HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF
ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE
TO THE CORINTHIANS
HOMILIES XLI TO XLIV (1 COR. 15 & 16)

HOMILY XLI.

1 COR. xv. 35, 36.

"But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come? Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened, except it die."

GENTLE and lowly as the apostle is to a great degree every where, he here adopts a style rather pungent, because of the impiety of the gainsayers. He is not however content with this, but he also employs reasons and examples, subduing thereby even the very contentious. And above he saith, "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead;" but here he solves an objection brought in by the Gentiles. And see how again he abates the vehemence of his censure; in that he said not, "but perhaps ye will say," but he set down the objector indefinitely, in order that, although employing his impetuous style with all freedom, he might not too severely wound his hearers. And he states two difficulties, one touching the manner of the resurrection, the other, the kind of bodies. For of both they on their part made a question, saying, "How is that which hath been dissolved raised up?" and, "with what manner of body do they come?" But what means, "with what manner of body?" It is as if they had said, "with this which hath been wasted, which hath perished, or with some other?"

Then, to point out that the objects of their enquiry are not questionable but admitted points, he at once meets them more sharply, saying, "Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened, except it die." Which we also are wont to do in the case of those who gainsay things acknowledged.

[2.] And wherefore did he not at once appeal to the power of God? Because he is discoursing with unbelievers. For when his discourse is addressed to believers, he hath not much need of reasons. Wherefore having said elsewhere, "He shall change the body of your humiliation, that it may be fashioned like to the body of his glory," (Phil. iii. 21.) and having indicated somewhat more than the resurrection, he stated no analogies, but instead of any demonstration, brought forward the power of God, going on to say, "according to the working whereby He is able to subject all things to Himself." But here he also urges reasons. That is, having established it from the Scriptures, he adds also in what comes after, these things over and above, with an eye to them who do not obey the Scriptures; and he saith, "O foolish one, that which THOU sowest:" i.e., "from thyself thou hast the proof of these things, by what thou doest every day, and doubtest thou yet? Therefore do I call thee foolish because of the things daily done by thine own self thou art ignorant, and being thyself an artificer of a resurrection, thou doubtest concerning God." Wherefore very emphatically he said, "what THOU sowest(2)," thou who art mortal and perishing.(3)

And see how he uses expressions appropriate to the purpose he had in view: thus, "it is not quickened," saith he, "except it die." Leaving, you see, the terms appropriate to seed, as that "it buds," and "grows," and "is dissolved," he adopts those which correspond to our flesh, viz. "it is quickened," and, "except it die;" which do not properly belong to seeds, but to bodies.

And he said not, "after it is dead it lives," but, which is a greater thing, "therefore it lives, because it dies." Seest thou, what I am always observing, that he continually gives their argument the contrary turn? Thus what they made a sure sign of our not rising again, the same he makes a demonstration of our rising. For they said, "the body rises not again, because it is dead." What then doth he, retorting their argument, say? "Nay, but unless it died, it could not rise again: and therefore it rises again, because it died." For as Christ more clearly signifies this very thing, in the words, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth by itself alone: but if it die, it beareth much fruit:" (John xii. 24.) thence also Paul, drawing this example, said not, "it doth not live," but, "is not quickened;" again assuming the power of God and showing that not the nature of the ground, but God Himself, brings it all to pass.

And what can be the reason that he did not bring that forward, which was more akin to the subject: I mean, the seed of mankind? (For our generation too begins from a sort of decay, even as that of the corn.) Because it was not of equal force, but the latter was a more complete instance: for he wants a case of something that perished entirely, whereas this was but a part; wherefore he rather alleges the other. Besides, that proceeds from a living body and falls into a living womb; but here it is no flesh, but the earth into which the seed is cast, and into the same it is dissolved, like the body which is dead. Wherefore on this account too the example was more appropriate.

[3.] Ver. 37. "And he who soweth, soweth not that body that shall be(1)."

For the things before spoken meet the question, "how they are raised;" but this, the doubt, "with what manner of body they come." But what is, "thou sowest not that body which shall be?" Not an entire ear of corn, nor new grain. For here his discourse no longer regards the resurrection, but the manner of the resurrection, what is the kind of body which shall rise again; as whether it be of the same kind, or better and more glorious. And he takes both from the same analogy, intimating that it will be much better.

But the heretics, considering none of these things, dart in upon us and say, "one body falls and another body rises again. How then is there a resurrection? For the resurrection is of that which was fallen. But where is that wonderful and surprising trophy over death, if one body fall and another rise again? For he will no longer appear to have given back that which he took captive. And how can the alleged analogy suit the things before mentioned?" Why, it is not one substance that is sown, and another that is raised, but the same substance improved. Else neither will Christ have resumed the same body when He became the first-fruits of them that rise again: but according to you He threw aside the former body, although it had not sinned, and took another. Whence then is that other? For this body was from the Virgin, but that, whence was it? Seest thou to what absurdity the argument hath come round? For wherefore shows He the very prints of the nails? Was it not to prove that it is that same body which was crucified, and the same again that rose from the dead? And what means also His type of Jonah? For surely it was not one Jonah that was swallowed up and another that was cast out upon dry land. And why did He also say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up?" For that which was destroyed, the same clearly He raised again. Wherefore also the Evangelist added, that "He spake of the temple of His body." (John ii. 19, 21.)

What is that then which he saith, "Thou sowest not the body that shall be?" i.e. not the ear of corn: for it is the same, and not the same; the same, because the substance is the same; but not the same, because this is more excellent, the substance remaining the same but its beauty becoming greater, and the same body rising up new. Since if this were not so, there were no need of a resurrection, I mean if it were not to rise again improved. For why did He at all pull down His house, except He were about to build it more glorious?

This now, you see, he said to them who think that it is utter corruption(2). Next, that none again might suspect from this place that another body is spoken of, he qualifies the dark saying, and himself interprets what he had spoken, not allowing the hearer to turn his thoughts from hence in any other direction. What need is there then of our reasonings? Hear himself speaking, and explaining the phrase, "Thou sowest not the body that shall be." For he straightway adds, "but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind;" i.e., it is not the body that shall be; not so clothed, for instance; not having a stalk and beard, but "a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind."

Ver. 38. "But God giveth it a body even as it pleased Him."

"Yes," saith one, "but in that case it is the work of nature." Of what nature, tell me? For in that case likewise God surely doeth the whole; not nature, nor the earth, nor the rain. Wherefore also he making these things manifest, leaves out both earth and rain, atmosphere, sun, and hands of husbandmen, and subjoins, "God giveth it a body as it pleased Him." Do not thou therefore curiously inquire, nor busy thyself with the how and in what manner, when thou hearest of the power and will of God.

"And to each seed a body of its own." Where then is the alien matter which they speak of? For He giveth to each "his own." So that when he saith, "Thou sowest not that which shall be," he saith not this, that one substance is raised up instead of another, but that it is improved, that it is more glorious. For "to each of the seeds," saith he, "a body of its own."

[4.] From hence in what follows, he introducing also the difference of the resurrection which shall then be. For do not suppose, because grain is sown and all come up ears of corn, that therefore there is also in the resurrection an equality of honor. For in the first place, neither in seeds is there only one rank, but some are more valuable, and some inferior. Wherefore also he added, "to each seed a body of its own."

However, he is not content with this, but seeks another difference greater and more manifest. For that thou mayest not, when hearing, as I said, that all rise again, suppose that all enjoy the same reward; he laid before even in the preceding verses the seeds of this thought, saying, "But each in his own order." But he brings it out here also more clearly, saying,

Ver. 39. "All flesh is not the same flesh." For why speak I, saith he, in respect of seeds? In respect of bodies let us agitate this point, concerning which we are discoursing now. Wherefore also he addeth, and saith,

"But there is one flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of birds, and another of fishes."

Ver. 40." There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another."

Ver. 41. "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory."

And what means he by these expressions? Wherefore from the resurrection of the body did he throw himself into the discourse of the stars and the sun? He did not throw himself out, neither did he break off from his purpose; far from it: but he still keeps to it. For whereas he had established the doctrine concerning the resurrection, he intimates in what follows that great will be then the difference of glory, though there be but one resurrection. And for the present he divides the whole into two: into "bodies celestial," and "bodies terrestrial." For that the bodies are raised again, he signified by the corn: but that they are not all in the same glory, he signifies by this. For as the disbelief of the resurrection makes men supine, so again it makes them indolent to think that all are vouchsafed the same reward. Wherefore he corrects both. And the one in the preceeding verses he had completed; but this he begins now. And having made two ranks, of the righteous and of sinners, these same two he subdivides again into many parts, signifying that neither righteous nor sinners shall obtain the same; neither righteous men, all of them, alike with other righteous, nor sinners with other sinners.

Now he makes, you see, first, one separation between righteous and sinners, where he says, "bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial:" by the "terrestrial" intimating the latter, and by the "celestial," the former. Then farther he introduces a difference of sinners from sinners, saying, "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of fishes, another of birds, and another of beasts." And yet all are bodies; but some are in more, and some in lesser vileness. And that in their manner of living too, and in their very constitution.

And having said this, he ascends again to the heaven, saying, "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon." For as in the earthly bodies there is a difference, so also in the heavenly; and that difference no ordinary one, but reaching even to the uttermost: there being not only a difference between sun and moon, and stars, but also between stars and stars. For what though they be all in the heaven? yet some have a larger, others a less share of glory. What do we learn from hence? That although they be all in God's kingdom, all shall not enjoy the same reward; and though all sinners be in hell, all shall not endure the same punishment. Wherefore he added,

Ver. 42. "So also is the resurrection of the dead."

"So," How? with considerable difference. Then leaving this doctrine as sufficiently proved, he again comes to the proof itself of the resurrection and the manner of it, saying,

[5.] "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption." And observe his consideration. As in the case of seeds, he used the term proper to bodies, saying, "it is not quickened, except it die:" so in the case of bodies, the expression belonging to seeds, saying, "it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption." He said not, "is produced(1)," that thou mightest not think it a work of the earth, but is "raised." And by sowing here, he means not our generation in the womb, but the burial in the earth of our dead bodies, their dissolution, their ashes. Wherefore having said, "it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption," he adds,

Ver. 43. "It is sown in dishonor." For what is more unsightly than a corpse in dissolution? "It is raised in glory."

"It is sown in weakness." For before thirty days the whole is gone, and the flesh cannot keep itself together nor hold out for one day. "It is raised in power." For there shall nothing prevail against it for all the future.

Here is why he stood in need of those former analogies, lest many on hearing of these things, that they are "raised in incorruption and glory and power," might suppose that there is no difference among those who rise again. For all indeed rise again, both in power and in incorruption; and in this glory of their incorruption yet are not all in the same state of honor and safety.

Ver. 44. "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."

What sayest thou? Is not "this" body spiritual? It is indeed spiritual, but that will be much more so. For now oftentimes both the abundant grace of the Holy Ghost flies away on men's committing great sins; and again, the Spirit continuing present, the life(2) of the flesh depends on the soul: and the result in such a case is a void, without the Spirit(3). But in that day not so: rather he abides continually in the flesh of the righteous, and the victory shall be His, the natural soul also being present(4).

For either it was some such thing which he intimated by saying, "a spiritual body," or that it shall be lighter and more subtle and such as even to be wafted upon air; or rather he meant both these. And if thou disbelieve the doctrine, behold the heavenly bodies which are so glorious and (for this time) so durable, and abide in undecaying tranquillity; and believe thou from hence, that God can also make these corruptible bodies incorruptible and much more excellent than those which are visible.

[6.] Ver. 45. "So also it is written, (Gen. ii. 7.) the first man Adam became a living soul: the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit."

And yet the one indeed is written, but the other not written. How then said He, "it is written?" He modified the expression according to the issue of events: as he is wont continually to do: and indeed as it is the way of every prophet. For so Jerusalem, the prophet said, should be "called a city of righteousness;" (Is. i. 26.) yet it was not so called. What then? Did the prophet speak false? By no means. For he is speaking of the issue of events. And that Christ too should be called Immanuel; (Is. vii. 14.) yet was he not so called. But the facts utter this voice; so also here, "the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit."

And these things he said that thou mayest learn that the signs and pledges both of the present life and of that which is to come have already come upon us; to wit, of the present life, Adam, and of the life to come, Christ. For since he sets down the better things as matters of hope, he signifies that their beginning hath already come to pass, and their root and their fountain been brought to light. But if the root and the fountain be evident to all, there is no need to doubt of the fruits. Wherefore he saith, "The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit." And elsewhere too, He "shall quicken your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. vii. 11.) It is the Spirit's work then to quicken.

Further, lest any should say, "why are the worse things the elder? and why hath the one sort, to wit, the natural, come to pass not merely as far as the first-fruits, but altogether; the other as far as the first-fruits only?"--he signifies that the principles also of each were so ordered(5).

Ver. 46. "For that is not first," saith he, "which is spiritual, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual."

And he saith not, why, but is content with the ordinance of God, having the evidence from the facts testifying to that most excellent oeconomy of God, and implying that our state is always going forward to the better; at the same time by this also adding credibility to his argument. For if the lesser have come to pass, much more ought we to expect the better.

[7.] Since then we are to enjoy so great blessings, let us take our station in this array, and bewail not the departed, but rather those that have ended their life ill. For so the husbandman, when he sees the grain dissolving, doth not mourn; rather, as long as he beholds it continuing solid in the ground he is in fear and trembling, but when he sees it dissolved rejoices. For the beginning of the future crop is its dissolving. So let us also then rejoice when the corruptible house falls, when the man is sown. And marvel not if he called the burial "a sowing;" for, in truth, this is the better sowing: inasmuch as that sowing is succeeded by deaths and labors and dangers and cares; but this, if we lived well, by crowns and rewards; and that, by corruption and death but this by incorruption and immortality, and those infinite blessings. To that kind of sowing there went embraces and pleasures and sleep: but to this, only a voice coming down from heaven, and all is at once brought to perfection. And he that rises again is no more led to a life full of toil, but to a place where anguish and sorrow and sighing are fled away.

If thou requirest protection and therefore mournest thy husband, betake thyself to God, the common Protector and Saviour and Benefactor of all, to that irresistible alliance, to that ready aid, to that abiding shelter which is every where present, and is as a wall unto us on every side.

"But your intercourse was a thing desirable and lovely." I too know it. But if thou wilt trust sound reason with this grief, and wilt consider with thyself who hath taken him away, and that by nobly bearing it thou offerest thy mind as a sacrifice to our God, even this wave will not be too strong for thee to stem. And that which time brings to pass, the same do thou by thy self-command. But if thou shalt yield to weakness, thine emotion will cease indeed in time, but it will bring thee no reward.

And together with these reasons collect also examples, some in the present life, some in the Holy Scriptures. Consider that Abraham slew his own son, and neither shed a tear nor uttered a bitter word. "But he," you say, "was Abraham." Nay, thou surely hast been called to a nobler field of action(1). And Job grieved indeed, but so much as was proper for a father who loved his children and was very solicitious for the departed; whereas what we now do, is surely the part of haters and enemies. For if when a man was taken up to court and crowned, thou wert smiting thyself and lamenting, I should not say that thou wast a friend of him who was crowned, but a great enemy and adversary. "Nay," say you, "not even as it is do I mourn for him, but for myself." Well, but this is not the part of an affectionate person, to wish for thine own sake that he were still in the conflict and subject to the uncertainty of the future, when he might be crowned and come to anchor; or that he should be tossed in mid ocean, when he might have been in port.

[8.] "But I know not whither he hath gone," say you. Wherefore knowest thou not, tell me? For according as he lived well or otherwise, it is evident whither he will go. "Nay, on this very account I lament," say you, "because he departed being a sinner(2)." This is a mere pretext and excuse. For if this were the reason of thy mourning for the departed, thou oughtest to have formed and corrected him, when he was alive. The fact is thou dost every where look to what concerns thyself, not him.

But grant that he departed with sin upon him, even on this account one ought to rejoice, that he was stopped short in his sins and added not to his iniquity; and help him as far as possible, not by tears, but by prayers and supplications and alms and offerings. For not unmeaningly have these things been devised, nor do we in vain make mention of the departed in the course of the divine mysteries, and approach God in their behalf, beseeching the Lamb Who is before us, Who taketh away the sin of the world;--not in vain, but that some refreshment may thereby ensue to them. Not in vain cloth he that standeth by the altar cry out when the tremendous mysteries are celebrated, "For all that have fallen asleep in Christ, and for those who perform commemorations in their behalf(3)." For if there were no commemorations for them, these things would not have been spoken: since our service is not a mere stage show, God forbid! yea, it is by the ordinance of the Spirit that these things are done.

Let us then give them aid and perform commemoration for them. For if the children of Job were purged by the sacrifice of their father, why dost thou doubt that when we too offer for the departed, some consolation arises to them? since God is wont to grant the petitions of those who ask for others. And this Paul signified saying, "that in a manifold Person(1) your gift towards us bestowed by many may be acknowledged with thanksgiving on your behalf." (2. Cor. i. 11.) Let us not then be weary in giving aid to the departed, both by offering on their behalf and obtaining prayers for them: for the common Expiation of the world is even before us. Therefore with boldness do we then intreat for the whole world, and name their names with those of martyrs, of confessors, of priests. For in truth one body are we all, though some members are more glorious than others; and it is possible from every source to gather pardon(2) for them, from our prayers, from our gifts in their behalf, from those whose names are named with theirs. Why therefore dost thou grieve? Why mourn, when it is in thy power to gather so much pardon for the departed?

[9.] Is it then that thou art become desolate and hast lost a protector? Nay, never mention this. For thou hast not surely lost thy God. And so, as long as thou hast Him, He will be better to thee than husband and father and child and kinsman: since even when they were alive, He it was who did all things.

These things therefore think upon, and say with David, "The Lord is my light and my Saviour(3), whom shall I fear? (Ps. xxvii.(1)) Say, Thou art a Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widows: "(Ps. lxviii. 5.) and draw down His aid, and thou shalt have Him to care for thee now more than before, by how much thou art in a state of greater difficulty.

Or hast thou lost a child? Thou hast not lost it; say not so. This thing is sleep, not death; removal, not destruction; a journeying from the worse unto the better(4). Do not then provoke God to anger; but propitiate Him. For if thou bearest it nobly, there will thence accrue some relief both to the departed and to thyself; but if the contrary, thou dost the more kindle God's anger. For if when a servant was chastised by his master, thou didst stand by and complain, thou wouldest the more exasperate the master against thyself. Do not then so; but give thanks, that hereby also this cloud of sadness may be scattered from thee. Say with that blessed one, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." (Job i. 21.) Consider how many more well-pleasing in His sight have never received children at all, nor been called fathers. "Nor would I wish to have been so," say you, "for surely it were better not to have had experience than after having tasted the pleasure to fall from it." Nay, I beseech thee, say not so, provoke not thus also the Lord to wrath: but for what thou hast received, give Him thanks; and for what thou hast not to the end, give Him glory. Job said not that which thou sayest un-thankfully, "it were better not to have received ," but both for the one he gave thanks, saying, "The Lord gave;" and for the other he blessed God, saying, "The Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord for ever." And his wife he thus silenced, justifying himself against her, and uttering those admirable words, "Have we received good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" And yet after this a fiercer temptation befel him: yet was he not even thus unnerved, but in like manner bore it nobly and glorified God.

This also do thou, and consider with thyself that man hath not taken him, but God who made him, who more than thyself cares for him and knows what is good for him: who is no enemy nor lier-in-wait. See how many, living, have made life intolerable to their parents. "But seest thou not the right-hearted ones?" say you. I see these too, but even these are not so safe as thy child is. For though they are now approved, yet it is uncertain what their end will be; but for him thou hast no longer any fear, nor dost thou tremble lest anything Should happen to him or he experience any change.

These things also do thou consider respecting a good wife and guardian of thine house, and for all things give thanks unto God. And even if thou shalt lose a wife, give thanks. Perhaps God's will is to lead thee to continence, He calls thee to a nobler field of conflict, He was pleased to set thee free from this bond. If we thus command ourselves, we shall both gain the joy of this life and obtain the crowns which are to come, &c. &c.

HOMILY XLII.

1 COR. xv. 47.

"The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."

HAVING said that "the natural was first," and "the spiritual afterward," he again states another difference, speaking of "the earthy" and "the heavenly." For the first difference was between the present life and that which is to come: but this between that before grace and that after grace. And he stated it with a view to the most excellent way of life, saying,--(for to hinder men, as I said, from such confidence in the resurrection as would make them neglectful of their practice and of perfection, from this topic also again he renders them anxious and exhorts to virtue, saying,)--"The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven:" calling the whole by the name of "man(1)," and naming the one from the better, and the other from the worst part.

Ver. 48. "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy:" so shall they perish and have an end. "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly:" so shall they abide immortal and glorious.

What then? Did not This Man too die? He died indeed, but received no injury therefrom, yea rather by this He put an end to death. Seest thou how on this part of his subject also, he makes use of death to establish the doctrine of the resurrection? "For having, as I said before, the beginning and the head," so he speaks, "doubt not of the whole body."

Moreover also he frames hereby his advice concerning the best way of living, proposing standards of a lofty and severe life and of that which is not such, and bringing forward the principles of both these, of the one Christ, but of the other Adam. Therefore neither did he simply say, "of the earth," but "earthy," i. e., "gross, nailed down to things present:" and again with respect to Christ the reverse, "the Lord from heaven."

[2.] But if any should say, "therefore the Lord hath not a body(2) because He is said to be "from heaven," although what is said before is enough to stop their mouths: yet nothing hinders our silencing them from this consideration also: viz. what is, "the Lord from heaven?" Doth he speak of His nature, or His most perfect life? It is I suppose evident to every one that he speaks of His life. Wherefore also he adds,

Ver. 49. "As we have borne the image of the earthy," i.e., as we have done evil, "let us also bear(3) the image of the heavenly," i.e., let us practise all goodness.

But besides this, I would fain ask thee, is it of nature that it is said, "he that is of the earth, earthy," and, "the Lord from heaven?" "Yea," saith one. What then? Was Adam only "earthy," or had he also another kind of substance congenial with heavenly and incorporeal beings, which the Scripture calls "soul," and "spirit?" Every one sees that he had this also. Therefore neither was the Lord from above only although He is said to be "from heaven," but He had also assumed our flesh. But Paul's meaning is such as this: "as we have borne the image of the earthy," i e., evil deeds, "let us also bear the image of the heavenly," the manner of life which is in the heavens. Whereas if he were speaking of nature, the thing neeeded not exhortation nor advice. So that hence also it is evident that the expression relates to our manner of life.

Wherefore also he introduces the saying in the manner of advice and calls it an "image," here too again showing that he is speaking of conduct, not of nature. For therefore are we become earthy, because we have done evil: not because we were originally formed "earthy," but because we sinned. For sin came first, and then death and then the sentence, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. iii. 19.) Then also entered in the swarm of the passions. For it is not simply the being born "of earth" that makes a man "earthy," (since the Lord also was of this mass and lump(4),) but the doing earthly things, even as also he is made "heavenly" by performing things meet for heaven.

But enough: for why need I labor overmuch in the proof of this, when the apostle himself goes on to unfold the thought to us, thus saying,

Ver. 50. "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."

Seest thou how he explains himself again, relieving us of the trouble? which he often doth: for by flesh he here denotes men's evil deeds, which he hath done also elsewhere; as when he saith, "But ye are not in the flesh:" and again, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. viii. 8, 9.) So that when he saith, "Now this I say," he means nothing else than this: "therefore said I these things that thou mayest learn that evil deeds conduct not to a kingdom." Thus from the resurrection he straightway introduced also the doctrine of the kingdom also; wherefore also he adds, "neither doth corruption inherit incorruption,(2)" i.e., neither shall wickedness inherit that glory and the enjoyment of the things incorruptible. For in many other places he calls wickedness by this name, saying, "He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption." (Gal. vi. 8.) Now if he were speaking of the body and not of evil doing, he would not have said "corruption." For he nowhere calls the body "corruption," since neither is it corruption, but a thing corruptible: wherefore proceeding to discourse also of it, he calls it not "corruption," but "corruptible," saying, "for this corruptible must put on incorruption."

[3.] Next, having completed his advice concerning our manner of life, according to his constant custom blending closely subject with subject, he passes again to the doctrine of the resurrection of the body: as follows:

Ver. 51. "Behold, I tell you a mystery."

It is something awful and ineffable and which all know not, which he is about to speak of: which also indicates the greatness of the honor he confers on them; I mean, his speaking mysteries to them. But what is this?

"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." He means as follows: "we shall not all die, 'but we shall all be changed,'" even those who die not. For they too are mortal. "Do not thou therefore because thou diest, on this account fear," saith he, "as if thou shouldest not rise again: for there are, there are some who shall even escape this, and yet this suffices them not for that resurrection, but even those bodies which die not must be changed and be transformed into incorruption."

Ver. 52. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump."

After he had discoursed much of the resurrection, then opportunely he points out also its very marvellous character. As thus: "not this only," saith he, "is wonderful that our bodies first turn to corruption, and then are raised; nor that the bodies which rise again after their corruption are better than these present ones; nor that they pass on to a much better state, nor that each receives back his own and none that of another; but that things so many and so great, and surpassing all man's reason and conception, are done "in a moment," i.e., in an instant of time: and to show this more clearly, "in the twinkling of an eye," saith he, "while one can wink an eyelid." Further, because he had said a great thing and full of astonishment; that so many and so great results should take place so quickly; he alleges, to prove it, the credibility of Him who performs it; as follows, "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." The expression, "we," he uses not of himself, but of them that are then found alive.

Ver. 53. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption."

Thus lest any, hearing that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," should suppose that our bodies do not rise again; he adds, "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Now the body is "corruptible," the body is "mortal:" so that the body indeed remains, for it is the body which is put on; but its mortality and corruption vanish away, when immortality and incorruption come upon it. Do not thou therefore question hereafter how it shall live an endless life, now that thou hast heard of its becoming incorruptible.

[4.] Ver. 54. "But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this moral shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

Thus, since he was speaking of great and secret things, he again takes prophecy (Hosea xiii. 14.) to confirm his word. "Death is swallowed up in victory:(3)" i.e., utterly; not so much as a fragment of it remains nor a hope of returning, incorruption having consumed corruption.

Ver. 55. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

Seest thou his noble soul? how even as one who is offering sacrifices for victory, having become inspired and seeing already things future as things past, he leaps and tramples upon death fallen at his feet, and shouts a cry of triumph over its head where it lies, exclaiming mightily and saying, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" It is clean gone, it is perished, it is utterly vanished away, and in vain hast thou done all those former things. For He not only disarmed death and vanquished it, but even destroyed it, and made it quite cease from being.

Ver. 56. "Now the sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law."

Seest thou how the discourse is of the death of the body? therefore also of the resurrection of the body. For if these bodies do not rise again, how is death "swallowed up?" And not this only, but how is "the law the power of sin?" For that "sin" indeed is "the sting of death," and more bitter than it, and by it hath its power, is evident; but how is "the law also the power" thereof? Because without the law sin was weak, being practised indeed, but not able so entirely to condemn: since although the evil took place, it was not so clearly pointed out. So that it was no small change which the law brought in, first causing us to know sin better, and then enhancing the punishment. And if meaning to check sin it did but develop it more fearfully, this is no charge against the physician, but against the abuse of the remedy. Since even the presence of Christ made the Jews' burden heavier, yet must we not therefore blame it, but while we the more admire it, we must hate them the more, for having been injured by things which ought to have profited them? Yea, to show that it was not the law of itself which gives strength to sin, Christ Himself fulfilled it all and was without sin.

But I would have thee consider how from this topic also he confirms the resurrection. For if this were the cause of death, viz. our committing sin, and if Christ came and took away sin, and delivered us from it through baptism, and together with sin put an end also to the law in the transgression of which sin consists, why doubtest thou any more of the resurrection? For whence, after all this, is death to prevail? Through the law? Nay, it is done away. Through sin? Nay, it is clean destroyed.

Ver. 57. "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

For the trophy He Himself erected, but the crowns He hath caused us also to partake of. And this not of debt, but of mere mercy.

[5.] Ver. 58. "Wherefore(1), brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable."

Just and seasonable is this exhortation after all that had gone before. For nothing so disquiets as the thought that we are buffeted without cause or profit.

"Always abounding in the work of the Lord:" i.e., in the pure life. And he said not, "working that which is good," but "abounding;" that we might do it abundantly(2), and might overpass the lists.

"Knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

What sayest thou? Labor again? But followed by crowns, and those above the heavens. For that former labor on man's expulsion from paradise, was the punishment of his transgressions; but this is the ground of the rewards to come. So that it cannot in fact be labor, both on this account and by reason of the great help which it receives from above: which is the cause of his adding also, "in the Lord." For the purpose of the former was that we might suffer punishment; but of this, that we might obtain the good things to come.

Let us not therefore sleep, my beloved. For it cannot, it cannot be that any one by sloth should attain to the kingdom of heaven, nor they that live luxuriously and softly. Yea it is a great thing, if straining ourselves and "keeping under(3) the body" and enduring innumerable labors, we are able to reach those blessings. See ye not how vast this distance between heaven and earth? And how great a conflict is at hand? And how prone a thing to evil man is? And how easily sin "besets us?" And how many snares are in the way?

Why then do we draw upon ourselves so great cares over and above those of nature, and give ourselves more trouble, and make our burden greater? Is it not enough, our having to care for our food and clothing and houses? Is it not enough to take thought for things necessary? Although even from these Christ withdraws us, saying, "Be not anxious for your life what ye shall eat, neither for your body what ye shall put on." (Matt. vi. 25.) But if one ought not to be anxious for necessary food and clothing, nor for to-morrow; they who bring on so great a mass of rubbish and bury themselves under it, when shall they shall have power to emerge? Hast thou not heard Paul saying, "No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life?" (2 Tim. ii. 4.) But we even live luxuriously and eat and drink to excess and endure buffeting for external things, but in the things of heaven behave ourselves unmanly. Know ye not that the promise is too high for man? It cannot be that one walking on the ground should ascend the arches of heaven. But we do not even study to live like men, but are become worse than the brutes.

Know ye not before what a tribunal we are to stand? Do ye not consider that both for our words and thoughts an account is demanded of us, and we take no heed even to our actions. "For whosoever looketh on a woman," saith He, "to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her." (Matt. v. 28.) And yet they who must be accountable for a mere idle look, refuse not even to lie rotting in the sin itself. "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be cast into hell fire." (Matt. v. 22.) But we even dishonor them with ten thousand reproaches and plot against them craftily. "He that loveth one that loveth him is no better than the heathen:" (Matt. v. 46, 47.) but we even envy them. What indulgence then shall we have, when commanded as we are to pass over the old lines, we weave ourselves a thread of life by a yet more scanty measure than theirs? What plea shall deliver us? Who will stand up and help us when we are punished? There is no one; but it must needs be that wailing and weeping and gnashing our teeth, we shall be led away tortured into that rayless gloom, the pangs which no prayer can avert, the punishments which cannot be assuaged.

Wherefore I entreat and beseech, and lay hold of your very knees, that whilst we have this scant viaticum of life, you would be pricked in your hearts by what has been said, that you would be converted, that you would become better men; that we may not, like that rich man, lament to no purpose in that world after our departure, and continue thenceforth in incurable wailings. For though thou shouldest have father or son or friend or any soever who hath confidence towards God, none of these shall ever deliver thee, thine own works having destroyed thee. For such is that tribunal: it judges by our actions alone, and in no other way is it possible there to be saved.

And these things I say, not to grieve you nor to throw you into despair, but lest nourished by vain and cold hopes, and placing confidence in this person or that, we should neglect our own proper goodness. For if we be slothful, there will be neither righteous man nor prophet nor apostle nor any one to stand by us; but if we have been earnest, having in sufficiency the plea which comes from each man's own works(1), we shall depart with confidence, and shall obtain the good things that are laid up for them that love God; to which may we all attain, &c. &c.

HOMILY XLIII.

1 COR. xvi. 1.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the Churches of Galatia, so also do ye."

HAVING completed his discourse concerning doctrines, and being about to enter upon that which belongs rather to morals, he dismisses every thing else and proceeds to the chief of good things, discoursing about alms. Nor does he discuss morals in general, but when he hath treated of this matter alone, he leaves off. A thing however obviously unlike what he did every where else; for of alms and of temperance and of meekness and of long-suffering and of all the rest, he treats in the other Epistles in the conclusion. For what reason then doth he handle here this part only of practical morality? Because the greater part also of what had been spoken before was of an ethical nature: I mean, where he chastised the fornicator; where he was correcting those who go to law among Gentiles; where he terrified the drunkards and the gluttons; where he condemned the seditious, the contentious, and those who loved to have the preeminence; where those who unworthily approach the Mysteries were delivered over by him unto that intolerable sentence; where he discoursed concerning love. For this cause, I say, the subject which most pressed on him, viz. the aid required for the saints, this alone he mentions.

And observe his consideration. When he had persuaded them concerning the resurrection, and made them more earnest, then and not till then he discusses this point also.

It is true indeed that on these matters he had spoken to them before, when he said, "If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" And, "Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?" But because he knew the greatness of this moral achievement, he refuses not to add a fresh mention at the end of his letter.

And he calls the collection <greek>logian</greek> (a "contribution,") immediately from the very first making out the things to be easy. For when contribution is made by all together, that becomes light which is charged upon each.

But having spoken about the collection, he did not say immediately, "Let every one of you lay up in store with himself;" although this of course was the natural consequence; but having first said, "As I gave order to the Churches of Galatia," he added this, kindling their emulation by the account of the well-doings of others, and putting it in the form of a narration. And this also he did when writing to the Romans; for to them also while appearing to narrate the reason why he was going away to Jerusalem, he introduces thereupon his discourse about alms; "But now I go unto Jerusalem, ministering unto the saints: for it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints." (Rom. xv. 25.) Only those he stimulates by mention of Macedonians and Corinthians; these of Galatians. For he saith, "As I gave order to the Churches of Galatia, so also do ye:" for they would surely feel ashamed ever afterwards to be found inferior to Galatians. And he saith not, "I advised," and, "I counselled;" but, "I gave order," which is more authoritative. And he doth not bring forward a single city, or two, or three, but an entire nation: which also he doth in his doctrinal instructions, saying, "Even as also in all the Churches of the saints." For if this be potent for conviction of doctrines, much more for imitation of actions.

[2.] "What then, I ask, didst thou give order about?"

Ver. 2. "On the first day of the week," that is, the Lord's day, "let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper." Mark how he exhorts them even from the time: for indeed the day was enough to lead them to almsgiving. Wherefore "call to mind," saith he, "what ye attained to on this day: how all the unutterable blessings, and that which is the root and the beginning of our life took place on this day. But not in this regard only is the season convenient for a zealous benevolence, but also because it hath rest and immunity from toils: the souls when released from labors becoming readier and apter to show pity. Moreover, the communicating also on that day in Mysteries so tremendous and immortal instils great zealousness. On it, accordingly, "let each one of you," not merely this or that individual, but "each one of you," whether poor or rich, woman or man, slave or free, "lay by him store." He said not, "Let him bring it the church," lest they might feel ashamed because of the smallness of the sum; but "having by gradual additions swelled his contribution, let him then produce it, when I am come but for the present lay it up," saith he, "at home, and make thine house a church; thy little box a treasury. Become a guardian sacred wealth, a self-ordained steward of the poor. Thy benevolent mind assigns to thee this priesthood."

Of this our treasury(1) even now is a sign: but the sign remains, the thing itself no where.

[3.] Now I am aware that many of this congregation will again find fault with me when treat of these subjects, and say, "Be not, I beseech you, be not harsh and disagreeable to four audience. Make allowances for their disposition; give way to the mind of the hearers. For in this case you really do put us to shame; you make us blush." But I may not endure such words: since neither was Paul ashamed to be continually troublesome upon such points as these and to speak words such as mendicants use. I grant indeed that if I said, "give it me," and "lay it up in my house," there might perchance be something to be ashamed of in what I said: hardly however even in that case; for "they who wait upon the altar," we read, "have their portion with the altar." (c. ix. 13.) However, some one perhaps might find fault as if he were framing an argument for his own interest. But now it is for the poor that I make my supplication; nay, not so much for the poor, as for your sake who bestow the gift. Wherefore also I am bold to speak out. For what shame is it to say, Give unto thy Lord in His hunger: Put raiment on Him going about naked; Receive Him being a stranger? Thy Lord is not ashamed before the whole world to speak thus: "I was an hungred, and ye gave Me not to eat," He who is void of all want and requires nothing. And am I to be ashamed and hesitate? Away with this. This shame is of the snare of the devil. I will not then be ashamed, but will say, and that boldly, "Give to the needy;" I will say it with a louder voice than the needy themselves. True it is, if any one can show and prove that in saying these things we are drawing you over unto ourselves, and under the pretence of the poor are ourselves making gain, such a course would be worthy, I say not of Shame, but even of ten thousand thunderbolts; and life itself would be more than persons so behaving would deserve. If, on the contrary, by the grace of God, we are in nothing troublesome about ourselves, but "have made the Gospel without charge" to you; laboring indeed in no wise like Paul, but being contented with our own;--with all boldness of speech I will say, "Give unto the needy:" yea, and I will not leave off saying it, and of those who give not I will be a severe accuser. For so, if I were a general and had soldiers, I should not feel ashamed at demanding food for my men: for I vehemently set my heart upon your salvation.

[4.] But that my argument may both be more forcible and more effective, I will take Paul for my comrade, and like him will discourse and say, "Let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper." Now observe also how he avoids being burdensome. He said not, "so much," or "so much," but "as he may prosper," whether much or little. Neither said he, "what any one may have gained," but, "as he may prosper:" signifying that the supply is of God. And not only so, but also by his not enjoining them to deposit all at once, he makes his counsel easy: since the gathering little by little hinders all perception of the burden(1) and the cost. Here you see the reason too for his not enjoining them to produce it immediately, but giving them a long day(2); whereof adding the cause, he saith. "That there be no gatherings when I come:" which means, that ye may not when the season is come for paying in contributions just then be compelled to collect them. And this too in no ordinary degree encouraged them again: the expectation of Paul being sure to make them more earnest.

Ver. 3. "And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty(3) to Jerusalem."

He said not, "this person," and "that," but, "whomsoever ye shall approve," whomsoever you shall choose, thus freeing his ministration from suspicion. Wherefore to them he leaves the right of voting in the choice of those who are to convey it. He is far enough from saying, "The payment is yours, but the privilege of selecting those who are to carry it is not yours." Next, that they might not think him quite absent, he adds his letters, saying, "Whomsoever you approve, I will send with letters."(4) As if he had said, I also will be with them and share in the ministration, by my letters. And he said not, "These will I send to bear your alms," but, "your bounty;" to signify that they were doing great deeds; to mark that they were gainers themselves. And elsewhere he calls it both "a blessing" and "a distribution." (2 Cor. ix. 5, 13.) The one that he might not make them less active, the other that he might not elate them. But in no case whatever hath he called it "alms."

Ver. 4. "And if it be meet for me to go also, they shall go with me."

Here again he exhorts them to liberality. As thus: "if it be so much," saith he, "as to require my presence also, neither will I decline this." But he did not in the first instance promise this, nor say, "When I am come I will carry it." For he would not have made so much of it, if he had so set it down from the first. Afterwards however he adds it well and seasonably. Here then you have the reason why he did not immediately promise, nor yet altogether hold his peace concerning it: but having said, "I will send," then at length he adds himself also. And here too again he leaves it to their own decision; in saying, "If it be meet for me to go also:" whereas this rested with them, namely, to make their collection large; so large even, as to affect his plans and cause him in person to make the journey.

[5.] Ver. 5. "But I will come to you," saith he, "when I shall have passed through Macedonia." This he had said also above; then however with anger: at least he added, (c. iv. 19.) "And I will know not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power:" but here, more mildly; that they might even long for his coming. Then, that they might not say, "Why is it that you honor the Macedonians above us?" he said not, "When I depart," but, "When I shall have passed through Macedonia; for I do pass through Macedonia."

Ver. 6. "But with you it may be that I shall abide, or even winter." For I do not at all wish to take you merely in my way, but to continue among you and spend some time. For when he wrote this letter, he was in Ephesus, and it was winter; as you may know by his saying, "Until Pentecost I will tarry at Ephesus; but after this I shall go away to Macedonia, and after having gone through it, I will be with you in the summer; and perhaps I shall even spend the winter with you." And why did he say, "perhaps;" and did not positively affirm it? Because Paul did not foreknow all things; for good purposes. Wherefore neither doth he absolutely affirm, in order that if it came not to pass, he might have something to resort to; first, his previous mention of it having been indefinite; and next, the power of the Spirit leading him wheresoever It willed, not where he himself desired. And this also he expresses in the second Epistle, when excusing himself on account of his delay, and saying, "Or the things which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the yea yea and the nay nay?" (2 Cor. i. 17.)

"That ye may set me forward on my journey wheresoever I go." This also is a mark of love, and great strength of affection.

Ver. 7. "For I do not wish to see you now by the way; for I hope to tarry awhile with you, if the Lord permit."

Now these these things he said, both to signify his love and also to terrify the sinners, not however openly, but with outward demonstration of friendship.

Ver. 8. "But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost."

As we should expect, he tells them all exactly, informing them as friends, For this too is a mark of friendship to say the reason why he was not with them, why he delayed, and where he was staying,

Ver. 9. "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."

Now it it was "great," how could there be "adversaries?" Why on this very account the adversaries were many, because men's faith was great; because the entrance was great and wide. But what means, "A great door?" There are many prepared to receive the faith, many ready to approach and be converted. There is a spacious entrance for me, things being now come to that point that the mind of those approaching is at its prime for the obedience of the faith. On this account, vehement was the blast of the breath of the devil, because he saw many turning away from him.

You see then on both accounts it was needful for him to stay; both because the gain was abundant, and because the struggle was great.

And herewith also he cheered them up, namely, by saying, that henceforth the word works every where and springs up readily. And if there be many who plot against it, this also is a sign of the advance of the Gospel. For at no time doth that evil demon wax fierce, except on seeing his goods made spoil of abundantly. (Matt. xii.)

[6.] Let us then, when we desire to effect any thing great and noble, not regard this, the greatness of the labor which it brings, but let us rather look to the gain. Mark, for instance, Paul, not therefore lingering, not therefore skrinking back, because "there were many adversaries;" but because "there was a great door," pressing on and persevering. Yea, and as I was saying, this was a sign that the devil was being stripped, for it is not, depend on it, by little and mean achievements that men provoke that evil monster to wrath. And so when thou seest a righteous man performing great and excellent deeds, yet suffering innumerable ills, marvel not; on the contrary, one might well marvel, if the devil receiving so many blows were to keep quiet and bear the wounds meekly. Even as you ought not to be surprised were a serpent, continually goaded, to grow fierce and spring on the person that goaded it. Now no serpent steals on you so fierce as the devil, leaping up against all; and, like a scorpion with its sting raised, he raises himself upright. Let not this then disturb you: since of course he that returns from war and victory and slaughter must needs be bloody, and oftentimes also have received wounds. Do thou, then, for thy part, when thou seest any one doing alms and performing numberless other good works and so curtailing the power of the devil, and then falling into temptations and perils; be not troubled thereupon. This is the very reason why he fell into temptations, because he mightily smote the devil.

"And how did God permit it?" you will say. That he might be crowned more signally: that the other might receive a severer wound. For when after benefits conferred a man suffers, and that grievously, and yet continually gives thanks, it is a blow to the devil. For it is a great thing, even when our affairs are flowing on prosperously, to show mercy and to adhere to virtue: but it is far greater in grievous calamity not to desist from this noble occupation; this is he who may be most truly said to do so for God's sake. So then, though we be in peril, beloved, though we suffer ever so greatly, let us with the greater zeal apply ourselves to our labors for virtue's sake. For this is not at all the season if or retribution.

Here then let us not ask for our crowns, lest when the crowns come in their season, we diminish our recompense. For as in the case of artificers, they who support themselves and work receive higher pay; while those who have their maintenance with their employers, are curtailed in no small part of the wages; so also in regard to the saints: he that doth immense good and suffers extreme evil hath his reward unimpaired and a far more abundant recompense, not only for the good things which he hath done, but also for the evil which he hath suffered. But he that enjoys rest and luxury here, hath not such bright crowns there. Let us not then seek for our recompense here. But "then" of all times let us rejoice, when doing well we suffer ill. For God hath in store for us in that world not only the reward of our good deeds, but that of our temptations also.

But to explain myself more clearly: suppose two rich merciful men, and let them give to the poor: then let one continue in his riches and enjoy all prosperity: the other fall into poverty and diseases and calamities, and give God thanks. Now when these are gone away into the other world, which will receive the greater reward? Is it not quite plain that it will be he who is sick and in adversity, seeing that though he did well and suffered ill, he felt not according to human infirmity? I suppose this is plain to every one. And, in truth, this is the adamantine statue, this is the considerate servant. (See S. Mat. xxv. 21.) But if we ought not to do any thing good for the hope of the kingdom, but because it so pleaseth God, which is more than any kingdom; what doth he deserve, who because he doth not receive his recompense here, is become more remiss concerning virtue?

Let us then not be troubled when we see that such an one who invited widows and made continual feasts lost his house by fire, or sustained some other such like disaster. Yea, for this very thing he shall receive his reward. For even Job was not so much admired for his alms-deeds as he was for his sufferings afterwards. For this reason his friends also are little esteemed and deemed of no account; because they sought for the recompenses of the present world, and with a view to this gave sentence against the just man. Let us then not seek for our return here; let us not become poor and needy; since surely it is of extreme meanness, when heaven is proposed, and things which are above the heaven, to be looking round on the things which are here. Let us not by any means do so; but whichsoever of unexpected things come upon us, hold we fast the commands of God continually, and obey the blessed Paul.

[7.] And let us make a little chest for the poor at home; and near the place at which you stand praying, there let it be put: and as often as you enter in to pray, first deposit your alms, and then send up your prayer; and as you would not wish to pray with unwashen hands(1), so neither do so without alms: since not even the Gospel hanging by our bed(2) is more important than that alms should be laid up for you; for if you hang up the Gospel and do nothing, it will do you no such great good. But if you have this little coffer, you have a defence against the devil, you give wings to your prayer, you make your house holy, having meat for the King (S. Mat. xxv. 34.) there laid up in store. And for this reason let the little coffer be placed also near the bed(3), and the night will not be troubled with fantasies. Only let nothing be cast into it, which is the fruit of injustice. For this thing is charity; and it cannot be that charity should ever spring out of hardheartedness.

Will you have mention also of the resources out of which you should make your deposits, so as in this respect also to make this kind of contribution easy? The handicraft man, for instance, the sandal-maker, or the leather-cutter, or the brass-founder, or any other artificer,--when he sells any article of his trade, let him give the first-fruits of its price unto God: let him cast in a small portion here, and assign something to God out of his portion, though it be rather scanty(4). For neither do I ask any great thing; but so much as the childish ones among the Jews(5), full as they are of innumerable evils, just so much let us cast in, we who look forward to heaven. And this I say not as laying down a law, neither as forbidding more, but as recommending a deposit of not less than a tenth part. And this also do thou practise not in selling only, but also in buying and receiving a recompense. Let those also who possess land observe this law in regard to their rents: yea, let it be a law for all who gather their incomes in an honest way. For with those who demand usury I have no concern, neither with soldiers who do violence to others and turn to their own advantage their neighbors' calamities. Since from that quarter God will accept nothing. But these things I say to those who gather their substance by righteous labor.

Yea, and if we establish ourselves in this kind of habit, we are ever after stung by our conscience if ever we omit this rule; and after a while we shall not even think it a hard thing; and by degrees we shall arrive at the greater things, and by practising how to despise wealth, and by pulling up the root of evils, we shall both pass the present life in peace, and obtain the life to come; which may it be the portion of us all to attain unto, &c. &c

HOMILY XLIV.

1 COR. xvi. 10.

"Now if Timothy come to you(1), see that he be with you without fear."

PERHAPS some one may think there is something unworthy of Timothy's courage in this piece of advice. But not on Timothy's account is this said, but for the hearers' sake: lest by their design against him they should hurt themselves: since he for his part had his station always in the way of dangers(2).

"For as a child serveth a father," saith he, "so he served with me in furtherance of the Gospel." (Phil. ii. 22.) But lest from boldness towards the disciple they should proceed also to the teacher, and become worse, he checks them from afar off, saying, "that he may be with you without fear;" that is, that none of those desperate persons rise up against him. For he intended perhaps to rebuke them about the things concerning which Paul also had written: and indeed Paul professed to send him for this very reason. "For I have sent Timothy unto you," saith he, (c. iv. 17.) "who shall put you in remembrance of my ways in Christ even as I teach every where in every Church." In order then that they might not through confidence in their high birth and wealth, and the support of the people, and the wisdom from without, attack him and spit upon him and plot against him, being grieved at the reproofs which came from him; or lest in revenge for the teacher's rebuke they should demand satisfaction of him, so punishing the other; therefore he saith, "that he be without fear with you." As if he had said, "Tell me not of those who are without, the Gentiles and unbelievers. It is your part that I require, you for whom also the whole Epistle was composed," the persons also whom in the beginning and the outset he had frightened. Wherefore he saith, "with you."

Then in virtue of his ministry he sets him forth as a person to be fully trusted; saying "For the work of the Lord he worketh." That is; "look not," saith he, "to this, his not being rich, namely, nor highly educated, nor old: but what commands are laid upon him, what work he is doing. 'For the work of the Lord he worketh.'" And this serves him instead of all nobility and wealth and age and wisdom.

And he is not content with this, but adds, "Even as I also." And some way above, "Who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord; he shall put you in remembrance of my ways in Christ." Seeing then that he was both young, and had been singly entrusted with the improvement of so numerous a people, both of which things tended to bring him into contempt, he adds, as we might expect,

Ver. 11. "Let no one therefore despise him." And not this only doth he demand of them, but also greater honor; wherefore also he saith, "but set him forward in peace;" that is, without fear; causing no fightings or contentions, no enmities or hatreds, but rendering all subjection as to a teacher.

"That he may come unto me: for I expect him with the brethren." This also was the language of one that would alarm them. That is, in order that they might become more considerate, as knowing that all would be told him whatever Timothy's treatment might be, he adds therefore, "for I expect him." And besides, hereby he both shows that Timothy is worthy of their confidence; since being on the point of departing he waits for him; and also signifies the love which he hath towards them, it appearing that for their sakes he sent away one so useful to him.

Ver. 12. "But as touching Apollos the brother, I besought him much to come unto you with the brethren."

This man appears to have been both well-educated and also older than Timothy. Lest they should say then, "For what possible reason did he not send the man grown, but the youth instead of him?" observe how he softens down this point also, both calling him a brother, and saying that he had besought him much. For lest he should seem to have held Timothy in higher honor than him and to have exalted him more, and on this account not to have sent him, and cause their envy to burst out more abundantly, he adds, "I besought him much to come." What then: did not the other yield nor consent? did he resist and show himself contentious? He saith not this, but that he might not excite prejudice against him, and also might make excuse for himself, he saith, "and it was not at all his will to come now." Then to prevent their saying that all this was an excuse and pretence, he added, "but he will come to you when he shall have opportunity." This was both an excuse for him, and a refreshment to them who desired to see him, by the hope which it gave of his coming.

[2.] Afterwards indicating that not in the teachers but in themselves they ought to have their hopes of salvation, he saith,

Ver. 13. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith."

Not in the wisdom which is without: for there it is not possible to stand, but to be borne along; even as" in the faith" ye may" stand." "Quit you like men, be strong." "Let all that ye do be done in love." Now in saying these things, he seems indeed to advise; but he is reprimanding them as indolent. Wherefore he saith, "Watch," as though they slept; "Stand," as though they were rocking to and fro: "Quit you like men," as though they were playing the coward: "Let all that ye do be done in love," as though they were in dissensions. And the first caution refers to the deceivers, viz., "Watch," "stand:" the next, to those who plot against us, "Quit you like men:" the third, to those who make parties and endeavor to distract, "Let all that ye do be done in love;" which thing is "the bond of perfectness," and the root and fountain of all blessings.

But what means, "All things in love?" "Whether any one rebuke," saith he, "or rule or be ruled, or learn or teach, let all be in love:" since in fact all the things which have been mentioned arose from neglect of it. For if this had not been neglected, they would not have been puffed up, they would not have said, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos." If this had existed, they would not have gone to law before heathens, or rather they would not have gone to law at all. If this had existed, that notorious person would not have taken his father's wife: they would not have despised the weak brethren; there would have been no factions among them; they would not have been vain-glorious about their gifts. Therefore it is that he saith, "Let all things be done in love."

[3.] Ver. 15. "Now I beseech you, brethren;--ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to minister unto the saints."

In the beginning too he mentions this man, saying, "I baptized also the home of Stepharias:" and now he speaks of him as "the first-fruits" not of Corinth only, but also of all Greece. And this too is no small encomium that he was the first to come to Christ. Wherefore also in the Epistle to the Romans, praising certain persons on this account, he said, "Who also were in Christ before me." (Rom. xvi. 7.) And he said not, that they were the first who believed, but were the "first-fruits;" implying that together with their faith they showed forth also a most excellent life, in every way proving themselves worthy, as in the case of fruits. For so the first-fruits ought to be better than the rest of those things whereof they are the first-fruits: a kind of praise which Paul hath attributed to these also by this expression: namely, that they not only had a genuine faith, as I was saying, but also they exhibited great piety, and the climax of virtue, and liberality in alms-giving.

And not from hence only, but from another topic likewise he indicates their piety, i.e., from their having filled their whole house also with godliness.

And that they flourished in good works also, he declares by what follows, saying, "They have set themselves to minister unto the saints." Hear ye, how vast are the praises of their hospitality? For he did not say, "they minister," but, "have set themselves:" this kind of life they have chosen altogether, this is their business in which they are always busy.

"That ye also be in subjection unto such, that is, "that ye take a share with them both in expenditure of money, and in personal service: that ye be partakers with them." For both to them the labor will be light when they have comrades, and the results of their active benevolence will extend to more.

And he said not merely, "be fellow-helpers," but added, "whatsoever directions they give, obey;" implying the strictest obedience. And that he might not appear to be favoring them, he adds, "and to every one that helpeth. in the work and laboreth." "Let this," saith he, "be a general rule: for I do not speak about them individually, but if there be any one like them, let him also have the same advantages." And therefore when he begins to commend, he calls upon themselves as witnesses, saying, "I beseech you, ye know the house of Stephanas." "For ye also yourselves are aware," saith he, "how they labor, and have no need to learn from us."

Ver. 17. "But I was glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, for that which was lacking on your part they supplied."

Ver. 18. "For they refreshed my spirit and yours."

Thus, since it was natural for them to be greatly irritated against these persons, for it was they who had come and showed him all about the division, inasmuch as by them also they had written the questions about the virgins, and about the married persons:--mark how he softened them down; both in the beginning of his Epistle by saying, "For it hath been signified unto me by them which are of the house of Chloe;" thus at once concealing these and bringing forward the others: (for it should seem that the latter had given their information by means of the former:) and in this place again, "They have supplied your lack, and refreshed my spirit and yours:" signifying that they had come instead of all, and had chosen to undertake so great a journey on their behalf. How then may this, their peculiar praise, become common? "If you will solace me for what was wanting on your part by your kindness towards them; if you will honor, if you will receive, them, if you will communicate with them in doing good." Wherefore he saith, "Acknowledge ye then them that are such." And while praising those that came, he embraces also the others in his praise, the senders together with the sent: where he saith, "'They refreshed my spirit and yours, therefore acknowledge such as these,' because for your sakes they left country and home." Dost thou perceive his consideration? He implies that they had obliged not Paul only, but the Corinthians likewise, in that they bore about in themselves the whole city. A thing which both added credit to them, and did not allow the others to sever themselves from them, inasmuch as in their persons they had presented themselves to Paul.

Ver. 19. "All the Churches of Asia salute you." He is continually making the members combine and cleave together in one by means of the salutation.

"Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord;--for with them he was lodging, being a tent-maker--"with the Church which is in their house." This thing too is no small excellency, that they had made their very house a Church.

[4.] Ver. 20. "All the brethren salute you. Salute one another with an holy kiss" This addition of the "holy kiss" he makes only(1) here. What may the reason be? They had been widely at variance with one another on account of their saying, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ;" on account of "one being hungry, and another drunken;" on account of their having contentions and jealousies and suits. And from the gifts there was much envying and great pride. Having then knit them together by his exhortation, he naturally bids them use the holy kiss(2) also as a means of union: for this unites, and produces one body. This is holy, when free from deceit and hypocrisy.

Ver. 22. "The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand;" intimates that the Epistle was composed with great seriousness; and therefore he added,

Ver. 22. "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."

By this one word he strikes fear into all: those who made their members the members of an harlot; those who put stumbling blocks in the way of their brethren by the things offered in sacrifice unto idols; those who named themselves after men; those who refuse to believe the resurrection. And he not only strikes fear, but also points out the way of virtue and the fountain of vice, viz. that as when our love towards Him hath become intense, there is no kind of sin but is extinguished and cast out thereby; so when it is too weak, it causes the same to spring up.

"Maran atha."(2) For what reason is this word used? And wherefore too in the Hebrew-tongue? Seeing that arrogance was the cause of all the evils, and this arrogance the wisdom from without produced, and this was the sum and substance of all the evils, a thing which especially distracted Corinth; in repressing their arrogance he did not even use the Greek tongue, but the Hebrew: signifying that so far from being ashamed of that sort of simplicity, he even embraces it with much warmth.

But what is the meaning of "Maran atha?" "Our Lord is come." For what reason then cloth he use this phrase in particular? To confirm the doctrine of the Economy: out of which class of topics more than any other he hath put together those arguments which are the seeds of the Resurrection(1). And not only this, but also to rebuke them; as if he had said, "The common Lord of all hath condescended to come. down thus far, and are ye in the same state, and do ye abide in your sins? Are ye not thrilled with the excess of His love, the crown of His blessings? Yea, consider but this one thing," saith he, "and it will suffice thee for progress in all virtue, and thou shalt be able to extinguish all sin."

Ver. 23. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."

This is like a teacher, to help not only with advice, but also with prayers.

Ver. 24. "My love be with you all in Christ Jesus, Amen."

Thus to hinder them from thinking that in flattery to them he so ended, he saith, "In Christ Jesus." It having nothing in it human or carnal, but being of a sort of spiritual nature. Wherefore it is thoroughly genuine. For indeed the expression was that of one who loves deeply. As thus; because he was separated from them as regards place, as it were by the stretching out of a right hand he incloses them with the • arms of his love, saying, "My love be with you all;" just as if he said, "With all of you I am." Whereby he intimates that the things written came not of wrath or anger, but of provident care, seeing that after so heavy an accusation he doth not turn himself away, but rather loves them, and embraces them when they are afar off, by these epistles and writings throwing himself into their arms.

[5.] For so ought he that corrects to do: since he at least, who acts merely from anger is but satisfying his own feeling; but he who after correcting the sinner renders also the offices of love, shows that those words also, whatsoever he spake in reproof, were words of fond affection. Just so let us too chasten one another; and let neither the corrector be angry, (for this belongs not to correction, but to passion,) nor let him that is corrected take it ill. For what is done is healing, not despite. Now if physicians use cautery and are not found fault with, and that too, frequently, though they quite miss their object; but even in their pain the subjects of the cautery and amputation esteem as benefactors those who excite this pain; much more ought he who receives reproof to be so disposed, and as to a physician so to give heed to the corrector, and not as to an enemy. And let us also who rebuke approach with great gentleness, with great prudence. And if thou seest a brother committing sin, as Christ commanded, make not your rebuke public, but "between thee and him alone:" (Matt. xviii. 15.) not reproaching nor insulting over him when down, but in pain and with a melting heart(2). And show thyself ready also to receive reproof, if thou commit error in any thing.

Now that what I say may be plainer, let us put an imaginary case and so try our rule. For God forbid that in very deed we should be provided with such an illustration of it. Suppose any brother dwelling in the same house with a virgin, in honor and chastity, and yet not even so quite escaping evil report.(3) If then you should hear talk of this their dwelling together, be not contemptuous, nor say, "Why, hath he no understanding? Doth he not himself know what is for his good? Get love for nothing, but do not for nothing get hatred. Why, what have I to do with taking up a gratuitous enmity?" These are the doting words of wild beasts, or rather of demons: for it is not so that he is hated for nothing who doth this for his brother's correction, rather it is for great blessings and crowns unutterable.

But if thou sayest, "What? hath he no understanding?" thou shall hear from me that he hath not: drunken as he is with his passion. For if in the heathen courts of justice, (4)those who are injured must not speak for themselves while glowing with wrath; (although there be no fault in that kind of sympathy ;) how much more those whom evil habit holds in subjection. Wherefore I say that manifold as his wisdom may be, he hath not his mind awake. For what can be wiser than David, the man who said, "The dark and the hidden things of Thy wisdom Thou hast made known unto me?" (Ps. li. 6. up. LXX. 1. 6.) But when he looked on the wife of the soldier with unjust eyes, then according to what he himself said (Ps. cvii. 27.) of those who sail on the raging sea, "all his wisdom was swallowed up;" and he stood in need of others to correct him, and did not even perceive amidst what evils he was. Wherefore also, bewailing his offences, he said, "As a heavy burden they weighed grievously upon me: my wounds stank and were corrupt because(1) of my folly." (Ps. xxxviii. 5.) He therefore that committeth sin hath no understanding. For he is drunken and is in darkness. Do not then say these things, neither add that other remark, "I care not at all about it. 'For each man shall bear his own burden.'" (Gal. vi. 5.) Nay, against thyself also it grows up into a grievous accusation, that seeing one in error thou dost not restore him. For if it was not right according to the law of the Jews (Exod. xxiii. 4, 5.) to slight the beast of one's enemy; he who despises not the beast of burden nor yet the soul of an enemy perishing, but that of a friend, what pardon shall he obtain?

Yea, neither is it enough for our excuse that he hath understanding: since we too after our many and manifold exhortations have not been sufficient, nor proved useful, unto ourselves. Bear this in mind then in regard to him also that is in error; that it is natural he should receive the best counsel rather from thee than from himself.

And say not, "But what care I about these things?" Fear thou him who first spoke this word; for the saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. iv. 9.) tends to the same point as this. This is the mother of all our evils that we esteem the concerns of our own body as foreign to us. What sayest thou? Thou carest not for thy brother? Who then is to care for him? the unbeliever who rejoices over and reproaches and insults him? or the devil who urges him on and supplants him?

And whence comes this? "How do I know that I shall accomplish anything," saith he, "though I speak and advise what is right." But how is it clear that thou wilt do no good? Why, this again is extreme folly, while the end remains in obscurity to incur the manifold blame of confessed indifference. And yet God who foresees the future often speaks and doth no good; yet doth He not even so give up; and that, knowing that He shah not even persuade men. Now if He who knows beforehand that He shall win no advantage, ceases not from the work of correction, what excuse wilt thou have, who art completely ignorant of the future and yet faintest and art benumbed? Yea, and many have succeeded by frequent attempts: and when they most of all despaired, then did they most gain their point. And though thou shouldest gain no advantage, thou hast done thine own part.

Be not then inhuman, nor unmerciful, nor careless: for that these words come of cruelty and indifference is plain from what follows: viz. What is the reason that When one of the members of thy body is in pain, thou sayest not, "What care I?" Yet whence is it plain, that if it be taken due care of, it is restored? And yet thou leavest nothing undone, that even although thou profit not, thou mayest not have to blame thyself for the omission of any thing which ought to have been done. Hereupon I ask, are we to take such care for the members of our body and to neglect those of Christ? Nay, how can such things deserve pardon? For if I make no impression upon thee by saying, "Have a care of thine own member;" in order that thou mayest become better were it only through fear, I put thee in mind of the body of Christ. But how can it be other than a matter of horror to see His flesh putrefying, and neglect it? And if thou hadst a slave or an ass afflicted with a mortifying sore, thou couldest not have the heart to neglect it: but seest thou the Body of Christ full of scurvy(2), and hurriest by? and thinkest not that such things deserve innumerable thunder-bolts? For this cause all things are turned upside down, because of this our inhumanity, because of our indifference. Wherefore now, I beseech you, let this cruelty be cast out from among us.

[6.] Draw near to him whom I speak of, as dwelling with a virgin, and speak some small praise of thy brother, making it up from the other excellencies which he hath. And foment him with thy commendations as it were with warm water, and so mitigate the tumor of his wound. Speak of thyself also as wretched; accuse the common race of mankind; point out that we are all in sins; ask for pardon, saying, that thou art undertaking things too great for thee, but love persuades thee to dare all things. Then in giving thine advice, do it not imperiously, but in a brotherly way. And when by all these means thou hast reduced the swelling and soothed the pain arising from the cutting reproof which is in store for him, and when thou hast again and again deprecated and besought him not to be angry: when thou hast bound him down with these things, then use the knife; neither pressing the matter too close, nor yet undoing it; that he may neither fly off on the one hand, nor on the other think little of it. For if thou strike not to the quick thou hast done no good, and if thy blow be violent, thou makest him start away.

Wherefore, even after all this, being on the very point of the reproof, mix up again commendation with thy censures. And seeing that this proceeding considered in itself cannot be matter of praise, (for it is not commendable to keep house with a damsel that is a virgin;) let the purpose of him who doth so be thy topic for effecting this; and say, "I know indeed that thou doest it for God's sake, and that the desolation and unprotected state of that poor woman met thine eye, and caused thee to stretch out thine hand to her." And although he may not be doing it with this intention, do thou speak so; and after this add what follows also; again excusing thyself and saying, "These things I speak not to direct but to remind thee. Thou doest it for God's sake; I too know that. But let us see whether another evil be not produced thereby. And if there be none, keep her in thine house, and cling to this excellent purpose. There is no one to hinder thee. But if any mischief arise from hence exceeding the advantage, let us take care, I beseech you, lest while we are earnest to comfort one soul, we put a stumbling-block in the way of ten thousand." And do not add immediately the punishments due to those who give offence, but take his own testimony also, saying, "Thou hast no need to learn these things from me: thou thyself knowest, ' if any one offend one of these little ones,' how great a penalty is threatened. And thus, having sweetened thy speech and smoothed down his wrath, apply the medicine of thy correction. And should he again urge her forlorn condition, do not thou even so expose his pretence, but say to him, "Let nothing of this sort make you afraid: thou wilt have an ample plea, the offence given to others: since not for indifference, but in care towards them, didst thou cease from this thy purpose."

And let the matter of thine advice be brief, for there is no need of much teaching; but let the expressions of forbearance on the other hand be many and close upon one another. And continually have thou recourse to the topic of love; throwing into shade the painfulness of what thou sayest, and giving him his full power, and saying, "This is what I for my part advise and recommend; but about taking the advice thou art only judge: for I do not compel and force thee, but submit the whole thing to thine own discretion."

If we so manage our reproof, we shall easily be able in correct those in error: even as what we now do is surely more like the conduct of wild beasts or irrational creatures than of men. For if any persons now perceive any one committing errors of this kind, with the person himself they do not at all confer, but themselves, like silly old women who have drunk too much, whisper with another. And the saying, "Get love for nothing, but do not get hatred for nothing," hath not here any place in their opinion. But, when they have a fancy to speak evil, they mind not being "hated for nothing," rather I should say, "being punished ;" since it is not hatred alone that is hereby produced, but also punishment. But when there is need of correction, they allege both this, and innumerable other pretexts. Whereas then would be the time to think of these things, when thou speakest evil, when thou calumniatest; I mean the saying, " Be not hated for nothing," and "I can do nothing," and "it is no care of mine." But as things are, in the former case, thou art vehemently and idly curious, and carest not for hatred and ills innumerable; but when thou shouldest be taking thought for the salvation of thy brother, then it is thy pleasure to be a sort of unofficious, inoffensive person. And yet from evil speaking arises hatred both on God's part and on men's; and this is no great care to thee: but by giving advice privately, and reproofs of that kind, both he and God will be made thy friends. And even should he hate thee, God goes on loving thee the rather on this account. Nay, in fact, not even so will he hate thee, as when his hatred came from thine evil speaking: but in that case he will avoid thee as a foe and an enemy, whereas now he will consider thee more venerable than any father. And if he apparently take it ill, inwardly and privately he will feel much obliged to thee.

[7] Bearing in mind these things therefore let us have a care of our own members, and not sharpen the tongue against one another, nor speak words" which may do hurt,(1) undermining the fame of our neighbor, and as in war and battle, giving and receiving blows. For what after all is the good of fasting or watching, when the tongue is drunken, and feasts itself at a table more unclean than of dog's flesh; when it is grown ravening after blood, and pours out filth, and makes the mouth a channel of a sewer, nay rather something more abominable than that? For that which proceeds from thence pollutes the body: but what comes from the tongue often suffocates the soul.

These things I say, not in anxiety about those who have an ill report falsely: for they are worthy even of crowns, when they bear what is said nobly; but in anxiety for you that so speak. For him that is evil reported of falsely, the Scriptures pronounce "blessed;" but the evil-speaker they expel from the holy Mysteries, nay even from the very precincts. For it is said, (Ps.ci.5.) "Him that privily speaketh against his neighbor, this man did I chase out. And he saith too that such a one is unworthy to read the sacred books. For, "Why," saith He, (Ps. 1. 16.) "dost thou declare My righteous laws, and takest My covenant in thy mouth?" Then, annexing the cause He saith (v. 20.) "Thou satest and spakest against thy brother." And here indeed he doth not distinctly add whether they be things true or false which he speaks. But elsewhere this too makes part of His prohibition: He implying, that even though thou speak truths, yet such things are not to be uttered by thee. For, "Judge not," saith He," that ye be not judged:" (Matt. vii. 1.) since he too who spoke evil of the publican was condemned, although it was true which he laid to his neighbor's charge.

"What then," you will say, "if any one be daring and polluted, must we not correct him? must we not expose him?" We must both expose and correct: but in the way which I mentioned before. But if thou do it upbraiding him, take heed lest thine imitation of that Pharisee cause thee to fall into his state. For no advantage accrues from hence; none to thee who speakest, none to him who hears thee, none to the person accused. But the latter, for his part, becomes more reckless: since as long as he is unobserved, he is sensible of shame; but as soon as he becomes manifest and notorious, he casts off the curb also which that feeling imposed on him.

And the hearer will in his turn be yet more injured. For whether he be conscious to himself of good deeds, he becomes puffed and swoln up with the accusation brought against another; or of faults, he then becomes more eager for iniquity.

Thirdly, the speaker too himself will both incur the bad opinion of the hearer, and will provoke God to more anger against himself.

Wherefore, I beseech you, let us cast from us every word that is unsavory. If there be any thing good unto edification, this let us speak.

But hast thou a fancy to avenge thyself on the other person? Why then punish thyself instead of him? Nay, do thou, who art so earnestly seeking redress from those who have annoyed thee, avenge thyself as Paul recommended to take vengeance. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink "(Rom. xii. 20.) But if thou do not so, but only plot against him, thou pointest the sword against thyself.

Wherefore if that other speak evil, answer him with praises and commendations. For so wilt thou be able both to take vengeance on him, and wilt deliver thyself from evil surmising. Since he that feels pain at hearing ill of himself, is thought to be so affected because of some consciousness of evil: but he that laughs to scorn what is said, exhibits a most unquestionable token of his not being conscious to himself of any evil thing.(1)

Seeing then that thou profitest neither thine hearer, nor thyself, nor him that is accused, and dost but point thy sword at thine own self, even from such considerations do thou learn more soberness. For one ought indeed to be moved by the thought of the kingdom of heaven, and of what pleases God: but since thou art of grosser disposition and bitest like a wild beast, hereby even be thou instructed; that these arguments having corrected thee, thou mayest be able to order thyself simply from consideration of what pleases God; and having come to be above every passion, mayest obtain the heavenly blessings:--which may God grant us all to obtain, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His mercy towards mankind; with Whom, to the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and henceforth, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.

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