The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Epistle to the Hebrews.The Oxford Translation, revised with additional notes by
Rev. Frederic Gardiner, D.D.,
Late Professor in the Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, Conn.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Homily IX.Hebrews vi. 1-3
"Therefore leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ,  let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands; and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permit."
[1.] You have heard how much Paul found fault with the Hebrews for wishing to be always learning about the same things. And with good reason: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the elements of the first principles  of the oracles of God." ( c. v. 12 .)
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But this is no trifling loss. For oftentimes when the teacher wishes to go on further, and to touch on higher and more mysterious themes, the want of attention in those who are to be taught prevents.
For just as in the case of a grammar-master, if a boy though hearing continually the first elements does not master them, it will be necessary for him to be continually dinning the same things into the boy, and he will not leave off teaching, until the boy has been able to learn them accurately; for it is great folly to lead him on to other things, without having put the first well into him; so too in the Church, if while we constantly say the same things you learn nothing more, we shall never cease saying the same things.
For if our preaching were a matter of display and ambition, it would have been right to jump from one subject to another and change about continually, taking no thought for you, but only for your applauses. But since we have not devoted our zeal to this, but our labors are all for your profit, we shall not cease discoursing to you on the same subjects, till you succeed in learning them. For I might have said much about Gentile superstition, and about the Manichæans, and about the Marcionists, and by the grace of God have given them heavy blows, but this sort of discourse is out of season. For to those who do not yet know accurately their own affairs, to those who have not yet learned that to be covetous is evil, who would utter such discourses as those, and lead them on to other subjects before the time?
We then shall not cease to say the same things, whether ye be persuaded or not. We fear however, that by continually saying the same things, if ye hearken not, we may make the condemnation heavier for the disobedient.
I must not however say this in regard to you all; for I know many who are benefited by their coming here, who might with justice cry out against those others, as insidiously injuring them  by their ignorance and inattention. But not even so will they be injured. For hearing the same things continually is useful even to those who know them, since by often hearing what we know we are more deeply affected. We know, for instance, that Humility is an excellent thing, and that Christ often discoursed about it; but when we listen to the words themselves and the reflections made upon them, we are yet more affected, even if we hear them ten thousand times.
[2.] It is then a fitting time for us also to say now to you, "Wherefore leaving the beginning of the doctrine of Christ, let us go unto perfection."
What is "the beginning of the doctrine"?  He goes on to state it himself, saying, "not laying again" (these are his words) "the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms and of laying on of hands, of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."
But if this be "the Beginning," what else is our doctrine save to repent "from dead works," and through the Spirit to receive "the faith,"  in "the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment"? But what is "the Beginning"? "The Beginning," he says, is nothing else than this, when there is not a strict life. For as it is necessary to instruct one who is entering on the study of grammar, in the Elements  first, so also must the Christian know these things accurately, and have no doubt concerning them. And should he again have need of teaching, he has not yet the foundation. For one who is firmly grounded ought to be fixed and to stand steady, and not be moved about. But if one who has been catechised and baptized is going ten years afterwards to hear again about the Faith, and that we ought to "believe" in "the resurrection of the dead," he does not yet have the foundation, he is again seeking after the beginning of the Christian religion. For that the Faith is the foundation, and the rest the building, hear him [the Apostle] saying; "I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereupon." ( 1 Cor. iii. 10 .) "If any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble." ( 1 Cor. iii. 12 .)
"Not laying again" (he says) "the foundation of repentance from dead works."
[3.] But what is, "let us go on unto perfection"? Let us henceforth proceed (he means) even to the very roof, that is, let us have the best life. For as in the case of the letters the Alpha  involves the whole, and as the foundation, the whole building, so also does full assurance concerning the Faith involve purity of life. And without this it is not possible to be a Christian, as without foundations there can be no building; nor skill in literature without the letters. Still if one should be always going round about the letters, or if about the foundation, not about the building, he will never gain anything.
Do not however think that the Faith is depreciated by being called elementary: for it is indeed the whole power: for when he says, "For every one that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe" ( c. v. 13 ), it is not this which he calls "milk." But to be still doubting about these things is [a sign] of a mind feeble, and needing many discourses. For these are the wholesome doctrines. For we call him "a perfect man" [i.e. "of full age"] who with the faith has a right life; but if any one have faith, yet does evil, and is in doubt concerning [the faith] itself, and brings disgrace on the doctrine, him we shall with reason call "a babe," in that he has gone back again to the beginning. So that even if we have been ten thousand years in the faith, yet are not firm in it, we are babes; when we show a life not in conformity with it; when we are still laying a foundation.
[4.] But besides [their way of] life he brings another charge also against these [Hebrews], as being shaken to and fro, and needing "to lay a foundation of repentance from dead works." For he who changes from one to another, giving up this, and choosing that, ought first to condemn this, and to be separated from the system, and then to pass to the other. But if he intends again to lay hold on the first, how shall he touch the second?
What then of the Law (he says)? We have condemned it, and again we run back to it. This is not a shifting about, for here also [under the Gospel] we have a law. "Do we then" (he says) "make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea we establish the Law." ( Rom. iii. 31 .) I was speaking concerning evil deeds. For he that intends to pursue virtue ought to condemn wickedness first, and then go in pursuit of it. For repentance cannot prove  them clean. For this cause they were straightway baptized, that what they were unable to accomplish by themselves, this might be effected by the grace of Christ. Neither then does repentance suffice for purification, but men must first receive baptism. At all events, it was necessary to come to baptism, having condemned the sins thereby and given sentence against them.
But what is "the doctrine of baptisms"? Not as if there were many baptisms, but one only.  Why then did he express it in the plural? Because he had said, "not laying again a foundation of repentance." For if he again baptized them and catechised them afresh, and having been baptized at the beginning  they were again taught what things ought to be done and what ought not, they would remain perpetually incorrigible.
"And of laying on of hands." For thus did they receive the Spirit, "when Paul had laid his hands on them" ( Acts xix. 6 ), it is said.
"And of the resurrection of the dead." For this is both effected in baptism, and is affirmed in the confession.
"And of eternal judgment." But why does he say this? Because it was likely that, having already believed, they would either be shaken [from their faith], or would lead evil and slothful lives, he says, "be wakeful." 
It is not open to them to say, If we live slothfully we will be baptized again, we will be catechised again, we will again receive the Spirit; even if now we fall from the faith, we shall be able again by being baptized, to wash away our sins, and to attain to the same state as before. Ye are deceived (he says) in supposing these things.
[5.] Ver. 4, 5 . "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, crucifying  to themselves the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to an open shame."
And see how putting them to shame,  and forbiddingly he begins. "Impossible." No longer (he says) expect that which is not possible; (For he said not, It is not seemly, or, It is not expedient, or, It is not lawful, but "impossible," so as to cast [them] into despair), if ye have once been altogether enlightened.
Then he adds, "and have tasted of the heavenly gift. If ye have tasted" (he says) "of the heavenly gift," that is, of forgiveness. "And been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God" (he is speaking here of the doctrine) "and the powers of the world to come" (what powers is he speaking of? either the working of miracles, or "the earnest of the Spirit"-- 2 Cor. i. 22 ) "and have fallen away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame." "Renew them," he says, "unto repentance," that is, by repentance, for unto repentance is by repentance. What then, is repentance excluded? Not repentance, far from it! But the renewing again by the laver.  For he did not say, "impossible" to be renewed "unto repentance," and stop, but added how "impossible, [by] crucifying afresh."
To "be renewed," that is, to be made new, for to make men new is [the work] of the laver only: for (it is said) "thy youth shall be renewed as the eagle's." ( Ps. ciii. 5 .) But it is [the work of] repentance, when those who have been made new, have afterwards become old through sins, to set them free from this old age, and to make them strong.  To bring them to that former brightness however, is not possible; for there the whole was Grace.
[6.] "Crucifying to themselves," he says, "the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to an open shame." What he means is this. Baptism is a Cross, and "our old man was crucified with [Him]" ( Rom. vi. 6 ), for we were "made conformable to the likeness of His death" ( Rom. vi. 5; Philip. iii. 10 ), and again, "we were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death." ( Rom. vi. 4 .) Wherefore, as it is not possible that Christ should be crucified a second time, for that is to "put Him to an open shame."  For "if death shall no more have dominion over Him" ( Rom. vi. 9 ), if He rose again, by His resurrection becoming superior to death; if by death He wrestled with and overcame death, and then is crucified again, all those things become a fable and a mockery.  He then that baptizeth  a second time, crucifies Him again.
But what is "crucifying afresh"? [It is] crucifying over again. For as Christ died on the cross, so do we in baptism, not as to the flesh, but as to sin. Behold two deaths. He died as to the flesh; in our case the old man was buried, and the new man arose, made conformable to the likeness of His death. If therefore it is necessary to be baptized [again  ], it is necessary that this same [Christ] should die again. For baptism is nothing else than the putting to death of the baptized, and his rising again.
And he well said, "crucifying afresh unto themselves." For he that does this, as having forgotten the former grace,  and ordering his own life carelessly, acts in all respects as if there were another baptism. It behooves us therefore to take heed and to make ourselves safe.
[7.] What is, "having tasted of the heavenly gift"? it is, "of the remission of sins": for this is of God alone to bestow, and the grace is a grace once for all. "What then? shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Far from it!" ( Rom. vi. 1, 2 .) But if we should be always going to be saved by grace we shall never be good. For where there is but one grace, and we are yet so indolent, should we then cease sinning if we knew that it is possible again to have our sins washed away? For my part I think not.
He here shows that the gifts are many: and to explain it, Ye were counted worthy (he says) of so great forgiveness; for he that was sitting in darkness, he that was at enmity, he that was at open war, that was alienated, that was hated of God, that was lost, he having been suddenly enlightened, counted worthy of the Spirit, of the heavenly gift, of adoption as a son, of the kingdom of heaven, of those other good things, the unspeakable mysteries; and who does not even thus become better, but while indeed worthy of perdition, obtained salvation and honor, as if he had successfully accomplished great things; how could he be again baptized?
On two grounds then he said that the thing was impossible, and he put the stronger last: first, because he who has been deemed worthy of such [blessings], and who has betrayed all that was granted to him, is not worthy to be again renewed; neither  is it possible that [Christ] should again be crucified afresh: for this is to "put Him to an open shame."
There is not then any second laver: there is not [indeed]. And if there is, there is also a third, and a fourth; for the former one is continually disannulled by the later, and this continually by another, and so on without end.
"And tasted," he says, "the good word of God"; and he does not unfold it; "and the powers of the world to come," for to live as Angels and to have no need of earthly things, to know that this is the means of our introduction to the enjoyment of the worlds to come; this may we learn through the Spirit, and enter into those sacred recesses.
What are "the powers of the world to come"? Life eternal, angelic conversation. Of these we have already received the earnest through our Faith from the Spirit. Tell me then, if after having been introduced into a palace, and entrusted with all things therein, thou hadst then betrayed all, wouldest thou have been entrusted with them again? 
[8.] What then (you say)? Is there no repentance? There is repentance, but there is no second baptism: but repentance there is, and it has great force, and is able to set free from the burden of his sins, if he will, even him that hath been baptized much in sins, and to establish in safety him who is in danger, even though he should have come unto the very depth of wickedness. And this is evident from many places. "For," says one, "doth not he that falleth rise again? or he that turneth away, doth not he turn back to [God]?" ( Jer. viii. 4 .) It is possible, if we will, that Christ should be formed in us again: for hear Paul saying, "My little children of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you." ( Gal. iv. 19 .) Only let us lay hold on repentance.
For behold the love of God to man! We ought on every ground to have been punished at the first; in that having received the natural law, and enjoyed innumerable blessings, we have not acknowledged our Master, and have lived an unclean life. Yet He not only has not punished us, but has even made us partakers of countless blessings, just as if we had accomplished great things. Again we fell away, and not even so does He punish us, but has given medicine of repentance, which is sufficient to put away and blot out all our sins; only if we knew the nature of the medicine, and how we ought to apply it.
What then is the medicine of Repentance and how is it made up? First, of the condemnation of our own sins;  "For" (it is said) "mine iniquity have I not hid" ( Ps. xxxii. 5 ); and again, "I will confess against myself my lawlessness unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my heart." And "Declare thou at the first thy sins, that thou mayest be justified." ( Isa. xliii. 26 .) And, "The righteous man is an accuser of himself at the first speaking." ( Prov. xviii. 17 .)
Secondly, of great humbleness of mind: For it is like a golden chain; if one have hold of the beginning, all will follow. Because if thou confess thy sin as one ought to confess, the soul is humbled. For conscience turning it on itself  causeth it to be subdued.
Other things too must be added to humbleness of mind if it be such as the blessed David knew, when he said, "A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise." ( Ps. li. 17 .) For that which is broken does not rise up, does not strike, but is ready to be ill-treated and itself riseth not up. Such is contrition of heart: though it be insulted, though it be evil entreated, it is quiet, and is not eager for vengeance.
And after humbleness of mind, there is need of intense prayers, of many tears, tears by day, and tears by night: for, he says, "every night, will I wash my bed, I will water my couch with my tears. I am weary with my groaning." ( Ps. vi. 6 .) And again, "For I have eaten ashes as it were bread, and mingled my drink with weeping." ( Ps. cii. 9 .)
And after prayer thus intense, there is need of much almsgiving: for this it is which especially gives strength to the medicine of repentance. And as there is a medicine among the physicians' helps which receives many herbs, but one is the essential, so also in case of repentance this is the essential herb, yea, it may be everything. For hear what the Divine Scripture says, "Give alms, and all things shall be clean." ( Luke xi. 41 .) And again, "By alms-giving and acts of faithfulness  sins are purged away." ( Prov. xvi. 6 .) And, "Water will quench a flaming fire, and alms will do away with great sins." ( Ecclus. iii. 30 .)
Next not being angry with any one, not bearing malice; the forgiving all their trespasses. For, it is said, "Man retaineth wrath against man, and yet seeketh healing from the Lord." ( Ecclus. xxviii. 3 .) "Forgive that ye may be forgiven." ( Mark xi. 25 .)
Also, the converting our brethren from their wandering. For, it is said,  "Go thou, and convert thy brethren, that thy sins may be forgiven thee." And from one's being in close relations with  the priests, "and if," it is said, "a man hath committed sins it shall be forgiven him." ( Jas. v. 15 .) To stand forward in defense of those who are wronged. Not to retain anger: to bear all things meekly.
[9.] Now then, before you learned that it is possible to have our sins washed away by means of repentance, were ye not in an agony, because there is no second laver, and were ye not in despair of yourselves? But now that we have learned by what means repentance and remission is brought to a successful issue, and that we shall be able entirely to escape, if we be willing to use it aright, what forgiveness can we possibly obtain, if we do not even enter on the thought of our sins? since if this were done, all would be accomplished.
For as he who enters the door, is within; so he who reckons up his own evils will also certainly come to get them cured. But should he say, I am a sinner, without reckoning them up specifically,  and saying, This and this sin have I committed, he will never leave off, confessing indeed continually, but never caring in earnest for amendment. For should he have laid down a beginning, all the rest will unquestionably follow too, if only in one point  he have shown a beginning: for in every case the beginning and the preliminaries are difficult. This then let us lay as a foundation, and all will be smooth and easy.
Let us begin therefore, I entreat you, one with making his prayers intense: another with continual weeping: another with downcast  countenance. For not even is this, which is so small, unprofitable: for "I saw" (it is said) "that he was grieved and went downcast, and I healed his ways." ( Isa. lvii. 17, 18 .)
But let us all humble our own souls by alms-giving and forgiving our neighbors their trespasses, by not remembering injuries, nor avenging ourselves. If we continually reflect on our sins, no external circumstances can make us elated: neither riches, nor power, nor authority, nor honor; nay, even should we sit in the imperial chariot itself, we shall sigh bitterly: Since even the blessed David was a King, and yet he said, "Every night I will wash my bed," [&c.] ( Ps. vi. 6 ): and he was not at all hurt by the purple robe and the diadem: he was not puffed up; for he knew himself to be a man, and inasmuch as his heart had been made contrite, he went mourning.
[10.] For what are all things human? Ashes and dust, and as it were spray before the wind; a smoke and a shadow, and a leaf driven here and there; and a flower; a dream, and a tale, and a fable, wind and air vainly puffed out and wasting away; a feather that hath no stay, a stream flowing by, or if there be aught of more nothingness than these.
For, tell me, what dost thou esteem great? What dignity thinkest thou to be great? is it that of the Consul? For the many think no greater dignity than that. He who is not Consul is not a whit inferior to him who is in so great splendor, who is so greatly admired. Both one and the other are of the same dignity; both of them alike, after a little while, are no more.
When was he made [Consul]? For how long a time? tell me: for two days? Nay, this takes place even in dreams. But that is [only] a dream, you say. And what is this? For (tell me) what is by day, is it [therefore] not a dream? Why do we not rather call these things a dream? For as dreams when the day comes on are proved to be nothing: so these things also, when the night comes on, are proved to be nothing. For night and day have received each an equal portion of time, and have equally divided all duration. Therefore as in the day a person rejoices not in what happened at night, so neither in the night is it possible for him to reap the fruit of what is done in the day. Thou hast been made Consul? So was I in the night; only I in the night, thou in the day. And what of this? Not even so hast thou any advantage over me, except haply its being said, Such an one is Consul, and the pleasure that springs from the words, gives him the advantage.
I mean something of this kind, for I will express it more plainly: if I say "Such an one is Consul," and bestow on him the name, is it not gone as soon as it is spoken? So also are the things themselves; no sooner doth the Consul appear, than he is no more. But let us suppose [that he is Consul] for a year, or two years, or three or four years. Where are they who were ten times Consul? Nowhere.
But Paul is not so. For he was, and also is living continually: he did not live one day, nor two, nor ten, and twenty, nor thirty; nor ten and twenty, nor yet thirty years--and die. Even the four hundredth year is now past, and still even yet is he illustrious, yea much more illustrious than when he was alive. And these things indeed [are] on earth; but the glory of the saints in heaven what word could set forth?
Wherefore I entreat you, let us seek this glory; let us pursue after it, that we may attain it. For this is the true glory. Let us henceforth stand aloof from the things of this life, that we may find grace and mercy in Christ Jesus our Lord: with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor and worship, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
"For the Earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. But if it bear  thorns and briars it is rejected, and nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned."
[1.] Let us hear the oracles of God with fear, with fear and much trembling. For (it is said) "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling." ( Ps. ii. 11 .) But if even our joy and our exultation ought to be "with trembling," of what punishment are we not worthy, if we listen not with terror to what is said, when the things spoken, as now, are themselves fearful?
For having said that "it is impossible for those who have fallen away" to be baptized a second time, and to receive remission through the laver, and having pointed out the awfulness of the case, he goes on: "for the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. But if it bear thorns and thistles, it is rejected,  and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."
Let us then fear, beloved! This threat is not Paul's, these words are not of man: they are of the Holy Ghost, of Christ that speaketh in him. Is there then any one that is clear from these thorns? And even if we were clear, not even so ought we to be confident, but to fear and tremble lest at any time thorns should spring up in us. But when we are "thorns and thistles" through and through, whence (tell me) are we confident? And are becoming supine? What is it which makes us inert? If "he that thinketh he standeth" ought to fear "lest he fall"; for (he says) "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall" ( 1 Cor. x. 12 ); he that falleth, how anxious ought he to be that he may rise up again! If Paul fears, "lest that by any means, when he had preached to others, he himself should be a castaway" ( 1 Cor. ix. 27 ); and he who had been so approved is afraid lest he should become disapproved:  what pardon shall we have who are already disapproved, if we have no fear, but fulfill our Christianity as a custom, and for form's sake. Let us then fear, beloved: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven." ( Rom. i. 18 .) Let us fear, for it "is revealed" not "against impiety" only, but "against all unrighteousness." What is "against all unrighteousness"? [Against all] both small and great.
[2.] In this passage he intimates the lovingkindness of God towards man: and the teaching [of the Gospel] he calls "rain": and what he said above, "when for the time ye ought to be teachers" ( c. v. 12 ), this he says here also. Indeed in many places the Scripture calls the teaching "rain." For (it says) "I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it" ( Isa. v. 6 ), speaking of "the vineyard." The same which in another place it calls "a famine of bread, and a thirst of water." ( Amos viii. 11 .) And again, "The river of God is full of waters." ( Ps. lxv. 9 .)
"For land," he says, "which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it." Here he shows that they received and drank in the word, yea and often enjoyed this, and yet even so they were not profited. For if (he means) thou hadst not been tilled, if thou hadst enjoyed no rains, the evil would not have been so great. For (it is said) "If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin." ( John xv. 22 .) But if thou hast often drunk and received [nourishment], wherefore hast thou brought forth other things instead of fruits? For (it is said) "I waited that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth thorns." ( Isa. v. 2 .)
Thou seest that everywhere the Scripture calleth sins "thorns." For David also saith, "I was turned into mourning when a thorn was fixed in me." ( Ps. xxxii. 4 , so LXX.) For it does not simply come on us, but is fixed in; and even if but a little of it remain in, even if we take it not out entirely, that little of itself in like manner causes pain, as in the case of a thorn. And why do I say, `that little of itself'? Even after it has been taken out, it leaves therein for a long time the pain of the wound. And much care and treatment is necessary, that we may be perfectly freed from it. For it is not enough merely to take away the sin, it is necessary also to heal the wounded place.
But I fear however lest the things said apply to us more than to others. "For," he says, "the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it." We are ever drinking, ever hearing, but "when the sun is risen" ( Matt. xiii. 6 ) we straightway lose our moisture, and therefore bring forth thorns. What then are the thorns? Let us hear Christ saying, that "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." ( Matt. xiii. 22 .)
[3.] "For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it," he says, "and bringeth forth meet herbs." Because nothing is so meet as purity of life, nothing so suitable as the best life, nothing so meet as virtue.
"And bringeth forth" (saith he) "herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God." Here he says that God is the cause of all things, giving the heathen a blow, who ascribed the production of fruits to the power of the earth. For (he says) it is not the hands of the husbandman which stir up the earth to bear fruits, but the command from God. Therefore he says, "receives blessing from God."
And see how in speaking of the thorns, he said not, "bringing forth  thorns," nor did he use this word expressive of what is useful; but what? "Bearing"  [literally "putting out"] "thorns," as if one should say, "forcing out," "throwing out."
"Rejected" (he says) "and nigh unto cursing." Oh! how great consolation in this word! For he said "nigh unto cursing," not "a curse." Now he that hath not yet fallen into a curse, but is come to be near [thereto], may also come to be far off [therefrom].
And not by this only did he encourage them, but also by what follows. For he did not say "rejected and nigh unto cursing," "which shall be burned," but what? "Whose end is to be burned," if he continue [such] (he means) unto the end. So that, if we cut out and burn the thorns, we shall be able to enjoy those good things innumerable and to become approved, and to partake of blessing.
And with good reason did he call sin "a thistle,"  saying "that which beareth thorns and thistles"; for on whatever side you lay hold on it, it wounds and stings, and it is unpleasant even to look at.
[4.] Having therefore sufficiently rebuked them, and alarmed and wounded them, he in turn heals them, so as not to cast them down too much, and make them supine. For he that strikes one that is "dull," makes him more dull. So then he neither flatters them throughout, lest he should make them supine, nor does he wound them throughout, but having inserted a little to wound them, he applies much to heal in what follows.
For what does he say? We speak not these things, as having condemned you, nor as thinking you to be full of thorns, but fearing lest this should come to pass. For it is better to terrify you by words, that ye may not suffer by the realities. And this is specially of Paul's wisdom.
Moreover he did not say, We think, or, we conjecture, or, we expect, or, we hope, but what? ( Ver. 9 ) "But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." Which word he also used in writing to the Galatians: "But I am persuaded of you in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded." ( Gal. v. 10 .) For in that instance, inasmuch as they were greatly to be condemned, and he could not praise them from things present, he does it from things future ("that ye will be none otherwise minded," he says): he said not, ye are, but "ye will be none otherwise minded." But here he encourages them from things present. "We are persuaded better things of you, beloved, and things that accompany to salvation, though we thus speak." And since he was not able to say so much from things present, he confirms his consolation from things past; and says,
Ver. 10 . "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work, and  the love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered unto the saints and do minister." O how did he here restore their spirit, and give them fresh strength, by reminding them of former things, and bringing them to the necessity of not supposing that God had forgotten. (For he cannot but sin who is not fully assured concerning his hope, and says that God is unrighteous. Accordingly he obliged them by all means to look forward to those future things. For one who despairs of present things, and has given up exerting himself, may be restored by [the prospect of] things future.) As he himself also said in writing to the Galatians, "Ye did run well" ( Gal. v. 7 ): and again, "Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain." ( Gal. iii. 4 .)
And as in this place he puts the praise with the reproof, saying, "When for the time ye ought to be teachers" ( c. v. 12 ), so also there, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed." ( Gal. i. 6 .) With the reproof is the praise. For respecting great things we marvel, when they fail. Thou seest that praise is concealed under the accusation and the blame. Nor does he say this concerning himself only, but also concerning all. For he said not, I am persuaded, but "we are persuaded better things of you," even good things (he means). He says this either in regard to matters of conduct, or to the recompense. In the next place, having said above, that it is "rejected and nigh unto a curse," and that it "shall be for burning," he says, we do not by any means speak this of you. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work, and love." ( Ver. 10 .)
[5.] Why then did we say these things? ( Ver. 11, 12 ) "But we desire that everyone of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
"We desire," he says, and we do not therefore merely labor for, or even so far as words go, wish this. But what? "We desire" that ye should hold fast to virtue, not as condemning your former conduct (he means), but fearing for the future. And he did not say, `not as condemning your former conduct, but your present; for ye have fainted, ye are become too indolent'; but see how gently he indicated it, and did not wound them.
For what does he say? "But we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence unto the end." For this is the admirable part of Paul's wisdom, that he does not expressly show that they "had" given in, that they "had" become negligent. For when he says, "We desire that every one of you"--it is as if one should say, I wish thee to be always in earnest; and such as thou wert before, such to be now also, and for the time to come. For this made his reproof more gentle and easy to be received.
And he did not say, "I will," which would have been expressive of the authority of a teacher, but what is expressive of the affection of a father, and what is more than "willing," "we desire." All but saying, Pardon us, even if we say what is distasteful.
"We desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of your hope unto the end." Hope (he means) carries us through: it recovers us again. Be not wearied out, do not despair, lest your hope be in vain. For he that worketh good hopeth also good, and never despairs of himself.
"That ye may not become dull."  Still  "become"; and yet he said above, "seeing ye are become dull  of hearing." ( c. v. 11 .) Ob serve however how he limited the dullness to the hearing. And here he hints the very same thing; instead of `that ye may not continue in it,' he says [this]. But again he leads on to that future time for which they were not yet responsible; saying in effect "that ye may not become too slothful": since for that which is not yet come we could not be responsible. For he who in regard to the present time is exhorted to be in earnest, as being remiss, will perhaps become even more slothful, but he who is exhorted with reference to the future, not so.
"We desire" (he says) "that every one of you." Great is his affection for them: he cares equally for great and small; moreover he knows all, and overlooks no one, but shows the same tender care for each, and equal value for all: from which cause also he the rather persuaded them to receive what was distasteful in his words.
"That ye be not slothful," he says. For as inactivity hurts the body, so also inactivity as to what is good renders the soul more supine and feeble.
[6.] "But followers" (he says) "of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises." And who they are, he tells afterwards. He said before, "Imitate your own former well-doings." Then, lest they should say, What? He leads them back to the Patriarch: bringing before them examples of well-doing indeed from their own history,  but of the thought of being forsaken, from the Patriarch; that they might not suppose that they were disregarded and forsaken as worthy of no account, but might know that it is [the portion] of the very noblest men to make the journey of life through trials; and that God has thus dealt with great and admirable men.
Now we ought (he says) to bear all things with patience: for this also is believing: whereas if He say that He gives and thou immediately receivest, how hast thou also believed? Since in that case this is no longer of thy faith, but of Me, the Giver. But if I say that I give, and give after an hundred years, and thou hast not despaired; then hast thou accounted Me worthy to be believed, then thou hast the right opinion concerning Me. Thou seest that oftentimes unbelief arises not from want of hope only, but also from faintheartedness, and want of patience, not from condemning him who made the promise.
"For God" (he says) "is not unrighteous to forget your love" and the zeal "which ye have showed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered unto the saints, and do minister." He testifies great things of them, not deeds only; but deeds done with alacrity, which he says also in another place, "and not only so, but they gave themselves also to the Lord and to us." ( 2 Cor. viii. 5 .)
"Which" (he says) "ye have showed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." See how again he soothes them, by adding "and do minister." Still even at this time (he says) ye are ministering, and he raises them up by showing that they had done [what they did] not to them [the saints], but to God. "Which ye have showed" (he says); and he said not "unto the saints," but "towards God," for this is "toward His Name." It is for His Name's sake (he means) that ye have done all. He therefore who has the enjoyment from you of  so great zeal and love, will never despise you nor forget you.
[7.] Hearing these things, let us, I beseech you, "minister to the saints." For every believer is a saint in that he is a believer. Though he be a person living in the world, he is a saint. "For" (he says) "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife by the husband." ( 1 Cor. vii. 14 .) See how the faith makes the saintship. If then we see even a secular person in misfortune, let us stretch out a hand [to him]. Let us not be zealous for those only who dwell in the mountains; they are indeed saints both in manner of life and in faith; these others however are saints by their faith, and many of them also in manner of life. Let us not, if we see a monk [cast] into prison, in that case go in; but if it be a secular person, refuse to go in. He also is a saint and a brother.
What then (you say) if he be unclean and polluted? Listen to Christ saying, "Judge not that ye be not judged." ( Matt. vii. 1 .) Do thou act for God's sake. Nay, what am I saying? Even if we see a heathen in misfortune, we ought to show kindness to him, and to every man without exception who is in misfortunes, and much more to a believer who is in the world. Listen to Paul, saying, "Do good unto all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith." ( Gal. vi. 10 .)
But I know not whence this [notion] has been introduced, or whence this custom hath prevailed. For he that only seeks after the solitaries, and is willing to do good to them alone, and with regard to others on the contrary is over-curious in his enquiries, and says, `unless he be worthy,  unless he be righteous, unless he work miracles, I stretch out no hand'; [such an one] has taken away the greater part of charity,  yea and in time he will in turn destroy the very thing itself. And yet that is charity,  [which is shown] towards sinners, towards the guilty. For this is charity,  not the pitying those who have done well, but those who have done wrong.
[8.] And that thou mayest understand this, listen to the Parable: "A certain man" (it is said) "went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves" ( Luke x. 30 , &c.); and when they had beaten him, they left him by the way-side, having badly bruised him. A certain Levite came, and when he saw him, he passed by; A priest came, and when he saw him, he hastened past; a certain Samaritan came, and bestowed great care upon him. For he "bound up his wounds" ( Luke x. 34 ), dropped oil on them, set him upon his ass, "brought him to the inn, said to the host, Take care of him" ( Luke x. 35 ); and (observe his great liberality), "and I," he says, "will give thee whatsoever thou shalt expend." Who then is his neighbor? "He," it is said, "that showed mercy on him. Go thou then also," He says, "and do likewise." ( Luke x. 37 .) And see what a parable He spake. He said not that a Jew did [so and so] to a Samaritan, but that a Samaritan showed all that liberality. Having then heard these things, let us not care only for "those that are of the household of faith" ( Gal. vi. 10 ), and neglect others. So then also thou, if thou see any one in affliction, be not curious to enquire further. His being in affliction involves a just claim on thy aid.  For if when thou seest an ass choking thou raisest him up, and dost not curiously enquire whose he is, much more about a man one ought not to be over-curious in enquiring whose he is. He is God's, be he heathen or be he Jew; since even if he is an unbeliever, still he needs help. For if indeed it had been committed to thee to enquire and to judge, thou wouldst have well said thus, but, as it is, his misfortune does not suffer thee to search out these things. For if even about men in good health it is not right to be over-curious, nor to be a busybody in other men's matters, much less about those that are in affliction.
[9.] But on another view what [shall we say]? Didst thou see him in prosperity, in high esteem, that thou shouldst say that he is wicked and worthless? But if thou seest him in affliction, do not say that he is wicked. For when a man is in high credit, we fairly say these things; but when he is in calamity, and needs help, it is not right to say that he is wicked. For this is cruelty, inhumanity, and arrogance. Tell me what was ever more iniquitous than the Jews. But nevertheless while God punished them, and that justly, yea, very justly, yet He approved of those who had compassion on them, and those who rejoiced over them He punished. ( Amos vi. 6 .) For "they were not grieved," it is said, "at the affliction of Joseph."
And again it is said "Redeem [Ransom] those who are ready to be slain: spare not." ( Prov. xxiv. 11 .) (He said not, enquire curiously, and learn who he is; and yet, for the most part, they who are led away to execution are wicked,) for this especially is charity. For he that doeth good to a friend, doeth it not altogether for God's sake: but he that [doeth good] to one unknown, this man acts purely for God's sake. "Do not spare" thy money, even if it be necessary to spend all, yet give.
But we, when we see persons in extreme distress,  bewailing themselves, suffering things more grievous than ten thousand deaths, and oftentimes unjustly, we [I say] are sparing of our money, and unsparing of our brethren; we are careful of lifeless things, but neglect the living soul. And yet Paul says, "in meekness instruct those that oppose themselves, if peradventure God should give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him, at His will." ( 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26 .) "If peradventure," he says; thou seest of how great long-suffering the word is full.
Let us also imitate Him, and despair of no one. For the fishermen too, when they have cast many times [suppose it], have not succeeded; but afterwards having cast again, have gained all. So we also expect that ye will all at once show to us ripe fruit. For the husbandman too, after he has sown, waits one day or two days, and is a long while in expectation: and all at once he sees the fruits springing up on every side. This we expect will take place in your case also by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and also to the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
Hebrews vi. 13-16
"For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife."
[1.] Having boldly reflected on the faults of the Hebrews, and sufficiently alarmed them, he consoles them, first, by praises, and secondly (which also is the stronger ground), by the [thought] that they would certainly attain the object of their hope. Moreover he draws his consolation, not from things future, but again from the past, which indeed would the rather persuade them. For as in the case of punishment, he alarms them rather by those [viz. things future], so also in the case of the prizes [set before them], he encourages them by these [viz. by things past], showing [herein] God's way of dealing. And that is, not to bring in what has been promised immediately, but after a long time. And this He does, both to present the greatest proof of His power, and also to lead us to Faith, that they who are living in tribulation without having received the promises, or the rewards, may not faint under their troubles.
And omitting all [the rest], though he had many whom he might have mentioned, he brought forward Abraham both on account of the dignity of his person, and because this had occurred in a special way in his case.
And yet at the end of the Epistle he says, that "all these, having seen the promises afar off, and having embraced them, received them not, that they without us should not be made perfect." ( c. xi. 13 .) "For when God made promise to Abraham" (he says) "because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." ( c. xi. 39, 40 .) How then does he say at the end [of the Epistle] that "he received not the promises," and here, that "after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise"? How did he not receive? How did he obtain? He is not speaking of the same things in this place and in the other, but makes the consolation twofold. God made promises to Abraham, and after a long space of time He gave the things [spoken of] in this place, but those others not yet.
"And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Seest thou that the promise alone did not effect the whole, but the patient waiting as well? Here he alarms them, showing that oftentimes a promise is thwarted through faintheartedness.  And this he had indeed shown through [the instance of] the [Jewish] people: for since they were faint-hearted, therefore they obtained not the promise. But now he shows the contrary by means of Abraham. Afterwards near the end [of the Epistle] he proves something more also: [viz.] that even though they had patiently endured, they did not obtain; and yet not even so are they grieved.
[2.] "For men verily swear by the greater, and an Oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. But God because He could swear by no greater, sware by Himself." Well, who then is He that sware unto Abraham? Is it not the Son ? No, one says. Certainly indeed it was He: however, I shall not dispute [thereon]. So when He [the Son] sweareth the same oath, "Verily, verily, I say unto you," is it not plain that it was because He could not swear by any greater? For as the Father sware, so also the Son sweareth by Himself, saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto you." He here reminds them also of the oaths of Christ, which He was constantly uttering. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, he that believeth on Me shall never die." ( John xi. 26 .)
What is, "And an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife"? it is instead of, "by this every doubtful question is solved": not this, or this, but every one.
God, however, ought to have been believed even without an oath: ( ver. 17 ) "wherein" (he says) "God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it [lit. "mediated"  ] by an oath." In these words he comprehends also the believers, and therefore mentions this "promise" which was made to us in common [with them]. "He mediated" (he says) "by an oath." Here again he says that the Son was mediator between men and God.
Ver. 18 . "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible that God should lie." What are these two? The speaking and promising; and the adding an oath to the promise. For since among men that which is [confirmed] by an oath is thought more worthy of credit, on this account He added that also.
Seest thou that He regardeth not His own dignity, but how He may persuade men, and endures to have unworthy things said concerning Himself. That is He wishes to impart full assurance. And in the case of Abraham indeed [the Apostle] shows that the whole was of God, not of his patient endurance, since He was even willing to add an oath, for He by whom men swear, by Him also God "sware," that is "by Himself." They indeed as by one greater, but He not as by one greater. And yet He did it. For it is not the same thing for man to swear by himself, as for God. For man has no power over himself. Thou seest then that this is said not more for Abraham than for ourselves: "that we" (he says) "might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us." Here too again,  "after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise."
"Now" he means, and he did not say "when  He swore." But what the oath is, he showed, by speaking of swearing by a greater. But since the race of men is hard of belief, He condescends to the same [things] with ourselves. As then for our sake He swears, although it be unworthy of Him that He should not be believed, so also did [the Apostle] make that other statement: "He learned from the things which He suffered" ( c. v. 8 ), because men think the going through experience more worthy of reliance.
What is "the hope set before us"? From these [past events] (he says) we conjecture the future. For if these came to pass after so long a time, so certainly the others will. So that the things which happened in regard to Abraham give us confidence also concerning the things to come.
[3.] ( Ver. 19, 20 ) "Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil: whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus , made High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." He shows, that while we are still in the world, and not yet departed from [this] life, we are already among the promises. For through hope we are already in heaven. He said, "Wait; for it shall surely be." Afterwards giving them full assurance, he says, "nay rather by hope."  And he said not, "We are within," but `It hath entered within,' which was more true and more persuasive. For as the anchor, dropped from the vessel, does not allow it to be carried about, even if ten thousand winds agitate it, but being depended upon makes it steady, so also does hope.
And see how very suitable an image he has discovered: For he said not, Foundation; which was not suitable; but, "Anchor." For that which is on the tossing sea, and seems not to be very firmly fixed, stands on the water as upon land, and is shaken and yet is not shaken. For in regard to those who are very firm, and philosophic, Christ with good reason made that statement, saying, "Whosoever hath built his house on a rock." ( Matt. vii. 24 .) But in respect of those who are giving way, and who ought to be carried through by hope, Paul hath suitably set down this. For the surge and the great storm toss the boat; but hope suffers it not to be carried hither and thither, although winds innumerable agitate it: so that, unless we had this [hope] we should long ago have been sunk. Nor is it only in things spiritual, but also in the affairs of this life, that one may find the power of hope great. Whatever it may be, in merchandise, in husbandry, in a military expedition, unless one sets this before him, he would not even touch the work. But he said not simply "Anchor," but "sure and steadfast" [i.e.] not shaken. "Which entereth into that within the veil"; instead of `which reacheth through even to heaven.'
[4.] Then after this he led on to Faith also, that there might not only be hope, but a very true [hope]. For after the oath he lays down another thing too, even proof by facts, because "the forerunner is for us entered in, even Jesus ." But a forerunner is a forerunner of some one, as John was of Christ.
Now he did not simply say, "He is entered in," but "where He is entered in a forerunner for us," as though we also ought to attain. For there is no great interval between the forerunner and those who follow: otherwise he would not be a forerunner; for the forerunner and those who follow ought to be in the same road, and to arrive after [each other].
"Being made an High Priest forever after the order," he says, "of Melchisedec." Here is also another consolation, if our High Priest is on high, and far better than those among the Jews, not in the kind [of Priesthood] only, but also in the place, and the tabernacle, and the covenant, and the person. And this also is spoken according to the flesh.
[5.] Those then, whose High Priest He is, ought to be greatly superior. And as great as the difference is between Aaron and Christ, so great should it be between us and the Jews. For see, we have our victim  on high, our priest on high, our sacrifice  on high: let us bring such sacrifices as can be offered on that altar, no longer sheep and oxen, no longer blood and fat. All these things have been done away; and there has been brought in their stead "the reasonable service." ( Rom. xii. 1 .) But what is "the reasonable service"? The [offerings made] through the soul; those made through the spirit. ("God," it is said, "is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth"-- John iv. 24 ); things which have no need of a body, no need of instruments, nor of special places, whereof each one is himself the Priest, such as, moderation, temperance, mercifulness, enduring ill-treatment, long-suffering, humbleness of mind.
These sacrifices one may see in the Old [Testament] also, shadowed out beforehand. "Offer to God," it is said, "a sacrifice of righteousness" ( Ps. iv. 5 ); "Offer a sacrifice of praise" ( Ps. l. 14 ); and, "a sacrifice of praise shall glorify Me" ( Ps. l. 23 ), and, "the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit" ( Ps. li. 17 ); and "what doth the Lord require of thee but" to hearken to Him? ( Mic. vi. 8 .) "Burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure in: then I said, Lo I come to do Thy will, O God!" ( Ps. xl. 6, 7 ), and again, "To what purpose do ye bring the incense from Sheba?" ( Jer. vi. 20 .) "Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs, for I will not hear the melody of thy viols." ( Amos v. 23 .) But instead of these "I will have mercy and not sacrifice." ( Hosea vi. 6 .) Thou seest with what kind of "sacrifices God is well pleased." ( c. xiii. 16 .) Thou seest also that already from the first the one class have given place, and these have come in their stead.
These therefore let us bring, for the other indeed are [the offerings] of wealth and of persons who have [possessions], but these of virtue: those from without, these from within: those any chance person even might perform; these only a few. And as much as a man is superior to a sheep, so much is this sacrifice superior to that; for here thou offerest thy soul as a victim.
[6.] And other sacrifices also there are, which are indeed whole burnt-offerings, the bodies of the martyrs: there both soul and body [are offered]. These have a great savor of a sweet smell. Thou also art able, if thou wilt, to bring such a sacrifice.
For what, if thou dost not burn thy body in the fire? Yet in a different fire thou canst; for instance, in that of voluntary poverty, in that of affliction. For to have it in one's power to spend one's days in luxury and expense, and yet to take up a life of toil and bitterness, and to mortify the body, is not this a whole burnt-offering? Mortify thy body, and crucify it, and thou shalt thyself also receive the crown of this martyrdom. For what in the other case the sword accomplishes, that in this case let a willing mind effect. Let not the love of wealth burn, or possess you, but let this unreasonable appetite itself be consumed and quenched by the fire of the Spirit; let it be cut in pieces by the sword of the Spirit.
This is an excellent sacrifice, needing no priest but him who brings it. This is an excellent sacrifice, performed indeed below but forthwith taken up on high. Do we not wonder that of old time fire came down and consumed all? It is possible now also that fire may come down far more wonderful than that, and consume all the presented offerings:  nay rather, not consume, but bear them up to heaven. For it does not reduce them to ashes, but offers them as gifts to God.
[7.] Such were the offerings of Cornelius. For (it is said) "thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." ( Acts x. 4 .) Thou seest a most excellent union. Then are we heard, when we ourselves also hear the poor who come to us. "He" (it is said) "that stoppeth his ears that he may not hear the poor" ( Prov. xxi. 13 ), his prayer God will not hearken to. "Blessed is he that considereth the poor and needy: the Lord will deliver him in the evil day." ( Ps. xl. 1 .) But what day is evil except that one which is evil to sinners?
What is meant by "he that considereth"? He that understandeth what it is to be a poor man, that has thoroughly learned his affliction. For he that has learned his affliction, will certainly and immediately have compassion on him. When thou seest a poor man, do not hurry by, but immediately reflect what thou wouldest have been, hadst thou been he. What wouldest thou not have wished that all should do for thee? "He that considereth" (he says). Reflect that he is a free-man like thyself, and shares the same noble birth with thee, and possesses all things in common with thee; and yet oftentimes he is not on a level even with thy dogs. On the contrary, while they are satiated, he oftentimes lies, sleeps, hungry, and the free-man is become less honorable than thy slaves.
But they perform needful services for thee. What are these? Do they serve thee well? Suppose then I show that this [poor man] too performs needful services for thee far greater than they do. For he will stand by thee in the Day of judgment, and will deliver thee from the fire. What do all thy slaves do like this? When Tabitha died, who raised her up? The slaves who stood around or the poor? But thou art not even willing to put the free-man on an equality with thy slaves. The frost is hard, and the poor man is cast out in rags, well-nigh dead, with his teeth chattering, both by his looks and his air fitted to move thee: and thou passeth by, warm and full of drink; and how dost thou expect that God should deliver thee when in misfortune?
And oftentimes thou sayest this too: `If it had been myself, and I had found one that had done many wrong things, I would have forgiven him; and does not God forgive?' Say not this. Him that has done thee no wrong, whom thou art able to deliver, him thou neglectest. How shall He forgive thee, who art sinning against Him? Is not this deserving of hell?
And how amazing! Oftentimes thou adornest with vestments innumerable, of varied colors and wrought with gold, a dead body, insensible, no longer perceiving the honor; whilst that which is in pain, and lamenting, and tormented, and racked by hunger and frost, thou neglectest; and givest more to vainglory, than to the fear of God.
[8.] And would that it stopped here; but immediately accusations are brought against the applicant. For why does he not work (you say)? And why is he to be maintained in idleness? But (tell me) is it by working that thou hast what thou hast, didst thou not receive it as an inheritance from thy fathers? And even if thou dost work, is this a reason why thou shouldest reproach another? Hearest thou not what Paul saith? For after saying, "He that worketh not, neither let him eat" ( 2 Thess. iii. 10 ), he says, "But ye be not weary in well doing." ( 2 Thess. iii. 13 .)
But what say they? He is an impostor.  What sayest thou, O man? Callest thou him an impostor, for the sake of a single loaf or of a garment? But (you say) he will sell it immediately. And dost thou manage all thy affairs well? But what? Are all poor through idleness? Is no one so from shipwreck? None from lawsuits? None from being robbed? None from dangers? None from illness? None from any other difficulties? If however we hear any one bewailing such evils, and crying out aloud, and looking up naked toward heaven, and with long hair, and clad in rags, at once we call him, The impostor! The deceiver! The swindler! Art thou not ashamed? Whom dost thou call impostor? Give nothing, and do not accuse the man.
But (you say) he has means, and pretends. This is a charge against thyself, not against him. He knows that he has to deal with the cruel, with wild beasts rather than with men, and that, even if he utter a pitiable story, he attracts no one's attention: and on this account he is forced to assume also a more miserable guise, that he may melt thy soul. If we see a person coming to beg in a respectable dress, This is an impostor (you say), and he comes in this way that he may be supposed to be of good birth. If we see one in the contrary guise, him too we reproach. What then are they to do? O the cruelty, O the inhumanity!
And why (you say) do they expose their maimed limbs? Because of thee. If we were compassionate, they would have no need of these artifices: if they persuaded us at the first application, they would not have contrived these devices. Who is there so wretched, as to be willing to cry out so much, as to be willing to behave in an unseemly way, as to be willing to make public lamentations, with his wife destitute of clothing, with his children, to sprinkle ashes on [himself]. How much worse than poverty are these things? Yet on account of them not only are they not pitied, but are even accused by us.
[9.] Shall we then still be indignant, because when we pray to God, we are not heard? Shall we then still be vexed, because when we entreat we do not persuade? Do we not tremble for fear, my beloved?
But (you say) I have often given. But dost thou not always eat? And dost thou drive away thy children often begging of thee? O the shamelessness! Dost thou call a poor man shameless? And thou indeed art not shameless when plundering, but he is shameless when begging for bread! Considerest thou not how great are the necessities of the belly? Dost not thou do all things for this? Dost thou not for this neglect things spiritual? Is not heaven set before thee and the kingdom of heaven? And thou fearing the tyranny of that [appetite] endurest all things, and thinkest lightly of that [kingdom]. This is shamelessness.
Seest thou not old men maimed? But O what trifling! `Such an one' (you say) `lends out so many pieces of gold, and such an one so many, and yet begs.' You repeat the stories and trifles of children; for they too are always hearing such stories from their nurses. I am not persuaded of it. I do not believe this. Far from it. Does a man lend money, and beg when he has abundance? For what purpose, tell me? And what is more disgraceful than begging? It were better to die than to beg. Where does our inhumanity stop? What then? Do all lend money? Are all impostors? Is there no one really poor? "Yea" (you say) "and many." Why then dost thou not assist those persons, seeing thou art a strict enquirer into their lives? This is an excuse and a pretense.
"Give to every one  that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." ( Matt. v. 42 .) Stretch out thy hand, let it not be closed up. We have not been constituted examiners into men's lives, since so we should have compassion on no one. When thou callest upon God why dost thou say, Remember not my sins? So then, if that person even be a great sinner, make this allowance in his case also, and do not remember his sins. It is the season of kindness, not of strict enquiry; of mercy, not of account. He wishes to be maintained: if thou art willing, give; but if not willing, send him away without raising doubts.  Why art thou wretched and miserable? Why dost thou not even thyself pity him, and also turnest away those who would? For when such an one hears from thee, This [fellow] is a cheat; that a hypocrite; and the other lends out money; he neither gives to the one nor to the other; for he suspects all to be such. For you know that we easily suspect evil, but good, not [so easily].
[10.] Let us "be merciful," not simply so, but "as our heavenly Father is." ( Luke vi. 36 .) He feeds even adulterers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and what shall I say? Those having every kind of wickedness. For in so large a world there must needs be many such. But nevertheless He feeds all; He clothes all. No one ever perished of hunger, unless one did so of his own choice. So let us be merciful. If one be in want and in necessity, help him.
But now we are come to such a degree of unreasonableness, as to act thus not only in regard to the poor who walk up and down the alleys, but even in the case of men that live in [religious] solitude.  Such an one is an impostor, you say. Did I not say this at first, that if we give to all indiscriminately, we shall always be compassionate; but if we begin to make over-curious enquiries, we shall never be compassionate? What dost thou mean? Is a man an impostor in order to get a loaf? If indeed he asks for talents of gold and silver, or costly clothes, or slaves, or anything else of this sort, one might with good reason call him a swindler. But if he ask none of these things, but only food and shelter, things which are suited to a philosophic life,  tell me, is this the part of a swindler? Cease we from this unseasonable fondness for meddling, which is Satanic, which is destructive.
For indeed, if a man say that he is on the list of the Clergy, or calls himself a priest, then busy thyself [to enquire], make much ado: since in that case the communicating  without enquiry is not without danger. For the danger is about matters of importance, for thou dost not give but receivest. But if he want food, make no enquiry.
Enquire, if thou wilt, how Abraham showed hospitality towards all who came to him. If he had been over-curious about those who fled to him for refuge, he would not have "entertained angels." ( c. xiii. 2 .) For perhaps not thinking them to be angels, he would have thrust them too away with the rest. But since he used to receive all, he received even angels.
What? Is it from the life of those that receive [thy bounty] that God grants thee thy reward? Nay [it is] from thine own purpose, from thy abundant liberality; from thy loving-kindness; from thy goodness. Let this be [found], and thou shalt attain all good things, which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
"For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the Kings, and blessed him: to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of Peace, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a Priest continually."
[1.] Paul wishing to show the difference between the New and Old [Covenant], scatters it everywhere; and shoots from afar, and noises it abroad,  and prepares beforehand. For at once even from the introduction, he laid down this saying, that "to them indeed He spake by prophets, but to us by the Son" ( c. i. 1, 2 ), and to them "at sundry times and in divers manners," but to us through the Son. Afterwards, having discoursed concerning the Son, who He was and what He had wrought, and given an exhortation to obey Him, lest we should suffer the same things as the Jews; and having said that He is "High Priest after the order of Melchisedec" ( c. vi. 20 ), and having oftentimes wished to enter into [the subject of] this difference, and having used much preparatory management; and having rebuked them as weak, and again soothed and restored them to confidence; then at last he introduces the discussion on the difference [of the two dispensations] to ears in their full vigor. For he who is depressed in spirits would not be a ready hearer. And that you may understand this, hear the Scripture saying, "They hearkened not to Moses for anguish of spirit."  ( Ex. vi. 9 .) Therefore having first cleared away their despondency by many considerations, some fearful, some more gentle, he then from this point enters upon the discussion of the difference [of the dispensations].
[2.] And what does he say? "For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God." And, what is especially noteworthy, he shows the difference to be great by the Type itself. For as I said, he continually confirms the truth from the Type, from things past, on account of the weakness of the hearers. "For" (he says) "this Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the Kings, and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all." Having concisely set down the whole narrative, he looked at  it mystically.
And first from the name. "First" (he says) "being by interpretation King of righteousness": for Sedec means "righteousness"; and Melchi, "King": Melchisedec, "King of righteousness." Seest thou his exactness even in the names? But who is "King of righteousness," save our Lord Jesus Christ? "King of righteousness. And after that also King of Salem," from his city, "that is, King of Peace," which again is [characteristic] of Christ. For He has made us righteous, and has "made peace" for "things in Heaven and things on earth." ( Col. i. 20 .) What man is "King of Righteousness and of Peace"? None, save only our Lord Jesus Christ.
[3.] He then adds another distinction, "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a Priest continually." Since then there lay in his way [as an objection] the [words] "Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec," whereas he [Melchisedec] was dead, and was not "Priest for ever," see how he explained it mystically.
`And who can say this concerning a man?' I do not assert this in fact (he says); the meaning is, we do not know when  [or] what father he had, nor what mother, nor when he received his beginning, nor when he died. And what of this (one says)? For does it follow, because we do not know it, that he did not die, [or] had no parents? Thou sayest well: he both died and had parents. How then [was he] "without father, without mother"? How "having neither beginning of days nor end of life"? How? [Why] from its not being expressed.  And what of this? That as this man is so, from his genealogy not being given, so is Christ from the very nature of the reality.
See the "without beginning"; see the "without end." As in case of this man, we know not either "beginning of days," or "end of life," because they have not been written; so we know [them] not in the case of Jesus , not because they have not been written, but because they do not exist. For that indeed is a type,  and therefore [we say] `because it is not written,' but this is the reality,  and therefore [we say] `because it does not exist.' For as in regard to the names also (for there "King of Righteousness" and "of Peace" are appellations, but here the reality) so these too are appellations in that case, in this the reality. How then hath He a beginning? Thou seest that the Son is "without beginning,"  not in respect of His not having a cause;  (for this is impossible: for He has a Father, otherwise how is He Son?) but in respect of His "not having beginning or end of life."
"But made like unto the Son of God." Where is the likeness? That we know not of the one or of the other either the end or the beginning. Of the one because they are not written; of the other, because they do not exist. Here is the likeness. But if the likeness were to exist in all respects, there would no longer be type and reality; but both would be type. [Here] then just as in representations  [by painting or drawing], there is somewhat that is like and somewhat that is unlike. By means of the lines indeed there is a likeness of features,  but when the colors are put on, then the difference is plainly shown, both the likeness and the unlikeness.
[4.] Ver. 4 . "Now consider" (saith he) "how great this man is to whom even the Patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils."  Up to this point he has been applying the type: henceforward he boldly shows him [Melchisedec] to be more glorious than the Jewish realities. But if he who bears a type of Christ is so much better not merely than the priests, but even than the forefather himself of the priests, what should one say of the reality? Thou seest how super-abundantly he shows the superiority.
"Now consider" (he says) "how great this man is to whom even the Patriarch Abraham gave a tenth out of the choice portions." Spoils taken in battle are called "choice portions."  And it cannot be said that he gave them to him as having a part in the war, because (he said) he met him "returning from the slaughter of the kings," for he had staid at home (he means), yet [Abraham] gave him the first-fruits of his labors.
Ver. 5 . "And verily they that are of the sons of Levi who receive the office of Priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham." So great (he would say) is the superiority of the priesthood, that they who from their ancestors are of the same dignity, and have the same forefather, are yet far better than the rest. At all events they "receive tithes" from them. When then one is found, who receives tithes from these very persons, are not they indeed in the rank of laymen, and he among the Priests?
And not only this; but neither was he of the same dignity with them, but of another race: so that he would not have given tithes to a stranger unless his dignity had been great. Astonishing! What has he accomplished? He has made quite clear a greater point than those relating to faith which he treated in the Epistle to the Romans. For there indeed he declares Abraham to be the forefather both of our polity and also of the Jewish. But here he is exceeding bold against him, and shows that the uncircumcised person is far superior. How then did he show that Levi paid tithes? Abraham (he says) paid them. `And how does this concern us?' It especially concerns you: for you will not contend that the Levites are superior to Abraham. ( Ver. 6 ) "But he whose descent is not counted from them, received tithes of Abraham."
And after that he did not simply pass on, but added, "and blessed him that had the promises." Inasmuch as throughout, this was regarded with reverence, he shows that [Melchisedec] was to be reverenced more than Abraham, from the common judgment of all men. ( Ver. 7 ) "And without all contradiction," he says, "the less is blessed of the better," i.e. in the opinion of all men it is the inferior that is blessed by the superior. So then the type of Christ is superior even to "him that had the promises."
( Ver. 8 ) "And here men that die receive tithes: but there he of whom it is testified that he liveth." But lest we should say, Tell us, why goest thou so far back? He says, ( ver. 9 ) "And as I may so say" (and he did well in softening it) "Levi also who receiveth tithes payed tithes in Abraham." How? ( Ver. 10 ) "For he was yet in his loins when Melchisedec met him," i.e. Levi was in him, although he was not yet born. And he said not the Levites but Levi.
Hast thou seen the superiority? Hast thou seen how great is the interval between Abraham and Melchisedec, who bears the type of our High Priest? And he shows that the superiority had been caused by authority, not necessity. For the one paid the tithe, which indicates the priest: the other gave the blessing, which indicates the superior. This superiority passes on also to the descendants.
In a marvelous and triumphant way he cast out the Jewish [system]. On this account he said, "Ye are become dull," ( c. v. 12 ), because he wished to lay these foundations, that they might not start away. Such is the wisdom of Paul, first preparing them well, he so leads  them into what he wishes. For the human race is hard to persuade, and needs much attention, even more than plants. Since in that case there is [only] the nature of material bodies, and earth, which yields to the hands of the husbandmen: but in this there is will, which is liable to many alterations, and now prefers this, now that. For it quickly turns to evil.
[5.] Wherefore we ought always to "guard" ourselves, lest at any time we should fall asleep. For "Lo" (it is said) "he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" ( Ps. cxxi. 4 ), and "Do not suffer  thy foot to be moved." ( Ps. cxxi. 3 .) He did not say, `be not moved' but "do not thou suffer," &c. The suffering depends then on ourselves, and not on any other. For if we will stand "steadfast and unmoveable" ( 1 Cor. xv. 58 ), we shall not be shaken.
What then? Does nothing depend on God? All indeed depends on God, but not so that our free-will is hindered. `If then it depend on God,' (one says), `why does He blame us?' On this account I said, `so that our free-will is not hindered.' It depends then on us, and on Him. For we must first choose the good; and then He leads us to His own.  He does not anticipate our choice,  lest our free-will should be outraged. But when we have chosen, then great is the assistance he brings to us.
How is it then that Paul says, "not of him that willeth," if it depend on ourselves also "nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." ( Rom. ix. 16 .)
In the first place, he did not introduce it as his own opinion, but inferred it from what was before him and from what had been put forward  [in the discussion]. For after saying, "It is written, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" ( Rom. ix. 15 ), he says, "It follows then  that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." "Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth He yet find fault?" ( Rom. ix. 16, 19 .)
And secondly the other explanation may be given, that he speaks of all as His, whose the greater part is. For it is ours to choose  and to wish; but God's to complete and to bring to an end. Since therefore the greater part is of Him, he says all is of Him, speaking according to the custom of men. For so we ourselves also do. I mean for instance: we see a house well built, and we say the whole is the Architect's [doing], and yet certainly it is not all his, but the workmen's also, and the owner's, who supplies the materials, and many others', but nevertheless since he contributed the greatest share, we call the whole his. So then [it is] in this case also. Again, with respect to a number of people, where the many are, we say All are: where few, nobody. So also Paul says, "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."
And herein he establishes two great truths: one, that we should not be lifted up:  even shouldst thou run (he would say), even shouldst thou be very earnest, do not consider that the well doing  is thine own. For if thou obtain not the impulse  that is from above, all is to no purpose. Nevertheless that thou wilt attain that which thou earnestly strivest after is very evident; so long as thou runnest, so long as thou willest.
He did not then assert this, that we run in vain, but that, if we think the whole to be our own, if we do not assign the greater part to God, we run in vain. For neither hath God willed that the whole should be His, lest He should appear to be crowning us without cause: nor again our's, lest we should fall away to pride. For if when we have the smaller [share], we think much of ourselves, what should we do if the whole depended on us?
[6.] Indeed God hath done away many things for the purpose of cutting away our boastfulness, and still there is the  high hand. With how many afflictions hath He encompassed us, so as to cut away our proud spirit! With how many wild beasts hath He encircled us! For indeed when some say, `why is this?' `Of what use is this?' They utter these things against the will of God. He hath placed thee in the midst of so great fear, and yet not even so art thou lowly-minded; but if thou ever attain a little success, thou reachest to Heaven itself in pride.
For this cause [come] rapid changes and reverses; and yet not even so are we instructed. For this cause are there continual and untimely deaths, but are minded as if we were immortal, as if we should never die. We plunder, we over-reach, as though we were never to give account. We build as if we were to abide here always. And not even the word of God daily sounded into our ears, nor the events themselves instruct us. Not a day, not an hour can be mentioned, in which we may not see continual funerals. But all in vain: and nothing reaches our hardness [of heart]: nor are we even able to become better by the calamities of others; or rather, we are not willing. When we ourselves only are afflicted, then we are subdued, and yet if God take off His hand, we again lift up our hand: no one considers what is proper for man,  no one despises the things on earth; no one looks to Heaven. But as swine turn their heads downwards, stooping towards their belly, wallowing in the mire; so too the great body of mankind defile themselves with the most intolerable filth, without being conscious of it.
[7.] For better were it to be defiled with unclean mud than with sins; for he who is defiled with the one, washes it off in a little time, and becomes like one who had never from the first fallen into that slough; but he who has fallen into the deep pit of sin has contracted a defilement that is not cleansed by water, but needs long time, and strict repentance, and tears and lamentations, and more wailing, and that more fervent, than we show over the dearest friends. For this defilement attaches to us from without, wherefore we also speedily put it away; but the other is generated from within, wherefore also we wash it off with difficulty, and cleanse ourselves from it. "For from the heart" (it is said) "proceed evil thoughts, fornications, adulteries, thefts, false witnesses." ( Matt. xv. 19 .) Wherefore also the Prophet said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God." ( Ps. li. 10 .) And another, "Wash thine heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem." ( Jer. iv. 14 .) (Thou seest that it is both our [work] and God's.) And again, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ( Matt. v. 8 .)
Let us become clean to the utmost of our power. Let us wipe away our sins. And how to wipe them away, the prophet teaches, saying, "Wash you, make you clean, put away your wickedness from your souls, before Mine eyes." ( Isa. i. 16 .) What is "before Mine eyes"? Because some seem to be free from wickedness, but only to men, while to God they are manifest as being "whited sepulchers." Therefore He says, so put them away as I see. "Learn to do well, seek judgment, do justice for the poor and lowly." "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as scarlet, I will make you white as snow, and if they be as crimson, I will make you white as wool." ( Isa. i. 17, 18 .) Thou seest that we must first cleanse ourselves, and then God cleanses us. For having said first, "Wash you, make you clean," He then added "I will make you white."
Let no one then, [even] of those who are come to the extremest wickedness, despair of himself. For (He says) even if thou hast passed into the habit, yea and almost into the nature of wickedness itself, be not afraid. Therefore taking [the instance of] colors that are not superficial but almost of the substance of the materials, He said that He would bring them into the opposite state. For He did not simply say that He would "wash" us, but that He would "make" us "white, as snow and as wool," in order to hold out good hopes before us. Great then is the power of repentance, at least if it makes us as snow, and whitens us as wool, even if sin have first got possession and dyed our souls.
Let us labor earnestly then to become clean; He has enjoined nothing burdensome. "Judge the fatherless, and do justice for the widow." ( Isa. i. 17 .) Thou seest everywhere how great account God makes of mercy, and of standing forward in behalf of those that are wronged. These good deeds let us pursue after, and we shall be able also, by the grace of God, to attain to the blessings to come: which may we all be counted worthy of, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
"If therefore perfection were by  the Levitical priesthood; (for under it the people have received the law'  ) what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is  made of necessity a change also of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken, pertained to another tribe, of  which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests." 
[1.] " If therefore" (he says) "perfection were by the Levitical priesthood." Having spoken concerning Melchisedec, and shown how much superior he was to Abraham, and having set forth the great difference between them, he begins from this point forward to prove the wide difference as to the covenant itself, and how the one is imperfect and the other perfect. However he does not even yet enter on the matters themselves, but first contends on the ground of the priesthood, and the tabernacle. For these things would be more easily received by the unbelieving, when the proof was derived from things already allowed, and believed.
He had shown that Melchisedec was greatly superior both to Levi and to Abraham, being to them in the rank of the priests. Again he argues from a different point. What then is this? Why (he says) did he not say, "after the order of Aaron"? And observe, I pray you, the great superiority [of his argument]. For from the very circumstance which naturally excluded His priesthood, viz. that He was not "after the order of Aaron," from that he establishes Him, and excludes the others. For this is the very thing that I say (he declares); why has He "not been made after the order of Aaron"?
And the [saying] "what further need" has much emphasis. For if Christ had been "after the order of Melchisedec" according to the flesh, and then afterwards the law had been introduced, and all that pertained to Aaron, one might reasonably say that the latter as being more perfect, annulled the former, seeing that it had come in after it. But if Christ comes later, and takes a different type, as that of His priesthood, it is evident that it is because those were imperfect. For (he would say) let us suppose for argument's sake, that all has been fulfilled, and that there is nothing imperfect in the priesthood. "What need" was there in that case that He should be called "after the order of Melchisedec and not after the order of Aaron"? Why did He set aside Aaron, and introduce a different priesthood, that of Melchisedec? "If then perfection," that is the perfection of the things themselves, of the doctrines, of life,  "had been by the Levitical priesthood."
And observe how he goes forward on his path. He had said that [He was] "after the order of Melchisedec," implying that the [priesthood] "after the order of Melchisedec" is superior: for [he was]  far superior. Afterwards he shows this from the time also, in that He was after Aaron; evidently as being better.
[2.] And what is the meaning of what follows? "For" (he says) "under [or "upon"] it the people have received the Law [or "have been legislated for"]."  What is "under it" [&c.]? Ordereth itself  by it; through it does all things. You cannot say that it was given to others, "the people under it have received the law," that is, have used it, and did use it. You cannot say indeed that it was perfect, it did not govern the people; "they have been legislated for upon it," that is, they used it.
What need was there then of another priesthood? "For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change of the law also." But if there must be another priest, or rather another priesthood, there must needs be also another law. This is for those who say, What need was there of a new Covenant? For he could indeed have alleged a testimony from prophecy also. "This is the covenant which I made with your fathers" [&c.]. ( c. viii. 10 .) But for the present he contends on the ground of the priesthood. And observe, how he says this from the first. He said, "According to the order of Melchisedec." By this he excluded the order of Aaron. For he would not have said "After the order of Melchisedec," if the other had been better. If therefore another priesthood has been brought in, there must be also [another] Covenant; for neither is it possible that there should be a priest, without a covenant and laws and ordinances, nor that having received a different priesthood He should use the former [covenant].
In the next place, as to the ground of objection: "How could He be a priest if He were not a Levite?" Having overthrown this by what had been said above, he does not even think it worth answering, but introduces it in passing. I said (he means) that the priesthood was changed, therefore also the Covenant is. And it was changed not only in its character,  or in its ordinances, but also in its tribe. For of necessity [it must be changed] in its tribe also. How? "For the priesthood being changed [or "transferred "]," from tribe to tribe, from the sacerdotal to the regal [tribe], that the same might be both regal and sacerdotal.
And observe the mystery. First it was royal, and then it is become sacerdotal: so therefore also in regard to Christ: for King indeed He always was, but has become Priest from the time that He assumed the Flesh, that He offered the sacrifice. Thou seest the change, and the very things which were ground of objection these he introduces, as though the natural order of things required them. "For" (he says) "He of whom these things are spoken pertained to another tribe." I myself also say it, I know that this tribe [of Judah] had nothing of priesthood. For there is a transferring.
[3.] Yea and I am showing another difference also (he would say): not only from the tribe, nor yet only from the Person, nor from the character [of the Priesthood], nor from the covenant, but also from the type itself. ( Ver. 16 ) "Who was made ["became" so], not according to the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. He became" (he says) "a priest not according to the law of a carnal commandment": for that law was in many respects unlawful. 
What is, "of a carnal commandment"? Circumcise the flesh, it says; anoint the flesh; wash the flesh; purify the flesh; shave the flesh; bind upon the flesh;  cherish the flesh; rest as to the flesh. And again its blessings, what are they? Long life for the flesh; milk and honey for the flesh; peace for the flesh; luxury for the flesh. From this law Aaron received the priesthood; Melchisedec however not so.
Ver. 15 . "And it is yet far more evident, if after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest." What is evident? The interval between the two priesthoods, the difference; how much superior He is "who was made not according to the law of a carnal commandment." (Who? Melchisedec? Nay; but Christ.) "But according to the power of an endless  life. For He testifieth, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec"; that is, not for a time, nor having any limit, "but according to the power of an endless life," that is, by means of power, by means of "endless life."
And yet this does not follow after, "who was made not according to the law of a carnal commandment": for what would follow would be to say, "but according to that of a spiritual one." However by "carnal," he implied temporary. As he says also in another place, carnal ordinances imposed until the time of reformation." ( c. ix. 10 .)
"According to the power of life," that is, because He lives by His own power.
[4.] He had said, that there is also a change of law, and up to this point he has shown it; henceforward he enquires into the cause, that which above all gives full assurance to men's minds, [I mean] the knowing the cause thoroughly; and it leads us more to faith  when we have learned also the cause, and the principle according to which [the thing] comes to pass.
Ver. 18 . "For there is verily" (he says) "a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof." Here the Heretics  press on. But listen attentively. He did not say "for the evil," nor, "for the viciousness," but "for the weakness and unprofitableness [thereof]," yea and in other places also he shows the weakness; as when he says "In that it was weak through the flesh." ( Rom. viii. 3 .) [The law] itself then is not weak, but we.
Ver. 19 . "For the Law made nothing perfect." What is, "make nothing perfect"? Made no man perfect, being disobeyed. And besides, even if it had been listened to, it would not have made one perfect and virtuous. But as yet he does not say this here, but that it had no strength: and with good reason. For written precepts were there set down, Do this and Do not that, being enjoined only, and not giving power within.  But "the Hope" is not such.
What is "a disannulling"? A casting out. A "disannulling" is a disannulling of things which are of force. So that he implied, that it [once] was of force, but henceforward was of no account, since it accomplished nothing. Was the Law then of no use? It was indeed of use; and of great use: but to make men perfect it was of no use. For in this respect he says, "The Law made nothing perfect." All were figures, all shadows; circumcision, sacrifice, sabbath. There fore they could not reach through the soul, wherefore they pass away and gradually withdraw. "But the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God."
[5.] ( Ver. 20 ) "And forasmuch as not without the taking of an oath."  Thou seest that the matter of the oath becomes necessary for him here. Accordingly for this reason he previously treated much [hereon], how that God swore; and swore for the sake of [our] fuller assurance.
"But the bringing in of a better hope." For that system also had a hope, but not such as this. For they hoped that, if they were well pleasing [to God], they should possess the land, that they should suffer nothing fearful. But in this [dispensation] we hope that, if we are well pleasing [to God], we shall possess not earth, but heaven; or rather (which is far better than this) we hope to stand near to God, to come unto the very throne of the Father, to minister unto Him with the Angels. And see how he introduces these things by little and little. For above he says "which entereth into that within the veil", ( c. vi. 19 ), but here, "by which we draw nigh unto God."
"And inasmuch as not without an oath." What is "And inasmuch as not without an oath"? That is, Behold another difference also. And these things were not merely promised (he says). "For those priests were made without an oath," ( ver. 21, 22 ) "but This with an oath, by Him that said unto Him, The Lord swore and will not repent, Thou art Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant."  He lays down two points of difference, that it hath no end as the [covenant] of the Law had;  and this he proves from [its being] Christ who exercises [the priesthood]; for he says "according to the power of an endless life." And he proves it also from the oath, because "He swore," &c., and from the fact; for if the other was cast out, because it was weak, this stands firm, because it is powerful. He proves it also from the priest. How? Because He is One [only]; and there would not have been One [only], unless He had been immortal. For as there were many priests, because they were mortal, so [here is] The One, because He is immortal. "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant," inasmuch as He sware to Him that He should always be [Priest]; which He would not have done, if He were not living.
[6.] ( Ver. 25 ) "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Thou seest that he says this in respect of that which is according to the flesh. For when He [appears] as Priest, then He also intercedes. Wherefore also when Paul says, "who also maketh intercession for us" ( Rom. viii. 34 ), he hints the same thing; the High Priest maketh intercession. For He "that raiseth the dead as He will, and quickeneth them," ( John v. 21 ), and that "even as the Father" [doth], how [is it that] when there is need to save, He "maketh intercession"? ( John v. 22 .) He that hath "all judgment," how [is it that] He "maketh intercession"? He that "sendeth His angels" ( Matt. xiii. 41, 42 ), that they may "cast" some into "the furnace," and save others, how [is it that] He "maketh intercession"? Wherefore (he says) "He is able also to save." For this cause then He saves, because He dies not. Inasmuch as "He ever liveth," He hath (he means) no successor: And if He have no successor, He is able to aid all men. For there [under the Law] indeed, the High Priest although he were worthy of admiration during the time in which he was [High Priest] (as Samuel for instance, and any other such), but, after this, no longer; for they were dead. But here it is not so, but "He" saves "to the uttermost." 
What is "to the uttermost"? He hints at some mystery. Not here  only (he says) but there  also He saves them that "come unto God by Him." How does He save? "In that He ever liveth" (he says) "to make intercession for them." Thou seest the humiliation? Thou seest the manhood? For he says not, that He obtained this, by making intercession once for all, but continually, and whensoever it may be needful to intercede for them.
"To the uttermost." What is it? Not for a time only, but there also in the future life. `Does He then always need to pray? Yet how can [this] be reasonable? Even righteous men have oftentimes accomplished all by one entreaty, and is He always praying? Why then is He throned with [the Father]?' Thou seest that it is a condescension. The meaning is: Be not afraid, nor say, Yea, He loves us indeed, and He has confidence towards the Father, but He cannot live always. For He doth live alway.
[7.] ( Ver. 26 ) "For such an High Priest also  became us, who is holy, harmless, unde filed, separate from the sinners." Thou seest that the whole is said with reference to the manhood. (But when I say `the manhood,' I mean [the manhood] having Godhead; not dividing [one from the other], but leaving [you] to suppose  what is suitable.) Didst thou mark the difference of the High Priest? He has summed up what was said before, "in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin." ( c. iv. 15 .) "For" (he says) "such an High Priest also became us, who is holy, harmless." "Harmless": what is it? Without wickedness: that which another  Prophet says: "guile was not found in His mouth" ( Isa. liii. 9 ), that is, [He is] not crafty. Could any one say this concerning God? And is one not ashamed to say that God is not crafty, nor deceitful? Concerning Him, however, in respect of the Flesh, it might be reasonable [to say it]. "Holy, undefiled." This too would any one say concerning God? For has He a nature capable of defilement? "Separate from sinners."
[8.] Does then this alone show the difference, or does the sacrifice itself also? How? ( Ver. 27 ) "He needeth not" (he says) "daily, as the High Priest,  to offer up sacrifices for his sins, for this He did once for all, when He offered up Himself." "This," what? Here what follows sounds a prelude concerning the exceeding greatness of the spiritual sacrifice and the interval [between them]. He has mentioned the point of the priest; he has mentioned that of the faith; he has mentioned that of the Covenant; not entirely indeed, still he has mentioned it. In this place what follows is a prelude concerning the sacrifice itself. Do not then, having heard that He is a priest, suppose that He is always executing the priest's office. For He executed it once, and thenceforward "sat down." ( c. x. 12 .) Lest thou suppose that He is standing on high, and is a minister, he shows that the matter is [part] of a dispensation [or economy]. For as He became a servant, so also [He became] a Priest and a Minister. But as after becoming a servant, He did not continue a servant, so also, having become a Minister, He did not continue a Minister. For it belongs not to a minister to sit, but to stand.
This then he hints at here, and also the greatness of the sacrifice, if being [but] one, and having been offered up once only, it affected that which all [the rest] were unable to do. But he does not yet [treat] of these points.
"For this He did," he says. "This"; what? "For" (he says) "it is of necessity that this [Man] have somewhat also to offer" ( c. viii. 3 ); not for Himself; for how did He offer Himself? But for the people. What sayest thou? And is He able to do this? Yea (he says). "For the Law maketh men high priests, which have infirmity." ( c. vii. 28 .) And doth He not need to offer for Himself? No, he says. For, that you may not suppose that the [words, "this"] "He did once for all," are said respecting Himself also, hear what he says: "For the law maketh men high priests, which have infirmity." On this account they both offer continually, and for themselves. He however who is mighty, He that hath no sin, why should He offer for Himself, or oftentimes for others?
"But the word of the oath which was since the Law [maketh] the Son who has been consecrated for evermore." "Consecrated":  what is that? Paul does not set down the common terms of contradistinction;  for after saying "having Infirmity," he did not say "the Son" who is mighty, but "consecrated":  i.e. mighty, as one might say. Thou seest that the name Son is used in contradistinction to that of servant. And by "infirmity" he means either sin or death.
What is, "for evermore"? Not now only without sin but always. If then He is perfect, if He never sins, if He lives always, why shall He offer many sacrifices for us? But for the present he does not insist strongly on this point: but what he does strongly insist upon is, His not offering on His own behalf.
[9.] Since then we have such an High Priest, let us imitate Him: let us walk in His footsteps. There is no other sacrifice: one alone has cleansed us, and after this, fire and hell. For indeed on this account he repeats it over and over, saying, "one Priest," "one Sacrifice," lest any one supposing that there are many [sacrifices] should sin without fear. Let us then, as many as have been counted worthy of The Seal,  as many as have enjoyed The Sacrifice, as many as have partaken of the immortal Table, continue to guard our noble birth and our dignity for falling away is not without danger.
And as many as have not yet been counted worthy these [privileges], let not these either be confident on that account. For when a person goes on in sin, with the view of receiving holy baptism at the last gasp, oftentimes he will not obtain it. And, believe me, it is not to terrify you that I say what I am going to say. I have myself known many persons, to whom this has happened, who in expectation indeed of the enlightening  sinned much, and on the day of their death went away empty. For God gave us baptism for this cause, that He might do away our sins, not that He might increase our sins. Whereas if any man have employed it as a security for sinning more, it becomes a cause of negligence. For if there had been no Washing, they would have lived more warily, as not having [the means of] forgiveness. Thou seest that we are the ones who cause it to be said "Let us do evil, that good may come." ( Rom. iii. 8 .)
Wherefore, I exhort you also who are uninitiated, be sober. Let no man follow after virtue as an hireling, no man as a senseless  person, no man as after a heavy and burdensome thing. Let us pursue it then with a ready mind, and with joy. For if there were no reward laid up, ought we not to be good? But however, at least with a reward, let us become good. And how is this anything else than a disgrace and a very great condemnation? Unless thou give me a reward (says one), I do not become self-controlled. Then am I bold to say something: thou wilt never be self-controlled, no not even when thou livest with self-control, if thou dost it for a reward. Thou esteemest not virtue at all, if thou dost not love it. But on account of our great weakness, God was willing that for a time it should be practiced even for reward, yet not even so do we pursue it.
But let us suppose, if you will, that a man dies, after having done innumerable evil things, having also been counted worthy of baptism (which however I think does not readily happen), tell me, how will he depart thither? Not indeed called to account for the deeds he had done, but yet without confidence;  as is reasonable. For when after living a hundred years, he has no good work to show,  but only that he has not sinned, or rather not even this, but that he was saved by grace  only, and when he sees others crowned, in splendor, and highly approved: even if he fall not into hell, tell me, will he endure his despondency?
[10.] But to make the matter clear by an example, Suppose there are two soldiers, and that one of them steals, injures, overreaches, and that the other does none of these things, but acts the part of a brave man, does important things well, sets up trophies in war, stains his right hand with blood; then when the time arrives, suppose that (from the same rank in which the thief also was) he is at once conducted to the imperial throne and the purple; but suppose that the other remains there where he was, and merely of the royal kindness does not pay the penalty of his deeds, let him however be in the last place, and let him be stationed under the King. Tell me, will he be able to endure his despair when he sees him who was [ranked] with himself ascended even to the very highest dignities, and made thus glorious, and master of the world, while he himself still remains below, and has not even been freed from punishment with honor, but through the grace and kindness of the King? For even should the King forgive him, and release him from the charges against him, still he will live in shame; for surely not even will others admire him: since in such forgiveness, we admire not those who receive the gifts, but those who bestow them. And as much as the gifts are greater, so much the more are they ashamed who receive them, when their transgressions are great.
With what eyes then will such an one be able to look on those who are in the King's courts, when they exhibit their sweatings out of number and their wounds, whilst he has nothing to show, but has his salvation itself of the mere loving-kindness of God? For as if one were to beg off a murderer, a thief, an adulterer, when he was going to be arrested, and were to command him to stay at the porch of the King's palace, he will not afterwards be able to look any man in the face, although he has been set free from punishment: so too surely is this man's case.
For do not, I beseech you, suppose that because it is called a palace,  therefore all attain the same things. For if here in Kings' courts there is the Prefect, and all who are about the King, and also those who are in very inferior stations, and occupy the place of what are called Decani  (though the interval be so great between the Prefect and the Decanus) much more shall this be so in the royal court above.
And this I say not of myself. For Paul layeth down another difference greater even than these. For (he says) as many differences as there are between the sun and the moon and the stars and the very smallest star, so many also between those in the kingdom [of Heaven]. And that the difference between the sun and the smallest star is far greater than that between the Decanus (as he is called) and the Prefect, is evident to all. For while the sun shines upon all the world at once, and makes it bright, and hides the moon and the stars, the other often does not appear, not even in the dark. For there are many of the stars which we do not see. When then we see others become suns, and we have the rank of the very smallest stars, which are not even visible, what comfort shall we have?
Let us not, I beseech you, let us not be so slothful, not so inert, let us not barter away the salvation of God for an easy life, but let us make merchandise of it, and increase it. For even if one be a Catechumen, still he knows Christ, still he understands the Faith, still he is a hearer of the divine oracles, still he is not far from the knowledge; he knows the will of his Lord. Wherefore does he procrastinate? wherefore does he delay and postpone? Nothing is better than a good life whether here or there, whether in case of the Enlightened or of the Catechumens,
[11.] For tell me what burdensome command have we enjoined? Have a wife (it is said) and be chaste. Is this difficult? How? when many, not Christians only but heathens also, live chastely without a wife. That which the heathen surpasses  for vainglory, thou dost not even keep for the fear of God.
Give (He says) to the poor out of what thou hast. Is this burdensome? But in this case also heathen condemn us who for vainglory only have emptied out their whole possessions.
Use not filthy communication. Is this difficult? For if it had not been enjoined, ought we not to have done right in this, to avoid appearing degraded? For that the contrary conduct is troublesome, I mean the using filthy communication, is manifest from the fact that the soul is ashamed and blushes if it have been led to say any such thing and would not unless perhaps it were drunk. For when sitting in a public place, even if thou doest it at home, why dost thou not do it there? Because of those that are present. Why dost thou not readily do the same thing before thy wife? That thou mayest not insult her. So then thou dost it not, lest thou shouldest insult thy wife; and dost thou not blush at insulting God? For He is everywhere present, and heareth all things.
Be not drunken, He says. For this very thing of itself, is it not a chastisement? He did not say, Put thy body on the rack, but what? Do not give it free rein  so as to take away the authority of the mind: on the contrary "make not provision for the lusts thereof." ( Rom. xiii. 14 .)
Do not (He says) seize by violence what is not thine own; do not overreach; do not forswear thyself. What labors do these things require! what sweatings!
Speak evil of no man (He says) nor accuse falsely. The contrary indeed is a labor. For when thou hast spoken ill of another, immediately thou art in danger, in suspicion, [saying] Did he of whom I spake, hear? whether he be great or small. For should he be a great man, immediately thou wilt be indeed in danger; but if small, he will requite thee with as much, or rather with what is far more grievous; for he will say evil of thee in a greater degree. We are enjoined nothing difficult, nothing burdensome, if we have the will. And if we have not the will, even the easiest things will appear burdensome to us. What is easier than eating? but from great effeminacy many feel disgust even at this, and I hear many say, that it is weariness even to eat. None of these things is wearisome if thou hast but the will. For everything depends on the will after the grace from above. Let us will good things that we may attain also to the good things eternal, in Christ Jesus our Lord, whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
 " by means of. "  nenomothetetai is the reading of the best mss. of St. Chrys. here and throughout the Homily. The common editions had nenomotheteto . So while the common editions [ Textus Rec .] of the N.T. read nenomotheteto , the critical editors have nenomothetetai  " takes place. "  " from. "  hi ereon . The editions had hi erosunes ; so the common text of the New Test. read hi erosunes , the critical editions have hi e reon  ei men oun teleiosis, toutesti tes ton pragmaton, tes ton dogmaton, tou Biou he teleiosis . It is not clear, as Mr. Field remarks, to what the articles tes , tes are to be referred.  or [ " it is " ]. S. B. have e keinos in the text.  [have been subjected to the law.--F.G.]  stoichei  tropo  a nomos  See Deut. vi. 8  a katalutou , " indestructible. "  or, " conviction. "  The early Heretics denied the divine character of the Mosaic dispensation.  e ntithenta  ho rkomosias  [The words " after the order of Melchisedec " are in the text of St. Chrys. and in the Textus Rec . They are omitted in recent critical editions, but are implied in the context.--F.G.]  The common editions add here ver. 23, 24 , " and they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this [man] because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. " St. Chrys. alludes to these words in what follows: but without citing them.  The common texts add here " and that it is with oath-taking " : this is probably to be understood: as if he had said, He lays down a second point of difference that, &c.  eis to panteles  in this world.  in the other world.  In Mr. Field's ed. kai is read here, and where the words are cited afterwards, in the common texts it is omitted. So critical editors consider that the sacred text is toioutos gar hemin kai eprepen k. l . [The critical editors are not agreed; some insert the kai , others place it in brackets.--F.G.]  hu popteuein  As this passage is cited by Facundus Hermianensis, an African Bishop, writing about the year 547, it may be well to give his words and also the two Greek texts corresponding to them, as an evidence that the text which he had was of the short and simple form now restored in Mr. Field's edition. "In interpretatione quoque Epistolæ ad Hebræos, Sermone xiv, de eo quod scriptum est, Sicut consummatio per Leviticum sacerdotium erat , ita locutus est: Dicit alter propheta, Dolus non est inventus in ore ejus, hoc est nulla calliditas. Hoc forsitan quisquam de Deo dicat, et non erubescit dicens, quia Deus non est callidus, neque dolosus. De eo vero qui secundum carnem est, habebit forsitan rationem." (pro def. trium capp. lib. xi. c. 5, p. 488, ed Sirm.) [ Gall. Bibl. Patr . xi. 789.] Mr. Field's text is, ho [ ho om. ms. R.) legei heteros prophetes; dolos ouch heurethe en to stomati autou (toutestin, ouch hupoulos; touto an tis peri Theou eipoi ; kai ouk aischunetai legon, hoti ho theos ouk estin hupoulos, oude doleros ; peri mentoi tou kata sakra echoi an logon The text of Savile and the Benedictines ouch hupoulos; kai hoti toioutos, akoue tou prophetou legontos; oude heurethe dolos en to stomati autou, touto oun an tis peri Theou eipoi ; ho de ouk aischunetai legon, hoti ho theos ouk estin hupoulos, oude doleros ; peri men oun tou kata sarka echoi an logon  This is the reading adopted by Mr. Field. The common texts give the passage as it stands in the text of the Epistle [where there is no var. lect. of importance.--F.G.]. Indeed what is omitted must plainly be intended to be supplied.  [ teteleiomenon . This is the common Levitical term for priestly consecration . It is also used in the Classics in a corresponding sense of initiation into the mysteries. The English edition takes it in the common sense of perfected .--F.G.]  tas antidiastolas kurias  [ teteleiomenon . This is the common Levitical term for priestly consecration . It is also used in the Classics in a corresponding sense of initiation into the mysteries. The English edition takes it in the common sense of perfected .--F.G.]  i.e. Baptism.  Baptism.  a gnomon  a parresiastos  [St. Cyril Alex. speaks too of those who put off baptism till they are old and receive forgiveness through it, but have nought to bring to their Master. Glaph. 273.]  i.e. mercy [ chariti , the common word for " grace. " --F.G.]  basileia , but Sav. basileia , a kingdom.  " The Dekanoi at Constantinople were lictors, and had the charge of burying the dead: they are otherwise called funerum elatores, lecticarii, vespillones, libitinarii , kopiatai . Corippus, lib. iii., says Jamque ordine certo Turba decanorum , cursorum, in rebus agentum, Cumque palatinis stans candida turba tribunis." Suicer, Thes. Eccles . p. 835, cited by Mr. Field.  hu perbainei  e ktrachelises
Hebrews viii. 1, 2
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest; who is set down on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens: a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man."
[1.] Paul mixes the lowly things with the lofty, ever imitating his Master, so that the lowly become the path to the lofty, and through the former we are led to the latter, and when we are amid the great things we learn that these [lowly ones] were a condescension. This accordingly he does here also. After declaring that "He offered up Himself," and showing Him to be a "High Priest," what does he say? "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an High Priest who is set down on the right hand of the throne of the majesty." And yet this is not [the office] of a Priest, but of Him whom the Priest should serve.
"A minister of the sanctuary," not simply a minister, but "a minister of the sanctuary. And of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man." Thou seest the condescension. Did he not a little before make a separation,  saying: "Are they not all ministering spirits?" ( supra, i. 14 ) and therefore (he says) it is not said to them, "Sit thou on my right hand," ( supra, i. 13 ) for He that sitteth is not a minister. How is it then that it is here said, "a minister," and "a minister of the Sanctuary"? for he means here the Tabernacle.
See how he raised up the minds of the believing Jews. For as they would be apt to imagine that we have no such tabernacle [as they had], see here (he says) is the Priest, Great, yea, much greater than the other, and who has offered a more wonderful sacrifice. But is not all this mere talk? is it not a boast, and merely said to win over our minds? on this account he established it first from the oath, and afterwards also from "the tabernacle." For this difference too was manifest: but the Apostle thinks of another also, "which" (he says) "the Lord pitched [or "made firm"] and not man." Where are they who say that the heaven whirls around?  where are they who declare that it is spherical? for both of these notions are overthrown here.
"Now" (he says) "of the things which we have spoken this is the sum." By "the sum" is always meant what is most important. Again he brings down his discourse; having said what is lofty, henceforward he speaks fearlessly.
[2.] In the next place that thou mayest understand that he used the word "minister" of the manhood, observe how he again indicates it: "For" ( ver. 3 ) (he says) "every high priest is ordained to offer both gifts and sacrifices, wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer."
Do not now, because thou hearest that He sitteth, suppose that His being called High Priest is mere idle talk.  For the former, viz. His sitting, belongs to the dignity of the Godhead,  but this to His great lovingkindness, and His tender care for us. On this account he repeatedly urges  this very thing, and dwells more upon it: for he feared lest the other [truth] should overthrow it.  Therefore he again brings down his discourse to this: since some were enquiring why He died. He was a Priest. But there is no Priest without a sacrifice. It is necessary then that He also should have a sacrifice.
And in another way; Having said that He is on high, he affirms and proves that He is a Priest from every consideration, from Melchisedec, from the oath, from offering sacrifice. From this he also frames another and necessary syllogism. "For if" (he says) "He had been on earth, He would not be a Priest, seeing that there are priests who offer the gifts according to the Law." If then He is a Priest (as He really is), we must seek some other place for Him. "For if He were" indeed "on earth, He should not be a priest." For how [could He be]? He offered no sacrifice, He ministered not in the Priest's office. And with good reason, for there were the priests. Moreover he shows, that it was impossible that [He] should be a priest upon earth. For how [could He be]? There was no rising up against [the appointed Priests], he means.
[3.] Here we must apply our minds attentively, and consider the Apostolic wisdom; for again he shows the difference of the Priesthood. "Who" (he says) "serve unto the example  and shadow of heavenly things."
What are the heavenly things he speaks of here? The spiritual things. For although they are done on earth, yet nevertheless they are worthy of the Heavens. For when our Lord Jesus Christ lies slain  [as a sacrifice], when the Spirit is with us,  when He who sitteth on the right hand of the Father is here,  when sons are made by the Washing, when they are fellow-citizens of those in Heaven, when we have a country, and a city, and citizenship there, when we are strangers to things here, how can all these be other than "heavenly things"? But what! Are not our Hymns heavenly? Do not we also who are below utter in concert with them the same things which the divine choirs of bodiless powers sing above? Is not the altar also heavenly? How? It hath nothing carnal, all spiritual things become the offerings.  The sacrifice does not disperse into ashes, or into smoke, or into steamy savor, it makes the things placed there bright and splendid. How again can the rites which we celebrate be other than heavenly? For when He says, "Whose soever sins ye retain they are retained, whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted" ( John xx. 23 ) when they have the keys of heaven, how can all be other than heavenly?
"Who" (he says) "serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God,  when he was about to make the tabernacle, for see, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount." Inasmuch as our hearing is less ready of apprehension than our sight (for the things which we hear we do not in such wise lay up in our soul, as those which we see with our very eyes), He showed him all. Either then he means this by "the example and shadow," or else he [speaks] of the Temple. For, he went on to say, "See" (His words are), that "thou make all things according to the pattern  showed to thee in the mount." Was it then only what concerned the furniture of the temple that he saw, or was it also what related to the sacrifices, and all the rest? Nay, one would not be wrong in saying even this; for The Church is heavenly, and is nothing else than Heaven.
[4.] ( Ver. 6 ) "But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry,  by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant." Thou seest (he means) how much better is the one ministration than the other, if one be an example and type, and the other truth [reality]. But this did not profit the hearers, nor cheer them. Therefore he says what especially cheered them: "Which was established upon better promises." Having raised them up by speaking of the place, and the priest, and the sacrifice, he then sets forth also the wide difference of the covenant, having also said before that it was "weak and unprofitable." (See Heb. vii. 18 .)
And observe what safeguards he lays down, when intending to find fault with it. For in the former place after saying, "according to the power of an endless life" ( Heb. vii. 16 ), he then said that "there is a disannulling of the commandment going before" ( Heb. vii. 18 ); and then after that, he set forth something great, saying, "by which we draw nigh unto God." ( Heb. vii. 19 .) And in this place, after leading us up into Heaven, and showing that instead of the temple, we have Heaven, and that those things were types of ours, and having by these means exalted the Ministration [of the New Covenant], he then proceeds suitably to exalt the priesthood.
But (as I said) he sets down that which especially cheers them, in the words, "Which was established upon better promises." Whence does appear? In that this the one was cast out, and the other introduced in its place: for it is therefore of force because it is better. For as he says, "If perfection were by" it, "what further need was there, that another priest should rise, after the order of Melchisedec?" ( Heb. vii. 11 ); so also here he used the same syllogism, saying ( ver. 7 ) "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second"; that is, if it made men "faultless." For it is because he is speaking of this that he did not say, "But finding fault with" it, but ( ver. 8, 9 ) "But finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt: because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord."
Yea, verily. And whence does it appear that [the first Covenant] came to an end? He showed it indeed also from the Priest, but now he shows more clearly by express words that it has been cast out.
But how is it "upon better promises"? For how, tell me, can earth and heaven be equal? But do thou consider,  how he speaks of promises there [in that other covenant] also, that thou mayest not bring this charge against it. For there also, he says "a better hope, by which we draw nigh unto God" ( Heb. vii. 19 ), showing that a Hope was there also; and in this place "better promises," hinting that there also He had made promises.
But inasmuch as they were forever making objections, he says, "Behold! the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." He is not speaking of any old Covenant: for, that they might not assert this, he determined the time also. Thus he did not say simply, "according to the covenant which I made with their fathers," lest thou shouldest say [it was] the one made with Abraham, or that with Noah: but he declares what [covenant it was], "not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers" in the Exodus. Wherefore he added also, "in the day that I took them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord." Thou seest that the evils begin first from ourselves ("they" themselves first, saith he, "continued not in [the "covenant"]") and the negligence is from ourselves, but the good things from Him; I mean the [acts] of bounty. He here introduces, as it were, an apology showing the cause why He forsakes them.
[5.] ( Ver. 10 ) "For this," he says, "is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put  My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people." Thus He says this concerning the New [covenant] because His words are "not according to the covenant which I covenanted."
But what other difference is there beside this?  Now if any person should say that "the difference is not in this respect, but in respect to its being put into their hearts; He makes no mention of any difference of ordinances, but points out the mode of its being given: for no longer" (he says) "shall the covenant be in writings, but in hearts;" let the Jew in that case show that this was ever carried into effect; but he could not, for it was made a second time in writings after the return from Babylon. But I show that the Apostles received nothing in writing, but received [it] in their hearts through the Holy Ghost. Wherefore also Christ said, "When He cometh, He will bring all things to your remembrance, and He shall teach you." ( John xiv. 26 .)
[6.] ( Ver. 11, 12 ) "And they shall not teach" (he says) "every man his neighbor,  and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Behold also another sign. "From the least even to the greatest of them" (he says) "they shall know Me, and they shall not say, Know the Lord." When hath this been fulfilled save now? For our [religion]  is manifest: but theirs [i.e. the Jews'] was not manifest, but had been shut up in a corner.
[A covenant] is then said to be "new," when it is different and shows some advantage over the old. "Nay surely," says one,  "it is new also when part of it has been taken away, and part not. For instance, when an old house is ready to fall down, if a person leaving the whole, has patched up the foundation, straightway we say, he has made it new, when he has taken some parts away, and brought others into their place. For even the heaven also is thus called `new,'  when it is no longer `of brass,' but gives rain;  and the earth likewise is new when it is not un fruitful, not when it has been changed; and the house is likewise new, when portions of it have been taken away, and portions remain. And thus, he says,  he hath well termed it `a New Covenant.'"
If then I show that that covenant had become "Old" in this respect, that it yielded no fruit? And that thou mayest know this exactly, read what Haggai says, what Zechariah, what the Messenger,  when the return from the Captivity had not yet fully taken place; and what Esdras charges. How then did [the people] receive him?  And how no man enquired of the Lord, inasmuch as they [the priests] themselves also transgressed, and knew it not even themselves?  Dost thou see how thy [interpretation] is broken down,  whilst I maintain my own: that this [covenant] must be called "New" in the proper sense of the word?
And besides, I do not concede that the words "the heaven shall be new" ( Isa. lxv. 17 ), were spoken concerning this. For why, when saying in Deuteronomy "the heaven shall be of brass," did he not set down this in the contrasted passage,  "but if ye hearken, it shall be new."
And further on this account He says that He will give "another Covenant, because they did not continue in the first." This I show by what he says ("For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh," Rom. viii. 3 ; and again, "Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Acts xv. 10 .) But "they did not continue therein," he says.
Here he shows that [God] counts us worthy of greater and of spiritual [privileges]: for it is said "their sound went out into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the world." ( Ps. xix. 5; Rom. x. 18 .) That is [the meaning of] "they shall not say each man to his neighbor, Know the Lord." And again, "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as much water to cover the seas." ( Isa. xi. 9 .)
[7.] "In calling it new" (he says), "He hath made the first old: but that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." See what was hidden, how he hath laid open the very mind of the prophet! He honored the law, and was not willing to call it "old" in express terms: but nevertheless, this he did call it. For if the former had been new, he would not have called this which came afterwards "new" also. So that by granting something more and different, he declares that "it was waxen old." Therefore it is done away and is perishing, and no longer exists.
Having taken boldness from the prophet, he attacks it more suitably,  showing that our [dispensation] is now flourishing. That is, he showed that [the other] was old: then taking up the word "old," and adding of himself another [circumstance], the [characteristic] of old age, he took up what was omitted by the others, and says "ready to vanish away."
The New then has not simply caused the old to cease, but because it had become aged, as it was not [any longer] useful. On this account he said, "for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof" ( Heb. vii. 18 ), and, "the law made nothing perfect" ( Heb. vii. 19 ); and that "if the first had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." ( Heb. viii. 7 .) And "faultless"; that is, useful; not as though it [the old Covenant] was obnoxious to any charges, but as not being sufficient. He used a familiar form of speech. As if one should say, the house is not faultless, that is, it has some defect, it is decayed: the garment is not faultless, that is, it is coming to pieces. He does not therefore here speak of it as evil, but only as having some fault and deficiency.
[8.] So then we also are new, or rather we were made new, but now are become old; therefore we are "near to vanishing away," and to destruction. Let us scrape off  this old age. It is indeed no longer possible to do it by Washing, but by repentance it is possible here [in this life].  If there be in us anything old, let us cast it off; if any "wrinkle," if any stain, if any "spot," let us wash it away and become fair ( Eph. v. 27 ): that "the King may desire our beauty." ( Ps. xlv. 11 .)
It is possible even for him who has fallen into the extremest deformity  to recover that beauty of which David says that the King shall desire thy beauty. "Hearken, O daughter, and consider; forget also thine own people and thy father's house: so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." ( Ps. xlv. 10, 11 .) And yet forgetting doth not produce beauty. Yea, beauty is of the soul. What sort of forgetting? That of sins. For he is speaking about the Church from among the Gentiles, exhorting her not to remember the things of her fathers, that is [of] those that sacrificed to idols; for from such was it gathered.
And he said not, "Go not after them," but what is more, Do not admit them into thy mind; which he says also in another place, "I will not mention their names through my lips." ( Ps. xvi. 4 .) And again, "That my mouth may not talk of the deeds of men." ( Ps. xvii. 3, 4 .) As yet is this no great virtue; nay, rather, it is indeed great, but not such as this [which is here spoken of]. For what does he say there? He says not; "Talk not of the things of men, neither speak of the things of thy fathers"; but, neither remember them, nor admit them into thy mind. Thou seest to how great a distance he would have us keep away from wickedness. For he that remembers not [a matter] will not think of it, and he that does not think, will not speak of it: and he that does not speak of it, will not do it. Seest thou from how many paths he hath walled us off? by what great intervals he hath removed us, even to a very great [distance]?
[9.] Let us then also "hearken and forget" our own evils. I do not say our sins, for (He says) "Remember thou first, and I will not remember." ( Isa. xliii. 26, 25 , LXX.) I mean for instance, Let us no longer remember rapacity, but even restore the former [plunder]. This is to forget wickedness, and to cast out the thought of rapacity, and never at any time to admit it, but to wipe away also the things already done amiss.
Whence may the forgetfulness of wickedness come to us? From the remembrance of good things, from the remembrance of God. If we continually remember God, we cannot remember those things also. For (he says) "When I remembered Thee upon my bed, I thought upon Thee in the morning dawn." ( Ps. lxiii. 6 .) We ought then to have God always in remembrance, but then especially, when thought is undisturbed, when by means of that remembrance [a man] is able to condemn himself, when he can retain [things] in memory. For in the daytime indeed, if we do remember, other cares and troubles entering in, drive the thought out again: but in the night it is possible to remember continually, when the soul is calm and at rest; when it is in the haven, and under a serene sky. "The things which you say in your hearts be ye grieved for on your beds," he says. ( Ps. iv. 4 , LXX.) For it were indeed right to retain this remembrance through the day also. But inasmuch as you are always full of cares, and distracted amidst the things of this life, at least then remember God on your bed; at the morning dawn meditate upon Him.
If at the morning dawn we meditate on these things, we shall go forth to our business with much security. If we have first made God propitious by prayer  and supplication, going forth thus we shall have no enemy. Or if thou shouldest, thou wilt laugh him to scorn, having God propitious. There is war in the market place; the affairs of every day are a fight, they are a tempest and a storm. We therefore need arms: and prayer is a great weapon. We need favorable winds; we need to learn everything, so as to go through the length of the day without shipwrecks and without wounds. For every single day the rocks are many, and oftentimes the boat strikes and is sunk. Therefore have we especially need of prayer early and by night.
[10.] Many of you have often beheld the Olympic games: and not only have beheld but have been zealous partisans and admirers of the combatants, one of this [combatant], one of that. You know then that both during the days of the contests, and during those nights, all night long the herald  thinks of nothing else, has no other anxiety, than that the combatant should not disgrace himself when he goes forth. For those who sit by the trumpeter admonish him not to speak to any one, that he may not spend his breath and get laughed at. If therefore he who is about to strive before men, uses such forethought, much more will it befit us to be continually thoughtful, and careful, since our whole life is a contest. Let every night then be a vigil,  and let us be careful that when we go out in the day we do not make ourselves ridiculous. And would it were only making ourselves ridiculous. But now the Judge of the contest is seated on the right hand of the Father, hearkening diligently that we utter not any false note, anything out of tune. For He is not the Judge of actions only, but of words also. Let us keep our vigil,  beloved; we also have those that are eager for our success, if we will. Near each one of us Angels are sitting; and yet we snore through the whole night. And would it were only this. But many do even many licentious things, some indeed going to the very brothels,  and others making their own houses places of whoredom by taking courtesans thither. Yes most certainly. For is it not so? They care well for their contest. Others are drunken and speak amiss;  others make an uproar. Others keep evil vigil through the night weaving, and worse than those who sleep, schemes of deceit; others by calculating usury; others by bruising themselves with cares, and doing anything rather than what is suited to the contest. Wherefore, I exhort you, let us lay aside all [other] things, and look to one only, how we may obtain the prize, [how we may] be crowned with the Chaplet; let us do all by which we shall be able to attain to the promised blessings. Which may we all attain in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and also to the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
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