COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
HOMILIES XLVII TO LI (ACTS 21 TO 24)

HOMILY XLVII.

ACTS XXI. 39, 40.

"But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people. And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the' people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying."

Observe how, when he discourses to those that are without, he does not decline availing himself of the aids afforded by the laws. Here he awes the tribune by the name of his city. And again, elsewhere he said, "Openly, uncondemned, Romans as we are, they have cast us into prison." (ch. xix. 37.) For since the tribune said, "Art thou that Egyptian?" he immediately drew him off from that surmise: then, that he may not be thought to deny his nation, he says at once, "I am a Jew:" he means his religion? (b) What then? he did not deny (that he was a Christian): God forbid: for he was both a Jew and a Christian, observing what things he ought: since indeed he, most of all men, did obey the law: (a) as in fact he elsewhere calls himself, "Under the law to Christ." (I Cor. ix. 21.) What is this, I pray? (c) The man[5] that believes in Christ. And when discoursing with Peter, he says: "We, Jews by nature.--But I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people." (Gal. ii. 15.) And this is a proof, that he does not speak lies, seeing he takes all as his witnesses. Observe again how mildly he speaks. This again is a very strong argument that he is chargeable with no crime, his being so ready to make his defence, and his wishing to come to discourse with the people of the Jews. See a man well-prepared (<greek>tetagmenon</greek> <greek>andra</greek>)!--Mark the providential ordering of the thing: unless the tribune had come, unless he had bound him, he would not have desired to speak for his defence, he would not have obtained the silence he did. "Standing on the stairs." Then there was the additional facility afforded by the locality, that he should have a high place to harangue them from--in chains too! What spectacle could be equal to this, to see Paul, bound with two chains, and haranguing the people! (To see him,) how he was not a whit perturbed, not a whit confused; how, seeing as he did so great a multitude all hostility against him, the ruler standing by, he first of all made them desist from their auger: then, how prudently (he does this). Just what he does in his Epistle to the Hebrews, the same he does here: first he attracts them by the sound of their common mother tongue: then by his mildness itself. "He spake unto them," it says, "in the Hebrew tongue, saying, Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you." (ch. xxii. 1.) Mark his address, at once so free from all flattery, and so expressive of meekness. For he says not, "Masters," nor "Lords," but, "Brethren," just the word they most liked: "I am no alien from. you," he says, nor "against you." "Men," he says, "brethren, and fathers:" this, a term of honor, that of kindred. "Hear ye," says he, "my"--he says not, "teaching," nor "harangue," but, "my defence which I now make unto you." He puts himself in the posture of a suppliant. "And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence." (v. 2.) Do you observe how the using the same tongue subdued them? In fact, they had a sort of awe for that language. Observe also how he prepares the way for his discourse, beginning thus: "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cihcia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." (v. 3.) "I am a man," he says, "which am a Jew:" which thing they liked most of all to hear; "born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia." That they may not again think him to be of another nation, he adds his religion: "but brought up in this city." (p. 282, note[1].) He shows how great was his zeal for the worship, inasmuch as having left his native city, which was so great and so remote too, he chose to be brought up here for the Law's sake. See how from the beginning he attached himself to the law.[*] But this he says, not only to defend himself to them, but to show that not by human intent was he led to the preaching of the Gospel, but by a Divine power: else, having been so educated, he would not have suddenly changed. For if indeed he had been one of the common order of men, it might have been reasonable to suspect this: but if he was of the number of those who were most of all bound by the law, it was not likely that he Should change lightly, and without strong necessity. But perhaps some one may say: "To have been brought up here proves nothing: for what if thou camest here for the purpose of trading, or for some other cause?" Therefore he says, "at the feet of Gamaliel:" and not simply, "by Gamaliel," but "at his feet," showing his perseverance, his assiduity, his zeal for the hearing, and his great reverence for the man. "Taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers." Not simply, "the law," but "the law of the fathers;" showing that he was such from the beginning, and not merely one that knew the Law. All this seems indeed to be spoken on their side, but in fact it told against them, since he, knowing the law, forsook it. "Yes: but what if thou didst indeed know the law accurately, but dost not vindicate it, no, nor love it?" "Being a zealot," he adds: not simply (one that knew it). Then, since it was a high encomium he had passed upon himself, he makes it theirs as well as his, adding, "As ye all are this day." For he shows that they act not from any human object, but from zeal for God; gratifying them, and preoccupying their minds, and getting a hold upon them in a way that did no harm. Then he brings forward proofs also, saying, "and I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders" (v. 4, 5): "How does this appear." As witnesses he brings forward the high-priest himself and the eiders. He says indeed, "Being a zealot, as ye" (Hom. xix. p. 123): but he shows by his actions, that he went beyond them. "For I did not wait for an opportunity of seizing them: I both stirred up the priests, and undertook journeys: I did not confine my attacks, as ye did, to men, I extended them to women also: "both binding, and casting into prisons both men and women." This testimony is incontrovertible; the (unbelief) of the Jews (is left) without excuse. See how many witnesses he brings forward, the elders, the high-priest, and those in the city. Observe his defence, how it is not of cowardly fear (for himself, that he pleads), no, but for teaching and indoctrination. For had not the hearers been stones, they would have felt the force of what he was saying. For up to this point he had themselves as witnesses: the rest, however, was without witnesses: "From whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? And I answered, Who are Thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom thou persecutest." (v. 6, 7, 8.) Why then, these very things ought to have been held worthy of credit, from those that went before: otherwise he would not have undergone such a revolution. How if he is only making a fine story of it, say you? Answer me, Why did he saddenly fling away all this zeal? Because he looked for honor? And yet he got just the contrary. But an easy life, perhaps? No, nor that either. Well but something else? Why it is not in the power of thought to invent any other object. So then, leaving it to themselves to draw the inference, he narrates the facts. "As I came nigh," he says, "unto Damascus, about noonday." See how great was the excess of the light. What if he is only making a fine story, say you? Those who were with him are witnesses, who led him by the hand, who saw the light. "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me." (v. 9.) But in another place he says, "Hearing the voice, but seeing no man." (Acts ix. 7.) It is not at variance: no, there were two voices, that of Paul and the Lord's voice: in that place, the writer means Paul's voice (Horn. xix. P. 124, note[2]); as in fact (Paul) here adds, "The voice of Him that spake unto me. Seeing no man:" he does not say, that they did not see the light: but, "no man," that is, "none speaking," And good reason that it should be so, since it behooved him alone to have that voice vouchsafed unto him. For if indeed they also had heard it, (the miracle) would not have been so great. Since persons of grosser minds are persuaded more by sight, those saw the light, and were afraid. In fact, neither did the light take so much effect on them, as it did on him: for it even blinded his eyes: by that which befel him, (God) gave them also an opportunity of recovering their sight, if they had the mind. It seems to me at least, that their not believing was providentially ordered, that they might be unexceptionable witnesses. "And he said unto me" it says, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom thou persecutest." (comp. ch. ix. 5.) Well is the name of the city (Nazareth) also added, that they might recognize (the Person): moreover, the Apostles also spoke thus. (ch. ii. 22; iV. 1O; X. 38.) And Himself bore witness, that they were persecuting Him. "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid, but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. Enter into the city," it says, "and there it shall be spoken to thee of all that is appointed for thee to do." (v. 10-13.) Lo! again another witness. And see how unexceptionable he makes him also. "And one Ananias," he says, "a devout man according to the law,"--so far is it from being anything alien!--"having a good report of all the Jews that dwelt" (there). "And I in the same hour received sight." Then follows the testimony borne by the facts. Observe how it is interwoven, of persons and facts; and the persons, both of their own and of aliens: the priests, the elders, and his fellow-travellers: the facts, what he did and what was done to him: and facts bear witness to facts, not persons only. Then Ananias, an alien;[1] then the fact itself, the recovery of sight; then a great prophecy. "And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see That Just One." (v. 14.) It is well said, "'Of the fathers," to show that they were not Jews, but aliens from the law, and that it was not from zeal (for the law) that they were acting."That thou shouldest know HIs will." Why then His will is this. See how in the form of narrative it is teaching. "And see That Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For thou shall be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And see," he says, "that Just One." (v. 15.) For the present he says no more than this: if He is Just, they are guilty. "And hear the voice of His mouth." See how high he raises the fact! "For thou shall be His witness--for this, because thou wilt not betray the sight and hearing (i.e. "prove false to")--" both of what thou hast seen, and of what thou hast heard:" by means of both the senses he claims his faith, fulness--"to all men. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on His name." (v. 16.) Here it is a great thing he has uttered. For he said not, "Be baptized in His name:" but, "calling on the name of Christ." It shows that He is God: since it is not lawful to "call upon" any other, save God. Then he shows also, that he himself was not compelled: for, "I said," says he, "What must I do?" Nothing is (left) without witness: no; he brings forward the witness of a whole city, seeing they had beheld him led by the hand. But see the prophecy fuIfiIIed. "To all men," it is said. For he did become a witness to Him, and a witness as it ought to be; by what he suffered, by what he did, and by what he said. Such witnesses ought we also to be, and not to betray the things we have been entrusted withal: I speak not only of doctrines, but also of the manner of life. For observe: because he had seen, because he had heard, he bears witness to all men, and nothing hindered him. We too bear witness (Mod. text "have heard") that there is a Resurrection and numberless good things: we are bound to bear witness of this to all men. "Yes, and we do bear witness," you will say, "and do believe." How; when ye act the contrary? Say now: if any one should call himself a Christian, and then having apostatized should hold with the Jews, would this testimony suffice? By no means: for men would desire the testimony which is borne by the actions. Just so, if we say that there is a Resurrection and numberless good things, and then despise those things and prefer the things here, who will believe us? Not what we say, but what we do, is what all men look to. "Thou shalt be a witness," it says, "unto all men:" not only to the friendly, but also to the unbelievers: for this is what witnesses are for; not to persuade those who know, but those who know not. Let us be trustworthy witnesses. But how shall we be trustworthy? By the life we lead. The Jews assaulted him: our passions assault us, bidding us abjure our testimony. But let us not obey them: we are witnesses from God. (Christ) is judged that He is not God:[1] He has sent us to bear witness to Him. Let us bear witness and persuade those who have to decide the point: if we do not bear witness, we have to answer for their error also. But if in a court of justice, where worldly matters come in question, nobody would receive a witness full of numberless vices, much less here, where such (and so great) are the matters to be considered. We say, that we have heard Christ, and that we believe the things which He has promised: Show it, say they, by your works: for your life bears witness of the contrary--that ye do not believe. Say, shall we look at the money-getting people, the rapacious, the covetous? the people that mourn and wail, that build and busy themselves in all sorts of things, as though they were never to die? "Ye do not believe that ye shall die, a thing so plain and evident: and how shall we believe you when ye bear witness?" For there are, there are many men, whose state of mind is just as if they were not to die. For when in a lengthened old age they set about building and planting, when will they take death into their calculations? It will be no small punishment to us that we were called to bear witness, but were not able to bear witness of the things that we have seen. We have seen Angels with our eyes, yea, more clearly than those who have (visibly) beheld them. We shall be (Mud. text "Then let us be") witnesses to Christ: for not those only are "martyrs," (or witnesses, whom we so call), but ourselves also. This is why they are called martyrs, because when bidden to abjure (the faith), they endure all things, that they may speak the truth: and we, when we are bidden by our passions to abjure, let us not be overcome. Gold saith: Say that Christ is not Christ. Then listen not to it as to God, but despise its biddings. The evil lusts[2] "profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." (Tit. i. 16.) For this is not to witness, but the contrary. And indeed that others should deny, (Him) is nothing wonderful: but that we who have been called to bear witness should deny Him, is a grievous and a heinous thing: this of all things does the greatest hurt to our cause. "It shall be to (your)selves for a testimony." (Luke xxi. 13), He saith: but (this is) when we ourselves stand to it firmly. If we would all bear witness to Christ, we should quickly persuade the greater number of the heathen. It is a great thing, my beloved, the life (one leads). Let a man be savage as a beast, let him openly condemn thee on account of thy doctrine,[1] yet he secretly approves, yet he will praise, yet he will admire. For say, whence can an excellent life proceed? From no source, except from a Divine Power working in us. "What if there be heathen also of such a character?" If anywhere any of them be such, it is partly from nature, partly from vainglory. Wilt thou learn what a brilliancy there is in a good life, what a force of persuasion it has? Many of the heretics have thus prevailed, and while their doctrines are corrupt, yet the greater part of men out of reverence for their (virtuous) life did not go on to examine their doctrine: and many even condemning them on account of their doctrine, reverence them on account of their life: not rightly indeed, but still so it is, that they do thus feel (towards them). This has brought slanders on the awful articles of our creed, this has turned everything upside down, that no one takes any account of good living: this is a mischief to the faith. We say that Christ is God; numberless other arguments we bring forward, and this one among the rest, that He has persuaded all men to live rightly: but this is the case with few. The badness of the life is a mischief to the doctrine of the Resurrection, to that of the immortality of the soul, to that of the Judgment: many other (false doctrines) too it draws on with itself, fate, necessity, denial of a Providence. For the soul being immersed in numberless vices, by way of consolations to itself tries to devise these, that it may not be pained in having to reflect that there is a Judgment, and that virtue and vice lie in our own power. (Such a) life works numberless evils, it makes men beasts, and more irrational than beasts: for what things are in each several nature of the beasts, these it has often collected together in one man, and turned everything upside down. This is why the devil has brought in the doctrine of Fate: this is why he has said that the world is without a Providence (Hom. ii. p. 15): this is why he advances his hypothesis of good natures, and evil natures, and his hypothesis of evil (uncreated and) without beginning, and material (in its essence): and, in short, all the rest of it, that he may ruin our life. For it is not possible for a man who is of such a life either to recover himself from corrupt doctrines, or to remain in a sound faith: but of inevitable necessity he must receive all this. For I do not think, for my part, that of those who do not live aright, there could be easily found any who do not hold numberless satanical devices--as, that there is a nativity (or birth-fate) (<greek>lenesis</greek>), that things happen at random, that all is hap-hazard and chancemedley. Wherefore I beseech you let us have a care for good living, that we may not receive evil doctrines. Cain received for punishment that he should be (ever) groaning and trembling. (Gen. iv. 14.) Such are the wicked, and being conscious within themselves of numberless bad things, often they start out of their sleep, their thoughts are full of tumult, their eyes full of perturbation; everything is fraught for them with misgivings, everything alarms them, their soul is replete with grievous expectation and cowardly apprehension, contracted with impotent fear and trembling. Nothing can be more effeminate than such a soul, nothing more inane.[2] Like madmen, it has no self-possession. For it were well for it that in the enjoyment of calm and quiet it were enabled to take knowledge of its proper nobility. But when all things terrify and throw it into perturbation, dreams, and words, and gestures, and forebodings, indiscriminately, when will it be able to look into itself, being thus troubled and amazed? Let us therefore do away with its fear, let us break asunder its bonds. For were there no other punishment, what punishment could exceed this--to be living always in fear, never to have confidence, never to be at ease? Therefore knowing these things assuredly, let us keep ourselves in a state of calm and be careful to practise virtue, that maintaining both sound doctrines and an upright life, we may without offence pass through this life present, and be enabled to attain unto the good things which God hath promised to them that love Him, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XLVIII.

ACTS XXII. 17-20.

"And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: and when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him."

SEE how he thrusts himself (into danger), I came, he says, after that vision, "to Jerusalem. I was in a trance," etc. Again, this is without witness: but observe, the witness follows from the result. He said, "They will not receive thy testimony:" they did not receive it. And yet from calculations of reason the surmise should have been this, that they would assuredly receive him. For I was the man that made war upon the Christians: so that they ought to have received him. Here he establishes two things: both that they are without excuse, since they persecuted him contrary to all likelihood or calculation of reason; and, that Christ was God, as prophesying things contrary to expectation, and as not looking to past things, but fore-knowing the things to come. How then does He say, "He shall bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel?" (Acts ix. 15.) Not, certainly persuade. Besides which, on other occasions we find the Jews were persuaded, but here they were not. Where most of all they ought to have been persuaded, as knowing his former zeal (in their cause), here they were not persuaded. "And when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen," etc. See where again his discourse terminates, namely, in the forcible main point (<greek>eis</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>ipktrot</greek> <greek>kefalaion</greek>): that it was he that persecuted, and not only persecuted but killed, nay, had he ten thousand hands (<greek>mtriais</greek> <greek>kersin</greek> <greek>anairpn</greek>) would have used them all to kill Stephen. He reminded them of the murderous spirit heinously indulged (by him and them). Then of course above all they would not endure him, since this convicted them; and truly the prophecy was having its fulfilment: great the zeal, vehement the accusation, and the Jews themselves witnesses of the truth of Christ! "And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that,he should live." (v. 21, 22.) The Jews[1] would not endure to hear out all his harangue,[*] but excessively fired by their wrath, they shouted, it says, "Away with him; for it is not fit that he should live. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, the tribune commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that be should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him." (v. 23, 24.) Whereas both the tribune ought to have examined whether these things were so--yes, and the Jews themselves too --or, if they were not so, to have ordered him to be scourged, he "bade examine him by scourging, that he might know for what cause they so clamored against him." And yet he ought to have learnt from those clamorers, and to have asked whether they laid hold upon aught of the things spoken: instead of that, without more ado he indulges his arbitrary will and pleasure, and acts with a view to gratify them: for he did not look to this, how he should do a righteous thing, but only how he might stop their rage unrighteous as it was. "And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?" (v. 25.) Paul lied not, God forbid: for he was a Roman.[1] if there was nothing else, he would have been afraid (to pretend this), lest he should be found out, and suffer a worse punishment. (See Sueton. Vit. Claud. § 25.) And observe he does not say it peremptorily (<greek>atlps</greek>), but, "Is it lawful for you?" The charges brought are two, both its being without examination, and his being a Roman. They held this as a great privilege, at that time: for they say that (it was only) from the time of Hadrian that all[2] were named Romans, but of old it was not so. He would have been contemptible had he been scourged: but as it is, he puts them into greater fear (than they him). Had they scourged him, they would also have dismissed[3] the whole matter, or even have killed him; but as it is, the result is not so. See how God permits many (good results) to be brought about quite in a human way, both in the case of the Apostles and of the rest (of mankind). Mark how they suspected the thing to be a pretext,[4] and that in calling himself a Roman, Paul lied: perhaps surmising this from his poverty. "When the centurion heard that, he went and told the tribune, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the tribune came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the tribune answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the tribune also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him." (v. 26-29.)--"But I," he says, "was free born." So then his father also was a Roman. What then comes of this? He bound him, and brought him down to the Jews.[5] "On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty whereof he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them." (v. 30.) He discourses not now to the multitude, nor to the people. "And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." (ch. xxiii. 1.) What he means is this: I am not conscious to myself of having wronged you at all, or of having done anything worthy of these bonds. What then said the high priest?[6] Right justly, and ruler-like, and mildly: "And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."[7] (v. 3-5.) Because "I knew not that he was high priest." Some say, Why then does he defend himself as if it was matter of accusation, and adds, "Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people?" For if he were not the ruler, was it right for no better reason than that to abuse (him or any) other? He says himself, "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it" (1 Cor. iv. 12); but here he does the contrary, and not only reviles, but curses.[8] They are the words of boldness, rather than of anger; he did not choose to appear in a contemptible light to the tribune. For suppose the tribune himself had spared to scourge him, only as he was about to be delivered up to the Jews, his being beaten by their servants would have more emboldened him: this is why Paul does not attack the servant, but the person who gave the order. But that saying, "Thou whited wall, and dost thou sit to judge me after the law?" (is) instead of, Being (thyself) a culprit: as if he had said, And (thyself) worthy of stripes without number. See accordingly how greatly they were struck with his boldness; for whereas the point was to have overthrown the whole matter, they rather commend him.(1) (infra, v. 9.) "For it is written," etc. He wishes to show that he thus speaks, not from fear, nor because (Ananias) did not deserve to be called this, but from obedience to the law in this point also. And indeed I am fully persuaded that he did not know that it was the high priest,(2) since he had returned now after a long interval, and was not in the habit of constant intercourse with the Jews; seeing him too in the midst among many others: for the high priest was no longer easy to be seen at a glance, there being many of them and diverse.(*) So, it seems to me, in this also he spoke with a view to his plea against them: by way of showing that he does obey the law; therefore he (thus) exculpates himself.

(Recapitulation.) (b) But let us review what has been said. (a) "And when I was came again to Jerusalem," etc. (v. 17.) How was it,(3) that being a Jew, and there brought up and taught, he did not stay there? Nor did he abide there, unless he had a mind to furnish numberless occasions against him: everywhere just like an exile, fleeing about from place to place.(c) "While I prayed in the temple," he says, "it came to pass that I was in a trance." (To show) that it was not simply a phantom of the imagination, therefore "while he prayed" (the Lord) stood by him. And he shows that it was not from fear of their dangers that he fled, but because they would "not receive" his "testimony." (v. 18.) But why said he "They know I imprisoned?" (v. 19.) Not to gainsay Christ, but because he wished to learn this which was so contrary to all reasonable expectation. Christ, however, did not teach him (this),(4) but only bade him depart, and he obeys: so obedient is he. "And they lifted up their voices," it says, "and said, Away with him: it is not fit that this fellow should live." (v. 22.) Nay, ye are the persons not fit to live; not he, who in everything obeys God. O villains and murderers! "And shaking out their clothes," it says, "they threw dust into the air" (v. 23), to make insurrection more fierce, because they wished to frighten the governor. And observe; they do not say what the charge was, as in fact they had nothing to allege, but only think to strike terror by their shouting. "The tribune commanded," etc. and yet he ought to have learnt from the accusers, "wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him, etc. And the chief captain was afraid, after he learnt that he was a Roman." Why then it was no falsehood. "On the morrow, because he would know the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, etc., he brought him down before the council." (v. 24-30.) This he should have done at the outset. He brought him in, loosed. This above all the Jews would not know what to make of.(5) "And Paul," it says, "earnestly beholding them." It shows his boldness, and how it awed them<greek>to</greek> <greek>entreptikon</greek>). "Then the high priest Ananias." etc.ch. xxiii. 1, 2.) Why, what has he said that was affronting? What is he beaten for? Why what hardihood, what shamelessness! Therefore (Paul) set him down (with a rebuke) "God shall smite thee thou whited wall." (v. 3.) Accordingly (Ananias) himself is put to a stand, and dares not say a word: only those about him could not bear Paul's boldness. They saw a man ready to die(1) * * * for if this was the case,Paul) had but to hold his peace, and the tribune would have taken him, and gone his way; he would have sacrificed him to them. He both shows that he suffers willingly what he suffers, and thus excuses himself before them, not that he wished to excuse himself to them--since as for those, he even strongly condemns them--but for the sake of the people.(2) "Violating the law, commandest thou me to be beaten?" Well may he say so: for to kill a man who had donethem) no injury, and that an innocent person, was a violating of the law. For neither was it abuse that was spoken by him, unless one would call Christ's words abusive, when He says, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye are like unto whited walls." (Matt. xxiii. 27.) True, you will say: but if he had said it before he had been beaten, it would have betokened not anger, but boldness. But I have mentioned the reason of this.(8) And (at this rate) we often find Christ Himself "speaking abusively" to the Jews when abused by them; as when He says, "Do not think that I will accuse you." (John v. 45.) But this is not abuse, God forbid. See, with what gentleness he addresses these men: "I wist not," he says, "that he was God's high priest" (v. 4, 5): and, (to show) that he was not dissembling he adds, "Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." He even confesses him to be still ruler. Let us also learn the gentleness also,(4) that in both the one and the other we may be perfect. For one must look narrowly into them, to learn what the one is and what the other: narrowly, because these virtues have their corresponding vices hard by them: mere forwardness passing itself off for boldness, mere cowardice for gentleness:(5) and need being to scan them, lest any person possessing the vice should seem to have the virtue: which would be just as if a person should fancy that he was cohabiting with the mistress, and not know that it was the servant--maid. What then is gentleness, and what mere cowardice? When others are wronged, and we do not take their part, but hold our peace, this is cowardice: when we are the persons ill-treated, and we bear it, this is gentleness. What is boldness? Again the same, when others are the persons for whom we contend. What forwardness? When it is in our own cause that we are willing to fight. So that magnanimity and boldness go together, as also (mere) forwardness andmere) cowardice. For he that (does not) resent on his own behalf,(6) Will hardly but resent on behalf of others: and he that does not stand up for his own cause, will hardly fail to stand up for others. For when our habitual disposition is pure from passion, it admits virtue also. Just as a body when free from fever admits strength, so the soul, unless it be corrupted by the passions, admits strength. It betokens great strength, this gentleness; it needs a generous and a gallant soul, and one of exceeding loftiness, this gentleness. Or, think you, is it a small thing to suffer ill, and not be exasperated? Indeed one would not err if in speaking of the disposition to stand up for our neighbors, one should call it the spirit of manly courage. For he that has had the strength to be able to overcome so strong a passion (as this of selfishness), will have the strength to dare the attack on another. For instance, these are two passions, cowardice and anger: if thou have overcome anger, it is very plain that thou overcomest cowardice also: but thou gettest the mastery over anger, by being gentle: therefore (do so) with cowardice also, and thou wilt be manly. Again, if thou hast not got the better of anger, thou art become forward and pugnacious); but not having got the better of this, neither canst thou get the better of fear; consequently, thou wilt be a coward too: and the case is the same as with the body; if it be weak, it is quickly overcome both by cold and heat: for such is the ill temperament, but the good temperament is able to stand all (changes). Again, greatness of soul is a virtue, and hard by it stands prodigality: economy is a virtue, the being a good manager; hard by it stands parsimony and meanness. Come, let us again collate and compare the virtues (with their vices). Well, then, the prodigal person is not to be called great-minded. How should he? The man who is overcome by numberless passions, how should he be great of soul? For this is not despising money; it is only the being ordered about by other passions: for just as a man, if he were at the beck and bidding of robbers to obey their orders, could not be free (so it is here). His large spending does not come of his contempt of money, but simply from his not knowing how to dispose of it properly: else, were it possible both to keep it and to lay it out on his pleasure, this is what he would like. But he that spends his money on fit objects, this is the man of high soul: for it is truly a high soul, that which is not in slavery to passion, which accounts money to be nothing. Again, economy is a good thing: for thus that will be the best manager, who spends in a proper manner, and not at random without management. But parsimony is not the same thing with this. For the former(1) indeed, not even when an urgent necessity demands, touches the principal of his money: but the latter will be brother to the former. Wells then, we will put together the man of great soul, and the prudent economist, as also the prodigal and the mean man: for both of these are thus affected from littleness of soul, as those others are (from the opposite). Let us not then call him high-souled, who simply spends, but him who spends aright: nor let us call the economical manager mean and parsimonious, but him who is unseasonably sparing of his money. What a quantity of wealth that rich man spent, "who was clothed in purple and fine linen?" (Luke xvi. 19.) But he was not high-souled: for his soul was possessed by an unmerciful disposition and by numberless lusts: how then should it be great? Abraham had a great soul, spending as he did for the reception of his guests, killing the calf, and, where need was, not only not sparing his property, but not even his life. If then we see a person having his sumptuous table, having his harlots and his parasites, let us not call him a man of a great mind, but a man of an exceedingly little mind. For see how many passions he is enslaved and subject to--gluttony, inordinate pleasure, flattery: but him who is possessed by so many, and cannot even escape one of them, how can any one call magnanimous? Nay, then most of all let us call him little-minded, when he spends the most: for the more he spends, the more does he show the tyranny of those passions: for had they not excessively got the mastery over him, be would not have spent to excess. Again, if we see a person, giving nothing to such people as these, but feeding the poor, and succoring those in need, himself keeping a mean table--him let us call an exceedingly high-souled man: for it is truly a mark of a great soul, to despise one's own comfort, but to care for that of others. For tell me, if you should see a person despising all tyrants, and holding their commands of no account, but rescuing from their tyranny those who are oppressed and evil entreated; would you not think this a great man? So let us account of the man in this case also. The passions are the tyrant: if then we despise them, we shall be great: but if we rescue others also from them, we shall be far greater, as being sufficient not only for ourselves, but for others also. But if any one, at a tyrant's bidding, beat some other of his subjects, is this greatness of soul? No, indeed: but the extreme of slavery, in proportion as he is great. And now also there is set before us<greek>trokeitai</greek>) a soul that is a noble one and a free: but this the prodigal has ordered to be beaten by his passions: the man then that beats himself, shall we call high-souled? By no means. Well then * *, but let us see what is greatness of soul, and what prodigality; what is economy, and what meanness; what is gentleness, and (what) dulness and cowardice; what boldness, and what forwardness: that having distinguished these things from each other, we may be enabled to passthis life) well-pleasing to the Lord, and to attain unto the good things promised, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

HOMILY XLIX.(1)

ACTS. XXIII. 6-8.

"But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both."

AGAIN he discourses simply as man, and he does not on all occasions alike enjoy the benefit of supernatural aid. "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee:"(2) both in this, and in what comes after it, he wished to divide the multitude, which had an evil unanimity against him. And he does not speak a falsehood here either: for he was a Pharisee by descent from his ancestors. "Of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question." For since they would not say for what reason they arraigned him, he is compelled therefore to declare it himself. "But the Pharisees," it says, "confess both." And yet there are three things: how then does he say both? "Spirit and Angel" is put as one.(3) When he is on their side, then they plead for him. "And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but"what) "if a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?"(4)(*) (v. 9.) Why did they not plead for him before this? Do you observe, how, when the passions give way, the truth is discovered? Where is the crime, say they, if an angel has spoken to him, or a spirit? Paul gives them no handle against him. "And when there arose a great dissension, the tribune, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle." (v. 10.) The tribune is afraid of his being pulled in pieces, now that he has said that he is a Roman: and the matter was not without danger. Do you observe that Paul had a right to profess himself a Roman? Else, neither would (the tribune) have been afraid now. So it remains that the soldiers must bear him off by force. But when the wretches saw all to be without avail, they take the whole matter into their own hands, as they would fain have done before, but were prevented: and their wickedness stops nowhere, though it received so many checks: and yet how many things were providentially ordered, on purpose that they might settle down from their rage, and learn those things through which they might possibly recover themselves! But none the less do they set upon him. Sufficient for proof of his innocence was even this, that the man was saved when at the point to be pulled in pieces, and that with these so great dangers about him, he escaped them all. "And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy." (v. 11-13.) "They bound themselves under a curse," it says. See how vehement and revengeful they are in their malice l What means, "bound under a curse?"(1) Why then those men are accused forever, seeing they did not kill Paul. And forty together. For such is the nature of that nation: when there needs concerting together for a good object, not even two concur with each other: but when it is for an evil object, the entire people does it. And they admit the rulers also as accomplices. "And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Now therefore ye with the council signify to the tribune that he bring him down unto you to-morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him. And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the tribune: For he hath a certain thing to tell him. So he took him, and brought him to the tribune, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. Then the tribune took him by the hand, anti went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me? And he said, the Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to-morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly. But do not thou yield unto them for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee. So the tribune then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast showed these things to me." (v. 14-22). Again he is saved by man's forethought. And observe: Paul lets no man learn this, not even the centurion, that the matter might not become known. And the centurion having come, reported to the tribune. And it is well done of the tribune also, that he bids him keep it secret, that it might not become known: moreover he gives his orders to the centurions only, at the time when the thing was to be done: and so Paul is sent into Caesarea, that there too he might discourse in a greater theatre and before a more splendid audience: that so the Jews may not be able to say, "If we had seen Paul, we would have believed--if we had heard him teaching." Therefore this excuse too is cut off from them. "And the Lord," it said, "stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." (Yet) even after He has appeared to him, He again suffers him to be saved by man's means. And one may well be astonished at Paul;(2) he i was not taken aback, neither said, "Why, what is this? Have I then been deceived by Christ?" but he believed: yet, because he believed, he did not therefore sleep: no; what was in his own power by means of human wisdom, he did not abandon. "Bound themselves by a curse:" it was a kind of necessity that those men fastened on themselves by the curse. "That they would neither eat nor drink." Behold fasting the mother of murder! Just as Herod imposed on himself that necessity by his oath, so also do these. For such are the devil's (ways): under the pretext forsooth of piety he sets his traps. "And they came to the chief priests," etc. And yet they ought to have come (to the tribune), ought to have laid a charge, and assembled a court of justice: for these are not the doings for priests, but for captains of banditti, these are not the doings for rulers, but for ruffians. They endeavor also to corrupt the ruler: but it was providentially ordered, to the intent that he also should learn of their plot. For not (only) by their having nothing to say, but also by their secret attempt, they convicted themselves that they were naught. It is likely too that after (Paul was gone) the chief priests came to (the tribune) making their request, and were put to shame. For(3) of course he would not have liked either to deny or to grant their request. How came he to believe (the young man's tale)? He did so in consequence of what had already taken place; because it was likely they would do this also. And observe their wickedness: they as good as laid a necessity on the chief priests also: for if they undertook so great a thing themselves, and engaged themselves in the whole risk, much more ought those to do thus much. Do you observe, how Paul is held innocent by those that are without, as was also Christ by Pilate? See their malice brought to naught: they delivered him up, to kill and condemn him: but the result is just the contrary; he is both saved, and held innocent. For had it not been so,(1) he would have been pulled in pieces: had it not been so, he would have perished, he would have been condemned. And not only does the tribune) rescue him from the rush (made upon him), but also from much other(2) (violence): see how he becomes a minister to him, insomuch that without risk he is carried off safe with so large a force. "And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; and provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor. And he wrote a letter after this manner: Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting. This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman. And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Fare ye well." (v. 23-30). See how the letter speaks for him as a defence--for it says, "I found nothing worthy of death," but as accusation against them (rather) than against him. "About to have been killed of them:" so set upon his death were they. First, "I came with the army, and rescued him:" then also "I brought him down unto them:" and not even so did they find anything to lay to his charge: and when they ought to have been stricken with fear and shame for the former act, they again attempt to kill him, insomuch that again his cause became all the more clear. "And his accusers," he says, "I have sent unto thee:" that at the tribunal where these things are more strictly examined, he may be proved guiltless.

(Recapitulation.) Let us look then to what has been said above. "I," he says, "am a Pharisee:" then, that he may not seem to pay court, he adds, "Of the hope and resurrection of the dead it is, that I am called in question." (v. 6.) From this charge and calumny he commends himself. "For the Sadducees indeed," etc. The Sadducees have no knowledge of anything incorporeal, perhaps not even God; so gross (<greek>pakeis</greek>) are they: whence neither do they choose to believe that there is a Resurrection. "And the scribes," etc. Look; the tribune also hears that the Pharisees have acquitted him of the charges, and have given sentence (Mss. and Edd. <greek>eyhfisato</greek>, "he gave sentence") in his favor, and with greater confidence carries him off by force. Moreover all that was spoken (by Paul) was full of right-mindedness (<greek>filosofias</greek>). "And the night following the Lord stood by him," etc. See what strong consolation! First he praises him, "As thou hast testified to My cause in Jerusalem;" then He does not leave him to be afraid for the uncertain issue of his journey to Rome: for thither also, He saith, thou shalt not depart alone (<greek>monos</greek>), Cat. and Edd. <greek>monon</greek>), but thou shalt also have all this boldness of speech. Hereby it was made manifest, not (only) that he should be saved, but that (he should be so) in order to great crowns in the great city. But why did He not appear to him before he fell into the danger? Because it is evermore in the afflictions that God comforts us; for He appears more wished-for, while even in the dangers He exercises and trains us. Besides, he was then at ease, when free from bonds; but now great perils were awaiting him. "We have bound ourselves," they say, "under a curse, that we will not eat nor drink." (v. 14.) What is all this zeal? "That he may bring him down," it says, "unto you, as though ye would enquire into his case more perfectly." (v. 15.) Has he not twice made a speech unto you? has he not said that he is a Pharisee? What (would ye have) over and above this? So reckless were they and afraid of nothing, not tribunals, not laws: such their hardihood which shrunk from nothing. They both declare their purpose, and announce the way of carrying it into effect. "Paul's sister's son heard of it." (v. 16.) This was of God's providence, their not perceiving that it would be heard. What then did Paul? he was not alarmed, but perceived that this was God's doing: and casting all upon Him, so he acquits himself (from further concern about it:) "having called one of the centurions," etc. (v. 17.) He told of the plot, he was believed; he is saved. If he was acquitted of the charge, why did (the tribune) send the accusers? That the enquiry might be more strict: that the man might be the more entirely cleared.

Such are God's ways of ordering: the very things by which we are hurt, by these same are we benefited. Thus it was with Joseph: his mistress sought to ruin him: and she seemed indeed to be contriving his ruin, but by her contriving she placed him in a state of safety: for the house where that wild beast (of a woman) was kept was a den in comparison with which the prison was gentle. (Gen. xxxix. 1-20.) For while he was there, although he was looked up to and courted, he was in constant fear, test his mistress should set upon him, and worse than any prison was the fear that lay upon him: but after the accusation he was in security and peace, well rid of that beast, of her lewdness and her machinations for his destruction: for it was better for him to keep company with human creatures in miserable plight, than with a maddened misstress. Here he comforted himself, that for chastity's sake he had fallen into it: there he had been in dread, lest he should receive a death-blow to his soul: for nothing in the world is more annoying than a woman in love can be to a young man who will not (meet her advances): nothing more detestable (than a woman in such case), nothing more fell: all the bonds in the world are light to this. So that the fact was not that he got into prison, but that he got out of prison. She made his master his foe, but she made God his friend: brought him into closer relation to Him Who is indeed the true Master; she cast him out of his stewardship in the family, but made him a familiar friend to that Master. Again, his brethren sold him (Gen. xxxvii. 18); but they freed him from having enemies dwelling in the same house with him, from envy and much ill will, and from daily machinations for his ruin: they placed him far aloof from them that hated him. For what can be worse than this, to be compelled to dwell in the same house with brethren that envy one; to be an object of suspicion, to be a mark for evil designs? So that while they and she were severally seeking to compass their own ends, far other were the mighty consequences working out by the Providence of God for that just man. When he was in honor, then was he in danger; when he was in dishonor, then was he in safety. The eunuchs did not remember him, and right well it was that they did not, that the occasion of his deliverance might be more glorious: that the whole might be ascribed, not to man's favor, but to God's Providence (Gen. xl. 23): that at the right moment, Pharaoh, reduced to need, might bring him out; that not as conferring but as receiving a benefit, the king might release him from the prison. (ib. xli. 40.) It behooved to be no servile gift, but that the king should be reduced to a necessity of doing this: it behooved that it should be made manifest what wisdom was in him. Therefore it is that the eunuch forgets him, that Egypt might not forget him, that the king might not be ignorant of him. Had he been delivered at that time, it is likely he would have desired to depart to his own country: therefore he is kept back by numberless constraints, first by subjection to a master, secondly by being in prison, thirdly by being over the kingdom, to the end that all this might be brought about by the Providence of God. Like a spirited steed that is eager to bound off to his fellows, did God keep him back there, for causes full of glory. For that he longed to see his father, and free him from his distress, is evident from his calling him thither. (Gen. xlv. 9.)

Shall we look at other instances of evil designing, how they turn out to our good, not only by having their reward, but also by their working at the very time precisely what is for our good? This (Joseph's) uncle (Esau) had ill designs against his father (Jacob), and drove him out of his native land: what then? (Gen. xxvii. 41.) He too set him (thereby) aloof from the danger; for he too got (thereby) to be in safety. He made him a wiser and a better man (<greek>filosofwteron</greek>); he was the means of his having that dream (Gen. xxviii. 12.) But, you will say, he was a slave in a foreign land? Yes, but he arrives among his own kindred, and receives a bride, and appears worthy to his father-in-law. (ib. xxix. 23.) But he too cheated him? Yes, but this also turned out to his good, that he might be the father of many children. But it was in his mind to design evil against him? True, but even this was for his good, that he might thereupon return to his own country; for if he had been in good circumstances, he would not have so longed for home. But he defrauded him of his hire? Aye, but he got more by the means. (ib. xxxi. 7.) Thus, in every point of these men's history, the more people designed their hurt, the more their affairs flourished. If (Jacob) had not received the elder daughter, he would not soon have been the. father of so many children; he would have dragged out a long period in childlessness, he would have mourned as his wife did. For she indeed had reason to mourn, as not having become a mother (ib. xxx. 1, 2.); but he had his consolation: whence also he gives her a repulse. Again, had not (Laban) defrauded him of his hire, he would not have longed to see his own country; the higher points (<greek>filosofia</greek>) of the man's character would not have come to light, (his wives) would not have become more closely attached to him. For see what they say: "With devouring hath he devoured us and our money." (Gen. xxxi. 15.) So that this became the means of riveting their love to him. After this he had in them not merely wives, but (devoted) slaves; he was beloved by them: a thing that no possession can equal: for nothing, nothing whatever, is more precious than to be thus loved by a wife and to love her. "And a wife," Scripture says, "that agrees with her husband." (Ecclus. xxv. 1. "A man and a wife that agree together." E.V.) One thing this, as the Wise Man puts it, of the things for which a man is to be counted happy; for where this is, there all wealth, all prosperity abounds: as also, where it is not, there all besides profits nothing, but all goes wrong, all is mere unpleasantness and confusion. Then let us seek this before all things. He that seeks money, seeks not this. Let us seek those things which can remain fixed. Let us not seek a wife from among the rich, lest the excess of wealth on her side produce arrogance, lest that arrogance be the means of marring all. See you not what God did? how He put the woman in subjection? (Gen. iii. 16.) Why art thou ungrateful, why without perception? The very benefit God has given thee by nature, do not thou mar the help it was meant to be. So that it is not for her wealth that we ought to seek a wife: it is that we may receive a partner of our life, for the appointed order of the procreation of children. It was not that she should bring money, that God gave the woman; it was that she might be an helpmate. But she that brings money, becomes, instead of a wife, a setter up of her own will (<greek>epiboulos</greek>), a mistress--it may be a wild beast instead of a wife--while she thinks she has a right to give herself airs upon her wealth. Nothing more shameful than a man who lays himself out to get riches in this way. If wealth itself is full of temptations, what shall we say to wealth so gotten? For you must not look to this, that one or another as a rare and unusual case, and contrary to the reason of the thing, has succeeded: as neither ought we in other matters to fix our regards upon the good which people may enjoy, or their chance successes, out of the common course: but let us look to the reason of the thing as it is in itself, and see whether this thing be not fraught with endless annoyance. Not only you bring yourself into a disreputable position; you also disgrace your children by leaving them poor, if it chance that you depart this life before the wife: and you give her incomparably more occasions for connecting herself with a second bridegroom. Or do you not see that many women make this the excuse for a second marriage--that they may not be despised; that they want to have some man to take the management of their property? Then let us not bring about so great evils for the sake of money; but let us dismiss all (such aims), and seek a beautiful soul, that we may also succeed in obtaining love. This is the exceeding wealth, this the great treasure, this the endless good things: whereunto may we all attain by the grace and loving kindness 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 L.

ACTS XXIII. 31, 32, 33.

"Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle: who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him."

LIKE some king whom his body-guards escort, so did these convey Paul; in such numbers too, and by night, for fear of the wrath of the people? Now then you will say that they have got him out of the city, they desist from their violence? No indeed. But (the tribune) would not have sent him off with such care for his safety, but that while he himself had found nothing amiss in him, he knew the murderous disposition of his adversaries. "And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come." Already Lysias has spoken for his exculpation; (but the Jews seek to) gain the hearer beforehand. "And he ordered him to be kept in custody in Herod's praetorium" (v. 34, 35): again Paul is put in bonds. "And after five days came down the high priest Ananias with the elders." See how for all this they do not desist; hindered as they were by obstacles without number, nevertheless they come, only to be put to shame here also. "And with an orator, one Tertullus."[1] And what need was there of "an orator? Which (persons) also informed the governor against Paul." (c. xxiv. I.) See how this man also from the very outset (b) with his praises seeks to gain the judge beforehand. "And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, we accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness." (v. 2, 3.) Then as having much to say, he passes by the rest: "Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world." (a) As a revolutionary and seditious person he wishes to deliver him up. And yet, it might be answered, it is ye that have done this. (c) And see how he would put up the judge to a desire of punishing, seeing he had here an opportunity to coerce the man that turned the world upside down ! As if they had achieved a meritorious action, they make much of it: "Having found this fellow," etc., "a mover of sedition," say they, "among all the Jews throughout the world." (Had he been such), they would have proclaimed him as a benefactor and saviour of the nation ![2] "And a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." (v. 4, 5.) They thought this likely to tell as a reproach--" of the Nazarenes :" and by this also they seek to damage him--for Nazareth was a mean place. And, "we have found him," say they: see how maliciously they calumniate him: (found him), as if he had been always giving them the slip, and with difficulty they had succeeded in getting him: though he had been seven days in the Temple ! "Who also hath gone about to profane the temple; whom we took, [and would have judged according to our law."] (v. 6.) See how they insult even the Law; it was so like the Law, forsooth, to beat, to kill, to lie in wait! And then the accusation against Lysias: though he had no right, say they, to interfere, in the excess of his confidence he snatched him from us: [" But the tribune Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come unto thee] :[*] by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, where of we accuse him. And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so." (v. 7-9). What then says Paul? "Then Paul; after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a just judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself." (v. 10,) This is not the language of flattery, his testifying to the judge's justice:[8] no, the adulation was rather in that speech of the orator, "By thee we enjoy great quietness." If so, then why are ye seditious? What Paul sought was justice. "Knowing thee to be a just judge, I cheerfully," says he, "answer for myself." Then also he enforces this by the length of time: that (he had been judge) "of many years. Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship." (v. 11.) And what is this?[4] (It means), "that I could not immediately have raised a commotion." Because the accuser had nothing to show (as done) in Jerusalem, observe what he said: "among all the Jews throughout the world." Therefore it is that Paul here forcibly attracts him--" to worship," he says, "I came up," so far am I from raising sedition--and lays a stress upon this point of justices being the strong point. "And they neither found me in the Temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city" (v. 12); which in fact was the truth. And the accusers indeed use the term "ringleader," as if it were a case of fighting and insurrection; but see how mildly Paul here answers. "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy,[*] so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and the Prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (v. 14, 15.) The accusers were separating him (as an alien), but he indentifies himself with the Law, as one of themselves. "And in this," says he, "do I exercise my self, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. In which they found me purified in the temple, not with multitude, neither with tumult." (v. 16, 17, 18.) Why then camest thou up? What brought thee hither? To worship, says he; to do alms. This was not the act of a factious person. Then also he casts out their person:[1] "but," says he, (they that found me, were) "certain Jews from Asia, who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me while I stood before the council, except it be for this one voice, that I cried, standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day." (v. 19, 20, 21.) For this is justification in superabundance, not to flee from his accusers, but to be ready to give account to all. "Of the resurrection of the dead," says he, "am I this day called in question." And not a word said he of what he had to say, how they had conspired against him, had violently kept him, had laid wait for him--for these matters are course spoken of by the tribune[2]--but by Paul, though there was danger, not so: no, he is silent, and only defends himself, though he had very much to say. (b) "In which"[8] (alms), says he, "they found me in course of purifying in the Temple." Then how did he profane it? For it was not the part of the same man both to purify himself and worship and come for this purpose, and then to profane it. This has with it a surmise of the justice of his cause, that he does not fall into a long discourse. And he gratifies the judge, I suppose, by that also (namely, by), making his defence compendious: (d) seeing that Tertullus before him did make a long harangue. (f) And this too is a proof of mildness, that when one has much to say, in order not to be troublesome one says but few words. (c) But let us look again at what has been said.

(Recapitulation.) "Then the soldiers," etc. (v. 31-33.) (a) This also made Paul famous in Caesarea, his coming with so large a force. --"But," says Tertullus, 'that I be not further tedious," (e) showing that (Felix) does find him tedious (<greek>egkoptetai</greek>): "I beseech thee," he does not say, Hear the matter, but, "hear us of thy clemency." (ch. xxiv. 4.) Probably it is to pay court, that he thus lays out his speech. (g) "For having found this man, a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world" (v. 5): how then, it might be said, if he did this elsewhere (and not here)? No, says he; among us also he has profaned the Temple; "attempted," says he, "to profane it:" but the how, he leaves untold. "Whom also we took." etc. "But the tribune," etc. And while he thus exaggerates what relates to the tribune,[1] see how he extenuates the part of the accusers themselves. "We took him," he says, "and would have judged him according to our Law." (v. 6.) He shows that it is a hardship to them that they have to come to foreign tribunals, and that they would not have troubled him had not the tribune compelled them, and that he, having no concern in the matter, had seized the man by force: for in fact the wrongs done were against us, and with us the tribunal ought to have been. For that this is the meaning, see what follows: "with great violence" (v. 7), he says. For this conduct is violence. "From whom thou mayest know." He neither dares to accuse him (the tribune)--for the man Was indulgent (forsooth)--nor does he wholly pass it by. Then again, test he should seem to be lying, he adduces Paul himself as his own accuser. "From whom, by examining him, thou mayest take knowledge of all these things." (v. 8.) Next, as witnesses also of the things spoken, the accusers, the same persons themselves both witnesses and accusers: "And the Jews also assented," etc. (v. 9.) But Paul, "Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a just judge." (v. 10.) Why then, he is no stranger or alien or revolutionary person, seeing he had known the judge for many years. And he does well to add the epithet "just,"[2] that he (Felix) might not look to the chief priest, nor to the people, nor the accuser. See, how he did not let himself be carried away into abuse, although there was strong provocation. "Believing," he says, "that there will be a resurrection:" now a man who believed a resurrection, would never have done such things--" which" (resurrection) "they themselves also allow. (v. 15.) He does not say it of them, that they believe "all things written in the Prophets :" it was he that believed them all, not they: but how "all," it would require a long discourse to show. And he nowhere makes mention of Christ. Here by saying, "Believing," he does (virtually) introduce what relates to Christ; for the present he dwells on the subject of the resurrection, which doctrine was common to them also, and removed the suspicion of any sedition. And for the cause of his going up, "I came," he says, "to bring alms to my nation and offerings." (v. 17.) How then should I have troubled those, for the bringing offerings to whom I had come so long a journey? "Neither with multitude, nor with tumult." (v. 18.) Everywhere he does away the charge of sedition. And he also does well to challenge his accusers who were from Asia, "Who ought to accuse before thee," etc., but he does well also not to reject this either;[9] "or else," says he, "let these same here say. Touching the resurrection of the dead," etc. (v. 19, 20, 21): for in fact it was on this account they were sore troubled from the first, because he preached the Resurrection. This being proved, the things relating to Christ also were easily introduced, that He was risen. "What evil doing," he says, "they found in me. In the council (ch. iv. 2) he says: the examination not having taken place in private. That these things which I say are true, those witness who bring this charge against me. "Having," he says, "a conscience void of offence both toward God, and toward men." (v. 16.) This is the perfection of virtue, when even to men we give no handle against us, and are careful to be void of offence with God. "That I cried," he says, "in the council'." He also shows their violence.[4] They have it not to say, Thou didst these things under the pretext of alms: for (it was) "not with multitude, nor with tumult:" especially as upon enquiry made concerning this thing, nothing further was found. Do you observe his moderation, though there were dangers? do you observe how he keeps his tongue from evil-speaking, how he seeks only one thing, to free himself from the charges against himself, not that he may criminate them, except so far as he might be obliged to do so while defending himself? Just as Christ also said: "I have not a devil, but I honor My Father: but ye do dishonor Me." (John viii. 49.)

Let us imitate him, since he also was an imitator of Christ. If he, with enemies, who went even to the length of murder and slaughter, said nothing offensive to them, what pardon shall we deserve, who in reviling and abuse become infuriated, calling our enemies villains, detestable wretches? what pardon shall we deserve, for having enemies at all? Hear you not, that to honor (another) is to honor one's self? So it is: but we disgrace ourselves. You accuse (some one) that he has abused you: then why do you bring yourself under the same accusation? Why inflict a blow on yourself? Keep free from passion, keep unwounded: do not, by wishing to smite another, bring the hurt upon yourself. What, is the other tumult of our soul not enough for us, the tumult that is stirred up, though there be none to stir it up--for example, its outrageous lusts, its griefs and sorrows, and such like--but we must needs heap up a pile of others also? And how, you will say, is it possible, when one is insulted and abused, to bear this? And how is it nor possible, I ask? Is a wound got from words; or do words inflict bruises on our bodies? Then where is the hurt to us? So that, if we will, we can bear it. Let us lay down for ourselves a law not to grieve, and we shall bear it: let us say to ourselves, "It is not from enmity; it is from infirmity "--for it is indeed owing to an infirmity, since, for proof that it comes not from enmity nor from malignity of disposition, but from infirmity, the other also would fain have restrained (his anger), although he had suffered numberless wrongs. If we only have this thought in our minds, that it is from infirmity, we shall bear it, and while we forgive the offending person, we shall try not to fall into it ourselves. For I ask all you who are present: would ye have wished to be able to exercise such a philosophic temper, as to bear with those who insult you?[1] I think so. Well, then, he insulted unwillingly; he would rather not have done so, but he did it, forced by his passion: refrain thyself. Do you not see (how it is with) the demoniacs (in their fits)? Just then as it is with them, so with him: it is not so much from enmity, as from infirmity (that he behaves as he does): endure it. And as for us--it is not so much from the insults as they are in themselves that we are moved, as from our own selves: else how is it that when madmen offer us the same insults, we bear it? Again, if those who insult us be our friends, in that case too we bear it: or also our superiors, in that case also we bear it: how then is it not absurd, that in the case of these three, friends, madmen, and superiors, we bear it, but where they are of the same rank or our inferiors, we do not bear it? I have oftentimes said: It is but an impulse of the moment, something that hurries us away on the sudden: let us endure it for a little, and we shall bear the whole thing. The greater the insults, the more weak the offender. Do you know when it behooves us to grieve? When we have insulted another, and he keeps silence: for then he is strong, and we weak: but if the contrary be the case, you must even rejoice: you are crowned, you are proclaimed conqueror, without having even entered into the contest, without having borne the annoyance of sun, and heat, and dust, without having grappled with an antagonist and let him close with you; nothing but a mere wish on your part, sitting or standing, and you have got a mighty crown: a crown far greater than those (combatants earn): for to throw an enemy standing to the encounter, is nothing like so great as to overcome the darts of anger. You have conquered, without having even let him close with you, you have thrown down the passion that was in you, have slain the beast that was roused, have quelled the anger that was raging, like some excellent herdsman. The fight was like to have been an intestine one, the war a civil war. For, as those who sit down to besiege from without (endeavor to), embroil (the besieged) in civil discords, and then overcome them; so he that insults, unless he rouse the passion within us, will not be able to overcome us: unless we kindle the flame in ourselves, he has no power. Let the spark of anger be within us, so as to be ready for lighting at the right moment, not against ourselves, nor so as to involve us in numberless evils. See ye not how the fire in houses is kept apart, and not thrown about at random everywhere, neither among straw, nor among the linen, nor just where it may chance, that so there may not be danger, if a wind blow on it, of its kindling a flame: but whether a maid-servant have a lamp, or the cook light a fire, there is many an injunction given, not to do this in the draught of the wind, nor near a wooden panel, nor in the night-time: but when the night has come on, we extinguish the fire, fearing lest perchance while we are asleep and there is none to help, it set fire, and burn us all. Let this also be done with regard to anger; let it not be scattered everywhere up and down in our thoughts, but let it be in some deep recess of the mind, that the wind arising from the words of him who is opposing us may not easily reach to it, but that it receive the wind (which is to rouse it) from ourselves, who know how to rouse it in due measure and with safety. If it receive the wind from without, it knows no moderation; it will set everything on fire: oftentimes when we are asleep this wind will come upon it, and will burn up all. Let it therefore be with us (in safe keeping) in such sort as only to kindle a light: for anger does kindle a light when it is managed as it ought to be: and let us have torches against those who wrong others, against the devil. Let not the spark lie anywhere as it may chance, nor be thrown about; let us keep it safe under ashes: in lowly thoughts let us keep it slumbering. We do not want it at all times, but when there is need to subdue and to make tender, to mollify obduracy, and convict the soul. What evils have angry and wrathful passions wrought ! And what makes it grievous indeed is, that when we have parted asunder, we have no longer the power to come together again, but we wait for others (to do this): each is ashamed, and blushes to come back himself and reconcile the other. See, he is not ashamed to part asunder and to be separated; no, he takes the lead as author of the evil: but to come forward and patch that which is rent, this he is ashamed to do: and the case is just the same, as if a man should not shrink from cutting off a limb, but should be ashamed to join it together again. What sayest thou, O man? Hast thou committed great injuries, and thyself been the cause of the quarrel? Why, then, thou wouldest justly be the first to go and be reconciled, as having thyself furnished the cause. But he did the wrong, he is the cause of the enmity? Why then, for this reason also thou must do it, that men may the more admire thee, that in addition to the former, thou mayest get the first prize in the latter also: as thou wast not the cause of the enmity, so neither of its being extended further. Perhaps also the other, as conscious within himself of numberless evils, is ashamed and blushes. But he is haughty? On this account above all, do not thou hesitate to run and meet him: for if the ailment in him be twofold, both haughtiness and anger, in this thou hast mentioned the very reason why thou oughtest to be the first to go to him, thou that art the one in sound health, the one who is able to see: as for him, he is in darkness: for such is anger and false pride. But do thou, who art free from these and in sound health, go to him--thou the physician, go to the sick. Does any of the physicians say, Because such an one is sick, I do not go to him? No, this is the very reason above all why they do go, when they see that he is not able to come to them. For of those who are able (to come) they think less, as of persons not extremely ill, but not so of those who lie at home sick. Or are not pride and anger, think you, worse than any illness? is not the one like a sharp fever, the other like a body swollen with inflammation? Think what a thing it is to have a fever and inflammation: go to him, extinguish the fire, for by the grace of God thou canst: go, assuage the heat as it were with water. "But," you will say, "how if he is only the more set up by my doing this very thing?" This is nothing to thee: thou hast done thy part, let him take account for himself: let not our conscience condemn us, that this thing happens in consequence of any omission of what ought to have been done on our part. "In so doing," says the Scripture, "thou shall heap coals of fire on his head." (Rom. xii. 20, cf. Hom. in l. xxii. § 3.) And yet, for all that this is the consequence, it bids us go and be reconciled and do good offices--not that we may heap coals of fire, but that (our enemy) knowing that future consequence,[1] may be assuaged by the present kindness, that he may tremble, that he may fear our good offices rather than our hostilities, and our friendships rather than our ill designs. For one does not so hurt his hater by showing his resentment as an enemy, as by doing him good and showing kindness. For by his resentment, he has hurt both himself and perhaps the other also in some little degree: but by doing good offices, he has heaped coals of fire on his head. "Why then," you will say, "for fear of thus heaping coals one ought not to do this (b) but to carry on the enmity to greater lengths." By no means: it is not you that cause this, but he with his brutish disposition. For if, when you are doing him good, and honoring him, and offering to be reconciled, he persists in keeping up the enmity, it is he has kindled the fire for himself, he has set his own head on fire; you are guiltless. Do not want to be more merciful than God (b), or rather, if you wish it, you will not be able, not even in the least degree. How should you? "As far as the heaven is from the earth," Scripture says, "so far are My counsels from your counsels" (Isa. xlv. 8): and again, "If ye," He says, "being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more your heavenly Father" (Matt. vii. 11)? But in fact this talk is mere pretext and subterfuge. Let us not prevaricate with God's commandments. "And how do we prevaricate," you will say? He has said, "In so doing, thou wilt heap coals of fire on his head:" and you say, I do not like to do this. (a) But are you willing to heap coals after another fashion, that is upon your own head? For in fact this is what resentment does: (c) since you shall suffer evils without number. (e) You say, "I am afraid for my enemy, be, cause he has done me great injuries:" in reality is it this you say? But how came you to have an enemy? But how came you to hate your enemy? You fear for him that has injured you, but do you not fear yourself? Would that you had a care for yourself! Do not act (the kindness) with such an aim as this: or rather do it, though it be but with such an aim. But you do it not at all. I say not to you, "thou wilt heap coals of fire:" no, I say another and a greater thing: only do it. For Paul says this only by way of summoning thee (if only), in hope of the vengeance, to put an end to the enmity. Because we are savage as wild beasts in disposition, and would not otherwise endure to love our enemy, unless we expected some revenge, he offers this as a cake, so to say, to a wild beast. For to the Apostles (the Lord) says not this, but what says He? "That ye may be like to your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 45.) And besides, it is not possible that the benefactor and the benefited should remain in enmity. This is why Paul has put it in this way. 'Why, affecting a high and generous principle in thy words, why in thy deeds dost thou not even observe (common) moderation? (It sounds)well; thou dost not feed him, for fear of thereby heaping upon him coals of fire: well then, thou sparest him? well then, thou lovest him, thou actest with this object in view? God knows, whether thou hast this object in so speaking, and are not[1] palming this talk upon us as a mere pretence and subterfuge. Thou hast a care for thine enemy, thou fearest lest he be punished, then would-est thou not have extinguished thine anger? For he that loves to that degree that he overlooks his own interest for the sake of the other's advantage, that man has no enemy. (Then indeed) thou mightest say this. How long shall we trifle in matters that are not to be trifled with, and that admit of no excuse? Wherefore I beseech you, let us cut off these pretexts; let us not despise God's laws: that we may be enabled with well-pleasing to the Lord to pass this life present, and attain unto the good things promised, 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 LI.

ACTS XXIV. 22, 23.

"And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them and said, When Lysias the tribune shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him."

SEE how much close investigation is made by the many in a long course of time, that it should not be said that the trial was hurried over. For, as the orator had made mention of Lysias, that he took "him away with violence, Felix," he says, "deferred them. Having knowledge of that way:" that is, he put them off on purpose: not because he wanted to learn, but as wishing to get rid of the Jews. On their account, he did not like to let him go: to punish him was not possible; that would have been (too) barefaced. "And to let him have liberty,[*] and to forbid none of his acquaintance to minister to him." So entirely did he too acquit him of the charges. Howbeit, to gratify them, he detained him, and besides, expecting to receive money, he called for Paul. "And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance (i.e. self-control or chastity), and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix's room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound." (v. 24-27.) See how close to the truth are the things written. But he sent for him- frequently, not that he admired him, nor that he praised the things spoken, nor that he wished to believe, but why? "Expecting," it says, "that money should have been given him." Observe how he does not hide here the mind of the judge. "Wherefore he sent for him," etc. And yet if he had condemned him, he would not have done this, nor have wished to hear a man, condemned and of evil character. And observe Paul, how, though reasoning with a ruler, he says nothing of the sort that was likely to amuse and entertain, but (" he reasoned," it says,) "of righteousness, and of the coming judgment," and of the resurrection. And such was the force of his words, that they even terrified the governor.[*] This man is succeeded in his office by another, and he leaves Paul a prisoner: and yet he ought not to have done this; he ought to have put an end to the business: but he leaves him, by way of gratifying them. They however were so urgent, that they again besought the judge. Yet against none of the Apostles had they set themselves thus pertinaciously; there, when they had attacked, anon they desisted. So providentially is he removed from Jerusalem, having to do with such wild beasts. And they nevertheless request that he might be brought again there to be tried. "Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him." (ch. xxv. 1-3.) Here now God's providence interposed, not permitting the governor to do this: for it was natural that he having just come to the government would wish to gratify them: but God suffered him not. "But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought." (v. 4-6.) But after they came down, they forthwith made their accusations shamelessly and with more vehemence: and not having been able to convict him on grounds relating to the Law, they again according to their custom stirred the question about Caesar, being just what they did in Christ's case. For that they had recourse to this is manifest by the fact, that Paul defends himself on the score of offences against Caesar. "And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me "? (v. 7-9.) Wherefore he too gratifies the Jews, the whole people, and the city. Such being the case, Paul terrifies him also, using a human weapon for his defence. "Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged; to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar." (v. 10-11.) Some one might say, How is it, that having been told, "Thou must also bear witness of Me in Rome," (ch. xxiii. 11), he, as if unbelieving, did this? God forbid: nay, he did it, because he so strongly believed. For it would have been a tempting of God to be bold on account of that declaration, and to cast himself into numberless dangers, and to say: "Let us see if God is able even thus to deliver me." But not so does Paul; no, he does his part, all that in him lies, committing the whole to God. Quietly also he reproves the governor: for, "If, says he, I am an offender, thou doest well: but if not, why dost thou give me up?" "No man," he says, "may sacrifice me." He put him in fear, so that even if he wished, he could not sacrifice him to them; while also as an excuse to them he had Paul's appeal to allege. "Then Festus, when he had con-ferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go. And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus." (v. 12, 13.) Observe, he communicates the matter to Agrippa, so that there should be other hearers once more, both the king, and the army, and Bernice. Thereupon a speech in his exculpation. "And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's, cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether be would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To-morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him." (v. 14-22.) And observe a crimination of the Jews, not from Paul, but also from the governor. "Desiring," he says, "to have judgment against him." To whom I said, to their shame, that "it is not the manner of the Romans," before giving an opportunity to speak for himself, "to sacrifice a man." But I did give him (such opportunity), and I found no fault in him. "Because I doubted," says he, of "such manner of questions: he casts a veil also over his own wrong. Then the other desires to see him. (b) But let us look again at what has been said.[1] (Recapitulation.) "And when Felix," etc. (v. 22.) Observe on all occasions how the governors try to keep off from themselves the annoyance of the Jews, and are often compelled to act contrary to justice, and seek pretexts for deferring: for of course it was not from ignorance that he deferred the cause, but knowing it. And his wife also hears, together with the governor. (v. 24.) This seems to me to show great honor. For he would not have brought his wife to be present with him at the hearing, but that be thought great things of him. It seems to me that she also longed for this. And observe how Paul immediately discourses not only about faith, nor about remission of sins, but also about practical points of duty. "Go thy way," he says, "for this time: when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." (v. 25.) Observe his hardness of heart: hearing such things, "he hoped that he should receive money from him !" (v. 26.) And not only so, but even after conversing with him--for it was towards the end of his government--he left him bound, "willing to show the Jews a pleasure" (v. 27): so that he not only coveted money, but also glory. How, O wretch, canst thou look for money from a man who preaches the contrary? But that he did not get it, is evident from his leaving him bound; he would have loosed him, had he received it. "Of temperance," it says, he reasoned; but the other was hankering to receive money from him who discoursed these things! And to ask indeed he did not dare: for such is wickedness: but he hoped it. "And when two years were completed," etc., so that it was but natural that he showed them a pleasure, as he had been so long governor there. "Now when Festus was come into the province," etc. (ch. xxv. 1, 2.) At the very beginning, the priests came to him, who would not have hesitated to go even to Caesarea, unless he had been seen immediately coming up, since immediately on his arrival they come to him. And he spends ten days? in order, I suppose, to be open to those who wished to corrupt him with bribes. But Paul was in the prison. "They besought him," it says, "that he would send for him:" why did they desire it as a favor, if he was deserving of death? But thus their plotting became evident even to him, so that discoursing of it (to Agrippa), he says, "desiring to have judgment against him." They wanted to induce him to pass sentence now immediately, being afraid of Paul's tongue. What are ye afraid of? What are ye in such a hurry? In fact, that expression, "that he should be kept "[1] (v. 4), shows this. Does he want to escape? "Let them therefore," he says, "which among you are able, accuse him." (v. 5.) Again accusers, again at Caesarea, again Paul is brought forth. And having come, immediately "he sat on the judgment-seat" (v. 6); with all his haste: they so drove, so hurried him. While as yet he had not got acquainted with the Jews, nor experienced the honor paid to him by them, he answered rightly: but now that he had been in Jerusalem ten days, he too wants to pleasure them (by sacrificing Paul to them): then, also to deceive Paul, "Wilt thou," says he, "be judged there of these things by me?" (v. 9.) I am not giving thee up to them--but this was the fact--and he leaves the point to his own choice, that by this mark of respect he might get him to yield: since his was the sentence,[2] and it would have been too barefaced, when he had been convicted of nothing here, to take him back thither. "But Paul said, At Caesar's tribunal am I standing," etc. (v. 10): he did not say, I will not, lest he should make the judge more vehement, but (here) again is his great boldness: They cast me out once for all, themselves, and by this they think to condemn me, by their showing that I have offended against Caesar: at his bar I choose to be judged, at the bar of the injured person himself. "To the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest." Here now he reproved him, that he too wished to sacrifice him to the Jews: then, on the other hand, he relaxes (the sternness of) his speech: "if then I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die." I utter sentence against myself. For along with boldness of speech there must be also justness of cause, so as to abash (the hearer). "But if there be nothing in the things whereof these accuse me, no man "--however he may wish it--"no man may sacrifice me to please them." He said, not, I am not worthy of death, nor, I am worthy to be acquitted, but, I am ready to take my trial before Caesar. At the same time too, remembering the dream, he was the more confident to appeal. (ch. xxiii. II.) And he said not, Thou (mayest not), but, neither any other man may sacrifice me, that it might be no affront to him. "Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council "--do you observe how he seeks to gratify them? for this is favor --" having conferred," it says, "with the council, he said, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shall thou go." (v. 12.) See how his trial is again lengthened out, and how the plot against him becomes an occasion for the preaching: so that with ease and in safe custody he should be taken away to Rome,[3] with none to plot evil against him: for it was not the same thing his simply coming there, and his coming on such a cause. For, in fact this was what made the Jews come together there. (ch. xxviii. 17.) Then again, some time passes while he tarries at Jerusalem, that you may learn, that, though some time passed, the evil design against him prevails nothing, God not permitting it. But this king Agrippa, who was also a Herod, was a different Agrippa, after him of James' time, so that this is the fourth (Herod). See how his enemies cooperate with him against their will. To make the audience large, Agrippa falls into a desire of hearing: and he does not simply hear, but with much parade. And see what a vindication (<greek>apologian</greek>) ! So writes Festus,[4] and the ruthlessness of the Jews is openly made a show of: for when it is the governor that says these things, he is a witness above all suspicion: so that the Jews are condemned by him also. For, when all had pronounced sentence against them, then, and not sooner, God brings upon them the punishment. But observe: Lysias gave it against them, Felix against them, Festus against them--although he wished to gratify them[5]--Agrippa against them. What further? The Pharisees--even they gave it against themselves. No evil, says Festus, "of such things as I supposed: no accusation did they bring against him." (v. 18.) And yet they did bring it: true, but they did not prove it: for their evil design and daring plot against him gave cause to surmise this, but the examination brought out nothing of the kind. "And of one Jesus," he says, "which was dead." (v. 19.) He says naturally enough, "of one" (Jesus), as being a man in office, and not caring for these things. "And not knowing, for my part, what to make of the enquiry concerning these things" (v. 20)--of course, it went beyond a judge's hearing, the examining into these matters. If thou art at a loss, why dost thou drag him to Jerusalem? But the other would not deign this: no, "To Caesar" (says he); as in fact it was touching Caesar that they accused him Do you hear the appeal? hear the plotting of the Jews? hear their factious spirit? All these things provoked him to a desire (of hearing him): and he gives them the gratification and Paul becomes more renowned. For such as I said, are the ill designs (of enemies). Had not these things been so, none of these rulers would have deigned to hear him, none would have heard with such quietness and silence. And he seems indeed to be teaching, he seems to be making a defence; but he rather makes a public harangue with much orderliness. Then let us not think that ill designs against us are a grievous thing. So long as we do not make ill designs against ourselves, no one will be able to have ill designs against us: or rather, people may do this, but they do us no hurt; nay, even benefit us in the highest degree: for it rests with ourselves, whether we shall suffer evil, or not suffer evil. Lo ! I testify, and proclaim with a loud voice, more piercing even than the sound of a trumpet--and were it possible to ascend on high and cry aloud, I would not shrink from doing it--him that is a Christian, none of all the human beings that inhabit the earth will have power to hurt. And why do I say, human beings? Not even the Evil Spirit himself, the tyrant, the Devil, can do this, unless the man injure himself; be what it may that any one works, in vain he works it. For even as no human being could hurt an angel, if he were on earth, so neither can one human being hurt another human being. But neither again will he himself be able to hurt another, so long as he is good. What then can be equal to this, when neither to be hurt is possible, nor to hurt another? For this thing is not less than the former, the not wishing to hurt another. Why, that man is a kind of angel, yea, like God. For such is God; only, He indeed (is such) by nature, but this man, by moral choice: neither to be hurt is possible (for either), nor to hurt another. But this thing, this "not possible,' think not that it is for any want of power--for the contrary to this is want of power--no, I speak of the morally incompatible (<greek>to</greek> <greek>anendekton</greek>). For the (Divine) Nature is neither Itself susceptible of hurt, nor capable of hurting another: since this very thing in itself is a hurt. For in no other way do we hurt ourselves, than by hurting another, and our greatest sins become such from our doing injury to ourselves. So I that for this reason also the Christian cannot be hurt, namely, because neither can he hurt. But how in hurting others we hurt ourselves, come, let us take this saying in hand for examination in detail. Let a man wrong another, insult, overreach; whom then has he hurt? is it not himself first? This is plain to every one. For to the one, the damage is in money, to himself, it is in the soul; to destruction, and to punishment. Again, let another be envious: is it not himself he has injured? For such is the nature of injustice: to its own author first it does incalculable hurt. "Yes,[1] but to another also?" True, but nothing worth considering: or rather, not even a little--nay, it even benefits him. For let there be,--as the whole matter lies most in these examples,--let there be some poor man, having but little property and (barely) provided with necessary food,[2] and another rich and wealthy, and having much power, and then let him take the poor man's property, and strip him naked, and give him up to starvation, while he shall luxuriate in what he has unjustly taken from the other: not only has he not hurt that man at all--he has even benefited him, while himself he has not only not benefited, but even hurt. For how should it be otherwise? In the first place, harassed by an evil conscience, and day by day condemning himself and being condemned by all men: and then, secondly, in the judgment to come. But the other, how is he benefited? Because to suffer ill and bear it nobly, is great gain: for it is a doing away of sins, this suffering of ill, it is a training to philosophy, it is a discipline of virtue. Let us see which of the two is in evil case, this man or that. For the one, if he be a man of well-ordered mind, will bear it nobly: the other will be every day in a constant tremor and misgiving: which then is hurt, this man or that? "You talk idly," say you: "for when a man has nothing to eat, and is forced to bewail himself and to feel himself very wretched, or comes and begs, and gets nothing. is not that a ruining of both soul and body?" No, it is you that talk idly: for I show facts in proof. For say, does none of the rich feel himself wretched? What then? Is poverty the cause of his wretchedness? "But he does not starve." And what of that? The greater is the punishment, when having riches he does this. For neither does wealth make a man strong-minded, nor poverty make him weak otherwise none of those living in wealth would pass a wretched life, nor would any of those in poverty (not) curse his fate. But that yours is indeed the idle talk, I will make manifest to you from hence. Was Paul in poverty or in wealth? did he suffer hunger, or did he not? You may hear himself saying, "In hunger and thirst." (2 Cor. xi. 27.) Did the prophets suffer hunger, or did they not? They too had a hard time of it. "Again, you fetch up Paul to me, again the prophets, some ten or twenty men." But whence shall I bring examples? "Show me from the many some who bear ills nobly." But[1] the rare is ever such: however, if you will, let us examine the matter as it is in itself. Let us see whose is the greater and sharper care, whose the more easy to be borne. The one is solicitous about his necessary food, the other about numberless matters, freed from that care. The rich man is not afraid on the score of hunger, but he is afraid about other things: oftentimes for his very life. The poor man is not free from anxiety about food, but he is free from other anxieties, he has safety, has quietness, has security.

If to injure another is not an evil, but a good, wherefore are we ashamed? wherefore do we cover our faces? Wherefore, being reproached, are we vexed and disconcerted? If the being injured is not a good thing, wherefore do we pride ourselves, and glory in the thing, and justify ourselves on its account? Would you learn how this is better than that? Observe those who are in the one condition, and those who are in the other. Wherefore are laws? Wherefore are courts of justice? Wherefore punishments? Is it not, on account of those men, as being diseased and unsound? But the pleasure lies great, you will say. Let us not speak of the future: let us look into the present. What is worse than a man who is under such a suspicion as this? what more precarious? what more unsound? is he not always in a state of shipwreck? Even if he do any just thing, he, is not credited, condemned as he is by all on account of his power (of injuring): for in all who dwell with him he has accusers: he cannot enjoy friendship: for none would readily choose to become the friend of a man who has such a character, for fear of becoming implicated with him in the opinion held of him. As if he were a wild beast, all men turn away from him; as from a pest, a foe, a man-slayer, and an enemy of nature, so they shrink from the unjust man. If he who has wronged another happen to be brought into a court of justice, he does not even need an accuser, his character condemns him in place of any accuser. Not so he who is injured; he has all men to take his part, to condole with him, to stretch out the hand of help: he stands on safe ground. If to injure another be a good and a safe thing, let any one confess that he is unjust: but if he dares not do this, why then does he pursue it as a good thing? But let us see in our own persons, if his same be done there, what evils come of it: (I mean,) if any of the parts or functions within us having overstepped its proper bounds, grasp at the office of some other. For let the spleen, if it will, have left its proper place, and seize on the part belonging to some other organ along with its own, is not this disease? The moisture within us, let it fill every place, is it not dropsy and gout?[2] is not this to ruin itself, along with the other? Again, let the bile seek for a wide room, and let the blood be diffused throughout every part. But how is it in the soul with anger, lust, and all the rest. if the food exceed its proper measure? Again in the body, if the eye wish to take in more, or to see more than is allotted to it, or admit a greater light than is proper. But if, when the light is good, yet the eye is ruined, if it choose to see more than is right: consider what it must be in the case of an evil thing. If the ear take in a (too) loud voice, the sense is stunned: the mind, if it reason about things above itself, it is overpowered: and whatever is in excess, mars all. For this is <greek>pleonexia</greek>, the wanting to have more than what is marked off and allotted. So too in respect of money; when we will needs put upon (us) more burdens (than is meet), although we do not perceive it, to our sore hurt we are nourishing within ourselves a wild beast; much having, yet much wanting, numberless the cares we entangle ourselves withal, many the handles we furnish the devil against ourselves. In the case of the rich, however, the devil has not even need of labor, so surely do their very concerns of business of themselves ruin them. Wherefore I beseech you to abstain from the lust of these things, that we may be enabled to escape the snares of the evil one, and having taken hold of virtue, to attain unto the good things eternal, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory forever. Amen.

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