COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
HOMILIES V TO VII (ROM. 1, 2 & 3)

HOMILY V.

ROM. 1. 28.

"Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."

LEST he should seem to be hinting at them by delaying in his discourse so long over the unnatural sin, he next passes on to other kinds of sins also, and for this cause he carries on the whole of his discourse as of other persons. And as he always does when discoursing with believers about sins, and wishing to show that they are to be avoided, he brings the Gentiles in, and says, "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the other Gentiles which know not God." (1 Thess. iv. 5.) And again: "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (ib. 13.) And so here too he shows that it was to them the sins belonged, and deprives them of all excuse. For he says, that their daring deeds came not of ignorance, but of practice. And this is why he did not say, "and as they knew not God;" but "as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge ;" as much as to say, that the sin was one of a perverted determination of obstinacy, more than of a sudden ravishment, and shows that it was not the flesh (as some heretics say) but the mind,(1) to the wicked lust whereof the sins belonged, and that it was thence the fount of the evils flowed.(*) For since the mind is become undistinguishing,(2) all else is then dragged out of course and overturned, when he is corrupted that held the reins! (Plat. Phaedr. 246 A. B.)

Ver. 29. "Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness."

See how everything here is intensitive. For he says, "being filled," and "with all," and having named maliciousness in general, he also further pursues the particulars, and these too in excess, saying, "Full of envy, murder," for the latter of these comes from the former, as was shown in Abel's case and Joseph's, and then after saying, "debate, deceit, malignity;"

Ver. 30. "Whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful," and classing things which to many seem indifferent among his charges, he further strengthens his accusation, going up to the stronghold of their wickednesses, and styles them "boasters." For even worse than sinning is it, even though sinning to be haughty-minded. Wherefore also he charges the Corinthians with it, saying, "Ye are puffed up." (1 Cor. v. 2.) For if in a good action he that puffs himself up loseth all, if any one do so among his sins, what vengeance is there of which he is not worthy, since such an one cannot repent any more? Next, he says, "inventors of evil things;" showing that they were not content with those already existing, but even invented others. And this again is like men that are full purposed and in earnest, not those that are hurried away and forced out of their course; and after mentioning the several kinds of maliciousness, and showing that here too they stood against nature itself (for he says, "disobedient to parents"), he then goes on to the root of the great pestilence, calling them,

Ver. 31. "Without natural affection, implacable."

For this Christ Himself also pronounces to be the cause of wickedness, saying, "When iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. xxiv. 12). This too St. Paul here says, calling them "covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful," and showing that they were traitors even to the gift of nature. For we have a sort of family feeling even by nature towards one another, which even beasts have got towards each other. "For every beast," it says, "loveth his like, and every man his neighbor." (Ecclus. xiii. 15.) But these became more ferocious even than they. The disorder then which resulted to the world by evil doctrines, he proves to us by these witnesses, and clearly shows that the malady in either case came of the negligence of them that were disordered. He shows besides, what he did in the case of the doctrines, that they were here also deprived of all excuse; and so he says,

Ver. 32. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death. not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

Having assumed here two objections, he in the first place removes them. For what reason have you to say, he means, that you know not the things which ought to be done? At best, even if you did not know, you are to blame in having left God who instructs you. But as it is by many arguments we have shown that you do know, and transgress willingly. But are you drawn by passion? Why then do you both cooperate therewith anti praise it? For they "not only do such things," he says, "but have pleasure in them that do them." Having then put the more grievous and the unpardonable sin first, that he might have done with it (Or "convict you of it," <greek>ina</greek> <greek>elh</greek>); (for he that praiseth the sin is far worse than even he that trespasseth;) having then put this the first, he by this method grapples more powerfully with him in the sequel, speaking on this wise,

Chap. ii. ver. 1. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man; whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself."

These things he says, with an aim at the rulers, inasmuch as that city then had the rule of the world put into its hands.(*) He anticipated them therefore by saying, Thou art depriving thyself of defence, whoever thou mayest be; for when thou condemnest an adulterer, and thyself committest adultery, although no man condemneth thee, in thy judgment upon the guilty person thou hast also passed sentence against thyself.

Ver. 2. "For we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them who commit such things."

For lest any should say, until now I have escaped, to make him afraid, he says, that it is not so with God as it is here. For here (Plato in Theaet. et Phaedon.) one is punished, and another escapes while doing the same thing. But hereafter it is not so. That he that judgeth then knoweth the right, he has, said: but whence he knoweth it, he hath not added; for it was superfluous. For in the case of ungodliness, he shows both that the ungodly was so even with a knowledge of God, and also whence he got that knowledge, namely, from the Creation. For inasmuch as it was not plain to all, he gave the cause also; but here he passes it over as a thing admitted. But when he says, "whosoever thou art that judgest," he is not addressing himself to the rulers only, but to private individuals and subjects also. For all men, even if they have no chair of state, nor executioners, nor stocks at command, yet even they judge those that offend, in conversations and public meetings (Gr. <greek>koinos</greek> <greek>sullogois</greek>) and by the vote of their conscience. And no one would venture to say, that the adulterer does not deserve punishment. But it is others, he says, they condemn, and not themselves. And for this cause he stands forth vehemently against them, and says,

Ver. 3. "And thinkest thou this" (4 Mss. om. this)," O man, that judgest those which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"

For since he had shown the sin of the world to be great, from its doctrines, from its doings, and that they did yet sin though wise, and though they had the creation to lead them by the hand, and not by leaving God only, but also by choosing the images of creeping things, and by their dishonoring virtue, and deserting, in spite of nature's drawings back, to the service of vice even contrary to nature: he goes on next to show, that they who do such things are punished too. He did indeed at once point out a punishment by mentioning their very practice. For "they, received," he says, "in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." But as they do not perceive that, he mentions another also, which they stood most in fear of. And indeed already he chiefly pointed at this. For when he says, "That the judgment of God is according to truth," he is speaking of no other than this. But he establishes the same again upon other further grounds, saying thus, "And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" Thou hast not been acquitted of thine own judgment, and wilt thou escape through God's? Who indeed would say this? And yet thou hast judged thyself (3 Mss. "and not been acquitted"). But since the rigorousness of the judgment-court was such, and thou weft not able to spare even thyself, how should not God, that cannot do amiss, and who is in the highest sense just, be much surer to do the same? But hast thou condemned thyself, and is God to approve of thee and praise thee? And how can this be reasonable? And all the while thou art deserving of a greater punishment, than he who is of thee condemned. For sinning merely, is not the same thing with falling again into the same sins you have chastised another for committing. See, how he has strengthened the charge! For if you, he means, punish a person who has committed less sins, though by it you will put yourself to shame, how shall not God cast you in your suit, and condemn you more severely, who have committed greater transgressions, and this too when He will never make Himself ashamed, and you are already condemned by your own reckoning. But if thou say, I know that I deserve punishment; yet through His long-suffering thinkest slightingly of it, and art confident because thou dost not suffer punishment forthwith; this surely is a reason why thou oughtest to be afraid and tremble. For the fact that thou hast not yet suffered punishment, will not result in thy not suffering any punishment, but in thy suffering a more severe one if thou abidest unamended.[1] And so he goes on to say:

Ver. 4. "Or despiseth thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-sufferring; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

For after praising God's long-suffering, showing the gain thereof to be very great to them that heeded it (and this was the drawing sinners to repentance); he adds to the terror. For as to them, who avail themselves of it aright, it is a ground of safety; so to them that slight it, it is conducive to a greater vengeance. For whenever you utter this common notion, that God doth not exact justice, because He is good and long-suffering, he says, You do but mention what will make the vengeance intenser. For God showeth His goodness that you may get free from your sins, not that you may add to them. If then thou make not this use thereof, the judgment will be more fearful. Wherefore it is a chief ground for abstaining from sin, that God is long-suffering, and not for making the benefit a plea for obstinacy. For if He be long-suffering, He most certainly punisheth. Whence does this appear? from what is next said. For if the wickedness be great and the wicked have not been requited, it is absolutely necessary that they should be requited, For if men do not overlook these things, how should God make an oversight? And so from this point he introduces the subject of the judgment. For the fact of showing many who, if they repent not, are liable, yet still are not punished here, introduces with it necessarily the judgment, and that with increase. Wherefore he says,

Ver. 5. "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath."

For when a man is neither to be softened by goodness nor to be turned back by fear, what can be harder than such an one? For after that he had showed the goodness of God towards men, he then shows His vengeance that it is unbearable for him who[1] does not even so return to repentance. And observe with what propriety he uses the words ! "Thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath," he says, so making it plain what is certainly laid up, and showing that it is not He that judgeth, but he that is condemned, who is the author of this. For he says, "thou treasurest up for thyself," not God for thee. For He did all, whatsoever things were fitting, and created thee with a power to discern between good and what was not so, and showed long-suffering over thee, and called thee to repentance, and threatened a fearful day, so by every means drawing thee to repentance. But if thou shouldst continue unyielding, "thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation and (so all Mss. but two) the righteous judgment of God." For lest on hearing of wrath thou shouldest think of any passion, he adds, "the righteous judgment of God." And he said "revelation" with good reason, for then is this revealed when each man receives his desert. For here many men often annoy and practise harm to one without justice. But hereafter it is not so.

Ver. 6, 7. "Who will render to every man according to his deeds, to them who by patient continuance in well doing," etc.

Since he had become awestriking and harsh by discoursing of the judgment and of the punishment that shall be, he does not forthwith, as one might expect, enter upon the vengeance, but turns his discourse to what was sweeter, to the recompense of good actions, saving as follows,

Ver. 7. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life."

Here also he awakens those who had drawn back during the trials, and shows that it is not right to trust in faith only. For it is deeds also into which that tribunal will enquire. But observe, how when he is discoursing about the things to come, he is unable to tell clearly the blessings, but speaketh of glory and honor. For in that they transcend all that man hath, he hath no image of them taken from this to show, but by those things which have a semblance of brightness among us, even by them he sets them before us as far as may be, by glory, by honor, by life. For these be what men earnestly strive after, yet are those things not these, but much better than these, inasmuch as they are incorruptible and immortal. See how he has opened to us the doors toward the resurrection of the body by speaking of incorruptibility. For incorruptibility belongs to the corruptible body. Then, since this sufficed not, he added glory and honor. For all of us are to rise incorruptible, but not all to glory, but some to punishment, and some to life.

Ver. 8. "But unto them that are contentious,"[*] he says. Again, he deprives of excuse those that live in wickedness, and shows that it is from a kind of disputatiousness and carelessness that they fall into unrighteousness.

"And do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness." See, here is another accusation again. For what defence can he set up, who flees from the light and chooses the dark? And he does not say, who are "compelled by," "lorded over by," but who "obey unrighteousness," that one may learn that the fall is one of free choice, the crime not of necessity.

Ver. 9. "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil."

That is, if a man be rich, if a consul, if a very sovereign (so Field: several Mss. and Edd. "the emperor himself"), by none of them is the account of the judgment out-faced. Since in this dignities have no place. Having then shown the exceeding greatness of the disease, and having added the cause, that it was from the carelessness of the disordered, and finally, that destruction awaits them and that amendment is easy, in the punishment also he again gives the Jew the heavier lot. For he that had enjoyed a larger share of instruction would also deserve to undergo a larger share of vengeance if doing lawlessly. And so the wiser or mightier men we are, the more are we punished if we sin. For if thou art rich, thou wilt have more money demanded of thee than of the poor; and if wiser than others, a stricter obedience; and if thou hast been invested with authority, more shining acts of goodness; and so in the case of all the other things, thou wilt have to bring in measures proportioned to your power.

Ver. 10. "But glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."

What Jew does he here mean? or about what Gentiles is he discoursing? It is of those before Christ's coming. For his discourse had not hitherto come to the times of grace, but he was still dwelling upon the earlier times, so breaking down first from afar off and clearing away the separation between the Greek and the Jew, that when he should do this in the matter of grace, he might no more seem to be devising some new and degrading view. For if in the earlier times when this Grace had not shone forth in such, greatness, when the estate of the Jews was solemn and renowned and glorious before all men, there was no difference, what could they say for themselves (<greek>tina</greek> <greek>an</greek> <greek>ecoien</greek> <greek>logon</greek> <greek>eipein</greek>;) now after so great a display of grace? And this is why he establishes it with so great earnestness. For when the hearer has been informed that this held in the earlier times, much more will he receive it after the faith. But by Greeks he here means not them that worshipped idols, but them that adored God, that obeyed the law of nature, that strictly kept all things, save the Jewish observances, which contribute to piety, such as were Melchizedek and his (<greek>oi</greek> <greek>peri</greek>), such as was Job, such as were the Ninevites, such as was Cornelius. Here then he is first breaking through the partition between the circumcision and the uncircumcision: and at a distance dissipates this distinction beforehand, so as to do it without being suspected, and to strike into it as compelled by another occasion, which is ever a characteristic of his Apostolic wisdom. For if he had showed it in the times of grace, what he said would have had a very suspicious look. But on describing the vice which possessed the world, and where end the ways of wickedness, to pass from that consecutively into the treatment of these points renders his teaching unsuspected. And that he means this, and for this purpose so put this together, is plain from hence: for if he were not intent upon effecting this, it were enough for him to have said, "According to thy hardness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath;" and then to have dropped this subject, since it would have been complete. But in that what he had in view was not to speak of the judgment to come only, but show also that the Jew had no advantage of such a Greek, and so was not to be haughty-spirited, he advances farther, and speaks[1] of them in order. But consider! He had put the hearer in fear, had advanced[2] against him the fearful day, had told him what an evil it is to be living in wickedness, had showed him that no man sinneth of ignorance, nor with impunity, but that even though he suffer no punishment now, yet he certainly will suffer it: then he wishes to make good next that the teaching of the Law was not a thing of great importance. For it is upon works that both punishment and reward depend, not upon circumcision and uncircumcision. Since then he had said, that the Gentile shall by no means go unpunished and had taken this for granted, and upon it had made good that he shall also be rewarded, he next showed the Law and circumcision to be superfluous. For it is the Jews that he is here chiefly opposing. For inasmuch as they were somewhat captiously disposed, first, of their haughtiness, not deigning to be reckoned along with the Gentiles, and secondly thinking it ridiculous if the faith is to do away all sins; for this cause he accused the Gentiles first, in whose behalf he is speaking, that without suspicion and with boldness of speech, he may attack the Jews. And then having come to the enquiry concerning the punishment, he shows that the Jew is so far from being at all profited by the Law, that he is even weighed down by it. And this was his drift some way back. For if the Gentile be on this score inexcusable, because, when the creation led him on and his own reasonings, he yet did not amend, much more were the Jew so, who besides these had the teaching of the Law also. Having then persuaded him to a ready admission of these reasonings, in the case of other men's sins, he now compels him even against his will to do so in the case of his own. And in order that what he says may be more readily allowed, he leads him forward with the better things also in view, speaking on this wise: "But glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." For here whatever good things a man hath, he hath with fightings, even if he be rich, if a prince, if a king. Even if he be not at variance with others, yet is he often so with himself, and has abundant war in his own thoughts. But there it is no such thing, but all is still and void of trouble, and in possession of true peace. Having then made good from what was said above, that they too which have not the Law are to enjoy the same blessings, he adds his reason in the following words:

Ver. 11. "For there is no respect of persons with God."

For when he says that as well the Jew as the Gentile is punished if he sin, he needs no reasonings: but when he wants to prove that the Gentile is honored also, he then needs a foundation for it also; as it seemed wonderful and extravagant if he who had heard neither Law nor Prophets, were to be honored upon his working good. And this is why (as I also said before) he exercises their hearing in the times before grace, that he might afterwards more treatably bring in, along with the faith, the acquiescence in these things also. For here he is not at all suspected, as seeming not to be making his own point good. Having then said, "Glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile," he adds, "For there is no respect of persons with God." Wonderful! What more than victory has he gained! For he shows, by reducing it to an absurdity, that it was not meet with God that it should be otherwise. For it would then be a case of respecting of persons. But of such character God is not. And he does not say, "for if this were not so, God would be a respecter of persons," but with more of dignity, "For there is no respect of persons with God." That it is not quality of persons, but difference of actions. Which He maketh inquisition for. By so saying he shows that it was not in actions but in persons only that the Jew differed from the Gentile. The consequence of this would be thus expressed; For it is not because one is a Jew and the other a Gentile, that one is honored and the other disgraced, but it is from the works that either treatment comes. But he does not say so, since it would have roused the anger of the Jew, but he sets down something more, so bringing their haughty spirit yet lower, and quelling it for the admission of the other. But what is this? The next position.

Ver. 12. "For as many," he says, "as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."

For here, as I said before, he shows not only the equality of the Jew and the Gentile, but that the Jew was even much burdened by the gift of the Law. For the Gentile is judged without law. But this "without law" (Gr. lawlessly) here expresses not the worse plight but the easier, that is, he has not the Law to t accuse him. For "without law" (that is, without the condemnation arising from it), is he condemned solely from the reasonings of nature, but the Jew, "in the Law," that is, with nature and the Law too to accuse him. For the greater the attention he enjoyed, the greater the punishment he will suffer. See how much greater is the necessity which he lays upon the Jews of a speedy recourse to grace! For in that they said, they needed not grace, being justified by the Law, he shows that they need it more than the Gentiles, considering they are liable to be punished more. Then he adds another reason again, and so farther contends for what has been said.[*]

Ver 13. "For not the hearers of the law are just before God."

Well doth he add "before God;" for haply before men they may be able to appear dignified and to vaunt great things, but before God it is quite otherwise--the doers of the Law alone are justified. You see with what advantage he combats, by turning what they said to an opposite bearing. For if it is by the Law you claim to be saved, in this respect, saith he, the Gentile will stand before you,[1] when seen to be a doer of what is written in the Law. And how is it possible (one may say) for one who hath not heard to be a doer? Not this only, he says, is possible, but what is much more even than this. For not only is it possible without hearing to be a doer, but even with hearing not to be so. Which last thing he makes plainer, and that with a greater advantage over them, when he says, "Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" (Rom. ii. 21.) But here he is still making the former point good.

Ver. 14. "For when the Gentiles," he says, "which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves."

I am not, he means, rejecting the Law, but even on this score I justify the Gentiles. You see how when undermining the conceit of Judaism, he giveth no handle against himself as villifying the Law, but on the contrary by extolling it and showing its greatness he so makes good his whole position. But whenever he saith "by nature," he means by the reasonings of nature. And he shows that others are better than they, and, what is more better for this, that they have not received the Law, and have not that wherein the Jews seem to have an advantage over them. For on this ground he means they are to be admired, because they required not a law, and yet exhibited all the doings of the Law, having the works, not the letters, graven upon their minds. For this is what he says,

Ver. 15. "Which show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another."

Ver. 16. "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel."

See how he again puts that day before them, and brings it close to them, battering down their conceit, and showing, that those were to be the rather honored who without the Law strove earnestly to fulfil the things of the Law. But what is most to be marvelled at in the discretion of the Apostle, it is worth while to mention now. For having shown, from the grounds given, that the Gentile is greater than the Jew; in the inference, and the conclusion of his reasoning, he does not state it, in order not to exasperate the Jew. But to make what I have said clearer, I will give the very words of the Apostle. For after saying, that it is not the hearers of the Law, but the doers of the Law, that shall be justified, it followed to say, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law," they are much better than those who are instructed by the Law. But this he does not say, but he stays at the encomium of the Gentiles, and does not yet awhile carry on his discourse by way of comparison, that so at least the Jew may receive what is said. And so he does not word it as I was doing, but how? "For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the Law, written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness." For the conscience and reason doth suffice in the Law's stead. By this he showed, first, that God made man independent,[1] so as to be able to choose virtue and to avoid vice. And be not surprised that he proves this point, not once or twice, but several times. For this topic was very needful for him to prove owing to those who say, Why ever is it, that Christ came but now? And where in times before was the (most Mss. this mighty) scheme of Providence? Now it is these that he is at present beating off by the way, when he shows that even in former times, and before the Law was given, the human race (Gr. nature) fully enjoyed the care of Providence. For "that which may be known of God was manifest in them," and they knew what was good, and what bad; by means whereof they judged others, which he reproaches them with, when he says, "wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself." But in the case of the Jews, besides what has been mentioned, there was the Law, and not reason or conscience only. And why does he put the words "accusing or else excusing?"--for, if they have a Law written, and show the work of it in them, how comes reason to be able to accuse them still? But he is not any longer speaking of those only who do well, but also of mankind (Gr. the nature) universally. For then our reasonings stand up, some accusing and some excusing. And at that tribunal a man needeth no other accuser. Then to add to their fear, he does not say the sins of men, but the secrets of men. For since he said, "Thinkest thou, that judgest them that do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God;" that thou mayest not expect such a sentence as thou passest thyself, but mayest know, that that of God is far more exact than thine own, he brings in, "the secrets of men," and adds, "through jesus Christ according to my Gospel." For men sit in judgment upon overt acts alone. And above too he spake of the Father alone, but as soon as he had crushed them with fear, he brought in the mention of Christ also. But he does not do barely this, but even here, after having made mention of the Father, he so introduceth Him. And by the same things be raises the dignity of his preaching. For this preaching, he means, openly speaks out what nature taught by anticipation. Do you see with what wisdom he has bound them both to the Gospel and to Christ, and demonstrated that our affairs come not here to a stand, but travel further. And this he made good before also, when he said, "thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath:" and here again, "God shall judge the secrets of men."

Now let each man enter into his own conscience, and reckoning up his transgressions, let him call himself to a strict account, that we be not then condemned with the world. (1 Cor. xi. 32.) For fearful is that court awful the tribunal, full of trembling the accounts, a river of fire rolls along (<greek>elketai</greek>). "A brother doth not redeem: shall man redeem?" (Ps. xlix. 8. LXX.) Call then to mind what is said in the Gospel, the Angels running to and fro, of the bridechamber being shut, of the lamps going out, of the powers which drag to the furnaces. And consider this, that if a secret deed of any one of us were brought forth into the midst, to-day, before the Church only, what could he do but pray to perish, and to have the earth to gape for him, rather than have so many witnesses of his wickedness? How then shall we feel, when, before the whole world, all things are brought into the midst, in a theatre so bright and open, with both those known and those unknown to us seeing into everything? But alas! wherewith am I forced to affright you with men's estimation! when I ought to use the fear of God, and His condemnation. For what, pray, is to become of us then when bound, and gnashing our teeth, we are led away to the outer darkness? Or, rather, what shall we do (and this is the most fearful thought of all) when we offend (<greek>proskrouswmen</greek>) God? For if any one have sense and reason, he has already endured a hell when he is out of sight of God. But since this doth not pain, fire is therefore threatened. For we ought to smart not when we are punished, but when we sin. Thus listen to Paul wailing and lamenting over sins, for which he was not to be punished. For "I am not meet," he says, "to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church." (1 Cor. xv. 9.) Hear also David, when he is set free from the punishment, yet, as thinking that he had offended God, calling vengeance down upon himself, and saying, "Let thy hand be upon me and upon my father's house." (2 Sam. xxiv. 17.) For to have offended God is more distressing than to be punished. But now we are so wretchedly disposed, that, were there no fear of hell, we should not even choose readily to do any good thing. Wherefore were it for nothing else, yet for this at least, we should deserve hell, because we fear hell more than Christ (several Mss. God). But not so the blessed Paul, but contrariwise. But since we feel otherwise, for this reason are we condemned tO hell: since, did we but love Christ as we should love Him, we should have known that to offend Him we love were more painful than hell. But since we love Him not, we know not the greatness of His punishment. And this is what I bewail and grieve over the most! And yet what has God not done, to be beloved of us? What hath He not devised? What hath He omitted? We insulted Him, when He had not wronged us in aught, but had even benefited us with blessings countless and unspeakable. We have turned aside from Him when calling and drawing us to Him by all ways, yet hath He not even upon this punished us, but hath run Himself unto us, and held us back, when fleeing, and we have shaken Him off and leaped away to the Devil. And not even on this hath He stood aloof, but hath sent numberless messengers to call us to Him again, Prophets, Angels,[1] Patriarchs: and we have not only not received the embassy, but have even insulted those that came. But not even for this did He spew us out of His mouth, but like those slighted lovers that be very earnest, He went round beseeching all, the heaven, the earth, Jeremiah, Micah, and that not that He might weigh us down, but that He might speak in behalf of His own ways (Is. i. 2; Jer. ii. 12; iii. 12; etc.; Mic. vi. 1): and along with the prophets He went also Himself to those that turned aside from Him, being ready to submit to examination, and deigning to condescend to a conference, and drawing them that were deaf to every appeal into a disputation with Himself. For He saith, "O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me." (Mic. vi. 3.) After all this we killed the Prophets, we stoned them, we did them other cruel wrongs without number. What then? In their place He sent no longer Prophets, no longer Angels, no longer Patriarchs, but the Son Himself. He too was killed when He had come, and yet not even then did He quench His love, but kindled it even more, and keepeth on beseeching us, after even His own Son was killed, and entreating us, and doing all things to turn us unto Himself. And Paul crieth aloud, saying, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor. v. 20.) None of these things however reconciled us. Yet not even then did He leave us, but keeps on both threatening hell, and promising a kingdom, that even so He may draw us unto Himself. But we be still in an insensible mood. What can be worse than this brutishness? For had a man done these things, should we not many times over have let ourselves become slaves to him? But God when doing so we turn us away from O what listlessness! O what unfeelingness We that live continually in sins and wickednesses, if we happen to do any little good, like unfeeling domestics, with what a niggardly spirit do we exact it, and how particular are we about the recompense made, if what we have done has any recompense to come of it. And yet the recompense is the greater if you do it without any hope of reward. Why saying all this, and making exact reckoning, is language fitter for an hireling than a domestic of willing mind. For we ought to do everything for Christ's sake, not for the reward, but for Him. For this also was why He threatened hell and promised the kingdom, that He might be loved of us. Let us then so love Him as we ought to love Him. For this is the great reward, this is royalty and pleasure, this is enjoyment, and glory, and honor, this is light, this is the great happiness,(1) which language (or reasoning) cannot set before us nor mind conceive. Yet indeed I do not know how I was led so far in this way of speaking, and came to be exhorting men who do not even think slightly of power and glory here for Christ's sake, to think slightly of the kingdom. Yet still those great and noble men even attained to this measure of love. Hear, for instance, how Peter burns with love towards Him, setting Him before soul, and life, and all things. And when he had denied Him, it was not the punishment he was grieved for, but that he had denied Him Whom he longed for, which was more bitter to him than any punishment. And all this did he show before the grace of the Spirit was given.(2) And he perseveringly pressed the question, "Whither goest thou?" (John xiii. 36) and before this; "To whom shall we go?" (vi. 67); and again; "I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." (Luke xxii. 33?) Thus He was all things to them, and neither heaven nor the kingdom of heaven did they count of, in comparison of Him they longed for. For Thou art all these things unto me, he means. And why doest thou marvel that Peter was so minded? Hear now what the Prophet says: "What have I in heaven, and what is there upon earth, that I should desire in comparison of Thee?" (Ps. lxxiii. 25.) Now what he means is nearly this. Neither of things above nor of things below desire I any, save Thee only. This is passion;(3) this is love. Can we so love, it will not be things present only, but even things to come, which we shall reckon as nothing compared with that love-charm, and even here shall we enjoy the Kingdom, delighting ourselves in the love of Him. And how is this to be? one may say. Let us reflect how oft we insult Him after numberless goodnesses, yet He standeth and calleth us to Him, and how often we run by Him, but He still doth not overlook us, but runneth to us, and draweth us to Him, and catcheth us in unto Himself. For if we consider these things, and such as these, we shall be enabled to kindle this longing. For if it were a common man that so loved, but a king who was thus beloved, would he not feel a respect for the greatness of the love? Most assuredly he would. But when the case is reversed, and His Beauty (S. "that beauty") is unspeakable, and the glory and the riches too of Him that loveth us, and our vileness so great, surely we deserve the utmost punishment, vile as we are and outcasts, who are treated with so exceeding great love by One so great and wonderful, and yet wax wanton against His love? He needeth not anything of ours, and yet He doth not even now cease loving us. We need much what is His, and for all that we cleave not unto His love, but money we value above Him, and man's friendship, and ease of body, and power, and fame, before Him who valueth nothing more than us. For He had One Son, Very (Lit. "true-born") and Only-Begotten, and He spared not even Him for us. But we value many things above Him. Were there not then good reason for a hell and torment, even were it twofold or threefold or manifold what it is? For what can we have to say for ourselves, if even Satan's injunctions we value more than the Laws of Christ, and are reckless of our own salvation that we may choose the works of wickedness, before Him who suffered all things for us? And what pardon do these things deserve? what excuse have they? Not one even. (5 Mss. <greek>oude</greek> <greek>mias</greek>.) Let us stop then after this in our headlong course, and let us grow again sober; and reckoning up all these things, let us send up glory unto Him by our works (for words alone suffice not thereto), that we may also enjoy the glory that cometh of Him, which may we all attain unto by the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, to the Father be glory, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

HOMILY VI.

ROM. II. 17, 18.

"Behold,(1) thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law."

AFTER saying that the Gentile wanteth nothing appertaining to salvation if he be a doer of the Law, and after making that wonderful comparison, he goes on to set down the glories of the Jews, owing to which they thought scorn of the Gentiles: and first the very name itself, which was of great majesty, as the name Christian is now. For even then the distinction Which the appellation made was great. And so he begins from this, and see how he takes it down. For he does not say, Behold, thou art a Jew, but "art called" so, "and makest thy boast in God;" that is, as being loved by Him, and honored above all other men. And here he seems to me to be gently mocking their unreasonableness, and great madness after glory, because they misused this gift not to their own salvation, but to set themselves up against the rest of mankind, and to despise them. "And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent." Indeed this is a disadvantage, if without working: yet still it seemed to be an advantage, and so he states it with accuracy. For he does not say, thou doest, but knowest; and approvest, not followest and doest.(*)

Ver. 19. "And art confident that thou thyself."

Here again he does not say that thou art "a guide of the blind," but "thou art confident," so thou boastest, he says. So great was the unreasonableness of the Jews. Wherefore he also repeats nearly the very words, which they used in their boastings. See for instance what they say in the Gospels. "Thou wast altogether (<greek>olos</greek> 4 Mss. <greek>olws</greek>) born in sin, and dost thou teach us?" (John ix. 34.) And all men they utterly looked down upon, to convince them of which, Paul keeps extolling them and lowering the others, that so he may get more hold on them, and make his accusation the weightier. Wherefore he goes on adding the like things, and making more of them by different ways of relating them. For "Thou art confident," he saith, "that thou thyself art a leader of the blind,"

Ver. 20. "An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and truth, which is in the Law."

Here again he says not, in the conscience and in actions and in well-doings, but "in the Law;" and after saying so, he does here also what he did with regard to the Gentiles. For as there he says, "for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself," so saith he here also.

Ver. 21. "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?"

But there he frames his speech with more of sharpness, here with more of gentleness. For he does not say, However on this score thou deservest greater punishment, because though entrusted with so great things thou hast not made a good use of any of them, but he carries his discourse on by way of question, turning them on themselves (<greek>entr</greek>>s210><greek>pwn</greek>), and saying, "Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" And here I would have you look at the discretion of Paul in another case. For he sets down such advantages of the Jews, as came not of their own earnestness, but by a gift from above, and he shows not only that they are worthless to them if neglectful, but that they even bring with them increase of punishment. For neither is the being called a Jew any well doing of theirs, nor yet is the receiving of the Law, nor the other things he has just enumerated, but of the grace from above. And towards the beginning he had said, that the hearing of the Law is valueless unless the doing be thereto added ("for not the hearers of the Law," he says, "are just before God,") but now he shows further still, that not only the hearing, but, what is more than the hearing, the teaching of the Law itself will not be able to screen the teacher, unless he do what he says; and not only will it not screen him, but will even punish him the more. And he has used his expressions well too, since he does not say, Thou hast received the Law, but "Thou restest in the Law." For the Jew was not wearied with going about to seek what was to be done, but had on easy terms the Law pointing the way leading to virtue. For if even the Gentiles have natural reason (and it is on this ground that these are better than they, in that they do the Law without hearing), yet still the others had greater facility. But if you say, I am not only a hearer, but even a teacher, this very thing is an aggravation of your punishment. For because they prided themselves upon this,(1) from this above all he shows them to be ridiculous. But when he says, "a guide of the blind, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes," he is speaking their own pompous language. For they treated proselytes extremely ill, and these were the names they called them by. And this is why he dwells at large upon what were supposed to be their praises, well knowing that what was said gave ground for greater accusation; "Which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the Law." As if any one who had a picture of the king, were to draw nothing after it, and they that were not entrusted with it were to imitate it exactly even without the original. And then after mentioning the advantages they had from God, he tells them of their failings, bringing forward what the prophets accused them of. "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?"(*) For it was strictly forbidden them to touch any of the treasures upon the idols (so Field from the Mss: Vulg. "in the idol temples") by reason of the defilement. But the tyranny of avarice, he says, has persuaded you (4 Mss. and mar. "us") to trample this Law also under foot. Then he brings the far more grievous charge afterwards, saying,

Ver. 23. "Thou that makest a boast in the Law through breaking the Law dishonorest thou God?"

There are two accusations which he makes, or rather three. Both that they dishonor, and dishonor that whereby they were honored; and that they dishonor Him that honored them, which was the utmost extreme of unfeelingness. And then, not to seem to be accusing them of his own mind, he brings in the Prophet as their accuser, here briefly and concisely as it were in a summary, but afterwards more in detail, and here Isaiah, and after that David, when he had shown the grounds of reproof to be more than one. For to show, he means, that it is not I who speak these things to your reproach, hear what Isaiah saith.

Ver. 24. "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you." (Is. lii. 5; Ez. xxxvi. 20, 23.)

See again another double accusation. For they not only commit insolence themselves, but even induce others to do so. What then is the use of your teaching when ye teach not your own selves? Above, however, he merely said this, but here he has even turned it round to the contrary. For not only yourselves, but even others, do ye not teach what should be done. And what is far worse--ye not only teach not the things of the Law, but ye even teach the opposite, viz. to blaspheme God, which is opposite to the Law. But the circumcision, one will say, is a great thing. Yea, I also confess it, but when? when (So all Mss. S. "then, when") it hath the inward circumcision. And observe his judgment, in bringing in what he says about it so opportunely. For he did not begin straightway with it, since the conceit men had of it was great. But after he had shown them to have offended in that which was greater" and to be responsible for the blasphemy against God, then having henceforth possession of the reader's judgment against them, and having stripped them of their pre-eminence, he introduces the discussion about circumcision, feeling sure that no one will any more advocate it, and says,

Ver. 25. "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the Law."

And yet, were this not so, a man might have rejected it and said, What is circumcision? for is it any good deed on his part that hath it? is it any manifestation of a right choice? For it takes place at an unripe age, and those in the wilderness too remained uncircumcised for a long time. And from many other points of view also, one might look at it as not necessary. And yet it is not on this foot that he rejects it, but upon the most proper ground, from the case of Abraham. For this is the most exceeding victory,--to take the very reason for showing it to be of small regard, whence it was held by them in reverence. Now he might have said that even the prophets call the Jews uncircumcised. But this is no disparagement of circumcision, but of those that hold ill to it. For what he aims at is to show that even in the very best life, it has not the least force. This is what he next proves. And here he does not bring forward the Patriarch, but having previously overturned it upon other grounds, he keeps him till afterwards, when he brings in what he has to say of faith, on the words--"How then was it reckoned" to Abraham? "when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?" For so long as it is struggling against the Gentile and the uncircumcised, he is unwilling to say aught of this, lest he should be over irksome to them. But when it comes in opposition to the faith, then he disengages himself more completely for a combat with it. Up to the present point then it is uncircumcision that the contest is against, and this is why he advances in His discourse in a subdued tone, and says,

"For circumcision verily profiteth if thou keep the Law; but if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." For here he speaks of two uncircumcisions, and two circumcisions, as also two laws. For there is a natural law and there is a written law. But there is one also between these, that by works. And see how he points these three out, and brings them before you.

"For when the Gentiles," he says, "which have not the Law." What Law, say? The written one. "Do by nature the things of the Law." Of what Law? Of that by works. "These having not the Law." What Law? The written one. "Are a law unto themselves." How so? By using the natural law. "Who show the work of the Law." Of what law? Of that by actions. For that which is by writing lieth outside; but this is within, the natural one, and the other is in actions. And one the writing proclaims; and another, nature; and another, actions. Of this third there is need,(1) for the sake of which also those two exist, both the natural and the written. And if this be not present they are of no good, but even very great harm. And to show this in the case of the natural he said, "For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself." But of the written Law, thus--"Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thus also there are two uncircumcisions, one that of nature, and the second from conduct: and one circumcision in the flesh, and the other from the will. I mean for instance, a man has been circumcised upon the eighth day; this is circumcision of the flesh: a man has done all the Law bids him; this is circumcision of the mind which St. Paul requires above all, yea rather the Law also. See now how having granted it in words, he in deed does away with it. For he does not say the circumcision is superfluous, the circumcision is of no profit, of no use. But what saith he? "Circumcision verily profiteth if thou keepest the Law." (Deut. x. 16; xxx. 6.) He approves it so far, saying, I confess and deny not that the circumcision is honorable. But when? When it has the Law kept along with it.

"But if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." He does not say, it is no more profitable, lest he should seem to insult it. But having stripped the Jew of it, he goes on to smite him. And this is no longer any insult to circumcision, but to him who through listlessness has lost the good of it. As then in the case of those who are in dignified stations and are after convicted of the greatest misdemeanors, the judges deprive them of the honors of their stations and then punish them; so has Paul also done. For after saying, if thou art a breaker of the Law, thy "circumcision is made uncircumcision," and having shown him to be uncircumcised, he condemns him after that without scruple.

Ver. 26. "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be turned(2) into circumcision?"

See how he acts. He does not say that the uncircumcision overcomes circumcision (for this was highly grating to those who then heard him), but that the uncircumcision hath become circumcision. And he next enquires what circumcision is, and what uncircumcision and he says that circumcision is well doing and uncircumcision is evil doing. And having first transferred into the circumcision the uncircumcised, who has good deeds, and having thrust out the circumcised man that lived a corrupt life into the uncircumcision, he so gives the preference to the uncircumcised. And he does not say, To the uncircumcised, but goes on to the thing itself, speaking as follows: "Shall not his uncircumcision be turned into circumcision?" And he does not say "reckoned," but "turned to," which was more expressive. As also above he does not say thy circumcision is reckoned uncircumcision, but has been made so.

Ver. 27. "And shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature judge?"

You see, he recognizes two uncircumcisions, one from nature, and the other from the will. Here, however, he speaks of that from nature but does not pause here, but goes on, "if it fulfil the Law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the Law?" See his exquisite judgment. He does not say, that the uncircumcision which is from nature shall judge the circumcision, but while where the victory had been, he brings in the uncircumcision, yet where the defeat is, he does not expose the circumcision as defeated but the Jew himself who had it, and so by the wording spares offending his hearer. And he does not say, "thee that hast the Law and the circumcision," but yet more mildly, "thee who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the Law." That is, such uncircumcision even stands up for the circumcision, for it has been wronged and comes to the Law's assistance, for it has been insulted, and obtains a notable triumph. For then is the victory decided, when it is not by Jew that Jew is judged, but by the uncircumcised; as when he says, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment against this generation, and shall condemn it." (Matt. xii. 41.) It is not then the Law that he dishonors (for he reverences it greatly), but him that does disgrace to the Law. Next, having settled these grounds clearly, he goes on confidently to define what the Jew really is; and he shows that it is not the Jew, nor the circumcision, but he that is no Jew, and uncircumcised, whom he is rejecting. And he seemeth indeed to stand up in its behalf, but yet does away with the opinion regarding it, securing men's concurrence by the conclusion he comes to. For he shows not only that there is no difference between the Jew and the uncircumcised, but that the uncircumcised has even the advantage, if he take heed to himself, and that it is he that is really the Jew; and so he says:

Ver. 28. "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly."

Here he attacks them as doing all things for show.

Ver. 29. "But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter."

By saying this he sets aside all things bodily. For the circumcision is outwardly, and the Sabbaths and the sacrifices and purifications: all of which he hints in a single word, when he says, "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly." But since much was made of the circumcision, inasmuch(1) as even the sabbath gave way to it (John vii. 22), he has good reason for aiming more especially against it. But when he has said "in the spirit" he thereafter paves the way for the conversation(2) of the Church, and introduces the faith. For it too is in the heart and spirit and hath its praise of God. And how cometh he not to show that the Gentile which doeth aright is not inferior to the Jew which doeth aright, but that the Gentile which doeth aright is better than the Jew which breaketh the Law? It was that he might make the victory an undoubted one. For when this is agreed upon, of necessity the circumcision of the flesh is set aside, and the need of a good life is everywhere demonstrated. For when the Greek is saved without these, but the Jew with these is yet punished, Judaism stands by doing nothing. And by Greek he again means not the idolatrous Greek, but the religous and virtuous, and free from all legal observances.

Chap. iii. ver. 1. "What advantage then hath the Jew?"(*)

Since he has set all aside, the hearing, the teaching, the name of the Jew, the circumcision, and all the other particulars by his saying that "he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he which is one inwardly;" he next sees an objection which starts up, and against this makes his stand. Now what is this objection? If, he means, these things are no use, what reason was there for that nation being called, and the circumcision too being given? What does he then and how does he solve it? By the same means as he did before: for as there, he told, not of their praises, but the benefits of God; nor their well doings (for to be called a Jew and to know His Will and to approve the things which are more excellent, was no well doing of their own, but came of the grace of God and this the Prophet also says, upbraiding them; "He hath not done so to any nation, neither hath he showed His judgments unto them;" (Ps. cxlvii. 20.) and Moses again "Ask now whether there hath been any such thing as this?" he says, "did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, and live?") (Deut. iv. 32, 33), this then he does here also. For as, when speaking of circumcision, he did not say, Circumcision is valueless without a good life, but, Circumcision is of value with a good life, pointing out the same thing but in a more subdued tone. And again he does not say, If thou be a breaker of the Law, thou who art circumcised art no whir profiled, but "thy circumcision is made uncircumcision:" and after this again, "the uncircumcision," saith he, shall "judge," not the circumcision, but "thee that dost transgress the Law," so sparing the things of the Law, and smiting the persons. So he doth here also. For after setting before himself this objection, and saying, "what advantage then hath the Jew?" he says not, None, but he concurs with the statement, and confutes it again by the sequel, and shows that they were even punished owing to this preëminence. And how he does so, I will tell you when I have stated the objection. "What advantage then," he says, "hath the Jew," or "what profit is there of circumcision?"

Ver. 2. "Much every, way: chiefly, because that they were entrusted with the oracles of God."

Do you see that, as I said above, it is not their well doings, but the benefits of God, that he everywhere counts up? And what is the word <greek>episteuqhsan</greek>? (they were trusted.) It means, that they had the Law put into their hands because He held them(1) to be of so much account that He entrusted to them oracles which came down from above. I know indeed that some take the "entrusted" not of the Jews, but of the oracles, as much as to say, the Law was believed in. But the context does not admit of this being held good. For in the first place he is saying this with a view to accuse them, and to show that, though in the enjoyment of many a blessing from above, they yet showed great ingratitude. Then, the context also makes this clear. For he goes on to say, "For what if some did not believe?" If they did not believe, how do some say, the oracles were believed in?(2) What does he mean then? Why that God entrusted the same to them, and not that they trusted to the oracles:(3) how else will the context make sense? For he farther goes on to say,

Ver. 3. "For what if some did not believe?"(4)

And what comes next makes the same point clear. For he again adds and follows; "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?"

Ver. 4. "God forbid." The word <greek>episteuqhsan</greek>, then, proclaims God's gift.

And I would have you here also note his judgment. For again he does not bring in his accusation of them on his own part, but as it were by way of objection, as if he said, But perhaps you will say, 'What then is the use of this circumcision since they used it not as was fitting, since they were trusted with the Law and were unfaithful to the trust?' And hitherto he is not a severe accuser, but as if to clear God of complaints against Him, he by this means turns the whole of the accusation round upon themselves. For why, he would say, do you complain that they did not believe? and how doth this affect God? For as for His benefit, doth the ingratitude of those benefited overturn it? Or doth it make the honor to be no honor? For this is what the words, "Shall their unfaithfulness make the faith of God without effect," amount to. "God forbid." As if one should say, I have honored such an one. And if he did not receive the honor, this gives no ground for accusing me, nor impairs my kindness, but shows his want of feeling. But Paul does not say this merely, but what is much more. That not only does their unbelief not leave the soil of complaint upon God, but even shows His honor and love of man to be the greater, in that He is seen to have bestowed honor upon one who would dishonor Him. See how he has brought them out guilty of misdemeanors by means of what they gloried in; forasmuch as the honor with which God treated them was so great, that even when He saw what would come thereof, He withheld not His good-will toward them! Yet they made the honors bestowed on them a means of insulting Him that Honor them! Next, since he said, "For what if some did not believe?" (while clearly it was all of them that did not believe,) lest by speaking here too as the history allowed him, he should seem to be a severe accuser of them like an enemy, he puts that, which really took place, in the method of reasoning and syllogism, saying as follows: "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar." What he says is something of this sort. I do not mean, he says, that some did not believe, but if you will, suppose that all were unbelieving, so waiving what really happened, to fall in with the objector, that he might seem overbearing or to be suspected. Well, he says, in this way God is the more justified. What does the word justified mean? That, if there could be a trial and an examination of the things He had done for the Jews, and of what had been done on their part towards Him, the victory would be with God, and all the right on His side. And after showing this clearly from what was said before, he next introduces the Prophet also as giving his approval to these things, and saying, "that Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and clear when Thou art judged." (Ps. li. 4.) He then for His part did everything, but they were nothing the better even for this. Then he brings forward after this another objection that arises, and says,

Ver. 5. "But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? is God unrighteous Who taketh venvvengeance? I speak as a man."

Ver. 6. "God forbid."

He solves one perplexity by another again. Yet as this is not clear, we must needs declare it more clearly. What is it then he means? God honored the Jews: they did despite to Him. This gives Him the victory, and shows the greatness of His love towards man, in that He honored them even such as they were. Since then, he means, we did despite to Him and wronged Him, God by this very thing became victorious, and His righteousness was shown to be clear? Why then (a man may say) am I to be punished, who have been the cause of His victory by the despite I did Him? Now how does he meet this? It is, as I was saying, by another absurdity again. For if it were you, he says, that were the cause of the victory, and after this are punished, the thing is an act of injustice. But if He is not unjust, and yet you are punished, then you are no more the cause of the victory. And note his apostolic reverence; (or caution: <greek>euLabeia</greek>); for after saying, "Is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance?" he adds, "I speak as a man." As if, he means, any body were to argue in the way men reason. For what things seem with us to be justice, these the just judgment of God far exceedeth, and has certain other unspeakable grounds for it. Next, since it was indistinct, he says the same thing over again:

Ver. 7. "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto His glory: why yet am I also judged as a sinner?"

For if God, he means is shown to be a Lover of man, and righteous, and good, by your acts of disobedience, you ought not only to be exempt from punishment but even to have good done unto you. But if so, that absurdity will be found to result, which is in circulation with so many, that good comes of evil, and that evil is the cause of good; and one of the two is necessary, either that He be clearly unjust in punishing, or that if He punish not, it is from our vices that He hath the victory. And both of these are absurd to a degree. And himself meaning to show this too, he introduces the Greeks (i.e. heathens) as the fathers of these opinions, thinking it enough to allege against what he has mentioned the character of the persons who say these things. For then they used to say in ridicule of us, "let us do evil that good may come." And this is why he has stated it clearly in the following language.

Ver. 8. "If(2) not (as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil that good may come? Whose damnation is just."

For whereas Paul said,(3) "where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. v. 20), in ridicule of him and perverting what he said to another meaning, they said, We must cling to vice that we may get what is good. But Paul said not so; however(4) to correct this notion it is that he says, "What then? shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!" (ib. vi. 1, 2.) For I said it, he means, of the times which are past, not that we should make this a practice. To lead them away then from this suspicion, he said, that henceforth this was even impossible. For "how shall we," he says, "that are dead unto sin, live any longer therein?" Against the Greeks then he inveighs (<greek>katesramen</greek>) without difficulty. For their life was exceeding abandoned. But of the Jews, even if their life seemed to have been careless, still they had great means of cloaking these things in the Law and circumcision, and the fact of God having conversed with them, and their being the teachers of all. And this is why he strips them even of these, and shows that for these they were the more punished, and this is the conclusion to which he has here drawn his discussion. For if they be not punished, he would say, for so doing, that blasphemous language-let us do evil that good may come--must necessarily gain currency. But if this be impious, and they who hold this language shall be punished (for this he declared by saying, "whose damnation is just"), it is plain that they are punished. For if they who speak it be deserving of vengeance, much more are they who act it, but if deserving thereof, it is as having done sin. For it is not man that punishes them, that any one should suspect the sentence, but God, that doeth all things righteously. But if they are righteously punished, it is unrighteously that they, who make ridicule of us, said what they did. For God did and doth everything, that our conversation might shine forth and be upright on every side.

Let us then not be listless; for so we shall be able to recover the Greeks also from their error. But when we are in words lovers of wisdom, but in deeds behave unseemly, with what looks shall we face them? with what lips Shall we discourse concerning doctrines? For he(1) will say to each of us, How can you that have failed in what is less, claim to teach me about what is greater? you who as yet have not learnt that covetousness is a vice, how can you be wise upon the things in heaven? But do you know that it is a vice? Then, the charge is the greater, because you transgress knowingly. And why speak I of the Greek, for even our laws allow us not to speak thus boldly when our life has become abandoned. For to "the sinner," it says, "saith God, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes?" (Ps. 1. 16.) There was a time when the Jews were carded away captive, and when the Persians were urgent with them, and called upon them to sing those divine songs unto them, they said, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Ps. cxxxvii. 4.) Now if it were un lawful to sing the oracles of God in a strange land, much less might the estranged soul do it. For estranged "(2) the merciless soul is. If the Law made those who were captives and had become slaves to men in a strange land, to sit in silence; much more is it right for those who are slaves to sin and are in an alien community (<greek>politeia</greek>) to have a curb upon their mouths. And however they had their instruments then. For it says, "Upon the willows in the midst thereof did we hang our instruments," but still they might not sing. And so we also, though we have a mouth and tongue, which are instruments of speech, have no right to speak boldly, so long as we be slaves to what is more tyrannical than any barbarian, sin. For tell me what have you to say to the Greek, if you plunder, and be covetous? will you say, Forsake idolatry, acknowledge God, and draw not near to gold and silver? Will he not then make a jest of you, and say, Talk to thyself first in this way? For it is not the same thing for a Gentile to practise idolatry, and a Christian to commit this same (4 Mss. om. "same") sin. For how are we to draw others away from that idolatry if we draw not ourselves away from this? For we are nearer related to ourselves a than our neighbor is, and so when we persuade not ourselves, how are we to persuade others? For if he that doth not rule well over his own house, will not take care of the Church either (1 Tim. iii. 5), how shall he that doth not rule even over his own soul be able to set others right? Now do not tell me, that you do not worship an image of gold, but make this clear to me, that you do not do those things which gold bids you. For there be different kinds of idolatry, and one holds mammon lord, and another his belly his god, and a third some other most baneful lust. But, "you do not sacrifice oxen to them as the Gentiles do." Nay, but what is far worse, you butcher your own soul. But "you do not bow the knee and worship." Nay, but with greater obedience you do all that they command you, whether it be your belly, or money, or the tyranny of lust. For this is just what makes Gentiles disgusting, that they made gods of our passions; calling lust Venus, and anger Mars, and drunkenness Bacchus. If then l you do not grave images as did they, yet do you with great eagerness bow under the very same passions, when you make the members of Christ members of an harlot, and plunge yourself into the other deeds of iniquity. (1 Cor. vi. 15.) I therefore exhort you to lay to heart the exceeding unseemliness hereof, and to flee from idolatry:--for so doth Paul name covetousness--and to flee not only covetousness in money, but that in evil desire, and that in clothing, and that in food, and that in everything else: since the punishment we shall have to suffer if we obey not God's laws is much severer. For, He says, "the servant that knew his Lord's will," and did it not, "shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke xii. 47.) With a view then to escaping from this punishment, and being useful both to others and to ourselves, let us drive out all iniquity from our soul and choose virtue. For so shall we attain to the blessings which are to come, whereto may it be granted us all to attain by the grace and love toward man, etc.

HOMILY VII.

ROM. III. 9-18.

"What then have we more(1) than they?(*) For we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes."

He had accused the Gentiles, he had accused the Jews; it came next in order to mention the righteousness which is by faith. For if the law of nature availed not, and the written Law was of no advantage, but both weighed down those that used them not aright, and made it plain that they were worthy of greater punishment, then after this the salvation which is by grace was necessary. Speak then of it, O Paul, and display it. But as yet he does not venture, as having an eye to the violence of the Jews, and so turns afresh to his accusation of them; and first he brings in as accuser, David speaking of the same things at length, which Isaiah mentioned all in short compass, so furnishing a strong curb for them, so that they might not bound off, nor any of his hearers, while the matters of faith were laid open to them, might after this start away; being beforehand safely held down by the accusations of the prophets. For there are three excesses which the prophet lays down; he says that all of them together did evil, and that they did not do good indifferently with evil, but that they followed after wickedness alone, and followed it also with all earnestness. And next that they should not say, "What then, if these things were said to others?" he goes on:

Ver. 19. "Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law."

This then is why, next to Isaiah, who confessedly aimed at them, he brought in David; that he might show that these things also belonged to the same subject. For what need was there, he means, that a prophet who was sent for your correction should accuse other people. For neither was the Law given to any else than you. And for what reason did he not say, we know that what things soever the prophet saith, but what things soever the Law saith? It is because Paul uses to call the whole Old Testament the Law. And in another place he says, "Do ye not hear the Law, that Abraham had two sons?" (Gal. iv. 21, 22.) And here he calls the Psalm the Law(2) when he says, "We know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law. Next he shows that neither are these things he said merely for accusation's sake, but that he(1) may again be paving the way for faith. So close is the relationship of the Old Testament with the New, since even the accusations and reproofs were entirely with a view to this, that the door of faith might open brightly upon them that hear it. For since it was the principal bane of the Jews that they were so conceited with themselves (which thing he mentioned as he went on, "how that being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they submitted not themselves to the righteousness of God") (Rom. x. 3), the Law and the Prophet by being beforehand with them cast down their high thoughts, and laid low their conceit, that being brought to a consideration of their own sins, and having emptied out the whole of their unreasonableness, and seen themselves in danger of the last extremity, they might with much earnestness run unto Him Who offered them the remission of their sins, and accept grace through faith. And this it is then which St. Paul hints even here, when he says,

"Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Here then he exhibits them as destitute of the boldness of speech which comes of works, and only using a parade of words and behaving in a barefaced way. And this is why he uses so literal an expression, shying, "that every mouth may be stopped," so pointing out the barefaced and almost uncontrollable pomposity of their language, and that their tongue was now curbed in the strictest sense. For as an unsupportable torrent, so had it been borne along. But the prophet stopped it. And when Paul saith, "that every mouth may be stopped," what he means is, not that the reason of their sinning was that their mouth might be stopped, but that the reason of their being reproved was that they might not commit this very sin in ignorance. "And all the world may become guilty before God." He does not say the Jew, but the whole of mankind.(2) For the phrase, "that every mouth may be stopped," is the language of a person hinting at them, although he has not stated it clearly, so as to prevent the language being too harsh. But the words "that all the world may become guilty before God," are spoken at once both of Jews and of Greeks. Now this is no slight thing with a view to take down their unreasonableness. Since even here they have no advantage over the Gentiles, but are alike given up as far as salvation is concerned. For he would be in strict propriety called a guilty person, who cannot help himself to any excuse, but needeth the assistance of another: and such was the plight of all of us, in that we had lost the things pertaining to salvation.

Ver. 20. "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin."

He springs upon the Law again, with forbearance however (for what he says is not an accusation of it, but of the listlessness of the Jews). Yet nevertheless he has been earnest here with a view (as he was going to introduce his discourse about faith) to show its utter feebleness. For if thou boastest in the Law, he means, it puts thee to the greater shame: it solemnly parades forth your sins before you. Only he does not word it in this harsh way, but again in a subdued tone; "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin." And so the punishment is greater, but(3) that because of the Jew. For the Law accomplished the disclosure of sin to you, but it was your duty then to flee it. Since then you have not fled you have pulled the punishment more sorely on yourself, and the good deed of the Law has been made to you a supply of greater vengeance. Now then having added to their fear, he next brings in the things of grace, as having brought them to a strong desire of the remission of their sins, and says,

Ver. 21. "But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested."(*)

Here he utters a great thing, and such as needed much proof. For if they that lived in the Law not only did not escape punishment, but were even the more weighed down thereby, how without the Law is it possible not only to escape vengeance, but even to be justified? For he has here set down two high points,(1) the being justified, and the obtaining these blessings, without the Law. And this is why he does not say righteousness simply, but the righteousness of God, so by the worthiness of the Person displaying the greater degree of the grace, and the possibility of the promise. For to Him all things are possible. And he does not say, "was given," but "is manifested," so cutting away the accusation of novelty. For that which is manifested, is so as being old, but concealed. And it is not this only, but the sequel that shows that this is no recent thing. For after saying, "is manifested," he proceeds:

"Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets."

Do not be troubled, he means, because it has but now been given, nor be affrighted as though at a thing new and strange. For of old both the Law and the Prophets foretold it. And some passages he has pointed out in the course of this argument, and some he will shortly, having in what came before brought in Habakkuk as saying, "the just shall live by faith" (i. 17), but in what comes after, Abraham and David, as themselves also conversing with us about these things. Now the regard they had for these persons was great, for one was a patriach and a prophet, and the other a king and a prophet: and further the promises about these things had come to both of them. And this is why Matthew in the first beginning of his Gospel mentions both of these first, and then brings forward in order the forefathers. For after saying, "the Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ" (Matt. i. 1), he does not wait after Abraham to name Isaac also and Jacob, but mentions David along with (5 Mss. "after") Abraham. And what is wonderful indeed is, that he has even set David before Abraham speaking on this wise, "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," and then begins the catalogue of Isaac and Jacob, and all the rest in order. And this is why the Apostle here keeps presenting them in turns, and speaks of the righteousness of God being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. Then that no one should say, How are we to be saved without contributing anything at all to the object in view? he shows that we also offer no small matter toward this, I mean our faith. Therefore after saying, "the righteousness of God," he adds straightway, "by faith unto all and upon all that believe."

Here again the Jew is alarmed by his not having anything better than the rest, and being numbered with the whole world. Now that he may not feel this, he again lowers him with fear by adding, "For there is no difference, for all have sinned." For tell me not that it is such and such a Greek,(2) such and such a Scythian, such and such a Thracian, for all are in the same plight. For even if you have received the Law, one thing alone is there which you have learnt from the Law--to know sin, not to flee from it. Next, that they may say, "even if we have sinned, still it is not in the same way that they did," he added, "and have come short of the glory of God." So that even if you have not done the same sins as others, still you are alike bereft of the glory, since you belong to those who have offended, and he that hath offended belongeth not to such as are glorified, but to such as are put to shame. Yet, be not afraid: for the reason of my saying this was not that I might thrust you into despair, but that I might show the love of the Lord (<greek>Despotou</greek>) toward man: and so he goes on;

Ver. 24, 25. "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith(8) in His blood, to declare His righteousness."(4)

See by how many proofs he makes good what was said. First, from the worthiness of the person, for it is not a man who doeth these things, that He should be too weak for it, but God all-powerful. For it is to God, he says, that the righteousness belongs. Again, from the Law and the Prophets. For you need not be afraid at hearing the "without the Law," inasmuch as the Law itself approves this. Thirdly, from the sacrifices under the old dispensation. For it was on this ground that he said, "In His blood," to call to their minds those sheep and calves. For if the sacrifices of things without reason, he means, cleared from sin, much more would this blood. And he does not say barely <greek>lutrwsews</greek>, but <greek>apolu</greek>-<greek>trwsews</greek>, entire redemption, to show(5) that we should come no more into such slavery. And for this same reason he calls it a propitiation, to show that if the type had such force, much more would the reality display the same. But to show again that it was no novel thing or recent, he says, "fore-ordained" (Auth. Version marg.); and by saying God "fore-ordained," and showing that the good deed is the Father's, he showeth it to be the Son's also. For the Father "fore-ordained," but Christ in His own blood wrought the whole aright.

"To declare His righteousness." What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores (<greek>ka</greek><s235<greek>asapentas</greek>) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is "declaring," that he has added, "That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declareth (<greek>endeiknutai</greek>) Himself to do so, and He, so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in? Now then after raising his hearers(1) expectations by saying that what had taken place was a declaring of the righteousness of God, he next by fear urges him on that is tardy and remissful about coming; by speaking as follows:

"On account of the relaxing(1) of sins that were before." Do you see how often he keeps reminding them of their transgressions? Before, he did it by saying, "through the Law is the knowledge of sin;" and after by saying, "that all have sinned," but here in yet stronger language. For he does not say for the sins, but, "for the relaxing," that is, the deadness. For there was no longer any hope of recovering health, but as the paralyzed body needed the hand from above, so doth the soul which hath been deadened. And what is indeed worse, a thing which he sets down as a charge, and points out that it is a greater accusation. Now what is this? That the last state was incurred in the forbearance of God. For you cannot plead, he means, that you have not enjoyed much forbearance and goodness. But the words "at this time" are those of one who is pointing out the greatness of the power (Sav. forbearance) and love toward man. For after we had given all over, (he would say,) and it were time to sentence us, and the evils were waxed great and the sins were in their full, then He displayed His own power, that thou mightest learn how great is the abundancy of righteousness with Him. For this, had it taken place at the beginning, would not have had so wonderful and unusual an appearance as now, when every sort of cure was found unavailing.

Ver. 27. "Where is boasting then? it is excluded,:" he says. "By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith."

Paul is at great pains to show that faith is mighty to a degree which was never even fancied of the Law. For after he had said that God justifieth man by faith, he grapples with the Law again. And he does not say, where then are the well doings. of the Jews? where their righteous dealing? but, "where is then the boasting?" so taking every opportunity of showing, that they do but use great words, as though they had somewhat more than others, and have no work to show. And after saying, "Where then is the boasting?" he does not say, it is put out of sight and hath come to an end, but "it is excluded," which word rather expresses unseasonableness; since the reason for it is no more. For as when the judgment is come they that would repent have not any longer the season for it, thus now the sentence being henceforth passed, and all being upon the point of perishing, and He being at hand Who by grace would break these terrors, they had no longer the season for making a plea of amelioration wrought by the Law. For if it were right to strengthen themselves upon these things, it should have been before His coming. But now that He who should save by faith was come, the season for those efforts(2) was taken from them. For since all were convicted, He therefore saveth by grace. And this is why He is come but now, that they may not say, as they would had He come at the first, that it was possible to be saved by the Law and by our own labors and well-doings. To curb therefore this their effrontery, He waited a long time: so that after they were by every argument clearly convicted of inability to help themselves, He then saved them by His grace. And for this reason too when he had said above, "To declare His righteousness," he added, "at this time." If any then were to gainsay, they do the same as if a person who after committing great sins was unable to defend himself in court, but was condemned and going to be punished, and then being by the royal pardon forgiven, should have the effrontery after his forgiveness to boast and say that he had done no sin. For before the pardon came, was the time to prove it: but after it came he would no longer have the season for boasting. And this happened in the Jews' case. For since they had been traitors to themselves, this was why He came, by His very coming doing away their boasting. For he who saith that he is a "teacher of babes, and maketh his boast in the Law," and styles himself "an instructor of the foolish," if alike with them he needed a teacher and a Saviour, can no longer have any pretext for boasting. For if even before this, the circumcision was made uncircumcision, much rather was it now, since it is cast out from both periods. But after saying that "it was excluded," he shows also, how. How then does he say it was excluded? "By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith." See he calls the faith also a law delighting to keep to the names, and so allay the seeming novelty. But what is the "law of faith?" It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God's power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting,[1] and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. And in saying this he attempts to bring the Jew who has believed to act with moderation, and to calm him that hath not believed, in such way as to draw him on to his own view. For he that has been saved, if he be high-minded in that he abides by the Law, will be told that he himself has stopped his own mouth, himself has accused himself, himself has renounced claims to his own salvation, and has excluded boasting. But he that hath not believed again, being humbled by these same means, will be capable of being brought over to the faith. Do you see how great faith's preëminence is? How it hath removed us from the former things, not even allowing us to boast of them?

Ver. 28. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law."

When he had shown that by faith they were superior to the Jews, then he goes on with great confidence to discourse upon it also, and what seemed therein to annoy he again heals up. For these two things were what confused the Jews; one, if it were possible for men, who with works were not saved, to be saved without them, and another, if it were just for the uncircumcised to enjoy the same blessings with those, who had during so long a period been nurtured in the Law; which last confused them more by far than the former. And on this ground having proved the former, he goes on to the other next, which perplexed the Jews so far, that they even complained on account of this position against Peter after they believed. What does he say then? "Therefore we conclude, that by faith a man is justified." He does not say, a Jew, or one under the Law, but after leading forth his discourse into a large room, and opening the doors of faith to the world, he says "a man," the name common to our race. And then having taken occasion from this, he meets an objection not set down. For since it was likely that the Jews, upon hearing that faith justifieth every man, would take it ill and feel offended, he goes on,

Ver. 29. "Is He the God of the Jews only?"

As if he said, On what foot does it then seem to you amiss that every man should be saved? Is God partial? So showing from this, that in wishing to flout the Gentiles, they are rather offering an insult to God's glory, if, that is, they would not allow Him to be the God of all. But if He is of all, then He taketh care of all; and if He care for all, then He saveth all alike by faith. And this is why he says, "Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also." For He is not partial as the fables of the Gentiles (cf. Ov. Tr. I. ii. 5. sqq) are, but common to all, and One.And this is why he goes on,

Ver. 30. "Seeing it is one God."

That is, the same is the Master of both these and those. But if you tell me of the ancient state of things, then too the dealings of Providence were shared by both, although in diverse ways. For as to thee was given the written law, so to them was the natural; and they came short in nothing, if, that is, only they were willing, but were even able to surpass thee. And so he proceeds, with an allusion to this very thing, "Who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith," so reminding them of what he said before about uncircumcision and circumcision, whereby he showed that there was no difference.[2] But if then there was no difference, much less is there any now, And this accordingly he now establishes upon still clearer grounds, and so demonstrates, that either of them stand alike in need of faith.

Ver. 31. "Do we then," he says, "make void the Law through faith? God forbid yea, we establish the Law."

Do you see his varied and unspeakable judgment? For the bare use of the word "establish" shows that it was not then standing, but was worn out (<greek>katalelumenon</greek>). And note also Paul's exceeding power, and how superabundantly he maintains what he wishes. For here he shows that the faith, so far from doing any disparagement to the "Law," even assists it, as it on the other hand paved the way for the faith. For as the Law itself before bore witness to it (for he saith, "being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets"), so here this establisheth that, now that it is unnerved. And how did it establish? he would say. What was the object of the Law and what the scope of all its enactments? Why, to make man righteous. But this it had no power to do. "For all," it says, "have sinned:" but faith when it came accomplished it. For when a man is once a believer, he is straightway justified. The intention then of the Law it did establish, and what all its enactments aim after, this hath it brought to a consummation. Consequently it has not disannulled, but perfected it. Here then three points he has demonstrated; first, that without the Law it is possible to be justified; next, that this the Law could not effect; and, that faith is not opposed to the Law. For since the chief cause of perplexity to the Jews was this, that the faith seemed to be in opposition to it, he shows more than the Jew wishes, that so far from being contrary, it is even in close alliance and coöperation with it, which was what they especially longed to hear proved.

But since after this grace, whereby we were justified, there is need also of a life suited to it, let us show an earnestness worthy the gift. And show it we shall, if we keep with earnestness charity, the mother of good deeds. Now charity is not bare words, or mere ways of speaking (<greek>prosrhseis</greek>) to men, but a taking care (<greek>prostasia</greek>) of them, and a putting forth of itself by works, as, for instance, by relieving poverty, lending one's aid to the sick, rescuing from dangers, to stand by them that be in difficulties, to weep with them that weep, and to rejoice with them that rejoice. (Rom. xii. 15.) For even this last is a part of charity. And yet this seems a little thing, to be rejoicing with them that rejoice: nevertheless it is exceedingly great, and requireth for it the spirit of true wisdom. And we may find many that perform the more irksome part (<greek>peikroteron</greek>), and yet want vigor for this. For many weep with them that weep, but still do not rejoice with them that rejoice, but are in tears when others rejoice; now this comes of grudging and envy. The good deed then of rejoicing when our brother rejoices is no small one, but even greater than the other: and haply not only greater than weeping with them that weep, but even than standing by them that are in danger. There are many, at all events, that have shared danger with men in danger, but were cut to the heart when they came into honor. So great is the tyranny of a grudging spirit! And yet the one is a thing of toils and labors, and this of choice and temper only. Yet at the same time many that have endured the harder task have not accomplished the one easier than it, but pine and consume away when they see others in honor, when a whole Church is benefited, by doctrine, or in any other fashion. And what can be worse than this? For such an one doth not any more fight with his brother, but with the will of God. Now consider this, and be rid of the disease: and even if you be unwilling to set your neighbor free, at least set yourself free from these countless evils. Why do you carry war into your own thoughts? Why fill your soul with trouble? why work up a storm? why turn things upside down? How will you be able, in this state of mind, to ask forgiveness of sins? For if those that allow not the things done against themselves to pass, neither doth He forgive, what forgiveness shall He grant to those who go about to injure those that have done them no injury? For this is a proof of the utmost wickedness. Men of this kind are fighting with the Devil, against the Church, and haply even worse than he. For him one can be on one's guard against. But these cloaking themselves under the mask of friendliness, secretly kindle the pile, throwing themselves the first into the furnace, and laboring under a disease not only unfit for pity, but even such as to meet with much ridicule. For why is it, tell me, that thou art pale and trembling and standing in fear? What evil has happened? Is it that thy brother is in honor, and looked up to, and in esteem? Why, thou oughtest to make chaplets, and rejoice, and glorify God, that thine own member is in honor and looked up to! But art thou pained that God is glorified?[1] Seest thou to what issue the war tends? But, some will say, it is not because God is glorified, but because my brother is. Yet through him the glory ascendeth up to God: and so will the war from thee do also. But it is not this, he will say, that grieves me, for I should wish God to be glorified by me. Well then! rejoice at thy brother's being in honor, and then glorified is God again through thee also; and[1] all will say, Blessed be God that hath His household so minded, wholly freed from envy, and rejoicing together at one another's goods! And why do I speak of thy brother? for if he were thy foe and enemy, and God were glorified through him, a friend shouldest thou make of him for this reason. But thou makest thy friend an enemy because God is glorified by his being in honor. And were any one to heal thy body when in evil plight, though he were an enemy, thou wouldest count him thenceforward among the first of thy friends: and dost thou reckon him that gladdens the countenance of Christ's Body, that is, the Church, and is thy friend, to be yet an enemy? How else then couldest thou show war against Christ? For this cause, even if a man do miracles, have celibacy to show, and fasting, and lying on the bare ground, and doth by this virtue advance even to the angels, yet shall he be most accursed of all, while he has this defect, and shall be a greater breaker of the Law than the adulterer, and the fornicator, and the robber, and the violator of supulchres. And, that no one may condemn this language of hyperbole, I should be glad to put this question to you. If any one were come with fire and mattock, and were destroying and burning this House, and digging down this Altar, would not each one of those here stone him with stones as accursed and a law-breaker? What then, if one were to bring a flame yet more consuming than that fire, I mean envy, that doth not ruin the buildings of stone nor dig down an Altar of gold, but subverteth and scornfully marreth what is far more precious than either wails or Altar, the Teachers' building, what sufferance would he deserve? For let no one tell me, that he has often endeavored and been unable: for it is from the spirit that the actions are judged. For Saul did kill David, even though he did not hit him. (1 Sam. xix. 10.) Tell me, dost thou not perceive that thou art plotting against the sheep of Christ when thou warrest with His Shepherd? those sheep for whom also Christ shed His Blood, and bade us both to do and to suffer all things? Dost thou not remind thyself that thy Master sought thy glory and not His own, but thou art seeking not that of thy Master but thine own? And yet if thou didst see His then thou wouldst have obtained thine own also. But by seeking thine own before His, thou wilt not ever gain even this.

What then will be the remedy? Let us all join in prayer, and let us lift up our voice with one accord in their behalf as for those possessed, for indeed these are more wretched than they, inasmuch as their madness is of choice. For this affliction needeth prayer and much entreaty. For if he that loveth not his brother, even though he empty out his money, yea, and have the glory of martyrdom, is no whit advantaged; consider what punishment the man deserves who even wars with him that hath not wronged him in anything; he is even worse than the Gentiles: for if to love them that love us does not let us have any advantage over them, in what grade shall he be placed, tell me, that envieth them that love him? For envying is even worse than warring; since he that warreth, when the cause of the war is at an end, puts an end to his hatred also: but the grudger would never become a friend. And the one shows an open kind of battle, the other a covert: and the one often has a reasonable cause to assign for the war, the other, nothing else but madness, and a Satanic spirit. To what then is one to compare a soul of this kind? to what viper? to what asp? to what canker-worm? to what scorpion? since there is nothing so accursed or so pernicious as a soul of this sort. For it is this, it is this, that hath subverted the Churches, this that hath gendered the heresies, this it was that armed a brother's hand, and made his right hand to be dipped in the blood of the righteous, and plucked away the laws of nature, and set open the gates for death, and brought that curse into action, and suffered not that wretch to call to mind either the birth-pangs, or his parents, or anything else, but made him so furious, and led him to such a pitch of phrenzy, that even when God exhorted him and said, "Unto thee shall be his recourse,[2] and thou shalt rule over him" (Gen. iv. 7, LXX.); he did not even then give in. Yet did He both forgive him the fault, and make his brother subject to him: but his complaint is so incurable, that even if thousands of medicines are applied, it keeps sloughing with its own corruption. For wherefore art thou so vexed, thou most miserable of men? Is it because God hath had honor shown Him? Nay, this would show a Satanical spirit. Is it then because thy brother outstrips thee in good name? As for that, it is open to thee in turn to outstrip him. And so, if thou wouldest be a conqueror, kill not, destroy not, but let him abide still, that the material for the struggle may be preserved, and conquer him living. For in this way thy crown had been a glorious one; but by thus destroying thou passest a harder sentence of defeat upon thyself. But a grudging spirit hath no sense of all this. And what ground hast thou to covet glory in such solitude? for those were at that time the only inhabitants of the earth. Still even then this restrained him not, but he cast away all from his mind, and stationed himself in the ranks of the devil; for he it was who then led the war upon Cain's side. For inasmuch as it was not enough for him that man had become liable to death, by the manner of the death he tried to make the tragedy still greater, and persuaded him to become a fratricide. For he was urgent and in travail to see the sentence carried into effect, as never satisfied with our ills. As if any one who had got an enemy in prison, and saw him under sentence, were to press, before he was out of the city, to see him butchered within it, and would not wait even the fitting time, so did the devil then, though he had heard that man must return to earth, travail with desire to see something worse, even a son dying before his father, and a brother destroying a brother, and a premature and violent slaughter. See you what great service envy hath done him? how it hath filled the insatiate spirit of the devil, and hath prepared for him a table great as he desired to see?

Let us then escape from the disease; for it is not possible, indeed it is not, to escape from the fire prepared for the devil, unless we get free from this sickness. But free we shall get to be if we lay to mind how Christ loved us, and also how He bade us love one another. Now what love did He show for us? His precious Blood did He shed for us when we were enemies, and had done the greatest wrong to Him. This do thou also do in thy brother's case (for this is the end of His saying "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye so [1] love one another as I have loved you") (John xiii. 34); or rather even so the measure does not come to a stand. For it was in behalf of His enemies that He did this. And are you unwilling to shed your blood for your brother? Why then dost thou even shed his blood, disobeying the commandment even to reversing it? Yet what He did was not as a due: but you, if you do it, are but fulfilling a debt. Since he too, who, after receiving the ten thousand talents, demanded the hundred pence, was punished not merely for the fact that he demanded them, but because even by the kindness done him he had not become any better, and did not even follow where his Lord had begun, or remit the debt. For on the part of the servant the thing done was but a debt after all, if it had been done. For all things that we do, we do towards the payment of a debt. And this is why Himself said, "When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke xvii. 10.) If then we display charity, if we give our goods to them that need, we are fulfilling a debt; and that not only in that it was He who first began the acts of goodness, but because it is His goods that we are distributing if we ever[2] do give. Why then deprive thyself of what He willeth thee to have the right of? For the reason why He bade thee give them to another was that thou mightest have them thyself. For so long as thou hast them to thyself even thou thyself hast them not. But when thou hast given to another, then hast thou received them thyself. What charm then will do as much as this? Himself poured forth His Blood for His enemies: but we not even money for our benefactor. He did so with His Blood that was His own: we will not even with money that is not ours. He did it before us, we not even after His example. He did it for our salvation, we will not do it even for our own advantage. For He is not to have any advantage from our love toward man, but the whole gain accrueth unto us. For this is the very reason why we are bidden to give away our goods, that we may not be thrown out of them. For as a person who gives a little child money and bids him hold it fast, or give it the servant to keep, that it may not be for whoever will to snatch it away, so also doth God. For He says, Give to him that needeth, lest some one should snatch it away from thee, as an informer, for instance, or a calumniator, or a thief, or, after all these are avoided, death. For so long as thou boldest it thyself, thou hast no safe hold of it. But if thou givest it Me through the poor, I keep it all for thee exactly, and in fit season will return it with great increase. For it is not to take it away that I receive it, but to make it a larger amount and to keep it more exactly, that I may have it preserved for you against that time, in which there is no one to lend or to pity. What then can be more hard-hearted, than if we, after such promises, cannot make up our minds to lend to him? Yes, it is for this that we go before Him destitute and naked and poor, not having the things committed to our charge, because we do not deposit them with Him who keepeth them more exactly than any. And for this we shall be most severely punished. For when we are charged with it, what shall we be able to say about the loss of them?[1] what pretext to put forward? what defence? For what reason is there why you did not give? Do you disbelieve that you will receive it again? And how can this be reasonable? For He that hath given to one that hath not given, how shall He not much rather give after He has received? Does the sight of them please you? Well then, give much the more for this reason, that you may there be the more delighted, when no one can take them from you. Since now if you keep them, you will even suffer countless evils. For as a dog, so doth the devil leap upon them that are rich, wishing to snatch from them, as from a child that holdeth a sippet or a cake. Let us then give them to our Father, and if the devil see this done, he will certainly withdraw: and when he has withdrawn, then will the Father safely give them all to thee, when he cannot trouble, in that world to come. For now surely they that be rich differ not from little children that are troubled by dogs, while all are barking round them, tearing and pulling; not men only, but ignoble affections; as gluttony, drunkenness, flattery, uncleanness of every kind. And when we have to lend, we are very anxious about those that give much, and look particularly for those that are frank dealers. But here we do the opposite. For God, Who dealeth frankly, and giveth not one in the hundred, but a hundred-fold, we desert, and those who will not return us even the capital, these we seek after. For what return will our belly make us, that consumeth the larger share of our goods? Dung and corruption. Or what will vainglory? Envy and grudging. Or what nearness? Care and anxiety. Or what uncleanness? Hell and the venomous worm! For these are the debtors of them that be rich, who pay this interest upon the capital, evils at present, and dreadful things in expectation. Shall we then lead to these, pray, with such punishment for interest, and shall we not trust the same to Christ (4 Mss. ore. <greek>tp</greek>) Who holdeth forth unto us heaven, immortal life, blessings unutterable? And what excuse shall we have? For how comest thou not to give to Him, who will assuredly return, and return in greater abundance? Perhaps it is because it is so long before He repays. Yet surely He repays even here. For He is true which saith, "Seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt. vi. 33.) Seest thou this extreme munificence? Those goods, He says, have been stored up for thee, and are not diminishing: but these here I give by way of increase and surplus. But, besides all this, the very fact of its being so long before thou wilt receive it, does but make thy riches the greater: since the interest is more. For in the case of those who have money lent them, we see that this is what the lenders do, lending, that is, with greater readiness to those who refund a long time after. For he that straightway repays the whole, cuts off the progression of the interest, but he that keeps possession of it for a longer time, makes also the gain from it greater. Shall we then, while in man's case we are not offended at the delay, but even use artifices to make it greater, in the case of God be so little-minded, as on this very ground to be backward and to retract? And yet, as I said, He both giveth here, and along with the reason mentioned, as planning also some other greater advantage to us, He there keepeth the whole in store. For the abundance of what is given, and the excellency of that gift, transcends this present worthless life. Since in this perishable and doomed body there is not even the possibility of receiving those unfading crowns; nor in our present state, perturbed and full of trouble, and liable to many changes as it is, of attaining to that unchangeable unperturbed lot.[2] Now you, if any one were to owe you gold, and while you were staying in a foreign country, and had neither servants, nor any means to convey it across to the place of your abode, were to promise to pay you the loan, would beseech him in countless ways to have it paid down not in the foreign land, but at home rather. But do you think right to receive those spiritual and unutterable things in this world? Now what madness this would show! For if you receive them here, you must have them corruptible to a certainty; but if you wait for that time, He will repay you them incorruptible and unalloyed. If you receive here, you have gotten lead; but if there, tried gold. Still He does not even deprive thee of the goods of this life. For along with that promise He has placed another also, to the following effect, That every one that loveth the things of the world to come, shall receive "an hundred-fold in this life present, and shall inherit eternal life." (Matt. xix. 29.) If then we do not receive the, hundred-fold, it is ourselves that are to blame for not lending to Him Who can give so much, for all who have given have received much, even though they gave but little. For what great thing, tell me, did Peter give? was it not a net that was broken (Luke v. 6, 11), and a rod and a hook only? Yet still God opened to him the houses of the world, and spread before him land and sea, and all men invited him to their possessions. Or rather they sold what was their own, and brought it to their[1] feet, not so much as putting it into their hands, for they dared not, so great was the honor they paid him, as well as their profuseness. But he was Peter, you will say! And what of this? O man! For it was not Peter only to whom He made this promise, neither said He, Thou, O Peter, only art to receive an hundred-fold, but "every one whosoever hath left houses or brethren shall receive an hundredfold." For it is not distinction of persons that He recognizes, but actions that are rightly done. But a circle of little ones is round about me, one will say, and I am desirous of leaving them with a good fortune."[2] Why then do we make them paupers? For if you leave them everything, you are still committing your goods to a trust that may deceive you. But if you leave God their joint-heir and guardian, you have left them countless treasures. For as when we avenge ourselves God assisteth us not, but when we leave it to Him, more than we expect comes about; so in the case of goods, if we take thought about them ourselves, He will withdraw from any providence over them, but if we cast all upon Him, He will place both them and our children in all safety. And why art thou amazed that this should be so with God? for even with men one may see this happening. For if you do not when dying invite any of your relatives to the care of your children, it often happens, that one who is abundantly willing feels reluctancy, and is too modest to spring to the task of his own accord. But if you cast the care upon him, as having had a very great honor shown him, he will in requital make very great returns. If then thou wouldest leave thy children much wealth, leave them God's care. For He Who, without thy having done anything, gave thee a soul, and formed thee a body, and granted thee life, when He seeth thee displaying such munificence and distributing their goods to Himself along with them, must surely open to them every kind of riches. For if Elijah after having been nourished with a little meal, since he saw that that woman honored him above her children, made threshing-floors and oil-presses appear in the little hut of the widow, consider what loving caring the Lord of Elijah will display! Let us then not consider how to leave our children rich, but how to leave them virtuous. For if they have the confidence of riches, they will not mind aught besides, in that they have the means screening the wickedness of their ways in their abundant riches. But if they find themselves devoid of the comfort to be got from that source, they will do all so as by virtue to find themselves abundant consolation for their poverty. Leave them then no riches that you may leave them virtue. For it is unreasonable in the extreme, not to make them, whilst we are alive, lords of all our goods, yet after we are dead to give the easy nature of youth full exemption from fear. And yet while we are alive we shall have power to call them to good account, and to sober and bridle them, if they make an ill use of their goods: but if after we are dead we afford them, at the time of the loss of ourselves, and their own youthfulness, that power which wealth gives, endless are the precipices into which we shall thrust those unfortunate and miserable creatures, so heaping fuel upon flame, and letting oil drop into a fierce furnace. And so, if you would leave them rich and safe withal, leave God a debtor to them, and deliver the bequest to them into His hands. For if they receive the money themselves, they will not know even who to give it to, but will meet with many designing and unfeeling people. But if thou beforehand puttest it out to interest with God, the treasure henceforward remains unassailable, and great is the facility wherewith that repayment will be made. For God is well pleased at repaying us what He oweth, and both looks with a more favorable eye upon those who have lent to Him, than on those who have not; and loveth those the most to whom He oweth the most. And so, if thou wouldest have Him for thy Friend continually, make Him thy Debtor to a large amount. For there is no lender so pleased at having those that owe to him, as Christ (6 Mss. God) is rejoiced at having those that lend to Him. And such as He oweth nothing to, He fleeth from; but such as He oweth to, He even runneth unto. Let us then use all means to get Him for our Debtor; for this is the season for loans, and He is now in want. If then thou givest not unto Him now, He will not ask of thee after thy departing hence. For it is here that he thirsteth, here that He is an hungered. He thirsteth, since He thirsteth after thy salvation; and it is for this that He even begs; for this that He even goeth about naked, negotiating immortal life for thee. Do not then neglect Him; since it is not to be nourished that He wishes, but to nourish; it is not to be clothed, but to clothe and to accoutre thee with the golden garment, the royal robe. Do you not see even the more attached sort of physicians, when they are washing the sick, wash themselves also, though they need it not? In the same way He also doth all for the sake of thee who art sick. For this reason also He uses no force in demanding, that He may make thee great returns: that thou mayest learn that it is not because He is in need that He asketh of thee, but that He may set right that thou needest. For this reason too He comes to thee in a lowly guise, and with His right hand held forth. And if thou givest Him a farthing, He turneth not away: and even if thou rejectest Him, He departeth not but cometh again to thee. For He desireth,(1) yea desireth exceedingly, our salvation: let us then think scorn of money, that we may not be thought scorn of by Christ. Let us think scorn of money, even with a view to obtain the money itself. For if we keep it here, we shall lose it altogether both here and hereafter. But if we distribute it with abundant expenditure, we shall enjoy in each life abundant wealthiness. He then that would become rich, let him become poor, that he may be rich. Let him spend that he may collect, let him scatter that he may gather. But if this is novel and paradoxical, look to the sower, and consider, that he cannot in any other way gather more together, save by scattering what he hath and, letting go of what is at hand. Let us now sow and till the Heaven, that we may reap with great abundance, and obtain everlasting goods, through the grace and love toward man, etc.

Return to Volume 20 Index