COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
HOMILIES XXIX TO XXXII (ACTS 13, 14 & 15)

HOMILY XXIX.

ACTS XIlI. 16, 17.

"Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought He them out of it."

BEHOLD Barnabas giving place to Paul--how should it be otherwise?--to him whom he brought from Tarsus; just as we find John on all occasions giving way to Peter: and yet Barnabas was more looked up to than Paul: true, but they had an eye only to the common advantage. "Then Paul stood up," it says;--this[1] was a custom of the Jews--" and beckoned with his hand." And see how he prepares the way beforehand for his discourse: having first praised them, and showed his great regard for them in the words, "ye that fear God," he so begins his discourse. And he says not, Ye proselytes, since it was a term of disadvantage.[2] "The God of this people chose our fathers: and the people"--See, he calls God Himself their God peculiarly, Who is the common God of men; and shows how great from the first were His benefits, just as Stephen does. This they do to teach them, that now also God has acted after the same custom, in sending His own Son; (Luke xx. 13): as (Christ) Himself (does) in the parable of the vineyard--"And the people," he says, "He exalted when it sojourned in the land of Egypt "--and yet the contrary was the case:[3] true, but they increased in numbers; moreover, the miracles were wrought on their account: "and with an high arm brought He them out of it." Of these things (the wonders) which were done in Egypt, the prophets are continually making mention. And observe, how he passes over the times of their calamities, and nowhere brings forward their faults, but only God's kindness, leaving those for themselves to think over. "And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness." (v. 18.) Then the settlement. "And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He divided their land to them by lot." (v. 19.) And the time was long; four hundred and fifty years. "And after that He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet."* (v. 20.) Here he shows that God varied His dispensations towards them (at divers times). "And afterward they desired a king:" and (still) not a word of their ingratitude, but throughout he speaks of the kindness of God. "And God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years." (v. 21.) "And when he had removed him, He raised up unto them David to be their king: to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfil all My will. Of this man's seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus." (v. 22, 23.) This was no small thing that Christ should be from David. Then John bears witness to this: "When John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose." (v. 24, 25.) And John too not merely bears witness (to the fact), but (does it in such sort that) when men were bringing the glory to him, he declines it: for it is one thing (not to affect) an honor which nobody thinks of offering; and another, to reject it when all men are ready to give it, and not only to reject it, but to do so with such humility. "Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain." (v. 26-28.) On all occasions we find them making a great point of showing this, that the blessing is peculiarly theirs, that they may not flee (from Christ), as thinking they had nothing to do with Him, because they had crucified Him. "Because they knew Him not," he says: so that the sin was one of ignorance. See how he gently makes an apology even on behalf of those (crucifiers). And not only this: but he adds also, that thus it must needs be. And[1] how so? "By condemning Him, they fulfilled the voices of the prophets." Then again from the Scriptures. "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead. And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people--"(v. 29-31) that He rose again. "And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another Psalm, Thou shall not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but He, Whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (v. 32-39.) Observe[2] how Paul here is more vehement in his discourse: we nowhere find Peter saying this. Then too he adds the terrifying words: "Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." (v. 40, 41.)

(a) Observe[3] how he twines (the thread of) his discourse (alternately) from things present, from the prophets. Thus, "from[4] (this man's) seed according to the promise "--(v. 23): (c) the name of David was dear to them; well then, is it not (a thing to be desired) that a son of his, he says, should be their king?--(b) then he adduces John: then again the prophets, where he says, "By condemning they fulfilled," and gain, "All that was written:" then the Apostles as witnesses of the Resurrection: then David bearing witness. For neither the Old Testament proofs seemed so cogent when taken by themselves as they are in this way, nor yet the latter testimonies apart from the former: wherefore he makes them mutually confirm each other. "Men and brethren," etc. (v. 26.) For since they were possessed by fear, as having slain Him, and conscience made them aliens (the Apostles), discourse not with them as unto Christicides, neither as putting into their hands a good which was not theirs, but one peculiarly their own. (d) "For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers:" as much as to say, not ye, but they: * and again, apologizing even for those, "Because they knew Him not, and the voices of the Prophets which are read every sabbath day, in condemning Him, they fulfilled them." A great charge it is against them that they continually hearing heeded not. But no marvel: for what was said above concerning Egypt and the wilderness, was enough to show their ingratitude. And observe how this Apostle also, as one moved by the Spirit Himself,[1] continually preaches the Passion, the Burial. (g) "Having taken Him down from the tree." Observe, what a great point they make of this. He speaks of the manner of His death. Moreover they bring Pilate (conspicuously) forward, that (the fact of) the Passion may be proved by the mention of the tribunal (by which he was condemned), but at the same time, for the greater impeachment of those (His crucifiers), seeing they delivered Him up to an alien. And he does not say, They made a complaint (against Him), (<greek>enetukon</greek>, al. <greek>antug</greek>-<greek>kanei</greek>) but, "They desired, though having found no cause of death" (in Him), "that He should be slain. (e) Who appeared," he says, "for many days to them that came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem." (Rom. xi. 2.) Instead of[2] ** he says, "Who are His witnesses unto the people," to wit, "The men which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem." Then he produces David and Esaias bearing witness. "The faithful (mercies)," the abiding (mercies), those which never perish. (h) Paul loved them exceedingly. And observe, he does not enlarge on the ingratitude of the fathers, but puts before them what they must fear. For Stephen indeed with good reason does this, seeing he was about to be put to death, not teaching them; and showing them, that the Law is even now on the point of being abolished: (ch. vii.) but not so Paul; he does but threaten and put them in fear. (f) And he does not dwell long on these,[8] as taking it for granted that the word is of course believed; nor enlarge upon the greatness of their punishment, and assail that which they affectionately love, by showing the Law about to be cast out: but dwells upon that which is for their good (telling them), that great shall be the blessings for them being obedient, and great the evils being disobedient.

But let us look over again what has been said. "Ye men of Israel," etc. (v. 16-21.) The Promise then, he says, the fathers received; ye, the reality. (j) And observe, he nowhere mentions right deeds of theirs, but (only) benefits on God's part: "He chose: Exalted: Suffered their manners:" these are no matters of praise to them: "They asked, He gave." But David he does praise (and him) only, because from him the Christ was to come. "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfil all My will." (v. 22.) (i) Observe also; it is with praise (that he says of him), "David after that he had served the will of God:" just as Peter--seeing it was then the beginning of the Gospel--making mention of him, said, "Let it be permitted me to speak freely of the patriarch David." (ch. ii. 29.) Also, he does not say, Died, but, "was added to his fathers. (k) Of this man's seed," etc. "When John," he says, "had first preached before His entry"--by entry he means the Incarnation--" the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel." (v. 23-25.) Thus also John, writing his Gospel, continually has recourse to him: for his name was much thought of in all parts of the world. And observe, he does not say it "Of this man's seed," etc. from himself, but brings John's testimony.

"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham"--he also calls them after their father--" unto you was the word of this salvation sent." (v. 26.) Here the expression, "Unto you," does not mean, Unto (you) Jews. but it gives them a right to sever themselves from those who dared that murder. And what he adds, shows this plainly. "For," he says, "they that dwell at Jerusalem, because they know Him not." (v. 27.) And how, you will say, could they be ignorant, with John to tell them? What marvel, seeing they were so, with the prophets continually crying aloud to them? Then follows another charge: "And having found no cause of death in Him:" in which ignorance had nothing to do. For let us put the case, that they did not hold Him to be the Christ: why did they also kill Him? And "they desired of Pilate, he says, that He should be slain." (v. 28.) "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him." (v. 29.) Observe what a point he makes of showing that the (whole) thing was a (Divine) Dispensation. See,[1] by saying what did they persuade men? (By telling them) that He was crucified? Why, what could be less persuasive than this? That He was buried--by them to whom it was promised that He should be salvation? that He who was buried forgives sins, yea, more than the Law (has power to do)? And (observe), he does not say, From which ye would not but, "from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses." (v. 39.) "Every one," he says: be who he may. For those (ordinances) are of no use, unless there be some benefit (accruing therefrom.) This is why he brings in forgiveness later: and shows it to be greater, when, the thing being (otherwise) impossible, yet this is effected. "Who are His witnesses," he says, "unto the people"--the people that slew Him. Who would never have been so, were they not strengthened by a Divine Power: for they would never have borne such witness to blood-thirsty men, to the very persons that killed Him. But, "He hath raised up Jesus again: This day," he says, "I have begotten thee."* (v. 33.) Aye, upon this the rest follows of course. Why did he not allege some text by which they would be persuaded that forgiveness of sins is by Him? Because the great point with them was to show, in the first place, that He was risen: this being acknowledged, the other was unquestionable. "Through this man," nay more, by Him, "is remission of sins." (v. 38.) And besides, he wished to bring them to a longing desire of this great thing. Well then, His death was not dereliction, but fulfilling of Prophecy.--For the rest, he puts them in mind of historical facts, wherein they through ignorance suffered evils without number. And this he hints in the conclusion, saying, "Look, ye despisers, and behold." And observe how, this being harsh, he cuts it short. Let not that, he says, come upon you, which was spoken for the others, that "I work a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though one declare it unto you." (v. 41.) Marvel not that it seems incredible: this very thing was foretold from the first--(that it would not be believed). "Behold, ye despisers," as regards those who disbelieve in the Resurrection.

This too might with reason be said to us:[2] "Behold ye despisers." For the Church indeed is in very evil case, although ye think her affairs to be in peace. For the mischief of it is, that while we labor under so many evils, we do not even know that we have any. "What sayest thou? We are in possession of our Churches, our Church property, and all the rest, the services are held, the congregation comes to Church every day."[8] True, but one is not to judge of the state of a Church from these things. From what then? Whether there be piety, whether we return home with profit each day, whether reaping some fruit, be it much or little, whether we do it not merely of routine and for the formal acquittance of a duty (<greek>afosioumenoi</greek>). Who has become a better man by attending (daily) service for a whole month? That is the point: otherwise the very thing which seems to bespeak a flourishing condition (of the Church,) does in fact bespeak an ill condition, when all this is done, and nothing comes of it. Would to God (that were all), that nothing comes of it: but indeed, as things are, it turns out even for the worse. What fruit do ye get from your services? Surely if you were getting any profit by them, ye ought to have been long leading the life of true wisdom (<greek>ths</greek> <greek>filosofias</greek>), with so many Prophets twice in every week discoursing to you, so many Apostles, and Evangelists, all setting forth the doctrines of salvation, and placing before you with much exactness that which can form the character aright. The soldier by going to his drill, becomes more perfect in his tactics: the wrestler by frequenting the gymnastic ground becomes more skilful in wrestling: the physician by attending on his teacher becomes more accurate, and knows more, and learns more: and thou--what hast thou gained? I speak not to those who have been members of the Church only a year, but to those who from their earliest age have been attending the services. Think you. that to be religious is to be constant in Church-going (<greek>paraballein</greek> <greek>thsunaxei</greek>)? This is nothing, unless we reap some fruit for ourselves: if (from the gathering together in Church) we do not gather (<greek>su</greek><s225<greek>agwmen</greek>) something for ourselves, it were better to remain at home. For our forefathers built the Churches for us, not just to bring us together from our private houses and show us one to another: since this could have been done also in a market-place, and in baths, and in a public procession :--but to bring together learners and teachers, and make the one better by means of the other. With us it has all become mere customary routine, and formal discharge of a duty: a thing we are used to; that is all. Easter comes, and then great the stir, great the hubbub, and crowding of--I had rather not call them human beings, for their behavior is not commonly human. Easter goes, the tumult abates, but then the quiet which succeeds is again fruitless of good. "Vigils, and holy hymn-singing."--And what is got by these? Nay, it is all the worse. Many do so merely out of vanity. Think how sick at heart it must make me, to see it all like (so much water) poured into a cask with holes in it! But ye will assuredly say to me, We know the Scriptures. And what of that? If ye exemplify the Scriptures by your works, that is the gain, that the profit. The Church is a dyer's vat: if time after time perpetually ye go hence without receiving any dye, what is the use of coming here continually? Why, the mischief is all the greater. Who (of you) has added ought to the customary practices he received from his fathers? For example: such an one has a custom of observing the memorial of his mother, or his wife, or his child: this he does whether he be told or whether he be not told by us, drawn to it by force of habit and conscience. Does this displease thee, you ask? God forbid: on the contrary, I am glad of it with all my heart: only, I would wish that he had gained some fruit also from our discoursing, and that the effect which habit has, were also the effect as regards us[1] (your teachers)--the superinducing of another habit. Else why do I weary myself in vain, and talk uselessly, if ye are to remain in the same state, if the Church services work no good in you? Nay, you will say, we pray. And what of that? "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." (Matt. vii. 21.) Many a time have I determined to hold my peace, seeing no benefit accruing to you from my words; or perhaps there does accrue some, but I, through insatiableness and strong desire, am affected in the same way as those that are mad after riches. For just as they, however much they may get, think they have nothing; so I, because I ardently desire your salvation, until I see you to have made good progress, think nothing done, because of my exceeding eager desire that you should arrive at the very summit. I would that this were the case, and that my eagerness were in fault, not your sloth: but I fear I conjecture but too rightly. For ye must needs be persuaded, that if any benefit had arisen in all this length of time, we ought ere now to have done speaking. In such case, there were no need to you of words, since both in those already spoken there had been enough said for you,[2] and you would be yourselves able to correct others. But the fact, that there is still a necessity of our discoursing to you, only shows, that matters with you are not m a state of high perfection. Then what would we have to be brought about? for one must not merely find fault. I beseech and entreat you not to think it enough to have invaded[8] the Church, but that ye also withdraw hence, having taken somewhat, some medicine, for the curing of your own maladies: and, if not from us, at any rate from the Scriptures, ye have the remedies suitable for each. For instance, is any passionate? Let him attend to the Scripture-readings, and he will of a surety find such either in history or exhortation. In exhortation, when it is said, "The sway of his fury is his destruction" (Ecclus. i. 22); and, "A passionate man is not seemly" (Prov. xi. 25); and such like: and again, "A man full of words shall not prosper" (Ps. cxl. 11); and Christ again, "He that is angry with his brother without a cause (Matt. v. 22); and again the Prophet, "Be ye angry, and sin not" (Ps. iv. 4); and, "Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce." (Gen. xlix. 7.) And in histories, as when thou hearest of Pharaoh filled with much wrath, and the Assyrian. Again, is any one taken captive by love of money? let him hear, that "There is not a more wicked thing than a covetous man: for this man setteth even his own soul for sale (Ecclus. ix. 9); and how Christ saith, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. vi. 24); and the Apostle, that "the love of money is a root of all evils" (1 Tim. vi. 10); and the Prophet, "If riches flow in, set not your heart upon them" (Ps. lxii. 10); and many other like sayings. And from the histories thou hearest of Gehazi, Judas, the chief scribes, and that "gifts blind the eyes of the wise." (Exod. xxiii. 8 and Deut. xvi. 19.) Is another proud? Let him hear that "God resisteth the proud" (James iv. 6); and, "Pride is the beginning of sin" (Ecclus. x. 14) and, "Every one that hath a high heart, is impure before the Lord." (Prov. xvi. 5.) And in the histories, the devil, and all the rest. In a word, since it is impossible to recount all, let each choose out from the Divine Scriptures the remedies for his own hurts. So wash out, if not the whole at once, a part at any rate, part today, and part to-morrow, and then the whole. And with regard to repentance too, and confession, and almsgiving, and justice also, and temperance, and all other things, thou wilt find many examples. "For all these things," says the Apostle, "were written for our admonition." (1 Cor. x. 11.) If then Scripture in all its discoursing is for our admonition, let us attend to it as we ought. Why do we deceive ourselves in vain? I fear it may be said of us also, that "our days have fallen short in vanity, and our years with haste." (Ps. lxxvii. 33.) Who from hearing us has given up the theatres? Who has given up his covetousness? Who has become more ready for almsgiving? I would wish to know this, not for the sake of vainglory, but that I may be inspirited to more zeal, seeing the fruit of my labors to be clearly evident. But as things now are, how shall I put my hand to the work, when I see that for all the rain of doctrine pouring down upon you shower after shower, still our crops remain at the same measure, and the plants have waxed none the higher? Anon the time of threshing is at hand (and) He with the fan. I fear me, test it be all stubble: I fear, lest we be all cast into the furnace. The summer is past, the winter is come: we sit, both young and old, taken captive by our own evil passions. Tell not me, I do not commit fornication: for what art thou the better, if though thou be no fornicator thou art covetous? It matters not to the sparrow caught in the snare that he is not held tight in every part, but only by the foot: he is a lost bird for all that; in the snare he is, and it profits him not that he has his wings free, so long as his foot is held tight. Just so, thou art caught, not by fornication, but by love of money: but caught thou art nevertheless; and the point is, not how thou art caught, but that thou art caught. Let not the young man say, I am no money-lover: well, but perchance thou art a fornicator: and then again what art thou the better? For the fact is, it is not possible for all the passions to set upon us at one and the same time of life: they are divided and marked off, and that, through the mercy of God, that they may not by assailing us all at once become insuperable, and so our wrestling with them be made more difficult. What wretched inertness it shows, not to be able to conquer our passions even when taken one by one, but to be defeated at each several period of our life, and to take credit to ourselves for those which (let us alone) not in consequence of our own hearty endeavors, but merely because, by reason of the time of life, they are dormant? Look at the chariot-drivers, do you not see how exceedingly careful and strict they are with themselves in their training-practice, their labors, their diet, and all the rest, that they may not be thrown down from their chariots, and dragged along (by the reins)?--See what a thing art is. Often even a strong man cannot master a single horse: but a mere boy who has learnt the art shall often take the pair in hand, and with ease lead them and drive them where he will. Nay, in India it is said that a huge monster of an elephant shall yield to a stripling of fifteen, who manages him with the utmost ease. To what purpose have I said all this? To show that, if by dint of study and practice we can throttle into submission (<greek>agkomen</greek>) even elephants and wild horses, much more the passions within us. Whence is it that throughout life we continually fail (in every encounter)? We have never practised this art: never m a time of leisure when there is no contest, talked over with ourselves what shall be useful for us. We are never to be seen in our place on the chariot, until the time for the contest is actually come. Hence the ridiculous figure we make there. Have I not often said, Let us practise ourselves upon those of our own family before the time of trial? With our servants (<greek>paidas</greek>) at home we are often exasperated, let us there quell our anger, that in our intercourse with our friends we may come to have it easily under control. And so, in the case of all the other passions, if we practised ourselves beforehand, we should not make a ridiculous figure in the contests themselves. But now we have our implements and our exercises and our trainings for other things, for arts and feats of the palaestra, but for virtue nothing of the sort. The husbandman would not venture to meddle with a vine, unless he had first been practised in the culture of it: nor the pilot to sit by the helm, unless he had first practised himself well at it: but we, in all respects unpractised, wish for the first prizes! It were good to be silent, good to have no communication with any man in act or word, until we were able to charm (<greek>katepadein</greek>) the wild beast that is within us. The wild beast, I say: for indeed is it not worse than the attack of any wild beast, when wrath and lust make war upon us? Beware of invading the market-place (M<greek>h</greek> <greek>embalhs</greek> <greek>eis</greek> <greek>agoran</greek>) with these beasts, until thou have got the muzzle well upon their mouths, until thou have tamed and made them tractable. Those who lead about their tame lions in the market-place, do you not see what a gain they make of it, what admiration they get, because in the irrational beast they have succeeded in producing such tameness--but, should the lion suddenly take a savage fit, how he scares all the people out of the market-place, and then both the man that leads him about is himself in danger, and if there be loss of life to others, it is his doing? Well then do thou also first tame thy lion, and so lead him about, not for the purpose of receiving money, but that thou mayest acquire a gain, to which there is none equal. For there is nothing equal to gentleness, which both to those that possess it, and to those who are its objects, is exceeding useful. This then let us follow after, that having kept in the way of virtue, and with all diligence finished our course therein, we may be enabled to attain unto the good things eternal, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXX.

ACTS XIII. 42.

"And as they were going out (text rec. 'from the syn. of the Jews,') they besought (the Gentiles) that these words might be spoken unto them on the following sabbath."

Do you mark Paul's wisdom? He not only gained admiration at the time, but put into them a longing desire for a second hearing, while in what he said he dropped some seeds (<greek>eipwn</greek> <greek>tina</greek> <greek>spermata</greek>) as it were, and forbore to solve (the questions raised), or to follow out the subject to its conclusion, his plan being to interest them and engage their good-will to himself,[1] and not make (people) listless and indifferent by casting all at once into the minds of those (who first heard him). He told them the fact, that "through this Man is remission of sins announced unto you," but the how, he did not declare. "And when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and worshipping proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas"--after this point he puts Paul first[2]--"who, speaking unto them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God." (v. 43.) Do you observe the eagerness, how great it is? They "followed" them, it says. Why did they not baptize them immediately? It was not the proper time: there was need to persuade them in order to their steadfast abiding therein. "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." (v. 44.) "But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and contradicted the things spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming." (v. 45.) See malice wounded in wounding others: this made the Apostles more conspicuous--the contradiction which those offered. In the first instance then they of their own accord besought them to speak (and now they opposed them): "contradicting," it says, "and blaspheming." O recklessness! "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (v. 46.) Do you mark how by their contentious behavior they the more extended the preaching, and (how the Apostles here) gave themselves the more to the Gentiles, having (by this very thing) pleaded their justification, and made themselves clear of all blame with their own people (at Jerusalem)? (c) Sec[1] how by their "envy" they bring about great things, other (than they looked for): they brought it about that the Apostles spake out boldly, and came to the Gentiles! For this is why he says, "And speaking out boldly, Paul and Barnabas said." They were to go out to the Gentiles: but observe the boldness coming with measure:[2] for if Peter pleaded in his justification, much more these needed a plea, none having called them there. (ch. xi. 4.) But by saying "To you first," he showed that to those also it was their duty (to preach), and in saying "Necessary," he showed that it was necessary to be preached to them also. "But since ye turn away from it"--he does not say, "Woe unto you," and "Ye are punished," but "We turn unto the Gentiles." With great gentleness is the boldness fraught! (a) Also he does not say, "Ye are unworthy," but "Have judged yourselves unworthy. Lo, we turn unto the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have sent thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." (v. 47.) For that the Gentiles might not be hurt at hearing this, as 8 if the case were so that, had the Jews been in earnest, they themselves would not have obtained the blessings, therefore he brings in the prophecy, saying, "A light of the Gentiles," and, "for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And hearing" (this) "the Gentiles" (v. 48)--this, while it was more cheering to them, seeing the case was this, that whereas those were of right to hear first, they themselves enjoy the blessing, was at the same time more stinging to those--"and the Gentiles," it says, "hearing" (this) "were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and believed, as many as were ordained unto eternal life": i.e., set apart for God.[*] Observe how he shows the speediness of the benefit: "And the word of the Lord was borne through all the region," (v. 49) <greek>diefereto</greek>,[4]instead of <greek>diekomizeto</greek>, "was carried or conveyed through (it)." (d) "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." (v. 50.) "The devout women," (b)[5] instead of the proselyte-women. They did not stop at "envy," but added deeds also. (e) Do you see what they effected by their opposing the preaching? to what dishonor they brought these ("honorable women")? "But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium." (v. 51.) Here now they used that terrible sign. which Christ enjoined, "If any receive you not, shake off the dust from your feet" (Matt. x. 14; Mark vi. 11); but these did it upon no light ground, but because they were driven away by them. This was no hurt to the disciples; on the contrary, they the more continued in the word: "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (v. 32) for the suffering of the teacher does not check his boldness, but makes the disciple more courageous.

"And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews." (ch. xiv. 1.) Again they entered into the synagogues. See how far they were from becoming more timid! Having said, "We turn unto the Gentiles," nevertheless[1] (by going into the synagogues) they superabundantly fortify their own justification (with their Jewish brethren). "So that," it says, "a great multitude both of Jews and Greeks believed." For it is likely they discoursed as to Greeks also. "But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren." (v. 2.) Together (with themselves) now they took to stirring up the Gentiles too, as not being themselves sufficient. Then why did the Apostles not go forth thence? Why, they were not driven away, only attacked. "Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands." (v. 3.) This caused their boldness; or rather, of their boldness indeed their own hearty good-will was the cause--therefore it is that for a long while they work no signs--while the conversion of the hearers was (the effect)of the signs," though their boldness also contributed somewhat. "But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the Apostles." (v. 4.) No small matter this dividing. And this was what the Lord said, "I am not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matt. x. 34.) "And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, they were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: and there they preached the Gospel." (v. 5-7.) Again, as if they purposely wished to extend the preaching after it was increased, they once more sent them out. See on all occasions the persecutions working great good, and defeating the persecutors, and making the persecuted illustrious. For having come to Lystra, he works a great miracle, by raising the lame man.[3] "And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: the same heard Paul speak: who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice"--why with a loud voice? that the multitude should believe--"Stand upright on thy feet." (v. 8, 9.) But observe, he gave heed, it says, to the things spoken by Paul.[4] Do you mark the elevation of the man's mind (<greek>filosofian</greek>)? He was nothing defeated (<greek>pareblabh</greek>) by his lameness for earnestness of hearing. "Who fixing his eyes upon him, and perceiving," it says, "that he had faith to be made whole." He was already predisposed in purpose of mind.[5] And yet in the case of the others, it was the reverse: for first receiving healing in their bodies, they were then taken in hand for cure of their souls, but this man not so. It seems to me, that Paul saw into his soul. "And he leaped," it says, "and walked." (v. 10.) It was a proof of his perfect cure, the leaping. "And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. (v. 11-13.) But this purpose was not yet manifest, for they spake in their own tongue, saying, "The gods in the likeness of men are come down to us:" therefore the Apostle said nothing to them as yet. But when they saw the garlands, then they went out, and rent their garments, "Which when the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you." (v. 14, 15.) See how on all occasions they are clean from the lust of glory, not only not coveting, but even repudiating it when offered: just as Peter also said, "Why gaze ye on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made him to walk" (ch. iii. 12)? so these also say the same. And Joseph also said of he dreams, "Is not their interpretation of God?" (Gen. lx. 8.) And Daniel in like manner, "And to me also, not through the wisdom that is in me was it revealed." (Dan. ii. 30.) And Paul everywhere says this, as when he says, "And for these things who is sufficient? Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think (aught) as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." (2 Cor. ii. 16; iii. 5.) But let us look over again what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) "And when they were gone out," etc. (v. 42). Not merely were the multitudes drawn to them, but how? they besought to have the same words spoken to them again, and by their actions they showed their earnestness. "Now when the congregation," etc. (v. 43.) See the Apostles on all occasions exhorting, not merely accepting men, nor courting them, but, "speaking unto them," it says, "they persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. But when the Jews," etc. (v. 45.) Why did they not contradict before this? Do you observe who on all occasions they were moved by passion? And they not only contradicted, but blasphemed also. For indeed malice stops at nothing. But see what boldness of speech! "It was necessary," he says, "that the word should have been spoken first to you, but since ye put it from you,"--(v. 46) it[1] is not put as affronting (though) it is in fact what they did in the case of the prophets: "Talk not to us," said they, "with talk"--(Is. xxx. 10): "but since ye put it from you"-- it, he saith, not us: for the affront on your part is not to us. For that none may take it as an expression of their piety (that he says,) "Ye judge not yourselves worthy," therefore he first says, "Ye put it from you," and then, "We turn unto the Gentiles." The expression is full of gentleness. He does not say, We abandon you, but so that it is possible--he would say--that we may also turn hither again: and this too is not the consequence of the affront from you, "for so hath (the Lord) commanded us."--(v. 47.) "Then why have ye not done this?"[2] It was indeed needful that the Gentiles should hear, and this not before you: it is your own doing, the "before you." "For so hath the Lord commanded us: I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation," i.e. for knowledge which is unto salvation, and not merely of the Gentiles, but of all men, "unto the ends of the earth--As many as were ordained unto eternal life" (v. 48.): this is also a proof, that their having received these Gentiles was agreeable with the mind of God. But "ordained," not in regard of necessity: "whom He foreknew," saith the Apostle, "He did predestinate." (Rom. viii. 29.) "And the word of the Lord," etc. (v. 49.) No longer in the city (only) were (their doctrines) disseminated, but also in the (whole) region. For when they of the Gentiles had heard it, they also after a little while came over. "But the Jews stirred up the devout women, and raised persecution"--observe even of what is done by the women, they are the authors--"and cast them," it says, "out of their coasts" (v. 50), not from the city merely. Then, what is more terrible, "they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. But the disciples, it says, were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." (v. 51, 52.) The teachers were suffering persecution, and the disciples rejoiced.

"And so spake, that a great multitude," etc. (ch. xiv. 1.) Do you mark the nature of the Gospel, the great virtue it has? "Made their minds evil-affected," it says, "against the brethren:" (v. 2.) i.e. slandered the Apostles, raised numberless accusations against them: (these people, being simple,[3] they "made evil-affected," disposed them to act a malignant part. And see how on all occasions he refers all to God. "Long time," he says, "abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace." (v. 3.) Think not this (expression, "Gave testimony,") hath aught derogatory[4] (to the Lord's Divine Majesty): "Who witnessed," it is said, "before Pontius Pilate." (1 Tim. vi. 13.) Then the boldness--"and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands." Here he speaks it as concerning their own nation. "And the multitude of the city," etc. (v. 4, 5.) Accordingly they did not wait for it, but saw the intention of attacking them,[*] and fled, on no occasion kindling their wrath,[1] "to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, and the adjacent region." (v. 6.) They went away into the country, not into the cities only.--Observe both the simplicity of the Gentiles, and the malignity of the Jews. By their actions they showed that they were worthy to hear: they so honored them from the miracles only. The one sort honored them as gods, the other persecuted them as pestilent fellows: and (those) not only did not take offence at the preaching, but what say they? "The gods, in the likeness of men, are come down to us; but the Jews were offended. "And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius." (v. 11, 12.) I suppose Barnabas was a man of dignified appearance also. Here was a new sort of trial, from immoderate zeal, and no small one: but hence also is shown the virtue of the Apostles, (and) how on all occasions they ascribe all to God.

Let us imitate them: let us think nothing our own, seeing even faith itself is not our own, but more God's (than ours).[2] "For by grace. are ye saved through faith; and this," saith he, "not of ourselves; it is the gift of God." (Eph. ii. 8.) Then let us not think great things of ourselves, nor be puffed up, being as we are, men, dust and ashes, smoke and shadow. For say, Why dost thou think great things of thyself? Hast thou given alms, and lavished thy substance? And what of that? Think, what if God had chosen not to make thee rich? think of them that are impoverished, or rather, think how many have given (not their substance only, but) their bodies moreover, and after their numberless sacrifices, have a felt still that they were miserable creatures! Thou gavest for thyself, Christ (not for Himself, but) for thee: thou didst but pay a debt, Christ owed thee not.--See the uncertainty of the future, and "be not high-minded, but fear" (Rom. xi. 20); do not lessen thy virtue by boastfulness. Wouldest thou do something truly great? Never let a surmise of thy attainments as great enter thy mind. But thou art a virgin? So were those in (the Gospel) virgins, but they got no benefit from their virginity, because of their cruelty and inhumanity.[4] (Matt. xxv. 12.) Nothing like humility: this is mother, and root, and nurse,and foundation, and bond of all good things: without this we are abominable,and execrable, and polluted. For say--let there be some man raising the dead, and healing the lame, and cleansing the lepers, but with[5] proud self-complacency: than this there can be nothing more execrable, nothing more impious, nothing more detestable. Account nothing to be of thyself. Hast thou utterance and grace of teaching? Do not for this account thyself to have aught more than other men. For this cause especially thou oughtest to be humbled, because thou hast been vouchsafed more abundant gifts. For he to whom more was forgiven, will love more (Luke vii. 47): if so,[6] then oughtest thou to be humbled also, for that God having passed by others, took notice of thee. Fear thou because of this: for often this is a cause of destruction to thee, if thou be not watchful. Why thinkest thou great things of thyself? Because thou teachest by words? But this is easy, to philosophize in words: teach me by thy life: that is the best teaching. Sayest thou that it is right to be moderate, and dost thou make a long speech about this thing, and play the orator, pouring forth thy eloquence without a check? But "better than thou is he" shall one say to thee, "who teaches me this by his deeds"--for not so much are those lessons wont to be fixed in the mind which consist in words, as those which teach by things: since if thou hast not the deed, thou not only hast not profiled him by thy words, but hast even hurt him the more--"better thou wert silent." Wherefore? "Because the thing thou proposest to me is impossible: for I consider, that if thou who hast so much to say about it, succeedest not in this, much more am I excusable." For this cause the Prophet says, "But unto the sinner said God. Why declarest thou My statutes?" (Ps. lx. 16.) For this is a worse mischief, when one who teaches well in words, impugns the teaching by his deeds. This has been the cause of many evils in the Churches. Wherefore pardon me, I beseech you, that my discourse dwells long on this evil affection (<greek>paqei</greek>). Many take a deal of pains to be able to stand up in public, and make a long speech: and if they get applause from the multitude, it is to them as if they gained the very kingdom (of heaven): but if silence follows the close of their speech, it is worse than hell itself, the dejection that falls upon their spirits from the silence! This has turned the Churches upside down, because both you desire not to hear a discourse calculated to lead you to compunction, but one that may delight you from the sound and composition of the words, as though you were listening to singers and minstrels (<greek>kiqarwdwn</greek> <greek>kaikiqaristwn</greek>, supra p. 68): and we too act a preposterous and pitiable part in being led by your lusts, when we ought to root them out. And[1] so it is just as if the father of a poor cold-blooded child (already, more delicate than it ought to be, should, although it is so feeble, give it cake and cold (drink) and whatever only pleases the child, and take no account of what might do it good; and then, being reproved by the physicians, should excuse himself by saying, "What can I do? I cannot bear to see the child crying." Thou poor, wretched creature, thou betrayer! for I cannot, call such a one a father: how much better were it for thee, by paining him for a short time, to restore him to health forever, than to make this short-lived pleasure the foundation of a lasting sorrow? Just such is our case, when we idly busy ourselves about beautiful expressions, and the composition and harmony of our sentences, in order that we may please, not profit: (when) we make it our aim to be admired, not to instruct; to delight, not prick to the heart; to be applauded and depart with praise, not to correct men's manners! Believe me, I speak not other than I feel--when as I discourse I hear myself applauded, at the moment indeed I feel it as a man (for why should I not own the truth?): I am delighted, and give way to the pleasurable feeling: but when I get home, and bethink me that those who applauded received no benefit from my discourse, but that whatever benefit they ought to have got, they lost it while applauding and praising, I am in pain, and groan, and weep, and feel as if I had spoken all in vain. I say to myself: "What profit comes to me from my labors, while the hearers do not choose to benefit by what they hear from us?" Nay, often have I thought to make a rule which should prevent all applauding, and persuade you to listen with silence and becoming orderliness. But bear with me, I beseech you, and be persuaded by me, and, if it seem good to you, let us even now establish this rule, that no hearer be permitted to applaud in the midst of any person's discourse, but if he will needs admire, let him admire in silence: there is none to prevent him: and let all his study and eager desire be set upon the receiving the things spoken.--What means that noise again?[2] I am laying down a rule against this very thing, and you have not the forbearance even to hear me!--Many will be the good effects of this regulation: it will be a discipline of philosophy. Even the heathen philosophers--we hear of their discoursing, and nowhere do we find that noisy applause accompanied their words: we hear of the Apostles, making public speeches, and yet nowhere do the accounts add, that in the midst of their speeches the hearers interrupted the speakers with loud expressions of approbation. A great gain will this be to us. But let us establish this rule: in quiet let us all hear, and speak the whole (of what we have to say). For if indeed it were the case that we departed retaining what we had heard, what I insist upon is, that even so the praise is not beneficial[3]--but not to go too much into particulars (on this point); let none tax me with rudeness --but since nothing is gained by it, nay, it is even mischievous, let us loose the hindrance, let us put a stop to the boundings, let us retrench the gambollings of the soul. Christ spoke publicly on the Mount: yet no one said aught, until He had finished His discourse. I do not rob those who wish to be applauded: on the contrary, I make them to be more admired. It is far better that one's hearer, having listened in silence, should by his memory throughout all time applaud, both at home and abroad, than that having lost all he should return home empty, not possessed of that which was the subject of his applauses. For how shall the hearer be otherwise than ridiculous? Nay, he will be deemed a flatterer, and his praises no better than irony, when he declares that the teacher spoke beautifully, but what he said, this he cannot tell. This has all the appearance of adulation. For when indeed one has been hearing minstrels and players, it is no wonder if such be the case with him, seeing he knows not how to utter the strain in the same manner: but where the matter is not an exhibition of song or of voice, but the drift and purport of thoughts and wise reflection (<greek>FilooFias</greek>), and it is easy for every one to tell and report what was said, how can he but deserve the accusation, who cannot tell what the matter was for which he praised the speaker? Nothing so becomes a Church as silence and good order. Noise belongs to theatres, and baths, and public processions, and market-places: but where doctrines, and such doctrines, are the subject of teaching, there should be stillness, and quiet, and calm reflection, and a haven of much repose (<greek>FilodoFia</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>polns</greek> <greek>o</greek> <greek>limhn</greek>). These things I beseech and entreat: for I go about in quest of ways[1] by which I shall be enabled to profit your souls. And no small way I take this to be: it will profit not you only, but us also. So shall we not be carried away with pride (<greek>ekGrachlizeoqai</greek>), not be tempted to love praises and honor, not be led to speak those things which delight, but those which profit: so shall we lay the whole stress of our time and diligence not upon arts of composition and beauties of expression, but upon the matter and meaning of the thoughts. Go into a painter's study, and you will observe how silent all is there. Then so ought it to be here: for here too we are employed in painting portraits, royal portraits (every one of them), none of any private man, by means[2] of the colors of virtue--How now? Applauding again? This is a reform not easy, but (only) by reason of long habit, to be effected --The pencil moreover is the tongue, and the Artist the Holy Spirit. Say, during the celebration of the Mysteries, is there any noise? any disturbance? when we are baptizing (<greek>baptizwmeqa</greek>), when we are doing all the other acts? Is not all Nature decked (as it were) with stillness and silence?[3] Over all the face of heaven is scattered this charm (of repose).--On this account are we evil spoken of even among the Gentiles, as though we did all for display and ostentation. But if this be prevented, the love of the chief seats also will be extinguished. It is sufficient, if any one be enamoured of praise, that he should obtain it after having been heard, when all is gathered in.[4] Yea, I beseech you, let us establish this rule, that doing all things according to God's will, we may be found worthy of the mercy which is from Him, through the grace and compassion of His only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXXI.

ACTS XIV. 14, 15.

"Which when the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."

MARK the vehemence with which all this is done by the Apostles: "rent their clothes, ran in, cried out," all from strong affection of the soul, revolted[1] by the things that were done. For it was a grief, indeed a grief inconsolable, that they should needs be thought gods, and introduce idolatry, the very thing which they came to destroy! This also was a contrivance of the devil--but he did not prevail.[2] But what say they? "We also are men of like passions with you." At the very outset they overthrew the evil. They said not simply, "Men," but "As ye." Then, that they may not seem to honor the gods, hear what they add: "Preaching unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, Who made heaven, the sea, and all things that are therein." Observe how they nowhere mention things invisible[3] (b) For[4] they had learnt that one should study not so much to say somewhat worthy of God, as to say what is profitable for the hearers. (a) What then? if He be Maker of all things, why does He not also attend to these things by His Providence?--"Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways" (v. 16)-but wherefore He suffered them, this he does not say, for at present he keeps to the matter of immediate importance, nowhere bringing in the name of Christ. Observe, he does not wish to swell the accusation against them, but[5] rather that they themselves should refer all to God. "Nevertheless, He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, giving you rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness." (v. 17.) (c) See how covertly he puts the accusation "in that He did good," etc. And yet if God did this, He could not have "let them alone;" on the contrary, they ought to be punished, for that, enjoying so great benefits, they had not acknowledged Him, not even as their feeder.[*] "From heaven," he says, "giving you rain." Thus also David said, "From the fruit of their corn and wine and oil were they made to abound" (Ps. iv. 7), and in many places speaking of Creation, he brings forward these benefits: and Jeremiah mentions first Creation, then Providence (shown) by the rains, so that the Apostle here discourses as taught from those Scriptures. "Filling," he says, "with food and gladness." (Jer. v. 24.) With large liberality (<greek>filotimias</greek>) the food is given, not merely for a frugal sufficiency, nor stinted by the need. "And saying these things, they scarcely stopped the multitudes" (v. 18)--indeed by this very thing they gained most admiration--"from sacrificing to them." Do you observe that this was the point with them to put an end to that madness? "But there came," it says, "certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium" (v. 19).--Indeed children of the devil, that not in their own cities only, but also beyond them, they did these things, and as much made it their study to make an end of the preaching, as the Apostles were in earnest to establish it!--"and having persuaded the multitude and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city." (e) So then, the Gentiles regarded them as gods, but these "dragged" him, "out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Having persuaded the multitude"--for it is not likely that all thus reverenced them. In the very city in which they received this reverence, in the same were they thus terribly ill treated. And this also profited the beholders. "Lest any man," he says, "should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth aught from me." (v. 20.)--"Howbeit as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up and came into the city." (d) Here is fulfilled that saying, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 9.) Greater this than the raising of the lame man! (f) "Came into the city." Do you mark the zeal, do you mark how fervent he[1] is, how set on fire! He came into the city itself again: for proof that if on any occasion he did retire, it was because he had sown the word, and because it was not right to inflame their wrath. (h) Then they went over all the cities in which they had been in danger. "And on the morrow," it says, "he went forth with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the Gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (v. 21, 22.) This they said, this they showed. But it is purposely so done, not only by[2] the Apostles, but by the disciples also, that they may learn from the very outset both the might of the preaching, and that they must themselves also suffer such things, that they may stand nobly, not idly gaping for the miracles, but much more (ready) for the trials. Therefore also the Apostle himself said, "Having the same conflict which ye saw in me and heard." (Phil. i. 30.) Persecutions succeeded to persecutions: wars, fightings, stonings. (g) These things, not less than the miracles, both made them more illustrious, and prepared for them a greater rejoicing. The Scripture nowhere says that they returned rejoicing because they had done miracles, but (it does say that they rejoiced), that "they were counted worthy for that Name to suffer shame." (ch. v. 41.) And this they were taught of Christ, saying, "Rejoice not that the devils obey you." (Luke x. 20.) For the joy indeed and without alloy is this, to suffer aught for Christ's sake. (i) "And that through much tribulation:" what sort of cheering (<greek>protroph</greek>) is this? how did they persuade them, by telling them at the outset of tribulations? Then also another consolation.[3] "And when they had appointed for them elders in every Church,[*] and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (v. 23.) Do you mark Paul's ardor?--Then other consolation: "Commended them," it says, "to the Lord. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia (v. 24, 25): (l) and thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled." (v. 26.) Why do they come back to Antioch? To report what had taken place yonder. And besides, there is a great purpose of Providence concerned: for it was needful that they should thenceforth preach with boldness to the Gentiles. They come therefore, reporting these things, that they may be able to know them: and it is providentially ordered, that just then came those who forbade to keep company with the Gentiles in order that from Jerusalem they might obtain great encouragement, and so go their ways with boldness. And besides, it shows that in their temper there was nothing of self-will: for they come, at the same time showing their boldness, in that without the authority of those (at Jerusalem) they had preached to the Gentiles, and their obedience, in that they refer the matter to them: for they were not made arrogant, as (<greek>apenohqhsan</greek>) having achieved so great successes. "Whence," it says, "they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled." And yet moreover the Spirit had said, "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." (ch. xiii. 2.) "And when they were come, and had gathered the Church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples." (v. 27, 28.) For the city being great had need of teachers.--But let us look over again what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) "Which when the Apostles," etc. (v. 14). First by the sight they checked them, by rending their garments. This did Joshua the son of Nun upon the occasion of the defeat of the people. Then think not that this action was unworthy of them: for such was the eagerness, they would not otherwise have restrained it would not otherwise have quenched the conflagration (<greek>puran</greek>). Therefore when need is to do something that is fit to be done, let us not decline it. For if even after all this they hardly persuaded them, if they had not acted thus, what might have been the consequence? For if they had not done thus, they would have been thought to make a show of humility (<greek>tapeinoqronein</greek>), and to be all the more desirous of the honor. And observe their language, how in rebuking it is moderated, alike full of wonder and of rebuke. This above all it was that hindered them, the saying, "Preaching unto you to turn from these vanities unto God." (v. 15.) We are men indeed, they say, but greater than these: for these are dead things, Mark how they not only subvert (the false), but teach (the true), saying nothing about things invisible--"Who made," say they, "heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. Who in times past," etc. (v. 16, 17.) He names as witnesses even the years (in their courses).[1] "And there came thither certain Jews," etc. (v. 19.) O that Jewish madness! Among a people [that had so honored the Apostles, they bad the hardihood to come, and to stone Paul. "And they dragged him out of the city," being afraid of those (others),--"Supposing he had been dead." (k) "Howbeit," etc. "and came into the city." (v. 20.) For that the spirits of the disciples might not be downcast because they who were accounted gods suffered such treatment, they came in unto them and discoursed. "Then on the morrow," etc. And observe, first he goes forth to Derbe, and then comes back to Lystra and Iconium and Antioch, (v. 21) giving way to them while their passions are roused, but when they have ceased, then attacking them again. Do you mark, that it was not by (supernatural) grace that they managed all that they did, but by their own diligence? "Confirming," it says "the souls of the disciples:" <greek>episthrizontes</greek>, "further establishing;" so that they were established, but they added more thereto. "And that we must," etc. (v. 22): they foretold (this), that they might not be offended. "And when they had appointed for them," etc. Again the ordinations accompanied with fastings: and again fasting, that purifying of our souls. (m) "And having prayed," it says, "with fastings, they commended them unto the Lord" (v. 23): they taught them to fast also in their trials. (o) Why did they not make elders in Cyprus nor in Samaria? Because the latter was near to Jerusalem, the former to Antioch, and the word was strong there; whereas in those parts they needed much consolation, especially they of the Gentiles, who behooved to have much instruction. "And when they were come," etc. (v. 27.) They came, teaching them that with good reason had they been ordained by the Spirit. (n) They said not what they themselves, but "what God had done with them." It seems to me, that they mean their trials. It was not for nothing that they, come here, nor to rest, but providentially guided by the Spirit, to the end that the preaching to the Gentiles might be firmly established. (p) And mark Paul's ardor. He does not ask whether it be right to speak to Gentiles, but he straightway speaks: therefore it is that he says, "I did not refer myself to flesh and blood." (Gal. i. 16.)

For it is indeed[1] a great thing, a great, a generous soul (like this)! How many have since believed, and none of them all has shone like him! What we want is earnestness, exceeding ardor, a soul ready to encounter death. Else is it not possible to attain unto the Kingdom, not being crucified. Let us not deceive ourselves. For if in war it is impossible to come off safe while living daintily, and trafficking, and huckstering and idling, much more in this war. Or think ye not that it is a war worse than all others? (Infra, p. 204, note[1].) "For we wrestle not," he says, "against flesh and blood." (Eph. vi. 12.) Since even while taking our meals and walking, and bathing, the enemy is present with us, and knows no time of truce, except that of sleep only: nay, often even then he carries on the war, injecting into us unclean thoughts, and making us lewd by means of dreams. We watch not, we do not rouse ourselves up, do not look to the multitude of the forces opposed to us, do not reflect, that this very thing constitutes the greatest misfortune--that though surrounded by so great wars, we live daintily as in time of peace. Believe me, worse than Paul suffered may have to be suffered now. Those enemies wounded him with stones: there is a wounding with words, even worse than stones. What then must we do? The same that he did: he did not hate those who cast stones at him, but after they had dragged him out, he entered again into their city, to be a benefactor to those who had done him such wrongs. If thou also endurest him who harshly insults thee, and has done thee wrongs, then hast thou too been stoned. Say not, "I have done him no injury." For what injury had Paul done, that he should be stoned? He was announcing a Kingdom, he was bringing men away from error, and bringing them to God: benefits these, worthy of crowns, worthy of proclamation by voice of herald, worthy of a thousand good things--not of stones. And yet (far from resenting) he did[2] just the contrary. For this is the splendid victory. "And they dragged him," (v. 19) it says, These too they often drag: but be not thou angry; on the contrary, preach thou the word with gentleness. Hath one insulted thee? Hold thy peace, and bless if thou canst, and thou also hast preached the word, hast given a lesson of gentleness, a lesson of meekness. I know that many do not so smart under wounds, as they do under the blow which is inflicted by words: as indeed the one wound the body receives the other the soul. But let us not smart, or rather feeling the smart let us endure. Do you not see the pugilists, how, with their heads sorely battered, they bite their teeth into their lips, and so bear their smarts kindly? No need to grind the teeth, no need to bite (the lips). Remember thy Master, and by the remembrance thou hast at once applied the remedy. Remember Paul: reflect that thou, the beaten hast conquered, and he the beater, is defeated; and by this hast thou cured the whole. It s is the turning of the scale a moment and thou hast achieved the whole: be not hurried away, do not even move, thou hast extinguished the whole (fire). Great[4] eloquence of persuasion there is in suffering aught for Christ: thou preachest not the word of faith, but thou preachest the word of patience (<greek>filosofias</greek>). But, you will say, the more he sees my gentleness, the more he sets upon me. Is it for this then that thou art pained, that he increases thy rewards the more? "But[5] this is the way," you say, "to make him unbearable." This is mere pretext of thine own littleness of mind: on the contrary, the other is the way to make him unbearable, namely, that thou avenge thyself. If God had known, that through forbearance of revenge, the unjust became unbearable, He would not have done[6] this Himself: on the contrary, He would have said, Avenge thyself: but He knew, that other than this is the more likely way to do good. Make not thou a law contary to God: do as He bids thee. Thou art not kinder than He that made us. He hath said, "Bear to be wronged:" thou sayest, "I requite wrong for wrong, that he may not become unbearable." Hast thou then more care for him than God has? Such talk is mere passion and ill temper, arrogance and setting up laws against God's laws. For even if the man were hurt (by our forbearance), would it not be our duty to obey? When God orders anything, let us not make a contrary law. "A submissive answer," we read, turneth away wrath" (Prov. xvi. 1): not an answer of opposition. If it profits thee, it profits him also: but if it hurts thee who art to set him right, how much more will it hurt him? "Physician, heal thyself." Hath one spoken ill of thee? Commend him thou. Hath he reviled thee? Praise him thou. Hath he plotted against thee? Do him a kindness. Requite him with the contrary things, if at least thou at all carest for his salvation and wish not thou to revenge thine own suffering. And yet, you will say, though he has often met with long-suffering from me he has become worse. This is not thine affair, but his. Wilt thou learn what wrongs God suffered? They threw down His altars, and slew His prophets (1 Kings xix. 10), vet He endured it all. Could He not have launched a thunderbolt from above? Nay, when He had sent His prophets, and they killed them, then He sent His Son (Matt. xxi. 37), when they wrought greater impieties, then He sent them greater benefits. And thou too, if thou seest one exasperated, then yield the more: since this madness has greater need of soothing (<greek>paramqias</greek>). The more grievous his abuse of thee, the more meekness does he need from thee: and even as a gale[1] when it blows strong, then it requires yielding to, so also he who is in a passion. When the wild beast is most savage, then we all flee: so also should we flee from him that is angry. Think not that this is an honor to him: for is it an honor we show to the wild beast, and to madmen, when we turn aside out of their way? By no means it is a dishonor and a scorn: or rather not dishonor and scorn, but compassion and humanity. Seest thou not how the sailors, when the wind blows violently, take down their sails, that the vessel may not sink? how, when the horses have run away with the driver, he only leads them into the (open) plain, and does not pull against them that he may not voluntarily exhaust his strength? This do thou also. Wrath is a fire, it is a quick flame needing fuel: do not supply food to the fire, and thou hast soon extinguished the evil. Anger has no power of itself; there must be another to feed it. For thee there is no excuse. He is possessed with madness, and knows not what he does; but when thou, seeing what he is, fallest into the same evils, and art not brought to thy right senses by the sight, what excuse can there be for thee? If coming to a feast thou see at the very outset of the feast some one drunken and acting unseemly, would not he, who after seeing him makes himself drunk, be much more inexcusable? Just so it is here. Do we think it any excuse to say, I was not the first to begin? This is against us, that even the sight of the other in that condition did not bring us to our fight senses. It is just as if one should say, "I did not murder him first." For this very thing makes thee deserving of punishment, that even upon the warning of such a spectacle thou didst not restrain thyself. If thou shouldest see the drunken man in the act of vomiting, retching, bursting, his eyes strained, filling the table with his filthiness, everybody hurrying out of his way, and then shouldest fall into the same state thyself, wouldest thou not be more hateful? Like him is he that is in a passion: more than he who vomits, he has his veins distended, his eyes inflamed, his bowels racked; he vomits forth words far more filthy than that food; all crude what he utters, nothing duly digested, for his passion will not let it be. But as in that case excess of fumes (<greek>kumwn</greek>), making an uproar in the stomach, often rejects all its contents; so here, excess of heat, making a tumult in the soul suffers him not to conceal what it were right to leave unsaid, but things fit and unfit to be spoken, he says all alike, not putting the hearers but himself to shame. As then we get out of the way of those that vomit, so let us from those who are angry. Let us cast dust upon their vomit: By doing what?[2] By holding our peace: let us call the dogs to eat up the vomit. I know that ye are disgusted at hearing this: but I wish you to feel this same disgust when ye see these things take place, and not to be pleased at the thing. The abusive man is filthier than the dog that returneth to its own vomit. For if indeed having vomited once he were done with it, he would not be like that dog: but if he vomits the same things again, it is plain that he does so from having eaten the same again. What then is more abominable than such an one? What filthier than that mouth which chews such food? And yet this is a work of nature, but the other not or rather both the one and the other are contrary to nature. How? Since it is not according to nature to be causelessly abusive, but against nature: he speaks nothing then like a man, but part as beast, part as madman. As then the disease of the body is contrary to nature, so also is this. And to show that it is contrary to nature, if he shall continue in it, he will perish by little and little: but if he continue in that which is natural, he will not perish. I had rather sit at table with a man who eats dirt, than with one who speaks such words. See ye not the swine devouring dung? So also do these. For what is more stinking than the words which abusive men utter? It is their study to speak nothing wholesome, nothing pure, but whatever is base, whatever is unseemly, that they study both to do and say: and what is worse, they think to disgrace others, while they in fact are disgracing themselves. For that it is themselves they disgrace is plain. For, leaving out of the question those who speak lies (in their railings), say it be some notorious harlot, or even from the stage some other (abandoned creature), and let that person be having a fight with some other person: then let the latter cast this up to the former (what she or he is), and the former retort upon the latter the same reproach: which of them is most damaged by the words? For[1] the former is but called what in fact he or she is, which is not the case with the other: so that the first gets nothing more in the way of shame (than there was before), while to the other there accrues a great accession of disgrace. But again, let there be some hidden actions (mod. text <greek>eirgasmen</greek>><greek>a</greek> "which have been done"), and let only the person abusing know of them: then, holding his peace until now, let him openly parade (<greek>ekpompeuetw</greek>) the reproach: even so, he himself is more disgraced than the other. How? by making himself the herald of the wickedness, so[2] getting for himself either the imputation of not being privy to any such thing, or the character of one not fit to be trusted. And you shall see all men forthwith accuse him: "If indeed he had been privy to a murder being done, he ought to have revealed it all:" and so they regard him with aversion as not human even, they hate him, they say he is a wild beast, fierce and cruel: while the other they pardon much rather than him. For we do not so much hate those that have wounds, as those that compel one to uncover and show them. Thus that man has not only disgraced the other, but himself as well and his hearers, and the common nature of men: he has wounded the hearer, done no good. For this reason Paul says: "If there be any word that is good for edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (Eph. iv. 29.) Let us get a tongue speaking only good things, that we may be lovely and amiable. But indeed, everything is come to that pitch of wickedness, that many boast of the very things, for which they should hide their faces. For the threats of the many are of this kind: "thou canst not bear my tongue," say they. Words, these, worthy only of a woman, of an abandoned drunken old hag, one of those that are dragged (to punishment)[3] in the forum, a procuress. Nothing more shameful than these words, nothing more unmanly, more womanlike, than to have your strength in the tongue, and to think great things of yourself because you can rail, just like the fellows in processions, like the buffoons, parasites, and flatterers. Swine they are rather than men, who pride themselves upon this. Whereas you should (sooner) have buried yourself, and if another gave you this character, should recoil from the charge as odious and unmanly, instead of that you have made yourself the herald of (your own) disgrace (<greek>ubrewn</greek>). But you will not be able to hurt him you speak ill of. Wherefore I beseech you, considering how the wickedness is come to such a height, that many boast of it, let us return to our senses, let us recover those who are thus mad, let us take away these councils[4] out of the city, let us make our tongue gracious, let us rid it of all evil speaking, that being clean from sins, we may be able to draw down upon us the good-will from above, and to have mercy vouchsafed unto us from God, through the grace and compassion of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXXII.

ACTS XV. 1.

"And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."

Mark[1] how at every step of the right progress in respect of the Gentiles, the beginning is brought in as matter of necessity. Before this (Peter) being found fault with, justified himself, and said all that he said in the' tone of apology, which was what made his words acceptable: then, the Jews having turned away, upon this (Paul) came to the Gentiles. Here again, seeing another extravagance coming in, upon this (the apostle) enacts the law. For as it is likely that they, as being taught of God, discoursed to all indifferently, this moved to jealousy them of the Jews (who had believed). And they did not merely speak of circumcision, but they said, Ye cannot even be saved. Whereas the very opposite to this was the case, that receiving circumcision they could not be saved. Do you mark how closely the trials succeed each other, from within, from without? It is well ordered too, that this happens when Paul is present, that he may answer them. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question." (v. 2.) And Paul does not say, What? Have I not a right to be believed after so many signs? but he complied for their sakes. "And being brought on their way by the Church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren." (v. 3.) And observe, the consequence is that all the Samaritans also, learn what has come to the Gentiles: and they rejoiced. "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the Church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them." (v. 4.) See what a providence is here! "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that of old days God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe." (v. 5-7.) Observe Peter from the first standing aloof (<greek>kekwrismenon</greek>) from the affair, and even to this time judaizing. And yet (says he)" ye know." (ch. x. 45; xi, 2.) Perhaps those were present who of old found fault with him in the matter of Cornelius, and went in with him (on that occasion): for this reason he brings them forward as witnesses. "From old days," he says, "did choose among you." What means, "Among you?" Either, in Palestine, or, you being present. "By my mouth." Observe how he shows that it was God speaking by him, and no human utterance. "And God, that knoweth the hearts, gave testimony unto them:" he refers them to the spiritual testimony: "by giving them the Holy Ghost even as unto us." (v. 8.) Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. "And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith." (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision. For indeed they do not say all this only by way of apology for the Gentiles, but to teach (the Jewish believers) also to abandon the Law. However, at present this is not said. "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?" (v. 10.) What means, "Tempt ye God?" As if He had not power to save by faith. Consequently, it proceeds from a want of faith, this bringing in the Law. Then he shows that they themselves were nothing benefited by it, and he turns the whole (stress of his speech) against the Law, not against them, and (so) cuts short the accusation of them: "which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved, even as they." (v. 11.) How full of power these words! The same that Paul says at large in the Epistle to the Romans, the same says Peter here. "For if Abraham," says (Paul), "was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God." (Rom. iv. 2.) Do you perceive that all this is more a lesson for them than apology for the Gentiles? However, if he had spoken this without a plea for speaking, he[1] would have been suspected: an occasion having offered, he lays hold of it, and speaks out fearlessly. See on all occasions how the designs of their foes are made to work with them. If those had not stirred the question, these things would not have been spoken, nor what follows.[*] (Recapitulation.) (b) But[2] let us look more closely at what has been said. "And certain men," etc. In Jerusalem, then, there were not any believers from among the Gentiles: but in Antioch of course there were. Therefore[3] there came down certain yet laboring under this disease of the love of rule, and wishing to have those of the Gentiles attached to them. And yet Paul, though he too was learned in the Law, was not thus affected. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small disputation with them," etc. (v. 2.) But when he returned from thence, the doctrine also became more exact. For if they at Jerusalem enjoin no such thing, much more these (have no right to do so). "And being brought on their way," etc, "they caused no small joy to the brethren." (v. 3.) Do you mark, as many as are not enamoured of rule, rejoiced in their believing? It was no ambitious feeling that prompted their recitals, neither was it for display, but in justification of the preaching to the Gentiles. (v. 4.) Thus they say nothing of what had happened in the matter of the Jews.[4] "But there arose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed," etc. (v. 5.) (a) But even if they would needs bring over the Gentiles to their side, they learn that neither must the Apostles overlook it.[5] "And the Apostles and eiders," etc. (v. 6.) "Among us," he says, "God chose:" and "from old days:" long ago, he says, not now. And[6] this too is no small point--at a time when Jews believed, not turned away (from the Gospel). "Among us;" an argument from the place: "of old days," from the time. And that expression, "Chose:" just as in their own case[7] he says not, (so) willed it, but, "Chose that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel and believe." Whence is this proved? From the Spirit. Then he shows that the testimony given them is not of grace merely, but of their virtue. "And God which knoweth the hearts bare them witness" (v. 8); having afforded to them nothing less (than to us), for, he says," Put no difference between us and them." (v. 9.) Why then, hearts are what one must everywhere look to.[1] And it is very appositely said, "God that knoweth the hearts bare them witness:" as in the former instance, "Thou, Lord, that knowest the hearts of all men." (ch. i. 24.) For to show that this is the meaning, observe what he adds, "Put no difference between us and them." When he has mentioned the testimony borne to them, then he utters that great word, the same which Paul speaks, "Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision." (1 Cor. vii, 19.) "That he may make the twain one in Himself." (Eph. ii. 5.) Of all these the seeds lie in Peter's discourse. And he does not say (between) them of the circumcision, but "Between us," that is the Apostles, "and them." Then, that the expression, "no difference" may not seem an outrage, After faith, he says--"Having purified their hearts by faith" (v. 10)-He thoroughly cleansed them first.[2] Then he shows, not that the Law was evil, but themselves weak.--"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved even as they." (v. 11.) Mark how he ends with a fearful consideration. He[3] does not discourse to them from the Prophets, but from things present, of which themselves were witnesses. Of course[4] (the Prophets) also themselves anon add their testimony (infra v. 15), and make the reason stronger by what has now come to pass. And observe, he first permits the question to be moved in the Church, and then speaks. "And put no difference between"--he said not, them of the circumcision, but "us and them," i.e. the Gentiles: for[5] this (gradual advance) little by little is stronger. "Why therefore tempt ye God?" who is become (the) God of the Gentiles: far this was tempting:[6] *** whether He is able to save even after the Law. See what he does. He shows that they are in danger. For if, what the Law could not do, faith had power to do, "we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved even as they" (comp. Gal. ii. 16): but faith falling off, behold, themselves (are) in destruction. And he did not say, Why do ye disbelieve? which was more harsh, but, "Tempt God," and that when the fact is demonstrated.

(c) Great effrontery this, of the Pharisees, that even after faith they set up the Law, and will not obey the Apostles. But see these, how mildly they speak, and not in the tone of authority: such words are amiable, and more apt to fix themselves in the mind. Observe, it is nowhere a display of words, but demonstration by facts, by the Spirit. And yet, though they have such proofs, they still speak gently. And observe they[7] do not come accusing those at Antioch, but "declaring all things that God had done with them:" (v. 4) but thence again these men lay hold upon the occasion (to compass their own objects), "but there rose up," etc. (v. 1.) Such were the pains they took in their love of power: and it was not with the knowledge of the Apostles that they Paul and Barnabas were blamed. But still they brought forward none of these charges: but when they have proved the matter, then (the Apostles) write in stronger terms. For gentleness[8] is everywhere a great good: gentleness, I say, not stupid indifference; gentleness, not adulation: for between these there is a vast difference. Nothing ruffled Paul, nothing discomposed Peter. When thou hast convincing proofs, why lose thy temper, to render these of none effect? It is impossible for one who is out of temper ever to persuade. Yesterday also we discoursed about anger; but there is no reason why we should not to-day also; perchance a second exhortation coming directly after the first will effect somewhat. For indeed a medicine though of virtue to heal a wound, unless it be constantly renewed, mars all. And think not that our continual discoursing about the same things is a condemning of you: for if we condemned you, we should not discourse; but now, hoping that you will gain much, we speak these things. Would indeed that we did speak constantly of the same things: would that there were no other subject of our discourses, than how we might overcome our passions. For is it not contrary to all reason, that while emperors, living in luxury and so great honor, have no subject of discourse either while sitting at table, or at any other time, save only how to overcome their enemies[1]--and therefore it is that they hold their assemblies each day, and appoint generals and soldiers, and demand taxes and tributes; and that of all state affairs, the moving causes are these two, the overcoming of those who make war upon them, and the establishing of their subjects in peace--we have no mind for such themes as this, nor ever even dream of conversing upon them: but how we may buy land, or purchase slaves, and make our property greater, these are subjects we can talk about every day, and never be tired of them: while concerning things in ourselves and really our own, we neither wish to speak ourselves, nor so much as dream of tolerating advice, nor of enduring to hear others speaking about them? But answer me, what do you talk about? About dinner? Why that is a subject for cooks. Of money? Nay, that is a theme for hucksters and merchants. Of buildings? That belongs to carpenters and builders. Of land? That talk is for husbandmen. But for us, there is no other proper business, save this, how we may make wealth for the soul. Then let not the discourse be wearisome to you. Why is it that none finds fault with the physician for always discoursing of the healing art, nor with people of other crafts for talking about their peculiar arts? If indeed the mastery over our passions were really achieved, so that there were no need of putting us in mind, we might reasonably be taxed with ambition and display: or rather, not then either. For even if it were gained, for all that, there would be need of discoursing, that one might not relapse and remain uncorrected: as in fact physicians discourse not only to the sick, but also to the whole, and they have books on this subject, on the one part how to free from disease, on the other how to preserve health. So that even if we are well, still we must not give over, but must do all in order to the preserving of our health. And when we are sick there is a twofold necessity for advice: first, that we may be freed from the disease; secondly, that having been freed, we may not fall into it again. Well then, we are discoursing now by the method of treating the sick, not by the rules for the treatment of the healthy.

How then may one root out this evil passion? how subdue (<greek>uposkeliseie</greek>) this violent fever? Let us see whence it had its birth, and let us remove the cause. Whence is it wont to arise? From arrogance and much haughtiness. This cause then let us remove, and the disease is removed together with it. But what is arrogance? whence does it arise? for perhaps we are likely to have to go back to a still higher origin. But whatever course the reason of the thing may point out, that let us take, that we may go to the bottom of the mischief, and pluck it up by the roots. Whence then comes arrogance? From our not looking into our own concerns, but instead of that, busying ourselves about the nature of land, though we are not husbandmen, and the nature of gold, though we are not merchants, and concerning clothing, and everything else: while to ourselves and our own nature we never look at all. And who, you will say, is ignorant of his own nature? Many: perhaps all, save a few: and if ye will, I will show the proof of it. For, tell me, what is man? If one were asked, will he be able to answer outright to the questions, In what he differs from the brutes, in what he is akin to the heavenly inhabitants, what can be made of man? For as in the case of any other material, so also in this case: man is the subject-matter, but of this can be made either an angel or a beast. Does not this seem a strange saying? And yet ye have often heard it in the Scriptures. For of certain human beings it was said, "he is the angel of the Lord" (Mal. ii. 7): and "from his lips," saith it, "they shall seek judgment" (Mal. iii. 1): and again, "I send My angel before Thy face:" but of some, "Serpents, generation of vipers." (Matt. xii. 34.) So then, it all depends upon the use. Why do I say, an angel? the man can become God, and a child of God. For we read, "I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High." (Ps. lxxxii. 6.) And what is greater, the power to become both God and angel and child of God is put into his own hands. Yea, so it is, man can be the maker of an angel. Perchance this saying has startled you? Hear however Christ saying: "In the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like unto the angels." (Matt. xxii. 30.) And again, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matt. xix. 12.) In a word, it is virtue which makes angels: but this is in our power: therefore we are able to make angels, though not in nature, certainly in will. For indeed if virtue be absent, it is no advantage to be an angel by nature; and the Devil is a proof of this, who was an angel once: but if virtue be present, it is no loss to be a man by nature; and John is a proof of this, who was a man, and Elias who went up into heaven, and all those who are about to depart thither. For these indeed, though with bodies, were not prevented from dwelling in heaven: while those others, though without bodies, could not remain in heaven. Let no one then grieve or be vexed with his nature as if it were a hindrance to him, but with his will. He (the Devil) from being incorporeal became a lion: for lo! it saith, "Our adversary, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. v. 8): we from being corporeal, become angels. For just as if a person, having found some precious material, should despise it, as not being an artificer, it will be a great loss to him, whether it be pearls, or a pearl shell, or any other such thing that he has seen; so we likewise, if we are ignorant of our own nature, shall despise it much: but if we know what it is, we shall exhibit much zeal, and reap the greatest profits. For from this nature is wrought a king's robe, from this a king's house, from this nature are fashioned a king's members: all are kingly. Let us not then misuse our own nature to our hurt. He has made us "a little lower than the angels," (Ps. viii. 5), I mean, by reason of death: but even that little we have now recovered. There is nothing therefore to hinder us from becoming nigh to the angels, if we will. Let us then will it, let us will it, and having exercised ourselves thoroughly, let us return honor to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, world without end, Amen.

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