publicly at all at a marriage.

Seest thou not how in kings' houses, the honored are within, about the king, the unhonored without? Do thou too be within about the bride. But remain in the house in chasteness, expose not thy virginity. Either company is standing by, the one to show of what sort she is whom they are giving up, the other in order that they may guard her. Why disgracest thou the virgin estate? For if thou art such as this, the same will the bridegroom suspect her to be. If thou wishest to have men in love with thee, this is the part of saleswomen, green-grocers, and handicrafts-people. Is not this a shame? To act unseemly is a shame even though it be a king's daughter. [916] For doth her poverty stand in the way? or her course of life? Even if a virgin be a slave, let her abide in modesty. "For in Christ Jesus there can be neither bond nor free." (Gal. iii. 28.)

What? is marriage a theater? It is a mystery and a type of a mighty thing; and even if thou reverence not it, reverence that whose type it is. "This mystery," saith he, "is great, but I speak in regard of Christ and of the Church." (Eph. v. 32.) It is a type of the Church, and of Christ, and dost thou introduce harlots at it? If then, saith one, neither virgins dance, nor the married, who is to dance? No one, for what need is there of dancing? In the Grecian mysteries there are dancings, but in ours, silence and decency, modesty, and bashfulness. A great mystery is being celebrated: forth with the harlots! forth with the profane! How is it a mystery? They come together, and the two make one. Wherefore is it that at his entrance indeed, there was no dancing, no cymbals, but great silence, great stillness; but when they come together, making not a lifeless image, nor yet the image of anything upon earth, but of God Himself, and after his likeness, thou introducest so great an uproar, and disturbest those that are there, [917] and puttest the soul to shame, and confoundest it? They come, about to be made one body. See again a mystery of love! If the two become not one, so long as they continue two, they make not many, but when they are come into oneness, they then make many. What do we learn from this? That great is the power of union. The wise counsel of God at the beginning divided the one into two; and being desirous of showing that even after division it remaineth still one, He suffered not that the one should be of itself enough for procreation. For he is not one who is not yet [united, [918] ] but the half of one; and it is evident from this, that he begetteth no offspring, as was the case also beforetime. [919] Seest thou the mystery of marriage? He made of one, one; [920] and again, having made these two, one, He so maketh one, so that now also man is produced of one. For man and wife are not two men, but one Man. And this may be confirmed from many sources; for instance, from James, [921] from Mary the Mother of Christ, from the words, "He made them male and female." (Gen. i. 27.) If he be the head, and she the body, how are they two? Therefore the one holdeth the rank of a disciple, the other of a teacher, the one of a ruler, the other of a subject. Moreover, from the very fashioning of her body, one may see that they are one, for she was made from his side, and they are, as it were, two halves.

For this cause He also calleth her a help, to show that they are one (Gen. ii. 18.); for this cause He honoreth their cohabitation beyond both father and mother, to show that they are one. (Gen. ii. 24.) And in like manner a father rejoiceth both when son and daughter marry, as though the body were hastening to join a member of its own; and though so great a charge and expenditure of money is incurred still he cannot bear with indifference to see her [922] unmarried. For as though her own flesh itself were severed from her, each one separately is imperfect for the procreation of children, each one is imperfect as regards the constitution of this present life. Wherefore also the Prophet saith, "the residue of thy spirit." (Mal. ii. 15, Sept.) And how become they one flesh? As if thou shouldest take away the purest part of gold, and mingle it with other gold; so in truth here also the woman as it were receiving the richest part fused by pleasure, nourisheth it and cherisheth it, and withal contributing her own share, restoreth it back a Man. And the child is a sort of bridge, so that the three become one flesh, the child connecting, on either side, each to other. For like as two cities, which a river divides throughout, become one, if a bridge connect them on both sides, so is it in this case; and yet more, when the very bridge in this case is formed of the substance of each. As the body and the head are one body; for they are divided by the neck; but not divided more than connected, for it, lying between them brings together each with the other. And it is the same as if a chorus that had been severed should, by taking one part of itself from this quarter, and the other again from the right, make one; or as these when come into close rank, and extending hands, become one; for the hands extended admit not of their being two. Therefore to wit He said with accuracy of expression, not "they shall be one flesh" but joined together "into one flesh" (Gen. ii. 2, Sept.), namely, that of the child. What then? when there is no child, will they not be two? Nay, for their coming together hath this effect, it diffuses and commingles the bodies of both. And as one who hath cast ointment into oil, hath made the whole one; so in truth is it also here.

I know that many are ashamed at what is said, and the cause of this is what I spoke of, your own lasciviousness, and unchasteness. The fact of marriages being thus performed, thus depraved, hath gained the thing an ill name: for "marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled." (Heb. xiii. 4.) Why art thou ashamed of the honorable, why blushest thou at the undefiled? This is for heretics, [923] this is for such as introduce harlots thither. For this cause I am desirous of having it thoroughly purified, so as to bring it back again to its proper nobleness, so as to stop the mouths of the heretics. The gift of God is insulted, the root of our generation; for about that root there is much dung and filth. This then let us cleanse away by our discourse. Endure then a little while, for he that holdeth filth must endure the stench. I wish to show you that ye ought not to be ashamed at these things, but at those which ye do; but thou, passing by all shame at those, art ashamed at these; surely then thou condemnest God who hath thus decreed.

Shall I tell how marriage is also a mystery of the Church? As Christ came into the Church, and she was made of him, [924] and he united with her in a spiritual intercourse, "for," saith one, "I have espoused you to one husband, a pure virgin." (2 Cor. xi. 2.) And that we are of Him, he saith, of His members, "and of His flesh." Thinking then on all these things, let us not cast shame upon so great a mystery. Marriage is a type of the presence of Christ, and art thou drunken at it? Tell me; if thou sawest an image of the king, wouldest thou dishonor it? By no means.

Now the practices at marriages seem to be a matter of indifference, but they are the causes of great mischiefs. All is full of lawlessness. "Filthiness, and foolish talking, and jesting, let it not proceed," saith he, "out of your mouth." (Eph. v. 4; iv. 29.) Now all these things are filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting; and not these simply, but with aggravation, for the thing has become an art, and there are great praises for those that pursue it. Sins have become an art! We pursue them not in any chance way, but with earnestness, with science, and thenceforth the devil takes the command of his own array. For where drunkenness is, there is unchasteness: where filthy talking, there the devil is at hand bringing in his own contributions; with such an entertainment, tell me, dost thou celebrate the mystery of Christ? and invitest thou the devil?

I dare say you consider me offensive. For this too is a property of extreme pervertedness, that even one that rebuketh you incurs your ridicule as one that is austere. Hear ye not Paul, saying, "Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"? (1 Cor. x. 31.) But ye do all to ill report and dishonor. Hear ye not the Prophet, saying, "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling?" (Ps. ii. 11.) But ye are wholly without restraint. [925] Is it not possible both to enjoy pleasure, and to do so with safety? Art thou desirous of hearing beautiful songs? Best of all indeed, thou oughtest not; nevertheless, I condescend if thou wilt have it so: do not hear those Satanic ones, but the spiritual. Art thou desirous of seeing choirs of dancers? Behold the choir of Angels. And how is it possible, saith one, to see them? If thou drive away all these things, even Christ will come to such a marriage, and Christ being present, the choir of Angels is present also. If thou wilt, He will even now work miracles as He did then; He will make even now the water, wine (John ii.); and what is much more wonderful, He will convert this unstable and dissolving pleasure, this cold desire, and change it into the spiritual. This is to make of water, wine. Where pipers are, by no means there is Christ; but even if He should have entered, He first casts these forth, [926] and then He works His wonders. What can be more disagreeable than this Satanic pomp? where everything is inarticulate, everything without significancy; and if there be anything articulate, again all is shameful, all is noisome.

Nothing is more pleasurable than virtue, nothing sweeter than orderliness, nothing more amiable than gravity. Let any celebrate such a marriage as I speak of; and he shall find the pleasure; but what sort of marriages these are, take heed. First seek a husband for the virgin, who will be truly a husband, and a protector; as though thou wert intending to place a head upon a body; as though about to give not a slave, but a daughter into his hands. Seek not money, nor splendor of family, nor greatness of country; all these things are superfluous; but piety of soul, gentleness, the true understanding, the fear of God, if thou wishest thy darling to live with pleasure. For if thou seek a wealthier husband, not only wilt thou not benefit her, but thou wilt even harm her, by making her a slave instead of free. For the pleasure she will reap from her golden trinkets will not be so great as will be the annoyance that comes of her slavery. I pray thee, seek not these things, but most of all, one of equal condition; if however this cannot be, rather one poorer than in better circumstances; if at least thou be desirous not of selling thy daughter to a master, but of giving her to a husband. When thou hast thoroughly investigated the virtue of the man, and art about to give her to him, beseech Christ to be present: for He will not be ashamed to be so; it is the mystery of His presence. Yea rather beseech Him even in the first instance, to grant her such a suitor. Be not worse than the servant of Abraham, who, when sent on a pilgrimage so important, saw whither he ought to have recourse; wherefore also he obtained everything. When thou art taking anxious pains, and seeking a husband for her, pray; say unto God, "whomsoever Thou wilt do Thou provide:" into His hands commit the matter; and He, honored in this way by thee, will requite thee with honor.

Two things indeed it is necessary to do; to commit the thing into His hands, and to seek such an orderly person as He Himself approves.

When [927] then thou makest a marriage, go not round from house to house borrowing mirrors and dresses; for the matter is not one of display, nor dost thou lead thy daughter to a pageant; but decking out thine house with what is in it, invite thy neighbors, and friends, and kindred. As many as thou knowest to be of a good character, those invite, and bid them be content with what there is. Let no one from the orchestra be present, for such expense is superfluous, and unbecoming. Before all the rest, invite Christ. Knowest thou whereby thou wilt invite Him? Whosoever, saith He, "hath done it to one of these least, hath done it to Me." (Matt. xxv. 40.) And think it not an annoying thing to invite the poor for Christ's sake; to invite harlots is an annoyance. For to invite the poor is a means of wealth, the other of ruin. Adorn the bride not with these ornaments that are made of gold, but with gentleness and modesty, and the customary robes; in place of all golden ornament and braiding, arraying her in blushes, and shamefacedness, and the not desiring such things. Let there be no uproar, no confusion; let the bridegroom be called, let him receive the virgin. The dinners and suppers, let them not be full of drunkenness, but of abundance and pleasure. See how many good things will result, whenever we see such marriages as those; but from the marriages that are now celebrated, (if at least one ought to call them marriages and not pageants,) how many are the evils! The banquet hall is no sooner broken up, than straightway comes care and fear, lest aught that is borrowed should have been lost, and there succeeds to the pleasure melancholy intolerable. But this distress belongs to the mother-in-law,--nay, rather not even is the bride herself free; all that follows at least belongs to the bride herself. For to see all broken up, is a ground for sadness, to see the house desolate.

There is Christ, here is Satan; there is cheerfulness, here anxious care; there pleasure, here pain; there expense, here nothing of the kind; there indecency, here modesty; there envy, here no envy; there drunkenness, here soberness, here health, here temperance. Bearing in mind all these things, let us stay the evil at this point, that we may please God, and be counted worthy to obtain the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[901] [Correct text of N.T., as in Rev. Ver., "much labor."--J.A.B.] [902] Ed. Par. [and Field] conj. to for to, "again (he commends him) by saying." [903] Hales seems right in expunging this word; otherwise the sense is "though not." [Omitted in one ms. and in Field.--J.A.B.] [904] [The Greek word means both zealous and jealous. In fact, the English word "jealous" is only a corrupt form of "zealous."--J.A.B.] [905] i.e. Luke. Perhaps "and Demas" should come after the next clause. [It is evident that we have here only rough notes, dictated, or more likely, taken in shorthand.--J.A.B.] [906] [The two following paragraphs go again over the ground of the preceding. Are they notes taken by two hearers, or notes made by the preacher for two occasions? Or does he return and run over the passage again, to see what further remarks it will suggest? The latter seems to be the case in a good many of the Homilies on Acts. Comp. above, on Hom. xi.--J.A.B.] [907] i.e. Archippus. [908] i.e. Archippus. [909] [So in all the mss. known to Field. Notice how jejune is the correction, "words," which went into the printed editions.--J.A.B.] [910] [This also is wanting in the editions, but found in the mss., and indeed quite in Chrys.'s manner. See Isa. lxiv. 6.--J.A.B.] [911] [This sunalgein was changed in most mss. and the editions into sunagein, "gather together." Hales conjectured sunalgein. Field finds it in a ms. The other is indeed the more difficult reading, and likely to have been altered into an easy one, but the difficulty in this case becomes practically unintelligible.--J.A.B.] [912] See St. Chrysostom on Rom. ix. 3, where he says the wish was "to be separated from His presence, not from His love." [913] theristron, "summer robe." [914] epicharmata, subjects of rejoicing for the enemy. [915] thalamos, which is used for any retired chamber. [916] i.e. at whose wedding it is done. [917] tous ontas. Possibly "those that are [that image]." Downes proposes sunontas, with some probability. [918] hooudepo. The word henomenos, which Ed. Par. would supply, may be understood. [919] kathaper kai proteron. Downes and others give up this passage as corrupt. The Translator suggests, "as was the case with Adam before Eve was formed." There is still a difficulty, though this has a meaning, in that God withheld the power then from the undivided Man, as he does now from the not yet reunited. [920] i.e. "one other." Savile needlessly conjectures "two." [921] The word is declined, and so would not mean Jacob. One ms. has Joseph, which is no plainer. [Three mss. have Joseph, but they are the group of three that are so often palpably altering.--J.A.B.] One would expect a solution from the end of Hom. v., but none seems to occur there, unless Jacob's birth after Rebecca's long barrenness be deemed sufficient. [922] Implied in aute below. The word is of common gender. [923] On 1 Tim. iv. 3 he mentions the Manichees, Marcionites, and Encratites. [924] [The three mss. which so often alter have made an important alteration here, from "she was made of him" into "he was made of her," and this became the common printed text. Were the critics thinking of a typical relation between the Virgin Mary and the Church, or of transubstantiation?--J.A.B.] [925] diacheisthe, are dissolute; lit. "poured abroad." [926] As when He would raise Jairus's daughter, Matt. ix. 25. [927] Here he addresses the mother, all the participles being feminine.


Also, see links to 600 other Chrysostom Manuscripts:
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The main BELIEVE web-page (and the index to subjects) is at: BELIEVE Religious Information Source - By Alphabet http://mb-soft.com/believe/indexaz.html