COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
HOMILIES XIII & XIV (ROM. 7 & 8)

HOMILY XIII.

ROM. VII. 14.

"For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."

After having said that great evils had taken place, and that sin, taking occasion by the commandment, had grown stronger, and the opposite of what the Law mainly aimed at had been the result, and after having thrown the hearer into a great deal of perplexity, he goes on next to give the rationale of these events, after first clearing the Law of any ill suspicion. For lest--upon hearing that it was through the commandment that sin took that occasion, and that it was when it came that sin revived, and through it deceived and killed--any one should suppose the Law to be the source of these evils, he first sets forth its defence with considerable advantage, not clearing it from accusation only, but encircling it also with the utmost praise. And this he lays down, not as granting it for his own part, but as declaring a universal judgment. "For we know," he says, "that the Law is spiritual." As if he had said, This is an allowed thing, and self-evident, that it "is spiritual," so far is it from being the cause of sin, or to blame for the evils that have happened. And observe, that he not only clears it of accusation, but bestows exceeding great praise upon it. For by calling it spiritual, he shows it to be a teacher of virtue and hostile to vice; for this is what being spiritual means, leading off from sin of every kind' And this the Law did do, by frightening, admonishing, chastening, correcting, recommending every kind of virtue. Whence then, was sin produced, if the teacher was so admirable? It was from the listlessness of its disciples. Wherefore he went on to say, "but I am carnal;" giving us a sketch now of man, as comporting himself in the Law, and before the Law.[*] "Sold under sin." Because with death (he means) the throng of passions also came in. For when the body had become mortal, it was henceforth a necessary thing for it to receive concupiscence, and anger, and pain, and all the other passions, which required a great deal of wisdom <greek>FilsoFas</greek> to prevent their flooding us, and sinking reason in the depth of sin. For in themselves they were not sin,[1] but, when their extravagancy was unbridled, it wrought this effect. Thus (that I may take one of them and examine it as a specimen) desire is not sin: but when it has run into extravagance, being not minded to keep within the laws of marriage,[2] but springing even upon other men's wives; then the thing henceforward becomes adultery, yet not by reason of the desire, but by reason of its exorbitancy. And observe the wisdom of Paul. For after praising the Law, he hastens immediately to the earlier period, that he may show the state of our race, both then and at the time it received the Law, and make it plain how necessary the presence of grace was, a thing he labored on every occasion to prove. For when he says, "sold under sin," he means it not of those who were under the Law only, but of those who had lived before the Law also, and of men from the very first. Next he mentions the way in which they were sold and made over.

Ver. 15. "For that which I do, I know not."

What does the "I know not" mean?--I am ignorant. And when could this ever happen? For nobody ever sinned in ignorance. Seest thou, that if we do not receive his words with the proper caution, and keep looking to the object of the Apostle, countless incongruities will follow? For if they sinned through ignorance, then they did not deserve to be punished. As then he said above, "for without the Law sin is dead," not meaning that they did not know they were sinning, but that they knew indeed, but not so distinctly; wherefore they were punished, but not so severely: and again; "I should not have known lust;" not meaning an entire ignorance of it, but referring to the most distinct knowledge of it; and said, that it also "wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, not meaning to say that the commandment made the concupiscence, but that sin through the commandment introduces an intense degree of concupiscence;so here it is not absolute ignorance that he means by saying, "For what I do, I know not;" since how then would he have pleasure in the law of God in his inner man? What then is this, "I know not?" I get dizzy, he means, I feel carried away,[1] I find a violence done to me, I get tripped up without knowing how. Just as we often say, Such an one came and carried me away with him, without my knowing how; when it is not ignorance we mean as an excuse, but to show a sort of deceit, and circumvention, and plot. "For what I would, that I do not: but what I hate, that I do." How then canst thou be said not to know what thou art doing? For if thou willest the good, and hatest the evil, this requires a perfect knowledge. Whence it appears that he says, "that I would not," not as denying free will, or as adducing any constrained necessity. For if it was not willingly, but by compulsion, that we sinned, then the punishments that took place before would not be justifiable. But as in saying "I know not," it was not ignorance he set before us, but what we have said; so in adding the "that I would not," it is no necessity he signifies, but the disapproval he felt of what was done.[2] Since if this was not his meaning in saying, "That which I would not, that I do:" he would else have gone on, "But I do what I am compelled and enforced to." For this is what is opposed to willing and power <greek>exousia</greek>. But now he does not say this, but in the place of it he has put the word, "that I hate," that you might learn how when he says, "that I would not," he does not deny the power. Now, what does the "that I would not" mean? It means, what I praise not, what I do not approve, what I love not. And in contradistinction to this, he adds what follows; "But what I hate, that I do."

Ver. 16. "If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the Law, that it is good."

You see here, that the understanding is not yet perverted, but keeps up its own noble character even during the action. For even if it does pursue vice, still it hates it the while, which would be great commendation, whether of the natural or the written Law. For that the Law is good, is (he says) plain, from the fact of my accusing myself, when I disobey the Law, and hate what has been done. And yet if the Law was to blame for the sin, how comes it that he felt a delight in it, yet hated what it orders to be done? For, "I consent," he says, "unto the Law, that it is good."

Ver 17, 18. "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."

On this text, those who find fault with the flesh, and contend it was no part of God's creation, attack us. What are we to say then? Just what we did before, when discusssing the Law: that as there he makes sin answerable for everything so here also. For he does not say, that the flesh worketh it, but just the contrary, "it is not I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." But if he does say that "there dwelleth no good thing in it," still this is no charge against the flesh. For the fact that "no good thing dwelleth in it," does not show that it is evil itself. Now we admit, that the flesh is not so great as the soul, and is inferior to it, yet not contrary, or opposed to it, or evil; but that it is beneath the soul, as a harp beneath a harper, and as a ship under the pilot. And these are not contrary to those who guide and use them, but go with them entirely, yet are not of the same honor with the artist. As then a person who says, that the art resides not in the harp or the ship, but in the pilot or harper, is not finding fault with the instruments, but pointing out the great difference between them[1] and the artist; so Paul in saying, that "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing," is not finding fault with the body, but pointing out the soul's superiority.. For this it is that has the whole duty or pilotage put into its hands, and that of playing. And this Paul here points out, giving the governing power to the soul, and after dividing man into these two things, the soul and the body, he says, that the flesh has less of reason, and is destitute of discretion, and ranks among things to be led, not among things that lead. But the soul has more wisdom, and can see what is to be done and what not, yet is not equal to pulling in the horse as it wishes. And this would be a charge not against the flesh only, but against the soul also, which knows indeed what it ought to do, but still does not carry out in practice what seems best to it. "For to will," he says, "is present with me; but how to perforth that which is good, I find not." Here again in the words, "I find not," he does not speak of any ignorance or perplexity, but a kind of thwarting and crafty assault made by sin, which he therefore points more clearly out in the next words.

Ver. 19, 20. "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more Ithat do it but sin that dwelleth in me."

Do you see, how he acquits the essence of the soul, as well as the essence of the flesh, from accusation, and removes it entirely to sinful actions? For if the soul willeth not the evil, it is cleared: and if he does not work it himself, the body too is set free, and the whole may be charged upon the evil moral choice. Now the essence of the soul and body and of that choice are not the same, for the two first are God's works, and the other is a motion from ourselves, towards whatever we please to direct it For willing is indeed natural <greek>emFuton</greek>, and is from God:but willing on this wise is our own, and from our own mind.

Ver. 21. "I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me."

What he says is not very clear. What then is it that is said? I praise the law, he says, in my conscience, and I find it pleads on my side so far as I am desirous of doing what is right, and that it invigorates this wish For as I feel a pleasure in it, so does it yield praise to my decision. Do you see how he shows, that the knowledge of what is good and what is not such is an original and fundamental part of our nature, and that the Law of Moses praises it, and getteth praise from it? For above he did not say so much as I get taught by the Law, but "I consent to the Law;" nor further on that I get instructed by it, but "I delight in" it. Now what is" I delight?" It is, I agree with it as right, as it does with me when wishing to do what is good. And so the willing what is good and the not willing what is evil was made a fundamental part of us from the first. But the Law, when it came, was made at once a stronger accuser in what was bad, and a greater praiser in what was good. Do you observe that in every place be bears witness to its having a kind of intensitiveness and additional advantage, yet nothing further? For though it praises and I delight in it, and wish what is good the "evil is" still "present with me," and the agency of it has not been abolished. And thus the Law, with a man who determines upon doing anything good, only acts so far as auxiliary to him, as that it has the same wish as himself. Then since he had stated it indistinctly, as he goes on he gives a yet more distinct interpretation, by showing how the evil is present, how too the Law is a law to such a person only who has a mind to do what is good.

Ver. 22. "For I delight," he says, "in the law of God after the inward man."

He means, for I knew even before this what was good, but when I find it set down in writing, I praise it.

Ver. 23. "But I see another law warring against the law of my mind."

Here again he calls sin a law warring against the other, not in respect of good order, but from the strict obedience yielded to it by those who comply with it. As then it gives the name of master <greek>kurion</greek> Matt. vi. 24; Luke xvi. 13) to Mammon, and of god (Phil. iii. 19) to the belly, not because of their intrinsically deserving it, but because of the extreme obsequiousness of their subjects so here he calls sin a law, owing to those who are so obsequious to it, and are afraid to leave it, just as those who have received the Law dread leaving the Law. This then, he means, is opposed to the law of nature; for this is what is meant by "the law of my mind." And he next represents an array and battle, and refers[1] the whole struggle to the law of nature. For that of Moses was subsequently added over and above: yet still both the one and the other, the one as teaching, the other as praising what was right, wrought no great effects in this battle; so great was the thraldom of sin, overcoming and getting the upper hand as it did. And this Paul setting, forth, and showing the decided <greek>kata</greek> <greek>k</greek>,s232><greek>atos</greek> victory it had, says, "I see another law warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity." He does not use the word conquering only, but "bringing me into captivity to the law of sin." He does not say the bent of the flesh, or the nature of the flesh, but "the law of sin." That is, the thrall, the power. In what sense then does he say, "Which is in my members?" Now what is this? Surely it does not make the members to be sin, but makes them as distinct from sin as possible. For that which is in a thing is diverse from that wherein it is. As then the commandment also is not evil, because by it sin took occasion, so neither is the nature of the flesh, even if sin subdues us by means of it. For in this way the soul will be evil, and much more so too, since it has authority in matters of action. But these things are not so, certainly they are not. Since neither if a tyrant and a robber were to take possession of a splendid mansion and a king's court, would the circumstance be any discredit to the house, inasmuch as the entire blame would come on those who contrived such an act. But the enemies of the truth, along with their impiety, fall unawares also into great unreasonableness. For they do not accuse the flesh only, but they also disparage the Law. And yet if the flesh were evil, the Law would be good. For it wars against the Law, and opposes it. If, however, the Law be not good, then the flesh is good.[*] For it wars and fights against it even by their own account. How come they then to assert that both belong to the devil, putting things opposed to each other before us? Do you see, along with their impiety, how great is their unreasonableness also? But such doctrines as these are not the Church's, for it is the sin only that she condemns; and both the Laws which God has given, both that of nature and that of Moses, she says are hostile to this, and not to the flesh; for the flesh she denies to be sin, for it is a work of God's, and one very useful too in order to virtue, if we live soberly.

Ver. 24. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

Do you notice what a great thraldom that of vice is, in that it overcomes even a mind that delighted in the Law? For no one can rejoin, he means, that I hate the Law and abhor it, and so sin overcomes me. For "I delight in it, and consent to it," and flee for refuge to it, yet still it had not the power of saving one who had fled to it. But Christ saved even one that fled from Him. See what a vast advantage grace has! Yet the Apostle has not stated it thus; but with a sigh only, and a great lamentation, as if devoid of any to help him, he points out by his perplexity the might of Christ, and says, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" The Law has not been able: conscience has proved unequal to it, though it praised what was good, and did not praise it only, but even fought against the contrary of it. For by the very words "warreth against" he shows that he was marshalled against it for his part. From what quarter then is one to hope for salvation?

Ver. 25. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Observe how he shows the necessity of having grace present with us, and that the well-doings heroin belong alike to the Father and the Son. For if it is the Father Whom he thanketh, still the Son is the cause of this: thanksgiving. But when you hear him say, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" do not suppose him to be accusing the flesh. For he does not say "body of sin," but "body of death:" that is, the mortal body--that which hath been overcome by death, not that which gendered death. And this is no proof of the evil of the flesh, but of the marring <greek>ephreias</greek>, thwarting) it has undergone. As if any one who was take captive by the savages were to be said to belong to the savages, not as being a savage, but as being detained by them: so the body is said to be of death, as being held down thereby, not as producing it. Wherefore also it is not the body that he himself wishes to be delivered from, but the mortal body, hinting, as I have often said, that from its becoming subject to suffering,[1] it also became an easy prey to sin. Why then, it may be said, the thraldom of sin being so great before the times of grace, were men punished for sinning? Because they had such commands given them as might even under sin's dominion be accomplished. For he did not draw them to the highest kind of conversation, but allowed them to enjoy wealth, and did not forbid having several wives, and to gratify anger in a just cause, and to make use of luxury within bounds.[2] (Matt. v. 38.) And so great was this condescension, that the written Law even required less than the law of nature. For the law of nature ordered one man to associate with one woman throughout. And this Christ shows in the words, "He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female." (ib. xix. 4.) But the Law of Moses neither forbade the putting away of one and the taking in of another, nor prohibited the having of two[3] at once! (ib. v. 31.) And besides this there are also many other ordinances of the Law, that one might see those who were before its day fully performing, being instructed by the law of nature. They therefore who lived under the old dispensation had no hardship done them by so moderate a system of laws being imposed upon them. But if they were not, on these terms, able to get the upper hand, the charge is against their own listlessness. Wherefore Paul gives thanks, because Christ, without any rigorousness about these things, not only demanded no account of this moderate amount,[4] but even made us able to have a greater race set before us. And therefore he says, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ." And letting the salvation which all agreed about pass, he goes from the points he had already made good, to another further point, in which he states that it was not our former sins only that we were freed from, but we were also made invincible for the future. For "there is," he says, "now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh." Yet he did not say it before he had first recalled to mind our former condition again in the words, "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."

Chap. viii. ver. 1. "There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."

Then as the fact that many fall into sin even after baptism presented a difficulty <greek>antepipten</greek>, he consequently hastened to meet it, and says not merely "to them that are in Christ Jesus," but adds, "who walk not after the flesh;" so showing that all afterward comes of our listlessness. For now we have the power of walking not after the flesh, but then it was a difficult task. Then he gives another proof of it by the sequel, in the words,

Ver. 2. "For the law of the Spirit of life hath made me free."

It is the Spirit he is here calling the law of the Spirit. For as he calls sin the law of sin, so he here calls the Spirit the law of the Spirit. And yet he named that of Moses as such, where he says, "For we know that the Law is spiritual." What then is the difference? A great and unbounded one. For that was spiritual, but this is a law of the Spirit. Now what is the distinction between this and that? The other was merely given by the Spirit, but this even furnisheth those that receive it with the Spirit in large measure. Wherefore also he called it the law of life[5] in contradistinction to that of sin, not that of Moses. For when he says, It freed me[6] from the law of sin and death, it is not the law of Moses that he is here speaking of, since in no case does he style it the law of sin: for how could he one that he had called "just and holy" so often, and destructive of sin too? but it is that which warreth against the law of the mind. For this grievous war did the grace of the Spirit put a stop to, by slaying sin, and making the contest light to us and crowning us at the outstart, and then drawing us to the struggle with abundant help. Next as it is ever his wont to turn from the Spirit to the Son and the Father, and to reckon all our estate to lean upon the Trinity? so doth he here also. For after saying, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death," he pointed at the Father as doing this by the Son, then again at the Holy Spirit along with the Son. "For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free, he says. Then again, at the Father and the Son;

Ver. 3. "For what the Law could not do," he saith, "in that it was weak through the flesh God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."

Again, he seems indeed to be disparaging the Law. But if any one attends strictly, he even highly praises it, by showing that it harmonizes with Christ, and gives preference to the same things. For he does not speak of the badness of the Law, but of "what it could not do;" and so again, "in that it was weak," not, "in that it was mischievous, or designing." And even weakness he does not ascribe to it, but to the flesh, as he says, "in that it was weak through the flesh," using the word "flesh" here again not for the essence and subsistency itself, but giving its name to the more carnal sort of mind. In which way lie acquits both the body and the Law of any accusation. Yet not in this way only, but by what comes next also. For supposing the Law to be of the contrary part, how was it Christ came to its assistance, and fulfilled its requisitions, and lent it a helping hand by condemning sin in the flesh? For this was what was lacking, since in the soul the Lord had condemned it long ago. What then? is it the greater thing that the Law accomplished, but the less that the Only-Begotten did? Surely not. For it was God that was the principal doer of that also, in that He gave us the law of nature, and added the written one to it. Again, there were no use of the greater, if the lesser had not been supplied. For what good is it to know what things ought to be done, if a man does not follow it out? None, for it were but a greater condemnation. And so He that hath saved the soul it is, Who hath made the flesh also easy to bridle. For to teach is easy, but to show besides a way in which these things were easily done, this is the marvel. Now it was for this that the Only-Begotten came, and did not depart before He had set us free from this difficulty. But what is greater, is the method of the victory; for He took none other flesh, but this very one which was beset with troubles. So it is as if any one were to see in the street a vile woman of the baser sort being beaten, and were to say he was her son, when he was the king's, and so to get her free from those who ill treated her. And this He really did, in that He confessed that He was the Son of Man, and stood by it (i.e. the flesh), and condemned the sin. However, He did not endure to smite it besides; or rather, He smote it with the blow of His death, but in this very act it was not the smitten flesh which was condemned and perished, but the sin which had been smiting. And this is the greatest possible marvel. For if it were not in the flesh that the victory took place, it would not be so astonishing, since this the Law also wrought. But the wonder is, that it was with the flesh <greek>meta</greek> <greek>sarkos</greek> that His trophy was raised, and that what had been overthrown numberless times by sin, did itself get a glorious victory over it. For behold what strange things there were that took place! One was, that sin did not conquer the flesh; another, that sin was conquered, and conquered by it too. For it is not the same thing not to get conquered, and to conquer that which was continually overthrowing us. A third is, that it not only conquered it, but even chastised it. For by not sinning it kept from being conquered, but by dying also, He overcame and condemned it, having made the flesh, that before was so readily made a mock of by it, a plain object of fear to it. In this way then, He at once unnerved its power, and abolished the death by it introduced. For so long as it took hold of sinners, it with justice kept pressing to its end. But after finding a sinless body, when it had given it up to death, it was condemned as having acted unjustly. Do you observe, how many proofs of victory there are? The flesh not being conquered by sin, Its even conquering and condemning it, Its not condemning it barely, but condemning it as having sinned. For after having convicted it of injustice, he proceeds to condemn it, and that not by power and might barely, but even by the rules of justice. For this is what he means by saying, "for sin condemned sin in the flesh." As if he had said that he had convicted it of great sin, and then condemned it. So you see it is sin that getteth condemned everywhere, and not the flesh, for this is even crowned with honor, and has to give sentence against the other. But if he does say that it was "in the likeness" of flesh that he sent the Son, do not therefore suppose that His flesh was of a different kind. For as he called it "sinful," this was why he put the word "likeness."[1] For sinful flesh it was not that Christ had, but like indeed to our sinful flesh, yet sinless, and in nature the same with us. And so even from this it is plain that by nature the flesh was not evil. For it was not by taking a different one instead of the former, nor by changing this same one in substance, that Christ caused it to regain the victory: but He let it abide in its own nature, and yet made it bind on the crown of victory over sin, and then after the victory raised it up, and made it immortal. What then, it may be said, is this to me, whether it was this flesh that these things happened in? Nay, it concerns thee very much. Wherefore also he proceeds:

Ver. 4. "That the righteousness[1] of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh."

What meaneth this word, righteousness? Why, the end, the scope, the well-doing. For what was its design, and what did it enjoin? To be without sin. This then is made good to us <greek>katmrqwtai</greek> <greek>hmin</greek> now through Christ. And the making a stand against it, and the getting the better of it, came from Him. But it is for us to enjoy the victory. Then shall we never sin henceforth? We never shall unless we have become exceedingly relaxed and supine. And this is why he added, "to them that walk not after the flesh. For lest, after hearing that Christ hath delivered thee from the war of sin, and that the requisition <greek>dikaiwma</greek> of the Law is fulfilled in thee, by sin having been "condemned in the flesh," thou shouldest break up all thy defences; therefore, in that place also, after saying, "there is therefore no condemnation," he added, "to them that walk not after the flesh;" and here also, "that the requisition of the Law might be fulfilled in us," he proceeds with the very same thing; or rather, not with it only, but even with a much stronger thing.[2] For after saying, "that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us that walk not after the flesh," he proceeds, "but after the Spirit."

So showing, that it is not only binding upon us to keep ourselves from evil deeds, but also to be adorned <greek>koman</greek> with good. For to give thee the crown is His; but it is thine to hold it fast when given. For the righteousness of the Law, that one should not become liable to its curse, Christ has accomplished for thee. Be not a traitor then to so great a gift, but keep guarding this goodly treasure. For in this passage he shows that the Font will not suffice to save us, unless, after coming from it, we display a life worthy of the Gift. And so he again advocates the Law in saying what he does. For when we have once become obedient to Christ, we must use all ways and plans so that its righteousness, which Christ fulfilled, may abide in us, and not come to naught.

Ver. 5. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh."

Yet even this is no disparaging of the flesh. For so long as it keeps its own place, nothing amiss cometh to pass. But when we let it have its own will in everything, and it passes over its proper bounds, and rises up against the soul, then it destroys and corrupts everything, yet not owing to its own nature, but to its being out of proportion, and the disorder thereupon ensuing. "But they that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit."

Ver. 6. "For to be carnally minded is death." He does not speak of the nature of the flesh, or the essence of the body, but of being carnally "minded," which may be set right again, and abolished. And in saying thus, he does not ascribe to the flesh any reasoning power of its own. Far from it. But to set forth the grosset motion of the mind, and giving this a name from the inferior part, and in the same way as he often is in the habit of calling man in his entireness, and viewed as possessed of a soul, flesh. "But to be spiritually minded." Here again he speaks of the spiritual mind, in the same way as he says further on, "But He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the spirit" (ver. 27); and he points out many blessings resulting from this, both in the present life, and in that which is to come. For as the evils which being carnally minded introduces, are far outnumbered by those blessings which a spiritual mind affords. And this he points out in the words "life and peace." The one is in contraposition to the first--for death is what he says to be carnally minded is. And the other in contraposition to the following. For after mentioning peace, he goes on,

Ver. 7. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:" and this is worse than death. Then to show how it is at once death and enmity; "for it is not subject to the Law of God," he says, "neither indeed can be." But be not troubled at hearing the "neither indeed can be." For this difficulty admits of an easy solution. For what he here names "carnal mindedness" is the reasoning (or "way of thinking," <greek>loUismon</greek> that is earthly, gross, and eager-hearted after the things of this life and its wicked doings. It is of this he says "neither yet can" it "be subject" to God. And what hope of salvation is there left, if it be impossible for one who is bad to become good? This is not what he says. Else how would Paul have become such as he was? how would the (penitent) thief, or Manasses, or the Ninevites or how would David after falling have recovered himself? How would Peter after the denial have raised himself up? (1 Cor. v. 5.) How could he that had lived in fornication have been enlisted among Christ's fold? (2 Cor. ii. 6-11.) How could the Galatians who had "fallen from grace" (Gal. v. 4), have attained their former dignity again? What he says then is not that it is impossible for a man that is wicked to become good, but that it is impossible for one who continues wicked to be subject to God. Yet for a man to be changed, and so become good, and subject to Him, is easy. For he does not say that man cannot be subject to God, but, wicked doing cannot be good. As if he had said, fornication cannot be chastity, nor vice virtue. And this it says in the Gospel also, "A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit" (Matt. vii. 18), not to bar the change from virtue to vice, but to say how incapable continuance in vice is of bringing forth good fruits. For He does not say that an evil tree cannot become a good one, but that bring forth good fruit it cannot, while it continues evil. For that it can be changed, He shows from this passage, and from another parable, when He introduces the tares as becoming wheat, on which score also He forbids their being rooted up; "Lest," lie says, "ye root up also the wheat with them (ib. xiii. 29);that is, that which will spring <greek>Uinesqai</greek> 4 Mss. <greek>tiktesqai</greek> from them. It is vice then he means by carnal mindedness, and by spiritual mindedness the grace given, and the working of it discernible in the right determination of mind, not discussing in any part of this passage, a substance and an entity, but virtue and vice. For that which thou hadst no power to do under the Law, now, he means, thou wilt be able to do, to go on uprightly, and with no intervening fall, if thou layest hold of the Spirit's aid. For it is not enough not to walk after the flesh, but we must also go after the Spirit, since turning away from what is evil will not secure our salvation, but we must also do what is good. And this will come about, if we give our souls up to the Spirit, and persuade our flesh to get acquainted with its proper position, for in this way we shall make it also spiritual; as also if we be listless we shall make our soul carnal. For since it was no natural necessity which put the gift into us, but the freedom[1] of choice placed it in our hands, it rests with thee henceforward whether this shall be or the other. For He, on His part, has performed everything. For sin no longer warreth against the law of our mind, neither doth it lead us away captive as heretofore, for all that state has been ended and broken up, and the affections cower in fear and trembling at the grace of the Spirit. But if thou wilt quench the light, and cast out the holder of the reins, and chase the helmsman away, then charge the tossing thenceforth upon thyself. For since virtue hath been now made an easier thing (for which cause also we are under far stricter obligations of religious living), consider how men's condition lay when the Law prevailed, and how at present, since grace hath shone forth. The things which aforetime seemed not possible to any one, virginity, and contempt of death, and of other stronger sufferings, are now in full vigor through every part of the world, and it is not with us alone, but with the Scythians, and Thracians, and Indians, and Persians, and several other barbarous nations, that there are companies of virgins, and clans of martyrs, and congregations of monks, and these now grown even more numerous than the married, and strictness of fasting, and the utmost renunciation of property. Now these are things which, with one or two exceptions, persons who lived under the Law never conceived even in a dream. Since thou seest then the real state of things voiced with a shriller note than any trumpet, let not thyself grow soft and treacherous to so great a grace. Since not even after the faith is it possible for a listless man to be saved! For the wrestlings are made easy that thou mayest strive and conquer, nor that thou shouldest sleep, or abuse the greatness of the grace by making it a reason for listlessness, so wallowing again in the former mire. And so he goes on to say,

Ver. 8. "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

What then? Are we, it will be said, to cut our bodies in pieces to please God, and to make our escape from the flesh? and would you have us be homicides, and so lead us to virtue? You see what inconsistencies are gendered by taking the words literally. For by "the flesh" in this passage, he does not mean the body, or the essence of the body, but that life which is fleshly and worldly, and uses self-indulgence and extravagance to the full, so making the entire man flesh. For as they that have the wings of the Spirit, make the body also spiritual, so do they who bound off from this, and are the slaves of the belly, and of pleasure, make the soul also flesh, not that they change the essence of it, but that they mar its noble birth. And this mode of speaking is to be met with in many parts of the Old Testament also, to signify by flesh the gross and earthly life, which is entangled in pleasures that are not convenient. For to Noah He says, "My Spirit shall not always make its abode in these men, because they are flesh." (Gen. vi. 3 as the LXX. give it.) And yet Noah was himself also compassed about with flesh. But this is not the complaint, the being compassed about with the flesh, for this is so by nature, but the having chosen a carnal life. Wherefore also Paul saith, "But they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Then he proceeds:

Ver. 9. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit."

Here again, he does not mean flesh absolutely, but such sort of flesh, that which was in a whirl and thraldom of passions. Why then, it may be said, does he not say so, nor state any difference? It is to rouse the hearer, and to show that he that liveth aright is not even in the body. For inasmuch as it was in a manner clear to every one that the spiritual man was not in sin, he states the greater truth that it was not in sin alone, that the spiritual man was not, but hot even in the flesh was he henceforward, having become from that very moment an Angel, and ascended into heaven, and henceforward barely carrying the body about. Now if this be thy reason for disparaging the flesh, because it is by its name that he calls the fleshly life, at this rate you are also for disparaging the world, because wickedness is often called after it, as Christ also said to His disciples, "Ye are not of this world ;" and again to His brethren, He says, "The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth." (John xv. 19, ib. vii. 7.) And the soul too Paul must afterwards be calling estranged from God, since to those that live in error, he gives the name of men of the soul (1 Cor. ii. 14, <greek>yukikos</greek> A. V. natural). But this is not so, indeed it is not so. For we are not to look to the bare words, but always to the sentiment of the speaker, and so come to a perfectly distinct knowledge of what is said. For some things are good, some bad, and some indifferent. Thus the soul and the flesh belong to things indifferent, since each may become either the one or the other. But the spirit belongs to things good, and at no thee becometh any other thing. Again, the mind of the flesh, that is, ill-doing, belongs to things always bad. "For it is not subject to the law of God." If then thou yieldest thy soul and body to the better, thou wilt have become of its part. If on the other hand thou yield to the worse, then art thou made a partaker of the ruin therein, not owing to the nature of the soul and the flesh, but owing to that judgment which has the power of choosing either. And to show that these things are so, and that the words do not disparage the flesh, let us take up the phrase itself again, and sift it more thoroughly. "But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit," he says. What then? were they not in the flesh, and did they go about without any bodies? What sense would this be? You see that it is the carnal life that he intimates. And why did he not say, But ye are not in sin? It is that you may come to know that Christ hath not extinguished the tyranny of sin only, but hath even made the flesh to weigh us down less, and to be more spiritual, not by changing its nature, but rather by giving it wings. For as when fire cometh in company with iron, the iron also becomes fire, though abiding in its own nature still; thus with them that believe, and have the Spirit, the flesh henceforth goeth over into that manner of working, and becometh wholly spiritual, crucified in all parts, and flying with the same wings as the soul, such as was the body of him who here speaks. Wherefore all self-indulgence and pleasure he made scorn of, and found his self-indulgence in hunger, and stripes, and prisons, and did not even feel pain in undergoing them. (2 Cor. xi.) And it was to show this that he said, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment," etc. (ib. iv. 17.) Sowell had he tutored even the flesh to be in harmony with the spirit. "If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" <greek>eiper</greek> He often uses this "if so be," not to express any doubt, but even when he is quite persuaded of the thing, and instead of "since," as when he says, "If it is a righteous thing," for "seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you." (2 Thess. i. 6.) Again, "Have ye suffered so many things in vain, if it be yet in vain?" (Gal. iii. 4.)

"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ." He does not say, if ye have not, but he brings forward the distressing word, as applied to other persons. "He is none of His." he says.

Ver. 10. "And if Christ be in you."

Again, what is good he applies to them,[1] and the distressing part was short and parenthetic. And that which is an object of desire, is on either side of it, and put at length too, so as to throw the other into shade. Now this he says, not as affirming that the Spirit is Christ, far from it, but to show that he who hath the Spirit not only is called Christ's, but even hath Christ Himself. For it cannot but be that where the Spirit is, there Christ is also. For wheresoever one Person of the Trinity is, there the whole Trinity is present. For It is undivided in Itself, and hath a most entire Oneness. What then, it may be said, will happen, if Christ be in us? "The body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." You see the great evils that come of not having the Holy Spirit death, enmity against God, inability to satisfy His laws, not being Christ's as we should be the want of His indwelling. Consider now also what great blessings come of having the Spirit. Being Christ's, having Christ himself, vying with the Angels (for this is what mortifying the flesh is), and living an immortal life, holding henceforward the earnests of the Resurrection, running with ease the race of virtue. For he does not say so little as that the body is henceforward inactive for sin, but that it is even dead, so magnifying the ease of the race. For such an one without troubles and labors gains the crown. Then afterward for this reason he adds also, "to sin," that you may see that it is the viciousness, not the essence of the body, that He hath abolished at once. For if the latter had been done, many things even of a kind to be beneficial to the soul would have been abolished also. This however is not what he says, but while it is vet alive and abiding, he contends, it is dead. For this is the sign of our having the Son, of the Spirit being in us, that our bodies should be in no respect different from those that lie on the bier with respect to the working of sin (so the Mss. Say. "of the body." The preceding words are slightly corrupt.) But be not affrighted at hearing of mortifying. For in it you have what is really life, with no death to succeed it: and such is that of the Spirit. It yieldeth not to death any more, but weareth out death and consumeth it, and that which it receiveth, it keepeth it immortal. And this is why after saying "the body is dead," he does not say, "but the Spirit 'liveth,'" but, "is life," to point out that He (the Spirit) had the power of giving this to others also. Then again to brace up his hearer, he tells him the cause of the Life, and the proof of it. Now this is righteousness; for where there is no sin, death is not to be seen either; but where death is not to be seen, life is indissoluble.

Ver. 11. "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up our Lord shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."

Again, he touches the point of the Resurrection, since this was the most encouraging[2] hope to the hearer, and gave him a security from what had happened unto Christ. Now be not thou afraid because thou art compassed about with a dead body. Let it have the Spirit, and it shall assuredly rise again. What then, shall the bodies which have not the Spirit not rise? How then must "all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ?" (Rom. xiv. 10) or how will the account of hell be trustworthy? For if they that have not the Spirit rise not, there will not be a hell at all. What then is it which is said? All shall rise, yet not all to life, but some to punishment and some to life. (John v. 29.) This is why he did not say, shall raise up, but shall quicken. (Dan. xii. 2.) And this is a greater thing than resurrection, and is given to the just only. And the cause of this honor be adds in the words, "By His Spirit: that dwelleth in you." And so if while here thou drive away the grace of the Spirit, and do not depart with it still safe, thou wilt assuredly perish, though thou dost rise again. For as He will not endure then, if he see His Spirit shining in thee, to give thee up to punishment, so neither will He allow them, if He see It quenched, to bring thee into the Bride-chamber, even as He admitted not those virgins. (Matt. xxv. 12.)

Suffer not thy body then to live in this world, that it may live then! Make it die, that it die not. For if it keep living, it will not live: but if it die, then shall it live. And this is the case with resurrection in general. For it must die first and be buried, and then become immortal. But this has been done in the Font. It has therefore had first its crucifixion and burial, and then been raised. This has also happened with the Lord's Body. For that also was crucified and buried (7 Mss. died) and rose again. This then let us too be doing: let us keep continually mortifying it in its works. I do not mean in its substance--far be it from me--but in its inclinations towards evil doings. For this is a life too, or rather this only is life, undergoing nothing that is common to man, nor being a slave to pleasures. For he who has set himself under the rule of these, has no power even to live through the low spirits, the fears, and the dangers, and the countless throng of ills, that rise from them. For if death must be expected, he hath died, before death, of fear. And if it be disease he dreads, or affront, or poverty, or any of the other ills one cannot anticipate, he is ruined and hath perished. What then can be more miserable than a life of this sort? But far otherwise is he that liveth to the Spirit, for he stands at once above fears and grief and dangers and every kind of change: and that not by undergoing no such thing, but, what is much greater, by thinking scorn of them when they assail him. And how is this to be? It will be if the Spirit dwell in us continually. For he does not speak of any short stay made thereby, but of a continual indwelling. Hence he does not say "the Spirit which" dwelt, but "which dwelleth in us," so pointing to a continual abiding. He then is most truly alive, who is dead to this life. Hence he says, "The Spirit is life because of righteousness." And to make the thing clearer, let me bring[1] before you two men, one who is given up to extravagances and pleasures, and the deceitfulness of this life; and the other made dead to all these; and let us see which is more really the living one. For let one of these two be very rich and much looked up to, keeping parasites and flatterers,[2] and let us suppose him to spend the whole day upon this, in revelling and drunkenness: and let the other live in poverty, and fasting, and hard fare, and strict rules <greek>FilosoFia</greek>, and at evening partake of necessary food only; or if you will let him even pass two or three days without food.[3] Which then of these two think we (3 Mss. you) is most really alive? Men in general will, I know, reckon the former so, the man that takes his pleasure (Sav. <greek>skrtpnta</greek>, Mss. <greek>truFpnta</greek> and squanders his goods. But we reckon the man that enjoys the moderate fare. Now then since it is still a subject of contest and opposition let us go into the houses of them both, and just at the very thee too when in your judgment the rich man is living in truest sense, in the very season of self-indulgence, and when we have got in, let us look and see the real condition of each of these men. For it is from the actions that it appears which is alive and which dead. Shall we not find the one among his books, or in prayer and fasting, or some other necessary duty, awake and sober, and conversing with God? but the other we shall see stupid in drunkenness, and in no better condition than a dead man. And if we wait till the evening, we shall see this death coming upon him more and more, and then sleep again succeeding to that: but the other we shall see even in the night keeping from wine and sleep. Which then shall We pronounce to be most alive, the man that lies in a state of insensibility, and is an open laughing-stock to everybody? or the man that is active, and conversing with God? For if you go up to the one, and tell him some thing he ought to know, you will not hear him say a word, any more than a dead man. But the latter, whether you choose to be in his company at night or by day, you will see to be an angel rather than a man, and will hear him speak wisdom about things in Heaven. Do you see how one of them is alive above all men living, and the other in a more pitiable plight even than the dead? And even if he have a mind to stir he sees one thing instead of another and is like people that are mad, or rather is in a worse plight even than they. For if any one were to do them any harm, we should at once feel pity for the sufferer, and rebuke the doer of the wrong. But this man, if we were to see a person trample on him, we should not only be disinclined to pity, but should even give judgment against him, now that he was fallen. And will you tell me this is life, and not a harder lot than deaths unnumbered? So you see the self-indulgent man is not only dead, but worse than dead, and more miserable than a man possessed. For the one is the object of pity, the other of hatred. And the one has allowance made him, the other suffers punishment for his madness. But if externally he is so ridiculous, as having his saliva tainted, and his breath stinking of wine, just consider what case his wretched soul, inhumed as it were in a grave, in such a body as this, is probably in. For one may look upon this as much the same as if one were to permit a damsel, comely, chaste, free-born, of good family, and handsome, to be trampled on, and every way insulted by a serving woman, that was savage, and disgustful, and impure; drunkenness being something of this sort. And who, being in his senses, would not choose to die a thousand deaths, rather than live a single day in this way? For even if at daylight he were to get up, and seem to be sober from that revelling (or absurd show, <greek>kwmwdias</greek>, 1 Ms. <greek>kwmou</greek> of his, still even then it is not the clear brightness of temperance which he enjoys, since the cloud from the storm of drunkenness still is hanging before his eyes. And even if we were to grant him the clearness of sobriety, what were he the better? For this soberness would be of no service to him, except to let him see his accusers. For when he is in the midst of his unseemly deeds, he is so far a gainer in not perceiving those that laugh at him. But when it is day he loses this comfort even, and while his servants are murmuring, and his wife is ashamed, and his friends accuse him, and his enemies make sport of him, he knows it too. What can be more miserable than a life like this, to be laughed at all day by everybody, and when it is evening to do the same unseemly things afresh. But what if you would let me put the covetous before you? For this is another, and even a worse intoxication. But if it be an intoxication, then it must be a worse death by far than the former, since the intoxication is more grievous. And indeed it is not so sad to be drunk with wine as with covetousness. For in the former case, the penalty ends with the sufferings (several Ms. "sufferer,") and results in insensibility, and the drunkard's own ruin. But in this case the mischief passes on to thousands of souls, and kindles wars of sundry kinds upon all sides. Come then and let us put this beside the other, and let us see what are the points they have in common, and in what again this is worse than it, and let us make a comparison of drunkards to-day. For with that blissful man, who liveth to the Spirit, let them not be put at all in comparison, but only tried by one another. And again, let us bring the money-table before you, laden as it is with blood. What then have they in common, and in what are they like each other? It is in the very nature of the disease. For the species of drunkenness is different, as one comes of wine, the other of money, but its way of affecting them is similar, both being alike possessed with an exorbitant desire. For he who is drunken with wine, the more glasses he has drunk off, the more he longs for; and he that is in love with money, the more he compasses, the more he kindles the flame of desire, and the more importunate he renders his thirst. In this point then they resemble each other. But in another the covetous man has the advantage (in a bad sense). Now what is this? Why that the other's affection is a natural one. For the wine is hot, and adds to one's natural drought, and so makes drunkards thirsty. But what is there to make the other man always keep desiring more? how comes it that when he is increased in riches, then he is in the veriest poverty? This complaint then is a perplexing one, and has more of paradox about it. But if you please, we will take a view of them after the drunkenness also. Or rather, there is no such thing as ever seeing the covetous man after his drunkenness, so continual a state of intoxication is he in Let us then view them both in the state of drunkenness, and let us get a distinct notion which is the most ridiculous, and let us again figure to ourselves a correct sketch of them. We shall see then the man who dotes with his wine at eventide with his eves open, seeing no one, but moving about at mere haphazard, and stumbling against such as fall in his way, and spewing: and convulsed, and exposing his nakedness m an unseemly manner. (See Habak. ii. 16.) And if his wife be there, or his daughter, or his maid-servant, or anybody else, they[1] will laugh at him heartily. And now let us bring before you the covetous man. Here what happens is not deserving of laughter only, but even of a curse, and exceeding wrath, and thunderbolts without number. At present however let us look at the ridiculous part, for this man as well as the other has an ignorance of all, whether friend or foe. And like him too, though his eyes are open, he is blinded. And as the former takes all he sees for wine, so does this man take all for money. And his spewing is even more disgusting. For it is not food that he vomits, but words of abuse, of insolence, of war, of death, that draws upon his own head lightnings without number from above. And as the body of the drunkard is livid and dissolving, so also is the other's soul. Or rather, even his body is not free from this disorder, but it is taken even worse, care eating it away worse than wine does (as do anger too and want of sleep), and by degrees exhausting it entirely. And he that is seized with illness from wine, after the night is over may get sober. But this person is always drunken day and night, watching or sleeping, so paying a severer penalty for it than any prisoner, or person at work in the mines, or suffering any punishment more grievous than this, if such there be. Is it then life pray, and not death? or rather, is it not a fate more wretched than any death? For death gives the body rest, and sets it free from ridicule, as well as disgrace and sins: but these drunken fits plunge it into all these, stopping up the ears, dulling the eyesight, keeping down the understanding in great darkness. For it will not bear the mention of anything but interest, and interest upon interest, and shameful gains, and odious traffickings, and ungentlemanly and slavelike transactions, barking like a dog at everybody, and hating everybody, averse to everybody, at war with everybody, without any reason for it, rising up against the poor, grudging at the rich, and civil to nobody. And if he have a wife, or Children, or friends, if he may not use them all towards getting gain, these are to him more his enemies than natural enemies. What then can be worse than madness of this sort, and what more wretched? when a man is preparing rocks for his own self on every side, and shoals, and precipices, and gulfs, and pits without number, while he has but one body, and is the slave of one belly. And if any thrust thee into a state office, thou wilt be a runaway, through fear of expense. Yet to thyself thou art laying up countless charges far more distressing than those, enlisting thyself for services not only more expensive, but also more dangerous, to be done for mammon, and not paying this tyrant a money contribution only, nor of bodily labor, torture to the soul, and grief, but even of thy blood itself, that thou mayest have some addition to thy property (miserable and sorrow-stricken man!) out of this barbarous slavery. Do you not see those who are taken day by day to the grave, how they are carried to tombs naked and destitute of all things, unable to take with them aught that is in the house, but bearing what clothes they have about them to the worm? Consider these day by day, and perchance the malady will abate, unless you mean even by such an occasion to be still more mad at the expensiveness of the funeral rites--for the malady is importunate, the disease terrible! This then is why we address you upon this subject at every meeting, and constantly foment your hearing, that at all events by your growing accustomed to such thoughts, some good many come. But be not contentious, for it is not only at the Day to come. but even before it, that this manifold malady brings with it sundry punishments. For if I were to tell you of those who pass their days in chains, or of one nailed to a lingering disease, or of one struggling with famine, or of any other thing whatsoever, I could point out no one who suffers so much as they do who love money. For what severer evil can befall one, than being hated by all men, than hating all men, than not having kindly feeling towards any, than being never satisfied, than being in a continual thirst, than struggling with a perpetual hunger, and that a more distressing one than what all men esteem such? than having pains day by day, than being never sober, than being continually in worries and harasses? For all these things, and more than these, are what the covetous set their shoulder to; in the midst of their gaining having no perception of pleasure, though scraping to themselves from all men, because of their desiring more. But in the case of their incurring a loss, if it be but of a farthing, they think they have suffered most grievously, and have been cast out of life itself. What language then can put these evils before you? And if their fate here be such, consider also what comes after this life, the being cast out of the kingdom, the pain that comes from hell, the perpetual chains, the outer darkness, the venomous worm, the gnashing of teeth, the affliction, the sore straitening, the rivers of fire, the furnaces that never get quenched. And gathering all these together, and weighing them against the pleasure of money, tear up now this disease root and branch, that so receiving the true riches, and being set free from this grievous poverty, thou mayest obtain the present blessings, and those to come, by the grace and love toward man, etc.

HOMILY XIV.

ROM. VIII. 12, 13.

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

AFTER showing how great the reward of a spiritual life is, and that it maketh Christ to dwell in us, and that it quickeneth our mortal bodies, and wingeth them to heaven, and rendereth the way of virtue easier, he next fitly introduces an exhortation to this purpose. "Therefore" we ought "not to live after the flesh." But this is not what he says, for he words it in a much more striking and powerful way, thus, "we are debtors to the Spirit." For saying, "we are debtors not to the flesh," indicates this. And this is a point he is everywhere giving proof of, that what God hath done for us is not matter of debt, but of mere grace. But after this, what we do is no longer matter of free-will offering, but of debt. For when he saith, "Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men" (1 Cor. vii. 23); and when he writes, "Ye are not your own" (ib. vi. 19); and again in another passage he calls these selfsame things to their mind, in these words, "If (most Mss. ore. "if") One died for all, then all died(1) that they should not henceforth live unto themselves." (2 Cor. v. 15.) And it is to establish this that he says here also, "We are debtors;" then since he said we are "not" debtors "to the flesh," lest you should again take him to be speaking against the nature of the flesh, he does not leave speaking, but proceeds, "to live after the flesh." For there are many things which we do owe it, as giving it food, warmth, and rest, medicine when out of health, clothing, and a thousand other attentions. To prevent your supposing then that it is this ministration he is for abrogating when he says, "We are not debtors to the flesh," he explains it by saying, "to live after the flesh." For the care that i am for abrogating is, he means, that which leadeth to sin, as I should be for its having what is healing to it. And this he shows further on. For when he says, "Make not provision for the flesh," he does not pause at this, but adds, "to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Rom. xiii. 14.) And this instruction he gives us here also, meaning, Let it have attention shown it indeed, for we do owe it this, yet let us not live according to the flesh, that is, let us not make it the mistress of our life. For it must be the follower, not the leader, and it is not it that must regulate our life, but the laws of the Spirit must it receive. Having then defined this point, and having proved that we are debtors to the Spirit, to show next for what benefits it is that we are debtors, he does not speak of those past (a thing which serves as a most striking proof of his judgment), but those which were to come; although even the former were enough for the purpose. Yet still he does not set them down in the present case or mention even those unspeakable blessings, but the things to come. For a benefit once for all conferred does not, for the most part, draw men on so much as one which is expected, and is to come. After adding this then, he first uses the pains and ills that come of living after the flesh, to put them in fear, in the following words; "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die," so intimating to us that deathless death, punishment, and vengeance in hell. Or rather if one were to look accurately into this, such an one is, even in this present life, dead. And this we have made clear to you in the last discourse. "But if ye through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." You see that it is not the essence of the body whereof we are discoursing, but the deeds of the flesh. For he does not say, "if ye through the Spirit do mortify" the essence "of the body," but "the deeds of" it, and these not all deeds, but such as are evil. And this is plain in what follows: for if ye do this, "ye shall live," he says. And how is it in the nature of things for this to be, if it was all deeds that his language applied to? for seeing and hearing and speaking and walking are deeds of the body; and if we mortify these, we shall be so far from, living, that we shall have to suffer the punishment of a manslayer. What sort of deeds then does he mean us to mortify? Those which tend toward wickedness, those which go after vice, which there is no other way of mortifying save through the Spirit. For by killing yourself you may put an end to the others.(2) And this you have no right to do. But to these (you can put an end) by the Spirit only. For if This be present, all the billows are laid low, and the passions cower under It, and nothing can exalt itself against us.(3) So you see how it is on things to come, as I said before, that he grounds his exhortations to us, and shows that we are debtors not owing to what has been already done only. For the advantage of the Spirit is not this only, that He hath set us free from our former sins, but that He rendereth us impregnable against future ones, and counts us worthy of the immortal life. Then, to state another reward also, he proceeds:

Ver. 14. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Now this is again a much greater honor than the first. And this is why he does not say merely, As many as live(4) by the Spirit of God, but, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God," to show that he would have Him use such power over our life as a pilot doth over a ship, or a charioteer over a pair of horses. And it is not the body only, but the soul itself too, that he is for setting under reins of this sort. For he would not have even that independent, but place its authority(5) also under the power of the Spirit. For lest through a confidence in the Gift of the Font they should turn negligent of their conversation after it, he would say, that even supposing you receive baptism, yet if you are not minded to be "led by the Spirit" afterwards, you lose the dignity bestowed upon you, and the preeminence of your adoption. This is why he does not say, As many as have received the Spirit, but, "as many as are led by the Spirit," that is, as many as live up to this all their life long, "they are the sons of God." Then since this dignity was given to the Jews also, for it says, "I said ye are Gods, and all of you children of the Most High" (Ps. lxxxii. 6); and again, "I have nourished and brought up children" (Is. i. 2); and so, "Israel is My first-born" (Ex. iv. 22); and Paul too says, "Whose is the adoption" (Rom. ix. 4)--he next asserts the great difference between the latter and the former honor. For though the names are the same, he means, still, the things are not the same. And of these points he gives a clear demonstration, by introducing a comparison drawn both from the persons so advanced <greek>katorqoiuntwn</greek> and from what was given them, and from what was to come. And first he shows what they of old had given them. What then was this? "A spirit of bondage:" and so he thus proceeds,

Ver. 15. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear."

Then not staying to mention that which stand's in contradistinction to bondage, that is, the spirit of freedom, he has named what is far greater, that of adoption, through which he at the same time brings in the other, saying, "But ye have received the Spirit of adoption."

But this is plain. But what the spirit of bondage may be, is not so plain, and there is need of making it clearer. Now what he says is so far from being clear, that it is in fact very perplexing. For the people of the Jews did not receive the Spirit. What then is his meaning here? It is the letter he giveth this name to, for spiritual it was, and so he called the Law spiritual also, and the water from the Rock, and the Manna. "For they did eat," he says, "of the same spiritual meat, and all drank of the same spiritual drink." (1 Cor. x. 3, 4.) And to the Rock he gives this name, when he says, "For they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them." Now it is because all the rites then wrought were above nature that he calls them spiritual, and not. because those who then partook of them received the Spirit. And in what sense were those letters, letters of bondage? Set before yourself the whole dispensation, and then you will have a clear view of this also. For recompenses were with them close at hand, and the reward followed forthwith, being at once proportionate, and like a kind of daily ration given to domestic servants, and terrors in abundance came to their height before their eyes, and their purifications concerned their bodies, and their continency extended but to their actions. But with us it is not so, since the imagination even and the conscience getteth purged out. For He does not say, "Thou shalt do no murder," only, but even thou shall not be angry: so too, it is not, "Thou shall not commit adultery," but thou shall not look unchastely. So that it is not to be from fear of present punishment, but out of desire towards Himself, that both our being habitually virtuous, and all our single good deeds are to come. Neither doth he promise a land flowing with milk and honey, but maketh us joint-heir with the Only-Begotten, so making us by every means stand aloof from things present, and promising to give such things especially as are worth the acceptance of men made sons of God, nothing, that is, of a sensible kind or corporeal, but spiritual all of them. And so they, even if they had the name of sons, were but as slaves; but we as having been made free, have received the adoption, and are waiting for Heaven. And with them He discoursed through the intervention of others, with us by Himself. And all that they did was through the impulse of fear, but the spiritual act through a coveting and a vehement desire. And this they show by the fact of their(1) overstepping the commandments. They, as hirelings and obstinate persons, so never left murmuring: but these do all for the pleasing of the Father. So too they blasphemed when they had benefits done them: but we are thankful at being jeoparded; And if there be need of punishing both of us upon our sinning, even in this case the difference is great. For it is not on being stoned and branded and maimed by the priests, as they were, that we are brought round. But it is enough for us to be cast out from our Father's table, and to be out of sight for certain days. And with the Jews the honor of adoption was one of name only, but here the reality followed also, the cleansing of Baptism, the giving of the Spirit, the furnishing of the other blessings. And there are several other points besides, which go to show our high birth and their low condition. After intimating all these then by speaking of the Spirit, and fear, and the adoption, he gives a fresh proof again of having he Spirit of adoption. Now what is this? That "we cry, Abba, Father." And how great this is, the initiated know (St. Cyr. Jer. Cat. 23, § 11, p. 276, O. T.), being with good reason bidden to use this word first in the Prayer of the initiated. What then, it may be said, did not they also call God Father? Dost thou not hear Moses, when he says, "Thou desertedst the God that begot thee?" (Deut. xxxii. 15. LXX.) Dost thou not hear Malachi reproaching them, and saying, that "one God formed you," and there is "one Father of you all?" (Mal. ii. 10. LXX.) Still, if these words and others besides are used, we do not find them anywhere calling God by the name, or praying in this language. But we all, priests and laymen, rulers and ruled, are ordered to pray herein. And this is the first language we give utterance to, after those marvellous throes, and that strange and unusual mode of labor. If in any other instances they so called Him, that was only of their own mind. But those in the state of grace do it through being moved by the in-working of the Spirit. For as there is a Spirit of Wisdom, after which they that were unwise became wise, and this discloses itself in their teaching: and a Spirit of Power there is, whereby the feeble raised up the dead, and drove out devils; a Spirit also of the gift of healing, and a Spirit of prophecy, and a Spirit of tongues, so also a Spirit of adoption. And as we know the Spirit of prophecy, in that he who hath it foretelleth things to come, not speaking of his own mind, but moved by the Grace; so too is the Spirit of adoption, whereby he that is gifted with it calleth God, Father, as moved by the Spirit. Wishing to express this as a most true descent, he used also the Hebrew(1) tongue, for he does not say only, "Father," but "Abba, Father," which name is a special sign of true-born children to their fathers. After mentioning then the diversity resulting from their conversation, that resulting from the grace which had been given, and that from their freedom, he brings forward another demonstration of the superiority which goes with this adoption. Now of what kind is this?

Ver. 16. "The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

For it is not from the language merely, he says, that I make my assertion, but from the cause out of which the language has its birth; since it is from the Spirit suggesting it that we so speak. And this in another passage he has put into plainer words, thus: "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba Father." (Gal. iv. 6.) And what is that, "Spirit beareth witness with spirit?" The Comforter, he means, with that Gift, which is given unto us. For it is not of the Gift alone that it is the voice, but of the Comforter also who gave the Gift, He Himself having taught us through the Gift so to speak. But when the "Spirit beareth witness"what farther place for doubtfulness? For if it were a man, or angel, or archangel, or any other such power that promised this, then there might be reason in some doubting. But when it is the Highest Essence that bestoweth this Gift, and "beareth witness" by the very words He bade us use in prayer, who would doubt any more of our dignity? For not even when the Emperor elects any one, and proclaims in all men's hearing the honor done him, does anybody venture to gainsay.

Ver. 17. "And if children, then heirs." Observe how he enhances the Gift by little and little. For since it is a possible case to be children, and yet not become heirs (for it is not by any means all children that are heirs), he adds this besides--that we are heirs. But the Jews, besides their not having the same adoption as we, were also cast out from the inheritance. For "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out the vineyard to other husbandmen" (Matt. xxi. 41): and before this, He said that "many shall come from the East and from the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, but the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out." (ib. viii. 11, 12.) But even here he does not pause, but sets down something even greater than this. What may this be then? That we are heirs of God; and so he adds, "heirs of God." And what is more still, that we are not simply heirs, but also "joints heirs with Christ." Observe how ambitious he is of bringing us near to the Master. For since it is not all children that are heirs, he shows that we are both children and heirs; next, as it is not all heirs that are heirs to any great amount, he shows that we have this point with us too, as we are heirs of God. Again, since it were possible to be God's heir, but in no sense "joint heir with" the Only-Begotten, he shows that we have this also. And consider his wisdom. For after throwing the distasteful part into a short compass, when he was saying what was to become. of such as "live after the flesh," for instance, that they "shall die," when he comes to the more soothing part, he leadeth forth his discourse into a large room, and so expands it on the recompense of rewards, and in pointing out that the gifts too are manifold and great. For if even the being a child were a grace unspeakable, just think how great a thing it is to be heir! But if this be great, much more is it to be "joint heir." Then to show that the Gift is not of grace only, and to give at the same time a credibility to what he says, he proceed. "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." If, he would say, we be sharers with Him in what is painful, much more shall it be so in what is good. For He who bestowed such blessings upon those who had wrought no good, how, when He seeth them laboring and suffering so much, shall he do else than give them greater requital? Having then shown that the thing was a matter of return, to make men give credit to what was said, and prevent any from doubting, he shows further that it has the virtue of a gift. The one he showed that what was said might gain credit even with those that doubted, and that the receivers of it might not feel ashamed as being evermore receiving salvation for nought; and the other, that you might see that God outdoeth the toils by His recompenses. And the one he has shown in the words, "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." But the other in proceeding to add;

Ver. 18. "The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in (Gr. <greek>eis</greek>) us."

In what went before, he requires of the spiritual man the correcting of his habits (Mar. and 6 Mss. passions), where he says, "Ye are not debtors to live after the flesh," that such an one, for instance, should be above lust, anger, money, vainglory, grudging. But here having reminded them of the whole gift, both as given and as to come, and raised him up aloft with hopes, and placed him near to Christ, and showed him to be a joint-heir of the Only-Begotten; he now leads him forth with confidence even to dangers. For to get the better of the evil affections in us, is not the same thing with bearing up under those trials, scourges, famine, plunderings, bonds, chains, executions. For these last required much more of a noble and vigorous sprat. And observe how he at once allays and rouses the spirit of the combatants. For after he had shown that the rewards were greater than the labors, he both exhorts to greater efforts, and yet will not let them be elated, as being still outdone by the crowns given in requital. And in another passage he says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. iv. 17): it being the deeper sort of persons he was then speaking to. Here, however, he does not allow that the afflictions were light; but still he mingles comfort with them by the compensation which good things to come afford, in the words, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared," and he does not say, with the rest <greek>anesin</greek> that is to come, but what is much greater, "with the glory which is to come." For it does not follow, that where rest is there is glory; but that where glory is there is rest, does follow: then as he had said that it is to come, he shows that it already is. For he does not say, that which is to be, but "which shall be revealed in us," as if already existing but unrevealed. As also in another place he said in clearer words, "Our life is hid with Christ in God."(1) Be then of a good heart about it. For already hath it been prepared, and awaiteth thy labors. But if it vexes you that it is yet to come, rather let this very thing rejoice you. For it is owing to its being great and unutterable, and transcending our present condition, that it is stored up there. And so he has not put barely "the sufferings of this present time," but he speaks so as to show that it is not in quality only, but in quantity also, that the other life has the advantage. For these sufferings, whatever they are, are attached to our present life; but the blessings to come reach themselves out over ages without end. And since he had no way of giving a particular description of these, or of putting them before us in language, he gives them a name from what seems to be specially an object of desire with us, "glory." For the summit of blessings and the sum of them, this seems to be. And to urge the hearer on in another way also, he gives a loftiness to his discourse by the mention of the creation, gaining two points by what he is next saying, the contempt of things present, and the desire of things to come, and a third beside these, or rather the first, is the showing how the human race is cared for on God's part and in what honor He holds our nature. And besides this, all the doctrines of the philosophers, which they had framed for themselves about this world, as a sort of cobweb or child's mound,(2) he throws down with this one doctrine. But that these things may stand in a clearer light, let us hear the Apostle's own language.

Ver. 19, 20. "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth," he says, "for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope."

And the meaning is something of this kind. The creation itself is in the midst of its pangs, waiting for and expecting these good things whereof we have just now spoken. For "earnest expectation" <greek>apokaradokia</greek>, looking out) implies expecting intensely. And so his discourse becomes more emphatic, and he personifies this whole world as the prophets also do, when they introduce the floods clapping their hands, and little hills leaping, and mountains skipping, not that we are to fancy them alive, or ascribe any reasoning power to them, but that we may learn The greatness of the blessings, so great as to reach even to things without sense also.(*) The very same thing they do many times also in the case of afflicting things, since they bring in the vine lamenting, and the wine too, and the mountains, and the boardings(1) of the Temple howling, and in this case too it is that we may understand the extremity of the evils. It is then in imitation of these that the Apostle makes a living person of the creature here, and says that it groaneth and travaileth: not that he heard any groan conveyed from the earth and heaven to him, but that he might show the exceeding greatness of the good things to come; and the desire of freedom from the ills which now pervaded them. "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same." What is the meaning of, "the creation was made subject to vanity?" Why that it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of thee, O man. For since thou hast taken a body mortal and liable to suffering, the earth too hath received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. But that the heaven, when it is waxen old along with the earth, is to change afterwards to a better portion <greek>lhxin</greek> v. p. 384) hear from the Prophet in his words; "Thou, O Lord, from the beginning hast founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a cloak shall Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed." (Ps. cii. 25, 26.) Isaiah too declares the same, when he says, "Look to the heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, for the heavens are as a firmament of smoke,(2) and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall perish in like manner. (Is. li. 6.). Now you see in what sense the creation is "in bondage to vanity" and how it is to be freed from the ruined state. For the one says, "Thou shalt fold them up as a garment, and they shall be changed;" and Isaiah says, "and they that dwell therein shall perish in like manner," not of course meaning an utter perishing. For neither do they that dwell therein, mankind, that is, undergo such an one, but a temporary one, and through it they are changed into an incorruptible (1 Cor. xv. 53) state, and so therefore will the creature be. And all this he showed by the way, by his saying "in like manner" (2 Pet. iii. 13), which Paul also says farther on. At present, however, he speaks about the bondage itself, and shows for what reason it became such, and gives ourselves as the cause of it. What then? Was it harshly treated on another's account? By no means, for it was on my account that it was made. What wrong then is done it, which was made for my sake, when it suffereth these things for my correction? Or, indeed, one has no need to moot the question of right and wrong at all in the case of things void of soul and feeling. But Paul, since he had made it a living person, makes use of none of these topics I have mentioned, but another kind of language, as desiring to comfort the hearer with the utmost advantage. And of what kind is this? What have you to say? he means. It was evil intreated for thy sake, and became corruptible; yet it has had no wrong done it. For incorruptible will it he for thy sake again. This then is the meaning of "in hope." But when he says, it was "not willingly" that it was made subject, it is not to show that it is possessed of judgment that he says so, but that you may learn that the whole is brought about by Christ's care. and this is no achievement of its own. And now say in what hope?

Ver. 21. "That the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption."

Now what is this creation? Not thyself alone, but that also which is thy inferior, and partaketh not of reason or sense, this too shall be a sharer in thy blessings. For "it shall be freed," he says, "from the bondage of corruption," that is, it shall no longer be corruptible, but shall go along with the beauty given to thy body; just as when this became corruptible, that became corruptible also; so now it is made incorruptible, that also shall follow it too. And to show this he proceeds. <greek>eis</greek> "Into the glorious liberty of the children of God." That is, because of[1] their liberty. For as a nurse who is bringing up a king's child, when he has come to his father's power, does herself enjoy the good things along with him, thus also is the creation, he means. You see how in all respects man takes the lead, and that it is for his sake that all things are made. See how he solaces the struggler, and shows the unspeakable love of God toward man. For why, lie would say, dost thou fret at thy temptations? thou art suffering for thyself, the creation for thee. Nor does he solace only, but also shows what he says to be trustworthy. For if the creation which was made entirely for thee is "in hope," much more oughtest thou to be, through whom the creation is to come to the enjoyment of those good things. Thus men (3 Mss. fathers) also when a son is to appear at his coining to a dignity, clothe even the servants with a brighter garment, to the glory of the son; so will God also clothe the Creature with incorruption for the glorious liberty of the children.

Ver. 22. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Observe, how he shames the hearer, saying almost, Be not thou worse than the creation, neither find a pleasure in resting in things present. Not only ought we not to cling to them, but even to groan over the delay of our departure hence. For if the creation doth this, much more oughtest thou to do so, honored with reason as thou art. But as this was not yet enough to force their attention, he proceeds.

Ver. 23. "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves."

That is, having had a taste of the things to come. For even if any should be quite stone hard, he means what has been given already is enough to raise him up, and draw him off from things present, and to wing him after things to come in two ways, both by, the greatness of the things that are given, and by the fact that, great and numerous as they are, they are but first-fruits. For if the first-fruits be so great that we are thereby freed even from our sins, and attain to righteousness and sanctification, and that those of that time both drave out devils, and raised the dead by their shadow (Acts v. 15), or garments (ib. xix. 12), consider how great the whole must be. And if the creation, devoid as it is of mind and reason, and though in ignorance of these things, yet groaneth, much more should we. Next, that he may give the heretics no handle, or seem to be disparaging our present world, we groan, he says, not as finding fault with the present system, but through a desire of those greater things. And this he shows in the words, "Waiting for the adoption." What dost thou say, let me hear? Thou didst insist on it at every turn, and didst cry aloud, that we were already made sons, and now dost thou place this good thing among hopes, writing that we must needs wait for it? Now it is to set this right by the sequel that he says, "to wit, the redemption[2] of our body." That is, the perfect glory. Our lot indeed is at present uncertainty to our last breath, since many of us that were sons have become dogs and prisoners. But if we decease with a good hope, then is the gift unmovable, and clearer, and greater, having no longer any change to fear from death and sin. Then therefore will the grace be secure, when our body shall be freed from death and its countless ailments (or passions). For this is full redemption <greek>apolutrwsis</greek>, not a redemption[3] only, but such, that we shall never again return to our former captivity. For that thou mayest not be perplexed at hearing so much of glory without getting any distinct knowledge of it, he partially exposes to thy view the things to come, setting before thee the change of thy body (Gr. changing thy body), and along with it the change of the whole creation. And this he has put in a clearer light in another passage, where he says, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body." (Phil. iii. 21.) And in another place again he writes and says, "But when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Cor. xv. 54.) But to show, that with the corruption of the body the constitution of the things of this life will also come to an end, he wrote again elsewhere, "For the fashion of this world passeth away." (1 Cor. vii. 31.)

Ver. 24. "For we are saved by hope," he says.

Now since he had dwelt upon the promise of the things to come, and this seemed to pain the weaker hearer, if the blessings are all matter of hope; after proving before that they are surer than things present and visible, and discoursing at large on the gifts already given, and showing that we have received the first fruits of those good things, lest we should seek our all in this world, and be traitors to the nobility that faith gives us, he says, "For we are (Gr. were) saved by hope." And this is about what he means. We are not to seek our all in this life, but to have hope also. For this is the only gift that we brought in to God, believing Him in what He promised shall come, and it was by this way alone we were saved. If then we lose this hope, we have lost all that was of our own contributing. For I put you this question, he would say, Wert thou not liable for countless sins? wert thou not in despair? wert thou not under sentence? were not all out of heart about thy salvation? What then saved thee? It was thy hoping[1] in God alone, and trusting to Him about His promises and gifts, and nothing besides hadst thou to bring in. If it was this then that saved thee, hold it fast now also. For that which afforded thee so great blessings, to a certainty will not deceive thee in regard to things to come. For in that it found thee dead, and ruined, and a prisoner, and an enemy, and yet made thee a friend, and a son, and a freeman, and righteous, and a joint-heir, and yielded such great things as no one ever expected even, how, after such munificence and attachment, will it betray 2 thee in what is to follow? Say not to me, hopes again! expectations again! faith again! For it is in this way thou wert saved from the beginning, and this dowry was the only one that thou didst bring in to the Bridegroom. Hold it then fast and keep it: for if thou demandest to have everything in this world, thou hast lost that well-doing of thine, through which thou didst become bright, and this is why he proceeds to say, "But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"

Ver. 25.--"But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

That is, if thou art to be looking for everything in this world, what need is there for hope? What is hope then? It is feeling confidence in things to come. What great demand then doth God make upon thee, since He Himself giveth thee blessings quite entire from His own stores? One thing only, hope, He asks of thee, that thou too mayest have somewhat of thine own to contribute toward thy salvation. And this he intimates in what he proceeds with: "For if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." As then God crowneth him that undergoes labors, and hardnesses, and countless toils, so doth He him that hopeth. For the name of patience belongs to hard work and much endurance. Yet even this He hath granted to the man that hopeth, that He might solace the wearied soul. And then to show that for this light task we enjoy abundant aid, he proceeds:

Ver. 26. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities."[*]

For the one point is thy own, that of patience, but the other comes of the Spirit's furnishings, Who also cherisheth (Gr. anointeth) thee unto this hope, and through it again lighteneth thy labors. Then that thou mightest know that it is not in thy labors only and dangers that this grace standeth by thee, but even in things the most easy seemingly,[3] it worketh with thee, and on all occasions bears its part in the alliance, he proceeds to say,

"For we know not what we should pray for as we ought."

And this he said to show the Spirit's great concern about us, and also to instruct them not to think for certainty that those things are desirable which to man's reasonings appear so. For since it was likely that they, when they were scourged, and driven out, and suffering grievances without number, should be seeking a respite, and ask this favor of God, and think it was advantageous to them, by no means (he says) suppose that what seem blessings to you really are so. For we need the Spirit's aid even to do this. So feeble is man, and such a nothing by himself. For this is why he says, "For we know not what we should pray for as we ought." In order that the learner might not feel any shame at his ignorance, he does not say, ye know not, but, "we know not." And that he did not say this merely to seem moderate, he plainly shows from other passages. For he desired in his prayers unceasingly to see Rome. Yet the time when he obtained it was not at once when he desired it. And "the thorn" that was given him "in the flesh" (2 Cor. xii. 8), that is the dangers, he often besought God, and was entirely unsuccessful.[1] And so was Moses, who in the Old Testament prays to see Palestine (Deut. iii. 26), and Jeremiah when he made supplication for the Jews (Jer. xv. 1), and Abraham when he interceded for the people of Sodom. "But the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." This statement is not clear, owing to the cessation of many of the wonders which then used to take place. Wherefore I must needs inform you of the state of things at that time, and in this way the rest of the subject will be cleared. What therefore was the state of things then? God did in those days give to all that were baptized certain excellent gifts, and the name that these had was spirits. For "the spirits of the Prophets," it says, "are subject to the prophets." (1 Cor. xiv. 32.) And one had the gift of prophecy and foretold things to come; and another of wisdom, and taught the many; and another of healings, and cured the sick; and another of miracles, and raised the dead; another of tongues, and spoke different languages. And with all these there was also a gift of prayer, which also was called a spirit, and he that had this prayed for oil the people. For since we are ignorant of much that is profitable for us and ask things that are not profitable, the gift of prayer came into some particular person of that day, and what was profitable for all the whole Church alike, he was the appointed person to ask for in behalf of all, and the instructor of the rest. Spirit then is the name that he gives here to the grace of this character, and the soul that receiveth the grace, and intercedeth to God, and groaneth. For he that was counted worthy of such grace as this, standing with much compunction, and with many mental groanings falling before God, asked the things that were profitable for all. And of this the Deacon of the present day is a symbol when he offers up the prayers for the people. This then is what Paul means when he says,[2] "the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered."

Ver. 27. "But He that searcheth the hearts."

You see that it is not about the Comforter that he is speaking, but about the spiritual heart. Since if this were not so, he ought to have said, "He that searcheth" the Spirit. But that thou mayest learn that the language is meant of a spiritual man, who has the gift of prayer, he proceeds, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit," that is, of the spiritual man.

"Because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

Not (he means) that he informs God as if ignorant, but this is done that we may learn to pray for proper things, and to ask of God what is pleasing to Him. For this is what the "according to God" is. And so this was with a view to solace those that came to Him, and to yield them excellent instruction. For He that furnished the gifts, anti gave besides blessings without number, was the Comforter. Hence it says, "all these things worketh one and the self-same Spirit." (1 Cor. xii. 11.) And it is for our instruction that this takes place, and to show the love of the Spirit, it condescendeth even to this. And it is from this that the person praying getteth heard, because the prayer is made "according to the will of God."

You see from how many points he instructs them in the love that was shown them and the honor that was done them. And what is there that God hath not done for us? The world He hath made corruptible for us, and again for us incorruptible. He suffered His Prophets to be ill-treated for our sake, sent them into captivity for us, let them fall into the furnace, and undergo ills without number. Nay, He made them prophets for us, and the Apostles also He made for us. He gave up for us His Only-Begotten, He punisheth the devil for us, He hath seated us on the Right Hand, He was reproached for us. "For the reproaches of them that reproached thee," it says, "fell upon me." (Ps. lxix. 9.) Yet still, when we are drawing back after so great favor, He leaveth us not, but again entreats, and on our account inciteth others to entreat for us, that He may show us favor. And so it was with Moses. For to him He says, "Let Me alone, that I may blot them out" (Ex. xxxii. 10), that He might drive him upon supplicating on their behalf. And now He doth the same thing. Hence He gave the gift of prayer. But this He doth, not as Himself standing in need of entreaty, but that we might[1] not, from being saved without effort <greek>aplps</greek>, grow indifferent. For this cause it is on account of David, and of this person and that, He often says, that He is reconciled with them, to establish again this very thing, that the reconciliation may be with all due formality.[2] Still He would have looked more loving toward man, if it had not been through this and the other prophet, but of Himself, that He told them that He ceased to be wroth. But the reason of His not holding to that point was, that this ground of reconciliation might not become an occasion for listlessness. Wherefore to Jeremiah also He said, "Pray not for this people, for I will not hear thee" (Jer. xi. 14), not as wishing to stop his praying (for He earnestly longeth for our salvation), but to terrify them: and this the prophet also seeing did not cease praying. And that you may see that it was not through a wish to turn him from it, but to shame[3] them that He said this, hear what it says. "Seest thou not what these are doing? "(Ez. vili. 6, not verbally from LXX.) And when He says to the city "Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap (Gr. herb), yet thou art stained before Me" (Jer. ii. 22), it is not that He may cast them into despair that He so speaks, but that He may rouse them to repentance. For as in the case of the Ninevites, by giving the sentence without limitation, and holding out no good hope, He scared them the more, and led them to repentance, so He doth here also, both to rouse them, and to render the prophet more venerated, that in this way at least they may hear him. Then, since they kept on in a state of incurable madness, and were not to be sobered even by the rest being carried away, he first exhorts them to remain there. But when they kept not up to this, but deserted to Egypt, this indeed He allowed them, but requires of them not to desert to irreligion as well as to Egypt. (Jer. xliv. 8.) But when they did not comply in this either, He sendeth the prophet along with them, so that they might not after all suffer total wreck. (Ver. 28.) For since they did not follow Him when He called, He next followeth them to discipline them, and hinder their being hurried further into vice, and as a father full of affection does a child who takes all treatment in the same peevish way, conducting him about everywhere with himself, and following him about. This was the reason why He sent not Jeremiah only into Egypt, but also Ezekiel into Babylon, and they did not refuse to go. For when they found their Master love the people exceedingly, they continued themselves to do so likewise. Much as if a right-minded servant were to take compassion upon an intractable son when he saw his father grieving and lamenting about him. And what was there that they did not suffer for them? They were sawn asunder, they were driven out, they were reproached, they were stoned, they underwent numberless grievances. And after all this they would run back to them. Samuel, for instance, ceased not to mourn for Saul, miserably insulted as he was by him, and injured irreparably. (1 Sam. xv. 35.) Still he held none of these things in remembrance. And for the people of the Jews, Jeremiah has composed Lamentations in writing. And when the general of the Persians had given him liberty to dwell securely, and with perfect freedom, wherever he pleased, he preferred above dwelling at home the affliction of the people, and their hard durance in a strange land. (Jer. xi. 5.) So Moses left the palace and the sort of living herein, and hasted to be among their calamities. And Daniel abode for twenty days following without food, pinching himself with the most severe fast, that he might reconcile God to them. (Dan. x. 2.) And the three Children too, when in the furnace, and so fierce a fire, put up a supplication for them. For it was not on their account that they were grieved, as they were saved; but since they considered that then was the time for the greatest boldness of speech, they consequently prayed in their behalf; hence too they said, "In a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted." (Song. ver. 16.) For them Joshua also rent his garments. (Josh. vii. 6.) For them Ezekiel too wailed and lamented when he saw them cut down. (Ez. ix. 8.) And Jeremy[4] said, "Let me alone, I will weep bitterly." (Is. xxii. 4.) And before this, when he did not venture openly to pray for a remittance of their sad estate, he sought for some limited period, when he says, "How long, O, Lord?" (ib. vi. 11.) For full of affectionateness is the whole race of the saints. Wherefore also St. Paul saith, "Put on therefore, as the elect saints of God, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind." (Col. iii. 12.) You see the strict propriety of the word, and how he would have us continually merciful. For he does not say, "show mercy" only, but put it on, that like as our garment is always with us, so may mercy be. And he does not say merely mercy, but "bowels of mercy," that we may imitate the natural affection of relations. But we do just the contrary, and if any one comes to ask a single penny of us, we insult them, abuse them, call them impostors. Dost thou not shudder, man, and blush to call him an impostor for bread? Why even supposing such an one is practising imposture, he deserves to be pitied for it, because he is so pressed with famine as to put on such a character. This then is a reproach to our cruelty. For since we had not the heart to bestow with readiness, they are compelled to practise a great many arts, so as to put a cheat off upon our inhumanity, and to soften down our harshness. Now if it was gold and silver that he asked of thee, then there would be some reason in thy suspicions. But if it is necessary food that he comes to thee for, why be showing thyself wise so unseasonably, and take so over exact an account of him, accusing him of idleness and sloth? For if we must talk in this way, it is not others but ourselves that we ought to address. When therefore thou art going to God to ask forgiveness for thy sins, then call these words to mind, and thou wilt know thou deservest to have these things said to thee by God, much more than the poor man by thee. And yet God hath never said such words to thee as "Stand off, since thou art an impostor, always coming to church and hearing My laws, but when abroad, setting gold, and pleasure <greek>epqumian</greek>, and friendship, and in fact anything above My commandments. And now thou makest thyself humble, but when thy prayers are over thou art bold, and cruel, and inhuman. Get thee hence, therefore, and never come to Me any more." Yet this, and more than this, we deserve to have said to us; but still He never did reproach us in any such way, but is long-suffering and fulfils everything on His own part, and gives us more than we ask for. Calling this to mind then, let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us, and if they do impose upon us, let us not be over exact about it. For such a salvation is it that we ourselves require, one with pardon, with kindness <greek>Filanqrwpias</greek>, with much mercy along with it. For it is not possible, it certainly is not, if our estate were searched into strictly, that we should ever be saved, but we must needs be punished and brought to ruin altogether. Let us not then be bitter judges of others lest we also get a strict account demanded of us. For we have sins that are too great to plead any excuse. And therefore let us show more mercy towards those who have committed inexcusable sins, that we also may lay up for ourselves the like mercy beforehand. And yet be as large-hearted as we may, we shall never be able to contribute such love toward man as we stand in need of at the hand of a God that loveth man. How then is it other than monstrous, when we are in need of so many things ourselves, to be over exact with our fellow servants, and do all we can against ourselves? For thou dost not in this way so much prove him unworthy of thy liberality, as thyself of God's love toward man. For he that deals over exactly with his fellow servant, will be the more sure to find the like treatment at God's hand. Let us not speak against ourselves, but even if they come out of idleness or wilfulness,[1] let us bestow. For we also do many sins through wilfulness, or rather we do them all through wilfulness, and yet God doth not presently call us to punishment, but gives us a set time for penance, nurturing us day by day, disciplining us, teaching us, supplying us with all other things, that we too may emulate this mercy of His. Let us then quell this cruelty, let us cast out this brutal spirit; as benefiting thereby ourselves rather than others. For to these we give money, and bread, and clothing, but for ourselves we are laying up beforehand very great glory, and such as there is no putting into words. For we receive again our bodies incorruptible, and are[2] glorified together and reign together with Christ. And how great this is we shall see from hence--or rather there is no means of making us see it clearly now. But to start from our present blessings, and to get from them at least some kind of scanty notice of it, I will endeavor so far as I may be able to put before you what I have been speaking of. Tell me then, if when you were grown old, and were living in poverty, and any one were to promise suddenly to make you young, and to bring you to the very prime of life, and to render you very strong, and preëminently beautiful, and were to give you the kingdom of the whole earth for a thousand years, a kingdom in the state of the deepest peace, what is there that you would not choose to do, and to suffer to gain this promise? (4 Mss. and Say. Mar. object.) See then, Christ promises not this, but much more than this. For the distance between old age and youth is not to be compared with the difference of corruption and incorruption, nor that of a kingdom and poverty to that of the present glory and the future, but the difference is that of dreams and a reality. Or rather I have yet said nothing to the purpose, since there is no language capable of setting before you the greatness of the difference between things to come and things present. And as for time, there is no place for the idea of difference. For what mode is there for a man to compare with our present state a life that hath no limit? And as for the peace it is as far removed from any present peace, as peace is different from war; and for the incorruption, it is as much better as a clear pearl is than a clod of clay. Or rather, say as great a thing as one may, nothing can put it before you. For were I even to compare the beauty of our bodies then to the light of the sunbeam, or the brightest lightning, I shall not yet be saying aught that is worthy of that brilliancy. Now for such things as these what money so much that it were not worth the while to give up? what bodies, or rather what souls[1] is it not worth one's while to give up? At present if any one were to lead thee into the palace, and in presence of all were to give thee an opportunity of conversing with the king, and make thee sit at his table, and join in his fare, thou wouldest call thyself the happiest of men. But when you are to go up to Heaven, and stand by the King of the universe Himself, and to vie with angels in brightness, and to enjoy even that unutterable glory, do you hesitate whether you ought to give up money? whereas if you had to put off life itself, you ought to leap and exult, and mount on wings of pleasure. But you, that you may get an office <greek>arkhn</greek>, as a place to pillage from (for call a thing of this sort gain, I cannot), put all you have to hazard, and after borrowing of others, will, if need be, pawn your wife and children too without hesitation. But when the kingdom of Heaven is set before you, that office <greek>arkhs</greek> which hath none to supersede you in it, and God bids you take not a part of a corner of the earth, but the whole of Heaven entirely, are you hesitating, and reluctant, and gaping after money, and forgetful that if the parts of that Heaven which we see are so fair and delightful, how greatly so must the upper Heaven be, and the Heaven[2] of Heaven? But since we have as yet no means of seeing this with our bodily eyes, ascend in thy thought, and standing above this Heaven, look up unto that Heaven beyond this, into that height without a bound, into that Light surcharged with awe, into the crowds of the Angels, into the endless ranks of Archangels, into the rest of the incorporeal Powers. And then lay hold again of the image (cf. Plat. Rep. vii. p. 516) thereof we have, after coming down from above, and make a sketch of the estate of a king with us, as his men in gold armor, and his pairs of white mules proudly decked with gold, and his chariots set with jewels[3] and his snow-like cushions <greek>stwmnhn</greek> Poll. x. 41), and the spangles that flutter about the chariot, and the dragons shaped out in the silken hangings, and the shields with their gold bosses, and the straps that reach up from these to the rim of them through so many gems, and the horses with the gilded trappings and the gold bits. But when we see the king we immediately lose sight of all these. For lie alone turns our eyes to him, and to the purple robe, and the diadem, and the throne, and the clasp, and the shoes, all that splendor of his appearance. After gathering all these things together then with accuracy, then again remove your thoughts from these things to things above, and to that awful day in which Christ is coming. For then you will not see any pairs of mules, nor golden chariots, nor dragons and shields, but things that are big with a mighty awe, and strike such amazement that the very incorporeal Powers are astonished. For the "powers of the Heavens," He says, "shall be shaken." (Matt. xxiv. 29.) Then is the whole Heaven thrown open, and the gates of those concaves unfold themselves, and the Only-begotten Son of God cometh down, not with twenty, not with a hundred men for His bodyguard, but with thousands, ten thousands of Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and other Powers, and with fear and trembling shall everything be filled, whiles the earth is bursting itself up, and the men that ever were born, from Adam's birth up to that day, are rising from the earth, and all are caught up; (1 Thess. iv. 17) when Himself appears with such great glory as that the sun, and the moon, and all light whatever, is cast into the shade, being outshone by that radiance. What language is to set before us that blessedness, brightness, glory? Alas! my soul. For weeping comes upon me and great groaning, as I reflect what good things we have fallen from, what blessedness we are estranged from. For estranged we are (I am now speaking of my own case still), unless we do some great and astonishing work; speak not then of hell to me now, for more grievous than any hell is the fall from this glory, and worse than punishments unnumbered the estrangement from that lot. But still we are gaping after this present world, and we take not thought of the devil's cunning, who by little things bereaves us of those great ones, and gives us clay that he may snatch from us gold, or rather that he may snatch Heaven from us, and showeth us a shadow that he may dispossess us of the reality, and puts phantoms before us in dreams (for such is the wealth of this world), that at daybreak[1] he may prove us the poorest of men. Laying these things to heart, late though it be, let us fly from this craft, and pass to the side of things to come. For we cannot say that we were ignorant how exposed to accidents the present life is, since things every day din in our ears more loudly than a trumpet, the worthlessness, the ridiculousness, the shamefulness, the dangers, the pitfalls, of the present scene. What defence then shall we have to set up for pursuing things so subject to hazards, and laden with shame, with so much eagerness, and leaving things unfailing, which will make us glorious and bright, and giving our whole selves up to the thraldom of money? For the slavery to these things is worse than any bondage. And this they know who have been counted worthy to obtain their freedom from it. That ye then may also feel this goodly liberty, burst the bonds asunder, spring out of the snare. And let there be no gold lying by in your houses, but that which is more precious than millions of money, alms and love to man, for your treasure. For this gives us boldness toward God, but the other covers us with deep shame, and causes the devil to bear hard <greek>sFodron</greek> <greek>pnein</greek> upon us. Why then arm thy enemy, and make him stronger? Arm thy right hand against him, and transfer all the splendor of thy house into thy soul, and stow away all thy fortune in thy mind, and instead of a chest and a house, let heaven keep thy gold. And let us put all our property about our own selves; for we are much better than the walls, and more dignified than the pavement. Why then do we, to the neglect of our own selves, waste all our attention upon those things, which when we are gone we can no longer reach, and often even while we stay here we cannot keep hold of, when we might have such riches as to be found not in this life only, but also in that, in the easiest circumstances? For he who carries about his farms and house and gold upon his soul, wherever he appears, appears with all this wealth. And how is this possible to be effected? one may ask. It is possible, and that with the utmost ease. For if you transfer them to Heaven by the poor man's hand, you will transfer them entire into your own soul. And if death should afterwards come upon thee, no one will take them from thee, but thou wilt depart to be rich in the next world too. This was the kind of treasure Tabitha had. Hence it was not her house that proclaimed her wealth, nor the walls, nor the stones, nor the pillars, but the bodies of widows furnished with dress, and their tears that were shed, and death that played the runaway, and life that came back again. Let us also make unto ourselves suchlike treasures, let us build up for ourselves such-like houses. In this way we shall have God for our Fellow-worker, and we ourselves shall be workers together with Him. For Himself brought the poor from not being into being, and you will prevent them, after they have been brought into life and being, from perishing with hunger and other distress, by tending them and setting them upright, staying up the Temple of God in every quarter. What can be equal to this in respect both of utility and of glory? Or if as yet you have not gained any clear notion of the great adornment He bestowed upon thee when He bade thee relieve poverty, consider this point with thyself. If He had given thee so great power, that thou wert able to set up again even the Heaven if it were falling, wouldest thou not think the thing an honor far too great for thee? See now He hath held thee worthy of a greater honor. For that which in His esteem is more precious than the Heavens,[2] He hath trusted thee to repair. For of all things visible there is nothing in God's esteem equal to man. For Heaven and earth and sea did He make for him, and finds more pleasure in dwelling with him than in the Heaven. And yet we, though with a knowledge of this, bestow no attention nor forethought upon the temples of God; but leaving them in a neglected state, we provide houses splendid and large for ourselves. This is why we are devoid of all good things, and greater beggars than the poorest poor, because we pride ourselves in these houses which we cannot take away with us when we go hence, and leave those alone which we might move away along with our own selves. For the bodies of the poor after dissolution must needs rise again; and God, Who hath given this charge, will bring them forth, and praise those who have taken care of them, and treat such with regard <greek>qaumasetai</greek>, because when they were on the point of failing to ruin at one rime by starvation, at another by nakedness and cold, these repaired them by all means in their power. But still, even with all these praises set before us, we loiter yet, and decline undertaking this honorable charge. And Christ indeed hath not where to lodge, but goeth about a stranger, and naked, and hungry, and you set up houses out of town, and baths, and terraces, and chambers without number, in thoughtless vanity; and to Christ you give not even a share of a little hut, while for daws and vultures you deck out upper chambers. What can be worse than such insanity as this? What more grievous than such madness? for madness it is in the last stage of it, or rather one has no name to suit it, use whatever one may. Yet still if we be so minded, it is possible to beat off the disorder, tenacious as it is; and not possible only, but even easy; and not easy merely, but even easier is it to get rid of this pest than of the sufferings of the body, since the Physician is so much greater. Let us then draw Him to ourselves, and invite Him to aid us in the attempt, and let us contribute our share, good-will, I mean, and energy. For He will not require anything further, but if He can meet with this only, He will confer all that is His part. Let us then contribute our share, that in this world we may enjoy a genuine health, and may attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man, etc.

Return to Volume 20 Index