HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
ST. MATTHEW
HOMILIES LIII & LVI (MATT. 15 & 16)

HOMILY LIII.

MATT. XV. 32.

"But Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will(1) not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."

BOTH above, when going to do this miracle, He first healed them that were maimed in body, and here He doth the self-same thing; from the healing of the blind and the lame, He goes on to this again.

But why might it be, that then His disciples said, "Send away the multitude," but now they said not so; and this, though three days had past? Either being themselves improved by this time, or seeing that the people had no great sense of hunger; for they were glorifying God for the things that were done.

But see how in this instance too He doth not proceed at once to the miracle, but calls them forth thereunto. For the multitudes indeed who had come out for healing durst not ask for the loaves; but He, the benevolent and provident one, gives even to them that ask not, and saith unto His disciples, "I have compassion, and will not send them away fasting."

For lest they should say that they came having provisions for the way, He saith, "They continue with me now three days;" so that even if they came having any, it is all spent. For therefore He Himself did not this on the first and second day, but when all had been consumed by them, in order that having first been in want, they might more eagerly accept His work.

Therefore He saith, "Lest they faint in the way;" implying both their distance to be great, and that they had nothing left.

"Then, if thou art not willing to send them away fasting, wherefore dost thou not work the miracle?" That by this question and by their answer He might make the disciples more heedful, and that they might show forth their faith, coming unto Him, and saying, "Make loaves."

But not even so did they understand the motive of His question; wherefore afterwards He saith to them, as Mark relates, "Are your hearts so hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?"(1)

Since, if this were not so, wherefore doth He speak to the disciples, and signify the multitude's worthiness to receive a benefit, and add also the pity He Himself feels?

But Matthew saith, that after this He also rebuked them, saying, "O ye of little faith, do ye not yet understand, nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?"(2) So completely do the evangelists harmonize one with another.

What then say the disciples? Still they creep on the ground, although He had done so very many things in order that that miracle might be kept in memory; as by His question, and by the answer, and by making them minister herein, and by distributing the baskets; but their state of mind was yet rather imperfect.

Wherefore also they say to Him, "Whence should we have so many loaves in the wilderness?"(3)

Both before this, and now, they make mention of the wilderness; themselves in a weak way of argument so speaking, yet even hereby putting the miracle above suspicion. That is, lest any should affirm (as I have indeed already said), that they obtained it from some neighboring village, the place is acknowledged, that the miracle may be believed. With this view, both the former miracle and this He works in a wilderness, at a great distance from the villages.

The disciples, considering none of all this, said, "Whence should we have so many loaves in a wilderness?" For they thought verily He had said it as purposing next to enjoin them to feed the people; most foolishly; since with this intent He had said, and that lately, "Give ye them to eat,"(4) that He might bring them to an urgent need of entreating Him.

But now He saith not this, "Give ye them to eat," but what? "I have compassion on them, and will not send them away fasting;" bringing the disciples nearer, and provoking them more, and granting them clearer sight, to ask these things of Him. For in truth they were the words of one signifying that He hath power not to send them away fasting; of one manifesting His authority. For the expression, "I will not," implies such a purpose in Him.

2. Since however they still spake of the multitude merely, and the place, and the wilderness (for "whence," it is said, "should we have in a wilderness so many loaves, as to fill so great a multitude"?); and not even so understood what He said, He proceeds to contribute His own part, and saith unto them,

"How many loaves have ye? And they say, Seven, and a few little fishes."(5)

And they no more say, "But what are these among so many?"(6) as they had said before. So that although they reached not His whole meaning, yet nevertheless they became higher by degrees. For so He too, arousing their mind hereby, puts the question much as He had done before, that by the very form of the inquiry He might remind them of the works already done.

But as thou hast seen their imperfection hereby, so do thou observe the severity of their spirit, and admire their love of truth, how, writing themselves, they conceal not their own defects, great as they were. For it was no small blame to have presently forgotten this miracle, which had so recently taken place; wherefore they are also rebuked.

And herewith consider also their strictness in another matter, how they were conquerors of their appetite; how disciplined to make little account of their diet. For being in the wilderness and abiding there three days, they had seven loaves.

Now all the rest He doth as on the former occasion; thus He both makes them sit down on the ground, and He makes the loaves multiply themselves in the hands of the disciples. For, "He commanded," it is said, "the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves, and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude."(1)

But when we come to the end, there is a difference.

For, "they did all eat," so it is said, "and were filled, and they took up of the broken meat that was left,(2) seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children."(3)

But why at the former time, when there were five thousand, did twelve baskets full remain over and above, whereas here, when there were four thousand, it was seven baskets full? For what purpose, I say, and by what cause, were the remnants less, the guests not being so many?

Either then one may say this, that the baskets on this last occasion(4) were greater than those used before,(5) or if this were not so, lest the equality of the miracle should again cast them into forgetfulness, He rouses their recollection by the difference, that by the variation they might be reminded of both one and the other. Accordingly, in that case, He makes the baskets full of fragments equal in number to His disciples, in this, the other baskets equal to the loaves; indicating even hereby His unspeakable power, and the ease wherewith He exercised His authority, in that it was possible for Him to work such miracles, both in this way and in the other. For neither was it of small power, to maintain the exact number, both then and now; then when there were five thousand, now when there were four thousand; and not suffer the remnants to be more than the baskets used on the one occasion or on the other, although the number of the guests was different.

And the end again was like the former. For as then He left the multitude and withdrew in a ship, so also now; and John also saith this.(6) For since no sign did so work upon them to follow Him, as the miracle of the loaves; and they were minded not only to follow Him, but also to make Him a king;(7) avoiding all suspicion of usurping royalty, He hastens away after this work of wonder: and He doth not even go away afoot, lest they should follow Him, but by entering into a ship.

"And He sent away the multitudes," so it saith, "and went on board the ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala."(8)

3. "And the Pharisees and Sadducees came and(9) desired Him to show them a sign from Heaven. But He saith, When it is evening, ye say, Fair weather, for the sky is red; and in the morning, Foul weather today, for the sky is red and lowering. Ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not the signs of the times?(10) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And He left them, and departed."(11)

But Mark saith, that when they were come unto Him, and were questioning with Him, "He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?"(12)

And yet surely their inquiry was deserving of anger and great displeasure; yet nevertheless the benevolent and provident One is not angry, but pities and bewails them as incurably diseased, and after so full a demonstration of His power, tempting Him.

For not in order to believe did they seek, but to lay hold of Him. Since had they come unto Him as ready to believe, He would have given it. For He who said to the woman, "It is not meet,"(13) and afterwards gave, much more would He have shown His bounty to these.

But since they did not seek to believe, therefore He also calls them hypocrites, because in another place they said one thing, and meant another. Yea, had they believed, they would not even have asked. And from another thing too it is evident that they believed not; that when reproved and exposed, they abode not with Him, nor said, "We are ignorant and seek to learn."

But for what sign from Heaven were they asking? Either that He should say the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or work a change in the air, or some other such thing.

What then saith He to all this? "Ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times?"(14) See His meekness and moderation. For not even as before did He refuse merely, and say, "There shall none be given them," but He states also the cause why He gives it not, even though they were not asking for information.

What then was the cause? "Much as in the sky," saith He, "one thing is a sign of a storm, another of fair weather, and no one when he saw the sign of foul weather would seek for a calm, neither in calm and fair weather for a storm; so should you reckon with regard to me also. For this present time of my coming, is different from that which is to come. Now there is need of these signs which are on the earth, but those in Heaven are stored up against that time. Now as a physician am I come, then I shall be here as a judge; now to seek that which is gone astray, then to demand an account. Therefore in a hidden manner am I come, but then with much publicity, folding up the heaven, hiding the sun, not suffering the moon to give her light. Then 'the very powers of the heavens shall be shaken,(1) and the manifestation of my coming shall imitate lightning that appears at once to all.(2) But not now is the time for these signs; for I am come to die, and to suffer all extremities."

Heard ye not the prophet, saying, "He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall His voice be heard without?"(3) and another again, "He shall come down as rain upon a fleece of wool?"(4)

And if men speak of the signs in Pharaoh's time, there was an enemy then from whom deliverance was needed, and it all took place in due course. But to Him that came among friends there was no need of those signs.

"And besides, how shall I give the great signs, when the little are not believed?" Little, I mean, as regards display, since in power these latter were much greater than the former. For what could be equal to remitting sins, and raising the dead, and driving away devils, and creating a body, and ordering all other things aright?

But do thou see their hardened heart, how on being told, that "no sign should be given them but the sign of the prophet Jonas," they do not ask. And yet, knowing both the prophet, and all that befell him, and having been told this a second time, they ought to have inquired and learnt what the saying could mean; but, as I said, there is no desire of information in these their doings. For this cause "He also left them, and departed."

4. "And when His disciples," so it is said, "were come to the other side, they forgot to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."(5)

And why said He not plainly, Beware of their teaching? His will is to remind them of what had been done, for He knew they had forgotten. But for accusing them at once there seemed to be no reasonable ground, but to take the occasion from themselves, and so to reprove them, would make the charge admissible. "And why did He not then reprove them, when they said, 'Whence should we have so many loaves in the wilderness?' for it seemed a good time then to say what He says here." That He might not seem to rush hastily on the miracle. And besides, He would not blame them before the multitude, nor seek honor in their presence. And now too the accusation had greater reason, for that after repetition of the miracle they were so minded.

Wherefore also He works another miracle, and then and not till then He reproves; I mean, He brings forward what they were reasoning in their hearts. But what were their reasonings? "Because," so it is said, "we have taken no bread."(6) For as yet they were full of trepidation about the purifications of the Jews, and the observances of meats.

Wherefore on all accounts He attacks them even with severity, saying, "Why reason ye in yourselves, O ye of little faith, because ye have brought no bread?(7) Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? Having ears, hear ye not?(8) Do ye not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?"(9)

Seest thou intense displeasure? For nowhere else doth He appear to have so rebuked them. Wherefore then doth He so? In order again to cast out their prejudice about the meats. I mean that with this view, whereas then He had only said, "Perceive ye not, neither understand?" in this place, and with a strong rebuke, He saith, "O ye of little faith."(10)

For not everywhere is lenity a good thing. And as He used to allow them freedom of speech, so doth He also reprove, by this variety providing for their salvation. And mark thou at once His reproof, bow strong, and His mildness. For all but excusing Himself to them for His severe reproofs to them, He saith, "Do ye not yet consider the five loaves, and how many baskets ye took up; and the seven loaves, and how many baskets ye took up?" And to this end He sets down also the numbers, as well of the persons fed as of the fragments, at once both bringing them to recollection of the past, and making them more attentive to the future.

And to teach thee how great the power of His reproof, and how it roused up their slumbering mind, hear what saith the evangelist. For Jesus having said no more, but having reproved them, and added this only, "How is it that ye do not understand, that I spake it not to you concerning bread that ye should beware, but of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;"(1) He subjoined, saying, "Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees,"(2) although He had not uttered that interpretation.

See how much good His reproof wrought. For it both led them away from the Jewish observances, and when they were remiss, made them more heedful, and delivered them from want of faith;(3) so that they were not afraid nor in alarm, if at any time they seemed to have few loaves; nor were they careful about famine, but despised all these things.

5. Neither let us then for our part be in all ways flattering those under our charge, nor seek to be flattered of them that have the rule over us. Since, in truth, the soul of men stands in need of medicines in both these kinds. Therefore even in the whole world we may see that God doth so order things, now doing this, now the other, and permits neither our good things to be permanent, nor our adversities to be by themselves. Yea, as now it is night, now day, and now winter, now summer; so also within us, now pain, now pleasure, now sickness, and now health. Let us not then marvel when we are sick, since rather when we are in health we should marvel. Neither let us be troubled when we are in sorrow, since when we are glad rather it is reasonable to be troubled; all coming to pass according to nature and in order. And why marvel, if in thy case so it be, when even in regard of those saints one may see this happening?

And that thou mayest learn it, the life which thou accountest to be most full of pleasure and free from troubles, that let us bring forward. Wilt thou that we examine Abraham's life from the beginning? What then at the very first was said to him? "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred."(4) Didst thou see what a painful thing is enjoined him? But look also on the good coming after it: "And come hither unto a land that I will show thee, and I will make thee a great nation."

What then? after he had come to the land, and reached the harbor, did his troubles cease? By no means; but others again, more grievous than the former, succeed, a famine, and a removal, and a violent seizure of his wife; and after these other prosperities befell him, the plague upon Pharaoh, and her liberation, and the honor, and those many gifts, and the return to his house. And the subsequent events too all form the same kind of chain, prosperities and troubles entwined together.

And the like befell the apostles too. Wherefore also Paul said, "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble."(5) "What then is this to me," some one will say, "who am always in sorrow?" Be not uncandid, nor unthankful; nay, it is out of the question for one to be in troubles always, nature being unequal to it; but because we want to be always in joy, therefore we account ourselves always in sorrow. Not however on this account alone, but because we presently forget our advantages and blessings, but are always remembering our troubles, therefore we say we are in sorrow. Whereas it is impossible, being a man, to be always in sorrow.

6. And if ye will, let us examine both the life of luxury, so delicate and dissipated, and the other, so grievous and galling, and painful. For we will show you that both the former hath sorrows, and the latter refreshments Nay, be not disturbed. Let there be set before us a man who is in bonds, and another who is a king, youthful, an orphan, having succeeded to a great substance; and let there also be set before us one toiling for hire through the whole day, and another living in luxury continually.

Wilt thou then that we tell first the vexations of that one, who lives in luxury? Consider how his mind must naturally be rocked as with a tempest, when he longs for a glory beyond him, when he is despised by his servants, when he is insulted by his inferiors, when he hath ten thousand to accuse him, and to blame his costly living. And all the rest too, which is likely to occur in such wealth, one cannot even tell; the vexations, the affronts, the accusations, the losses, the devices of the envious, who, because they cannot transfer his wealth to themselves, drag and tear in pieces the young man on every side, and excite against him storms without end.

Wilt thou have me tell also of the pleasure of this other, the hired laborer? From all this he is free; though one insult him, he grieves not, for he counts not himself greater than any; he is not in fear about wealth, he eats with pleasure, he sleeps with great comfort. Not so luxurious are the drinkers of Thasian wine, as he in going to fountains, and enjoying those springs. But the state of the other is not such.

Now if what I have said suffice thee not, to make my victory more complete. come let us compare the king and the prisoner, and thou wilt often see the latter in pleasure and sporting and leaping, while the former with his diadem and purple robe is in despair, and hath innumerable cares, and is dead with fear.

For we may not, we may not find any one's life without sorrow, nor again without its share of pleasure; for our nature would not have been equal to it, as I have already said. But if one joys more, and another grieves more, this is due to the person himself that grieves, being mean of soul, not to the nature of the case. For if we would rejoice continually, we have many means thereto.

Since, had we once laid hold on virtue, there would be nothing to grieve us any more. For she suggests good hopes to them that possess her, and makes them well pleasing to God, and approved among men, and infuses unspeakable delight. Yea, though in doing right virtue hath toil, yet doth it fill the conscience with much gladness, and lays up within so great pleasure, as no speech shall be able to express.

For which of the things in our present life seems to thee pleasant? A sumptuous table, and health of body, and glory, and wealth? Nay, these delights, if thou set them by that pleasure, will prove the bitterest of all things, compared thereunto. For nothing is more pleasurable than a sound conscience, and a good hope.

7. And if ye would learn this, let us inquire of him who is on the point of departing hence, or of him that is grown old; and when we have reminded him of sumptuous banqueting which he hath enjoyed, and of glory and honor, and of good works which he hath some time practised and wrought, let us ask in which he exults the more; and we shall see him for the other ashamed, and covering his face, but for these soaring and leaping with joy.

So Hezekiah, too, when he was sick, called not to mind sumptuous feasting, nor glory, nor royalty, but righteousness. For "remember," saith he, "how I walked before Thee in an upright way."(1) See Paul again for these things leaping with joy, and saying, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."(2) "Why, what had he to speak of besides?" one may say. Many things, and more than these; even the honors wherewith he was honored, what attendance and great respect he had enjoyed. Hearest thou not him saying, "Ye received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus"? and, "If it were possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes, and given them to me"?(3) and that "Men had laid down their neck for his life"?(4) But none of those things doth he bring forward, but his labors, and perils, and his crowns in requital for them; and with much reason. For while the one sort are left here, the other migrate with us; and for those we shall give account, but for these we shall ask reward.

Know ye not in the day of death how sins make the soul shrink? how they stir up the heart from beneath? At that time therefore, when such things are happening, the remembrance of good works stands by us, like a calm in a storm, and comforts the perturbed soul.

For if we be wakeful, even during our life this fear will be ever present with us; but, insensible as we are, it will surely come upon us when we are cast out from hence. Because the prisoner too is then most grieved, when they are leading him out to the court; then most trembles, when he is near the judgment-seat, when he must give his account. For the same kind of reason most persons may be then heard relating horrors, and fearful visions, the sight whereof they that are departing may not endure, but often shake their very bed with much vehemence, and gaze fearfully on the bystanders, the soul urging itself inwards, unwilling to be torn away from the body, and not enduring the sight of the coming angels. Since if human beings that are awful strike terror into us beholding them; when we see angels threatening, and stern powers, among our visitors; what shall we not suffer, the soul being forced from the body, and dragged away, and bewailing much, all in vain? Since that rich man too, after his departure, mourned much, but derived no profit therefrom.

All these things then let us picture to ourselves, and consider, test we too suffer the same, and thus let us keep the fear thence arising in vigor; that we may escape the actual punishment, and attain unto the eternal blessings; unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory unto the Father, together with the Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LIV.

MATT. XIV. 13.

"Now when Jesus had gone forth into the coasts(1) of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?"(2)

WHEREFORE hath he mentioned the founder of the city? Because there was another besides, Caesarea Stratonis. But not in that, but in this doth He ask them, leading them far away from the Jews, so that being freed from all alarm, they might speak with boldness all that was in their mind.

And wherefore did He not ask them at once their own opinion, but that of the people? In order that when they had told the people's opinion, and then were asked, "But whom(3) say ye that I am?" by the manner of His inquiry they might be led up to a sublimer notion, and not fall into the same low view as the multitude. Accordingly He asks them not at all in the beginning of His preaching, but when He had done many miracles, and had discoursed with them of many and high doctrines, and had afforded so many clear proofs of His Godhead, and of His unanimity with the Father, then He puts this question to them.

And He said not, "Whom say the Scribes and Pharisees that I am?" often as these had come unto Him, and discoursed with Him; but, "Whom do men say that I am?" inquiring after the judgment of the people, as unbiassed. For though it was far meaner than it should be, yet was it free from malice, but the other was teeming with much wickedness,

And signifying how earnestly He desires His Economy(4) to be confessed, He saith, "The Son of Man;" thereby denoting His Godhead, which He doth also in many other places. For He saith, "No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but the Son of Man, which is in Heaven."(5) And again, "But when ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up, where He was before."(6)

Then, since they said, "Some John the Baptist, some Elias, some Jeremias, or one of the prophets,"(7) and set forth their mistaken opinion, He next added, "But whom say ye that I am?"(8) calling them on by His second inquiry to entertain some higher imagination concerning Him, and indicating that their former judgment falls exceedingly short of His dignity. Wherefore He seeks for another judgment from themselves, and puts a second question, that they might not fall in with the multitude, who, because they saw His miracles greater than human, accounted Him a man indeed, but one that had appeared after a resurrection, as Herod also said.(9) But He, to lead them away from this notion, saith, "But whom say ye that I am?" that is, "ye that are with me always, and see me working miracles, and have yourselves done many mighty works by me."

5. What then saith the mouth of the apostles, Peter, the ever fervent, the leader of the apostolic choir?(1) When all are asked, he answers. And whereas when He asked the opinion of the people, all replied to the question; when He asked their own, Peter springs forward, and anticipates them, and saith, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."(2)

What then saith Christ? "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee."(3)

Yet surely unless he had rightly confessed Him, as begotten of the very Father Himself, this were no work of revelation; had he accounted our Lord to be one of the many, his saying was not worthy of a blessing. Since before this also they said, "Truly He is Son of God,"(4) those, I mean, who were in the vessel after the tempest, which they saw, and were not blessed, although of course they spake truly. For they confessed not such a Sonship as Peter, but accounted Him to be truly Son as one of the many, and though peculiarly so beyond the many, yet not of the same substance.

And Nathanael too said, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel;" s and so far from being blessed, he is even reproved by Him, as having said what was far short of the truth. He replied at least, "Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these."(6)

Why then is this man blessed? Because he acknowledged Him very Son. Wherefore you see, that while in those former instances He had said no such thing, in this case He also signifies who had revealed it. That is, lest his words might seem to the many (because he was an earnest lover of Christ) to be words of friendship and flattery, and of a disposition to show favor to Him, he brings forward the person who had made them ring(7) in his soul; to inform thee that Peter indeed spake, but the Father suggested, and that thou mightest believe the saying to be no longer a human opinion, but a divine doctrine.

And wherefore doth He not Himself declare it, nor say, "I am the Christ," but by His question establish this, bringing them in to confess it? Because so to do was both more suitable to Him, yea necessary at that time, and it drew them on the more to the belief of the things that were said.

Seest thou how the Father reveals the Son, how the Son the Father? For "neither knoweth any man the Father," saith He, "save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him."(8) It cannot therefore be that one should learn the Son of any other than of the Father; neither that one should learn the Father of any other than of the Son. So that even hereby, their sameness of honor and of substance is manifest.

3. What then saith Christ? "Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas."(9) "Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;" all but saying, "As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father." Else it were superfluous to say, "Thou art Son of Jonas;" but since he had said, "Son of God," to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, "And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;"(10) that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. "And the gates of hell" shall not prevail against it." "And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified."

Then He mentions also another honor. "And I also(12) will give thee the keys of the heavens."(13) But what is this, "And I also will give thee?" "As the Father hath given thee to know me, so will I also give thee."

And He said not, "I will entreat the Father" (although the manifestation of His authority was great, and the largeness of the gift unspeakable), but, "I will give thee." What dost Thou give? tell me. "The keys of the heavens, that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven,(14) and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven." How then is it not "His to give to sit on His right hand, and on His left,"(15) when He saith, "I will give thee"?

Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church incapable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as "a brazen pillar, and as a wall;"(1) but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.

I would fain inquire then of those who desire to lessen the dignity of the Son, which manner of gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave him? For the Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son; but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and that of Himself in every part of the world; and to a mortal man He entrusted the authority over all things in Heaven, giving him the keys; who extended the church to every part of the world, and declared it to be stronger than heaven. "For heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away."(2) How then is He less, who hath given such gifts, hath effected such things?

And these things I say, not dividing the works of Father and Son ("for all things are made by Him, and without Him was nothing made which was made"):(3) but bridling the shameless tongue of them that dare so to speak.

But see, throughout all, His authority: "I say unto thee, Thou art Peter; I will build the Church; I will give thee the keys of Heaven."

4. And then, when He had so said, "He charged them that they should tell no man that He was the Christ."(5)

And why did He charge them? That when the things which offend are taken out of the way, and the cross is accomplished, and the rest of His sufferings fulfilled, and when there is nothing any more to interrupt and disturb the faith of the people in Him, the right opinion concerning Him may be engraven pure and immovable in the mind of the hearers. For, in truth, His power had not yet clearly shone forth. Accordingly it was His will then to be preached by them, when both the plain truth of the facts, and the power of His deeds were pleading in support of the assertions of the apostles. For it was by no means the same thing to see Him in Palestine, now working miracles, and now insulted and persecuted (and especially when the very cross was presently to follow the miracles that were happening); and to behold him everywhere in the world, adored and believed, and no more suffering anything, such as He had suffered.

Therefore He bids them "tell no man." For that which hath been once rooted and then plucked up, would hardly, if planted, again be retained among the many; but that which, once fixed, hath remained immovable, and hath suffered injury from no quarter, easily mounts up, and advances to a greater growth.

And if they who had enjoyed the benefit of many miracles, and had had part in so many unutterable mysteries, were offended by the mere hearing of it; or rather not these only, but even the leader(6) of them all, Peter; consider what it was likely the common sort should feel, being first told that He is the Son of God, then seeing Him even crucified and spit upon, and that without knowledge of the secret of those mysteries, or participation in the gift of the Holy Ghost. For if to His disciples He said, "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;"(7) much more would the rest of the people have utterly failed, had the chiefest of these mysteries been revealed to them before the proper time. Accordingly He forbids them to tell.

And to instruct thee how great a thing it was, their afterwards learning His doctrine complete, when the things that offend had passed by; learn it from this same leader of theirs. For this very Peter, he who after so many miracles proved so weak as even to deny Him, and to be in fear of a mean damsel; after the cross had come forth, and he had received the certain proofs of the resurrection, and there was nothing more to offend and trouble him, retained the teaching of the Spirit so immovable, that more vehemently than a lion he sprang upon the people of the Jews, for all the dangers and innumerable deaths which were threatened.

With reason then did He bid them not tell the many before the crucifixion, since not even to them that were to teach did He venture to commit all before the crucifixion. "For I have many things to say unto you," saith He, "but ye cannot bear them now."

And of the things too that He did say, they do not understand many, which He did not make plain before the crucifixion. At least when He was risen from the dead, then and not before they knew some of His sayings.

5. "From that time forth began He to show unto them that He must suffer.(8) From that time." What time? When He had fixed the doctrine in them; when He had brought in the beginning of the Gentiles.(1)

But not even so did they understand what He said. "For the saying," it is said, "was hid from them; "(2) and they were as in a kind of perplexity, not knowing that He must rise again. Therefore He rather dwells on the difficulties, and enlarges His discourse, that He may open their mind, and they may understand what it can be that He speaks of.

"But they understood not, but the saying was hid from them, and they feared to ask this; "(3) not whether He should die, but how, and in what manner, and what this mystery could be. For they did not even know what was this same rising again, and supposed it much better not to die. Therefore, the rest being troubled and in perplexity, Peter again, in his ardor, alone ventures to discourse of these things; and not even he openly, but when he had taken Him apart; that is, having separated himself from the rest of the disciples; and he saith, "Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee."(4) What ever is this? He that obtained a revelation, he that was blessed, hath he so soon fallen away, and suffered overthrow, so as to fear His passion? And what marvel, that one who had not on these points received any revelation, should have that feeling? Yea, to inform thee that not of himself did he speak those other things either, see in these matters that were not revealed to him how he is confounded and overthrown, and being told ten thousand times, knows not what the saying can mean.

For that He is Son of God he had learnt, but what the mystery of the cross and of the resurrection might be, was not yet manifest to him: for "the saying," it is said, "was hid from them."

Seest thou that with just cause He bade them not declare it to the rest? For if it so confounded them, who must needs be made aware of it, what would not all others have felt?

6. He however, to signify that He is far from coming to the passion against His will, both rebuked Peter, and called him Satan.

Let them hear, as many as are ashamed of the suffering of the cross of Christ. For if the chief apostle, even before he had learnt all distinctly, was called Satan for feeling this, what excuse can they have, who after so abundant proof deny His economy? I say., when he who had been so blessed, who made such a confession, has such words addressed to him; consider what they will suffer, who after all this deny the mystery of the cross.

And He said not, "Satan spake by thee," but, "Get thee behind me, Satan."(5) For indeed it was a desire of the adversary that Christ should not suffer. Therefore with such great severity did He rebuke him, as knowing that both he and the rest are especially afraid of this, and will not easily receive it.

Therefore He also reveals the thoughts of his mind, saying, "Thou savorest(6) not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

But what means, "Thou savorest(6) not the things that be of God, but those that be of men"? Peter examining the matter by human and earthly reasoning, accounted it disgraceful to Him and an unmeet thing. Touching him therefore sharply,(7) He saith, "My passion is not an unmeet thing, but thou givest this sentence with a carnal mind; whereas if thou hadst hearkened to my sayings in a godly manner, disengaging thyself from thy carnal understanding, thou wouldest know that this of all things most becometh me. For thou indeed supposest that to suffer is unworthy of me; but I say unto thee, that for me not to suffer is of the devil's mind;" by the contrary statements repressing his alarm.

Thus as John, accounting it unworthy of Christ to be baptized by him, was persuaded of Christ to baptize Him, He saying, "Thus it becometh us,"(8) and this same Peter too, forbidding Him to wash his feet, by the words, "Thou hast no part with me, unless I wash thy feet; "(9) even so here too He restrained him by the mention of the opposite, and by the severity of the reproof repressed his fear of suffering.

7. Let no man therefore be ashamed of the honored symbols of our salvation, and of the chiefest of all good things, whereby we even live, and whereby we are; but as a crown, so let us bear about the cross of Christ. Yea, for by it all things are wrought, that are wrought among us. Whether one is to be new-born, the cross is there; or to be nourished with that mystical food, or to be ordained, or to do anything else, everywhere our symbol of victory is present. Therefore both on house, and walls, and windows, and upon our forehead, and upon our mind, we inscribe it with much care.

For of the salvation wrought for us, and of our common freedom, and of the goodness of our Lord, this is the sign. "For as a sheep was He led to the slaughter."(1) When therefore thou signest thyself, think of the purpose of the cross, and quench anger, and all the other passions. When thou signest thyself, fill thy forehead with all courage, make thy soul free. And ye know assuredly what are the things that give freedom. Wherefore also Paul leading us there, I mean unto the freedom that beseems us, did on this wise lead us unto it, having reminded us of the cross and blood of our Lord. "For ye are bought," saith he, "with a price; be not ye the servants of men."(2) Consider, saith he, the price that hath been paid for thee, and thou wilt be a slave to no man; by the price meaning the cross.

Since not merely by the fingers ought one to engrave it, but before this by the purpose of the heart with much faith. And if in this way thou hast marked it on thy face, none of the unclean spirits will be able to stand near thee, seeing the blade whereby he received his wound, seeing the sword which gave him his mortal stroke. For if we, on seeing the places in which the criminals are beheaded, shudder; think what the devil must endure, seeing the weapon, whereby Christ put an end to all his power, and cut off the head of the dragon.

Be not ashamed then of so great a blessing, lest Christ be ashamed of thee, when He comes with His glory, and the sign appears before Him, shining beyond the very sunbeam.(3) For indeed the cross cometh then, uttering a voice by its appearance, and pleading with the whole world for our Lord, and signifying that no part hath failed of what pertained to Him.

This sign, both in the days of our forefathers and now, hath opened doors that were shut up;(4) this hath quenched poisonous drugs;(5) this hath taken away the power of hemlock:, this hath healed bites of venomous beasts. For if it opened the gates of hell, and threw wide the archways of Heaven, and made a new entrance into Paradise, and cut away the nerves of the devil; what marvel, if it prevailed over poisonous drugs, and venomous beasts, and all other such things.

This therefore do thou engrave upon thy mind, and embrace the salvation of our souls. For this cross saved and converted the world, drove away error, brought back truth, made earth Heaven, fashioned men into angels. Because of this, the devils are no longer terrible, but contemptible; neither is death, death, but a sleep; because of this, all that warreth against us is cast to the ground, and trodden under foot.

If any one therefore say to thee, Dost thou worship the crucified? say, with your voice all joy, and your countenance gladdened, "I do both worship Him, and will never cease to worship." And if he laugh, weep for him, because he is mad. Thank the Lord, that He hath bestowed on us such benefits, as one cannot so much as learn without His revelation from above. Why, this is the very reason of his laughing, that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."(6) Since our children too feel this, when they see any of the great and marvellous things; and if thou bring a child into the mysteries, he will laugh. Now the heathen are like these children; or rather they are more imperfect even than these; wherefore also they are more wretched, in that not in an immature age, but when full grown, they have the feelings of babes; wherefore neither are they worthy of indulgence.

But let us with a clear voice, shouting both loud and high, cry out and say (and should all the heathen be present, so much the more confidently), that the cross is our glory, and 'the sum of all our blessings, and our confidence, and all our crown. I would that also with Paul I were able to say, "By which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world; "(7) but I cannot, restrained as I am by various passions.

8. Wherefore I admonish both you, and surely before you myself, to be crucified to the world, and to have nothing in common with the earth, but to set your love on your country above, and the glory and the good things that come from it. For indeed we are soldiers of a heavenly King, and are clad with spiritual arms. Why then take we upon ourselves the life of traders, and mountebanks, nay rather of worms? For where the King is, there should also the soldier be. Yea, we are become soldiers, not of them that are far off, but of them that are near. For the earthly king indeed would not endure that all should be in the royal courts, and at his own side, but the King of the Heavens willeth all to be near His royal throne.

And how, one may say, is it possible for us, being here, to stand by that throne? Because Paul too being on earth was where the seraphim, where the cherubim are; and nearer to Christ, than these the body guards to the king. For these turn about their faces in many directions, but him nothing beguiled nor distracted, but he kept his whole mind intent upon the king. So that if we would, this is possible to us also.

For were He distant from us in place, thou mightest well doubt, but if He is present everywhere, to him that strives and is in earnest He is near. Wherefore also the prophet said, "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me;(1)" and God Himself again, "I am a God nigh at hand, and not a God afar off."(2) Then as our sins separate us from Him, so do our righteousnesses draw us nigh unto Him. "For while thou art yet speaking," it is said, "I will say, Here I am."(3) What father would ever be thus obedient to his offspring?What mother is there, so ready, and continually standing, if haply her children call her? There is not one, no father, no mother: but God stands continually waiting, if any of his servants should perchance call Him; and never, when we have called as we ought, hath He refused to hear. Therefore He saith, "While thou art yet speaking," I do not wait for thee to finish, and I straightway hearken.

9. Let us call Him therefore, as it is His will to be called. But what is this His will? "Loose," saith He, "every band of iniquity, unloose the twisted knots of oppressive covenants, tear in pieces every unjust contract. Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring in the poor that are cast out to thy house. If thou seest one naked, cover him, and them that belong to thy seed thou shalt not overlook. Then shall thy light break forth in the morning, and thine healings shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall cover thee. Then thou shalt call upon me, and I will give ear unto thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, I will say, Lo! here I am."(4)

And who is able to do all this? it may be asked. Nay, who is unable, I pray thee?For which is difficult of the things I have mentioned?Which is laborious? Which not easy?

Why, so entirely are they not possible only, but even easy, that many have actually overshot the measure of those sayings, not only tearing in pieces unjust contracts, but even stripping themselves of all their goods; making the poor welcome not to roof and table, but even to the sweat of their body, and laboring in order to maintain them; doing good not to kinsmen only, but even to enemies.

But what is there at all even hard in these sayings? For neither did He say, "Pass over the mountain, go across the sea, dig through so many acres of land, abide without food, wrap thyself in sackcloth;" but, "Impart to the poor? impart of thy bread, cancel the contracts unjustly made."

What is more easy than this? tell me. But even if thou account it difficult, look, I pray thee, at the rewards also, and it shall be easy to thee.

For much as our emperors at the horse races heap together before the combatants crowns, and prizes, and garments, even so Christ also sets His rewards in the midst of His course, holding them out by the prophet's words, as it were by many hands. And the emperors, although they be ten thousand times emperors, yet as being men, and the wealth which they have in a course of spending, and their munificence of exhaustion, are ambitious of making the little appear much; wherefore also they commit each thing severally into the hand of the several attendants, and so bring it forward. But our King contrariwise, having heaped all together (because He is very rich, and doeth nothing for display), He so brings it forward, and what He so reaches out is indefinitely great, and will need many hands to hold it. And to make thee aware of this, examine each particular of it carefully.

"Then," saith He, "shall thy light break forth in the morning."(6) Doth not this gift appear to thee as some one thing?But it is not one; nay, for it hath many things in it, both prizes, and crowns, and other rewards. And, if ye are minded, let us take it to pieces and show all its wealth, as it shall be possible for us to show it; only do not ye grow weary.

And first, let us learn the meaning of "It shall break forth." For He said not at all, "shall appear," but" shall break forth;" declaring to us its quickness and plentifulness, and how exceedingly He desires our salvation, and how the good things themselves travail to come forth, and press on; and that which would check their unspeakable force shall be nought; by all which He indicates their plentifulness, and the infinity of His abundance. But what is "the morning." It means, "not after being in life's temptations, neither after our evils have come upon us;" nay, it is quite beforehand with them. For as in our fruits, we call that early, which has shown itself before its season; so also here again, declaring its rapidity, he has spoken in this way, much as above He said, "Whilst thou art yet speaking, I will say, Lo! here I am."

But of what manner of light is He speaking, and what can this light be?Not this, that is sensible; but another far better, which shows us Heaven, the angels, the archangels, the cherubim, the seraphim, the thrones, the dominions, the principalities, the powers, the whole host, the royal palaces, the tabernacles. For shouldest thou be counted worthy of this light, thou shalt both see these, and be delivered from hell, and from the venomous worm, and from the gnashing of teeth, and from the bonds that cannot be broken, and from the anguish and the affliction, from the darkness that hath no light, and from being cut asunder, and from the river of fire, and from the curse, and from the abodes of sorrow; and thou shalt depart, "where sorrow and woe are fled away,"(1) where great is the joy, and the peace, and the love, and the pleasure, and the mirth; where is life eternal, and unspeakable glory, and inexpressible beauty; where are eternal tabernacles, and the untold glory of the King, and those good things, "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man;" where is the spiritual bridechamber, and the apartments of the heavens, and the virgins that bear the bright lamps, and they who have the marriage garment; where many are the possessions of our Lord, and the storehouses of the King.

Seest thou how great the rewards, and how many He hath set forth by one expression, and how He brought all together?

So also by unfolding each of the expressions that follow, we shall find our abundance great, and the ocean immense. Shall we then still delay, I beg you; and be backward to show mercy on them that are in need? Nay, I entreat, but though we must throw away all, be cast into the fire, venture against the sword, leap upon daggers, suffer what you will; let us bear all easily, that we may obtain the garment of the kingdom of Heaven, and that untold glory; which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LV.

MATT. XVI. 24.

"Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him renounce himself,(1) and take up his cross and follow me."

THEN; when? When Peter said, 'Be it far from Thee, this shall not be unto Thee; and was told, "Get thee behind me, Satan."(2) For He was by no means satisfied with the mere rebuke, but, willing also more abundantly to show both the extravagance of what Peter had said, and the benefit of His passion, He saith, "Thy word to me is, "Be it far from Thee, this shall not be unto Thee:" but my word to thee is, "Not only is it hurtful to thee, and destructive, to hinder me and to be displeased at my Passion, but it will be impossible for thee even to be saved, unless thou thyself too be continually prepared for death."

Thus, test they should think His suffering unworthy of Him, not by the former things only, but also by the events that were coming on, He teaches them the gain thereof. Thus in John first, He saith," Except the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit;"(3) but here more abundantly working it out, not concerning Himself only doth He bring forward the statement that it is meet to die, but concerning them also. "For so great is the profit thereof, that in your case also unwillingness to die is grievous, but to be ready for it, good."

This however He makes clear by what follows, but for the present He works it out on one side only. And see how He also makes His discourse unexceptionable: not saying at all, "whether you will, or no, you must suffer this," but how? "If any man will come after me." "I force not, I compel not, but each one I make lord of his own choice; wherefore also I say, 'If any man will.' For to good things do I call you, not to things evil, or burdensome; not to punishment and vengeance, that I should have to compel. Nay, the nature of the thing is alone sufficient to attract you."

Now, thus saying, He drew them unto Him the more. For he indeed that uses compulsion oftens turns men away, but he that leaves the hearer to choose attracts him more. For soothing is a mightier thing than force. Wherefore even He Himself said, "If any man will." "For great," saith He, "are the good things which I give you, and such as for men even to run to them of their own accord. For neither if one were giving gold, and offering a treasure, would he invite with force. And if that invitation be without compulsion, much more this, to the good things m the Heavens. Since if the nature of the thing persuade thee not to run, thou art not worthy to receive it at all, nor if thou shouldest receive it, wilt thou well know what thou hast received."

Wherefore Christ compels not, but urges, sparing us. For since they seemed to be murmuring much, being secretly disturbed at the saying, He saith, "No need of disturbance or of trouble. If ye do not account what I have mentioned to be a cause of innumerable blessings, even when befalling yourselves, I use no force, nor do I compel, but if any be willing to follow, him I call.

"For do not by any means imagine that this is your following of me; I mean, what ye now do attending upon me. Ye have need of many toils, many dangers, if ye are to come after me. For thou oughtest not, O Peter, because thou hast confessed me Son of God, therefore only to expect crowns, and to suppose this enough for thy salvation, and for the future to enjoy security, as having done all. For although it be in my power, as Son of God, to hinder thee from having any trial at all of those hardships; yet such is not my will, for thy sake, that thou mayest thyself too contribute something, and be more approved."

For so, if one were a judge at the games, and had a friend in the lists, he would not wish to crown him by favor only, but also for his own toils; and for this reason especially, because he loves him. Even so Christ also; whom He most loves, those He most of all will have to approve themselves by their own means also, and not from His help alone.

But see how at the same time He makes His saying not a grievous one. For He cloth by no means compass them only with His terror, but He also puts forth the doctrine generally to the world, saying, "If any one will," be it woman or man, ruler or subject, let him come this way.

5. And though he seem to have spoken but one single thing, yet His sayings are three, "Let him renounce himself," and "Let him bear his cross," and "Let him follow me;" and two of them are joined together, but the one is put by itself.

But let us see first what it can be to deny one's self. Let us learn first what it is to deny another, and then we shall know what it may be to deny one's self. What then is it to deny another? He that is denying another,--for example, either brother, or servant, or whom you will,--should he see him either beaten, or bound, or led to execution, or whatever he may suffer, stands not by him, doth not help him, is not moved, feels nothing for him, as being once for all alienated from him. Thus then He will have us disregard our own body, so that whether men scourge, or banish, or burn, or whatever they do, we may not spare it. For this is to spare it. Since fathers too then spare their offspring, when committing them to teachers, they command not to spare them.

So also Christ; He said not, "Let him not spare himself," but very strictly, "Let him renounce himself;" that is, let him have nothing to do with himself, but give himself up to all dangers and conflicts; and let him so feel, as though another were suffering it all.

And He said not, "Let him deny,"(1) but "Let him renounce;"(2) even by this small addition intimating again, how very far it goes. For this latter is more than the former.

"And let him take up his cross." This arises out of the other. For to hinder thy supposing that words, and insults, and reproaches are to be the limits of our self-renunciation, He saith also how far one ought to renounce one's self; that is, unto death, and that a reproachful death. Therefore He said not, "Let him renounce himself unto death," but, "Let him take up his cross;" setting forth the reproachful death; and that not once, nor twice, but throughout all life one ought so to do. "Yea," saith He, "bear about this death continually, and day by day be ready for slaughter. For since many have indeed contemned riches, and pleasure, and glory, but death they despised not, but feared dangers; I," saith He, "will that my champion should wrestle even unto blood, and that the limits of his course should reach unto slaughter; so that although one must undergo death, death with reproach, the accursed death, and that upon evil surmise, we are to bear all things nobly, and rather to rejoice in being suspected."

"And let him follow me." That is, it being possible for one to suffer, yet not to follow Him, when one doth not suffer for Him (for so robbers often suffer grievously, and violaters of tombs, and sorcerers); to hinder thy supposing that the mere nature of thy calamities is sufficient, He adds the occasion of these calamities.

And what is it? In order that, so doing and suffering, thou mayest follow Him; that for Him thou mayest undergo all things; that thou mayest possess the other virtues also. For this too is expressed by "Let him follow me;" so as to show forth not fortitude only, such as is exercised in our calamities, but temperance also, and moderation, and all self-restraint. This being properly "to follow," the giving heed also to the other virtues, and for His sake suffering all.

For there are who follow the devil even to the endurance of all this, and for his sake give up their own lives; but we for Christ, or rather for our own sakes: they indeed to harm themselves both here and there; but we, that we may gain both lives.

How then is it not extreme dullness, not to show forth even the same fortitude with them that perish; and this, when we are to reap from it so many crowns? Yet with us surely Christ Himself is present to be our help, but with them no one.

Now He had indeed already spoken this very injunction, when He sent them, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles" (for, saith He, "I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves," and, "ye shall be brought before kings and governors")(1) but now with more intensity and severity. For then He spake of death only, but here He hath mentioned a cross also, and a continual cross. For "let him take up," saith He, "his cross;" that is," let him carry it continually and bear it." And this He is wont to do in everything; not in the first instance, nor from the beginning, but quietly and gradually, bringing in the greater commandments, that the hearers may not count it strange.

3. Then, because the saying seemed to be vehement, see how He softens it by what follows, and sets down rewards surpassing our toils; and not rewards only, but also the penalties of vice: nay, on these last He dwells more than on those, since not so much His bestowing blessings, as His threat of severities, is wont to bring ordinary men to their senses. See at least how He both begins here from this, and ends in this.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it," saith He, "but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profiled,' if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"(3)

Now what He saith is like this: "not as unsparing towards you, but rather as exceedingly sparing you, I enjoin these things. For he who spares his child, ruins it; but he who spares it not, preserves." To which effect also a certain wise man said, "If thou beat thy son with a rod, he shall not die, but thou shall deliver his soul from death."(4) And again, "He that refresheth his son, shall bind up his wounds."(5)

This takes place in the camp also. For if the general, sparing the soldiers, commands them to remain within the place always, he will destroy with them the inhabitants too.

"In order then that this may not happen in your case also," saith He, "ye must be arrayed against continual death. For now too a grievous war is about to be kindled. Sit not therefore within, but go forth and fight; and shouldest thou fall in thy post, then hast thou obtained life." For if in the visible wars he that in his post meets slaughter, is both more distinguished than the rest, and more invincible, and more formidable to the enemy; although we know that after death the king, in behalf of whom he takes his station, is not able to raise him up again: much more in these wars, when there are such hopes of resurrection besides, will he who exposes his own life unto death, find it; in one sense, because he will not be quickly taken; in a second, because even though he fall, God(6) will lead his life on to a higher life.

4. Then, because he had said, "He who will save shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose shall save it," and on that side had set salvation and destruction, and on this salvation and destruction; to prevent any one's imagining the one destruction and salvation to be all the same with the other, and to teach thee plainly that the difference between this salvation and that is as great as between destruction and salvation; from the contraries also He makes an inference once for all to establish these points. "For what is a man profited,"(1) saith He, "if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?"

Seest thou how the wrongful preservation of it is destruction, and worse than all destruction, as being even past remedy, from the want of anything more to redeem it?For "tell me not this," saith He, "that he that hath escaped such dangers hath saved his life; but together with his life put also the whole world, yet what profit hath he thereby, if the soul perish?"

For tell me, shouldest thou see thy servants in luxury, and thyself in extreme calamity, wilt thou indeed profit aught by being master? By no means. Make this reckoning then with regard to thy soul also, when the flesh is in luxury and wealth, and she awaiting the destruction to come.

"What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"(2)

Again, He dwells upon the same point. What?hast thou another soul to give for this soul? saith He. Why, shouldest thou lose money, thou wilt be able to give money; or be it house, or slaves, or any other kind of possession, but for thy soul, if thou lose it, thou wilt have no other soul to give: yea, though thou hadst the world, though thou wast king of the whole earth, thou wouldest not be able, by paying down all earthly goods, with the earth itself, to redeem but one soul.

And what marvel, if it be so with the soul? Since even in the body one may see that so it turns out. Though thou wear ten thousand diadems, but have a body sickly by nature, and incurable, thou wilt not be able, not by giving all thy kingdom, to recover this body, not though thou add innumerable persons, and cities, and goods.

Now thus I bid thee reason with regard to thy soul also; or rather even much more with regard to the soul; and do thou, forsaking all besides, spend all thy care upon it. Do not then while taking thought about the things of others, neglect thyself and thine own things; which now all men do, resembling them that work in the mines. For neither do these receive any profit from this labor, nor from the wealth; but rather great harm, both because they incur fruitless peril, and incur it for other men, reaping no benefit from such their toils and deaths. These even now are objects of imitation to many, who are digging up wealth for others; or rather we are more wretched even than this, inasmuch as hell itself awaits us after these our labors. For they indeed are staid from those toils by death, but to us death proves a beginning of innumerable evils.

But if thou say, thou hast in thy wealth the fruit of thy toils: show me thy soul gladdened, and then I am persuaded. For of all things in us the soul is chief. And if the body be fattened, while she is pining away, this prosperity is nothing to thee (even as when the handmaiden is glad, the happiness of the maidservant is nothing to her mistress perishing, nor is tho fair robe anything compared with the weak flesh); but Christ will say unto thee again, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" on every hand commanding thee to be busied about that, and to take account of it only.

5. Having alarmed them therefore hereby, He comforts them also by His good things.

"For the Son of Man shall come," saith He, "in the glory of His Father with His holy angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works."(3)

Seest thou how the glory of the Father and of the Son is all one? But if the glory be one, it is quite evident that the substance also is one. For if in one substance there be a difference of glory ("for there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory;"(4) although the substance be one), how may the substance of those differ, whereof the glory is one? For He said not at all, "In glory such as the Father's," whereby thou mightest suppose again some variation; but implying entire perfection, "In that same glory," saith He, "will He come;" for it to be deemed one and the same.

"Now, why fear, O Peter" (so He speaks), "on being told of death? Why, then shalt thou see me in the glory of the Father. And if I am in glory, so are ye; your interests are no wise limited to the present life, but another sort of portion will take you up, a better one." Nevertheless, when He had spoken of the good things, He stayed not at this, but mingled the fearful things also, bringing forward that judgment-seat, and the inexorable account, and the inflexible sentence, and the judgment that cannot be deceived.

He suffered not however His discourse to appear only dismal, but tempered it also with good hopes. For neither did He say, "then shall He punish them that sinned," but, "He shall reward every man according to his doings."(1) And this He said, reminding not only the sinners of punishment, but also them that have done well of prizes and crowns.

6. And He indeed spake it, in part to refresh the good, but I ever shudder at hearing it, for I am not of them that are crowned, and I suppose that others also share with us in our fear and anxiety. For whom is this saying not enough to startle, when he hath entered into his own conscience; and to make him shudder, and convince him that we have need of sackcloth, and of prolonged fasting, more than the people of the Ninevites? For not for an overthrow of a city, and the common end, are we concerned, but for eternal punishment, and the fire that is never quenched.

Wherefore also I praise and admire the monks that have occupied the desert places, as for the rest, so for this saying. For they after having made their dinners, or rather after supper (for dinner they know not at any time, because they know that the present time is one of mourning and fasting); after supper then, in saying certain hymns of thanksgiving unto God, they make mention of this expression also. And if ye would hear the very hymns themselves, that ye too may say them continually, I will rehearse to you the whole of that sacred song. The words of it then stand as follows: "Blessed God, who feedest me from my youth up, who givest food to all flesh; fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that always having all sufficiency we may abound unto every good work in Christ Jesus our Lord; with whom be unto Thee glory, honor and might, with the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen. Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee, O Holy One, glory to Thee. O King, that Thou hast given us meat to make us glad. Fill us with the Holy Ghost, that we may be found well-pleasing before Thee, not being ashamed, when Thou rendcrest to every man according to his works."

Now this hymn is in all parts worthy of admiration, but especially the above ending of it. That is, because meals and food are wont to dissipate and weigh down, they put this saying as a kind of bridle upon the soul, at the time of indulgence reminding it of the time of judgment. For they have learnt what befell Israel through a costly table. "For my beloved," saith He, "ate, and waxed fat, and kicked."' Wherefore also Moses said, "When thou shalt have eaten and drunk and art full, remember the Lord thy God."(3)

For after that feast, then they ventured on those acts of lawless daring.

Do thou therefore also look to it, lest something like it befall thee. For though thou sacrifice not to stone nor to gold, either sheep or bullocks, see lest to wrath thou sacrifice thine own soul, lest to whoredom or other like passions, thou sacrifice thine own salvation. Yea--on this account, you see, they being afraid of these downfalls, when they have enjoyed their meal, or rather fasting (for their meal is in fact fasting), remind themselves of the terrible judgment-seat, and of that day. And if they who correct themselves both with fasting, and with nights spent on the ground, with watchings, and with sackcloth, and with ten thousand means, do yet require also this reminding, when will it be possible for us to live virtuously; who set forth tables loaded with innumerable wrecks, and do not so much as pray at all, neither in the beginning nor the end?

7. Wherefore to put an end to these shipwrecks, let us bring before us that hymn and unfold it all, that seeing the profit thereof, we too may chant it constantly over our table, and quell the rude motions of the belly, introducing both the manners and laws of those angels into our houses. For you ought indeed to go there and reap these fruits; but since ye are not willing, at least through our words, hear this spiritual melody, and let every one after his meal say these words, beginning thus.

"Blessed God." For the apostolic law they straightway fulfill, that commands, "Whatsoever we do in word or in deed, that we do it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."(4)

Next, the thanksgiving takes place not for that one day only, but for all their life. For, "Who feedest me," it is said, "from my youth up." And a lesson of self-command is drawn thence, that when God feeds, we must not take thought. For if upon a king's promising thee to furnish thy daily food out of his own stores, thou wouldest be of good hope for the future; much more, when God gives, and all things pour upon thee as out of fountains, shouldest thou be freed from all anxiety. Yea, and to this very intent they so speak, that they may persuade both themselves, and those that are made disciples by them, to put off all worldly care.

Then, not to have thee suppose that for themselves only they offer up this thanksgiving, they further say, "Who givest food to all flesh," giving thanks in behalf of all the world; and as fathers of the whole earth, so do they offer up their praises for all, and train themselves to a sincere brotherly love. For it is not even possible they should hate them, in behalf of whom they thank God, that they are fed.

Seest thou both charity introduced by their thanksgiving, and worldly care cast out, both by the preceding words, and by these? For if He feed all flesh, much more them that are devoted to him; if them that are entangled in worldly cares, much more them that are freed from the same.

To establish this, Christ Himself said, "How many sparrows do ye exceed in value?"(1) And He said it, teaching them not to put their confidence in wealth and land and seeds; for it is not these that feed us, but the word of God?

Hereby they stop the mouths, both of the Manichaeans, and of them of Valentinus, and of all that are diseased in their way. For sure this Being is not evil, who sets his own stores before all, even before them that blaspheme Him.

Then comes the petition: "Fill our hearts with joy and gladness." With what manner of joy then, doth it mean? the joy of this world? God forbid: for had they meant this, they would not have occupied summits of mountains, and deserts, nor wrapt themselves in sackcloth; but that joy they mean, which hath nothing in common with this present life, the joy of angels, the joy above.

And they do not simply ask for it, but in great excess; for they say not, "give," but, "fill," and they say not "us," but "our hears." For this is especially a heart's joy; "For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace."(3)

Thus, because sin brought in sorrow, they request that through joy righteousness may be implanted in them, for no otherwise might joy be engendered.

"That, always having all sufficiency, we may abound unto every good work."(4) See how they fulfill that word of the gospel which saith, "Give us this day our daily bread," and how they seek even this for spiritual ends. For their phrase is, "That we may abound unto every good work." They said not, "That we may do our duty only," but "even more than what is enjoined," for, "that we may abound," means this. And while of God they seek sufficiency in things needful, themselves are willing to obey not in sufficiency only, but with much abundance, and in all things. This is the part of well-disposed servants, this of men strict in goodness, to abound always, and in all things.

Then again reminding themselves of their own weakness, and that without the influence from above nothing noble can be done; having said, "that we may abound unto every good work," they add, "in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom unto Thee be glory, honor, and might forever. Amen;" framing this end like their commencement by a thread of thanksgiving.

8. After this again, they seem to begin afresh, but they are keeping to the same argument. As Paul also in the beginning of an epistle, having closed with a doxology, where he says, "According to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever. Amen;"(5) begins the subject again on which he was writing. And again in another place when he had said, "They worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,who is blessed forever: Amen;"(6) he completed not his discourse, but begins again.

Therefore neither let us blame these our angels, as acting disorderly, for that having closed with a doxology they begin again the sacred hymns. For they follow apostolical laws, beginning from a doxology, and ending therein, and after that end making a commencement again.

Wherefore they say, "Glory be to Thee, O Lord; glory be to Thee, O Holy One; glory be to Thee, O King; that Thou hast given us food to make us glad."

Since not for the greater things only, but also for the lesser, we ought to give thanks. And they do give thanks for these also, putting to shame the heresy of the Manichaeans, and of as many as affirm our present life to be evil. For lest for their high self-command, and contempt of the belly, thou shouldest suspect them as abhorring the meat, like the heretics aforesaid, who choke themselves(7) to death; they by their prayer teach thee, that not from abhorrence of God's creatures they abstain from most of them, but as exercising self-restraint.

And see how after thanksgiving for His past gifts, they are importunate also for the greater things, and dwell not upon the matters of this life, but mount above the heavens, and say, " Fill us with the Holy Ghost." For it is not even possible to approve one's self as one ought, not being filled with that grace; as there is no doing anything noble or great, without the benefit of Christ's influences.

As therefore when they had said, "That we may abound unto every good work," they added, "In Christ Jesus;" so here also they say, "Fill us with the Holy Ghost, that we may be found to have been well-pleasing before Thee."(1)

Seest thou how for the things of this life they pray not, but give thanks only; but for the things of the Spirit, they both give thanks and pray. For, "seek ye," saith He, "the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you. "(2)

And mark too another kind of severe goodness in them; their saying, namely, "That we may be found to have been well-pleasing in Thy sight, not being ashamed." For "we care not," say they, "for the shame that proceeds from the many, but whatever men may say of us, laughing, upbraiding, we do not so much as regard it; but our whole endeavor is not to be put to shame then." But in these expressions, they bring in also the river of fire, and the prizes, and the rewards.

They said not, "that we be not punished," but, "that we be not ashamed."(3) For this is to us far more fearful than hell, to seem to have offended our Lord."

But since the more part and the grosser sort are not in fear of this, they add, "When Thou renderest to every man according to his works." Seest thou how greatly these strangers and pilgrims have benefitted us, these citizens of the wilderness, or rather citizens of the Heavens? For whereas we are strangers to the Heavens, but citizens of the earth, these are just the contrary.

And after this hymn, being filled with much compunction, and with many and fervent tears, so they proceed to sleep, snatching just so much of it as a little to refresh themselves. And again, the nights they make days, spending them in thanksgivings and in the singing of psalms.

But not men only, but women also practise this self-denial, overcoming the weakness of their nature by the abundance of their zeal.

Let us be abashed then at their earnestness, we who are men, let us cease to be fastened to the things present, to shadow, to dreams, to smoke. For the more part of our life is passed in insensibility.

For both the first period of our life is full of much folly, and that again which travels on to old age, makes all the feeling that is in us wither away, and small is the space between, that is able feelingly to enjoy pleasure; or rather, not even that hath a pure participation thereof, by reason of innumerable cares and toils, that harrass it.

Wherefore, I pray, let us seek the unmovable and eternal goods, and the life that never has old age.

For even one dwelling in a city may imitate the self-denial of the monks; yea, one who has a wife, and is busied in a household, may pray, and fast, and learn compunction. Since they also, who at the first were instructed by the apostles, though they dwelt in cities, yet showed forth the piety of the occupiers of the deserts: and others again who had to rule over workshops, as Priscilla and Aquila.

And the prophets too, all had both wives and households, as Isaiah, as Ezekiel, as the great Moses, and received no hurt therefrom in regard of virtue.

These then let us also imitate, and continually offer thanksgiving to God, continually sing hymns to Him; let us give heed to temperance, and to all other virtues, and the self-denial that is practised in the deserts, let us bring into our cities; that we may appear both well-pleasing before God, and approved before men, and attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom be unto the Father, glory, honor, and might, together with the holy and life-giving Spirit, now and always and world without end. Amen.(4)

HOMILY LVI.

MATT. XVI. 28.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, There are some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Thus, inasmuch as He had discoursed much of dangers and death, and of His own passion, and of the slaughter of the disciples, and had laid on them those severe injunctions; and these were in the present life and at hand, but the good things in hope and expectation:--for example, "They save their life who lose it;" "He is coming in the glory of His Father;" "He renders His rewards: "--He willing to assure their very sight, and to show what kind of glory that is wherewith He is to come, so far as it was possible for them to learn it; even in their present life He shows and reveals this; that they should not grieve any more, either over their own death, or over that of their Lord, and especially Peter in His sorrow.

And see what He doth. Having discoursed of hell,(1) and of the kingdom (for as well by saying, "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose it for my sake, shall find it; "(2) as by saying, "He shall reward every man according to his works,"(3) He had manifested both of these): having, I say, spoken of both, the kingdom indeed He shows in the vision, but hell not yet.

Why so? Because had they been another kind of people, of a grosser sort, this too would have been necessary; but since they are approved and considerate, He leads them on the gentler way. But not therefore only doth He make this disclosure, but because to Himself also it was far more suitable.

Not however that He passes over this subject either, but in some places He almost brings even before our eyes the very realities of hell; as when He introduces the picture of Lazarus, and mentions him that exacted the hundred pence, and him that was clad in the filthy garments, and others not a few.

2. "And after six days He taketh with Him Peter and James and John.(4)

Now another says, "after eight,"(5) not contradicting this writer, but most fully agreeing with him. For the one expressed both the very day on which He spake, and that on which He led them up; but the other, the days between them only.

But mark thou, I pray thee, the severe goodness of Matthew, not concealing those who were preferred to himself. This John also often doth, recording the peculiar praises of Peter with great sincerity. For the choir of these holy men was everywhere pure from envy and vainglory.

Having taken therefore the leaders, "He bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was(6) white as the light. And there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.(7)

Wherefore doth He take with Him these only? Because these were superior to the rest. And Peter indeed showed his superiority by exceedingly loving Him; but John by being exceedingly loved of Him; and James again by his answer which he answered with his brother, saying, "We are able to drink the cup;(8) nor yet by his answer only, but also by his works; both by the rest of them, and by fulfilling, what he said. For so earnest was he, and grievous to the Jews, that Herod himself supposed that he had bestowed herein a very great favor on the Jews, I mean in slaying him.

But wherefore doth He not lead them up straightway? To spare the other disciples any feeling of human weakness: for which cause He omits also the names of them that are to go up. And this, because the rest would have desired exceedingly to have followed, being to see a pattern of that glory; and would have been pained, as overlooked. For though it was somewhat in a corporeal way that He made the disclosure, yet nevertheless the thing had much in it to be desired.

Wherefore then doth He at all foretell it? That they might be readier to seize the high meaning, by His foretelling it; and being filled with the more vehement desire in that round of days, might so be present with their mind quite awake and full of care.

3. But wherefore doth He also bring forward Moses and Elias? One might mention many reasons. And first of all this: because the multitudes said He was, some Elias, some Jeremias, some one of the old prophets, He brings the leaders of His choir, that they might see the difference even hereby between the servants and the Lord; and that Peter was rightly commended for confessing Him Son of God.

But besides that, one may mention another reason also: that because men were continually accusing Him of transgressing the law, and accounting Him to be a blasphemer, as appropriating to Himself a glory which belonged not to Him, even the Father's, and were saying, "This Man is not of God, because He keepeth not the Sabbath day;"(1) and again, "For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God:"(2) that both the charges might be shown to spring from envy, and He be proved not liable to either; and that neither is His conduct a transgression of the law, nor His calling Himself equal to the Father an appropriation of glory not His own; He brings forward them who had shone out in each of these respects: Moses, because he gave the law, and the Jews might infer that he would not have overlooked its being trampled on, as they supposed, nor have shown respect to the transgressor of it, and the enemy of its founder: Elias too for his part was jealous for the glory of God, and were any man an adversary of God, and calling himself God, making himself equal to the Father, while he was not what he said, and had no right to do so; he was not the person to stand by, and hearken unto him.

And one may mention another reason also, with those which have been spoken of. Of what kind then is it? To inform them that He hath power both of death and life, is ruler both above and beneath. For this cause He brings forward both him that had died, and him that never yet suffered this.

But the fifth motive, (for it is a fifth, besides those that have been mentioned), even the evangelist himself hath revealed. Now what was this? To show the glory of the cross, and to console Peter and the others in their dread of the passion, and to raise up their minds. Since having come, they by no means held their peace, but "spake," it is said, "of the glory(3) which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem;(4)" that is, of the passion, and the cross; for so they call it always.

And not thus only did He cheer them, but also by the excellency itself of the men, being such as He was especially requiring from themselves. I mean, that having said, "If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross, and follow me;" them that had died ten thousand times for God's decrees, and the people entrusted to them, these persons He sets before them. Because each of these, having lost his life, found it. For each of them both spake boldly unto tyrants, the one to the Egyptian, the other to Ahab; and in behalf of heartless and disobedient men; and by the very persons who were saved by them, they were brought into extreme danger; and each of them wishing to withdraw men from idolatry; and each being unlearned; for the one was of a "slow tongue,"(5) and dull of speech, and the other for his part also somewhat of the rudest in his bearing: and of voluntary poverty both were very strict observers; for neither had Moses made any gain, nor had Elias aught more than his sheepskin; and this under the old law, and when they had not received so great a gift of miracles. For what if Moses clave a sea? yet Peter walked on the water, and was able to remove mountains, and used to work cures of all manner of bodily diseases, and to drive away savage demons, and by the shadow of his body to work those wonderful and great prodigies; and changed the whole world. And if Elias too raised a dead man, yet these raised ten thousand; and this before the spirit was as yet vouchsafed to them. He brings them forward accordingly for this cause also. For He would have them emulate their winning ways toward the people, and their presence of mind and inflexibility; and that they should be meek like Moses, and jealous for God like Elias, and full of tender care, as they were. For the one endured a famine of three years for the Jewish people; and the other said, "If thou wilt forgive them their sin, forgive; else blot me too out of the book, which thou hast written."(6) Now of all this He was reminding them by the vision.

For He brought those in glory too, not that these should stay where they were, but that they might even surpass their limitary lines. For example, when they said, "Should we command fire to come down from heaven," and made mention of Elias as having done so, He saith, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of;"(7) training them to forbearance by the superiority in their gift.

And let none suppose us to condemn Elias as imperfect; we say not this; for indeed he was exceedingly perfect, but in his own times, when the mind of men was in some degree childish, and they needed this kind of schooling. Since Moses too was in this respect perfect; nevertheless these have more required of them than he. For "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no ease enter into the kingdom of Heaven."(1) For not into Egypt did they enter, but into the whole world, worse disposed than the Egyptians; neither were they to speak with Pharaoh, but to fight hand to hand with the devil, the very prince of wickedness. Yea, and their appointed struggle was, both to bind him, and to spoil all his goods; and this they did cleaving not the sea, but an abyss of ungodliness, through the rod of Jesse,--an abyss having waves far more grievous. See at any rate how many things there were to put the men in fear; death, poverty, dishonor, their innumerable sufferings; and at these things they trembled more than the Jews of old at that sea. But nevertheless against all these things He persuaded them boldly to venture, and to pass as along dry ground with all security.

To train them therefore for all this, He brought forward those who shone forth under the old law.

4. What then saith the ardent Peter? "It is good for us to be here."(2) For because he had heard that Christ was to go to Jerusalem and to suffer, being in fear still and trembling for Him, even after His reproof, he durst not indeed approach and say the same thing again, "Be it far from thee;(3) but from that fear obscurely intimates the same again in other words. That is, when he saw a mountain, and so great retirement and solitude, his thought was, "He hath great security here, even from the place; and not only from the place, but also from His going away no more unto Jerusalem." For he would have Him be there continually: wherefore also he speaks of "tabernacles." For "if this may be," saith he, "we shall not go up to Jerusalem; and if we go not up, He will not die, for there He said the scribes would set upon Him."

But thus indeed he durst not speak; but desiring however to order things so, he said undoubtingly, "It is good for us to be here," where Moses also is present, and Elias; Elias who brought down fire on the mountain, and Moses who entered into the thick darkness, and talked with God; and no one will even know where we are."

Seest thou the ardent lover of Christ? For look not now at this, that the manner of his exhortation was not well weighed, but see how ardent he was, how burning his affection to Christ. For in proof that not so much out of fear for himself he said these things, hear what he saith, when Christ was declaring beforehand His future death, and the assault upon Him: "I will lay down my life for Thy sake.(4) Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee.(5)

And see how even in the very midst of the actual dangers he counselled amiss(6) for himself. We know that when so great a multitude encompassed them, so far from flying, he even drew the sword, and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. To such a degree did he disregard his own interest, and fear for his Master. Then because he had spoken as affirming a fact, he checks himself, and thinking, what if he should be again reproved, he saith, "If Thou wilt, let us make(7) here three tabernacles, one for Thee and one for Moses, and one for Elias."

What sayest thou, O Peter? didst thou not a little while since distinguish Him from the servants? Art thou again numbering Him with the servants? Seest thou how exceedingly imperfect they were before the crucifixion? For although the Father had revealed it to him, yet he did not always retain the revelation, but was troubled by his alarm; not this only, which I have mentioned, but another also, arising from that sight. In fact, the other evangelists, to declare this, and to indicate that the confusion of his mind, with which he spake these things, arose from that alarm, said as follows; mark, "He wist not what to say, for they were sore afraid;"(8) but Luke after his saying, "Let us make three tabernacles," added, "not knowing what he said."(9) Then to show that he was holden with great fear, both he and the rest, he saith, "They were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake they saw His glory;"(10) meaning by deep sleep here, the deep stupor engendered in them by that vision. For as eyes are darkened by an excessive splendor, so at that time also did they feel. For it was not, I suppose, night, but day; and the exceeding greatness of the light weighed down the infirmity of their eyes.

5. What then? He Himself speaks nothing, nor Moses, nor Elias, but He that is greater than all, and more worthy of belief, the Father, uttereth a voice out of the cloud.

Wherefore out of the cloud? Thus doth God ever appear. "For a cloud and darkness are round about Him;"(1) and, "He sitteth on a light cloud;"(2) and again, "Who maketh clouds His chariot;"(3) and, "A cloud received Him out of their sight;"(4) and, "As the Son of Man coming in the clouds."(5)

In order then that they might believe that the voice proceeds from God, it comes from thence.

And the cloud was bright. For "while he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him."(6)

For as, when He threatens, He shows a dark cloud;--as on Mount Sinai; for "Moses," it is said, "entered into the cloud, and into the thick darkness; and as a vapor, so went up the smoke;"(7) and the prophet said, when speaking of His threatening, "Dark water in clouds of the air;"(8)--so here, because it was His desire not to alarm, but to teach, it is a bright cloud.

And whereas Peter had said "Let us make three tabernacles," He showed a tabernacle not made with hands. Wherefore in that case it was smoke, and vapor of a furnace; but in this, light unspeakable and a voice.

Then, to signify that not merely concerning some one of the three was it spoken, but; concerning Christ only; when the voice was uttered, they were taken away. For by no means, had it been spoken merely concerning any one of them, would this man have remained alone, the two being severed from Him.

Why then did not the cloud likewise receive Christ alone, but all of them together? If it had received Christ alone, He would have been thought to have Himself uttered the voice. Wherefore also the evangelist, making sure this same point, saith, that the voice was from the cloud, that is, from God.

And what saith the voice? "This is my beloved Son." Now if He is beloved, fear not thou, O Peter. For thou oughtest indeed to know His power already, and to be fully assured touching His resurrection; but since; thou knowest not, at least from the voice of the Father take courage. For if God be mighty, as surely He is mighty, very evidently the Son is so likewise. Be not afraid then of those fearful things.

But if as yet thou receive it not, consider at least that other fact, that He is both a Son, and is beloved. For "This," it is said, "is My beloved Son." Now if He is beloved, fear not. For no one gives up one whom he loves. Be not thou therefore confounded; though thou lovest Him beyond measure, thou lovest Him not as much as He that begat Him.

"In whom I am well pleased." For not because He begat Him only, doth He love Him, but because He is also equal to Him in all respects, and of one mind with Him. So that the charm of love is twofold, or rather even threefold, because He is the Son, because He is beloved, because in Him He is well pleased.

But what means, "In whom I am well pleased?" As though He had said," In whom I am refreshed, in whom I take delight;" because He is in all respects perfectly equal with Himself, and there is but one will in Him and in the Father, and though He continue a Son, He is in all respects one with the Father.

"Hear ye Him." So that although He choose to be crucified, you are not to oppose Him.

6. "And when they heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."(9)

How was it that, when they heard these words, they were dismayed? And yet before this also a like voice was uttered at Jordan, and a multitude was present, and no one felt anything of the kind; and afterwards again, when also they said, "It thundered, .... yet neither at that time did they experience anything like this. How then did they fall down in the mount? Because there was solitude, and height. and great quietness, and a transfiguration full of awe, and a pure light, and a cloud stretched out; all which things put them in great alarm. And the amazement came thick on every side, and they fell down both in fear at once and in adoration.

But that the fear abiding so long might not drive out their recollection, presently He puts an end to their alarm, and is seen Himself alone, and commands them to tell no man this, until He is risen from the dead.

For "as they came down from the mount, He charged them to tell the vision to no man, until He were risen from the dead."(11) For the greater the things spoken of Him, the harder to be received by the generality at that time; and the offense also from the cross was the more increased thereby.

Therefore He bids them hold their peace; and not merely so, but He again reminds them of the passion, and all but tells them also the cause, for which indeed He requires them to keep silence. For He did not, you see, command them never to tell any man, but "until He were risen from the dead." And saying nothing of the painful part, He expresses the good only.

What then? Would they not afterwards be offended? By no means. For the point required was the time before the crucifixion. Since afterwards they both had the spirit vouchsafed them, and the voice that proceeded from the miracles pleading with them, and whatsoever they said was thenceforth easy to be received, the course of events proclaiming His might more clearly than a trumpet, and no offense of that sort interrupting(1) what they were about.

7. Nothing then is more blessed than the apostles, and especially the three, who even in the cloud were counted worthy to be under the same roof with the Lord.

But if we will, we also shall behold Christ, not as they then on the mount, but in far greater brightness. For not thus shall He come hereafter. For whereas then, to spare His disciples, He discovered so much only of His brightness as they were able to bear; hereafter He shall come in the very glory of the Father, not with Moses and Elias only, but with the infinite host of the angels, with the archangels, with the cherubim, with those infinite tribes, not having a cloud over His head, but even heaven itself being folded up.

For as it is with the judges; when they judge publicly, the attendants drawing back the curtains show them to all; even so then likewise all men shall see Him sitting, and all the human race shall stand by, and He will make answers to them by Himself; and to some He will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father; for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; "(2) to others," Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things.(3)

And again passing an opposite sentence, to some He will answer, "Depart into the everlasting fire, that is prepared for the devil and his angels,"(4) and to others, "O thou wicked and slothful servants."(5) And some He will "cut asunder," and "deliver to the tormentors;" but others He will command to "be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness? And after the axe the furnace will follow; and all out of the net, that is east away, will fall therein.

"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun; "(7) or rather more than the sun. But so much is said, not because their light is to be so much and no more, but since we know no other star brighter than this, He chose by the known example to set forth the future brightness of the saints.

Since on the mount too, when He says, "He did shine as the sun," for the same cause did He so speak. For that the comparison did not come up to His light, the apostles showed by falling down. For had the brightness not been unalloyed, but comparable to the sun; they would not have fallen, but would easily have borne it.

The righteous therefore will shine as the sun, and more than the sun in that time; but the sinners shall suffer all extremities. Then will there be no need of records, proofs, witnesses. For He who judges is Himself all, both witness, and proof, and judge. For He knows all things exactly; "For all things are naked and opened unto His eyes."(8)

No man will there appear rich or poor, mighty or weak, wise or unwise, bond or free; but these masks will be dashed in pieces, and the inquiry will be into their works only. For if in our courts, when any one is tried for usurpation, or murder, whatever he may be, whether governor, or consul, or what you will, all these dignities fleet away, and he that is convicted suffers the utmost penalty; much more will it be so there.

8. Therefore that this may not be so, let us lay aside our filthy garments, let us put on the armor of light, and the glory of God will wrap us around. For what is even grievous in the injunctions? or what is there not easy? Hear, for instance, the prophet speaking, and then thou shalt know the easiness thereof. "Neither though thou bow as a collar thy neck, and strew beneath thee sackcloth and ashes, not even so shalt thou call a fast acceptable; but loose every bond of iniquity, unloose the twisted knots of oppressive bargains."(9)

See a prophet's wisdom, how stating first whatever was irksome, and removing it, he exhorts them to obtain salvation by the duties that are easy; signifying, that God needs not toils, but obedience.

Then implying that virtue is easy, but vice grievous and galling, he makes it out by the bare names; "For," saith he, "vice is a bond," and "a twisted knot," but virtue is a disengagement and release from all these.

"Tear in sunder every unjust compact;" thus calling men's bills about the interest due to them, and the sums they have lent.

"Set at liberty them that are bruised;' them that are afflicted. For such a being is the debtor; when he sees his creditor, his mind is broken, and he fears him more than a wild beast.

"Bring in the poor that are cast out to thy house; if thou seest one naked, clothe him, and them that belong to thy seed thou shalt not overlook."(1)

Now in our late discourse which we made unto you when declaring the rewards, we showed the wealth arising from these acts; but now let us see if any of the injunctions be grievous, and transcending our nature. Nay, nothing of the kind shall we discover, but quite the contrary; that while these courses are very easy, those of vice are full of labor. For what is more vexatious than to be lending, and taking thought about usuries and bargains, and demanding sureties, and fearing and trembling about securities, about the principal, about the writings, about the interest, about the bondsmen?

For such is the nature of worldly things; yea, nothing is so unsound and suspicious as that which is accounted security, and contrived for that purpose; but to show mercy is easy, and delivers from all anxiety.

Let us not then traffic in other men's calamities, nor make a trade of our benevolence. And I know indeed that many hear these words with displeasure; but what is the profit of silence? For though I should hold my peace, and give no trouble by my words, I could not by this silence deliver you from your punishment; rather it has altogether the opposite result; the penalty is enhanced, and not to you only, but to me also, doth such a silence procure punishment. What then signify our gracious words, when in our works they help us not, but rather do harm? What is the good of delighting men in word, while we vex them in deed, bringing pleasure to the ears, and punishment to the soul? Wherefore I must needs make you sorry here, that we may not suffer punishment there.

9. For indeed a dreadful disease, beloved, dreadful and needing much attendance, hath fallen on the church. Those, namely, who are enjoined not even by honest labors to lay up treasures, but to open their houses to the needy, make a profit of other men's poverty, devising a specious robbery, a plausible covetousness.

For tell me not of the laws that are without; since even the publican fulfills the law that is without, but nevertheless is punished: which will be the case with us also, unless we refrain from oppressing the poor, and from using their need and necessity as an occasion for shameless trafficking.

For to this intent thou hast wealth, to relieve poverty, not to make a gain of poverty; but thou with show of relief makest the calamity greater, and sellest benevolence for money. Sell it, I forbid thee not, but for a heavenly kingdom. Receive not a small price for so good a deed, thy monthly one in the hundred,(2) but that immortal life. Why art thou beggarly, and poor, and mean, selling thy great things for a little, even for goods that perish. when it should be for an everlasting kingdom? Why dost thou leave God, and get human gains? Why dost thou pass by the wealthy one, and trouble him that hath not? and leaving the sure paymaster make thy bargain with the unthankful? The other longs to repay, but this even grudges in the act of repaying. This hardly repays a hundredth part, but the other "an hundredfold and eternal life." This with insults and revilings, but the other with praises and auspicious words. This stirs up envy against thee, but the other even weaves for thee crowns. This hardly here, but the other both there and here.

Surely then is it not the utmost senselessness, not so much as to know how to gain? How many have lost their very principal for the interest's sake? How many have fallen into perils for usurious gains. How many have involved both themselves and others in extreme poverty through their unspeakable covetousness!

For tell me not this, that he is pleased to receive, and is thankful for the loan. Why, this is a result of thy cruelty. Since Abraham too,(3) contriving how his plan might take with the barbarians, did himself give up his wife to them; not however willingly, but through fear of Pharaoh. So also the poor man, because thou countest him not even worth so. much money, is actually compelled to be thankful for cruelty.

And it seems to me as though, shouldest thou deliver him from dangers, thou wouldest exact of him a payment for this deliverance. "Away," saith he; "let it not be." What sayest thou? Delivering him from the greater evil, thou art unwilling to exact money, and for the lesser dost thou display so much inhumanity?

Seest thou not how great a punishment is appointed for the deed? hearest thou not that even in the old law this is forbidden?(1) But what is the plea of the many? "When I have received the interest, I give to the poor;" one tells me. Speak reverently, O man; God desires not such sacrifices. Deal not subtilly with the law. Better not give to a poor man, than give from that source; for the money that hath been collected by honest labors, thou often makest to become unlawful because of that wicked increase; as if one should compel a fair womb to give birth to scorpions.

And why do I speak of God's law? Do not even ye call it "filth"? But if ye, the gainers, give your voice so, consider what suffrage God will pass upon you.

And if thou wilt ask the Gentile lawgivers too, thou wilt be told that even by them this thing is deemed a proof of the most utter shamelessness. Those, for example, who are in offices of honor, and belong to the great council, which they call the senate, may not legally disgrace themselves with such gains; there being a law among them which prohibits the same.(2)

How then is it not a horrible thing, if thou ascribe not even so much honor to the polity of Heaven, as the legislators to the council of the Romans; but Heaven is to obtain less than earth, and thou art not ashamed even of the very folly of the thing? For what could be more foolish than this, unless one without! land, rain, or plough, were to insist upon sowing?(3) Tares therefore, to be committed to the fire, do they reap, who have devised this evil husbandry.

Why, are there not many honest trades? in the fields, the flocks, the herds, the breeding of cattle, in handicrafts, in care of property? Why rave and be frantic, cultivating thorns for no good? What if the fruits of the earth are subject to mischance; hail, and blight, and excessive rain? yet not to such an extent as are money dealings. For in whatsoever cases of that sort occur, the damage of course concerns the produce, but the principal remains, I mean, the land. But herein many often have suffered shipwreck in their principal; and before the loss too they are in continual dejection. For never cloth the money-lender enjoy his possessions, nor find pleasure in them; but when the interest is brought, he rejoices not that he hath received gain, but is grieved that the interest hath not yet come up to the principal. And before this evil offspring is brought forth complete, he compels it also to bring forth,(4) making the interest principal, and forcing it to bring forth its untimely and abortive brood of vipers. For of this nature are the gains of usury; more than those wild creatures do they devour and tear the souls of the wretched.(5) This "is the bond of iniquity:" this "the twisted knot of oppressive bargains."

Yea, "I give," he seems to say, "not for thee to receive, but that thou mayest repay more." And whereas God commands not even to receive what is given (for "give," saith He, "to them from whom ye look not to receive"),(6) thou requirest even more than is given, and what thou gavest not, this as a debt, thou constrainest the receiver to pay.

And thou indeed supposest thy substance to be increased hereby, but instead of substance thou art kindling the unquenchable fire.

That this therefore may not be, let us cut out the evil womb of usurious gains, let us deaden these lawless travailings, let us dry up this place of pernicious teeming, and let us pursue the true and great gains only. "But what are these?" Hear Paul saying "Godliness with contentment is great gain."(7)

Therefore in this wealth alone let us be rich, that we may both here enjoy security, and attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and world without end. Amen.

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