ACTS XV. 13, 15.

"And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Symeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets."

This (James) was bishop, as they say, and therefore he speaks last, and herein is fulfilled that saying, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (Deut. xvii. 6; Matt. xviii. 16.) But observe the discretion shown by him also, in making his argument good from the prophets, both new and old.[1] For he had no acts of his own to declare, as Peter had and Paul. And indeed it is wisely ordered that this (the active) part is assigned to those, as not intended. to be locally fixed in Jerusalem, whereas (James) here, who performs the part of teacher, is no way responsible for what has been done, while however he is not divided from them in opinion.[*] (b) "Men and brethren," he says, "hearken unto me." Great is the moderation of the man. His also is a more complete oration, as indeed it puts the completion to the matter under discussion. (a) "Symeon," he says, "declared:" (namely,) in Luke, in that he prophesied, "Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all nations, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."[1] (c) "How God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name." (Luke ii. 25.) Then, since that (witness), though[2] from the time indeed he was manifest, yet had not authority by reason of his not being ancient, therefore he produces ancient prophecy also, saying, "And to this agree the words of the Prophets, as it is written: After this I wilt return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." (v. 16.) What? was Jerusalem raised up? Was it not rather thrown down? What[3] sort of raising up does he call that which took place after the return from Babylon? "That the residue of men," he says, "may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called." (v. 17.) Then, what makes his word authoritative--"Saith the Lord, which doeth all these things:" and, for that this is no new thing, but all was planned from the beginning, "Known unto God are all His works from everlasting."[*] (v. 18.) And then again his authority (<greek>kai</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>axiwma</greek> <greek>palin</greek>) (as Bishop): "Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." (v. 19-21.) Since[4] then they had heard of the Law, with good reason he enjoins these things from the Law, that he may not seem to make it of no authority. And (yet) observe how he does not let them be told these things from the Law, but from himself, saying, It is not that I heard these things from the Law, but how? "We have judged." Then the decree is made in common. "Then pleased it the Apostles and elders, together with the whole Church, to choose men of their own company"--do you observe they do not merely enact these matters, and nothing more?--"and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas:namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner." (v. 22.) And observe, the more to authenticate the decree, they send men of their own, that there may be no room for regarding Paul and his company with suspicion. "The Apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia." (v. 23.) And mark[5] with what forbearance of all harsh vituperation of those (brethren) they indite their epistle. "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Law: to whom we gave no such commandment." (v. 24.) Sufficient was this charge against the temerity of those men, and worthy of the Apostles' moderation, that they said nothing beyond this. Then to show that they do not act despotically, that all are agreed in this, that with deliberation they write this--"It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send men of ours whom we have chosen" (v. 25)--then, that it may not look like disparagement of Paul and Barnabas, that those men are sent, observe the encomium passed upon them--"together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas; who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us"--it is not man's doing, it says--"to lay upon you no greater burden"--again it calls the LaW a burden: then apologizing even for these injunctions--"save these necessary things" (v. 26-28): "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. (v. 29.) For these things the New Testament did not enjoin: we nowhere find that Christ discoursed about these matters; but these things they take from the Law. "From things strangled," it says, "and from blood." here it prohibits murder. (Comp. Gen. ix. 5.) "So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation." (v. 30-31.) Then those (brethren) also exhorted them: and having established them, for towards Paul they were contentiously disposed, so departed from them in peace. "And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the Apostles." (v. 32-33.) No more factions and fightings, but thenceforth Paul taught.[1]

(Recapitulation.) "Then all the multitude kept silence," etc. (v. 12.) There was no arrogance in the Church. After Peter Paul speaks, and none silences him: James waits patiently, not starts up[2] (for the next word). Great the orderliness (of the proceedings). No word speaks John here, no word the other Apostles, but held their peace, for James was invested with the chief rule, and think it no hardship. So clean was their soul from love of glory. "And after that they had held their peace, James answered," etc. (v. 13.) (b) Peter indeed spoke more strongly, but James here more mildly: for thus it behooves one in high authority, to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part. (a) But what means it, "How God first (<greek>prwton</greek>) did visit?" (v. 14.) (It means) from the beginning (<greek>ex</greek> <greek>arkhs</greek>).[3] (c) Moreover he well says," Symeon expounded" (<greek>exhghsato</greek>) (or, interpreted), implying that he too spake the mind of others. "And to this agree," etc. Observe how he shows that this is a doctrine of old time. "To take out of the Gentiles," he says, "a people for His Name." (v. 15.) Not simply, Chose, but, "for His Name," that is for His glory. His Name is not shamed by the taking (<greek>prolhYei</greek>) the Gentiles first, but it is even a greater glory.--Here some even great thing is hinted at: that these are chosen before all.[4] "After this I will return, and rebuild the tabernacle of David which is fallen down." (v. 16.) But if one would look into the matter closely, the kingdom of David does in fact now stand, his Offspring reigning everywhere. For what is the good of the buildings and the city, with none obeying there? And what is the harm arising from the destruction of the city, when all are willing to give their very souls? There is that come which is more illustrious than David: in all parts of the world is he now sung. This has come to pass: if so, then must this also come to pass, "And I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:" to what end? "that the residue of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called." (v. 17.) If then it was to this end that the city rose again (namely) because of Him (that was to come) of them, it shows that of the building of the city the cause is, the calling of the Gentiles. Who are "the residue?" those who are then left.[5] "And all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called:" but observe, how he keeps the due order, and brings them in second. "Saith the Lord, which doeth these things." Not "saith" (only), but "doeth." Why then, it was God's work.--"But the question is other than this (namely), what Peter spoke more plainly, whether they must be circumcised. Then why dost thou harangue about these matters?" For what the objectors asserted, was not that they must not be received upon believing, but that it must be with the Law. And upon this Peter well pleaded: but then, as this very thing above all others troubled the hearers, therefore he sets this to rights again (<greek>qerapeuei</greek>). And observe, that which was needful to be enacted as a rule, that it is not necessary to keep the Law, this Peter introduced: but the milder part,[1] the truth which was received of old, this James saith, and dwells upon that concerning which nothing is[2] written, in order that having soothed their minds by that which is acknowledged, he may opportunely introduce this likewise. "Wherefore," saith he, "my sentence is, not to trouble them which from among the Gentiles do turn unto God" '(v. 19), that is, not to subvert: for, if God called them, and these observances subvert, we fight against God. And[3] again, "them which from the Gentiles," he saith, "do turn." And he says well, with authority, the "my sentence is. But that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication"--(b) and yet they often insisted upon these points in discoursing to them[4]--but, that he may seem also to honor the Law (he mentions), these also, speaking (however) not as from Moses but from the Apostles, and to make the commandments many, he has divided the one into two (saying), "and from things strangled, and from blood." (v. 20.) For these, although relating to the body, were necessary to be observed, because (these things) caused great evils, "For Moses hath of old times in every city," etc. (v. 21.) This above all quieted them. (<greek>anepausen</greek>) (a) For this cause I affirm that it is good (so "to write to them.") Then why do we not write the same injunctions to Jews also? Moses discourses unto them. See what condescension (to their weakness)! Where it did no harm, he set him up as teacher, and indulged them with a gratification which hindered nothing, by permitting Jews to hear him in regard of these matters, even while leading away from him them of the Gentiles. See what wisdom! He seems to honor him, and to set him up as the authority for his own people, and by this very thing he leads away the Gentiles from him![*] "Being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." Then why do they not learn (what is to be learnt) out of him, for instance ** ?[5] Through the perversity of these men. He shows that even these (the Jews) need observe no more (than these necessary thing's). And if we do not write to them, it is not that they are bound to observe anything more, but only that they have one to tell them. And he does not say, Not to offend, nor to turn them back,[1] which is what Paul said to the Galatians, but, "not to trouble them:" he shows that the point (<greek>katorqwma</greek>) if carried is nothing but a mere troubling. Thus he made an end of the whole matter;[2] and while he seems to preserve the Law by adopting these rules from it, he unbinds it by taking only these. (c)[3] There was a design of Providence in the disputation also, that after the disputation the doctrine might be more firm. "Then pleased it the Apostles to send chosen men of their own company," etc., no ordinary persons, but the "leading men; having written" (letters) "by them after this manner. To those in Antioch," it says, "and Syria and Cilicia." (v. 22, 23) where the disease had its birth. Observe how they say nothing harsher (<greek>forti</greek>-<greek>kwteron</greek>) against those men, but look to one thing only, namely, to undo (the mischief) which has been done. For this would make even the movers of the faction there to confess (that they were wrong). They do not say, The seducers, the pestilent fellows, or suchlike: though where need is, Paul does this, as when he says, "O full of all guile" (ch. xiii. 10): but here, the point being carried, there was no need. And observe, they do not put it, That certain from us ordered you to keep the Law, but, "Troubled you with words, subverting your souls,"--nothing could be more proper (<greek>kuriwteron</greek>) than that word: none (of the other speakers) has so spoken of the things done by those men. "The souls," he says, already strongly established, these persons are <greek>anaskeuazontes</greek> as in speaking of a building, "taking them down again:" displacing them (<greek>metatiqentes</greek>) from the foundation).[4] "To whom," he says, "we gave no such commandment. It seemed good therefore to us being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 25, 26.) If "beloved," they will not despise them, if they "have hazarded their lives," they have themselves a right to be believed. "We have sent," it saith, "Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by word of mouth." (v. 27.) For it was necessary that there should be not merely the Epistle there by itself, lest they should say that Paul and Barnabas had suppressed a (the real purport), that they said one thing instead of another. The encomium passed upon Paul stopped their mouths. For this is the reason why neither Paul comes alone nor Barnabas (with him), but others also from the Church; that he may not be suspected, seeing it was he that advocated that doctrine: nor yet those from Jerusalem alone. It shows that they have a right to be believed. "For it seemed good," say they, "to the Holy Ghost and to us" (v. 28): not making themselves equal (to Him[6])--they are not so mad. But why does it put this (so)? Why did they add, "And to us," and yet it had sufficed to say, "To the Holy Ghost?" The one, "To the Holy Ghost," that they may not deem it to be of man; the other, "To us," that they may be taught that they also themselves admit (the Gentiles), although themselves being in circumcision. They have to speak to men who are still weak and afraid of them: this is the reason why this also is added. And it shows that it is not by way of condescension that they speak, neither because they spared them, nor as considering them weak, but the contrary; for great was the reverence of the teachers also? "To lay upon you no greater burden "--they[1] are ever calling it a burden--and again, "save these necessary things:" for that was a superfluous burden. See here a brief Epistle, with nothing more in it (than was needed), neither arts of persuasion (<greek>kataskeuas</greek>) nor reasonings, but simply a command: for it was the Spirit's legislating. "So when they were dismissed they came to Antioch, and having gathered the multitude together, they delivered to them the epistle." (v. 30.) After the epistle, then (Judas and Silas) also themselves exhort them by word (v. 31): for this also was needful, that (Paul and Barnabas) might be quit of all suspicion. "Being prophets also themselves," it says, exhorted the brethren "with many words." It shows here the right that Paul and Barnabas have to be believed. For Paul also might have done this, but it behooved to be done by by these.[2] "And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace. (v. 33.)

No[3] more faction. On this occasion, I suppose, it was that they received the right hand, as he says himself, "They gave to me and Barnabas right hands of fellowship." (Gal. ii. 9.) There he says, "They added nothing to me."[*] (ib. 6.) For they confirmed his view: they praised and admired it.--It shows that even from human reasonings it is possible to see this, not to say from the Holy Ghost only, that they sinned a sin not easy to be corrected. For such things need not the Spirit.--It shows that the rest are not necessary, but superfluous. seeing these things are necessary. "From which if ye keep yourselves," it saith, "ye shall do well." It shows that nothing is lacking to them, but this is sufficient. For it might have been done also without letters, but that there may be a law in writing (they send this Epistle): again, that they may obey the law (the Apostles), also told those men (the same things), and they did this, "and confirmed them, and having tarried a space were let go in peace."

Let us not then be offended on account of the heretics. For look, here at the very outset of the preaching, how many offences there were: I speak not of those which arose from them that were without; for these were nothing: but of the offences which were within. For instance, first Ananias, then the "murmuring," then Simon the sorcerer; afterwards they that accused Peter on account of Cornelius, next the famine,[4] lastly this very thing, the chief of the evils. For indeed it is impossible when any good thing has taken place, that some evil should not also subsist along with it. Let us not then be disturbed, if certain are offended, but let us thank God even for this, because it makes us more approved. For not tribulations only, but even temptations also render us more illustrious. A man is no such great lover of the truth, only for holding to it when there is none to lead him astray from it: to hold fast to the truth when many are drawing him away, this makes the proved man. What then? Is this why offences come? I am not speaking as if God were the author of them: God forbid! but I mean, that even out of their wickedness He works good to us: it was never His wish that they should arise: "Grant to them," He saith, "that they may be one" (John xvii. 21): but since offences do come, they are no hurt, to these, but even a benefit: just as the persecutors unwillingly benefit the Martyrs by dragging them to martyrdom, and yet they are not driven to this by God; just so is it here. Let us not look (only at this), that men are offended: this very thing is itself a proof of the excellence of the doctrine--that many stimulate and counterfeit it: for it would not be so, if it were not good. And this I will now show, and make on all hands plain to you. Of perfumes, the fragrant spices are they which people adulterate and counterfeit; as, for instance, the amomum leaf. For because these are rare and of necessary use, therefore there come to be spurious imitations likewise. Nobody would care to counterfeit any common article. The pure life gets many a false pretender to it: no man would care to counterfeit the man of vicious life; no, but the man of monastic life.--What then shall we say to the heathen? There comes a heathen and says, "I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose?" How shall we answer him? "Each of you" (says he) "asserts, 'I speak the truth.'" (b) No[1] doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule. (a) "But which am I to believe, knowing as I do nothing at all of the Scriptures? The others also allege the same thing for themselves. What then (c)if the other come, and say that the Scripture has this, and you that it has something different, and ye interpret the Scriptures diversely, dragging their sense (each his own way)?" And you then, I ask, have you no understanding, no judgment? "And how should I be able (to decide)," says he, "I who do not even know how to judge of your doctrines? I wish to become a learner, and you are making me forthwith a teacher." If he say this, what, say you, are we to answer him? How shall we persuade him? Let us ask whether all this be not mere pretence and subterfuge. Let us ask whether he has decided (<greek>kategnwke</greek>) against the heathen (that they are wrong). The fact[2] he will assuredly affirm, for of course, if he had not so decided, he would not have come to (enquire about) our matters let us ask the grounds on which he has decided, for to be sure he has not settled the matter out of hand. Clearly he will say, "Because (their gods) are creatures, and are not the uncreated God." Good. If then he find this in the other parties (<greek>aireseis</greek>), but among us the contrary, what argument need we? We all confess that Christ is God. But let us see who fight (against this truth), and who not. Now we, affirming Him to be God speak of Him things worthy of God, that He hath power, that He is not a slave, that He is free, that He doeth of Himself: whereas the other says the reverse. Again I ask: if you would learn (to be) a physician,[3] ***? And yet among them are many (different) doctrines. For if you accept without more ado just what you are told, this is not acting like a man: but if you have judgment and sense, you shall assuredly know what is good. We affirm the Son to be God, we verify (<greek>epalhqeu</greek>-<greek>omen</greek>) what we affirm: but they affirm indeed, but (in fact) confess not.--But[4] to mention (something) even plainer: those have certain persons from whom they are called, openly showing the name of the heresiarch himself, and each heresy in like manner: with us, no man has given us a name, but the faith itself. However, this (talk of yours) is mere pretence and subterfuge. For answer me: how is it that if you would buy a cloak, though ignorant of the art of weaving, you do not speak such words as these--"I do not know how to buy; they cheat me"--but do all you can to learn, and so whatever else it be that you would buy: but here you speak these words? For at this rate, you will accept nothing at all. For let there be one that has no (religious) doctrine whatever: if he should say what you say about the Christians--"There is inch a multitude of men, and they have different doctrines; this a heathen, that a Jew, the other a Christian: no need to accept any doctrine whatever, for they are at variance one with another; but I am a learner, and do not wish to be a judge"[5]--but if you have yielded (so far as) to pronounce against (<greek>kataginwskein</greek>) one doctrine, this pretext no longer has place for you. For just as you were able to reject the spurious, so here also, having come, you shall be able to prove what is profitable. For he that has not pronounced against any doctrine at all, may easily say this: but he that has pronounced against any, though he have chosen none, by going on in the same way, will be able to see what he ought to do. Then let us not make pretexts and excuses, and all will be easy. For, to show you that all this is mere excuse, answer me this: Do you know what you ought to do, and what to leave undone? Then why do you not what you ought? Do that, and by right reason seek of God, and He will assuredly reveal it to thee. "God," it saith, "is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." (ch. x. 34, 35.) It cannot be that he who hears without prejudice should not be persuaded. For just as, if there were a rule, by which everything behooved to be put straight, it would not need much consideration, but it would be easy to detect the person who measures falsely (<greek>ton</greek> <greek>parametrounta</greek> <greek>labein</greek>), SO is it here. "Then how is it they do not see it at a glance?" Many things are the cause of this: both preconceived opinion, and human causes: (<greek>aitiai</greek>). The others, say you, say the same thing about us. How? For are we separated from the Church? have we our heresiarchs? Are we called after men--as one of them has Marcion,[1] another Manichaeeus, a third Arius, for the author and leader (of his sect)? Whereas if we likewise do receive an appellation from any man, we do not take them that have been the authors of some heresy, but men that presided over us, and governed the Church. We have no "masters upon the earth"--God forbid--we have "One Master that is in heaven." (Matt. xxiii. 9, 10.) "And those also," says he, "say the same." But there stands the name set over them, accusing them, and stopping their mouths.--How"[2] is it, there have been many heathen, and none of them asked these questions: and among the philosophers there were these (differences), and yet none of those holding the right party (<greek>airesin</greek>) was hindered (thereby)?--Why did not (those believers) say, when (the others) raised these questions, "Both these and those are Jews: which must we believe?" But they believed as they ought. Then let us also obey the laws of God, and do all things according to His good pleasure,[3] that having virtuously passed this life present, we may be enabled to attain unto the good things promised to them that love Him, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together, be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


ACTS XV. 35.

"Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also."

Observe again their humility, how they let others also take part in the preaching. "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good (<greek>hxiou</greek> see note[3], p. 213) to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention (or exasperation) was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other." (v. 36-39.) And already indeed Luke has described to us the character of the Apostles,[4] that the one was more tender and indulgent, but this one more strict and austere. For the gifts are diverse--(the gifts, I say), for that this is a gift is manifest--but the one befitting one, the other another set of characters, and if they change places, harm results instead of good. (b) In the Prophets[5] too we find this: diverse minds, diverse characters: for instance, Elias austere, Moses meek. So here Paul is more vehement. And observe for all this, how gentle he is. "Thought not good," it says, "to take him with them that had departed from them from Pamphylia." (a) And there seems indeed to be exasperation (<greek>paroxusmos</greek>), but in fact the whole matter is a plan of the Divine Providence, that each should receive his proper place: and it behooved that they should not be upon a par, but the one should lead, and the other be led. "And so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the Churches." (v. 39-41.) And this also is a work of Providence. For the Cyprians had exhibited nothing of the like sort as they at Antioch and the rest: and those needed the softer character, but these needed such a character as Paul's. "Which[1] then," say you, "did well? he that took, or he that left?" *** (c)For just as a general would not choose to have a low person always to his baggage-bearer, so neither did the Apostle. This corrected the other's, and instructed (Mark) himself. "Then did Barnabas ill?" say you. "And how is it not amiss (<greek>atopon</greek>), that upon so small a matter there should arise so great an evil?" In the first place then, no evil did come of it, if, sufficing each for whole nations, they were divided the one from the other, but a great good. And besides, they would not readily have chosen to leave each other. But admire, I pray you, the writer, how he does not conceal this either. "But at any rate," say you, "if they must needs part, let it be without exasperation." Nay, but if nothing more, observe this, that in this too is shown what was of man[2] (in the preaching of the Gospel). For if the like behooved to be shown (even) in what Christ did, much more here. And besides, the contention cannot be said to be evil, when each disputes for such objects (as here) and with just reason. I grant you, if the exasperation were in seeking his own, and contending for his own honor, this might well be (reproved): but if wishing, both the one and the other, to instruct and teach, the one took this way and the other that, what is there to find fault with? For in many things they acted upon their human judgment; for they were not stocks or stones. And observe how Paul impeaches (Mark), and gives the reason. For of his exceeding humility, he reverenced Barnabas, as having been partner with him in so great works, and being with him: but still he did not so reverence him, as to overlook (what was necessary). Now which of them advised best, it is not for us to pronounce: but thus far (we may affirm), that it was a great arrangement of Providence, if these[4] were to be vouchsafed a second visitation, but those were not to be visited even once.[*]

(a) "Teaching and preaching the word of the Lord." (v. 35.) They[5] did not simply tarry in Antioch, but taught. What did they "teach," and what "preach" (evangelize)? They both (taught) those that were already believers, and (evangelized) those that were not yet such. "And some days after," etc. (v. 36.) For because there were offences without number, their presence was needed. (d) "How they do," he says. And this he did not know: naturally. See him ever alert, solicitous, not bearing to sit idle, though he underwent dangers without end. Do you mark, it was not of cowardice that he came to Antioch? He acts just as a physician does in the case of the sick. And the need of visiting them he showed by saying, "In which we preached the word. And Barnabas determined," etc. (v. 37-40.) (So) Barnabas[6] "departed, and went not With (him)." (b) The point to be considered, is not that they differed in their opinions, but that they accommodated themselves the one to the other (seeing), that thus it was a greater good their being parted:[7] and the matter took a pretext from this What then? did they withdraw in enmity? God forbid! In fact you see after this Barnabas receiving many encomiums from Paul in the Epistles. There was "sharp contention," it says, not enmity nor quarrelling. The contention availed so far as to part them. "And Barnabas took Mark," etc. And with reason: for what each supposed to be profitable, he did not forego[1] thereafter, because of the fellowship with the other. Nay, it seems to me that the parting took place advisedly (<greek>kata</greek> <greek>sunesin</greek>), and that they said one to another "As I wish not, and thou wishest, therefore that we may not fight, let us distribute the places." So that in fact they did this, altogether yielding each to the other: for Barnabas wished Paul's plan to stand, therefore withdrew; on the other hand, Paul wished the other's plan to stand, therefore he withdrew. Would to God we too made such separations, as to go forth for preaching. A wonderful man this is; and exceedingly great! To Mark this contest was exceedingly beneficial. For the awe inspired by Paul converted him, while the kindness of Barnabas caused that he was not left behind: so that they contend indeed, but the gain comes to one and the same end. For indeed, seeing Paul choosing to leave him, he would be exceedingly awed, and would condemn himself, and seeing Barnabas so taking his part, he would love him exceedingly: and so the disciple was corrected by the contention of the teachers: so far was he from being offended thereby. For if indeed they did this with a view to their own honor, he might well be offended: but if for his salvation, and they contend for one and the same object, to show that he who honored him * * * had well determined,[2] what is there amiss (<greek>atopon</greek>) in it?

(e) "But Paul," it says, "departed, having chosen Silas, and being commended to the grace of God." What is this? They prayed it says: they besought God. See on all occasions how the prayer of the brethren can do great things. And now he journeyed by land, wishing even by his journeying to benefit those who saw (<greek>tous</greek> <greek>orwntas</greek>) him. For when indeed they were in haste they sailed, but now not so. (c) "And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the Churches. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra." (v. 41.) Mark the wisdom of Paul: he does not go to other cities before he has visited them which had received the Word. For it is folly to run at random. This let us also do: let us teach the first in the first place, that these may not become an hindrance to them that are to come after.

"And, behold a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek." (ch. xvi. 1-3.) It is indeed amazing, the wisdom of Paul! He that has had so many battles about circumcision, he that moved all things to this end, and did not give over until he had carried his point, now that the decree is made sure, circumcises the disciple. He not only does not forbid others, but himself does this thing. (b) "Him," it says, "he would have to go forth with him." And the wonder is this, that he even took him unto him.[3] "Because of the Jews," it says, "which were in those parts:" for they would not endure to hear the word from one uncircumcised. (a) Nothing could be wiser. So that in all things he looked to what was profitable: he did nothing upon his own preference (<greek>prolhYei</greek>). (c) And what (then)? Mark the success: he circumcised, that he might take away circumcision: for he preached the decrees of the Apostles. "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (v. 4, 5.) Dost thou mark fighting, and by fighting, edification? Not warred upon by others, but themselves doing contrary things, so they edified the Church! They introduced a decree not to circumcise, and he circumcises! "And so were the Churches," it says, "established in the faith," and in multitude: "increased," it says, "in number daily." Then he does not continue to tarry with these, as having come to visit them: but how? he goes further. "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy, Ghost to preach the word in Asia," (v. 6.) having left Phrygia and Galatia, they hastened into the interior. For, it says, "After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not." (v. 7.) Wherefore they were forbidden, he does not say, but that they were "forbidden," he does say, teaching us to obey and not ask questions, and showing that they did many things as men. "And the Spirit," it says, "suffered them not: but having passed by Mysia they came down to Troas." (v. 8.) "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us." (v. 9.) Why a vision, and not the Holy Ghost? because He forbade the other) He would even in this way draw them over: since to the saints also He appeared in a dream, and in the beginning (Paul) himself saw a vision, "a man coming in and laying his hands upon him." (ch. ix. 12.) In[2] this manner also Christ appears to him, saying, "Thou must stand before Caesar." Then for this reason also He draws him thither, that the preaching may be extended. This is why he was forbidden to tarry long in the other cities, Christ urging him on. For these were to enjoy the benefit of John for a long time, and perhaps did not extremely need him (Paul), but thither he behooved to go. And now he crosses over and goes forth. "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them." (v. 10.) Then the writer mentions also the places, as relating a history, and showing where he made a stay (namely), in the greater cities, but passed by the rest. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony." (v. 11, 12.) It is a high distinction for a city, the being a colony. "And in this city we were tarrying certain days." But let us look over again what has been said. (Recapitulation.) "And after some days, Paul said," etc. (ch. xv. 36.) He put to Barnabas a necessity for their going abroad, saying "Let us visit the cities m which we preached the word." "But Paul begged," etc. (v. 38.) And yet no need for him to beg, who had to make an accusation presently. This[3] happens even in the case where God and men are the parties: the man requests, God is wroth. For instance, when He saith, "If her father had spit in her face" (Num. xii. 14): and again, "Let me alone, and in Mine anger I will blot out this people." (Ex. xxxii. 32.) And Samuel when he mourns for Saul. (1 Sam. xv. 35.) For by both, great good is done. Thus also here: the one is wroth, the other not so. The same happens also in matters where we are concerned. And the sharp contention with good reason, that Mark may receive a lesson, and the affair may not seem mere stage-playing. For it is not to be thought that he[4] who bids, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," (Eph. iv. 26) would have been wroth because of such a matter as this: nor that he who on all occasions gave way would not have given way here, he who so greatly loved Paul that before this he sought him in Tarsus, and brought him to the Apostles, and undertook the alms in common with him, and in common the business relating to the decree. But they take themselves so as to instruct and make perfect by their separation them that need the teaching which was to come from them. And he rebukes others indeed, but bids do good to all men. As in fact he does elsewhere, saying, "But ye, be not weary in well-doing." (2 Thess. iii. 13.) This we also do in our common practice. Here it seems to me that others also were alike displeased with Paul. And thereupon taking them also apart, he does all, and exhorts and admonishes. Much can concord do, much can charity. Though it be for a great matter thou askest; though thou be unworthy, thou shall be heard for thy purpose of heart: fear not.

"He went," it says, "through" the cities "And, behold, there was a disciple, by name Timothy, who had a good report of the brethren which were in Lystra and Iconium." (v. 41; xvi. 1.) Great was the grace of Timothy. When Barnabas departed (<greek>apesth</greek>), he finds another, equivalent to him. Of him he saith, "Remembering thy tears and thy unfeigned faith, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice." (2 Tim. i, 5.) His father continued to be a Gentile,[1] and therefore it was that (Timothy) was not circumcised. (a) Observe the Law already broken. Or if not so, I suppose he was born after the preaching of the Gospel but this is perhaps not so. (c) He was about to make him a bishop, and it was not meet that he should be uncircumcised. (e) And this was not a small matter, seeing it offended after so long a time:[2] (b) "for from a child," he says, "thou hast known the Holy Scriptures." (ib. iii. 15.) (d) "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep." (v. 4.) For until then, there was no need for the Gentiles to keep any such. The beginning of the abrogation was the Gentiles' not keeping these things, and being none the worse for it: nor having any inferiority in respect of faith: anon, of their own will they abandoned the Law. (f) Since therefore he was about to preach, that he might not smite the Jews a double blow, he circumcised Timothy. And yet he was but half (a Jew by birth),[3] his father being a Greek: but yet, because that was a great point carried in the cause of the Gentiles, he did not care for this: for the Word must needs be disseminated: therefore also he with his own hands circumcised him.[*] "And so were the churches established in the faith." Do you mark here also how from going counter (to his own object) a great good results? "And increased in number daily." (v. 5.) Do you observe, that the circumcising not only did no harm, but was even of the greatest service? "And a vision appeared unto Paul in the night." (v. 9.) Not now by Angels, as to Philip, as to Cornellius, but how? By a vision it is now shown to him: in more human sort, not now as before (i.e., v. 6, 7) in more divine manner. For where the compliance is more easy, it is done in more human sort; but where great force was needed, there in more divine. For since he was but urged to preach, to this end it is shown him in a dream: but to forbear preaching, he could not readily endure: to this end the Holy Ghost reveals it to him. Thus also it was then with Peter, "Arise, go down." (ch. x. 20.) For of course the Holy Spirit did not work what was otherwise easy: but (here) even a dream sufficed him. And to Joseph also, as being readily moved to compliance, the appearance is in a dream, but to the rest in waking vision. (Matt. i. 20; ii. 13, 19.) Thus to Cornelius, and to Paul himself. "And lo, a man of Macedonia," etc. and not simply enjoining, but "beseeching," and from the very persons in need of (spiritual) cure. (ch. x. 3; ix. 3.) "Assuredly gathering," it says, "that the Lord had called us." (v. 10), that is, inferring, both from the circumstance that Paul saw it and none other, and from the having been "forbidden by the Spirit," and from their being on the borders; from all these they gathered. "Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course," etc. (v, 11.) That is, even the voyage made this manifest: for there was no tardiness. It became the very root of Macedonia.[1] It was not always in the way of "sharp contention" that the Holy Spirit wrought: but this so rapid progress (of the Word) was a token that the thing was more than human. And yet it is not said that Barnabas was exasperated, but, "Between them there arose a sharp contention." (v. 39.) If the one was not exasperated neither was the other.

Knowing this, let us not merely pick out (<greek>eklegwmen</greek>) these things, but let us learn and be taught by them : for they were not written without a purpose. It is a great evil to be ignorant of the Scriptures: from the things we ought to get good from, we get evil. Thus also medicines of healing virtue, often, from the ignorance of those who use them, ruin and destroy: and arms which are meant to protect, are themselves the cause of death unless one know how to put them on. But the reason is, that we seek everything rather than what is good for ourselves. And in the case of a house, we seek what is good for it, and we would not endure to see it decaying with age, or tottering, or hurt by storms: but for our soul we make no account: nay, even should we see its foundations rotting, or the fabric and the roof, we make no account of it. Again, if we possess brute creatures, we seek what is good for them: we call in both horse-feeders and horse-doctors, and all besides:[2] we attend to their housing, and charge those who are entrusted with them, that they may not drive them at random or carelessly, nor take them out by night at unseasonable hours nor sell away their provender; and there are many laws laid down by us for the good of the brute creatures: but for that of our soul there is no account taken. But why speak I of brute creatures which are useful to us ? There are many who keep small birds (or "sparrows ") "which are useful for nothing except that they simply amuse, and there are many laws even about them, and nothing is neglected or without order, and we take care for everything rather than for our own selves. Thus we make our selves more worthless than all. And if indeed a person abusively call us "dog," we are annoyed: but while we are opprobrious to ourselves, not in word, but in deed, and do not even bestow as much care on our soul as on dogs, we think it no great harm. Do you see how all is full of darkness? How many are careful about their dogs, that they may not be filled with more than the proper food, that so they may be keen and fit for hunting, being set on by famine and hunger: but for themselves they have no care to avoid luxury: and the brute creatures indeed they teach to exercise philosophy, while they let themselves sink down into the savageness of the brutes. The thing is a riddle. "And where are your philosophic brutes?" There are such; or, say, do you not take it to be philosophy, when a dog gnawed with hunger, after having hunted and caught his prey, abstains from the food; and though he sees his meal ready before him, and with hunger urging him on, yet waits for his master? Be ashamed of yourselves: teach your bellies to be as philosophic. You have no excuse. When you have been able to implant such philosophic self-command in an irrational nature, which neither speaks nor hears reason, shall you not much more be able to implant it in yourself? For that it is the effect of man's care, not of nature is plain: since otherwise all dogs ought to have this habit. Do you then become as dogs. For it is you that compel me to fetch my examples thence: for indeed they should be drawn from heavenly things; but since if I speak of those, you say, "Those are (too) great," therefore I speak nothing of heavenly things: again, if I speak of Paul, you say, "He was an Apostle :" therefore neither do I mention Paul: if again I speak of a man, you say, "That person could do it:" therefore I do not mention a man even, but a brute creature; a creature too, that has not this habit by nature, lest you should say that it effected this by nature, and not (which is the fact) from choice: and what is wonderful, choice not self-acquired, but (the result of) your care. The creature does not give a thought to the fatigue, the wear and tear it has undergone in running down the prey, not a thought to this, that by its own proper toil it has made the capture: but casting away all these regards, it observes the command of its master, and shows itself superior to the cravings of appetite. "True; because it looks to be praised, it looks to get a greater meal." Say then to yourself, that the dog through hope of future pleasure, despises that which is present: while you do not choose for hope of future good things to despise those which are present; but he indeed knows, that, if he tastes of that food at the wrong time and against his master's will, he will both be deprived of that, and not get even that which was apportioned to him, but receive blows instead of food: whereas you cannot even perceive this, and that which he has learnt by dint of custom, you do not succeed in acquiring even from reason. Let us imitate the dogs. The same thing hawks also and eagles are said to do: what the dogs do with regard to hares[1] and deer, the same do those with regard to birds; and these too act from a philosophy learnt from men. These facts are enough to condemn us, these enough to convict us. To mention another thing:--they that are skilled in breaking horses, shall take them, wild, fierce, kicking, biting, and in a short time so discipline them, that though the teacher be not there, it is a luxury to ride them, their paces are so thoroughly well-ordered: but the paces of the soul may be all disordered, and none cares for it: it bounds, and kicks, and its rider[2] is dragged along the ground like a child, and makes a most disgraceful figure, and yet no one puts curbs on her, and leg-ties, and bits, nor mounts upon her the skilful rider--Christ, I mean. And therefore it is that all is turned upside down. For when you both teach dogs to master the craving of the belly, and tame the fury in a lion, and the unruliness of horses, and teach the birds to speak plainly, how inconsistent must it not be--to implant achievements of reason in natures that are without reason, and to import the passions of creatures without reason into natures endowed with reason? There is no excuse for us, none. All who have succeeded (in mastering their passions) will accuse us, both believers and unbelievers: for even unbelievers have so succeeded; yea, and wild beasts, and dogs, not men only: and we shall accuse our own selves, since we succeed, when we will, but when we are slothful, we are dragged away. For indeed many even of those who live a very wicked life, have oftentimes changed themselves when they wished. But the cause is, as I said, that we go about seeking for what is good for other things, not what is good for ourselves. If you build a splendid house, you know what is good for the house, not what is good for yourself: if you take a beautiful garment, you know what is good for the body, not for yourself: and if you get a good horse, it is so likewise. None makes it his mark how his soul shall be beautiful; and yet, when that is beautiful, there is no need of any of those things: as, if that be not beautiful, there is no good of them. For like as in the case of a bride, though there be chambers hung with tapestry wrought with gold, though there be choirs of the fairest and most beautiful women, though there be roses and garlands, though there be a comely bridegroom, and the maidservants and female friends, and everybody about them be handsome, yet, if the bride herself be full of deformity, there is no good of all those; as on the other hand if she were beautiful, neither would there be any loss arising from (the want of) those, nay just the contrary; for in the case of an ugly bride, those would make her look all the uglier, while in the other case, the beautiful would look all the more beautiful: just so, the soul, when she is beautiful, not only needs none of those adjuncts, but they even cast a shade over her beauty. For we shall see the philosopher shine, not so much when in wealth, as in poverty. For in the former case many will impute it to his riches, that he is not superior to riches:[3] but when he lives with poverty for his mate, and shines through all, and will not let himself be compelled to do anything base, then notre claims shares with him in the crown of philosophy. Let us then make our soul beauteous, if at least we would fain be rich. What profit is it, when your mules indeed are white and plump and in good condition, but you who are drawn by them are lean and scurvy and ill-favored ? What is the gain, when your carpets indeed are soft and beautiful, full of rich embroidery and art, and your soul goes clad in rags, or even naked and foul? What the gain, when the horse indeed has his paces beautifully ordered, more like dancing than stepping, while the rider, together with his choral[4] train and adorned with more than bridal ornaments, is more crooked than the lame, and has no more command over hands and feet than drunkards and madmen? Tell me now, if some one were to give you a beautiful horse, and to distort your body, what would be the profit? Now you have your soul distorted, and care you not for it? Let us at length, I beseech you, have a care for our own selves. Do not let us make our own selves more worthless than all beside. If anyone insult us with words, we are annoyed and vexed: but insulting ourselves as we do by our deeds, we do not give a thought to it. Let us, though late, come at last to our senses, that we may be enabled by having much care for our soul, and laying hold upon virtue, to obtain eternal good things, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and evermore, world without end. Amen.


ACTS XVI. 13, 14.

"And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont (Chrys. "was thought likely") to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul."

SEE again Paul judaizing. "Where[1] it was thought," it says, both from the time and from the place, "that prayer would be.--Out of the city, by a river side:" for it is not to be supposed that they prayed only where there was a synagogue; they also prayed out of synagogue, but then for this purpose they set apart, as it were, a certain place, because as Jews they were more corporeal--and, "on the sabbath-day," when it was likely that a multitude would come together.[*] "And we sat down, and spake to the women which resorted thither." Mark again the freedom from all pride. "And a certain woman :" a woman and she of low condition, from her trade too: but mark (in her) a woman of elevated mind (<greek>filosofon</greek>). In the first place, the fact of God's calling her bears testimony to her: "And when she was baptized," it says, "she and her household "--mark how he persuaded all of them--"she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us[2]" (v. 15): then look at her wisdom, how she importunes (<greek>duswpei</greek>), the Apostles how full of humility her words are, how full of wisdom. "If ye have judged me faithful," she says. Nothing could be more persuasive. Who would not have been softened by these words ? She did not request (or, "claim") did not entreat simply: but she left them to decide, and (yet) exceedingly forced them: "And she constrained. us," it says, by those words. And again m a different way: for see how she straightway bears fruit, and accounts it a great gain. "If ye have judged me," that is, That ye did judge me is manifest, by your delivering to me such (holy) mysteries (i.e. sacraments, see p. 225, note[3] ): and she did not dare to invite them before this. But why was there any unwillingness on the part of Paul and those with them, that they should need to be constrained ? It was either by way of calling her to greater earnestness of desire, or because Christ had said, "Enquire who is worthy, and there abide." (Luke x. 8.) (It was not that they were unwilling), but they did it for a purpose.[3]_ And it came to pass," it says, "as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation." (v. 16, 17.) What may be the reason that both the demon spoke these words, and Paul forbade him ? Both the one acted maliciously, and the other wisely: the demon wished in fact to make himself credible.[1] For if Paul had admitted his testimony, he would have deceived many of the believers, as being received by him: therefore he endures to speak what made against himself, that he may establish what made for himself: and so the demon himself uses accommodation (<greek>sugkatabasei</greek>) in order to destruction. At first then, Paul would not admit it, but scorned it, not wishing to cast himself all at once upon miracles; but when it continued to do this, and pointed to their work (<greek>kai</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>ergon</greek> <greek>edeiknu</greek>) "who preach unto us the way of salvation," then he commanded it to come out. For it says, "Paul being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (a)[2] And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas." (v. 18, 19.) (d) So then Paul did all, both miracles and teaching, but of the dangers Silas also is partaker. And why says it, "But Paul being grieved ?" It means, he saw through the malice of the demon, as he saith, "For we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. ii. 11.) (b) "And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone." Everywhere money the cause of evils. O that heathen cruelty ! they wished the girl to be still a demoniac, that they might make money by her. "They caught Paul and Silas," it says, "and dragged them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them unto the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city!" (v. 20): by doing what ? Then why did you not drag them (hither) before this? "Being Jews:" the name was in bad odor. "And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans." (v. 21.) They made a charge of treason of it (<greek>epi</greek> <greek>kaqosiwsin</greek> <greek>hgagon</greek>). (e) Why did they not say, Because they cast out the demon, they were guilty of impiety against God? For this was a defeat to them: but instead of that, they have recourse to a charge of treason (<greek>epi</greek> <greek>kaqosiwsin</greek>): like the Jews when they said, "We have no king but Caesar: whoso maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." (John xix. 14, 12.) (c) "And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them." (v. 22.) O the irrational conduct! They did not examine, did not allow them to speak. And yet, such a miracle having taken place, ye ought to have worshipped them, ought to have held them as saviors and benefactors. For if money was what ye wished, why, having found so great wealth, did ye not run to it? This makes you more famous, the having power to cast out demons than the obeying them. Lo, even miracles, and yet love of money was mightier. (f) "And when they had laid man)' stripes upon them, they cast them into prison."--great was their wrath--" charging the jailer to keep them safely" (v. 23): "who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks." (v. 24.) Observe, he also again thrust them into the "inner" prison: and this too was done providentially, because[3] there was to be a great miracle.[*]

(Recapitulation.) "Out of the city." (v. 13.) The place was convenient for hearing the word, aloof from troubles and dangers. (b) "On the sabbath." As there was no work going on, they were more attentive to what was spoken. (a) "And a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple" (v. 14): observe how the writer of the history is not ashamed of the occupations (of the converts): (c) moreover neither was this city of the Philippians a great one. Having learnt these things, let us also be ashamed of no man. Peter abides with a tanner (ch. ix. 43): (Paul) with a woman who was a seller of purple, and a foreigner. Where is pride ? "Whose heart the Lord opened." Therefore we need God, to open the heart: but God opens the hearts that are willing: for there are hardened hearts to be seen.[1] "So that she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul." The opening, then, was God's work, the attending was hers: so that it was both God's doing and man's. And she was baptized (v. 15), and receives the Apostles with such earnestness of entreaty; with more than that used by Abraham. And she speaks of no other token than that whereby she was saved (Gen. xviii. 3): she says not, "If ye have judged me" a great, a devout woman; but what ? "faithful to the Lord:" if to the Lord, much more to you. "If ye have judged me:" if ye do not doubt it. And she says not, Abide with me, but, "Come into my house and abide:" with great earnestness (she says it). Indeed a faithful woman l--"A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of Python." (v. 16.) Say, what is this demon? The god, as they call him, Python: from the place he is so called. Do you mark that Apollo also is a demon ? And (the demon) wished to bring them into temptation: (therefore) to provoke them, "the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation." (v. 17.) O thou accursed, thou execrable one ! if then thou knowest that it is "His way of salvation" that "they show," why dost thou not come out freely ? But just what Simon wished, when he said, "Give me, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost" (ch. viii. 19), the same did this demon: since he saw them becoming famous, here also he plays the hypocrite: by this means he thought to be allowed to remain in the body, if he should preach the same things. But if Christ "receive not testimony from man," (John v. 34), meaning John, much less from a demon. "Praise is not comely in the mouth of a sinner" (Ecclus. xv. 9), much less from a demon. For[2] that they preach is not of men, but of the Holy Ghost. Because they did not act in a spirit of boasting. "And Paul being grieved," etc. By their clamor and shouting they thought to alarm them (the magistrates): saying, "These men do exceedingly trouble our city." (v. 18-20.) What sayest thou? Dost thou believe the demon ? Why not here also ? He saith, They are "servants of the most high God;" thou sayest, "They exceedingly trouble our city:" he saith, "They show us the way of salvation;" thou sayest, "They teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive." (v. 21.) Observe, how they do not attend even to the demon, but look only to one thing, their covetousness. But observe them (Paul and Silas), how they do not answer, nor plead for themselves; (b) "For when," saith he, "I am weak, then am I strong. My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. xii. 9): so that by reason of their gentleness also they should be admired. (a) "And the magistrates," etc., "charging the jailer to keep them safely" (v. 22): that they may be the means[3] of a greater miracle. (c) The stricter the custody, the greater the miracle. It was probably from the wish to cut short the disturbance, that the magistrates did these things; because they saw the crowd urgent, and wished to stay their passion at the instant, therefore they inflicted the stripes: at the same time it was their wish to hear the matter, and that was why they cast them into prison and gave charge "to keep them safely." And, it says, "he made them fast in the stocks" (v. 24), (<greek>to</greek> <greek>xulon</greek>) as we should say, the nervum (<greek>nerbon</greek>).

What tears do not these things call for! (Think) what they suffer, while we (live) in luxury, we in theatres, we perishing and drowning (in dissolute living), seeking always idle amusement, not enduring to suffer pain for Christ, not even as far as words, not even as far as talk. These things I beseech you let us ever call to mind, what things they suffered, what things they endured, how undismayed they were, how unoffended. They were doing God's work, and suffered these things ! They did not say, Why do we preach this, and God does not take our part ? But even this was a benefit to them, even apart [4] from the truth, in the thing itself; it made them more vigorous, stronger, intrepid. "Tribulation worketh endurance." (Rom. v. 4.) Then let us not seek loose and dissolute living. For as in the one case the good is twofold, that the sufferers are made strong, and that the rewards are great; so in the other the evil is twofold, that such are rendered more enervated, and that it is to no good, but only evil. For nothing can be more worthless than a man who passes all his time in idleness and luxury. For the man untried, as the saying is, is also unapproved; unapproved not only in the contests, but also in everything else. Idleness is a useless thing, and in luxury itself nothing is so unsuited to the end proposed as the leading a luxurious life: for it palls with satiety, so that neither the enjoyment of the viands is so great, nor the enjoyment of relaxation, but all becomes vapid, and runs to waste.

Then let us not seek after this. For if we will consider which has the pleasanter life, he that is toiled and hardworked, or he that lives in luxury, we shall find it to be the former. For in the first place,[1] the bodily senses are neither clear nor sound, but dull (<greek>kaunai</greek>) and languid; and when those are not right, even of health there is plainly no enjoyment. Which is the useful horse, the pampered or the exercised ? which the serviceable ship, that which sails, or that which lies idle ? which the best water, the running or the stagnant ? which the best iron, that which is much used, or that which does no work ? does not the one shine bright as silver, while the other becomes all over rusty, useless, and even losing some of its own substance ? The like happens also to the soul as the consequence of idleness: a kind of rust spreads over it, and corrodes both its brightness and everything else. How then shall one rub off this rust ? With the whetstone of tribulations: so shall one make the soul useful and fit for all things. Else, how, I ask, will she be able to cut off the passions, with her edge turned (<greek>anaklwshs</greek>) and bending like lead? How shall she wound the devil?--And then to whom can such an one be other than a disgusting spectacle--a man cultivating obesity, dragging himself along like a seal ? I speak not this of those who are naturally of this habit, but of those who by luxurious living have brought their bodies into such a condition, of those who are naturally of a spare habit. The sun has risen, has shot forth his bright beams on all sides, and roused up each person to his work: the husbandman goes forth with his spade, the smith with his hammer, and each artisan with his several instruments, and you will find each handling his proper tools; the woman also takes either her distaff or her webs: while he, like the swine, immediately at the first dawn goes forth to feed his belly, seeking how he may provide sumptuous fare. And yet it is only for brute beasts to be feeding from morning to night; and for them, because their only use is to be slaughtered. Nay, even of the beasts, those which carry burdens and admit of being worked, go forth to their work while it is yet night. But this man, rising from his bed, when the (noon-tide) sun has filled the market-place, and people are tired of their several works, then this man gets up, stretching himself out just as if he were indeed a hog in fattening, having wasted the fairest part of the day in darkness. Then he sits there for a long time on his bed, often unable even to lift himself up from the last evening's debauch, and having wasted (still) more time in this (listlessness), proceeds to adorn himself, and issues forth, a spectacle of unseemliness, with nothing human about him, but with all the appearance of a beast with a human shape: his eyes rheumy from the effect of wine,[2] *** while the miserable soul, just like the lame, is unable to rise, bearing about its bulk of flesh, like an elephant. Then he comes and sits in (various) places, and says and does such things, that it were better for him to be still sleeping than to be awake. If it chance that evil tidings be announced, he shows himself weaker than any girl; if good, more silly than any child; on his face there is a perpetual yawn. He is a mark for all that would do harm, if not for all men, at least for all evil passions; and wrath easily excites such a man, and lust, and envy, and all other passions. All flatter him, all pay court to him, rendering his soul weaker than it is already: and each day he goes on and on, adding to his disease. If he chance to fall into any difficulty of business, he becomes dust and ashes,[3] and his silken garments are of no help to him. We have not said all this without a purpose, but to teach you, that none of you should live idly and at random. For idleness and luxury are not conducive to work, to good reputation, to enjoyment.[4] For who will not condemn such a man ? Family, friends, kinsfolk (will say), He is indeed a very encumbrance of the ground. Such a man as this has come into the world to no purpose: or rather, not to no purpose, but to ill purpose against his own person, to his own ruin, and to the hurt of others. But that this is more pleasant--let us look to this; for this is the question. Well then, what can be less pleasant than (the condition of) a man who has nothing to do; what more wretched and miserable? Is it not worse than all the fetters in the world, to be always gaping and yawning, as one sits in the market-place, looking at the passers by? For the soul, as its nature is to be always on the move, cannot endure to be at rest. God has made it a creature of action: to work is of its very nature; to be idle is against its nature. For let us not judge of these things from those who are diseased, but let us put the thing itself to the proof of fact. Nothing is more hurtful than leisure, and having nothing to do: indeed therefore hath God laid on us a necessity of working: for idleness hurts everything. Even to the members of the body, inaction is a mischief. Both eye, if it perform not its work, and mouth, and belly, and every member that one could mention, falls into the worst state of disease: but none so much as the soul. But as inaction is an evil, so is activity in things that ought to be let alone. For just as it is with the teeth, if one eats not, one receives hurt to them, and if one eats things unfitting, it jars them, and sets them on edge:[1] so it is here; both if the soul be inactive, and if inactive in wrong things, it loses its proper force. Then let us eschew both alike; both inaction, and the activity which is worse than inaction. And what may that be? Covetousness,[2] anger, envyings, and the other passions. As regards these, let us make it our object to be inactive, in order that we may obtain the good things promised to us, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ', with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


ACTS XVI. 25, 26.

"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God': and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."

What could equal these souls? These men had been scourged, had received many, stripes, they had been misused, were in peril of their lives, were thrust into the inner prison, and set fast in the stocks: and for all this they did not suffer themselves to sleep, but kept vigil all the night. Do you mark what a blessing tribulation is? But we, in[3] our soft beds, with none to be afraid of, pass the whole night in sleep. But belike this is why they kept vigil, because they were in this condition. Not the tyranny of sleep could overpower them, not the smart of pain could bow them, not the fear of evil east them into helpless dejection: no, these were the very things that made them wakeful: and they were even filled with exceeding delight. "At midnight," it says, "and the prisoners listened to them :" it was so strange and surprising! "And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately, all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled." (v. 27.) There was an earthquake, that the keeper should be roused from sleep, and the doors flew open, that he should wonder at what had happened: but these things the prisoners saw not: otherwise they would all have fled:* but the keeper of the prison was about to slay himself, thinking the prisoners were escaped. "But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here" (v. 28.) (b) "Then he called for lights, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas; and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (v. 29-30.) Do you mark how the wonder overpowered him? (a) He wondered more at Paul's kindness; he was amazed at his manly boldness, that he had not escaped when he had it in his power, that he hindered him from killing himself.[1] (c) "And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house." (v. 31, 35) and (so) immediately gave proof of their kindness towards him. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." (v. 33.) He washed them, and was himself baptized, he and his house. "And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, Let those men go." (v. 34, 35.) It is likely the magistrates had learnt what had happened, and did not dare of themselves to dismiss them. "And the keeper of the prison told these words to Paul, saying, the magistrates have sent to let you go now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, they have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust as out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the sergeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had Seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed." (v. 36-40.) Even[2] upon the declaration of the magistrates Paul does not go out, but for the sake both of Lydia and the rest he puts them in fear: that they may not be supposed to have come out upon their own request, that they may set the rest in a posture of boldness. The impeachment was twofold: that "being Romans," and "uncondemned," they had openly cast them into prison. You see that in many things they took their measures as men.

(Recapitulation) "And at midnight," etc. (v. 25.) Let us compare, beloved, with that night these nights of ours, with their revellings, their drunkenness, and wanton excesses, with their sleep which might as well be death, their watchings which are worse than sleep. For while some sleep without sense or feeling, others lie awake to pitiable and wretched purpose, plotting deceits, anxiously thinking about money, studying how they may be revenged upon those who do them wrong, meditating enmity, reckoning up the abusive words spoken during the day:thus do they rake up the smouldering embers of wrath, doing things intolerable.[8] Mark how Peter slept. (ch. xii. 6.) Both there, it was wisely ordered (that he should be asleep); for the Angel came to him, and it behooved that none should see what happened; and on the other hand it was well ordered here (that Paul should be awake), in order that the keeper of the prison might be prevented from killing himself. "And suddenly there was a great earthquake." (v. 26.) And why did no other miracle take place? Because this was, of all others, the thing sufficient for his conversion, seeing he was personally in danger: for it is not so much miracles that overpower us, as the things which issue in our own deliverance. That the earthquake should not seem to have come of itself, there was this concurrent circumstance, bearing witness to it: "the doors were opened, and all their bonds were loosed." And it appears in the night-time; for the Apostles did not work for display, but for men's salvation "And the keeper of the prison," etc. (v. 27.) The keeper was not an evil-disposed man that he "thrust them into the inner prison," (v. 24) was because of his "having received such a command," not of himself. The man[4] was all in a tumult of perturbation. "What shall I do to be saved?" he asks. Why not before this? Paul shouted, until he saw, and is beforehand with him saying, "We are all here. And having called for lights," it says, "he sprang in, and fell down at the feet" of the prisoner; he, the prison keeper, saying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (v. 28-30.) Why, what had they said? Observe, he does not, on finding himself safe, think all is well; he is overcome with awe at the miraculous power.

Do you mark[1] what happened in the former case, and what here? There a girl was released from a spirit, and they cast them into prison, because they had liberated her from the spirit. Here, they did but show the doors standing open, and it opened the doors of his heart, it loosed two sorts of chains; that (prisoner)[2] kindled the (true) light; for the light in his heart was shining. "And he sprang in, and fell before them;" and he does not ask, How is this? What is this? but straightway he says, "What must I do to be saved?" What then answers Paul? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thine house." (v. 31.) For this above all, wins men: that one's house also should be saved. "And they spake the word to him, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes," etc. (v. 32, 33), washed them and was washed: those he washed from their stripes, himself was washed from his sins: he fed and was fed.[3] "And rejoiced," it says: although there was nothing but words only and good hopes: "having believed in God with all his house (v. 34): this was the token of his having believed--that he was released of all. What worse than a jailer, what more ruthless, more savage? He entertained them with great honor. Not, because he was safe, he made merry, but, having believed God. (a) "Believe on the Lord," said the Apostle: therefore it is that the writer here says, "Having believed,4--(d) Now therefore," it says, "depart, and go in peace" (v. 36):that is, in safety, fearing no man. (b) "But Paul said unto them" (v. 37): that he may not seem to be receiving his liberty as one condemned, and as one that has done wrong: therefore it is that he says, "Having openly beaten us uncondemned," etc.--that it may not be matter of grace on their part. (e) And besides, they wish the jailer himself to be out of danger, that he may not be called to account for this afterwards. And they do not say, "Having beaten us," who have wrought miracles: for they (the magistrates) did not even heed these: but, that which was most effectual to shake their minds, "uncondemned, and being Romans." (c) Observe how diversely grace manages things: how Peter went out, how Paul, though both were Apostles. "They feared," (v. 38) it says: because the men were Romans, not because they bad unjustly cast them into prison,* "And besought them to depart out of the city" (v. 39): begged them as a favor. And they went to the house of Lydia, and having confirmed her, so departed. For it was not right to leave their hostess in distress and anxiety. But they went out, not in compliance with the request of those rulers, but hasting to the preaching: the city having been sufficiently benefited by the miracle: for it was fit they should not be there any longer. For in the absence of them that wrought it, the miracle appeared greater, itself crying out more loudly: the faith of the jailer was a voice in itself. What equal to this? He is put in bonds, and looses, being bound: looses a twofold bond: him that bound him, he looses by being bound. These are indeed works of (supernatural) grace.(f) Let us constantly bear in mind this jailer,[5] not the miracle: how, prisoner as he was (the Apostle), persuaded his jailer. What say the heathen? "And of what things," say they, "was such a man as this to be persuaded--a vile, wretched creature, of no understanding, full of all that is bad and nothing else, and easily brought over to anything? For these, say they, are the things, a tanner, a purple-seller, an eunuch, slaves, and women believed." This is what they say. What then will they be able to say, when we produce the men of rank and station, the centurion, the proconsul, those from that time to the present, the rulers themselves, the emperors? But for my part, I speak of something else, greater than this: let us look to these very persons of no consideration. "And where is the wonder?" say you. Why, this, I say, is a wonder. For, if a person be persuaded about any common things, it is no wonder: but if resurrection, a kingdom of heaven, a life of philosophic self-command, be the subjects, and, discoursing of these to persons of mean consideration, one persuades them, it will be more wonderful than if one persuaded wise men. For when there is no danger attending the things of which one persuades people, then (the objector) might with some plausibility allege want of sense on their part: but when (the preacher) says--to the slave, as you will have it--" If thou be persuaded by me, it is at thy peril, thou wilt have all men for thine enemies, thou must die, thou must suffer evils without number," and yet for all this, convinces that man's soul, there can be no more talk here of want of sense. Since, if indeed the doctrines contained what was pleasant, one might fairly enough say this: but if, what the philosohers would never have chosen to learn, this the slave does learn, then is the wonder greater. And, if you will, let us bring before us the tanner himself, and see what were the subjects on which Peter conversed with him: or if you will, this same jailer. What then said Paul to him? "That Christ rose again," say you; "that there is a resurrection of the dead, and a kingdom: and he had no difficulty in persuading him, a man easily led to anything." How? Said he nothing about the mode of life; that he must be temperate, that he must be superior to money, that he must not be unmerciful, that he must impart of his good things to others? For it cannot be said, that the being persuaded to these things also was from the want of power of mind; no, to be brought to all this required a great soul. For be it so, that as far as the doctrines went, they were rendered more apt to receive these by their want of intelligence: but to accept such a virtuous, self-denying rule of life, how could that be owing to any defect of understanding? So that the less understanding the person may have, if nevertheless he is persuaded to things, to which even philosophers were unable to persuade their fellow-philosophers, the greater the wonder--when women and slaves are persuaded of these truths, and prove it by their actions, of which same truths the Platos and all the rest of them were never able to persuade any man. And why say I, "any man?" Say rather, not themselves even: on the contrary, that money is not to be despised, Plato persuaded (his disciples) by getting, as he did, such an abundance of property, and golden rings, and goblets; and that the honor to be had from the many is not to be despised, this Socrates himself shows, for all that he may philosophize without end on this point: for in everything he did, he had an eye to fame. And if you were conversant with his discourses, I might go at great length into this subject, and show what a deal of insincerity (<greek>eirwneian</greek>) there was in them,--if at least we may believe what his disciple says of him,--and how that all his writings have their ground-work in vainglory. But, leaving them, let us direct the discourse to our own selves. For besides the things that have been said, there is this also to be added, that men were persuaded of these things to their own peril. Be not thou therefore shameless, but let us think over that night, the stocks, and the hymns of praise. This let us also do, and we shall open for ourselves--not a prison, but--heaven. If we pray, we shall be able even to open heaven. Elias both shut and opened heaven by prayer. (James v. 17.) There is a prison in heaven also. "Whatsoever," He saith, "ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven." (Matt. xvi. 19.) Let us pray by night, and we shall loose these bonds. For that prayers loose sins, let that widow convince us, let that friend convince us, who at that untimely hour of the night persists and knocks (Luke xi. 5): let Cornelius convince us, for, "thy prayers," it says, "and thine alms are come up before God." (ch. x. 4.) Let Paul convince us, who says, "Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications night and day." (1 Tim. v. 5.) If he speaks thus of a widow, a weak woman, much more would he of men. I have both before discoursed to you on this, and now répeat it: let us arouse ourselves during the night: though thou make not many prayers, make one with watchfulness, and it is enough, I ask no more: and if not at midnight, at any rate at the first dawn. Show that the night is not only for the body, but also for the soul: do not suffer it to pass idly, but make this return to thy Master: nay rather (the benefit) itself returns to thee. Say, if we fall into any difficult strait, to whom do we not make request? and if we soon obtain our request, we breathe freely again. What a boon were it for thee, to have a friend to go to with thy request, who shall be ready to take it as a kindness, and to be obliged to thee for thy asking? What a boon, not to have to go about and seek one to ask of, but to find one ready? to have no need of others through whom thou mayest solicit? What could be greater than this? Since here is One who then does most, when we make not our requests of others than Himself: just as a sincere friend then most complains of us for not trusting in his friendship, when we ask of others to make request to him. Thus also let us act.[1] "But what," you will ask, "if I should have offended Him?" Cease to give offence, and weep, and so draw near to Him, and thou wilt quickly render Him propitious as to thy former sins. Say only, I have offended: say it from thy soul and with a sincere mind, and all things are remitted to thee. Thou dost not so much desire thy sins to be forgiven, as He desires to forgive thee thy sins. In proof that thou dost not so desire it, consider that thou hast no mind either to practice vigils, or to give thy money freely: but He, that He might forgive our sins, spared not His Only-begotten and True Son, the partner of His throne. Seest thou how He more desires to forgive thee thy sins (than thou to be forgiven )? Then let us not be slothful, nor put off this any longer. He is merciful and good: only let us give Him an opportunity. And (even) this (He seeks), only that we may not become unprofitable, since even without this He could have freed us from them: but like as we (with the same view) devise and arrange many things for our servants to do, so does He in the matter of our salvation. "Let us anticipate His face with thanksgiving." (Ps. xcv. 2. "Let us come before His presence." E.V.), since He is good and kind. But if thou call not upon Him, what will He do? Thou dost not choose to say, Forgive; thou wilt not say it from thy heart, but with thy mouth only. What is it, to call in truth? (To call) with purpose of heart, with earnestness, with a sincere mind; just as men say of perfumes, "This is genuine, and has nothing spurious," so here. He who truly calls on Him, he who truly prays to Him, continually attends to it, and desists not, until he obtain (his request): but he who does it in a merely formal manner (<greek>afosioumenos</greek>), and even this only by way of fulfilling a law, does not call in truth. Whosoever thou art, say not only, "I am a sinner," but be earnest also to rid thyself of this character; say not this only, but also grieve. If thou grievest, thou art in earnest: if thou art not in earnest, thou grievest not: if thou grievest not, thou triflest. What sort of man is he who shall say, "I am sick," and not to do all to be freed from his sickness? A mighty weapon is Prayer. "If ye," saith the Lord, "know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Father?" (Luke xi. 13.) Then wherefore art thou unwilling to approach Him? He loves thee, He is of more power than all besides. Both willing is He and able, what is there to hinder? Nothing. But then, on our part, let us draw near with faith, draw near, offering the gifts that He desires, forgetfulness of wrongs, kindness, meekness. Though thou be a sinner, with boldness shalt thou ask of Him forgiveness of thy sins, if thou canst show that this has been done by thyself: but though thou be righteous, and possess not this virtue of forgetfulness of injuries, thou art none the better for it. It cannot be that a man who has forgiven his neighbor should not obtain perfect forgiveness: for God is beyond comparison more merciful than we. What sayest thou? If thou sayest, "I have been wronged, I have subdued my anger, I have endured the onset of wrath because of Thy command, and dost Thou not forgive?[2] Full surely He will forgive: and this is plain to all. Therefore let us purge our soul from all resentment. This is sufficient for us, in order that we may be heard; and let us pray with watching and much perseverance, that having enjoyed His bountiful mercy, we may be found worthy of the good things promised, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


ACTS XVII. 1, 2, 3.

"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ."

Again they haste past the small cities, and press on to the greater ones, since from those. the word was to flow as from a fountain into the neighboring cities. "And Paul, as his manner was, went into the synagogue of the Jews." Although he had said, "We turn to the Gentiles" (ch. xiii. 46), he did not leave these alone: such was the longing affection he had towards them. For hear him saying, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved" (Rom. x. I): and, "I wished myself accursed from Christ for my brethren." (ib. ix. 3.) But he did this[1] because of God's promise and the glory: and this, that it might not be a cause of offence to the Gentiles. "Opening," it says, "from the Scriptures, he reasoned with them for three sabbaths, putting before them that the Christ must suffer." Do thou mark how before all other things he preaches the Passion: so little were they ashamed of it, knowing it to be the cause of salvation. "And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few." (v. 4.) The writer mentions only the sum and substance of the discoursing: he is not given to redundancy, and does not on every occasion report the sermons. "But the Jews which believed not (the best texts omit "which believed not"), moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of CAEsar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus." (v. 5-7.) Oh! what an accusation! again they get up a charge of treason against them, "saying, there is another king (one) Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go." (v. 8, 9.) A man worthy to be admired, that he put himself into danger, and sent them away from it. "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble," it says, "than they of Thessalonica: more noble," i. e. more gentle (<greek>epieikesteroi</greek>) (in their behavior): "in that they received the word with all readiness," and this not inconsiderately, but with a strictness wherein[2] was no passion, "searching the Scriptures whether these things were so." (v. 10, 11.) "Therefore many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still." (v. 12-14.) See how he at one time gives way, at another presses on, and in many things takes his measures upon human considerations. "And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with speed, they departed." (v. 15.) But let us look again at what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) "Three sabbath-days," it says, being the time when they had leisure from work, "he reasoned with them, opening out of the Scriptures" (v. 2): for so used Christ also to do: as on many occasions we find Him reasoning from the Scriptures, and not on all occasions (urging men) by miracles. Because to this[1] indeed they stood in a posture of hostility, calling them deceivers and jugglers; but he that persuades l men by reasons from the Scriptures, is not liable to this imputation. And on many occasions we find (Paul) to have convinced men simply by force of teaching: and in Antioch "the whole city was gathered together" (ch. xiii. 44): so[2] great a thing is this also, for indeed this itself is no small miracle, nay, it is even a very great one. And that they might not think that they did it all by their own strength, but rather that God permitted it,[3] two things resulted, namely, "Some of them were persuaded," etc. (c) "And of devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few :" * but those others did the contrary: "the Jews moved with envy," etc. (v. 4, 5) (b) and, from the fact that the being called was itself a matter of God's fore-ordering, (a) they neither thought great things of themselves as if the triumph were their own, nor were terrified as being responsible (for all). But how comes it that he said, "That we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal. ii. 9), and yet discoursed to the Jews? (a) He did this as a thing over and above. (<greek>b</greek>) For[4] he did other things also more than he was obliged. For instance, Christ ordained that they should "live by the Gospel" (I Cor. ix. 14; i. 17), but our Apostle did it not: Christ sent him not to baptize, yet he did baptize. Mark how he was equal to all. Peter to the circumcision, he to the Gentiles, to the greater part. (a) Since if it was necessary for him to discourse to Jews, how said he again: "For He that wrought effectually in him toward the circumcision, the same was mighty also in me toward the Gentiles" (Gal. ii. 8)? In the same way as those Apostles also had intercourse with the Gentiles, though they had been set apart for the circumcision, so likewise did our Apostle. The more part of his work indeed was with the Gentiles: still he did not neglect the Jews either, that they might not seem to be severed from them. And how was it, you will ask, that he entered in the first place into the synagogues, as if this were his leading object? True;but he persuaded the Gentiles through the Jews, and from the things which he discoursed of to the Jews. And he knew, that this was most suitable for the Gentiles, and most conducive to belief. Therefore he says: "Inasmuch as I am the "Apostle of the Gentiles." (Rom. xi. 13.) And his Epistles too all fight against the Jews.That the Christ," he says, "must needs have suffered." (v. 3.) If there was a necessity for His suffering, there was assuredly. a necessity for His rising again: for the former[5] was far more wonderful than the latter. For if He gave Him up to death Who had done no wrong, much rather did He raise Him up again. "But the Jews which believed not took unto them certain of the baser sort, and set all the city on an uproar (v. 5): so that the Gentiles were more in number. The Jews thought not themselves enough to raise the disturbance:for because they had no reasonable pretext, they ever effect such purposes by means of uproar, and by taking to themselves base men. "And when they found them not," it says, "they haled Jason and certain brethren." (v. 6.) O the tyranny! dragged them without any cause out of their houses. "These all," say they, "do contrary to the decrees of CAEsar" (v. 7): for since they spoke nothing contrary to what had been decreed, nor made any commotion in the city, they bring them under a different charge: "saying that there is another king, one Jesus. * And they troubled the people," etc. (v. 8.) And what are ye afraid of, seeing He is dead? (<greek>b</greek>) "And when they had taken security," etc. (v. 9.) See how by giving security Jason sent Paul away: so that he gave his life (to the hazard) for him. t (a) "And brethren," etc. (v. 10.) See how the persecutions in every case extend the preaching. "Now these," it says, "were more noble than those in Thessalonica" (v. II): i.e. they were not (men) practising base things, but some[1] were convinced, and the others (who were not), did nothing (of that sort). (<greek>b</greek>) "Daily," it says, "searching the Scriptures whether these things were so:" not merely upon a sudden impetus or (burst of) zeal. "More noble," it says: i. e. in point of virtue (a) "Therefore many of them," etc. (v. 12.) And here again are Greeks. (3) "But when the Jews of Thessalonica," etc. (v. 13), because there were lewd persons there. And yet that city was greater. But it is no wonder in the greater city the people were worse nay, of course to the greater city there go the worse men, where the occasions of disturbances are many. And as in the body, where the disease is more violent for having[2] more matter and fuel, just so is it here. (a) But look, I beg you, how their fleeing was providentially ordered, not from cowardice: otherwise they would have ceased to preach, and would not have exasperated them still more. But from this (flight) two things resulted: both the rage of those (Jews) was quenched, and the preaching spread. But in terms befitting their disorderly conduct, he says, "Agitating the multitude." (<greek>b</greek>) Just what was done at Iconium--that they may have the additional condemnation of destroying others besides themselves. (ch. xiv. 2, 19.) This is what Paul says of them: "Forbidding to preach to the Gentiles, to fill up their sins alway, for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." (1 Thess. ii. 16.) Why did he not stay? for if (at Lystra, ch. xiv. 19, 21) there, where he was stoned, he nevertheless stayed a long time, much more here. Why? (The Lord) did not wish them to be always doing signs; for this is itself a sign, not less than the working of signs--that being persecuted, they overcame without signs. So that just as now He prevails without signs, so was it on many occasions His will to prevail then. Consequently neither did the Apostles run after signs: as in fact he says himself, "We preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor. i. 23)--to them that crave signs, to them that crave wisdom, we give that which cannot even after signs persuade, and yet we do persuade ! So that this was a mighty sign. See then, how when the preaching is extended, they are not in a hurry to run after signs. a For it was right that thenceforth the believers should be mighty signs to the rest. Howbeit, by retreating and advancing they did these things. (a) "And immediately," it says, "the brethren sent away Paul." (v. 14.) Here now they send Paul alone: for it was for him they feared, lest he should suffer some harm, the head and front of all being in fact none other than he. (<greek>b</greek>) "They sent him away," it says, "as it were to the sea:" that it might not be easy for them to seize him. For[4] at present they could not have done much by themselves; and with him they accomplished and achieved many things. For the present, it says, they wished to rescue him. (a) So far is it from being the case, that (supernatural) Grace worked all alike on all occasions: on the contrary, it left them to take their measures upon human judgment, (only) stirring them up and rousing them out of sleep, and making them to take pains.[5] Thus, observe, it brought them safe only as far as Philippi, but no more after that. "And receiving," it says, "a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed." (v. 15.) For though he was a Paul, nevertheless he needed them. And with good reason are they urged by God to go into Macedonia, for there lay Greece moreover bright (before them). (ch. xvi. 9.)

See what zeal the rest of the disciples showed with respect to their leaders: not as it is now with us, who are separated and divided into great and small: some of us exalted, while others are envious: for this is the reason why those are envious, because we are puffed up, because we will not endure to be put upon a par with them. The reason why there is harmony in the body, is because there is no puffing up: and there is no puffing up, because the members are of necessity made to stand in need of each other, and the head has need of the feet. And God has made this to be the case with us, and, for all that, we will not endure it: although even without this, there ought to be love among us. Hear ye not how they that are without accuse us when they say, "Needs make friendships?" The laity have need of us; and we again exist for them. Since teacher or ruler would not exist, if there were not persons to be taught, nor would he perform his part, for it would not be possible. As the land has need of the husbandman, and the husbandman of the land, so is it here. What reward is there for the teacher to receive, when he has none to produce that he has taught? and what for the taught, who have not had the benefit of the best teaching? So that we need each other alike in turn, both the governed, them that govern,[1] and leaders, them that obey: for rulers are for the sake of many. Since no one is sufficient to do anything by himself alone, whether need be to ordain (<greek>keirotonhsai</greek>, or to examine men's counsels and opinions. but they become more honorable by assembly and numbers. For instance, the poor need givers, the givers again need receivers. "Considering one another" he says, "to provoke unto love and to good works." (Heb. x. 24.) On this account the assembly of the whole Church has more power: and what each cannot do by himself singly, he is able to do when joined with the rest. Therefore most necessary are the prayers offered up, here, for the world, for the Church, from the one end of the earth to the other, for peace, for those who are in adversities. And Paul shows this when he says, "That for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf" (2 Cor. i. II); that is, that He might confer the favor on many. And often he asks for their prayers. See also what God says with regard to the Ninevites: "And shall not I spare that city, wherein dwell more than six score thousand persons?" (Jonah iv. II.) For if, "where two or three," He says, "are gathered together in My Name" (Matt. xviii. 20), they prevail much, how much more, being many ? And yet thou mayest prevail, though thou be but one; yet not equally so. For why art thou but one ? Why dost thou not make many? Why dost thou not become the maker of love ? Why dost thou not create (<greek>kataskeuazeis</greek>) friendship ? Thou lackest the chief excellence of virtue. For as men's being bad by agreement together more provokes God; so for men to be good by unanimity delights Him more. "Thou shall not follow a multitude," He says, "to do evil." (Ex. xxiii. 2.) "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable" (Rom. iii. 12), and have become as it were men singing m concert in their wickedness. Make for thyself friends in preference to domestics, and all besides. If the peacemaker is a son of God, how much more he who makes friends also? (Matt. v. 9.) If he who reconciles only is called a son of God, of what shall not he be worthy, who makes friends of those who are reconciled? Let us engage ourselves in this trade, let us make those who are enemies to each other friends, and those who are not indeed enemies, but are not friends, them let us bring together, and before all, our own selves. For as he who is at enmity in his house, and has differences with his wife, carries no authority when reconciling others, but will be told, "Physician, heal thyself" (Luke iv. 23), so will a man be told in this case. What then is the enmity that is in us? That of the soul against the body, that of vice against virtue. This enmity let us put an end to, this war let us take away, and then being in peace we shall also address others with much boldness of speech, our conscience not accusing us. Anger fights against gentleness, love of money against contempt of it, envy against goodness of heart. Let us make an end of this war, let us overthrow these enemies, let us set up these trophies, let us establish peace in our own city. We have within us a city and a civil polity, and citizens and aliens many: but let us banish the aliens, that our own people may not be ruined. Let no foreign nor spurious doctrine enter in, no carnal desire. See we not that, if any enemy has been caught in a city, he is judged as a spy? Then let us not only banish aliens, but let us drive out enemies also. If we see one, let us deliver up to the ruler, (that is), to conscience (<greek>tw</greek> <greek>nw</greek>), that imagination which is indeed an alien, a barbarian, albeit tricked out with the garb of a citizen. For there are within us many imaginations of this kind, which are by nature indeed enemies, but are clad in sheep's skins. Just as the Persians, when they have put off the tiara, and the drawers, and the barbarian shoes, and put on the other dress which is usual with us, and have shorn themselves close, and converse in our own tongue, conceal war under their outward garb: but once apply the tortures (<greek>basanous</greek> or "tests "), and thou bringest to light what is hidden: so here, examine (or "put to the test,")by torture again and again such an imagination as this, and thou wilt quickly see that its spirit is that of a stranger. But to show you also by way of example the sort of spies which the devil sends into us to spy out what is in us, come let us strip one of them, and examine it strictly at the tribunal: and if you please, let us bring forward some of those which were detected by Paul. "Which things," he says, "have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting off the body: not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh." (Col. ii. 23.) The devil wished to bring in Judaism: now if he had introduced it in its own form, he would not have carried his point. Accordingly, mark how he brought it about. "You must neglect the body," he says: "this is (the true) philosophy, not to admit of meats, but to guard against them: this is humility." And now again in our own times, in the case of the heretics, he wished to bring us down to the creature. See then how he dressed up his deceit. Had he said, "Worship a creature," he would have been detected: but what says he? "God" (viz. the Son and the Holy Ghost), he says, "is a created being." But let us lay bare for the decision of the judges the meaning of the Apostolic writings: there let us bring him: themselves will acknowledge both the preaching and the language. Many make gains "that they may have wherewith to give to the poor," unjust gains: this too is a wicked imagination. But let us undress it, let us convict it, that we may not be taken by it, but that having escaped all the devices of the devil, and holding to the sound doctrines with strictness, we may be able both to pass in safety through this life present, and to obtain the good things promised, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

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