COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
HOMILIES VIII TO X (ROM. 4 & 5)

HOMILY VIII.

ROM. IV. 1, 2.

"What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."

HE had said (5 Mss. <greek>eipen</greek>), that the world had become guilty before God, and that all had sinned, and that boasting was excluded and that it was impossible to be saved otherwise than by faith. He is now intent upon showing that this salvation, so far from being matter of shame, was even the cause of a bright glory, and a greater than that through works. For since the being saved, yet with shame, had somewhat of dejection in it, he next takes away this suspicion too. And indeed he has hinted at the same already, by calling it not barely salvation, but "righteousness. Therein" (he says) "is the righteousness of God revealed." (Rom. i. 17.) For he that is saved as a righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation. And he calls it not "righteousness" only, but also the setting forth of the righteousness of God. But God is set forth in things which are glorious and shining, and great. However, he nevertheless draws support for this from what he is at present upon, and carries his discourse forward by the method of question. And this he is always in the habit of doing both for clearness sake, and for the sake of confidence in what is said. Above, for instance, he did it, where he says, "What advantage then hath the Jew?" (ib. iii. 1.) and, "What then have we more than they?" (2) (ib. 9) and again, "where then is boasting? it is excluded" (Rom. iii. 27): and here, "what then shall we say that Abraham our father?" etc. Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon (<greek>periousia</greek> <greek>nikhs</greek> <greek>pollhs</greek>). For for a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light. And this is why he passes by all the others, and leads his discourse back to this man. And he calls him "father, as pertaining to the flesh," to throw them out of the genuine relationship (<greek>suggeuias</greek> <greek>guhsias</greek>) to him, and to pave the Gentiles' way to kinsmanship(1) with him. And then he says, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory: but not before God." After saying that God "justified the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith," and making the same sufficiently sure in what he said before, he now proves it by Abraham more clearly than he promised, and pitches the battle for faith against works, and makes this righteous man the subject of the whole struggle; and that not without special meaning. Wherefore also he sets him up very high by calling him "forefather," and putting a constraint upon them to comply with him in all points. For, Tell me not, he would say, about the Jews, nor bring this man or that before me. For I will go up to the very head of all, and the source whence circumcision took its rise. For "if Abraham," he says, "was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory: but not before God."(2) What is here said is not plain, and so one must make it plainer. For there are two "gloryings," one of works, and one of faith. After saying then, "if he was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God;" he points out that he might have whereof to glory from faith also,(8) yea and much greater reason for it. For the great power of Paul is especially displayed in this, that he turns what is objected to the other side, and shows that what seemed rather to be on the side of salvation by works, viz. glorying or boldness of claim (<greek>parrhsiazes</greek>-<greek>qai</greek>) belonged much more truly to that by faith. For he that glorieth in his works has his own labors to put forward: but he that finds his honor in having faith in God, has a much greater ground for glorying to show, in that it is God that he glorifieth and magnifieth. For those things which the nature of the visible world tells him not of, in receiving these by faith in Him, he at once displays sincere love towards Him, and heralds His power clearly forth. Now this is the character of the noblest soul, and the philosophic(4) spirit, and lofty mind. For to abstain from stealing and murdering is trifling sort of acquirement, but to believe that it is possible for God to do things impossible requires a soul of no mean stature, and earnestly affected towards Him; for this is a sign of sincere love. For he indeed honors God, who fulfils the commandments, but he doth so in a much greater degree who thus followeth wisdom (<greek>filosofpn</greek>) by his faith. The former obeys Him, but the latter receives that opinion of Him which is fitting, and glorifies Him, and feels wonder at Him more than that evinced by works. For that glorying pertains to him that does aright, but this glorifieth God, and lieth wholly in Him. For he glorieth at conceiving great things concerning Him, which redound to His glory. And this is why he speaks of having whereof to glory before God. And not for this only, but also for another reason: for he who is a believer glorieth again, not only because he loveth God in sincerity, but also because he hath enjoyed great honor and love from him. For as be shows his love to Him by having great thoughts about Him, (for this is a proof of love), so doth God also love him, though deserving to suffer for countless sins, not in freeing him from punishment only, but even by making him righteous. He then hath whereof to glory, as having been counted worthy of mighty love.

Ver. 4. "For(5) to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."

Then is not this last the greatest? he means. By no means: for it is to the believer that it is reckoned. But it would not have been reckoned, unless there were something that he contributed himself. And so he too hath God for his debtor, and debtor too for no common things, but great and high ones. For to show his high-mindedness and spiritual understanding, he does not say "to him that believeth" merely, but

Ver. 5. "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly."

For reflect how great a thing it is to be persuaded and have full confidence that God is able on a sudden not to free a man who has lived in impiety from punishment only, but even to make him just, and to count him worthy of those immortal honors. Do not then suppose that this one is lowered in that it is not reckoned unto the former of grace. For this is the very thing that makes the believer glorious; the fact of his enjoying so great grace, of his displaying so great faith. And note too that the recompense is greater. For to the former a reward is given, to the latter righteousness. Now righteousness is much greater than a reward. For righteousness is a recompense which most fully comprehends several rewards. Therefore after proving this from Abraham, he introduces David also as giving his suffrage in favor of the statement made. What then doth David say? and whom doth he pronounce blessed? is it him that triumphs(1) in works, or him that hath enjoyed grace? him that hath obtained pardon and a gift? And when I speak of blessedness, I mean the chiefest of all good things; for as righteousness is greater than a reward, so is blessedness greater than righteousness. Having then shown that the righteousness is better, not owing to Abraham's having received it only but also from reasonings (for he (2) hath whereof to boast, he says, before God(3)); he again uses another mode of showing that it is more dignified, by bringing David in to give his suffrage this way. For he also, he says, pronounces him blessed who is so made righteous, saying,

Ver. 7. "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven."

And he seems to be bringing a testimony beside his purpose. For it does not say, Blessed are they whose faith is reckoned for righteousness. But he does so on purpose, not through inadvertency, to show the greater superiority. For if he be blessed that by grace received forgiveness, much more is he that is made just, and that exhibits faith. For where blessedness is, there all shame is removed, and there is much glory, since blessedness is a greater degree both of reward and of glory. And for this cause what is the advantage of the other he states as unwritten, "Now to him that worketh is the reward reckoned not of grace;" but what the advantage of the faithful is, he brings Scriptural testimony to prove, saying, As David saith, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."(4) What, he means, is it that you say? Is it that "it is not of debt but of grace that he(5) receives forgiveness?" But see it is this person who is pronounced blessed. For he would not have pronounced him so, unless he saw him in the enjoyment of great glory. And he does not say this "forgiveness" then comes upon the circumcision; but what saith he?

Ver. 9. "Cometh this blessedness then" (which is the greater thing) "upon the cirCumcision or upon the uncircumcision?"

For now the subject of enquiry is, With whom is this good and great thing to be found; is it with the circumcision or with the uncircumcision? And notice its superiority! For he shows that it is so far from shunning the uncircumcision, that it even dwelt gladly with it before the circumcision. For since he that pronounced it blessed was David, who was himself also in a state of circumcision, and he was speaking to those in that state, see how eagerly Paul contends for applying what he said to the uncircumcised. For after joining the ascription of blessedness to righteousness, and showing that they are one and the same thing, he enquires how Abraham came to be righteous. For if the ascription of blessedness belong to the righteous, and Abraham was made righteous, let us see how he was made righteous, as uncircumcised or circumcised? Uncircumcised, he says.

"For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness."(*)

After mentioning the Scripture above (for he said, "What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness,") here he goes on to secure also the judgment of the speakers, and shows that justification took place in the uncircumcision. Then from these grounds he solves another objection which is starting up. For if when in uncircumcision, one might say he was justified, to what purpose was the circumcision brought in?

Ver. 11. "He received it," he says, "a sign and(6) seal of the righteousness that was by the faith, which he had being yet uncircumcised."

See you how he shows the Jews to be as it were of the class of parasites (i.e. guests), rather than those in uncircumcision, and that these were added to the others?(7) For if he was justified and crowned while in uncircumcision, the Jews came in afterwards, Abraham is then the father first of the uncircumcised, which through faith appertain to him, and then of those in the circumcision. For he is a forefather of two lines. See you faith lightening up? for till it came the patriarch was not justified. See you the uncircumcision offering no hindrance? for he was uncircumcised, yet was not hindered from being justified. The circumcision therefore is behind the faith. And why wonder that it is behind the faith, when it is even behind the uncircumcision. Nor is it behind faith only, but very far inferior to it, even so far as the sign is to the reality of which it is the sign; for instance, as the seal is to the soldier. (See Hom. iii. on 2 Cor. at the end.) And why, he says, did he want a seal then? He did not want it himself. For what purpose then did he receive it? With a view to his being the father alike of them that believe in uncircumcision and in circumcision. But not of those in circumcision absolutely: wherefore he goes on to say, "To them who are not of the circumcision only? For if to the uncircumcised, it is not in that he is uncircumcised that he is their father, although justified in uncircumcision; but in that they imitated his faith; much less is it owing to circumcision that he is the forefather of those in the state of circumcision, unless faith also be added. For he says that the reason of his receiving circumcision was that either of us two parties might have him for a forefather, and that those in the uncircumcision might not thrust aside those in the circumcision.(1) See how the former had him for their forefather first. Now if the circumcision be of dignity owing to its preaching righteousness, the uncircumcision even hath no small preeminence in having received it before the circumcision. Then wilt thou be able to have him as a forefather when thou walkest in the steps of that faith, and art not contentious, nor a causer of division in bringing in the Law. What faith? tell me.

Ver. 12. "Which he had being yet uncircumcised."

Here again he lays low the lofty spirit of the Jews by reminding them of the time of the justification. And he well says, "the steps," that you as well as Abraham may believe in the resurrection of bodies that are dead. For he also displayed his faith upon this point. And so if you reject the uncircumcision, be informed for certain that the circumcision is of no more use unto you. For if you follow not in the steps of his faith, though you were ten thousand times in a state of circumcision, you will not be Abraham's offspring. For even he received the circumcision for this end, that the man in a state of uncircumcision might not cast thee off. Do not then demand this of him too." For it was you whom the thing was to be an assistance to, not he. But he calls it a sign of the righteousness. And this also was for thy sake, since now it is not even this: for thou then wert in need of bodily signs, but now there is no need of them. "And was it not possible," one might say, "from his faith to learn the goodness of his soul?" Yes, it was possible but thou stoodest in need of this addition also. For since thou didst not imitate the goodness of his soul, and weft not able to see it, a sensible circumcision was given thee, that, after having become accustomed to this of the body, thou mightest by little and little be led on to the true love of wisdom in the soul also, and that having with much seriousness received it as a very great privilege, thou mightest be instructed to imitate and revere thine ancestor. This object then had God not only in the circumcision, but in all the other rites. the sacrifices, I mean, and the sabbath, and feasts. Now that it was for thy sake that he received the circumcision, learn from the sequel. For after saying that he received a sign and a seal, he gives the reason also as follows. That he might be the father of the circumcision--to those who received the spiritual circumcision also, since if you have only this (i.e. the carnal), no farther good will come to you. For this is then a sign, when the reality of which it is the sign is found with thee, that is, faith; since if thou have not this, the sign to thee has no longer the power of a sign, for what is it to be the sign of? or what the seal of, when there is nothing to be sealed? much as if you were to show one a purse with a seal to it, when there was nothing laid up within. And so the circumcision is ridiculous if there be no faith within. For if it be a sign of righteousness, but you have not righteousness, then you have no sign either. For the reason of your receiving a sign was that you might seek diligently for that reality whereof you have the sign: so that if you had been sure of diligently seeking thereafter without it, then you had not needed it. But this is not the only thing that circumcision proclaims, namely righteousness, but righteousness in even an uncircumcised man. Circumcision then does but proclaim, that there is no need of circumcision.

Vet. 14. "For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect."(*)

He had shown that faith is necessary, that it is older than circumcision, that it is more mighty than the Law, that it establisheth the Law. For if all sinned, it was necessary: if one being uncircumcised was justified, it is older: if the knowledge of sin is by the Law and yet it was without the Law made evident,(1) it is more mighty: if it has testimony borne to it by the Law, and establisheth the Law, it is not opposed to it, but friendly and allied to it. Again, be shows upon other grounds too that it was not even possible by the Law to attain to the inheritance, and after having matched it with the circumcision, and gained it the victory, he brings it besides into contrast with the Law in these words, "For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void." To prevent them anyone from saying that one may have faith and also keep up the Law, he shows this to be impracticable. For he that clings to the Law, as if of saving force, does disparagement to faith's power; and so he says, "faith is made void," that is, there is no need of salvation by grace. For then it cannot show forth its own proper power; "and the promise is made of none effect." This is because the Jew might say, What need have I of faith? If then this held, the things that were promised, would be taken away along with faith. See how in all points he combats with them from the early times and from the Patriarch. For having shown from thence that righteousness and faith went together in the inheritance, he now shows that the promise did likewise. For to prevent the Jew from saying, What matters it to me if Abraham was justified by faith? Paul says, neither can what you are interested with, the promise of the inheritance, come into effect apart from it: which was what scared them most. But what promise is he speaking of? That of his being "the heir of the world," and that in him all should be blessed. And how does he say that this promise is made of none effect?

Ver. 15. "Because the Law worketh wrath: for where no Law is, there is no transgression."

Now if it worketh wrath, and renders them liable for transgression, it is plain that it makes them so to a Curse also. But they that are liable under a curse, and punishments, and transgression, are not worthy of inheriting, but of being punished and rejected. What then happens? faith comes, drawing on it the grace, so that the promise comes into effect. For where grace is, there is a remitting, and where remitting is, there is no punishment. Punishment then being removed, and righteousness succeeding from faith, there is no obstacle to our becoming heirs of the promise.

Vet. 16. "Therefore it is of faith," he says, "that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."

You see that it is not the Law only that faith establisheth, but the promise of God also that it will not allow to fall to the ground. But the Law, on the other hand, by being kept(2) to unseasonably, makes even the faith of none effect, and hindereth the promise. By this he shows that faith, so far from being superfluous, is even necessary to that degree, that without it there is no being saved. For the Law worketh wrath, as all have transgressed it. But this doth not even suffer wrath to arise at all: for "where no Law is," he says, "there is no transgression." Do you see how he not only does away with sin after it has existed, but does not even allow it to be produced? And this is why he says "by grace." For what end? Not with a view to their being put to shame, but to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Here he lays down two blessings, both that the things given are sure, and also that they are to all the seed, so gathering in those of (he Gentiles, and showing that the Jews are without, if they contend against the faith. For this is a surer thing than that. For faith doeth thee no hurt (be not contentious), but even now thou art in danger from the Law, it preserves thee. Next having said, "to all the seed," he defines what seed he meaneth. That which is of faith, he says, so blending with it(3) their relationship to the Gentiles, and showing that they must not be proud of Abraham who do not believe as he did. And see a third thing which faith effected besides. It makes the relationship to that righteous man more definite (<greek>akri</greek> <greek>beste</greek>-<greek>ran</greek>), and holds him up as the ancestor of a more numerous issue. And this is why he does not say merely Abraham, but "our father," ours who believe. Then he also seals what he has said by the testimony--

Ver. 17. "As it is written," he says, "I have made thee a father of many nations."

Do you observe that this was ordered by Providence from of old? What then, he means, does He say this on account of the Ishmaelites, or of the Amalekites, or of the Hagarenes? This however, as he goes on he proves more distinctly not to be said of these. But as yet he presses forward to another point, by which means he proves this very thing by defining the mode of the relationship, and establishing it with a vast reach of mind. What then does he say?

"Before (or, answering to, <greek>katenan</greek><s235) Him Whom he believed, even God."

But his meaning is something of this sort, as God is not the God of a part, but the Father of all, so is he also. And again, as God is a father not by way of the relationship of nature, but by way of the affiance of faith, so is he also inasmuch as it is obedience that makes him father of us all. For since they thought nothing of this relationship, as clinging to that grosser one, he shows that this is the truer relationship by lifting his discourse up to God. And along with this he makes it plain that this was the reward of faith that he received. Consequently, if it were not so, and he were the father of all the dwellers upon earth, the expression before (or answering to) would be out of place, while the gift of God would be curtailed. For the "before," is equivalent to "alike with." Since where is the marvel, pray, in a man's being the father of those sprung from himself? This is what is every man's lot. But the extraordinary thing is, that those whom by nature he had not, them he received by the gift of God. And so if thou wouldest believe that the patriarch was honored, believe that he is the father of all. But after saying, "before Him Whom he believed, even God," he does not pause here, but goes on thus; "Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were," so laying beforehand his foundations for discoursing upon the resurrection. And it was serviceable also to his present purpose. For if He could "quicken the dead" and bring in "those things that were not as though they were," then could He also make those who were not born of him to be his children. And this is why he does not say, bringing in the things which are not, but calling them, so showing the greater ease of it. For as it is easy to us to call the things which are by name, so to Him it is easy, yea, and much easier to give a subsistence to things that are not. But after saying, that the gift of God was great and unspeakable, and having discoursed concerning His power, he shows farther that Abraham's faith was deserving of the gift, that you may not suppose him to have been honored without reason. And after raising the attention of his hearers to prevent the Jew from clamoring and making doubts, and saying, "And how is it possible for those who are not children to become children?" he passes on to speak of the patriarch, and says,

Ver. 18. "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be."

How was it that he "believed in hope against hope?" It was against man's hope, in hope which is of God. (For he is showing the loftiness of the action, and leaving no room for disbelieving what is said.) Things which are contrary to one another, yet faith blends them together. But if he were speaking about such as were from Ishmael, this language would be superfluous: for it was not by faith but by nature that they were begotten. But he bringeth Isaac also before us. For it was not concerning those nations that he believed, but concerning him who was to be from his barren wife. If then it be a reward to be father of many nations, it would be so of those nations clearly of whom he so believed. For that you may know that he is speaking of them, listen to what follows.

Ver. 19. "And being not weak in faith, he considered(1) his own body now dead."

Do you see how he gives the obstacles, as well as the high spirit of the righteous man which surmounts all? "Against hope," he says, was that which was promised: this is the first obstacle. For Abraham had no other person who had received a son in this way to look to. They that were after him looked to him, but he to no one, save to God only. And this is why he said, "against hope." Then, "his body now dead." This is a second. And, "the deadness of Sarah's womb." This is a third, aye and a fourth(2) obstacle.

Ver. 20. "But he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief." For God neither gave any proof nor made any sign, but there were only bare words promising such things as nature did not hold out any hopes of. Yet still he says, "he staggered not." He does not say, "He did not disbelieve," but, "He staggered not," that is, he neither doubted nor hesitated though the hindrances were so great. From this we learn, that if God promise even countless impossibilities, and he that heareth doth not receive them, it is not the nature of things that is to blame, but the unreasonableness of him who receiveth them not. "But was strong in faith." See the pertinacity of Paul.[1] For since this discourse was about them that work and them that believe, he shows that the believer works more than the other, and requires more power, and great strength, and sustains no common degree of labor. For they counted faith worthless, as having no labor in it. Insisting then upon this, he shows that it is not only he that succeeds in temperance, or any other virtue of this sort, but he that displays faith also who requires even greater power. For as the one needs strength to beat off the reasonings[2] of intemperance, so hath the faithful also need of a soul endued with power, that he may thrust aside the suggestions of unbelief. How then did he become "strong?" By trusting the matter, he replies, to faith and not to reasonings: else he had fallen. But how came he to thrive in faith itself? By giving glory to God, he says.

Ver. 21. "And being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform."

Abstaining then from curious questionings is glorifying God, as indulging in them is transgressing. But if by entering into curious questions, and searching out things below, we fail to glorify Him, much more if we be over curious in the matter of the Lord's generation, shall we suffer to the utmost for our insolence. For if the type of the resurrection is not to be searched into, much less those untterable and awestriking subjects.[3] And he does not use file word "believed" merely, but, "being fully persuaded." For such a thing is faith, it is clearer than the demonstration by reasons, and persuades more fully. For it is not possible for another reasoning succeeding to it to shake[4] it afterwards. He indeed that is persuaded with words may have his persuasion altered too by them. But he that stays himself upon faith, hath henceforward fortified his hearing against words that may do hurt to it. Having said then, that he was justified by faith, he shows that he glorified God by that faith; which is a thing specially belonging to a good life. For, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 16.) But lo! this is shown also to belong to faith! Again, as works need power, so doth faith. For in their case the body often shareth the toil, but in the faith the well-doing belongeth to the soul alone. And so the labor is greater, since it has no one to share the struggles with it. Do you observe how he shows that all that belonged to works attached to faith in a far greater degree, as having whereof to glory before God,--requiring power and labor,--and again, glorifying God? And after saying, that "what He had promised, He is able also to perform," he seems to me to speak beforehand of things to come. For it is not things present merely that He promises, but also things to come. For the present are a type of the other. It is then a sign of a weak, little, and pitiful mind not to believe. And so when any make faith a charge against us, let us make want of faith a charge against them in return, as pitiful, and little-minded, and foolish, and weak, and no better in disposition than asses. For as believing belongs to a lofty and high-born soul, so disbelieving doth to a most unreasonable and worthless one, and such as is sunken drowsily (<greek>katenhnegmenhs</greek>) into the senselessness of brutes. Therefore having left these, let us imitate the Patriarch, and glorify God as he gave Him glory. And what does it mean, gave Him glory? He held in mind His majesty, His boundless power. And having formed a just conception of Him, he was also "fully persuaded" about His promises.

Let us then also glorify Him by faith as well as by works, that we may also attain to the reward of being glorified by Him. "For them that glorify Me, I will glorify" (1 Sam. ii. 30), He says: and indeed, if there were no reward, the very privilege of glorifying God were itself a glory. For if men take a pride in the mere fact of speaking eulogies of kings, even if there be no other fruit of it; consider how glorious it must be, that our Lord is glorified by us: as again, how great a punishment to cause Him to be by our means blasphemed. And yet this very being glorified, He wisheth to be brought about for our sakes, since He doth not need it Himself. For what distance dost thou suppose to be between God and man? as great as that between men and worms? or as great as between Angels and worms? But when I have mentioned a distance even thus great, I have not at all expressed it: since to express its greatness is impossible. Would you, now, wish to have a great and marked reputation among worms? Surely not. If then thou that lovest glory, wouldest not wish for this, how should He Who is far removed from this passion, and so much farther above us, stand in need of glory from thee? Nevertheless, free from the want of it as He is, still He saith that He desireth it for thy sake. For if He endured for thy sake to become a slave, why wonder that He upon the same ground layeth claim to the other particulars also? For He counts nothing unworthy of Himself which may be conducive to our salvation. Since then we aware of this, let us shun sin altogether, because by reason of it He is blasphemed. For it says, "flee from sin, as from the face of a serpent: if thou comest too near unto it, it will bite thee" (Ecclus. xxi. 2): for it is not it that comes to us, but we that desert to it. God has so ordered things that the Devil should not prevail over us by compulsion (Gr. tyranny): since else none would have stood against his might. And on this account He set him a distant abode, as a kind of robber and tyrant.[1] And unless he find a person unarmed and solitary for his assaults, he doth not venture to attack him. Except he see us travelling by the desert," he has not the courage to come near us. But the desert and place of the Devil is nothing else than sin. We then have need of the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, not only that we may not get evil intreated, but that ever should he be minded to leap[3] upon us, we may cut off his head. Need we have of continual prayer that he may be bruised under our feet, for he is shameless and full of hardihood, and this though he fights from beneath. But yet even so he gets the victory: and the reason is, that we are not earnestly set upon being above his blows. For he has not even the power to lift himself very high, but he trails along upon the ground. And of this the serpent is a type. But if God set him in that rank from the beginning, much more will He now. But if thou dost not know what fighting from beneath may be, I also will try to explain to thee the manner of this war. What then may this fighting "from beneath" (John viii. 23) be? It is standing upon the lower things of the world to buffet us, such as pleasure and riches and all the goods of this life. And for this reason, whoever he seeth flying toward heaven, first, he will not even be able to leap so far. Secondly, even if he should attempt he will speedily fall. For he hath no feet; be not afraid: he hath no wings; fear not. He trails upon the earth, and the things of the earth. Do thou then have naught in common with the earth, and thou wilt not need labor even. For he hath not any knowledge of open fight: but as a serpent he hideth him in the thorns, nestling evermore in the "deceitfulness of riches." (Matt. xiii. 22.) And if thou wert to cut away the thorns, he will easily be put to flight, being detected:[4] and if thou knowest how to charm him with the inspired charms he will straightway be struck. For we have, we surely have, spiritual charms, even the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the might of the Cross. This charm will not only bring the serpent out of his lurking places, and cast him into the fire (Acts xxviii. 5), but even wounds it healeth. But if some that have said this Name have not been healed, it came of their own little faith, and was not owing to any weakness in what they said. For some did throng Jesus and press. Him (Luke viii. 44, 45), and got no good therefrom. But the woman with an issue, without even touching His Body, but merely the hem of His garment, stanched a flux of blood of so long standing. (So St. Aug. Serm. LXII. iii. 4, P. 124 O. T.) This Name is fearful alike to devils, and to passions, and to diseases. In this then let us find a pleasure, herewith let us fortify ourselves. It was thus Paul waxed great, and yet he was of the like nature with ourselves, so the whole choir of the Disciples. But faith had made him a perfectly different person, and so much did it abound in them, that even their garments had great force. (Acts xix. 12.) What excuse then shall we deserve, if even the shadows and the garments of those men drave off death (Acts v. 15), but our very prayers do not so much as bring the passions down? What is the reason a of it? Our temper is widely different. For what nature gives, is as much ours as theirs. For he was born and brought up just as we are, and dwelt upon the earth and breathed the air, as we do. But in other points he was far greater and better than we are, in zeal, in faith, and love. Let us then imitate him. Let us allow Christ to speak through us. He desireth it more than we do: and by reason of this, He prepared this instrument, and would not have it remain useless and idle, but wisheth to keep it ever in hand. Why then dost thou not make it serviceable for the Maker's hand, but lettest it become unstrung, and makest it relaxed through luxury, and unfittest the whole harp for His use, when thou oughtest to keep the members[1] of it in full stretch, and well strung, and braced with spiritual salt.[2] For if Christ see our soul thus attuned, He will send forth His sounds even by it. And when this taketh place, then shalt thou see Angels leaping for joy, (<greek>skirtpntas</greek>) and Archangels too, and the Cherubim. Let us then become worthy of His spotless hands. Let us invite Him to strike even upon our heart. For He rather needeth not any inviting. Only make it worthy of that touch, and He will be foremost in running unto thee. For if in consideration of their attainments not yet reached, He runneth to them (for when Paul was not yet so advanced He yet framed that praise for him) when He seeth one fully furnished, what is there that He will not do? But if Christ shall sound forth and the Spirit shall indeed light upon us, and we shall be better than the heaven, having not the sun and the moon fixed in our body, but the Lord of both sun and moon and angels dwelling in us and walking in us. And this I say, not that we may raise the dead, or cleanse the lepers, but that we may show forth what is a greater miracle than all these--charity. For wheresoever this glorious thing shall be there the Son taketh up His abode along with the Father, and the grace of the Spirit frequenteth. For "where two or three are gathered together in My Name," it says, "there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. xviii. 20.) Now this is for great affection, and for those that are very intimate friends, to have those whom they love on either side of them. Who then, he means, is so wretched as not to wish to have Christ in the midst? We that are at variance with one another! And haply some one may ridicule me and ask, What is it that you mean? Do you not see that we are all within the same walls, and under the same enclosure of the Church, standing under the same fold with unanimity; that no one fighteth, that we be under the same shepherd, crying aloud in common, listening in common to what is being said, sending up our prayers in common,--and yet mention fighting and variance? Fighting I do mention, and I am not mad nor out of my sober mind. For I see what I sees and know that we are under the same fold, and the same shepherd. Yet for this cause I make the greater lamentation, because, though there are so many circumstances to draw us together, we are at variance. And what sedition, it will be said, see you here? Here truly I see none. But when we have broken up, such an one accuses such another, another is openly insulting, another grudges, another is fraudulent, and rapacious, and violent, another indulges in unlawful love, another frames countless schemes of deceit. And if it were possible to open. your souls, then ye would see all things distinctly, and know that I am not mad. Do you not see in a camp, that when it is peace, men lay down their arms and cross over unarmed and undefended into the camp of the enemy, but when they are protected with arms, and with guards and outposts, the I nights are spent in watching, and the fires are kept continually burning, this state of things is no longer peace but war? Now this is what may be seen among us. For we are on our guard against one another, and fear one another and talk each of us into his neighbor's ear. And if we see any one else present, we hold our peace, and draw in all we were going to say. And this is not like men that feel confidence, but like those that are strictly on their guard. "But these things we do (some one may say,) not to do wrong, but to escape having it done us." Yea, for this I grieve, that living as we do among brethren, we need be on our guard against having wrong done us; and we light up so many fires, and set guards and out-posts! The reason is the prevalence of falsehood, the prevalence of craft, the prevailing secession of charity, and war without truce. By this means one may find men that feel more confidence in Gentiles (Greeks) than in Christians. And yet, how ashamed we ought to be of this; how we ought to weep and bewail at it! "What then, some may say, is to become of me? such and such an one is of ungainly temper, and vexatious." Where then is your religion (Gr. philosophy)? where are the laws of the Apostles, which bid us bear one another's burdens? (Gal. vi. 2.) For if you have no notion of dealing well by your brother, when are you to be able to do so by a stranger? If you have not learnt how to treat a member of your own self, when are you likely to draw to you any from without, and to knit him to yourself? But how am I to feel? I am vexed exceedingly almost to tears, for I could have sent forth large fountains from mine eyes (Jer. ix. 1), as that Prophet says, seeing as I do countless enemies upon the plain more galling than those he saw. For he said, upon seeing the aliens coming against them, "My bowels! I am pained at my bowels." (ib. iv. 19.) But when I see men arrayed under one leader, yet standing against one another, and biting and tearing their own members, some for money's sake, and some for glory's, and others quite at random ridiculing and mocking and wounding one another in countless ways, and corpses too worse treated than those in war, and that it is but the bare name of the brethren that is now left, myself feel my inability to devise any lament fitting such a catastrophe as this! Reverence now, oh reverence, this Table whereof we all are partakers! (1 Cor. x. 16-18.) Christ, Who was slain for us, the Victim that is placed thereon! (Heb. xiii. 10.) Robbers when they once partake of salt, cease to be robbers in regard to those with whom they have partaken thereof; that table changes their dispositions, and men fiercer than wild beasts it makes gentler than lambs. But we though partakers of such a Table, and sharers of such food as that, arm ourselves against one another, when we ought to arm against him who is carrying on a war against all of us, the devil. Yet this is why we grow weaker and he stronger every day. For we do not join to form in defence against him, but along with him we stand against each other, and use him as a commander for such hostile arrays, when it is he alone that we ought to be fighting with. But now letting him pass, we bend the bow against our brethren only. What bows, you will say? Those of the tongue and the mouth. For it is not javelins and darts only, but words too, keener far than darts, that inflict wounds. And how shall we be able to bring this war to an issue? one will ask. If thou perceivest that when thou speakest ill of thy brother, thou art casting up mire out of thy mouth, if thou preceivest that it is a member of Christ that thou art slandering, that thou art eating up thine own flesh (Ps. xxvii. 2), that thou art making the judgment set for thee more bitter (fearful and uncorrupt as it is), that the shaft is killing not him that is smitten, but thyself that shot it forth. But he did you some wrong, may be, and injured you? Groan at it, and do not rail. Weep, not for the wrong done thee, but for his perdition, as thy Master also wept at Judas, not because Himself was to be crucified, but because he was a traitor. Has he insulted thee and abused thee? Beseech God for him, that He may speedily become appeased toward him. He is thy brother, he is a member of thee, the the fruit of the same pangs as thyself, he has been invited to the same Table. But he only makes fresh assaults upon me, it may be said. Then is thy reward all the greater for this. On this ground then there is the best reason for abating one's anger, since it is a mortal wound that he has received, since the devil hath wounded him. Do not thou then give a further blow, nor cast thyself down together with him. For so long as thou standest thou hast the means of saving him also. But if thou dash thyself down by insulting deeds in return, who is then to lift you both up? Will he that is wounded? Nay, for he cannot, now that he is down. But wilt thou that art fallen along with him? And how shall thou, that couldest not support thine own self, be able to lend a hand to another? Stand therefore now nobly, and setting thy shield before thee, and draw him, now he is dead, away from the battle by thy long-suffering. Rage hath wounded him, do not thou also wound him, but cast out even that first shaft. For if we associate with each other on such terms, we shall soon all of us become healthful. But if we arm ourselves against one another, there will be no farther need even of the devil to our ruin. For all war is an evil, and civil war especially. But this is a sorer evil than even a civil one, as our mutual rights are greater than those of citizenship, yea, than of kindred itself. Of old, Abel's brother slew him and shed the blood of his kinsman. But this murder is more lawless than that, in that the rights of kinsmanship are greater, and the death a sorer evil. For he wounded the body, but thou hast whetted thy sword against the soul. "But thou didst first suffer ill." Yes, but it is not suffering ill, but doing it, that is really suffering ill. Now consider; Cain was the slayer, Abel was the slain. Who then was the dead? He that after death crieth, (for He saith, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth to Me,") (Gen. iv. 10), or he who while he lived was yet trembling and in fear? He was, assuredly he was, more an object of pity than any dead man. Seest thou how to be wronged is better, though a man come even to be murdered? learn that to wrong is worse, though a man should be strong enough even to kill. He smote and cast down his brother, yet the latter was crowned, the former was punished. Abel was made away with and slain wrongfully, but he even when dead accused (comp. John v. 45), and convicted and overcame: the other, though alive, was speechless, and was ashamed, and was convicted, and effected the opposite of what he intended. For he made away with him because he saw him beloved, expecting to cast him out of the love also. Yet he did but make the love more intense, and God sought him more when dead, saying, "Where is thy brother Abel?" (Gen. iv. 9.) For thou hast not extinguished the desire towards him by thine envy, but hast kindled it up the more. Thou hast not lessened his honor by slaying him, but hast made it the more ample. Yet before this God had even made him subject to thee, whereas since thou hast slain him, even when dead, he will take vengeance upon thee. So great was my love towards him. Who then was the condemned person, the punisher or the punished? He that enjoyed so great honor from God, or he that was given up to a certain novel and unexpected punishment? Thou didst not fear him (he would say) while alive, thou shall fear him therefore when dead. Thou didst not tremble when on the point of thrusting with the sword. Thou shall be seized, now the blood is shed, with a continual trembling. While alive he was thy servant, and thou showedst no forbearance to him. For this reason, now he is dead, he hath become a master thou shalt be afraid of. Thinking then upon these things, beloved, let us flee from envy, let us extinguish malice, let us recompense one another with charity, that we may reap the blessings rising from it, both in the present life and the life which is to come, by the grace and love toward man, etc. Amen.

HOMILY IX.

ROM. IV. 23.

"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him for righteousness; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead."

After saying many great things of Abraham, and his faith, and righteousness, and honor before God, lest the hearer should say, What is this to us, for it is he that was justified? he places us close to the Patriarch again. So great is the power of spiritual words. For of one of the Gentiles, one who was recently come near, one who had done no work, he not only says that he is in nothing inferior to the Jew who believes (i.e. as a Jew), but not even to the Patriarch, but rather, if one must give utterance to the wondrous truth, even much greater. For so noble is our birth, that his faith is but the type of ours. And he does not say, If it was reckoned unto him, it is probable it will be also to us, that he might not make it matter of syllogism. But he speaks in authentic words of the divine law, and makes the whole a declaration of the Scripture. For why was it written, he says, save to make us see (hat we also were justified in this way? For it is the same God Whom we have believed, and upon the same matters, if it be not in the case of the same persons. And after speaking of our faith, he also mentions God's unspeakable love towards man, which he ever presents on all sides, bringing the Cross before us. And this he now makes plain by saying,

Ver. 25. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

See how after mentioning the cause of His death, he makes the same cause likewise a demonstration of the resurrection. For why, he means, was He crucified? Not for any sin of His own. And this is plain from the Resurrection. For if He were a sinner, how should He have risen? But if He rose, it is quite plain that He was not a sinner. But[1] if He was not a sinner, how came He to be crucified?--For others,--and if for others, then surely he rose again. Now to prevent your saying, How, when liable for so great sins, came we to be justified? he points out One that blotteth out all sins, that both from Abraham's faith, whereby he was justified, and from the Saviour's Passion, whereby we were freed from our sins, he might confirm what he had said. And after mentioning His Death, he speaks also of His Resurrection. For the purpose of His dying was not that He might hold us liable to punishment and in condemnation, but that He might do good unto us. For for this cause He both died and rose again, that He might make us righteous.

Chap. v. ver. 1. "Therefore being justified by faith, let us[1*] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

What does "Let us have peace" mean? Some say, "Let us not be at variance, through a peevish obstinacy for bringing in the Law." But to me he seems to be speaking now of our conversation. For after having said much on the subject of faith, he had set it before righteousness which is by works, to prevent any one from supposing what he said was a ground for listlessness, he says, "let us have peace," that is, let us sin no more, nor go back to our former estate. For this is making war with God. And "how is it possible," saith one, "to sin no more?" How[2] was the former thing possible? For if when liable for so many sins we were freed from all. by Christ, much more shall we be able through Him to abide in the estate wherein we are. For it is not the same thing to receive peace when there had been none, and to keel it when it has been given, since to acquire surely is harder than to keep. Yet nevertheless the more difficult hath been made easy, and carried out into effect. That which is the easier thing then will be what we shall easily succeed in, if we cling to Him who hath wrought even the other for us. But here it is not the easiness only which he seems to me to hint at, but the reasonableness. For if He reconciled us when we were in open war with Him, it is reasonable that we should abide in a state of reconciliation,[3] and give unto Him this reward for that He may not seem to have reconciled untoward and unfeeling creatures to the Father.

Ver. 2. "By Whom also we have access," he says, "by faith unto this grace. (7 Mss. add, unto, etc.)

If then He hath brought us near to Himself, when we were far off, much more will He keep us now that we are near. And let me beg you to consider how he everywhere sets down these two points; His part, and our part. On His part, however, there be things varied and numerous and diverse. For He died for us, and farther reconciled us, and brought us to Himself, and gave us grace unspeakable. But we brought faith only as our contribution. And so he says," "by faith, unto this grace"What grace is this? tell me. It is the being counted worthy of the knowledge of God, the being forced from error, the coming to a knowledge of the Truth, the obtaining of all the blessings that come through Baptism. For the end of His bringing us near was that we might receive these gifts. For it was not only that we might have simple remission of sins, that we were reconciled; but that we might receive also countless benefits. Nor did He even pause at these, but promised others, namely, those unutterable blessings that pass understanding alike and language. And this is why he has set them both down also. For by mentioning grace he clearly points at what we have at present received, but by saying, "And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God," he unveils the whole of things to come. And he had well said, "wherein also we stand." For this is the nature of God's grace. It hath no end, it knows no bound, but evermore is on the advance to greater things, which in human things is not the case. Take an instance of what I mean. A person has acquired rule and glory and authority, yet he does not stand therein continuously, but is speedily cast out of it. Or if man take it not from him, death comes, and is sure to take it from him. But God's gifts are not of this kind; for neither man, nor occasion, nor crisis of affairs, nor even the Devil, nor death, can come and cast us. out of them. But when we are dead we then more strictly speaking have possession of them, and keep going on enjoying more and more. And so if thou feel in doubt about those to come; from those now present, and what thou hast already received, believe in the other also. For this is why he says, "And we rejoice (<greek>kaukpmeqa</greek>) in hope of the glory of God," that you may learn, what kind of soul the faithful ought to have. For it is not only for what hath been given, but for what is to be given, that we ought to be filled with confidingness, as though it were already given. For one "rejoices" in what is already given. Since then the hope of things to come is even as sure and clear as that of what is given, he says that in that too we in like manner "rejoice." For this cause also he called them glory. For if it contributeth unto God's glory, come to pass it certainly will, though it do not for our sakes, yet for Him it will. And why am I saying (he means) that the blessings to come are worthy of being gloried in (<greek>kaukhsews</greek>)? Why even the very evils of this time present are able to brighten up our countenances, and make us find in them even our repose. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 3. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also."

Now, consider how great the things to come are, when even at things that seem to be distressful we can be elated; so great is God's gift, and such a nothing any distastefulness in them! For in the case of external goods, the struggle for them brings trouble and pain and irksomeness along with it; and it is the crowns and rewards that carry the pleasure with them. But in this case it is not so, for the wrestlings have to us no less relish than the rewards. For since there were sundry temptations in those days, and the kingdom existed in hopes, the terrors were at hand, but the good things in expectation, and this unnerved the feebler sort, even before the crowns he gives them the prize now, by saying that we should "glory even in tribulations." And what he says is not "you should glory," but we glory, giving them encouragement in his own person. Next since what he had said had an appearance of being strange and paradoxical, if a person who is struggling in famine, and is in chains and torments, and insulted, and abused, ought to glory, he next goes on to confirm it. And (what is more), he says they are worthy of being gloried in, not only for the sake of those things to come, but for the things present in themselves For tribulations are in their own selves a goodly thing. How so? It is because they anoint us unto patient abiding. Wherefore after saying we glory in tribulations, he has added the reason, in these words, "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience." Notice again the argumentative spirit of Paul, how he gives their argument an opposite turn. For since it was tribulations above all that made them give up the hopes of things to come, and which cast them into despondency, he says that these are the very reasons for confidingness, and for not desponding about the things to come, for "tribulation," he says, "worketh patience."

Ver. 4, 5. "And patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed."[*]

Tribulations; that is, are so far from confuting these hopes, that they even prove them. For before the things to come are realized, there is a very great fruit which tribulation hath--patience;[1] and the making of the man that is tried, experienced. And it contributes in some degree too to the things to come,[2] for it gives hope a vigor within us, since there is nothing that so inclines a man to hope for blessings as a good conscience. Now no man that has lived an upright life is unconfiding about things to come, as of those who have been negligent there are many that, feeling the burden of a bad conscience, wish there were neither judgment nor retribution. What then? do our goods lie in hopes? Yes, in hopes--but not mere human hopes, which often slip away, and put him that hoped to shame; when some one, who was expected to patronize him, dies, or is altered though he lives. No such lot is ours: our hope is sure and unmoveable. For He Who hath made the promise ever liveth, and we that are to be the enjoyers of it, even should we die, shall rise again, and there is absolutely nothing which can put us to shame, as having been elated at random, and to no purpose, upon unsound hopes. Having then sufficiently cleared them of all doubtfulness by these words of his, he does not let his discourse pause at the time present, but urges again the time to come, knowing that there were men of weaker character, who looked too for present advantages, and were not satisfied with these mentioned. And so he offers a proof for them in blessings already given. For lest any should say, But what if God be unwilling to give them to us? For that He can, and that He abideth and liveth, we all know: but how do we know, that He is willing, also, to do it? From the things which have been done already. "What things done?" The Love which He hath shown for us. In doing what? some may say. In giving the Holy Ghost. Wherefore after saying "hope maketh not ashamed," he goes on to the proof of this, as follows:

"Because the love of God is," he does not say "given," but "shed abroad in our hearts," so showing the profusion of it. That gift then, which is the greatest possible, He hath given; not heaven and earth and sea, but what is more precious than any of these, and hath rendered us Angels from being men, yea sons of God, and brethren of Christ. But what is this gift? The Holy Spirit. Now had He not been willing to present us after our labors with great crowns, He would never have given us such mighty gifts before our labors. But now the warmth of His Love is hence made apparent, that it is not gradually and little by little that He honors us; but He hath shed abroad the full fountain of His blessings, and this too before our struggles. And so, if thou art not exceedingly worthy, despond not, since thou hast that Love of thy Judge as a mighty pleader for thee. For this is why he himself by saying, "hope maketh not ashamed," has ascribed everything not to our well-doings, but to God's love. But after mentioning the gift of the Spirit, he again passes to the Cross, speaking as follows:

Ver. 6-8. "For while we were yet without strength, Christ in due time died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: vet pervadenture for a good man some would even dare to die.[*] But God commendeth His love towards us."

Now what he is saying is somewhat of this kind. For if for a virtuous man, no one would hastily choose to die, consider thy Master's love, when it is not for virtuous men, but for sinners and enemies that He is seen to have been crucified--which he says too after this, "In that, if when we were sinners Christ died for us,"

Ver. 9, 10. "Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

And what he has said looks indeed like tautology, but it is not to any one who accurately attends to it. Consider then. He wishes to give them reasons for confidence respecting things to come. And first he gives them a sense of shame from the righteous man's decision, when he says, that he also "was fully persuaded that what God had promised He was able also to perform;" and next from the grace that was given; then from the tribulation, as sufficing to lead us into hopes; and again from the Spirit, whom we have received. Next from death, and from our former viciousness, he maketh this good. And it seems indeed, as I said, that what he had mentioned was one thing, but it is discovered to be two, three, and even many more. First, that "He died:" second, that it was "for the ungodly;" third, that He "reconciled, saved, justified" us, made us immortal, made us sons and heirs. It is not from His Death then only, he says, that we draw strong assertions, but from the gift which was given unto us through His Death. And indeed if He had died only for such creatures as we be, a proof of the greatest love would what He had done be! but when He is seen at once dying, and yielding us a gift, and that such a gift, and to such creatures, what was done casts into shade our highest conceptions, and leads the very dullest on to faith. For there is no one else that will save us, except He Who so loved us when we were sinners, as even to give Himself up for us. Do you see what a ground this topic affords for hope? For before this there were two difficulties in the way of our being saved; our being sinners, and our salvation requiring the Lord's Death, a thing which was quite incredible before it took place, and required exceeding love for it to take place. But now since this hath come about, the other requisites are easier. For we have become friends, and there is no further need of Death. Shall then He who hath so spared his enemies as not to spare His Son, fail to defend them now they are become friends, when He hath no longer any need to give up his Son? For it is either because a person does not wish it, or because though he may wish it perhaps,[1] yet he is unable to do it, that he does not save. Now none of these things can be said of God. For that He is willing is plain from His having given up His Son.[2] But that He is able also is the very thing He proved likewise, from the very fact of His having justified men who were sinners. What is there then to prevent us any more from obtaining the things to come? Nothing! Then again, lest upon hearing of sinners, and enemies, and strengthless ones, and ungodly, thou shouldest be inclined to feel abashed and blush; hear what he says.

Ver. 11; "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement."

What meaneth the "not only so?" Not only were we saved, he means, but we even glory [1] for this very reason, for which some suppose we ought to hide our faces. For, for us who lived in so great wickedness to be saved, was a very great mark of our being exceedingly beloved by Him that saved us. For it was not by angels or archangels, but by His Only-begotten Son Himself, that He saved us. And so the fact of His saving us, and saving us too when we were in such plight, and doing it by means of His Only-begotten, and not merely by His Only begotten, but by His Blood, weaves for us endless crowns to glory in. For there is not anything that counts so much in the way of glory and confidence, as the being treated as friends (<greek>fileisqai</greek>) by God, and finding a Friend (<greek>fileiu</greek>) in Him that loveth (<greek>agapputa</greek>) us. This it is that maketh the angels glorious, and the principalities and powers. This is greater than the Kingdom, and so Paul placed it above the Kingdom. For this also I count the incorporeal powers blessed, because they love Him, and in all things obey Him. And on this score the Prophet also expressed his admiration at them. "Ye that excel in strength, that fulfil His Word." (Ps. ciii. 20.) And hence too Isaiah extolleth the Seraphim, setting forth their great excellency from their standing near that glory, which is a sign of the greatest love.

Let us then emulate the powers above, and be desirous not only of standing near the throne, but of having Him dwelling in us who sitteth upon the Throne. He loved us when we hated Him, and also continueth to love us. "For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. v. 45.) As then He loveth us, do thou love Him. For He is our Friend (<greek>filei</greek> <greek>gar</greek>). And how cometh it, some will say, that one who is our Friend threateneth hell, and punishment, and vengeance? It is owing to His loving us alone. For all He doeth and is busied with, is with a view to strike out thy wickedness, and to refrain with fear, as with a kind of bridle, thy inclinableness to the worse side, and by blessings and by pains recovering thee from thy downward course, and leading thee up to Him, and keeping thee from all vice, which is worse than hell. But if thou mockest what is said, and wouldest rather live continually in misery, than be punished for a single day, it is no marvel. For this is but a sign of thy unformed judgment (<greek>at</greek><s210<greek>lous</greek> <greek>lnwmhs</greek>), drunkenness, and incurable disorder. Since little children even when they see the physician going to apply burning or the knife, flee and leap away screaming and convulsed, and choose to have a continual sore eating into their body, rather than to endure a temporary pain, and so enjoy health afterwards. But those who have come to discretion, know that to be diseased is worse than submitting to the knife, as also to be wicked is worse than to be punished. For the one is to be cured and to be healthy, the other to ruin one's constitution and to be in continual feebleness. Now that health is better than feebleness, surely is plain to every one. Thieves then ought to weep not when they have their sides pierced through, but when they pierce through walls and murder. For if the soul be better than the body (as it is), when the former is ruined there is more reason to groan and lament; but if a man does not feel it, so much the more reason to bewail it. For those that love with an unchastened love ought to be more pitied than those who have a violent fever, and those that are drunken, than those that are undergoing torture. But if these are more painful (some may say), how come we to give them the preference? Because there are many of mankind, who, as the proverb saith, like the worse, and they choose these, and pass by the better. And this one may see happening as well in victuals as in forms of government, in emulous aims of life too, and in the enjoyment of pleasure, and in wives, and in houses, and in slaves, and in lands, and in the case of all other things. For which is more pleasurable pray, cohabiting with women or with males? with women or with mules? Yet still we shall find many that pass over women, and cohabit with creatures void of reason, and abuse the bodies of males. Yet natural pleasures are greater than unnatural ones. But still many there are that follow after things ridiculous and joyless, and accompanied with a penalty, as if pleasurable. Well but to them, a man may say, these things appear so. Now this alone is ground enough to make them miserable, that they think those things to be pleasurable which are not so. Thus they assume punishment to be worse than sin which it is not, but just the contrary. Yet, if it were an evil to the sinner, God would not have added evils to the evil; for He that doeth everything to extinguish evil, would not have increased it. Being punished then is no evil to the man who has done wrong, but not being punished, when in that plight, is evil, just as for the infirm not to be cured. (Plat. Gorg. p. 478, sqq.) For there is nothing so evil as extravagant desire. And when I say, extravagant, I mean that of luxury, and that of ill-placed glory, and that of power, and in general that of all things which go beyond what is necessary. For such is he who lives a soft and dissolute life, who seems to be the happiest of men, but is the most wretched, as superinducing upon his soul harsh and tyrannical sovereigns. For this cause hath God made the present a life of labor to us, that He may rid us of that slavery, and bring us into genuine freedom. For this cause He threatened punishment, and made labors a part of our portion in life, so muzzling our vaunting spirit. In this way the Jews also, when they were fettered to the clay and brick making, were at once self-governed, and called continually upon God. But when they were in the enjoyment of freedom, then they murmured, and provoked the Lord, and pierced themselves through with countless evils. What then, it may be said, will you say to those frequent instances of men being altered for the worse by tribulations? Why, that this is no effect of tribulation, but of their own imbecility. For neither if a man had a weak stomach and could not take a bitter medicine which would act as a purgative, but was made even worse by it, would it be the drug we should find fault with, but the weakness of the part, as we should therefore here too with the yieldingness of temper. For he who is altered so by tribulation, is much more likely to be affected in this way by laxity. If he fails even when splinted, (or tied) (this is what affliction is), much more will he when the bandage is removed. If when braced up he is altered, much more when in a state of tumor (<greek>launoumenos</greek>). And how am I, one may ask, to keep from being so altered by tribulation? Why, if thou reflectest that, wish it or not, thou wilt have to bear the thing inflicted: but if thou dost it with a thankful spirit, thou wilt gain very greatly thereby but if thou art indignant at it, and ragest[1] and blasphemest, thou wilt not make the calamity lighter, but thou wilt render its wave more troublous. By feeling then in this way, let us turn what is necessary into a matter of our own choice. What I mean is this--suppose one has lost his own son, another all his property: if you reflect that it is not in the nature of things for what has taken place to be undone; while it is to gain fruit from the misfortune, though irremediable, even that of bearing the circumstance nobly; and if instead of using blasphemous words, thou wert to offer up words of thanksgiving to the Lord, so would evils brought upon thee against thy will become to thee the good deeds of a free choice. Hast thou seen a son taken prematurely away? Say, "the Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away." Do you see your fortune exhausted? Say, "naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither." (Job. i. 21.) Do you see evil men faring well, and just men faring ill and undergoing ills without number, and dost thou not know where to find the cause? Say, "I became even as it were a beast before Thee. Yet I am ever with Thee." (Ps. lxxiii. 22.) But if thou wilt search out the cause, reflect that He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world, and so you will throw off perplexity, for then every man will meet his deserts, even as Lazarus and the rich man. Call to mind the Apostles, for they too rejoiced at being scourged, at being driven about and undergoing numberless sufferings, because they were "counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name's sake." (Acts v. 41.) And do thou, then, if thou art sick, bear it nobly, and own thyself indebted to God for it, and thou shall receive the same reward with them. But how, when in feebleness and pain, art thou to be able to feel grateful to the Lord? Thou wilt if thou lovest Him sincerely. For if the Three Children who were thrown into the furnace, and others who were in prisons, and in countless other evils, ceased not to give thanks, much more will they who are in a state of disease, be able to do this. For there is not, assuredly there is not, anything which vehement desire doth not get the better of. But when the desire is even that of God, it is higher than anything, and neither fire, nor the sword, nor poverty, nor infirmity, nor death, nor aught else of the kind appeareth dreadful to one who hath gotten this love, but scorning them all, he will fly to heaven, and will have affections no way inferior to those of its inhabitants, seeing nothing else, neither heaven, nor earth, nor sea, but gazing only at the one Beauty of that glory. And neither the vexations of this life present will depress him, nor the things which are goodly and attended with pleasure elate him or puff him up. Let us then love with this love (for there is not anything equal unto it) both for the sake of things present and for the sake of things to come. Or rather, more than for these, for the nature of the love itself. For we shall be set free both from the punishments of this life and of that which is to come, and shall enjoy the kingdom. Yet neither is the escape from hell, nor the fruition of the kingdom, anything great in comparison of what is yet to be said. For greater than all these things is it to have Christ our beloved at once and our lover. For if when this happens with men it is above all pleasure; when both happen from God, what language or what thought is able to set before one the blessedness of this soul? There is none that can, save the experience of it only. That then we may by experience come to know what is this spiritual joy, and life of blessedness, and untold treasure of good things, let us leave everything to cling to that love, with a view as well to our own joy as to the glory of God. For unto Him is the glory and power, with His Only-begotten, and the Holy Ghost, now, and ever, and unto all ages evermore. Amen.

HOMILY X.

ROM. V. 12.

"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon (<greek>dihlqen</greek> 6 Mss. <greek>eis</greek>. . .) all men, for that all have sinned."

As the best physicians always take great pains to discover the source of diseases, and go to the very fountain of the mischief, so doth the blessed Paul also. Hence after having said that we were justified, and having shown it from the Patriarch, and from the Spirit, and from the dying of Christ (for He would not have died unless He intended to justify), he next confirms from other sources also what he had at such length demonstrated. And he confirms his proposition from things opposite, that is, from death and sin. How, and in what way? He enquires whence death came in, and how it prevailed. How then did death come in and prevail? "Through the sin of one." But what means, "for that all have sinned?" This; he having once fallen, even they that had not eaten of the tree did from him, all of them, become mortal.[*]

Ver. 13. "For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law."

The phrase "till the Law" some think he used of the time before the giving of the Law--that of Abel, for instance, or of Noah, or of Abraham--till Moses was born. What was the sin in those days, at this rate? some say he means that in Paradise. For hitherto it was not done away, (he would say,) but the fruit of it was yet in vigor. For it had borne that death whereof all partake, which prevailed and lorded over us. Why then does he proceed, "But sin is not imputed when there is no law?" It was by way of objection from the Jews, say they who have spoken on our side,[1] that he laid this position down and said, if there be no sin without the Law, how came death to consume all those before the Law? But to me it seems that the sense presently to be given has more to be said for it, and suits better with the Apostle's meaning. And what sense is this? In saying, that "till the Law sin was in the world," what he seems to me to mean is this, that after the Law was given the sin resulting from the transgression of it prevailed, and prevailed too so long as the Law existed. For sin, he says, can have no existence if there be no law. <t> If then it was this sin, he means, from the transgression of the Law that brought forth death, how was it that all before the Law died? For if it is in sin that death hath its origin, but when there is no law, sin is not imputed, how came death to prevail? From whence it is clear, that it was not this sin, the transgression, that is, of the Law, but that of Adam's disobedience, which marred all things. Now what is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died: for "death reigned" he says, "from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned."

How did it reign? "After the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come." Now this is why Adam is a type of Christ. How a type? it will be said. Why in that, as the former became to those who were sprung from him, although they had not eaten of the tree, the cause of that death which by his eating was introduced; thus also did Christ become to those sprung from Him, even though they had not wrought righteousness, the Provider[1] of that righteousness which through His Cross[2] He graciously bestowed on us all. For this reason, at every turn he keeps to the "one," and is continually bringing it before us, when he says, "As by one man sin entered into the world"--and, "If through the offence of one many be dead:" and, "Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift;" and, "The judgment was by one to condemnation:" and again, "If by one (or, the one) man's offence death reigned by one;" and "Therefore as by the offence of one." And again, "As by one man's disobedience many (or, the many) were made sinners." And so he letteth not go of the one, that when the Jew says to thee, How came it, that by the well-doing of this one Person, Christ, the world was saved? thou mightest be able to say to him, How by the disobedience of this one person, Adam, came it to be condemned? And yet sin and grace are not equivalents, death and life are not equivalents, the Devil and God are not equivalents, but there is a boundless space between them. When then as well from the nature of the thing as from the power of Him that transacteth it, and from the very suitableness thereof (for it suiteth much better with God to save than to punish), the preëminence and victory is upon this side, what one word have you to say for unbelief, tell me? However, that what had been done was reasonable, he shows in the following words.

Ver. 15. "But not as the offence, so is also the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto the many."

For what he says is somewhat of this kind. If sin had so extensive effects, and the sin of one man too; how can grace, and that the grace of God, not the Father only, but also the Son, do otherwise than be the more abundant of the two? For the latter is far the more reasonable supposition. For that one man should be punished on account of another does not seem to be much in accordance with reason. But for one to be saved on account of another is at once more suitable and more reasonable. If then the former took place, much more may the latter. Hence he has shown from these grounds the likelihood and reasonableness of it. For when the former had been made good, this would then be readily admitted. But that it is even necessarily so, he makes good from what follows. How then does he make it good?

Ver. 16. "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift. For the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification."

And what is this that he is speaking of? It is that sin had power to bring in death and condemnation; but grace did not do away that one sin only, but also those that followed after in its train. Lest then the words "as" and "so" might seem to make the measure of the blessings and the evils equal, and that you might not think, upon hearing of Adam, that it was only that sin which he had brought in which was done away with, he says that it was from many offences that an indemnity was brought about. How is this plain? Because after the numberless sins committed after that in paradise, the matter issued in justification. But where righteousness is, there of necessity follows by all means life, and the countless blessings, as does death where sin was. For righteousness is more than life, since it is even the root of life. That there were several goods then brought in, and that it was not that sin only that was taken away, but all the rest along with it, he points out when he says, that "the gift was of many offences unto justification." In which a proof is necessarily included, that death was also torn up by the roots. But since he had said, that the second was greater than the first, he is obliged to give further grounds again for this same thing. For, before, he had said that if one man's sin slew all, much more will the grace of One have the power to save. After that he shows that it was not that sin only that was done away by the grace, but all the rest too, and that it was not that the sins were done away only, but that righteousness was given. And Christ did not merely do the same amount of good that Adam did of harm, but far more and greater good. Since then he had made such declarations as these, he wants again here also further confirmation of these. And how does he give this confirmation? He says,

Ver. 17. "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift and (so Field with most Mss.) of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."

What he says, amounts to this nearly. What armed death against the world? The one man's eating from the tree only. If then death attained so great power from one offence, when it is found that certain received a grace and righteousness out of all proportion to that sin, how shall they still be liable to death? And for this cause, he does not here say" grace," but "superabundance of grace." For it was not as much as we must have to do away the sin only, that we received of His grace, but even far more. For we were at once freed from punishment, and put off all iniquity, and were also born again from above (John iii. 3) and rose again with the old man buried, and were redeemed, justified, led up to adoption, sanctified, made brothers of the Only-begotten, and joint heirs and of one Body with Him, and counted for His Flesh, and even as a Body with the Head, so were we united unto Him! All these things then Paul calls a "superabundance" of grace, showing that what we received was not a medicine only to countervail the wound, but even health, and comeliness, and honor, and glory and dignities far transcending our natural state. And of these each in itself was enough to do away with death, but when all manifestly run together in one, there is not the least vestige of it left, nor can a shadow of it be seen, so entirely is it done away. As then if any one were to cast a person who owed ten mites (<greek>obolous</greek>) into prison, and not the man himself only, but wife and children and servants for his sake; and another were to come and not to pay down the ten mites only, but to give also ten thousand talents of gold, and to lead the prisoner into the king's courts, and to the throne of the highest power, and were to make him partaker of the highest honor and every kind of magnificence, the creditor would not be able to remember the ten mites; so hath our case been. For Christ hath paid down far more than we owe, yea as much more as the illimitable ocean is than a little drop. Do not then, O man, hesitate as thou seest so great a store of blessings, nor enquire how that mere spark of death and sin was done away, when such a sea of gifts was brought in upon it. For this is what Paul intimated by saying that "they who have received the abundance of the grace and righteousness shall reign in life." And as he had now clearly demonstrated this, he again makes use of his former argument, clenching it by taking up the same word afresh, and saying that if for that offence all were punished, then they may be justified too by these means.[*] And so he says,

Ver. 18. "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."

And he insists again upon it, saying,

Ver. 19. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.

What he says seems indeed to involve no small question: but if any one attends to it diligently, this too will admit of an easy solution. What then is the question? It is the saying that through the offence of one many were made sinners. For the fact that when he had sinned and become mortal, those who were of him should be so also, is nothing unlikely. But how would it follow that from his disobedience another would become a sinner? For at this rate a man of this sort will not even deserve punishment, if, that is, it was not from his own self that he became a sinner. What then does the word "sinners" mean here? To me it seems to mean liable to punishment and condemned to death. Now that by Adam's death we all became mortals, he had shown clearly and at large. But the question now is, for what purpose was this done? But this he does not go on to add: for it contributed nothing to his present object. For it is against a Jew that the contest is, who doubted and made scorn of the righteousness by One. And for this reason after showing that the punishment too was brought in by one upon all, the reason why this was so he has not added. For he is not for superfluities, but keeps merely to what is necessary. For this is what the principles of disputation did not oblige him to say any more than the Jew; and therefore he leaves it unsolved. But if any of you were to enquire with a view to learn, we should give this answer: That we are so far from taking any harm from this death and condemnation[1], if we be sober-minded, that we are the gainers even by having become mortal, first, because it is not an immortal body in which we sin; secondly, because we get numberless grounds for being religious (<greek>filosofias</greek>). For to be moderate, and to be temperate, and to be subdued, and to keep ourselves clear of all wickedness, is what death by its presence and by its being expected persuades us to. But following with these, or rather even before these, it hath introduced other greater. blessings besides. For it is from hence that the crowns of the martyrs come, and the rewards of the Apostles. Thus was Abel justified, thus was Abraham, in having slain his son, thus was John, who for Christ's sake was taken off, thus were the Three Children, thus was Daniel. For if we be so minded, not death only, but even the devil himself will be unable to hurt us. And besides there is this also to be said, that immortality awaits us, and after having been chastened a little while, we shall enjoy the blessings to come without fear, being as if in a sort of school in the present life, under instruction by means of disease, tribulation, temptations, and poverty, and the other apparent evils, with a view to our becoming fit for the reception of the blessings of the world to come.

Ver. 20. "Moreover the Law entered: that the offence might abound."

Since then he had shown that the world was condemned from Adam, but from Christ was saved and freed from condemnation, he now seasonably enters upon the discussion of the Law, here again undermining the high notions of it. For it was so far from doing any good, he means, or from being any way helpful, but the disorder was only increased by its having come in. But the particle "that" again does not assign the cause, but the result. For the purpose of its being given was not "in order that" it might abound, for it was given to diminish and destroy the offence. But it resulted the opposite way, not owing to the nature of the Law, but owing to the listlessness of those who received it.[*] But why did he not say the Law was given, but "the Law entered by the way?" It was to show that the need of it was temporary, and not absolute or imperative. And this he says also to the Galatians, showing the very same thing another way. "For before faith came," he says, "we were kept under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." And so it was not for itself, but for another, that it kept the flock. For since the Jews were somewhat gross-minded, and enervated, and indifferent to the gifts themselves, this was why the Law was given, that it might convict them the more, and clearly teach them their own condition, and by increasing the accusation might the more repress them. But be not thou afraid, for it was not that the punishment might be greater that this was done, but that the grace might be seen to be greater. And this is why he proceeds,

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

He does not say did abound, but "did much more abound." For it was not remission from punishment only that He gave us, but that from sins, and life also. As if any were not merely to free a man with a fever from his disease, but to give him also beauty, and strength, and rank; or again, were not to give one an hungered nourishment only, but were to put him in possession of great riches, and were to set him in the highest authority. And how did sin abound? some will say. The Law gave countless commands. Now since they transgressed them all, trangression became more abundant. Do you see what a great difference there is between grace and the Law? For the one became an addition to the condemnation, but the other, a further abundance of gifts. Having then mentioned the unspeakable munificence, he again discusses the beginning and the root both of death and of life. What then is the root of death? It is sin. Wherefore also he saith,

Ver. 21. "That as sin reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

This he says to show that the latter ranks as a king, the former, death, as a soldier, being marshalled under the latter, and armed by it. If then the latter (i.e. sin) armed death, it is plain enough that the righteousness destructive hereof, which by grace was introduced, not only disarms death, but even destroys it, and undoes entirely the dominion thereof, in that it is the greatest of the two, as being brought in not by man and the devil, but by God and grace, and leading our life unto a goodlier estate, and to blessings unlimited. For of it there will never be any end (to give you a view of its superiority from this also). For the other cast us out of our present life, but grace, when it came, gave us not the present life, but the immortal and eternal one. But for all these things Christ is our voucher. Doubt not then for thy life if thou hast righteousness, for righteousness is greater than life as being mother of it.

Chap. vi. ver. 1. "What then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid."

He is again turning off to exhortation, yet introducing it not directly, lest he should seem to many to be irksome and vexing, but as if it rose out of the doctrines. For if, even so diversifying his address, he was afraid of their being offended at what he said, and therefore said, "I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort," (Rom. xv. 15) much more would he have seemed to them, had he not done so, to be too. harsh. Since then he showed the greatness of the grace by the greatness of the sins it healed, and owing to this it seemed in the eyes of the unthinking to be an encouragement to sin (for if the reason, they would say, why greater grace was shown, was because we had done great sins, let us not give over sinning, that grace may be more displayed still), now that they might not say this or suspect it, see how he turns the objection back again. First he does it by his deprecation. "God forbid." And this he is in the habit of doing at things confessed on all hands to be absurd. And then he lays down an irrefragable argument. And what is it?

Ver. 2. "How shall we," he says, "that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

What does "we are dead" mean? Does it mean that as for that, and as far as it goes, we have all received the sentence[1] of death? or, that we became dead to it by believing any being[2] enlightened. This is what one should rather say, since the sequel makes this clearly right. But what is becoming dead to it? The not obeying it in anything any more. For this baptism effected once for all, it made us dead to it. But this must of our own earnestness thenceforth continually be maintained, so that, although sin issue countless commands to us, we may never again obey it, but abide unmovable as a dead man doth. And indeed he elsewhere saith that sin itself is dead. But there he sets that down as wishing to show that virtue is easy, (Rein. vii. 87) But here, as he earnestly desires to rouse the hearer, he puts the death on his side. Next, since what was said was obscure, he again explains, using what he had said also in the way of reproof.

Ver. 3, 4. "Know ye not," he says, "my brethren, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death."

What does being "baptized into His Death" mean? That it is with a view to our dying as He did. For Baptism is the Cross. What the Cross then, and Burial, is to Christ, that Baptism hath been to us, even if not in the same respects. For He died Himself and was buried in the Flesh, but we have done both to sin. Wherefore he does not say, planted together in His Death, but in the likeness of His Death. For both the one and the other is a death, but not of the same subject; since the one is of the Flesh, that of Christ; the other of sin, which is our own. As then that is real, so is this. But if it be real, then a what is of our part again must be contributed. And so he proceeds,

"That as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

Here he hints, along with the duty of a careful walk, at the subject of the resurrection. In what way? Do you believe, he means, that Christ died, and that He was raised again? Believe then the same of thyself. For this is like to the other, since both Cross and Burial is thine. For if thou hast shared in Death and Burial, much more wilt thou in Resurrection and Life. For now the greater is done away with, the sin I mean, it is not right to doubt any longer about the lesser, the doing away of death.

But this he leaves for the present to the conscience of his hearers to reason out, but himself, after the resurrection to come had been set before us, demands of us another, even the new conversation, which is brought about in the present life by a change of habits.[4] When then the fornicator becomes chaste, the covetous man merciful, the harsh subdued, even here a resurrection has taken place, the prelude to the other. And how is it a resurrection? Why, because sin is mortified, and righteousness hath risen again, and the old life hath been made to vanish, and this new and angelic one is being lived in. But when you hear of a new life, look for a great alteration, a wide change. But tears come into my eyes, and I groan deeply to think how great religiousness (<greek>filosofian</greek>) Paul requires of us, and what listlessness we have yielded ourselves up to, going back after our baptism to the oldness we before had, and returning to Egypt, and remembering the garlic after the manna. (Num. xi. 5.) For ten or twenty days at the very time of our Illumination, we undergo a change, but then take up our former doings again. But it is not for a set number of days, but for our whole life, that Paul requires of us such a conversation. But we go back to our former vomit, thus after the youth of grace building up the old age of sins. For either the love of money, or the slavery to desires not convenient, or any other sin whatsoever, useth to make the worker thereof old. "Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (Heb. viii. 13.) For there is no body, there surely is none, to be seen as palsied by length of time, as a soul is decayed and tottering with many sins. Such an one gets carried on to the last degree of doting, yielding indistinct sounds, like men that are very old and crazed, being surcharged with rheum, and great distortion of mind, and forgetfulness, and with scales upon its eyes, and[1] disgustful to men, and an easy prey to the devil. Such then are the souls of sinners; not so those of the righteous, for they are youthful and well-favored, and are in the very prime of life throughout, ever ready for any fight or struggle. But those of sinners, if they receive even a small shock, straightway fall and are undone. And it was this the Prophet made appear, when he said, that like as the chaff which the wind scattereth from the face of the earth (Ps. i. 4), thus are they that live in sin whirled to and fro, and exposed to every sort of harm. For they neither see like a healthy person, nor hear with simplicity, they speak not articulately, but are oppressed with great shortness of breath. They have their mouth overflowing with spittle. And would it were but spittle, and nothing offensive! But now they send forth words more fetid than any mire, and what is worst, they have not power even to spit this saliva of words away from them, but taking it in their hand with much lewdness, they smear it on again, so as to be coagulating, and hard to perspire through.[2] Perhaps ye are sickened with this description. Ought ye not, then to be more so at the reality? For if these things when happening in the body are disgustful, much more when in the soul. Such was that son who wasted out all his share, and was reduced to the greatest wretchedness, and was in a feebler state than any imbecile or disordered person. But when he was willing, he became suddenly young by his decision alone and his change. For as soon as he had said, "I will return to my Father," this one word conveyed to him all blessings; or rather not the bare word, but the deed which he added to the word. For he did not say, "Let me go back," and then stay there; but said, Let me go back, and went back, and returned the whole of that way. Thus let us also do; and even if we have gotten carried beyond the boundary, let us go up to our Father's house, and not stay lingering over the length of the journey. For if we be willing, the way back again is easy and very speedy. Only let us leave the strange and foreign land; for this is what sin is, drawing us far away from our Father's house; let us leave her then, that we may speedily return to the house of our Father. For our Father hath a natural yearning towards us, and will honor us if we be changed, no less than those that are unattainted, if we change, but even more, just as the father showed that son the greater honor. For he had greater pleasure himself at receiving back his son. And how am I to go back again? one may say. Do but put a beginning upon the business, and the whole is done. Stay from vice, and go no farther into it, and thou hast laid hold of the whole already. For as in the case of the sick, being no worse may be a beginning of getting better, so is the case with vice also. Go no further, and then your deeds of wickedness will have an end. And if you do so for two days, you will keep off on the third day more easily; and after three days you will add ten, then twenty, then an hundred, then your whole life. (Cf. Hom. xvii. on St. Matt. p. 267, O. T.) For the further thou goest on, the easier wilt thou see the way to be, and thou wilt stand on the summit itself, and wilt at once enjoy many goods. For so it was when the prodigal came back, there were flutes, and harps, and dancings, and feasts, and assemblings: and he who might have called his son to account for his ill-timed extravagance, and flight to such a distance, did nothing of the sort, but looked upon him as unattainted, and could not find it in him even to use the language of reproach, or rather, even to mention barely to him the former things, but threw himself upon him, and kissed him, and killed the calf, and put a robe upon him, and placed on him abundant honors. Let us then, as we have such examples before us, be of good cheer and keep from despair. For He is not so well pleased with being called Master, as Father, nor with having a slave as with having a son. And this is what He liketh rather than that. This then is why He did all that He has done; and "spared not even His Only-begotten Son" (Rom. viii. 32), that we might receive the adoption of sons, that we might love Him, not as a Master only, but as a Father. And if He obtained this of us He taketh delight therein as one that has glory given him, and proclaimeth it to all though He needeth nothing of ours. This is what, in Abraham's case for instance, He everywhere does, using these words, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And yet it was the), of His household who should have found an honor in this; but now it is the Lord evidently who does this; for this is why He says to Peter, "Lovest thou Me more than these?" (John xxi. 17) to show that He seeketh nothing so much as this from us. For this too He bade Abraham offer his son to Him, that He might make it known to all that He was greatly beloved[1] by the patriarch. Now this desire to be loved exceedingly comes from loving exceedingly. For this cause too He said to the Apostles, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me." (Matt. x. 37.) For this cause He bids us esteem that even which is in the most close connection with us, our soul (or, life, v. 39, and John xii. 25), as second to the love of him, since He wisheth to be beloved by us with exceeding entireness. For we too, if we have no strong feelings about a person, have no strong desire for his friendship either, though he be great and noble; whereas when we love any one warmly and really, though the person loved be of low rank and humble, yet we esteem love from him as a very great honor. And for this reason He Himself also called it glory not to be loved by us only, but even to suffer those shameful things in our behalf. (ib. 23.) However, those things were a glory owing to love only. But whatever we suffer for Him, it is not for love alone; but even for the sake of the greatness and dignity of Him we long for, that it would with good reason both be called glory, and be so indeed. Let us then incur dangers for Him as if running for the greatest crowns, and let us esteem neither poverty, nor disease, nor affront, nor calumny, nor death itself, to be heavy and burdensome, when it is for Him that we suffer these things. For if we be right-minded, we are the greatest possible gainers by these things, as neither from the contrary to these shall we if not right-minded gain any advantage. But consider; does any one affront thee and war against thee? Doth he not thereby set thee upon thy guard, and give thee an opportunity of growing like unto God? For if thou lovest him that plots against thee, thou wilt be like Him that "maketh His Sun to rise upon the evil and good." (Matt. v. 45.) Does another take thy money away? If thou bearest it nobly, thou shalt receive the same reward as they who have spent all they have upon the poor. For it says, "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." (Heb. x. 34.) Has any one reviled thee and abused thee, whether truly or falsely, he weaves for thee a very great crown if thou bearest meekly his contumely; since he too, who calumniates, provides for us an abundant reward. For "rejoice," it says, "and be exceeding glad, when men say all manner of evil against you falsely, because great is your reward in Heaven." (Matt. v. 12, 11.) And he too that speaketh truth against us is of the greatest service, if we do but bear meekly what is said. For the Pharisee spake evil of the Publican, and with truth, still instead of a Publican he made him a righteous man. (Luke xviii. 11.) And what need to go into particular instances. For any one that will go to the conflicts of Job may learn all these points accurately. And this is why Paul said, "God for us, who against us?" (Rom. viii. 31.) As then by being earnest, we gain even from things that vex us, so by being listless, we do not even improve from things that favor us. For what did Judas profit, tell me, by being with Christ? or what profit was the Law to the Jew? or Paradise to Adam? or what did Moses profit those in the wilderness? And so we should leave all, and look to one point only, how we may husband aright our own resources. And if we do this, not even the devil himself will ever get the better of us, but will make our profiting the greater, by putting us upon being watchful. Now in this way it is that Paul rouses the Ephesians, by describing his fierceness. Yet we sleep and snore, though we have to do with so crafty an enemy. And if we were aware of a serpent[2] nestling by our bed, we should make much ado to kill him. But when the devil nestleth in our souls, we fancy that we take no harm, but lie at our ease; and the reason is, that we see him not with the eyes of our body. And yet this is why we should rouse us the more and be sober. For against an enemy whom one can perceive, one may easily be on guard; but one that cannot be seen, if we be not continually in arms, we shall not easily escape. And the more so, because he hath no notion of open combat (for he would surely be soon defeated), but often under the appearance of friendship he insinuates the venom of his cruel malice. In this way it was that he suborned Job's wife, by putting on the mask of natural affectionateness, to give that wretchless advice. And so when conversing with Adam, he puts on the air of one concerned and watching over his interests, and saith, that "your eyes shall be opened in the day that ye eat of the tree." (Gen. iii. 5.) Thus Jephtha too he persuaded, under the pretext of religion, to slay his daughter, and to offer the sacrifice the Law forbade. Do you see what his wiles are, what his varying warfare? Be then on thy guard, and arm thyself at all points with the weapons of the Spirit, get exactly acquainted with his plans, that thou mayest both keep from being caught, and easily catch him. For it was thus that Paul got the better of him, by getting exactly acquainted with these. And so he says, "for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. ii. 11.) Let us then also be earnest in learning and avoiding his stratagems, that after obtaining a victory over him, we may, whether in this present life or in that which is to come, be proclaimed conquerors, and obtain those unalloyed blessings, by the grace and love toward man, etc.

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