COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
HOMILIES XXXVIII TO XLI (ACTS 17, 18 & 19)

HOMILY XXXVIII.

ACTS XVII. 16, 17.

"Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him."

Observe how he meets with greater trials among the Jews than among the Gentiles. Thus in Athens he undergoes nothing of this kind; the thing goes as far as ridicule, and there an end: and yet he did make some converts: whereas among the Jews he underwent many perils; so much greater was their hostility against him.--" His spirit," it says, "was roused within him when he saw the city all full of idols." Nowhere else were so many objects[1] of worship to be seen. But again "he disputed with the Jews in the synagogue, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain of the philosophers of the Stoics and Epicureans encountered him." (v. 18.) It is a wonder the philosophers did not laugh him to scorn, speaking in the way he did. "And some said, What does this babbler mean to say?" insolently, on the instant:[2]--this is far from philosophy. "Other some said, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods," from the preaching, because he had no arrogance. They did not understand, nor comprehend the subjects he was speaking of--how should they? affirming as they did, some of them, that God is a body; others, that pleasure is the (true) happiness.[1] "Of strange gods, because he preached:unto them Jesus and the Resurrection :" for in fact they supposed "Anastasis" (the Resurrection) to be some deity, being accustomed to worship female divinities also.* "And having taken him, they brought him to the Areopagus" (v. 19)--not to punish, but in order to learn[2]--"to the Areopagus" where the trials for murder were held. Thus observe, in hope of learning (they ask him), saying, "May we know what is this new doctrine spoken of by thee? For thou bringest certain strange matters to our ears" (v. 20):everywhere novelty is the charge: "we would fain know therefore, what these things may mean." It was a city of talkers, that city of theirs. "For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time m nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I look upon you as being in all things" (v. 21, 22)--he puts it by way of encomium: (the word) does not seem to mean anything offensive--<greek>deisidaimonesterous</greek>, that is, <greek>eulabesterous</greek>, "more religiously disposed. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with his inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye ignorantly worship, this declare I unto you." (v. 23.)--" On which was inscribed, To an Unknown God." The Athenians, namely, as on many occasions they had received gods from foreign parts also--for instance, the temple of Minerva, Pan, and others from different countries-being afraid that there might be some other god not yet known to them, but worshipped elsewhere, for more assurance, forsooth, erected an altar to that god also: and as the god was not known, it was inscribed, "To an Unknown God." This God then, he tells them, is Christ; or rather, the God of all. t "Him declare I unto you," Observe l how he shows that they had already received Him, and "it is nothing strange," says he, "nothing new that I introduce to you." All along, this was what they had been saying: "What is this new doctrine spoken of by thee? For thou bringest certain strange matters to our ears." Immediately therefore he removes this surmise of theirs: and then says, "God that made the world and all things therein, He being Lord of heaven and earth" --for, that they may not imagine Him to be one of many, he presently sets them right on this point; adding, "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (v. 24), "neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything "--do you observe how, little by little, he brings in the philosophy? how he ridicules the heathen error? "seeing it is He that giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." This is peculiar to God. Look, then, whether these things may not be predicated of the Son also. "Being Lord," he saith, "of heaven and earth "--which they accounted to be God's. Both the creation he declares to be His work, and mankind also.[8] "Having determined," he says, "the times [4] assigned to them, and the bounds of their habitation," (v. 25, 26), "that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one,of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being: as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring." (v. 27, 28.) This is said by Aratus the poet. Observe how he draws his arguments from things done by themselves, and from sayings of their own. "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art." (v. 29.) And yet for this reason we ought.[1] By no means: for surely we are not like (to such), nor are these souls of ours. "And imagination of man." How so? ** But some person might say, "We do not think this." But it was to the many that he was addressing himself, not now to Philosophy. How then did they think so unworthily of Him? Again, putting it upon their ignorance, he says, "Now the times of ignorance God overlooked." Having[2] agitated their minds by the fear, he then adds this: and yet he says, "but now he commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (v. 30.) "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." (v. 31.) But let us look over again what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) (b) "And while Paul waited," etc. (v. 16.) It is providentially ordered that against his will he stays there, while waiting for those others. (a) "His spirit," it says, "within him" <greek>parwxuneto</greek>. It does not mean there, anger or exasperation: just as elsewhere it says, "There was <greek>paroxusmos</greek> between them." (ch. xv. 30.) (c) Then what is <greek>parwxuneto</greek>? Was roused: for the gift is far removed from anger and exasperation. He could not bear it, but pined away.[8] "He reasoned therefore in the synagogue," etc. (v. 17.) Observe him again reasoning with Jews. By "devout persons" he means the proselytes. For the Jews were dispersed everywhere before (mod. text "since ") Christ's coming, the Law indeed being henceforth, so to say, in process of dissolution, but at the same time (the dispersed Jews) teaching men religion.[4] But those prevailed nothing, save only that they got witnesses of their own calamities. (e) "And certain philosophers," etc. (v. 18.) How came they to be willing to confer with him? (They did it) when they salt others reasoning, and the man having repute (in the encounter). And observe straightway with overbearing insolence, "some said, What would this babbler say ? For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) Other some, He seemeth to be a setter-forth of strange deities: <greek>daimoniwn</greek>, for so they called their gods. "And having taken him, they brought him," etc. (v. 19.) (a) The Athenians no longer enjoyed their own laws, but were become subject to the Romans. (g) (Then) why did they hale him to the Areopagus? Meaning to overawe him--(the place) where they held the trials for bloodshed. "May we know, what is this new doctrine spoken of by thee? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears; we would fain know therefore what these things mean. For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing." (v. 20, 21.) Here the thing noted is, that though ever occupied only in this telling and hearing, yet they thought those things strange--things which they had never heard. "Then Paul standing in the midst of the Areopagus said, Ye men of Athens, I look upon you as being in all things more religiously disposed" (v. 22): (f) for the cities were full of gods (<greek>daimonwn</greek>, al. <greek>eidwlwn</greek>): (h) this is why he says <greek>deisidaimonesterous</greek>. " For as I passed by and viewed the objects of your worship--he does not say simply <greek>tous</greek> <greek>daimonas</greek> (the demons, or deities), but paves the way for his discourse: "I beheld an altar," etc. (v. 23.) This is why he says, "I look upon you as being more religiously disposed, viz. because of the altar. "God," he says, "that made the world." (v. 24.) He uttered one word, by which he has subverted all the (doctrines) of the philosophers. For the Epicureans affirm all to be fortuitously formed and (by concourse) of atoms, the Stoics held it to be body and fire (<greek>ekpurwsin</greek>). "The world and all that is therein." Do you mark the conciseness, and in conciseness, clearness? Mark what were the things that were strange to them: that God made the world ! Things which now any of the most ordinary persons know, these the Athenians and the wise men of the Athenians knew not. "Seeing He is Lord of heaven and earth:" for if He made them, it is clear that He is Lord. Observe what he affirms to be the note of Deity--creation. Which attribute the Son also hath. For the Prophets everywhere affirm this, that to create is God's prerogative. Not as those affirm[1] that another is Maker but not Lord, assuming that matter is uncreated. Here now he covertly affirms and establishes his own, while he overthrows their doctrine.[2] "Dwelleth not in temples made with hands." For He does indeed dwell in temples, yet not in such, but in man's soul. He overthrows the corporeal worship. What then? Did He not dwell in the temple at Jerusalem? No indeed: but He wrought therein. "Neither is worshipped by men's hands." (v. 25.) How then was He worshipped by men's hands among the Jews? Not by hands, but by the understanding. "As though He needed anything:" since even those (acts of worship) He did not in this sort seek, "as having need. Shall I eat," saith He, "the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" (Ps. 1. 13.) Neither is this enough--the having need of naught--which he has affirmed: for though this is Divine, yet a further attribute must be added. "Seeing it is He that giveth unto all, life and breath and all things." Two proofs of Godhead: Himself to have need of naught, and to supply all things to all men. Produce here Plato (and) all that he has philosophized about God, all that Epicurus has: and all is but trifling to this ! "Giveth," he says, "life and breath." Lo, he makes Him the Creator of the soul also, not its begetter. See again how he overthrows the doctrine about matter. "And made," he says, "off one blood every nation of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth." (v. 26.) These things are better than the former: and what an impeachment both of the atoms and of matter, that (creation) is not partial (work), nor the soul of man either? But this, which those say, is not to be Creator.[4]--But by the mind and understanding He is worshipped.--" It is He that giveth," etc. He not the partial (<greek>merikoi</greek> <greek>daimones</greek>) deities. "And all things." it is "He," he saith.--How man also came into being.[5]--First he showed that "He dwelleth not," etc., and then declared[6] that He "is not worshipped as though He had need of aught." If God,[7] He made all: but if He made not, He is not God. Gods that made not heaven and earth, let them perish. He introduces much greater doctrines, though as yet he does not mention the great doctrines; but he discoursed to them as unto children. And these were much greater than those. Creation, Lordship, the having need of naught, authorship of all good--these he has declared. But s how is He worshipped? say. It is not yet the proper time. What equal to this sublimity? Marvellous is this also--of one, to have made so many: but also, having made, Himself sustains them (<greek>sugkratei</greek>) in being, "giving life and breath and all things. (b) And hath determined the times appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him." (v. 27.) (a) It means either this, that He did not compel them to ,go about and seek God, but according to the bounds[9] of their habitation: (c) or this, that He determined their seeking God, yet not determined this (to be done) continually, but (determined) certain appointed times (when they should do so): showing[1] now, that not having sought they had found: for since, having sought, they had not found, he shows that God was now as manifest as though He were in the midst of them palpably (<greek>Yhlafwmenos</greek>). (e) "Though He be not far," he saith, "from every one of us," but is near to all. See again the power (or, "what it is to be God,") of God. What saith he? Not only He gave "life and breath and all things," but, as the sum and substance of all, He brought us to the knowledge of Himself, by giving us these things by which we are able to find and to apprehend Him. But we did not wish to find Him, albeit close at hand. "Though He be not far from every one of us." Why look now, He is near to all, to every one all the world over ! What can be greater than this? See how he makes clear riddance of the parcel deities (<greek>tous</greek> <greek>merikous</greek>)! What say I, "afar off?" He is so near, that without Him we live not: "for in Him we live and move and have our being." (v. 28.) "In him;" to put it by way of corporeal similitude, even as it is impossible to be ignorant of the air which is diffused on every side around us, and is "not far from every one of us," nay rather, which is in us. (d) For it was not so that there was a heaven in one place, in another none, nor yet (a heaven) at one time, at another none. So that both at every "time" and at every "bound" it was possible to find Him. He so ordered things, that neither by place nor by t time were men hindered. For of course even this, if nothing else, of itself was a help to them--that the heaven is in every place, that it stands in all time. (f) See how (he declares) His Providence, and His upholding power(<greek>sugkrathsin</greek>); the existence of all things from Him, (from Him) their working (<greek>to</greek> <greek>energein</greek>), (from Him their preservation) that they perish not. And he does not say, "Through Him," but, what was nearer than this, "In him."--That poet said nothing equal to this, "For we are His offspring." He, however, spake it of Jupiter, but Paul takes it of the Creator, not meaning the same being as he, God forbid! but meaning what is properly predicated of God: just as he spoke of the altar with reference to Him, not to the being whom they worshipped. As much as to say, "For certain things are said and done with reference to this (true God), but ye know not that they are with reference to Him." For say, of whom would it be properly said, "To an Unknown God?" Of the Creator, or of the demon? Manifestly of the Creator: because Him they knew not, but the other they knew. Again, that all things are filled (with the presence)--of God? or of Jupiter--a wretch of a man, a detestable impostor ! But Paul said it not in the same sense as he, God forbid! but with quite a different meaning. For he says we are God's offspring, i.e. God's own,[2] His nearest neighbors as it were. For lest, when he says, "Being the offspring of God" (v. 29), they should again say, Thou bringest certain strange things to our ears,[3] he produces the poet. He does not say, "Ye ought not to think the Godhead like to gold or silver," ye accursed and execrable: but in more lowly sort he says, "We ought not." For what (says he)?[4] God is above this? No, he does not say this either: but for the present this--"We ought not to think the Godhead like unto such," for nothing is so opposite to men. "But we do not affirm the Godhead to be like unto this, for who would say that?" Mark[5] how he has introduced the incorporeal (nature of God) when he said, "In Him," etc., for the mind, when it surmises body, at the same time implies the notion of distance. (Speaking) to the many he says, "We ought not to think the Godhead like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the shaping of art,"[6] for if we are not like to those as regards the soul, much more God (is not like to such). So far, he withdraws them from the notion. But neither is the Godhead, he would say, subjected to any other human conception. For if that which art or thought has found--this is why he says it thus, "of art or imagination of man" --if that, then, which human art or thought has found, is God, then even in the stone (is) God's essence.--How comes it then, if "in Him we live," that we do not find Him? The charge is twofold, both that they did not find Him, and that they found such as these. The (human) understanding in itself is not at all to be relied upon.--But when he has agitated their soul by showing them to be without excuse, see what he says: "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." (v. 30.) What then? Are none of these men to be punished? None of them that are willing to repent. He says it of these men, not of the departed, but of them whom He commands to repent. He does not call you to account, he would say. He does not say, Took no notice (<greek>pareiden</greek>); does not say, Permitted: but, Ye were ignorant. "Overlooked," i.e. does not demand punishment as of men that deserve punishment. Ye were ignorant. And he does not say, Ye wilfully did evil.; but this he showed by what he Said above[1]--" All men everywhere to repent:" again he hints at the whole world. Observe how he takes them off from the parcel deities! "Because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance to all men, in that He raised Him from the dead." (v. 31.) Observe how he again declares the Passion. Observe the terror again: for, that the judgment is true, is clear from the raising Him up: for it is alleged in proof of that. That all he has been saying is true, is clear from the fact that He rose again. For He did give[2] this "assurance to all men," His rising from the dead: this (i.e. judgment), also is henceforth certain.

These words were spoken indeed to the Athenians: but it were seasonable that one should say to us also, "that all men everywhere must repent, because he hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world." See how he brings Him in as Judge also: Him, both provident for the world, and merciful and forgiving and powerful and wise, and, in a word possessing all the attributes of a Creator. "Having given assurance to all men," i.e. He has given proof in the rising (of Jesus) from the dead.[8] Let us repent then: for we must assuredly be judged. If Christ rose not, we shall not be judged: but if he rose, we shall without doubt be judged. "For to this end," it is said, "did He also die, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living." (Rom. xiv. 9.) "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to that he hath done." (Rom. xiv. 10, and 2 Cor. v. 10.) Do not imagine that these are but words. Lo ! he introduced also the subject of the resurrection of all men; for in no other way can the world be judged. And that, "In that He hath raised Him from the dead," relates to the body: for that was dead, that had fallen. Among the Greeks, as their notions of Creation, so likewise of the Judgment, are children's fancies, ravings of drunken men. But let us, who know these things accurately, do something that is to the purpose: let us be made friends unto God. How long shall we be at enmity with Him? How long shall we entertain dislike towards Him? "God forbid!" you will say: "Why do you say such things?" I would wish not to say the things I say, if ye did not do the things ye do: but as things are, what is the use now in keeping silence from words, when the plain evidence of deeds so cries aloud? How then, how shall we love Him? I have told you thousands of ways, thousands of times: but I will speak it also now. One way I seem to myself to have discovered, a very great and admirable way. Namely,[4] after acknowledging to Him our general obligations,--what none shall be able to express (I mean), what has been done for each of us in his own person, of these also let us bethink ourselves, because these are of great force:let each one of us reckon them up with himself, and make diligent search, and as it were in a book let him have the benefits of God written down; for instance, if at any time having fallen into dangers he has escaped the hands of his enemies; if ever having gone out on a journey at an untimely hour, he has escaped danger; if ever, having had an encounter with wicked men, he has got the better of them; or if ever, having fallen into sickness, he has recovered when all had given him over: for this avails much for attaching us to God. For if that Mordecai, when the services done by him were brought to the king's remembrance, found them to be so available, that he in return rose to that height of splendor (Esther vi. 2-11): much more we, if we call to mind, and make diligent enquiry of these two points, what sins we have committed against God, and what good He has done to us, shall thus both be thankful, and give Him freely all that is ours. But no one gives a thought to any of these things: but just as regarding our sins we say that we are sinners, while we do not enquire into them specifically, so with regard to God's benefits (we say), that God has done us good, and do not specifically enquire, where, and in how great number and at what time. But from this time forth let us be very exact in our reckoning. For if any one can recall even those things which happened long ago, let him reckon up all accurately, as one who will find a great treasure. This is also .profitable to us in keeping us from despair. For when we see that he has often protected us, we shall not despair, nor suppose that we are cast off but we shall take it as a strong pledge of His care for us, when we bethink us how, though we have sinned, we are not punished, but even enjoy protection from Him. Let me now tell you a case, which I heard from a certain person, in which was a child, and it happened on a time that he was in the country with his mother, being not yet fifteen years old. Just then there came a bad air, in consequence of which a fever attacked them both, for in fact it was the autumn season. It happened that the mother succeeded in getting into the town before (they could stop her); but the boy, when the physicians on the spot[1] ordered him, with the fever burning within him, to gargle his throat, resisted, having forsooth his own wise view of the matter, and thinking he should be better able to quench the fire, if he took nothing whatever, therefore, in his unseasonable spirit of opposition, boy-like, he would take nothing. But when he came into the town, his tongue was paralyzed, and he was for a long time speechless, so that he could pronounce nothing articulately; however, he could read indeed, and attended masters for a long time, but[2] that was all, and there was nothing to mark his progress. So all his hopes (in life) were cut off, and his mother was full of grief: and though the physicians suggested many plans, and many others did so too, yet nobody was able to do him any good, until the merciful God loosed the string of his tongue (cf. Mark vii. 35), and then he recovered, and was restored to his former readiness and distinctness of speech. His mother also related, that when a very little child, he had an affection in the nose, which they call a polypus: and then too the physicians had given him over and his father cursed him (for the father was then living), and (even) his mother prayed for him to die;[3] and all was full of distress. But he on a sudden having coughed, owing to the collection of mucus, by the force of the breath expelled the creature (<greek>to</greek> <greek>qhrion</greek>) from his nostrils, and all the danger was removed. But this evil having been extinguished, an acrid and viscid running from the eyes formed such a thick gathering of the humors (<greek>tas</greek> <greek>lhmas</greek>), that it was like a skin drawn over the pupil, and what was worse, it threatened blindness, and everybody said this would be the issue. But from this disease also was he quickly freed by the grace of God. So far what I have heard from others: now I will tell you what I myself know. Once on a time a suspicion of tyrants was raised in our city--at that time I was but a youth--and all the soldiers being set to watch without the city as it chanced, they were making strict[4] inquisition after books of sorcery and magic. And the person who had written the book, had flung it unbound (<greek>akataskeuaston</greek>) into the river, and was taken, and when asked for it, was not able to give it up, but was carried all around the city in bonds: when, however, the evidence being brought home to him, he had suffered punishment, just then it chanced that I, wishing to go to the Martyrs' Church, was returning through the gardens by the riverside in company with another person. He, seeing the book floating on the water at first thought it was a linen cloth, but when he got near, perceived it was a book, so he went down, and took it up. I however called shares in the booty, and laughed about it. But let us see, says he, what in the world it is. So he turns back a part of the page, and finds the contents to be magic. At that very moment it chanced that a soldier came by: *** then having taken from within,[1] he went off. There were we congealed with fear. For who would have believed our story that we had picked it up from the river, when all were at that time, even the unsuspected, under strict watch? And we did not dare to cast it away, lest we should be seen, and there was a like danger to us in tearing it to pieces. God gave us means, and we cast it away, and at last we were free for that time from the extreme peril. And I might mention numberless cases, if I had a mind to recount all. And even these I have mentioned for your sakes, so that, if any have other cases, although not such as these, let him bear them in mind constantly: for example, if at any time a stone having been hurled, and being about to strike thee, has not struck thee, do thou bear this ever in thy mind: these things produce in us great affection towards God. For if on remembering any men who have been the means of saving us, we are much mortified if we be not able to requite them, much more (should we feel thus) with regard to God. This too is useful in other respects. When we wish not to be overmuch grieved, let us say: "If we have received good things at the hand of the Lord, shall not we endure evil things?" (Job ii. 10.) And when Paul told them from whence he had been delivered, (2 Tim. iv. 17) the reason was that he might put them also in mind. See too how Jacob kept all these things in his mind: wherefore also he said: "The Angel which redeemed me from my youth up (Gen. xlviii. 16); and not only that he redeemed him, but how and for what purpose. See accordingly how he also calls to mind the benefits he had received in particular. "With my staff," he says, "I passed over Jordan." (Gen. xxxii. 10.) The Jews also always remembered the things which happened to their forefathers, turning over in their minds the things done in Egypt. Then much more let us, bearing in mind the special mercies which have happened to us also, how often we have fallen into dangers and calamities, and unless God had held his hand over us, should long ago have perished: I say, let us all, considering these things and recounting them day by day, return our united thanks all of us to God, and never cease to glorify Him, that so we may receive a large recompense for our thankfulness of heart, through the grace and compassion of His only begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXXIX.

ACTS XVII. 32-34. XVIII. I.

"And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth."

What can be the reason that, having persuaded (some so far as to say) that they would hear him again, and there being no dangers, Paul is so in haste to leave Athens? Probably he knew that he should do them no great good; moreover he was led by the Spirit to Corinth.[2] (b) For the Athenians, although fond of hearing strange things, nevertheless did not attend (to him); for this was not their study, but only to be always having something to say; which was the cause that made them hold off from him. But if this was their custom, how is it that they accuse him, "he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods?" (ch. xvii. 18.) Yes, but these were matters they did not at all know what to make of. Howbeit, he did convert both Dionysius the Areopagite, and some others. For those who were careful Of (right) living, quickly received the word; but the others not so. It seemed to Paul sufficient to have cast the seeds of the doctrines. (a) To Corinth then, as I said, he was led by the Spirit, in which city he was to abide. (c) "And having found a certain Jew named Aquila, of Pontus by birth, lately come from "Italy"-for the greater part of his life had been passed there--" and Priscilla his wife, because that Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome." (v. 2.) For though it was in the reign of Nero that the war against the Jews was consummated, yet from the time of Claudius and thenceforward it was fanning up, at a distance indeed,[1] so that, were it but so, they might come to their senses, and from Rome they were now driven as common pests. This is why it is so ordered by Providence that Paul was led thither as a prisoner, that he might not as a Jew be driven away, but as acting under military custody might even be guarded there. (Having found these,) "he came to them, and because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought: for by occupation they were tent-makers." (v. 3.) Lo, what a justification he found for dwelling in the same house with them ! For because here, of all places, it was necessary that he should not receive, as he himself says, "That wherein they glory, they may be found, even as we" (2 Cor. xi. 12), it is providentially ordered that he there abides. "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was straitened in the word,[2] testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ." (v. 4, 5.) "And when the Jews opposed and blasphemed," i.e. they tried to bear him down (<greek>ephreazon</greek>), they set upon him--What then does Paul? He separates from them, and in a very awful manner: and though he does not now say, "It was need that the word should be spoken unto you," yet he darkly intimates it to them?--" and when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles." (v. 6.) "And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue." See how having again said, "Henceforth--" for all that, he does not neglect them; so that it was to rouse them that he said this, and thereupon came to Justus, whose house was contiguous to the synagogue, so that a even from this they might have jealousy, from the very proximity. "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house." This also was, of all things, enough to bring them over. "And many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city." (v. 8-10.) See by how many reasons He persuades him, and how He puts last the reason which of all others most prevailed with him, "I have much people in this city." Then how was it, you may ask, that they set upon him? And[4] yet, the writer tells us, they prevailed nothing, but brought him to the proconsul. "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. And when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews ;made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment-seat." (v. II, 12.) Do you mark why those men were ever contriving to give a public turn to the misdemeanors (they accused them of)? Thus see here: (b) "Saying, This fellow seduceth men contrary to the law to worship God. And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said: If indeed it were any wrong-doing or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you. But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment-seat." (v. 13--16.) This Gallio seems to me to have been a sensible man. (a) Thus observe, when these had said, "Against the law he seduceth men to worship God," he "cared for none of these things:" and observe how he answers them: "If indeed it were" any matter affecting the city, "any wrong-doing or wicked lewdness," etc. (c) "Then all the Jews? took Sosthenes the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat: and Gallio cared for none of these things" (v. 17): but their beating him he did not take as an insult to himself. So petulant were the Jews. But let us look over again what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) "And when they heard," (ch. xvii. 32) what great and lofty doctrines, they did not even attend, but jeered at the Resurrection! "For the natural man," it saith, "receiveth not the things of the Spirit." (1 Cor. ii. 14.) "And so," it says, "Paul went forth." (v. 33.) How? Having persuaded some; derided by others. "But certain men," it says, "clave unto him, and believed, among whom was also Dionysius the Areopagite and some others."[1] (v. 34.) "And after these things," etc. "And having found a certain Jew by name Aquila, of Pontus by birth, lately come from Italy, because that Claudius had ordered all Jews to depart from Rome, he came to them, and because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tent-makers." (ch.xviii. 1-3.) Being of Pontus, this Aquila * * * .[2] Observe how, not in Jerusalem, nor near it (the crisis), was hasting to come, but at a greater distance. And with him he abides, and is not ashamed to abide, nay, for this very reason he does abide, as having a suitable lodging-place, for to him it was much more suitable than any king's palace. And smile not thou, beloved, to hear (of his occupation). For (it was good for him) even as to the athlete the palaestra is more useful than delicate carpets; so to the warrior the iron sword (is useful), not that of gold. "And wrought," though he preached. Let us be ashamed, who though we have no preaching to occupy us, live in idleness. "And he disputed in the synagogue every sabbath day, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks" (v. 4): but "when they opposed and blasphemer" he withdrew, by this expecting to draw them more. For wherefore having left that house did he come to live hard by the synagogue? was it not for this? For it was not that he saw any danger here. But therefore it is that Paul having testified to them--not teaches now, but testifies-- "having shaken his garments," to terrify them not by word only but by action, "said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads" (v. 6): he speaks the more vehemently as having already persuaded many. "I," says he, "am clean." Then we also are accountable for the blood of those entrusted to us, if we neglect them. "From this time forth I will go to the Gentiles." So that also when he says, "Henceforth let no man trouble me" (Gal. vi. 17), he says it to terrify. For not so much did the punishment terrify, as this stung them. "And having removed thence he came into the house of one named Justus, that worshipped God, whose house was contiguous to the synagogue" (v. 7), and there abode, by this wishing to persuade them that he was in earnest <greek>pros</greek> <greek>ta</greek> <greek>eqnh</greek> <greek>hpeigeto</greek> to go to the Gentiles. Accordingly, mark immediately the ruler of the synagogue converted, and many others, when he had done this. "Crispus the ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord, with his whole house: and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized."--(v. 8.) "With his whole house:"[3] observe the converts in those times doing this with their entire household. This Crispus he means where he writes, "I baptized none save Crispus and Gaius." (1 Cor. i. 14.) This (same) I take to be called Sosthenes--(evidently) a believer, insomuch that he is beaten, and is always present with Paul.* "And the Lord said in the night," etc. Now even the number (of the "much people") persuaded him, but Christ's claiming them for His own (moved him) more.[4] Yet He says also, "Fear not:" for the danger was become greater now, both because more believed, and also the ruler of the synagogue. This was enough to rouse him. Not that he was reproved[1] as fearing; but that he should not suffer aught; "I am with thee, and none shall set upon thee to hurt thee." (v. 9, 10.) For He did not always permit them to suffer evil, that they might' not become too weak. For nothing so grieved Paul, as men's unbelief and setting themselves (against the Truth) this was worse than the dangers. Therefore it is that (Christ) appears to him now. "And he continued a year and six months," etc. (v. 11.) After the year and six months, they set upon him. "And when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia," etc. (v. 12, 13), because they had no longer the use of their own laws.[2] (c) And observe how prudent he is: for he does not say straightway, I care not, but, "If," says he, "it were a matter of wrong-doing or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:but if it be a question of doctrine and words and of your law, see ye to it, for I do not choose to be a judge of such matters." (v. 14, 15.) (g) He taught[3] them that not such are the matters which crave a judicial sentence, but they do all things out of order. And he does not say, It is not my duty, but, "I do not choose," that they may not trouble him again. Thus Pilate said in the case of Christ, "Take ye Him, and judge him according to your law." (John xviii. 31.) But they were just like men drunken and mad. (d) "And he drave them from the judgment-seat" (v. 16)--he effectually closed the tribunal against them. "Then all" (the Jews) "having seized Sosthenes the ruler of the synagogue, beat him before the judgment-seat. And Gallio cared for none of these things." (v. 17). (a) This thing, of all others, set them on (to this violence)--their persuasion that the governor would not even let himself down (to notice it). (e) It was a splendid victory. O the shame they were put to! (b) For it is one thing to have come off victorious from a controversy, and another for those to learn that he cared nothing for the affair. (f) "And Gallio cared for none of these things:" and yet the whole was meant as an insult to him! But, forsooth, as if they had received authority (they did this). Why did he (Sosthenes), though he also had authority, not beat (them)? But they were (otherwise) trained: so that the judge should learn which party was more reasonable. This was no small benefit to those present--both the reasonableness of these, and the audacity of those. (h)[4] He was beaten, and said nothing.

This man let us also imitate: to them that beat us, let us return blow for blow, by meekness, by silence, by long-suffering. More grievous these wounds, greater this blow, and more heavy. For to show that it is not the receiving a blow in the body that is grievous, but the receiving it in the mind, we often smite people, but since it is in the way of friendship, they are even pleased: but if you smite any indifferent person in an insolent manner, you have pained him exceedingly, because you have touched his heart. So let us smite their heart. But that meekness inflicts a greater blow than fierceness, come, let us prove, so far as that is possible, by words. For the sure proof indeed is by acts and by experience: but if you will, let us also make the enquiry by word, though indeed we have often made it already. Now in insults, nothing pains us so much, as the opinion passed by the spectators; for it is not the same thing to be insulted in public and in private, but those same insults we endure even with ease, when we suffer them in a solitary place, and with none by to witness them, or know of them. So true is it that it is not the insult, as it is in itself, that mortifies us, but the having to suffer it in the sight of all men: since if one should do us honor in the sight of all men, and insult us in private, we shall notwithstanding even feel obliged to him. The pain then is not in the nature of the insult, but in the opinion of the beholders; that one may not seem to be contemptible. What then, if this opinion should be in our favor? Is not the man attempting to disgrace us himself more disgraced, when men give their opinion in our favor? Say, whom do the bystanders despise? Him who insults, or him who being insulted keeps silence? Passion indeed suggests, that they despise him who is insulted: but let us look into it now while we are free from that excitement, in order that we may not be carried away when the time comes. Say, whom do we all condemn? Plainly the man who insults: and if he be an inferior, we shall say that he is even mad; if an equal, that he is foolish; if a superior, still we shall not approve of it. For which man, I ask, is worthy of approval, the man who is excited, who is tossed with a tempest of passion, who is infuriated like a wild beast, who demeans himself in this sort against our common nature, or he who lives in a state of calm, in a haven of repose, and in virtuous equanimity? Is not the one like an angel, the other not even like a man? For the one cannot even bear his own evils, while the other bears even those of others also: here, the man cannot even endure himself; there, he endures another too: the one is in danger of shipwreck, the other sails in safety, his ship wafted along the favoring gales: for he has not suffered the squall of passion to catch his sails and overturn the bark of his understanding: but the breath of a soft and sweet air fanning upon it, the breath of forbearance, wafts it with much tranquillity into the haven of wise equanimity. And like as when a ship is in danger of foundering, the sailors know not what they cast away, whether what they lay hands upon be their own or other men's property, but they throw overboard all the contents without discrimination, alike the precious and what is not such: but when the storm has ceased, then reckoning up all that they have thrown out, they shed tears, and are not sensible of the calm for the loss of what they have thrown overboard: so here, when passion blows hard, and the storm is raised, people in flinging out their words know not how to use order or fitness; but when the passion has ceased, then recalling to mind what kind of words they have given utterance to, they consider the loss and feel not the quiet, when they remember the words by which they have disgraced themselves, and sustained most grievous loss, not as to money, but as to character for moderation and gentleness. Anger is a darkness. "The foot," saith Scripture, "hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Ps. xiii. 1.) Perhaps also of the angry man it is suitable to say the same, that the angry man hath said, There is no God. For, saith Scripture, "Through the multitude of his anger he will not seek" (after God).[1] (Ps. x. 4.) For let what pious thought will enter in, (passion) thrusts and drives all out, flings all athwart. (b) When you are told, that he whom you abused uttered not one bitter word, do you not for this feel more pain than you have inflicted? (a) If you in your own mind do not feel more pain than he whom you have abused, abuse still; (but) though there be none to call you to account, the judgment of your conscience, having taken you privately, shall give you a thousand lashes, (when you think) how you poured out a flood of railings on one so meek, and humble, and forbearing. We are forever saying these things, but we do not see them exhibited in works. You, a human being, insult your fellow-man? You, a servant, your fellow-servant? But why do I wonder at this, when many even insult God? Let this be a consolation to you when suffering insult. Are you insulted? God also is insulted. Are you reviled? God also was reviled. Are you treated with scorn? Why, so was our Master also. In these things He shares with us, but not so in the contrary things. For He never insulted another unjustly: God forbid! He never reviled, never did a wrong. So that we are those who share with Him, not ye. For to endure when insulted is God's part: to be merely abusive, is the part of the devil. 'See the two sides. "Thou hast a devil" (John vii. 20; ib. xviii. 22), Christ was told: He received a blow on the face from the servant of the high-priest. They who wrongfully insult, are in the same class with these. For if Peter was even called "Satan" (Matt. xvi. 23) for one word; much[2] more shall these men, when they do the works of the Jews, be called, as those were called, "children of the devil" (John viii. 44), because they wrought the works of the devil. You insult; who are you, I ask (that you do so)? Nay, rather the reason why you insult, is this, that you are nothing: no one that is human insults. So that what is said in quarrels, "Who are you?" ought to be put in the contrary way: "Insult: for you are nothing." Instead of that the phrase is, "Who are you, that you insult?" "A better man than you," is the answer. And yet it is just the contrary: but because we put the question amiss, therefore they answer amiss: so that the fault is ours. For as if we thought it was for great men to insult, therefore we ask, "Who are you, that you insult?" And therefore they make this answer. But, on the contrary, we ought to say: "Do you insult? insult still: for you are nobody:" whereas to those who do not insult this should be said: "Who are you that you insult not?--you have surpassed human nature." This is nobility, this is generosity, to speak nothing ungenerous, though a man may deserve to have it spoken to him. Tell me now, how many are there who are not worthy to be put to death? Nevertheless, the judge does not this in his own person, but interrogates them; and not this either, in his own person. But if it is not to be suffered, that the judge, sitting in judgment, should (in his own person) speak with a criminal, but he does all by the intervention of a third person, much more is it our duty not to insult our equals in rank; for[1] all the advantage we shall get of them will be, not so much to have disgraced them, as to be made to learn that we have disgraced ourselves. Well then, in the case of the wicked, this is why we must not insult (even them); in the case of the good there is another reason also because they do not deserve it: and for a third,[2] because it is not right to be abusive. But as things are, see what comes of it; the person abused is a man, and the person abusing is a man, and the spectators men. What then? must the beasts come between them and settle matters? for only this is left. For when both the wrong-doers and those who delight in the wrong-doing are men, the part of reconciler is left for the beasts: for just as when the masters quarrel in a house, there is nothing left but for the servants to reconcile them,--even if this be not the result, for the nature of the thing demands this,--just so is it here.--Are you abusive? Well may you be so, for you are not even human. Insolence seemed to be a high-born thing; it seemed to belong to the great; whereas it belongs rather to slaves; but to give good words belongs to free men. For as to do ill is the part of those, so to suffer ill is the part of these.--Just as if some slave should steal the master's property, some old hag,--such a thing as that is the abusive man. And like as some detestable thief and runaway,[3] with studied purpose stealing in, looks all around him, wishing to filch something: so does this man, even as he, look narrowly at all on every side, studying how to throw out some (reproach). Or perhaps we may set him forth by a different sort of example. Just as if[4] one should steal filthy vessels out of a house, and bring them out in the presence of all men, the things purloined do not so disgrace the persons robbed, as they disgrace the thief himself: just so this man, by bringing out his words in the presence of all men, casts disgrace not on others but on himself by the words, in giving vent to this language, and be-fouling both his tongue and his mind. For it is all one, when we quarrel with bad men, as if one for the sake of striking a man who is immersed in putrefying filth should defile himself by plunging his hands into the nastiness. Therefore, reflecting on these things, let us flee the mischief thence accruing, and keep a clean tongue, that being clear from all abusiveness, we may be enabled with strictness to pass through the life present, and to attain unto the good things promised to those that love Him, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XL.

ACTS XVIII. 18.

"And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow."

See how the Law was breaking up; see how they were bound by conscience. This, namely, was a Jewish custom, to shear their heads agreeably with a vow. But then there ought to be also a sacrifice (ch. xxi. 26), which was not the case here.*-- "Having yet tarried :" after the beating of Sosthenes.[1] For it was necessary that he should yet tarry, and comfort them concerning these things. "He sailed for Syria." Why does he desire again to come to Syria? It was there that"the disciples were ordered to be called Christians" (ch. xi. 26): there, that he had been "commended to the grace of God" (xiv. 26): there, that he had effected such things concerning the doctrine. "And with him Priscilla"--lo, a woman also[2]---" and Aquila." But these he left at Ephesus. With good reason, namely, that they should teach. For having been with him so long time, they were learning many things: and yet he did not at present withdraw them from their custom as Jews. "And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; but bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem." Therefore[3] it was that he was hindered from coming into Asia, being impelled to what was of pressing moment. Thus observe him here, entreated (by them) to stay, but because he could not comply, being in haste to depart, "he bade them farewell." However, he did not leave them without more ado, but with promise (to return): "But I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus." (v. 19-21.) "And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the Church, he went down to Antioch. And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples." (v. 22-23.) He came again to those places which he had previously visited. "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus." (v. 24.) Lo, even learned men are now urgent, and the disciples henceforth go abroad. Do you mark the spread of the preaching? "This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the Spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." (v. 25-26.) If this man[1] knew only the baptism of John, how is it that he was "fervent in the Spirit," for the Spirit was not given in that way? And if those after him needed the baptism of Christ, much[2] more would he need it. Then what is to be said? For it is not without a meaning that the writer has strung the two incidents together. It seems to me that this was one of the hundred and twenty who were baptized with the Apostles: or, if not so, then the same that took place in the case of Cornelius, took place also in the case of this man. But neither does he receive baptism. That expression, then, "they expounded more perfectly," seems[3] to me to be this, that he behooved also to be baptized. Because the other twelve knew nothing accurate, not even what related to Jesus. And it is likely[4] that he did in fact receive baptism. But if these (disciples) of John,[5] after that baptism again received baptism, was this needful for the disciples also? And wherefore the need of water? These are very different from him, men who did not even know whether there were a Holy Ghost.* "He was fervent," then, "in the Spirit, knowing only the baptism of John:" but these "expounded to him more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace." (v. 27.) He wished then also to depart into Achaia, and these[6] also encouraged (him to do so), having also given him letters. "Who when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (v. 28.) "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts"--meaning what we have read as to Caesarea and the other placest" came to Ephesus, and having found certain disciples (ch. xix. 1), "he said to them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." (v. 2-4.) For that they did not even believe in Christ is plain from his saying, "that they should believe on Him that was to come after him." And he did not say, The baptism of John is nothing, but, It is incomplete. Nor does he add this (in so many words), but he taught them, and many received the Holy Ghost. "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve" (v. 5-7): so that it was likely they had the Spirit, but it did not appear[7] "And all the men were about twelve."

(Recapitulation.) "And they came to Ephesus, and there he left them" (v. 19): for he did not wish to take them about with him, but left them at Ephesus. But they subsequently dwelt at Corinth, and he bears high testimony to them, and writing to the Romans, salutes them. (Rom. xvi. 3.) Whence it seems to me that they afterwards went back to Rome, in the time of Nero,[1] as having an attachment for those parts whence they had been expelled in the time of Claudius. "But[2] he himself went into the synagogue." It seems to me that the faithful still assembled there, for they did not immediately withdraw them. "And when they besought him to stay, he consented not" (v. 20, 21), for he was hastening to Caesarea. "And having arrived at Caesarea," etc., "passing through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, confirming all the disciples." (v. 22, 23.) Through these regions also he merely passes again, just enough to establish them by his presence. "And a certain Jew, Apollos by name," etc. (v. 24.) For he was an awakened man, travelling in foreign parts for this very purpose. Writing of him the Apostle said, "Now concerning Apollos our brother."[3] (1 Cor. xvi. 12.) <greek>b</greek> Whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard," etc. (v. 26.) It was not for nothing that he left them at Ephesus, but for Apollos' sake, the Spirit so ordered it, that he might come with greater force to the attack <greek>epibhnai</greek> upon Corinth. What may be the reason that to him they did nothing, but Paul they assault? They knew that he was the leader, and great was the name of the man. "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia" (v. 27) i.e. in faith, he did all by faith; "the brethren wrote," etc. nowhere envy, nowhere an evil eye. Aquila teaches, or rather this man lets himself be taught. He was minded to depart, and they send letters. (a) "For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly," etc. (v. 28.) Now by this, that he "publicly" convinced them, his boldness was shown: by the clearness of his arguing, his power was declared: by his convicting them out of the Scriptures, his skill (of learning). For neither boldness by itself contributes aught, where there is not power, nor power where there is not boldness. "He mightily convinced," it says. <greek>b</greek> "And it came to pass," etc. (ch. xix. 1.) But whence had those, being in Ephesus, the baptism of John? Probably they had been on a visit at Jerusalem at the time (of John's preaching), and did not even know Jesus. And he does not say to them, Do ye believe in Jesus? but what? "Have ye received the Holy Ghost?" (v. 2.) He knew that they had not, but wishes themselves to say it, that having learnt what they lack, they may ask. "John verily baptized," etc. (v. 4.) From the baptism itself he (John) prophesies :[4] and he leads them (to see) that this is the meaning of John's baptism. (a) "That they should believe on Him that was to come :" on what kind (of Person)? "I indeed baptize you with water, but He that cometh after me, shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost? (Matt. iii. 11.) And when Paul," it says, "had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (v. 6.) <greek>b</greek> The gift is twofold: tongues and prophesyings. Hence is shown an important doctrine, that[5] the baptism of John is incomplete. And he does not say, "Baptism" of forgiveness, but, "of repentance." What[6] (is it) then? These had not the Spirit: they were not so fervent, not even instructed. And why did (Apollos) not receive baptism?[7] (The case) seems to me to be this: Great was the boldness of the man. "He taught diligently the things concerning Jesus," but he needed more diligent teaching. Thus, though not knowing all, by his zeal he attracted the Holy Ghost, in the same manner as Cornelius and his company.

Perhaps it is the wish of many, Oh that we had the baptism of John now! But (if we had), many would still be careless of a life of virtue, and it might be thought that each for this, and not for the kingdom of heaven's sake, aimed at virtue. There would be many false prophets: for then "they which are approved" would not be very "manifest." (1 Cor. xi. 19.) As, "blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20, 29), so they that (believe)without signs. "Except," saith (Christ), "ye see signs, ye will not believe." (Ib. iv. 48.) For we lose nothing (by lack of miracles), if we will but take heed to ourselves. We have the sum and substance of the good things: through baptism we received remission of sins, sanctification, participation of the Spirit, adoption, eternal life. What would ye more? Signs? But they come to an end <greek>alla</greek> <greek>katargeitai</greek>. Thou hast "faith, hope, charity," the abiding things: these seek thou, these are greater than signs. Nothing is equal to charity. For "greater than all," saith he, "is charity." (cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 5.) But now, love is in jeopardy, for only its name is left behind, while the reality is nowhere (seen), but we are divided each from the other. What then shall one do to reunite (ourselves)? For to find fault is easy, but how may one make friendship, this is the point to be studied; how we may bring together the scattered members. For be it so, that we have one Church, or one doctrine--yet this is not the (main) consideration: no, the evil is, that[1] in these we have not fellowship--" living peaceably," as the Apostle says, "with all men" (Rom. xii. 18), on the contrary, we are at variance one with another. For be it that we are not having fights every day, yet look not thou to this, but (to this), that neither have we charity, genuine and unswerving. There is need of bandages and oil. Let us bear it in mind, that charity is the cognizance of the disciples of Christ: that without this, all else avails nothing: that it is an easy task if we will. Yes, say you, we know all this, but how (to go to work) that it may be achieved? What (to do), that it may be effected? in what way, that we may love one another? First, let us put away the things which are subversive of charity, and then we shall establish this. Let none be resentful, none be envious, none rejoicing in (others') misfortunes: these are the things that hinder love; well then, the things that make it are of the other sort. For it is not enough to put away the things that hinder; the things that establish must also be forthcoming. Now Sirach tells us the things that are subversive (of friendship), and does not go on to speak of the things which make union. "Reproaching," he says, "and revealing of a secret, and a treacherous wound." (Ecclus. 22, 27.) But in speaking of the men of those times, these things might well be named, seeing they were carnal: but in our case, God forbid they should be (even) named. Not[2] from these things do we bring our inducements for you, but from the others. For us, there is nothing good without friendship. Let there be good things without number, but what is the benefit--be it wealth, be it luxury--without friendship? No possession equal to this, even in, matters of this life, just as there is nothing worse than men hating (us). "Charity hides a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. iv. 8): but enmity, even where sins are not, suspects them to be. It is not enough not to be an enemy; no, one must also love. Bethink thee, that Christ has bidden, and this is enough. Even affliction makes friendships, and draws (men) together. "What then," say you, "now, when there is no affliction? say, how (are we to act) to become friends?" Have ye not other friends, I ask? In what way are ye their friends, how do ye continue such? For a beginning, let none have any enemy: this (in itself) is not a small matter: let none envy; it is not possible to accuse the man who envies not. (b) How then shall we be warmly affected? What makes love of persons? Beauty of person. Then let us also make our souls beautiful, and we shall be amiable one to another: for it is necessary, of course, not only to love, but also to be loved. Let us first achieve this point, that we may be loved, and the other will be easy. How to act that we may be loved? Let us become beautiful, and let us do this, that we may always have lovers. Let none make it his study to get money, to get slaves, to get houses, (so much)as to be loved, as to have a good name. Better is a name than much wealth. For the one remains, the other perishes: and the one it is possible to acquire, the other impossible. For he that has got an evil character, will with difficulty lay it aside: but by means of his (good) name the poor man may quickly be rich. Let there be a man having ten thousand talents, and another a hundred friends; the latter is more rich in resources than the former. Then let us not merely do this, but let us work it as a kind of trade. "And how can we?" say you. "A sweet mouth multiplieth its friends, and a gracious tongue." Let us get a well-spoken mouth, and pure manners. It is not possible for a man to be such, and not to be known.

(a) We have one world that we all inhabit, with the same fruits we all are fed. But these are small matters: by the same Sacraments we partake of the same spiritual food. These surely are justifications of loving! (c) Mark[1] how many (inducements and pleas) for friendship they that are without have excogitated; community of art or trade, neighborhood, relationships: but mightier than all these are the impulses and ties which are among us: this Table is calculated more (than all else) to shame us into friendliness. But many of us who come thereto do not even know one another. The reason, it may be said, is that there are so many of them. By no means; it is only our own sluggish indifference. (Once) there were three thousand (ch. ii. 41)--there were five thousand (iv. 4)--and yet they had all one soul: but now each knows not his brother, and is not ashamed to lay the blame on the number, because it is so great! Yet he that has many friends is invincible against all men: stronger he than any tyrant. Not such the safety the tyrant has with his body-guards, as this man has with his friends. Moreover this man is more glorious than he: for the tyrant is guarded by his own slaves, but this man by his peers: the tyrant, by men unwilling and afraid of him;this man by willing men and without fear. And here too is a wonderful thing to be seen--many in one, and one in many. (a) Just as in an harp, the sounds are diverse, not the harmony, and they all together give out one harmony and symphony, (c) I could wish to bring, you into such a city, were it possible, wherein (all) should be one soul: then shouldest thou see surpassing all harmony of harp and flute, the more harmonious symphony. (b) But the musician is the Might of Love: it is this that strikes out the sweet melody, (d) singing[2] (withal) a strain in which no note is out of tune. This strain rejoices both Angels, and God the Lord of Angels; this strain rouses (to hear it) the whole audience that is in heaven; this even lulls (evil) passions--it does not even suffer them to be raised, but deep is the stillness. For as in a theatre, when the band of musicians plays, all listen with a hush, and there is no noise there; so among friends, while Love strikes the chords, all the passions are still and laid to sleep, like wild beasts charmed and unnerved: just as, where hate is, there is all the contrary to this. But let us say nothing just now about enmity; let us speak of friendship. Though thou let fall some casual hasty word, there is none to catch thee up, but all forgive thee; though thou do (some hasty thing), none puts upon it the worse construction, but all allowance is made: every one prompt to stretch out the hand to him that is failing, every one wishing him to stand. A wall it is indeed impregnable, this friendship; a wall, which not the devil himself, much less men, can overpower. It is not possible for that man to fall into danger who has gotten many friends. (Where love is) no room is there to get matter of anger, but[3] only for pleasantness of feeling: no room is there to get matter of envying; none, to get occasion of resentment. Mark him, how in all things both spiritual and temporal, he accomplishes all with ease. What then, I pray you, can be equal to this man? Like a city walled on every side is this man, the other as a city unwalled.--Great wisdom, to be able to be a creator of friendship! Take away friend: ship, and thou hast taken away all, thou hast confounded all. But if the likeness of friendship have so great power, what must the reality itself be? Then let us, I beseech you, make to ourselves friends, and let each make this his art. But, lo! you will say, I do study this, but the other does not. All the greater the reward to thee. True, say you, but the matter is more difficult. How, I ask? Lo! I testify and declare to you, that if but ten of you would knit yourselves together, and make this your work, as the Apostles made the preaching theirs, and the Prophets theirs the teaching, so we the making of friends, great would be the reward. Let us make for ourselves royal portraits. For if this be the common badge of disciples, we do a greater work than if we should put ourselves into the power to raise the dead. The diadem and the purple mark the Emperor, and where these are not, though his apparel be all gold, the Emperor is not yet manifest. So now thou art making known thy lineage. Make men friends to thyself, and (friends) to others. There is none who being loved will wish to hate thee. Let us learn the colors, with what ingredients they are mixed, with what (tints) this portrait is composed. Let us be affable: let us not wait for our neighbors to move. Say not, if I see any person hanging back (for me to make the first advances), become worse than he: but rather when thou seest this, forestall him, and extinguish his bad feeling. Seest thou one diseased, and addest to his malady? This, most of all, let us make sure of--" in honor to prefer one another, to account others better than one's self" (Rom. xii 10), deem not this to be a lessening of thyself. f thou prefer (another) in honor, thou hast honored thyself more, attracting[1] to thyself a still higher extinction. On all occasions let us yield the precedence to others. Let us bear nothing in mind of the evil done to us, but if any good has been done (let us remember only that). Nothing so makes a man a friend, as a gracious tongue, a mouth speaking good things, a soul free from self-elation, a contempt of vainglory, a despising of honor. f we secure these things, we shall be able to become invincible to the snares of the Devil, and having with strictness accomplished the pursuit of virtue, to attain unto the good things promised to them that love Him, through 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

HOMILY XLI.

ACTS XIX. 8, 9.

"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus."

(a) See him in every place forcing his way into the synagogue, and in this manner departing thence. For in every place, he wished to have the occasion given him by them.[2] (c) He wished to separate the disciples thence, and to have the beginning for ceasing to assemble with them, given by (the Jews) themselves. And it was not for nothing that he did this (b)which have said. He was henceforth "provoking them to jealousy." For both the Gentiles readily received him, and the Jews, upon the Gentiles receiving him, repented. (a) This is why he continually made a stir among them,[8] "for three months arguing and persuading concerning the kingdom of God:" for you must not suppose because you hear of his "speaking boldly," that there was any harshness: it was of good things that he discoursed, of a kingdom : who would not have heard him? "But when divers were hardened, speaking evil of the way." They might well call it "the way;" this was indeed the way, that led into the kingdom of heaven. "He departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this was done for the space of two years, so that all that were in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." (v. 10.) (a) Do you mark how much was effected by his persisting?[4] "Both Jews and Greeks heard: (c) all that dwelt in Asia:" it was for this also that the Lord suffered him not to go into Asia (oh. xvi. 6) (on a former occasion); waiting, as it seems to me, for this same conjuncture. (Hom. xl. p. 245.) (b) "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits. went out of them." (v. 11, 12.) Not touched the wearer only (and so were healed), but also receiving them, they laid them upon the sick (and so healed them).[1] (g)" He that believed on Me," saith Christ, "doeth greater works than those which do." (John xiv. 12.) This, and the miracle of the shadows is what He meant (in those words). (d) "Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth." (v. 13.) So entirely did they do all by way of trade! Observe: vagabond, or, itinerant, Jewish exorcists. And to believe indeed, they had no mind; but by that Name they wished to cast out the demons. "By Jesus, whom Paul preacheth." Only see what a name Paul had got! "And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus know, and Paul know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (v. 14-16.) They did it in secret: then their impotence is publicly exposed. (f) Then not the Name does anything, unless it be spoken with faith. (h) See how they used their weapons against themselves! (j) So far were they from thinking Jesus to be anything great: no, they must needs add Paul, as thinking him to be something great. Here one may marvel how it was that the demon did not cooperate with the imposture of the exorcists, but on the contrary exposed them, and laid open their stage-play. He seems to me (to have done this) in exceeding wrath: just as it might be, if a person being in uttermost peril, should be exposed by some pitiful creature, and wish to vent all his rage upon him. "Jesus know, and Paul know." For, that there may not seem to be any slight put upon the Name of Jesus, (the demon) first confesses (Him), and then has permission given him. For, to show that it was not any weakness of the Name, but all owing to the imposture of those men, why did not the same take place in the case of Paul? "They fled out of that house naked and wounded:" he sorely battered their heads, perhaps rent their garments. (e) " And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus, and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many of them that had believed came confessing and making known their practices." (v. 17, 18.) For since they had got to possess such power as, by means of the demons, to do such things, well might this be the consequence, "And many of them that practised curious arts, brought their books together, and burnt them in the presence of all men; "--having seen that there was no more use of them now that the demons themselves do these things--" and reckoned up the price of them, and found the amount fifty thousand pieces of silver.* So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (v. 19, 20.) (i) "And"[2] (so) "he disputed," in the school of one Tyrannus for two years :" where were believers, and believers exceedingly (advanced in the faith). Moreover (Paul) writes (to them) as to great men.

(Recapitulation.) (b) "And having enteredin to the synagogue," etc. (v. 8.) But[3] why <greek>eparrhsiazeto</greek>? t means, he was ready to confront dangers, and disputed more openly, not veiling the doctrines. (a) "But when some were hardened, and spake evil of the way, having departed from them, he separated the disciples." (v. 9.) He put a stop, it means, to their evil-speaking: he did not wish to kindle their envy, nor to bring them rate more contention. (c) Hence let us also learn not to put ourselves in the way of evil-speaking men, but to depart from them: he did not speak evil, when himself evil spoken of. "He disputed daily," and by this gained the many, that, being evil intreated and (evil) spoken of, he did not (utterly) break away from them, and keep aloof. (e) The evil-speakers are defeated. They calumniated the doctrine itself; (therefore) so as neither to rouse the disciples to wrath, nor * * them he withdrew,[1] showing that everywhere alike they repel salvation from them. Here now he does not even apologize, seeing that the Gentiles everywhere have believed. "n the school of one Tyrannus:" it was not that he sought the place, but without more ado where there was a school (there he discoursed).* (d) And look, no sooner is the trial from those without over, than this from the demons begins. Mark the infatuated Jewish hardness. Having seen his garments working miracles, they paid no heed to it. What could be greater than this? But, on the contrary, it resulted in just the opposite effect. f any of the heathens believe not, having seen the (verb,) dust working these effects, let him believe.[2] (f) Wonderful, how great the power of them that have believed! Both Simon for the sake of merchandise sought the grace of the Spirit, and these for this object did this. What hardness (of heart)! Why does not Paul rebuke them? t would have looked like envy, therefore it is so ordered. This same took place in the case of Christ (Mark ix. 36): but then the person is not hindered, for it was the beginning of the new state of things: since Judas also is not hindered, whereas Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead: and many Jews even for opposing (Christ) suffered nothing, while Elymas was blinded. "For am not come," saith Christ, "to judge the world, but that the world might be saved." (John iii. 17.) "And seven sons," etc. (v. 14.) See the villany of the men! They still continued to be Jews, while wishing to make a gain of that Name. All that they did was for glory and profit. (g) Look,[3] in every case, how men are converted not so much in consequence of good things as of things fearful. n the case of Sapphira, fear fell upon the Church, and men dared not join themselves to them: here they received handkerchiefs and aprons, and were healed: and after this, then they came confessing their sins. (Hereby) the power of the demons is shown to be a great one, when it is against unbelievers. For why did he not say, "Who is Jesus?" He was afraid, lest he also should suffer punishment; but, that it might be permitted him to take revenge upon those who mocked him, he did this; "Jesus," says he, " know," etc. He was in dread of Paul. For why did not those wretched men say to him, We believe? How much more splendid an appearance they would have made had they said this, that is, if they had claimed Him as their Master? But instead of that, they spoke even those senseless words, "By Jesus, whom Paul preacheth." Do you mark the forbearance (of the writer), how he writes history and does not call names? This makes the Apostles admirable. "And the evil spirit," etc. (v. 15), for what had happened at Philippi (ch. xvi. 16) had given a lesson to these also. He mentions the name, and the number, thereby giving to the persons then living a credible proof of what he wrote. And why were they itinerant? For the sake of merchandise: not assuredly to bear tidings of the word; how should that be their object? And[4] how ran they anon, preaching by the things they suffered? "Insomuch," it says, "that all that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord." Ought not this to have converted all? And marvel not, for nothing convinces malice. But come now, let us look at the affair of the exorcists, with what an evil disposition (they acted). Why the same was not done in the case of Christ, is an inquiry for another time, and not for the present, save that this also was well and usefully ordered. It seems to me that they did this also in mockery, and that in consequence of this (punishment), none dared even at random to name that Name. Why did this put them upon confession? Because this was a most mighty argument of God's omniscience (therefore), before they should be exposed by the demons, they accused themselves, fearing lest they should suffer the same things. For when the demons their helpers are their accusers, what hope is there thenceforth, save the confession by deeds?

But see, I pray you, after such signs had been wrought, what evils within a short space ensue. Such is human nature: it soon forgets. Or, do ye not remember what has been the case among ourselves? Did not God last year shake our whole city?[1] Did not all run to baptism? Did not whoremongers and effeminate and corrupt persons leave their dwellings, and the places where they spent their time, and change and become religious? But three days passed, and they returned again to their own proper wickedness. And whence is this? From the excessive laziness. And what marvel if, when the things have passed away (this be the case), seeing that, the images lasting perpetually, the result is such? The fate of Sodom--say, does it not still last (in its effects)?"[2] Well, did the dwellers beside it become any the better? And what say you to the son of Noah? Was he not such (as he is represented), did he not see with his eyes so vast a desolation, and yet was wicked? Then let us not marvel how, when such things had been done, these Jews (at Ephesus) believe not, when we see that belief itself often comes round for them into its opposite,[3] into malignity; as, for instance, when they say that He hath a devil, He, the Son of God! Do you not see these things even now, and how men are many of them like serpents, both faithless and thankless, men who, viper-like, when they have enjoyed benefits and have been warmed by some, then they sting their benefactors? This we have said, lest any should marvel, how, such signs having been wrought, they were not all converted, For behold, in our own times happened those (miracles) relating to the martyr Babylas,[4] those relating to Jerusalem, those relating to the destruction of the temples, and not all were converted. Why need I speak of ancient things? I have told you what happened last year; and none gave heed to it, but again little by little they fell off and sunk back. The heaven stands perpetually crying aloud that it has a Master, and that it is the work of an Artificer, all this that we see--I mean the world--and yet some say that it is not so. What happened to that Theodorus last year--whom did it not startle? And yet nothing came of it, but having for a season become religious, they returned to the point from which they had started in their attempt to be religious. So it was with the Jews. This is what the Prophet said of them: "When He slew them, then they sought Him, and turned early unto God," (Ps. lxxviii. 34.) And what need to speak of those things that are common to all? How many have fallen into diseases, how many have promised, if raised up, to work so great a change, and yet they have again become the same as ever! This, if nothing else, shows that we have natural free-will--our changing all at once. Were evil natural, this would not be: things that are natural and necessary, we cannot change from. "And yet," you will say, "we do change from them. For do we not see some, who have the natural faculty to see, but are blinded by fear?" (True--) because this also is natural:[* *] if a different (necessity of) nature come not also into operation:[5] (thus) it is natural to us, that being terrified we do not see; it is natural to us that when a greater fear supervenes, the other gives way. "What then," you will say, "if right-mindedness[6] be indeed according to nature, but fear having overpowered it cast it out?" What then if I shall show that some even then are not brought to a right mind, but even in these fears are reckless? Is this natural? Shall I speak of ancient things? Well then, of recent? How many in the midst of those fears continued laughing, mocking, and experienced nothing of the sort? Did not Pharaoh change immediately, and (as quickly) run back to his former wickedness? But here, as if (the demons) knew Him not, they (the exorcists) added, "Whom Paul preacheth," whereas they ought to have said, "the Saviour of the world." "Him that rose again." By this they show that they do know, but they did not choose to confess His glory. Wherefore the demon exposes them, leaping upon them, and saying, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?" So that not ye are believers, but ye abuse that Name when ye say this. Therefore the Temple is desolate,[1] the implement easy to be overcome. So that ye are not preachers; mine, says he, ye are. Great was the wrath of the demon. The Apostles had power to do this to them, but they did it not as yet. For they that had power over the demons that did these things to them, much more had power over the men themselves. Mark how their forbearance is shown, in that they whom they repulsed do these things, while the demons whom they courted do the contrary. "Jesus," says he, "I know." Be ashamed, ye that are ignorant (of Him). "And Paul I know." Well said, "Think not that it is because I despise them, that I do these things." Great was the fear of the demon. And why without these words did he not rend their garments? For so he would both have sated his wrath, and established the delusion. He feared as I said, the unapproachable force, and would not have had such power had he not said this. But observe how we find the demons everywhere more right minded (than the Jews), not daring to contradict nor accuse the Apostles, or Christ. There they say, "We know Thee who Thou art" (Matt. viii. 29); and, "Why art Thou come hither before the time to torment us" (Mark i. 24): and again, "I know Thee who Thou art, the Son of God." And here, "These men are servants of the most high God" (ch. xvi. 17): and again, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know." For they exceedingly feared and trembled before those holy persons. Perhaps some one of you, hearing of these things, wishes he were possessed of this power, so that the demons should not be able to look him in the face, and accounts those saints happy for this, that they had such power. But let him hear Christ saying, "Rejoice not because the demons are subject unto you" (Luke x. 20), because He knew that all men rejoice most in this, through vainglory. For if thou seekest that which pleaseth God, and that which is for the common good, there is another, a greater way. It is not so great to free from a demon as it is to rescue from sin. A demon hinders not to attain unto the kingdom of Heaven, nay, even coöperates, unwillingly indeed, but nevertheless coöperates by making him that has the demon more sober-minded; but sin casts a man out.

But it is likely some man will say, "God forbid it should ever befall me to be sobered in this way!" Nor do I wish it for you, but a very different way, that you should do all from love of Christ: if however, which God forbid, it should so befall you, then even on this behalf I would comfort you. If then the demon does not cast out (from the kingdom of heaven), but sin does cast out, to free a man from sin is greater beneficence.

From this let us study to free our neighbors, and before our neighbors, our own selves. Let us see to it, lest we have a demon: let us examine ourselves strictly. More grievous than a demon is sin, for the demon makes men humble. See ye not those possessed with a demon, when they have recovered from the attack, how downcast they are, of how sad a countenance, how fraught with shame their faces are, how they have not even courage to look one in the face? See the strange inconsistency! While those are ashamed on account of the things they suffer, we are not ashamed on account of the things we do; while they are abashed being wronged, we are not abashed when doing wrong: and vet their condition is not a subject for shame, but for pity and tenderness and indulgence: nay, great is the admiration it calls for, and many the praises, when struggling against such a spirit, they bear all thankfully: whereas our condition in very deed is a subject for ridicule, for shame, for accusation, for correction, for punishment, for the worst of evils, for hell-fire; calling for no compassion whatever. Seest thou, that worse than a demon is sin? And those indeed, from the ills they suffer, reap a double profit: first, their being sobered and brought to more self-control; then, that having suffered here the chastisement of their own sins, they depart hence to their Master, purified. For indeed upon this we have often discoursed to you, that those who are punished here, if they bear it thankfully, may naturally be supposed to put away thereby many of their sins. Whereas from sins the mischief resulting is twofold; first, that we offend; secondly, that we become worse. Attend to what I say. Not this is the only injury we get from sin, that we commit a sin: but another and a worse is this, that our soul receives a habit. Just as it is in the case of the body--for it will be more plain when put in the form of an example--as he who has taken a lever has got harm not only in this respect, that he is sick, but also that after the sickness he is become weaker, even though he may return to health after a long disease: just so in the case of sin, though we may regain health, yet we are far from having the strength we need. For[1] take the case of one who has been insolently abusive: does he not suffer his deserts for his abusive conduct? Aye, but there is another and a worse thing to rue (which is), that his soul is become more insensible to shame. For from each several sin that is committed, even after the sin has been done and has ceased, there remains a kind of venom instilled into our souls. Do you not hear people saying, when they are recovered from sickness, "I dare not drink water now?" And yet the man has regained his health: aye, but the disease has done him this harm also. And whereas those (possessed) persons, albeit suffering ill, are thankful, we, when faring well, blaspheme God, and think ourselves very ill used: for you will find more persons behaving thus in health and wealth than in poverty and sickness. For there stands the demon over (the possessed), like a very hangman, fierce, uttering many (menaces), even as a schoolmaster brandishing the lash, and not suffering them to give way to any laxity. And suppose that some are not at all brought to a sober mind, neither are these liable to punishment;[2] no small thing this: even as fools, even as madmen and children, are not called to account, so neither are these: since for things that are done in a state of unconsciousness, none can be so merciless as to call the doers to account. Why then, in a far worse condition than those who are possessed of evil sprits are we that sin. We do not, indeed, foam at the mouth, nor distort our eyes, or throw about our hands convulsively; but as for this, would that we did it in our body and not in our soul! Will you that I show you a soul, foaming, filthy, and a distortion of the mind's eyes? Think of those who are in a passion and drunken with rage; can any form be filthier than the words they discharge? In very deed it is like a sputtering of noisome slaver. And just as the possessed know none of those who are present, so neither do these. Their understanding darkened, their eyes distorted, they see not who is friend, who foe, who worthy of respect, who contemptible, but they see all alike without a difference. And then, do you not see them, how they tremble, just like those others? But they do not fall to the ground, say you? True, but their soul lies on the ground and fails there in convulsions: since had it stood upright, it would not have come into the condition it is in. Or think you not that it betokens a soul abjectly sprawling and lost to all self-possession, the things men can do and say when drunken with rage? There is also another form of madness worse than this. What may this be? When men cannot so much as suffer themselves to vent their anger, but instead of that nourish within their own bosoms, to their own proper hurt,[3] as it were a very hangman with his lash, the rancorous remembrance of wrongs. For it is a bane to themselves first, (he malice that they bear. To say nothing of the things to come, what torture, think you, must that man undergo in the scourging of his soul, as day by day he looks how he may avenge himself on his enemy? He chastises himself first, and suffers punishment, swelling (with suppressed passion), fighting against himself, setting himself on fire. For needs must the fire be always burning within thee: while raising the fever to such a height, and not suffering it to wane, thou thinkest thou art inflicting some evil on the other, whereas thou art wasting thyself, ever bearing about with thee a flame which is always at its height, and not letting thy soul have rest, but evermore being in a state of fury, and having thy thoughts in a turmoil and tempest. What is more grievous than this madness, to be always smarting with pain, and ever swelling and inflamed? For such are the souls of the resentful: when they see him on whom they wish to be revenged, straightway it is as if a blow were struck them: if they hear his voice, they cower and tremble: if they be on their bed, they picture to themselves numberless revenges, hanging, torturing that enemy of theirs: and if, beside all this, they see him also to be in renown, O! the misery they suffer! Forgive him the offence, and free thyself from the torment. Why continue always in a state of punishment, that thou wayest once punish him, and take thy revenge? Why establish for thyself a hectic disease?[4] Why, when thy wrath would fain depart from thee, dost thou keep it back? Let it not remain until the evening, says Paul. (Eph. iv. 26.) For like some eating rot or moth, even so does it gnaw through the very root of our understanding. Why shut up a beast within thy bowels? Better a serpent or an adder to lie within thy heart, than anger and resentment: for those indeed would soon have done with us, but this remains forever fixing in us its fangs, instilling its poison, letting loose upon us an invading host of bitter thoughts. "That he should laugh me to scorn," say you, "that he should despise me!"[1] 0 wretched, miserable man, wouldest thou not be ridiculed by thy fellow-servant, and wouldest thou be hated by thy Master? Wouldest thou not be despised by thy fellow-servant, and despisest thou thy Master? To be despised by him, is it more than thou canst bear, but thinkest thou not that God is indignant, because thou ridiculest Him, because thou despisest Him, when thou wilt not do as He bids thee? But that thine enemy will not even ridicule thee, is manifest froth hence (that), whereas if thou follow up the revenge, great is the ridicule, great the contempt, for this is a mark of a little mind; on the contrary, if thou forgive him, great is the admiration, for this is a mark of greatness of soul. But you will say, he knows not this. Let God know it, that thou mayest have the greater reward. For He says," Lend to those of whom ye hope not to receive." (Luke vi. 34.) So let us also do good to those who do not even perceive that one is doing them good, that they may not, by returning to us praise or any other thing, lessen our reward. For when we receive nothing from men, then we shall receive greater things from God. But what is more worthy of ridicule, what more paltry, than a soul which is always in anger, and wishing to take revenge? It is womanly, this disposition, it is babyish. For as the babes are angry even with lifeless things, and unless the mother beats the ground, they will not let go their anger:[2] so do these persons wish to revenge themselves on those who have aggrieved them. Why then, it is they who are worthy of ridicule: for to be overcome by, passion, is the mark of a childish understanding, but to overcome it, is a sign of manliness. Why then, not we are the objects of ridicule, when we keep our temper, but they. It is not this that makes men contemptible--not to be conquered by passion: what makes them contemptible is this--to be so afraid of ridicule from without, as on this account to choose to subject one's self to one's besetting passion, and to offend God, and take revenge upon one's self. These things are indeed worthy of ridicule. Let us flee them. Let a man say, that having done us numberless ills, he has suffered nothing in return: let him say that he might again frantically assault us, and have nothing to fear. Why, in no other (better) way Could he have proclaimed our virtue; no other words would he have sought, if he had wished to praise us, than those which he seems to say in abuse. Would that all men said these things of me: "he is a poor tame creature; all men heap insults on him, but he bears it: all men trample upon him, but he does not avenge himself." Would that they added, "neither, if he should wish to do so, can he:" that so I might have praise from God, and not from men. Let him say, that it is for want of spirit that we do not avenge ourselves. This does us no hurt, when God knows (all): it does but cause our treasure to be in greater safety. If we are to have regard to them, we shall fall away from everything. Let us not look to what they say, but to what becomes us. But, says he, "Let no man ridicule me," and some make a boast of this. O! what folly! "No man," says he, "having injured me, has ridiculed me:" that is, "I had my revenge." And yet for this thou deservest to be ridiculed, that thou didst take revenge. Whence came these words among us--being, as they are, a disgrace to us and a pest, an overthrow of our own proper life and of our discipline? It is in downright opposition to God that thou (so) speakest. The very thing which makes thee equal to God--the not avenging thyself--this thou thinkest a subject for ridicule! Are not we for these things worthy to be laughed at, both by ourselves, and by the heathen, when we thus speak against God? I wish to tell you a story of a thing that happened in the old times (which they tell) not on the subject of anger, but of money. A man had an estate in which there was a hidden treasure, unknown to the owner: this piece of ground he sold. The buyer, when digging it for the purpose of planting and cultivation, found the treasure therein deposited, and came[3] and wanted to oblige the seller to receive the treasure, urging that he had bought a piece of ground, not a treasure. The seller on his part repudiated the gift, saying, "The piece of ground (is not mine), I have sold it, and I have no concern whatever with this (treasure)." So they fell to altercation about it, the one wishing to give it, the other standing out against receiving it. So chanting upon some third person, they argued the matter before him, and said to him, "To whom ought the treasure to be assigned?" The man could not settle that question; he said, however, that he would put an end to their dispute--he would (if they pleased) be master of it himself. So he received the treasure, which they willingly gave up to him; and in the sequel got into troubles without end, and learnt by actual experience that they had done well to have nothing to do with it. So ought it be done likewise with regard to anger; both ourselves ought to be emulous[1] not to take revenge, and those who have aggrieved us, emulous to give satisfaction. But perhaps these things also seem to be matter of ridicule: for when that madness is widely prevalent among men, those who keep their temper are laughed at, and among many madmen he who is not a madman seems to be mad. Wherefore I beseech you that we may recover (from this malady), and come to our senses, that becoming pure from this pernicious passion, we may be enabled to attain unto the kingdom of heaven, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

Return to Volume 20 Index