COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
HOMILIES XII TO XV (ACTS 4, 5 & 6)

HOMILY XII.

ACTS IV. 36, 37.

And Joses, who by the Apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles' feet."

THE writer is now about to relate the affair of Ananias and Sapphira, and in order to show that the man's sin was of the worst description, he first mentions him who performed the virtuous deed; that, there being so great a multitude all doing the same, so great grace, so great miracles, he, taught by none of these, but blinded by covetousness, brought destruction upon his own head. "Having land,--meaning that this was all he possessed,--sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles' feet. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the Apostles' feet." (ch. v. 1, 2.) The aggravating circumstance was, that the sin was concerted, and none other saw what was done. How came it into the mind of this hapless wretch to commit this crime? "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" (v. 3.) Observe even in this, a great miracle performed, greater far than the former. "Whiles it remained," say she, "was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?" (v. 4.) That is, "Was there any obligation and force? do we constrain you against your will?" "Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost." (v. 5.) This miracle is greater than that of the lame man, in respect of the death inflicted, and the knowing what was in the thought of the heart, even what was done in secret.(*) "And great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, and wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?" (v. 6-8.) The woman he would fain save, for the man had been the author of the sin: therefore he gives her time to clear herself, and opportunity for repentance, saying, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Holy Ghost? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then she fell down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost; and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things." (v. 9-11.)

After this fear had come upon them, he wrought more miracles; both Peter and the rest; "And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them," i.e. to the Apostles; "but the people magnified them," i.e. the Jewish people. If(1) "no man durst join himself unto them," the Apostles, "there were," however, "the more added unto the Lord, believers, multitudes both of men and of women, insomuch that they brought out into the streets their impotent folk, and laid them upon couches and beds, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them." (v. 12-15.) For Peter was the wonderful one, and he to whom they more gave heed both because of his public harangue, the first and the second and the third, and because of the miracle; for he it was that wrought the miracle, the first, the second, the third: for the present miracle was twofold: first, the convicting the thoughts of the heart, and next the inflicting of death at his word of command. "That at the least the shadow of Peter passing by," etc. This had not occurred in the history of Christ; but see here what He had told them actually coming to pass, that "they which believe on Me, the works that I do shall they do also; and greater works than these shall they do." (John xiv. 12.) "There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them that were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one." (v. 116.)

And now I would have you observe the way in which their whole life is interwoven. First there was despondency on account of Christ taken from them, and then came joy because of the Spirit descending upon them; again, dejection because of the scoffers, and then joy in the result of their own apology. And here again we find both dejection and gladness. In that they were become conspicuous, and that God made revelations to them, there was gladness: in that they had cut off some of their own company, there was sadness. Once more: again there is gladness upon their success, and again sadness by reason of the High Priest. And so it will be seen to be the case throughout. And the same will be found to hold in the case of the ancient saints likewise.--But let us look over again what has been said.

"They sold them," it is written, "and brought the prices, and laid them down at the Apostles' feet." (Recapitulation. iv, 34-37.) See, my beloved brethren, how instead of leaving the Apostles to sell, they themselves sold, and presented the prices to them. "But(1) a certain man named Ananias," etc. (v. 1.) This history touches Bishops too, and very forcibly. And the wife of Ananias was privy to the thing done: therefore he examines her. But perhaps some one will say that he dealt very harshly with her. What do you mean? What harshness? If for gathering sticks a man is to be stoned, much rather ought he for sacrilege; for this money was become sacred. He that has chosen to sell his goods and distribute them, and then withdraws them, is guilty of sacrilege. But if he is sacrilegious, who resumes from his own, much more he who takes from what is not his own. And do not think that because the consequence is not now the same, the crime will go unpunished. Do you see that this is the charge brought against Ananias, that having made the money sacred, he afterwards secreted it? Couldest thou not, said Peter, after selling thy land, use the proceeds as thine own? Wast thou forbidden? Wherefore after thou hadst promised it? See how at the very beginning, the devil made his attack; in the very midst of such signs and wonders, how this man was hardened! Something of the same kind had happened upon a time in the Old Testament. The son of Charmi coveted the devoted thing: for observe there also what vengeance ensues upon the sin. Sacrilege, beloved, is a most grievous crime, insulting, and full of contempt. We neither obliged thee to sell, the Apostle says, nor to give thy money when thou hadst sold; of thine own free choice thou didst it; why hast thou then stolen from the sacred treasury? "Why," he says, "hath Satan filled thine heart?" (v. 3.) Well, if Satan did the thing, why is the man made guilty of it? For admitting the influence of the devil, and being filled with it. You will say, they ought to have corrected him. But he would not have received correction; for he that has seen such things as he had seen, and is none the better, would certainly be none the better for anything else that could be done; the matter was not one to be simply passed over: like a gangrene, it must be cut out, that it might not infect the rest of the body. As it is, both the man himself is benefitted in regard that he is not left to advance further in wickedness, and the rest, in that they are made more earnest; otherwise the contrary would have ensued. In the next place, Peter proves him guilty, and shows that the deed was not hidden from him, and then pronounces the sentence. But wherefore, upon what purpose hast thou done this? Didst thou wish to keep it? Thou oughtest to have kept it all along, and never to have professed to give it. The sacrilege, beloved, is a grievous one. For another, it may be, coveted what was not his own: but it was at thy discretion to keep what was thine own. Why then didst thou first make it sacred, and then take it? Out of excessive contempt hast thou done this. The deed does not admit of pardon, it is past pleading for.--Therefore let it be no stumbling-block to any, if at present also there are sacrilegious persons. If there were such persons then, much more now, when evils are many. But let us "rebuke them before all, that others also may fear." (1 Tim. v. 20.) Judas was sacrilegious, but it was no stumbling-block to the disciples. Do you see how many evils spring from love of money? "And great fear, it is said, came on all them that heard these things." (v. 5.) That man was punished, and others profited thereby. Not without cause. And yet, signs had been wrought before: true, but there was not such a sense of fear. So true is that saying, "The Lord is known by executing judgments." (Ps. ix. 16.) The same thing had occurred in the case of the Ark: Uzzah was punished and fear came upon the rest. (2 Sam. vi. 7.) But in that instance the king through fear removed from him the Ark; but here the disciples became more earnestly heedful. [" And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in," etc.] (v.7.) But observe how Peter, instead of sending for her, waited till she entered; and how none of the others durst carry out the intelligence. Such the teacher's awfulness, such the disciples' reverence, such the obedience! "An interval of three hours,"--and yet the woman did not hear of it, and none of those present reported it, although there was time enough for it to be noised abroad; but they were afraid. This circumstance the Evangelist relates with wonder even, when he says, "Not knowing what was done, came in." "And Peter answered unto her," etc. (v. 8.) And yet she might have perceived even from this that Peter knew the secret. For why, having questioned none other, does he question you? Was it not clear that he asked because he knew? But so great was her hardness, it would not let her attempt to evade the guilt; and with great confidence she replied; for she thought she was speaking only to a man. The aggravation of the sin was, that they committed it as with one soul, just as upon a settled compact between them. "How is it that ye have agreed together," he said, "to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door." (v. 9.) First he makes her learn the sin, and then shows that she will justly suffer the same punishment with her husband, since she has committed the same wickedness: "And they shall carry thee out. And she fell down straightway at his feet," for she was standing near him, and yielded up the ghost." (v. 10.) So entirely by their own act had they invited upon themselves the vengeance! Who after that would not be struck with awe? who would not fear the Apostle? who would not marvel? who not be afraid? "And they were with one accord, all of them in Solomon's porch," (v. 12) no longer in a house, but having occupied the very Temple, they there passed their time! No longer they guarded themselves against touching the unclean; nay, without scruple they handled the dead. And observe how, while to their own people they are severe, against the aliens they do not exercise their power. "But(1) the people," he says, "magnified them." (v. 13.) And as he had mentioned their being "in Solomon's porch," that you may not wonder how the multitude allowed this, he tells us that they did not dare even to approach them: for "no man," he says, "durst join himself unto them." "But believers were the more added unto the Lord, multitudes both of men and women: insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them." (v. 14, 15.) Great faith, surpassing what had been shown in the case of Christ. How comes this? Because Christ declared: "And greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father." (John xiv. 12.) And these things the people do, while the Apostles remain there, and are not moving about from place to place: also from other places they were all bringing [their sick] on beds and couches: and from all quarters accrued to them fresh tribute of wonder; from them that believed, from them that were healed, from him that was punished; from their boldness of speech towards those (their adversaries), from the virtuous behavior of the believers: for certainly the effect produced was not owing to the miracles only. For though the Apostles themselves modestly ascribe it all to this cause, declaring that they did these things in the name of Christ, yet at the same time the life and noble conduct of the men helped to produce this effect. "And believers were more added unto the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." Observe, how he now no longer tells the number of them that believe; at such a rate was the faith making way even to an immense multitude, and so widely was the Resurrection proclaimed. So then "the people magnified them:" but they were now no longer lightly to be despised as once they were: for in a little moment, at a single turn of the scale, such have been the effects produced by the fisherman and by the publican! Earth was become a heaven, for manner of life, for boldness of speech, for wonders, for all besides; like Angels were they looked upon with wonder: all unconcerued for ridicule, for threats, for perils: compassionate(1) were they, and beneficent; some of them they succoured with money, and some with words, and some with healing of their bodies and of their souls; no kind of healing (<greek>pan</greek> <greek>eidos</greek> <greek>iatreias</greek>) but they accomplished.

Peter all but pleads for himself, when at the point to inflict the punishment, and at the same time gives a lesson to the rest. For because the act would seem exceeding stern, therefore it is that he does so much(2) in the case.(*) In respect of the woman also the process of judgment was terrible. But(3) see how many evils grow out of the sacrilege covetousness, contempt of God, impiety; and upon these too he pleaded for himself before the assembly, in that he did not immediately proceed to punishment, but first exposed the sin. None groaned, none lamented, all were terrified. For as their faith increased, the signs also were multiplied, and great was the fear among their own company: for the things which are from without do not so militate (<greek>polemei</greek>) against our peace, as do the acts of our own people. If we be firmly joined together, no(4) warfare will be hard: but the mischief would be the being divided and broken up. Now they went about in the public place: with boldness they attacked even the market, and in the midst of enemies they prevailed, and that saying was fulfilled, "Be Thou Ruler in the midst among Thine enemies." (Ps. cx. 2.) This was a greater miracle, that they, arrested, cast into prison, should do such acts as these!

If those for lying suffered such things, what shall not the perjured suffer? Because she simply affirmed, "Yea, for so much," ye see what she suffered. Bethink you then; they that swear and forswear themselves, of what should they be worthy? It(5) comes in opportunely to-day even from the Old Testament to show you the heinousness of perjury. "There was," it says, "a flying sickle, ten cubits in breadth." (Zech. v. 2.) The "flying" betokens the swift advent of the vengeance which pursues oaths; that it is many cubits in length and breadth, signifies the force and magnitude of the woes; that it comes flying "from heaven," is to show that the vengeance comes from the judgment-seat on high: that it is in the form of a sickle," denotes the inevitableness Of the doom: for just as the sickle, where it comes and has hooked the neck, is not drawn back with nothing but itself, but with the head reaped off, even so the vengeance which comes upon the sweaters is severe, and will not desist until it have completed its work. But if we swear and escape, let us not be confident; this is but to our woe. For what think ye? How many, since Ananias and Sapphira, have dared the same with them? How is it then, say you, that they have not met with the same fate? Not because it was allowed in them, but because they are reserved. for a greater punishment. For those who often sin and are not punished, have greater reason to fear and dread than if they were punished. For the vengeance is increased for them by their present impunity and the long-suffering of God. Then let us not look to this, that we are not punished; but let us consider whether we have not sinned: if sinning we are not punished, we have the more reason to tremble. Say, if you have a slave, and you only threaten him, and do not beat him; when is he most in fear, when most inclined to run away? Is is not when you only threaten him? And hence we advise each other not to be continually using threats, thereby choosing rather to agitate the mind by the terror, and lacerating it worse than with blows. For in the one instance the punishment is momentary, but in the other it is perpetual. If then no one feels the stroke of the sickle, do not look to this, but rather let each consider whether he commits such sins. Many like things are done now as were done before the Flood, yet no flood has been sent: because there is a hell threatened, and vengeance. Many sin as the people did in Sodom, yet no rain of fire has been poured down; because a river of fire is prepared. Many go the lengths of Pharaoh; yet they have not fared like Pharaoh, they have not been drowned in a Red Sea: for the sea that awaits them, is the sea of the bottomless pit, where the punishment is not accompanied with insensibility, where there is no suffocation to end all, but in ever lengthened torture, in burning, in strangling, they are consumed there. Many have offended like the Israelites, but no serpents have devoured them: there awaits them the worm that never dieth. Many have been like Gehazi, yet they have not been struck with leprosy: for instead of leprosy, it remains for them to be cut asunder, and numbered among the hypocrites. Many have both sworn and forsworn; but if they have indeed escaped, let us not be confident: the gnashing of teeth awaits them. Yea, here too they will suffer many grievous woes, though, it may be, not immediately, but after further transgressions, that the vengeance may be the greater; for even we often set out at first with small sins, and then through great offences lose all. Therefore when you see anything happening to you, call to mind that particular sin of yours. The sons of Jacob are an example of this. Remember Joseph's brothers; they had sold their brother, they had even attempted to slay him; nay, they had slain him, as far as inclination went; they had deceived and grieved the old man; they suffered nothing. After many years they are brought into extreme peril, and now they are put in remembrance of this their sin. Exceeding wisely is this circumstance brought in. Hear what they say: "We are verily guilty concerning our brother." (Gen. xlii. 21.) In this manner then do thou also, when anything happens, say, We are verily guilty, because we have not obeyed Christ; because we have sworn; my much swearing, and my false swearing, has fallen upon my own head. Confess thou; since they also confessed, and were saved. For what though the punishment follow not immediately? Since Ahab also did not immediately after his sin in the matter of Naboth suffer that vengeance which he yet at last suffered. (1 Kings xxi. 19.) And what is the reason of this? God sets thee a time, in which to wash thyself clean; but if thou persist, at last He will send down the vengeance. You have seen the fate of liars. Consider what is the fate of false swearers, consider, and desist. It is impossible a swearer should not forswear himself, whether he will or not; and no perjurer can be saved. One false oath sufficeth to finish all, to draw down upon us the whole measure of vengeance. Let us then take heed to ourselves, that we may escape the punishment due to this offence, and be deemed worthy of the loving kindness of God, through the grace and mercies of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XIII.

ACTS V. 17, 18.

"Then having risen up, the high-priest and they that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison."

"Having risen up," that is, being(1) roused, being excited at the things taking place, the high-priest and they which were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the Apostles:" they now assault them more vigorously: "and put them in the common prison;" but did not forthwith bring them to trial, because they expected them again to be softened down. "But the Angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." "And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught." (v. 19-21.) This was done both for the encouragement of the disciples, and for the benefit and instruction of the others. And observe how the proceeding in the present instance is just the same as in what Christ Himself did. Namely, in His miracles though He does not let men see them in the act of being wrought, He furnishes the means whereby they may be apprised of the things wrought: thus, in His Resurrection, He did not let them see how He rose in the water made wine, the guests do not see it done, for they have been drinking much, and the discernment He loaves to others. Just so in the present case, they do not see them in the act of being brought forth, but the proofs from which they might gather what had been done, they do see. And it was by night that the Angel put them forth. Why was this? Because(1) in this way they were more believed than they would have been in the other: so, people would not even have had occasion to put the question: they would not in some other way have believed. So it was in the old times, in the case of Nebuchadnezzar: he saw them praising God in the furnace, and then indeed he was put in amazement. (Dan. iii. 24.) Whereas then these priests ought as their first question to have asked, How came ye out? instead of this, as if nothing had happened, they ask, "Did we not straitly charge you not to speak?" (v. 28.) And observe, by report of others they are apprised of all the circumstances: they see the prison remaining closed with safety, and the guards standing before the doors.(2) A twofold security this; as was the case at the sepulchre, where was both the seal, and the men to watch. See how they fought against God! Say, was this of man's doing, that happened to them? Who led them forth, when the doors were shut? How came they out, with the keepers standing before the door? Verily they must be mad or drunken to talk so. Here are men, whom neither prison, nor bonds, nor closed doors, had been able to keep in; and yet they expect to overpower them: such is their childish folly! Their officers come and confess what has taken place, as if on purpose to debar them from all show of reason. Do you mark how there is miracle upon miracle, differing in kind, some wrought by them, others on them, and these more illustrious than the others? "And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high-priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high-priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow." (v. 21-25.) It(8) is well ordered that the information was not brought to them at once, but they are first utterly at a loss what to think, that when they have considered it well and seen that there is a Divine Power in the case, then they may learn the whole state of the case. "Then came one, and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the other officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the multitude, lest they should have been stoned." (v. 25, 26.) O the folly of the men! "They feared," saith he, "the multitude." Why, how had the multitude helped the Apostles? When they ought to have feared that God Who was continually delivering them like winged creatures out of their power, instead of that, "they feared the multitude! "And the high-priest," shameless, reckless, senseless, "asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." (v. 27, 28.) What then (say the Apostles)? Again with mildness they address them; and yet they might have said, "Who are ye, that ye countermand God?" But what do they say? Again in the way of exhortation and advice, and with much mildness, they make answer. "Then Peter and the other Apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." (v. 29.) High magnanimity! He shows them too that they are fighting against God.(1) For, he says, Whom ye killed, Him hath God raised up. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (v. 30, 31.) And again they refer the whole to the Father, that He should not seem to be alien to the Father. "And hath exalted," saith He, "with his right hand." He affirms not merely the Resurrection, but the Exaltation also. "For to give repentance to Israel." Observe here as before the gain (to them): observe the perfection of doctrine conveyed in the form of apology. "And we are witnesses of these things." (v. 32.) Great boldness of speech! And the ground of their credibility: "And so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him." Do you observe that they allege not only the Spirits testimony? And they said not, "Whom He hath given" to us, but, "to them that obey Him: therein alike showing their own unassuming: temper, and intimating the greatness of the gift, and showing the hearers that it was possible for them also to receive the Spirit. See, how these people were instructed both by deeds and by words, and yet they paid no heed, that their condemnation might be just. For to this end did God suffer the Apostles to be brought to trial, that both their adversaries might be instructed, and all might learn, and that the Apostles might be invigorated to boldness of speech. "And they hearing that, were cut to the heart." (v. 33.) The(2) others (on a former occasion) "when they heard these things were pricked;" here they were cut (as with a saw) (<greek>dieprionto</greek>) "and desired to slay them." (ch. ii. 37.)

But it is necessary now to look over again what we have read. "But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. Brought(3) them forth." (Recapitulation, v. 19, 20.) He did not bring them away to benefit themselves thereby, but, "Stand," he says, "and speak in the temple to the people." But if the guards had put them out, as those thought, they would have fled, that is, supposing they had been induced to come out: and if those had put them forth, they would not have stood in the temple, but would have absconded. No one is so void of sense, as not at once to see this. "Did we not straitly charge you?" (v. 28.) Well, if they undertook to obey you, ye do well to call them to account: but if even at the very time they told you they would not obey, what account have you to call them to, what defence is there for them to make? "And behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us."(*) Mark the inconsistency of the accusations and the exceeding folly. They want to make it appear now, that the dispositions of the Jews(1) are sanguinary, as if they were doing these things not for the truth's sake, but in the wish to be revenged. And for this reason too the Apostles do not answer them with defiance (<greek>qrasews</greek>): for they were teachers. And yet where is the man, who, with a whole city to back him, and endowed with so great grace, would not have spoken and uttered something big? But not so did these: for they were not angered; no, they pitied these men, and wept over them, and marked in what way they might free them from their error and wrath. And they no longer say to them, "Judge ye:" (ch. iv. 19) but they simply affirm, saying, "Whom God raised up, Him do we preach: it is by the will of God that these things are done." They said not, Did not we tell you even then, that "we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard?" (ib. 20.) for they are not contentious for glory; but they repeat again the same story,--the Cross, the Resurrection. And they tell not, wherefore He was crucified--that it was for our sakes: but they hint at this indeed, but not openly as yet, wishing to terrify them awhile. And yet what sort Of rhetoric is here? None at all,(2) but everywhere it is still the Passion, and the Resurrection and the Ascension, and the end wherefore: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus," etc. (v. 30, 31.) And yet what improbable assertions are these! Very improbable, no doubt; but for all that, not rulers, not people, had a word to say against them: but those had their mouths stopped, and these received the teaching. "And we," saith he, "are witnesses of these things." (v. 32.) Of what things? Of His having promised forgiveness and repentance: for the Resurrection indeed was acknowledged, now. But that He giveth forgiveness, both we are witnesses, and "so is the Holy Ghost," Who would not have come down, unless sins had been first remitted: so that this is an indisputable proof. "When they heard that, they, were cut" (to the heart), "and took counsel to slay them." (v. 33.) Hearest thou of the forgiveness of sins, O wretched man, and that God doth not demand punishment, and dost thou wish to slay them? What wickedness was this! And yet, either they ought to have convicted them of lying, or if they could not do that, to have believed: but if they did not choose to believe, yet they ought not to slay them. For what was there deserving of death? Such was their intoxication, they did not even see what had taken place. Observe, how everywhere the Apostles, when they have made mention of the crime, add the mention of forgiveness; showing, that while what had been done was worthy of death, that which was given was proffered to them as to benefactors! In what other way could any one have persuaded them?

"Then stood up the high-priest," etc. As(3) men in high repute, these(the Apostles) were about to take their place near to the Prophets. The Sadducees were they that were most sore on the subject of the Resurrection. But perchance some one will say: Why, what man, endowed with such gifts as the Apostles were, would not have been great? But consider,(4) I pray you, how, before that they were endowed with the grace, "they were continuing steadfastly with one accord in prayer" (ch. i. 14), and depending on the aid from above. And dost thou, my beloved, hope for the kingdom of heaven, yet endurest naught? And hast thou received the Spirit, yet sufferest not such things, nor encounterest perils? But they, before they had breathing-time froth their former dangers, were again led into others. And even this too, that there is no arrogance, no conceit, how great a good it is! To converse with mildness, what a gain it is! For not all that they did was the immediate work of grace, but there are many marks of their own zeal as well. That the gifts of grace shine forth in them, this was from their own diligence. See, for instance, from the very beginning, how careful Peter is; how sober and vigilant: how they that believed east away their riches, had no private property, continued in prayer, showed that they were of one mind, passed their time in fastings. What grace, I ask (alone), did all this? Therefore it is that He brings the evidence home to them through their own officers. Just as in the case of Christ, it was their officers who said, "Never man spake as this Man speaketh." (John vii. 46.) These(1) (proofs) are more apt to be believed than the Resurrection.--Observe also the moderation shown by (the rulers) themselves, and how they give way. "The high-priest asked them, saying," etc. (v. 27): here he reasons with them, forsooth, in a moderate tone; for he was frightened: indeed to hinder was what he desired rather than to kill, since that he cannot do: and with the view to rouse them all, and show them the extreme danger they are in, "And intend," says he (to the Apostles)," to bring this man's blood upon us." Dost thou still take Him to be but man? He wants to make it appear that the injunction was necessary for their own safety. But mark what (Peter) says: "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (v. 31.) Here he forbears to mention the Gentiles, not to give them a handle against him. "And they desired," it says, "to slay them." (v. 33.) See again these in perplexity, these in pain: but those in quiet and cheerfulness and delight. It is not merely, They were grieved, but "They were cut" (to the heart). Truly this makes good that proverb, "Evil do, evil fare:" as we may see in this case. Here were these men in bonds, set at the bar of judgment, and the men that sit in judgment upon them were in distress and helpless perplexity. For as he who strikes a blow upon the adamant, gets the shock of the blow himself, so it was with these men. But they saw that not only was their boldness of speech not stopped, but rather their preaching increased the more, and that they discoursed without a thought of fear, and afforded them no handles against them.

Let us imitate these, my beloved: let us be undaunted in all our dangers. There is nothing dreadful to him that fears God; but all that is dreadful is for others. For when a man is delivered from his passions, and regards all present things as a shadow, say, from whom shall he suffer anything dreadful? whom shall he have to fear? whom shall he need plead to? Let us flee to this Rock which cannot be shaken. If any one were to build for us a city, and throw up a wall around it, and remove us to a land uninhabited, where there were none to disturb us, and there supply us with abundance of everything, and not suffer us to have aught to trouble us with anybody, he would not set us in such perfect safety, as Christ hath done now. Be it a city made of brass, if you will, surrounded on all sides with a wall, lofty and impregnable, let there be no enemy near it; let it have land plentiful and rich, let there be added abundance of other things, let the citizens too be mild and gentle, and no evil-doer there, neither robber, nor thief,' no informer, no court of justice, but merely agreements (<greek>sunallalmata</greek>); and let us dwell in this city: not even thus would it be possible to live in security. Wherefore? Because there could not but be differences with servants, with wives, with children, to be a groundwork of much discomfort. But here was nothing of the kind; for here was nothing at all to pain them or cause any discomfort. Nay, what is more wonderful to say, the very things which are thought to cause discomfort, became matter of all joy and gladness. For tell me, what was there for them to be annoyed at? what to take amiss? Shall we cite a particular case for comparison with them? Well, let there be one of consular dignity, let him be possessed of much wealth, let him dwell in the imperial city, let him have no troublesome business with anybody, but only live in delight, and have nothing else but this to do, seated at the very summit of wealth and honor and power: and let us set against him a Peter, in bonds if you will, in evils without number: and we shall find that he is the man that lives the most delightfully. For when there is such excess of joy, as to be delighted when in bonds, think what must be the greatness of that joy! For like as those who are high in office, whatsoever evils may happen, are not sensible of them, but continue in enjoyment: so did these the more rejoice on account of these very evils. For it is impossible, impossible in words to express how great pleasure falls to their lot, who suffer for Christ's sake: for they rejoice in their sufferings, rather than in their good things. Whoso loves Christ, knows what I say.--But what as regards safety? And who, I ask, if he were ever so rich, could have escaped so many perils, going about among so many different nations, for the sole purpose(1) of bringing about a reformation in their manner of life? For it was just as if by royal mandate that they carried all before them, nay, far more easily, for never mandate could have been so effectual, as their words were. For the royal edict compels by necessity, but these drew men willingly and spontaneously, yea, and with hearts above measure thankful. What royal edict, I ask, would ever have persuaded men to part with all their property and their lives; to despise home, country, kindred, yea, even serf-preservation? Yet the voices of fishermen and tent-makers availed for this. So that they were both happy, and more powerful and strong than all others. "Yes," say you, "those of course were, for they wrought miracles." (supra, p. 83, note 4.) But I ask what miracles did those who believed work. the three thousand, and the five thousand; and yet these, we read, passed their time in gladness? And well they might: for thai which is the groundwork of all discomforts, the possession of riches, was done away with. For that, that, I say, was ever the cause both of wars and fighting, and grief, and discomfort, and all evils: the thing which makes life full of labor and troubles, it is that. And indeed it would be found that many more rich than poor have reason to be sad. If any think this is not true, their notion is derived not from the nature of the things, but from their own fancy. And if the rich do enjoy some sort of pleasure, this is not to be wondered at: for even those who are covered all over with the itch, have a good deal of pleasure. For that the rich are for all the world like these, and their mind affected in the same sort, is plain from this circumstance. Their cares annoy them, and they choose to be engrossed with them for the sake of the momentary pleasure: while those who are free from these affections, are in health and without discomfort. Whether is more pleasant, I ask, whether of the two more safe? To have to take thought only for a single loaf of bread and suit of clothes, or for an immense family, both slaves and freemen, not having care about himself (only)? For as this man has his fears for himself, so have you for those who depend on your own person. Why,(2) I pray you, does poverty seem a thing to be shunned? Just in the same way as other good things are, in the judgment of many, things to be deprecated. "Yes," say you, "but it is not that those good things are subjects for deprecation, but that they are hard of attainment." Well, so is poverty, not a thing to be deprecated, but hard of attainment: so that if one could bear it, there would be no reason to deprecate it. For how is it that the Apostles did not deprecate it? how is it that many even choose it, and so far from deprecating, even run to it? For that which is really a thing to be deprecated, cannot be an object of choice save to madmen. But if it be the men of philosophic and elevated minds that betake themselves to this, as to a safe and salubrious retreat, no wonder if to the rest it wears a different appearance. For, in truth, the rich man seems to me to be just like a city, unwalled, situated in a plain, inviting assailants from all sides: but poverty, a secure fortress, strong as brass can make it, and the way up to it difficult. "And yet," say you, "the fact is just the reverse: for these are they, who are often dragged into courts of law, these are they who are overborne and ill-treated." No: not the poor, as poor, but those who being poor want to be rich. But I am not speaking of them, but of such as make it their study to live in poverty. For say, how comes it that nobody ever drags the brethren of the hills into courts of law? and yet if to be poor is to be a mark for oppression, those ought most of all to be dragged thither, since they are poorer than all others. How comes it that nobody drags the common mendicants into the law-courts? Because they are come to the extreme of poverty. How is it that none does violence to them, none lays vexatious informations against them? Because they abide in a stronghold too safe for that. How many think it a condition hard to struggle against, poverty, I mean, and begging! What then, I ask, is it a good thing to beg? "It is good, if there be comfort," say you; "if there be one to give: it is a life so free from trouble and reverses, as every one knows." But I do not mean to commend this; God forbid! what I advise is the not aiming at riches.

For say, whom would you rather call blessed? those who find themselves at home with virtue, (<greek>epithdeious</greek> <greek>pros</greek> <greek>arethn</greek>) or those who stand aloof? Of course, those who are near. Say then, which of the two is the man to learn anything that is profitable, and to shine in the true wisdom? the former, or the latter? The first, all must see. If you doubt it, Satisfy yourself in this way. Fetch hither from the market-place any of the poor wretches there; let him be a cripple, lame, maimed: and then produce some other person, comely of aspect, strong in body, full of life and vigor in every part, overflowing with riches: let him be of illustrious birth, and possessed of great power. Then let us bring both these into the school of philosophy: which of them, I ask, is more likely to receive the things taught? The first precept, at the outset, "Be lowly and moderate" (for this is Christ's command): which will be most able to fulfil it, this one or the other? "Blessed are they that mourn" (Matt. v. 4): which will most receive this sap ing? "Blessed are the lowly:" which will most listen to this? "Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake" (ib. 8, 6, 10). Which will with ease receive these sayings? And, if you will, let us apply to all of them these rules, and see how they will fit. Is not the one inflamed and swollen all over, while the other is ever lowly minded and subdued in his whole bearing? It is quite plain. Yes, and there is a saying to that effect among those that are without: "(I was) a slave,(1) Epictetus by name, a cripple in body, for poverty a very Irus, and a friend of the Immortals." For how, I would ask, can it be otherwise, but that the soul of the rich must teem with evils; folly, vainglory, numberless lusts, anger and passion, covetousness, iniquity, and what not? So that even for philosophy, the former is more congenially (<greek>epithdeia</greek>) disposed than the latter. By all means seek to ascertain which is the more pleasant: for this I see is the point everywhere discussed, whether such an one has the more enjoyable way of life. And yet even as regards this, we need not be in doubt; for to be near to health, is also to have much enjoyment. But whether of the two, I would ask, is best disposed (<greek>epithdeios</greek>) to the matter now in hand, that which we will needs carry into accomplishment--our law, I mean--the poor man or the rich? Whether of them will be apt to swear? The man who has children to be provoked with, the man who has his covenants with innumerable parties, or the man who is concerned to apply for just a loaf of bread or a garment? This man has not even need of oaths, should he wish, but always lives free from cares of business; nay, more, it is often seen that he who is disciplined to swear not at all, will also despise riches; and one shall see in his whole behavior his ways all branching off from this one good habit, and leading to meekness, to contempt of riches, to piety, to subduedness of soul, to compunction of heart. Then let us not be indolent, my beloved, but let us again show great earnestness: they who have succeeded, that they may keep the success achieved, that they be not easily caught by the receding wave, nor the refluent tide carry them back again [they(2) too who are yet behindhand, that they may be raised up again, and strive to make up that which is wanting. And meanwhile let those who have succeeded, help those who have not been able to do the same]: and by reaching out their hands, as they would to men struggling in the deep water, receive them into the haven of no-swearing (<greek>anwmosias</greek>). For it is indeed a haven of safety, to swear not at all: whatever storms burst upon us, to be in no danger of sinking there: be it anger, be it insult, be it passion, be it what it may, the soul is stayed securely; yea, though one have vented some chance word or other that ought not, and had been better not, to be spoken, yet be has laid himself under no necessity, no law. (Supra, Hom. ix. § 5. ad. Pop. Ant. viii. § 3.) See what Herod did for his oath's sake: he cut off the head of the Fore-runner. "But because of his oaths," it says, "and because of them which sat at meat with him" (Mark vi. 26), he cut off the head of the Prophet. Think what the tribes had to suffer for their oath in the matter of the tribe of Benjamin (Judges xxi. 5-10): what Saul had to suffer for his oath (1 Sam. xiv. 24, etc.). For Saul indeed perjured himself, but Herod did what was even worse than perjury, he committed murder. Joshua again--you know how it fared with him, for his oath in the matter of the Gibeonites. (Joshua, ch. ix.) For it is indeed a snare of Satan, this swearing. Let us burst(3) the cords; let us bring ourselves into a condition in which it will be easy (not to swear); let us break loose from every entanglement, and from this snare of Satan. Let us fear the command of the Lord: let us settle ourselves in the. best of habits: that, making progress, and having achieved this and the rest of the commandments, we may obtain those good things which are promised to them that love Him, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XIV.

ACTS V. 34.

"Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded the men to be put forth a little space."

THIS Gamaliel was Paul's teacher. And one may well wonder, how, being so right-minded in his judgment, and withal learned in the law, he did not yet believe. But it cannot be that he should have continued in unbelief to the end.(1) Indeed it appears plainly from the words he here speaks. He "commanded," it says, "to put the men forth a little space [and said unto them.]" Observe how judiciously he frames his speech, and how he immediately at the very outset puts them in fear. And that he may not be suspected of taking their part, he addresses them as if he and they were of the same opinion, and does not use much vehemence, but as speaking to men intoxicated through passion, he thus expresses himself: "Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men." (v. 35.) Do not, he would say, go to work rashly and in a hurry. "For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody: to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to naught." (v. 36.) By examples he teaches them prudence; and, by way of encouragement, mentions last the man who seduced the greatest number. Now before he gives the examples, he says, "Take heed to yourselves;" but when he has cited them, then he declares his opinion, and says, "Refrain from these men." For, says he, "there rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to naught. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow them." (al. it) (v. 37-39.) Then(2) what is there, he would say, to hinder you to be overthrown? For, says he (take heed), "lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." He would dissuade them both by the consideration that the thing is impossible, and because it is not for their good. And he does not say by whom these people were destroyed, but that there they "were scattered," and their confederacy fell away to nothing. For if, says he, it be of man, what needs any ado on your part? but if it be of God, for all your ado you will not be able to overcome it. The argument is unanswerable. "And they were persuaded by him." (v. 40.) How were they persuaded? So as not to slay them, but merely to scourge, For, it says, "And when they had called the Apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go." See after what great works they are scourged! And again their teaching became more extended: for they taught at home and in the temple, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. (v. 41, 42.) And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration." (ch. vi. 1.) Not absolutely in those immediate days; for it is the custom of Scripture to speak of things next about to happen, as taking place in immediate succession. But by "Hellenists" I suppose he means those who spoke Greek ["against the Hebrews"]: for(1) they did not use the Greek language. Behold another trial! observe how from within and from without there are warrings, from the very first! "Then," it says, "the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables." (v. 2.) Well said: for the needful must give precedence to the more needful. But see, how straightway they both take thought for these (inferior matters), and yet do not neglect the preaching. "Because their widows were overlooked:" for those (the Hebrews) were treated as the persons of greater consequence (<greek>aidesimwteroi</greek>). "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we Will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost (v. 3-5.) so were the others also full of faith;(2) not to have the same things happening as in the case of Judas, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira--" and Philip, and Prochoras, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: whom they set before the Apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (v. 5-7.)

But(3) let us look over again what has been spoken. "Ye men of Israel take heed to yourselves."(Recapitulation, v. 35.) See here, I pray you, how mildly Gamaliel reasons, and how he says but a few words to them, and does not recount ancient histories, although he might have done so, but more recent instances, which are most powerful to produce belief. With this view he throws out a hint himself, saying, "For before. these days" (v. 36): meaning, not many days before. Now had he at once said, "Let these men go," both himself would have fallen into suspicion, and his speech would not have been so effective: but after the examples, it acquired its own proper force. And he mentions not one instance, but a second also: "for," saith the Scripture, "in the mouth of two witnesses" (Matt. xviii. 16): and yet he had it in his power to mention even three. "Refrain from these men." (v. 38.) See how mild his manner is, and his speech not long, but concise, and his mention even of those (impostors) how free from passion: "And all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered." And(4) for all this he does not blaspheme Christ. They heard him, all these unbelievers, heard him, these Jews. ["For if this council or this work be of men, it will come to naught."] Well then, since it did not come to nought, it is not of men. ["But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it."] (v. 39.) Once more he checks them by the impossibility and the inexpediency of the thing, saying, "Lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."(*) And he does not say, If Christ be God; but the work (itself) declares (this). He does not pronounce upon it, either that, it is "of men," or that it is "of God ;" but he leaves the proof to the future. "They were persuaded [by him]." (v. 40.) Then why, it may be asked, do ye scourge them? Such was the incontrovertible justness of his speech, they could not look it in the face; nevertheless, they sated their own animosity; and again they expected to terrify them in this way. By the fact also of his saying these things not in the presence of the Apostles, he gained a hearing more than he would otherwise have done; and then the suavity of his discourse and the justness of what was said, helped to persuade them. in fact, this man all but preached the Gospel. "(1) Ye were persuaded," one may say, "that ye had not. strength to overthrow it. Wherefore did ye not believe?" Such is the witness borne even by enemies. There it is four hundred, there, four thousand: and here the first movers were twelve. Let not the number which added itself affright you. (ch. ii. 41; iv. 4.) He might also have mentioned another instance, that of the Egyptian, but what he has spoken is fully sufficient. And he closes his speech with an alarming topic: "Lest haply," etc. And he does not pronounce upon it, lest he should seem to be pleading their cause; but he reasons by way of syllogism froth the issue of the matter. And he does not venture to pronounce that it is not of men, nor yet that it is of God; for bad he said that it was of God. they would have gainsaid him: but had he said that it was of men, they would again have taken prompt measures. Therefore he bids them wait for the end, saying, "Refrain," But they once more threaten knowing indeed that they avail nothing, but doing after their manner. Such is the nature of wickedness: it attempts even impossibilities.--"And after this man rose up Judas," etc. These things Josephus relates in detail. (Ant. xx. 8; ib. v. 2; xviii. 1. B. J. ii. 8. 1.) But what a great thing it was that he ventured to affirm: that it was of God, when in the sequel it received its proof from the events! Great boldness of speech, great freedom from all respect of persons! (2)And he does not say, "But if ye do not overthrow it, it is of God;" but, "If it be of God, it will not be overthrown." "And to him they agreed." (v. 40.) They reverenced the high character of the man. "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ." (v. 41.) What miracles so wonderful as this? Nowhere is the like of this recorded of the old saints: for Jeremiah indeed was scourged for the word of God, and they threatened Elijah, and the rest: but in this case, even by this very thing, and not only by their miracles, these showed forth the power of God. He does not say, that they were not pained, but that though pained they rejoiced. How does this appear? From their boldness afterwards: they were so instant still, even after their beatings, in preaching the word. "But in the temple," it says, "and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." (v. 42.) "And in those days "--when these things were done, when there were scourg-ings, when there were threatenings, when the disciples were multiplying--also, it says, "there arose a murmuring." (ch. vi. 1.) And this comes of the multitude: for it is impossible to have strict order in a multitude. "There arose a murmuring," etc. to,--"And(3) a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.--There arose murmuring against the Hebrews "--for that description of people seemed to be more honorable--" because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration." (*) (v. 1-7.) So then there was a daily ministration for the widows. And observe how he calls it a "ministration" (<greek>diakonia</greek>), and not directly alms: extolling by this at once the doers, and those to whom it was done. "Were neglected." This did not arise from malice, but perhaps from the carelessness of the multitude. And therefore he brought it forward openly, for this was no small evil. Observe, how even in the beginning the evils came not only from without, but also from within. For you must not look to this only, that it was set to rights, but observe that it was a great evil that it existed. "Then the twelve," etc. (v. 2.) Do you observe(4) how outward concerns succeed to inward? They do not act at their own discretion, but plead for themselves to the congregation. So ought it to be done now. "It is not reason," says he, "that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables." First he puts to them the unreasonableness of the thing; that it is not possible for both things to be done with the same attention: just as when they were about to ordain Matthias, they first show the necessity of the thing, that one was deficient, and there must needs be twelve. And so here they showed the necessity; and they did it not sooner, but waited till the murmuring arose; nor, on the other hand, did they suffer this to spread far. And, lo! they leave the decision to them: those who pleased all, those who of all were honestly reputed, them they present:(1) not now twelve, but "seven, full of the Spirit and of wisdom: well reported of" for their conversation. (v. 3.) Now when Matthias was to be presented, it was said, "Therefore must one of these men which have companied with us all the time" (ch. i. 21): but not so here: for the case was not alike. And they do not now put it to the lot; they might indeed themselves have made the election, as moved by the Spirit: but nevertheless, they desire the testimony of the people. The fixing the number, and the ordaining them, and for this kind of business, rested with them: but the choice of the men they make over to the people, that they might not seem to act from favor: just as God also leaves it to Moses to choose as elders those whom he knew. (Num. xi. 16.) "And of wisdom." For indeed there needs much wisdom in such ministrations. For think not, because he hath not the word committed unto him, that such an one has no need of wisdom: he does need it, and much too. "But we," saith he, "will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." (v. 4.) Again they plead for themselves, beginning and ending with this. "Will give ourselves continually," he saith. For so it behooved, not just to do the mere acts, or in any chance way, but to be continually doing them. "And the saying," we are told, "pleased the whole multitude." (v. 5, 6.) This too was worthy of their wisdom. All approved of what was said so sensible was it. "And they chose," it says (again it is the people (<greek>autoi</greek>) that choose,) "Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: whom they set before the Apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them." They separated them from the multitude, and it is the people (<greek>autoi</greek>) that draw them, not the Apostles that lead them. Observe how he avoids all that is superfluous: he does not tell in what way it was done, but that they were ordained (<greek>ekeirotonhqhsan</greek>) with prayer: for this is the meaning of <greek>keirotonia</greek>, (i.e. "putting forth the hand,") or ordination: the hand of the man is laid upon (the person,) but the whole work is of God, and it is His hand which toucheth the head of the one ordained, if he be duly ordained. "And the word of God," it says, "increased: and the number of the disciples multiplied." (v. 7.) It is not for nothing that he says this: it shows how great is the virtue of alms and good order. And as he is about in the sequel to enlarge (<greek>auxein</greek>) upon the affair of Stephen, he puts first the causes which led to it. "And many," he says, "of the priests were obedient to the faith." For(2) since they perceived such to be the mind of their ruler and teacher, they put the matter to the test of facts.--It is also a subject for wonder, how it was that the multitude was not divided in its choice of the men, and how it was that the Apostles were not rejected by them. But what sort of rank these bore, and what sort of office they received, this is what we need to learn. Was it that of Deacons? And yet this is not the case in the Churches. But(3) is it to the Presbyters that the management belongs? And yet at present there was no Bishop, but the Apostles only. Whence I think it clearly and manifestily follows, that neither Deacons nor Presbyters is their designation: but it was for this particular purpose that they were ordained.(*) And this business was not simply handed over to them without further ceremony, but the Apostles prayed over them, that power might be given to them. But observe, I pray you, if there were need of seven men for this, great in proportion must have been the sums of money that flowed in, great in proportion also the number of widows. So then the prayers were not made in an off-hand way, but with much deliberate attention: and this office,(1) as well as preaching, was thus brought to good effect; for what they did, they effected mostly by the means of these (their prayers.) Thus they were enabled to give their attention to things spiritual; thus were these also free to undertake long journeys; thus were these put in trust with the word. But the writer does not say this, nor extol them, but that it was "not reason" that they should leave the work given to them. Thus they had been taught by Moses's example not to undertake the management of everything by themselves. (Num. xi. 14.) "Only," it is said, "that we should remember the poor." (Gal. ii. 10.) And(2) how did they bring these forward? They fasted. "Look you out seven men," etc. (v. 3.) It is not simply, spiritual men, but, "full of the Spirit and of wisdom, "for it needed very great superiority of mind (<greek>filosofias</greek>) to bear the complainings of widows. For what profits it, that the dispenser of alms steal not, if nevertheless he waste all, or be harsh and easily provoked? "And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." (v. 5.) And in this regard Philip also was admirable: for it is of him that the writer says: "And we entered into the house of Philip the Evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him."--(ch. xxi. 8.) Dost thou mark how matters are ordered quite otherwise than after the matter of men? "And the number of disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem." (v. 7.) In Jerusalem the multitude increased. Wonderful, where Christ was slain, there the preaching increased! And not only was it not the case that some were offended then in the manner of Ananias, but the awe became even greater: while these are scourged, those threatening, those tempting the Spirit, those murmuring. But I would have thee remark under what circumstances the multitude increased: after these trials, then it was that the multitude increased, and not before. Mark also how great the mercy of God. Of those chief-priests, of the very men who had indignation and sore displeasure and so cried out and said, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save;" of these same," Many," it says, "were obedient unto the faith." (Matt. xxvii. 42.)

Him therefore let us also imitate. He received them, and did not cast them out. So let us requite those our enemies, who have wrought us even numberless ills. Whatever good thing we may have, let us impart to them: let us not pass them by, in our acts of beneficence. For if we ought, by suffering ill, to sate their rage, much more, by doing them good: for this is a less thing than the other. For it is not all alike, to do good to an enemy, and to be willing to suffer greater wrongs than he wishes (to inflict):(1) from the one we shall come on to the other. This is the dignity of Christ's disciples. Those crucified Him, when He had come for the very purpose of doing them good; His disciples they scourged; and after all this, He admits them to the same honor with His disciples, making them equally partakers of His gifts. I beseech you, let us be imitators of Christ: in this regard it is possible to imitate Him: this makes a man like unto God: this is more than human. Let us hold fast to Mercy: she is the schoolmistress and teacher of that higher Wisdom. He that has learnt to show mercy to the distressed, will learn also not to resent injuries; he that has learnt this, will be able to do good even to his enemies. Let us learn to feel for the ills our neighbors suffer, and we shall learn to endure the ills they inflict. Let us ask the person himself who ill-treats us, whether he does not condemn himself? would he not be glad to show a nobler spirit (<greek>filosofein</greek>) ? must he not own that his behavior is nothing but passion, that it is little-minded, pitiful? would he not like to be of those who are wronged and are silent, and not of those who do wrong, and are beside themselves with passion? can he go away not admiring the patient sufferer? Do not imagine that this makes men despicable. Nothing makes men so despicable, as insolent and injurious behavior: nothing makes men so respectable, as endurance under insolence and injury. For the one is a ruffian, the other a philosopher; the one is less than man, the other is equal to angels. For though he be inferior to the wrong-doer, yet, for all that, he has the power, if he had the mind, to be revenged. And besides, the one is pitied by all, the other hated. What then? The former will be much the better of the two: for everybody will treat the one as a madman, the other as a man of sense. He(2) cannot speak of him in evil sort: yea, thou fearest, says one, lest perchance he be not such (as thou wouldest represent). Best that thou speak not evil in thy thought even; next, that thou speak it not to another. Pray not then to God against this man: if thou hear him evil-spoken of, take his part: say, It was passion that spoke such words, not the man; say, It was anger not my friend: his madness, not his heart. Thus let us account of each offence. Wait not for the fire to be kindled, but check it before it comes to that: do not exasperate the savage beast, rather do not suffer it to become exasperated: for thou wilt no longer be able to check it, if once the flame be kindled. For what has the man called thee? "Thou feel and simpleton." And which then is liable to the name? the called, or the caller? For the one, be he ever so wise, gets the character of being a feel: but the other, even if he be a simpleton, gets credit for being wise, and of philosophic temper. Say, which is the simpleton? he who alleges against another what is untrue, or he who even under such treatment is unmoved? For if it be the mark of true philosophy to be unmoved however moved; to fall into a passion when none moves to anger--what folly is it! I say not yet, how sore a manner of punishment is in store for those who utter such reproaches and revilings against their neighbor. But how? has he called thee "a low fellow and low-born, a sorry creature and of sorry extraction?" Again he has turned the taunt against himself. For the other will appear worthy and respectable, but he a sorry creature indeed: for to cast up such things, that is to say, meanness of birth, as a disgrace. is little-minded indeed: while the other will be thought a great and admirable character, because he thinks nothing of such a taunt, and is no more affected by it than if he were told(3) that he had about him any other ordinary and quite indifferent circumstance. But does he call thee "adulterer," and such like? At this thou mayest even laugh: for, when the conscience is not smitten, there can be no occasion for wrath. * * For when one has considered what bad and disgraceful disclosures he makes, still for all that, there is no need to grieve. He has but laid bare now, what everybody must be apprised of by and bye: meanwhile, as regards himself he has shown all men that he is not to be trusted, for that he knows not how to screen his neighbor's faults: he has disgraced himself more than he has the other; has stopped up against himself every harbor: has made terrible to himself the bar at which he must hereafter be tried. For not the person (whose secrets are betrayed) will be the object of everybody's aversion, but he, who where he ought not to have raised the veil, has stripped off the clothes. But speak thou nothing of the secrets thou knowest: hold thou thy peace if thou wouldest bear off the good fame. For not only wilt thou overthrow what has been spoken, and hide it: but thou wilt also bring about another capital result: thou wilt stop sentence being given against thyself. Does somebody speak evil of thee? Say thou "Had he known all, he would not have spoken only thus much."--So you admire what has been said, and are delighted with it? Aye, but you must follow it. For when we tell you all(1) these maxims of the heathen moralists, it is not because Scripture does not contain hundreds of such sayings, but because these are of more force to put you to the blush. As in fact Scripture itself is wont to use this appeal to our sense of shame; for, instance, when it says, "Do ye even as the heathen." (Jer. xxxv. 3.) And the prophet Jeremiah brought forward into public view the children of Rechab, how they would not consent to violate the command of their father.--Miriam and her company spake evil of Moses, and he immediately begged them off from their punishment; nay, would not so much as let it be known that his cause was avenged. (Num. ch. xii.) But not so we: on the contrary, this is what we most desire; to have all men know that they have not passed unpunished. How long shall we breathe of the earth?--One party cannot make a fight. Pluck the madmen from both sides, you will exasperate them the more: but pluck from right or from left, and you have quenched the passion. The striker, if he has to do with one who will not put up with blows, is the more set on: but if with one who yields, he is the sooner unnerved, and his blow is spent upon himself. For no practised pugilist so unnerves the strength of his antagonist, as does a man who being injuriously treated makes no return. For the other only goes off ashamed, and condemned, first by his own conscience, and secondly by all the lookers on. And there is a proverb too, which says, that "to honor another, is to honor one's self": therefore also to abuse another is to abuse one's self. None, I repeat, will be able to harm us, unless we harm ourselves; nor will any make me poor, unless I make myself such. For come, let us look at it in this way. Suppose that I have a beggarly soul, and let all lavish all their substance upon me, what of that? So long as the soul is not changed, it is all in vain. Suppose I have a noble soul, and let all men take from me my substance: what of that? So long as you do not make the soul beggarly, no harm is done. Suppose my life be impure, and let all men say just the contrary of me: what of that? For though they say it, yet they do not judge thus of me in their heart. Again, suppose my life be pure, and let all say of me just the reverse: and what of that? For in their own conscience they will condemn themselves: since they are not persuaded of what they say. Just as we ought not to admit the praise, so neither the criminations. And why say I these things? None will ever be able to plot against us, nor lay us under any evil charge, if we choose (that they shall not). For how now, I ask you? Let him drag me into a court of justice, let him lay vexatious informations, let him, if you will, have the very soul out of me: and what of that? for a little while, undeservedly to suffer these things, what does it signify? "Well,(2) but this," say you, "is of itself an evil." Well, but of itself this is a good, to suffer undeservedly. What? would you have the suffering to be deserved? Let me mention again a piece of philosophy, from one of the sages. A certain person, says the story, had been put to death. And one of the sage's disciples said to him, "Woe is me, that he should have suffered unjustly!" The other turned upon him, "Why, how now?" said he, "would you have had him justly suffer?" (Socrates ap. Diog. Laert. and Xen. Mem. Socr.) John also, was not he unjustly put to death? Which then do you rather pity: them that justly suffer death, or [him?(1) Do you not count them miserable, while] him you even admire? Then what is a man injured, when from death itself he has got great gain, not merely no hurt? If indeed the man had been immortal, and this made him mortal, no doubt it would be a hurt: but if he be mortal, and in the course of nature must expect death a little later, and his enemy has but expedited his death, and glory with it, what is the harm? Let us but have our soul in good order, and there will be no harm from without. But thou art not in a condition of glory? And what of that? That which is true of wealth, the same holds for glory: if I be magnanimous (<greek>megaloprephs</greek>), I shall need none; if vainglorious, the more I get, the more I shall want. In this way shall I most become illustrious, and obtain greater glory; namely, if I despise glory. Knowing these things, let us be thankful to Him Who hath freely given us such a life, and let us ensue it unto His glory; for to Him belongs the glory, forever. Amen.

HOMILY XV.

ACTS VI. 8.

"And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

SEE how even among the seven one was preëminent, and won the first prize. For though the ordination was common to him and them, yet he drew upon himself greater grace. And observe, how he wrought no (signs and wonders) before this time, but only when he became publicly known; to show that grace alone is not sufficient, but there must be ordination also; so that there was a further access of the Spirit. For if they were full of the Spirit, it was of that which is from the Laver of Baptism. "Then there arose certain of them of the synagogue." (v. 9.) Again he uses the phrase of "rising up" (<greek>anastasin</greek>, Hom. xiii. p. 81), to denote their exasperation and wrath. Here we have a great multitude. And observe the difference in the form of accusation: for since Gamaliel had stopped them from finding fault on the former plea, they bring in another charge. "And there rose up, it says, certain of them of the synagogue of those who are called (<greek>twn</greek> <greek>legomenWn</greek>. Edd. <greek>ths</greek> <greek>legomenhs</greek>) Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God." (v. 9-12.) That they may establish the charge, the phrase is, "he speaks against God, and against Moses." And with this object too they disputed, that they might force him to say somewhat. But he now discoursed more openly, and perhaps spoke of the cessation of the Divine Law: or, spoke it not, but hinted as much: since had he spoken plainly, there had been no need of suborned men, nor yet of false witnesses.(*) The synagogues were diverse: [to wit, "Of the Libertines"]: "of the Cyrenians, i. e. those in the parts beyond Alexandria ["of the Alexandrians," etc.]. There also they seem to have had synagogues according to their different nations; for many stayed behind there, that they might not be obliged to be continually travelling. The Libertines perhaps were freedmen of the Romans. As there were many foreigners dwelling there, so they had their synagogues, where the Law was to be read. "Disputing with Stephen." Observe him, not taking upon him to teach, but forced to do so. The miracles once more brought him into ill-will; but when he overcame m argument, it was false-witness! For they did not wish to kill intolerable to them. "They could not resist, etc.: then they suborned men." Everywhere out of hand, but by means of a sentence, that they might hurt their reputation also: and leaving those (the Apostles), they attack these (the disciples), thinking in this way to terrify those also. They say not, "he speaketh," but, "he ceaseth not to speak. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law." (v. 12, 13.) "Ceaseth not," say they, as if he made this his business. "For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us." (v. 14.) "Jesus," they say, "the Nazarene," as a term of reproach, "shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs." This is also what they said about Christ. "Thou that destroyest this Temple." (Matt. xxvii. 40.) For great was their veneration for the Temple (as indeed they had chosen to leave their own country (<greek>metoikein</greek>) in order to be near it) and for the name of Moses. The charge is twofold. If(1) He "shall change the customs," He will also introduce others instead: observe how the charge is a bitter one, and fraught with perils. "And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." (v. 15.) So possible is it even for one in a lower degree to shine. For what, I ask, had this man less than the Apostles? He lacked not miracles, and great was the boldness he exhibited.(2)--"They saw Iris face," it is said, "as it had been the face of an angel." (Ex. xxxiv. 30.) For this was his grace, this was the glory of Moses. God made him thus gracious (<greek>epikarin</greek>) of visage, now that he was about to say somewhat, thus at once by his very look to awe them. For there are, yes, there are faces full-fraught with spiritual grace, lovely to them that love, awful to haters and enemies. It mentions also the reason, why they suffered his oration.--"Then," it proceeds, "said the high-priest, Are these things so?" (ch. vii. 1.) Observe, the question is put with mildness, that he may, effect some great mischief. For this reason Stephen too begins his speech in a tone of gentleness, and says, "Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran." (v. 2.) Immediately at the outset he overthrows their conceit, and makes it appear by what he says, that the temple is nothing, that the customs are nothing either, without their suspecting his drift: also that they shall not overcome the preaching; and that from powerless (<greek>amhkanwn</greek>) things God evermore contrives Him powerful (<greek>eumhkana</greek>) instruments. Mark then how these threads make the texture of the whole speech: and moreover that having evermore enjoyed exceeding goodness, they still requited their Benefactor with the opposite conduct, and that they are now attempting impossibilities. "The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he came into Charran." Both the temple was not, and sacrifice was not, and yet a vision of God was vouchsafed to Abraham, and yet had he Persians(8) for his ancestors, and was in a strange land. And he does well at the beginning of his speech to call Him, "the God of glory:" seeing that He hath made them that are without honor to be glorious. "Because" (says he) "it was He that made them glorious, He will make us also." Observe how he leads them away from things of the body, from the place, in the first instance, as the place was in question. "The God of glory," says he: implying again, that He needs not the glory which comes from us, which comes by the Temple: for Himself is the Fountain thereof. Think not, he would say, in this way to glorify Him. "And from thy kindred." How(4) then saith the Scripture, that Abraham's father was willing to go out? Hence we learn, that it was in consequence of Abraham's vision, that his father was moved to join in the migration. (Gen. xi. 31.) "And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into a land which I shall show thee." (v. 3.) It shows how far these men are from being children of Abraham, how obedient he was. "And(5) from thy kindred." Uncomfortable (<greek>fortika</greek>) reflections, both, that he endured the labors, while ye reap the fruits, and that all your ancestors were in evil case. "Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, He removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on." (v. 4, 5.) See how he raises their thoughts away from (their possession of) the land.(1) For if He said (that, He will give: clearly fall came from him], and nothing from themselves. For he came, having left both kindred and country. Wherefore then did He not give it to him? Truly it was a figure of another land. "And He promised to give it to him." Do you perceive, that he does not merely resume the thread of his discourse? "He gave him not," says he; "and He promised; and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child." Again, what God can do: that out of impossibilities, He doeth all; For here is a man in Persia, so far away, and this man God saith He will make lord of Palestine. But let us look back to what was said before.

Whence, I pray you, did that grace bloom upon the countenance of Stephen? (Recapitulation.) The writer gives him this report above, that he was "full of faith." (ch. vi. 8). For it is possible to have a grace that does not consist in works of healing: "For to one is given the grace of the Spirit (1 Cor. xii. 8, 9) in such and such wise (<greek>toiwsde</greek>). But here, it seems to me, it says that he was also gracious to look at: "They saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." "Full of faith and of power": (v. 15) which is also the character given of Barnabas "he was a good man, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." (ch. xi. 24.) Whence we learn that the sincere and innocent are, above all others, the(2) men to be saved, and that these same are also more gracious. "Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words." (v. 11.) In the case of the Apostles they were annoyed that they preached the Resurrection, and that much people flowed unto them: but in this case, that they were getting their diseases healed. (ch. iv. 2.) The things for which they ought to give thanks, they made matter of blame: O the madness! The men who overcame them by works, they expected to overcome by words! It is just what they did in the case of Christ, and always they forced them to words. For they were ashamed to seize them without more ado, having nothing to charge them with. And observe, not the persons themselves who bring them to judgment bear witness against them; for they would have been refuted: but they simply hire others, that it may not seem to be an act of mere violence. It is all of a piece with their proceeding in the case of Christ. And observe the power of the preaching, that, though they are not only scourged but stoned, it still prevails: not(8) only, private individuals as they are, dragged to the bar, but assailed from all quarters: and, their enemies themselves being witnesses, not only were these worsted, but "they were not able" even "to resist" (v. 10), though they were exceeding shameless: so mightily did it overthrow them, for all that they could do with their preposterous figments (as the saying that He had a devil--He that cast out devils!). For the battle was not man's, but God's against men. And there were many combined together; not only they in Jerusalem, but others as well. (v. 9.) For "we have heard him," say they, "speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God." (v. 11.) O ye shameless ones! Ye work blasphemous deeds, and think nothing of it. This is why Moses is added--because the things of God were no great concern to them: and it is ever and always Moses that they make mention of: "This Moses, which brought us out." (ch. vii. 40.) "And they stirred up the people." (v. 12.) Fickleness(4) of the multitude! And yet how could a man who was a blasphemer have so succeeded? How could a blasphemer work such miracles among the people? But the undisciplined multitude made them strong who had the worst of it (in argument).--This was what most annoyed them. "We have heard him," they say, "speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God" (v. 13): and again, "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law," and with an addition, "the customs" "which Moses delivered to us" (v. 14); Moses, not God. Upon the supposition of a design to overturn their manner of life (<greek>politeias</greek> ), they accused him of impiety also. But to show that it was not in the nature of such a man to speak such things, and harshly ["Then all," it says, "which were in the council, looking steadfastly upon him, saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel"] (v. 15): so mild was he even in countenance. For, in cases where persons were not falsely accused, Scripture mentions nothing of this kind: but as in this case it was all false accusation, with reason does God rectify it by the very look of the man. For the Apostles indeed were not falsely accused, but were forbidden: but this man is falsely accused: and therefore before all else his countenance pleads for him. This abashed even the priest. "And he said," etc. (ch. vii. 1.) He shows here, that the promise was made before the Place, before Circumcision, before Sacrifice, before the Temple, and that it was not of their merit that these received either Circumcision or Law, but that the land was the reward of obedience alone. Moreover, that neither on the giving of circumcision does the promise receive its fulfillment. Also, that these were figures, and (so was) both the leaving his country at God's command--not[1] against the law (for home and country is where God shall lead): "Then came he out," it says, "of the land of the Chaldeans" (v. 4): --and that if one look closely into the matter, the Jews are of Persian origin: and that, without miracles, one must do as God bids, whatever hardships be the consequence; since the Patriarch left both the grave of his father and all that he had, in obedience to God's command. But if Abraham's father was not allowed to take part with him in the privilege of migrating to Palestine, because he was unworthy: much more shall the children (be excluded at last), for all that they may have gone a good distance on the way. "And He promised," it says, "to give it to him, and to his seed after him." (v. 5.) Herein is shown the greatness both of God's goodness and of Abraham's faith. For the expression, "when as yet he had no child," does show his obedience and faith. "Promised to give it to him and to his seed." And yet the events showed the contrary: namely, after he came, he had not "so much as to set his foot on," had not a child; which very things were contrary to his faith.

These things having seen, let us likewise, whatever God shall promise, receive the same, however contrary may be the events. And yet in our case, they are not contrary, but very suitable. For where the promises are, there, when the contraries turn out, they are really contrary; but in our case it is just the reverse: for He has told us that we should have tribulation here, but our rest there. Why do we confound the times? Why do we turn things upside down? Say, art thou afflicted, and livest in poverty, and in dejection? Be not troubled: for it were worth being troubled at, wert thou destined to be afflicted in that world: as for this present affliction, it is the cause of rest. "This sickness," saith He, "is not unto death." (John xi. 4.) That affliction is punishment: this, schooling and correction. It is a contest, this life present: if so, to fight is our business now: it is war and battle. In war one does not seek to have rest, in war one does not seek to have dainty living, one is not anxious about riches, one's care is not about a wife then: one thing only he looks at, how he may overcome his foes. Be this our care likewise: if we overcome, and return with the victory, God will give us all things. Be this alone our study, how we may overcome the devil: though after all it is not our own study that does it, but God's grace does the whole business. Be it our one study, how we may attract His grace, how we may draw to ourselves that assistance. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. viii. 31.) Let us make one thing our study; that He be not our enemy, that He turn not away from us.

Not the being afflicted is an evil; the evil is, to sin. This is the sore affliction, however we may pass our days in luxury:--not to speak of the life to come, it is so even in this life present. Think how our conscience is stung with remorse, and whether this is not worse than any kind of torture! I should like to put the question searchingly to those who live in evil ways (<greek>en</greek> <greek>kakois</greek>), whether they never come to reflect upon their own sins, whether they do not tremble, and are in fear and anguish, whether they do not think those blessed who live in abstinence, them of the mountains, them of the strict rule? (<greek>tous</greek> <greek>enpollh</greek> <greek>FilosoFia</greek>) Dost thou wish to find rest in the life to come? Suffer affliction in this life for Christ's sake: there is nothing equal to this rest. The Apostles rejoiced when scourged. Paul gives this exhortation, saying, "Rejoice in the Lord." (Philip. iv. 4.) And how can there be rejoicing, where there are bonds, where there are tortures; where there are courts of justice? There, most of all, is rejoicing. But[1] say, how can there be rejoicing, where these are not? For he who is conscious of no evil, will have a sort of exceeding delight, insomuch that in what degree you speak of tribulation, in the same you tell of his delight. The soldier who has received numberless wounds and is come home again, will he not return with exceeding delight, with his wounds[2] as his title for speaking up boldly, and as evidence of his glory and renown? And thou, if thou be able to exclaim as Paul does, "I bear the marks of Jesus" (Gal. vi. 17), wilt be able to become great and glorious and renowned. "But there is no persecution." Make thy stand against glory: and should any one speak anything against thee, fear not to be evil-spoken of for Christ's sake: make thy stand against the tyranny of pride, against the fighting of anger, against the torment of concupiscence. These also are "marks,"[3] these also are torments. For, I ask, what is the worst in tortures? Is it not, that the soul is pained, and is on fire? For in the other case, the body too has its share: but in this, the whole belongs to the soul. On the soul alone comes all the smart, when one is angry, when one is envious, whatever else of this kind one does, or rather suffers. For, in fact, it is not action, but passion, not a doing, but a suffering--to be angered, to feel envy: therefore indeed they are called passions (or sufferings) (<greek>paqh</greek>per-turbationes) of the soul, yea wounds, and bruises. For it is indeed a suffering, and worse than suffering. Bethink you, ye that are angry, that ye do such things in "passion," in a state of suffering. Therefore he who is not angry suffers not. Do you mark that not he who is abused is the sufferer, but he that abuses, as I said above? For that he is a sufferer, is plain in the first place from the very fact, that such a thing is called by this name of passion: and it is also plain from the (effects on the) body: for these are the affections (<greek>paqh</greek>) for "sufferings," as we call them] engendered by anger, viz. dimness of vision, insanity, and numberless others. "But he insulted my boy," say you; "but [he called him] clown."[4] Deem it not weakness thy not doing the same thing thyself. For, I ask you, was it well done? You will not say that: then leave that undone which being done were not well done. I know what passions are engendered in such cases. "But," say you, "how if he despise me, how if he say it again?" Show him that he is in the wrong: rebuke him, entreat him: by meekness anger is put down: go and expostulate with him. For though in cases of wrong done to ourselves it is right not to do even this, yet it is quite necessary to do it in behalf of others. Do not look on it as an insult to yourself that your boy has been insulted: annoyed you may be for his sake, yet not as if you were insulted: for it does not follow because your boy has been ill-treated, that you are disgraced, but he is disgraced that did the ill. Quench (thine anger) that sharp sword: let it lie in its scabbard. If we have it un-sheathed, we shall be apt to use it even when the time is not proper, being drawn on by it: but if it be hidden, though a necessity should arise, yet, while we seek it in order[6] to draw it, the anger will be quenched. Christ would not have us be angry on his account: (hear what He saith to Peter: "Put tip again thy sword into the sheath:") (Matt. xxvi. 52) and art thou angry on account of a boy? Teach thy boy also to be philosophical: tell him thy own sufferings: imitate (herein) thy Teacher. (Matt. xxvi. 52.) When they too (His disciples) were about to be treated with dishonor, He said not, "I will avenge you:" but, "to Me also," saith He, "they have done the same: bear it nobly, for ye are not better than I." These words too do thou speak to thy son and thy boy: "Thou art not better than thy master." But these words of philosophy are counted as the talk of a widow woman. Alas! that it is not in the power of words to bring it home to people in the way that it is possible to be taught it by actual experience! And that you may learn this; stand between two combatants, take part with the wronged, not with the wrong-doers [that you may learn][1] whether you shall not see the victory on your side, whether you shall not get splendid crowns.--See, how God is insulted, and how He answers; how gently, "Where," saith He, "is Abel thy brother?" and what saith the other: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. vi. 9.) What could be more contumacious than this? Would any one have heard it (patiently) even from a son? and if from a brother, would he not have thought such conduct an insult? What then? See how again God gently answers, "The voice of thy brother's blood," saith He "crieth unto Me." "But God," it will be said, "is superior to wrath." Yes, but for this reason the Son of God came down, that He might make thee a God as far as human power can go. "But I cannot," says one, "seeing I am man." Well then, let us give you men for instances. And do not suppose I speak of Paul or of Peter: no, but of some of inferior sort, yea, very much lower down. Eli's menial insulted Hannah, saying, "Put away thy wine from thee." (1 Sam. i. 14.) What could be more insulting than this? What then said she? "I am a woman of a hard lot."[2] Indeed, there is nothing equal to affliction: she is the mother of true philosophy. But this same woman, though she has her rival, insulted her not: but what does she? She takes refuge with God, and in her prayer does not even make mention of her, nor say, "Avenge me, for such an one reproaches me:" so magnanimous was that woman (let us men be ashamed):--and yet ye know, that there is nothing like jealousy. The publican, when insulted by the Pharisee, insulted not in return, though, had he wished it, he might have done so: but he bore it like a philosopher, saying, "Be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke xviii. 13.) Mephibosheth,[3] having been accused and calumniated by his servant, neither said, nor did, any evil to him, not even in the presence of the king himself. (2 Sam. xix. 26.) Shall I tell you even of a harlot, what philosophic magnanimity she showed? Hear Christ saying, as she was wiping His feet with her hair, "The publicans and harlots go into the kingdom before you." (Matt. xxi. 31.) Do you see her standing, and taking courage, and washing away her own sins? Observe, how she was not angry even with the Pharisee, when reproached by him: "for had He known," says he, "that this woman is a sinner, He would not have suffered her (Luke vii. 39): and how she said not to him, "What then? Say, art thou pure from sins?" but felt more, wept more, and let fall hotter tears. But if women and publicans and harlots play the philosopher, and that before grace (i.e. of Baptism), what pardon can they deserve, who, after so great grace, fight, and worry, and kick one another, worse than beasts? Nothing is more base than passion, nothing more disgraceful, nothing more frightful, nothing more odious, nothing more hurtful. These things I say, not only in order that towards men we may be gentle, but also if a wife be a talker, that thou mayest bear it: let thy wife be to thee a school for training and exercise (<greek>palaistra</greek> <greek>kaa</greek> <greek>Uunasiion</greek>) For how can it but be absurd, to submit to exercises which yield no profit, where we afflict the body, but not to practise exercises at home, which, even before the contest, present to us a crown? Does thy wife abuse thee? Do not thou become a woman: to be abusive is womanly: it is a disease of the soul, an inferiority. Think not that it is unworthy of thee, when thy wife abuses thee. Unworthy it is, when thou art abusive, but she bears patiently (<greek>FilosoFh</greek>): then dost thou act unseemly, then art thou disgraced: but if, having been abused, thou bear it, great is the proof of thy strength. I do not say this, to induce wives to be abusive: God forbid: but only in case it should so happen at the instance of Satan. It is the part of men that are strong, to bear the weak. And if thy servant contradict thee, bear it philosophically: not what he deserves to have said to him, do thou say or do, but that which it behooves thee both to do and to say. Never insult a girl by uttering some foul word against her: never call thy servant, scoundrel (<greek>miaron</greek>): not he is disgraced, but thou. It is not possible to be master of one's self, being in a passion. Like a sea rolling mountains high, it is all hurly-burly: or even as a pure fountain, when mire is cast into it, becomes muddied, and all is in turmoil. Yon may beat him, you may rend his coat to rags, but it is you that sustain the greater damage: for to him the blow is on the body and the garment, but to you on the soul. It is your own soul that you have cut open; it is there that you have inflicted a wound: you have flung your own charioteer from his horses. you have got him dragging along the ground upon his back. And it is all one, as if one driver being in a passion with another, should choose to be thus dragged along. You may rebuke, you may chide, you may do whatever if be, only let it be without wrath and passion. For if he who rebukes is physician to him who offends, how can he heal another, when he has first hurt himself, when he does not heal himself? Say, if a physician should go to heal another person, does he first wound his own hand, first blind his own eyes, and so set about healing that other? God forbid. So also, however thou rebuke, however thou chide, let thine eyes see clearly. Do not make thy mind muddy, else how shall the cure be wrought? It is not possible to be in the same tranquillity, being in a passion, and being free from passion. Why dost thou first overturn thy master from his seat, and then discourse with him as he lies sprawling on the ground? Seest thou not the judges, how, when about to hold the assize, they seat themselves upon the bench, in their becoming attire? Thus do thou likewise dress thy soul with the judicial robe (which is gentleness). "But he will not be afraid of me," say you. He will be the more afraid. In the other case, though you speak justly, your servant will impute it to passion: but if you do it with gentleness, he will condemn himself: and, what is of the first importance, God will accept thee, and thus thou wilt be able to attain unto the eternal blessings, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, dominion, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

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