Writings of John Chrysostom. On the Gospel According to John.

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St. Chrysostom:

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

On the Gospel According to John.

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.


Homily LXV.

John xi. 49, 50

"And one of them, Caiaphas, being the High Priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not," &c.

[1.] " The heathen are stuck fast in the destruction which they made; in the trap which they hid is their foot taken." ( Ps. ix. 15 , LXX.) This hath been the case with the Jews. They said that they would kill Jesus, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and when they had killed Him, these things happened unto them, and when they had done that by doing which they thought to escape, they yet did not escape. He who was slain is in Heaven, and they who slew have for their portion hell. Yet they did not consider these things; but what? "They desired," It saith, "from that day forth to kill Him" ( ver. 53 ), for they said, "The Romans will come, and will take away our nation; and a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being High Priest that year, said," (being more shameless than the rest,) "Ye know nothing." What the others made matter of doubt, and put forth in the way of deliberation, this man cried aloud, shamelessly, openly, audaciously. For what saith he? "Ye know nothing, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation perish not."

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Ver. 51 . "And this spake he not of himself, but being High Priest he prophesied." [1832]

Seest thou how great is the force of the High Priest's authority? or, since he had in any wise been deemed worthy of the High Priesthood, although unworthy thereof, he prophesied, not knowing what he said; and the grace merely made use of his mouth, but touched not his accursed heart. Indeed many others have foretold things to come, although unworthy to do so, as Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Balaam; and the reason of all is evident. But what he saith is of this kind. "Ye still sit quiet, ye give heed but carelessly to this matter, and know not how to despise one man's safety for the sake of the community." See how great is the power of the Spirit; from an evil imagination It was able to bring forth words full of marvelous prophecy. The Evangelist calleth the Gentiles "children of God," from what was about to be: as also Christ Himself saith, "Other sheep I have" ( c. x. 16 ), so calling them from what should afterwards come to pass.

But what is, "being High Priest that year"? This matter as well as the rest had become corrupt; for from the time that offices became matters of purchase, they were no longer priests for the whole period of their lives, but for a year. Notwithstanding, even in this state of things the Spirit was still present. But when they lifted up their hands against Christ, then It left them, and removed to the Apostles. This the rending of the veil declared, and the voice of Christ which said, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." ( Matt. xxiii. 38 .) And Josephus, who lived a short time after, saith, that certain Angels who yet remained with them, (to see) if they would alter their ways, left them. [1833] While the vineyard stood, all things [1834] went on; but when they had slain the Heir, no longer so, but they perished. And God having taken it from the Jews, as a glorious garment from an unprofitable son, gave it to right-minded servants of the Gentiles, leaving the others desolate and naked. It was, moreover, no small thing that even an enemy should prophesy this. This might draw over others also. For in respect of his [1835] will, matters fell out contrariwise, since, [1836] when He died, the faithful were on this account delivered from the punishment to come. What meaneth, "That He might gather together those near and those afar off" ( ver. 52 )? He made them one Body. The dweller in Rome deemeth the Indians a member of himself. What is equal to this "gathering together"? And the Head of all is Christ.

Ver. 53 . "From that day forth the Jews [1837] took counsel to put Him to death."

And, in truth, had sought to do so before; for the Evangelist saith, "Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him" ( c. v. 18 ); and, "Why seek ye to kill Me?" ( c. vii. 19 .) But then they only sought, now they ratified their determination, and treated the action as their business.

Ver. 54 . "But Jesus walked no more openly in Jewry." [1838]

[2.] Again He saveth Himself in a human manner, and this He doth continually. But I have mentioned the reason for which He often departed and withdrew. And at this time He dwelt in Ephratah, near the wilderness, and there He tarried with His disciples. How thinkest thou that those disciples were confounded when they beheld Him saving Himself after the manner of a man? After this no man followed Him. For since the Feast was nigh, all were running to Jerusalem; but they, [1839] at a time when all others were rejoicing and holding solemn assembly, hide themselves, and are in danger. Yet still they tarried with Him. For they hid themselves in Galilee, at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles; and after this again during the Feast, they only of all were with their Master in flight and concealment, manifesting their good will to Him. Hence Luke recordeth that He said, "I abode with you in temptations"; [1840] and this He said, showing that they were strengthened by His influence. [1841]

Ver. 55 . [1842] "And many went up from the country to purify themselves."

Ver. 57 . "And the High Priests and Pharisees had commanded that they should lay hands on Him."

A marvelous purification, with a murderous will, with homicidal intentions, and bloodstained hands!

Ver. 56 . "And they said, Think ye that he will not come to the feast?"

By means of the Passover they plotted against Him, and made the time of feasting a time of murder, that is, He there would fall into their hands, because the season summoned Him. What impiety! When they needed greater carefulness, and to forgive those who had been taken for the worst offenses, then they attempted to ensnare One who had done no wrong. Yet by acting thus they had already not only profited nothing, but become ridiculous. For this end coming among them continually He escapeth, and restraineth them when they take counsel [1843] to kill Him, and maketh them to be in perplexity, desiring to prick them by the display of His power; that when they took Him, they might know that what had been done was done, not by their power, but by His permission. For not even at that time could they take Him, and this though Bethany was near; and when they did take Him, He cast them backwards.

Ch. xii. ver. 1, 2 . "Then six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, and feasted with them; and Martha served, but Lazarus sat at meat." [1844]

This was a proof of the genuineness of his resurrection, that after many days he both lived and ate. "And Martha ministered"; whence it is clear that the meal was in her house, for they received Jesus as loving and beloved. Some, however, say, that it took place in the house of another. Mary did not minister, for she was a disciple. Here again she acted in the more spiritual manner. For she did not minister as being invited, nor did she afford her services to all alike. But she directeth [1845] the honor to Him alone, and approacheth Him not as a man, but as a God. On this account she poured out the ointment, [1846] and wiped (His feet) with the hairs of her head, which was the action of one who did not entertain the same opinion concerning Him as did others; yet Judas rebuked her, under the pretense forsooth of carefulness. What then saith Christ? "She hath done a good work for My burying." [1847] But why did He not expose the disciple in the case of the woman, nor say to him what the Evangelist hath declared, that on account of his own thieving he rebuked her? In His abundant longsuffering He wished to bring him to a better mind. [1848] For because He knew that he was a traitor, He from the beginning often rebuked him, saying, "Not all believe," and, "One of you is a devil." ( c. vi. 64 .) He showed them that He knew him to be a traitor, yet He did not openly rebuke him, but bare with him, desiring to recall him. How then saith another Evangelist, that all the disciples used these words? ( Matt. xxvi. 70 .) All used them, and so did he, but the others not with like purpose. And if any one ask why He put the bag of the poor in the hands of a thief, and made him steward who was a lover of money, we would reply, that God knoweth the secret reason; but that, if we may say something by conjecture, it was that He might cut off from him all excuse. For he could not say that he did this thing [1849] from love of money, (for he had in the bag sufficient to allay his desire,) but from excessive wickedness which Christ wished to restrain, using much condescension towards him. Wherefore He did not even rebuke him as stealing, although aware of it, stopping the way to his wicked desire, and taking from him all excuse. "Let her alone," He saith, "for against the day of My burying hath she done [1850] this." Again, He maketh mention of the traitor in speaking of His burial. But him the reproof reacheth not, nor doth the expression soften [1851] him, though sufficient to inspire him with pity: as if He had said, "I am burdensome and troublesome, but wait a little while, and I shall depart." This too he intended in saying,

Ver. 8 . "But Me ye have not always." [1852]

But none of these things turned back [1853] that savage madman; yet in truth Jesus said and did far more than this, He washed his feet that night, made him a sharer in the table and the salt, a thing which is wont to restrain even the souls of robbers, and spake other words, enough to melt a stone, and this, not long before, but on the very day, in order that not even time might cause it to be forgotten. But he stood out against all.

[3.] For a dreadful, a dreadful thing is the love of money, it disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor the salvation of his own soul, but having withdrawn them at once from all these things, like some harsh mistress, [1854] it makes those captured by it its slaves. And the dreadful part of so bitter a slavery is, that it persuades them even to be grateful for it; and the more they become enslaved, the more doth their pleasure increase; and in this way especially the malady becomes incurable, in this way the monster becomes hard to conquer. This made Gehazi a leper instead of a disciple and a prophet; this destroyed Ananias and her with him; [1855] this made Judas a traitor; this corrupted the rulers of the Jews, who received gifts, and became the partners of thieves. This hath brought in ten thousand wars, filling the ways with blood, the cities with wailings and lamentations. This hath made meals to become impure, and tables accursed, and hath filled food with transgression; therefore hath Paul called it "idolatry": ( Col. iii. 5 ), and not even so hath he deterred men from it. And why calleth he it "idolatry"? Many possess wealth, and dare not use it, but consecrate it, handing it down untouched, not daring to touch it, as though it were some dedicated thing. And if at any time they are forced to do so, they feel as though they had done something unlawful. Besides, as the Greek carefully tends his graven image, [1856] so thou entrusteth thy gold to doors and bars; providing a chest instead of a shrine, and laying it up in silver vessels. But thou dost not bow down to it as he to the image? Yet thou showest all kind of attention to it.

Again, he would rather give up his eyes or his life than his graven image. So also would those who love gold. "But," saith one, "I worship not the gold." Neither doth he, he saith, worship the image, but the devil that dwelleth in it; and in like manner thou, though thou worship not the gold, yet thou worshipest that devil who springeth on thy soul, from the sight of the gold and thy lust for it. For more grievous than an evil spirit is the lust of money-loving, and many obey it more than others do idols. For these last in many things disobey, but in this case they yield everything, and whatever it telleth them to do, they obey. What saith it? "Be at war with all," it saith, "at enmity with all, know not nature, despise God, sacrifice to me thyself," and in all they obey. To the graven images they sacrifice oxen and sheep, but avarice saith, Sacrifice to me thine own soul, and the man obeyeth. Seest thou what kind of altars it hath, what kind of sacrifices it receiveth? The covetous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, but not even so do they fear. ( 1 Cor. vi. 10 .) Yet this desire is [1857] weaker than all the others, it is not inborn, nor natural, (for then it would have been placed in us at the beginning;) but there was no gold at the beginning, and no man desired gold. But if you will, I will tell you whence the mischief entered. By each man's envying the one before him, men have increased the disease, and he who has gotten in advance provokes him who had no desire. For when men see splendid houses, and extensive lands, and troops of slaves, and silver vessels, and great heaps of apparel, they use every means to outdo them; so that the first set of men are causes of the second, and these of those who come after. Now if they would be sober-minded, they would not be teachers (of evil) to others; yet neither have these any excuse. For others there are also who despise riches. "And who," saith one, "despises them?" For the terrible thing is, that, because wickedness is so general, this seems to have become impossible, and it is not even believed that one can act aright. Shall I then mention many both in cities and in the mountains? And what would it avail? Ye will not from their example become better. Besides, our discourse hath not now this purpose, that you should empty yourselves of your substance: I would that ye could do so; however, since the burden is too heavy for you, I constrain you not; only I advise you that you desire not what belongs to others, that you impart somewhat of your own. Many such we shall find, contented with what belongs to them, taking care of their own, and living on honest labor. Why do we not rival and imitate these? Let us think of those who have gone before us. Do not their possessions stand, preserving nothing but their name; such an one's bath, such an one's suburban seat and lodging? Do we not, when we behold them, straightway groan, when we consider what toil he endured, what rapine committed? and now he is nowhere seen, but others luxuriate in his possessions, men whom he never expected would do so, perhaps even his enemies, while he is suffering extremest punishment. These things await us also; for we shall certainly die, and shall certainly have to submit to the same end. How much wrath, tell me, how much expense, how many enmities these men incurred; and what the gain? Deathless punishment, and the having no consolation; and the being not only while alive, but when gone, accused by all? What? when we see the images of the many laid up in their houses, shall we not weep the more? Of a truth well said the Prophet, "Verily, every man living disquieteth himself in vain" ( Ps. xxxix. 11 , LXX.); for anxiety about such things is indeed disquiet, disquiet and superfluous trouble. But it is not so in the everlasting mansions, not so in those tabernacles. Here one hath labored, and another enjoys; but there each shall possess his own labors, and shall receive a manifold reward. Let us press forward to get that possession, there let us prepare for ourselves houses, that we may rest in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1832] " Being High Priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, " ver. 52, " and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. " G. T. [1833] De Bell. Jud . l. 6, 31. " During the Festival called Pentecost, the Priests having come by night into the Inner temple to perform their services, as was their custom, reported that they perceived a motion and noise, and after that a voice as of a multitude, Let us depart hence. " [1834] panta egineto [1835] " Caiaphas. " [1836] al. " and. " [1837] " they, " N.T. [1838] Ver. 54 . " Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. " 55 . " And the Jews' Passover was nigh at hand. " N.T. [1839] i.e. the disciples. [1840] Luke xxii. 28 . " Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. " [1841] rh opes [1842] Ver. 55-57 . " And many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves as they stood in the Temple, What think ye, that He will not come to the feast? Now both the Chief Priests and Pharisees had given a commandment, that if any man knew where He were, he should show it, that they might take Him. " N.T. [1843] al. " wish. " [1844] Ch. xii. ver. 1, 2 . " Then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper, and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. " N.T. [1845] periistesi [1846] Ver. 3-6 . " Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the whole house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. " [1847] These words are from St. Matthew or St. Mark. In St. John we read, ver. 7 , " Then said Jesus, Let her alone, against the day of My burying hath she kept this. " [1848] e ntrepein [1849] i.e. the betrayal. [1850] " kept, " N.T. [1851] al. " nor will the expression check. " [1852] " For the poor always ye have with you, but Me, " &c., N.T. [1853] or, " bent. " [1854] turannis [1855] tous peri [1856] al. " as one the graven image of stone, so thou, " &c. [1857] i.e. in itself.


Homily LXVI.

John xii. 8

"Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there, and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead."

[1.] As wealth is wont to hurl into destruction [1858] those who are not heedful, so also is power; the first leads into covetousness, the second into pride. See, for instance, how the subject multitude of the Jews is sound, and their rulers corrupt; for that the first of these believed Christ, the Evangelists continually assert, saying, that "many of the multitude believed on Him" ( c. vii. 31, 48 ); but they who were of the rulers, believed not. And they themselves say, not the multitude, [1859] "Hath any of the rulers believed on Him?" But what saith one? "The multitude who know not God [1860] are accursed" ( c. vii. 49 ); the believers they call accursed, and themselves the slayers, wise. In this place also, having beheld the miracle, the many believed; but the rulers were not contented with their own evil deeds, [1861] they also attempted to kill Lazarus. [1862] Suppose they did attempt to slay Christ because He broke the Sabbath, because He made Himself equal to the Father, and because of the Romans whom ye allege, yet what charge had they against Lazarus, that they sought to kill him? Is the having received a benefit a crime? Seest thou how murderous is their will? Yet He had worked many miracles; but none exasperated them so much as this one, not the paralytic, not the blind. For this was more wonderful in its nature, and was wrought after many others, and it was a strange thing to see one, who had been dead four days, walking and speaking. An honorable action, in truth, for the feast, to mix up the solemn assembly with murders. Besides, in the one case [1863] they thought to charge Him concerning the Sabbath, and so to draw away the multitudes; but here, since they had no fault to find with Him, they make the attempt on the man who had been healed. For here they could not even say that He was opposed to the Father, since the prayer stopped their mouths. Since then the charge which they continually brought against Him was removed, and the miracle was evident, they hasten to murder. So that they would have done the same in the case of the blind man, had it not been in their power to find fault respecting the Sabbath. Besides, that man was of no note, and they cast him out of the temple; but Lazarus was a person of distinction, as is clear, since many came to comfort his sisters; and the miracle was done in the sight of all, and most marvelously. On which account all ran to see. This then stung them, that while the feast was going on, all should leave it and go to Bethany. They set their hand therefore to kill him, and thought they were not [1864] daring anything, so murderous were they. On this account the [1865] Law at its commencement opens with this, "Thou shalt not kill" ( Ex. xx. 13 ); and the Prophet brings this charge against them, "Their hands are full of blood." ( Isa. i. 15 .)

But how, after not walking openly in Jewry, and retiring into the wilderness, doth He again enter openly? [1866] Having quenched their anger by retiring, He cometh to them when they were stilled. Moreover, the multitude which went before and which followed after was sufficient to cast them into an agony; for no sign so much attracted the people as that of Lazarus. And another Evangelist saith, that they strewed their garments under His feet [1867] ( Matt. xxi. 8 ), and that "the whole city was moved" ( Matt. xxi. 10 ); with so great honor did He enter. And this He did, figuring one prophecy and fulfilling another; and the same act was the beginning of the one and the end of the other. For the, "Rejoice, for thy King cometh unto thee meek" ( Zech. ix. 9 ), belonged to Him as fulfilling a prophecy, but the sitting upon an ass was the act of one prefiguring a future event, that He was about to have the impure race of the Gentiles subject to Him.

But how say the others, that He sent disciples, and said, "Loose the ass and the colt" ( Matt. xxi. 2 ), while John saith nothing of the kind, but that "having found a young ass, He sat upon it"? Because it is likely that both circumstances took place, and that He after the ass was loosed, while the disciples were bringing it, found (the colt), and sat upon it. And they took the small branches of palm trees and olives, and strewed their garments in the way, showing that they now had a higher opinion concerning Him than of a Prophet, and said,

Ver. 13 . "Hosannah, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."

Seest thou that this most choked them, the persuasion which all men had that He was not an enemy of God? And this most divided the people, His saying that He came from the Father. But what meaneth,

Ver. 15 . "Rejoice greatly, [1868] daughter of Zion"?

Because all their kings had for the most part been an unjust and covetous kind of men, and had given them over to their enemies, and had perverted the people, and made them subject to their foes; "Be of good courage," It saith, "this is not such an one, but meek and gentle"; as is shown by the ass, for He entered not with an army in His train, but having an ass alone.

Ver. 16 . "But this," saith the Evangelist, "the disciples knew not, that it was written of Him." [1869]

[2.] Seest thou that they were ignorant on most points, because He did not reveal to them? For when He said, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up" ( c. ii. 19 ), neither then did the disciples understand. [1870] And another Evangelist saith, that "the saying was hid from them" ( Luke xviii. 34 ), and they knew not that He should rise from the dead. Now this was with reason concealed from them, (wherefore another Evangelist saith, that as they heard it from time to time, they grieved and were dejected, [1871] and this because they understood not the saying concerning the Resurrection,) it was with reason concealed, as being too high for them: but why was not the matter of the ass revealed to them? Because this was a great thing also. But observe the wisdom of the Evangelist, how he is not ashamed to parade their former ignorance. That it was written they knew, that it was written of Him they knew not. For it would have offended them if He being a King were about to suffer such things, and be so betrayed. Besides, they could not at once have taken in the knowledge of the Kingdom of which He spake; for another Evangelist saith, that they thought the words were spoken of a kingdom of this world. ( Matt. xx. 21 .)

Ver. 17 . "But the multitude bare witness that He had raised Lazarus." [1872]

For so many would not have been suddenly changed, unless they had believed in the miracle.

Ver. 19 . "The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after Him."

Now this seems to me to be said by those who felt rightly, but had not courage to speak boldly, and who then would restrain the others by pointing to the result, as though they were attempting impossibilities. Here again they call the multitude "the world." For Scripture is wont to call by the name "world" both the creation, and those who live in wickedness; the one, when It saith, "Who bringeth out His world [1873] by number" ( Isa. xl. 26 ); the other when It saith, "The world hateth not [1874] you, but Me it hateth." ( c. vii. 7 .) And these things it is necessary to know exactly, that we may not through the signification of words afford a handle to the heretics.

Ver. 20 . "And there were certain of the Greeks that came up to worship at the Feast."

Being now near to become proselytes, they were at [1875] the Feast. When therefore the report concerning Him was imparted to them, they say,

Ver. 21 . "We would see Jesus." [1876]

Philip gives place to Andrew as being before him, and communicates the matter to him. But neither doth he at once act with authority; for he had heard that saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles" ( Matt. x. 5 ): therefore having communicated with the disciple, he refers the matter to his Master. For they both spoke to Him. But what saith He?

Ver. 23, 24 . "The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone."

What is, "The hour is come"? He had said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles," (thus cutting away all excuse of ignorance from the Jews,) and had restrained the disciples. When therefore the Jews continued disobedient, and the others desired to come to Him, "Now," saith He, "it is time to proceed to My Passion, since all things are fulfilled. For if we were to continue to wait for those who are disobedient and not admit these who even desire to come, this would be unbefitting our tender care." Since then He was about to allow the disciples to go to the Gentiles after the Crucifixion, and beheld them springing on before, He said, "It is time to proceed to the Cross." For He would not allow them to go sooner, that it might be for a testimony unto them. [1877] Until that by their deeds the Jews rejected Him, until they crucified Him, He said not, "Go and make disciples of all nations" ( Matt. xxviii. 19 ), but, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles" ( Matt. x. 5 ), and, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" ( Matt xv. 24 ), and, "It is not meet to take the children's bread and give it unto dogs." ( Matt. xv. 26 .) But when they hated Him, and so hated as to kill Him, it was superfluous to persevere while they repulsed Him. For they refused Him, saying, "We have no king but Cæsar." ( c. xix. 15 .) So that at length He left them, when they had left Him. Therefore He saith, "How often would I have gathered your children together, and ye would not?" ( Matt. xxiii. 37 .)

What is, "Except a grain of corn fall into the ground and die"? He speaketh of the Cross, for that they might not be confounded at seeing, that just when Greeks also came to Him, then He was slain, He saith to them, "This very thing specially causeth them to come, and shall increase the preaching of Me." Then since He could not so well persuade them by words, He goeth about to prove this from actual experience, telling them that this is the case with corn; it beareth the more fruit when it hath died. "Now," saith He, "if this be the case with seeds, much more with Me." But the disciples understood not what was spoken. Wherefore the Evangelist continually putteth this, [1878] as making excuse for their flight afterwards. This same argument Paul also hath raised when speaking of the Resurrection.

[3.] What sort of excuse then will they have who disbelieve the Resurrection, when the action is practiced each day, in seeds, in plants, and in the case of our own generation? for first it is necessary that the seed die, and that then the generation take place. But, in short, when God doeth anything, reasonings are of no use; for how did He make us out of those things that were not? This I say to Christians, who assert that they believe the Scriptures; but I shall also say something else drawn from human reasonings. Of men some live in vice, others in virtue; and of those who live in vice, many have attained to extreme old age in prosperity, many of the virtuous after enduring the contrary. When then shall each receive his deserts? At what season? "Yea," saith some one, "but there is no resurrection of the body." They hear not Paul, saying, "This corruptible must put on incorruption." ( 1 Cor. xv. 53 .) He speaks not of the soul, for the soul is not corrupted; moreover, "resurrection" is said of that which fell, and that which fell was the body. But why wilt thou have it that there is no resurrection of the body? Is it not possible with God? But this it were utter folly to say. Is it unseemly? Why is it unseemly, that the corruptible which shared the toil and death, should share also the crowns? For were it unseemly, [1879] it would not have been created at the beginning, Christ would not have taken the flesh again. But to show that He took it again and raised it up, hear what He saith: "Reach [1880] hither thy fingers" ( c. xx. 27 ); and, "Behold, a spirit hath not bones and sinews." [1881] ( Luke xxiv. 39 .) But why did He raise Lazarus again, if it would have been better to rise without a body? Why doth He this, classing it as a miracle and a benefit? Why did He give nourishment at all? Be not therefore deceived by the heretics, beloved: for there is a Resurrection and there is a Judgment, but they deny these things, who desire not to give account of their actions. For this Resurrection must be such as was that of Christ, for He was the first fruits, the first born of the dead. But if the Resurrection is this, [1882] a purifying of the soul, a deliverance from sin, and if Christ sinned not, how did He rise again? And how have we been delivered from the curse, if so be that He also sinned? And now saith He, "The prince of this world cometh, and had nothing in Me"? ( c. xiv. 30 .) They are the words of One declaring His sinlessness. According to them therefore He either did not rise again; or that He might rise, [1883] He sinned before His Resurrection. But He both rose again, and did no sin. Therefore He rose in the Body, and these wicked doctrines are nothing else than the offspring of vainglory. Let us then fly this malady. For, It is saith, "evil communications corrupt good manners." ( 1 Cor. xv. 33 .) These are not the doctrines of the Apostles; Marcion and Valentius have newly invented them. Let us then flee them, beloved, for a pure life profits nothing when doctrines are corrupt; as on the other hand neither do sound doctrines, if the life be corrupt. The heathen were the parents of these notions, and those heretics reared them, having received them from Gentile philosophers, asserting that matter is uncreated, and many such like things. As then they asserted that there could be no Artificer [1884] unless there were some uncreated subject matter, so also they disallowed the Resurrection. But let us not heed them, as knowing that the power of God is all sufficient. [1885] Let us not heed them. To you I say this; for we will not decline the battle with them. But the man who is unarmed and naked, though he fall among the weak, though he be the stronger, will easily be vanquished. Had you given heed to the Scriptures, had you sharpened yourselves each day, I would not have advised you to flee the combat with them, but would have counseled you to grapple with them; for strong is truth. But since you know not how to use the Scriptures, I fear the struggle, lest they take you unarmed and cast you down. For there is nothing, there is nothing weaker than those who are bereft of the aid of the Spirit. If these heretics employ the wisdom of the Gentiles, we must not admire, but laugh at them, because they employ foolish teachers. For those men were not able to find out anything sound, either concerning God or the creation, and things which the widow among us is acquainted with, Pythagoras did not yet know, but said that the soul becomes a bush, or a fish, or a dog. To these, tell me, ought you to give heed? And how could it be reasonable to do so? They are great men in their district, [1886] grow beautiful curls, and are enfolded in cloaks; thus far goes their philosophy; but if you look within there is dust and ashes and nothing sound, but "their throat is an open sepulcher" ( Ps. v. 9 ), having all things full of impurity and corruption, [1887] and all their doctrines (full) of worms. For instance, the first of them said that water was God, his successor fire, another one air, and [1888] they descended to things corporeal; ought we then, tell me, to admire these, who never even had the thought of the incorporeal God? and if they did ever gain it afterwards, it was after conversing in Egypt with our people. But, that we bring not upon you much confusion, let us here close our discourse. For should we begin to set before you their doctrine, and what they have said about God, what about matter, what about the soul, what about the body, much ridicule will follow. And they will not even require to be accused by us, for they have attacked each other; and he who wrote against us the book concerning matter, made away with himself. Therefore that we may not vainly delay you, nor wind together [1889] a labyrinth of words, leaving these things we will bid you keep fast hold of the listening to the Holy Scriptures, and not fight with [1890] words to no purpose; as also Paul exhorteth Timothy ( 2 Tim. ii. 14 ), filled though he was with much wisdom, and possessing the power of miracles. Let us now obey him, and leaving trifling; let us hold fast to real works, I mean to brotherly-kindness and hospitality; and let us make much account of alms-giving, that we may obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for endless ages. [1891] Amen.

Footnotes

[1858] e ktrachelizein [1859] or, " is it not the multitude. " [1860] " the Law, " N.T. [1861] oikeiois akois , i.e. in matters affecting themselves. [1862] Ver. 10, 11 . " But the Chief Priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. " [1863] i.e. that of the blind man. [1864] Ben. " did not so much as think they were. " [1865] i.e. the second Table. [1866] Ver. 12-15 . " On the next day, much people that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. " [1867] " in the way, " N.T. [1868] " Fear not, " N.T. [1869] Ver. 16 . " These things understood not the disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him. " N.T. [1870] al. " neither did they know this. " [1871] e n katepheia [1872] Ver. 17, 18 . " The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle. " N.T. [1873] E.V. " host. " [1874] " cannot hate, " N.T. [1875] perhaps, " went to, " e esan , conj. for e san [1876] Ver. 21, 22 . " The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. " N.T. [1877] i.e. to the Jews. [1878] i.e. that they did not understand. [1879] i.e. the body. [1880] bale [ phere , G. T.]. [1881] " flesh and bones, " N.T. [1882] i.e. which heretics say it is. [1883] al. " if He rose. " [1884] demiourgos [1885] al. " almighty. " [1886] kome [1887] i choros [1888] al. " and all. " [1889] or, " unwind. " [1890] or, " about. " [1891] al. " To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory now and for the endless ages of eternity. "


Homily LXVII.

John xii. 25, 26

"He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me."

[1.] Sweet is the present life, and full of much pleasure, yet not to all, but to those who are riveted to it. Since, if any one look to heaven and see the beauteous things there, he will soon despise this life, and make no account of it. Just as the beauty of an object is admired while none more beautiful is seen, but when a better appears, the former is despised. If then we would choose to look to that beauty, and observe the splendor of the kingdom there, we should soon free ourselves from our present chains; for a kind of chain it is, this sympathy with present things. And hear what Christ saith to bring us in to this, "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal; if any man serve Me let him follow Me"; and, "Where I am, there is [1892] My servant also." The words seem like a riddle, yet they are not so, but are full of much wisdom. But how shall "he that loveth his life, lose it"? When he doeth its unseemly desires, when he gratifies it where he ought not. Wherefore one exhorteth us, saying, "Walk not in the desires of thy soul" ( Ecclus. xviii. 30 ); for so wilt thou destroy it since it leadeth away from the path leading to virtue; just as, on the contrary, "he that hateth it in this world, shall save it." But what meaneth, "He that hateth it"? He who yields not to it when it commands what is pernicious. And He said not, " he that yieldeth not to it," but, "He that hateth it"; for as we cannot endure even to hear the voice of those we hate, nor to look upon them with pleasure, so from the soul also we must turn away with vehemence, when it commands things contrary to what is pleasing to God. For since He was now about to say much to them concerning death, His own death, and saw that they were dejected [1893] and desponding, He spake very strongly, saying, "What say I? If ye bear not valiantly My death? Nay, if ye die not yourselves, ye will gain nothing." Observe also how He softens the discourse. It was a very grievous and sad thing to be told, that the man who loves life should die. And why speak I of old times, when even now we shall find many gladly enduring to suffer anything. in order to enjoy the present life, and this too when they are persuaded concerning things to come; who when they behold buildings, and works of art, and contrivances, weep, uttering the reflection, "How many things man inventeth, and yet becometh dust! So great is the longing after this present life." To undo these bonds then, Christ saith, "He that hateth his soul in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal." For that thou mayest know that He spake as exhorting them, and dissipating their fear, hear what comes next.

"If any man serve Me, let him follow Me."

Speaking of death, and requiring the following which is by works. For certainly he that serveth must follow him who is served. And observe at what time He said these things to them; not when they were persecuted, but when they were confident; when they thought they were in safety on account of the honor and attention of the many, when they might rouse themselves and hear, "Let him take up his cross, and follow Me" ( Matt. xvi. 24 ); that is, "Be ever," [1894] He saith, "prepared against dangers, against death, against your departure hence." Then after He had spoken what was hard to bear, He putteth also the prize. And of what kind was this? The following Him, and being where He is; showing that Resurrection shall succeed death. For, saith He,

"Where I am, there is [1895] My servant also."

But where is Christ? In heaven. Let us therefore even before the Resurrection remove thither in soul and mind.

"If any man serve Me, the Father shall love [1896] him."

Why said He not, "I"? Because they did not as yet hold a right opinion concerning Him, but held a higher opinion of the Father. For how could they imagine anything great concerning Him, who did not even know that He was to rise again? Wherefore He said to the sons of Zebedee, "It is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared by my Father" ( Mark x. 40 ), yet He it is that judgeth. But in this passage He also establisheth His genuine sonship. [1897] For as the servants of His own Son, so will the Father receive them.

Ver. 27 . "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour."

"But surely this is not [1898] the expression of one urging them to go even to death." Nay, it is that of one greatly so urging them. For lest they should say, that "He being exempt from mortal pains easily philosophizes on death, and exhorts us being himself in no danger," He showeth, that although feeling its agony, [1899] on account of its profitableness He declineth it not. But these things belong to the Dispensation, not the Godhead. Wherefore He saith, "Now is My soul troubled"; since if this be not the case, What connection hath that which was spoken, and His saying, "Father, save Me from this hour"? And so troubled, that He even sought deliverance from death, if at least it were possible to escape. These were the infirmities of His human nature.

[2.] "But," He saith, "I have not what to say, when asking for deliverance."

"For for this cause came I unto this hour."

As though He had said, "Though we be confounded, though we be troubled, let us not fly from death, since even now I though troubled do not speak of flying; for it behooveth to bear what is coming on. I say not, Deliver Me from this hour," but what?

Ver. 28 . "Father, glorify Thy Name."

"Although My trouble urges Me to say this, [1900] yet I say the opposite, `Glorify Thy Name,' that is, Lead Me henceforth to the Cross"; which greatly shows His humanity, and a nature unwilling to die, but clinging to the present life, proving that He was not exempt from human feelings. For as it is no blame to be hungry, or to sleep, so neither is it to desire the present life; and Christ indeed had a body pure from sin, yet not free from natural wants, for then it would not have been a body. By these words also He taught something else. Of what kind is that? That if ever we be in agony and dread, we even then start not back from that which is set before us; and by saying, [1901] "Glorify Thy Name" He showeth that He dieth for the truth calling the action, "glory to God." And this fell out after the Crucifixion. The world was about to be converted, to acknowledge the Name of God, and to serve Him, not the Name of the Father only, but also that of the Son; yet still as to this He is silent.

"There came therefore a Voice from Heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."

When had He "glorified it"? By what had been done before; and "I will glorify it again" after the Cross. What then said Christ?

Ver. 30 . [1902] "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes."

They thought that it thundered, or that an Angel spake to Him. And how did they think this? Was not the voice clear and distinct? It was, but it quickly flew away from them as being of the grosser sort, carnal and slothful. And some of them caught the sound only, [1903] others knew that the voice was articulate, but what it meant, knew not. What saith Christ? "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes." Why said He this? He said it, setting Himself against what they continually asserted, that He was not of God. For He who was glorified by God, how was He not from that God whose name by Him was glorified? indeed for this purpose the Voice came. Wherefore He saith Himself, "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes," "not that I may learn by it anything of which I am ignorant, (for I know all that belongeth to the Father,) but for your sakes." For when they said, "An Angel hath spoken unto Him," or "It hath thundered," and gave not heed to Him, He saith, "it was for your sakes," that even so ye might be led to enquire what the words meant. But they, being excited, did not even so enquire, though they heard that the matter related to them. For to one who knew not wherefore it was uttered, the Voice naturally appeared indistinct. "The Voice came for your sakes." Seest thou that these lowly circumstances take place on their account, not as though the Son needeth help?

Ver. 31 . "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast down." [1904]

What connection hath this with, "I have glorified, and will glorify"? Much, and closely harmonizing. For when God saith, "I will glorify," He showeth the manner of the glorifying. What is it? That one [1905] should be cast down. But what is, "the judgment of this world"? It is as though He said, "there shall be a tribunal and a retribution." How and in what way? "He [1906] slew the first man, having found him guilty of sin, (for `by sin death entered'-- Rom. v. 12 ;) but in Me this he found not. Why then did he spring upon Me and give Me over to death? Why did he put into the mind of Judas to destroy Me?" (Tell me not that it was God's dispensation, for this belongeth not to the devil, but His wisdom; for the present let the disposition of that evil one be enquired into.) "How then is the world judged in Me?" It shall be said, as if a court of justice were sitting, to Satan, "Well, thou hast slain all men, because thou didst find them guilty of sin. But why didst thou slay Christ? Is it not clear that thou didst it wrongfully?" Therefore in Him the whole world shall be avenged. But, that this may be still more clear, I will make it plain by an exam ple. Suppose there is some cruel tyrant, bringing ten thousand evils on all those who fall into his hands. If such a one engaging with a king, or a king's son, slay him unjustly, his death will have power to get revenge for the others also. Suppose there is one who demands payment of his debtors, that he beats them and casts them into prison; then from the same recklessness that he leads to the same dungeon one who owes him nothing: such a man shall suffer punishment for what he hath done to the others. For that one shall destroy him.

[3.] So also it is in the case of the Son; for of those things which the devil hath done against us, of these shall the penalty be required by means of what he hath dared against Christ. And to show that He implieth this, hear what He saith; "Now shall the prince of this world be cast down," "by My Death."

Ver. 32 . "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."

That is, "even those of the Gentiles." And that no one may ask, "How shall he be cast down, if he is stronger even than Thou art?" He saith, "He is not stronger; how can he be stronger than One who draweth others to Him?" And He speaketh not of the Resurrection, but of what is more than the Resurrection, "I will draw all men to Myself." For had He said, "I shall rise again," it was not yet clear that they would believe; but by His saying, "they shall believe," both are proved at once, both this, and also that He must rise again. For had He continued dead, and been a mere man, no one would have believed. "I will draw all men to Myself." ( c. vi. 44 .) How then said He that the Father draweth? Because when the Son draweth, the Father draweth also. He saith, "I will draw them," as though they were detained by a tyrant, and unable of themselves alone to approach Him, and to escape the hands of him who keepeth hold of them. In another place He calleth this "spoiling; no man can [1907] spoil a strong man's goods, except he first bind the strong man, and then spoil his goods." ( Matt. xii. 29 .) This He said to prove His strength, and what there He calleth "spoiling," He hath here called "drawing."

Knowing then these things, let us rouse ourselves, let us glorify God, not by our faith alone, but also by our life, since otherwise it would not be glory, but blasphemy. For God is not so much blasphemed by an impure heathen, as by a corrupt Christian. Wherefore I entreat you to do all that God may be glorified; for, "Woe," it saith, "to that servant by whom the Name of God is blasphemed," (and wherever there is a "woe," every punishment and vengeance straightway follows,) "but blessed is he by whom that Name is glorified." Let us then not be as in darkness, but avoid all sins, and especially those which tend to the hurt of others, since by these God is most blasphemed. What pardon shall we have, when, being commanded to give to others, we plunder the property of others? What shall be our hope of salvation? Thou art punished if thou hast not fed the hungry; but if thou hast even stripped one who was clothed, what sort of pardon shalt thou obtain? These things I will never desist from saying, for they who have not heard to-day perhaps will hear tomorrow, and they who take no heed to-morrow perhaps will be persuaded the next day; and even if any be so disposed as not to be persuaded, yet for us there will be no account to give of them at the Judgment. Our part we have fulfilled; may we never have cause to be ashamed of our words, nor you to hide your faces, but may all be able to stand with boldness before the judgment-seat of Christ, that we also may be able to rejoice over you, and to have some compensation of our own faults, in your being approved in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1892] " shall be, " N.T. [1893] al. " looking down, " or, " disdainful. " [1894] lit. " in battle array. " [1895] " shall be, " N.T. [1896] " honor, " N.T. [1897] to gnesion [1898] al. " is no longer. " [1899] a gonion auton [1900] i.e. " Save Me, " &c. [1901] Ben. omits " and by saying. " [1902] Ver. 29 omitted. " The people therefore that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered; others said, An Angel spake to Him. " [1903] Ben. omits " only. " [1904] " cast out, " N.T. [1905] i.e. the prince of this world. [1906] i.e. Satan. [1907] " how can, " &c., N.T.


Homily LXVIII.

John xii. 34

"The people answered Him, We have heard out of the Law that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

[1.] Deceit is a thing easily detected, and weak, though it be daubed outside with ten thousand colors. For as those who whitewash decayed walls, cannot by the plastering make them sound, so too those who lie are easily found out, as in fact was the case here with the Jews. For when Christ said to them, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me; We have heard," saith one of them, "out of the Law, that Christ remaineth forever; and how sayest thou, that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" Even they then knew that Christ was some Immortal One, and had life without end. And therefore they also knew what He meant; for often in Scripture the Passion and the Resurrection are mentioned in the same place. Thus Isaiah puts them together, saying, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter" ( Isa. liii. 7 ), and all that follows. David also in the second Psalm, and in many other places, connects these two things. The Patriarch too after saying, "He lay down, He couched as a lion," addeth, "And as a lion's whelp, who shall raise Him up?" ( Gen. xlix. 9 .) He showeth at once the Passion and the Resurrection. But these men when they thought to silence Him, and to show that He was not the Christ, confessed by this very circumstance that the Christ remaineth forever. And observe their evil dealing; they said not, "We have heard that Christ neither suffereth nor is crucified," but that "He remaineth forever." Yet even this which has been mentioned, would have been no real objection, for the Passion was no hindrance to His Immortality. Hence we may see that they understood many of the doubtful points, and deliberately went wrong. For since He had before spoken about death, when they now heard in this place the, "be lifted up," they guessed that death was referred to. Then they said, "Who is this Son of Man?" This too they did deceitfully. "Think not, I pray," saith one, "that we say this concerning thee, assert not that we oppose thee through enmity, for, lo, we know not concerning whom thou speakest, and still we declare our opinion." What then doth Christ? To silence them, and to show that the Passion is no impediment to His enduring forever, He saith,

Ver. 35 . "Yet a little while," He saith, "is the light with you."

Signifying that His death was a removal; [1908] for the light of the sun is not destroyed, but having retired for a while appears again.

"Walk while ye have the light." [1909]

Of what season doth He here speak? Of the whole present life, or of the time before the Crucifixion? I for my part think of both, for on account of His unspeakable lovingkindness, many even after the Crucifixion believed. And He speaketh these things to urge them on to the faith, as He also did before, saying, "Yet a little while I am with you." ( c. vii. 33 .)

"He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth."

How many things, for instance, even now do the Jews, without knowing what they do, but walking as though they were in darkness? They think that they are going the right way, when they are taking the contrary; keeping [1910] the Sabbath, respecting the Law and the observances about meats, yet knowing not whither they walk. Wherefore He said,

Ver. 36 . "Walk in the light, [1911] that ye may become children of the light."

That is, "My children." Yet in the beginning the Evangelist saith, "Were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God" ( c. i. 13 ); that is, of the Father; while here Himself [1912] is said to beget them; that thou mayest understand that the operation of the Father and the Son is One. "Jesus having spoken these things," departed from them, and did hide Himself. [1913]

Why doth He now "hide Himself"? They took not up stones against Him, nor did they blaspheme Him in any such manner as before; why then did He hide Himself? Walking in men's hearts, He knew that their wrath was fierce, though they said nothing; He knew it boiling and murderous, and waited not till it issued into action, but hid Himself, to allay their ill-will. Observe how the Evangelist has alluded to this feeling; he has immediately added,

Ver. 37 . "Though He had done so many miracles, [1914] they believed not on Him."

[2.] What "so many"? So many as the Evangelist hath omitted. And this [1915] is clear also from what follows. For when He had retired, and given in, and had come to them again, He speaketh with them in a lowly manner, saying, "He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me." ( Ver. 44 .) Observe what He doeth. He beginneth with humble and modest expressions, and betaketh Himself to the Father; then again He raiseth His language, and when He seeth that they are exasperated, He retireth; then He cometh to them again, and again beginneth with words of humility. And where hath He done this? Nay, where hath He not done it? See, for instance, what He saith at the beginning, "As I hear, I judge." ( c. v. 30 .) Then in a loftier tone, "As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth whom He will" ( c. v. 21 ); again, "I judge you not, there is another that judgeth." Then again He retireth. Then coming to Galilee, "Labor not," He saith, "for the meat that perisheth" ( c. vi. 27 ); and after having said great things of Himself, that He came down from Heaven, that He giveth eternal life, He again withdraweth Himself. And He cometh in the Feast of Tabernacles also, and doth the same. And one may see Him continually thus varying His teaching, by His presence, by His absence, by lowly, by high discourses. Which He also did here. "Though He had done so many miracles," it saith, "they believed not on Him."

Ver. 38 . "That the saying of Esaias [1916] might be fulfilled which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" And again,

Ver. 39-41 . "They [1917] could not believe," it saith, "because that Esaias said, [1918] Ye shall hear with your ears, and not understand. [1919] These things he said, [1920] when he saw His glory, and spake of Him."

Here again observe, that the "because," and "spake," refer not to the cause of their unbelief, but to the event. For it was not "because" Isaiah spake, that they believed not; but because they were not about to believe, that he spake. Why then doth not the Evangelist express it so, instead of making the unbelief proceed from the prophecy, not the prophecy from the unbelief? And farther on he putteth this very thing more positively, saying, "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said." He desires hence to establish by many proofs the unerring truth of Scripture, and that what Isaiah foretold fell not out otherwise, but as he said. For lest any one should say, "Wherefore did Christ come? Knew he not that they would give no heed to him?" he introduces the Prophets, who knew this also. But He came that they might have no excuse for their sin; for what things the Prophet foretold, he foretold as certainly to be; since if they were not certainly to be, he could not have foretold them; and they were certainly to be, because these men were incurable.

And if, "they could not," is put, instead of, "they would not," do not marvel, [1921] for He saith also in another place, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." ( Matt. xix. 12 .) So in many places He is wont to term choice, power. Again, "The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth." ( c. vii. 7 .) This one may even see observed in common conversation; as when a man saith, "I cannot love this or that person," calling the force of his will, power. And again, "this or that person cannot be a good man." And what saith the Prophet? "If the Ethiopian shall change his skin, or the leopard his spots, this people also shall be able to do good, having learned evil." ( Jer. xiii. 23 , LXX.) He saith not that the doing of virtue is impossible to them, but that because they will not, therefore they cannot. And by what he saith the Evangelist means, that it was impossible for the Prophet to lie; yet it was not on that account impossible that they should believe. For it was possible, even had they believed, that he should remain true; since he would not have prophesied these things if they had been about to believe. "Why then," saith some one, "did he not say so?" Because Scripture hath certain idiomatic phrases of this kind, and it is needful to make allowance for its laws.

"The seethings he spake when he saw His glory." Whose? The Father's. How then doth John speak of the Son? and Paul of the Spirit? Not as confounding the Persons, but as showing that the Dignity is one, they say it. [1922] For that which is the Father's is the Son's also, and that which is the Son's is the Spirit's. [1923] Yet many things God spake by Angels, and no one saith, "as the Angel spake," but how? "as God spake." Since what hath been said by God through the ministry of Angels would be of God; yet not therefore is what is of God, of the Angels also. But in this place John saith that the words are the Spirit's.

"And spake of Him." What spake he? "I saw the Lord sitting upon a high throne" ( Isa. vi. 1 ), and what follows. Therefore he there calleth "glory," that vision, the smoke, the hearing unutterable Mysteries, the beholding the Seraphim, the lightning which leaped from the throne, against which those powers could not look. "And spake of Him." What said he? That he heard a voice, saying, "Whom shall I send? who shall go? And I said, Here am I, send me. And He said, Ye shall hear with your ears, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive." ( Isa. vi. 8, 10 .) For,

Ver. 40 . "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they at any time should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart."

Here again is another question, but it is not so if we rightly consider it. For as the sun dazzles the eyes of the weak, not by reason of [1924] its proper nature, so it is with those who give not heed to the words of God. Thus, in the case of Pharaoh, He is said to have hardened his heart, and so it is with those who are at all contentious against the words of God. This is a peculiar mode of speech in Scripture, as also the, "He gave them over unto a reprobate mind" ( Rom. i. 28 ), and the, "He divided them to the nations," [1925] that is, allowed, permitted them to go. For the writer doth not here introduce God as Himself working these things, but showeth that they took place through the wickedness of others. For, when we are abandoned by God, we are given up to the devil, and when so given up, we suffer ten thousand dreadful things. To terrify the hearer, therefore, the writer saith, "He hardened," and "gave over." For to show that He doth not only not give us over, but doth not even leave us, except we will it, hear what He saith, "Do not your iniquities separate between Me and you?" ( Isa. lix. 2 , LXX.). And again, "They that go far away from Thee shall perish." ( Ps. lxxiii. 27 , LXX.) And Hosea saith, "Thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, and I will also forget thee" ( Hos. iv. 6 , LXX.); and He saith Himself also in the Gospels, "How often would I have gathered your children--and ye would not." ( Luke xiii. 34 .) Esaias also again, "I came, and there was no man; I called, and there was none to hearken." ( Isa. l. 2 , LXX.) These things He saith, showing that we begin the desertion, and become the causes of our perdition; for God not only desireth not to leave or to punish us, but even when He punisheth, doth it unwillingly; "I will not," He saith, "the death of a sinner, so much as that he should turn and live." ( Ezek. xviii. 32 , LXX.) Christ also mourneth over the destruction of Jerusalem, [1926] as we also do over our friends.

[3.] Knowing this, let us do all so as not to remove from God, but let us hold fast to the care of our souls, and to the love towards each other; let us not tear our own members, (for this [1927] is the act of men insane and beside themselves,) but the more we see any ill disposed, the more let us be kind to them. Since we often see many persons suffering [1928] in their bodies from difficult or incurable maladies, and cease not to apply remedies. What is worse than gout in foot or hand? Are we therefore to cut off the limbs? Not at all, but we use every means that the sufferer may enjoy some comfort, since we cannot get rid of the disease. This also let us do in the case of our brethren, and, even though they be diseased incurably, let us continue to tend them, and let us bear one another's burdens. So shall we fulfill the law of Christ, and obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1908] i.e. temporary. [1909] " Lest darkness come upon you, " N.T. [1910] Savile reads kategorountes , conject. terountes , which is the Ben. reading. [1911] " While ye have light, believe in the light, " N.T. [1912] i.e. Christ. [1913] " departed and did hide Himself from them, " N.T. [1914] " before them, " N.T. [1915] i.e. that Christ withdrew from the malice of the Jews. [1916] " Esaias the prophet, " N.T. [1917] " therefore they, " N.T. [1918] " said again, " N.T. [1919] Ver. 40 . " He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart: that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. " N.T. [1920] " said Esaias, " N.T. [1921] Ben. " and if ` they could not ' is put, it is put instead of ` they would not. ' And do not marvel. " [1922] al. " saith one. " [1923] al. " the Father's. " [1924] para [1925] a peneime tois ethnesi . The words are found in Deut iv. 19 , LXX., but are there spoken concerning the heavenly bodies. [1926] al. " being about to destroy Jerusalem even weepeth. " [1927] al. " which. " [1928] al. " persons suffering many. "


Homily LXIX.

John xii. 42, 43

"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

[1.] It is necessary for us to avoid alike all the passions which corrupt the soul, but most especially those, which from themselves generate numerous sins. I mean such as the love of money. It is in truth of itself a dreadful malady, but it becomes much more grievous, because it is the root and mother of all mischiefs. Such also is vainglory. See, for instance, how these men were broken off from the faith through their love of honor. "Many," it saith, "of the chief rulers also believed on Him, but because of the Jews [1929] they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." As He said also to them before, "How can ye believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" ( c. v. 44 .) So then they were not rulers, but slaves in the utmost slavery. However, this fear was afterwards done away, for nowhere during the time of the Apostles do we find them possessed by this feeling, since in their time both rulers and priests believed. The grace of the Spirit having come, made them all firmer than adamant. Since therefore this was what hindered them from believing at this time, hear what He saith.

Ver. 44 . "He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me."

As though He had said, "Why fear ye to believe on Me? Faith passeth to the Father through Me, as doth also unbelief." See how in every way He showeth the unvaryingness of His Essence. [1930] He said not, He that believeth "Me," lest any should assert that He spake concerning His words; this might have been said in the case of mere men, for he that believeth the Apostles, believeth not them, but God. But that thou mightest learn that He speaketh here of the belief on His Essence, He said not, "He that believeth My words," but, "He that believeth on Me." "And wherefore," saith some one, "hath He nowhere said conversely, He that believeth on the Father, believeth not on the Father but on Me?" Because they would have replied, "Lo, we believe on the Father, but we believe not on thee." Their disposition was as yet too infirm. Anyhow, conversing with the disciples, He did speak thus: "Ye believe on the Father, [1931] believe also on Me" ( c. xiv. 1 ); but seeing that these then were too weak to hear such words, He leadeth them in another way, showing [1932] that it is not possible to believe on the Father, without believing on Him. And that thou mayest not deem that the words are spoken as of man, He addeth,

Ver. 45 . "He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me."

What then! Is God a body? By no means. The "seeing" of which He here speaketh is that of the mind, thence showing the Consubstantiality. And what is, "He that believeth on Me"? It is as though one should say, "He that taketh water from the river, taketh it not from the river but from the fountain"; or rather this image is too weak, when compared with the matter before us.

Ver. 46 . "I am come a light into the world." [1933]

For since the Father is called by this name everywhere both in the Old (Testament) and in the New, Christ useth the same name also; therefore Paul also calleth Him, "Brightness" ( Heb. i. 3 ), having learnt to do so from this source. And He showeth here His close relationship with the Father, and that there is no separation [1934] between them, if so be that He saith that faith on Him is not on Him, but passeth on to the Father. And He called Himself "light," because He delivereth from error, and dissolveth mental darkness.

Ver. 47 . "If any man hear not Me, and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."

[2.] For lest they should think, that for want of power He passed by the despisers, therefore spake He the, "I came not to judge the world." Then, in order that they might not in this way be made more negligent, when they had learned that "he that believeth is saved, and he that disbelieveth is punished," [1935] see how He hath also set before them a fearful court of judgment, by going on to say,

Ver. 48 . "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath One to judge him."

"If the Father judgeth no man, and thou art not come to judge the world, who judgeth him?" "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him." [1936] For since they said, "He is not from God," He saith this, [1937] that, "they shall not then be able to say these things, but the words which I have spoken now, shall be in place of an accuser, convicting them, and cutting off all excuse." "And the word which I have spoken." What manner of word?

Ver. 49 . "For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." And other such like. [1938]

Surely these things were said for their sakes, that they might have no pretense of excuse. Since if this were not the case, what shall He have more than Isaiah? for he too saith the very same thing, "The Lord God giveth me the tongue of the learned, that I should know when I ought to speak a word." ( Isa. l. 4 , LXX.) What more than Jeremiah? for he too when he was sent was inspired. ( Jer. i. 9 .) What then Ezekiel? for he too, after eating the roll, so spake. ( Ezek. iii. 1 .) Otherwise also, they who were about to hear what He said shall be found to be causes of His knowledge. For if when He was sent, He then received commandment what He should say, thou wilt then argue that before He was sent He knew not. And what more impious than these assertions? if (that is) one take the words of Christ in this sense, and understand not the cause [1939] of their lowliness? Yet Paul saith, that both he and those who were made disciples knew "what was that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" ( Rom. xii. 2 ), and did the Son not know until He had received commandment? How can this be reasonable? Seest thou not that He bringeth His expressions to an excess of humility, that He may both draw those men over, and silence those who should come after. This is why He uttereth words befitting a mere man, that even so He may force us to fly the meanness of the sayings, as being conscious that the words belong not to His Nature, but are suited to the infirmity of the hearers.

Ver. 50 . "And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak."

Seest thou the humility of the words? For he that hath received a commandment is not his own master. Yet He saith, "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." ( c. v. 21 .) Hath He then power to quicken whom He will, and to say what He will hath He not power? What He intendeth then by the words is this; [1940] "The action hath not natural possibility, [1941] that He should speak one set of words, and I should utter another." "And I know that His commandment is life everlasting." He said this to those that called Him a deceiver, and asserted that He had come to do hurt. But when He saith, "I judge not," He showeth that He is not the cause of the perdition of these men. [1942] By this He all but plainly testifies, when about to remove from, and to be no more with, them, that "I converse with you, speaking nothing as of Myself, but all as from the Father." And for this cause He confined His discourse to them to humble expressions, that He might say, "Even until the end did I utter this, My last word, to them." What word was that? "As the Father said unto Me, so I speak." "Had I been opposed to God I should have said the contrary, that I speak nothing of what is pleasing to God, so as to attract the honor to Myself, but now I have so referred all things to Him, as to call nothing My own. [1943] Why then do ye not believe Me when I say that `I have received a commandment,' and when I so vehemently remove your evil suspicion respecting rivalry? For as it is impossible for those who have received a commandment to do or say anything but what their senders wish, as long as they fulfill the commandment, and do not forge [1944] anything; so neither is it possible for Me to say or do anything except as My Father willeth. For what I do He doeth, because He is with Me, and `the Father hath not left Me alone.'" ( c. viii. 29 .) Seest thou how everywhere He showeth Himself connected with Him who begat Him, and that there is no separation? [1945] For when He saith, "I am not come of Myself," He saith it not, as depriving Himself of power, but as taking away all alienation or opposition. [1946] For if men are masters of themselves, much more the Only-begotten Son. And to show that this is true, hear what Paul saith, [1947] "He emptied Himself, and gave Himself for us." ( Philip. ii. 7 .) But, as I said, a terrible thing is vainglory, very terrible ( Eph. v. 2 ); for this made these men not to believe, and others to believe ill, so that the things which were said for the sake of those men, through lovingkindness, they turned to [1948] impiety.

[3.] Let us then ever flee this monster: various and manifold it is, and everywhere sheds its peculiar venom, in wealth, in luxury, in beauty of person. Through this we everywhere go beyond needful use; [1949] through this arises extravagance in garments, and a great swarm of domestics; through this the needful use is every where despised, in our houses, our garments, our table; and extravagance prevails. Wilt thou enjoy glory? Do alms-deeds, then shall Angels praise thee, then shall God receive thee. Now the admiration goes no farther than the goldsmiths and weavers, and thou [1950] departest without a crown, often seeing that thou receivest curses. But if thou put not these things about thy body, but expend them in feeding the poor, great will be the applause from all sides, great the praise. Then shalt thou have them, when thou givest them to others; when thou keepest them to thyself, then thou hast them not. For a house is a faithless treasury, but a sure treasury are the hands of the poor. Why adornest thou thy body, while thy soul is neglected, possessed by uncleanness? Why bestowest thou not so much thought on thy soul, as thy body? Thou oughtest to bestow greater; but anyhow, beloved, [1951] we ought to bestow equal care upon it. For tell me, if any one asked thee which thou wouldest choose, that thy body should be fresh and of good habit and surpassing in beauty, and wear mean raiment, or having the body deformed and full of diseases, to wear gold and finery; wouldest thou not much prefer to have beauty depending on the nature of thy person, than on the raiment with which thou art clothed? And wilt thou choose this in the case of thy body, but the contrary in the case of thy soul; and, when thou hast that ugly and unsightly and black, dost thou think to gain anything from golden ornaments? What madness is this! Shift this adorning within, put these necklaces about thy soul. The things that are put about thy body help neither to its health nor to its beauty, for it will not make black white, nor what is ugly either beautiful or good looking. But if thou put them about thy soul, thou shalt soon make it white instead of black, instead of ugly and unsightly, thou shalt make it beautiful and well-favored. The words are not mine, but those of the Lord Himself, who saith, "Though thy sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow" ( Isa. i. 18 , LXX.); and, "Give alms--and all things shall be clean unto you" ( Luke xi. 41 ); and by such a disposition thou shalt beautify not thyself only, but thy husband. For they if they see you putting off these outward ornaments, will have no great need of expense, and not having it, they will abstain from all covetousness, and will be more inclined to give alms, and ye too will be able boldly to give them fitting counsel. At present ye are deprived of all such authority. For with what mouth will ye speak of these things? with what eyes will ye look your husbands in the face, asking money for alms, when ye spend most upon the covering of your bodies? Then wilt thou be able boldly to speak with thy husband concerning alms-giving, when thou layest aside thine ornaments of gold. Even if thou accomplish nothing, thou hast fulfilled all thy part; but I should rather say, that it is impossible that the wife should not gain the husband, when she speaks by the very actions. [1952] "For what knowest thou, O woman, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" ( 1 Cor. vii. 16 .) As then now thou shalt give account both for thyself and for him, so if thou put off all this vanity thou shalt have a double crown, wearing thy crown and triumphing [1953] with thy husband through those unalloyed [1954] ages, and enjoying the everlasting good things, which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1929] " Pharisees, " N.T. [1930] i.e. in respect of that of the Father. [1931] " on God, " N.T. [1932] al. " He showeth. " [1933] " that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness, " N.T. [1934] ouden to meson [1935] The sense seems to require, " is not punished, " and so Sav. and Ben. conjecture. [1936] al. " in the last day. " N.T. [1937] al. " thus showing. " [1938] Morel. " such like works. " [1939] al. " pretext. " [1940] al. " what then, saith one, meaneth this saying, that he hath not? " [1941] ouk echei phusin to pragma [1942] " I am not, &c. He saith, but themselves. " [1943] al. " a thing peculiar (to Myself). " [1944] paracharattosi [1945] ouden to meson [1946] i.e. between Himself and the Father. [1947] al. " yet this is true, for Paul showeth by what he saith. " [1948] al. " drew to. " [1949] chreian [1950] addressed to women. [1951] al. " we might be content if ye did but. " [1952] al. " with him by actions. " [1953] pompeuousa [1954] a keratous


Homily LXX.

John xiii. 1

"Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."

[1.] " Be ye imitators of me," said Paul, "as I also am of Christ." ( 1 Cor. xi. 1 .) For on this account He took also flesh of our substance, [1955] that by means of it He might teach us virtue. For ("God sending His own Son) in the likeness of sinful flesh," it saith, "and for sin condemned sin in the flesh." ( Rom. viii. 3 .) And Christ Himself [1956] saith, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." ( Matt. xi. 29 .) And this He taught, not by words alone, but by actions also. For they called Him a Samaritan, and one that had a devil, and a deceiver, and cast stones at Him; and at one time the Pharisees sent servants to take [1957] Him, at another they sent plotters against Him; and they continued also insulting Him themselves, and that when they had no fault to find, but were even being continually benefited. Still after such conduct He ceaseth not to do well to them both by words and deeds. And, when a certain domestic smote Him on the face, He said, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if well, why smitest thou Me?" ( c. xviii. 23 .) But this was to those who hated and plotted against Him. Let us see also what He doeth now towards the disciples, or rather what actions He now exhibiteth [1958] towards the traitor. The man whom most of all there was reason [1959] to hate, because being a disciple, having shared the table and the salt, having seen the miracles and been deemed worthy of such great things, he acted more grievously than any, not stoning indeed, nor insulting Him, but betraying and giving Him up, observe in how friendly sort He receiveth this man, washing his feet; for even in this way He desired to restrain him from that wickedness. Yet it was in His power, had He willed it, to have withered him like the fig-tree, to have cut him in two as He rent the rocks, to have cleft him asunder like the veil; but He would not lead him away from his design by compulsion, but by choice. Wherefore He washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed.

"Before the feast of the Passover," it saith, "Jesus knowing that His hour was come." Not then "knowing," but (it means) that He did what He did having "known" long ago. "That He should depart." Magnificently [1960] the Evangelist calleth His death, "departure." "Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end." Seest thou how when about to leave them He showeth greater love? For the, "having loved, He loved them unto the end," showeth that he omitted nothing of the things which it was likely that one who earnestly loved would do. Why, then did He not this from the beginning? He worketh [1961] the greatest things last, so as to render more intense their attachment, and to lay up for them beforehand much comfort, against the terrible things that were about to fall on them. St. John calls them "His own," in respect of personal attachment, since he calls others also "His own," in respect of the work of creation; as when he saith, "His own received Him not." ( c. i. 11 .) But what meaneth, "which were in the world"? Because the dead also were "His own," Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the men of that sort, [1962] but they were not in the world. Seest thou that He is the God both of the Old and New (Testament)? But what meaneth, "He loved them unto the end"? It stands for, "He continued loving them unceasingly," and this the Evangelist mentions as a sure proof of great affection. Elsewhere indeed He spake of another (proof), the laying down life for His friends; but that had not yet come to pass. And wherefore did He this thing "now"? Because it was far more wonderful at a time when He appeared more glorious in the sight of all men. Besides, He left them no small consolation now that He was about to depart, for since they were going to be greatly grieved, He by these means introduceth also comfort to the grief.

Ver. 2 . "And supper being ended, the devil having now put it into the heart of Judas [1963] to betray Him."

This the Evangelist hath said [1964] amazed, showing that Jesus washed the man who had already chosen to betray Him. This also proves his great wickedness, that not even the having shared the salt restrained him, (a thing which is most able to restrain wickedness;) not the fact that even up to the last day, his Master continued to bear with him. [1965]

Ver. 3 . "Jesus knowing that the Father had given [1966] all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God."

Here the Evangelist saith, even [1967] wondering, that one so great, so very great, who came from God and went to Him, who ruleth over all, did this thing, and disdained not even so to undertake such an action. And by the "giving over," methinks St. John means the salvation of the faithful. For when He saith, "All things are given over [1968] to Me of My Father" ( Matt. xi. 27 ), He speaketh of this kind of giving over; as also in another place He saith, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me" ( c. xvii. 6 ); and again, "No man can come unto Me except the Father draw him" ( c. vi. 44 ); and, "Except it be given him from heaven." ( c. iii. 27 .) The Evangelist then either means this, or that Christ would be nothing lessened by this action, since He came from God, and went to God, and possessed all things. But when thou hearest of "giving over," understand it in no human sense, for it showeth how He honoreth the Father, and His unanimity with Him. For as the Father giveth over to Him, so He to the Father. And this Paul declares, saying, "When He shall have given over [1969] the kingdom to God, even the Father." ( 1 Cor. xv. 24 .) But St. John hath said it here in a more human sense, showing His great care for them, and declaring His unutterable love, that He now cared for them as for His own; teaching them the mother of all good, even humblemindedness, which He said was both the beginning and the end of virtue. And not without a reason is added the, [1970] "He came from God and went to God": but that we may learn that He did what was worthy [1971] of One who came thence and went thither, trampling down all pride.

Ver. 4 . "And having risen [1972] from supper, and laid aside His garments." [1973]

[2.] Observe how not by the washing only, but in another way also He exhibiteth humility. For it was not before reclining, but after they had all sat down, then He arose. In the next place, He doth not merely wash them, but doth so, putting off His garments. And He did not even stop here, but girded Himself with a towel. Nor was He satisfied with this, but Himself filled (the basin), and did not bid another fill it; He did all these things Himself, showing by all that we must do such things, when we are engaged in well doing, not merely for form's sake, [1974] but with all zeal. Now He seemeth to me to have washed the feet of the traitor first from its saying,

Ver. 5 . "He began to wash the disciples' feet," [1975] and adding,

Ver. 6 . "Then cometh He to Simon Peter and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?"

"With those hands," he saith, "with which Thou hast opened eyes, and cleansed lepers, and raised the dead?" For this (question) is very emphatic; wherefore He needed not to have said any more than the, "Thou"; for even of itself this would have sufficed to convey the whole. Some one might reasonably enquire, how none of the others forbade Him, but Peter only, which was a mark of no slight love and reverence. What then is the cause? He seemeth to me to have washed the traitor first, then to have come to Peter, and that the others were afterwards instructed from his case. [1976] That He washed some one other before him is clear from its saying, "But when He came [1977] to Peter." Yet the Evangelist is not a vehement accuser, [1978] for the "began," is the expression of one implying this. And even if Peter were the first, [1979] yet it is probable that the traitor, being a forward person, had reclined even before the chief. [1980] For by another circumstance also his forwardness is shown, when He dippeth with his Master in the dish, and being convicted, feels no compunction; while Peter being rebuked but once on a former occasion, and for words which he spake from loving affection, was so abashed, that being even distressed and trembling, he begged another to ask a question. But Judas, though continually convicted, felt not. ( Ver. 24 .) When therefore He came to Peter, he saith unto Him, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?"

Ver. 7 . "He saith unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know here after."

That is "thou shalt know how great is the gain from this, the profit of the lesson, and how it is able to guide us into all humblemindedness." What then doth Peter? He still hinders Him, and saith,

Ver. 8 . "Thou shalt never wash my feet." "What doest thou, Peter? Rememberest thou not those former words? Saidst thou not, `Be merciful to Thyself,' [1981] and heardest thou not in return, `Get thee behind Me, Satan'? ( Matt. xvi. 22 .) Art thou not even so sobered, but art thou yet vehement?" "Yea," he saith, "for what is being done is a great matter, and full of amazement." Since then he did this from exceeding love, Christ in turn subdueth him by the same; and as there He effected this by sharply rebuking him, and saying, "Thou art an offense unto Me," so here also by saying,

"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me." What then saith that hot and burning one?

Ver. 9 . "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."

Vehement in deprecation, he becometh yet more vehement in acquiescence; but both from love. For why said He not wherefore He did this, instead of adding a threat? Because Peter would not have been persuaded. For had He said, "Suffer it, for by this I persuade you to be humbleminded," Peter would have promised it ten thousand times, in order that his Master might not do this thing. But now what saith He? He speaketh of that which Peter most feared and dreaded, the being separated from Him; for it is he who continually asks, "Whither goest Thou?" ( Ver. 36 .) Wherefore also he said, "I will give [1982] even my life for Thee." ( Ver. 37 .) And if, after hearing, "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter," he still persisted, much more would he have done so had he learnt (the meaning of the action). Therefore said He, "but thou shalt know hereafter," as being aware, that should he learn it immediately he would still resist. And Peter said not, "Tell me, that I may suffer Thee," but (which was much more vehement) he did not even endure to learn, but withstands Him, [1983] saying, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." But as soon as He threatened, he straightway relaxed his tone. But what meaneth, "Thou shalt know after this"? "After this?" When? "When in My Name thou shalt have cast out devils; when thou shalt have seen Me taken up into Heaven, when thou shalt have learnt from the Spirit [1984] that I sit [1985] on His right hand, then shalt thou understand what is being done now." What then saith Christ? When Peter said, "not my feet only, but also my hands and my head," He replieth,

Ver. 10, 11 . "He that is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, [1986] but not all. For He knew who should betray Him." [1987]

"And if they are clean, why washeth He [1988] their feet?" That we may learn to be modest. [1989] On which account He came not to any other part of the body, but to that which is considered more dishonorable than the rest. But what is, "He that is washed"? It is instead of, "he that is clean." Were they then clean, who had not [1990] yet been delivered from their sins, nor deemed worthy of the Spirit, since sin still had the mastery, the handwriting of the curse still remaining, the victim not having yet been offered? How then calleth He them "clean"? That thou mayest not deem them clean, as delivered from their sins, He addeth, [1991] Behold, "ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you." That is, "In this way ye are so far [1992] clean; ye have received the light, ye have been freed from Jewish error. For the Prophet also saith, `Wash you, make you clean, put away the wickedness from your souls' ( Isa. i. 16 , LXX.); so that such a one is washed and is clean." Since then these men had cast away all wickedness from their souls, and had companied with Him with a pure mind, therefore He saith according to the word of the Prophet, "he that is washed is clean already." For in that place also It meaneth not the "washing" of water, practiced by the Jews; but the cleansing of the conscience. [1993]

[3.] Be we then also clean; learn we to do well. But what is "well"? "Judge for the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, saith the Lord." ( Isa. i. 7 .) There is frequent mention in the Scriptures of widows and orphans, but we make no account of this. Yet consider how great is the reward. "Though," it saith, "your sins be as scarlet, I will whiten them as snow; though they be red like crimson, I will whiten them as wool." For a widow is an unprotected being, therefore He [1994] taketh much care for her. For they, when it is even in their power to contract a second marriage, endure the hardships of widowhood through fear of God. Let us then all, both men and women, stretch forth our hands to them, that we may never undergo the sorrows of widow-hood; or if we should have to undergo them, let us lay up [1995] a great store of kindness for ourselves. Not small is the power of the widow's tears, it is able to open heaven itself. Let us not then trample on them, nor make their calamity worse, but assist them by every means. If so we do, we shall put around [1996] ourselves much safety, both in the present life, and in that which is to come. For not here alone, but there also will they be our defenders, cutting away most of our sins by reason of our beneficence towards them, and causing us to stand boldly before the judgment-seat of Christ. Which [1997] may it come to pass that we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1955] lit. " our lump. " [1956] al. " and Himself. " [1957] al. " in order to kill. " [1958] al. " doeth. " [1959] e chren [1960] al. " magniloquently. " [1961] al. " added. " [1962] hoi kat ekeinous [1963] " Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, " N.T. [1964] al. " hath put in by the way. " [1965] diabastazonta [1966] al. " given over. " [1967] al. " either he saith this. " [1968] E.V. " delivered. " [1969] " delivered up, " E.V. [1970] al. " what then is added? " [1971] al. " went to God, " that is, did what was worthy. [1972] a nastas ( e geiretai , G. T.). [1973] " He riseth, " &c., " and took a towel, and girded Himself. " 5 . " After that He poureth water into a basin. " N.T. [1974] a phosioumenous [1975] " and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded, " N.T. [1976] a p ekeinou , al. hu p ek . " by him. " [1977] " He cometh therefore, " oun , N.T. [1978] i.e. of Judas. [1979] i.e. in dignity. [1980] koruphaiou [1981] " that be far from Thee, " E.V. [1982] " lay down, " N.T. [1983] al. " Him again. " [1984] Ben. and mss. Sav. " the Father. " [1985] Sav. " He sitteth. " [1986] al. " clean through the word which I have spoken unto you " (from c. xv. 3 ). [1987] " Him, therefore said He, Ye are not all clean, " N.T. [1988] al. " washest thou. " [1989] metriazein [1990] al. " yet they had not. " [1991] from c. xv. 3 [1992] teos [1993] al. " of the creation. " [1994] or, " It. " [1995] al. " but we shall not undergo them if we lay up. " [1996] al. " putting around. " [1997] hou , al. he s , " which boldness. "


Homily LXXI.

John xiii

"And He took [1998] His garments, and having sat down again, said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?" And what follows.

[1.] A grievous thing, beloved, a grievous thing it is to come to the depths of wickedness; for then the soul becomes hard to be restored. Wherefore we should use every exertion not to be taken at all; [1999] since it is easier not to fall in, [2000] than having fallen to recover one's self. Observe, for instance, when Judas had thrown himself into sin, how great assistance he enjoyed, yet not even so was he raised. Christ said to him, "One of you is a devil" ( c. vi. 71 ); He said, "Not all believe" ( c. vi. 65 ); He said, "I speak not of all," and, "I know whom I have chosen" ( c. xiii. 18 ); and not one of these sayings doth he feel. Now when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and sat down, He said, "Know ye what I have done unto you?" He no longer addresseth Himself to Peter only, but to them all.

Ver. 13 . "Ye call Me Lord [2001] and Master, [2002] and ye say well, for so I am."

"Ye call Me." He taketh to Him their judgment, and then that the words may not be thought to be words of their kindness, He addeth, "for so I am." By introducing a saying of theirs, [2003] He maketh it not offensive, and by confirming it Himself when introduced from them, unsuspected. "For so I am," He saith. Seest thou how when He converseth with the disciples, He speaketh revealing more what belongeth unto Himself? As He saith, "Call no man master on earth, [2004] for One is your guide" [2005] ( Matt. xxiii. 8, 9 ), so also, "And call no man father upon earth." But the "one" and "one" [2006] is spoken not of the Father only, but of Himself also. For had He spoken excluding Himself, how saith He, "That ye may become the children of the light"? And again, if He called the Father only, "Master," how saith He, "For so I am"; and again, "For one is your Guide, even Christ"? ( c. xii. 26 .)

Ver. 14, 15 . "If I then," He saith, "your Lord [2007] and Master have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."

And yet it is not the same thing, for He is Lord and Master, but ye are fellow-servants one of another. What meaneth then the "as"? "With the same zeal." For on this account He taketh instances from greater actions that we may, if so be, perform the less. Thus schoolmasters write the letters for children very beautifully, that they may come to imitate them though but in an inferior manner. Where now are they who spit on their fellow-servants? where now they who demand honors? Christ washed the feet of the traitor, the sacrilegious, the thief, and that close to the time of the betrayal, and incurable as he was, made him a partaker of His table; and art thou highminded, and dost thou draw up thine eyebrows? "Let us then wash one another's feet," saith some one, "then we must wash those of our domestics." And what great thing if we do wash even those of our domestics? In our case [2008] "slave" and "free" is a difference of words; but there an actual reality. For by nature He was Lord and we servants, yet even this [2009] He refused not at this time to do. But now it is matter for contentment if we do not treat free men as bondmen, as slaves bought with money. And what shall we say in that day, [2010] if after receiving proofs of such forbearance, we ourselves do not imitate them at all, but take the contrary part, being in diametrical opposition, lifted up, and not discharging the debt? For God hath made us debtors one to another, having first so done Himself, and hath made us debtors of a less amount. For He was our Lord, but we do it, if we do it at all, to our fellow-servants, a thing which He Himself implied by saying, "If I then your Lord and Master--so also do ye." It would indeed naturally have followed to say, "How much more should ye servants," but He left this to the conscience of the hearers.

[2.] But why hath He done this "now"? They were for the future to enjoy, some greater, some less honor. In order then that they may not exalt themselves one above the other, and say as they did before, "Who is the greatest" ( Matt. xviii. 1 ), nor be angry one against the other, He taketh down [2011] the high thoughts of them all, by saying, that "although thou mayest be very great, thou oughtest to have no high thoughts towards thy brother." And He mentioned not the greater action, that "if I have washed the feet of the traitor, what great matter if ye one another's?" but having exemplified this by deeds, He then left it to the judgment of the spectators. Therefore He said, "Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great" ( Matt. v. 19 ); for this is "to teach" a thing, actually to do it. What pride should not this remove? what kind of folly and insolence should it not annihilate! [2012] He who sitteth upon the Cherubim washed the feet of the traitor, and dost thou, O man, thou that art earth and ashes and cinders and dust, dost thou exalt thyself, and art thou highminded? And how great a hell wouldest thou not deserve? If then thou desirest a high state of mind, come, I will show thee the way to it; for thou dost not even know what it is. The man then who gives heed to the present things as being great, is of a mean soul; so that there can neither be humility without greatness of soul, nor conceit except from littleness of soul. For as little children are eager for trifles, gaping upon balls and hoops and dice, [2013] but cannot even form an idea of important matters; so in this case, one who is truly wise, will deem present things as nothing, (so that he will neither choose to acquire them himself, nor to receive them from others;) but he who is not of such a character will be affected in a contrary way, intent upon cobwebs and shadows and dreams of things less substantial than these.

Ver. 16-18 . "Verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all [2014] --but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me."

What He said before, this He saith here also, to shame them; "For if the servant is not greater than his master, nor he that is sent greater than him that sent him, and these things have been done by Me, much more ought they to be done by you." Then, lest any one should say, "Why now sayest Thou these things? Do we not already know them?" He addeth this very thing, "I speak not to you as not knowing, but that by your actions ye may show forth the things spoken of." For "to know," belongeth to all; but "to do," not to all. On this account He said, "Blessed are ye if ye do them"; and on this account I continually and ever say the same to you, although ye know it, that I may set you on the work. Since even Jews "know," but yet they are not "blessed"; for they do not what they know. [2015]

"I speak not," He saith, "of you all." O what forbearance! Not yet doth He convict the traitor, but veileth the matter, hence giving him room for repentance. He convicteth and yet doth not convict him when He saith thus, "He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me." It seems to me that the, "The servant is not greater than his lord," was uttered for this purpose also, that if any persons should at any time suffer harm either from domestics or from any of the meaner sort, they should not be offended; looking to the instance of Judas, who having enjoyed ten thousand good things, repaid his Benefactor with the contrary. On this account He added, "He that eateth bread with Me," and letting pass all the rest, He hath put that which was most fitted to restrain and shame him; "he who was fed by Me," He saith, "and who shared My table." And He spake the words, to instruct them to benefit those who did evil to them, even though such persons should continue incurable.

But having said, "I speak not of you all," in order not to attach fear to more than one, [2016] He at last separateth the traitor, speaking thus; "He that eateth bread with Me." For the, "not of you all," doth not direct the words to any single one, therefore He added, "He that eateth bread with Me"; showing to that wretched one that He was not seized in ignorance, but even with full knowledge; a thing which of itself was most of all fitted to restrain him. And He said not, "betrayeth Me," but, "hath lifted up his heel against Me," desiring to represent the deceit, the treachery, the secrecy of the plot.

[3.] These things are written that we bear not malice towards those who injure us; but rebuke them and weep for them; for the fit subjects of weeping are not they who suffer, but they who do the wrong. The grasping man, the false accuser, and whoso worketh any other evil thing, do themselves the greatest injury, and us the greatest good, if we do not avenge ourselves. Such a case as this: some one has robbed thee; hast thou given thanks for the injury, and glorified God? by that thanksgiving thou hast gained ten thousand rewards, just as he hath gathered for himself fire unspeakable. But if any one say, "How then, if I `could' not defend myself against him who wronged me, being weaker?" I would say this, that thou couldest have put into action the being discontented, the being impatient, (for these things are in our power,) the praying against him, who grieved you, the uttering ten thousand curses against him, the speaking ill of him to every one. He therefore who hath not done these things shall even be rewarded for not defending himself, since it is clear that even if he had had the power, he would not have done it. The injured man uses any weapon that comes to hand, when, being little of soul, he defends himself against one who has injured him, by curses, by abuse, by plotting. Do thou then not only not do these things, but even pray for him; for if thou do them not, but wilt even pray for him, thou art become like unto God. For, "pray," it saith, "for them, that despitefully use you--that ye may be like unto [2017] your Father which is in Heaven." ( Matt. v. 44, 45 .) Seest thou how we are the greatest gainers from the insolence of others? Nothing so delighteth God, as the not returning evil for evil? But what say I? Not returning evil for evil? Surely we are enjoined to return the opposite, benefits, prayers. Wherefore Christ also repaid him who was about to betray Him with everything opposite. He washed his feet, convicted him secretly, rebuked him sparingly, tended [2018] him, allowed him to share His table and His kiss, and not even by these [2019] was he made better; nevertheless (Christ) continued doing His own part.

But come, let us teach thee even from the example of servants, and (to make the lesson stronger) those in the Old (Testament), that thou mayest know that we have no ground of defense when we remember a wrong. Will you then that I tell you of Moses, or shall we go yet farther back? For the more ancient the instances that can be pointed out, the more are we surpassed. "Why so?" Because virtue was then more difficult. Those men had no written precepts, no patterns of living, but their nature fought, unarmed, by itself, [2020] and was forced to float in all directions unballasted. [2021] Wherefore also when praising Noah, God called him not simply perfect, but added, "in his generation" ( Gen. vii. 1 ); signifying, "at that time," when there were many hindrances, since many others shone after him, yet will he have nothing less than they; for in his own time he was perfect. Who then before Moses was patient? The blessed and noble Joseph, who having shone by his chastity, shone no less by his long suffering. He was sold when he had done no wrong, but was waiting on others, and serving, and performing all the duties of domestics. They brought against him an evil accusation, and he did not defend himself, though he had his father on his side. Nay, he even went to carry food to them in the desert, and when he found them not, he did not despair or turn back, (yet he had an excuse for doing so had he chosen,) but remained near the wild beasts and those savage men, preserving the feeling of a true brother. Again, when he dwelt in the prison house, and was asked the cause, he spake no evil of them, but only, "I have done nothing," and, "I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews"; and after this again, when he was made lord, he nourished them, and delivered them from ten thousand dangers. If we be sober, the wickedness of our neighbor is not strong enough to cast us out of our own virtue. But those others were not like him; they both stripped him, and endeavored to kill him, and reproach him with his dream, though they had even received their meat from him, and planned to deprive him of life and of liberty. And they ate, and cared not for their brother lying naked in the pit. What could be worse than such brutality? Were they not worse than any number of murderers? And after this, having drawn him up, they gave him over to ten thousand deaths, selling him to barbarian and savage men, who were on their journey to barbarians. Yet he, when he became ruler, not only remitted them their punishment, but even acquitted them, as far at least as relating to himself, of their sin, calling what had been done a dispensation of God, not any wickedness of theirs; and the things which he did against them he did not as remembering evil, but in all these he dissembled, for his brother's [2022] sake. After this, when he saw them clinging to him, he straightway threw away the mask, and wept aloud, and embraced them, as though he had received the greatest benefits, he, who formerly was made away with by them, and he brought them all down into Egypt, and repaid them with ten thousand benefits. What excuse then shall we have, if after the Law, and after grace, and after the addition of so much heavenly wisdom, we do not even strive to rival him who lived before grace and before the Law? Who shall deliver us from punishment? For there is nothing, there is nothing more grievous than the remembrance of injuries. And this the man hath showed that owed ten thousand talents; from whom payment was at one time not demanded, at another time again demanded; not demanded, because of the lovingkindness of God; but demanded, because of his own wickedness, and because of his malice toward his fellow-servant. Knowing all which things, let us forgive our neighbors their trespasses, and repay them by deeds of an opposite kind, that we too may obtain mercy from God, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1998] " So when He had washed their feet, and had taken, " &c., N.T. [1999] ten archen [2000] al. " fall away. " [2001] al. " the Christ. " [2002] " Master and Lord, " N.T. [2003] al. " among them. " [2004] " be not ye called Rabbi, " N.T. [2005] kathegetes [2006] i.e. one Master, one Father. [2007] al. " the Christ. " [2008] e ntautha [2009] i.e. this humble office. [2010] tote [2011] al. " purgeth. " [2012] kenoseie [2013] a stragalous , square bones used as dice. [2014] " I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen, " N.T. [2015] auta [2016] lit. " to many. " [2017] " the children of, " N.T. [2018] e therapeuse [2019] al. " by this. " [2020] or, in its own way, kath heauten [2021] a nermatistos [2022] i.e. Benjamin's.


Homily LXXII.

John xiii. 20 . [2023]

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth Me: and He that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me."

[1.] Great is the recompense [2024] of care bestowed upon the servants of God, and of itself [2025] it yieldeth to us its fruits. For, "he that receiveth you," it saith, "receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me." ( Matt. x. 40 .) Now what can be equal to the receiving Christ and His Father? But what kind of connection hath this with what was said before? What hath it in common with that which He had said, "If ye do these things happy are ye," to add, "He that receiveth you"? A close connection, and very harmonious. [2026] Observe how. When they were about to go forth and to suffer many dreadful things, He comforteth them in two ways; one derived from Himself, the other derived from others. "For if," He saith, "ye are truly wise, ever keeping Me in mind, and bearing about all both what I said, and what I did, ye will easily endure terrible things. And not in this way only, but also from your enjoying great attention from all men." The first point He declared when He said, "If ye do these things happy are ye"; the second when He said, "He that receiveth you receiveth Me." For He opened the houses of all men to them, so that both from the sound wisdom of their manners, and the zeal of those who would tend them, they might have twofold comfort. Then when He had given these directions to them as to men about to run through all the world, reflecting that the traitor was deprived of both of these things, and would enjoy neither of them, neither patience in toils, nor the service of kind entertainers, He again was troubled. And the Evangelist to signify this besides, and to show that it was on his [2027] account that He was troubled, adds,

Ver. 21 . "When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me."

Again He bringeth fear on all by not mentioning (the traitor) by name.

Ver. 22 . "But they are in doubt"; [2028] although conscious to themselves of nothing evil; but they deemed the declaration of Christ more to be believed than their own thoughts. Wherefore they "looked one on another." By laying the whole upon one, Jesus would [2029] have cut short their fear, but by adding, "one of you," He troubled all. What then? The rest looked upon one another; but the ever fervent Peter "beckoneth" [2030] to John. Since he had been before rebuked, and when Christ desired to wash him would have hindered Him, and since he is everywhere found moved indeed by love, yet blamed; being on this account afraid, he neither kept quiet, nor did he speak, but wished to gain information by means of John. But it is a question worth asking, why when all were distressed, and trembling, when their leader was afraid, John like one at ease [2031] leans on Jesus' bosom, and not only leans, but even (lies) on His breast? Nor is this the only thing worthy of enquiry, but that also which follows. What is that? What he saith of himself, "Whom Jesus loved." Why did no one else say this of himself? yet the others were loved too. But he more than any. And if no other hath said this about him, but he about himself, it is nothing wonderful. Paul too does the same, [2032] when occasion calls, saying thus, "I knew a man fourteen years ago"; yet in fact he [2033] has gone through other no trifling praises of himself. Seems it to thee a small thing that, when he had heard, "Follow Me," [2034] he straightway left his nets, and his father, and followed; and that Christ took him alone with Peter into the mountain, ( Matt. xvii. 1 ,) and another time again when He went into a house? [2035] ( Luke viii. 51 .) What high praise also has he himself passed on Peter without concealment, telling us that Christ said, "Peter, [2036] lovest thou Me more than these?" ( c. xxi. 15 ), and everywhere he showeth him warm, and nobly disposed towards himself; [2037] for instance, when he said, "Lord, and what shall this man do?" he spake from great love. But why did [2038] no other say (this [2039] ) concerning him? Because he would not himself have said it, unless he had come to this passage. [2040] For if after telling us that Peter beckoned to John to ask, he had added nothing more, he would have caused considerable doubt, and have compelled us to enquire into the reason. In order therefore himself to solve this difficulty, he saith, "He lay on the bosom of Jesus." Thinkest thou that thou hast learnt a little thing when thou hast heard that "he lay," and that their Master allowed such boldness to them? [2041] If thou desirest to know the cause of this, the action was of love; [2042] wherefore he saith, "Whom Jesus loved." [2043] I suppose also that John doth this for another reason, as wishing to show that he was exempt from the charge and so he speaks openly and is confident. Again, why did he use these words, not at any other point of time, [2044] but only when the chief of the Apostles beckoned? That thou mightest not deem that Peter beckoned to him as being greater, he saith that the thing took place because of the great love (which Jesus bare him). But why doth he even lie on His bosom? They had not as yet formed any high surmises concerning Him; besides, in this way He [2045] calmed their despondency; for it is probable that at this time their faces were overclouded. If they were troubled in their souls, much more would they be so in their countenances. Soothing them therefore by word and by the question, He makes a way beforehand, and allows him to lean on His breast. Observe too his modesty; he mentions not his own name, but, "whom He loved." As also Paul, when he said, "I knew a man about fourteen years ago." Now for the first time Jesus convicted the traitor, but not even now by name; but how?

Ver. 26 . "He it is, to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it." [2046]

Even the manner (of the rebuke) was calculated to put him to shame. He respected not the table, though he shared the bread; be it so; but the receiving the sop from His own hand, whom would not that have won over? yet him it won not.

Ver. 27 . "Then [2047] Satan entered into him."

Laughing at him for his shamelessness. As long as he belonged to the band of disciples he dared not spring upon him, but attacked [2048] him from without; but when Christ made him manifest and separated him, then he sprang upon him without fear. It was not fitting to keep within one of such a character, and who so long had remained incorrigible. Wherefore He henceforth cast him out, and then that other seized him when cut off, and he leaving them went forth by night. [2049]

"Jesus saith unto him, Friend, [2050] that thou doest, do quickly."

Ver. 28 . "Now no man at the table knew with what intent He spake this unto him." [2051]

[3.] Wonderful insensibility! How could it be that he was neither softened nor shamed; but rendered yet more shameless, "went out." The "do quickly," is not the expression of one commanding, nor advising, but of one reproaching, and showing him that He desired to correct him, but that since he was incorrigible, He let him go. And this, the Evangelist saith, "no man of those that sat at the table knew." Some one may perhaps find here a considerable difficulty, if, when the disciples had asked, "Who is it?" and He had answered, "He to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it," they did not even so understand; unless indeed He spake it secretly, so that no man should hear. For John on this very account, leaning by His breast, asked Him almost close to His ear, so that the traitor might not be made manifest; and Christ answered in like manner, so that not even then did He discover him. And though He spake emphatically, [2052] "Friend, that thou doest, do quickly," even so they understood not. But he spake thus to show that the things were true which had been said by Him to the Jews concerning His death. For He had said to them, "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again": and, "No man taketh it from Me." ( c. x. 18 .) As long then as He would retain it, no man was able (to take it); but when He resigned it, then the action became easy. All this He implied when He said, "That thou doest, do quickly." Yet not even then did He expose him, [2053] for perhaps the others might have torn him in pieces, or Peter might have killed him. On this account "no man at the table knew." Not even John? Not even he: for he could not have expected that a disciple would arrive [2054] at such a pitch of wickedness. For since they were far from such iniquity themselves, they could not suspect such things concerning others. As before He had told them, "I speak not of you all" ( ver. 18 ), yet did not reveal the person; so here, they thought that it was said concerning some other matter.

"It was night," saith the Evangelist, when he went out. "Why tellest thou me the time?" That thou mayest learn his forwardness, that not even the time restrained him from his purpose. Yet not even did this make him quite manifest, for the others were at this time in confusion, occupied by fear and great distress, and they knew not the true reason of what had been said but supposed [2055] that He spake thus, in order that Judas might give somewhat to the poor. For He cared greatly for the poor, teaching us also to bestow much diligence on this thing. But they thought this, not without a cause, but "because he had the bag." Yet no one appears to have brought money to Him; that the female disciples nourished Him of their substance, it has said, but this [2056] it hath nowhere intimated. ( Luke viii. 3 .) But how did He who bade His disciples bear neither scrip, nor money, nor staff, Himself bear a bag to minister to the poor? That thou mayest learn, that it behooveth even him who is exceedingly needy and crucified, to be very careful on this point. For many things He did in the way of dispensation [2057] for our instruction. The disciples then thought that He said this, that Judas should give something to the poor; and not even this shamed him, His not being willing even to the last day to make him a public example. We too ought to do the like, and not parade the sins of our companions, though they be incurable. For even after this He gave a kiss to the man who came to betray Him, and endured, [2058] such an action as that was, and then proceeded to a thing of far greater daring, [2059] the Cross itself, [2060] to the death of shame, and there again He manifested His lovingkindness. And here He calleth it "glory," showing us that there is nothing so shameful and reproachful which makes not brighter him who goeth to it, if it be done according to the will of God. At least after the going forth of Judas to the betraying, He saith,

Ver. 31 . "Now is the Son of Man glorified." [2061]

In this way rousing the dejected thoughts of the disciples, and persuading them not only not to despond, but even to rejoice. On this account He rebuked Peter at the first, because for one who has been in death to overcome death, is great glory. And this is what He said of Himself, "When I am lifted up, [2062] then ye shall know that I Am" ( c. viii. 28 ); and again, "Destroy this Temple" ( c. ii. 19 ); and again, "No sign shall be given unto you [2063] but the sign of Jonas." ( Matt. xii. 39 .) For how can it be otherwise than great glory, the being able even after death to do greater things than before death? for in order that the Resurrection might be believed, the disciples did work greater things. But unless He had lived, and had been God, how could these men have wrought such things in His Name?

Ver. 32 . "And God shall glorify Him." [2064]

What is, "And God shall glorify Him in Himself"? It is "by means of [2065] Himself, not by means of another."

"And shall straightway glorify Him."

[4.] That is, "simultaneously with the Cross." "For it will not be after much time," He saith, "nor will He wait for the distant season of the Resurrection, nor will He then show Him glorious, but straightway on the Cross itself His glories shall appear." And so the sun was darkened, [2066] the rocks rent; the veil of the temple was parted asunder, many bodies of saints that slept arose, the tomb had its seals, the guards sat by, and while a stone lay over the Body the Body rose; forty days passed by, and the Gift of the Spirit came, and they all straightway preached Him. This is, "shall glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him"; not by Angels or Archangels, not by any other power, but by Himself. But how did He also glorify Him by Himself? By doing all for the glory of the Son. Yet the Son did all. Seest thou that He referreth to the Father the things done by Himself?

Ver. 33 . "Little children, yet a little while I am with you--and [2067] as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come, so now I say to you."

He now begins words of sorrow after the supper. For when Judas went forth it was no longer evening, but night. But since they [2068] were about to come shortly, it was necessary to set all things before the disciples, that they might have them in remembrance; or rather, the Spirit recalled all to their minds. For it is likely that they would forget many things, as hearing for the first time, and being about to undergo such temptations. Men who were weighed down to sleep, (as another Evangelist saith,-- Luke xxii. 45 ,) who were possessed by despondency, as Christ saith Himself, "Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts" ( c. xvi. 6 ), how could they retain all these things exactly? Why then were they spoken? It became no little gain to them with respect to their opinion of [2069] Christ, that in after times when reminded [2070] they certainly knew that they had long ago heard these things from Christ. But wherefore doth He first cast down their souls, saying, "Yet a little while I am with you"? "To the Jews indeed it was said with reason, but wherefore dost Thou place us in just the same class with those obstinate ones?" He by no means did so. "Why then said He, `As I said to the Jews'?" He reminded them that He did not now, because troubles were upon them, warn them of these things, but that He had foreknown them from the first, and that they were witnesses who had heard that He had said these things to the Jews. Wherefore He added also the word, "little children," that when they heard, "As I said to the Jews," they might not deem that the expression was used in like sense towards themselves. It was not then to depress but to comfort them that He thus spake, that their dangers might not, by coming upon them suddenly, trouble them to excess.

"Whither I go, ye cannot come." He showeth that His death is a removal, and a change for the better [2071] to a place which admits not corruptible bodies. This He saith, both to excite their love towards Him, and to make it more fervent. Ye know that when we see any of our dearest friends departing from us, our affection is warmest, and the more so, when we see them going to a place to which it is not even possible for us to go. These things then He said, terrifying the Jews, but kindling longing in the disciples. "Such is the place, that not only not they, but not even you, My best beloved, can come there." Here He showeth also His Own dignity.

"So now I say to you." Why "now"? "In one way to them, to you in another way"; that is, "not with them." But when did the Jews seek Him, when the disciples? The disciples, when they fled the Jews, when they suffered miseries unendurable and surpassing all description at the capture of their city, when the wrath of God was borne down upon them from every side. To the Jews therefore He [2072] spake then, because of their unbelief, "but to you now, that troubles might not come upon you unexpected."

Ver. 34 . "A new commandment I give unto you." [2073]

For since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard these things, as though they were about to be deserted, He comforteth them, investing them with that which was the root of all blessings and a safeguard, love. As though He had said, "Grieve ye at My departure? Nay, if ye love one another, ye shall be the stronger." Why then said He not this? Because He said what profited them more than this.

Ver. 35 . "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples." [2074]

[5.] By this He at the same time showed that the company [2075] should never be extinguished, when He gave them a distinguishing token. This He said when the traitor was cut off from them. But how calleth He that a new commandment which is contained also in the Old (covenant)? He made it new Himself by the manner; therefore He added, "As I have loved you." "I have not paid back to you a debt of good deeds first done by you, but Myself have begun," He saith. "And so ought you to benefit your dearest ones, though you owe them nothing"; and omitting to speak of the miracles which they should do, He maketh their characteristic, love. And why? Because it is this which chiefly shows men holy; it is the foundation of all virtue; by this mostly we are all even saved. For "this," He saith, "is to be a disciple; so shall all men praise you, when they see you imitating My Love." What then? Do not miracles much more show this? By no means. For "many will say, Lord, have we not in Thy Name cast out devils?" ( Matt. vii. 22 .) And again, when they rejoice that the devils obey them, He saith, "Rejoice not that the devils obey [2076] you, but that your names are written in heaven." ( Luke x. 20 .) And [2077] this indeed brought over the world, because that [2078] was before it; had not that been, neither would this have endured. This then straightway made them perfect, [2079] the having [2080] all one heart and one soul. But had they separated one from the other, all things would have been lost.

Now He spake this not to them only, but to all who should believe on Him; since even now, there is nothing else that causes the heathen [2081] to stumble, except that there is no love. "But," saith some one, "they also urge against us the absence of miracles." But not in the same way. "But where did the Apostles manifest their love?" Seest thou Peter and John inseparable from one another, and going up to the Temple? ( Acts iii. 1 .) Seest thou Paul disposed in a like way towards them, and dost thou doubt? If they had gained the other blessings, much more had they the mother of them all. For this is a thing that springs from a virtuous soul; but where wickedness is, there the plant withers away. For "when," [2082] it saith, "iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." ( Matt. xxiv. 12 .) And miracles do not so much attract the heathen as the mode of life; and nothing so much causes a right life as love. For those who wrought miracles they often even called deceivers; but they could have no hold upon a pure life. While then the message of the Gospel was not yet spread abroad, miracles were with good reason marveled at, but now men must get to be admired by their lives. For nothing so raises respect in the heathen as virtue, nothing so offends them as vice. And with good reason. When one of them sees the greedy man, the plunderer, exhorting others to do the contrary, when he sees the man who was commanded to love even his enemies, treating his very kindred like brutes, he will say that the words are folly. When he sees one trembling at death, how will he receive the accounts of immortality? When he sees us fond of rule, and slaves to the other passions, he will more firmly remain in his own doctrines, forming no high opinion of us. We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. Their own doctrines they have long condemned, and in like manner they admire ours, but they are hindered by our mode of life. To follow wisdom in talk is easy, many among themselves have done this; but they require the proof by works. "Then let them look to the ancients of our profession." But about them they by no means believe; they enquire concerning those now living. For, "show me," it saith, "thy faith by thy works" [2083] ( Jas. ii. 18 ); but this is not the case; on the contrary, seeing us tear our neighbors worse than any wild beast, they call us the curse of the world. These things restrain the heathen, and suffer them not to come over to our side. So that we shall be punished for these also; not only for what we do amiss ourselves, but because the name of God is blasphemed. How long shall we be given up to wealth, and luxury, and the other passions? For the future let us leave them. Hear what the Prophet saith of certain foolish ones, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." ( Isa. xxii. 31 .) But in the present case we cannot even say this, [2084] so "many" gather round themselves what belongs to all. So chiding them also, the Prophet said, "Will ye dwell alone upon the earth?" ( Isa. v. 8 .) Wherefore I fear lest some grievous thing come to pass, and we draw down upon us heavy vengeance from God. And that this may not come to pass, let us be careful of [2085] all virtue, that we may obtain the future blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory now and forever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[2023] Ver. 19 omitted. "Now I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pass ye may believe that I am." [2024] al. " return. " [2025] e nteuthen [2026] al. " one may see even a close connection, since, " &c. [2027] i.e. the traitor's. [2028] " Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spake. " N.T. [2029] al. " The laying, &c. would. " [2030] Ver. 23-25 . " Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom He spake. He then, lying on Jesus' breast, saith unto Him, Lord, who is it? " [2031] e ntruphon [2032] i.e. speaks of himself. [2033] St. John. [2034] not in St. John, but see Matt. iv. 21 [2035] of Jairus. [2036] " Simon, son of Jonas. " [2037] or, " Christ, " auton [2038] al. " on this account then. " [2039] i.e. that Jesus loved him. [2040] i.e. in his Gospel history. [2041] Sav. conject. " him. " [2042] a gapes [2043] e phile [2044] chorio [2045] or, " Christ. " [2046] " And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. " N.T. [2047] " after the sop, " N.T. [2048] al. " put forward. " [2049] al. " went forth out. " [2050] " unto him, That, " &c., N.T. [2051] Ver. 29, 30 . " For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast, or that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop, went immediately out. " [2052] al. " more plainly. " [2053] Judas. [2054] al. " have gone out. " [2055] al. " thought it saith. " [2056] the carrying of money. [2057] oikonomon [2058] katedexeto [2059] al. " far more grievous. " [2060] al. " His Cross. " [2061] " And God is glorified in Him. " N.T. [2062] " When ye have lifted up the Son of Man. " N.T. [2063] " this generation, " N.T. [2064] " If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify, " &c., N.T. [2065] dia [2066] al. " turned away. " [2067] " Ye shall seek Me, and, " &c., N.T. and Ben. [2068] i.e. they who were to take Him. [2069] or, " the glory of. " [2070] i.e. by the Spirit. [2071] metathesis ameinon [2072] al. " I. " [2073] " That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. " N.T. [2074] " if ye have love one to another, " N.T. [2075] i.e. of Christian people, choros [2076] " are subject to, " N.T. [2077] the working of miracles. [2078] love. [2079] kalous kagathous , beautiful and good. [2080] al. " and to have. " [2081] lit. " Greeks. " [2082] " because, " N.T. [2083] so read in some copies. [2084] i.e. " certain " foolish ones. [2085] al. " lay hold on. "


Homily LXXIII.

John xiii. 36

"Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt follow Me afterwards."

[1.] A great thing [2086] is love, and stronger than fire itself, and it goeth up to the very heaven; there is [2087] no hindrance which can restrain its tearing [2088] force. And so the most fervent Peter, when he hears, "Whither I go ye cannot come," what saith he? "Lord, whither goest thou?" and this he said, not so much from wish to learn, as from desire to follow. To say openly, "I go," he dared not yet, but, "Whither goest thou?" Christ answered, not to his words, but to his thoughts. For that this was his wish, is clear from what Christ said, "Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now." Seest thou that he longed for the following Him, and therefore asked the question? And when he heard, "thou shalt follow Me afterwards," not even so did he restrain his longing, and, though he had gained good hopes, he is so eager as to say,

Ver. 37 . "Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thee."

When he had shaken off the dread of being the traitor, and was shown to be one of His own, [2089] he afterwards asked boldly himself, while the others held their peace. "What sayest thou, Peter? He said, `thou canst not,' and thou sayest, `I can'? Therefore thou shalt know from this temptation that thy love is nothing without the presence of the impulse [2090] from above." Whence it is clear that in care for him He allowed even that fall. He desired indeed to teach him even by the first words, but when he continued in his vehemence, He did not indeed throw or force him into the denial, but left him alone, that he might learn his own weakness. Christ had said that He must be betrayed; Peter replied, "Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not happen unto Thee." ( Matt. xvi. 22 .) He was rebuked, but not instructed. On the contrary, when Christ desired to wash his feet, he said, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." [2091] ( Ver. 8 .) Again, when he hears, "Thou canst not follow Me now," he saith, "Though all deny Thee, I will not deny Thee." Since then it was likely that he would be lifted up to folly by his practice of contradiction, Jesus next teacheth him not to oppose Him. This too Luke implies, when he telleth us that Christ said, "And I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" ( Luke xxii. 32 ); that is, "that thou be not finally lost." In every way teaching him humility, and proving that human nature by itself is nothing. But, since great love made him apt for contradiction, He now sobereth him, that he might not in after times be subject to this, when he should have received the stewardship of the world, but remembering what he had suffered, might know himself. And look at the violence of his fall; it did not happen to him once or twice, but he was so beside himself, that in a short time thrice did he utter the words of denial, that he might learn that he did not so love as he was loved. And yet, to one who had so fallen He saith again, "Lovest thou Me more than these?" So that the denial was caused not by the cooling of his love, but from his having been stripped of aid from above. He accepteth then Peter's love, but cutteth off the spirit of contradiction engendered by it. "For if thou lovest, thou oughtest to obey Him who is beloved. I said [2092] to thee and to those with thee, `Thou canst not'; why art thou contentious? Knowest thou what a thing it is to contradict God? But since thou wilt not learn in this way that it is impossible that what I say should not come to pass, thou shalt learn [2093] it in the denial." And yet this appeared to thee to be much more incredible. For this thou did not even understand, but of that thou hadst the knowledge [2094] in thy heart. Yet still that came to pass which was not even [2095] expected.

"I will lay down my life for Thee." For since he had heard, "Greater love than this hath, no man," [2096] he straightway sprang forward, insatiably eager and desirous to reach even to the highest pitch of virtue. But Christ, to show that it belonged to Himself alone to promise these things with authority, saith,

Ver. 38 . "Before the cock crow." [2097]

That is, "now"; there was but a little interval. He spake when it was late at night, and the first and second watch was past.

Chap. xiv. ver. 1 . "Let not your heart be troubled."

This He saith, because it was probable that when they heard they would be troubled. For if the leader of their band, one so entirely fervent, was told that before the cock crew he should thrice deny his Master, it was likely that they would expect to have to undergo some great reverse, sufficient to bend even souls of adamant. Since then it was probable that they considering these things would be astounded, see how He comforteth them, saying, "Let not your heart be troubled." By this first word showing the power of His Godhead, because, what they had in their hearts He knew and brought to light.

"Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." That is, "All dangers shall pass you by, for faith in Me and in My Father is more powerful than the things which come upon you, and will permit no evil thing to prevail against you." Then He addeth,

Ver. 2 . "In My Father's house are many mansions."

As He comforteth Peter when bewildered [2098] by saying, "but thou shalt follow afterwards," so also He gives this glimpse of hope to the others. For lest they should think that the promise was given to him alone, He saith, "In My Father's house are many mansions."

"If it were not so I would have said to you, I go [2099] to prepare a place for you."

That is, "The same place which receiveth Peter shall receive you." For a great abundance of dwellings is there, and it may not be said that they need preparation. When He said, "Ye cannot follow Me now," that they might not deem that they were finally cut off, He added,

Ver. 3 . [2100] "That where I am, there ye may be also." "So earnest have I been concerning this matter, [2101] that I should already have been given up to it, [2102] had not preparation been made long ago for you." Showing them that they ought to be very bold and confident. Then that He may not seem to speak as though enticing them, but that they may believe the thing to be so, He addeth,

[2.] Ver. 4 . "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know."

Seest thou that He giveth them proof that these things were not said without a meaning? And He used these words, because He knew in Himself that their souls now desired to learn this. For Peter said what he said, not in order to learn, but that he might follow. But when Peter had been rebuked, and Christ had declared [2103] that to be possible which for the time seemed impossible, [2104] and when the apparent impossibility led him to desire to know the matter exactly, therefore He saith to the others, "And the way ye know." For as when He hath said, "Thou shalt deny Me," before any one spake a word, searching into their hearts, He said, "Be not troubled," so here also by saying "Ye know," He disclosed the desire which was in their heart, and Himself giveth them an excuse for questioning. Now the, "Whither goest Thou?" Peter used from a very loving affection, Thomas from cowardice.

Ver. 5 . "Lord, [2105] we know not whither Thou goest." [2106]

"The place," he saith, "we know not, and how shall we know the way leading thither?" And observe with what submissiveness he speaks; he saith not, "tell us the place," but, "we know not whither Thou goest"; for all had long yearned to hear this. If the Jews questioned among themselves when they heard (of His departure), although desirous to be rid of Him, much more would those desire to learn, who wished never to be separated from Him. They feared therefore to ask Him, but yet they asked Him, from their great love and anxiety. What then saith Christ?

Ver. 6 . "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."

"Why then, when He was asked by Peter, `Whither goest Thou,' did He not say directly, `I go to the Father, but ye cannot come now'? Why did He put in a circuit of so many words, placing together questions and answers? With good reason He told not this to the Jews; but why not to these?" He had indeed said both to these and to the Jews, that He came forth from God, and was going to God, now He saith the same thing more clearly than before. Besides, to the Jews He spake not so clearly; for had He said, "Ye cannot come to the Father but by Me," they would straightway have deemed the matter mere boasting; but now by concealing this, He threw them [2107] into perplexity. "But why," saith some one, "did He speak thus both to the disciples and to Peter?" He knew his great forwardness, and that he would by reason of this [2108] the more press on and trouble Him; in order therefore to lead him away, He hideth the matter. Having then succeeded in what He wished by the obscurity and by veiling His speech, He again discloseth the matter. After saying, "Where I am, no man can come," He addeth, "In My Father's house are many mansions"; and again, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me." This He would not tell them at first, in order not to throw them into greater despondency, but, now that He hath soothed them, He telleth them. For by Peter's rebuke He cast out [2109] much of their despondency; and dreading lest they should be addressed in the same way, they were the more restrained. "I am the Way." This is the proof of the, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me"; [2110] and, "the Truth, and the Life," of this, "that these things shall surely be." "There is then no falsehood with Me, if I am `the Truth'; if I am `Life' also, not even death shall be able to hinder you from coming to Me. Besides; if I am `the Way,' ye will need none to lead you by the hand; if I am also `the Truth,' My words are no falsehoods; if I am also `Life,' though ye die ye shall obtain what I have told you." Now His being "the Way," they both understood and allowed, but the rest they knew not. They did not indeed venture to say what they knew not. Still they gained great consolation from His being "the Way." "If," saith He, "I have sole authority to bring [2111] to the Father, ye shall surely come thither; for neither is it possible to come by any other way." But by saying before, "No man can come to Me except the Father draw him"; and again, "If I be lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto Me" ( c. xii. 32 ); and again, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" ( c. xiv. 6 ); He showeth Himself equal to Him who begat Him. But how after saying, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," hath He added,

Ver. 7 . "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him"?

He doth not contradict Himself; they knew Him indeed, but not so as they ought. God they knew, but the Father not yet. For afterwards, the Spirit having come upon them wrought [2112] in them all knowledge. What He saith is of this kind. "Had ye known My Essence and My Dignity, ye would have known that of the Father also; and henceforth ye shall know Him, and have seen Him," (the one belonging to the future, the other to the present,) that is, "by Me." By "sight," He meaneth knowledge by intellectual perception. For those who are seen we may see and not know; but those who are known we cannot know and not know. Wherefore He saith, "and ye have seen Him"; just as it saith, "was seen also of Angels." ( 1 Tim. iii. 16 .) Yet the very Essence was not seen; yet it saith that He "was seen," that is, as far as it was possible for them to see. These words are used, that thou mayest learn that [2113] the man who hath seen Him [2114] knoweth Him who begat Him. But they beheld Him not in His unveiled Essence, but clothed with flesh. He is wont elsewhere to put "sight" for "knowledge"; as when He saith, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ( Matt. v. 8 .) By "pure," He meaneth not those who are free from fornication only, but from all sins. For every sin brings filth upon the soul.

[3.] Let us then use every means to wipe off the filthiness. But first the font cleanseth, afterwards other ways also, many and of all kinds. For God, being merciful, hath even after this [2115] given to us various ways of [2116] reconciliation, of all which the first is that by alms-doing. "By alms-deeds," it saith, "and deeds of faith sins are cleansed away." ( Ecclus. iii. 30 .) By alms-doing I do not mean that which is maintained by injustice, for this is not alms-doing, but savageness and inhumanity. What profits it to strip one man and clothe another? For we ought to begin the action with mercy, but this is inhumanity. If we give away everything that we have got from other people, it is no gain to us. And this Zacchæus shows, who on that occasion said, that he propitiated God by giving four times as much as he had taken. ( Luke xix. 8 .) But we, when we plunder unboundedly, and give but little, think that we make God propitious, whereas we do rather [2117] exasperate Him. For tell me, if thou shouldest drag a dead and rotten ass from the waysides and lanes, and bring it to the altar, would not all stone thee as accursed and polluted? [2118] Well then, if I prove that a sacrifice procured by plunder is more polluted than this, what defense shall we obtain? Let us suppose that some article has been obtained by plunder, is it not of fouler scent than a dead ass? Wouldest thou learn how great is the rottenness of sin? Hear the Prophet saying, "My wounds stank, and were corrupt." ( Ps. xxxviii. 5 , LXX.) And dost thou in words entreat God to forget thy misdeeds, and dost thou by what thou thyself doest, robbing and grasping, and placing thy sin upon the altar, cause Him to remember them continually? But now, this is not the only sin, but there is one more grievous than this, that thou defilest the souls of the saints. [2119] For the altar is but a stone, and is consecrated, but they ever bear with them Christ Himself; and darest thou to send thither any of such impurity? "No," saith one, "not the same money, but other." Mockery this, and trifling. Knowest thou not, that if one drop of injustice fall on a great quantity of wealth, the whole is defiled? And just as a man by casting dung into a pure fountain makes it all unclean, so also in the case of riches, anything ill-gotten entering in makes them to be tainted with the ill savor from itself. Then we wash our hands when we enter into church, but our hearts not so. Why, do our hands send forth a voice? It is the soul that utters [2120] the words: to that God looketh; cleanness of the body is of no use, while that is defiled. What profits it, if thou wipe clean thine outward hands, while thou hast those within impure? For the terrible thing and that which subverts all good is this, that while we are fearful about trifles, we care not for important matters. To pray with unwashed hands is a matter indifferent; but to do it with an unwashed mind, this is the extreme of all evils. Hear what was said to the Jews who busied themselves about such outward impurities. "Wash thine heart from wickedness, how long shall there be in thee thoughts of thy labors?" [2121] ( Jer. iv. 14 .) Let us also wash ourselves, not with mire, but with fair water, with alms-doing, not with covetousness. First get free from rapine, and then show forth alms-deeds. Let us "decline from evil, and do good." ( Ps. xxxvii. 27 .) Stay thy hands from covetousness, and so bring them to alms-giving. But if with the same hands we strip one set of persons, [2122] though we may not clothe the others with what has been taken [2123] from them, yet we shall not thus escape punishment. For that which is the groundwork [2124] of the propitiation is made the groundwork of all wickedness. Better not show mercy, than show it thus; since for Cain also it had been better not to have [2125] brought his offering at all. Now if he who brought too little angered God, when one gives what is another's, how shall not he anger Him? "I commanded thee," He will say, "not to steal, and honorest thou Me from that thou hast stolen? What thinkest thou? That I am pleased with these things?" Then shall He say to thee, "Thou thoughtest wickedly that I am even such an one as thyself; I will rebuke thee, and set before thy face thy sins." ( Ps. l. 21 , LXX.) But may it not come to pass that any one of us hear this voice, but having wrought pure alms-deeds, and having our lamps burning, so may we enter into the bride-chamber by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost [2126] be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[2086] al. " a great good. " [2087] al. " whence neither shall there be. " [2088] rh agdaion [2089] ton gnesion [2090] rh opes [2091] al. " Thou shalt never do this thing. " [2092] in the Greek, " He said. " [2093] al. " shalt know. " [2094] al. " the consciousness. " [2095] al. " was not. " [2096] the words occur later, c. xv. 13 [2097] " Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for Me? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied Me thrice. " N.T. [2098] a luonta [2099] al. " shall go. " [2100] Ver. 3 . " And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where, " &c. N.T. [2101] i.e. the preparing a place for disciples. [2102] e de an toutou egenomen [2103] al. " had showed. " [2104] i.e. that the disciples should follow. [2105] " Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, " &c. [2106] " and how shall we know the way? " N.T. [2107] or, " these " (the disciples). [2108] i.e. if He had so spoken. [2109] al. " cast off. " [2110] al. " that is, that ye come by Me. " [2111] Kurios eimi tou agein [2112] kateskeuasen [2113] al. " showing that. " [2114] the Son. [2115] after baptism. [2116] Ben. " ways of various. " [2117] al. " not knowing that we. " [2118] al. " abominable. " [2119] i.e. of communicants. [2120] al. " offers. " [2121] E.V. " How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? " [2122] al. " the poor. " [2123] al. " given. " [2124] hu pothesis [2125] al. " Cain would have been better if he had not. " [2126] Ben. omits, " with the Father and the Holy Ghost. "


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/believe/txv/earlychq.htm
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/believe/txv/earlycib.htm
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