HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
ST. MATTHEW
HOMILIES LXXXVI & XC (MATT. 27 & 28)

HOMILY LXXXVI.

MATT. XXVII. 11, 12.

"And Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked Him, saying, Art thou the king of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when He was accused of the chief priests and eiders, He answered nothing."(1)

Seest thou what He is first asked? which thing most of all they were continually bringing forward in every way? For since they saw Pilate making no account of the matters of the law, they direct their accusation to the state charges. So likewise did they in the case of the apostles, ever bringing forward these things, and saying that they were going about proclaiming king one Jesus,(2) speaking as of a mere man, and investing them with a suspicion of usurpation.

Whence it is manifest, that both the rending the garment and the amazement were a pretense. But all things they got up, and plied, in order to bring Him to death.

This at any rate Pilate then asked. What then said Christ? "Thou sayest." He confessed that He was a king, but a heavenly king, which elsewhere also He spake more dearly, replying to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world;"(3) that neither they nor this man should have an excuse for accusing Him of such things. And He gives a reason that cannot be gainsaid, saying, "If I were of this world, my servants would fight, that I should not be delivered." For this purpose I say, in order to refute this suspicion, He both paid tribute,(4) and commanded others to pay it, and when they would make Him a king, He fled.(5)

Wherefore then did he not bring forward these things, it may be said, at that time, when accused of usurpation? Because having the proofs from His acts, of His power, His meekness, His gentleness, beyond number, they were willfully blind, and dealt unfairly, and the tribunal was corrupt. For these reasons then He replies to nothing, but holds His peace, yet answering briefly (so as not to get the reputation of arrogance from continual silence) when the high priest adjured Him, when the governor asked, but in reply to their accusations He no longer saith anything; for He was not now likely to persuade them. Even as the prophet declaring this self-same thing from of old, said, "In His humiliation His judgment was taken away."(6)

At these things the governor marvelled, and indeed it was worthy of admiration to see Him showing such great forbearance, and holding His peace, Him that had countless things to say. For neither did they accuse Him from knowing of any evil thing in Him, but from jealousy and envy only. At least when they had set false witness, wherefore, having nothing to say, did they still urge their point? and when they saw Judas was dead, and that Pilate had washed his hands of it, why were they not pricked with remorse. For indeed He did many things even at the very time, that they might recover themselves, but by none were they amended.

What then saith Pilate? "Hearest thou not how many things these witness against thee?"(7) He wished that He should defend Himself and be acquitted, wherefore also he said these things; but since He answered nothing, he devises another thing again.

Of what nature was this? It was a custom for them to release one of the condemned, and by this means he attempted to deliver Him. For if you are not willing to release Him as innocent, yet as guilty pardon Him for the feast's sake.

Seest thou order reversed? For the petition in behalf of the condemned it was customary to be with the people, and the granting it with the rulers; but now the contrary hath come to pass, and the ruler petitions the people; and not even so do they become gentle, but grow more savage and bloodthirsty, driven to frenzy by the passion of envy. For neither had they whereof they should accuse Him, and this though He was silent, but they were refuted even then by reason of the abundance of His righteous deeds, and being silent He overcame them that say ten thousand things, and are maddened.

"And when he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, have thou nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him."(1) See what a thing takes place again, sufficient to recall them all. For together with the proof from the things done, the dream too was no small thing. And wherefore doth he not see it himself? Either because she was more worthy, or because he, if he had seen it, would not have been equally believed; or would not so much as have told it. Therefore it was ordered that the wife should see it, so that it might be manifest to all. And she doth not merely see it, but also suffers many things, that from his feeling towards his wife, the man may be made more reluctant to the murder. And the time too contributed not a little, for on the very night she saw it.

But it was not safe, it may be said, for him to let Him go, because they said He made Himself a king. He ought then to have sought for proofs, and a conviction, and for all the things that are infallible signs of an usurpation, as, for instance, whether He levied forces, whether He collected money, whether he forged arms, whether He attempted any other such thing. But he is led away at random, therefore neither doth Christ acquit him of the blame, in saying, "He that betrayeth me unto thee hath greater sin."(2) So that it was from weakness that he yielded and scourged Him, and delivered Him up.

He then was unmanly and weak; but the chief priests wicked and criminal. For since he had found out a device, namely, the law of the feast requiring him to release a condemned person, what do they contrive in opposition to that? "They persuaded the multitude," it is said, "that they should ask Barabbas."(3)

2. See how much care he taketh for them to relieve them from blame, and how much diligence they employed, so as not to leave to themselves so much as a shadow of an excuse. For which was right? to let go the acknowledged criminal, or Him about whose guilt there was a question? For, if in the case of acknowledged offenders it was fit there should be a liberation, much more in those of whom there was a doubt. For surely this man did not seem to them worse than acknowledged murderers. For on this account, it is not merely said they had a robber; but one noted, that is, who was infamous in wickedness, who had perpetrated countless murders. But nevertheless even him did they prefer to the Saviour of the world, and neither did they reverence the season because it was holy, nor the laws of humanity, nor any other thing of the kind, but envy had once for all blinded them. And besides their own wickedness, they corrupt the people also, that for deceiving them too they might suffer the most extreme punishment.

Since therefore they ask for the other, He saith, "What shall I do then with the Christ,"(4) in this way desiring to put them to the blush, by giving them the power to choose, that at least out of shame they might ask for Him, and the whole should be of their bountifulness. For though to say, He had not done wrong, made them more contentious, yet to require that He should be saved out of humanity, carries with it persuasion and entreaty that cannot be gainsaid.

But even then they said, "Crucify Him. But he said, why, what evil hath He done? but they cried out exceedingly,(5) let Him be crucified. But he, when he saw that he profited nothing, washed his hands, saying, I am innocent." Why then didst thou deliver Him up? Why didst thou not rescue Him, as the centurion did Paul.(6) For that man too was aware that he would please the Jews; and a sedition had taken place on his account, and a tumult, nevertheless he stood firm against all. But not so this man, but he was extremely unmanly and weak, and all were corrupt together. For neither did this man stand firm against the multitude, nor the multitude against the Jews,(7) and in in every way their excuse was taken away. For they "cried out exceedingly," that is, cried out the more, "Let Him be crucified." For they desired not only to put Him to death, but also that it should be on a charge of wickedness, and though the judge was contradicting them, they continued to cry out the same thing.

Seest thou how many things Christ did in order to recover them? For like as He often times checked Judas, so likewise did He restrain these men too, both throughout all His Gospel, and at the very time of His condemnation. For surely when they saw the ruler and the judge washing his hands of it, and saying, "I am innocent of this blood," they should have been moved to compunction both by what was said, and by what was done, as well when they saw Judas had hanged himself, as when they saw Pilate himself entreating them to take another in the place of Him. For when the accuser and traitor condemns himself, and he who gives sentence puts off from himself the guilt, and such a vision appears the very night, and even as condemned he begs Him off, what kind of plea will they have? For if they were not willing that He should be innocent, yet they should not have preferred to him even a robber, one that was acknowledged to be such, and very notorious.

What then did they? When they saw the judge washing his hands, and saying, "I am innocent," they cried out "His blood be on us, and on our children."(1) Then at length when they had given sentence against themselves, he yielded that all should be done.

See here too their great madness. For passion and wicked desire are like this. They suffer not men to see anything of what is right. For be it that ye curse yourselves; why do you draw down the curse upon your children also?

Nevertheless, the lover of man, though they acted with so much madness, both against themselves, and against their children, so far from confirming their sentence upon their children, confirmed it not even on them, but from the one and from the other received those that repented, and counts them worthy of good things beyond number. For indeed even Paul was of them, and the thousands that believed in Jerusalem; for, "thou seest it is said, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe."(2) And if some continued in their sin, to themselves let them impute their punishment.

"Then released he Barabbas unto them, but Jesus, when he had scourged Him, he delivered to be crucified."(3)

And wherefore did he scourge Him. Either as one condemned, or willing to invest the judgment with due form, or to please them. And yet he ought to have resisted them. For indeed even before this he had said, "Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law."(4) And there were many things that might have held back him and those men, the signs and the miracles, and the great patience thirdly, he persuaded him to slay and to deny his murder; and did not leave him before he had put on him the crowning act of evil.

Wherefore it is necessary for us to resist the beginning. For at any rate, even if the first sins stopped at themselves, not even so were it right to despise the first sins; but now they go on also to what is greater, when the mind is careless. Wherefore we ought to do all things to remove the beginnings of them.

For look not now at the nature of the sin, that it is little, but that it becomes a root of great sin when neglected. For if one may say something marvellous, great sins need not so much earnestness, as such as are little, and of small account. For the former the very nature of the sin causes us to abhor, but the little sins by this very thing cast us into remissness; and allow us not to rouse ourselves heartily for their removal. Wherefore also they quickly become great, while we sleep. This one may see happening in bodies also.

So likewise in the instance of Judas, that great wickedness had its birth. For if it had not seemed to him a little thing to steal the money of the poor, he would not have been led on to this treachery. Unless it had seemed to the Jews a little thing to be taken captive by vainglory, they would not have run on the rock of becoming Christ's murderers. And indeed all evils we may see arise from this.

For no one quickly and at once rusheth out into vices. For the soul hath, yea it hath a shame implanted in us, and a reverence for right things; and it would not at once become so shameless as in one act to east away everything, but slowly, and by little and little doth it perish, when it is careless. Thus also did idolatry enter in, men being honored beyond measure, both the living and the departed; thus also were idols worshipped; thus too did whoredom prevail, and the other evils.

And see. One man laughed unseasonably; another blamed him; a third took away the fear. by saying, nothing comes of this. "For what is laughing? What can come of it?" Of this is bred foolish jesting; from that filthy talking; then filthy doings.

Again, another being blamed for slandering his neighbors, and reviling, and calumniating, despised it, saying, evil-speaking is nothing. By this he begets hatred unspeakable, revilings without end; by the revilings blows, and by the blows oftentimes murder.

4. From these little things then that wicked spirit thus brings in the great sins; and from the great despair; having invented this other while not less mischievous than the former. For to sin destroys not so much as to despair. For he that hath offended, if he be vigilant, speedily by repentance amends what hath been done; but he that hath learnt to despond, and doth not repent, by reason thereof fails of this amendment by not applying the remedies from repentance.

And he hath a third grievous snare; as when he invests the sin with a show of devotion. And where hath the devil so far prevailed as to deceive to this degree? Hear, and beware of his devices. Christ by Paul commanded "that a woman depart not from her husband,(1) and not to defraud one another, except by consent;"(2) but some from a love of continence forsooth, having withdrawn from their own husbands, as though they were doing something devout, have driven them to adultery. Consider now what an evil it is that they, undergoing so much toil, should be blamed as having committed the greatest injustice, and should suffer extreme punishment, and drive their husbands into the pit of destruction.

Others again, abstaining from meats by a rule of fasting, have by degrees gone so far as to abhor them; which even of itself brings a very great punishment.

But this comes to pass, when any hold fast their own prejudices contrary to what is approved by the Scriptures. Those also among the Corinthians thought it was a part of perfection to eat of all things without distinction, even of things forbidden, but nevertheless this was not of perfection, but of the utmost lawlessness. Wherefore also Paul earnestly reproves them, and pronounces them to be worthy of extreme punishment. Others again think it a sign of piety to wear long hair. And yet this is amongst the things forbidden, and carries with it much disgrace.

Again, others follow after excessive sorrow for their sins as a profitable thing; yet it also comes of the devil's wiles, and Judas showed it; at least in consequence thereof he even hanged himself. Therefore Paul again was in fear about him that had committed fornication, lest any such thing should befall him, and persuaded the Corinthians speedily to deliver him, "lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."(3) Then, indicating that such a result cometh of the snares of that wicked one, he saith, "Lest Satan should get an advantage over us, for we are not ignorant of his devices,"(4) meaning that he assails us with much craft. Since if he fought against us plainly and openly, the victory would be ready and easy; or rather even now, if we be vigilant, victory will be ready. For indeed against each one: of those ways God hath armed us.

For to persuade us not to despise even these little things, hear what warning He gives us, saying, "He that saith to his brother, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell; "(1) and he that hath looked with unchaste eyes is a complete adulterer.(2) And on them that laugh he pronounces a woe, and everywhere He removes the beginning and the seeds of evil, and saith we have to give an account of an idle word.(3) Therefore also Job applied a remedy even for the thoughts of his children,(4)

But about not despairing, it is said, "Doth he fall, and not arise? Doth he turn away, and not return?"(5) and, "I do not will the death of the sinner, so much as that he should turn and live:"(6) and, "To-day if ye will hear His voice: "(7) and many other such things, both sayings and examples are set in the Scripture. And in order not to be ruined under the guise of godly fear, hear Paul saying, "Lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow."

Knowing therefore these things, let us set for a barrier in all the ways that pervert the unwary the wisdom which is drawn from the Scriptures. Neither say, why, what is it, if I gaze curiously at a beautiful woman? For if thou shouldest commit the adultery in the heart, soon thou wilt venture on that in flesh. Say not, why, what is it if I should pass by this poor man? For if thou pass this man by, thou wilt also the next; if him, then the third.

Neither again say, why, what is it, if I should desire my neighbor's goods. For this, this caused Ahab's ruin; although he would have paid a price, yet he took it from one unwilling. For a man ought not to buy by force, but on persuasion. But if he, who would have paid the fair price, was so punished, because he took from one unwilling, he who doeth not so much as this, and taketh by violence from the unwilling, and that when living under grace, of what punishment will he not be worthy?

In order therefore that we be not punished, keeping ourselves quite pure from all violence and rapine, and guarding against the sources of sins together with the sins themselves, let us with much diligence give heed to virtue; for thus shall we also enjoy the good things eternal by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXVII.

MATT. XXVII. 27--29.

"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall,(1) and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers; and they stripped Him, and put on Him a purple robe; and when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, king of the Jews."(2)

As though on some signal the devil then was entering in triumph(3) into all. For, be it that Jews pining with envy and jealousy were mad against Him, as to the soldiers, whence was it, and from what sort of cause? Is it not clear that it was the devil who was then entering in fury into the hearts of all? For indeed they made a pleasure of their insults against Him, being a savage and ruthless set. I mean that, when they ought to have been awestruck, when they ought to have wept, which even the people did, this they did not, but, on the contrary, were despiteful, and insolent; perhaps themselves also seeking to please the Jews, or it may be doing all in conformity to their own evil nature.

And the insults were different, and varied For that Divine Head at one time they buffeted, at another they insulted with the crown of thorns, at another they smote with the reed, men unholy and accursed!

What plea shall we have after this for being moved by injuries, after Christ suffered these things? For what was done was the utmost limit of insolence. For not one member, but the whole entire body throughout was made an object of insolence; the head through the crown, and the reed, and the buffeting; the face, being spit upon; the cheeks, being smitten with the palms of the hands; the whole body by the stripes, by being wrapped in the robe, and by the pretended worship; the hand by the reed, which they gave him to hold instead of a sceptre; the mouth again by the offering of the vinegar. What could be more grievous than these things? What more insulting?

For the things that were done go beyond all language. For as though they were afraid lest they should seem to fall short at all in the crime, having killed the prophets with their own hands, but this man with the sentence of a judge, so they do in every deed; and make it the work of their own hands, and condemn and sentence both among themselves and before Pilate, saying, "His blood be on us and on our children,"(1) and insult Him, and do despite unto Him themselves, binding Him, leading Him away, and render themselves authors of the spiteful acts done by the soldiers, and nail Him to the cross. and revile Him, and spit at Him, and deride Him. For Pilate contributed nothing in this matter, but they themselves did every thing, becoming accusers, and judges, and executioners, and all.

And these things are read amongst us, when all meet together. For that the heathens may not say, that ye display to people and nations the things that are glorious and illustrious, such as the signs and the miracles, but that ye hide these which are matters of reproach; the grace of the Spirit hath brought it to pass, that in the full festival, when men in multitude and women are present, and all, as one may say, at the great eve of the passover, then all these things should be read; when the whole world is present, then are all these acts proclaimed with a clear voice. And these being read, and made known to all, Christ is believed to be God and, besides all the rest, is worshipped, even because of this, that He vouchsafed to stoop so much for us as actually to suffer these things, and to teach us all virtue.

These things then let us read continually; for indeed great is the gain, great the advantage to be thence obtained. For when thou seest Him, both by gestures and by deeds, mocked and worshipped with so much derision, and beaten and suffering the utmost insults, though thou be very stone, thou wilt become softer than any wax, and wilt cast out of thy soul all haughtiness.

Hear therefore also what follows. For after "they had mocked Him, they led Him to crucify Him," it is said, and when they had stripped Him, they took His garments, and sat down and watched Him, when He should die. And they divide His garments amongst them, which sort of thing is done in the case of very vile and abject criminals, and such as have no one belonging to them, and are in utter desolation.

They parted the garments, by which such great miracles were done. But they wrought none now, Christ restraining His unspeakable power. And this was no small addition of insult. For as to one base and abject, as I said, and the vilest of all men; so do they dare to do all things. To the thieves at any rate they did nothing of the kind, but to Christ they dare it all. And they crucified Him in the midst of them, that He might share in their reputation.

And they gave Him gall to drink, and this to insult Him, but He would not. But another saith, that having tasted it, He said, "It is finished."(2) And what meaneth, "It is finished?" The prophecy was fulfilled concerning Him. "For they gave me," it is said, "gall for my meat, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."(3) But neither doth that evangelist indicate that He drank, for merely to taste differs not from not drinking, but hath one and the same signification.

But nevertheless not even here doth their contumely stop, but after having stripped and crucified Him, and offered Him vinegar, they proceeded still further, and beholding Him impaled upon the cross, they revile Him, both they themselves and the passers by; and this was more grievous than all, that on the charge of being an impostor and deceiver He suffered these things, and as a boaster, and vainly pretending what He said. Therefore they both crucified Him publicly, that they might make a show of it in the sight of all; and therefore also they did it by the hands of the soldiers, that these things being perpetrated even by a public tribunal, the insult might be the greater.

5. And yet who would not have been moved by the multitude that was following Him, and lamenting Him? Nay, not these wild beasts. Wherefore also He to the multitude vouchsafes an answer, but to these men not so. For after having done what they would, they endeavor also to injure His honor, fearing His resurrection. Therefore they say these things publicly, and crucified thieves with Him, and wishing to prove Him a deceiver, they say, "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days come down from the cross."(1) For since on telling Pilate to remove the accusation (this was the writing, "The king of the Jews"), they prevailed not, but he persevered in saying," What I have written, I have written,"(2) they then endeavor by their derision of Him to show that He is not a king.

Wherefore they said those things, and also these. If "He is the king of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross. He saved others, Himself He cannot save,"(3) aiming hereby to bring discredit even on His former miracles. And again, "If He be Son of God, and He will have Him, let Him save Him."(4)

O execrable; most execrable! What, were not the prophets prophets, nor the righteous men righteous, because God rescued them not out of their dangers. Nay surely they were, though suffering these things. What then could be equal to your folly? For if the coming of the dangers upon them did not injure their honor with you, how much more in the case of this man, was it wrong for you to be offended, when both by what He did, by what He said, He was ever correcting beforehand this suspicion of yours.

Yet nevertheless, even when these things were said and done, they prevailed nothing, not even at the very time. At any rate, he, who was depraved in such great wickedness, and who had spent his whole life in murders and house-breakings, when these things were being said, then confessed Him, and made mention of a kingdom, and the people bewailed Him. And yet the things that were done seemed to testify the contrary in the eyes of those who knew not the mysterious dispensations, that He was weak and of no power, nevertheless truth prevailed even by the contrary things.

Hearing then these things, let us arm ourselves against all rage, against all anger. Shouldest thou perceive thy heart swelling, seal thy breast setting upon it the cross. Call to mind some one of the things that then took place, and thou wilt cast out as dust all rage by the recollection of the things that were done. Consider the words, the actions; consider that He is Lord, and thou servant. He is suffering for thee, thou for thyself; He in behalf of them who had been benefited by Him and had crucified Him, thou in behalf of thyself; He in behalf of them who had used Him despitefully, thou oftentimes at the hands of them who have been injured. He in the sight of the whole city, or rather of the whole people of the Jews, both strangers, and those of the country, before whom He spake those merciful words, but thou in the presence of few; and what. was more insulting to Him, that even His disciples forsook Him. For those, who before paid Him attention, had deserted Him, but His enemies and foes, having got Him in the midst of themselves on the cross, insulted, reviled, mocked, derided, scoffed at Him, Jews and soldiers from below, from above thieves on either side: for indeed the thieves insulted, and upbraided Him both of them. How then saith Luke that one "rebuked?"(5) Both things were done, for at first both upbraided Him, but afterwards one did so no more. For that thou mightest not think the thing had been done by any agreement, or that the thief was not a thief, by his insolence he showeth thee, that up on the cross he was a thief and an enemy, and at once was changed.

Considering then all these things, control thyself. For what sufferest thou like what thy Lord suffered? Wast thou publicly insulted? But not like these things. Art thou mocked? yet not thy whole body, not being thus scourged, and stripped. And even if thou wast buffeted, yet not like this.

3. And add to this, I pray thee, by whom, and wherefore, and when, and who it was; and (the most grievous matter) that these things being done, no one found fault, no one blamed what was done, but on the contrary all rather approved, and joined in mocking Him and in jeering at Him; and as a boaster, impostor, and deceiver, and not able to prove in His works the things that He said, so did they revile Him. But He held His peace to all, preparing for us the most powerful incentives to long suffering.

But we, though hearing such things, are not patient so much as to servants, but we rush and kick worse than wild asses, with respect to injuries against ourselves, being savage and inhuman; but of those against God not making much account. And with respect to friends too we have the same disposition; should any one vex us, we bear it not; should he insult us, we are savage more than wild beasts, we who are reading these things every day. A disciple betrayed Him, the rest forsook Him and fled, they that had been benefited by Him spat at Him, the servants of the high priest smote Him with the palm of the hand, the soldiers buffeted Him; they that passed by jeered Him and reviled Him, the thieves accused Him; and to no man did He utter a word, but by silence overcame all; instructing thee by His actions, that the more meekly thou shalt endure, the more wilt thou prevail over them that do thee evil, and wilt be an object of admiration before all. For who will not admire him that endures with forbearance the insults he receives from them that are using him despitefully? For even as, though any man suffer justly, yet enduring the evil meekly, he is considered by the more part to suffer unjustly; so though one suffer unjustly, yet if he be violent, he will get the suspicion of suffering justly, and will be an object of ridicule, as being dragged captive by his anger, and losing his own nobility. For such a one, we must not call so much as a freeman, though he be lord over ten thousand servants.

But did some person exceedingly provoke thee? And what of that? For then should self-control be shown, since when there is no one to vex, we see even the wild beasts gentle; for neither are they always savage, but when any one rouses them. And we therefore, if we are only then quiet, when there is no one provoking us, what advantage have we over them. For they are both oftentimes justly indignant, and have much excuse, for by being stirred and goaded are they roused, and besides these things they are devoid of reason, and have savageness in their nature.

But whence, I pray thee, canst thou find a plea for being savage and fierce? What hardship hast thou suffered? Hast thou been robbed? For this self-same reason shouldest thou endure it, so as to gain more amply. But wast thou deprived of character? And what is this? Thy condition is in no way worsened by this, if thou practise self-command. But if thou sufferest no grievance, whence art thou angry with him that hath done thee no harm, but hath even benefited thee? For they who honor, make them that are not watchful the more vain; but they who insult and despise render those that take heed to themselves more steadfast. For the careless are more injured by being honored than by being insulted. And the one set of persons, if we be sober, become to us authors of self-control, but the others excite our pride, they fill us with boastfulness, vainglory, folly, they make our soul the feebler.

And to this fathers bear witness, who do not flatter their own children so much as they chide them, fearing lest from the praise they should receive any harm, and their teachers use the same remedy to them. So that if we are to avoid any one, it should be those that flatter us rather than those that insult us; for this bait brings greater mischief than insult to them, who do not take heed, and it is more difficult to control this feeling than that. And the reward too is far more abundant from thence, and the admiration greater. For indeed it is more worthy of admiration to see a man insulted, and not moved, than beaten and smitten, and not falling.

And how is it possible not to be moved? one may say. Hath any one insulted thee? Place the sign upon thy breast, call to mind all the things that were then done; and all is quenched. Consider not the insults only, but if also any good hath been ever done unto thee, by him that hath insulted thee, and straightway thou wilt become meek, or rather consider before all things the fear of God, and soon thou wilt be mild and gentle.

4. Together with these things even from thine own servants take a lesson concerning these matters; and when thou seest thyself insulting, but thy servant holding his peace, consider that it is possible to practise self-control, and condemn thyself for being violent; and in the very time of offering insults learn not to insult; and thus not even when insulted, wilt thou be vexed. Consider that he who is insolent is beside himself and mad, and thou wilt not feel indignant, when insulted, since the possessed strike us, and we, so far from being provoked, do rather pity them. This do thou also; pity him that is insolent to thee, for he is held in subjection by a dreadful monster, rage, by a grievous demon, anger. Set him free as he is wrought upon by a grievous demon, and going quickly to ruin. For so great is this disease as not to need even time for the destruction of him that is seized with it. Wherefore also one said, "The sway of his fury shall be his fall; "(1) by this most of all showing its tyranny, that in a short time it works great ills, and needs not to continue long with us, so that if in addition to its strength it were apt to last, it would indeed be hard to strive against.

I should like to show what the man is who insulteth, what he that practises self-control, and to bring nakedly before you the soul of the one and the other. For thou shouldest see the one like a sea tost with a tempest, but the other like a harbor free from disturbance. For it is not disturbed by these evil blasts, but puts them to rest easily. For indeed they who are insulting, do everything in order to make it sting. When then they fail of that hope, even they are thenceforth at peace, and go away amended. For it is impossible that a man, who is angry, should not utterly condemn himself, even as on the other hand it is impossible for one who is not angry to be self-condemned. For though it be necessary to retaliate, it is possible to do this without anger (and it were more easy and more wise than with anger) and to have no painful feeling. For if we be willing, the good things will be from ourselves, and we shall be with the grace of God sufficient for our own safety and honor.

For why seekest thou the glory that cometh from another? Do thou honor thyself, and no one will be able to insult thee; but if thou dishonor thyself, though all should honor thee, thou wilt not be honored. For like as, unless we put ourselves in an evil state, no one else puts us in such a state; even so unless we insult ourselves, no one else can put us to shame.

For let any man be great and worthy of admiration, and let all men call him an adulterer, a thief, a violater of tombs, a murderer, a robber, and let him be neither provoked or indignant, nor be conscious to himself of any of these crimes, what disgrace will he thence undergo? None. What then, you may say, if many have such an opinion of him? Not even so is he disgraced, but they bring shame upon themselves, by accounting one, who is not such, to be such. For tell me, if any one think the sun to be dark, doth he bring an ill name on that heavenly body, or on himself? Surely on himself, getting himself the character of being blind or mad, So also they that account wicked men good. and they that make the opposite error, disgrace themselves.

Wherefore we ought to give the greater diligence, to keep our conscience clear, and to give no handle against ourselves, nor matter for evil suspicion; but if others will be mad, even when this is our disposition, not to care very much, nor to grieve. For he that hath got the character of a wicked man, being a good man, is in no degree thereby hurt as regards his being such as he is; but he that hath been suspecting another vainly and causelessly, receives the utmost harm; as, on the other hand, the wicked man, if he be supposed to be the contrary, will gain nothing thence, but will both have a heavier judgment, and be led into greater carelessness. For he that is such and is suspected thereof, may perhaps be humbled, and acknowledge his sins; but when he escapes detection, he falls into a state past feeling. For if, while all are accusing them, offenders are hardly stirred up to compunction, when so far from accusing them, some even praise them, at what time will they who are living in vice be able to open their eyes? Hearest thou that Paul also blames for this, that the Corinthians (so far from permitting him that had been guilty of fornication, to acknowledge his own sin), applauding and honoring him, did on the contrary urge him on in vice thereby? Wherefore, I pray, let us leave the suspicions of the multitude, their insults and their honors, and let us be diligent about one thing only, that we be conscious to ourselves of no evil thing, nor insult our own selves. For so both here, and in the world to come, we shall enjoy much glory, unto which God grant we all may attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXVIII.

MATT. XXVII. 45--48.

"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said, Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani? that is to say, my God my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that said, this man calleth for Elias. And straight way one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink."(1)

This is the sign which before He had promised to give them when they asked it, saying, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas; "(2) meaning His cross, and His death, His burial, and His resurrection. And again, declaring in another way the virtue of the cross, He said, "When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He."(3) And what He saith is to this purport: "When ye have crucified me, and think ye have overcome me, then, above all, shall ye know my might."

For after the crucifixion, the city was destroyed, and the Jewish state came to an end, they fell away from their polity and their freedom, the gospel flourished, the word' was spread abroad to the ends of the world; both sea and land, both the inhabited earth and the desert perpetually proclaim its' power. These things then He meaneth, and those which took place at the very time of the crucifixion. For indeed it was much more marvellous that these things should be done, when He was nailed to the cross, than when He was walking on earth. And not in this respect only was the wonder, but because from heaven also was that done which. they had sought, and it was over all the world, which had never before happened, but in Egypt only, when the passover was to be fulfilled. For indeed those events were a type of these.

And observe when it took place. At midday, that all that dwell on the earth may know it, when it was day all over the world; which was enough to convert them, not by the greatness of the miracle only, but also by its taking place in due season. For after all their insulting, and their lawless derision, this is done, when they had let go their anger, when they had ceased mocking, when they were satiated with their jeerings, and had spoken all that they were minded; then He shows the darkness, in order that at least so (having vented their anger) they may profit by the miracle. For this was more marvellous than to come down from the cross, that being on the cross He should work these things. For whether they thought He Himself had done it, they ought to have believed and to have feared; or whether not He, but the Father, yet thereby ought they to have been moved to compunction, for that darkness was a token of His anger at their crime. For that it was not an eclipse, but both wrath and indignation, is not hence alone manifest, but also by the time, for it continued three hours, but an eclipse takes place in one moment of time, and they know it, who have seen this; and indeed it hath taken place even in our generation.

And how, you may say, did not all marvel, and account Him to be God? Because the race of man was then held in a state of great carelessness and vice. And this miracle was but one, and when it had taken place, immediately passed away; and no one was concerned to inquire into the cause of it, and great was the prejudice and the habit of ungodliness. And they knew not what was the cause of that which took place, and they thought perhaps this happened so, in the way of an eclipse or some natural effect. And why dost thou marvel about them that are without, that knew nothing, neither inquired by reason of great indifference, when even those that were in Judaea itself, after so many miracles, yet continued using Him despitefully, although He plainly showed them that He Himself wrought this thing.

And for this reason, even after this He speaks, that they might learn that He was still alive, and that He Himself did this, and that they might become by this also more gentle, and He saith, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?"(1) that unto His last breath they might see that He honors His Father, and is no adversary of God. Wherefore also He uttered a certain cry from the prophet,(2) even to His last hour bearing witness to the Old Testament, and not simply a cry from the prophet, but also in Hebrew, so as to be plain and intelligible to them, and by all things He shows how He is of one mind with Him that begat Him.

But mark herein also their wantonness, and intemperance, and folly. They thought (it is said) that it was Elias whom He called, and straightway they gave Him vinegar to drink.(3) But another came unto Him, and "pierced His side with a spear."(4) What could be more lawless, what more brutal, than these men; who carried their madness to so great a length, offering insult at last even to a dead body?

But mark thou, I pray thee, how He made use of their wickednesses for our salvation. For after the blow the fountains of our salvation gushed forth from thence.

"And Jesus, when He had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost."(5) This is what He said, "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again," and, "I lay it down of myself."(6) So for this cause He cried with the voice, that it might be shown that the act is done by power. Mark at any rate saith, that "Pilate marvelled if He were already dead:"(7) and that the centurion for this cause above all believed, because He died with power.(8)

This cry rent the veil, and opened the tombs, and made the house desolate. And He did this, not as offering insult to the temple (for how should He, who saith, "Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise,"(9) but declaring them to be unworthy even of His abiding there; like as also when He delivered it over to the Babylonians. But not for this only were these things done, but what took place was a prophecy of the coming desolation, and of the change into the greater and higher state; and a sign of His might.

And together with these things He showed Himself also by what followed after these things, by the raising of the dead. For in the instance of Elisha;(10) one on touching a dead body rose again, but now by a voice He raised them, His body continuing up there, on the cross. And besides, those things were a type of this. For that this might be believed, therefore is that all done. And they are not merely raised, but also rocks are rent, and the earth shaken, that they might learn, that He was able to strike themselves blind, and to rend them in pieces. For He that cleft rocks asunder, and darkened the world, much more could have done these things to them, had it been His will. But He would not, but having discharged His wrath upon the elements, them it was His will to save by clemency. But they abated not their madness. Such is envy, such is jealousy, it is not easily stayed. At that time then they were impudent in setting themselves against the actual appearances; and afterwards even against the things themselves,(11) when a seal being put upon Him, and soldiers watching Him, He rose again, and they heard these things from the very guards; they even gave money, in order both to corrupt others, and to steal away the history of the resurrection.

Marvel not therefore if at this time also they were perverse, being thus altogether prepared to set themselves impudently against all things; but observe this other point, how great signs He had wrought, some from Heaven, some on earth, some in the very temple, at once marking His indignation, and at the same time showing that what were unapproachable are now to be entered, and that Heaven shall be opened; and the work removed to the true Holy of Holies. And they indeed said, "If He be the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross,"(12) but He shows that He is King of all the world. And whereas those men said, "Thou that destroyest this temple, and buildest it in three days,"(13) He shows that it shall be made forever desolate. Again they said, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save."(14) but He while abiding on the cross proved this most abundantly on the bodies of His servants. For if for Lazarus to rise on the fourth day was a great thing, how much more for all those who had long ago fallen asleep, at once to appear alive, which was a sign of the future resurrection. For, "many bodies of the saints which slept, arose," it is said, "and went into the holy city, and appeared to many."(15) For in order that what was done might not be accounted to be an imagination, they appear, even to many, in the city. And the Centurion too then glorified God, saying, "Truly this was a righteous man. And the multitudes that came together to that sight, returned beating their breasts."(1) So great was the power of the crucified, that after so many mockings, and scoffs, and jeers, both the centurion was moved to compunction, and the people. And some say that there is also a martyrdom of this centurion, who after these things grew to manhood in the faith.

"And many women were there beholding afar off, which had followed Him, ministering unto Him, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons."(2)

These things the women see done, these who were most inclined to feel for Him, who were most of all bewailing Him. And mark how great their assiduity. They had followed Him ministering to Him, and were present even unto the time of the dangers. Wherefore also they saw all; how He cried, how He gave up the ghost, how the rocks were rent, and all the rest.

And these first see Jesus; and the sex that was most condemned, this first enjoys the sight of the blessings, this most shows its courage. And when the disciples had fled, these were present. But who were these? His mother, for she is called mother of James,(3) and the rest. But another evangelist(4) saith, that many also lamented over the things that were done, and smote their breasts, which above all shows the cruelty of the Jews, for that they gloried in things for which others were lamenting, and were neither moved by pity, nor checked by fear. For indeed the things that were done were of great wrath, and were not merely signs, but signs of anger all of them, the darkness, the cloven rocks, the veil rent in the midst, the shaking of the earth, and great was the excess of the indignation.

"But Joseph went, and begged the body."(5) This was Joseph, who was concealing his discipleship of late; now however he had become very bold after the death of Christ. For neither was he an obscure person, nor of the unnoticed; but one of the council, and highly distinguished; from which circumstance especially one may see his courage. For he exposed himself to death, taking upon him enmity with all, by his affection to Jesus, both having dared to beg the body, and not having desisted until he obtained it. But not by taking it only, nor by burying it in a costly manner, but also by laying it in his own new tomb, he showeth his love, and his courage. And this was not so ordered without purpose, but so there should not be any bare suspicion, that one had risen instead of another.

"And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre."(6) For what purpose do these wait by it? As yet they knew nothing great, as was meet, and high about Him, wherefore also they had brought ointments, and were waiting at the tomb, so that if the madness of the Jews should relax, they might go and embrace the body. Seest thou women's courage? seest thou their affection? seest thou their noble spirit in money? their noble spirit even unto death?

Let us men imitate the women; let us not forsake Jesus in temptations. For they for Him even dead spent so much and exposed their lives, but we (for again I say the same things) neither feed Him when hungry, nor clothe Him when naked, but seeing Him begging, we pass Him by. And yet if ye saw Himself, every one would strip himself of all his goods. But even now it is the same. For He Himself has said, I am he. Wherefore then dost thou not strip thyself of all? For indeed even now thou hearest Him say, Thou doest it unto me; and there is no difference whether thou givest to this man or to Him; thou hast nothing less than these women that then fed Him, but even much more. But be not perplexed! For it is not so much to have fed Him appearing in His own person, which would be enough to prevail with a heart of stone, as (because of His mere word) to wait upon the poor, the maimed, him that is bent down. For in the former case, the look and the dignity of Him who appears divides with thee that which is done; but here the reward is entire for thy benevolence; and there is the proof of the greater reverence towards Him, when at His mere word waiting upon thy fellow-servant thou refreshest him in all things. Refresh him, and believe Him, who receiveth it, and saith, Thou givest to me. For unless thou hadst given to Him, He would not have counted thee worthy of a kingdom. If thou hadst not turned away from Him, He would not have sent thee to hell, if thou hadst overlooked a chance person; but because it is He Himself that is despised, therefore great is the blame.

Thus also Paul persecuted Him, in persecuting them that are His; wherefore too He said. "Why persecutest thou me?"(1) Thus therefore let us feel, as bestowing on Christ Himself when we bestow. For indeed His words are more sure than our sight. When therefore thou seest a poor man, remember His words, by which He declared, that it is He Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in this man's form Christ Himself receiveth and beggeth.

But art thou ashamed to hear that Christ beggeth? Rather be ashamed when thou dost not give to Him begging of thee. For this is shame, this is vengeance and punishment. Since for Him to beg is of His goodness, wherefore we ought even to glory therein; but for thee not to give, is of thy inhumanity. But if thou believe not now, that in passing by a poor man that is a believer, thou passest by Him, thou wilt believe it then, when He will bring thee into the midst and say, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to these, ye did it not to me."(2) But God forbid that we should so learn it, and grant rather that we may believe now, and bring forth fruit, and hear that most blessed voice that bringeth us into the kingdom.

But perhaps some one will say, "Thou art every day discoursing to us of almsgiving and humanity." Neither will I cease to speak of this. For if ye had attained to it, in the first place, not even so ought I to desist, for fear of making you the more remiss; yet had ye attained, I might have relaxed a little; but if ye have not arrived even at the half; say not these things to me, but to yourselves. For indeed thou doest the same in blaming me, as if a little child, hearing often of the letter alpha, and not learning it, were to blame its teacher, because he is continually and for ever reminding him about it.

For who from these discourses has become more forward in the giving of alms? Who has cast down his money? Who has given the half of his substance? Who the third part? No one. How then should it be other than absurd, when ye do not learn, to require us to desist from teaching? Ye ought to do the contrary. Though we were minded to desist, ye ought to stop us and to say, we have not yet learnt these things, and how is it ye have desisted from reminding us of them? If it befell any one to suffer from his eye, and I happened to be a physician, and then having covered it up and anointed it, and having applied other treatment, I had not benefited it much, and so had desisted; would he not have come to the doors of my surgery and cried out against me, accusing me of great remissness, for that I had of myself withdrawn, while the disease remained; and if, on being blamed, I had said in reply to these things, that I had covered it up, and anointed it; would he have endured it? By no means, but would immediately hays said; "And what is the advantage, if I still suffer pain." Reason thus also with respect to thy soul. But what if after having often fomented a hand that was lifeless and shrunk, I had not succeeded in mollifying it? Should I not have heard the same thing? And even now a hand that is shrunk and withered we bathe, and for this reason, until we can stretch it out perfectly, we will not desist. Would that you too were to discourse of nothing else, at home and at market, at table and at night, and as a dream. For if we were always careful about these things by day, even in our dreams we should be engaged in them.

What sayest thou? Am I forever speaking of almsgiving? I would wish myself that there were not great need for me to address this advice to you, but that I were to speak of the battle against the Jews, and heathens, and heretics; but when ye are not yet sound, how can any one arm you for the fight? How should he lead you to the array, yet having wounds and gashes. Since if indeed I saw you thoroughly sound in health, I should lead you forth to that battle array, and ye would see by the grace of Christ ten thousands lying dead, and their heads cast one upon another. In other books at any rate, many discourses have been spoken by us touching these things, but not even so are we able thoroughly to triumph in the victory, because of the remissness of the multitude. For when we conquer them ten thousand times over in doctrines, they reproach us with the lives of the multitude of those who join our congregations, their wounds, their diseases in their soul.

How then shall we with confidence show you in the battle array, when ye rather do us mischief, being straightway wounded by our enemies, and made a mock of? For one man's hand is diseased, and shrunk so as not to be able to give away. How then should such a one hold a shield, and thrust it before him, and avoid being wounded by the jeers of cruelty. With others the feet halt, as many as go up to the theatres, and to the resorts of the harlot women. How shall these then be able to stand in the battle, and not to be wounded with the accusation of wantonness? Another suffers and is maimed in his eyes, not looking straight, but being full of lasciviousness, and assailing women's chastity, and overthrowing marriages. How then should this man be able to look in the face of the enemy, and brandish a spear, and throw his dart, being goaded on all sides with jeers. We may see also many suffering with the belly not less than the dropsical, when they are held in subjection by gluttony and drunkenness. How then shall I be able to lead forth these drunken men to war? With others the mouth is rotten; such are the passionate, and revilers, and blasphemers. How then shall this man ever shout in battle, and achieve anything great and noble, he too being drunk with another drunkenness, and affording much laughter to the enemy ?

Therefore each day I go about this camp, dressing your wounds, healing your sores. But if ye ever rouse yourselves up, and become fit even to wound others, I will both teach you this art of war, and instruct you how to handle these weapons, or rather your works themselves will be weapons to you, and all men will immediately submit, if ye would become merciful, if forbearing, if mild and patient, if ye would show forth all other virtue. But if any gainsay, then we will also add the proof of what we can show on our part,(1) bringing you forward, since now we rather are hindered (at least as to your part) in this race.

And mark. We say that Christ hath done great things, having made angels of men; then, when we are called upon to give account, and required to furnish a proof out of this flock, our mouths are stopped. For I am afraid, lest in the place of angels, I bring forth swine as from a style, and horses mad with lust.

I know ye are pained, but not against you all are these things spoken, but against the guilty, or rather not even against them if they awake, but for them. Since now indeed all is lost and ruined, and the church is become nothing better than a stable of oxen, and a fold for asses and camels, and I go round seeking for a sheep, and am not able to see it. So much are all kicking, like horses, and any wild asses, and they fill the place here with much dung, for like this is their discourse. And if indeed one could see the things spoken at each assemblage,(2) by men, by women, thou wouldest see their words more unclean than that dung.

Wherefore I entreat you to change this evil custom, that the church may smell of ointment. But now, while we lay up in it perfumes for the senses, the uncleanness of the mind we use no great diligence to purge out, and drive away. What then is the advantage? For we do not so much disgrace the church by bringing dung into it, as we disgrace it by speaking such things one to another, about gains, about merchandise, about petty tradings, about things that are nothing to us, when there ought to be choirs of angels here, and we ought to make the church a heaven, and to know nothing else but earnest prayers, and silence with listening.

This then let us do at any rate, from the present time, that we may both purify our lives, and attain unto the promised blessings, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

HOMILY LXXXIX.

MATT. XXVII. 62--64.

"Now the next day,that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive,(1) After three days I will(2) rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come and steal Him away, and say to the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error should be• worse than the first."

EVERYWHERE deceit recoils upon itself, and against its will supports the truth. And observe. It was necessary for it to be believed that He died, and that He rose again, and that He was buried, and all these things are brought to pass by His enemies. See, at any rate, these words bearing witness to every one of these facts. "We remember," these are the words, "that that deceiver said, when He was yet alive," (He was therefore now dead), "After three days I rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be sealed," (He was therefore buried), "lest His disciples come and steal Him away." So that if the sepulchre be sealed, there will be no unfair dealing. For there could not be. So then the proof of His resurrection has become incontrovertible by what ye have put forward. For because it was sealed, there was no unfair dealing. But if there was no unfair dealing, and the sepulchre was found empty, it is manifest that He is risen, plainly and incontrovertibly. Seest thou, how even against their will they contend for the proof of the truth?

But mark thou, I pray thee, the disciples' love of truth, how they conceal from us none of the things that are said by His enemies, though they use opprobrious language. Behold, at any rate, they even call Him a deceiver, and these men are not silent about that.

But these things show also their savageness (that not even at His death did they let go their anger), and these men's simple and truthful disposition.

But it were worth while to inquire concerning that point also, where He said, "After three days I rise again?" For one would not find this thus distinctly stated,(4) but rather the example of Jonah. So that they understood His saying, and of their own will dealt unfairly.

What then saith Pilate? "Ye have a watch; make it as sure as ye can. And they made it sure, sealing the sepulchre, and setting the watch."(5) He suffers not the soldiers alone to seal, for as having learnt the things concerning Christ, he was no longer willing to co-operate with them. But in order to be rid of them, he endures this also, and saith, "Do ye seal it as ye will, that ye may not have it in your power to blame others." For if the soldiers only had sealed, they might have said (although the saying would have been improbable and false, yet nevertheless as in the rest they cast aside shame, so in this too they might have been able to say), that the soldiers, having given up the body to be stolen, gave His disciples opportunity to feign the history concerning His resurrection, but now having themselves made it sure, they are not able to say so much as this.

Seest thou how they labor for the truth against their will? For they themselves came to Pilate, themselves asked, themselves sealed, setting the watch, so as to be accusers, and refuters one of another. And indeed when should they have stolen Him? on the Sabbath? And how? for it was not lawful so much as to go out.(6) And even if they transgressed the law, how should they have dared, who were so timid, to come forth? And how could they also have been able to persuade the multitude? By saying what? By doing what? And from what sort of zeal could they have stood in behalf of the dead? expecting what recompense? what requital? Seeing Him yet alive and merely seized, they had fled; and after His death were they likely to speak boldly in His behalf, unless He had risen again? And how should these things be reasonable? For that they were neither willing nor able to feign a resurrection, that did not take place, is plain from hence. He discoursed to them much of a resurrection, and continually said, as indeed these very men have stated, "After three days I rise again." If therefore He rose not again, it is quite clear that these men (having been deceived and made enemies to an entire nation for His sake, and come to be without home and without city) would have abhorred Him, and would not have been willing to invest Him with such glory; as having been deceived, and having fallen into the utmost dangers on His account. For that they would not even have been able, unless the resurrection had been true, to feign it, this does not so much as need reasoning.

For in what were they confident? In the shrewdness of their reasonings? Nay of all men they were the most unlearned. But in the abundance of their possessions? Nay, they had neither staff nor shoes. But in the distinction of their race? Nay, they were mean, and of mean ancestors. But in the greatness of their country? Nay, they were of obscure places. But in their own numbers? Nay, they were not more than eleven, and they were scattered abroad. But in their Master's promises? What kind of promises? For if He were not risen again, neither would those be likely to be trusted by them. And how should they endure a frantic people. For if the chief of them endured not the speech of a woman, keeping the door, and if all the rest too, on seeing Him bound, were scattered abroad, how should they have thought to run to the ends of the earth, and plant a feigned tale of a resurrection? For if he stood not a woman's threat, and they not so much as the sight of bonds, how were they able to stand against kings, and rulers, and nations, where were swords, and gridirons, and furnaces, and ten thousand deaths day by day, unless they had the benefit of the power and grace(1) of Him who rose again? Such miracles and so many were done, and none of these things did the Jews regard, but crucified Him, who had done them, and were they likely to believe these men at their mere word about a resurrection? These things are not, they are not so, but the might of Him, who rose again, brought them to pass.

2. But mark, I pray thee, their craft, how ridiculous it is. "We remember," these are their words, "that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I rise again." Yet if He were a deceiver, and boastfully uttered falsehood, why are ye afraid and run to and fro, and use so much diligence? We are afraid, it is replied, lest perchance the disciples steal Him away, and deceive the multitude. And yet this has been proved to have no probability at all. Malice, however, is a thing contentious and shameless, and attempts what is unreasonable.

And they command it to be made sure for three days, as contending for doctrines, and being minded to prove that before that time also He was a deceiver, and they extend their malice even to His tomb. For this reason then He rose sooner, that they might not say that He spake falsely, and was stolen. For this, His rising sooner, was open to no charge, but to be later would have been full of suspicion. For indeed if He had not risen then, when they were sitting there, and watching, but when they had withdrawn after the three days, they would have had something to say, and to speak against it, although foolishly. For this reason then He anticipated the time. For it was meet the resurrection should take place, while they were sitting by and watching. Therefore also it was fit it should take place within the three days, since if it had been when they were passed, and the men had withdrawn, the matter would have been regarded with suspicion. Wherefore also He allowed them to seal it, as they were minded, and soldiers sat around it.

And they cared not about doing these things, and working on a Sabbath day, but they looked to one object only, their own wicked purpose, as though by that they were to succeed; which was a mark of extreme folly, and of fear now greatly dismaying them. For they who seized Him, when living, are afraid of Him when dead. And yet if He had been a mere man, they had reason to have taken courage. But that they might learn, that when living also He endured of His own will, what He did endure; behold, both a seal, a stone, and a watch, and they were not able to hold Him. But there was one result only, that the burial was published, and the resurrection thereby proved. For indeed soldiers sat by it, and Jews are on the watch.

"But in the end of the Sabbath,(2) as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from Heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb,(1) and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow."(2)

After the resurrection came the angel. Wherefore then came he, and took away the stone? Because of the women, for they themselves had seen Him then in the sepulchre.(3) Therefore that they might believe that He was risen again, they see the sepulchre void of the body. For this cause he removed the stone, for this cause also an earthquake took place, that they might be thoroughly aroused and awakened. For they were come to pour oil on Him, and these things were done at night, and it is likely that some also had become drowsy. And for what intent and cause doth he say, "Fear not ye?" (4) First he delivers them from the dread, and then tells them of the resurrection. And the ye is of one showing them great honor, and indicating, that extreme punishment awaits them that had dared to do, what the others had dared, except they repented. For to be afraid is not for you, he means, but for them that crucified Him.

Having delivered them then from the fear both by his words, and by his appearance (for his form he showed bright, as bearing such good tidings), he went on to say, "I know that ye seek Jesus the Crucified."(5) And he is not ashamed to call Him "crucified;" for this is the chief of the blessings.

"He is risen."(6) Whence is it evident? "As He said." So that if ye refuse to believe me, he would say, remember His words, and neither will ye disbelieve me. Then also another proof, "Come and see the place where He lay."(7) For this he had lifted up the stone, in order that from this too they might receive the proof. "And tell His disciples, that ye shall see Him in Galilee."(8) And he prepares them to bear good tidings to others, which thing most of all made them believe. And He said well "in Galilee," freeing them from troubles and dangers, so that fear should not hinder their faith.

"And they departed from the sepulchre with fear and joy."(9) Why could this be? They had seen a thing amazing, and beyond expectation, a tomb empty, where they had before seen Him laid. Wherefore also He had led them to the sight, that they might become witnesses of both things, both of His tomb, and of His resurrection. For they considered that no man could have taken Him, when so many soldiers were sitting by Him, unless He raised up Himself. For this cause also they rejoice and wonder, and receive the reward of so much continuance with Him, that they should first see and gladly declare, not what had been said only, but also what they beheld.

3. Therefore after then they had departed with fear and joy, "Behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail." But "they held Him by the feet,"(10) and with exceeding joy and gladness ran unto Him, and received by the touch also, an infallible proof, and full assurance of the resurrection. "And they worshipped Him." What then saith He? "Be not afraid." Again, He Himself casts out their fear, making way for faith, "But go, tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."(11) Mark how He Himself sends good tidings to His disciples by these women, bringing to honor, as I have often said, that sex, which was most dishonored, and to good hopes; and healing that which was diseased.

Perchance some one of you would wish to be like them, to hold the feet of Jesus; ye can even now, and not His feet and His hands only, but even lay hold on that sacred head, receiving the awful mysteries with a pure conscience. But not here only, but also in that day ye shall see Him, coming with that unspeakable glory, and the multitude of the angels, if ye are disposed to be humane; and ye shall hear not these words only, "All hail !" but also those others, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world."(12)

Be ye therefore humane, that ye may hear these things; and ye women, that wear gold, who have looked on the running of these women, at last, though late. lay aside the disease of the desire for golden ornaments. So that if ye are emulous of these women, change the ornaments-which ye wear, and clothe yourselves instead with almsgiving. What is the use, I pray you, of these precious stones, and of the garments spangled with gold? "My soul," you say, "is glad, and is pleased with these things." I asked thee the profit, but thou tellest me the hurt. For nothing is worse than being taken up with these things, and delighting in them, and being riveted to them. For more bitter is this grievous slavery, when any one finds delight even in being a slave. For in what spiritual matter will she ever be diligent as she ought; when will she laugh to scorn, as she should, the things of this world, who thinks it a worthy matter for joy, that she hath been chained in gold? For he that continues in prison, and is pleased, will never desire to be set free; as indeed neither will this woman; but as having become a kind of captive to this wicked desire, she will not endure so much as to hear spiritual language with becoming desire and diligence, much less to engage in such work.

What then is the profit of these ornaments and this luxury? I pray thee. "I am pleased with them," thou sayest. Again thou hast told of the hurt and the ruin. "But I enjoy also," thou sayest, "much honor from the beholders." And what is this? This is the occasion of another destruction, when thou art lifted up to haughtiness, to arrogance. Come now, since thou hast not told me of the profit, bear with me while I tell thee of the mischiefs. What then are the mischiefs resulting therefrom? Anxiety, which is greater than the pleasure. Wherefore many of the beholders, these I mean of the grosset sort, derive more pleasure from it than she who wears the gold. For thou indeed deckest thyself with anxiety, but they, without this, feast their eyes.

Moreover, there are other things again, the debasing of the soul, the being looked upon with envy on all sides. For the neighboring women stung by it, arm themselves against their own husbands, and stir up against thee grievous wars. Together with these things, the fact that all one's leisure and anxiety are spent on this object, that one doth not apply one's self earnestly to spiritual achievements; that one is filled with haughtiness, arrogance, and vainglory; that one is riveted to the earth, and loses one's wings, and instead of an eagle, becometh a dog or a swine. For having given up looking up into Heaven, and flying thither, thou bendest down to the earth like the swine, being curious about mines and caverns, and having an unmanly and base soul. But dost thou, when thou appearest, turn towards thee the eyes of them at the market-place? Well then; for this very reason, thou shouldest not wear gold, that thou mayest not become a common gazing stock, and open the mouths of many accusers. For none of those whose eyes are toward thee admireth thee, but they jeer at thee, as fond of dress, as boastful, as a carnal woman. And shouldest thou enter into a church, thou geest forth, without getting anything but countless leers, and revilings, and curses, not from the beholders only, but also from the prophet. For straightway Isaiah,(1) that hath the fullest voice of all, as soon as he hath seen thee, will cry out, "These things saith the Lord against the princely daughters of Sion; because they walked with a lofty neck, and with winkings of the eyes, and in their walking, trailing their garments, and mincing at the same time with their feet; the Lord shall take off their bravery, and instead of a sweet smell there shall be dust, and instead of a stomacher, thou shalt gird thyself with a cord."(2)

These things for thy gorgeous array. For not to them only are these words addressed, but to every woman that doeth like them. And Paul again with him stands as an accuser, telling Timothy to charge the women, "not to adorn themselves with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array."(3) So that everywhere the wearing of gold is hurtful, but especially when thou art entering into a church, when thou passest through the poor. For if thou weft exceedingly anxious to bring an accusation against thyself, thou couldest not put on any other array than this visage of cruelty and inhumanity.

4. Consider at any rate how many hungry bellies thou passest by with this array, how many naked bodies with this satanical display. How much better to feed hungry souls, than to bore through the lobes of thy ears, and to hang from them the food of countless poor for no purpose or profit. What? is to be rich a commendation? What? is to wear gold a praise? Though it be from honest earnings that these things are put on you, even so what thou hast done is a very heavy charge against thee; but when it is moreover from dishonesty, consider the exceeding greatness of it.

But dost thou love praises and honor? Strip thyself therefore of this ridiculous clothing, and then all will admire thee; then shalt thou enjoy both honor and pure pleasure; since now at any rate thou art overwhelmed with jeers, working for thyself many causes of vexation arising out of these things. For should any of these things be missing, consider how many are the evils that have their birth therefrom, how many maidservants are beaten, how many men put to trouble, how many led to execution, how many cast into prison. And trials arise hence, and actions, and countless curses and accusations against the wife from the husband, against the husband from her friends, against the soul from itself. "But it will not be lost." In the first place, this is not-easy to secure, but even if it be kept safe constantly, yet by being kept, it occasions much anxiety and care and discomfort, and no advantage.

For what kind of profit arises from hence to the house? What advantage to the woman herself who wears it? No advantage indeed, but much unseemliness, and accusation from every quarter? How wilt thou be able to kiss Christ's feet, and cling to them, when thus dressed? From this adorning He turneth away. For this cause He vouchsafed to be born in the house of the carpenter, or rather not even in that house, but in a shed, and a manger. How then wilt thou be able to behold Him, not having beauty that is desirable in His eyes, not wearing the array that is lovely before Him, but what is hateful. For he that cometh unto Him must not deck himself out with such garments, but be clothed with virtue.

Consider what after all these jewels are Nothing else than earth and ashes. Mix water with them, and they are clay. Consider and be ashamed to make clay thy master, forsaking all, and abiding by it, and carrying and bearing it about, even when thou enterest into a church, when most of all thou oughtest to flee from it. For neither for this cause was the church built, that thou shouldest display therein these riches, but spiritual riches. But thou, as though thou wert entering into a pompous procession, thus deckest thyself out on every side, imitating the women on the stage, even so dost thou carry about in profusion that ridiculous mass.

Therefore, I tell thee, thou comest for mischief to many, and when the congregation is dismissed, in their houses, at their tables, one may hear the more part describing these things. For they have left off saying, thus, and thus said the prophet and the apostle, and they describe the costliness of your garments, the size of your precious stones, and all the other unseemliness of them that wear these things.

This makes you backward in almsgiving, and your husbands. For one of you would not readily consent to break up one of these ornaments to feed a poor man. For when thou wouldest choose even thyself to be in distress rather than to behold these things broken to pieces, how shouldest thou feed another at the cost of them?

For most women feel towards these things, as to some living beings, and not less than towards their children. "God forbid," thou sayest. Prove me this then, prove it by your works, as now at least I see the contrary. For who ever of those that are completely taken captive, by melting down these things, would rescue a child's soul from death? And why do I say a child's? Who hath redeemed his own soul thereby, when perishing? Nay, on the contrary, the more part even set it to sale for these things every day. And should any bodily infirmity take place, they do everything, but if they see their soul depraved, they take no such pains, but are careless both about their children's soul, and their own soul, in order that these things may remain to rust with time.

And whilst thou art wearing jewels worth ten thousand talents, the member of Christ hath not the enjoyment so much as of necessary food. And whereas the common Lord of all hath imparted to all alike of heaven, and of the things in Heaven, and of the spiritual table, thou dost not impart to Him even of perishing things, on purpose that thou mayest continue perpetually bound with these grievous chains.

Hence the countless evils,(1) hence the fornications of the men, when ye prepare them to cast off self-restraint, when ye teach them to take delight in these things with which the harlot women deck themselves. For this cause they are so quickly taken captive. For if thou hadst instructed him to look down upon these things, and to take delight in chastity, godly fear and humility, he would not have been so easily taken by the shafts(2) of fornication. For the harlot is able to adorn herself in this way even to a greater degree than this, but with those other ornaments not so. Accustom him then to take delight in these ornaments, which he cannot see placed on the harlot. And how wilt thou bring him into this habit? If thou take off these, and put on those others, so shall both thy husband be in safety, and thou in honor, and God will be propitious to you, and all men will admire you, and ye will 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 XC.

MATT. XXVIII. 11--14.

"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and declared unto the chief priests all the things that were done.(1) And when they had assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you."

Fort the sake of these soldiers that earthquake took place, in order to dismay them, and that the testimony might come from them, which accordingly was the result. For the report was thus free from suspicion, as proceeding from the guards themselves. For of the signs some were displayed publicly to the world, others privately to those present on the spot; publicly for the world was the darkness, privately the appearance of the angel, the earthquake. When then they came and showed it (for truth shines forth, being proclaimed by its adversaries), they again gave money, that they might say, as it is expressed, "that His disciples came and stole Him."

How did they steal Him? O most foolish of all men! For because of the clearness and conspicuousness of the truth, they are not even able to make up a falsehood. For indeed what they said was highly incredible, and the falsehood had not even speciousness. For how, I ask, did the disciples steal Him, men poor and unlearned, and not venturing so much as to show themselves? What? was not a seal put upon it? What? were there not so many watchmen, and soldiers, and Jews stationed round it? What? did not those men suspect this very thing, and take thought, and break their rest, and continue anxious about it? And wherefore moreover did they steal it? That they might feign the doctrine of the resurrection? And how should it enter their minds to feign such a thing, men who were well content to be hidden and to live? And how could they remove the stone that was made sure? how could they have escaped the observation of so many? Nay, though they had despised death, they would not have attempted without purpose, and fruitlessly to venture in defiance of so many who were on the watch. And that moreover they were timorous, what they had done before showed clearly, at least, when they saw Him seized, all rushed away from Him. If then at that time they did not dare so much as to stand their ground when they saw Him alive, how when He was dead could they but have feared such a number of soldiers? What? was it to burst open a door? Was it that one should escape notice? A great stone lay upon it, needing many hands to move it.

They were right in saying, "So the last error shall be worse than the first,"(3) making this declaration against themselves, for that, when after so much mad conduct they ought to have repented, they rather strive to outdo their former acts, feigning absurd fictions, and as, when He was alive, they purchased His blood, so when He was dead and risen again, they again by money were striving to undermine the evidence of His resurrection. But do thou mark, I pray thee, how by their own doings they are caught everywhere. For if they had not come to Pilate, nor asked for the guard, they would have been more able to act thus impudently, but as it was, not so. For indeed, as though they were laboring to stop their own mouths, even so did they all things. For if the disciples had not strength to watch with Him, and that, though upbraided by Him, how could they have ventured upon these things? And wherefore did they not steal Him before this, but when ye were come? For if they had been minded to do this, they would have done it, when the tomb was not yet guarded on the first night, when it was to be done without danger, and in security. For it was on the Sabbath that they came and begged of Pilate to have the watch, and kept guard, but during the first night none of these was present by the sepulchre.

2. And what mean also the napkins that were stuck on with the myrrh; for Peter saw these lying. For if they had been disposed to steal, they would not have stolen the body naked, not because of dishonoring it only, but in order not to delay and lose time in stripping it, and not to give them that were so disposed opportunity to awake and seize them. Especially when it was myrrh, a drug that adheres so to the body, and cleaves to the clothes, whence it was not easy to take the clothes off the body, but they that did this needed much time, so that from this again, the tale of the theft is improbable.

What? did they not know the rage of the Jews? and that they would vent their anger on them? And what profit was it at all to them, if He had not risen again?

So these men, being conscious that they had made up all this tale, gave money, and said, "Say ye these things, and we will persuade the governor." For they desire that the report should be published, fighting in vain against the truth; and by their endeavor: to obscure it, by these even against their will they occasioned it to appear clearly. For indeed even this establishes the resurrection, the fact I mean of their saying, that the disciples stole Him. For this is the language of men confessing, that the body was not there. When therefore they confess the body was not there, but the stealing it is shown to be false and incredible, by their watching by it, and by the seals, and by the timidity of the disciples, the proof of the resurrection even hence appears incontrovertible.

Nevertheless, these shameless and audacious men, although there were so many things to stop their mouths, "Say ye," these are their words, "and we will persuade, and will secure you." Seest thou all depraved? Pilate. for he was persuaded? the soldiers? the Jewish people? But marvel not, if money prevailed over soldiers. For if with His disciple it showed its might to be so great, much more with these.

"And this saying is commonly reported," it is said, " until this day."(1) Seest thou again the disciples' love of truth, how they are not ashamed of saying even this, that such a report prevailed against them.

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, and some worshipped, and some when they saw Him doubted."(2)

This seems to me to be the last appearance in Galilee, when He sent them forth to baptize. And if "some doubted," herein again admire their truthfulness, how they conceal not even their shortcomings up to the last day. Nevertheless, even these are assured by their sight.

What then saith He unto them, when He seeth them? "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth."(3) Again He speaketh to them more after the manner of man, for they had not yet received the spirit, which was able to raise them on high. "Go ye, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;"(4) giving the one charge with a view to doctrine, the other concerning commandments. And of the Jews He makes no mention, neither brings forward what had been done, nor upbraids Peter with his denial, nor any one of the others with their flight, but having put into their hands a summary of the doctrine, that expressed by the form of baptism, commands them to pour forth over the whole world.

After that, because he had enjoined on them great things, to raise their courage, He says, "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."(5) Seest thou His own proper power again? Seest thou how those other things also were spoken for condescension? And not with those men only did He promise to be, but also with all that believe after them. For plainly the apostles were not to remain here unto "the end of the world;" but he speaks to the believers as to one body. For tell me not, saith He, of the difficulty of the things: for "I am with you," who make all things easy. This He said to the prophets also in the Old Testament continually, as well to Jeremiah objecting his youth,(6) as to Moses(7) and Ezekiel(8) shrinking from the office, "I am with you," this here also to these men. And mark, I pray thee, the excellence of these, for the others, when sent to one nation, often excused themselves, but these said nothing of the sort, though sent to the world. And He reminds them also of the consummation, that He may draw them on more, and that they may look not at the present dangers only, but also at the good things to come that are without end.

"For the irksome things, saith He, that ye will undergo are finished together with the present life, since at least even this world itself shall come to an end, but the good things which ye shall enjoy remain immortal, as I have often told you before." Thus having invigorated and roused their minds, by the remembrance of that day, He sent them forth. For that day to them that live in good works is to be desired, even as on the other hand to those in sin, it is terrible as to the condemned.

But let us not fear only, and shudder, but let us change too, while there is opportunity, and let us rise out of our wickedness, for we can, if we be willing. For if before grace many did this, much more after grace.

3. For what grievous things are we enjoined? to cleave mountains asunder? to fly into the air? or to cross the Tuscan sea? By no means, but a way of life so easy, as not so much as to want any instruments, but a soul and purpose only. For what instruments had these apostles, who effected such things? Did they not go about with one vestment and unshod? and they got the better of all.

For what is difficult of the injunctions? Have no enemy. Hate no man. Speak ill of no man. Nay, the opposites of these things are the greater hardships. But He said, you reply, Throw away thy money. Is this then the grievous thing? In the first place, He did not command, but advised it. Yet even if it were a command, what is it grievous not to carry about burdens and unseasonable cares?

But oh covetousness! All things are become money; for this cause all things are turned upside down. If anyone declares another happy, he mentions this; should he pronounce him wretched, hence is derived the description of wretchedness. And all reckonings are made on this account, how such an one gets rich, how such an one gets poor. Should it be military service, should it be marriage, should it be a trade, should it be what you will that any man takes in hand, he does not apply to what is proposed, until he see these riches are coming in rapidly upon him. After this shall we not meet together and consult how we shall drive away this pest? Shall we not regard with shame the good deeds of our fathers? of the three thousand, of the five thousand, who had all things common?

What is the profit of this present life, when we do not use it for our future gain? How long do ye not enslave the mammon that hath enslaved you? How long are ye slaves of money? How long have ye no love for liberty, and do not rend in pieces the bargains of covetousness? But while, if ye should have become slaves of men, you do all things, if any one should promise you liberty; yet being captives of covetousness, ye do not so much as consider how ye may be delivered from this bitter bondage. And yet the one were nothing terrible, the other is the most bitter tyranny.

Consider how great a price Christ paid for us. He shed His own blood; He gave up Himself. But ye, even after all this, are grown supine; and the most grievous thing of all is, that ye even take delight in the slavery, ye luxuriate in the dishonor, and that, from which ye ought to flee, is become an object of desire to you.

But since it is right not only to lament and to blame, but also to correct, let us see from what cause this passion and this evil have become an object of desire to you. Whence then, whence hath this come to be an object of desire? Because, thou sayest, it makes me to be in honor and in security. In what kind of security, I pray thee? In the confidence, not to suffer hunger, nor cold, not to be harmed, not to be despised. Wilt thou then, if we promise thee this security, refrain from being rich? For if it is for this that riches are an object of desire, if it be in your power to have security without these, what need hast thou of these any more? "And how is it possible," thou sayest, "for one who is not rich to attain to this?" Nay, how is it possible (for I say the opposite thing) if one is rich? For it is necessary to flatter many, both rulers and subjects, and to entreat countless numbers, and to be a base slave, and to be in fear and trembling, and to regard with suspicion the eyes of the envious, and to fear the tongues of false accusers, and the desires of other covetous men. But poverty is not like this, but altogether the contrary. It is a place of refuge and security, a calm harbor, a wrestling ground, and school of exercise to learn self-command, an imitation of the life of angels.

Hear these things, as many as are poor; or rather also, as many as desire to be rich. It is not poverty that is the thing to be feared, but the not being willing to be poor. Account poverty to be nothing to fear, and it will not be to thee a matter for fear. For neither is this fear in the nature of the thing, but in the judgment of feeble-minded men. Or rather. I am even ashamed that I have occasion to say so much concerning poverty, to show that it is nothing to be feared. For if thou practise self-command, it is even a fountain to thee of countless blessings. And if any one were to offer thee sovereignty, and political power, and wealth, and luxury, and then having set against them poverty, were to give thee thy choice to take which thou wouldest, thou wouldest straightway seize upon poverty, if indeed thou knewest the beauty thereof.

4. And I know that many laugh, when these things are said; but we are not troubled but we require you to stay, and soon ye will give judgment with us. For to me poverty seems like some comely, fair, and well-favored damsel, but covetousness like some monster shaped woman. some Scylla or Hydra, or some other like prodigies feigned by fabulous writers.

For bring not forward, I pray thee, them that accuse poverty, but them that have shone thereby. Nurtured in this, Elias was caught up in that blessed assumption. With this Eliseus shone; with this John; with this all the apostles; but with the other, Ahab, Jezebel, Gehazi, Judas, Nero, Caiaphas, were condemned.

But if it please you, let us not look to those only that have been glorious in poverty, but let us observe the beauty itself of this damsel. For indeed her eye is clear and piercing, having nothing turbid in it, like the eye of covetousness, which is at one time full of anger, at another sated with pleasure, at another troubled by incontinence. But the eye of poverty is not like this, but mild, calm, looking kindly on all, meek, gentle, hating no man, shunning no man. For where there are riches, there is matter for enmity, and for countless wars. The mouth again of the other is full of insults, of a certain haughtiness, of much boasting, cursing, deceit; but the mouth and the tongue of this are sound, filled with continual thanksgiving, blessing, words of gentleness. of affection, of courtesy, of praise, of commendation. And if thou wouldest see also the proportion of her members, she is of a goodly height, and far loftier than wealth. And if many flee from her, marvel not at it, for indeed so do fools from the rest of virtue.

But the poor man, thou wilt say, is insulted by him that is rich. Again thou art declaring to me the praise of poverty. For who, I pray thee, is blessed, the insulter, or the insulted? It is manifest that it is the insulted person. But then, the one, covetousness, urges to insult the other; poverty persuades to endure. "But the poor man suffers hunger," thou wilt say. Paul also suffered hunger, and was in famine.(1) "But he has no rest." Neither "had the Son of Man where to lay His head."(2)

Seest thou how far the praises of poverty have proceeded, and where it places thee, to what men it leads thee on, and how it makes thee a follower of the Lord? If it were good to have gold, Christ, who have the unutterable blessings, would have given this to His disciples. But now so far from giving it them, He forbad them to have it. Wherefore Peter also, so far from being ashamed of poverty, even glories in it, saying, "Silver and gold have I none; but what I have give I thee."(3) And who of you would not have desired to utter this saying? Nay, we all would extremely, perhaps some one may say. Then throw away thy silver, throw away thy gold. "And if I throw it away, thou wilt say, shall I receive the power of Peter?" Why, what made Peter blessed, tell me? Was it indeed to have lifted up the lame man? By no means, but the not having these riches, this procured him Heaven. For of those that wrought these miracles, many fell into hell, but they, who did those good things, attained a kingdom. And this you may learn even of Peter himself. For there were two things that he said, "Silver and gold have I none;" and, "In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk."

Which sort of thing then made Him glorious and blessed, the raising up the lame man, or the casting away his money? And this you may learn from the Master of the conflicts Himself. What then doth He Himself say to the rich man seeking eternal life? He said not, "raise up the lame," but, "Sell thy goods, and give to the poor, and come and follow me, and thou shall have treasure in Heaven."(4) And Peter again said not, "Behold, in Thy name we east out devils;" although he was casting them out, but, "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee what shall we have?"(5) And Christ again, in answering this apostle, said not, "If any man raise up the lame," but, "Whosoever hath forsaken houses or lands, shall receive an hundredfold in this world, and shall inherit everlasting life."(6)

Let us also then emulate this man, that we may not be confounded, but may with confidence stand at the judgment seat of Christ; that we may win Him to be with us, even as He was with His disciples. For He will be with us, like as He was with them, if we are willing to follow them, and to be imitators of their life and conversation. For in consequence of these things God crowns, and commends men, not requiring of thee to raise the dead, or to cure the lame. For not these things make one to be like Peter, but the casting away one's goods, for this was the apostles' achievement.

But dost thou not find it possible to east them away? In the first place, I say, it is possible; but I compel thee not, if thou art not willing, nor constrain thee to it; but this I entreat, to spend at least a part on the needy, and to seek for thyself nothing more than is necessary. For thus shall we both live our life here without trouble, and in security, and enjoy eternal life; unto which God grant we all may attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and always, and world without end. Amen.

Return to Volume 19 Index