COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
HOMILIES LII TO LV (ACTS 25 TO 28)

HOMILY LII.

ACTS XXV. 23.

"And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.

See what an audience is gathered together for Paul. Having collected all his guards, the governor is come, and the king, and the tribunes, "with the principal men," it says, "of the city." Then Paul being brought forth, see how he is proclaimed as conqueror. Festus himself acquits him from the charges, for what says Festus? "And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him." (v. 24-27.) Mark how he accuses them, while he acquits him. O what an abundance of justifications! After all these repeated examinations, the governor finds not how he may condemn him. They said he was worthy of death. On this account he said also: "When I found," says he "that he had committed nothing worthy of death.--Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord." This too is a proof of Paul's spotlessness, that the judge found nothing to say concerning him. "Therefore I have brought him forth," he says, "before you. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crime laid against him." Such were the great straits into which the Jews brought themselves and their rulers! What then? "Agrippa said to Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself." (ch. xxvi. I.) From his great desire to hear, the king permits him to speak. But Paul speaks out forthwith with boldness, not flattering, but for this reason saying that he is happy, namely, because (Agrippa) knew all. "Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself. I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews. Especially because I know thee to be expert in all questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently." (v. 2, 3.) And yet, had he been conscious of guilt, he should have feared at being tried in the presence of one who knew all the facts: but this is a mark of a clear conscience, not to shrink from a judge who has an accurate knowledge of the circumstances, but even to rejoice, and to call himself happy. "I beseech thee," he says, "to hear me patiently." Since he is about to lengthen out his speech, and to say something about himself, on this account, he premises an entreaty, and (then) says: "My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews: which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." (v. 4, 5.) Then how should I have become a seditious person, who when young was (thus) testified of by all? Then too from his sect: "after the most straitest sect" says he, "of our religion I lived." "What then, if though the sect indeed be worthy of admiration, thou art evil?" Touching this also I call all to witness--touching my life and conversation. "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" (v. 6-8.) Two arguments he lays down for the Resurrection: one, the argument from the prophets: and he does not bring forward any prophet (in particular,) but the doctrine itself as held by the Jews: the other and stronger one, the argument from the facts--(especially from this,) that Christ Himself held discourse with him. And he lays the ground for this by (other) arguments, relating accurately his former madness. Then too, with high commendation of the Jews, he says, "Night and day," says he, "serving (God)look to attain unto." So that even if I had not been of unblemished life, it is not for this (doctrine) that I ought to be brought to trial:--"for which hope, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews." And then another argument "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" Since, if such an opinion had not existed, if they had not been brought up in these dogmas, but they were now for the first time brought in, perhaps[1] some one might not have received the saying. Then he tells, how he persecuted: this also helps the proof: and he brings forward the chief priests as witnesses, and the "strange cities," and that he heard Him saying to him, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks," and shows the mercifulness of God, that, though being persecuted He appeared (to men), and did that benefit not to me only, but also sent me as teacher to others: and shows also the prophecy, now come to pass, which he then heard, "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee." Showing all this, he says: "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; but rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee: delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins (v. 9-18):--observe[2] how mildly he discourses--God, he says, said (this) to me, "that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are--sanctified by faith that is in Me." By these things, says he, I was persuaded, by this vision He drew me to Himself, and so persuaded me, that I made no delay. "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." (v. 19, 20.) I therefore, who instructed others also concerning the most excellent way of living, how should I myself have become the author of sedition and contention? "For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come." (v. 21, 22.) See how free from flattery his speech is, and how he ascribes the whole to God. Then his boldness--but neither do I now desist: and the sure grounds--for it is from the prophets that I urge the question, "Whether the Christ was to suffer:" then[3] the Resurrection and the promise, "Whether He, as the first to rise from the dead, should show light unto the people and to the Gentiles." (v. 23.) Festus saw the boldness, and what says he? For Paul was all along addressing himself to the king--he was in a manner annoyed,[4] and says to him, "Thou art beside thyself, Paul:" for, "while he thus discoursed, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself: much learning doth make thee mad." (v. 24.) What then says Paul? With gentleness, "I am not mad," says he, "most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness." (v. 25.) Then too he gives him to understand why, turning from him, he addressed his speech to the king: "For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him: for this thing was not done in a corner." (v. 26.) He shows, that (the king) knows all perfectly; at the same time, all but saying to the Jews, And ye indeed ought to have known these things--for this is the meaning of that which he adds, "For this thing was not done in a corner. And Agrippa, said to Paul, E<greek>n</greek> <greek>oliUw</greek> thou persuadest me to be a Christian." What is <greek>en</greek> <greek>oliUw</greek>?[1] "Within a little, <greek>para</greek> <greek>aikron</greek>. "And Paul said, I could pray to God," <greek>kai</greek> <greek>en</greek> <greek>oliUw</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>pollp</greek>, (that is) "I could pray to God," for my part, not "in little" (but "in much "): he does not simply pray, he prays (not briefly, but) with largeness--"that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were such as I am."* Then he adds, "except these bonds;" and yet it was matter of glory; true, but looking to their notion of it, therefore says he, "except these bonds." (v. 27-29.)

(Recapitulation.) "And on the morrow," etc. (v. 23.) The Jews desisted ever since Paul exercised his right of appeal.[2] Then also for him the theatre becomes a splendid one: "with great pomp" they were present. "And Festus said," etc. "The whole multitude of the Jews--"not some of them only, and others not so--"both at Jerusalem, and also here," they said "that he ought not to live any longer." (v. 24.) "And I having found," etc. It shows that he did right in appealing to Caesar. For if[3] though they had no great matter to allege against him, yet those (at Jerusalem) were mad against him, with good reason may he go to Caesar. "That after examination had by you," he says, "I may get somewhat to write." Observe how the matter is repeatedly put to the test. The Jews therefore may thank themselves for this vindication[4] (of Paul), which would come to the ears of those also who were at Rome. See how they become the unwilling heralds both of their own wickedness and of Paulus virtue, even to the emperor himself: so that Paul was carried away (to Rome)with more renown than if he had gone thither without bonds: for not as an impostor and a deceiver, after so many judges had acquitted him, was. he now carried thither. Quit therefore of all charges,[5] among those with whom he was bred and born, and not only so, (but) thus free from all suspicion, he makes his appearance at Rome. "Then Paul," etc. (ch. xxvi. I-3.) And he said not, Why is this? once for all I have appealed to Caesar: I have been tried many times: when will there be an end of this? but what did he? Again he is ready to render an account, and that, before the man who was the best informed on the subject; and with much boldness, seeing they were not his judges to condemn him: but still, though they were not his judges, since that declaration was in force, "Unto Caesar shall thou go, he renders an account and gives full answers, "touching all the things," and not merely on one and another here and there. They accuse me of sedition, accuse me of heresy, accuse me that I have profaned the temple: "touching all these things I answer for myself:" now that these are not things in accordance with my ways, my accusers themselves are witnesses: "my manner of life from my youth," etc. (v. 4.) which is what he says on a former occasion "Being a zealot." (ch. xxii. 3.) And when the whole people was present, then he challenges their testimony: not[1] before the tribunal, but before Lysias, and again here, when more were present: whereas in that hearing there needed not much vindication of himself, since Lysias' letter exculpated him. "Know all the Jews," he says, "which knew me from the beginning."And he does not say what kind of life his was, but leaves it to their own conscience, and lays the whole stress on his sect, as he would not have chosen that sect, if he had been a man of evil disposition and bad character (<greek>ponhros</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>mokqhros</greek>). "But, for this hope" (Mss. and Edd. <greek>airesews</greek>) he says, "I stand and am judged." (v. 6, 7.) This hope is honored among themselves also, because of this they pray, because of tiffs they worship, that unto this they may attain: this same do I show forth. Why then, it is acting like madmen, to be doing all things for the sake of attaining to this, and yet to persecute him who believes in the same. "I indeed thought with myself," that is, I determined, "to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (v. 9.) I was not one of Christ's disciples: among those who fought against Him, was I. Whence also he is a witness who has a right to be believed, because he, a man who was doing numberless things, makes war on the believers, persuading them to blaspheme, stirring up all against them, cities, rulers, and by himself doing all this of his own accord, was thus suddenly changed. Then again the witnesses, those who were with him: next he shows what just cause he had to be persuaded, both from the light, and from the prophets, and from the resuits, and from the things which have now taken place. See accordingly, how both from the prophets, and from these particulars, he confirms the proof to them. For that he may not seem to be broaching some novelty, although he had great things to say, yet he again takes refuge with the prophets, and puts this as a question for discussion.[2] Now this had a stronger claim upon belief, as having actually come to pass: but since he alone saw (Christ), he again fetches proof of it from the prophets. And see how he does not discourse alike in the court of justice, and in the assembly (of his own people); there indeed he says, "ye slew Him:" but here no such thing, that he might not kindle their anger more: but he shows the same thing, by saying, "Whether the Christ was to suffer." He so frees them from accusations: for the prophets, he says, say this. Therefore receive ye also the rest. Since he has mentioned the vision, he then without fear goes on to speak also of the good wrought by it. "To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. For to this end have I appeared unto thee" (v. 1618), not to punish, but to make thee an Apostle. He shows the evils which possess unbelievers, "Satan, darkness;" the good things belonging to believers, light, God, "the inheritance of the saints. Whereupon, O king Agrippa," etc. (v. 19, 20.) He not only exhorts them to repent, but also to show forth a life worthy of admiration. And see how everywhere the Gentiles are admitted into connection with the people (Israel): for those who were present were of the Gentiles. "Testifying," he says, "both to great and small," (v. 22) that is, both to distinguished and undistinguished. This is also for the soldiers. Observe: having left the post of defendant, he took up that of teacher--and therefore also it is that Festus says to him, "Thou art beside thyself"--but then, that he may not seem to be himself the teacher, he brings in the prophets, and Moses: "Whether the Christ was to suffer, whether He as the first to rise from the dead should show light both to the people, and to the Gentiles." (v. 53.) "And Festus said with a loud voice"--in such anger and displeasure (did he speak)--"Paul, thou art beside thyself." What then said Paul? "I am not mad," etc. "For this thing," he says, "was not done in a corner." (v. 25, 26.) Here he speaks of the Cross, of the Resurrection: that the doctrine was come to every part of the world. "King Agrippa," he says, "believest thou"--he does not say, the Resurrection, but--"the prophets?" (v. 57.) Then he forestalls him, and says: "I know that thou believest." 'E<greek>n</greek> <greek>oliUw</greek> (i.e. within a little,) "almost thou persuadeth the to be a Christian." (v. 28.) Paul did not understand what the phrase <greek>en</greek> <greek>oliUw</greek> meant: he thought it meant <greek>ex</greek> <greek>oliUou</greek> (i.e. with little cost or trouble), wherefore also he answers (as) to this: so unlearned was he.[1] And he said not, I do not wish (that), but, "I pray that not only thou, but also all that hear." Mark how free from flattery his speech is.--"I pray that this day they may be all such as I am, except these bonds." (v. 29.) He, the man that glories in his bonds, that puts them forth as a golden chain, deprecates them for these men: for they were as yet too weak in their minds, and it was rather in condescension that he so spake. For what could be better than those bonds which always in his Epistles he prefers (to all things else), saying, "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ:" (Eph. iii. I) and again, "On this account I am bound with this chain" (Acts xxviii. 20), "but the word of God is not bound;" and, "Even unto bonds, as an evil-doer." (2 Tim. ii. 9.) The punishment was twofold. For if indeed he had been so bound, as with a view to his good, the thing would have carried with it some consolation: but now (he is bound) both "as an evil-doer," and as with a view to very ill consequences; yet for none of these things cared he.[2]

Such is a soul winged with heavenly love. For if those who cherish the foul (earthly passion which men call) love, think nothing either glorious of precious, but those things alone which tend to gratify their lust, they think both glorious and honorable, and their mistress is everything to them; much more do those, who have been taken captive by this heavenly love, think nothing of the cost (<greek>ta</greek> <greek>epitimia</greek>). But if we do not understand what I am saying, it is no marvel, while we are unskilled in this Divine Wisdom. For if any one be caught with the fire of Christ's love, he becomes such as a man would become who dwelt alone upon the earth, so utterly careless is he for glory or disgrace: but just as if he dwelt alone, he would care for nothing, no more does he in this case. As for trials, he so despises them, both scourges and imprisonments, as though the body in which he suffers these things were another's and not his own, or as though he had got a body made of adamant: while as for the sweet things of this life, he so laughs them to scorn, is so insensible to them, as we are insensible of dead bodies, being ourselves dead. He is as far from being taken captive by any passion, as the gold refined in the fire and purified is free from alloy. For even as flies would not dart into the midst of a flame, but fly from it, so the passions dare not even to come near this man. Would that I could bring forward examples of all this from among ourselves: but since we are at a loss for such, we must needs betake ourselves to this same Paul. Observe him then, how he felt towards the whole world. "The world is crucified unto me," he says, "and I unto the world" (Gal. vi. 14): I am dead to the world, and the world is dead to me. And again: "It is no longer. I that live, but Christ liveth in me.(ib. ii. 20.) And, to show you that he was as it were in solitude, and so looked upon the things present, hear himself saying, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." (2 Cor. iv. 18.) What sayest thou? Answer me. And yet what thou sayest is the contrary; thou seest the things invisible, and the visible thou seest not. Such eyes as thou hadst gotten, such are the eyes which are given by Christ: for as these bodily eyes see indeed the things that are seen, but things unseen they see not: so those (heavenly eyes) do the contrary: none that beholds the invisible things, beholds the visible: no one beholding the things seen, beholds the invisible. Or is not this the case with us also? For when having turned our mind inwards we think of any of the unseen things, our views become raised above the things on earth.[1] Let us despise glory: let us be willing to be laughed at rather than to be praised. For he indeed who is laughed at is nothing hurt: but he who is praised is much hurt. Let us not think much of those things which terrify men, but as we do in the case of children, this let us do here: namely, if we see any one terrifying children, we do not hold that man in admiration: since in fact whoever does frighten, only frightens children; for were it a man, he could not frighten him. Just as those who frighten (children in sport), do this either by drawing up their eyelids, or by otherwise distorting their face, but with the eye looking naturally and mild they would not be able to do this: so these others do this, by distorting their mental vision (<greek>to</greek> <greek>dioratikon</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>dianoias</greek>). So that of a mild man and beautiful in soul nobody would be afraid; on the contrary, we all respect him, honor and venerate him. See ye not, how the man who causes terror is also an object of hatred and abhorrence to us all? For of those things which are only able to terrify what do we not turn away from? Is it not so with wild beasts, with sounds, with sights, with places, with the air, such as darkness? Let us not therefore think it a great thing, if men fear us. For, in the first place, no man indeed is frightened at us: and, secondly, it is no great thing (if they were). Virtue is a great good: and see how great. However wretched we may deem the things by means of which it consists, yet we admire virtue itself, and count them blessed (that have it). For who would not count the patient sufferer blessed, although poverty and such like things seem to be wretched? When therefore it shines forth through those things which seem to be wretched, see how surpassingly great this is ! Thinkest thou much, O man, because thou art in power? And what sort of power? say, was it conferred by appointment? (If so,) of men thou hast received power: appoint thyself to it from within. For the ruler is not he who is so called, but he who is really so. For as a king could not make a physician or an orator, so neither can he make a ruler: since it is not the (imperial)letters nor the name that makes a ruler. For, if you will, let any man build a medicine-shop, let him also have pupils, let him have instruments too and drugs, and let him visit those who are sick: are these things sufficient to make a physician? By no means: but there is need of art, and without that, not only do these things profit nothing, but they even hurt: since it were better that he who is not a physician should not even possess medicines. He that possesses them not, neither saves nor destroys: but he that possesses them, destroys, if he knows not how to use them: since the healing power is not only in the nature of the medicines, but also in the art of the person applying them: where this is not, all is marred. Such also is the ruler: he has for instruments, his voice, anger, executioners, banishments, honors, gifts, and praises; he has also for medicines., the law; has also for his patients, men; for a place to practise in, the court of justice; for pupils, he has the soldiers: if then he know not the science of healing, all these profit him nothing. The judge is a physician of souls, not of bodies: but if this art of healing the bodies needs so much care, much more that of healing the soul, since the soul is of more importance than the body. Then not the mere having the name of ruler is to be a ruler: since others also are called by great names: as Paul, Peter, James, and John: but the names do not make them that which they are called, as neither does my name make me (to be that which John was); I bear indeed the same name with that blessed man, but I am not the same thing (<greek>omwnumos</greek>, <greek>ou</greek> <greek>mhn</greek> <greek>sunwnumos</greek>), I am not John, but am called so. In the same way they are not rulers, but are called so. But those others are rulers even without these adjuncts, just as also a physician, though he may not actually practise his science, yet if he have it in his soul, he is a physician. Those are rulers, who bear rule over themselves. For there are these four things,[2] soul, family; city, world: and the things form a regular progression (<greek>odw</greek> <greek>probainei</greek>). He therefore that is to superintend a family, and order it well, must first bring his own soul into order; for it is his family: but if he cannot order his own family, where there is but one soul, where he himself is master, where he is always along with himself, how shall he order others? He that is able to regulate his own soul, and makes the one part to rule, the other to be subject, this man will be able to regulate a family also: but he that can do this by a family, can do it by a city also: and if by a city, then also by the world. But if he cannot do this for his own soul, how then shall he be able to do it for the world? These things have been spoken by me, that we may not be excited about offices of rule; that we may know what ruling is: for this (which is so called) is not ruling, but a there object of derision, mere slavery, and many other names one might call it by. Tell me, what is proper to a ruler? is it not to help one's subjects, and to do them good? What then, if this be not the case? how shall he help others, who has not helped himself? he who has numberless tyrannies of the passions in his own soul, how shall he root out those of others? Again, with respect to "luxury" or delightful living: the true luxury or delight is not this (which is so called), but quite another thing. For as we have shown that the ruler is not he who is so called, but another (who has something more than the name), so the person who lives indeed in delight is another sort of person (than he whom we so describe). For "luxury" or delightful living seems indeed to be, the enjoying pleasure and the gratifying the belly: yet it is not this thing, but the contrary: it is, to have a soul worthy of admiration, and to be in a state of pleasure. For let there be a man eating, drinking, and wantoning; then let him suffer cares and loss of spirits: can this man be said to be in a state of delight? Therefore, it is not eating and drinking, it is the being in pleasure, that makes true luxury or delightful living. Let there be a man who gets only dry bread, and let him be filled with gladness: is not this pleasure? Well then, it is the true luxury. Let us see then, to whom this befalls--whether to the rich, or to those who are not rich? Neither to the one part altogether, nor to the other, but to those who so order their own souls, that they may not have many grounds for sorrows. And where is such a life as this to be found? for I see you all eager and Wishing to hear what this life is which has no sorrows. Well then, let this be acknowledged first by you, that this is pleasure, this the true luxury, to have no sorrow to cause annoyance; and ask not of me meats, and wine, and sauces, and silken robes, and a sumptuous table. But if I shall show that apart from all these such a life as that is present (within our reach), then welcome thou this pleasure, and this life: for the most part of painful things happen to us from our not calculating things as we ought. Who then will have the most sorrows--he that cares for none of these things, or he that cares for them? He that fears changes, or he that does not fear? He that is in dread of jealousy, of envy, of false accusations, of plottings, of destruction, or he that stands aloof from these fears? He that wants many things, or he that wants nothing? He that is a slave to masters without number, or he that is a slave to none? He that has need of many things, or he that is free? He that has one lord to fear, or he that fears despots innumerable? Well then, greater is the pleasure here. This then let us pursue, and not be excited about the things present: but let us laugh to scorn all the pomp of life, and everywhere practise moderation, that we may be enabled so to pass through this life, that it may he without pain, and to 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 LIII.

ACTS XXVI. 30-32.

"And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: and when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar."

SEE how again also they pass sentence in his favor, and after having said, "Thou art beside thyself," (v. 24) they acquit him, as undeserving not only of death, but also of bonds, and indeed would have released him entirely, if he had not appealed to Caesar. But this was done providentially, that he should also depart with bonds. "Unto bonds," he says, "as an evil doer." (1 Tim. ii. 9.) For if his Lord "was reckoned among the transgressors" (Mark xv. 28), much more he: but as the Lord did not share with them in their character, so neither did Paul. For in this is seen the marvellous thing, the being mixed up with such, and vet receiving no harm from them. "And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia;one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon." (ch. xxvii. 1-3.) See how far Aristarchus also accompanies Paul. To good and useful purpose is Aristarchus present, as he would take back the report of all to Macedonia. "And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. Julius gave Paul liberty," it says, acting "courteously, that he might refresh himself;" as it was but natural that he should be much the worse from his bonds and the fear, and the being dragged hither and thither. See how the writer does not hide this either, that Paul wished" to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary." (v. 4.) Again trials, again contrary winds. See how the life of the saints is thus interwoven throughout: escaped from the court of justice, they fall in with shipwreck and storm. "And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pam-phylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein." (v. 5, 6.) "A ship of Alexandria," it says. It is likely that both those (in the former ship) would bear to Asia the report of what had befallen Paul, and that these[1] would do the same in Lycia. See how God does not innovate or change the order of nature, but suffers them to sail into the unfavorable winds. But even so the miracle is wrought. That they may sail safely, He did not let them go out in the (open) sea, but they always sailed near the land. "And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; and, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called the fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them." (v. 7-9.) By "the fast" here, I suppose he means that of the Jews.[*] For they departed thence a long time after the Pentecost, so that it was much about midwinter that they arrived at the coasts of Crete. And this too was no slight miracle, that they also should be saved on his account. "Paul admonished them, and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the southwest and northwest. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close to Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive" (R. V. "were driven.") (v. 10-15.) Paul therefore advised them to remain, and he foretells what would come of it:but they, being in a hurry, and being prevented by the place, wished to winter at Phenice. Mark then the providential ordering of the events: first indeed, "when the south wind blew softly, supposing they had obtained their purpose," they loosed the vessel, and came orth; then when the wind bore down upon them, they gave way to it driving them, and were with difficulty saved. "And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail,§ and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; and the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss." (v. 16-21.) Then after so great a storm he does not speak as insultingly over them, but as wishing that at any rate he might be believed for the future. Wherefore also he alleges what had taken place for a testimony of the truth of what was about to be said by him. "And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss or any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island." (v. 22-26.) And he foretells two things; both that they must be cast upon an island, and that though the ship would be lost, those who were in it should be saved--which thing he spoke not of conjecture, but of prophecy--and that he "must be brought before Caesar." But this that he says, "God hath given thee all," is not spoken boastfully, but in the wish to win those who were sailing in the ship: for (he spoke thus), not that they might feel themselves bound to him, but that they might believe what he was saying. "God hath given thee; "as much (as to say), They are worthy indeed of death, since they would not listen to thee:however, this is done out of favor to thee. "But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; and sounded, and found it twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. Then fearing lest they should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under color as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off." (v. 27-32.) The sailors however, were about to escape, having no faith in what was said: but the centurion does believe Paul, For he says, If these flee, "ye cannot be saved :" so saying, not on this account, but that he might restrain them, and the prophecy might not fall to the ground. See how as in a church they are instructed by the calmness of Paul's behavior, how' he saved them out of the very midst of the dangers. And it is of providential ordering that Paul is disbelieved, that after proof of the facts, he might be believed: which accordingly was the case. And he exhorts them again to take some meat, and they do as he bids them, and he takes some first, to persuade them not by word, but also by act, that the storm did them no harm, but rather was a benefit to their souls. "And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting having taken nothing." (v. 33.) (b) And how, say you, did they go without food, having taken nothing? how did they bear it? Their fear possessed them, and did not let them fall into a desire of food, being, as they were, at the point of extreme jeopardy; (f) but they had no care for food. "Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat," (v. 34-36) seeing that there was no question about their lives being saved. (d) "And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea. And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore." (v. 37-41.) "They made towards shore," having given the rudder-handles to the wind: for oftentimes they do it not in this way. They were borne along, having loosed the rigging, i.e. the sails. "And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves;" for when there is a strong wind, this is the consequence, the stern bearing the brunt (of the storm). (a) "And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape." (v. 42.) Again the devil tries to hinder the prophecy, and they had a mind to kill some, but the centurion suffered them not, that he might save Paul, so much was the centurion attached to him. "But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: and the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." (v. 43, 44.) "And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita." (ch. xxviii. 1.) Do you mark what good came of the storm? Why then it was no mark of their being forsaken, that the storm came upon them. (c) Now this that happened was in consequence of the season of the year; but the wonder is greater, that at such a season they were saved from the midst of the dangers, both he, and for his sake the rest, (e) and this too in the Hadriatic. There were two hundred and seventy-six souls in all: no small matter this also, if indeed they believed. The voyage was at an unseasonable time. (g) It is natural to suppose they would ask the reason why they were sailing, and would learn all. Nor was it for nothing that the voyage was so protracted; it afforded Paul an opportunity for teaching.

(Recapitulation.) And Paul says, "I perceive that (this voyage will be) with hurt and loss." (v. 10.) And observe how unassuming the expression is. That he may not seem to prophesy, but to speak as of conjecture, "I perceive," says he. For they would not have. received it, had he said this at the outset. In fact he does prophesy on this former occasion, as he does afterward, and says (there), "The God whom I serve," leading them on. Then how comes it that it was not "with loss" (of any) "of their lives?" It would have been so, but that God brought them safe through it. For as far as depended on the nature of the thing, they had perished, but God prevented it. Then, to show that it was not from conjecture that he so spake, the master of the ship said the contrary (v. 11), and he a man of experience in the matter: so far was it from being the case that Paul's advice was given from conjecture. More over, the place suggested this same (which the master said), "being not commodious;" and it was evident that from conjecture "the more part advised" (v. 12) as they did, rather than Paul. Then, severe the storm (that ensued), deep the darkness: and that they may not forget, the vessel also goes to pieces, and the corn is flung out and all beside, that they may not have it in their power after this to be shameless. For this is why the vessel goes to pieces, and[1] their souls are tightly braced. Moreover, both the storm and the darkness contributed not a little to his obtaining the hearing he did. Accordingly observe how the centurion does as he bids him, insomuch that he even let the boat go, and destroyed it. And if the sailors did not as yet comply with his bidding, yet afterwards they do so: for in fact this is a reckless sort of people. (v. 13-20.) "Sirs, ye should have hearkened to me," etc. (v. 21.) One is not likely to have a good reception, when he chides in the midst of calamity; but[1] when he tells them what more there is (to come) of the calamity, and then predicts the good, then he is acceptable. Therefore he attacks them then first, when "all hope that they should be saved was taken away:" that none may say, Nothing has come of it. And their fear also bears witness. Moreover, the place is a trying one, for it was in the Adriatic, and then their long abstinence. They were in the midst of death. It was now the fourteenth day that they were going without food, having taken nothing. "Wherefore," said he, "I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health" (v. 34), that ye should eat, lest ye perish of hunger. Observe, his giving thanks after all that had happened strengthened them. For this showed an assured mind that they would be saved. (b) "Then were they all of good cheer; and they also took some meat." (v. 36.) And not only so, but henceforth they so cast all their care upon Paul, that they even cast out the corn (v. 37), being so many. (a) Two hundred and seventy-six souls (v. 38): whence had they victuals?[1] (c) See how they do their part as men, and how Paul does not forbid them. "And when it was day," etc., "they loosed the rudder-bands." (v. 39, 40.) And the vessel goes to pieces in the daytime, that they may not be clean dissolved with the terror: that you may see the prophecy brought out as fact. "And the soldiers' counsel," etc. (v. 42.) Do you mark that in this respect also they were given to Paul? since for his sake the centurion suffered them not to be slain. So confessedly wicked do those men seem to me to have been: insomuch that they would have chosen even to slay them: but some swam on shore, others were borne on boards, and they all were thus saved, and the prophecy received accomplishment; (a prophecy,) although not solemn from length of time, since he did not deliver it a number of years before, but keeping close to the nature of the things themselves: (still a prophecy it was,) for all was beyond the reach of hope. And (so) it was through themselves being saved that they learnt who Paul was. But some one may say: why did he not save the ship? That they might perceive how great a danger they had escaped: and that the whole matter depended, not on the help of man, but on God's hand saving them independently of a ship. So that righteous men, though. they may be in a tempest, or on the sea, or in the deep, suffer nothing dreadful, but even save others together with themselves. If (here was) a ship in danger and suffering wreck, and prisoners were saved for Paul's sake, consider what a thing it is to have a holy man in a house: for many are the tempests which assail us also, tempests far more grievous than these (natural ones), but He can also give[2] us to be delivered, if only we obey holy men as those (in the ship) did, if we do what they enjoin. For they are not simply saved, but themselves also contributed to other men's believing (<greek>pistin</greek> <greek>eishnegkan</greek>). Though the holy man be in bonds, he does greater works than those who are free. And look how this was the case here. The free centurion stood in need of his bound prisoner: the skilful pilot was in want of him who was no pilot--nay rather, of him who was the true pilot. For he steered as pilot not a vessel of this (earthly) kind, but the Church of the whole world, having learnt of Him Who is Lord also of the sea; (steered it,) not by the art of man, but by the wisdom of the Spirit. In this vessel are many shipwrecks, many waves, spirits of wickedness, "from within are fightings, from without are fears" (2 Cor. vii. 5): so that he was the true pilot. Look at our whole life: it is just such (as was this voyage). For at one time we meet with kindliness, at another with a tempest; sometimes from our own want of counsel, sometimes from our idleness, we fall into numberless evils; from our not hearkening to Paul, when we are eager to go somewhither, where he bids us not. For Paul is sailing even now with us, only not bound as he was then: he admonishes us even now, and says to those who are (sailing) on this sea, "take heed unto yourselves: for after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you" (Acts xx. 29): and again, "In the last times perilous times shall come: and men shall be lovers of their own selves, lovers of money, boasters." (2 Tim. iii. 2.) This is more grievous than all storms. Let us therefore abide where he bids us--in faith, in the safe haven: let us hearken unto him rather than to the pilot that is within us, that is, our own reason. Let us not straightway do just what this may suggest; not what the owner of the ship: no, but what Paul suggests: he has passed through many such tempests. Let us not learn (to our cost) by experience, but before the experience let us "avoid both harm and loss." Hear what he says: "They that will be rich fall into temptation." (1 Tim. vi. 9.) Let us therefore obey him; else, see what they suffered, because they did not take his counsel. And again he tells in another place what causes shipwrecks: "Who," he says, "have made shipwreck concerning the faith. But do thou continue in the things which thou hast learned and wast assured of." (1 Tim. i. 19.) Let us obey Paul: though we be in the midst of a tempest, we shall surely. be freed from the dangers: though we remain without food fourteen days, though hope of safety may have left us, though we be in darkness and mist, by doing his bidding, we shall be freed from the dangers. Let us think that the whole world is a ship, and in this the evildoers and those who have numberless vices, some rulers, others guards, others just men, as Paul was, others prisoners, those bound by their sins: if then we do as Paul bids us, we perish not in our bonds, but are released from them: God will give us also to him. Or think you not that sins and passions are grievous bonds? for it is not the hands only that are bound, but the whole man. For tell me, when any one possessed of much money uses it not, nor spends it, but keeps it close, is he not bound more grievously than any prisoner by his miserliness, a bond that cannot be broken? What again, when a man gives himself up to (the belief in) Fate, is not he too bound with other fetters? What, when he gives himself up to observations (of times)? What, when to omens? are not these more grievous than all bonds? What again, when he gives himself up to an unreasonable lust and to love? Who shall break in pieces these bonds for you? There is need of God's help that they may be loosed. But when there are both bonds and tempest, think how great is the amount of dangers. For which of them is not enough to destroy? The hunger, the tempest, the wickedness of those on board, the unfitness of the season? But against all these, Paul's glory stood its ground. So is it now: let us keep the saints near us, and there will be no tempest: or rather, though there be a tempest, there will be great calm and tranquillity, and freedom from dangers: since that widow had the saint for her friend, and the death of her child was loosed, and she received back her son alive again. (1 Kings xvii. 17.) Where the feet of saints step, there will be nothing painful; and if such should happen, it is for proving us and for the greater glory of God. Accustom the floor of thy house to be trodden by such feet, and an evil spirit will not tread there. For as where a sweet odor is, there a bad odor will not find place: so where the holy unguent is, there the evil spirit is choked, and it gladdens those who are near it, it delights, it refreshes the soul. Where thorns are, there are wild beasts: where hospitality is, there are no thorns: for almsgiving having entered in, more keenly than any sickle it destroys the thorns, more violently than any fire. Be not thou afraid: (the wicked one) fears the tracks of saints, as foxes do lions. For "the righteous," it says, "is as bold as a lion." (Prov. xxviii. 1.) Let us bring these lions into our house, and all the wild beasts are put to flight, the lions not needing to roar, but simply to utter their voice. For not so much does the roaring of a lion put the wild beasts to flight, as the prayer of a righteous man puts to flight evil spirits: let him but speak, they cower. And where are such men now to be found, you will say? Everywhere, if we believe, if we seek, if we take pains. Where hast thou sought, tell me? When didst thou take this work in hand? When didst thou make this thy business? But if thou seekest not, marvel not that thou dost not find. For "he that seeketh findeth" (Matt. vii. 7), not he that seeketh not. Listen to those who live in deserts: away with thy gold and silver: (such holy men) are to be found in every part of the world. Though thou receive not such an one in thy house, yet go thou to him, live with the man, be at his dwelling-place, that thou mayest be able to obtain and enjoy his blessing. For a great thing it is to receive a blessing from the saints: which let us be careful to obtain, that being helped by their prayers we may enjoy mercy from God, through the grace and loving-kindness 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 LIV.

ACTS XXVIII. 1.

"And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand."

"Showed," he says, "no little kindness to us--barbarians" (as they were(*))--" having kindled a fire:" else it were of no use that their lives be saved, if the wintry weather must destroy them. Then Paul having taken brushwood, laid it on the fire. See how active he is; observe how we nowhere find him doing miracles for the sake of doing them, but only upon emergency. Both during the storm when there was a cause he prophesied, not for the sake of prophesying, and here again in the first instance he lays on brushwood:-nothing for vain display, but (with a simple view) to their being preserved, and enjoying some warmth. Then a viper "fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live." (v. 4.) Well also was this permitted, that they should both see the thing and utter the thought, in order that, when the result ensued, there might be no disbelieving the miracle. Observe their good feeling (towards the distressed), in saying this (not aloud, but) among themselves--observe (also) the natural judgment clearly expressed even among barbarians, and how they do not condemn without assigning a reason. And these also behold, that they may wonder the more. "And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god." (v. 5, 6.) They expected him, it says, to fall down dead: and again, having seen that nothing of the kind happened to him, they said, He is a god. Again (viz. as in ch. xiv. 11), another excess on the part of these men. "In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him." (v. 7, 8.) Behold again another hospitable man, Publius, who was both rich and of great possessions: he had seen nothing, but purely out of compassion for their misfortune, he received them, and took care of them. So that he was worthy to receive kindness: wherefore Paul as a requital for his receiving them, "healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary" (v. 9, 10), both us and the rest. See how when they were quit of the storm, they did not become(1) more negligent, but what a liberal entertainment was given to them for Paul's sake: and three months were they there, all of them provided with sustenance. See how all this is done for the sake of Paul, to the end that the prisoners should believe, and the soldiers, and the centurion. For if they were very stone, yet from the counsel they heard him giving, and from the prediction they had heard him making, and from the miracles they knew him to have wrought, and from the sustenance they by his means enjoyed, they must have got a very high notion of him. See, when the judgment is right, and not preoccupied by some passion, how immediately it gets right judgings, and gives sound verdicts. "And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.(*) And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the Three Taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage." (v. 11-15.) Already the preaching has reached to Sicily: see how it has run through (even to those lands): at Puteoli also they found some: others also came to meet them. Such was the eagerness of the brethren, it nothing disconcerted them, that Paul was in bonds. But observe also how Paul himself also was affected after the manner of men. For it says, "he took courage, when he saw the brethren." Although he had worked so many miracles, nevertheless even from sight he received an accession (of confidence). From this we learn, that he was both comforted after the manner of men, and the contrary. "And when we came to Rome, Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him." (v. 16.) Leave was given him to dwell by himself. No slight proof this also of his being held in much admiration: it is clear they did not number him among the rest. "And it came to pass, that after three days he called together them that were the chief of the Jews." After three days he called the chief of the Jews, that their ears might not be preoccupied. And what had he in common with them? for they would not (else) have been like to accuse him. Nevertheless, it was not for this that he cared; it was for the teaching that he was concerned, and that what he had to say might not offend them.

(Recapitulation.) "And the barbarians," etc. (v. 2.) The Jews then, beholding all the many miracles they did, persecuted and harassed (Paul); but the barbarians, who had seen none, merely on the ground of his misfortune, were kind to him.--"No doubt," say they, "this man is a murderer:" (v. 4). They do not simply pronounce their judgment, but say, "No doubt," (i.e.) as any one may see "and vengeance," say they, "suffereth him not to live." Why then, they held also the doctrine of a Providence, and these barbarians were far more philosophic than the philosophers, who allow not the benefit of a Providence to extend to things "below the moon:" whereas (these barbarians) suppose God to be present everywhere, and that although a (guilty) man may escape many (a danger), he will not escape in the end. And they do not assail him forthwith, but for a time respect him on account of his misfortune: nor do they openly proclaim their surmise, but speak it "among themselves: a murderer;" for the bonds led them to suspect this. "They showed no small kindness," and yet (some of them) were prisoners. Let those be ashamed that say, Do not do good to those in prison: let these barbarians shame us; for they knew not who these men were, but simply because they were in misfortune (they were kind): thus much they perceived, that they were human beings, and therefore they considered them to have a claim upon their humanity. "And for a great while," it says, "they expected that he would die." (v. 6.) But when he shook his hand, and flung off the beast, then they saw and were astonished. And the miracle did not take place suddenly, but the men went by the length of time, "after they had looked a great while," so plainly was there no deceit, no haste here (<greek>sunarpagh</greek>). "Publius," it says, "lodged them courteously" (v. 7): two hundred and seventy-six persons. Consider how great the gain of his hospitality: not as of necessity, not as unwilling, but as reckoning it a gain he lodged them for three days: thereafter having met with his requital, he naturally honored Paul much more, when the others also received healing. "Who also," it says, "honored us with many honors" (v. 10): not that he received wages, God forbid; but as it is written, "The workman is worthy of his meat. And when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary." (Matt. x. 10.) It is plain that having thus received them, they also received the word of the preaching: for it is not to be supposed, that during an entire three months they would have had all this kindness shown them,(1) had these persons not believed strongly, and herein exhibited the fruits (of their con version): so that from this we may see a strong proof of the great number there was of those that believed. Even this was enough to t establish (Paul's) credit with those (his fellow voyagers). Observe how m all this voyage they nowhere touched at a city, but (were cast) on an island, and passed the entire s winter (there, or) sailing--those being herein under training for faith, his fellow-voyagers, I mean. (a) "And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux." (v. 11.) Probably this was painted on it: so addicted were they to their idols. (d) "And when the south wind blew, we came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome." (v. 13, 14.) (b) Observe them tarrying a while, and again hasting onwards.e) "And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the Three Taverns" (v. 15): not fearing the danger. (c) Paul therefore was now so much respected, that he was even permitted to be by himself: for if even before this they used him kindly, much more would they now. (g) "He was suffered," it says, "to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him." (v. 16.) That it might not be possible for any plot to be laid against him there either--for there could be no raising of sedition now. So that in fact they were not keeping Paul in custody, but guarding him, so that nothing unpleasant should happen: for it was not possible now, in so great a city, and with the Emperor there, and with Paul's appeal, for anything to be done contrary to order. So surely is it the case, that always through the things which seem to be against us, all things turn out for us. "With the soldier"--for he was Paul's guard. "And having called together the chief of the Jews" (v. 17), he discourses to them, who both depart gainsaying, and are taunted by him, yet they dare not say anything: for it was not permitted them to deal with his matter at their own will. For this is a marvellous thing, that not by the things which seem to be for our security, but by their very opposites, all comes to be for us. And that you may learn this--Pharaoh commanded the infants to be cast into the river. (Exod. 1. 22.) Unless the infants had been cast forth, Moses would not have been saved, he would not have been brought up in the palace. When he was safe, he was not in honor; when he was exposed, then he was in honor. But God did this, to show His riches of resource and contrivance. The Jew threatened him, saying, "Wouldest thou kill me?" (ib. ii. 14) and this too was of profit to him. It was of God's providence, in order that he should see that vision in the desert, in order that the proper time should be completed, that he should learn philosophy in the desert, and there live in security. And in all the plottings of the Jews against him the same thing happens: then he becomes more illustrious. As also in the case of Aaron; they rose up against him, and thereby made him more illustrious (Num. xvi. xvii.): that so his ordination should be unquestionable, that he might be held in admiration for the future also from the plates of brass<greek>tpn</greek> <greek>petalwn</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>kalkou</greek>). Of course you know the history: wherefore I pass over the narration. And if ye will, let us go over the same examples from the beginning. Cain slew his brother, but in this he rather benefited him: for hear what Scripture says, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me" (Gen. iv. 10): and again in another place, "To the blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Heb. xii. 24.) He freed him from the uncertainty of the future, he increased his reward: we have all learnt hereby what love God had for him. For what was he injured? Not a whit, in that he received his end sooner. For say, what do they gain, who die more slowly? Nothing: for the having good days does not depend on the living many years or few years, but in the using life properly. The Three Children were thrown into the furnace, and through this they became more illustrious: Daniel was cast into the pit, and thence was he made more renowned. (Dan. iii. and vi.) You see that trials in every case bring forth great good even in this life, much more in the life to come: but as to malice, the case is the same, as if a man having a reed should set himself to fight with the fire: it seems indeed to beat the fire, but it makes it brighter, and only consumes itself. For the malice of the wicked becomes food and an occasion of splendor to virtue: for by God's turning the unrighteousness to good account, our character shines forth all the more. Again, when the devil works anything of this kind, he makes those more illustrious that endure. How then, you will say, was this not the case with Adam, but, on the contrary, he became more disgraced? Nay, in this case of all others God turned (the malice of) that (wicked one) to good account: but if (Adam) was the worse for it, it was he that injured himself: for it is the wrongs that are done to us by others that become the means of great good to us, not so the wrongs which are done by ourselves. As indeed, because the fact is that when hurt by others, we grieve, but not so when hurt by ourselves, therefore it is that God shows, that he who suffers unjustly at the hands of another, gets renown, but he who injures himself, receives hurt: that so we may bear the former courageously, but not the latter. And besides, the whole thing there was Adam's own doing. Wherefore didst thou the woman's bidding? (Gen. iii. 6.) Wherefore when she counselled thee contraryto God), didst thou not repel her? Thou wast assuredly thyself the cause. Else, if the devil was the cause, at this rate all that are tempted ought to perish: but if all do not perish, the cause (of our destruction) rests with ourselves.(1) "But," you will say, "all that are tempted ought (at that rate) to succeed." No: for the cause is in ourselves. "At that rate it ought to follow that (some) perish without the devil's having anything to do with it." Yes: and in fact many do perish without the devil's being concerned in it: for surely the devil does not bring about all (our evil doings); no, much comes also from our own sluggishness by itself alone: and if he too is anywhere concerned as a cause, it is from our offering the occasion. For say, why did the devil prevail in Judas' case? When "Satan entered into him" (John xiii. 27), you will say. Yes, but hear the cause: it was because "he was a thief, and bare what was put in the bag." (ib. xii. 6.) It was he that himself gave the devil a wide room for entering into him: so that it is not the devil who puts into us the beginning, it is we that receive and invite him. "But," you will say, "if there were no devil, the evils would not have become great." True, but then our punishment would admit of no plea for mitigation: but as it is, beloved, our punishment is more mild, whereas if we had wrought the evils of ourselves, the chastisements would be intolerable. For say, if Adam, without any counsel, had committed the sin he did, who would have snatched him out of the dangers? "But he would not have sinned," you will say? What right hast thou to say this? For he who had so little solidity, that was so inert and so ready for folly as to receive such advice as this, much more would he without any counsel have become this (that he did become). What devil incited the brethren of Joseph to envy? If then we be watchful brethren, the devil becomes to us the cause even of renown. Thus, what was Job the worse for his falling into such helplessness of distress? "Speak not of this instance," you will say: "(Job was not the worse,) but the weak person is the worse." Yes, and the weak person is the worse, even if there be no devil. "But in a greater degree," you will say, "when there is the devil's power working along with him." True, but he is the less punished, when he has sinned through the devil's working with him; for the punishments are not the same for all sins. Let us not deceive ourselves: the devil is not the cause of our taking harm, if we be watchful:(1) rather what he does, is to awake us out of our sleep; what he does, is to keep us on the alert. Let us for a while examine these things: suppose there were no wild beasts, no irregular states of the atmosphere; no sicknesses, no pains, no sorrows, nor anything else of the kind: what would not man have become? A hog rather than a man, revelling in gluttony and drunkenness, and troubled by none of those things. But as it is, cares and anxieties are an exercise and discipline of philosophy, a method for the best of training. For say, let a man be brought up in a palace, having no pain, nor care, nor anxiety, and having neither cause for anger nor failure, but whatever he sets his mind upon, that let him do, in that let him succeed, and have all men obeying him: (see whether) such a man would not become more irrational than any wild beast. But as it is, our reverses and our afflictions are as it were a whetstone to sharpen us. For this reason the poor are for the most part wiser than the rich, as being driven about and tost by many waves. Thus a body also, being idle and without motion, is sickly and unsightly: but that which is exercised, and suffers labor and hardships, is more comely and healthy: and this we should find to hold also in the case of the soul. Iron also, lying unused, is spoilt, but if worked it shines brightly; and in like manner a soul which is kept in motion. Now these reverses are precisely what keeps the soul in motion. Arts again perish, when the soul is not active: but it is active when it has not everything plain before it: it is made active by adverse things. If there were no adverse things, there would be nothing to stir it: thus, if everything existed ready-made in beautiful sort, art would not have found wherein to exercise itself. So, if all things were level to our understanding, the soul would not find wherein to exert itself: if it had to be carried about everywhere, it would be an unsightly object. See you not, that we exhort nurses not to make a practice of carrying children always, that they may not bring them into a habit (of wanting to be carried) and so make them helpless? This is why those children which are brought up under the eyes of their parents are weak, in consequence of the indulgence, which by sparing them too much injures their health. It is a good thing, even pain in moderation; a good thing, care; a good thing, want; for(2) they make us strong: good also are their opposites: but each of these when in excess destroys us; and the one relaxes, but the other (by overmuch tension) breaks us. Seest thou not, that Christ also thus trains His own disciples? If they needed these things, much more do we. But if we need them, let us not grieve, but even rejoice in our afflictions. For these are remedies, answering to our wounds, some of them bitter, others mild; but either of them by itself would be useless. Let us therefore return thanks to God for all these things: for He does not suffer them to happen at random, but for the benefit of our souls. Therefore, showing forth our gratitude, let us return Him thanks, let us glorify Him, let us bear up courageously, considering that it is but for a time, and stretching forward our minds to the things future, that we may both lightly bear the things present, and be counted worthy to attain unto the good things to come, 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 LV.

ACTS XXVIII. 17-20.

"And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, thought I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain."

He wished to exculpate both himself and others; himself, that they might not accuse him, and by so doing hurt themselves; and thoseothers), that it might not seem that the whole thing was of their doing. For it was likely that a report was prevalent, that he had been delivered up by the Jews; and this was enough to alarm them. He therefore addresses himself to this, and defends himself as to his own conduct.(*) "How then is it reasonable," it might be said, "that they should deliver thee up without a cause?" The Roman governors, he says, bear me witness, who wished to let me go. "How was it then that they did not let (thee) go?" "When the Jews spake against it," he says. Observe how he extenuates (in speaking of) their charges against him.(1) Since if he had wished to aggravate matters, he might have used them so as to bear harder upon them. Wherefore, he says, "I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar:" so that his whole speech is of a forgiving nature. What then? didst thou this, that thou mightest accuse them? No, he says: "Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of:" but that I might escape the danger. For it is for your sakes "that I am bound with this chain." So far am I, he says, from any hostile feeling towards you. Then they also were so subdued by his speech, that they too apologized for those of their own nation: "And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee." (v. 21.) Neither through letters, nor through men, have they made known any harm of thee. Nevertheless, we wish to hear from thyself: ''But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest" (v. 22): and then forestalled him by showing their own sentiments. "For as concerning this sect, it is known to us, that everywhere it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses and out of the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not." (v. 23, 24.) They said not, we speak against it, but "it is spoken against." Then he did not immediately answer, but gave them a day, and they came to him, and he discoursed, it says, "both out of the Law of Moses, and out of the Prophets. And some believed, and some be-believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (v. 25-27.) But when they departed, as they were opposed to each other, then he reproaches them, not because he wished to reproach those (that believed not), but to confirm these (that believed). "Well said Esaias," says he to them. So that to the Gentiles it is given to know this mystery. No wonder then, if they did gainsay: this was foretold from the first. Then again he moves their jealousy (on the score) of them of the Gentiles. "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Amen." (v. 28-31.) It shows the freedom he had now: without hindrance in Rome, he who had been hindered in Judea; and he remained teaching there for two years. What of the (years) after these?(1)

(Recapitulation.) (d) "Who having examined me," says he, "found nothing in me" (v. 18). When those ought to have rescued, they "delivered (him) into the hands of the Romans." And such the superabundance,(2) * * because those had not power to condemn but delivered him prisoner. "Not as having aught to accuse my nation of," (v. 19) am I come. See what friendliness of expression "my nation:" he does not hold them as aliens. He does not say, I do not accuse, but, "I have not (whereof) to accuse:" although he had suffered so many evils at their hands. But nothing of all this does he say, nor make his speech offensive: neither does he seem to be sparing them as matter of favor. For this was the main point, to show that they delivered him prisoner to the Romans,(3) when those ought to have condemned him. (a) "For this cause," he says, "I wished to see you" (v. 20): that it might not be in any man's power to accuse me, and to say what (naturally) might suggest itself (<greek>ta</greek> <greek>paristamena</greek>), that having escaped their hands I have come for this: not to bring evils upon others, but myself fleeing from evils. "I was compelled to appeal unto Cæsar." Observe them also speaking more mildly to him. "We beg," say they: and wish to speak in exculpation of those (at Jerusalem). (e) Whereas they ought to accuse them, they plead for them: by the very fact of their exonerating them, they do in fact accuse them.(4) (b) For this very thing was a proof that they knew themselves exceedingly in the wrong. Had they been confident, they would at any rate have done this, so that he should not have it in his power to make out his story in his own way, and besides they shrank from coming. And by their many times attempting they showed * * (f) "As for this sect, it is known to us," say they, "that it is everywhere spoken against." (v. 21, 21.) (*) True, but (people) are also everywhere persuaded (as, in fact, here), "some were persuaded, and some believed not. And when they had appointed him a day," etc. (v. 23-25.) See again how not by miracles but by Law and Prophets he puts them to silence, and how we always find him doing this. And yet he might also have wrought signs; but then it would no longer have been matter of faith. In fact, this (itself) was a great sign, his discoursing from the Law and the Prophets. Then that you may not deem it strange (that they believed not), he introduces the prophecy which saith "Hearing ye shall hear and not understand," more now than then: "and ye shall see and not perceive" (v. 26) more now than then. This is not spoken for the former sort, but for the unbelievers. How then? Was it contrary to the prophecy, that those believed? ("Go,") it says, "unto this people" (that is), to the unbelieving people. He did not say this to insult them, but to remove the offence. "Be it known then," he says, "unto you, that unto the Gentiles is sent the salvation of God. They," says he, "will hear it too." (v. 28.) Then why dost thou discourse to us? Didst thou not know this? Yes, but that ye might be persuaded, and that I might exculpate myself, and give none a handle (against me). (c) The unbelieving were they that withdrew. But see how they do not now form plots against him. For in Judea they had a sort of tyranny. Then wherefore did the Providence of God order that he should go thither, and yet the Lord had said, "Get thee out quickly from Jerusalem?" (ch. xxii. 18.) That both their wickedness might be shown and Christ's prophecy made good, that they would not endure to hear him: and so that all might learn that he was ready to suffer all things, and that the event might be for the consolation of those in Judea: for there also (the brethren) were suffering many grievous evils. But if while preaching the Jewish doctrines, he suffered thus, had he preached the doctrines of the glory of Christ, how would they have endured him? While "purifying himself" (ch. xxi. 26) he was intolerable, and how should he have been tolerable while preaching? What(1) lay ye to his charge? What have ye heard? He spoke nothing of the kind. He was simply seen, and he exasperated all against him. Well might he t then be set apart for the Gentiles: well might he be sent afar off: there also destined to discourse to the Gentiles. First he calls the Jews, then having shown them the facts he comes to the Gentiles. (ch. xxiv. 18.) "Well spake the Holy Ghost," etc. But this saying, "The Spirit said," is nothing wonderful: for an angel also is said to say what the Lord saith: but(2) He (the Spirit) not so. When one is speaking of the things said by the angel, one does not say, Well said the angel, but, Well said the Lord. "Well said the Spirit:" as much as to say, It is not me that ye disbelieve. But God foreknew this from the first. "He discoursed," it says, "with boldness, unhindered" (v. 31): for it is possible to speak with boldness, yet hindered. His boldness nothing checked: but in fact he also spoke unhindered. (c) "Discoursed,(3)" it says, "the things concerning the kingdom of God:" mark, nothing of the things of sense, nothing of the things present. (f) But of his affairs after the two years, what say we? (b) (The writer) leaves the hearer athirst for more: the heathen authors do the same (in their writings), for to know everything makes the reader dull and jaded. Or else he does this, (e) not having it in his power to exhibit it from his own personal knowledge. (a) Mark the order of God's Providence,(4) "I have been much hindered from coming unto you . . . having a great desire these many years to come unto you." (Rom xv. 22, 23.) (d) But he fed them with hopes. (g) I am in haste to go to Spain, and "I hope," says he, "to see you in my journey, and to be brought thitherward on my journey by you, if first I be filled with your company in some measure." (ib. 24.) (i) Of this he says, I will come and rest together with you "in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel" (ib. 29): and again "I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints" (ib. 25): this is the same that he has said here, "To do alms to my nation I came." (Acts xxiv. 17.) (h) Do you mark how he did not foresee everything--that sacred and divine head, the man higher than the heavens, that had a soul able to grasp all at once, the holder of the first place--Paul? The man whose very name, to them that know him, suffices for rousing of the soul, for vigilance, for shaking off all sleep! Rome received him bound coming up from the sea, saved from a ship-wreck--and was saved from the shipwreck of error. Like an emperor that has fought a naval battle and overcome, he entered into that most imperial city. (k) He was nearer now to his crown. Rome received him bound, and saw him crowned and proclaimed conqueror. There he had said, I will rest together with you: but this was the beginning of a course once more, and he added trophies to trophies, a man not to be overcome. Corinth kept him two years, and Asia three, and this city two for this time; a second time he again entered it, when also he was consummated. Thus he escaped then, and having filled the whole world, he so brought his life to a close. Why didst thou wish to learn what happened after these two years? Those too are such as these: bonds, tortures, fightings, imprisonments, lyings in wait, false accusations, deaths, day by day. Thou hast seen but a small part of it? How much soever thou hast seen, such is he for all the rest. As in the case of the sky, if thou see one part of it, go where thou wilt thou shalt see it such as this: as it is with the sun, though thou see its rays but in part, thou mayest conjecture the rest: so is it with Paul. His Acts thou hast seen in part; such are they all throughout, teeming with dangers. He was a heaven having in it the Sun of Righteousness, not such a sun (as we see): so that that man was better than the very heaven. Think you that this is a small thing--when you say "The Apostle," immediately every one thinks of him (as), when you say "The Baptist," immediately they think of John? To what shall one compare his words? To the sea, or even to the ocean? But nothing is equal to them. More copious than this (sea) are (his) streams; purer and deeper; so that one would not err in calling Paul's heart both a sea and a heaven, the one for purity, the other for depth. He is a sea, having for its voyagers not those who sail from city to city, but those from earth to heaven: if any man sail in this sea, he will have a prosperous voyage. On this sea, not winds, but instead of winds the Holy and Divine Spirit wafts the souls which sail thereon: no waves are here, no rock, no monsters: all is calm. It is a sea which is more calm and secure than a haven, having no bitter brine, but a pure fountain both sweeter than * *, and brighter and more transparent than the sun: a sea it is, not having precious stones, nor purple dye as ours, but treasures far better than those. He who wishes to descend into this sea, needs not divers, needs not oil, but much loving-kindness (<greek>filanqrwpias</greek>): he will find in it all the good things that are in the kingdom of Heaven. He will even be able to become a king, and to take the whole world into his possession, and to be in the greatest honor; he who sails on this sea will never undergo shipwreck, but will know all things well. But as those who are inexpert in this (our visible sea) are suffocated (in attempting to dive therein), so is it in that other sea: which is just the case with the heretics, when they attempt things above their strength. It behooves therefore to know the depth, or else not to venture. If we are to sail on this sea, let us come well-girded. "I could not," he says, "speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal." (1 Cor. iii. 1.) Let no one who is without endurance sail on this sea. Let us provide for ourselves ships, that is, zeal, earnestness, prayers, that we, may pass over the sea in quiet. For indeed this is the living water. Like as if one should get a mouth of fire, such a mouth does that man get who knows Paul well: like as if one should have a sharp sword, so again does such an one become invincible. And for the understanding of Paul's words there is needed also a pure life. For therefore also he said: "Ye are become such as have need of milk, seeing ye are dull of hearing." (Heb. v. 11, 12.) For there is, there is an infirmity of hearing. For as a stomach which is infirm could not take in wholesome food (which it finds) hard of digestion, so a soul which is become tumid and heated, unstrung and relaxed, could not receive the word of the Spirit. Hear the disciples saying, "This is a hard saying: who can hear it" (John vi. 60)? But if the soul be strong and healthy, all is most easy, all is light: it becomes more lofty and buoyant: it is more able to soar and lift itself on high. Knowing then these things, let us bring our soul into a healthy state: let us emulate Paul, and imitate that noble, that adamantine soul: that, advancing in the steps of his life, we may be enabled to sail through the sea of this present life, and to come unto the haven wherein are no waves, and attain unto the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

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