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 XXIII.Hebrews xi. 7
"By faith Noah, being warned of God  of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by Faith."
[1.] " By faith" (he says) "Noah being warned of God." As the Son of God, speaking of His own coming, said, "In the days of Noah they married and were given in marriage" ( Luke xvii. 26, 27 ), therefore the Apostle also recalled to their mind an appropriate image. For the example of Enoch, was an example only of Faith; that of Noah, on the other hand, of unbelief also. And this is a complete consolation and exhortation, when not only believers are found approved, but also unbelievers suffer the opposite.
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"Of things not seen as yet," he says, that is of the rain.
"Moved with fear, prepared an ark." Reason indeed suggested nothing of this sort; For "they were marrying and being given in marriage"; the air was clear, there were no signs [of change]: but nevertheless he feared: "By faith" (he says) "Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house."
How is it, "By the which he condemned the world"? He showed them to be worthy of punishment, since they were not brought to their senses even by the preparation.
"And he became" (he says) "heir of the righteousness which is by Faith": that is, by his believing God he was shown to be righteous. For this is the [part] of a soul sincerely disposed towards Him and judging nothing more reliable than His words, just as Unbelief is the very contrary. Faith, it is manifest, works righteousness. For as we have been warned of God respecting Hell, so was he also: and yet at that time he was laughed at; he was reviled and ridiculed; but he regarded none of these things.
[2.] ( Ver. 8, 9 ) "By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." ["By faith"]: for (tell me) whom did he see to emulate?  He had for father a Gentile, and an idolater; he had heard no prophets; he knew not whither he was going. For as they of the Hebrews who believed, looked to these [patriarchs] as having enjoyed blessings innumerable, he shows that none of them obtained anything as yet; all are unrewarded; no one as yet received his reward. "He" escaped from his country and his home, and "went out not knowing whither he went."
And what marvel, if he himself [were so], when his seed also dwelt in this same way? For seeing the promise disproved  (since He had said, "To thee will I give this land, and to thy seed"-- Gen. xii. 7; xiii. 15 ), he saw his son dwelling there; and again his grandson saw himself dwelling in a land not his own; yet was he nowise troubled. For the affairs of Abraham happened as we might have expected, since the promise was to be accomplished afterwards in his family (although it is said even to himself, "To thee, and to thy seed," not, "to thee through thy seed," but "to thee and to thy seed"): still neither he, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, enjoyed the promise. For one of them served for hire, and the other was driven out: and he himself even was failing  through fear: and while he took some things indeed in war, others, unless he had had the aid of God, would have been destroyed. On this account [the Apostle] says, "with the heirs of the same promise"; not himself alone, he means; but the heirs also.
[3.] ( Ver. 13 ) "These all died in faith," he says, "not having obtained  the promises." At this place it is worth while to make two enquiries; how, after saying that [God] "translated Enoch, and he was not found, so that he did not see death," does he say, "These all died in Faith." And again, after saying, "they not having obtained the promises," he declares that Noah had received a reward, "to the saving of his house," and that Enoch had been "translated," and that Abel "yet speaks," and that Abraham had gained a hold on the land, and yet he says, "These all died in Faith, not having obtained the promises." What then is [meant]?
It is necessary to solve the first [difficulty], and then the second. "These all" (he says) " died in faith." The word "all" is used here not because all had died, but because with that one exception "all these had died," whom we know to be dead.
And the [statement] "not having obtained the promises," is true: for surely the promise to Noah was not to be this [which is here spoken of]. But further, of what kind of "promises" is he speaking? For Isaac and Jacob received the promises of the land; but as to Noah and Abel and Enoch, what kind of promises did they receive? Either then he is speaking concerning these three; or if concerning those others also, the promise was not this, that Abel should be admired, nor that Enoch should be translated, nor that Noah should be preserved;  but these things came to them for their virtue's sake, and were a sort of foretaste of things to come. For God from the beginning, knowing that the human race needs much condescension, bestows on us not only the things in the world to come, but also those here; as for instance, Christ said even to the disciples, "Whosoever hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life." ( Matt. xix. 29 .) And again, "Seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." ( Matt. vi. 33 .) Seest thou that these things are given by Him in the way of addition, that we might not faint?  For as the athletes have the benefit of careful attention, even when engaged in the combat, but do not then enjoy entire ease, living under rules, yet afterwards they enjoy it entire: so God also does not grant us here to partake of "entire" ease. For even here He does give [some].
[4.] "But having seen them afar off," he says,  "and embraced them." Here he hints at something mystical: that they received beforehand all the things which have been spoken concerning things to come; concerning the resurrection, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, concerning the other things, which Christ proclaimed when He came, for these are "the promises" of which he speaks. Either then he means this, or, that they did not indeed receive them, but died in confidence respecting them, and they were [thus] confident through Faith only.
"Having seen them afar off": four generations before; for after so many [generations], they went up out of Egypt.
"And embraced them," saith he, and were glad. They were so persuaded of them as even to "embrace [or "salute"] them," from the metaphor of persons on ship-board seeing from afar the longed-for cities: which, before they enter them, they take and occupy by words of greeting.
( Ver. 10 ) "For they looked" (he says) "for the  city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Seest thou that they received them in this sense, in their already accepting them and being confident respecting them. If then to be confident is to receive, it is in your power also to receive. For these, although they enjoyed not those [blessings], yet still saw them by their longing desire. Why now do these things happen? That we might be put to shame, in that they indeed, when things on earth were promised them, regarded them not, but sought the future "city": whereas God again and again speaks to us of the city  which is above, and yet we seek that which is here. He said to them, I will give you the things of the present [world]. But when He saw, or rather, when they showed themselves worthy of greater things, then He no longer suffers them to receive these, but those greater ones; wishing to show us that they are worthy of greater things, being unwilling to be bound to these. As if one should promise playthings to an intelligent child, not that he might receive them, but by way of exhibiting his philosophy, when he asks for things more important. For this is to show, that they held off from the land with so great earnestness, that they did not even accept what was given. Wherefore their posterity receive it on this account, for themselves were worthy of the land.
What is, "the city which hath foundations"? For are not these [which are visible] "foundations"? In comparison of the other, they are not.
"Whose Builder and Maker is God." O! What an encomium on that city!
[5.] ( Ver. 11 ) "By faith also Sarah herself," he says. Here he began [speaking] in a way to put them to shame, in case, that is, they should show themselves more faint-hearted than a woman. But possibly some one might say, How "by faith," when she laughed? Nay, while her laughter indeed was from unbelief, her fear [was] from Faith, for to say, "I laughed not" ( Gen. xviii. 15 ), arose from Faith. From this then it appears that when unbelief had been cleared out, Faith came in its place.
"By faith also Sarah received strength to conceive seed even when she was past age."  What is, "to conceive seed"?  She who was become dead, who was barren, received power for the retaining of seed, for conception. For her imperfection was two-fold; first from her time of life for she was really old; secondly from nature, for she was barren.
( Ver. 12 ) "Wherefore even from one they" all "sprang, as the stars of the sky, and as the sand which is by the sea-shore." "Wherefore" (he says) "even from one they" all "sprang." Here he not only says that she bare [a child], but that she also became mother of so many as not even fruitful wombs [are mothers of]. "As the stars," He says. How then is it that He often numbers them, although He said, "As the stars of the heaven shall not be numbered, so neither shall your seed"? ( Gen. xv. 5 .) He either means the excess, or else [speaks of] those who are continually being born. For is it possible, tell me, to number their forefathers of one family as, such an one son of such an one, and such an one son of such an one? But here such are the promises of God, so skillfully arranged are His undertakings.
[6.] But if the things which He promised as additional, are so admirable, so beyond expectation, so magnificent, what will those be, to which these are an addition, to which these are somewhat over and above? What then can be more blessed than they who attain them? What more wretched than those who miss them? For if a man when driven out from his native country, is pitied by all; and when he has lost an inheritance is considered by all as an object of compassion, with what tears ought he to be bewailed, who fails of Heaven, and of the good things there stored up? Or rather, he is not even to be wept for: for one is wept for, when he suffers something of which he is not himself the cause; but when of his own choice he has entangled himself in evil, he is not worthy  of tears, but of wailings;  or rather then of mourning;  since even our Lord Jesus Christ mourned and wept for Jerusalem, impious as it was. Truly we are worthy of weepings innumerable, of wailings innumerable. If the whole world should receive a voice, both stones, and wood, and trees, and wild beasts, and birds, and fishes, and in a word, the whole world, if receiving a voice it should bewail us who have failed of those good things, it would not bewail and lament enough. For what language, what intellect, can represent that blessedness and virtue, that pleasure, that glory, that happiness, that splendor? "What eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man" ( 1 Cor. ii. 9 ), (he did not say, that they simply surpass [what we imagine]; but none hath ever conceived) "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." For of what kind are those good things likely to be, of which God is the Preparer and Establisher? For if immediately after He had made us, when we had not yet done anything, He freely bestowed so great [favors], Paradise, familiar intercourse with Himself, promised us immortality, a life happy and freed from cares; what will He not bestow on those who have labored and struggled so greatly, and endured on His behalf? For us He spared not His Only Begotten, for us when we were enemies He gave up His own Son to death; of what will He not count us worthy, having become His friends? what will He not impart to us, having reconciled us to Himself?
[7.] He both is abundantly and infinitely rich; and He desires and earnestly endeavors to obtain our friendship; we do not thus earnestly endeavor. What am I saying, `do not earnestly endeavor'? We do not wish to obtain the good things as He wishes it. And what He has done shows that He wishes it more [than we]. For while, for our own sake, we with difficulty think lightly of a little gold: He, for our sake, gave even the Son who was His own. Let us make use of the love of God as we ought; let us reap the fruits of His friendship. For "ye are My friends" (he says) "if ye do what I say to you." ( John xv. 14 .) How wonderful! His enemies, who were at an infinite distance from Him, whom in all respects He excels by an incomparable superiority, these He has made His friends and calls them friends. What then should not one choose to suffer for the sake of this friendship? For the friendship of men we often incur danger, but for that of God, we do not even give up money. Our [condition] does indeed call for mourning, for mourning and tears and wailings, and loud lamentation and beating of the breast. We have fallen from our hope, we are humbled from our high estate, we have shown ourselves unworthy of the honor of God; even after His benefits we are become unfeeling, and ungrateful. The devil has stripped us of all our good things. We who were counted worthy to be sons; we His brethren and fellow-heirs are come to differ nothing from His enemies that insult Him.
Henceforward, what consolation shall there be for us? He called us to Heaven, and we have thrust ourselves down to hell. "Swearing and lying and stealing and adultery, are poured out upon the earth." ( Hos. iv. 2 .) Some "mingle blood upon blood"; and others do deeds worse than blood-shedding. Many of those that are wronged, many of those that are defrauded prefer ten thousand deaths to the suffering such things: and except they had feared God, would even have killed themselves, being so murderously disposed against themselves. Are not these things then worse than blood-shedding?
[8.] "Woe is me, my soul! For the godly man is perished from the earth, and there is none upright among men" ( Mic. vii. 1, 2 , LXX.); let us also now cry out, first about our own selves: but aid me in my lamentation.
Perhaps some are even disgusted and laugh. For this very cause ought we to make our lamentations the more intense, because we are so mad and beside ourselves, that we do not know that we are mad, but laugh at things for which we ought to groan. O man! "There is wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" ( Rom. i. 18 ); "God will come manifestly: a fire will burn before Him, and round about Him will be a mighty tempest." ( Ps. l. 3 .) "A fire will burn before Him, and consume His enemies on every side." ( Ps. xcvii. 3 .) "The day of the Lord is as a burning oven." ( Mal. iv. 1 .) And no man lays up these things in his mind, but these tremendous and fearful doctrines are more despised than fables, and are trodden under foot. He that heareth,--there is no one: while they who laugh and make sport are--all. What resource will there be for us? Whence shall we find safety? "We are undone, we are utterly consumed" ( Num. xvii. 12 ), we are become the laughingstock of our enemies, and a mockery for the heathen and the Demons. Now is the devil greatly elated; he glories and is glad. The angels to whom we had been entrusted are all ashamed and in sadness: there is no man to convert [you]: all means have been used by us in vain, and we seem to you as idle talkers. It is seasonable even now to call on the heaven, because there is no man that heareth; to take to witness the elements: "Hear, O heaven! and give ear, O earth! for the Lord hath spoken." ( Isa. i. 2 .)
Give a hand, stretch it forth, O ye who have not yet been overwhelmed, to them who are undone through their drunkenness: ye that are whole to them that are sick, ye that are sober-minded to them that are mad, that are giddily whirling round.
Let no man, I beseech you, prefer the favor of his friend to his salvation; and let violence and rebuke look to one thing only,--his benefit. When one has been seized by a fever, even slaves lay hold of their Masters. For when that is pressing on him, throwing his mind into confusion, and a swarm of slaves are standing by, they recognize not the law of Master and Servant, in the calamity of the Master.
Let us collect ourselves, I exhort you: there are daily wars, submersions [of towns], destructions innumerable all around us, and on every side the wrath of God is enclosing us as in a net. And we, as though we were well-pleasing to Him, are in security. We all make our hands ready for unjust gains, none for helping others: all for plundering, none for protecting: each one is in earnest as to how he shall increase his possessions; no one as to how he shall aid the needy: each one has much anxiety how he may add to his wealth; no one how he may save his own soul. One fear possesses all, lest (you say) we should become poor; no man is in anguish and trembling lest we should fall into hell. These things call for lamentations, these call for accusation, these call for reprobation.
[9.] But I do not wish to speak of these things, but I am constrained by my grief. Forgive me: I am forced by sorrow to utter many things, even those which I do not wish. I see that our wound is grievous, that our calamity is beyond comfort, that woes have overtaken us greater than the consolation. We are undone. "O that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears" ( Jer. ix. 1 ), that I might lament. Let us weep, beloved, let us weep, let us groan.
Possibly there may be some here who say, He talks to us of nothing but lamentation, nothing but tears. It was not my wish, believe me, it was not my wish, but rather to go through a course of commendations and praises: but now it is not the season for these. Beloved, it is not lamenting which is grievous, but the doing things which call for lamentations. Sorrow is not the thing to shrink from, but the committing things that call for sorrow. Do not thou be punished, and I will not mourn. Do not die, and I will not weep. If the body indeed lies dead, thou callest on all to grieve with thee, and thinkest those without sympathy who do not mourn: And when the soul is perishing, dost thou tell us not to mourn?
But I cannot be a father, if I do not weep. I am a father full of affection. Hear how Paul exclaims, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again" ( Gal. iv. 19 ): what mother in child-birth utters cries so bitter as he! Would that it were possible for thee to see the very fire that is in my heart, and thou wouldest know, that I burn [with grief] more intense than any woman, or gift that suffers untimely widowhood. She does not so mourn over her husband, nor any father over his son, as I do over this multitude that is here with us.
I see no progress. Everything turns to calumnies and accusations. No man makes it his business to please God; but (he says) `let us speak evil of such an one or such an one.' `Such an one is unfit to be among the Clergy.' `Such an one does not lead a respectable life.' When we ought to be grieving for our own evils, we judge others, whereas we ought not to do this, even when we are pure from sins. "For who maketh thee to differ" (he says) "and what hast thou which thou didst not receive? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory, as though thou hadst not received it?" ( 1 Cor. iv. 7 .) "And thou, why dost thou judge thy brother" ( Rom. xiv. 10 ), being thyself full of innumerable evils? When thou sayest, Such an one is a bad man, and a spendthrift, and vicious, think of thyself, and examine strictly thy own [condition], and thou wilt repent of what thou hast said. For there is no, no not any, such powerful stimulus to virtue, as the recollecting of our sins.
If we turn over these two things in our minds, we shall be enabled to attain the promised blessings, we shall be enabled to cleanse ourselves and wipe away [what is amiss]. Only let us take serious thought sometime; let us be anxious about the matter, beloved. Let us grieve here in reflection, that we may not grieve yonder in punishment, but may enjoy the everlasting blessings, where "pain and sorrow and sighing are fled away" ( Isa. xxxv. 10 ), that we may attain to the good things which surpass man's understanding, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for to Him is glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
 chrematistheis  chrematistheis  chrematismos  e n kechrematismenon  chrematismos  chra . This word is properly used of quasi-Divine communications made through oracles: the words chrematizo and chrematismos have the same meaning. Hence the emphatic character of the words " of God " in our version of the text, Rom. xi. 4 ; and so in the other passage which St. Chrys. cites ( Luke ii. 26 ), the Divinity of the Holy Spirit (he says) is implied in the use of the word e n kechrematismenon hupo (not dia ) tou Pneumatos , " a divine communication was made by the Spirit. "  " To endeavor to imitate, or even surpass. "  e lenchomenen  e xepipte : i.e. tes huposcheseos , " of the promise, " is Mr. Field's interpretation; Mutianus has poene exciderat  komisamenoi . This word is used by St. Chrys. throughout this passage without any variation of reading. The text of the Epistle here has labontes , but in ver. 39 , ouk ekomisanto . [St. Chrys. in another work has the reading labontes , but komisamenoi is generally adopted by the critical editors as the true text in the Epistle.--F.G.]  We must probably understand also, " nor that the Patriarchs should live in Canaan " : the argument seems to require this; besides, in the statement of the difficulty, Abraham's having " got a hold on the land " is mentioned together with the blessings bestowed on Abel, Enoch, and Noah, as something already given them.  See above, p. 408.  St. Chrys. does not cite nor yet refer to the words kai peisthentes , " and were persuaded of them. " They are found in the common editions of the Epistle, but are not supposed to be a genuine part of the Sacred Text. [They are rejected by all critical editors, and have very little support from the authorities for this text.--F.G.]  ten polin  polin  kai para kairon helikias . The common texts of St. Chrys. add here e teken , in accordance with the common editions of the New Testament; but in neither case is it supposed to be genuine. [Field's text omits it, and it is not in critical editions of the text of Heb.--F.G.]  eis katabolen spermatos  a xios  threnon  penthous
Hebrews xi. 13-16
"These all died in faith,  not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off,  and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed  to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city."
[1.] The first virtue, yea the whole of virtue, is to be a stranger to this world, and a sojourner, and to have nothing in common with things here, but to hang loose from them, as from things strange to us; As those blessed disciples did, of whom he says, "They wandered about in sheepskins, and in goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented:  of whom the world was not worthy." ( c. xi. 37, 38 .)
They called themselves therefore "strangers"; but Paul said somewhat much beyond this: for not merely did he call himself a stranger, but said that he was dead to the world, and that the world was dead to him. "For the world" (he says) "has been crucified to me and I to the world." ( Gal. vi. 14 .) But we, both citizens  and quite alive, busy ourselves about everything here as citizens. And what righteous men were to the world, "strangers" and "dead," that we are to Heaven. And what they were to Heaven, alive and acting as citizens, that we are to the world. Wherefore we are dead, because we have refused that which is truly life, and have chosen this which is but for a time. Wherefore we have provoked God to wrath, because when the enjoyments of Heaven have been set before us, we are not willing to be separated from things on earth, but, like worms, we turn about from the earth to the earth, and again from this to that;  and in short are not willing to look up even for a little while, nor to withdraw ourselves from human affairs, but as if drowned in torpor and sleep and drunkenness, we are stupefied with imaginations.
[2.] And as those who are under the power of sweet sleep lie on their bed not only during the night, but even when the morning has over-taken them, and bright day has come, and are not ashamed to indulge in pleasure, and to make the season of business and activity a time of slumber and indolence, so truly we also, when the day is drawing near, when the night is far spent, or rather the day; for "work" (it is said) "while it is day" ( John ix. 4 ); when it is day we practice all that belongs to the night, sleeping, dreaming, indulging in luxurious fancies; and the eyes of our understanding are closed as well as those of our body; we speak amiss, we talk absurdly; even if a person inflict a deep wound upon us, if he carry off all our substance, if he set the very house on fire, we are not so much as conscious of it.
Or rather, we do not even wait for others to do this, but we do it ourselves, piercing and wounding ourselves every day, lying in unseemly fashion, and stripped bare of all credit, all honor, neither ourselves concealing our shameful deeds, nor permitting others to do so, but lying exposed to public shame, to the ridicule, the numberless jests of spectators and passers-by.
[3.] Do ye not suppose that the wicked themselves laugh at those who are of like characters to themselves, and condemn them? For since God has placed within us a tribunal which cannot be bribed nor ever utterly destroyed, even though we come to the very lowest depth of vice; therefore even the wicked themselves give sentence against themselves, and if one call them that which they are, they are ashamed, they are angry, they say that it is an insult. Thus they condemn what they do, even if not by their deeds, yet by their words, by their conscience, nay rather even by their deeds. For when they carry on their practices out of sight and secretly, they give the strongest proof of the opinion they hold concerning the thing itself. For wickedness is so manifest, that all men are its accusers, even those who follow after it, while such is the quality of virtue, that it is admired even by those who do not emulate it. For even the fornicator will praise chastity, and the covetous will condemn injustice, and the passionate will admire patience, and blame quarrelsomeness, and the wanton [will blame] wantonness.
How then (you say) does he pursue these things? From excessive indolence, not because he judges it good; otherwise he would not have been ashamed of the thing itself, nor would he have denied it when another accused him. Nay many when caught, not enduring the shame, have even hanged themselves. So strong is the witness within us in behalf of what is good and becoming. Thus what is good is brighter than the sun, and the contrary more unsightly than anything.
[4.] The saints were "strangers and sojourners." How and in what way? And where does Abraham confess himself "a stranger and a sojourner"? Probably indeed he even himself confessed it:  but David both confessed "I am a stranger" and what? "As all my fathers were." ( Ps. xxxix. 12 .) For they who dwell in tents, they who purchase even burial places for money, evidently were in some sense strangers, as they had not even where to bury their dead.
What then? Did they mean that they were "strangers" from the land that is in Palestine? By no means: but in respect of the whole world: and with reason; for they saw therein none of the things which they wished for, but everything foreign and strange. They indeed wished to practice virtue: but here there was much wickedness, and things were quite foreign to them. They had no friend, no familiar acquaintance, save only some few.
But how were they "strangers"? They had no care for things here. And this they showed not by words, but by their deeds. In what way?
He said to Abraham, "Leave that which seems thy country and come to one that is foreign": And he did not cleave to his kindred, but gave it up as unconcernedly as if he were about to leave a foreign land. He said to him, "Offer up thy son," and he offered him up as if he had no son; as if he had divested himself of his nature, so he offered him up. The wealth which he had acquired was common to all passers-by, and this he accounted as nothing. He yielded the first places to others: he threw himself into dangers; he suffered troubles innumerable. He built no splendid houses, he enjoyed no luxuries, he had no care about dress, which all are things of this world; but lived in all respects as belonging to the City yonder; he showed hospitality, brotherly love, mercifulness, forbearance, contempt for wealth and for present glory, and for all else.
And his son too was such as himself: when he was driven away, when war was made on him, he yielded and gave way, as being in a foreign land. For foreigners, whatever they suffer, endure it, as not being in their own country. Even when his wife was taken from him, he endured this also as being in a strange land: and lived in all respects as one whose home was above, showing sobermindedness and a well-ordered life.  For after he had begotten a son, he had no more commerce with his wife, and it was when the flower of his youth had passed that he married her, showing that he did it not from passion, but in subservience to the promise of God.
And what did Jacob? Did he not seek bread only and raiment, which are asked for by those who are truly strangers; by those that have come to great poverty? When he was driven out, did he not as a stranger give place? Did he not serve for hire? Did he not suffer afflictions innumerable, everywhere, as a stranger?
[5.] And these things (he says) they said, "seeking" their "own country." Ah! how great is the difference! They indeed were in travail-pains each day, wishing to be released from this world, and to return to their country. But we, on the contrary, if a fever attack us, neglecting everything, weeping like little children, are frightened at death.
Not without reason we are thus affected. For since we do not live here like strangers, nor as if hastening to our country, but are like persons that are going away to punishment, therefore we grieve, because we have not used circumstances as we ought, but have turned order upside down. Hence we grieve when we ought to rejoice: hence we shudder, like murderers or robber chiefs, when they are going to be brought before the judgment-seat, and are thinking over all the things they have done, and therefore are fearful and trembling.
They, however, were not such, but pressed on. And Paul even groaned; "And we" (he says) "that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." ( 2 Cor. v. 4 .) Such were they who were with Abraham; "strangers," he says, they were in respect of the whole world, and "they sought a country."
What sort of "country" was this? Was it that which they had left? By no means. For what hindered them if they wished, from returning again, and becoming citizens? but they sought that which is in Heaven? Thus they desired their departure hence, and so they pleased God; for "God was not ashamed to be called their God."
[6.] Ah! how great a dignity! He vouch-safed "to be called their God." What dost thou say? He is called the God of the earth, and the God of Heaven, and hast thou set it down as a great thing that "He is not ashamed to be called their God"? Great and truly great this is, and a proof of exceeding blessedness. How? Because He is called God of earth and of heaven as also of the Gentiles: in that He created and formed them: but [God] of those holy men, not in this sense, but as some true friend.
And I will make it plain to you by an example; as in the case of [slaves] in large households, when any of those placed over the household are very highly esteemed, and manage everything themselves, and can use great freedom towards their masters, the Master is called after them, and one may find many so called. But what do I say? As we might say the God, not of the Gentiles but of the world, so we might say "the God of Abraham." But you do not know how great a dignity this is, because we do not attain to it. For as now He is called the Lord of all Christians, and yet the name goes beyond our deserts: consider the greatness if He were called the God of one [person]! He who is called the God of the whole world is "not ashamed to be called" the God of three men: and with good reason: for the saints would turn the scale, I do not say against the world  but against ten thousand such. "For one man who doeth the will of the Lord,  is better than ten thousand transgressors." ( Ecclus. xvi. 3 .)
Now that they called themselves "strangers" in this sense is manifest. But supposing that they said they were "strangers" on account of the strange land, why did David also [call himself a stranger]? Was not he a king? Was not he a prophet? Did he not spend his life in his own country? Why then does he say, "I am a stranger and a sojourner"? ( Ps. xxxix. 12 .) How art thou a stranger? "As" (he says) "all my fathers were." Seest thou that they too were strangers? We have a country, he means, but not really our country. But how art thou thyself a stranger? As to the earth. Therefore they also [were strangers] in respect of the earth: For "as they were," he says, so also am I; and as he, so they too.
[7.] Let us even now become strangers; that God may "not be ashamed of us to be called our God." For it is a shame to Him, when He is called the God of the wicked, and He also is ashamed of them; as He is glorified when He is [called the God] of the good and the kind, and of them that cultivate virtue. For if "we" decline to be called the masters of our wicked slaves, and give them up; and should any one come to us and say, `such a one does innumerable bad things, he is your slave, is he not?' We immediately say, "by no means," to get rid of the disgrace: for a slave has a close relation to his master, and the discredit passes from the one to the other.  --But they were so illustrious, so full of confidence, that not only was He "not ashamed to be called" from them, but He even Himself says, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." ( Ex. iii. 6 .)
Let us also, my beloved, become "strangers"; that God may "not be ashamed of us"; that He may not be ashamed, and deliver us up to Hell. Such were they who said, "Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name, and in Thy Name have done many wonderful works!" ( Matt. vii. 22 .) But see what Christ says to them: "I know you not:" the very thing which masters would do, when wicked slaves run to them, wishing to be rid of the disgrace. "I know you not," He says. How then dost Thou punish those whom Thou knowest not? I said, "I know not," in a different sense: that is, "I deny you, and renounce you." But God forbid that we should hear this fatal and terrible utterance. For if they who cast out demons and prophesied, were denied, because their life was not suitable thereto; how much more we!
[8.] And how (you ask) is it possible that they should be denied, who have shown prophetic powers, and wrought miracles, and cast out demons? Is it probable they were afterwards changed, and became wicked; and therefore were nothing benefited, even by their former virtue. For not only ought we to have our beginnings splendid, but the end also more splendid still.
For tell me, does not the Orator take pains to make the end of his speech splendid, that he may retire with applause? Does not the public officer make the most splendid display at the close of his administration? The wrestler, if he do not make a more splendid display and conquer unto the end, and if after vanquishing all he be vanquished by the last, is not all unprofitable to him? Should the pilot have crossed the whole ocean, yet if he wreck his vessel at the port, has he not lost all his former labor? And what [of] the Physician? If, after he has freed the sick man from his disease, when he is on the point of discharging him cured, he should then destroy him, has he not destroyed everything? So too in respect of Virtue, as many as have not added an end suitable to the beginning, and in unison and harmony with it, are ruined, and undone. Such are they who have sprung forth from the starting place bright and exulting, and afterwards have become faint and feeble. Therefore they are both deprived of the prize, and are not acknowledged by their master.
Let us listen to these things, those of us who are in love of wealth: for this is the greatest iniquity. "For the love of money is the root of all evil." ( 1 Tim. vi. 10 .) Let us listen, those of us who wish to make our present possessions greater, let us listen and sometime cease from our covetousness, that we may not hear the same things as they [will hear]. Let us listen to them now, and be on our guard, that we may not hear them then. Let us listen now with fear, that we may not then listen with vengeance: "Depart from Me" (He says); "I never knew you" ( Matt. vii. 23 ), no not even then (He means) when ye made a display of prophesyings, and were casting out demons.
It is probable that He also here hints at something else, that even then they were wicked; and from the beginning, grace wrought even by the unworthy. For if it wrought through Balaam, much more through the unworthy, for the sake of those who shall profit [by it].
But if even signs and wonders did not avail to deliver from punishment; much more, if a man happen to be in the priestly dignity:  even if he reach the highest honor, even if grace work in him to ordination, even if unto all the other things, for the sake of those who need his leadership,  he also shall hear, "I never knew thee," no, not even then when grace wrought in thee.
[9.] O! how strict shall the search be there as to purity of life! How does that, of itself, suffice to introduce us into the kingdom? While the absence of it gives up the man [to destruction], though he have ten thousand miracles and signs to show. For nothing is so pleasing to God as an excellent course of life. "If ye love Me" ( John xiv. 15 ), He declares; He did not say, "work miracles," but what? "Keep My commandments." And again, "I call you friends" ( John xv. 14 ), not when ye cast out demons, but "if ye keep My words." For those things come of the gift of God: but these after the gift of God, of our own diligence also. Let us strive to become friends of God, and not remain enemies to Him.
These things we are ever saying, these exhortations we are ever giving, both to ourselves and to you: but nothing more is gained. Wherefore also I am afraid. And I would have wished indeed to be silent, so as not to increase your danger. For when a person often hears, and even so does not act, this is to provoke the Lord to anger. But I fear also myself that other danger, that of silence, if when I am ap pointed to the ministering of the word, I should hold my peace.
What shall we then do that we may be saved? Let us begin [the practice of] virtue, as we have opportunity: let us portion out the virtues to ourselves, as laborers do their husbandry; in this month let us master evil-speaking, injuriousness, unjust anger; and let us lay down a law for ourselves, and say, To-day let us set this right. Again, in this month let us school ourselves in forbearance, and in another, in some other virtue: And when we have got into the habit of this virtue let us go to another, just as in the things we learn at school, guarding what is already gained, and acquiring others.
After this let us proceed to contempt for riches. First let us restrain our hands from grasping, and then let us give alms. Let us not simply confound everything, with the same hands both slaying and showing mercy forsooth. After this, let us go to some other virtue, and from that, to another. "Filthiness and foolish talking and jesting, let it not be even named among you." ( Eph. v. 4, 3 .) Let us be thus far in the right way.
There is no need of spending money, there is no need of labor, none of sweat, it is enough to have only the will, and all is done. There is no need to travel a long way, nor to cross a boundless ocean, but to be in earnest and of ready mind, and to put a bridle on the tongue. Unseasonable reproaches, anger, disorderly lusts, luxuriousness, expensiveness, let us cast off; and the desire of wealth also from our soul, perjury and habitual oaths.
If we thus cultivate ourselves, plucking out the former thorns, and casting in the heavenly seed, we shall be able to attain the good things promised. For the Husbandman will come and will lay us up in His Garner, and we shall attain to all good things, which may we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
Hebrews xi. 17-19
" By faith [Abraham],  when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
[1.] Great indeed was the faith of Abraham. For while in the case of Abel, and of Noah, and of Enoch, there was an opposition of reasonings only, and it was necessary to go beyond human reasonings; in this case it was necessary not only to go beyond human reasonings, but to manifest also something more. For what was of God  seemed to be opposed to what was of God; and faith opposed faith, and command promise.
I mean this: He had said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and I will give thee this land." ( Gen. xii. 1, 7 .) "He gave him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foot on." ( Acts vii. 5 .) Seest thou how what was done was opposed to the promise? Again He said, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called" ( Gen. xxi. 12 ), and he believed: and again He says, Sacrifice to Me this one, who was to fill all the world from his seed. Thou seest the opposition between the commands and the promise? He enjoined things that were in contradiction to the promises, and yet not even so did the righteous man stagger, nor say he had been deceived.
For you indeed, he means, could not say this, that He promised ease and gave tribulation. For in our case, the things which He promised, these also He performs. How so? "In the world" (He says), "ye shall have tribulation." ( John xvi. 33 .) "He that taketh not his cross and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me." ( Matt. x. 38 .) "He that hateth not his life shall not find it." ( John xii. 25 .) And, "He that forsaketh not all that he hath, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me." ( Luke xiv. 27, 33 .) And again, "Ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake." ( Matt. x. 18 .) And again, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household." ( Matt. x. 36 .) But the things which pertain to rest are yonder.
But with regard to Abraham, it was different. He was enjoined to do what was opposed to the promises; and yet not even so was he troubled, nor did he stagger, nor think he had been deceived. But you endure nothing except what was promised, yet you are troubled.
[2.] He heard the opposite of the promises from Him who had made them; and yet he was not disturbed, but did them as if they had been in harmony [therewith]. For they were in harmony; being opposed indeed according to human calculations, but in harmony [when viewed] by Faith. And how this was, the Apostle himself has taught us, by saying, "accounting  that God was able to raise Him up, even from the dead." By the same faith (he means) by which he believed that God gave what was not,  and raised up the dead, by the same was he persuaded that He would also raise him up after he had been slain in sacrifice. For it was alike impossible (to human calculation, I mean) from a womb which was dead and grown old and already become useless for child-bearing to give a child, and to raise again one who had been slain. But his previous faith prepared the way for things to come.
And see; the good things came first, and the hard things afterwards, in his old age. But for you, on the contrary, (he says) the sad things are first, and the good things last. This for those who dare to say, `He has promised us the good things after death; perhaps He has deceived us.' He shows that "God is able to raise up even from the dead," and if God be able to raise from the dead, without all doubt He will pay all [that He has promised].
But if Abraham so many years before, believed "that God is able to raise from the dead," much more ought we to believe it. Thou seest (what I at first said) that death had not yet entered in and yet He drew them at once to the hope of the resurrection, and led them to such full assurance, that when bidden, they even slay their own sons, and readily offer up those from whom they expected to people the world.
And he shows another thing too, by saying, that "God tempted Abraham." ( Gen. xxii. 1 .) What then? Did not God know that the man was noble and approved? Why then did He tempt him? Not that He might Himself learn, but that He might show to others, and make his fortitude manifest to all.  And here also he shows the cause of trials, that they may not suppose they suffer these things as being forsaken [of God]. For in their case indeed, it was necessary that they should he tried, because there were many who persecuted or plotted against them: but in Abraham's case, what need was there to devise trials for him which did not exist? Now this trial, it is evident, was by His command. The others indeed happened by His allowance, but this even by His command. If then temptations make men approved in such wise that, even where there is no occasion, God exercises His own athletes; much more ought we to bear all things nobly.
And here he said emphatically, "By faith, when he was tried, he offered up Isaac," for there was no other cause for his bringing the offering but that.
[3.] After this he pursues the same thought. No one (he says) could allege, that he had another son, and expected the promise to be fulfilled from him, and therefore confidently offered up this one. "And" (his words are) "he offered up his only-begotten, who had received the promises." Why sayest thou "only-begotten"? What then? Of whom was Ishmael sprung? I mean "only-begotten" (he would say) so far as relates to the word of the promise. Therefore after saying, "Only-begotten," showing that he says it for this reason, he added, "of whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called," that is, "from" him. Seest thou how he admires what was done by the Patriarch? "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," and that son he brought to be sacrificed.
Afterwards, that no one may suppose he does this in despair, and in consequence of this command had cast away that Faith,  but may understand that this also was truly of faith, he says that he retained that faith also, although it seem to be at variance with this. But it was not at variance. For he did not measure the power of God by human reasonings, but committed all to faith. And hence he was not afraid to say, that God was "able to raise him up, even from the dead."
"From whence also he received him in a figure,"  that is in idea,  by the ram, he means. How? The ram having been slain, he was saved: so that by means of the ram he received him again, having slain it in his stead. But these things were types: for here it is the Son of God who is slain.
And observe, I beseech you, how great is His lovingkindness. For inasmuch as a great favor was to be given to men, He, wishing to do this, not by favor, but as a debtor, arranges that a man should first give up his own son on account of God's command, in order that He Himself might seem to be doing nothing great in giving up His own Son, since a man had done this before Him; that He might be supposed to do it not of grace, but of debt. For we wish to do this kindness also to those whom we love, others, to appear first to have received some little thing from them, and so give them all: and we boast more of the receiving than of the giving; and we do not say, We gave him this, but, We received this from him.
"From whence also" (are his words) "he received him in a figure," i.e. as in a riddle  (for the ram was as it were a figure of Isaac) or, as in a type. For since the sacrifice had been completed, and Isaac slain in purpose,  therefore He gave him to the Patriarch.
[4.] Thou seest, that what I am constantly saying, is shown in this case also? When we have proved that our mind is made perfect, and have shown that we disregard earthly things, then earthly things also are given to us; but not before; lest being bound to them already, receiving them we should be bound still. Loose thyself from thy slavery first (He says), and then receive, that thou mayest receive no longer as a slave, but as a master. Despise riches, and thou shalt be rich. Despise glory, and thou shalt be glorious. Despise the avenging thyself on thine enemies, and then shalt thou attain it. Despise repose, and then thou shalt receive it that in receiving thou mayest receive not as a prisoner, nor as a slave, but as a freeman.
For as in the case of little children, when the child eagerly desires childish playthings, we hide them from him with much care, as a ball, for instance, and such like things, that he may not be hindered from necessary things; but when he thinks little of them, and no longer longs for them, we give them fearlessly, knowing that henceforth no harm can come to him from them, the desire no longer having strength enough to draw him away from things necessary; so God also, when He sees that we no longer eagerly desire the things of this world, thenceforward permits us to use them. For we possess them as freemen and men, not as children.
For [in proof] that if thou despise the avenging thyself on thine enemies, thou wilt then attain it, hear what he says, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink," and he added, "for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." ( Rom. xii. 20 .) And again, that if thou despise riches, thou shalt then obtain them, hear Christ saying, "There is no man which hath left father, or mother, or house, or brethren, who shall not receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." ( Matt. xix. 29 .) And that if thou despise glory, thou shalt then attain it, again hear Christ Himself saying, "He that will be first among you, let him be your minister." ( Matt. xx. 26 .) And again, "For whosoever shall humble himself, he shall be exalted." ( Matt. xxiii. 12 .)
What sayest thou? If I give drink to mine enemy, do I then punish him? If I give up my goods, do I then possess them? If I humble myself, shall I then be exalted? Yea, He says, for such is My power, to give contraries by means of contraries. I abound in resources and in contrivances: be not afraid. The `Nature of things' follows My will: not I attend upon Nature. I do all things: I am not controlled by them: wherefore also I am able to change their form and order.
[5.] And why dost thou wonder if [it is so] in these instances? For thou wilt find the same also in all others. If thou injure, thou art injured;  if thou art injured, then thou art uninjured; if thou punish, then thou hast not punished another, but hast punished thyself. For "he that loveth iniquity," it is said, "hateth his own soul." ( Ps. xi. 5 , LXX.) Seest thou that thou dost not injure, but art injured?  Therefore also Paul says, "Why do ye not rather take wrong?" ( 1 Cor. vi. 7 .) Dost thou see that this is not to be wronged?
When thou insultest, then art thou insulted. And most persons partly know this: as when they say one to another, "Let us go away, do not disgrace yourself." Why? Because the difference is great between thee and him: for however much thou insultest him, he accounts it a credit. Let us consider this in all cases, and be above insults. I will tell you how.
Should we have a contest with him who wears the purple, let us consider that in insulting him, we insult ourselves, for we become worthy to be disgraced. Tell me, what dost thou mean? When thou art a citizen of Heaven, and hast the Philosophy that is above, dost thou disgrace thyself with him "that mindeth earthly things"? ( Philip. iii. 19 .) For though he be in possession of countless riches, though he be in power, he does not as yet know the good that is therein. Do not in insulting him, insult thyself. Spare thyself, not him. Honor thyself, not him. Is there not some Proverb such as this, He that honoreth;  honoreth himself? With good reason: for he honors not the other, but himself. Hear what a certain wise man says, "Do honor to thy soul according to the dignity thereof." ( Ecclus. x. 28 .) "According to the dignity thereof," what is this? if he have defrauded (it means), do not thou defraud; if he has insulted, do not thou insult.
[6.] Tell me, I pray thee, if some poor man has taken away clay thrown out of thy yard, wouldst thou for this have summoned a court of justice? Surely not. Why? Lest thou shouldst disgrace thyself; lest all men should condemn thee. The same also happens in this case. For the rich man is poor, and the more rich he is, the poorer is he in that which is indeed poverty. Gold is clay, cast out in the yard, not lying in thy house, for thy house is Heaven. For this, then, wilt thou summon a Court of Justice, and will not the citizens on high condemn thee? Will they not cast thee out from their country, who art so mean, who art so shabby, as to choose to fight for a little clay? For if the world were thine, and then some one had taken it, oughtest thou to pay any attention to it?
Knowest thou not, that if thou wert to take the world ten times or an hundred times, or ten thousand times, and twice that, it is not to be compared with the least of the good things in Heaven? He then who admires the things here slights those yonder, since he judges these worthy of exertion, though so far inferior to the other. Nay, rather indeed he will not be able to admire those other. For how [can he], whilst he is passionately excited towards these earthly things? Let us cut through the cords and entanglements: for this is what earthly things are.
How long shall we be stooping down? How long shall we plot one against another, like wild beasts; like fishes? Nay rather, the wild beasts do not plot against each other, but [against] animals of a different tribe. A bear for instance does not readily kill a bear, nor a serpent kill a serpent, having respect for the sameness of race. But thou, with one of the same race, and having innumerable claims,  as common origin, rational faculties, the knowledge of God, ten thousand other things, the force of nature, him who is thy kinsman, and partaker of the same nature--him thou killest, and involvest in evils innumerable. For what, if thou dost not thrust thy sword, nor plunge thy right hand into his neck, other things more grievous than this thou doest, when thou involvest him in innumerable evils. For if thou hadst done the other, thou wouldst have freed him from anxiety, but now thou encompassest him with hunger, with slavery, with feelings of discouragement, with many sins. These things I say, and shall not cease to say, not [as] preparing you to commit murder: nor as urging you to some crime short of that; but that you may not be confident, as if you were not to give account. "For" (it says) "he that taketh away a livelihood" ( Ecclus. xxxiv. 22 ) and asketh bread, it says. 
[7.] Let us at length keep our hands to ourselves, or rather, let us not keep them, but stretch them out honorably, not for grasping, but for alms-giving. Let us not have our hand unfruitful nor withered; for the hand which doeth not alms is withered; and that which is also grasping, is polluted and unclean.
Let no one eat with such hands; for this is an insult to those invited. For, tell me, if a man when he had made us lie down on tapestry  and a soft couch and linen interwoven with gold, in a great and splendid house, and had set by us a great multitude of attendants, and had prepared a tray  of silver and gold, and filled it with many dainties of great cost and of all sorts, then urged us to eat, provided we would only endure his besmearing his hands with mire or with human ordure, and so sitting down to meat with us--would any man endure this infliction? Would he not rather have considered it an insult? Indeed I think he would, and would have gone straightway off. But now in fact, thou seest not hands filled with what is indeed filth, but even the very food, and yet thou dost not go off, nor flee, nor find fault. Nay, if he be a person in authority, thou even accountest it a grand affair, and destroyest thine own soul, in eating such things. For covetousness is worse than any mire; for it pollutes, not the body but the soul, and makes it hard to be washed. Thou therefore, though thou seest him that sitteth at meat defiled with this filth both on his hands and his face, and his house filled with it, nay and his table also full of it (for dung, or if there be anything more unclean than that, it is not so unclean and polluted as those viands), dost thou feel as if forsooth thou wert highly honored, and as if thou wert going to enjoy thyself?
And dost thou not fear Paul who allows us to go without restraint to the Tables of the heathen if we wish, but not even if we wish to those of the covetous? For, "if any man who is called a Brother" ( 1 Cor. v. 11 ), he says, meaning here by Brother every one who is a believer simply, not him who leads a solitary life. For what is it which makes brotherhood? The Washing of regeneration; the being enabled to call God our Father. So that he that is a Monk, if he be a Catechumen, is not a Brother,  but the believer though he be in the world, is a Brother. "If any man," saith he, "that is called a Brother." ( 1 Cor. v. 11 .) For at that time there was not even a trace of any one leading a Monastic life, but this blessed [Apostle] addressed all his discourse to persons in the world. "If any man," he says, "that is called a Brother, be a fornicator, or covetous or a drunkard, with such an one, no not to eat." But not so with respect to the heathen: but "If any of them that believe not," meaning the heathen, "bid you and ye be disposed to go, whatsoever is set before you eat." ( 1 Cor. x. 27 .)
[8.] "If any man that is called Brother be" (he says) "a drunkard." Oh! what strictness! Yet we not only do not avoid drunkards, but even go to their houses, partaking of what they set before us.
Therefore all things are upside down, all things are in confusion, and overthrown, and ruined. For tell me, if any such person should invite thee to a banquet, thee who art accounted poor and mean, and then should hear thee say, "Inasmuch as the things set before me are [the fruit] of overreaching, I will not endure to defile my own soul," would he not be mortified? Would he not be confounded? Would he not be ashamed? This alone were sufficient to correct him, and to make him call himself wretched for his wealth, and admire thee for thy poverty, if he saw himself with so great earnestness despised by thee.
But we "are become" (I know not why) "servants of men" ( 1 Cor. vii. 23 ), though Paul cries aloud throughout, "Be not ye the servants of men." Whence then have we become "servants of men"? Because we first became servants of the belly, and of money, and of glory, and of all the rest; we gave up the liberty which Christ bestowed on us.
What then awaiteth him who is become a servant (tell me)? Hear Christ saying, "The servant abideth not in the house for ever." ( John viii. 35 .) Thou hast a declaration complete in itself, that he never entereth into the Kingdom; for this is what "the House" means. For, He says, "in My Father's House are many mansions." ( John xiv. 2 .) "The servant" then "abideth not in the House for ever." By a servant He means him who is "the servant of sin." But he that "abideth not in the House for ever," abideth in Hell for ever, having no consolation from any quarter.
Nay, to this point of wickedness are matters come, that they even give alms out of these [ill-gotten gains], and many receive [them]. Therefore our boldness has broken down, and we are not able to rebuke any one. But however, henceforward at least, let us flee the mischief arising from this; and ye who have rolled yourselves in this mire, cease from such defilement, and restrain your rage for such banquets, if even now we may by any means be able to have God propitious to us, and to attain to the good things which have been promised: which may we all obtain 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.
"By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith, Jacob when he was a dying blessed both the sons of Joseph, and worshiped  leaning on the top of his staff. By faith, Joseph when he died made mention of the departing of the children of Israel, and gave commandment concerning his bones."
[1.] " Many prophets and righteous men" (it is said) "have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear and have not heard them." ( Matt. xiii. 17 .) Did then those righteous men know all the things to come? Yea, most certainly. For if because of the weakness of those who were not able to receive Him, the Son was not revealed,--He was with good reason revealed to those conspicuous in virtue. This Paul also says, that they knew "the things to come," that is the resurrection of Christ.
Or he does not mean this: but that "By faith, concerning things to come" [means] not [concerning] the world to come, but "concerning things to come" in this world. For how [except by faith] could a man sojourning in a strange land, give such blessings?
But on the other hand he obtained the blessing, and yet did not receive it.  Thou seest that what I said with regard to Abraham, may be said also of Jacob, that they did not enjoy  the blessing, but the blessings went to his posterity, while he himself obtained the "things to come." For we find that his brother rather enjoyed the blessing. For [Jacob] spent all his time in servitude and working as a hireling, and [amid] dangers, and plots, and deceits, and fears; and when he was asked by Pharaoh, he says, "Few and evil have my days been" ( Gen. xlvii. 9 ); while the other lived in independence and great security, and afterwards was an object of terror to [Jacob]. Where then did the blessings come to their accomplishment, save in the [world] to come?
Seest thou that from the beginning the wicked have enjoyed things here, but the righteous the contrary? Not however all. For behold, Abraham was a righteous man, and he enjoyed things here as well, though with affliction and trials. For indeed wealth was all he had, seeing all else relating to him was full of affliction. For it is impossible that the righteous man should not be afflicted, though he be rich: for when he is willing to be overreached, to be wronged, to suffer all other things, he must be afflicted. So that although he enjoy wealth, [yet is it] not without grief. Why? you ask. Because he is in affliction and distress. But if at that time the righteous were in affliction, much more now.
"By Faith," he says, "Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come" (and yet Esau was the elder; but he puts Jacob first for his excellence). Seest thou how great was his Faith? Whence did he promise to his sons so great blessings? Entirely from his having faith in God.
[2.] "By Faith, Jacob when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph." Here we ought to set down the blessings entire, in order that both his faith and his prophesying may be made manifest. "And worshiped leaning,"  he says, "upon the top of his staff." Here, he means, he not only spoke, but was even so confident about the future things, as to show it also by his act. For inasmuch as another King was about to arise from Ephraim, therefore it is said, "And he bowed himself upon the top of his staff." That is, even though he was now an old man, "he bowed himself" to Joseph, showing the obeisance of the whole people which was to be [directed] to him. And this indeed had already taken place, when his brethren "bowed down" to him: but it was afterwards to come to pass through the ten tribes. Seest thou how he foretold the things which were to be afterwards? Seest thou how great faith they had? How they believed "concerning the things to come"?
For some of the things here, the things present, are examples of patience only, and of enduring ill-treatment, and of receiving nothing good; for instance, what is mentioned in the case of Abraham, in the case of Abel. But others are [examples] of Faith, as in the case of Noah, that there is a God, that there is a recompense. (For Faith in this place is manifold,  both of there being a recompense, and of awaiting it, not under the same conditions,  and of wrestling before the prizes.) And the things also which concern  Joseph are of Faith only. Joseph heard that [God] had made a promise to Abraham, that He had engaged His word "to thee and to thy seed will I give this land;" and though in a strange land, and not yet seeing the engagement fulfilled, but never faltered even so, but so believed as even to "speak of the Exodus, and to give commandment concerning his bones." He then not only believed himself, but led on the rest also to Faith: that having the Exodus always in mind (for he would not have "given commandment concerning his bones," unless he had been fully assured [of this]), they might look for their return [to Canaan].
Wherefore, when some men say, `See! Even righteous men had care about their sepulchers,' let us reply to them, that it was for his reason: for he knew that "the earth is the Lord's and all that therein is."  ( Ps. xxiv. 1 .) He could not indeed have been ignorant of this, who lived in so great philosophy, who spent his whole life in Egypt. And yet if he had wished, it was possible for him to return, and not to mourn or vex himself. But when he had taken up his father thither, why, did he enjoin them to carry up thence his own bones also? Evidently for this reason.
But what? Tell me, are not the bones of Moses himself laid in a strange land? And those of Aaron, of Daniel, of Jeremiah? And as to those of the Apostles we do not know where those of most of them are laid. For of Peter indeed, and Paul, and John, and Thomas, the sepulchers are well known; but those of the rest, being so many, have nowhere become known.  Let us not therefore lament at all about this, nor be so little-minded. For whereever we may be buried, "the earth is the Lord's and all that therein is." ( Ps. xxiv. 1 .) Certainly what must take place, does take place: to mourn however, and lament, and bewail the departed, arises from littleness of mind.
[3.] ( Ver. 23 ) "By faith, Moses when he was born, was hid three months of his parents." Dost thou see that in this case they hoped for things on the earth after their death?  And many things were fulfilled after their death. This is for some who say, `After death those things were done for them, which they did not obtain while alive; nor did they believe [would be] after their death.'
Moreover Joseph did not say, He gave not the land to me in my life-time, nor to my father, nor to my grandfather, whose excellence too ought to have been reverenced; and will He vouchsafe to these wretched people what He did not vouchsafe to them? He said nothing of all this, but by Faith he both conquered and went beyond all these things.
He has named Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, all illustrious and admirable men. Again he makes the encouragement greater, by bringing down the matter to ordinary persons. For that the admirable should feel thus, is nothing wonderful, and to appear inferior to them, is not so dreadful: but to show oneself inferior even to people without names, this is the dreadful thing. And he begins with the parents of Moses, obscure persons, who had nothing so great as their son [had]. Therefore also he goes on to increase the strangeness of what he says by enumerating even women that were harlots, and widows. For "by Faith" (he says) "the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." And he mentions the rewards not only of belief but also of unbelief; as in [the case of] Noah.
But at present we must speak of the parents of Moses. Pharaoh gave orders that all the male children should be destroyed, and none had escaped the danger. Whence did these expect to save their child? From faith. What sort of Faith? "They saw" (he says) "that he was a proper child." The very sight drew them on to Faith: thus from the beginning, yea from the very swaddling-clothes, great was the Grace that was poured out on that righteous man, this being not the work of nature. For observe, the child immediately on its birth appears fair and not disagreeable to the sight. Whose [work] was this? Not that of nature, but of the Grace of God, which also stirred up and strengthened that barbarian woman, the Egyptian, and took and drew her on.
And yet in truth Faith had not a sufficient foundation in their case. For what was it to believe from sight? But you (he would say) believe from facts and have many pledges of Faith. For "the receiving with joyfulness the spoiling of their goods" ( c. x. 34 ), and other such [things], were [evidences] of Faith and of Patience. But inasmuch as these [Hebrews] also had believed, and yet afterwards had become faint-hearted, he shows that the Faith of those [saints of old] also was long continued,  as, for instance, that of Abraham, although the circumstances seemed to contend against it.
"And" (he says) "they were not afraid of the king's commandment," although that was in operation,  but this [their hope respecting their child] was simply a kind of bare expectation. And this indeed was [the act] of his parents; but Moses himself what did he contribute?
[4.] Next again an example appropriate to them, or rather greater than that. For, saith he, ( ver. 24-26 ) "by faith Moses when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;  for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." As though he had said to them, `No one of you has left a palace, yea a splendid palace, nor such treasures; nor, when he might have been a king's son, has he despised this, as Moses did.' And that he did not simply leave [these things], he expressed by saying, "he refused," that is, he hated, he turned away. For when Heaven was set before him, it was superfluous to admire an Egyptian Palace.
And see how admirably Paul has put it. He did not say, `Esteeming heaven, and the things in heaven,' `greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,' but what? "The reproach of Christ." For the being reproached for the sake of Christ he accounted better than being thus at ease; and this itself by itself was reward.
"Choosing rather" (he says) "to suffer affliction with the people of God." For ye indeed suffer on your own account, but he "chose" [to suffer] for others; and voluntarily threw himself into so many dangers, when it was in his power both to live religiously, and to enjoy good things.
"Than" (he says) "to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." He called unwillingness "to suffer affliction with the" rest "sin": this, he says, [Moses] accounted to be "sin." If then he accounted it "sin" not to be ready to "suffer affliction with" the rest, it follows that the suffering affliction must be a great good since he threw himself into it from the royal palace.
But this he did, seeing some great things before him. "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." What is, "the reproach of Christ"? It is being reproached in such ways as ye are, the reproach which Christ endured; Or that he endured for Christ's sake: for "that rock was Christ"  ( 1 Cor. x. 4 ); the being reproached as you are.
But what is "the reproach of Christ"? That [because] we repudiate the [ways] of our fathers we are reproached; that we are evil-entreated when we have run to God. It was likely that he also was reproached, when it was said to him, "Wilt thou kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday?" ( Ex. ii. 14 .) This is "the reproach of Christ," to be ill-treated to the end, and to the last breath: as He Himself was reproached and heard, "If Thou be the Son of God" ( Matt. xxvii. 40 ), from those for whom He was crucified, from those who were of the same race. This is "the reproach of Christ" when a man is reproached by those of his own family, or by those whom he is benefiting. For [Moses] also suffered these things from the man who had been benefited [by him].
In these words he encouraged them, by showing that even Christ suffered these things, and Moses also, two illustrious persons. So that this is rather "the reproach of Christ" than of Moses inasmuch as He suffered these things from "His own." ( John i. 11 .) But neither did the one send forth lightnings, nor the Other feel any [anger],  but He was reviled and endured all things, whilst they "wagged their heads." ( Matt. xxvii. 39 .) Since therefore it was probable that they [the readers] also would hear such things, and would long for the Recompense, he says that even Christ and Moses had suffered the like. So then ease  is [the portion] of sin; but to be reproached, of Christ. For what then dost thou wish? "The reproach of Christ," or ease?
[5.] ( Ver. 27 ) "By faith he forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is Invisible." What dost thou say? That he did not fear? And yet the Scripture says, that when he heard, he "was afraid"  ( Ex. ii. 14 ), and for this cause provided for safety by flight, and stole away, and secretly withdrew himself; and afterwards he was exceedingly afraid. Observe the expressions with care: he said, "not fearing the wrath of the king," with reference to his even presenting himself again. For it would have been [the part] of one who was afraid, not to undertake again his championship, nor to have any hand in the matter. That he did however again undertake it, was [the part] of one who committed all to God: for he did not say, `He is seeking me, and is busy [in the search], and I cannot bear again to engage in this matter.'
So that even flight was [an act of] faith. Why then did he not remain (you say)? That he might not cast himself into a foreseen danger. For this finally would have been tempting [God]: to leap into the midst of dangers, and say, `Let us see whether God will save me.' And this the devil said to Christ, "Cast Thyself down." ( Matt. iv. 6 .) Seest thou that it is a diabolical thing, to throw ourselves into danger without cause and for no purpose, and to try whether God will save us? For he [Moses] could no longer be their champion when they who were receiving benefits were so ungrateful. It would therefore have been a foolish and senseless thing to remain there. But all these things were done, because, "he endured as seeing Him who is Invisible."
[6.] If then we too always see God with our mind, if we always think in remembrance of Him, all things will appear endurable to us, all things tolerable; we shall bear them all easily, we shall be above them all. For if a person seeing one whom he loves, or rather, remembering him is roused in spirit, and elevated in thought, and bears all things easily, while he delights in the remembrance; one who has in mind Him who has vouchsafed to love us in deed, and remembers Him, when will he either feel anything painful, or dread anything fearful or dangerous? When will he be of cowardly spirit? Never.
For all things appear to us difficult, because we do not have the remembrance of God as we ought; because we do not carry Him about alway in our thoughts. For surely He might justly say to us, "Thou hast forgotten Me, I also will forget thee." And so the evil becomes twofold, both that we forget Him and He us. For these two things are involved in each other, yet are two. For great is the effect of God's remembrance, and great also of His being remembered by us. The result of the one is that we choose good things; of the other that we accomplish them, and bring them to their end.  Therefore the prophet says, "I will remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and from the little hill of Hermon." ( Ps. xlii. 6 .) The people which were in Babylon say this: being there, I will remember Thee.
[7.] Therefore let us also, as being in Babylon, [do the same]. For although we are not sitting among warlike foes, yet we are among enemies. For some [of them] indeed were sitting as captives, but others did not even feel their captivity, as Daniel, as the three children (cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 1 ); who even while they were in captivity became in that very country more glorious even than the king who had carried them captive. And he who had taken them captive does obeisance to  the captives.
Dost thou see how great virtue is? When they were in actual captivity he waited on them as masters. He therefore was the captive, rather than they. It would not have been so marvelous if when they were in their native country, he had come and done them reverence in their own land, or if they had been rulers there. But the marvelous thing is, that after he had bound them, and taken them captive, and had them in his own country, he was not ashamed to do them reverence in the sight of all, and to "offer an oblation."  ( Dan. ii. 46 .)
Do you see that the really splendid things are those which relate to God, whereas human things are a shadow? He knew not, it seems, that he was leading away masters for himself, and that he cast into the furnace those whom he was about to worship. But to them, these things were as a dream.
Let us fear God, beloved, let us fear [Him]: even should we be in captivity, we are more glorious than all men. Let the fear of God be present with us, and nothing will be grievous, even though thou speak of poverty, or of disease, or of captivity, or of slavery, or of any other grievous thing: Nay even these very things will themselves work together for us the other way. These men were captives, and the king worshiped them: Paul was a tent-maker, and they sacrificed to him as a God.
[8.] Here a question arises: Why, you ask, did the Apostles prevent the sacrifices, and rend their clothes, and divert them from their attempt, and say with earnest lamentation, "What are ye doing? we also are men of like passions with you" ( Acts xiv. 15 ); whereas Daniel did nothing of this kind.
For that he also was humble, and referred [the] glory to God no less than they, is evident from many places. Especially indeed is it evident, from the very fact of his being beloved by God. For if he had appropriated to himself the honor belonging to God, He would not have suffered him to live, much less to be in honor. Secondly, because even with great openness he said, "And as to me, O King, this secret hath not been revealed to me through any wisdom that is in me." ( Dan. ii. 30 .) And again; he was in the den for God's sake, and when the prophet brought him food, he saith, "For God hath remembered me." ( Bel and the Dragon, ver. 38 .) Thus humble and contrite was he.
He was in the den for God's sake, and yet he counted himself unworthy of His remembrance, and of being heard. Yet we though daring [to commit] innumerable pollutions, and being of all men most polluted, if we be not heard at our first prayer, draw back. Truly, great is the distance between them and us, as great as between heaven and earth, or if there be any greater.
What sayest thou? After so many achievements, after the miracle which had been wrought in the den, dost thou account thyself so humble? Yea, he says; for what things soever we have done, "we are unprofitable servants." ( Luke xvii. 10 .) Thus by anticipation did he fulfill the evangelical precept, and accounted himself nothing. For "God hath remembered me," he said. His prayer again, of how great lowliness of mind it is full. And again the three children said thus, "We have sinned, we have committed iniquity." ( Song of the Three Children, ver. 6 .) And everywhere they show their humility.
And yet Daniel had occasions innumerable for being puffed up; but he knew that these also came to him on account of his not being puffed up, and he did not destroy his treasure. For among all men, and in the whole world he was celebrated, not only  because the king cast himself on his face and offered sacrifice to him, and accounted him to be a God, who was himself honored as God in all parts of the world: for he ruled over the whole [earth]; (and this is evident from Jeremiah. "Who putteth on the earth," saith he, "as a garment." (See Jer. xliii. 12 and Ps. civ. 2 .) And again, "I have given it to Nebuchadnezzar My servant" ( Jer. xxvii. 6 ), and again from what he [the King] says in his letter).  And because he was held in admiration not only in the place where he was, but everywhere, and was greater than if the rest of the nations had been present and seen him; when even by letters [the King] confessed his submission  and the miracle. But yet again for his wisdom he was also held in admiration, for it is said, "Art thou wiser than Daniel?" ( Ezek. xxviii. 3 .) And after all these things he was thus humble, dying ten thousand times for the Lord's sake.
Why then, you ask, being so humble did he not repel either the adoration which was paid him by the king, or the offerings?
[9.] This I will not say, for it is sufficient for me simply to mention the question, and the rest I leave to you, that at least in this way I may stir up your thoughts. (This however I conjure you, to choose all things for the fear of God, having such examples; and because in truth we shall obtain the things here also, if we sincerely lay hold on the things which are to come.) For that he did not do this out of arrogance, is evident from his saying, "Thy gifts be to thyself." ( Dan. v. 17 .)
For besides this also again is another question, how while in words he rejected it, in deed he received the honor, and wore the chain  [of gold]. ( Dan. v. 29 .)
Moreover while Herod on hearing the cry "It is the voice of a god and not of a man," inasmuch as "he gave not God the glory, burst in sunder, and all his bowels gushed out" ( Acts xii. 22, 23; see i. 18 ), this man received to himself even the honor belonging to God, not words only.
However it is necessary to say what this is. In that case [at Lystra] the men were falling into greater idolatry, but in this [of Daniel] not so. How? For his being thus accounted of, was an honor to God. Therefore he said in anticipation, "And as to me, not through any wisdom that is in me." ( Dan. ii. 30 .) And besides he does not even appear to have accepted the offerings. For he [the king] said (as it is written) that they should offer sacrifice, but it did not appear that the act followed. But there [at Lystra] they carried it even to sacrificing the bulls, and "they called" the one "Jupiter and" the other "Mercurius." ( Acts xiv. 12 .)
The chain [of gold] then he accepted, that he might make himself known; the offering however why does it not appear that he rejected it? For in the other case too they did not do it, but they attempted it, and the Apostles hindered them; wherefore here also he ought at once to have rejected [the adoration]. And there it was the entire people: here the King. Why he did not divert him [Daniel] expressed by anticipation, [viz.] that [the king] was not making an offering [to him] as to a God, to the overthrow of religious worship, but for the greater wonder. How so? It was on God's account that [Nebuchadnezzar] made the decree; wherefore [Daniel] did not mutilate  the honor [offered]. But those others [at Lystra] did not act thus, but supposed them to be indeed gods. On this account they were repelled.
And here, after having done him reverence, he does these things: for he did not reverence him as a God, but as a wise man.
But it is not clear that he made the offering: and even if he did make it, yet not that it was with Daniel's acceptance.
And what [of this], that he called him "Belteshazzar, the name of" his own "god"?  Thus [it seems] they accounted their gods to be nothing wonderful, when he called even the captive thus; he who commands all men to worship the image,  manifold and of various colors, and who adores the dragon. 
Moreover the Babylonians were much more foolish than those at Lystra. Wherefore it was not possible at once to lead them on to this. And many [more] things one might say: but thus far these suffice.
If therefore we wish to obtain all good things, let us seek the things of God. For as they who seek the things of this world fail both of them and of the others, so they who prefer the things of God, obtain both. Let us then not seek these but those, that we may attain also to the good things promised 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.
"Through faith, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land; which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned.  By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about seven days. By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace."
[1.] Paul is wont to establish many things incidently, and is very full  of thoughts. For such is the grace of The Spirit. He does not comprehend a few ideas in a multitude of words, but includes great and manifold thought in brevity of expressions. Observe at least how, in the midst  of exhortation, and when discoursing about faith, of what a type and mystery he reminds us, whereof we have the reality. "Through faith" (he says) "he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them."
But what is "the sprinkling of blood"?  A lamb was slain in every household, and the blood was smeared on the door-posts, and this was a means of warding off the Egyptian destruction. If then the blood of a lamb preserved the Jews unhurt in the midst of the Egyptians, and under so great a destruction, much more will the blood of Christ save us, who have had it sprinkled  not on the door-posts, but in our souls. For even now also the Destroyer is going about in this depth of night: but let us be armed with that Sacrifice. (He calls the "sprinkling"  anointing.) For God has brought us out from Egypt, from darkness, from idolatry.
Although what was done, was nothing, what was achieved was great. For what was done was blood; but was achieved, was salvation, and the stopping, and preventing of destruction. The angel feared the blood; for he knew of what it was a Type; he shuddered, thinking on the Lord's death; therefore he did not touch the door-posts.
Moses said, Smear, and they smeared, and were confident. And you, having the Blood of the Lamb Himself, are ye not confident?
[2.] "By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." Again he compares one whole people with another, lest they should say, we cannot be as the saints.
"By faith" (he says) "they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land, which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned." Here he leads them also to a recollection of the sufferings in Egypt.
How, "by faith"? Because they had hoped to pass through the sea, and therefore they prayed: or rather it was Moses who prayed. Seest thou that everywhere Faith goes beyond human reasonings, and weakness and lowliness? Seest thou that at the same time they both believed, and feared punishment, both in the blood on the doors, and in the Red Sea?
And he made it clear that it was [really] water, through those that fell into it, and were choked; that it was not a mere appearance: but as in the case of the lions those who were devoured proved the reality of the facts, and in the case of the fiery furnace, those who were burnt; so here also thou seest that the same things become to the one a cause of salvation  and glory, and to the other of destruction.
So great a good is Faith. And when we fall into perplexity, then are we delivered, even though we come to death itself, even though our condition be desperate. For what else was left [for them]? They were unarmed, compassed about by the Egyptians and the sea; and they must either be drowned if they fled, or fall into the hands of the Egyptians. But nevertheless [He] saved them from impossibilities. That which was spread under the one as land, overwhelmed the others as sea. In the former case it forgot its nature: in the latter it even armed itself against them. (Cf. Wisd. xix. 20 .)
[3.] "By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days." For assuredly the sound of trumpets is not able to throw down stones, though one blow for ten thousand years; but Faith can do all things.
Seest thou that in all cases it is not by natural sequence, nor yet by any law of nature that it was changed, but all is done contrary to expectation? Accordingly in this case also all is done contrary to expectation. For inasmuch as he had said again and again, that we ought to trust to the future hopes, he introduced all this argument with reason, showing that not now [only], but even from the beginning all the miracles have been accomplished and achieved by means of it.
"By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, having received the spies with peace." It would then be disgraceful, if you should appear more faithless even than a harlot. Yet she [merely] heard what the men related, and forthwith believed. Whereupon the end also followed; for when all perished, she alone was preserved. She did not say to herself, I shall be with my many friends.  She did not say, Can I possibly be wiser than these judicious men who do not believe,--and shall I believe? She said no such thing, but believed what had taken place,  which it was likely that they would suffer.
[4.] ( Ver. 32 ) "And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell." After this he no longer puts down the names: but having ended with an harlot, and put them to shame by the quality of the person, he no longer enlarges on the histories, lest he should be thought tedious. However he does not set them aside, but runs over them, [doing] both very judiciously, avoiding satiety, and not spoiling the closeness of arrangement; he was neither altogether silent, nor did he speak so as to annoy; for he effects both points. For when a man is contending vehemently [in argument], if he persist in contending, he wearies out the hearer, annoying him when he is already persuaded, and gaining the reputation of vain ambitiousness. For he ought to accommodate himself to what is expedient.
"And what do I more say" (he says)? "For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets."
Some find fault with Paul, because he puts Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah in these places. What sayest thou? After having introduced the harlot, shall he not introduce these? For do not tell me of the rest of their life, but only whether they did not believe and shine in Faith.
"And the prophets," he says, ( ver. 33 ) "who through faith subdued kingdoms." Thou seest that he does not here testify to their life as being illustrious; for this was not the point in question: but the enquiry thus far was about their faith. For tell me whether they did not accomplish all by faith?
"By faith," he says, "they subdued kingdoms;" those with Gideon. "Wrought righteousness;" who? The same. Plainly he means here, kindness. 
I think it is of David that he says "they obtained promises." But of what sort were these? Those in which He said that his "seed should sit upon" his "throne." ( Ps. cxxxii. 12 .)
"Stopped the mouths of lions," ( ver. 34 ) "quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword." See how they were in death itself, Daniel encompassed by the lions, the three children abiding in the furnace, the Israelites,  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, in divers temptations; and yet not even so did they despair. For this is Faith; when things are turning out adversely, then we ought to believe that nothing adverse is done, but all things in due order.
"Escaped the edge of the sword." I think that he is again speaking of the three children.
"Out of  weakness were made strong." Here he alludes to what took place at their return from Babylon. For "out of weakness," is out of captivity. When the condition of the Jews had now become desperate, when they were no better than dead bones, who could have expected that they would return from Babylon, and not return only; but also "wax valiant" and "turn to flight armies of aliens"? `But to us,' some one says,  `no such thing has happened.' But these are figures of "the things to come." ( Ver. 35 ) "Women received their dead raised to life again." He here speaks of what occurred in regard to the prophets, Elisha, [and] Elijah; for they raised the dead.
[5.] ( Ver. 35 ) "And others were tortured,  not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." But we have not obtained a Resurrection. I am able however, he means, to show that they also were cut off, and did "not accept [deliverance], that they might obtain a better resurrection." For why, tell me, when it was open to them to live, did they not choose it? Were they not evidently looking for a better life? And they who had raised up others, themselves chose to die; in order "to obtain a better resurrection," not such as the children of those women. 
Here I think he alludes both to John and to James. For beheading is called "torturing."  It was in their power still to behold the sun. It was in their power to abstain from reproving  [sinners], and yet they chose to die; even they who had raised others chose to die themselves, "that they might obtain a better resurrection."
( Ver. 36 ) "And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment." He ends with these; with things that come nearer home. For these [ex amples ] especially bring consolation, when the distress is from the same cause, since even if you mention something more extreme, yet unless it arise from the same cause, you have effected nothing. Therefore he concluded his discourse with this, mentioning "bonds, imprisonments, scourges, stonings," alluding to the case of Stephen, also to that of Zacharias.
Wherefore he added, "They were slain with the sword." What sayest thou? Some "escaped the edge of the sword," and some "were slain by the sword." ( Ver. 34 .) What is this? Which dost thou praise? Which dost thou admire? The latter or the former? Nay, he says: the former indeed, is appropriate to you, and the latter, because Faith was strong even unto death itself, and it is a type of things to come. For the wonderful qualities of Faith are two, that it both accomplishes great things, and suffers great things, and counts itself to suffer nothing.
And thou canst not say (he says) that these were sinners and worthless. For even if you put the whole world against them, I find that they weigh down the beam and are of greater value.  What then were they to receive in this life? Here he raises up their thoughts, teaching them not to be riveted to things present, but to mind  things greater than all that are in this present life, since the "world is not worthy" of them. What then dost thou wish to receive here? For it were an insult to thee, shouldst thou receive thy reward here.
[6.] Let us not then mind  worldly things, nor seek our recompense here, nor be so beggarly. For if "the" whole "world is not worthy of" them, why dost thou seek after a part of it? And with good reason; for they are friends of God.
Now by "the world" does he mean here the people, or the creation itself? Both: for the Scripture is wont to use the word of both. If the whole creation, he would say, with the human beings that belong to it, were put in the balance, they yet would not be of equal value with these; and with reason. For as ten thousand measures of chaff and hay would not be of equal value to ten pearls, so neither they; for "better is one that doeth the will of the Lord, than ten thousand transgressors" ( Ecclus. xvi. 3 );  meaning by "ten thousand" not [merely] many, but an infinite multitude.
Consider of how great value is the righteous man. Joshua the son of Nun said, "Let the sun stand still at Gibeon, the moon at the valley of Elom" ( Josh. x. 12 ), and it was so. Let then the whole world come, or rather two or three, or four, or ten, or twenty worlds, and let them say and do this; yet shall they not be able. But the friend of God commanded the creatures of his Friend, or rather he besought his Friend, and the servants yielded, and he below gave command to those above. Seest thou that these things are for service fulfilling their appointed course?
This was greater than the [miracles] of Moses. Why (I ask)? Because it is not a like thing to command the sea and the heavenly [bodies]. For that indeed was also a great thing, yea very great, nevertheless it was not at all equal [to the other].
Why was this? The name of Joshua [ Jesus ],  was a type. For this reason then, and because of the very name, the creation reverenced him. What then! Was no other person called Jesus? [Yes]; but this man was on this account so called in type; for he used to be called Hoshea. Therefore the name was changed: for it was a prediction and a prophecy. He brought in the people into the promised land, as Jesus [does] into heaven; not the Law; since neither did Moses [bring them in], but remained without. The Law has not power to bring in, but grace. Seest thou the types which have been before sketched out from the beginning? He laid his commands on the creation, or rather, on the chief  part of the creation, on the very head itself as he stood below; that so when thou seest Jesus in the form of Man saying the same, thou mayest not be disturbed, nor think it strange. He, even while Moses was living, turned back wars. Thus, even while the Law is living, He directs  all things; but not openly.
[7.] But let us consider how great is the virtue of the saints. If here they work such things, if here they do such things, as the angels do, what then above? How great is the splendor they have?
Perhaps each of you might wish to be such as to be able to command the sun and moon. (At this point what would they say who assert that the heaven is a sphere?  For why did he not [merely] say, "Let the sun stand still," but added "Let the sun stand still at the valley of Elom," that is, he will make the day longer? This was done also in the time of Hezekiah. The sun went back. This again is more wonderful than the other, to go the contrary way, not having yet gone round his course.)
We shall attain to greater things than these if we will. For what has Christ promised us? Not that we shall make the sun stand still, or the moon, nor that the sun shall retrace his steps, but what? "I and the Father will come unto him," He says, "and We will make our abode with him." ( John xiv. 23 .) What need have I of the sun and the moon, and of these wonders, when the Lord of all Himself comes down and abides with me? I need these not. For what need I any of these things? He Himself shall be to me for Sun and for Light. For, tell me, if thou hadst entered into a palace, which wouldst thou choose, to be able to rearrange some of the things which have been fixed there, or so to make the king a familiar friend, as to persuade him to take up his abode with thee? Much rather the latter than the former.
[8.] But what wonder is it, says some one, that what a man commands, Christ should also? But Christ (you say) needs not the Father, but acts of His own authority, you say. Well. Therefore first confess and say, that he needs not the Father, and acts of His own authority: and then I will ask thee, whether His prayer is not in the way of condescension and arrangement (for surely Christ was not inferior to Joshua the son of Nun), and that He might teach us? For as when thou hearest a teacher lisping,  and saying over the alphabet, thou dost not say that he is ignorant; and when he asks, Where is such a letter? thou knowest that he does not ask in ignorance, but because he wishes to lead on the scholar; in like manner Christ also did not make His prayer as needing prayer, but desiring to lead thee on, that thou mayest continually apply thyself to prayer, that thou mayest do it without ceasing, soberly, and with great watchfulness.
And by watching, I do not mean, merely the rising at night, but also the being sober  in our prayers during the day. For such an one is called watchful.  Since it is possible both in praying by night to be asleep, and in praying by day to be awake, when the soul is stretched out towards God, when it considers with whom it holds converse, to whom its words are addressed, when it has in mind that angels stand by with fear and trembling, while he approaches gaping and scratching himself.
[9.] Prayer is a mighty weapon if it be made with suitable mind. And that thou mayest learn its strength, continued entreaty has overcome shamelessness, and injustice, and savage cruelty, and overbearing rashness. For He says, "Hear what the unjust judge saith." ( Luke xviii. 6 .) Again it has overcome sloth also, and what friendship did not effect, this continued entreaty did: and "although he will not give him because he is his friend" (He says), "yet because of his importunity he will rise and give to him." ( Luke xi. 8 ) And continued assiduity made her worthy who was unworthy. "It is not meet" (He says) "to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs. Yea! Lord!" she says, "for even the dogs eat [the crumbs] from their master's table." ( Matt. xv. 26, 27 .) Let us apply ourselves to Prayer. It is a mighty weapon if it be offered with earnestness, if without vainglory, if with a sincere mind. It has turned back wars, it has benefited an entire nation though undeserving. "I have heard their groaning" (He says) "and am come down to deliver them." ( Acts vii. 34 .) It is itself a saving medicine, and has power to prevent sins, and to heal misdeeds. In this the desolate widow was assiduous. ( 1 Tim. v. 5 .)
If then we pray with humility, smiting our breast as the publican, if we utter what he did, if we say, "Be merciful to me a sinner" ( Luke xviii. 13 ), we shall obtain all. For though we be not publicans, yet have we other sins not less than his.
For do not tell me, that thou hast gone wrong in some small matter [only], since the thing has the same nature. For as a man is equally called a homicide whether he has killed a child or a man, so also is he called overreaching whether he be overreaching in much or in little. Yea and to remember injuries too, is no small matter, but even a great sin. For it is said, "the ways of those who remember injuries [tend] to death." ( Prov. xii. 28 , LXX.) And "He that is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of hell," and he that "calleth his brother a fool" ( Matt. v. 22 ), and senseless, and numberless such things.
But we partake even of the tremendous mysteries unworthily, and we envy, and we revile. And some of us have even oftentimes been drunk. But each one of these things, even itself by itself, is enough to cast us out of the kingdom, and when they even come all together, what comfort shall we have? We need much penitence, beloved, much prayer, much endurance, much perseverance, that we may be enabled to attain the good things which have been promised to us.
[10.] Let us then say, even we, "Be merciful to me a sinner," nay rather, let us not say it only, but let us also be thus minded; and should another call us so, let us not be angry. He heard the words, "I am not as this Publican" ( Luke xviii. 11 ), and was not provoked thereby, but filled with compunction. He accepted the reproach, and he put away the reproach. The other spoke of the wound, and he sought the medicine. Let us say then, "Be merciful to me a sinner" ( Luke xviii. 13 ); but even if another should so call us, let us not be indignant.
But if we say ten thousand evil things of ourselves, and are vexed when we hear them from others, then there is no longer humility, nor confession, but ostentation and vainglory. Is it ostentation (you say) to call one's self a sinner? Yes; for we obtain the credit of humility, we are admired, we are commended; whereas if we say the contrary of ourselves, we are despised. So that we do this too for the sake of credit. But what is humility? It is when another reviles us, to bear it, to acknowledge our fault, to endure evil speakings. And yet even this would not be [a mark] of humility but of candor. But now we call ourselves sinners, unworthy, and ten thousand other such names, but if another apply one of them to us, we are vexed, we become savage. Seest thou that this is not confession, nor even candor? Thou saidst of thyself that thou art such an one: be not indignant if thou hearest it also said by others, and art reproved.
In this way thy sins are made lighter for thee, when others reproach thee: for they lay a burden on themselves indeed, but thee they lead onwards into philosophy. Hear what the blessed David says, when Shimei cursed him, "Let him alone" (he says) "the Lord hath bidden him, that He might look on my humiliation" (he says): "And the Lord will requite me good for his cursing on this day." ( 2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12 .)
But thou while saying evil things of thyself, even in excess, if thou hearest not from others the commendations that are due to the most righteous, art enraged. Seest thou that thou art trifling with things that are no subjects for trifling? For we even repudiate praises in our desire for other praises, that we may obtain yet higher panegyrics, that we may be more admired. So that when we decline to accept commendations, we do it that we may augment them. And all things are done by us for credit, not for truth. Therefore all things are hollow, all impracticable. Wherefore I beseech you now at any rate to withdraw from this mother of evils, vainglory, and to live according to what is approved by God, that so you may attain to the good things to come, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father be glory, together with His Holy and good Spirit, now and ever and world without end. Amen.
Hebrews xi. 37, 38
"They wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom this  world was not worthy); wandering in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth."
[1.] At all times indeed, but especially then when I reflect upon the achievements of the saints, it comes over me to feel despondency concerning my own condition,  because we have not even in dreams experienced the things among which those men spent their whole lives, not paying the penalty of sins, but always doing rightly and yet always afflicted.
For consider, I beseech you, Elijah, to whom our discourse has come round to-day, for he speaks of him in this passage, and in him his examples end: which [example] was appropriate to their case. And having spoken of what befell the Apostles, that "they were slain with the sword, were stoned," he goes back again to Elijah, who suffered the same things with them. (See 2 Kings i. 8 .) For since it was probable that they would not as yet hold the Apostles in so great estimation, he brings his exhortation and consolation from him who had been taken up [into Heaven] and who was held in special admiration.
For "they wandered about" (he says) "in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented,  of whom this world was not worthy."
They had not even raiment, he says, through the excess of affliction, no city, no house, no lodging-place; the same which Christ said, "but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." ( Matt. viii. 20 .) Why do I say "no lodging-place"? No standing-place: for not even when they had gained the wilderness, were they at rest. For he said not, They sat down in the wilderness, but even when they were there, they fled, and were driven thence, not out of the inhabited world only, but even out of that which was uninhabitable. And he reminds them of the places where they were set, and of things which there befell [them].
Then next, he says, they bring accusations against you for Christ's sake. What accusation had they against Elijah, when they drove him out, and persecuted him, and compelled him to struggle with famine? Which these [Hebrews] were then suffering. At least, the brethren, it is said, decided to send [relief] to those of the disciples who were afflicted. "Every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea" ( Acts xi. 29 ), which was [the case] of these also.
"Tormented" [or "ill-treated"], he says; that is, suffering distress, in journeyings, in dangers.
But "They wandered about," what is this? "Wandering," he says, "in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth," like exiles and outcasts, as persons taken in the basest [of crimes], as those not worthy to see the sun, they found no refuge from the wilderness, but must always be flying, must be seeking hiding-places, must bury themselves alive in the earth, always be in terror.
[2.] What then is the reward of so great a change?  What is the recompense?
They have not yet received it, but are still waiting; and after thus dying in so great tribulation, they have not yet received it. They gained their victory so many ages ago, and have not yet received [their reward]. And you who are yet in the conflict, are you vexed?
Do you also consider what a thing it is, and how great, that Abraham should be sitting, and the Apostle Paul, waiting till thou hast been perfected, that then they may be able to receive their reward. For the Saviour has told them before that unless we also are present, He will not give it them. As an affectionate father might say to sons who were well approved, and had accomplished their work, that he would not give them to eat, unless their brethren came. And art thou vexed, that thou hast not yet received the reward? What then shall Abel do, who was victor before all, and is sitting uncrowned? And what Noah? And what, they who lived in those [early] times: seeing that they wait for thee and those after thee?
Dost thou see that we have the advantage of them? For "God" (he says) "has provided some better thing for us." In order that they might not seem to have the advantage of us from being crowned before us, He appointed one time of crowning for all; and he that gained the victory so many years before, receives his crown with thee. Seest thou His tender carefulness?
And he did not say, "that they without us might not be crowned," but "that they without us might not be made perfect"; so that at that time they appear perfect also. They were before us as regards the conflicts, but are not before us as regards the crowns. He wronged not them, but He honored us. For they also wait for the brethren. For if we are "all one body," the pleasure becomes greater to this body, when it is crowned altogether, and not part by part. For the righteous are also worthy of admiration in this, that they rejoice in the welfare of their brethren, as in their own. So that for themselves also, this is according to their wish, to be crowned along with their own members. To be glorified all together, is a great delight.
[3.] ( C. xii. 1 ) "Wherefore" (he says) "we also being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses." In many places the Scripture derives its consolation in evils from corresponding things. As when the prophet says, "From burning heat, and from storm, and rain." ( Isa. iv. 6 .) This at least he says here also, that the memory of those holy men, reestablishes and recovers the soul which had been weighed down by woes, as a cloud does him who is burnt by the too hot rays [of the sun.]
And he did not say, "lifted on high above us," but, "compassing us about," which was more than the other; so that we are in greater security.
What sort of "cloud"? "A load of witnesses."  With good reason he calls not those in the New [Testament] only, but those in the Old also, "witnesses" [or "martyrs"]. For they also were witnesses to the greatness of God, as for instance, the Three Children, those with Elijah, all the prophets.
"Laying aside all things." "All": what? That is, slumber, indifference, mean reasonings, all human things.
"And the sin which doth [so] easily beset us"; euperistaton , that is either, "which easily circumvents us," or "what can easily be circumvented,"  but rather this latter. For it is easy, if we will, to overcome sin.
"Let us run with patience" (he says) "the race that is set before us." He did not say, Let us contend as boxers, nor, Let us wrestle, nor, Let us do battle: but, what was lightest of all, the [contest] of the foot-race, this has he brought forward. Nor yet did he say, Let us add to the length of the course; but, Let us continue patiently in this, let us not faint. "Let us run" (he says) "the race that is set before us."
[4.] In the next place as the sum and substance of his exhortation, which he puts both first and last, even Christ. ( Ver. 2 ) "Looking" (he says) "unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith"; The very thing which Christ Himself also continually said to His disciples, "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of His household?" ( Matt. x. 25 .) And again, "The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord." ( Matt. x. 24 .)
"Looking" (he says), that is, that we may learn to run. For as in all arts and games, we impress the art upon our mind by looking to our masters, receiving certain rules through our sight, so here also, if we wish to run, and to learn to run well, let us look to Christ, even to Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith." What is this? He has put the Faith within us. For He said to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" ( John xv. 16 ); and Paul too says, "But then shall I know, even as also I have been known."  ( 1 Cor. xiii. 12 .) He put the Beginning into us, He will also put on the End.
"Who," he says, "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame." That is, it was in His power not to suffer at all, if He so willed. For "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" ( 1 Pet. ii. 22 ); as He also says in the Gospels, "The Prince of the world cometh and hath nothing in Me." ( John xiv. 30 .) It lay then in His power, if so He willed, not to come to the Cross. For, "I have power," He says, "to lay down My life; and I have power to take it again." ( John x. 18 .) If then He who was under no necessity of being crucified, was crucified for our sake, how much more is it right that we should endure all things nobly!
"Who for the joy that was set before Him" (he says) "endured the cross, despising the shame." But what is, "Despising the shame"? He chose, he means, that ignominious death. For suppose that He died. Why [should He] also [die] ignominiously? For no other reason, but to teach us to make no account of glory from men. Therefore though under no obligation He chose it, teaching us to be bold against it, and to set it at nought. Why did he say not "pain," but "shame"? Because it was not with pain  that He bore these things.
What then is the end? "He is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Seest thou the prize which Paul also says in an epistle, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow." ( Philip. ii. 9, 10 .) He speaks in respect to the flesh.  Well then, even if there were no prize, the example would suffice to persuade us to accept all [such] things. But now prizes also are set before us, and these no common ones, but great and unspeakable.
[5.] Wherefore let us also, whenever we suffer anything of this kind, before the Apostles consider Christ. Why? His whole life was full of insults. For He continually heard Himself called mad, and a deceiver, and a sorcerer; and at one time the Jews said, "Nay," (it says) "but He deceiveth the people." ( John vii. 12 .) And again, "That deceiver said while He was yet alive, after three days I will rise again." ( Matt. xxvii. 63 .) As to sorcery too they calumniated Him, saying, "He casteth out the devils by Beelzebub." ( Matt. xii. 24 .) And that "He is mad and hath a devil." ( John x. 20 .) "Said we not well" (it says) "that He hath a devil and is mad?" ( John viii. 48 .)
And these things He heard from them, when doing them good, performing miracles, showing forth the works of God. For indeed, if He had been so spoken of, when He did nothing, it would not have been so wonderful: But [it is wonderful] that when He was teaching what pertained to Truth He was called "a deceiver," and when He cast out devils, was said to "have a devil," and when He was overthrowing all that was opposed [to God], was called a sorcerer. For these things they were continually alleging against Him.
And if thou wouldst know both the scoffs  and the ironical jeerings,  which they made against Him (what particularly wounds our souls), hear first those from His kindred. "Is not this" (it says) "the carpenter's son, whose father and mother we know? Are not his brethren all with us?" ( Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3; John vi. 42 .) Also scoffing at Him from His country, they said He was "of Nazareth." And again, "search," it says, "and see, for out of Galilee hath no prophet arisen." ( John vii. 52 .) And He endured being so greatly calumniated. And again they said, "Doth not the Scripture say, that Christ cometh from the town of Bethlehem?" ( John vii. 42 .)
Wouldst thou see also the ironical jeerings they made? Coming, it says, to the very cross they worshiped Him; and they struck Him and buffeted Him, and said, "Tell us who it is that smote Thee" ( Matt. xxvi. 68 ); and they brought vinegar to Him, and said, "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross." ( Matt. xxvii. 40 .) And again, the servant of the High Priest struck Him with the palm of his hand; and He says, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smiteth thou Me?" ( John xviii. 23 .) And in derision they put a robe about Him; and they spat in His face; and they were continually applying their tests, tempting Him.
Wouldest thou see also the accusations, some secret, some open, some from disciples? "Will ye also go away?" ( John vi. 67 ) He says. And that saying, "Thou hast a devil" ( John viii. 48, vii. 20 ), was uttered by those who already believed. Was He not continually a fugitive, sometimes in Galilee, and sometimes in Judea? Was not His trial great, even from the swaddling clothes? When He was yet a young child, did not His mother take Him and go down into Egypt? For all these reasons he says, "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
To Him then let us look, also to the [sufferings  ] of His disciples, reading the [writings  ] of Paul, and hearing him say, "In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in persecutions,  in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments." ( 2 Cor. vi. 4, 5 .) And again, "Even to this present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat." ( 1 Cor. iv. 11-13 .) Has any one [of us] suffered the smallest part of these things? For, he says, [we are] "As deceivers, as dishonored, as having nothing." ( 2 Cor. vi. 8, 10 .) And again, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in tribulations, in distress, in hunger." ( 2 Cor. xi. 24-26 .) And that these things seem good to God, hear him saying, "For this I besought the Lord thrice, and He said to me, My Grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." ( 2 Cor. xii. 8-10 .) "Wherefore," he says, "I take pleasure in infirmities, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Moreover, hear Christ Himself saying, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." ( John xvi. 33 .)
[6.] Ver. 3 . "For consider," saith he, "Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." For if the sufferings of those near us arouse us, what earnestness will not those of our Master give us! What will they not work in us!
And passing by all [else], he expressed the whole by the [word] "Contradiction"; and by adding "such." For the blows upon the cheek, the laughter, the insults, the reproaches, the mockeries, all these he indicated by "contradiction." And not these only, but also the things which befell Him during His whole life, of teaching.
For a great, a truly great consolation are both the sufferings of Christ, and those of the Apostles. For He so well knew that this is the better way of virtue, as even to go that way Himself, not having need thereof: He knew so well that tribulation is expedient for us, and that it becomes rather a foundation for repose. For hear Him saying, "If a man take not his cross, and follow after Me, he is not worthy of Me." ( Matt. x. 38 .) If thou art a disciple, He means, imitate the Master; for this is [to be] a disciple. But if while He went by [the path of] affliction, thou [goest] by that of ease, thou no longer treadest the same path, which He trod, but another. How then dost thou follow, when thou followest not? How shalt thou be a disciple, not going after the Master? This Paul also says, "We are weak, but ye are strong; we are despised, but ye are honored." ( 1 Cor. iv. 10 .) How is it reasonable, he means, that we should be striving after opposite things, and yet that you should be disciples and we teachers?
[7.] Affliction then is a great thing, beloved, for it accomplishes two great things; It wipes out sins, and it makes men strong.
What then, you say, if it overthrow and destroy? Affliction does not do this, but our own slothfulness. How (you say)? If we are sober and watchful, if we beseech God that He would not "suffer us to be tempted above that we are able" ( 1 Cor. x. 13 ), if we always hold fast to Him, we shall stand nobly, and set ourselves against our enemy. So long as we have Him for our helper, though temptations blow more violently than all the winds, they will be to us as chaff and a leaf borne lightly along. Hear Paul saying, "In all these things" (are his words) "we are more than conquerors." ( Rom. viii. 37 .) And again, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." ( Rom. viii. 18 .) And again, "For the light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." ( 2 Cor. iv. 17 .)
Consider what great dangers, shipwrecks, afflictions one upon another, and other such things, he calls "light"; and emulate this inflexible one, who wore this body simply and heedlessly.  Thou art in poverty? But not in such as Paul, who was tried by hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. For he suffered this not for one day, but endured it continually. Whence does this appear? Hear himself saying, "Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked." ( 1 Cor. iv. 11 .) Oh! How great glory did he already have in preaching, when he was undergoing so great [afflictions]! Having now [reached] the twentieth year [thereof], at the time when he wrote this. For he says, "I knew a man fourteen years ago, whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not." ( 2 Cor. xii. 2 .) And again, "After three years" (he says) "I went up to Jerusalem." ( Gal. i. 18 .) And again hear him saying, "It were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void." ( 1 Cor. ix. 15 .) And not only this, but again also in writing he said, "We are become as the filth of the world." ( 1 Cor. iv. 13 .) What is more difficult to endure than hunger? What than freezing cold? What than plottings made by brethren whom he afterwards calls "false brethren"? ( 2 Cor. xi. 26 .) Was he not called the pest of the world? An Impostor? A subverter? Was he not cut with scourging?
[8.] These things let us take into our mind, beloved, let us consider them, let us hold them in remembrance, and then we shall never faint, though we be wronged, though we be plundered, though we suffer innumerable evils. Let it be granted us to be approved in Heaven, and all things [are] endurable. Let it be granted us to fare well there, and things here are of no account. These things are a shadow, and a dream; whatever they may be, they are nothing either in nature or in duration, while those are hoped for and expected.
For what wouldst thou that we should compare with those fearful things? What with the unquenchable fire? With the never-dying worm? Which of the things here canst thou name in comparison with the "gnashing of teeth," with the "chains," and the "outer darkness," with the "wrath," the "tribulation," the "anguish"? But as to duration? Why, what are ten thousand years to ages boundless and without end? Not so much as a little drop to the boundless ocean.
But what about the good things? There, the superiority is still greater. "Eye hath not seen," (it is said,) "ear hath not heard, neither have, entered into the heart of man" ( 1 Cor. ii. 9 ), and these things again shall be during boundless ages. For the sake of these then were it not well to be cut [by scourging] times out of number, to be slain, to be burned, to undergo ten thousand deaths, to endure everything whatsoever that is dreadful both in word and deed? For even if it were possible for one to live when burning in the fire, ought one not to endure all for the sake of attaining to those good things promised?
[9.] But why do I trifle in saying these things to men who do not even choose to disregard riches, but hold fast to them as though they were immortal? And if they give a little out of much, think they have done all? This is not Almsgiving. For Almsgiving is that of the Widow who emptied out "all her living." ( Mark xii. 44 .) But if thou dost not go on to contribute so much as the widow, yet at least contribute the whole of thy superfluity: keep what is sufficient, not what is superfluous.
But there is no one who contributes even his superabundance. For so long as thou hast many servants,  and garments of silk, these things are all superfluities. Nothing is indispensable or necessary, without which we are able to live; these things are superfluous, and are simply superadded.  Let us then see, if you please, what we cannot live without. If we have only two servants, we can live. For whereas some live without servants, what excuse have we, if we are not content with two? We can also have a house built of brick of three rooms;  and this were sufficient for us. For are there not some with children and wife who have but one room?  Let there be also, if you will, two serving boys.
[10.] And how is it not a shame (you say) that a gentlewoman  should walk out with [only] two servants? It is no shame, that a gentlewoman should walk abroad with two servants, but it is a shame that she should go forth with many. Perhaps you laugh when you hear this. Believe me it is a shame. Do you think it a great matter to go out with many servants, like dealers in sheep, or dealers in slaves? This is pride and vainglory, the other is philosophy and respectability. For a gentlewoman ought not to be known from the multitude of her attendants. For what virtue is it to have many slaves? This belongs not to the soul, and whatever is not of the soul does not show gentility. When she is content with a few things, then is she a gentlewoman indeed; but when she needs many, she is a servant and inferior to slaves. Tell me, do not the angels go to and fro about the world alone, and need not any one to follow them? Are they then on this account inferior to us? They who need no [attendants] to us who need them? If then not needing an attendant at all, is angelic, who comes nearer to the angelic life, she who needs many [attendants], or she who [needs] few? Is not this a shame? For a shame it is to do anything out of place.
Tell me who attracts the attention of those who are in the public places,  she who brings many in her train, or she who [brings but] few? And is not she who is alone, less conspicuous even than she who is attended by few? Seest thou that this [first-named conduct] is a shame? Who attracts the attention of those in the public places, she who wears beautiful garments, or she who is dressed simply and artlessly? Again who attracts those in the public places, she who is borne on mules, and with trappings ornamented with gold, or she who walks out simply, and as it may be, with propriety? Or we do not even look at this latter, if we even see her; but the multitudes not only force their way to see the other, but also ask, Who is she, and Where from? And I do not say how great envy is hereby produced. What then (tell me), is it disgraceful to be looked at or not to be looked at? When is the shame greater, when all stare at her, or when no one [does]? When they inform themselves about her, or when they do not even care? Seest thou that we do everything, not for modesty's sake but for vainglory?
However, since it is impossible to draw you away from that, I am content for the present that you should learn that this [conduct] is no disgrace. Sin alone is a disgrace, which no one thinks to be a disgrace. Sin alone is a disgrace, which no one thinks to be a disgrace, but everything rather than this.
[11.] Let your dress be such as is needful, not superfluous. However, that we may not shut you up too narrowly, this I assure you, that we have no need of ornaments of gold, or of lace.  And it is not I who say this. For that the words are not mine, hear the blessed Paul saying, and solemnly charging women "to adorn themselves, not with plaitings [of the hair], or gold, or pearls, or costly apparel." ( 1 Tim. ii. 9 .) But with what kind, O Paul, wouldest thou tell us? For perhaps they will say, that only golden things are costly; and that silks are not costly. Tell us with what kind thou wouldest? "But having food and raiment,  let us therewith" (he says) "be content."  ( 1 Tim. vi. 8 .) Let our garment be such as merely to cover us. For God hath given them to us for this reason, that we may cover our nakedness; and this any sort of garment can do, though but of trifling cost. Perhaps ye laugh, who wear dresses of silk; for in truth one may well laugh, considering what Paul enjoined and what we practice!
But my discourse is not addressed to women only, but also to men. For the rest of the things which we have are all superfluous; only the poor possess no superfluities; and perhaps they too from necessity: since, if it had been in their power, even they would not have abstained [from them]. Nevertheless, "whether in pretense or in truth" ( Philip. i. 18 ), so far they have no superfluities.
[12.] Let us then wear such clothes as are sufficient for our need. For what does much gold mean? To those on the stage these things are fitting, this apparel belongs to them, to harlots, to those who do everything to be looked at. Let her beautify herself, who is on the stage or the dancing platform. For she wishes to attract all to her. But a woman who professes godliness, let her not beautify herself thus, but in a different way. Thou hast a means of beautifying thyself far better than that. Thou also hast a theater:  for that theater make thyself beautiful: clothe thyself with those ornaments. What is thy theater? Heaven, the company of Angels. I speak not of Virgins only, but also of those in the world. All as many as believe in Christ have that theater. Let us speak such things that we may please those spectators. Put on such garments that thou mayest gratify them.
For tell me, if a harlot putting aside her golden ornaments, and her robes, and her laughter, and her witty and unchaste talk, clothe herself with a cheap garment, and having dressed herself simply come [on the stage], and utter religious words, and discourse of chastity, and say nothing indelicate, will not all rise up? Will not this theater be dispersed? Will they not cast her out, as one who does not know how to suit herself to the crowd, and speaks things foreign to that Satanic theater? So thou also, if thou enter into the Theater of Heaven clad with her garments, the spectators will cast thee out. For there, there is no need of these garments of gold, but of different ones. Of what kind? Of such as the prophet names, "clothed in fringed work of gold, and in varied colors" ( Ps. xlv. 13 ), not so as to make the body white and glistering, but so as to beautify the soul. For the soul it is, which is contending and wrestling in that Theater. "All the glory of the King's daughter is from within" ( Ps. xlv. 13 ), it says. With these do thou clothe thyself; for [so] thou both deliverest thyself from other evils innumerable, and thy husband from anxiety and thyself from care.
For so thou wilt be respected by thy husband, when thou needest not many things. For every man is wont to be shy towards those who make requests of him; but when he sees that they have no need of him, then he lets down his pride, and converses with them as equals. When thy husband sees that thou hast no need of him in anything, that thou thinkest lightly of the presents which come from him, then, even though he be very arrogant,  he will respect thee more, than if thou wert clad in golden ornaments; and thou wilt no longer be his slave. For those of whom we stand in need, we are compelled to stoop to. But if we restrain ourselves we shall no longer be regarded as criminals,  but he knows that we pay him obedience from the fear of God, not for what is given by him. For now, when that he confers great favors on us, whatever honor he receives, he thinks he has not received all [that is due to him]: but then, though he obtain but a little, he will account it a favor he does not reproach, nor will he be himself compelled to overreach on thy account.
[13.] For what is more unreasonable, than to provide golden ornaments, to be worn in baths, and in market places? However, in baths and in market places it is perhaps no wonder, but that a woman should come into Church so decked out is very ridiculous. For, for what possible reason does she come in here wearing golden ornaments, she who ought to come in that she may hear [the precept] "that they adorn not themselves with gold, nor pearls, nor costly array"? ( 1 Tim. ii. 9 .) With what object then, O woman, dost thou come? Is it indeed to fight with Paul, and show that even if he repeat these things ten thousand times thou regardest them not? Or is it as wishing to put us your teachers to shame as discoursing on these subjects in vain? For tell me; if any heathen and unbeliever, after he has heard the passage read where the blessed Paul says these things, having a believing wife, sees that she makes much account of beautifying herself, and puts on ornaments of gold, that she may come into Church and hear Paul charging [the women] that they adorn themselves, neither with "gold" ( 1 Tim. ii. 9 ), nor with "pearls," nor with "costly array," will he not indeed say to himself, when he sees her in her little room,  putting on these things, and arranging them beautifully, "Why is my wife staying within in her little room? Why is she so slow? Why is she putting on her golden ornaments? Where has she to go to? Into the Church? For what purpose? To hear? `not with costly array';" will he not smile, will he not burst out into laughter? will he not think our religion  a mockery and a deceit? Wherefore, I beseech [you], let us leave golden ornaments to processions, to theaters, to signs on the shops.  But let not the image of God be decked out with these things: let the gentlewoman be adorned with gentility, and gentility is the absence of pride, and of boastful display.
Nay even if thou wish to obtain glory from men, thou wilt obtain it thus. For we shall not wonder so much that the wife of a rich man wears gold and silk (for this is the common practice of them all), as when she is dressed in a plain and simple garment made merely of wool. This all will admire, this they will applaud. For in that adorning indeed of ornaments of gold and of costly apparel, she has many to share with her. And if she surpass one, she is surpassed by another. Yea, even if she surpass all, she must yield the palm to the Empress herself. But in the other case, she outdoes all, even the Emperor's wife herself. For she alone in wealth, has chosen the [dress] of the poor. So that even if we desire glory, here too the glory is greater.
[14.] I say this not only to widows, and to the rich; for here the necessity of widowhood seems to cause this: but to those also who have a husband.
But, you say, I do not please my husband [if I dress plainly]. It is not thy husband thou wishest to please, but the multitude of poor women; or rather not to please them, but to make them pine [with envy], and to give them pain, and make their poverty greater. How many blasphemies are uttered because of thee! `Let there be no poverty' (say they). `God hates the poor.' `God loves not those in poverty.' For that it is not thy husband whom thou wishest to please, and for this reason thou deckest thyself out, thou makest plain to all by what thou thyself doest. For as soon as thou hast passed over the threshold of thy chamber,  thou immediately puttest off all, both the robes, and the golden ornaments, and the pearls; and at home of all places thou dost not wear them.
But if thou really wishest to please thy husband, there are ways of pleasing him, by gentleness, by meekness, by propriety. For believe me, O woman, even if thy husband be infinitely debased,  these are the things which will more effectually win him, gentleness, propriety, freedom from pride and expensiveness and extravagance. For even if thou devise ten thousand such things, thou wilt not restrain the profligate. And this they know who have had such husbands. For however thou mayest beautify thyself, he being a profligate will go off to a courtesan; while [the husband] that is chaste and regular thou wilt gain not by these means, but by the opposite: yea by these thou even causest him pain, clothing thyself with the reputation of a lover of the world. For what if thy husband out of respect, and that as a sober-minded man, does not speak, yet inwardly he will condemn thee, and will not conceal  ill-will  and jealousy. Wilt thou not drive away all pleasure for the future, by exciting ill-will against thyself?
[15.] Possibly you are annoyed at hearing what is said, and are indignant, saying, `He irritates husbands still more against their wives.' I say this, not to irritate your husbands, but I wish that these things should be done by you willingly, for your own sakes, not for theirs; not to free them from envy but to free you from the parade of this life.
Dost thou wish to appear beautiful? I also wish it, but with beauty which God seeks, which "the King desires."  ( Ps. xlv. 11 .) Whom wouldst thou have as a Lover? God or men? Shouldest thou be beautiful with that beauty, God will "desire thy beauty"; but if with the other apart from this, He will abominate thee, and thy lovers will be profligates. For no man who loves a married woman is good. Consider this even in regard to the adorning that is external. For the other adorning, I mean that of the soul, attracts God; but this again, profligates. Seest thou that I care for you, that I am anxious for you, that ye may be beautiful, really beautiful, splendid, really splendid, that instead of profligate men, ye may have for your Lover God the Lord of all? And she who has Him for her Lover, to whom will she be like? She has her place among the choirs of Angels. For if one who is beloved of a king is accounted happy above all, what will her dignity be who is beloved of God with much love? Though thou put the whole world [in the balance against it], there is nothing equivalent to that beauty.
This beauty then let us cultivate; with these embellishments let us adorn ourselves, that we may pass into the Heavens, into the spiritual chambers, into the nuptial chamber that is undefiled. For this beauty is liable to be destroyed by anything; and when it lasts well, and neither disease nor anxiety impair it (which is impossible), it does not last twenty years. But the other is ever blooming, ever in its prime. There , there is no change to fear; no old age coming brings a wrinkle, no undermining disease withers it; no desponding anxiety disfigures it; but it is far above all these things. But this [earthly beauty] takes flight before it appears, and if it appears it has not many admirers. For those of well-ordered minds do not admire it; and those who do admire it, admire with wantonness.
[16.] Let us not therefore cultivate this [beauty], but the other: let us have that, so that with bright torches we may pass into the bridal chamber. For not to virgins only has this been promised, but to virgin souls. For had it belonged merely to virgins, those five would not have been shut out. This then belongs to all who are virgins in soul, who are freed from worldly imaginations: for these imaginations corrupt our souls. If therefore we remain unpolluted, we shall depart thither, and shall be accepted. "For I have espoused you," he says, "to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin unto Christ." ( 2 Cor. xi. 2 .) These things he said, not with reference to Virgins, but to the whole body of the entire Church. For the uncorrupt soul is a virgin, though she have a husband: she is a virgin as to that which is Virginity indeed, that which is worthy of admiration. For this of the body is but the accompaniment and shadow of the other: while that is the True Virginity. This let us cultivate, and so shall we be able with cheerful countenance to behold the Bridegroom, to enter in with bright torches, if the oil do not fail us, if by melting down our golden ornaments we procure such oil as makes our lamps bright. And this oil is lovingkindness.
If we impart what we have to others, if we make oil therefrom, then it will protect us, and we shall not say at that time, "Give us oil, for our lamps are going out" ( Matt. xxv. 8 ), nor shall we beg of others, nor shall we be shut out when we are gone to them that sell, nor shall we hear that fearful and terrible voice, while we are knocking at the doors, "I know you not." ( Matt. xxv. 12 .) But He will acknowledge us, and we shall go in with the Bridegroom, and having entered into the spiritual Bride-chamber we shall enjoy good things innumerable.
For if here the bride-chamber is so bright, the rooms so splendid, that none is weary of observing them, much more there. Heaven is the chamber,  and the bride-chamber  better than Heaven; then we shall enter. But if the Bride-chamber is so beautiful, what will the Bridegroom be?
And why do I say, `Let us put away our golden ornaments, and give to the needy'? For if ye ought even to sell yourselves, if ye ought to become slaves instead of free women, that so ye might be able to be with that Bridegroom, to enjoy that Beauty, [nay] merely to look on that Countenance, ought you not with ready mind to welcome all things? We look at and admire a king upon the earth, but when [we see] a king and a bridegroom both, much more ought we to welcome him with readiness. Truly these things are a shadow, while those are a reality. And a King and a Bridegroom in Heaven! To be counted worthy also to go before Him with torches, and to be near Him, and to be ever with Him, what ought we not to do? What should we not perform? What should we not endure? I entreat you, let us conceive some desire for those blessings, let us long for that Bridegroom, let us be virgins as to the true Virginity. For the Lord seeks after the virginity of the soul. With this let us enter into Heaven, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" ( Eph. v. 27 ); that we may attain also to the good things promised, of which may we all be partakers through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
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