HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
ST. MATTHEW
HOMILIES LXXXII & LXXXV (MATT. 26)

HOMILY LXXXII.

MATT. XXVI. 26--28.

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave(1) it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; This is my body." "And He took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; This is my blood of the New Testament, Which is shed for many, for the remission of sins."(2)

Ah! how great is the blindness of the traitor! Even partaking of the mysteries, he remained the same; and admitted to the most holy(3) table, he changed not. And this Luke shows by saying, that after this Satan entered(4) into him, not as despising the Lord's body, but thenceforth laughing to scorn the traitor's shamelessness. For indeed his sin became greater from both causes, as well in that he came to the mysteries with such a disposition, as that having approached them, he did not become better, either from fear, or from the benefit, or from the honor. But Christ forbad him not, although He knew all things, that thou mightest learn that He omits none of the things that pertain to correction. Wherefore both before this, and after this, He continually admonished him, and checked him, both by deeds, and by words; both by fear, and by kindness; both by threatening, and by honor. But none of these things withdrew him from that grievous pest.

Wherefore thenceforth He leaves him, and by the mysteries again reminds the disciples of His being slain, and in the midst of the meal His discourse is of the cross, by the continual repeating of the prediction, making His passion easy to receive. For if, when so many things had been done and foretold, they were troubled; if they had heard none of these things, what would they not have felt?

"And as they were eating, He took bread, and brake it." Why can it have been that He ordained this sacrament then, at the time of the passover? That thou mightest learn from everything, both that He is the lawgiver of the Old Testament, and that the things therein are foreshadowed because of these things. Therefore, I say, where the type is, there He puts the truth.

But the evening is a sure sign of the fullness of times, and that the things were now come to the very end.

And He gives thanks, to teach us how we ought to celebrate this sacrament, and to show that not unwillingly doth He come to the passion, and to teach us whatever we may suffer to bear it thankfully, thence also suggesting good hopes. For if the type was a deliverance from such bondage, how much more will the truth set free the world, and will He be delivered up for the benefit of our race. Wherefore, I would add, neither did He appoint the sacrament before this, but when henceforth the rites of the law were to cease. And thus the very chief of the feasts He brings to an end, removing them to another most awful table, and He saith, "Take, eat, This is my body, Which is broken for many."

And how were they not confounded at hearing this? Because He had before told unto them many and great things touching this. Wherefore that He establishes no more, for they had heard it sufficiently, but he speaks of the cause of His passion, namely, the taking away of sins. And He calls it blood of a New Testament, that of the undertaking, the promise, the new law. For this He undertook also of old, and this comprises the Testament that is in the new law. And like as the Old Testament had sheep and bullocks, so this has the Lord's blood. Hence also He shows that He is soon to die, wherefore also He made mention of a Testament, and He reminds them also of the former Testament, for that also was dedicated with blood. And again He tells the cause of His death, "which is shed for many for the remission of sins;" and He saith, "Do this in remembrance of me." Seest thou how He removes and draws them off from Jewish customs. For like as ye did that, He saith, in remembrance of the miracles in Egypt, so do this likewise in remembrance of me. That was shed for the preservation of the firstborn, this for the remission of the sins of the whole world. For, "This," saith He, "is my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins."

But this He said, indicating thereby, that His passion and His cross are a mystery, by this too again comforting His disciples. And like as Moses saith, "This shall be to you for an everlasting memorial,"(1) so He too, "in remembrance of me," until I come.(2) Therefore also He saith, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover,"(3) that is, to deliver you the new rites, and to give a passover, by which I am to make you spiritual.

And He Himself drank of it. For lest on hearing this, they should say, What then? do we drink blood, and eat flesh? and then be perplexed (for when He began to discourse concerning these things, even at the very sayings many were offended),(4) therefore lest they should be troubled then likewise, He first did this Himself, leading them to the calm participation of the mysteries. Therefore He Himself drank His own blood. What then must we observe that other ancient rite also? some one may say. By no means. For on this account He said, "Do this," that He might withdraw them from the other. For if this worketh remission of sins, as it surely doth work it, the other is now superfluous.

As then in the case of the Jews, so here also He hath bound up the memorial of the benefit with the mystery, by this again stopping the mouths of heretics. For when they say, Whence is it manifest that Christ was sacrificed? together with the other arguments we stop their mouths from the mysteries also. For if Jesus did not die, of what are the rites the symbols?

2. Seest thou how much diligence hath been used, that it should be ever borne in mind that He died for us? For since the Marcionists, and Valentinians, and Manichaeans were to arise, denying this dispensation, He continually reminds us of the passion even by the mysteries, (so that no man should be deceived); at once saving, and at the same time teaching by means of that sacred table. For this is the chief of the blessings; wherefore Paul also is in every way pressing this.

Then, when He had delivered it, He saith, "I will not drink of the fruit of this wine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."(5) For because He had discoursed with them concerning passion and cross, He again introduces what He has to say of His resurrection, having made mention of a kingdom before them,(6) and so calling His own resurrection.

And wherefore did He drink after He was risen again? Lest the grosser sort might suppose the resurrection was an appearance. For the common sort made this an infallible test of His having risen again. Wherefore also the apostles also persuading them concerning the resurrection say this, "We who did eat and drink with Him."(7)

To show therefore that they should see Him manifestly risen, again, and that He should be with them once more, and that they themselves shall be witnesses to the things that are done, both by sight, and by act, He saith, "Until I drink it new with you," you bearing witness. For you shall see me risen again.

But what is "new." In a new, that is, a strange manner, not having a passible body, but now immortal and incorruptible, and not needing food.

It was not then for want that He both ate and drank after the resurrection, for neither did His body need these things any more, but for the full assurance of His resurrection.

And wherefore did He not drink water after He was risen again, but wine. To pluck up by the roots another wicked heresy. For since there are certain who use water in the mysteries; to show that both when He delivered the mysteries He had given wine, and that when He had risen and was setting before them a mere meal without mysteries, He used wine, "of the fruit," He saith, "of the vine." But a vine produces wine, not water.

"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out unto the Mount of Olives."(8) Let them hear this, as many as, like swine eating at random, rudely spurn the natural(9) table, and rise up in drunkenness, whereas it were meet to give thanks, and end with an hymn

Hear this, as many as wait not again for the last prayer of the mysteries, for this is a symbol of that. He gave thanks before He gave it to His disciples, that we also may give thanks. He gave thanks, and sang an hymn after the giving, that we also may do this selfsame thing.

But for what reason doth He go forth unto the mountain? Making Himself manifest, that He may be taken, in order not to seem to hide himself. For He hastened to go to the place which was also known to Judas.

Then "He saith unto them, All ye shall be offended in me."(1) After this He mentions also a prophecy, "For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad:"(2) at once persuading them ever to give heed to the things that are written, and at same time making it plain that He was crucified, according to God's purpose; and by everything showing He was no alien from the old covenant, nor from the God preached therein, but that what is done is a dispensation,(3) and that the prophets all proclaimed all things beforehand from the beginning that are comprised in the matter, so that they be quite confident about the better things also.

And He teaches us to know what the disciples were before the crucifixion, what after the crucifixion. For indeed they who, when He was crucified, were not able so much as to stand their ground, these after His death were mighty, and stronger than adamant.

And this self-same thing is a demonstration of His death, the fright and cowardice, I mean, of His disciples. For if when so many things have been both done and said, still some are shameless, and say that He was not crucified; if none of these things had come to pass, to what pitch of wickedness would they not have proceeded? So for this reason, not by His own sufferings only, but by what took place with respect to the disciples, He confirms the word concerning His death, and by the mysteries also, in every way confounding those that are diseased with the pest of Marcion. For this reason He suffers even the chief apostle to deny Him. But if He was not bound nor crucified, whence sprung the fear to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles.

He suffers them not however, on the other hand, to wait until the sorrows, but what saith He? "But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee."(4) For not from Heaven doth He appear at once, neither will He depart into any distant country, but in the same nation, in which He had also been crucified, nearly in the same place, so as hereby again to assure them that He that was crucified was the very same that rose again, and in this way to comfort them more abundantly when in sorrow. Therefore also He said "in Galilee," that being freed from the fears of the Jews they might believe His saying. For which cause indeed He appeared there.

"But Peter answered and said, Though all men should be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended."(5)

3. What sayest thou, O Peter? the prophet said, "The sheep shall be scattered;" Christ hath confirmed the saying, and sayest thou, No? Is not what passed before enough, when Thou saidst, "Far be it from Thee,"(6) and thy mouth was stopped? For this then He suffers him to fall, teaching him thereby to believe Christ in all things, and to account His declaration more trustworthy than one's own conscience. And the rest too reaped no small benefit from his denial, having come to know manes weakness, and God' s truth. For when He foretells anything, we must no longer be subtle, nor lift up ourselves above the common sort. For, "thy rejoicing," it is said, "thou shall have in thyself, and not in another."(7) For where he should have prayed, and have said, Help us, that we be not cut off, he is confident in himself, and saith, "Though all men should be offended in Thee, yet will I never;" though all should undergo this, I shall not undergo it, which led him on by little and little to self-confidence. Christ then, out of a desire to put down this, permitted his denial. For since he neither submitted to Him nor the prophet (and yet for this intent He brought in the prophet be sides, that they may not gainsay), but nevertheless since he submitted not to His words, he is instructed by deeds.

For in proof that for this intent He permitted it, that He might amend this in him, hear what He saith, "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."(8) For this He said sharply reproving him, and showing that his fall was more grievous than the rest, and needed more help. For the matters of blame were two; both that he gainsaid; and, that he set himself before the other; or rather a third too, namely, that he attributed all to himself.

To cure these things then, He suffered the fall to take place, and for this cause also leaves the others, and addresses Himself earnestly to him. For, "Simon,"(1) saith He, "Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat;" that is, that he may trouble, confound, tempt you; but "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."

And why, if Satan desired all, did He not say concerning all, I have prayed for you? Is it not quite plain that it is this, which I have mentioned before, that it is as reproving him, and showing that his fall was more grievous than the rest, that He directs His words to him?

And wherefore said He not, But I did not suffer it, rather than, "I have prayed?" He speaks from this time lowly things, on His way to His passion, that He may show His humanity. For He that has built His church upon Peter's confession, and has so fortified it, that ten thousand dangers and deaths are not to prevail over it; He that hath given him the keys of Heaven, and hath put him in possession of so much authority, and in no manner needed a prayer for these ends (for neither did He say, I have prayed, but with His own authority, "I will build my church, and I will give thee the keys of Heaven"), how should He need to pray, that He might brace up the shaken soul of a single man? Wherefore then did He speak in this way? For the cause which I mentioned, and because of their weakness, for they had not as yet the becoming view of Him.

How then was it that He denied? he said not, that thou mayest not deny, but that thy faith fail not, that thou perish not utterly. For this came from His care.

For indeed fear had driven out all else, for it was beyond measure, and it became beyond measure, since God had to an exceeding degree deprived him of His help, and He did exceedingly deprive him thereof, because there was to an exceeding degree in him the passion of self-will and contradiction. In order then that He might pluck it up by the roots, therefore He suffered the terror to overtake him.

For in proof that this passion was grievous in him, he was not content with his former words, gainsaying both prophet and Christ, but also after these things when Christ had said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, that this night,2) before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice," he replieth, "Though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise."3) And Luke signifies moreover, that the more Christ warned him, so much the more did Peter exceedingly oppose Him.

What mean these things, O Peter? When He was saying, "One of you shall betray me," thou didst fear lest thou shouldest be the traitor, and didst constrain the disciple to ask, although conscious to thyself of no such thing; but now, when He is plainly crying out, and saying, "All shall be offended," art thou gainsaying it, and not once only, but twice and often? For this is what Luke saith.

Whence then did this come to him? From much love, from much pleasure. I mean, that after that he was delivered from that distressing fear about the betrayal, and knew the traitor, he then spoke confidently, and lifted himself up over the rest, saying, "Though all men shall be offended, yet will I not be offended."4) And in some degree too his conduct sprung from jealousy, for at supper they reasoned "which of them is the greater,"5) to such a degree did this passion trouble them. Therefore He checked him, not compelling him to the denial, God forbid! but leaving him destitute of His help, and convicting human nature.

See at any rate after these things how he was subdued. For after the resurrection, when he had said, "And what shall this man do?"6) and was silenced, he ventured no more to gainsay as here, but held his peace. Again, towards the assumption,7) when he heard, "It is not for you to know times or seasons,"8) again he holds his peace, and contradicts not. After these things, on the house, and by the sheet, when he heard a voice saying to him, "What God hath cleansed, call not thou common,"9) even though he knew not for the time what the saying could be, he is quiet, and strives not.

4. All these things did that fall effect, and whereas before that he attributes all to himself, saying, "Though all men shall be offended, yet will I not be offended;" and, "If I should die, I will not deny Thee"when he should have said, If I receive the assistance from Thee);--yet after these things altogether the contrary, "Why do ye give heed to us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made him to walk?10)

Hence we learn a great doctrine, that a man's willingness is not sufficient, unless any one receive the succor from above; and that again we shall gain nothing by the succor from above, if there be not a willingness. And both these things do Judas and Peter show; for the one, though he had received much help, was profited nothing, because he was not willing, neither contributed his part; but this one, though he was ready in mind, because he received no assistance, fell. For indeed of these two things is virtue's web

woven.

Wherefore I entreat you neitherwhen you have cast all upon God) to sleep yourselves, nor, when laboring earnestly, to think to accomplish all by your own toils. For neither is it God's will that we should be supine ourselves, therefore He worketh it not all Himself; nor yet boasters, therefore He did not give all to us; but having removed what was hurtful in either way, left that which is useful for us. Therefore He suffered even the chief apostle to fall, both rendering him more humbled in mind, and training him thenceforth to greater love. "For to whom more is forgiven," it is said, "he loveth more."1)

Let us then in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings.

For His word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That hath never failed, but this in most things goeth wrong. Since then the word saith, "This is my body," let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind.

For Christ hath given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if thou hadst been incorporeal, He would have delivered thee the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul hath been locked up in a body, He delivers thee the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible.

How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee.

Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. For if Jews standing, and having on their shoes and their staves in their hands, ate with haste, much more oughtest thou to be watchful. For they indeed were to go forth to Palestine, wherefore also they had the garb of pilgrims, but thou art about to remove unto Heaven.

5. Wherefore it is needful in all respects to be vigilant, for indeed no small punishment is appointed to them that partake unworthily.

Consider how indignant thou art against the traitor, against them that crucified Him. Look therefore, lest thou also thyself become guilty of the body and blood of Christ. They slaughtered the all-holy body, but thou receivest it in a filthy soul after such great benefits. For neither was it enough for Him to be made man, to be smitten and slaughtered, but He also commingleth Himself with us, and not by faith only, but also in very deed maketh us His body. What then ought not he to exceed in purity that hath the benefit of this sacrifice, than what sunbeam should not that hand be more pure which is to sever this flesh, the mouth that is filled with spiritual fire, the tongue that is reddened by that most awful blood? Consider with what sort of honor thou wast honored, of what sort of table thou art partaking. That which when angels behold, they tremble, and dare not so much as look up at it without awe on account of the brightness that cometh thence, with this we are fed with this we are commingled, and we are made one body and one flesh with Christ. "Who shall declare the mighty works of the Lord, and cause all His praises to be heard?"2) What shepherd feeds his sheep with his own limbs? And why do I say, shepherd? There are often mothers that after the travail of birth send out their children to other women as nurses; but He endureth not to do this, but Himself feeds us with His own blood, and by all means entwines us with Himself.

Mark it, He was born of our substance. But, you say, this is nothing to all men; though it does concern all. For if He came unto our nature, it is quite plain that it was to all; but if to all, then to each one. And how was it, you say, that all did not reap the profit therefrom. This was not of His doing, whose choice it was to do this in behalf of all, but the fault of them that were not willing. With each one of the faithful doth He mingle Himself in the mysteries, and whom He begat, He nourishes by Himself, and putteth not out to another; by this also persuading thee again, that He had taken thy flesh. Let us not then be remiss, having been counted worthy of so much both of love and honor. See ye not the infants with how much eagerness they lay hold of the breast? with what earnest desire they fix their lips upon the nipple? With the like let us also approach this table, and the nipple of the spiritual cup. Or rather, with much more eagerness let us, as infants at the breast, draw out the grace of the spirit, let it be our one sorrow, not to partake of this food. The works set before us are not of man's power. He that then did these things at that supper, this same now also works them. We occupy the place of servants. He who sanctifieth and changeth them is the same. Let then no Judas be present, no covetous man. If any one be not a disciple, let him withdraw, the table receives not such. For "I keep the passover," He saith, "with my disciples."1)

This table is the same as that, and hath nothing less. For it is not so that Christ wrought that, and man this, but He doth this too. This is that upper chamber, where they were then; and hence they went forth unto the mount of Olives.

Let us also go out unto the hands of the poor, for this spot is the mount of Olives. For the multitude of the poor are olive-trees planted in the house of God, dropping the oil, which is profitable for us there, which the five virgins had, and the others that had not received perished thereby. Having received this, let us enter in that with bright lamps we may meet the bridegroom; having received this, let us go forth hence.

Let no inhuman person be present, no one that is cruel and merciless, no one at all that is unclean.

6. These things I say to you that receive, and to you that minister. For it is necessary to address myself to you also, that you may with much care distribute the gifts there. There is no small punishment for you, if being conscious of any wickedness in any man, you allow him to partake of this table. "His blood shall be required at your hands."2) Though any one be a general, though a deputy, though it be he himself who is invested with the diadem, and come unworthily, forbid him, the authority thou hast is greater than his. Thou, if thou weft entrusted to keep a spring of water clean for a flock, and then wert to see a sheep having much mire on its mouth, thou wouldest not suffer it to stoop down unto it and foul the stream: but now being entrusted with a spring not of water, but of blood and of spirit, if thou seest any having on them sin, which is more grievous than earth and mire, coming unto it, art thou not displeased? dost thou not drive them off? and what excuse canst thou have?

For this end God hath honored you with this honor, that ye should discern these things. This is your office, this your safety, this your whole crown, not that ye should go about clothed in a white and shining vestment.

And whence know I, you may say, this person, and that person? I speak not of the unknown, but of the notorious.

Shall I say something more fearful. It is not so grievous a thing for the energumens(3) to be within, as for such as these, whom Paul affirms to trample Christ under foot, and to "account the blood of the covenant unclean. and to do despite to the grace of the Spirit."(4) For he that hath fallen into sin and draws nigh, is worse than one possessed with a devil. For they, because they are possessed are not punished, but those, when they draw nigh unworthily, are delivered over to undying punishment. Let us not therefore drive away these only, but all without exception, whomsoever we may see coming unworthily.

Let no one communicate who is not of the disciples. Let no Judas receive, lest he suffer the fate of Judas. This multitude also is Christ's body. Take heed, therefore, thou that ministerest at the mysteries, lest thou provoke the Lord, not purging this body. Give not a sword instead of meat.

Nay, though it be from ignorance that he come to communicate, forbid him, be not afraid. Fear God, not man. If thou shouldest fear man, thou wilt be laughed to scorn even by him, but if God, thou wilt be an object of respect even to men.

But if thou darest not to do it thyself, bring him to me; I will not allow any to dare do these things. I would give up my life rather than impart of the Lord's blood to the unworthy; and will shed my own blood rather than impart of such awful blood contrary to. what is meet.

But if any hath not known the bad man, after much inquiry, it is no blame. For these things have been said about the open sinners. For if we amend these, God will speedily discover to us the unknown also; but if we let these alone, wherefore should He then make manifest those that are hidden. But these things I say, not that we repel them only, nor cut them off, but in order that we may amend them, and bring them back, that we may take care of them. For thus shall we both have God propitious, and shall find many to receive worthily; and for our own diligence, and for our care for others, receive great reward; unto which God grant we may all attain by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXIII.

MATT. XXVI. 36--38.

"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy: and He saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. "(1)

BECAUSE they clung to Him inseparably, therefore He saith, "Tarry ye here, while I go away and pray." For it was usual with Him to pray apart from them. And this He did teaching us in our prayers, to prepare silence for ourselves and great retirement.

And He takes with Him the three, and saith unto them, "my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Wherefore doth He not take all with Him? That they might not be cast down; but these He taketh that had been spectators of His glory. However, even these He dismisses: "And He went on a little farther, and prayeth, saying, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto them, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."(2)

Not without reason doth He inveigh against Peter most, although the others also had slept; but to make him feel by this also, for the cause which I mentioned before. Then because the others also said the same thing (for when Peter had said (these are the words), "Though I must die with Thee, I will not deny Thee; likewise also," it is added, "said all the disciples");(3) He addresses Himself to all, convicting their weakness. For they who are desiring to die with Him, were not then able so much as to sorrow with Him wake-fully, but sleep overcame them.

And He prays with earnestness, in order that the thing might not seem to be acting. And sweats flow over him for the same cause again, even that the heretics might not say this, that He acts the agony. Therefore there is a sweat like drops of blood, and an angel appeared strengthening Him, and a thousand sure signs of fear, lest any one should affirm the words to be reigned. For this cause also was this prayer. By saying then, "If it be possible, let it pass from me," He showed His humanity; but by saying, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt," He showed His virtue and self-command, teaching us even when nature pulls us back, to follow God. For since it was not enough for the foolish to show His face only, He uses words also. Again, words sufficed not alone, but deeds likewise were needed; these also He joins with the words, that even they who are in a high degree contentious may believe, that He both became man and died. For if, even when these things are so, this be still disbelieved by some, much more, if these had not been. See by how many things He shows the reality of the incarnation: by what He speaks, by what He suffers. After that He cometh and saith to Peter, as it is said, "What, couldest thou not watch one hour with me?"(4) All were sleeping, and He rebukes Peter, hinting at him, in what He spake. And the words, "with me," are not employed without reason; it is as though He had said, Thou couldest not watch with me one hour, and wilt thou lay down thy life for me? and what follows also, intimates this self-same thing. For "Watch," saith He, "and pray not to enter into temptation." See how He is again instructing them not to be self-confident, but contrite in mind, and to be humble, and to refer all to God.

And at one time He addresses Himself to Peter, at another to all in common. And to him He saith, "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee;" and to all in common, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation;" every way plucking up their self-will, and making them earnest-minded. Then, that He might not seem to make His language altogether condemnatory, He saith, "The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak." For even although thou dost desire to despise death, yet thou wilt not be able, until God stretch forth His hand, for the carnal mind draws down.

And again He prayed in the same way, saying, "Father, if this cannot pass from me except I drink it, Thy will be done,"(1) showing here, that He fully harmonizes with God's will, and that we must always follow this, and seek after it.

"And He came and found them asleep."(2) For besides that it was late at night, their eyes also were weighed down by their despondency. And the third time He went and spake the same thing, establishing the fact, that He was become man. For the second and third time is in the Scriptures especially indicative of truth; like as Joseph also said to Pharaoh, "Did the dream appear to thee the second time? For truth was this done, and that thou mightest be assured that this shall surely be."(3) Therefore He too once, and twice, and three times spake the same thing, for the sake of proving the incarnation.(4)

And wherefore came He the second time? In order to reprove them, for that they were so drowned in despondency, as not to have any sense even of His presence. He did not however reprove them, but stood apart from them a little, showing their unspeakable weakness, that not even when they had been rebuked, were they able to endure. But He doth not awake and rebuke them again, lest He should smite them that were already smitten, but He went away and prayed, and when He is come back again, He saith, "Sleep on now, and take your rest." And yet then there was need to be wakeful, but to show that they will not bear so much as the sight of the dangers, but will be put to flight and desert Him from their terror, and that He hath no need of their succor, and that He must by all means be delivered up, "Sleep on now," He saith, "and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."(5)

He shows again that what is done belongs to a divine dispensation.

2. But He doth not this only, but also, by saying, "into the hands of sinners," He cheers up their minds, showing it was the effect of their wickedness, not of His being liable to any charge.

"Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me."(6) For by all means He taught them, that the matter was not of necessity, nor of weakness, but of some secret dispensation. For, as we see, He fore-knew that Judas would come, and so far from flying, He even went to meet him. At any rate, "While He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people."(7) Seemly surely are the instruments of the priests! "with swords and staves" do they come against Him! And Judas, it is said, with them, one of the twelve. Again he calleth him "of the twelve," and is not ashamed. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast."(8) Oh! what depravity had the traitor's soul received. For with what kind of eyes did he then look at his Master? with what mouth did he kiss Him? Oh! accursed purpose; what did he devise? What did he dare? What sort of sign of betrayal did he give? Whomsoever I shall kiss, he saith. He was emboldened by his Master's gentleness, which more than all was sufficient to shame him, and to deprive him of all excuse for that he was betraying one so meek.

But wherefore doth He say this? Because often when seized by them He had gone out through the midst, without their knowing it. Nevertheless, then also this would have been done, if it had not been His own will that He should be taken. It was at least with a view to teach them this, that He then blinded their eyes, and Himself asked, "Whom seek ye?"(9) And they knew Him not, though being with lanterns and torches, and having Judas with them. Afterwards, as they had said, "Jesus;" He saith, "I am He" whom ye seek: and here again, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?"(1)

For after having shown His own strength, then at once He yielded Himself. But John saith, that even to the very moment He continued to reprove him, saying, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"(2) Art thou not ashamed even of the form of the betrayal? saith He. Nevertheless, forasmuch as not even this checked him, He submitted to be kissed, and gave Himself up willingly; and they laid their hands on Him, and seized Him that night on which they ate the passover, to such a degree did they boil with rage, and were mad. However, they would have had no strength, unless He had Himself suffered it. Yet this delivers not Judas from intolerable punishment, but even more exceedingly condemns him, for that though he had received such proof of His power, and lenity, and meekness, and gentleness, he became fiercer than any wild beast.

Knowing then these things, let us flee from covetousness. For that, that it was, which then drove him to madness; that exercises them who are taken thereby in the most extreme cruelty and inhumanity. For, when it makes them to despair of their own salvation, much more doth it cause them to overlook that of the rest of mankind. And so tyrannical is the passing, as sometimes to prevail over the keenest lust. Wherefore indeed I am exceedingly ashamed, that to spare their money, may indeed have bridled their unchastity, but for the fear of Christ they were not willing to live chastely and with gravity.

Wherefore I say, let us flee from it; for I will not cease for ever saying this. For why, O man, dost thou gather gold? Why dost thou make thy bondage more bitter? Why thy watching more grievous? Why thy anxiety more painful? Account for thine own the metals buried in the mines, those in the kings' courts. For indeed if thou hadst all that heap, thou wouldest keep it only, and wouldest not use it. For if now thou hast not used the things thou possessest, but abstainest from them as though they belonged to others, much more would this be the case with thee, if thou hadst more. For it is the way of the covetous, the more they heap up around them, the more to be sparing of it. "But I know," sayest thou, "that these things are mine." The possession then is in supposition only, not in enjoyment. But I should be an object of fear to men, sayest thou. Nay, but thou wouldest by this become a more easy prey both to rich and poor, to robbers, and false accusers, and servants, and in general to all that are minded to plot against thee. For if thou art desirous to be an object of fear, cut off the occasions by which they are able to lay hold of thee and pain thee, whoever have set their hearts thereon. Hearest thou not the parable that saith, that the poor and naked man, not even a hundred men gathered together are ever able to strip? For he hath his poverty as his great est protection, which not even the king shall ever be able to subdue and take.

3. The covetous man indeed all join in vexing. And why do I say men, when moths and worms war against such a man? And why do I speak of moths? Length of time is enough alone, even when no one troubles him, to do the greatest injury to such a man.

What then is the pleasure of wealth? For I see its discomforts, but do thou tell me the pleasure of it. And what are its discomforts? sayest thou: anxieties, plots, enmities, hatred, fear; to be ever thirsting and in pain.

For if any one were to embrace a damsel he loves, but were not able to satisfy his sire, he undergoes the utmost torment. Even so also doth the rich man. For he hath plenty, and is with her, but cannot satisfy all his desire; but the same result takes place as some wise man mentions; "The lust of eunuch to deflower a virgin;" and, "Like an eunuch embracing a virgin and groaning;"(3) so are all the rich.

Why should one speak of the other things? how such a one is displeasing to all, to his servants, his laborers, his neighbors, to them that handle public affairs, to them that are injured, to them that are not injured, to his wife most of all, and to his children more than to any. For not as men does he bring them up, but more miserably than menials and purchased slaves.

And countless occasions for anger, and vexation, and insult, and ridicule against himself, doth he bring about, being set forth as a common laughing stock to all. So the discomforts are these, and perhaps more than these; before one could never go through them all in discourse, but experience will be able to set them before us.

But tell me the pleasure from hence. "I appear to be rich," he saith, "and am reputed to be rich." And what kind of pleasure to be so reputed? It is a very great name for envy. I say a name, for wealth is a name only void of reality.

"Yet he that is rich," saith he, "indulges and delights himself with this notion." He delights himself in those things about which he ought to grieve. "To grieve? wherefore?" asks he. Because this renders him useless for all purposes, and cowardly and unmanly both with regard to banishment and to death, for he holds this double, longing more for money than for light. Such a one not even Heaven delights, because it beareth not gold; nor the sun, forasmuch as it puts not forth golden beams.

But there are some, saith he, who do enjoy what they possess, living in luxury, in gluttony, in drunkenness, spending sumptuously. You are telling me of persons worse than the first. For the last above all are the men, who have no enjoyment. For the first at least abstains from other evils, being bound to one love; but the others are worse than these, besides what we have said, bringing in upon themselves a crowd of cruel masters, and doing service every day to the belly, to lust, to drunkenness, to other kinds of intemperance, as to so many cruel tyrants, keeping harlots, preparing expensive feasts, purchasing parasites, flatterers, turning aside after unnatural lusts, involving their body and their soul in a thousand diseases springing therefrom.

For neither is it on what they want they spend their goods, but on ruining the body, and on ruining also the soul therewith; and they do the same, as if any one, when adorning his person, were to think he was spending his money on his own wants.

So that he alone enjoys pleasure and is master of his goods, who uses his wealth for a proper object; but these are slaves and captives, for they aggravate both the passions of the body and the diseases of the soul. What manner of enjoyment is this, where is siege and war, and a storm worse than all the raging of the sea? For if wealth find men fools, it renders them more foolish; if wanton, more wanton.

And what is the use of understanding, thou wilt say, to the poor man? As might be expected thou art ignorant; for neither doth the blind man know what is the advantage of light. Listen to Solomon, saying, "As far as light excelleth darkness, so doth wisdom excel folly."(1)

But how shall we instruct him that is in darkness? For the love of money is darkness, permitting nothing that is to appear as it is, but otherwise. For much as one in darkness, though he should see a golden vessel, though a precious stone, though purple garments, supposes them to be nothing, for he sees not their beauty; so also he that is in covetousness, knows not as he ought the beauty of those things that are worthy of our care. Disperse then I pray thee the mist that arises from this passion, and then wilt thou see the nature of things.

But nowhere do these things so plainly appear as in poverty, nowhere are those things. so disproved which seem to be, and are not, as in self-denial.

4. But oh! foolish men; who do even curse the poor, and say that both houses and living are disgraced by poverty, confounding all things. For what is a disgrace to a house? I pray thee. It hath no couch of ivory, nor silver vessels, but all of earthenware and wood. Nay, this is the greatest glory and distinction to a house. For to be indifferent about worldly things, often occasions all a man's leisure to be spent in the care of his soul.

When therefore thou seest great care about outward things, then be ashamed at the great unseemliness. For the houses of them that are rich most of all want seemliness. For when thou seest tables covered with hangings, and couches inlaid with silver, much as in the theatre, much as in the display of the stage, what can be equal to this unseemliness? For what kind of house is most like the stage, and the things on the stage? The rich man's or the poor man's? Is it not quite plain that it is the rich man's? This therefore is full of unseemliness. What kind of house is most like Paul's, or Abraham's? It is quite evident that it is the poor man's. This therefore is most adorned, and to be approved. And that thou mayest learn that this is, above all, a house's adorning, enter into the house of Zacchaeus, and learn, when Christ was on the point of entering therein, how Zacchaeus adored it. For he did not run to his neighbors begging curtains, and seats, and chairs made of ivory, neither did he bring forth from his closets Laconian hangings; but he adorned it with an adorning suitable to Christ. What was this? "The half of my goods I will give, he saith, "to the poor; and whomsoever I have robbed, I will restore fourfold."(2) On this wise let us too adorn our houses, that Christ may enter in unto us also. These are the fair curtains, these are wrought in Heaven, they are woven there. Where these are, there is also the King of Heaven. But if thou adorn it in another way, thou art inviting the devil and his company.

He came also into the house of the publican Matthew. What then did this man also do? He first adorned himself by his readiness, and by his leaving all, and following Christ.

So also Cornelius adorned his house with prayers and alms; wherefore even unto this day it shines above the very palace. For the vile state of a house is not in vessels lying in disorder, nor in an untidy bed, nor in walls covered with smoke, but in the wickedness of them that dwell therein. And Christ showeth it, for into such a house, if the inhabitant be virtuous, He is not ashamed to enter; but into that other, though it have a golden roof, He will never enter. So that while this one is more gorgeous than the palace, receiving the Lord of all, that with its golden roof and columns is like filthy drains and sewers, for it contains the vessels of the devil.

But these things we have spoken not of those who are rich for a useful purpose, but of the grasping, and the covetous. For neither is there amongst these, diligence nor care about the things needful, but about pampering the belly, and drunkenness, and other like unseemliness; but with the others about self-restraint. Therefore nowhere did Christ enter into a gorgeous house, but into that of the publican and chief publican, and fisherman, leaving the kings' palaces, and them that are clothed with soft raiment.

If then thou also desirest to invite Him, deck thy house with alms, with prayers, with supplications, with vigils. These are the decorations of Christ the King, but those of mammon, the enemy of Christ. Let no one be ashamed then of a humble house, if it hath this furniture; let no rich man pride himself on having a costly house, but let him rather hide his face, and seek after this other, forsaking that, that both here he may receive Christ, and there enjoy the eternal tabernacles, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXIV.

MATT. XXVI. 51--54.

"And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched forth his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear." Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword unto his place, for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword. Thinkest(1) thou that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently(2) give me more than twelve legions of angels? How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?"(3) Who was this "one," who cut off the ear? John saith that it was Peter.(4) For the act was of his fervor.

But this other point is worth inquiry, wherefore they were bearing swords? For that they bore them is evident not hence only, but from their saying when asked, "here are two." But wherefore did Christ even permit them to have swords? For Luke affirms this too, that He said unto them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?" And when they said, "Nothing," He said unto them, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and a scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." And when they said, "Here are two swords," He said unto them, "It is enough."(5)

Wherefore then did He suffer them to have them? To assure them that He was to be betrayed. Therefore He saith unto them, "Let him buy a sword," not that they should arm themselves, far from it; but by this, indicating His being betrayed.

And wherefore doth He mention a scrip also? He was teaching them henceforth to be sober, and wakeful, and to use much diligence on their own part. For at the beginning He cherished them (as being inexperienced) with much putting forth of His power but afterwards bringing them forth as young birds out of the nest, He commands them to use their own wings. Then, that they might not suppose that it was for weakness He is letting them alone, in commanding them also to work their part, He reminds them of the former things, saying, "When I sent you without purse, lacked ye anything?" that by both they might learn His power, both wherein He protected them, and wherein He now leaveth them to themselves by degrees.

But whence were the swords there? They were come forth from the supper, and from the table. It was likely also there should be swords because of the lamb, and that the disciples, hearing that certain were coming forth against Him, took them for defense, as meaning to fight in behalf of their Master, which was of their thought only. Wherefore also Peter is rebuked for using it, and with a severe threat. For he was resisting the servant who came, warmly indeed, yet not defending himself, but doing this in behalf of his Master.

Christ however suffered not any harm to ensue. For He healed him, and showed forth a great miracle, enough to indicate at once both His forbearance and His power, and the affection and meekness of His disciple. For then he acted from affection, now with dutifulness. For when he heard, "Put up thy sword into its sheath,"(1) he obeyed straightway, and afterwards nowhere doeth this.

But another saith, that they moreover asked, "Shall we smite?"(2) but that He for-bad it, and healed the man, and rebuked His disciple, and threatened, that He might move him to obedience. "For all they that take the sword," He said, "shall die with the sword."

And he adds a reason, saying, "Think ye that I cannot pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But that the Scriptures might be fulfilled."(3) By these words He quenched their anger, indicating that to the Scriptures also, this seemed good. Wherefore there too He prayed, that they might take meekly what befell Him, when they had learnt that this again is done according to God's will.

And by these two things, He comforted them, both by the punishment of them that are plotting against Him, "For all they," He saith, "that take the sword shall perish with the sword;" and by His not undergoing these things against His will, "For I can pray, He saith, "to my Father."

And wherefore did He not say, "Think ye that I cannot destroy them all?" Because He was more likely to be believed in saying what He did say; for not yet had they the right belief concerning Him. And a little while before He had said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," and, "Father, let the cup pass from me;"(4) and He had appeared in an agony and sweating, and strengthened by an angel.

Since then He had shown forth many tokens of human nature, He did not seem likely to speak so as to be believed, if He had said, "Think ye that I cannot destroy them." Therefore He saith, "What, think ye that I cannot pray to my Father?" And again He speaks it humbly, in saying, "He will presently give me twelve legions of angels." For if one angel slew one hundred and eighty-five armed thousands,(5) what need of twelve legions against a thousand men? But He frames His language with a view to their terror and weakness, for indeed they were dead with fear. Wherefore also He brings against them the Scriptures, saying, "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?" alarming them by this also. For if this be approved by the Scriptures, do ye oppose and fight against them?

2. And to His disciples He saith these things; but to the others, "Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me."(6)

See how many things He doeth that might awaken them. He cast them to the ground, He healed the servant's ear, He threatened them with being slain; "For they shall perish with the sword," He saith, "who take the sword." By the healing of the ear, He gave assurance of these things also; from every quarter, both from the things present, and from the things to come, manifesting His power, and showing that it was not a work of their strength to seize Him. Wherefore He also adds, "I was daily with you, and sat teaching, and ye laid no hold on me;" by this also making it manifest, that the seizure was of His permission. He passed over the miracles, and mentions the teaching, that He might not seem to boast.

When I taught, ye laid no hold on me; when I held my peace, did ye come against me? I was in the temple, and no one seized me, and now do ye come upon me late and at midnight with swords and staves? What need was there of these weapons against Him, who was with you always? by these things teaching them, that unless He had voluntarily yielded, not even then would they have succeeded o For neither could they (who were not able to hold Him when in their hands, and who, when they had got Him in the midst of them, had not prevailed) even then have succeeded, unless He had been willing.

After this, He solves also the difficulty why He willed it then. For, "this was done," He saith, "that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."(1) See how even up to the last hour, and in the very act of being betrayed, He did all things for their amendment, healing, prophesying, threatening. "For," He saith, "they shall perish by the sword." To show that He is suffering voluntarily, He saith, "I was daily with you teaching;" to manifest His accordance with the Father, He adds, "That the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

But wherefore did they not lay hold on Him in the temple? Because they would not have dared in the temple, on account of the people. Wherefore also He went forth without, both by the place and by the time giving them security, and even to the last hour taking away their excuse. For He who, in order that He might obey the prophets, gave up even Himself, how did He teach things contrary to them?

"Then all His disciples," it is said, "forsook Him, and fled." For when He was seized, they remained; but when He had said these things to the multitudes, they fled. For thenceforth they saw that escape was no longer possible, when He was giving Himself up to them voluntarily, and saying, that this was done according to the Scriptures.

And when these were fled, "they lead Him away to Caiaphas; but Peter followed, and entered in to see what the end should be."(2)

Great was the fervor of the disciple; neither did he fly when he saw them flying, but stood his ground, and went in with Him. And if John did so too, yet he was "known to the high priest."(3)

And why did they lead Him away there where they were all assembled? That they might do all things with consent of the chief priests. For he was then high priest, and all were waiting for Christ there, to such a degree did they spend the whole night, and give up their sleep for this object. For neither did they then eat the passover, but watched for this other purpose. For John, when he had said that "it was early," added, "they entered into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover."(4)

What must we say then? That they ate it on another day, and broke the law, on account of their eager desire about this murder. For Christ would not have transgressed as to the time of the passover, but they who were daring all things, and trampling under foot a thousand laws. For since they were exceedingly boiling with rage, and having often attempted to seize Him, had not been able; having then taken Him unexpectedly, they chose even to pass by the passover, for the sake of satiating their murderous lust.

Wherefore also they were all assembled together, and it was a council of pestilent men,(5) and they ask some questions, wishing to invest this plot with the appearance of a court of justice. For "neither did their testimonies agree together;"(6) so reigned was the court of justice, and all things full of confusion and disorder.

"But false witnesses came, and said, This fellow said, I will destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it."(7) And indeed He had said, "In three days," but He said not, "I will destroy," but, "Destroy," and not about that temple but about His own body.(8)

What then doth. the high priest? Willing to press Him to a defense, that by that he might take Him, he saith, "Hearest Thou not what these witness against Thee? But He held His peace."(9)

For the attempts at defense were unprofitable, no man hearing. For this was a show only of a court of justice, but in truth an onset of robbers, assailing Him without cause, as in a cave, or on a road.

Wherefore "He held His peace," but the other continued, saying, "I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of the living God. But He said, Thou hast said. Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy."(1) And this he did to add force to the accusation, and to aggravate what He said, by the act. For since what had been said moved the hearers to fear, what they did about Stephen,(2) stopping their ears, this high priest doth here also.

3. And yet what kind of blasphemy was this? For indeed before He had said, when they were gathered together, "The Lord said unto my Lord. Sit Thou on my right hand,"(3) and interpreted the saying, and they dared say nothing, but held their peace, and from that time forth gainsaid Him no more. Why then did they now call the saying a blasphemy? And wherefore also did Christ thus answer them? To take away all their excuse, because unto the last day He taught that He was Christ, and that He sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come again to judge the world, which was the language of one manifesting His full accordance with the Father.

Having rent therefore his clothes, he saith, "What think ye?"(4) He gives not the sentence from himself, but invites it from them, as in a case of confessed sins, and manifest blasphemy. For, inasmuch as they knew that if the thing came to be inquired into, and carefully decided, it would free Him from all blame, they condemn Him amongst themselves, and anticipate the hearers by saying, "Ye have heard the blasphemy;" all but necessitating and forcing them to deliver the sentence. What then say they? "He is guilty of death;" that having taken Him as condemned, they should thus work upon Pilate thereupon to pass sentence. In which matter those others also being accomplices say, "He is guilty of death;" themselves accusing, themselves judging, themselves passing sentence, themselves being everything then.

But wherefore did they not bring forward the Sabbaths? Because He had often stopped their mouths; and moreover they wanted to take Him, and condemn Him by the things then said. And the high priest anticipated them, and gave the sentence as from them, and drew them all on by rending his vestments, and having led Him away as now condemned unto Pilate, thus did all.

Before Pilate at any rate they said nothing of this kind, but what? "If(5) this Man were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee;" attempting to put Him to death by political accusations. And wherefore did they not slay Him secretly? They were desirous also to bring up an evil report against His fame. For since many had now heard Him, and were admiring Him, and amazed at Him, therefore they endeavored that He should be put to death publicly, and in the presence of all.

But Christ hindered it not, but made full use of their wickedness for the establishment of the truth, so that His death should be manifest. And the result was the contrary to what they wished. For they wished to make a show of it, as in this way disgracing Him, but He even by these very things shone forth the more. And much as they said, "Let us put Him to death, lest the Romans come and take away our place and nation;"(6) and after they had put Him to death, this came to pass; so also here; their object was to crucify Him publicly, that they might injure His fame, and the contrary result took place.

For in proof that indeed they had power to have put Him to death, even amongst themselves, hear what Pilate saith: "Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law."(7) But they would not, that He might seem to have been put to death as a transgressor, as an usurper, as a mover of sedition. Therefore also they crucified thieves with Him; therefore also they said, "Write not that this man is King of the Jews; but that He said it."(8)

But all these things are done for the truth, so that they might not have so much as any shadow of a defense that is surely shameless. And at the sepulchre too, in the like manner, the seals and the watches made the truth to be the more conspicuous; and the mockings, and the jeerings, and the revilings, wrought again this self-same effect.

For such is the nature of error: it is destroyed by those things whereby it plots; thus at least it fell out even here, for they that seemed to have conquered, these most of all were put to shame, and defeated, and ruined; but He that seemed to be defeated, this man above all hath both shone forth, and conquered mightily.

Let us not then everywhere seek victory, nor everywhere shun defeat. There is an occasion when victory brings hurt, but defeat profit. For, for instance, in the case of them that are angry; he that hath been very outrageous seems to have prevailed; but this man above all is the one subdued and hurt by the most grievous passion; but he that hath endured nobly, this man hath got the better and conquered. And while the one hath not had strength to overcome so much as his own disease; the other hath removed another man's; this hath been subdued by his own, that hath got the better even of another's passion; and so far from being burnt up, he quenched the flame of another when raised to a height. But if he had minded to gain what seems to be victory, both he himself would have been overcome; and having inflamed the other, he would have occasioned him to have suffered this more grievously; and, like women, both the one and the other would have been disgracefully and miserably overthrown by their anger. But now he that hath exercised self-control is both freed from this disgrace, and hath erected a glorious trophy over anger both in himself and in his neighbor, through his honorable defeat.

4. Let us not then everywhere seek victory. For he that hath overreached hath conquered the person wronged, but with an evil victory, and one that brings destruction to him that has won it; but he that is wronged, and seems to have been conquered, if he have borne it with self-command, this above all is the one that hath the crown. For often to be defeated is better, and this is the best mode of victory. For whether one overreaches, or smites, or envies, he that is defeated, and enters not into the conflict, this is he who hath the victory.

And why do I speak of overreaching and envy? For he also that is dragged to martyrdom, thus conquers by being bound, and beaten, and maimed, and slain. And what is in wars defeat, namely, for the combatant to fall; this with us is victory. For nowhere do we overcome by doing wrongfully, but everywhere by suffering wrongfully. Thus also cloth the victory become more glorious, when we sufferers get the better of the doers. Hereby it is shown that the victory is of God. For indeed it hath an opposite nature to outward conquest. which fact is again above all an infallible sign of strength. Thus also the rocks in the sea, by being struck, break the waves; thus also all the saints were proclaimed, and crowned, and set up their glorious trophies, winning this tranquil victory. "For stir not thyself," He saith, "neither weary thyself. God hath given thee this might, to conquer not by conflict, but by endurance alone. Do not oppose thyself also as he does, and thou hast conquered; conflict not, and thou hast gained the crown.(1) Why dost thou disgrace thyself? Allow him not to say that by conflicting thou hast got the better, but suffer him to be amazed and to marvel at thy invincible power; and to say to all, that even without entering into conflict thou hast conquered."

Thus also the blessed Joseph obtained a good report, everywhere by suffering wrong getting the better of them who were doing it. For his brethren and the Egyptian woman were amongst those that were plotting against him, but over all did this man prevail. For tell me not of the prison, wherein this man dwelt, nor of the kings' courts where she abode, but show me who it is that is conquered, who it is that is defeated, who that is in despondency, who that is in pleasure. For she, so far from being able to prevail over the righteous man, could not master so much as her own passion; but this man prevailed both over her and over that grievous disease. But if thou wilt, hear her very words, and thou shalt see the trophy. "Thou broughtest in unto us here an Hebrew servant to mock us."(2) It was not this man that mocked thee, O wretched and unhappy woman, but the devil that told thee that thou couldest break down the adamant. This thy husband brought not in unto thee an Hebrew servant to plot against thee, but the wicked spirit brought in that unclean lasciviousness; he it was that mocked thee.

What then did Joseph? He held his peace, and thus is condemned, even as Christ is also.

For all those things are types of these. And he indeed was in bonds, and she in royal courts. Yet what is this? For he was more glorious than any crowned victor, even while continuing in his bonds, but she was in a more wretched condition than any prisoner, while abiding in royal chambers.

But not hence alone may one see the victory, and the defeat, but by the end itself. For which accomplished his desired object? The prisoner, not the high born lady? For he strove to keep his chastity, but she to destroy it. Which then accomplished what he desired? he who suffered wrong, or she who did the wrong. It is quite plain, that it is he who suffered. Surely then this is the one who hath conquered.

Knowing then these things, let us follow after this victory, which is obtained by suffering wrong, let us flee from that which is got by doing wrong. For so shall we both live this present life in all tranquility, and great quietness, and shall 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 world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXV.

MATT. XXVI. 67, 68.

"Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him, and others smote Him with the palms of their hands,(1) saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote(2) thee?"(2)

Wherefore did they these things, when they were to put Him to death? What need of this mockery? That thou mightest learn their intemperate spirit by all things, and that having taken Him like a preys they thus showed forth their intoxication, and gave full swing to their madness; making this a festival, and assaulting Him with pleasure, and showing forth their murderous disposition.

But admire, I pray thee, the self command of the disciples, with what exactness they relate these things. Hereby is clearly shown their dispostiion to love the truth, because they relate with all truthfulness the things that seem to be opprobrious, disguising nothing, nor being ashamed thereof, but rather accounting it very great glory, as indeed it was, that the Lord of the universe should endure to suffer such things for us. This shows both His unutterable tenderness, and the inexcusable wickedness of those men, who had the heart to do such things to Him that was so mild and meek, and was charming them with such words, as were enough to change a lion into a lamb. For neither did He fail in any things of gentleness, nor they of insolence and cruelty, in what they did, in what they said. All which things the prophet Isaiah foretold, thus proclaiming beforehand, and by one word intimating all this insolence. For "like as many were astonished at thee," he saith, "so shall thy form be held inglorious of men, and thy glory of the sons of men."(3)

For what could be equal to this insolence? On that face which the sea, when it saw it, had reverenced, from which the sun, when it beheld it on the cross, turned away his rays, they did spit, and struck it with the palms of their hands, and some upon the head; giving full swing in every way to their own madness. For indeed they inflicted the blows that are most insulting of all, buffeting, smiting with the palms of their hands, and to these blows adding the insult of spitting at Him. And words again teeming with much derision did they speak, saying, "prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?" because the multitude called Him a prophet.

But another(4) saith, that they covered His face with His own garment, and did these things, as though they had got in the midst of them some vile and worthless fellow. And not freemen only, but slaves(5) also were intemperate with this intemperance towards Him at that time.

These things let us read continually, these things let us hear aright, these things let us write in our minds, for these are our honors. In these things do I take a pride, not only in the thousands of dead which He raised, but also in the sufferings which He endured. These things Paul puts forward in every way, the cross, the death, the sufferings, the revilings, the insults, the scoffs. And now he saith, "let us go forth unto Him bearing His reproach; "(6) and now, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame."(7)

"Now Peter sat in the court without;(8) and a damsel came unto him, saying, thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all,(9) saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and saith, this man also was there(1) with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said unto Peter, surely thou also art one of them, 'for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly."(2)

Oh strange and wonderful acts! When indeed he saw his master seized only, he was so fervent as both to draw his sword, and to cut off the man's ear; but when it was natural for him to be more indignant, and to be inflamed and to burn, hearing such revilings, then he becomes a denier. For who would not have been inflamed to madness by the things that were then done? yet the disciple, overcome by fears, so far from showing indignation, even denies, and endures not the threat of a miserable and mean girl, and not once only, but a second and third time doth he deny Him; and in a short period, and not so much as before judges, for it was without for "when he had gone out into the porch," they asked him, and he did not even readily come to a sense of his fall. And this Luke saith,(3) namely, that Christ looked on him showing that he not only denied Him, but was not even brought to remembrance from within, and this though the cock had crowed; but he needed a further remembrance from his master, and His look was to him instead of a voice; so exceedingly was he full of fear

But Mark saith,(4) that when he had once denied, then first the cock crew, but when thrice, then for the second time; for he declares more particularly the weakness of the disciple, and that he was utterly dead with fear; having learnt these things of his masters himself, for he was a follower of Peter. In which respect one would most marvel at him, that so far from hiding his teacher's faults, he declared it more distinctly than the rest. on this very account, that he was his disciple.

2. How then is what is said true, .when Matthew affirms that Christ said, "Verily I say unto thee, that before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice;"(6) and Mark declares after the third denial, that "The cock crew the second time?"(7) Nay, most certainly is it both true and in harmony. For because at each crowing the cock is wont to crow both a third and a fourth time, Mark, to show that not even the sound checked him, and brought him to recollection saith this. So that both things are true. For before the cock had finished the one crowing, he had denied a third time. And not even when reminded of his sin by Christ did he dare to weep openly, lest he should be betrayed by his tears, but "he went out, and wept bitterly."

"And when it was day, they led away Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate."(8) For because they were desirous to put Him to death, but were not able themselves because of the feast, they lead Him to the governor.

But mark, I pray thee, how the act was forced on, so as to take place at the feast. For so was it typified from the first.

"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver."(9)

This was a charge both against him, and against these men; against him, not because he repented, but because he did so, late, and slowly, and became self-condemned (for that he delivered Him up, he himself confessed); and against them, for that having the power to reverse it, they repented not.

But mark, when it is that he feels remorse. When his sin was completed, and had received an accomplishment. For the devil is like this; he suffers not those that are not watchful to see the evil before this, lest he whom he has taken, should repent. At least, when Jesus was saying so many things, he was not. influenced, but when his offense was completed, then repentance came upon him; and not then profitably. For to condemn it, and to throw down the pieces of silver, and not to regard the Jewish people, were all acceptable things; but to hang himself, this again was unpardonable, and a work of an evil spirit. For the devil led him out of his repentance too soon, so that he should reap no fruit from thence; and carries him off, by a most disgraceful death, and one manifest to all, having persuaded him to destroy himself.

But mark, I pray thee, the truth shining forth on every side, even by what the adversaries both do and suffer. For indeed even the very end of the traitor stops the mouths of them that had condemned Him, and suffers them not to have so much as any shadow of an excuses that is surely shameless. For what could they have to say, when the traitor is shown to pass such a sentence on himself.

But let us see also the words, what is said; "He brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests,(1) and saith, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood. And they said, what is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple,(2) and departed, and went and hanged himself.(3)

For neither could he bear his conscience scourging him. But marks I pray thee, the Jews too suffering the same things. For these men also, when they ought to have been amended by what they suffered, do not stop, until they have completed their sin. For his sin had been completed, for it was a betrayal; but theirs not yet. But when they too had accomplished theirs, and had nailed Him to the cross then they also are troubled; at one time saying, "Write not, this is the king of the Jews"(4) (and yet why are ye afraid? why are ye troubled at a dead body that is nailed upon the cross?); at another time they guard over Him, saying, "Lest His disciples steal Him away, and say that He is risen again; so the last error shall be worse than the first."(5) And yet if they do it, the thing is refuted, if it be not true. But how should they say so, which did not dare so much as to stand their ground, when He was seized; and the chief(6) of them even thrice denied Him, not bearing a damsel's threat. But, as I said, the chief priests were now troubled; for that they knew the act was a transgression of the law is manifest, from their saying, "See thou to that."

Hear, ye covetous, consider what befell him; how he at the same time lost the money, and committed the sin, and destroyed his own soul. Such is the tyranny of covetousness. He enjoyed not the money. neither the present life, nor that to come, but lost all at once, and having got a bad character even with those very men, so hanged himself.

But, as I said, after the act, then some see clearly. See at any rate these men too for a time not willing to have a clear perception of the fact, but saying, "See thou to that:" which thing of itself is a most heavy charge against them. For this is the language of men bearing witness to their daring and their transgression, but intoxicated by their passion, and not willing to forbear their satanical attempts, but senselessly wrapping themselves up in a veil of feigned ignorance.

For if indeed these things had been said after the crucifixion, and His being slain, of a truth even then the saying would have had no reasonable meaning, nevertheless it would not have condemned them so much; but now having Him yet in your own hands, and having power to release Him, how could ye be able to say these things? For this defense would be a most heavy accusation against you. How? and in what way? Because while throwing the whole blame upon the traitor (for they say, "See thou to that"), being able to have set themselves free from this murder of Christ, they left the traitor, and even pressed the crime further, adding the cross to the betrayal. For what hindered them, when they said to him, "See thou to that," themselves to forbear the criminal act? But now they even do the contrary, adding to it the murder and in every thing, both by what they do, and by what they say, entangling themselves in inevitable ills. For indeed after these things, when Pilate left it to them, they choose the robber to be released rather than Jesus; but Him that had done no wrong, but had even conferred on them so many benefits, they slew.

3. What then did that man? When he saw that he was laboring to no profit, and that they would not consent to receive the pieces of silver, "he cast them down in the temple, and went and hanged himself.(7) And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, it is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, the field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, and they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me."(8)

Seest thou them again self-condemned by their conscience? For because they knew that they had been buying the murder, they put them not into the treasury, but bought a field to bury strangers in. And this also became a witness against them, and a proof of their treason. For the name of the place more clearly than a trumpet proclaimed their blood-guiltiness. Neither did they it at random, but having taking counsel, and in every case in like manner, so that no one should be clear of the deed, but all guilty. But these things the prophecy foretold from of old. Seest thou not the apostles only, but the prophets also declaring exactly those things which were matters of reproach, and every way proclaiming the passion, and indicating it beforehand?

This was the case with the Jews without their being conscious of it. For if they had cast it into the treasury, the thing would not have been so clearly discovered; but now having bought a piece of ground, they made it all manifest even to subsequent generations.

Hear ye as many as think to do good works out of murders, and take a reward for the lives of men. These almsgiving are Judaical, or rather they are Satanical. For there are, there are now also they, that take by violence countless things belonging to others, and think that an excuse is made for all if they cast in some ten or a hundred gold pieces.

Touching whom also the prophet saith, "Ye covered my altar with tears."(1) Christ is not willing to be fed by covetousness, He accepts not this food. Why dost thou insult thy Lord, offering Him unclean things? It is better to leave men to pine with hunger, than to feed them from these sources. That was the conduct of a cruel man, this of one both cruel and insolent. It is better to give nothing, than to give the things of one set of persons to others. For tell me, if you saw any two persons, one naked, one having a garment, and then having stripped the one that had the garment, thou wert to clothe the naked, wouldest thou not have committed an injustice? It is surely plain to every one. But if when thou hast given all that thou hast taken to another, thou hast committed an injustice, and not shown mercy; when thou givest not even a small portion of what thou robbest, and callest the deed alms, what manner of punishment wilt thou not undergo? For if men offering lame brutes were blamed, what favor wilt thou obtain doing things more grievous? For if the chief, making restitution to the owner himself, still doeth an injustice, and so doeth an injustice, as by adding fourfold scarcely to do away the charge against himself, and this under the old covenant;(2) he that is not stealing, but taking by violence, and not even giving to him that is robbed, but instead of him to another; nor yet giving fourfold, but not so much as the half; and moreover not living under the old dispensation, but under the new; consider how much fire he is heaping together upon his own head. And if he do not as yet suffer his punishment, for this self-same thing I say bewail him, for he is treasuring up against himself a greater wrath, unless he repent. For what? "Think ye," saith He, "that they alone were sinners upon whom the tower fell down? Nay, I say unto you, but except ye repent, ye also shall suffer the same things.(3)

Let us repent then, and give alms pure from covetousness, and in great abundance. Consider that the Jews used to feed eight thousand Levites, and together with the Levites, widows also and orphans, and they bore many other public charges, and together with these .things also served as soldiers; but now there are fields, and houses, and hirings of lodgings, and carriages, and muleteers, and mules, and a great array of this kind in the church on account of you, and your hardness of heart. For this store of the church ought to be with you, and your readiness of mind ought to be a revenue to her; but now two wrong things come to pass, both you continue unfruitful, and God's priests do not practise their proper duties.

Was it not possible for the houses and the lands to have remained in the time of the apostles? Wherefore then did they sell them and give away? Because this was a better thing.

4. But now a fear seized our fathers (when you were so mad after worldly things, and because of your gatherings, and not dispersing abroad), lest the companies of the widows and orphans, and of the virgins, should perish of famine; therefore were they constrained to provide these things. For it was not their wish to thrust themselves unto what was so unbecoming; but their desire was that your good will should have been a supply for them, and that they should gather their fruits from thence, and that they themselves should give heed to prayers only.

But now ye have constrained them to imitate the houses of them that manage public affairs; whereby all things are turned upside down. For when both you and we are entangled in the same things, who is there to propitiate God? Therefore it is not possible for us to open our mouths, when the state of the church is no better than that of worldly men. Have ye not heard that the apostles would not consent so much as to distribute the money that was collected without any trouble? But now our bishops have gone beyond agents, and stewards, and hucksters in their care about these things; and when they ought to be careful and thoughtful about your souls, they are vexing themselves every day about these things, for which the innkeepers, and tax-gatherers, and accountants, and stewards are careful.

These things I do not mention for nought in the way of complaint, but in order that there may be some amendment and change, in order that we may be pitied for serving a grievous servitude, in order that you may become a revenue and store for the church.

But if ye are not willing, behold the poor before your eyes; as many as it is possible for us to suffice, we will not cease to feed; but those, whom it is not possible, we will leave to you, that ye may not hear those words on the awful day, which shall be spoken to the unmerciful and cruel. "Ye saw me an hungered, and fed me not."(1)

For together with you this inhumanity makes. us laughing-stocks, because leaving our prayers, and our teaching, and the other parts of holiness, we are fighting all our time, some with wine merchants, some with corn-factors, others with them that retail other provisions.

Hence come battles, and strifes, and daily revilings, and reproaches, and jeers, and on each of the priests names are imposed more suitable for houses of secular men; when it would have been fit to take other names in the place of these, and to be named from those things, from which also the apostles ordained, from the feeding of the hungry, from the protection of the injured, from the care of strangers, from succoring them that are despitefully used, from providing for the orphans, from taking part with the widows, from presiding over the virgins; and these offices should be distributed amongst us instead of the care of the lands and houses.

These are the stores of the church, these the treasures that become her, and that afford in great degree both ease to us and profit to you; or rather to you ease with the profit. For I suppose that by the grace of God they that assemble themselves here amount to the number of one hundred thousand;(2) and if each bestowed one loaf to some one of the poor, all would be in plenty; but if one farthing only, no one would be poor; and we should not undergo so many revilings and jeers, in consequence of our care about the money. For indeed the saying, "Sell thy goods, and give to the poor, and come and follow me,"(3) might be seasonably addressed to the prelates of the church with respect to the property of the church. For in any other way it is not possible to follow Him as we ought, not being freed from all grosser and more worldly care.

But now the priests of God attend at the vintage and harvest, and at the sale and purchase of the produce; and whereas they that served the shadow had an entire immunity from such matters, although entrusted with a more carnal service; we, who are invited to the very inmost shrines of the heavens, and who enter into the true holy of holies, take upon ourselves the cares of tradesmen and retail dealers.

Hence great neglect of the Scriptures, and remissness in prayers, and indifference about all the other duties; for it is not possible to be split into the two things with due zeal. Where I pray and beseech you that many fountains may spring up to us from all quarters, and that your forwardness may be to us the threshing floor and the wine press.

For in this way both the poor will more easily be supported, and God will be glorified, and ye will advance unto a greater degree of love to mankind, and will enjoy the good things eternal; unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

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