Writings of John Chrysostom. On the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

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St. Chrysostom:

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

On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

The Oxford Translation, revised with additional notes by
Rev. Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D.

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


Preface.

The remark of Photius, that St. Chrysostom's more finished works were those which he composed at Antioch, does not seem to afford a sufficient criterion for assigning a date to each set of Homilies. Tillemont appears to have been misled by it in the instance of those on the Epistles to Timothy, which he has on such grounds supposed to have been delivered at Constantinople. Montfaucon, however, alleges two reasons for placing them at Antioch.

1. That he speaks much of the Monks, as he used to do there, owing to the neighborhood of a large number of them, who lived in strict discipline and exemplary devotion. 2. That in speaking of Timothy's office as Bishop, he never says a word of being one himself. A third reason may be added, which is perhaps more conclusive than either of these. In Hom. viii. on 2 Tim. iii. he seems pretty evidently to allude to the burning of the Temple of Apollo at Daphne. One can hardly doubt the allusion, in reading the full account in the Homily on St. Babylas; nor can it well be supposed that he would thus refer to it as a thing well known at any other place than Antioch.

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The Homilies on the Epistle to Titus are fixed at Antioch by the mention of Daphne and the cave of Matrona in Hom. iii. (2). A passage in Hom. i. (4) seems to place him in a paternal relation to the people, as the plural we is constantly used by him for the singular. But the whole context seems rather to allude to another as Bishop, and he must be understood to speak as one of a body of clergy, in which in fact he held the second place.

Those on the Epistle to Philemon cannot easily be assigned to any particular date. The promise he mentions in the last Homily does not seem to afford a clue to it, but may possibly do so. The composition of these Homilies has been remarked on as negligent by Hemsterhusius, so that he takes them to have been extemporaneous effusions taken down by others. There may be some ground for this in the style, and in the paraphrastic character of the various readings, but as a commentary they are unusually closed and exact, and point out much of what regards the persuasive character of the Epistle that is not generally noticed.

For the Translation and some illustrative notes, the Editors are indebted to the Rev. James Tweed, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The text of the New Paris edition has been chiefly used, as it is improved from the Benedictine. Savile's has been compared with it in many parts, and in every difficulty, and where both failed, a better reading has been sometimes found in the ms. marked B, which is in the British Museum marked Burney 48. The differences are, however, slight, and affect the Greek more than the Translation. A Venice ms. which usually agrees with this has been collated for the Homilies on the Epistle to Philemon. An old Latin version published at Basle has been noticed in some places, where its variations appear to be derived from Greek copies.

C. Marriot.

Oxford, 1843.


Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

On the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy.

Argument.

1. Timothy too [1080] was one of the disciples of the Apostle Paul. To the extraordinary qualities of this youth testimony is borne by Luke, who informs us, that he was "well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium." (Acts xvi. 2.) He became at once a disciple and a teacher, and gave this singular instance of his prudence, that hearing Paul preach without insisting upon circumcision, and understanding that he had formerly withstood Peter upon that point, he chose not only not to preach against it, but to submit to that rite. For Paul, it is said, "took and circumcised him" (Acts xvi. 3.), though he was of adult age, and so trusted him with his whole economy. [1081]

The affection of Paul for him is a sufficient evidence of his character. For he elsewhere says of him, "Ye know the proof of him, that as a son with a father, he hath served with me in the Gospel." (Philip. ii. 22.) And to the Corinthians again he writes: "I have sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord." (1 Cor. iv. 17.) And again: "Let no man despise him, for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do." (1 Cor. xvi. 10, 11.) And to the Hebrews he writes, "Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty." (Heb. xiii. 23.) Indeed his love for him is everywhere apparent, and the miracles [1082] that are now wrought still attest his claims. [1083]

2. If it should be asked why he addresses Epistles to Titus and Timothy alone, though Silas was approved, as also was Luke, for he writes, "Only Luke is with me" (2 Tim. iv. 11.), and Clement was one of his associates, of whom he says, "with Clement and other my fellow-laborers" (Philip. iv. 3.), for what reason then does he write only to Titus and Timothy? It is because he had already committed the care of churches to these, and certain marked [1084] places had been assigned to them, but the others were in attendance upon him. For so preėminent in virtue was Timothy, that his youth was no impediment to his promotion; therefore he writes, "Let no man despise thy youth" (1 Tim. iv. 12, and v. 2.); and again, "The younger women as sisters." [1085] For where there is virtue, all other things are superfluous, and there can be no impediment. Therefore when the Apostle discourses of Bishops, among the many things he requires of them, he makes no particular mention of age. And if he speaks of a Bishop "being the husband of one wife," and "having his children in subjection" (1 Tim. iii. 2, 4.), this is not said, as if it were necessary he should have a wife and children; but that if any should happen from a secular life to be advanced to that office, they might be such as knew how to preside over their household and children, and all others committed to them. For if a man were both secular and deficient in these points, how should he be [1086] intrusted with the care of the Church?

3. But why, you will say, does he address an Epistle to a disciple already appointed to the office of a Teacher? Ought he not to have been made perfect for his office, before he was sent? Yes; but the instruction which he needed was not that which was suited to a disciple, but that which was proper for a Teacher. You will perceive him therefore through the whole Epistle adapting his instructions to a Teacher. Thus at the very beginning he does not say, "Do not attend to those who teach otherwise," but, "Charge them that they teach no other doctrine." (1 Tim. i. 3.)

Footnotes

[1080] kai. The reference is not clear. It may possibly be to Titus, whom he presently names before Timothy; but the explanations that follow would be hardly needed in that case. [1081] i.e. his plan of meeting Jewish prejudices. [1082] Of miracles said to be wrought by the bones of Timothy, see Hom. on Stat. 1, § 2, Ben. [1083] parresian. His freedom of speech in the court of Heaven. See Hom. i. on Stat. § 2, and note at the end of Hom. vi. on Stat. Hom. i. on Stat. enlarges on the character of Timothy from 1 Tim. v. 23. [1084] Or conspicuous phanerois. [1085] Some copies omit the latter quotation. [1086] So Sav. Ben. have been.


Homily I.

1 Timothy i. 1, 2

"Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." [The R.V. omits kuriouand translates: Christ Jesus our hope, tes elpidos hemon.]

1. Great and admirable is the dignity of an Apostle, and we find Paul constantly setting forth the causes of it, not as if he took the honor to himself, but as intrusted with it, and being under the necessity of so doing. For when he speaks of himself as "called," and that "by the will of God," and again elsewhere, "a necessity is laid upon me" (1 Cor. ix. 16.), and when he says, "for this I was separated," by these expressions all idea of arrogance and ambition is removed. For as he deserves the severest blame, who intrudes into an office which is not given him of God, so he who refuses, and shrinks from it when offered to him, incurs blame of another kind, that of rebellion and disobedience. Therefore Paul, in the beginning of this Epistle, thus expresses himself, "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God." He does not say here, "Paul called," but "by commandment." He begins in this manner, that Timothy may not feel any human infirmity from supposing that Paul addresses him on the same terms as his disciples. But where is this commandment given? We read in the Acts of the Apostles: "The Spirit said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas." (Acts xiii. 2.) And everywhere in his writings Paul adds the name of Apostle, to instruct his hearers not to consider the doctrines he delivered as proceeding from man. For an Apostle [1087] can say nothing of his own, and by calling himself an Apostle, he at once refers his hearers to Him that sent him. In all his Epistles therefore he begins by assuming this title, thus giving authority to his words, as here he says, "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Saviour." Now it does not appear that the Father anywhere commanded him. It is everywhere Christ who addresses him. Thus, "He said unto me, Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles" (Acts xxii. 21.); and again, "Thou must be brought before Cæsar." (Acts xxvii. 24.) But whatever the Son commands, this he considers to be the commandment of the Father, as those of the Spirit are the commandments of the Son. For he was sent by the Spirit, he was separated by the Spirit, and this he says was the commandment of God. What then? does it derogate from the power of the Son, that His Apostle was sent forth by the commandment of the Father? By no means. For observe, how he represents the power as common to both. For having said, "according to the commandment of God our Saviour"; he adds, "and Lord Jesus Christ, our hope." And observe, with what propriety he applies the titles. [1088] And indeed, the Psalmist applies this to the Father, saying, "The hope of all the ends of the earth." (Ps. lxiv. 5.) And again, the blessed Paul in another place writes, "For therefore we both labor, and suffer reproach, because we have hope in the living God." The teacher must suffer dangers even more than the disciple. "For I will smite the shepherd, (he says,) "and the sheep shall be scattered abroad." (Zech. xiii. 7.) Therefore the devil rages with greater violence against teachers, because by their destruction the flock also is scattered. For by slaying the sheep, he has lessened the flock, but when he has made away with the shepherd, he has ruined the whole flock, so that he the rather assaults him, as working greater mischief by a less effort; and in one soul effecting the ruin of all. For this reason Paul, at the beginning, elevates and encourages the soul of Timothy, by saying, We have God for our Saviour and Christ for our hope. We suffer much, but our hopes are great; we are exposed to snares and perils, but to save us we have not man but God. Our Saviour is not weak, for He is God, and whatever be our dangers they will not overcome us; nor is our hope made ashamed, for it is Christ. [1089] For in two ways we are enabled to bear up against dangers, when we are either speedily delivered from them, or supposed by good hopes under them.

But Paul never calls himself the Apostle of the Father, but always of Christ. Because he makes everything common to both. The Gospel itself he calls "the Gospel of God." [1090] And whatever we suffer here, he implies, things present are as nothing.

"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith."

This too is encouraging. For if he evinced such faith as to be called peculiarly Paul's "own" son, he might be confident also with respect to the future. For it is the part of faith not to be cast down or disturbed, though circumstances occur that seem contrary to the promises. But observe he says, "my son," and even "mine own son," and yet he is not of the same substance. But what? was he of irrational kind? "Well," says one, "he was not of Paul, so this does not imply 'being of' another." What then? was he of another substance? neither was it so, for after saying "mine own son," he adds, "in the faith," to show that he was really "his own son," and truly from him. There was no difference. The likeness he bore to him was in respect to his faith, as in human births there is a likeness in respect of substance. The son is like the father in human beings, but with respect to God the proximity is greater. [1091] For here a father and a son, though of the same substance, differ in many particulars, as in color, figure, understanding, age, bent of mind, endowments of soul and body, and in many other things they may be like or unlike, but there is no such dissimilarity in the divine Essence. "By commandment." This is a stronger expression than "called", as we learn from other passages. As he here calls Timothy "mine own son," in like manner he says to the Corinthians, "in Christ Jesus I have begotten you," i.e. in faith; but he adds the word "own," [1092] to show his particular likeness to himself, as well as his own love and great affection for him. Notice again the "in" applied to the faith. "My own son," he says, "in the faith." See what an honorable distinction, in that he calls him not only his "son," but his "own" son.

Ver. 2. "Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."

Why is mercy mentioned here, and not in the other Epistles? This is a further mark of his affection. Upon his son he invokes greater blessings, with the anxious apprehension of a parent. For such was his anxiety, that he gives directions to Timothy, which he has done in no other case, to attend to his bodily health; where he says, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities" (1 Tim. v. 23.) Teachers indeed stand more in need of mercy.

"From God our Father," he says, "and Jesus Christ our Lord."

Here too is consolation. For if God is our Father, He cares for us as sons, as Christ says, "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?" (Matt. vii. 9.)

Ver. 3. "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia."

Observe the gentleness of the expression, more like that of a servant than of a master. For he does not say "I commanded," or "bade" or even "exhorted," but "I besought thee." But this tone is not for all: only meek and virtuous disciples are to be treated thus. The corrupt and insincere are to be dealt with in a different manner, as Paul himself elsewhere directs, "Rebuke them with all authority" (Tit. ii. 15.); and here he says "charge," not "beseech," but "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." What means this? That Paul's Epistle which he sent them was not sufficient? Nay, it was sufficient; but men are apt sometimes to slight Epistles, or perhaps this may have been before the Epistles were written. He had himself passed some time in that city. There was the temple of Diana, and there he had been exposed to those great sufferings. For after the assembly in the Theater had been dissolved, and he had called to him and exhorted the disciples, he found it necessary to sail away, though afterwards he returned to them. It were worth enquiry, whether he stationed Timothy there at that time. [1093] For he says, that "thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine": he does not mention the persons by name, that he might not, by the openness of his rebuke, render them more shameless. There were in that city certain false Apostles of the Jews, who wished to oblige the faithful to observe the Jewish law, a fault he is everywhere noticing in his Epistles; and this they did not from motives of conscience, so much as from vainglory, and a wish to have disciples, from jealousy of the blessed Paul, and a spirit of opposition to him. This is meant by "teaching another doctrine."

Ver. 4. "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies."

By "fables" he does not mean the law; far from it; but inventions and forgeries and counterfeit doctrines. For, it seems, the Jews wasted their whole discourse on these unprofitable points. They numbered up their fathers and grandfathers, that they might have the reputation of historical knowledge and research. "That thou mightest charge some," he says, "that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies." Why does he call them "endless"? It is because they had no end, or none of any use, or none easy for us to apprehend. Mark how he disapproves of questioning. For where faith exists, there is no need of question. Where there is no room for curiosity, questions are superfluous. Questioning is the subversion of faith. [1094] For he that seeks has not yet found. He who questions cannot believe. Therefore it is his advice that we should not be occupied with questions, since if we question, it is not faith; for faith sets reasoning at rest. But why then does Christ say, "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. vii. 7.); and, "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life"? (John v. 39.) The seeking there is meant of prayer and vehement desire, and He bids "search the Scriptures," not to introduce the labors of questioning, but to end them, that we may ascertain and settle their true meaning, not that we may be ever questioning, but that we may have done with it. And he justly said, "Charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables, and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than the dispensation of God in faith." [1095] Justly has he said, "the dispensation of God." For great are the blessings which God is willing to dispense; but the greatness of them is not conceived by reasoning. This must then be the work of faith, which is the best medicine of our souls. This questioning therefore is opposed to the dispensation of God. For what is dispensed by faith? To receive His mercies and become better men; to doubt and dispute of nothing; but to repose in confidence. For what "ministers questions" displaces faith and that which faith hath wrought and builded. Christ has said that we must be saved by faith; this these teachers questioned and even denied. For since the announcement was present, but the issue of it future, faith was required. But they bring preoccupied by legal observances threw impediments in the way of faith. He seems also here to glance at the Greeks, where he speaks of "fables and genealogies," for they enumerated their Gods.

Moral. Let us not then give heed to questions. For we were called Faithful, that we might unhesitatingly believe what is delivered to us, and entertain no doubt. For if the things asserted were human, we ought to examine them; but since they are of God, they are only to be revered and believed. If we believe not, how shall we be persuaded of the existence of a God? For how knowest thou that there is a God, when thou callest Him to account? The knowledge of God is best shown by believing in Him without proofs and demonstrations. Even the Greeks know this; for they believed their Gods telling them, saith one, even without proof; and what?--That [1096] they were the offspring of the Gods. But why do I speak of the Gods? In the case of the man, a deceiver and sorcerer, [1097] (I speak of Pythagoras,) they acted in like manner, for of him it was said, [1098] He said it. [1099] And over their temples was an image of Silence, and her finger on her mouth, compressing her lips, and significantly exhorting all that passed by to be silent. And were their doctrines so sacred, and are ours less so? and even to be ridiculed? What extreme madness is this! The tenets of the Greeks indeed are rightly questioned. For they were of that nature, being but disputes, conflicts of reasonings, and doubts, and conclusions. But ours are far from all these. For human wisdom invented theirs, but ours were taught by the grace of the Spirit. Their doctrines are madness and folly, ours are true wisdom. In their case there is neither teacher nor scholar; but all alike are disputants. Here whether teacher or scholar, each is to learn [1100] of him from whom he ought to learn, and not to doubt, but obey; not to dispute, but believe. For all the ancients obtained a good report through faith, and without this everything is subverted. And why do I speak of it in heavenly things? We shall find upon examination that earthly things depend upon it no less. For without this there would be no trade nor contracts, nor anything of the sort. And if it be so necessary here in things that are false, how much more in those. [1101]

This then let us pursue, to this let us adhere, so shall we banish from our souls all destructive doctrines, such, for instance, as relate to nativity [1102] and fate. [1103] If you believe that there is a resurrection and a judgment, you will be able to expel from your mind all those false opinions. Believe that there is a just God, and you will not believe that there can be an unjust nativity. Believe that there is a God, and a Providence, [1104] and you will not believe that there can be a nativity, that holds all things together. [1105] Believe that there is a place of punishment, and a Kingdom, and you will not believe in a nativity that takes away our free agency, and subjects us to necessity and force. Neither sow, nor plant, nor go to war, nor engage in any work whatever! For whether you will or not, things will proceed according to the course of nativity! What need have we more of Prayer? And why should you deserve to be a Christian, if there be this nativity? for you will not then be responsible. And whence proceed the arts of life? are these too from nativity? Yes, you say, and it is fated to one to become wise with labor. But can you show me one who has learnt an art without labor? You cannot. It is not then from nativity but from labor that he derives his skill.

But why does a man who is corrupt and wicked become rich, without inheriting it from his father, while another, amidst infinite labors, remains poor? For such are the questions they raise, always arguing upon wealth and poverty, and never taking the case of vice and virtue. Now in this question talk not of that, but show me a man who has become bad, whilst he was striving to be good; or one that, without striving, has become good. For if Fate has any power, its power should be shown in the most important things; in vice and virtue, not in poverty and riches. Again you ask, why is one man sickly and another healthy? why is one honored, another disgraced? Why does every thing succeed well with this man, whilst another meets with nothing but failure and impediments? Lay aside the notion of nativity, and you will know. Believe firmly that there is a God and a Providence, and all these things will be cleared up. "But I cannot," you say, "conceive that there is a Providence, when there is such disorder. Can I believe that the good God gives wealth to the fornicator, the corrupt and dishonest man, and not to the virtuous? How can I believe this? for there must be facts to ground belief." Well then, do these cases proceed from a nativity that was just, or unjust? "Unjust," you say. Who then made it? "Not God," you say, "it was unbegotten." But how can the unbegotten produce these things? for they are contradictions. "These things are not then in any wise the works of God." Shall we then enquire who made the earth, the sea, the heavens, the seasons? "Nativity," you answer. Did nativity then produce in things inanimate such order and harmony, but in us, for whom these things were made, so much disorder? As if one, in building a house, should be careful to make it magnificent, but bestow not a thought upon his household. But who preserves the succession of the seasons? Who established the regular laws of nature? Who appointed the courses of day and night? These things are superior to any such nativity. "But these," you say, "came to be of themselves." And yet how can such a well-ordered system spring up of itself?

"But whence," you say, "come the rich, the healthy, the renowned, and how are some made rich by covetousness, some by inheritance, some by violence? and why does God suffer the wicked to be prosperous?" We answer, Because the retribution, according to the desert of each, does not take place here, but is reserved for hereafter. Show me any such thing taking place Then! "Well," say you, "give me here, and I do not look for hereafter." [1106] But it is because you seek here, that you receive not. For if when earthly enjoyment is not within your reach, you seek present things so eagerly as to prefer them to future, what would you do if you were in possession of unmixed pleasure? God therefore shows you that these things are nothing, and indifferent; for if they were not indifferent, He would not bestow them on such men. You will own that it is a matter of indifference whether one be tall or short, black or white; so is it whether one be rich or poor. For, tell me, are not things necessary bestowed on all equally, as the capacity for virtue, the distribution of spiritual gifts? If you understood aright the mercies of God, you would not complain of wanting worldly things, whilst you enjoyed these best gifts equally with others; and knowing that equal distribution you would not desire superiority in the rest. As if a servant enjoying from his master's bounty food, clothing, and lodging, and all other necessaries equally with his fellow-servants, should pride himself upon having longer nails, or more hair upon his head; so it is for a Christian to be elated on account of those things, which he enjoys only for a time. For this reason it is, that God withdraws those things from us, to extinguish this madness, and transfer our affections from them to heaven. But nevertheless we do not learn wisdom. As if a child possessing a toy, should prefer it to things necessary, and his father, to lead him against his will to what was better for him, should deprive him of his toy; so God takes these things from us, that He may lead us to heaven. If you ask then why He permits the wicked to be rich, it is because they are not high in His esteem. And if the righteous too are rich, it is rather that He allows it to be, than that He makes them so. Now these things we say superficially, as to men not knowing the Scriptures. But our discourses would be unnecessary if you would believe and take heed to the divine word, for that would teach you all things. And that you may understand that neither riches, nor health, nor glory, are anything, I can show you many, who, when they might gain wealth, do not seek wealth; when they might enjoy health, mortify their bodies; when they might rise to glory, make it their aim to be despised. But there is no good man, who ever studied to be bad. Let us therefore desist from seeking things below, and let us seek heavenly things; for so we shall be able to attain them, and we shall enjoy eternal delights, [1107] by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now, and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[1087] He refers to the sense of the term in Greek, which is, "One who is sent." See Heb. iii. 1; John viii. 28; xiv. 10. [1088] eponuma, viz. "Saviour" and "Hope." [1089] Montfaucon adopts Savile's conjecture. mss. Christ's. The mistake would be easily made by a transcriber who did not follow the sense entirely. [1090] Ver. 11. 1 Thess. ii. 4. [1091] He supposes an Arian objector to argue that St. Paul here calls one a "son," and his "own son," who was not of his substance, and so our Lord may be called the Son of God, and yet not be of His substance. St. Chrysostom replies (1) that even so St. Paul does not leave room to suppose a different kind of substance, as though he had called a brute his son. The objector rejoins, that still he calls one a son who was not of "his own" substance. He answers (2) that even this does not follow, since he adds, "in the faith," and the faith of Timothy was both exactly similar to his own, and derived from it. Thus the passage affords no countenance even to the doctrine of "like," as opposed to "one substance." See Epistle of St. Athanasius in def. of Nicene Def. c. v. § 8, Oxf. Tr. p. 39, and Disc. 1, c. v. p. 203. [1092] gnesion. [1093] He must mean to suggest that this is a reference to former times, for he knew the history too well to suppose that this Epistle was written then. [1094] Or "incompatible with" anairetike. [1095] The English version is "godly edifying," from the reading oikodomian. Oikonomian, as here, is the reading of mss. nearly all Greek. [Adopted in the R.V.] [1096] Or "and wherefore," "because," &c. See Acts xvii. 28. [1097] goetos kai magou. [1098] autos epha. [1099] So Sav. mar. and ms. Colb. and afterwards, "And his was the five years' silence, he closed his mouth with his finger, and compressing his lips," &c. [1100] This seems the only way in which the Greek can be construed. The word vult, in the Latin, may come from another reading, but the sense is plain. [1101] ekeinais. Sav. conj. ekeinois, which seems necessary, unless the fault be elsewhere; he must mean "heavenly things." Comp. Luke xvi. 11. [1102] Genesis. The same word is kept throughout the passage, though it sounds ill in places, for the sake of fidelity. [1103] Eimarmene. [1104] Theos pronoon, "a God providing." [1105] sunechousa. [1106] Compare Jas. iv. 3. [1107] Ed. trophes, "food." St. Chrys. undoubtedly wrote truphes.


Homily II.

1 Timothy i. 5-7

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."

Nothing is so injurious to mankind as to undervalue friendship [1108] ; and not to cultivate it with the greatest care; as nothing, on the other hand, is so beneficial, as to pursue it to the utmost of our power. This Christ has shown, where He says, "If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father" (Matt. xviii. 19.); and again, "Because iniquity shall abound, love shall wax cold." (Matt. xxiv. 12.) It is this that has been the occasion of all heresies. For men, because they loved not their brethren, have envied those who were in high repute, and from envying, they have become eager for power, and from a love of power have introduced heresies. On this account Paul having said, "that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine," now shows that the manner in which this may be effected is by charity. As therefore when he says, "Christ is the end of the Law" (Rom. x. 4.), that is, its fulfillment, and this is connected with the former, so this [1109] commandment is implied in love. The end of medicine is health, but where there is health, there is no need to make much ado; so where there is love, there is no need of much commanding. But what sort of love does he speak of? That which is sincere, which is not merely in words but which flows from the disposition, from sentiment, and sympathy. "From a pure heart," he says, either with respect to a right conversation, or sincere affection. For an impure life too produces divisions. "For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light." (John iii. 20.) There is indeed a friendship even among the wicked. Robbers and murderers may love one another, but this is not "from a good conscience," not "from a pure" but from an impure "heart," not from "faith unfeigned," but from that which is false and hypocritical. For faith points out the truth, and a sincere faith produces love, which he who truly believes in God cannot endure to lay aside.

Ver. 6. "From which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling."

He has well said, "swerved," for it requires skill, [1110] to shoot straight and not beside the mark, to have [1111] the direction of the Spirit. For there are many things to turn us aside from the right course, and we should look but to one object.

Ver. 7. "Desiring to be teachers of the law."

Here we see another cause of evil, the love of power. Wherefore Christ said, "Be not ye called Rabbi" (Matt. xxiii. 8.); and the Apostle again, "For neither do they keep the law, but that they may glory in your flesh." (Gal. vi. 13.) They desire preėminence, he means, and on that account disregard truth.

"Understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."

Here he censures them, because they know not the end and aim of the Law, nor the period for which it was to have authority. But if it was from ignorance, why is it called a sin? Because it was incurred not only from their desiring to be teachers of the law, [1112] but from their not retaining love. Nay, and their very ignorance arose from these causes. For when the soul abandons itself to carnal things, the clearness of its vision is dimmed, and falling from love it drops into contentiousness, and the eye of the mind is blinded. For he that is possessed by any desire for these temporal things, intoxicated, as he is, with passion, cannot be an impartial judge of truth. [1113]

"Not knowing whereof they affirm."

For it is probable that they spoke of the law, and enlarged on its purifications and other bodily rites. The Apostle then forbearing to censure these, as either nothing, or at best a shadow and figure of spiritual things, proceeds in a more engaging way to praise the law, calling the Decalogue here the law, and by means of it discarding the rest. For if even these precepts punish transgressors, and become useless to us, much more the others.

Ver. 8, 9. "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man."

The law, he seems to say, is good, and again, not good. What then? if one use it not lawfully, is it not good? Nay even so it is good. But what he means is this; if any one fulfills it in his actions; for that is to "use it lawfully" as here intended. But when they expound it in their words, and neglect it in their deeds, that is using it unlawfully. For such an one uses it, but not to his own profit. And another way may be named besides. What is it? that the law, if thou use it aright, sends thee to Christ. For since its aim is to justify man, and it fails to effect this, it remits us to Him who can do so. Another way again of using the law lawfully, is when we keep it, but as a thing superfluous. And how as a thing superfluous? As the bridle is properly used, not by the prancing horse that champs it, but by that which wears it only for the sake of appearance, so he uses the law lawfully, who governs himself, though not as constrained by the letter of it. He uses the law lawfully who is conscious that he does not need it, for he who is already so virtuous that he fulfills it not from fear of it, but from a principle of virtue, [1114] uses it lawfully and safely: that is, if one so use it, not as being in fear of it, but having before his eyes rather the condemnation of conscience than the punishment hereafter. Moreover he calls him a righteous man, who has attained unto virtue. He therefore uses the law lawfully, who does not require to be instructed by it. For as points in reading are set before children; but he who does what they direct, without their aid, from other knowledge, shows more skill, and is a better reader; so he who is above the law, is not under the schooling of the law. For he keeps it in a much higher degree, who fulfills it not from fear, but from a virtuous inclination; since he that fears punishment does not fulfill it in the same manner as he that aims at reward. He that is under the law doth it not as he that is above the law. For to live above the law is to use it lawfully. He uses it lawfully, and keeps it, who achieves things beyond the law, and who does not need its instructions. For the law, for the most part, is prohibition of evil; now this alone does not make a man righteous, but the performance of good actions besides. Hence those, who abstain from evil like slaves, do not come up to the mark of the law. For it was appointed for the punishment of transgression. Such men indeed use it, but it is to dread its punishment. It is said, "Wilt thou not be afraid of the power? do that which is good" (Rom. xiii. 3.): which implies, that the law threatens punishment only to the wicked. But of what use is the law to him whose actions deserve a crown? as the surgeon is of use only to him who hath some hurt, and not to the sound and healthy man. "But for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners." He calls the Jews "lawless and disobedient" too. "The law (he says) worketh wrath," that is, to the evil doers. But what to him who is deserving of reward? "By the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom. iii. 20.) What then with respect to the righteous? "the law is not made," he says, "for a righteous man." Wherefore? Because he is exempted from its punishment, and he waits not to learn from it what is his duty, since he has the grace of the Spirit within to direct him. For the law was given that men might be chastened by fear of its threatenings. But the tractable horse needs not the curb, nor the man that can dispense with instruction the schoolmaster.

"But for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers." Thus he does not stop at the mention of sins in general, nor of these only, but goes over the several kinds of sin, to shame men, as it were, of being under the direction of the law; and having thus particularized some, he adds a reference to those omitted, though what he had enumerated were sufficient to withdraw men. Of whom then does he say these things? Of the Jews, for they were "murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers": they were "profane and unholy," for these too he means when he says, "ungodly and sinners," and being such, the law was necessarily given to them. For did they not repeatedly worship idols? did they not stone Moses? were not their hands imbrued in the blood of their kindred? Do not the prophets constantly accuse them of these things? But to those who are instructed by a heavenly philosophy, these commandments are superfluous. "For murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liers, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine"; for all the things which he had mentioned were the passions of a corrupted soul, and contrary, therefore, to sound doctrine.

Ver. 11. "According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."

Thus the Law is still necessary for the confirmation of the Gospel, yet to those who obey it is unnecessary. And he calls the Gospel "glorious." There were some who were ashamed of its persecutions, and of the sufferings of Christ, and so for the sake of these, as well as for others, he has called it "the glorious Gospel," thus showing that the sufferings of Christ are our glory. And perhaps he glances too at the future. For if our present state is exposed to shame and reproach, it will not be so hereafter; and it is to things future, and not to things present, that the Gospel belongs. Why then did the Angel say, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born a Saviour"? (Luke ii. 10.) Because He was born to be their Saviour, though His miracles did not commence from His birth. "According to the Gospel," he saith, "of the blessed God." The glory [1115] he means is either that of the service of God, or, in that if present things are filled with its glory, yet much more will things future be so; when "His enemies shall be put under His feet" (1 Cor. xv. 25.), when there shall be nothing opposed, when the just shall behold all those blessed things, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which hath not entered into the heart of man." (1 Cor. ii. 9.) "For I will" says our Saviour, "that they also may be with Me, where I am, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me." (John xvii. 24.)

Moral. Let us then learn who these are, and let us esteem them blessed, considering what felicities they will then enjoy, of what light and glory they will then participate. The glory of this world is worthless and not enduring, or if it abides, it abides but till death, and after that is wholly extinguished. For "his glory," it says, "shall not descend after him." (Ps. xlix. 17.) And with many it lasts not even to the end of life. But no such thing is to be thought of in that glory; it abides, and will have no end. For such are the things of God, enduring, and above all change or end. For the glory of that state is not from without, but from within. I mean, it consists not in a multitude of servant, or of chariot, nor in costly garments. Independently of these things, the man himself is clothed with glory. Here, without these things, the man appears naked. In the baths, we see the illustrious, the undistinguished, and the base, alike bare. Often have the great been exposed to danger in public, being left on some occasion by their servants. But in that world men carry their glory about with them, and the Saints, like the Angels, wherever they appear, have their glory in themselves. Yea rather as the sun needs no vestures, and requires no foreign aid, but wherever he appears, his glory at once shines forth; so shall it then be.

Let us then pursue that glory, than which nothing is more venerable; and leave the glory of the world, as beyond anything worthless. "Boast not of thy clothing and raiment." (Ecclus. xi. 4.) This was the advice given of old to the simple. Indeed the dancer, the harlot, the player, are arrayed in a gayer and more costly robe than thou. And besides, this boasting were of that, which if but moths attack, they can rob thee of its enjoyment. Dost thou see what an unstable thing it is, this glory of the present life? Thou pridest thyself upon that which insects make and destroy. For Indian insects, it is said, spin those fine threads of which your robes are made. But rather seek a clothing woven from things above, an admirable and radiant vesture, raiment of real gold; of gold not dug by malefactors' hands out of the mine, but the produce of virtue. Let us clothe ourselves with a robe not the manufacture of poor men or slaves, but wrought by our Lord Himself. But your garments, you say, are in-wrought with gold! And what is that to thee? He that wrought it, not he that wears it, is the object of admiration, for there it is really due. It is not the frame on which the garment is stretched at the fuller's, but the maker of it, that is admired. Yet the block wears it, and has it bound on itself. And as that wears it, but not for use, even so do some of these women, for the benefit of the garment, to air it, they say, that it may not be moth-eaten! Is it not then the extreme of folly to be solicitous about a thing so worthless, to do anything whatever, to risk your salvation for it, to make a mock at Hell, to set God at defiance, to overlook Christ hungering? Talk not of the precious spices of India, Arabia, and Persia, the moist and the dry, the perfumes and unguents, so costly and so useless. Why, O woman, dost thou lavish perfumes upon a body full of impurity within? why spend on what is offensive, as if one should waste perfumes upon dirt, or distill balms upon a brick. There is, if you desire it, a precious ointment and a fragrance, with which you might anoint your soul; not brought from Arabia, or Ethiopia, nor from Persia, but from heaven itself; purchased not by gold, but by a virtuous will, and by faith unfeigned. Buy this perfume, the odor of which is able to fill the world. It was of this the Apostles savored. "For we are (he says) a sweet savor, to some of death, to others of life." (2 Cor. ii. 15, 16.) And what means this? That it is as they say, that the swine is suffocated by perfumes! But this spiritual fragrance scented not only the bodies but the garments of the Apostles; and Paul's garments were so impregnated with it, that they cast out devils. What balmy leaf, what cassia, what myrrh so sweet or so efficacious as this perfume? For if it put devils to flight, what could it not effect? With this ointment let us furnish ourselves. And the grace of the Spirit will provide it through almsgiving. Of these we shall savor, when we go into the other world. And as here, he [1116] that is perfumed with sweet odors draws upon himself the notice of all, and whether at the bath, or the assembly, or any other concourse of men, all follow him, and observe him; so, in that world, when souls come in that are fragrant with this spiritual savor, all arise and make room. And even here devils and all vices are afraid to approach it, and cannot endure it, for it chokes them. Let us then not bear about us that perfume which is a mark of effeminacy, but this, which is a mark of manhood, which is truly admirable, which fills us with a holy confidence. This is a spice which is not the produce of the earth, but springs from virtue, which withers not, but blooms for ever. This is it that renders those who possess it honorable. With this we are anointed at our Baptism, then we savor sweetly of it; but it must be by our care afterwards that we retain the savor. Of old the Priests were anointed with ointment, as an emblem of the virtue, the fragrance of which a Priest should diffuse around him.

But nothing is more offensive than the savor of sin, which made the Psalmist say, "My wounds stink and are corrupt." (Ps. xxxviii. 5.) For sin is more foul than putrefaction itself. What, for instance, is more offensive than fornication? And if this is not perceived at the time of its commission, yet, after it is committed, its offensive nature, the impurity contracted in it, and the curse, [1117] and the abomination of it is perceived. So it is with all sin. Before it is committed it has something of pleasure, but after its commission, the pleasure ceases and fades away, and pain and shame succeed. But with righteousness it is the reverse. At the beginning it is attended with toil, but in the end with pleasure and repose. But even here, as in the one case the pleasure of sin is no pleasure, because of the expectation of disgrace and punishment, so in the other the toil is not felt as toil, by reason of the hope of reward. And what is the pleasure of drunkenness? The poor gratification of drinking, and hardly that. For when insensibility follows, and the man sees nothing that is before him, and is in a worse state than a madman, what enjoyment remains? Nay, one might well say there is no pleasure in fornication itself. For when passion has deprived the soul of its judgment, can there be any real delights? As well might we say that the itch is a pleasure! I should call that true pleasure, when the soul is not affected by passion, not agitated nor overpowered by the body. For what pleasure can it be to grind the teeth, to distort the eyes, to be irritated and inflamed beyond decency? But so far is it from being pleasant, that men hasten to escape from it, and when it is over are in pain. But if it were pleasure, they would wish not to escape from it, but to continue it. It has therefore only the name of pleasure.

But not such are the pleasures enjoyed by us; they are truly delightful, they do not agitate nor inflame. They leave the soul free, and cheer and expand it. Such was the pleasure of Paul when he said, "In this I rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice"; and again, "Rejoice in the Lord always." (Philip. i. 18, and iv. 4.) For sinful pleasure is attended with shame and condemnation; it is indulged in secret, and is attended with infinite uneasiness. But from all these the true pleasure is exempt. This then let us pursue, that we may attain those good things to come, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1108] philias. He uses a term common to the Heathen in speaking of all mankind. [1109] Rather, perhaps, "the commandment itself," reading aute for aute. The sense is, "as the law conducts to love, and love supersedes the law, so," &c., we might also read kai touto ekeino enechetai for k. t. ekeinon echetai, which does away with all difficulty. [1110] technes. [1111] Montf. would insert dei, "so that we have need of the direction," and so old Lat. [1112] i.e. as being attached to it. [1113] So Horace:-- Male verum examinat omnis, Corruptus judex. Ill holds that judge the balances of truth, Who takes a bribe.--1 Ep. xvi. 52. [1114] Oderunt peccare boni virtutis amore. `Tis love of virtue makes good men hate vice.--Hor. [1115] It is literally, "The Gospel of the glory of the Blessed God." Comp. Rom. ix. 4, and viii. 30; 2 Cor. iii. 7., seqq.; Heb. ix. 1, 14. [1116] al. she, &c. [1117] Sav. agos, Ben. algos.


Homily III.

1 Timothy i. 12-14

"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry [R.V.: to his service, eis diakonian]; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

The advantages arising from humility are generally acknowledged, and yet it is a thing not easily to be met with. There is affectation of humble talking enough and to spare, but humbleness of mind is nowhere to be found. This quality was so cultivated by the blessed Paul, that he is ever looking out for inducements to be humble. They who are conscious to themselves of great merits must struggle much with themselves if they would be humble. And he too was one likely to be under violent temptations, his own good conscience swelling him up like a gathering humor. Observe therefore his method in this place. "I was intrusted," he had said, "with the glorious Gospel of God, of which they who still adhere to the law have no right to partake; for it is now opposed to the Gospel, and their difference is such, that those who are actuated by the one, are as yet unworthy to partake of the other; as we should say, that those who require punishments, and chains, have no right to be admitted into the train of philosophers." Being filled therefore with high thoughts, and having used magnificent expressions, he at once depresses himself, and engages others also to do the like. Having said therefore that "the Gospel was committed to his trust"; lest this should seem to be said from pride, he checks himself at once, adding by way of correction, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." Thus everywhere, we see, he conceals his own merit, and ascribes everything to God, yet so far only, as not to take away free will. For the unbeliever might perhaps say, If everything is of God, and we contribute nothing of ourselves, while He turns us, as if we were mere wood and stone, from wickedness to the love of wisdom, why then did He make Paul such as he was, and not Judas? To remove this objection, mark the prudence of his expression, "Which was committed," he says, "to my trust." This was his own excellence and merit, but not wholly his own; for he says, "I thank Christ Jesus, who enabled me." This is God's part: then his own again, "Because He counted me faithful." Surely because he would be serviceable of his own part.

Ver. 13. "Putting me into his service, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief."

Thus we see him acknowledge both his own part and that of God, and whilst he ascribes the greater part to the providence of God, he extenuates his own, yet so far only, as we said before, as was consistent with free will. And what is this, "Who enabled me"? I will tell you. He had so heavy a burden to sustain, that he needed much aid from above. For think what it was to be exposed to daily insults, and mockeries, and snares, and dangers, scoffs, and reproaches, and deaths; and not to faint, or slip, or turn backward, but though assaulted every day with darts innumerable, to bear up manfully, and remain firm and imperturbable. This was the effect of no human power, and yet not of Divine influence alone, but of his own resolution also. For that Christ chose him with a foreknowledge of what he would be, is plain from the testimony He bore to him before the commencement of his preaching. "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings." (Acts ix. 15.) For as those who bear the royal standard in war [1118] require both strength and address, that they may not let it fall into the hands of the enemy; so those who sustain the name of Christ, not only in war but in peace, need a mighty strength, to preserve it uninjured from the attacks of accusers. Great indeed is the strength required to bear the name of Christ, and to sustain it well, and bear the Cross. For he who in action, or word, or thought, does anything unworthy of Christ, does not sustain His name, and has not Christ dwelling in him. For he that sustains that name bears it in triumph, not in the concourse of men, but through the very heavens, while all angels stand in awe, and attend upon him, and admire him.

"I thank the Lord, who hath enabled me." Observe how he thanks God even for that which was his own part. For he acknowledges it as a favor from Him that he was "a chosen vessel." For this, O blessed Paul, was thy own part. "For God is no respecter of persons." [1119] But I thank Him that he "thought me worthy of this ministry." For this is a proof that He esteemed me faithful. The steward in a house is not only thankful to his master that he is trusted, but considers it as a sign that he holds him more faithful than others: so it is here. Then observe how he magnifies the mercy and loving-kindness of God, in describing his former life, "who was formerly," he says, "a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." And when he speaks of the still unbelieving Jews, he rather extenuates their guilt. "For I bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." (Rom. x. 2.) But of himself he says, "Who was a blasphemer and a persecutor." Observe his lowering of himself! So free was he from self-love, so full of humility, that he is not satisfied to call himself a persecutor and a blasphemer, but he aggravates his guilt, showing that it did not stop with himself, that it was not enough that he Gas a blasphemer, but in the madness of his blasphemy he persecuted those who were willing to be godly. [1120]

"But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief."

Why then did other Jews not obtain mercy? Because what they did, they did not ignorantly, but willfully, well knowing what they did. For this we have the testimony of the Evangelist. "Many of the Jews believed on Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John xii. 42, 43.) And Christ again said to them, "How can ye believe, who receive honor one of another" (John v. 44.)? and the parents of the blind man "said these things for fear of the Jews, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." (John ix. 22.) Nay the Jews themselves said, "Perceive ye how we avail nothing? behold, the world is gone after Him." (John xii. 19.) Thus their love of power was everywhere in their way. When they admitted that no one can forgive sins but God only, and Christ immediately did that very thing, [1121] which they had confessed to be a sign of divinity, this could not be a case of ignorance. But where was Paul then? Perhaps one should say he was sitting at the feet of Gamaliel, and took no part with the multitude who conspired against Jesus: for Gamaliel does not appear to have been an ambitious man. Then how is it that afterwards Paul was found joining with the multitude? He saw the doctrine growing, and on the point of prevailing, and being generally embraced. For in the lifetime of Christ, the disciples consorted with Him, and afterwards with their teachers, [1122] but when they were completely separated, Paul did not act as the other Jews did, from the love of power, but from zeal. For what was the motive of his journey to Damascus? He thought the doctrine pernicious, and was afraid that the preaching of it would spread everywhere. But with the Jews it was no concern for the multitude, but the love of power, that influenced their actions. Hence they say, "The Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." (John xi. 48.) What fear was this that agitated them, but that of man? But it is worthy of enquiry, how one so skillful in the law as Paul could be ignorant? For it is he who says, "which He had promised before by His holy prophets." (Rom. iv. 2.) How is it then that thou knowest not, thou who art zealous of the law of their fathers, who wert brought up at the feet of Gamaliel? Yet they who spent their days on lakes and rivers, and the very publicans, have embraced the Gospel, whilst thou that studiest the law art persecuting it! It is for this he condemns himself, saying, "I am not meet to be called an Apostle." (1 Cor. ix. 9.) It is for this he confesses his ignorance, which was produced by unbelief. For this cause, he says, that he obtained "mercy." What then does he mean when he says, "He counted me faithful"? He would give up no right of his Master's: even his own part he ascribed to Him, and assumed nothing to himself, nor claimed for his own the glory which was due to God. Hence in another place we find him exclaiming, "Sirs, why do ye these things to us? we also are men of like passions with you." (Acts xiv. 15.) So again, "He counted me faithful." And again, "I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Cor. xv. 10.) And again, "It is He that worketh in us both to will and to do." (Philip. ii. 13.) Thus in acknowledging that he "obtained mercy," he owns that he deserved punishment, since mercy is for such. And again in another place he says of the Jews, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel." (Rom. xi. 25.)

Ver. 14. "And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

This is added, lest hearing that he obtained mercy, we should understand by it only, that being deserving of punishment, as a persecutor and blasphemer, nevertheless he was not punished. But mercy was not confined to this, that punishment was not inflicted; many other great favors are implied by it. For not only has God released us from the impending punishment, but He has made us "righteous" too, and "sons," and "brethren," and "heirs," and "joint-heirs." Therefore it is he says, that "grace was exceeding abundant." For the gifts bestowed were beyond mercy, since they are not such as would come of mercy only, but of affection and excessive love. Having thus enlarged upon the love of God which, not content with showing mercy to a blasphemer and persecutor, conferred upon him other blessings in abundance, he has guarded against that error of the unbelievers which takes away free will, by adding, "with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." Thus much only, he says, did we contribute. We have believed that He is able to save us.

Moral. Let us then love God through Christ. What means "through Christ"? That it is He, and not the Law, who has enabled us to do this. Observe what blessings we owe to Christ, and what to the Law. And he says not merely that grace has abounded, but "abounded exceedingly," in bringing at once to the adoption those who deserved infinite punishment.

And observe again that "in" [1123] is used for "through." [1124] For not only faith is necessary, but love. Since there are many still who believe that Christ is God, who yet love Him not, nor act like those who love Him. For how is it when they prefer everything to Him, money, nativity, fate, augury, divinations, omens? When we live in defiance of Him, pray, where is our love? Has any one a warm and affectionate friend? Let him love Christ but equally. So, if no more, let him love Him who gave His Son for us His enemies, who had no merits of our own. Merits did I say? who had committed numberless sins, who had dared Him beyond all daring, and without cause! yet He, after numberless instances of goodness and care, did not even then cast us off. At the very time when we did Him the greatest wrong, then did He give His Son for us. And still we, after so great benefits, after being made His friends, and counted worthy through Him of all blessings, have not loved Him as our friend! [1125] What hope then can be ours? You shudder perhaps at the word, but I would that you shuddered at the fact! What? How shall it appear that we do not love God even as our friends, you say? I will endeavor to show you--and would that my words were groundless, and to no purpose! but I am afraid they are borne out by facts. For consider: friends, that are truly friends, will often suffer loss for those they love. But for Christ, no one will suffer loss, or even be content with his present state. For a friend we can readily submit to insults, and undertake quarrels; but for Christ, no one can endure enmity: and the saying is, "Be loved for nothing--but be not hated for nothing."

None of us would fail to relieve a friend who was hungering, but when Christ comes to us from day to day, and asks no great matter, but only bread, we do not even regard him, yea though we are nauseously over full, and swollen with gluttony: though our breath betrays the wine of yesterday, and we live in luxury, and waste our substance on harlots and parasites and flatterers, and even on monsters, idiots, and dwarfs; for men convert the natural defects of such into matter for amusement. Again, friends, that are truly such, we do not envy, nor are mortified at their success, yet we feel this toward (the minister of) [1126] Christ, and our friendship for men is seen to be more powerful than the fear of God, for the envious and the insincere plainly respect men more than God. And how is this? God sees the heart, yet man does not forbear to practice deceit in His sight; yet if the same man were detected in deceit by men, he thinks himself undone, and blushes for shame. And why speak of this? If a friend be in distress, we visit him, and should fear to be condemned, if we deferred it for a little time. But we do not visit Christ, though He die again and again in prison; nay, if we have friends among the faithful, we visit them, not because they are Christians, but because they are our friends. Thus we do nothing from the fear or the love of God, but some things from friendship, some from custom. When we see a friend depart on travel, we weep and are troubled, and if we see his death, we bewail him, though we know that we shall not be long separated, that he will be restored to us at the Resurrection. But though Christ departs from us, or rather we reject Him daily, we do not grieve, nor think it strange, to injure, to offend, to provoke Him by doing what is displeasing to Him; and the fearful thing is not that we do not treat Him as a friend; for I will show that we even treat Him as an enemy. How, do you ask? because "the carnal mind is enmity against God," as Paul has said, and this we always carry about us. And we persecute Christ, when He advances toward us, and comes to our very doors. [1127] For wicked actions in effect do this, and every day we subject him to insults by our covetousness and our rapacity. And does any one by preaching His word, and benefiting His Church, obtain a good reputation? Then he is the object of envy, because he does the work of God. And we think that we envy him, but our envy passes on to Christ. We affect to wish the benefit to come not from others, but from ourselves. But this cannot be for Christ's sake, but for our own: otherwise, it would be a matter of indifference, whether the good were done by others or ourselves. If a physician found himself unable to cure his son, who was threatened with blindness, would he reject the aid of another, who was able to effect the cure? Far from it! "Let my son be restored," he would almost say to him, "whether it is to be by you or by me." And why? Because he would not consider himself, but what was beneficial to his son. So, were our regard "to Christ," it would lead us to say, "Let good be done, whether by ourselves or by any other." As Paul said, "Whether in pretense or in truth Christ is preached." (Philip. i. 18.). In the same spirit Moses answered, when some would have excited his displeasure against Eldad and Modad, because they prophesied, "Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets!" (Num. xi. 29.) These jealous feelings proceed from vainglory; and are they not those of opponents and enemies? Doth any one speak ill of you? Love him! It is impossible, you say. Nay, if you will, it is quite possible. For if you love him only who speaks well of you, what thanks have you? It is not for the Lord's sake, but for the sake of the man's kind speech that you do it. Has any one injured you? Do him good! For in benefiting him who has benefited you there is little merit. Have you been deeply wronged and suffered loss? Make a point of requiting it with the contrary. Yes, I entreat you. Let this be the way we do our own part. Let us cease from hating and injuring our enemies. He commands us "to love our enemies" (Matt. v. 44.): but we persecute Him while He loves us. God forbid! we all say in words, but not so in deeds. So darkened are our minds by sin, that we tolerate in our actions what in words we think intolerable. Let us desist then from things that are injurious and ruinous to our salvation, that we may obtain those blessings which as His friends we may obtain. For Christ says, "I will that where I am, there My disciples may be also, that they may behold My glory" (John xvii. 24.), which may we all attain, through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

Footnotes

[1118] One copy has, "which is usually called Laburum," perhaps a mistake for Labarum, but Socrates has Laborum. The first standard known to have been so called was that of Constantine, which bore the Christian symbol. [See Schaff, Church Hist. III. 27.] [1119] He would be a respecter of persons who, without regard to a man's qualities, should arbitrarily (or on external grounds, such as birth, wealth, &c.) prefer him to others; God therefore does not do this. Rom. ii. 11; Col. iii. 25; Acts x. 34. [1120] eusebein, "to worship aright." [1121] i.e. proved that He had done it, by a direct appeal to God. [1122] i.e. Jewish teachers. [1123] en--dia--see Hom. i. [1124] en--dia--see Hom. i. [1125] See next paragraph, and Hom. on Stat. XX. and Herbert's Poems, No. LXVIII. [1126] See on Rom. Hom. [1127] This idea is beautifully illustrated by the Christuskopf of Overbeck.


Homily IV.

1 Timothy i. 15, 16

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting."

The favors of God so far exceed human hope and expectation, that often they are not believed. For God has bestowed upon us such things as the mind of man never looked for, never thought of. It is for this reason that the Apostles spend much discourse in securing a belief of the gifts that are granted us of God. For as men, upon receiving some great good, ask themselves if it is not a dream, as not believing it; so it is with respect to the gifts of God. What then was it that was thought incredible? That those who were enemies, and sinners, neither justified by the law, nor by works, should immediately through faith alone be advanced to the highest favor. Upon this head accordingly Paul has discoursed at length in his Epistle to the Romans, and here again at length. "This is a faithful saying," he says, "and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

As the Jews were chiefly attracted by this, he persuades them not [1128] to give heed to the law, since they could not attain salvation by it without faith. Against this he contends; for it seemed to them incredible, that a man who had mis-spent all his former life in vain and wicked actions, should afterwards be saved by his faith alone. On this account he says, "It is a saying to be believed." But some not only disbelieved but even objected, as the Greeks do now. "Let us then do evil, that good may come." This was the consequence they drew in derision of our faith, from his words, "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound." (Rom. iii. 8, and v. 20.) So when we discourse to them of Hell they say, How can this be worthy of God? When man has found his servant offending, he forgives it, and thinks him worthy of pardon and does God punish eternally? And when we speak of the Laver, and of the remission of sins through it, this too they say is unworthy of God, that he who has committed offenses without number should have his sins remitted. What perverseness of mind is this, what a spirit of contention does it manifest! Surely if forgiveness is an evil, punishment is a good; but if punishment is an evil, remission of it is a good. I speak according to their notions, for according to ours, both are good. This I shall show at another time, for the present would not suffice for a matter so deep, and which requires to be elaborately argued. I must lay it before your Charity at a fitting season. At present let us proceed with our proposed subject. "This is a faithful saying," he says. But why is it to be believed?

This appears both from what precedes and from what follows. Observe how he prepares us [1129] for this assertion, and how he then dwells upon it. For he hath previously declared that He showed mercy to me "a blasphemer and a persecutor"; this was in the way of preparation. And not only did He show mercy, but "He accounted me faithful." So far should we be, he means, from disbelieving that He showed mercy. For no one, who should see a prisoner admitted into a palace, could doubt whether he obtained mercy. And this was visibly the situation of Paul, for he makes himself the example. Nor is he ashamed to call himself a sinner, but rather delights in it, as he thus can best demonstrate the miracle of God's regard for him, and that He had thought him worthy of such extraordinary kindness.

But how is it, that he here calls himself a sinner, nay, the chief of sinners, whereas he elsewhere asserts that he was "touching the righteousness which is in the law blameless"? (Philip. iii. 6.) Because with respect to the righteousness which God has wrought, the justification which is really sought, even those who are righteous [1130] in the law are sinners, "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 23.) Therefore he does not say righteousness simply, but "the righteousness which is in the law." As a man that has acquired wealth, with respect to himself appears rich, but upon a comparison with the treasures of kings is very poor and the chief of the poor; so it is in this case. Compared with Angels, even righteous men are sinners; and if Paul, who wrought the righteousness that is in the law, was the chief of sinners, what other man can be called righteous? For he says not this to condemn his own life as impure, let not this be imagined; but comparing his own legal righteousness with the righteousness of God, he shows it to be nothing worth, and not only so, but he proves those who possess it to be sinners.

Ver. 16. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting."

See how he further humbles and depreciates himself, by naming a fresh and less creditable reason. For that he obtained mercy on account of his ignorance, does not so much imply that he who obtained mercy was a sinner, or under deep condemnation; but to say that he obtained mercy in order that no sinner hereafter might despair of finding mercy, but that each might feel sure of obtaining the like favor, this is an excess of humiliation, such that even in calling himself the chief of sinners, "a blasphemer and a persecutor, and one not meet to be called an Apostle," he had said nothing like it. This will appear by an example. Suppose a populous city, all whose inhabitants were wicked, some more so, and some less, but all deserving of condemnation; and let one among that multitude be more deserving of punishment than all the rest, and guilty of every kind of wickedness. If it were declared that the king was willing to pardon all, it would not be so readily believed, as if they were to see this most wicked wretch actually pardoned. There could then be no longer any doubt. This is what Paul says, that God, willing to give men full assurance that He pardons all their transgressions, chose, as the object of His mercy, him who was more a sinner than any; for when I obtained mercy, he argues, there could be no doubt of others: as familiarly speaking we might say, "If God pardons such an one, he will never punish anybody"; and thus he shows that he himself, though unworthy of pardon, for the sake of others' salvation, first obtained that pardon. Therefore, he says, since I am saved, let no one doubt of salvation. And observe the humility of this blessed man; he says not, "that in me he might show forth" His "longsuffering," but "all longsuffering"; as if he had said, greater longsuffering He could not show in any case than in mine, nor find a sinner that so required all His pardon, all His long-suffering; not a part only, like those who are only partially sinners, but "all" His longsuffering.

"For a pattern to those who should hereafter believe." This is said for comfort, for encouragement. [1131] But because he had spoken highly of the Son, and of the great love which He hath manifested, lest he should be thought to exclude the Father from this, he ascribes the glory to Him also.

Ver. 17. "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

For these things, then, we glorify not the Son only, but the Father. Here let us argue with the heretics. Speaking of the Father, he says, "To the only God." Is the Son then not God? "The only immortal." [1132] Is the Son then not immortal? Or does He not possess that Himself, which hereafter He will give to us? Yes, they say, He is God and immortal, but not such as the Father. What then? is He of inferior essence, and therefore of inferior immortality? What then is a greater and a less immortality? For immortality is nothing else than the not being subject to destruction. For there is a greater and a less glory; but immortality does not admit of being greater or less: as neither is there a greater and a less health. For a thing must either be destructible, or altogether indestructible. Are we men then immortal even as He? God forbid! Surely not! Why? because He has it by nature, but we adventitiously. Why then do you make the difference? Because the Father, he says, is made such as He is by no other: but the Son is what He is, from the Father. This we also confess, not denying that the Son is generated from the Father incorruptibly. [1133] And we glorify the Father, he means, for having generated the Son, such as He is. Thus you see the Father is most glorified, when the Son hath done great things. For the glory of the Son is referred again to Him. And since He generated Him omnipotent and such as He is in Himself, it is not [1134] more the glory of the Son than of the Father, that He is self-sufficient, and self-maintained, and free from infirmity. It has been said of the Son, "By whom He made the worlds." (Heb. i. 2.) Now there is a distinction observed among us between creation and workmanship. [1135] For one works and toils and executes, another rules; and why? because he that executes is the inferior. But it is not so there; nor is the sovereignty with One, the workmanship with the Other. For when we hear, "By whom He made the worlds," [1136] we do not exclude the Father from creation. Nor when we say, "To the King immortal," [1137] do we deny dominion to the Son. For these are common to the One and the Other, and each belongs to Both. The Father created, in that He begat the creating Son; the Son rules, as being Lord of all things created. For He does not work for hire, nor in obedience to others, as workmen do among us, but from His own goodness and love for mankind. But has the Son [1138] ever been seen? No one can affirm this. What means then, "To the King immortal, invisible, the only wise [1139] God"? Or when it is said, "There is no other name whereby we must be saved": and again, "There is salvation in no other"? (Acts iv. 12.)

"To Him be honor and glory forever. Amen."

Now honor and glory are not mere words; and since He has honored us not by words only, but by what He has done for us, so let us honor Him by works and deeds. Yet this honor touches us, while that reaches not Him, for He needs not the honor that comes from us, we do need that which is from Him.

In honoring Him, therefore, we do honor to ourselves. He who opens his eyes to gaze on the light of the sun, receives delight himself, as he admires the beauty of the star, but does no favor to that luminary, nor increases its splendor, for it continues what it was; much more is this true with respect to God. He who admires and honors God does so to his own salvation, and highest benefit; and how? Because he follows after virtue, and is honored by Him. For "them that honor Me," He says, "I will honor." (1 Sam. iv. 30.) How then is He honored, if He enjoys no advantage from our honor? Just as He is said to hunger and thirst. For He assumes everything that is ours, that He may in anywise attract us to Him. He is said to receive honors, and even insults, that we may be afraid. But with all this we are not attracted towards Him!

Moral. Let us then "glorify God," and bear God [1140] both "in our body and in our spirit." (1 Cor. vi. 20.) And how is one to glorify Him in the body? saith one, and how in the spirit? The soul is here called the spirit to distinguish it from the body. But how may we glorify Him in the body and in the spirit? He glorifies Him in the body, who does not commit adultery or fornication, who avoids gluttony and drunkenness, who does not affect a showy exterior, who makes such provision for himself as is sufficient for health only: and so the woman, who does not perfume nor paint her person, but is satisfied to be such as God made her, and adds no device of her own. For why dost thou add thy own embellishments to the work which God made? Is not His workmanship sufficient for thee? or dost thou endeavor to add grace to it, as if forsooth thou wert the better artist? [1141] It is not for thyself, but to attract crowds of lovers, that thou thus adornest thy person, and insultest thy Creator. And do not say, "What can I do? It is no wish of my own, but I must do it for my husband. I cannot win his love except I consent to this." God made thee beautiful, that He might be admired even in thy beauty, and not that He might be insulted. Do not therefore make Him so ill a return, but requite Him with modesty and chastity. God made thee beautiful, that He might increase the trials of thy modesty. For it is much harder for one that is lovely to be modest, than for one who has no such attractions, for which to be courted. Why does the Scripture tell us, that "Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored" (Gen. xxxix. 6.), but that we might the more admire his modesty coupled with beauty? Has God made thee beautiful? Why dost thou make thyself otherwise? For as though one should overlay a golden statue with a daubing of mire, so it is with those women that use paints. Thou besmearest thyself with red and white earth! But the homely, you say, may fairly have recourse to this. And why? To hide their ugliness? It is a vain attempt. For when was the natural appearance improved upon by that which is studied and artificial? And why shouldest thou be troubled at thy want of beauty, since it is no reproach? For hear the saying of the Wise Man, "Commend not a man for his beauty, neither abhor a man for his outward appearance." (Ecclus. xi. 2.) Let God be rather admired, the best Artificer, and not man, who has no merit in being made such as he is. What are the advantages, tell me, of beauty? None. It exposes its possessor to greater trials, mishaps, perils, and suspicions. She that wants it escapes suspicion; she that possesses it, except she practice a great and extraordinary reserve, incurs an evil report, and what is worse than all, the suspicion of her husband, who takes less pleasure in beholding her beauty, than he suffers pain from jealousy. And her beauty fades in his sight from familiarity, whilst she suffers in her character from the imputation of weakness, dissipation, and wantonness, and her very soul [1142] becomes degraded and full of haughtiness. To these evils personal beauty is exposed. But she who has not this attraction, escapes unmolested. The dogs do not assail her; she is like a lamb, reposing in a secure pasture, where no wolf intrudes to harass her, because the shepherd is at hand to protect her.

The real superiority [1143] is, not that one is fair, and the other homely, but it is a superiority that one, even if she is not fair, is unchaste, and the other is not wicked. Tell me wherein is the perfection of eyes? Is it in their being soft, and rolling, and round, and dark, or in their clearness and quicksightedness. Is it the perfection of a lamp to be elegantly formed, and finely turned, or to shine brightly, and to enlighten the whole house? We cannot say it is not this, for the other is indifferent, and this the real object. Accordingly we often say to the maid whose charge it is, "You have made a bad lamp of it." So entirely is it the use of a lamp to give light. So it matters not what is the appearance of the eye, whilst it performs its office with full efficiency. We call the eye bad, which is dim or disordered, and which, when open, does not see. For that is bad, which does not perform its proper office--and this is the fault of eyes. And for a nose, tell me, when is it a good one? When it is straight, and polished on either side, and finely proportioned? or when it is quick to receive odors, and transmit them to the brain? Any one can answer this.

Come now, let us illustrate this by an example--as of gripers, I mean the instruments so called; we say those are well-made, which are able to take up and hold things, not those which are only handsomely and elegantly shaped. So those are good teeth which are fit for the service of dividing and chewing our food, not those which are beautifully set. And applying the same reasoning to other parts of the body, we shall call those members beautiful, which are sound, and perform their proper functions aright. So we think any instrument, or plant, or animal good, not because of its form or color, but because it answers its purpose. And he is thought a good [1144] servant, who is useful and ready for our service, not one who is comely but dissolute. I trust ye now understand how it is in your power to be beautiful.

And since the greatest and most important benefits are equally enjoyed by all, we are under no disadvantage. Whether we are beautiful or not, we alike behold this universe, the sun, the moon, and the stars; we breathe the same air, we partake alike of water, and the fruits of the earth. And if we may say what will sound strange, the homely are more healthy than the beautiful. For these, to preserve their beauty, engage in no labor, but give themselves up to indolence and delicate living, by which their bodily energies are impaired; whilst the others, having no such care, spend all their attention simply and entirely on active pursuits.

Let us then "glorify God, and take and bear Him in our body." (1 Cor. vi. 20.) Let us not affect a beautiful appearance; that care is vain and unprofitable. Let us not teach our husbands to admire the mere outward form; for if such be thy adornment, his very habit of viewing thy face will make him easy to be captivated by a harlot. But if thou teachest him to love good manners, and modesty, he will not be ready to wander, for he will see no attractions in a harlot, in whom those qualities are not found, but the reverse. Neither teach him to be captivated by laughter, nor by a loose dress, lest thou prepare a poison against thyself. Accustom him to delight in modesty, and this thou wilt do, if thy attire be modest. But if thou hast a flaunting air, an unsteady manner, how canst thou address [1145] him in a serious strain? and who will not hold thee in contempt and derision?

But how is it possible to glorify God in our spirit? [1146] By practicing virtue, by adorning the soul. For such embellishment is not forbidden. Thus we glorify God, when we are good in every respect, and we shall be glorified by Him in a much higher degree in that great day. For "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rom. viii. 18.) Of which that we may all be partakers, God grant, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Footnotes

[1128] Sav. omits "not"; so the sense will be, that a due consideration of the Law would prove that men could not be saved by it. [1129] Or, "gives proof beforehand." [1130] The word "righteous" seems to be understood in "righteousness," just before. [1131] protropen, al. epistrophen, "bringing about conversion." [1132] Lit. "incorruptible." [1133] al. "out of time." [1134] It is necessary here to insert a negative or to read oukoun for oukoun. [1135] ktisis. Hales conjectures ktesis, possession. But this may be doubted, as ktizein means "to found," as a king founds a city. The workmen build, but do not found. [1136] Or "the ages." Heb. i. 2. [1137] Or "King of Ages" (ai& 240;non, for which we have no word but "worlds," taken in an extended sense). [1138] i.e. in His Divine Nature. [1139] B. omits "wise" throughout, and then "only" applies to the words before, and the argument here is complete; viz., that there is One God. of whom all this is said, that is, the Ever Blessed Trinity. Some good mss. favor this reading in the text. [1140] aromen. St. Chrys. is almost the only Greek authority for the reading of the Vulgate, well known as the Capitulum of the 9th hour, "glorificate et portate Deum in corpore vestro." On the passage his reading so seems not quite decided. See Scholz, and Hom. xviii. on 1 Cor. vi. 20. [1141] "God never made his work for man to mend."--Dryden. [1142] Stopping the passage thus, the present reading may stand. [1143] pleonexia seems here to be used for "superiority," if the reading of B. (not wicked) is correct; and this makes the best sense. Otherwise, it must stand for "excess." [1144] kalos. [1145] Ben. prosenenkein, Sav. proen. [1146] Ben. "to bear God in our body." But this seems rather the subject that has been already discussed. See the beginning of the Moral.


Homily V.

1 Timothy i. 18, 19

"This charge I commit unto thee, son [my child, teknon] Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest [mayest] war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away have made shipwreck concerning the faith."

The office of a Teacher and that of a Priest is of great dignity, and to bring forward one that is worthy requires a divine election. So it was of old, and so it is now, when we make a choice without human passion, not looking to any temporal consideration, swayed neither by friendship, nor enmity. For though we be not partakers of so great a measure of the Spirit as they, yet a good purpose is sufficient to draw unto us the election of God. For the Apostles, when they elected Matthias, had not yet received the Holy Spirit, but having committed the matter to prayer, they chose him into the number of the Apostles. For they looked not to human friendships. And so now too it ought to be with us. But we have advanced to the extreme of negligence; and even what is clearly evident, we let pass. Now when we overlook what is manifest, how will God reveal to us what is unseen? as it is said, "If ye have not been faithful in that which is little, who will commit to you that which is great and true?" (Luke xvi. 11.) But then, when nothing human was done, the appointment of Priests too was by prophecy. What is "by prophecy"? By the Holy Spirit. For prophecy is not only the telling of things future, but also of the present. It was by prophecy that Saul was discovered "hidden among the stuff." (1 Sam. x. 22.) For God reveals things to the righteous. So it was said by prophecy, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul." (Acts xiii. 2.) In this way Timothy also was chosen, concerning whom he speaks of prophecies in the plural; that, perhaps, upon which [1147] he "took and circumcised him," and when he ordained him, as he himself says in his Epistle to him, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee." (1 Tim. iv. 14.) Therefore to elevate him, and prepare him to be sober and watchful, he reminds him by whom he was chosen and ordained, as if he had said, "God hath chosen thee. He gave thee thy commission, thou wast not made by human vote. Do not therefore abuse or bring into disgrace the appointment of God." When again he speaks of a charge, which implies something burdensome, [1148] he adds, "This charge I commit to thee, son Timothy." He charges him as his son, his own son, not so much with arbitrary or despotic authority as like a father, he says, "my son Timothy." The "committing," however, implies that it is to be diligently kept, and that it is not our own. For we did not obtain it for ourselves, but God conferred it upon us; and not it only, but also "faith and a good conscience." What He hath given us then, let us keep. For if He had not come, the faith had not been to be found, nor that pure life which we learn by education. As if he had said, "It is not I that charge thee, but He who chose thee," and this is meant by "the prophecies that went before on thee." Listen to them, obey them.

And say; what chargest thou? "That by them thou shouldest war a good warfare." They chose thee, that then for which they chose thee do thou, "war a good warfare." He named "a good warfare," since there is a bad warfare, of which he says, "As ye have yielded your members instruments [1149] to uncleanness and to iniquity." (Rom. vi. 19.) Those men serve under a tyrant, but thou servest under a King. And why calls he it a warfare? To show how mighty a contest is to be maintained by all, but especially by a Teacher; that we require strong arms, and sobriety, and awakenedness, and continual vigilance: that we must prepare ourselves for blood and conflicts, must be in battle array, and have nothing relaxed. "That thou shouldest war in them," he says. For as in an army all do not serve in the same capacity, but in their different stations; so also in the Church one has the office of a Teacher, another that of a disciple, another that of a private man. But thou art in this. And, because this is not sufficient he adds,

Ver. 19. "Holding faith, and a good conscience."

For he that would be a Teacher must first teach himself. For as he who has not first been a good soldier, will never be a general, so it is with the Teacher; wherefore he says elsewhere, "Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away." (1 Cor. ix. 27.) "Holding faith," he says, "and a good conscience," that so thou mayest preside over others. When we hear this, let us not disdain the exhortations of our superiors, though we be Teachers. For if Timothy, to whom all of us together are not worthy to be compared, receives commands and is instructed, and that being himself in the Teacher's office, much more should we. "Which some having put away, have made shipwreck concerning the faith." [1150] And this follows naturally. For when the life is corrupt, it engenders a doctrine congenial to it, and from this circumstance many are seen to fall into a gulf of evil, and to turn aside into Heathenism. For that they may not be tormented with the fear of futurity, they endeavor to persuade their souls, that what we preach is false. And some turn aside from the faith, who seek out everything by reasoning; for reasoning produces shipwreck, while faith is as a safe ship.

They then who turn aside from the faith must suffer shipwreck; and this he shows by an example.

Ver. 20. "Of whom are Hymenæus and Alexander."

And from them he would instruct us. You see how even from those times there have been seducing Teachers, curious enquirers, and men holding off from the faith, and searching out [1151] by their own reasonings. As the shipwrecked man is naked and destitute of all things, so is he that falls away from the faith without resource, he knows not where to stand or where to stay himself, nor has he the advantage of a good life so as to gain anything from that quarter. For when the head is disordered, what avails the rest of the body? and if faith without a good life is unavailing, much more is the converse true. If God despises His own for our sakes, much more ought we to despise our own for His sake. [1152] For so it is, where any one falls away from the faith, he has no steadiness, he swims this way and that, till at last he is lost in the deep.

"Whom I delivered to Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme!" Thus it is blasphemy to search into divine things by our own reasonings. For what have human reasonings in common with them? But how does Satan instruct them not to blaspheme? can he instruct others, who has not yet taught himself, but is a blasphemer still? It is not that "he should instruct," but that they should be instructed. It is not he that does it, though such is the result. As elsewhere he says in the case of the fornicator: "To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh." Not that he may save the body, but "that the spirit may be saved." (1 Cor. v. 5.) Therefore it is spoken impersonally. How then is this effected? As executioners, though themselves laden with numberless crimes, are made the correctors of others; so it is here with the evil spirit. But why didst thou not punish them thyself, as thou didst that Bar-Jesus, and as Peter did Ananias, instead of delivering them to Satan? It was not that they might be punished, but that they might be instructed. For that he had the power appears from other passages, "What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod?" (1 Cor. iv. 21.) And again, "Lest I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction." (2 Cor. xiii. 10.) Why did he then call upon Satan to punish them? That the disgrace might be greater, as the severity and the punishment was more striking. Or rather, they themselves chastised those who did not yet believe, but those who turned aside, they delivered to Satan. Why then did Peter punish Ananias? Because whilst he was tempting the Holy Ghost, he was still an unbeliever. That the unbelieving therefore might learn that they could not escape, they themselves inflicted punishment upon them; but those who had learnt this, yet afterwards turned aside, they delivered to Satan; showing that they were sustained not by their own power, but by their care for them; and as many as were lifted up into arrogance were delivered to him. For as kings with their own hands slay their enemies, but deliver their subjects to executioners for punishment, so it is in this case. And these acts were done to show the authority committed to the Apostles. Nor was it a slight power, to be able thus to subject the devil to their commands. For this shows that he served and obeyed them even against his will, and this was no little proof of the power of grace. And listen how he delivered them: "When ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan." (1 Cor. v. 4.) He was then immediately expelled from the common assembly, he was separated from the fold, he became deserted and destitute; he was delivered to the wolf. For as the cloud designated the camp of the Hebrews, so the Spirit distinguished the Church. If any one therefore was without, he was consumed, [1153] and it was by the judgment of the Apostles that he was cast out of the pale. So also the Lord delivered Judas to Satan. For immediately "after the sop Satan entered into him." (John xiii. 27.) Or this may be said; that those whom they wished to amend, they did not themselves punish, but reserved their punishments for those who were incorrigible. Or otherwise, that they were the more dreaded for delivering them up to others. Job also was delivered to Satan, but not for his sins, but for fuller proof of his worth.

Many such instances still occur. For since the Priests cannot know who are sinners, and unworthy partakers of the holy Mysteries, God often in this way delivers them to Satan. For when diseases, and attacks, [1154] and sorrows, and calamities, and the like occur, it is on this account that they are inflicted. This is shown by Paul. "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (1 Cor. xi. 30.) But how? saith one, when we approach but once a year! But this is indeed the evil, that you determine the worthiness of your approach, not by the purity of your minds, but by the interval of time. You think it a proper caution not to communicate often; not considering that you are seared by partaking unworthily, though only once, but to receive worthily, though often, is salutary. It is not presumptuous to receive often, but to receive unworthily, though but once in a whole life. But we are so miserably foolish, that, though we commit numberless offenses in the course of a year, we are not anxious to be absolved from them, but are satisfied, that we do not often make bold impudently to insult the Body of Christ, not remembering that those who crucified Christ, crucified Him but once. Is the offense then the less, because committed but once? Judas betrayed his Master but once. What then, did that exempt him from punishment? Why indeed is time to be considered in this matter? let our time of coming be when our conscience is pure. The Mystery at Easter is not of more efficacy than that which is now celebrated. It is one and the same. There is the same grace of the Spirit, it is always a Passover. [1155] You who are initiated know this. On the Preparation, [1156] on the Sabbath, on the Lord's day, and on the day of Martyrs, it is the same Sacrifice that is performed. "For as often," he saith, "as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death." (1 Cor. xi. 26.) No time is limited for the performance of this Sacrifice, why then is it then called the Paschal feast? [1157] Because Christ suffered for us then. Let not the time, therefore, make any difference in your approach. There is at all times the same power, the same dignity, the same grace, one and the same body; nor is one celebration of it more or less holy than another. And this you know, who see upon these occasions nothing new, save these worldly veils, and a more splendid attendance. The only thing that these days have more is that from them commenced the day of our salvation when Christ was sacrificed. But with respect to these mysteries, those days have no further preėminence.

When you approach to take bodily food, you wash your hands and your mouth, but when you draw nigh to this spiritual food, you do not cleanse your soul, but approach full of uncleanness. But you say, Are not the forty days' fastings sufficient to cleanse the huge heap of our sins? But of what use is it, tell me? If wishing to store up some precious unguent, you should make clean a place to receive it, and a little after having laid it up, should throw dung upon it, would not the fine odor vanish? This takes place with us too. We make ourselves to the best of our power worthy to approach; then we defile ourselves again! What then is the good of it? This we say even of those who are able in those forty days to wash themselves clean.

Let us then, I beseech you, not neglect our salvation, that our labor may not be in vain. For he who turns from his sins, and goes and commits the same again, is "like a dog that returneth to his vomit." (Prov. xxvi. 11.) But if we act as we ought, and take heed to our ways, we shall be thought worthy of those high rewards, which that we may all obtain, God grant through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1147] meth' hes. [1148] Or "galling"; the word "charge" is in the sense of "injunction." [1149] The word used, Rom. vi. 13, which may mean "arms" (hopla). [1150] [This is the order of the R.V.] [1151] al. "searching into divine Mysteries by." [1152] i.e. if God regards not our faith, which is most towards Him of all we do, unless we perform the duties of life, much more ought we not to pride ourselves on any such duties, while we neglect that duty to Him. See St. Chrys. on Rom. iv. 1, 2, Hom. viii. [1153] See Ex. xiv. 20. The converse is not stated here, but is implied of the Christian Church in Zech. ii. 5. [1154] epiboulai. He seems to mean those of Satan. Of affliction as a warning against sin, see on Stat. Hom. iii. and Hom iv. [1155] See Hom. iii. of St. Chrys. against the Jews, § 4. Ben. t. i. p. 611. [1156] paraskeue, Friday [preparation day for the Jewish Sabbath, Sabbath-eve]. [1157] pascha. He seems to allude to the Greek word for "suffering," though the reason will hold otherwise. [pascha is not from the Greek pascho, to suffer, but from the Hebrew X+S+aP+u¶, a passing over, a sparing.]


Homily VI.

1 Timothy ii. 1-4

"I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." [R.V.: who willeth that all men should be saved, &c.]

The Priest is the common father, as it were, of all the world; it is proper therefore that he should care for all, even as God, Whom he serves. [1158] For this reason he says, "I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." From this, two advantages result. First, hatred towards those who are without is done away; for no one can feel hatred towards those for whom he prays: and they again are made better by the prayers that are offered for them, and by losing their ferocious disposition towards us. For nothing is so apt to draw men under teaching, as to love, and be loved. Think what it was for those who persecuted, scourged, banished, and slaughtered the Christians, to hear that those whom they treated so barbarously offered fervent prayers to God for them. [1159] Observe how he wishes a Christian to be superior to all ill-treatment. As a father who was struck on the face by a little child which he was carrying, would not lose anything of his affection for it; so we ought not to abate in our good will towards those who are without, even when we are stricken by them. What is "first of all"? It means in the daily Service; and the initiated know how this is done every day both in the evening and the morning, how we offer prayers for the whole world, for kings and all that are in authority. But some one perhaps will say, he meant not for all men, but for all the faithful. How then does he speak of kings? for kings were not then worshipers of God, for there was a long succession of ungodly princes. And that he might not seem to flatter them, he says first, "for all men," then "for kings"; for if he had only mentioned kings, that might have been suspected. And then since the soul of some Christians might be slow [1160] at hearing this, and reject the exhortation, if at the celebration of the holy Mysteries it was necessary to offer prayers for a heathen king, he shows them the advantage of it, thus at least to reconcile them to the advice, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life"; as much as to say, Their safety is a security to us; [1161] as also in his Epistle to the Romans, he exhorts them to obey their rulers, "not for wrath but for conscience' sake." (Rom. xiii. 5.) For God has appointed government for the public good. When therefore they make war for this end, and stand on guard for our security, were it not unreasonable that we should not offer prayers for their safety in wars and dangers? It is not therefore flattery, but agreeable to the rules of justice. For if they were not preserved, and prospered in their wars, our affairs must necessarily be involved in confusion and trouble; and if they were cut off, we must either serve ourselves, or be scattered up and down as fugitives. For they are a sort of bulwarks thrown up before us, within which those who are inclosed are in peace and safety.

He says, "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks." For we must give thanks to God for the good that befalls others, as that He maketh the sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth His rain both upon the just and the unjust. Observe how he would unite and bind us together, not only by prayer but by thanksgiving. For he who is urged to thank God for his neighbor's good, is also bound to love him, and be kindly disposed towards him. And if we must give thanks for our neighbor's good, much more for what happens to ourselves, and for what is unknown, and even for things against our will, and such as appear grievous to us, since God dispenses all things for our good.

Moral. Let every prayer of ours, then, be accompanied with thanksgiving. And if we are commanded to pray for our neighbors, not only for the faithful, but for the unbelieving also, consider how wrong it is to pray against your brethren. What? Has He commanded you to pray for your enemies, and do you pray against your brother? But your prayer is not against him, but against yourself. For you provoke God by uttering those impious words, "Show him the same!" "So do to him!" "Smite him!" "Recompense him!" Far be such words from the disciple of Christ, who should be meek and mild. From the mouth that has been vouchsafed such holy Mysteries, let nothing bitter proceed. [1162] Let not the tongue that has touched the Lord's Body utter anything offensive, let it be kept pure, let not curses be borne upon it. For if "revilers shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. vi. 10.), much less those who curse. For he that curses must be injurious; and injuriousness and prayer are at variance with each other, cursing and praying are far apart, accusation and prayer are wide asunder. Do you propitiate God with prayer, and then utter imprecations? If you forgive not, you will not be forgiven. (Matt. vi. 15.) But instead of forgiving, you beseech God not to forgive; what excessive wickedness in this! If the unforgiving is not forgiven, he that prays his Lord not to forgive, how shall he be forgiven? The harm is to yourself, not him. For though your prayers were on the point of being heard for yourself, they would never be accepted in such a case, as offered with a polluted mouth. For surely the mouth that curses is polluted with all that is offensive and unclean.

When you ought to tremble for your own sins, to wrestle earnestly for the pardon of them, you come to move God against your brother--do you not fear, nor think of what concerns yourself? do you not see what you are doing? Imitate even the conduct of children at school. If they see their own class within giving account of their lessons, and all beaten for their idleness, and one by one severely examined and chastised with blows, they are frightened to death, and if one of their companions strikes them, and that severely, they cannot have while to be angry, nor complain to their master; so is their soul possessed with fear. They only look to one thing, that they may go in and come out without stripes, and their thoughts are on that time. And when they come out, whether beaten or not, the blows they have received from their play-fellows never enter their minds for the delight. And you, when you stand anxiously concerned for your own sins, how can you but shudder at making mention of others' faults? [1163] How can you implore pardon of God? For your own case is made worse on the terms of your imprecations against another, and you forbid Him to make allowance for your own faults. Might He not say, "If thou wouldest have Me so severe in exacting offenses against thee, how canst thou expect Me to pardon thy offenses against Me?" Let us learn at last to be Christians! If we know not how to pray, which is a very simple and easy thing, what else shall we know? Let us learn to pray like Christians. Those are the prayers of Gentiles, the supplications of Jews. The Christian's are the reverse, for the forgiveness and forgetting of offenses against us. "Being reviled," it is said, "we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat." (1 Cor. iv. 12, 13.) Hear Stephen saying, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts vi. 60.) Instead of praying against them, he prayed for them. You, instead of praying for them, utter imprecations against them. You then are wicked in the degree that he was excellent. Whom do we admire, tell me; those for whom he prayed, or him who prayed for them? Him certainly! and if we, much more then God. Would you have your enemy stricken? pray for him: yet not with such intention, not to strike him. That will indeed be the effect, but let it not be your object. That blessed martyr suffered all unjustly, yet he prayed for them: we suffer many things justly from our enemies. And if he who suffered unjustly durst not forbear to pray for his enemies, what punishment do we deserve, who suffer justly, and yet do not pray for them, nay, pray against them? Thou thinkest indeed that thou art inflicting a blow upon another, but in truth thou art thrusting the sword against thyself. Thou sufferest not the Judge to be lenient to thy own offenses, by this way of urging Him to anger against others. For, "with what measure ye mete," He saith, "it shall be measured to you again; and with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." (Matt. vii. 2.) Let us therefore be disposed to pardon, that God may be so disposed towards us.

These things I wish you not only to hear, but to observe. For now the memory retains only the words, and perhaps hardly those. And after we are separated, if any one who was not present were to ask you, what had been our discourse, some could not tell: others would know merely the subject we had spoken of, and answer that there had been a Homily upon the subject of forgiving injuries, and praying for our enemies, but would omit all that had been said, as they could not remember: others remember a little, but still somewhat. If therefore you gain nothing by what you hear, I entreat you not even to attend at the discourse. For of what use is it? The condemnation is greater, the punishment more severe, if after so many exhortations, we continue in the same course. For this reason God has given us a definite form of prayer, that we might ask for nothing human, nothing worldly. And you that are faithful know what you ought to pray for, how the whole Prayer is common. But one says, "It is not commanded there to pray for unbelievers." This you would not say, if you understood the force, the depth, the hidden treasure of that [1164] Prayer. Only unfold it, and you find this also comprised within it. For it is implied, when one says in prayer, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven." Now, because in heaven there is no unbeliever nor offender; if therefore it was for the faithful alone, there would be no reason in that expression. If the faithful were to do the will of God and the unbelievers not to do it, His will were not done in earth as it is in heaven. But it means; As there is none wicked in heaven, so let there be none on earth; but draw all men to the fear of Thee, make all men angels, even those who hate us, and are our enemies. Dost thou not see how God is daily blasphemed and mocked by believers and unbelievers, both in word and in deed? What then? Has He for this extinguished the sun? or stayed the course of the moon? Has He crushed the heavens and uprooted the earth? Has He dried up the sea? Has He shut up the fountains of waters? or confounded the air? Nay, on the contrary, He makes His sun to rise, His rain to descend, gives the fruits of the earth in their seasons, and thus supplies yearly nourishment to the blasphemers, to the insensible, to the polluted, to persecutors; not for one day or two, but for their whole life. Imitate Him then, emulate Him as far as human powers admit. Canst thou not make the sun arise? Abstain from evil speaking. Canst thou not send rain? Forbear reviling. Canst thou not give food? Refrain from insolence. Such gifts from thee are sufficient. The goodness of God to His enemies is shown by His works. Do thou so at least by words: pray for thine enemies, so wilt thou be like thy Father who is in heaven. How many times have we discoursed upon this subject! nor shall we cease to discourse; only let something come of it. It is not that we are drowsy, and weary of speaking; only do not you that hear be annoyed. Now a person seems to be annoyed, when he will not do what one says. For he who practices, loves often to hear the same thing, and is not annoyed by it; for it is his own commendation. But annoyance arises simply from not doing what is prescribed. Hence the speaker is troublesome. If a man practices almsgiving, and hears another speak of almsgiving, he is not wearied, [1165] but pleased, for he hears his own good actions recommended and proclaimed. So that when we are displeased at hearing a discourse upon the forgiveness of injuries, it is because we have no interest in forbearance, it is not practiced by us; for if we had the reality, we should not be pained at its being named. If therefore you would not have us wearisome or annoying, practice as we preach, exhibit in your actions the subject of our discourses. For we shall never cease discoursing upon these things till your conduct is agreeable to them. And this we do more especially from our concern and affection for you. For the trumpeter must sound his trumpet, though no one should go out to war; he must fulfill his part. We do it, not as wishing to bring heavier condemnation upon you, but to avert it from ourselves. And besides this, love for you constrains us, for it would tear and torture our hearts if that should befall you, which God avert! It is not any costly process that we recommend to you: it does not require the spoiling of goods, nor a long and toilsome journey. It is only to will. It is a word, it is a purpose of the mind. Let us only set a guard on our tongues, a door and a bar upon our lips, that we may utter nothing offensive to God. It is for our own advantage, not for theirs for whom we pray, to act thus. For let us ever consider, that he who blesses his enemy, blesses himself, he who curses his enemy, curses himself, and he who prays for his enemy, prays not for him, but for himself. If we thus act, we shall be able to reduce to practice this excellent virtue, [1166] and so to obtain the promised blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Footnotes

[1158] ohieratai. [1159] This is urged by Tertullian, Apol. i. § 30, and Address to Scapula, § 2. See also St. Justin, M. Apol. i. § 23. [1160] narkan. [1161] See on Rom. xiii. 6, Hom. xxiii. [1162] See Jas. iii. 11. [1163] In the Apostolical Constitutions, b. viii. c. 12, the Deacon says, just before the Offertory Prayer, "No man against another! no man in hypocrisy! Upright before the Lord with fear and trembling let us stand to offer!" The first sentence shows that the like abuse was apprehended. [1164] Gr. "the." [1165] apoknaiei. Dounæus conjectures apoknei. The other is usually transitive. [1166] He evidently hints at a higher degree of Christian feeling, in which a man would simply wish well to his enemies, and therefore pray for them. See on Philip. i. 30, Hom. iv., and on Rom. xii. 20, Hom. xxii.


Homily VII.

1 Timothy ii. 2-4

"That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who willeth that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth."

If in order to put an end to public wars, and tumults, and battles, the Priest is exhorted to offer prayers for kings and governors, much more ought private individuals to do it. For there are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all. For foreign war will not be able to hurt us greatly. What, I pray, though it slaughters and cuts us off? It injures not the soul. Neither will the second have power to harm us against our will; for though others be at war with us, we may be peaceable ourselves. For so says the Prophet, "For my love they are my adversaries, but I give myself unto prayer" (Ps. cix. 4.); and again, "I was at peace with them that hate peace"; and, "I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war." (Ps. cxx. 6, 7, Sept.) But from the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell. We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep. For what advantage is it, that the world enjoys profound peace, if thou art at war with thyself? This then is the peace we should keep. If we have it, nothing from without will be able to harm us. And to this end the public peace contributes no little: whence it is said, "That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life." But if any one is disturbed when there is quiet, he is a miserable creature. Seest thou that He speaks of this peace which I call the third kind? Therefore when he has said, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life," he does not stop there, but adds "in all godliness and honesty." But we cannot live in godliness and honesty, unless that peace be established. For when curious reasonings disturb our faith, what peace is there? or when spirits of uncleanness, what peace is there?

For that we may not suppose that he speaks of that sort of life which all men live, when he says, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life," he adds, "in all godliness and honesty," since a quiet and peaceable life may be led by heathens, and profligates, and voluptuous and wanton persons may be found living such a life. That this cannot be meant, is plain, from what he adds, "in all godliness and honesty." Such a life is exposed to snares, and conflicts, and the soul is daily wounded by the tumults of its own thoughts. But what sort of life he really means is plain from the sequel, and plain too, in that he speaks not simply of godliness, but adds, of "all godliness." For in saying this he seems to insist on a godliness not only of doctrine, but such as is supported by life, for in both surely must godliness be required. For of what advantage is it to be godly as to doctrine, but ungodly in life? and that it is very possible to be ungodly in life, hear this same blessed Apostle saying elsewhere, "They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." (Tit. i. 16.) And again, "He hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Tim. v. 8.) And, "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater" (1 Cor. v. 11.), such a man honors not God. And, "He that hateth his brother, knoweth not God." (1 John ii. 9.) Such are the various ways of ungodliness. Therefore he says, "All godliness and good order." [1167] For not only is the fornicator not honest, but the covetous man may be called disorderly and intemperate. For avarice is a lust no less than the bodily appetites, which he who does not chastise, is called dissolute. [1168] For men are called dissolute from not restraining their desires, so that the passionate, the envious, the covetous, the deceitful, and every one that lives in sin, may be called dissolute, disorderly, and licentious.

Ver. 3. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour."

What is said to be "acceptable"? The praying for all men. This God accepts, this He wills.

Ver. 4. "Who willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth."

Imitate God! if He willeth that all men should be saved, there is reason why one should pray for all, if He hath willed that all should be saved, be thou willing also; and if thou wishest it, pray for it, for wishes lead to prayers. Observe how from every quarter He urges this upon the soul, to pray for the Heathen, showing how great advantage springs from it; "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life"; and what is much more than this, that it is pleasing to God, and thus men become like Him, in that they will the same that He does. This is enough to shame a very brute. Fear not therefore to pray for the Gentiles, for God Himself wills it; but fear only to pray against any, for that He wills not. And if you pray for the Heathens, you ought of course to pray for Heretics also, for we are to pray for all men, and not to persecute. [1169] And this is good also for another reason, as we are partakers of the same nature, and God commands and accepts benevolence and affection towards one another.

But if the Lord Himself wills to give, you say, what need of my prayer? It is of great benefit both to them and to thyself. It draws them to love, and it inclines thee to humanity. It has the power of attracting others to the faith; (for many men have fallen away from God, from contentiousness towards one another;) and this [1170] is what he now calls the salvation of God, "who will have all men to be saved"; without this all other is nothing great, a mere nominal salvation, [1171] and only in words. "And to come to the knowledge of the truth." The truth: what truth? Faith in Him. And indeed he had previously said, "Charge some that they teach no other doctrine." But that no one may consider such as enemies, and on that account raise troubles [1172] against them; he says that "He willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth"; and having said this, he adds,

Ver. 5. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men."

He had before said, "to come to the knowledge of the truth," implying that the world is not in the truth. Now he says, "that there is one God," that is, not as some say, many, and that He has sent His Son as Mediator, thus giving proof that He will have all men to be saved. But is not the Son God? Most truly He is; why then does he say, "One God"? In contradistinction to the idols; not to the Son. For he is discoursing about truth and error. Now a mediator ought to have communion with both parties, between whom he is to mediate. For this is the property of a mediator, to be in close communion with each of those whose mediator he is. For he would be no longer a mediator, if he were connected with one but separated from the other. [1173] If therefore He partakes not of the nature of the Father, He is not a Mediator, but is separated. For as He is partaker of the nature of men, because He came to men, so is He partaker of the nature of God, because He came from God. Because He was to mediate between two natures, He must approximate to the two natures; for as the place situated between two others is joined to each place, so must that between natures be joined to either nature. As therefore He became Man, so was He also God. A man could not have become a mediator, because he must also plead with God. God could not have been mediator, since those could not receive Him, toward whom He should have mediated. And as elsewhere he says, "There is one God the Father,...and one Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. viii. 6.); so also here "One" God, and "One" Mediator; he does not say two; for he would not have that number wrested to Polytheism, of which he was speaking. So he wrote "One" and "One." You see how accurate are the expressions of Scripture! For though one and one are two, we are not to say this, though reason suggests it. And here thou sayest not one and one are two, and yet thou sayest what reason does not suggest. "If He begat He also suffered." [1174] "For there is one God," he says, "and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."

Ver. 6. "Who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified [1175] in due time."

Was Christ then a ransom for the Heathen? Undoubtedly Christ died even for Heathen; and you cannot bear to pray for them. Why then, you ask, did they not believe? Because they would not: but His part was done. His suffering was a "Testimony," he says; for He came, it is meant, "to bear witness to the truth" of the Father, and was slain. [1176] Thus not only the Father bore witness to Him, but He to the Father. "For I came," He saith, "in my Father's name." (John v. 43.) And again, "No man hath seen God at any time." (John i. 18.) And again, "That they might know Thee, the only true God." (John xvii. 3.) And, "God is a Spirit," (John iv. 24.) And He bore witness even to the death. But this, "in due time," means, In the fittest time.

Ver. 7. "Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an Apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not:) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."

Since therefore Christ suffered for the Gentiles, and I was separated to be a "teacher of the Gentiles," why dost thou refuse to pray for them? He fully shows his own credibility, by saying that he was "ordained" (Acts xiii. 2.), that is, separated, for this purpose, the other Apostles being backward [1177] in teaching the Gentiles; he adds, "in faith and verity," to show that in that faith there was no deceit. Here is observable the extension of grace. For the Jews had no prayers for the Gentiles; but now grace is extended to them: and when he says that he was separated to be a Teacher of the Gentiles, he intimates that grace was now shed over every part of the world.

"He gave himself a ransom," he saith, how then was He delivered up by the Father? Because it was of His goodness. And what means "ransom"? God was about to punish them, but He forbore to do it. They were about to perish, but in their stead He gave His own Son, and sent us as heralds to proclaim the Cross. These things are sufficient to attract all, and to demonstrate the love of Christ. Moral. So truly, so inexpressibly great are the benefits which God has bestowed upon us. He sacrificed Himself for His enemies, who hated and rejected Him. What no one would do for friends, for brethren, for children, that the Lord hath done for His servants; a Lord not Himself such an one as His servants, but God for men; for men not deserving. For had they been deserving, had they done His pleasure, it would have been less wonderful; but that He died for such ungrateful, such obstinate creatures, this it is which strikes every mind with amazement. For what men would not do for their fellow-men, that has God done for us! Yet after such a display of love towards us, we hold back, [1178] and are not in earnest in our love of Christ. He has sacrificed Himself for us; for Him we make no sacrifice. We neglect Him when He wants necessary food; sick and naked we visit Him not. What do we not deserve, what wrath, what punishment, what hell? Were there no other inducement, it should be sufficient to prevail with every one that He condescended to make human sufferings His own, to say I hunger, I thirst.

O the tyranny of wealth! or rather the wickedness of those who are its willing slaves! for it has no great power of itself, but through our weakness and servility: [1179] it is we that are mean and groveling, that are carnal and without understanding. For what power has money? It is mute and insensible. If the devil, that wicked spirit, that crafty confounder of all things, has no power, [1180] what power has money? When you look upon silver, fancy it is tin! Cannot you? Then hold it for what it really is; for earth it is. But if you cannot reason thus, consider that we too shall perish, that many of those who have possessed it have gained scarce any advantage by it, that thousands who gloried in it are now dust and ashes. That they are suffering extreme punishment, and far more beggarly than they that fed from glass and earthenware; that those who once reclined on ivory couches, are poorer now than those who are lying on the dunghill. But it delights the eyes! How many other things delight them more! The flowers, the pure sky, the firmament, the bright sun, are far more grateful to the eye. For it hath much of rust, whence some have asserted that it was black, which appears from the images that turn black. But there is no blackness in the sun, the heaven, the stars. Much greater delight is there in these brilliants [1181] than in its color. It is not therefore its brilliancy [1182] that makes it please, but covetousness and iniquity; these, and not money, give the pleasure. Cast these from thy soul, and what appeared so precious will seem to thee more worthless than clay. Those who are in a fever long for mud when they see it, as if it were spring water; but those in sound health seldom wish even for water. Cast off this morbid longing, and thou wilt see things as they are. And to prove that I do not speak falsely, know, that I can point out many who have done so. Quench this flame, and thou wilt see that these things are of less worth than flowers.

Is gold good? Yes, it is good for almsgiving, for the relief of the poor; it is good, not for unprofitable use, to be hoarded up or buried in the earth, to be worn on the hands or the feet or the head. It was discovered for this end, that with it we should loose the captives, not form it into a chain for the image of God. Use thy gold for this, to loose him that is bound, not to chain her that is free. Tell me, why dost thou value above all things what is of so little worth? Is it the less a chain, because it is of gold? does the material make any difference? [1183] whether it be gold or iron, it is still a chain; nay the gold is the heavier. What then makes it light, but vainglory, and the pleasure of being seen to wear a chain, of which you ought rather to be ashamed? To make this evident, fasten it, and place the wearer in a wilderness or where there is no one to see, and the chain will at once be felt heavy, and thought burdensome.

Beloved, let us fear, lest we be doomed to hear those terrible words, "Bind him hand and foot." (Matt. xxii. 13.) And why, O woman, dost thou now do so to thyself? No prisoner has both his hands and his feet bound. Why bindest thou thy head too? For thou art not content with hands and feet, but bindest thy head and thy neck with many chains. I pass over the care that comes of these things, the fear, the alarm, the strife occasioned by them with thy husband if ever he wants them, the death it is to people when they lose any of them. Canst thou call this a pleasure? To gratify the eyes of others, dost thou subject thyself to chains, and cares, and perils, and uneasiness, and daily quarrels? This is deserving of every censure and condemnation. Nay, I entreat you, let us not do thus, let us burst every "bond of iniquity" (Acts viii. 23.); let us break our bread to the hungry, and let us do all other things, which may ensure to us confidence before God, that we may obtain the blessings promised through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1167] semnoteti. This word expresses the highest kind of "sobriety." "Honesty," when used for it, has the Latin meaning. [1168] akolastos. [1169] This of course does not imply that Heretics might not be prevented from usurping churches, nor their persons shunned, Hom. de Incompr. ii. fin. Ben. t. i. p. 462, nor their doctrines anathematized. Hom. de Anathemat. fin. t. i. p. 696. On the Church's disapproval of putting them to death, see the case of Priscillian, in the vol. of Fleury's Eccl. History [Schaff, Ch. Hist. III. 143]. [1170] i.e. the coming to the Faith. Sav. mar. has "and this is what he now calls salvation" (this fem.). See Ps. xcviii. 3. [1171] The Greek word is applicable to bodily safety. [1172] machas. [1173] See St. Athanasius, Ep. on Nicene Decrees, § 24, Tr. p. 41. [1174] epathen. Not in the sense implied in Sabellianism. He refers to an Arian argument against the proper Divinity of the Son, which he means is less plausible than one which this passage of St. Paul shows not to be legitimate. See St. Ath. against Arians, Disc. 1, Ben. § 16, t. i. p. 421 a, Tr. c. v. § 6, p. 204. [1175] Lit. "the Testimony." [1176] He seems to mean, "was slain for that purpose." [1177] enarkon. Montf. observes that all copies agree, and that this may be true of the countries mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, but not universally. [1178] akkizometha. [1179] One ms. and old Lat. "dissoluteness." [1180] i.e. over those who resist him. [1181] Lit. "flowers." See on Stat. Hom. ix. 3. [1182] Lit. "flower." [1183] Lit. "Is it the material that makes (an iron chain) a chain?"


Homily VIII.

1 Timothy ii. 8-10

"I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

"When thou prayest," saith Christ, "thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." (Matt. vi. 5, 6.) What then says Paul? "I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." This is not contrary to the other, God forbid, but quite in harmony with it. But how, and in what way? We must first consider what means, "enter into thy closet," and why Christ commands this, if we are to pray in every place? or whether we may not pray in the church, nor in any other part of the house, but the closet? What then means that saying? Christ is recommending us to avoid ostentation, when He bids us offer our prayers not only privately, but secretly. For, when He says, "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (Matt. vi. 3.), it is not the hands that He considers, but He is bidding them use the utmost caution against ostentation: and He is doing the like here; He did not limit prayer to one place, but required one thing alone, the absence of vainglory. The object of Paul is to distinguish the Christian from the Jewish prayers, therefore observe what he says: "In every place lifting up holy hands," which was not permitted the Jews, for they were not allowed to approach God, to sacrifice and perform their services, elsewhere, but assembling from all parts of the world in one place, they were bound to perform all their worship [1184] in the temple. In opposition to this he introduces his precept, and freeing them from this necessity, he says in effect, Our ways are not like the Jewish; for as Christ commanded us to pray for all men because He died for all men, and I preach these things for all men, so it is good to "pray everywhere." Henceforth the consideration is not of the place but of the manner of the prayer; "pray everywhere," but "everywhere lift up holy hands." That is the thing required. And what is "holy"? [1185] Pure. And what is pure? Not washed with water, but free from covetousness, murder, rapacity, violence, "without wrath and doubting." What means this? Who is angry when he prays? It means, without bearing malice. Let the mind of him that prays be pure, freed from all passion. Let no one approach God in enmity, or in an unamiable temper, or with "doubting." What is "without doubting"? Let us hear. It implies that we should have no misgiving but that we shall be heard. For it is said, "whatever ye ask believing ye shall receive." (Matt. xxi. 22.) And again, "when ye stand praying forgive, if ye have aught against any one." (Mark xi. 25.) This is to pray without wrath and doubting. But how can I believe that I shall obtain my request? By asking nothing opposed to that which He is ready to grant, nothing unworthy of the great King, nothing worldly, but all spiritual blessings; if you approach Him "without wrath," having pure hands, "holy hands": hands employed in almsgiving are holy. Approach Him thus, and you will certainly obtain your request. "For if ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matt. vii. 11.) By doubting he means misgiving. In like manner he says, I will that women approach God without wrath and doubting, lifting up holy hands: that they should not follow their own desires, nor be covetous or rapacious. For what if a woman does not rob or steal herself, but does it through means of her husband? Paul however requires something more of women, that they adorn themselves "in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair or gold or pearls or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." But what is this "modest apparel"? Such attire as covers them completely, and decently, not with superfluous ornaments, for the one is becoming, the other is not.

Moral. What? Dost thou approach God to pray, with broidered hair and ornaments of gold? Art thou come to a dance? to a marriage? to a gay procession? There such a broidery, such costly garments, had been seasonable, here not one of them is wanted. Thou art come to pray, to supplicate for pardon of thy sins, to plead for thine offenses, beseeching the Lord, and hoping to render Him propitious to thee. Why dost thou adorn thyself? This is not the dress of a suppliant. How canst thou groan? How canst thou weep? How pray with fervency, when thus attired? Shouldest thou weep, thy tears will be the ridicule of the beholders. She that weeps ought not to be wearing gold. It were but acting, and hypocrisy. For is it not acting to pour forth tears from a soul so overgrown with extravagance and ambition? Away with such hypocrisy! God is not mocked! This is the attire of actors and dancers, that live upon the stage. Nothing of this sort becomes a modest woman, who should be adorned "with shamefacedness and sobriety."

Imitate not therefore the courtesans. For by such a dress they allure their many lovers; and hence many have incurred a disgraceful suspicion, and, instead of gaining any advantage from their ornaments, have injured many [1186] by bearing this character. For as the adulteress, though she may have a character for modesty, derives no benefit from that character, in the Day, when He who judges the secrets of men shall make all things manifest; so the modest woman, if she contrive by this dress to pass for an adulteress, will lose the advantage of her chastity. For many have suffered harm by this opinion. "What can I do," thou sayest, "if another suspects me?" But thou givest the occasion by thy dress, thy looks, thy gestures. It is for this reason that Paul discourses much of dress and much of modesty. And if he would remove those things which are only the indications of wealth, as gold, and pearls, and costly array; how much more those things which imply studied ornament, as painting, coloring the eyes, a mincing gait, the affected voice, a languishing and wanton look; the exquisite care in putting on the cloak and bodice, the nicely wrought girdle, and the closely-fitted shoes? For he glances at all these things, in speaking of "modest apparel" and "shamefacedness." For such things are shameless and indecent.

Bear with me, I beseech you, for it is not my aim by this plain reproof to wound or pain you, but to remove from my flock all that is unbecoming to them. But if these prohibitions are addressed to those who have husbands, who are rich, and live luxuriously; much more to those who have professed virginity. But what virgin, you say, wears gold, or broidered hair? Yet there may be such a studied nicety in a simple dress, as that these are nothing to it. You may study appearance in a common garment more than those who wear gold. For when a very dark colored robe is drawn closely round the breast with the girdle (as dancers on the stage are attired), with such nicety that it may neither spread into breadth nor shrink into scantiness, but be between both; and when the bosom is set off with many folds, is not this more alluring than any silken robes? and when the shoe, shining through its blackness, ends in a sharp point, and imitates the elegance of painting, so that even the breadth of the sole is scarce visible--or when, though you do not indeed paint the face, you spend much time and pains on washing it, and spread a veil across the forehead, [1187] whiter than the face itself--and above that put on a hood, [1188] of which the blackness may set off the white by contrast--is there not in all this the vanity of dress? What can one say to the perpetual rolling of the eyes? to the putting on of the stomacher; so artfully as sometimes to conceal, sometimes to disclose, the fastening? For this too they sometimes expose, so as to show the exquisiteness of the cincture, winding the hood entirely round the head. Then like the players, they wear gloves so closely fitted, that they seem to grow upon the hands: and we might speak of their walk, and other artifices more alluring than any ornament of gold. Let us fear, beloved, lest we also hear what the Prophet said to the Hebrew women who were so studious of outward ornament; "Instead of a girdle, thou shalt be girded with a halter, instead of well-set hair, baldness." (Isa. iii. 24, Sept.) These things and many others, invented only to be seen and to attract beholders, are more alluring than golden ornaments. These are no trifling faults, but displeasing to God, and enough to mar all the self-denial of virginity.

Thou hast Christ for thy Bridegroom, O virgin, why dost thou seek to attract human lovers? He will judge thee as an adulteress. Why dost thou not wear the ornament that is pleasing to Him; modesty, chastity, orderliness, and sober apparel? This is meretricious, and disgraceful. We can no longer distinguish harlots and virgins, to such indecency have they advanced. A virgin's dress should not be studied, but plain, and without labor; but now they have many artifices to make their dress conspicuous. O woman, cease from this folly. Transfer this care to thy soul, to the inward adorning. For the outward ornament that invests thee, suffers not that within to become beautiful. He that is concerned for that which is without, despises that which is within, even as he that is unconcerned about the exterior, bestows all his care upon the interior. Say not, "Alas! I wear a threadbare garment, mean shoes, a worthless veil; what is there of ornament in these?" Do not deceive thyself. It is impossible, as I said, to study appearance more by these than by costlier dresses; especially when they are close-fitted to the body, fashioned to an immodest show, and of shining neatness. [1189] Thou excusest thyself to me, but what canst thou say to God, who knows the heart and the spirit with which thou doest these things? "It is not done for fornication!" Perhaps not, but for admiration; and dost thou not blush for shame to be admired for such things? But thou sayest, "It is but chance I am so dressed, and for no motive of this kind." God knoweth what thou sayest to me: is it to me thou must give account? Nay, it is to Him who is present at thy actions, and will one day inquire into them, to whom all things are naked and open. It is on this account that we now urge these things, that we may not let you be amenable to those severe judgments. Let us fear, therefore, lest He reprove you in the words of the Prophet to the Jewish women. "They come to be seen of me wantoning and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet." (Isa. iii. 16.)

Ye have taken upon you a great contest, where wrestling, not ornament is required; where the battle awaits you, not sloth and ease. Observe the combatants and wrestlers in the games. Do they concern themselves about their walk or their dress? No, but scorning all these, and throwing about them a garment [1190] dripping with oil, they look only to one thing, to wound, and not be wounded. The devil stands grinding his teeth, watching to destroy thee every way, and thou remainest unconcerned, or concerned only about this satanic ornament. I say nothing about the voice, though much affectation is shown in this also, nor about perfumes, and other such luxuries. It is for these things we are ridiculed by the women of the world. The respect for virginity is lost. No one honors a virgin as she ought to be honored. They have given occasion to their own dishonor. Ought not they to be looked up to in the Church of God, as women coming from heaven? but now they are despised, and deservedly, though not those among them who are discreet. But when one who has a husband and children, and presides over a household, sees thee, who ought to be crucified to the world, more devoted to the world than herself, will she not ridicule and despise thee? See what care! what pains! In thy humble dress, thou exceedest her who wears the costliest ornament, and art more studious of appearance than she who is arrayed in gold. What is becoming to thee thou seekest not; that which misbecomes thee thou pursuest, when thou oughtest to be occupied in good works. On this account virgins are less honored than women of the world. For they do not perform works worthy of their virgin profession. This is not said to all; or rather it is said to all; to those who are in fault, that they may learn modesty; to those who are free from blame, that they may teach modesty to others. But beware lest this rebuke be verified in deed. For we have not said these things that we may grieve, but that we may correct you, that we may glory in you. And may we all do those things which are acceptable to God, and live to His glory, that we may obtain the blessings promised by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1184] ta tes agisteias. [1185] hosious. [1186] He means either by jealousy or temptation. [1187] meta tou metopou. The reading is suspected, but it seems to mean, "so as to make one effect with the forehead." [1188] pharos. [1189] So B. (doubtful reading). [1190] See on Stat. Hom. i. 16.


Homily IX.

1 Timothy ii. 11-15

"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in [through the] child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

Great modesty and great propriety does the blessed Paul require of women, and that not only with respect to their dress and appearance: he proceeds even to regulate their speech. And what says he? "Let the woman learn in silence"; that is, let her not speak at all in the church; which rule he has also given in his Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says, "It is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Cor. xiv. 35.); and the reason is, that the law has made them subject to men. And again elsewhere, "And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home." (Ibid.) Then indeed the women, from such teaching, kept silence; but now there is apt to be great noise among them, much clamor and talking, and nowhere so much as in this place. They may all be seen here talking more than in the market, or at the bath. For, as if they came hither for recreation, they are all engaged in conversing upon unprofitable subjects. Thus all is confusion, and they seem not to understand, that unless they are quiet, they cannot learn anything that is useful. For when our discourse strains against the talking, and no one minds what is said, what good can it do to them? To such a degree should women be silent, that they are not allowed to speak not only about worldly matters, but not even about spiritual things, in the church. This is order, this is modesty, this will adorn her more than any garments. Thus clothed, she will be able to offer her prayers in the manner most becoming.

"But I suffer not a woman to teach." "I do not suffer," he says. What place has this command here? The fittest. He was speaking of quietness, of propriety, of modesty, so having said that he wished them not to speak in the church, to cut off all occasion of conversation, he says, let them not teach, but occupy the station of learners. For thus they will show submission by their silence. For the sex is naturally somewhat talkative: and for this reason he restrains them on all sides. "For Adam," says he, "was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."

If it be asked, what has this to do with women of the present day? it shows that the male sex enjoyed the higher honor. Man was first formed; and elsewhere he shows their superiority. "Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." (1 Cor. xi. 9.) Why then does he say this? He wishes the man to have the preeminence in every way; both for the reason given above, he means, let him have precedence, and on account of what occurred afterwards. For the woman taught the man once, and made him guilty of disobedience, and wrought our ruin. Therefore because she made a bad use of her power over the man, or rather her equality with him, God made her subject to her husband. "Thy desire shall be to thy husband?" (Gen. iii. 16.) This had not been said to her before.

But how was Adam not deceived? If he was not deceived, he did not then transgress? Attend carefully. The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me." But the man did not say, The woman deceived me, but, "she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Now it is not the same thing to be deceived by a fellow-creature, one of the same kind, as by an inferior and subordinate animal. This is truly to be deceived. Compared therefore with the woman, he is spoken of as "not deceived." For she was beguiled by an inferior and subject, he by an equal. Again, it is not said of the man, that he "saw the tree was good for food," but of the woman, and that she "did eat, and gave it to her husband": so that he transgressed, not captivated by appetite, but merely from the persuasion of his wife. The woman taught once, and ruined all. On this account therefore he saith, let her not teach. But what is it to other women, that she suffered this? It certainly concerns them; for the sex is weak and fickle, and he is speaking of the sex collectively. For he says not Eve, but "the woman," which is the common name of the whole sex, not her proper name. Was then the whole sex included in the transgression for her fault? As he said of Adam, "After the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come" (Rom. v. 14.); so here the female sex transgressed, and not the male. Shall not women then be saved? Yes, by means of children. For it is not of Eve that he says, "If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." What faith? what charity? what holiness with sobriety? It is as if he had said, "Ye women, be not cast down, because your sex has incurred blame. God has granted you another opportunity of salvation, by the bringing up of children, so that you are saved, not only by yourselves, but by others." See how many questions are involved in this matter. "The woman," he says, "being deceived was in the transgression." What woman? Eve. Shall she then be saved by child-bearing? He does not say that, but, the race of women shall be saved. Was not it then involved in transgression? Yes, it was, still Eve transgressed, but the whole sex shall be saved, notwithstanding, "by childbearing." And why not by their own personal virtue? For has she excluded others from this salvation? And what will be the case with virgins, with the barren, with widows who have lost their husbands, before they had children? will they perish? is there no hope for them? yet virgins are held in the highest estimation. What then does he mean to say?

Some interpret his meaning thus. As what happened to the first woman occasioned the subjection of the whole sex, (for since Eve was formed second and made subject, he says, let the rest of the sex be in subjection,) so because she transgressed, the rest of the sex are also in transgression. But this is not fair reasoning; for at the creation all was the gift of God, but in this case, it is the consequence of the woman's sin. But this is the amount of what he says. As all men died through one, because that one sinned, so the whole female race transgressed, because the woman was in the transgression. Let her not however grieve. God hath given her no small consolation, that of childbearing. And if it be said that this is of nature, so is that [1191] also of nature; for not only that which is of nature has been granted, but also the bringing up of children. "If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety"; that is, if after childbearing, they keep them [1192] in charity and purity. By these means they will have no small reward on their account, because they have trained up wrestlers for the service of Christ. By holiness he means good life, modesty, and sobriety.

Chap. iii. ver. 1. "This is a faithful saying."

This relates to the present subject, not to what follows, respecting the office of a Bishop. For as it was doubted, he affirms it to be a true saying, that fathers may be benefited by the virtue of their children, and mothers also, when they have brought them up well. But what if she be herself addicted to wickedness and vice? Will she then be benefited by the bringing up of children? Is it not probable that she will bring them up to be like herself? It is not therefore of any woman, but of the virtuous woman, that it is said she shall receive a great recompense for this also.

Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, "Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children." (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. "All bread," it is said, "is sweet to the fornicator." (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?

Let us admonish them of these things. Let us employ sometimes advice, sometimes warnings, sometimes threatening. In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them, and do everything that the Evil One may not rob us of them. But now our practice is the very reverse of this. We take all care indeed to have our farm in good order, and to commit it to a faithful manager, we look out for it an ass-driver, and muleteer, and bailiff, and a clever accomptant. But we do not look out for what is much more important, for a person to whom we may commit our son as the guardian of his morals, though this is a possession much more valuable than all others. It is for him indeed that we take such care of our estate. We take care of our possessions for our children, but of the children themselves we take no care at all. What an absurdity is this! Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter. If that is not good, he will derive no advantage from his wealth, and if it is formed to goodness he will suffer no harm from poverty. Wouldest thou leave him rich? teach him to be good: for so he will be able to acquire wealth, or if not, he will not fare worse than they who possess it. But if he be wicked, though you leave him boundless wealth, you leave him no one to take care of it, and you render him worse than those who are reduced to extreme poverty. For poverty is better than riches for those children who are not well-disposed. For it retains them in some degree of virtue even against their will. Whereas money does not suffer those who would be sober to continue so, it leads them away, ruins them, and plunges them into infinite dangers.

Mothers, be specially careful to regulate your daughters well; for the management of them is easy. Be watchful over them, that they may be keepers at home. Above all, instruct them to be pious, modest, despisers of wealth, indifferent to ornament. In this way dispose of them in marriage. For if you form them in this way, you will save not only them, but the husband who is destined to marry them, and not the husband only, but the children, not the children only, but the grandchildren. For the root being made good, good branches will shoot forth, and still become better, and for all these you will receive a reward. Let us do all things therefore, as benefiting not only one soul, but many through that one. For they ought to go from their father's house to marriage, as combatants from the school of exercise, furnished with all necessary knowledge, and to be as leaven able to transform the whole lump to its own virtue. And let your sons be so modest, as to be distinguished for their steadiness and sobriety, that they may receive great praise both from God and men. Let them learn to govern their appetites, to avoid extravagance, to be good economists, affectionate, and submissive to rule. For so they will be able to secure a good reward to their parents, so all things will be done to the glory of God, and to our salvation, through Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1191] The sense is obscure, but he seems to mean, "the ordinary way of salvation," and by "consolation," a way of obtaining relief from the consequences of sin. See on Stat. Hom. ii. 19, and paramuthia elsewhere. [1192] i.e. their children. Colb. heautous, which cannot be right.


Homily X.

1 Timothy iii. 1-4

"If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity."

As now proceeding to discourse of the Episcopal office, he sets out with showing what sort of a person a Bishop ought to be. And here he does not do it as in the course of his exhortation to Timothy, but addresses all, and instructs others through him. And what says he? "If a man desire the office of a Bishop," I do not blame him, for it is a work of protection. If any one has this desire, so that he does not covet the dominion and authority, but wishes to protect the Church, I blame him not. "For he desireth a good work." Even Moses desired the office, though not the power, and his desire exposed him to that taunt, "Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" (Acts vii. 27; Ex. ii. 14.) If any one, then, desire it in this way, let him desire it. For the Episcopate is so called from having the oversight of all.

"A Bishop then," he says, "must be blameless, the husband of one wife." This he does not lay down as a rule, as if he must not be without one, but as prohibiting his having more than one. [1193] For even the Jews were allowed to contract second marriages, and even to have two wives at one time. For "marriage is honorable," (Heb. xiii. 4.) Some however say, that this is said that he should be the husband of one wife. [1194] "Blameless." Every virtue is implied in this word; so that if any one be conscious to himself of any sins, he doth not well to desire an office for which his own actions have disqualified him. For such an one ought to be ruled, and not to rule others. For he who bears rule should be brighter than any luminary; his life should be unspotted, so that all should look up to him, and make his life the model of their own. But in employing this exhortation, he had no common object in view. For he too [1195] was about to appoint Bishops, (which also he exhorts Titus to do in his Epistle to him,) and as it was probable that many would desire that office, therefore he urges these admonitions. "Vigilant," he says, that is, circumspect, having a thousand eyes about him, quicksighted, not having the eyes of his mind dimmed. For many things occur which permit not a man to see clearly, to see things as they are. For care and troubles, and a load of business on all sides press upon him. He must therefore be vigilant, not only over his own concerns, but over those of others. He must be well awake, he must be fervent in spirit, and, as it were, breathe fire; he must labor and attend upon his duty by day and by night, even more than a general upon his army; he must be careful and concerned for all. "Sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality." Because these qualities are possessed by most of those who are under their rule, (for in these respects they ought to be equal to those who rule over them,) he, to show what is peculiar to the Bishops, adds, "apt to teach." For this is not required of him that is ruled, but is most essential to him who has this rule committed to him. [1196]

"Not given to wine": here he does not so much mean intemperate, as insolent and impudent. "No striker": this too does not mean a striker with the hands. What means then "no striker"? Because there are some who unseasonably smite the consciences of their brethren, it seems to be said with reference to them. "Not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient: not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity." If then "he who is married cares for the things of the world" (1 Cor. vii. 33.), and a Bishop ought not to care for the things of the world, why does he say the husband of one wife? Some indeed think that he says this with reference to one who remains free [1197] from a wife. But if otherwise, he that hath a wife may be as though he had none. (1 Cor. vii. 29.) For that liberty was then properly granted, as suited to the nature of the circumstances then existing. And it is very possible, if a man will, so to regulate his conduct. For as riches make it difficult to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, yet rich men have often entered in, so it is with marriage. But why does he say, speaking of a Bishop, that he should be "not given to wine, hospitable," when he should name greater things? Why said he not that he should be an Angel, not subject to human passions? Where are those great qualities of which Christ speaks, which even those under their rule ought to possess? To be crucified to the world, to be always ready to lay down their lives, as Christ said. "The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John x. 11.); and again, "He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt. x. 38.) But "not given to wine," he says; a good prospect indeed, if such are the things of which a Bishop is to be admonished! Why has he not said that he ought to be already raised above the world? But dost thou demand less of the Bishop, than even of those in the world? For to these he saith, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth" (Col. iii. 5.), and "He that is dead, is freed from sin." (Rom. vi. 7.) "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh"; and Christ again says, "Whosoever forsaketh not all that he hath, he is not worthy of Me." (Luke xv. 33.) Why are not these things required by Paul? Plainly because few could be found of such a character, and there was need of many Bishops, that one might preside in every city.

But because the Churches were to be exposed to attacks, [1198] he requires not that superior and highly exalted virtue, but a moderate degree of it; for to be sober, of good behavior, and temperate, were qualities common to many. "Having his children in subjection with all gravity." This is necessary, that an example might be exhibited in his own house. For who would believe that he who had not his own son in subjection, would keep a stranger under command? "One that ruleth well his own house." Even those who are without say this, that he who is a good manager of a house will be a good statesman. For the Church is, as it were, a small [1199] household, and as in a house there are children and wife and domestics, and the man has rule over them all; just so in the Church there are women, children, servants. And if he that presides in the Church has partners in his power, so hath the man a partner, that is, his wife. Ought the Church to provide for her widows and virgins? so there are in a family servants, and daughters, to be provided for. And, in fact, it is easier to rule the house; therefore he asks, "if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?"

Ver. 6. "Not a novice." [1200] He does not say, not a young man, but not a new convert. For he had said, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." (1 Cor. iii. 6.) Wishing them to point out such an one, he used this word. For, otherwise, what hindered him from saying, "Not a young man"? For if youth only was an objection, why did he himself appoint Timothy, a young man? (and this he proves by saying to him, "Let no man despise thy youth.") (1 Tim. iv. 12.) Because [1201] he was aware of his great virtue, and his great strictness of life. Knowing which he writes, "From a child thou hast learned the holy Scriptures." (2 Tim. iii. 15.) And that he practiced intense fasting is proved by the words, "Use a little wine for thine often infirmities"; which he wrote to him amongst other things, as, if he had not known of such good works of his, he would not have written, nor given any such charge to his disciple. But as there were many then who came over from the Heathen, and were baptized, he says, "Do not immediately advance to a station of dignity a novice, that is, one of these new converts." For, if before he had well been a disciple, he should at once be made a Teacher, he would be lifted up into insolence. If before he had learnt to be under rule, he should be appointed one of the rulers, he would be puffed up: therefore he adds, "Lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil," that is, into the same condemnation which Satan incurred by his pride.

Ver. 7. "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."

This is rightly said, as he was certain to be reproached by them, and for the same reason perhaps he said, "the husband of one wife," though elsewhere he says, "I would that all men were even as I myself!" (1 Cor. vii. 7.), that is, practicing continency. That he may not therefore confine them within too narrow a limit, by requiring an over-strict conversation, he is satisfied to prescribe moderate virtue. For it was necessary to appoint one to preside in every city, as he writes to Titus, "That thou shouldest ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee." (Tit. i. 5.) But what if he should have a good report, and fair reputation, and not be worthy of it? In the first place this would not easily happen. It is much for good men to obtain a good report among their enemies. But, in fact, he has not left this to stand by itself; a good report "also," he says, that is, besides other qualities. What then, if they should speak evil of him without a cause from envy, especially as they were Heathens? This was not to be expected. For even they will reverence a man of blameless life. Why then does he say, speaking of himself, "Through evil report and good report"? (2 Cor. vi. 6.) Because it was not his life that they assailed, but his preaching. Therefore he says, "through evil report." They were slandered as deceivers and impostors, on account of their preaching, and this because they could not attack their moral characters and lives. For why did no one say of the Apostles, that they were fornicators, unclean, or covetous persons, but that they were deceivers, which relates to their preaching only? Must it not be that their lives were irreproachable? It is manifest.

Therefore so let us too live, and no enemy, no unbeliever, will be able to speak evil of us. For he whose life is virtuous, is revered even by them. For truth stops the mouths even of enemies.

But how does he "fall into a snare"? By falling often into the same sins, as those who are without. For if he be such a character, the evil one soon lays another snare for him, and they soon effect his destruction. But if he should have a good report from his enemies, much more will he have it from his friends. For that it is not likely that he, whose life is blameless, should be ill-reported of, we may infer from the words of Christ; "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." (Matt. v. 16.) But what if one be falsely accused, and from peculiar circumstances be slandered? Well this is a possible case; but even such an one ought not to be promoted. For the result is much to be feared. Therefore it is said he should have "a good report," for your good works are to shine. As therefore no one will say that the sun is dark, not even the blind, (for he will be ashamed to oppose the opinion of all,) so him that is of remarkable goodness no one will blame. And though, on account of his doctrines, the Heathen will often slander him, yet they will not attack his virtuous life, but will join with others in admiring and revering it.

Moral. Let us then so live, that the name of God be not blasphemed. Let us not, on the one hand, look to human reputation; nor on the other, subject ourselves to an evil report, but on both sides let us observe moderation; as he saith, "Among whom ye shine as lights in the world." (Philip. ii. 15.) For on this account He left us here, that we may be as luminaries. that we may be appointed Teachers of others, that we may be as leaven; that we may converse as angels among men, as men with children, as spiritual with natural men, that they may profit by us, that we may be as seed, and may bring forth much fruit. There were no need of words, if we so shone forth in our lives, there were no need of Teachers, did we but exhibit works. There would be no Heathen, if we were such Christians as we ought to be. If we kept the commandments of Christ, if we suffered injury, if we allowed advantage to be taken of us, if being reviled we blessed, if being ill-treated we did good (1 Cor. iv. 12.); if this were the general practice among us, no one would be so brutal as not to become a convert to godliness. And to show this; Paul was but one man, yet how many did he draw after him? If we were all such as he, how many worlds might we not have drawn to us? Behold, Christians are more numerous than Heathens. And in other arts, one man can teach a hundred boys together; but here, where there are many more teachers, and many more than the learners, no one is brought over. For those who are taught, look to the virtue of their teachers: and when they see us manifesting the same desires, pursuing the same objects, power and honor, how can they admire Christianity? They see our lives open to reproach, our souls worldly. We admire wealth equally with them, and even more. We have the same horror of death, the same dread of poverty, the same impatience of disease, we are equally fond of glory and of rule. We harass ourselves to death from our love of money, and serve the time. How then can they believe? From miracles? But these are no longer wrought. From our conversation? It has become corrupt. From charity? Not a trace of it is anywhere to be seen. Therefore we shall have to give an account not only of our own sins, but of the injury done by them to others.

Let us then return to a sound mind; let us watch, and show forth a heavenly conversation upon earth. Let us say, "Our conversation is in heaven" (Philip. iii. 20.), and let us upon earth maintain the contest. There have been great men, it may be said, amongst us, but "how," says the Greek, "shall I believe it? for I do not see anything like it in your conduct. If this is to be said, we too have had our philosophers, men admirable for their lives." "But show me another Paul, or a John: you cannot." Would he not then laugh at us for reasoning in this manner? Would he not continue to sit still in ignorance, seeing that the wisdom we profess is in words, not in works? For now for a single halfpenny ye are ready to slay or be slain! For a handful of earth thou raisest lawsuit after lawsuit! For the death of a child thou turnest all upside down: I omit other things that might make us weep; your auguries, your omens, your superstitious observances, your casting of nativities, your signs, your amulets, your divinations, your incantations, your magic arts. These are crying sins, enough to provoke the anger of God; that after He has sent His own Son, you should venture on such things as these.

What then can we do but weep? For hardly is a small portion of the world in the way of salvation, and they who are perishing hear it, and rejoice that they are not destined to suffer alone, but in company with numbers. But what cause is this for joy? That very joy will subject them to punishment. For do not think that it is there as here, that to have companions in suffering affords consolation. And whence is this manifest? I will make it clear. Suppose that a man were commanded to be burnt, and that he saw his own son burning with him, and that the smell of his scorched flesh rose to his nostrils; would it not be of itself death to him? No doubt. And I will tell you how it is. If those who are not suffering, yet seeing those things are benumbed and faint with terror, much more will they be so affected, who are themselves sufferers. Wonder not at this. Hear a certain wise one saying, "Art thou become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" (Isa. xiv. 10.) For human nature is disposed to sympathy, and the affections of others move us to pity. Will then a father seeing His son in the same condemnation, or a husband his wife, or a man his fellow-man, receive consolation, and not rather an aggravation of his sufferings? Are not we in such case the more overcome? But there, you say, there are no such feelings. I know there are not; but there are others much more wretched. For there will be wailing inconsolable, all witnessing each other's torments. Do they who are furnishing derive comfort in their distress from the participation of others? It is no consolation surely to see a son, a father, a wife, or grandchildren, suffering the same punishment. If one sees friends in such a case, is it any comfort? None! None! It rather adds to the intensity of our own sufferings! Besides, there are evils, which by reason of their severity cannot be mitigated by being common. If two men were together thrown into the fire, would they comfort one another? Tell me; if we have ever been attacked by a violent fever, have we not found that all consolation has failed us? for there are calamities, so overwhelming as to leave no room for comfort in the soul. When a wife has lost her husband, is it a lessening of her grief to number up the many who have suffered the like loss? Let us not therefore be supported by any such hope, rather let us find our sole consolation in repenting of our sins, in pursuing the good path that leads to Heaven, that we may obtain the kingdom of Heaven, by the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.

Footnotes

[1193] ametrian. [1194] This is literal from the Greek, but the sense is difficult to make out from the seeming tautology, unless he means that some supposed marriage enjoined. The Greek will bear, "And some say, `Let him be the husband of one wife,' was said with a view to this." See below. OEcumenius says that some take it of one. See Comp. Ezek. xliv. 22. [1195] i.e. Timothy. [1196] paroinon. A word often used as he here explains it; and paroinia is used even for contumely apart from insolence. Theodoret, Eccl. Hist. v. 17. [1197] He seems to mean without a second marriage. See 1 Cor. vii. 27. An old Latin translation has this expressly. The reading is not quite certain. [1198] i.e. and therefore to want many guardians. [1199] Doun. conj. "great." [1200] neophuton, one newly "planted." [1201] These words, down to "disciple," are not in Sav.; they are supplied from a Colb. ms. in the last Paris ed.


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