2 COR. xii. 1.

"It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory,(*) [for] I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord."

What is this? Doth he who has spoken such great things say, [It is not expedient] "doubtless to glory?" as if he had said nothing? No; not as if he had said nothing: but because he is going to pass to another species of boasting, which is not intended indeed by so great a reward, but which to the many (though not to careful examiners) seems to set him off in brighter colors(1), he says, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory." For truly the great grounds of boasting were those which he had re ounted, those of his trials; he has however other things also to tell of, such as concern the revelations, the unspeakable mysteries. And wherefore, says he, "It is not expedient for me?" he means, 'lest it lift me up to pride.' What sayest thou? For if thou speak not of them, yet dost thou not know of them? But our knowing of them ourselves doth not lift us up so much as our publishing them to others. For it is not the nature of good deeds that useth to lift a man up, but their being witnessed to, and known of, by the many. For this cause therefore he saith, "It is not expedient for me;" and, 'that I may not implant too great an idea of me in those who hear.' For those men indeed, the false apostles, said even what was not true about themselves; but this man hides even what is true, and that too although so great necessity lies upon him, and says, "It is not expedient for me;" teaching one and all even to superfluity(2) to avoid any thing of the sort. For this thing(3) is attended with no advantage, but even with harm, except there be some necessary and useful reason which induceth us thereto. Having then spoken of his perils, trials, snares, dejections, shipwrecks, he passeth to another species of boasting, saying,

Ver. 2, 3. "I knew a man, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth;) such an one caught up even to the third heaven. And I know how that he was caught up into Paradise, (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not;) and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful(4) for a man to utter. On behalf of such an one will I glory: but on mine own behalf I will not glory."

Great indeed was this revelation. But this was not the only one: there were many others besides, but he mentions one out of many. For that there were many, hear what he says: "Lest I should be exalted overmuch through the exceeding greatness of the revelations." 'And yet,' a man may say, 'if he wished to conceal them, he ought not to have given any intimation(5) whatever or said any thing of the sort; but if he wished to speak of them, to speak plainly. ' Wherefore then is it that he neither spoke plainly nor kept silence? To show by this(6) also that he resorts to the thing unwillingly. And therefore also he has stated the time, "fourteen years." For he does not mention it without an object, but to show that he who had refrained for so long a time would not now have spoken out, except the necessity for doing so had been great. But he would have still kept silence, had he not seen the brethren perishing. Now if Paul from the very beginning was such an one as to be counted worthy of such a revelation, when as yet he had not wrought such good works; consider what he must have grown to in fourteen years. And observe how even in this very matter he shows modesty, by his saying some things, but confessing that of others he is ignorant. For that he was caught up indeed, he declared, but whether "in the body" or "out of the body" he says he does not know. And yet it would have been quite enough, if he had told of his being caught up and had been silent [about the other]; but as it is, in his his modesty he adds this also. What then? Was it the mind that was caught up and the soul, whilst the body remained dead? or was the body caught up? It is impossible to tell. For if Paul who was caught up and whom things unspeakable, so many and so great, had befallen was in ignorance, much more we. For, indeed, that he was in Paradise he knew, and that he was in the third heaven he was not ignorant, but the manner he knew not clearly. And see from yet another consideration how free he is from pride. For in his narrative about "the city of the Damascenes" (2 Cor. xi. 32.) he confirms what he says, but here not; for it was not his aim to establish this fact strongly, but to men-mention and intimate it only. Wherefore also he goes on to say, "Of such an one will I glory;" not meaning that he who was caught up was some other person, but he so frames his language in the best manner he possibly could, so as at once to mention the fact, and to avoid speaking of himself openly. For what sequence would there be in bringing some one else forward, when discoursing about himself? Wherefore then did he so put it? It was not all one to say, 'I was caught up,' and, "I knew one that was caught up;" and ' I will glory of myself,' and, "I will glory of such an one." Now if any should say, 'And how is it possible to be caught up without a body?' I will ask him, ' How is it possible to be caught up with a body?' for this is even more inexplicable than the other, if you examine by reasonings and do not give place to faith.

[2.] But wherefore was he also caught up? As I think, that he might not seem to be inferior to the rest of the Apostles. For since they had companied with Christ, but Paul had not: He therefore caught up unto glory him also. "Into Paradise." For great was the name of this place, and it was everywhere celebrated. Wherefore also Christ said, "To-day thou shalt he with Me in Paradise." (Luke xxiii. 43.)

"On behalf of such an one will I glory?" wherefore? For if another were caught up, wherefore dost thou glory? Whence it is evident that he said these things .of himself. And if he added, "but of myself I will not glory," he says nothing else than this, that, 'when there is no necessity, I will say nothing of that kind fruitlessly and at random;' or else he is again throwing obscurity over(1) what he had said, as best he might. For that the whole discourse was about himself, what follows also clearly shows; for he went on to say,

Ver. 6. "But if I should even desire to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I shall speak the truth. "

How then saidst thou before, "Would that ye could bear with me a little in my foolishness;" (Chap. xi. 1.) and, "That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly;" (Chap. xi. 17) but here, "Though I should even desire to glory, I shall not be foolish?" Not in regard of glorying, but of lying; for if glorying be foolishness, how much more lying?

It is then with regard to this that he says, "I shall not be foolish." Wherefore also he added,

"For I shall speak the truth; but I forbear, lest any man should account of me above that which he seeth(2), or that he heareth from me." Here you have the acknowledged reason; for they even deemed them to he gods, on account of the greatness of their miracles. As then in the case of the elements, God hath done both things, creating them at once weak and glorious; the one, to proclaim His own power; the other, to prevent the error of mankind(3): so truly here also were they both wonderful and weak, so that by the facts themselves were the unbelievers instructed. For if whilst continuing to be wonderful only and giving no proof of weakness, they had by words tried to draw away the many from conceiving of them more than the truth; not only would they have nothing succeeded, but they would even have brought about the contrary. For those dissuasions in words would have seemed rather to spring of lowliness of mind, and would have caused them to be the more admired. Therefore in act and by deeds was their weakness disclosed. And one may see this exemplified in the men who lived under the old dispensation. For Elias was wonderful, but on one occasion he stood convicted of faint-heartedness; and Moses was great, but he also fled(4) under the influence of the same passion. Now such things befel them, because God stood aloof and permitted their human nature to stand confessed. For if because he led them out they said, 'Where is Moses?' what would they net have said, if he had also led them in? Wherefore also [Paul] himself says, "I forbear, lest any should account of me." He said not, 'say of me,' but, "lest any should even account of me" beyond my desert.' Whence it is evident from this also that the whole discourse relates to himself. Wherefore even when he began, he said, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory," which he would not have said, had he been going to speak the things which he said of another man. For wherefore is it "not expedient to glory" about another? But it was himself that was counted worthy of these things; and therefore it is that he goes on to say,

Ver. 7. "And that I should not be exalted overmuch, through the exceeding greatness of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me."

What sayest thou? He that counted not the kingdom to be any thing; no, nor yet hell in respect of his longing after Christ; did he deem honor from the many to be any thing, so as both to be lifted up and to need that curb continually? for he did not say, ' that he "might" buffet(1) me,' but "that he" may "buffet(2) me." Yet who is there would say this? What then is the meaning of what is said? When we have explained what is meant at all by the "thorn," and who is this "messenger of Satan," then will we declare this also. There are some then who have said that he means a kind of pain in the head which was inflicted of the devil; but God forbid! For the body of Paul never could have been given over to the hands of the devil, seeing that the devil himself submitted to the same Paul at his mere bidding; and he set him laws and bounds, when he delivered over the fornicator for the destruction of the flesh, and he dared not to transgress them. What then is the meaning of what is said? An adversary is called, in the Hebrew, Satan; and in the third Book of Kings the Scripture has so termed such as were adversaries; and speaking of Solomon, says, 'In his days there was no Satan,' that is, no adversary, enemy, or opponent. (1 Kings v, 4.) What he says then is this: God would not permit the Preaching to progress, in order to check our high thoughts; but permitted the adversaries to set upon us. For this indeed was enough to pluck down his high thoughts; not so that, pains in the head. And so by the "messenger of Satan," he means Alexander the coppersmith, the party of Hymenaeus and Philetus, all the adversaries of the word; those who contended with and fought against him, those that cast him into a prison, those that beat him, that led him away to death(3); for they did Satan's business. As then he calls those Jews children of the devil, who were imitating his deeds, so also he calls a "messenger of Satan" every one that opposeth. He says therefore, "There was given to me a thorn to buffet me; "not as if God putteth arms into such men's hands, God forbid! not that He doth chastise or punish, but for the time alloweth and permitteth them.(4)

[3.] Ver. 8. "Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice."

That is, oftentimes. This also is a mark of great lowliness of mind, his not concealing that he could not bear those insidious plottings, that he fainted under them and was reduced to pray for deliverance.

Ver. 9. "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my power is made perfect in weakness."

That is to say, 'It is sufficient for thee that thou raisest the dead, that thou curest the blind, that thou cleansest lepers, that thou workest those other miracles; seek not also exemption from danger and fear and to preach without annoyances. But art thou pained and dejected lest it should seem to be owing to My weakness, that there are many who plot against and beat thee and harass and scourge thee? Why this very thing doth show My power. "For My power," He saith, "is made perfect in weakness," when being persecuted ye overcome your persecutors; when being harassed ye get the better of them that harass you; when being put in bonds ye convert them that put you in bonds. Seek not then more than is needed.' Seest thou how he himself assigns one reason, and God another? For he himself says, "Lest I should be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn;" but he says that God said He permitted it in order to show His power. 'Thou seekest therefore a thing which is not only not needed, but which also obscureth the glory of My power.' For by the words, "is sufficient for thee," He would signify this, that nothing else need be added, but the whole was complete. So that from this also it is plain that he does not intend pains in the head; for in truth they did not preach when they were sick, for they could not preach when ill; but that harassed and persecuted, they overcame all. 'After having heard this then,' he says,

"Most gladly therefore will I glory in my weaknesses." For that they may not sink down, when those false Apostles are glorying over their contrary lot(5) and these are suffering persecution, he shows that he shineth all the brighter for this, and that thus the power of God shines forth the rather, and what happens is just matter for glorying. Wherefore he says, "Most gladly therefore will I glory." ' Not as therefore sorrowing did I speak of the things which I enumerated, or of that which I have just now said, "there was given to me a thorn;" but as priding myself upon them and drawing to myself greater power.' Wherefore also he adds,

"That the strength of Christ may rest upon me." Here he hints at another thing also, namely, that in proportion as the trials waxed in intensity, in the same proportion the grace was increased and continued.

Ver. 10. "Wherefore I take pleasure in many weaknesses."(1) Of what sort? tell me. "In injuries, in persecutions, in necessities, in distresses."'

Seest thou how he has now revealed it in the clearest manner? For in mentioning the species of the infirmity he spake not of fevers, nor any return(2) of that sort, nor any other bodily ailment, but of "injuries, persecutions, distresses." Seest thou a single-minded soul? He longs to be delivered from those dangers; but when he heard God's answer that this befitteth not, he was not only not sorry that he was disappointed of his prayer, but was even glad. Wherefore he said, "I take pleasure," ' I rejoice, I long, to be injured, persecuted, distressed for Christ's sake.' And he said these things both to check those, and to raise the spirits of these that they might not be ashamed at Paul's sufferings. For that ground(3) was enough to make them shine brighter than all men. Then he mentions another reason also.

"For when I am weak, then am I strong." 'Why marvellest thou that the power of God is then conspicuous? I too am strong "then;" ' for then most of all did grace come upon him. "For as His sufferings abound, so doth our consolation abound also." (Chap. i. 5.)

[4.] Where affliction is, there is also consolation; where consolation, there is grace also. For instance when he was thrown into the prison, then it was he wrought those marvellous things; when he was shipwrecked and cast away upon that barbarous country, then more than ever was he glorified. When he went bound into the judgment-hall, then he overcame even the judge. And so it was too in the Old Testament; by(4) their trials the righteous flourished. So it was with the three children, so with Daniel, with Moses, and Joseph; thence did they all shine and were counted worthy of great crowns. For then the sonl also is purified, when it is afflicted for God's sake: it then enjoys greater assistance as needing more help and worthy of more grace. And truly, before the reward which is proposed to it by God, it reaps a rich harvest of good things by becoming philosophic. For affliction rends pride away and prunes out all listlessness and exerciseth(5) unto patience: it revealeth the meanness of human things and leads unto much philosophy. For all the passions give way before it, envy, emulation, lust, rule(6) desire of riches, of beauty(7), boastfulness, pride, anger; and the whole remaining swarm of these distempers. And if thou desirest to see this in actual working, I shall be able to show thee both a single individual and a whole people, as well under affliction as at ease; and so to teach thee how great advantage cometh of the one, and how great listlessness from the other.

For the people of the Hebrews, when they were vexed and persecuted, groaned and besought God, and drew down upon themselves great influences(8) from above: but when they waxed fat, they kicked. The Ninevities again, when they were in the enjoyment of security, so exasperated God that He threatened to pluck up the entire city from its foundations: but after they had been humbled by that preaching, they displayed all virtue(9). But if thou wouldest see also a single individual, consider Solomon. For he, when deliberating with anxiety and trouble concerning the government of that nation, was vouchsafed that vision: but when he was in the enjoyment of luxury, he slid into the very pit of iniquity. And what did his father? When was he admirable and passing belief? Was it not when he was in trials? And Absalom, was he not sober-minded, whilst still an exile; but after his return, became both tyrannical and a parricide? And what did Job? He indeed shone even in prosperity, but showed yet brighter after his affliction. And why must one speak of the old and ancient things? for if one do but examine our own state at present, he will see how great is the advantage of affliction. For now indeed that we are in the enjoyment of peace, we are become supine, and lax(10) and have filled the Church with countless evils; but when we were persecuted, we were more sober-minded, and kinder, and more earnest, and more ready as to these assemblies and as to hearing. For what fire is to gold, that is affliction unto souls; wiping away filth, rendering men clean, making them bright and shining. It leadeth unto the kingdom, that unto hell. And therefore the one way is broad, the other narrow. Wherefore also, He Himself said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," (John xvi. 33.) as though he were leaving some great good behind unto us. If then thou art a disciple, travel thou the straight and narrow way, and be not disgusted nor discouraged.(1) For even if thou be not afflicted in that way; thou must inevitably be afflicted on other grounds, of no advantage to thee. For the envious man also, and the lover of money, and he that burneth for an harlot, and the vainglorious, and each one of the rest that follow whatsoever is evil, endureth many disheartenings and afflictions, and is not less afflicted than they who mourn. And if he doth not weep nor mourn, it is for shame and insensibility: since if thou shouldest look into his soul, thou wilt see it filled with countless waves. Since then whether we follow this way of life or that, we must needs be afflicted: wherefore choose we not this way which along with affliction bringeth crowns innumerable? For thus hath God led all the saints through affliction and distress, at once doing them service, and securing the rest of men against entertaining a higher opinion of them than they deserve. For thus it was that idolatries gained ground at first; men being held in admiration beyond their desert. Thus the Roman senate decreed Alexander(2) to be the thirteenth God, for it possessed the privilege of electing and enrolling Gods. For instance, when all about Christ had been reported, the ruler of the nation(3) sent to inquire, whether they would be pleased to elect Him also a God. They however refused their consent, being angry and indignant that previous to their vote and decree, the Power of the Crucified flashing abroad had won over the whole world to its own worship. But thus it was ordered even against their will that the Divinity of Christ was not proclaimed by man's decree, nor was He counted one of the many that were by them elected. For they counted even boxers to be Gods, and the favorite of Hadrian; after whom the city Antinous is named. For since death testifies against their moral nature, the devil invented another way, that of the soul's immortality; and mingling therewith that excessive flattery, he seduced many into impiety. And observe what wicked artifice. When we advance that doctrine for a good purpose, he overthrows our words; but when he himself is desirous of framing an argument for mischief, he is very zealous in setting it up. And if any one ask, 'How is Alexander a God.? Is he not dead? and miserably too?' ,Yes, but the soul is immortal?' he replies. Now thou arguest and philosophizest for immortality, to detach men from the God Who is over all: but when we declare that this is God's greatest gift, thou persuadest thy dupes that men are low and grovelling, and in no better case than the brutes. And if we say, ' the Crucified lives,' laughter follows immediately: although the whole world proclaims it, both in old time and now; in old time by miracles, now by converts; for truly these successes are not those of a dead man: but if one say, ' Alexander lives,' thou believest, although thou hast no miracle to allege.

[5.] 'Yes,' one replies; ' I have; for when he lived he wrought many and great achievements; for he subdued both nations and cities, and in many wars and battles he conquered, and erected trophies.'

If then I shall show [somewhat] which he when alive never dreamed of, neither he, nor any other man that ever lived, what other proof of the resurrection wilt thou require? For that whilst alive one should win battles and victories, being a king and having armies at his disposal, is nothing marvelous, no, nor startling or novel; but that after a Cross and Tomb one should perform such great things throughout every land and sea, this it is which is most especially replete with such amazement, and proclaims His divine and unutterable Power. And Alexander indeed after his decease never restored again his kingdom which had been rent in pieces and quite abolished: indeed how was it likely he, dead, should do so? but Christ then most of all set up His after He was dead. And why speak I of Christ? seeing that He granted to His disciples also, after their deaths, to shine? For, tell me, where is the tomb of Alexander? show it me and tell me the day on which he died. But of the servants of Christ the very tombs are glorious, seeing they have taken possession of the most loyal city; and their days are well known, making festivals for the world. And his tomb even his own people know not, but this man's(4) the very barbarians know. And the tombs of the servants of the Crucified are more splendid than the palaces of kings; not for the size and beauty of the buildings, (yet even in this they surpass them,) but, what is far more, in the zeal of those who frequent them. For he that wears the purple himself goes to embrace those tombs, and, laying aside his pride, stands begging the saints(5) to be his advocates with God, and he that hath the diadem implores the tent-maker and the fisherman, though dead, to be his patrons. Wilt thou dare then, tell me, to call the Lord of these dead; whose servants even after their decease are the patrons of the kings of the world? And this one may see take place not in Rome only, but in Constantinople also. For there also Constantine the Great, his son considered he should be honoring with great honor, if he buried him in the porch of the fisherman; and what porters are to kings in their palaces, that kings are at the tomb to fisherman. And these indeed as lords of the place occupy the inside, whilst the others as though but sojourners and neighbors were glad to have the gate of the porch assigned them; showing by what is done in this world, even to the unbelievers, that in the Resurrection the fisherman will be yet more their superiors. For if here it is so in the burial [of each], much more will it in the resurrection. And their rank is interchanged; kings assume that of servants and ministers, and subjects the dignity of kings, yea rather a brighter still. And that this is no piece of flattery, the truth itself demonstrates; for by those these have become more illustrious. For far greater reverence is paid to these tombs than to the other royal sepulchres; for there indeed is profound solitude, whilst here there is an immense concourse. But if thou wilt compare these tombs with the royal palaces, here again the palm remains with them. For there indeed there are many who keep off, but here many who invite and draw to them rich, poor, men, women, bond, free; there, is much fear; here, pleasure unutterable. 'But,' saith one, 'it is a sweet sight to look on a king covered with gold and crowned, and standing by his side, generals, commanders, captains of horse and foot, lieutenants. Well, but this of ours is so much grander and more awful that that must be judged, compared with it, to be stage scenery(1) and child's play. For the instant thou hast stepped across the thresh-hold, at once the place sends up thy thoughts to heaven, to the King above, to the army of the Angels, to the lofty throne, to the unapproachable glory. And here indeed He hath put in the ruler's power, of his subjects to loose one, and bind another; but the bones of the saints possess no such pitiful and mean authority, but that which is far greater. For they summon demons and put them to the torture, and loose from those bitterest of all bonds, them that are bound. What is more fearful than this tribunal? Though no one is seen, though no one piles the sides of the demon, yet are there cries, and tearings(2), lashes, tortures, burning tongues, because the demon cannot endure that marvellous power. And they that once wore bodies, are victorious over bodiless powers; [their] dust and bones and ashes rack those invisible natures. And therefore in truth it is that none would ever travel abroad to see the palaces of kings, but many kings and have often traveled to see this spectacle. For the Martyries(3) of the saints exhibit outlines and symbols of the judgment to come; in that demons are scourged, men chastened and delivered. Seest thou the power of saints, even dead? seest thou the weakness of sinners, even living? Flee then wickedness, that thou mayest have power over such; and pursue virtue with all thy might. For if the case be thus here, consider what it will be in the world to come. And as being evermore possessed with this love, lay hold on the life eternal; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xii. 11.

"I am become foolish in glorying; ye compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you."

HAVING fully completed what he had to say about his own praises, he did not stay at this; but again excuses himself and asks pardon for for what he said, declaring that his doing so was of necessity and not of choice. Still nevertheless, although there was necessity, he calls himself "a fool." And when he began indeed, he said, "As foolish receive me, "and" as in foolishness;" but now, leaving out the 'as,' he calls himself "foolish." For after he had established the point he wished by saying what he did, he afterwards boldly and unsparingly grapples with all failing of the sort, teaching all persons that none should ever praise himself where there is no necessity, seeing that even where a reason for it existed, Paul termed himself a fool [for so doing]. Then he turns the blame also of his so speaking not upon the false Apostles, but wholly upon the disciples. For "ye," he saith, "compelled me." 'For if they gloried, but were not by doing so leading you astray nor causing your destruction, I should not have been thus led on to descend unto this discussion: but because they were corrupting the whole Church, with a view to your advantage I was compelled to become foolish.' And he did not say, 'For I feared lest if they obtained the highest estimation with you, they should sow their doctrines,' yet this indeed he set down above when he said, "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve, so your minds should be corrupted." (Chap. xi. 3.) Here however he does not so express himself, but in a more commanding manner and with more authority, having gained boldness from what he had said, "For I ought to have been commended of you." Then he also assigns the reason; and again he mentions not his revelations nor his miracles only, but his temptations also.

"For in nothing was I behind the chiefest Apostles." See how he here too again speaks out with greater authoritativeness. For, before indeed he said, "I reckon I am not a whit behind," but here, after those proofs, he now boldly speaks out asserting the fact, as I said, thus absolutely. Not that even thus he departs from the mean, nor from his proper character. For as though he had uttered something great and exceeding his deserts, in that he numbered himself with the Apostles, he thus again speaks modestly, and adds,

Ver. 12. "Although I be nothing, the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you."

'Look not thou at this,' he says, 'whether I be mean and little, but whether thou hast not enjoyed those things which from an Apostle it was meet thou shouldest enjoy.' Yet he did not say 'mean,' but what was lower, "nothing." For where is the good of being great, and of use to nobody? even as there is no advantage in a skilful physician if he heals none of those that be sick. 'Do not then,' he says, 'scrutinize this that I am nothing, but consider that, that wherein ye ought to have been benefitted, I have failed in nothing, but have given proof of mine Apostleship. There ought then to have been no need for me to say aught.' Now he thus spoke, not as wanting to be commended, (for how should he, he who counted heaven itself to be a small thing in comparison with his longing after Christ?) but as desiring their salvation. Then lest they should say, 'And what is it to us, even though thou wast not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles?' he therefore added,

"The signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, and by signs and wonders." Amazing! what a sea of good works hath he traversed in a few words! And observe what it is he puts first, "patience." For this is the note of an Apostle, bearing all things nobly. This then he expressed shortly by a single word; but upon the miracles, which were not of his own achieving, he employs more. For consider how many prisons, how many stripes, how many dangers, how many conspiracies, how many sleet-showers of temptations, how many civil, how many foreign wars, how many pains, how many attacks he has implied here in that word, "patience!" And by "signs" again, how many dead raised, how many blind healed, how many lepers cleansed, how many devils cast out! Hearing these things, let us learn if we happen upon a necessity for such recitals to cut our good deeds short, as he too did.

[2.] Then lest any should say, 'Well! if thou be both great, and have wrought many things, still thou hast not wrought such great things, as the Apostles have in the other Churches,' he added,

Ver. 13. "For what is there wherein ye were made inferior to the rest of the Churches?"

'Ye were partakers,' he says, 'of no less grace than the others.' But perhaps some one will say, 'What can be the reason that he turns the discourse upon the Apostles, abandoning the contest against the false Apostles?' Because he is desirous to erect their spirits yet further, and to show that he is not only superior to them, but not even inferior to the great Apostles. Therefore, surely, when he is speaking of those he says, "I am more;" but when he compares himself with the Apostles, he considers it a great thing(1) not to be "behind," although he labored more than they. And thence he shows that they insult the Apostles, in holding him who is their equal second to these men.

"Except it be that I myself was not a burden to you?" Again he has pronounced their rebuke with great severity. And what follows is of yet more odious import.

"Forgive me this wrong." Still, nevertheless, this severity contains both words of love and a commendation of themselves; if, that is, they consider it a wrong done to them, that the Apostle did not consent to receive aught from them, nor relied on them enough to be supported by them. 'If,' says he, 'ye blame me for this: ' he did not say, ' Ye blame me wrongly,' but with great sweetness, 'I ask your pardon, forgive me this fault.' And observe his prudence. For because the mooring this continually tended to bring disgrace upon them, he continually softens it down; saying above, for instance, "As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting shall not be stopped in me;" (Chap. xi. 10.) then again, "Because I love you not? God knoweth. ....But that I may cut off occasion from them that desire occasion, and that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we."; (Chap. xi. xx, 12.) And in the former Epistle "What is my reward then?" Verily, "that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel without charge." (1 Cor. ix. 18.) And here;" Forgive me this wrong." For every where he avoids showing that it is on account of their weakness he taketh not [from them]; and here not to wound them. And therefore here he thus expresses himself; 'If ye think this to be an offense, I ask forgiveness.' Now he spoke thus, at once to wound and to heal. For do not say this, I pray thee; ' If thou meanest to wound, why excuse it? but if thou excusest it, why wound?' For this is wisdom's part, at once to lance, and to bind up the sore. Then that he may not seem, as he also said before, to be continually harping upon this for the sake of receiving from them, he remedies this [suspicion], even in his former Epistle, saying, "But I write not these things that it may be so done in my case; for it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void;" (1 Cor. ix. 15.) but here with more sweetness and gentleness. How, and in what manner?

Ver. 14 "Behold this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children." What he says is this; ' It is not because I do not receive of you that I do not come to you; nay, I have already come twice; and I am prepared to come this third time, "and I will not be a burden to you.'" And the reason is a noble one. For he did not say, 'because ye are mean,' 'because ye are hurt at it,' 'because, ye are weak:' but what? "For I seek not yours, but you." ' I seek greater things; souls instead of goods; instead of gold, salvation.' Then because there still hung about the matter some suspicion, as if he were displeased at them; he therefore even states an argument. For since it was likely they would say, ' Can you not have both us and ours?' he adds with much grace this excuse for them, saying, "For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children;" instead of teachers and disciples, employing the term parents and children, and showing that he does as a matter of duty what was not of duty. For Christ did not so command, but he says this to spare them; and therefore he adds also something further. For he did not only say that" the children ought not to lay up," but also that the parents ought to. Therefore since it is meet to give,

Ver. 15. "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls."

'For the law of nature indeed has commanded the parents to lay up for the children; but I do not do this only, but I give myself also besides.' And this lavishness of his, the not only not receiving, but giving also besides, is not in common sort but accompanied with great liberality, and out of his own want; for the words, "I will be spent," are of one who would imply this.' For should it be necessary to spend my very flesh, I will not spare it for your salvation.' And that which follows contains at once accusation and love, "though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." ` And I do this,' he says, ' for the sake of those who are beloved by me, yet love me not equally.' Observe then, now, how many steps there are in this matter(1). He had a right to receive, but he did not receive; here is good work the first: and this, though in want; [good work] the second; and though preaching to them, the third; he gives besides, the fourth; and not merely gives, but lavishly(2) too, the fifth; not money only, but himself, the sixth; for those who loved him not greatly, the seventh; and for those whom he greatly loved, the eighth.

[3.] Let us then also emulate this man! For it is a serious charge, the not loving even; but becomes more serious, when although one is loved he loveth not. For if he that loveth one that loveth him be no better than the publicans; (Matt. v. 46.) he that doth not so much as this ranks with the beasts; yea rather, is even below them. What sayest thou, O man? Lovest thou not him that loveth thee? What then dost thou live for? Wherein wilt thou be of use hereafter(3)? in what sort of matters? in public? in private? By no means; for nothing is more useless than a man that knows not to love. This law even robbers have oftentimes respected, and murderers, and housebreakers; and having only taken salt with one, have been made his friends(4), letting the board change their disposition, and thou that sharest not salt only, but words and deeds, and comings in and goings out, with him, dost thou not love? Nay: those that live impurely lavish even whole estates on their strumpets; and thou who hast a worthy love, art thou so cold, and weak, and unmanly, as not to be willing to love, even when it costs thee nothing? 'And who,' one asks, ' would be so vile, who such a wild beast, as to turn away from and to hate him that loves him?' Thou dost well indeed to disbelieve it, because of the unnaturalness of the thing; but if I shall show that there are many such persons, how shall we then bear the shame? For when thou speakest ill of him whom thou lovest, when thou hearest another speak ill of him and thou defendest him not, when thou grudgest that he should be well accounted of, what sort of affection is this? And yet it is not sufficient proof of love, not grudging, nor yet again not being at enmity or war with, but only supporting(1) and advancing him that loves thee: but when a man does and says everything to pull down his neighbor even, what can be more wretched than such a spirit? Yesterday and the day before his friend, thou didst both converse and eat with him: then because all at once thou sawest thine own member highly thought of, casting off the mask of friendship, thou didst put on that of enmity, or rather of madness. For glaring madness it is, to be annoyed at the goodness of neighbors; for this is the act of mad and rabid dogs. For like them, these also fly at all men's faces, exasperated with envy. Better to have a serpent twining about one's entrails than envy crawling in us. For that it is often possible to vomit up by means of medicines, or by food to quiet: but envy twineth not in entrails but harboreth in the bosom of the soul, and is a passion hard to be effaced. And indeed if such a serpent were within one, it would not touch men's bodies so long as it had a supply of food; but envy, even though thou spread for it ever so endless a banquet, devoureth the soul itself, gnawing on every side, tearing, tugging, and it is not possible to find any palliative whereby to make it quit its madness, save one only, the adversity of the prosperous; so is it appeased, nay rather, not so even. For even should this man suffer adversity, yet still he sees some other prosperous, and is possessed by the same pangs, and everywhere are wounds, everywhere blows. For it is not possible to live in the world and not see persons well reputed of. And such is the extravagance of this distemper, that even if one should shut its victim up at home, he envies the men of old who are dead.

Now, that men of the world should feel in this way, is indeed a grievous thing, yet it is not so very dreadful; but that those who are freed from the turmoils of busy life should be possessed by this distemper,--this is most grievous of all. And I could have wished indeed to be silent: and if silence took away too the disgrace of those doings, it were a gain to say nothing: if however, though I should hold my peace the doings will cry out more loudly than my tongue, no harm will accrue from my words, because of their parading(2) these evils before us, but possibly some gain and advantage. For this distemper has infected even the Church, it has turned everything topsy-turvy, and dissevered the connection of the body, and we stand opposed to each other, and envy supplies us arms. Therefore great is the disruption. For if when all build up, it is a great thing if our disciples stand; when all at once are pulling down, what will the end be?

[4.] What doest thou, O man? Thou thinkest to pull down thy neighbor's; but before his thou pullest down thine own. Seest thou not them that are gardeners, that are husbandmen, how they all concur in one object? One hath dug the soil, another planted, a third carefully covered the roots, another watereth what is planted, another hedges it round and fortifies it, another drives off the cattle; and all look to one end, the safety of the plant. Here, however, it is not so: but I plant indeed myself, and another shakes and disturbs [the plant.] At least, allow it to get nicely fixed, that it may be strong enough to resist the assault. Thou destroyest not my work, but abandonest thine own. I planted, thou oughtest to have watered. If then thou shake it it, thou hast torn it up by the roots, and hast not wherein to display thy watering. But thou seest the planter highly esteemed. Fear not: neither am I anything, nor thou. "For neither is he that planteth nor he that watereth any thing;" (1 Cor. iii. 7.) one's is the work, God's. So it is with Him thou tightest and warrest, in plucking up what is planted.

Let us then at length come to our sober senses again, let us watch. For I fear not so much the battle without, as the fight within; for the root also, when it is well fitted into the ground, will suffer no damage from the winds; but if it be itself shaken, a worm gnawing through it from within, the tree will fall, even though none molest.it. How long gnaw we the root of the Church like worms? For of earth such imaginings are begotten also, or rather not of earth, but of dung, having corruption for their mother; and they cease not from the detestable flattery that is from women(3). Let us at length be generous men, let us be champions of philosophy, let us drive back the violent career of these evils. For I behold the mass of the Church prostrate now, as though it were a corpse. And as in a body newly dead, one may see eyes and hands and feet and neck and head, and yet no one limb performing its proper office; so, truly, here also, all who are here are of the faithful, but their faith is not active; for we have quenched its warmth and made the body of Christ a corpse. Now if this sounds awful when said, it is much more awful when it appears in actions. For we have indeed the name of brothers, but do the deeds of foes; and whilst all are called members, we are divided against each other like wild beasts. I have said this not from a desire to parade our condition, but to shame you and make you desist. Such and such a man goes into a house; honor is paid to him; thou oughtest to give God thanks because thy member is honored and God is glorified; but thou doest the contrary: thou speakest evil of him to the man that honored him, so that thou trippest up the heels of both, and, besides, disgracest thyself. And wherefore, wretched and miserable one? Hast thou heard thy brother praised, either amongst men or women?(1) Add to his praises, for so thou shalt praise thyself also. But if thou overthrow the praise, first, thou hast spoken evil of thyself, having so acquired an ill character, and thou hast raised him the higher. When thou hearest one praised, become thou a partner in what is said; if not in thy life and virtue, yet still in rejoicing over his excellencies. Hath such an one praised? Do thou too admire: so shall he praise thee ago as good and candid. Fear not, as though thou wast ruining thine own interest by thy praises of another: for this is [rather] the result of accusation of him. For mankind is of a contentious spirit; and when it sees thee speaking ill of any, it heaps on its praises, wishing to mortify by so doing; and reprobates those that are accusers, both in its own mind arid to others. Seest thou what disgrace we are the causes of to ourselves? how we destroy and rend the flock? Let us at length be members (of one another), let us become one body. And let him that is praised repudiate the praises, and transfer the encomium to his brother; and let him that hears another praised, feel pleasure to himself. If we thus come together ourselves, we shall also draw unto ourselves the Head; but if we live parted"(2) from each other, we shall also put from us the aid which comes from thence; and when that is put aside, the body will receive great damage, not being bound together(3) from above. That this then may not happen, let us, banishing ill will and envy, and despising what the many may think of us, embrace love and concord. For thus we shall obtain both the present good things and those to come; where-unto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xii. 16--18.

"But be it so, I myself did not burden you: but being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I take advantage of you by any one of them whom I have sent unto you? I exhorted Titus, and with him I sent the brother. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Walked we not by the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?"

Paul has spoken these words very obscurely, but not without a meaning or purpose. For seeing he was speaking about money, and his defence on that score, it is reasonable that what he says must be wrapt in obscureness. What then is the meaning of what he says? He had said, 'I received not, nay I am ready even to give besides, and to spend;' and much discourse is made on this subject both in the former Epistle and in this. Now he says something else, introducing the subject in the form of an objection and meeting it by anticipation.(4) What he says is something like this; 'I indeed have not made a gain of you: but perhaps some one has it to say that I did not receive [of you] indeed myself, but, being crafty, I procured those who were sent by me to ask for something of you as for themselves(5), and through them I myself received, yet keeping myself clear of seeming to receive, by receiving through others. But none can have this to say either; and you are witnesses.' Wherefore also he proceeds by question, saying, "I exhorted Titus, and with him I sent the brother. Did Titus make a gain of you?" 'walked he not just as I walked.' That is to say, neither did he receive. Seest thou how intense a strictness [is here], in that he not only keeps himself clear of that receiving, but so modulates those also who are sent by him that he may not give so much as a slight pretence to those who were desirous of attacking him. For this is far greater than that which the Patriarch did. (Gen. xiv. 24.) For he indeed, when he had returned from his victory, and the king would have given him the 'spoil, refused to accept aught save what the men had eaten; but this man neither himself enjoyed [from them] his necessary food, nor allowed his partners to partake of such: thus abundantly stopping the mouths of the shameless. Wherefore he makes no assertion, nor does he say that they did not receive either; but what was far more than this, he cites the Corinthians themselves as witnesses that they had received nothing, that he may not seem to be witnessing in his own person, but by their verdict; which course we are accustomed to take in matters fully admitted and about which we are confident. 'For tell me,' he says, 'Did any one of those who were sent by us make unfair gain(1) of you?' He did not say, 'Did any one receive aught from you?' but he calls the things 'unfair gain; 'attacking them and shaming them exceedingly, and showing that to receive of an unwilling [giver] is 'unfair gain.' And he said not 'did Titus?' but, "did any?" 'For ye cannot say this either,' he says, 'that such an one certainly did not receive, but another did. No single one of those who came did so. '"I exhorted Titus." This too is severely(2) said. For he did not say, 'I sent Titus,' but, 'I exhorted' him; showing that if he had received even, he would have done so justly; but, nevertheless, even so he remained pure. Wherefore he asks them again, saying, "Did Titus take any advantage of you? Walked we not by the same spirit?" What means, "by the same spirit?" He ascribes the whole to grace and shows that the whole of this praise is the good result not of our labors, but of the gift of the Spirit and of Grace. For it was a very great instance of grace that although both in want and hunger they would receive nothing for the edification of the disciples. "Walked we not in the same steps?" That is to say, they did not depart the least from this strictness, but preserved the same rule entire.

[2] Ver. 19. "Again, think ye that we are excusing ourselves unto you? "(3)

Seest thou how he is continually in fear, lest he should incur the suspicion of flattery? Seest thou an Apostle's prudence, how constantly he mentions this? For he said before, "We commend not ourselves again, but give you occasion to glory;" (2 Cor. v. 12.) and in the commencement of the Epistle, "Do we need letters of commendation?" (ib. iii. 1.)

"But all things are for your edifying." Again he is soothing them. And he does not here either say clearly, 'on this account we receive not, because of your weakness;' but, 'in order that we may edify you;' speaking out indeed more clearly than he did before, and revealing that wherewith he travailed; but yet without severity. For he did not say, 'because of your weakness;' but, 'that ye may be edified.'

Ver. 20. "For I fear, lest by any means when I come, I should not find you such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not."

He is going to say something great and offensive. And therefore he also inserts this excuse [for it], both by saying, "All things are for your edifying," and by adding, "I fear," softening the harshness of what was presently going to be said. For it was not here out of arrogance nor the authority of a teacher, but out of a father's tender concern, when he is more fearful and trembling than the sinners themselves at that which is likely to reform them. And not even so does he run them down or make an absolute assertion; but says doubtingly, "lest by any means when I come, I should not find you such as I would." He did not say, 'not virtuous,' but "not such as I would," everywhere employing the terms of affection. And the words, "I should find," are of one who would express what is out of natural expectation, as are also those, "I shall be found by you." For the thing is not of deliberate choice, but of a necessity originating with you. Wherefore he says, "I should be found such as ye would not." He said not here, "such as I would not," but, with more severity, "such as ye wish not." For it would in that case become his own will, not indeed what he would first have willed, but his will nevertheless. For he might indeed have said again, 'such as I would not,' and so have showed his love: but he wishes not to relax(4) his hearer. Yea rather, his words would in that case have been even harsher; but now he has at once dealt them a smarter blow and showed himself more gentle. For this is the characteristic of his wisdom; cutting more deeply, to strike more gently. Then, because he had spoken obscurely, he unveils his meaning, saying,

"Lest there be strife, jealousy, wraths, backbitings, whisperings, swellings."(5)

And what he might well put first, that he puts last: for they were very proud(1) against him. Therefore, that he may not seem principally to be seeking his own, he first mentions what was common. For all these things were gendered of envy, their slanderings, accusations, dissensions. For just like some evil root, envy produced wrath, accusation, pride, and all thee other evils, and by them was increased further,

Ver. 21. And "lest when I come again, my God should humble me among you."

And the word "again," too, is as smiting them. For he means, 'What happened before is enough;' as he said also in the beginning [of the Epistle], "to spare you, I came not as yet to Corinth." (Chap. i. 18, 23.) Seest thou how he shows both indignation and tender affection? But what means, "will humble me?" And yet this is glorious rather, to accuse, to take vengeance, to call to account, to be seated in the place of judge; howbeit he calls it a humbling. So far was he from being ashamed of that [cause of] humbling, because, "his bodily presence was weak, and his speech of no account," that he wished to be even for ever in that case, and deprecated the contrary. And he says this more clearly as he proceeds; and he counts this to be especially humbling, to be involved in such a necessity as the present, of punishing and taking vengeance. And wherefore did he not say, 'lest when I come I shall be humbled,' but, "lest when I come my God will humble me." 'Because had it not been for His sake, I should have paid no attention nor been anxious. For it is not as possessing authority and for my own pleasure, that I demand satisfaction,(2) but because of His commandment.' Now above, indeed, he expressed himself thus, "I shall be found;" here, however, he relaxes and adopts milder and gentler language, saying,

"I shall mourn for many of them who have sinned." Not simply, "who have sinned," but,

"Who have not repented." And he said not, 'all,' but "many;" nor made it clear who these were either, thereby making the return unto repentance easy to them; and to make it plain that a repentance is able to right transgressions, he bewails those that repent not, those who are incurably diseased, those who continue in their wounds. Observe then Apostolic virtue, in that, conscious of no evil in himself, he laments over the evils of others and is humbled for other men's transgressions. For this is the especial mark of a teacher, so to sympathize with the calamities of his disciples, and to mourn over the wounds of those who are under him. Then he mentions also the specific sin.

"Of the lasciviousness and uncleanness which they committed." Now in these words he alludes indeed to fornication; but if one carefully examine the subject, every kind of sin can be called by this name. For although the fornicator and adulterer is preeminently styled unclean, yet still the other sins also produce uncleanness in the soul. And therefore it is that Christ also calls the Jews unclean, not charging them with fornication only, but with wickedness of other kinds as well. Wherefore also He says that they made the outside clean, and that "not the things which enter in defile the man, but those which come out from him;" (Mat. xv. 11.) and it is said in another place, "Every one that is proud in heart is unclean before the Lord." (Prov. xvi. 5. LXX.)

[3.] For nothing is purer than virtue, nothing uncleaner than vice; for the one is brighter than the sun, the other more stinking than mire. And to this they will themselves bear witness, who are wallowing in that mire and living in that darkness; at any rate, when one prepares them a little to see clearly. For as long as they are by themselves, and inebriate with the passion, just as if living in darkness they lie in unseemly wise to their much infamy, conscious even then where they are, although not fully; but after they have seen any of those who live in virtue reproving them or even showing himself, then they understand their own wretchedness more clearly; and as if a sunbeam had darted upon them, they cover up their own unseemliness and blush before those who know of their doings, yea, though the one be a slave and the other free, though the one be a king and the other a subject. Thus when Ahab saw Elijah, he was ashamed, even when he(3) had as yet said nothing; standing convicted by the mere sight of him; and when his accuser was silent, he pronounced a judgment condemnatory of himself; uttering the language of such as are caught, and saying, "Thou hast found me, O mine enemy!" (1 Kings xxi. 20.) Thus Elijah himself conversed with that tyrant then with great boldness. Thus Herod, unable to bear the shame of those reproofs, (which [shame] the sound of the prophet's tongue with mighty and transparent clearness exposed more evidently,) cast John into the prison: like one who was naked and attempting to put out the light, that he might be in the dark again; or rather he himself dared not put it out, but, as it were, placed it in the house under a bushel; and that wretched and miserable woman compelled it to be done. But not even so could they cover the reproof, nay, they lit it up the more. For both they that asked, 'Wherefore doth John dwell in prison?' learnt the reason, and all they that since have dwelt on land or sea, who then lived, or now live, and who shall be hereafter, both have known and shall know clearly these wicked tragedies, both that of their lewdness and that of their bloodguiltiness, and no time shall be able to wipe out the remembrance of them.

So great a thing is virtue: so immortal is its memory, so completely even by words only cloth it strike down its adversaries. For wherefore did he cast him into the prison? Wherefore did he not despise him? Was he going to drag him before the judgment-seat? Did he demand vengeance upon him for his adultery? Was not what he said then simply a reproof? Why then doth he fear and tremble? Was it not words and talk merely? But they stung him more than deeds. He led him not to any judgment-seat, but he dragged him before that other tribunal of conscience; and he sets as judges upon him all who freely gave their verdicts in their thought. Therefore the tyrant trembled, unable to endure the lustre of virtue. Seest thou how great a thing is philosophy? It made a prisoner more lustrous than a king, and the latter is afraid and trembles before him. He indeed only put him in bonds; but that polluted woman rushed on to his slaughter also, although the rebuke was leveled rather against him, [than herself.] For he did not then meet "her" and say, 'Why cohabitest thou with the king?' not that she was guiltless, (how should she be so?) but he wished by that other means to put all to rights. Wherefore he blamed the king, and yet not him with violence of manner. For he did not say, 'O polluted and all-polluted and lawless and profane one, thou hast trodden under foot the law of God, thou hast despised the commandments, thou hast made thy might law. 'None of these things; but even in his rebukings great was the gentleness of the man, great his meekness. For, "It is not lawful for! thee," lie says, "to have thy brother Philip's wife." The words are those of one who teacheth rather than reproveth, instructeth rather than chasteneth, who composeth to order rather than exposeth, who amendeth rather than trampleth on him. But, as I said, the light is hateful to the thief, and the mere sight of the just man is odious to sinners; "for he is grievous unto us even to behold." (Wisd. ii. 15.) For they cannot bear his radiance, even as diseased eyes cannot bear the sun's. But to many of the wicked he is grievous not to behold only, but even to hear of. And therefore that polluted and all-polluted woman, the procuress of her girl, yea rather her murderess, although she had never seen him nor heard his voice, rushed on to his slaughter; and prepareth her whom she brought up in lasciviousnss to proceed also to murder, so extravagantly did she fear him.

[4.] And what says she? "Give me here in a charger the head of John the Baptist." (Mat. xiv. 8.) Whither rushest thou over precipices, wretched and miserable one? What? is the accuser before thee? is he in sight and troubleth thee? Others said, "He is grievous unto us even to behold;" but to her, as I said, he was grievous to even hear of. Wherefore she saith, "Give me here in a charger the head of John." And yet because of thee he inhabits a prison, and is laden with chains, and thou art free to wanton over thy love and to say, 'So completely have I subdued the king, that though publicly reproached he yielded not, nor desisted from his passion, nor tore asunder his adulterous connection with me, but even put him that reproached him in bonds. 'Why art thou mad and rabid, when even after that reproof of his sin thou retainest thy paramour? Why seekest thou a table of furies, and preparest a banquet of avenging demons? Seest thou how nothing-worth,(1) how cowardly, how unmanly, is vice; how when it shall most succeed, it then becomes more feeble? For this woman was not so much disturbed before she had cast John into prison, as she is troubled after he is bound, and she is urgent, saying, "Give me here in a charger the head of John." And wherefore so? 'I fear,' she says, lest there be any(2) hushing up of his murder, lest any should rescue him from his peril.' And wherefore requirest thou not the whole corpse, but the head? 'The tongue,' she says, 'that pained me, that I long to see silent. ' But the contrary will happen, as indeed it also hath done, thou wretched and miserable one! it will cry louder afterwards, when it is cut out. For then indeed it cried in Judaea only, but now it will reach to the ends of the world; and wheresoever thou enterest into a church, whether it be among the Moors, or among the Persians, or even unto the British isles themselves, thou hearest John crying, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother Phillip's wife." But she, unknowing to reason in any such way, urges and presses,(3) and thrusts on the senseless tyrant to the murder, fearing lest he change his mind. But from this too learn thou again the power of virtue. Not even when he was shut up and bound and silent, does she bear the righteous man. Seest thou how weak a thing vice is? how unclean? For in the place of meats it bringeth in a human head upon a charger. What is more polluted, what more accursed, what more immodest, than that damsel? what a voice she uttered in that theatre of the devil, in that banquet of demons! Seest thou this tongue and that; the one bringing healthful medicines, the other one with poison on it, and made the purveyor to a devilish banquet. But wherefore did she not command him to be murdered within there, at the feast, when her pleasure would have been greater? She feared lest if he should come thither and be seen, he should change them all by his look, by his boldness. Therefore surely it is that she demandeth his head, wishing to set up a bright trophy of fornication; and give it to her mother. Seest thou the wages of dancing, seest thou the spoils of that devilish plot? I mean not the head of John, but her paramour himself. For if one examine it carefully, against the king that trophy was set up, and the victress was vanquished, and the beheaded was crowned, and proclaimed victor, even after his death shaking more vehemently the hearts of the offenders. And that what I have said is no [mere] boast, ask of Herod himself; who, when he heard of the miracles of Christ, said, "This is John, he is risen from the dead: and therefore do these powers work in him." (Mat. xiv. 2.) So lively(3) was the fear, so abiding the agony he retained; and none had power to cast down the terror of his conscience, but that incorruptible Judge continued to take him by the throat, and day by day to demand of him satisfaction for the murder. Knowing, then, these things, let us not fear to suffer evil, but to do evil; for that indeed is victory, but this defeat.

Wherefore also Paul said, "Why not rather take wrong, why not rather be defrauded. Nay, ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." For by the suffering evil [come] those crowns, those prizes, that proclamation [of victory]. And this may be seen in all the saints. Since then they all were thus crowned, thus proclaimed, let us too travel this road, and let us pray indeed that we enter not into temptation; but if it should come, let us make stand with much manliness and display the proper readiness of mind, that we may obtain the good things to come, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. xiii. 1.

"This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word be established."

The wisdom(1) of Paul and his much tender affection, one may observe in many other circumstances, but especially in this, his being so abundant and vehement in his admonitions, but so tardy and procrastinating in his punishments. For he did not chastise them immediately on their sinning, but warned them once and again; and not even so, upon their paying no attention, does he exact punishment, but warns again, saying, "This is the third time I am coming to you; "and 'before I come I write again.' Then, that his procrastinating may not produce indifference,(2) see how he corrects this result also, by threatening continually and holding the blow suspended over them, and saying, "If I come again I will not spare;" and "lest when I come again I should mourn for many." These things, then, he doeth and speaketh, in this too imitating the Lord of all: because that God also threateneth indeed continually and warneth often, but not often chastiseth and punisheth. And so in truth also doth Paul, and therefore he said also before, "To spare you I came net as yet to Corinth." What is, "to spare you?" Lest finding you to have sinned and to continue unamended, I should visit with chastisement and punishment. And here, "This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word be established." He joins the unwritten to the written, as he has done also in another place, saying, "He that is joined to an harlot is one body; for the twain," saith He, "shall become one flesh." (1 Cor. vi. 16.) Howbeit, this was spoken of lawful marriage; but he diverted its application(4) unto this thing(5) conveniently, so as to terrify them the more. And so he doth here also, setting his comings and his warnings in the place of witnesses. And what he says is this: 'I spoke once and again when I was with you; I speak also now by letter. And if indeed ye attend to me, what I desired is accomplished; but if ye pay no attention, it is necessary henceforth to stop speaking, and to inflict the punishment.' Wherefore he says,

Ver. 2. "I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand when I was present the second time; so now being absent I write to them that sinned heretofore and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare."

'For if at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word shall be established, and I have come twice and spoken, and speak now also by this Epistle; it follows, I must after this keep my word.(1) For think not, I pray you, that my writing is of less account than my coming; for as I spoke when present, so now I write also when absent.' Seest thou his fraternal solicitude? Seest thou forethought becoming a teacher? He neither kept silence nor punished, but he both foretells often, and continues ever threatening, and puts off the punishment, and if they should continue unamended, then he threatens to bring it to the proof.' But what didst thou tell them before when present, and when absent writest?' "That if I come again, I will not spare." Having showed before that he is unable to do this unless he is compelled, and having called the thing a mourning, and a humbling; (for he saith, "lest my God should humble me before you, and I should mourn for them that have sinned heretofore, and not repented;--Chap. xii. 21.) and having made his excuse unto them, namely, that he had told them before, once and twice and thrice, and that he does and contrives all he can so as to hold back the punishment, and by the fear of his words to make them better, he then used this unpleasing and terrifying expression, "If I come again, I will not spare." He did not say, 'I will avenge and punish and exact satisfaction :' but again expresses even punishment itself in paternal language; showing his tender affection, and his heart to be grieved along with them; be, cause that he always to " spare" them put off. Then that they may not think now also that there will be again a putting off, and merely a threat in words, therefore he both said before, "At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word be established; "and [now], "If I come again, I will not spare." Now what he means is this: 'I will no longer put off, if (which God forbid) I find you unamended; but will certainly Visit it, and make good what I have said.'

[2.] Then with much anger and vehement indignation against those who make a mock of him as weak, and ridicule his presence, and say," his presence is weak, and his speech of no account;" (Chap. x. 10.) aiming his efforts(2) at these men, he says,

Ver. 3. "Seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me."

For he said this, dealing at once a blow at these, and at the same time lashing those(3) also. Now what he means is this; 'Since ye are desirous of proving whether Christ dwelleth in me, and call me to an account, and on this score make a mock of me as mean and despicable, as I 'were destitute of that Power; ye shall know that we are not destitute, if ye give us occasion, which God forbid.' What then? tell me. Dost thou therefore punish, because they seek a proof? 'No,' he says; for had he sought this, he would have punished them at the first on their sinning, and would not have put off. But that he does not seek this, he has shown more clearly as he proceeds, saying, "Now I pray that ye do no evil, not that we may appear approved, but that ye may be approved, though we be as reprobates." (Ver. 7.)

He doth not employ those words then as assigning a reason,(4) but rather in indignation, rather as attacking those that despise him. 'For,' he says, 'I have no desire indeed to give you such a proof, but if you yourselves should furnish cause and should choose to challenge me, ye shall know by very deeds.' And observe how grievous he makes what he says. For he said not, 'Since ye seek a proof of me,' but "of Christ that speakest in me, showing that it was against Him they sinned." And he did not say merely, 'dwelling in me,' but "speaking in me," showing that his words are spiritual. But if he doth not display His power nor punish, (for thenceforward the Apostle transferred what he said from himself to Christ, thus making his threat' more fearful,) it is not from weakness; for He can do it: but from long suffering. Let none then think His forbearance to be weakness. For why marvellest thou that He doth not now proceed against sinners, nor in his forbearance and long suffering exacts satisfaction, seeing that He endured even to be crucified, and though suffering such things punished not? Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 3, 4. "Who to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth through the Power of God."

These words have much obscurity and give disturbance to the weaker sort. Wherefore it is necessary to unfold them more clearly, and to explain the signification of the expression as to which the obscurity exists, that no one may be offended, even of the simpler sort. What then, at all, is that which is here said, and what the term "weakness" designates, and in what signification it is used, it is necessary to learn. For the term is indeed one, but it has many meanings. For bodily sickness is termed 'weakness:' whence it is even said in the Gospel, "Behold, he whom Thou lovest is weak, "(1) (John xi. 3, 4.) concerning Lazarus; and He Himself said, "This weakness is not unto death;" and Paul, speaking of Epaphras, "For indeed he was weak nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him;" (Phil. ii. 57.) and of Timothy, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often weaknesses." (1 Tim. v. 23.) For all these denote bodily sickness. Again, the not being established firmly in the faith is called 'weakness;' the not being perfect and complete. And denoting this Paul said, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye but not to doubtful disputations :" (Rom. xiv. 1, 2.) and again, "One believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs," denoting him who is weak in the faith. Here then are two significations of the term 'weakness;' there is yet a third thing which is called 'weakness.' What then is this? Persecutions, plottings, insults, trials, assaults. And denoting this Paul said, "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My power is made perfect in weakness." (Chap. xii., 8, 9.) What is "in weakness?" In persecutions, in dangers, in trials, in plottings, in deaths. And denoting this he said, Wherefore, I take pleasure in weakness.(2) Then showing what kind of weakness he means, he spake not of fever, nor of doubt about the faith; but what? "in injuries, in necessities, in distressses, in stripes, in imprisonments, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak, then am I strong." (Chap. xii. 10.) That is to say 'when I am persecuted, when I am driven up and down, when I am plotted against, then am I strong, then the rather I prevail over, and get the better of them that plot against me. because that grace resteth upon(3) me, more largely, It is then in this third sense that Paul useth "weakness;" and this is what he means by it; aiming again, as I said also before, at that point, his seeming to them to be mean and contemptible. For indeed he had no desire to boast, nor to seem to be what he really was, nor yet to display the power which he possessed of punishing and revenging;whence also he was accounted to be mean. When then as so accounting they were going on in great indifference and insensibility, and repented not of their sins, he seizes a favorable opportunity, discourses with much vigor upon these points also, and shows that it was not from weakness he did nothing, but from long-suffering.

[3.] Then, as I said, by transferring the argument from himself to Christ, he enhances their fear, he increases his threat. And what he says is this; 'for even supposing I should do something and chastise and take vengeance on the guilty ones, is it I that chastise and take vengeance? it is He that dwelleth in me, Christ Himself. But if ye do not believe this, but are desirous of receiving a proof by deeds of Him that dwelleth in me, ye shall know presently; "For he is not weak to you-ward, but is even powerful."' And wherefore added he "to you-ward," seeing He is mighty everywhere? for should He be minded to punish unbelievers, He is able; or demons, or anything whatsoever. What then is the import of the addition? The expression is either as shaming them exceedingly by remembrance of the proofs they have already received; or else as declaring this, that meanwhile He shows His power in you who ought to be corrected. As he said also in another place, "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?" (1 Cor. v. 12.) 'For those that are without,' he says, 'He will then call to account in the day of judgment, but you even now, so as to rescue you from that punishment.' But nevertheless even this instance of his solicitude, although arising from tender affection, observe how he combines with fear and much anger, saying, "Who to you-ward is not weak, but is powerful in you."

Ver. 4. "For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth through the Power of God."

What is, "though He was crucified through weakness?" 'For though He chose,' he says, 'to endure a thing which seems to carry a notion of weakness, still this in no way breaks in upon(4) His Power. That still remains invincible, and that thing which seemeth to be of weakness, hath nothing harmed it, nay this very thing itself shows His Power most of all, in that He endured even such a thing, and yet His Power was not mutilated.'(5) Let not then the expression "weakness" disturb thee; for elsewhere also he says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men;" (1 Cor. i. 55.) although in God is nothing either foolish or weak: but he called the Cross so, as setting forth the conception of the unbelieving regarding it. Hear him, at least, interpreting himself. "For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (Ib. 18.) And again; "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (Ib. 23, 24.) And again; "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness unto him." (1. Cor. ii. 14.) Observe, how in every place he expresseth the conception of the unbelieving, who look upon the Cross as foolishness and weakness. And so, in truth, here also he means not "weakness" really such, but what was suspected to be such with the unbelieving. He doth not then say this, that because He was weak He was crucified. Away with the thought! For that He had it in His power not to have been crucified He showed throughout; when He now cast men down prostrate, now turned back the beams of the sun, and withered a fig-tree, and blinded their eyes that came against Him, and wrought ten thousand other things. What then is this which he says, "through weakness !" That even although He was crucified after enduring peril and treachery, (for we have showed that peril and treachery are called weakness,) yet still He was nothing harmed thereby. And he said this to draw the example unto his own case. For since the Corinthians beheld them persecuted, driven about, despised, and not avenging nor visiting it, in order to teach them that neither do they so suffer from want of power,(1) nor from being unable to visit it, he leads on the argument up to The Master, because 'He too,' saith he, 'was crucified, was bound, suffered ten thousand things, and He visited them not, but continued to endure things which appeared to argue weakness, and in this way displaying His Power, in that although He punishes not nor requites, He is not injured any thing at all. For instance, the Cross did not cut asunder His life, nor yet impeded His resurrection, but He both rose again and liveth.' And when thou hearest of the Cross and of life, expect to find the doctrine concerning the Incarnation? for all that is said here hath reference to that. And if he says "though the Power of God," it is not as though He were Himself void of strength to quicken His flesh; but it was indifferent with him to mention either Father or Son. For when he said, "the Power of God, he said by His own Power. For that both He Himself raised it up and sustains it, hear Him saying, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John ii. 19.) But if that which is His, this he(3) saith to be the Father's, be not disturbed; "For," He saith, "all My Father's things are Mine." (John xvi. 15.) And again, "All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." (Ib. xvii. 10.) 'As then He that was crucified was nothing harmed,' he says, 'so neither are we when persecuted and warred against;' wherefore also he adds,

"For even we also if(4) we are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him through the Power of God."(5)

What is the meaning of "we are weak in Him?" We are persecuted, are driven here and there, suffer extremity. But what is "with Him?" 'Because of the preaching,' he says, 'and our faith in Him. But if for His sake we undergo what is sad and disagreeable, it is quite plain that we shall what is pleasant also: ' and so he added, "but we are saved with Him by the Power of God."

[4.] Ver. 5, 6. "Try your own selves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not as to your own selves, that Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobate? But I hope that ye shall know that we are net reprobate."

For since by what he has said he hath shown that even if he does not punish, it is not because he hath not Christ in himself, but because he intimates His long-suffering, Who was crucified and yet avenged not Himself; he again, in another manner, produces the same effect, and still more irrefragably, (6) establishing his argument by the disciples. 'For why speak I of myself,' he says 'the teacher, who have so much care upon me and am entrusted with the whole world and have done such great miracles. For if ye will but examine yourselves who are in the rank of disciples, ye will see that Christ is in you also. But if in you, then much more in your teacher. For if ye have faith, Christ is in you also.' For they who then believed wrought miracles. Wherefore also he added, "Try your own selves, prove your own selves, whether ye be in the faith. Know ye not as to your own selves, unless indeed that Christ is in you, ye be reprobate?" 'But if in you, much more in your teacher?' He seems to me here to speak of the "faith" which relates to miracles. 'For if ye have faith,' he says, "Christ is in you, except ye have become reprobates." Seest thou how again he terrifies them, and shows even to superfluity that Christ is with Him. For he seems to me to be here alluding to them, even as to their lives. For since faith is not enough [by itself] to draw down the energy of the Spirit, and he had said that '"if ye are in the faith" ye have Christ in you,' and it happened that man y who had faith were destitute of that energy; in order to solve the difficulty, he says, "except ye be reprobate," except [that is] ye are corrupt in life. "But I hope that ye shall know that we are not reprobate." What followed naturally was to have said, "but if ye have become reprobate, yet we have not." He doth not, however, say so, for fear of wounding them, but he hints it in an obscure manner, without either making the assertion thus, 'ye are reprobate,' or proceeding by question and saying, ' But if ye are reprobate,' but leaving out even this way of putting it by question, he indicates it obscurely by adding, "But I hope that ye shall know that we are not reprobate." Here also again, great is the threat, great the alarm. ' For since ye desire,' he says, ' in this way, by your own punishment to receive the proof, we shall have no difficulty in giving you that demonstration.' But he does 'not indeed so express himself, but with more weight and threatening. "But I hope that ye shall know that we are not reprobate." ' For ye ought indeed,' he saith, 'to have known even without this what we are,[1] and that we have Christ speaking and working in us; but since ye desire to receive the proof of it by deeds also, ye shall know that we are not reprobate.' Then when he has held the threat suspended over their heads, and brought the punishment now up to their doors, and has set them a trembling, and made them look for vengeance; see how again he sweetens down his words and soothes their fear, and shows his unambitious temper, his tender solicitude towards his disciples, his high-principledness of purpose, his loftiness and freedom from vain-glory. For he exhibits all these qualities in what he adds, saying,

Ver. 7, 8, 9. "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil, not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do that which is honorable, though we be as reprobate. For we can do nothing against the truth but for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak, and ye are strong. For this also we pray for even your perfecting.

[5.] What can be equal to this soul? He was despised, he was spit upon, he was ridiculed, he was mocked, as mean, as contemptible, as a braggart, as boastful in his words but in his deeds unable to make even a little show; and although seeing so great a necessity for showing his own power, he not only puts off, not only shrinks back, but even prays that he may not fall into such a position. For he says, "I pray that ye do no evil, not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do that which is honorable, though we be as reprobate." What is it he says? 'I entreat God. I beseech Him, ' he says, 'that I may find no one unreformed, may find no one' that has not repented? yea, rather, not this alone, but that none may have sinned at all. For, ' he says, ' that ye have done no [evil], but if ye have perchance sinned, then that ye may have changed your conduct, and been beforehand with me in reforming, and arresting all wrath. For this is not what I am eager about, that we should be approved in this way, but clean the contrary, that we should not appear approved. For if ye should continue, ' he says, 'sinning and not repenting, it will be necessary for us to chastise, to punish, to maim your bodies; (as happened in the case of Sapphira and of Magus ;) and we have given proof of our power. But we pray not for this, but the contrary, that we may not be shown to be approved in this way, that we may not in this way exhibit the proof of the power which is in us, by chastising you and punishing you as sinning and as incurably diseased, but what? "That ye should do that which is honorable," we pray for this, that ye should ever live in virtue, ever in amendment; "and we should be as reprobate," not displaying our power of punishing. ' And he said not, "reprobate" for he would not "be" reprobate, even though he did not punish, nay rather for this very reason he would be "approved;" ' but even if some suspect us, ' he says, ' on account of our not displaying our power, to be contemptible and cast away, we care nothing for this. Better we should be so deemed of by those, than display the power which God hath given to us in those stripes, and in that unreformedness of heart.'

"For we can do nothing against the truth,but for the truth." For that he may not seem [merely] to be gratifying them, (for this is what one who was void of vain-glory might do,) but to be doing what the nature of the thing demanded, he added this, "for we can do nothing against the truth." 'For if we find you,' he says, ' in good repute, having driven away your sins by repentance and having boldness towards God; we shall not be able thereafter, were we never so willing, to punish you, but should we attempt it even, God will not work with us. For to this end gave He us our power that the judgment we give should be true and righteous, not contrary to the truth.' Seest thou how in every way he can, he makes what he says void of offensiveness, and softens the harshness of his menace? Moreover as he has eagerly endeavored this, so is he desirous also to show that his mind was quite joined[1] to them; wherefore also he added, "For we rejoice when we are weak and ye are strong, and this also we pray for even your perfecting." ' For most certainly,' he says, 'we cannot do any thing against the truth, that is, punish you if you are well pleasing [to God]; besides, because we cannot, we therefore do not wish it, and even desire the contrary. Nay, we are particularly glad of this very thing, when we find you giving us no occasion to show that power of ours for punishment. For even if the doing of such things shows men glorious and approved and strong; still we desire the contrary, that ye should be approved and unblamable, and that we should never at any time reap the glory thence arising.' Wherefore he says, "For we are glad when we are weak." What is, "are weak?" 'When we may be thought weak.' Not when we are weak, but when we are thought weak; for they were thought so by their enemies, because they displayed not their power of punishing. 'But still we are glad, when your behavior is of such a sort as to give us no pretence for punishing you. And it is a pleasure to us to be in this way considered weak, so that only ye be blameless ;' wherefore he adds, "and ye are strong," that is, 'are approved, are virtuous. And we do not only wish for this, but we pray for this, that ye may be blameless, perfect, and afford us no handle. '

[6.] This is paternal affection, to prefer the salvation of the disciples before his own good name. This is the part of a soul free from vainglory; this best releaseth from the bonds of the body and makes one to rise aloft from earth to heaven, the being pure from vain-glory; just as therefore the contrary leadeth unto many sins. For it is impossible that one who is not from vain-glory, should be lofty and great and noble; but he must needs grovel on the ground, and do much damage, whilst the slave of a polluted mistress, more cruel than any barbarian. For what can be fiercer than she who, when most courted, is then most savage? Even wild beasts are not this, but are tamed by much attention. But vain-glory is quite the contrary, by being contemned she is made tame, by being honored she is made savage and is armed against her honorer. The Jews honored her and were punished with exceeding severity; the disciples slighted her and were crowned. And why speak I of punishment and crowns? for to this very point of being seen to be glorious, it contributes more than any thing, to spit upon vainglory. And thou shalt see even in this world that they who honor it are damaged, whilst those who slight it are benefited. For the disciples who slighted it, (for there is no obstacle to our using the same example again,) and preferred the things of God, outshine the sun, having gained themselves an immortal memory even after their death; whilst the Jews who crouched[1] to it are become cityless, heartless, degraded, fugitives, exiles, mean, contemptible. Do thou, therefore, if thou desirest to receive glory, repel glory; but if thou pursuest glory, thou shalt miss glory. And, if ye will, let us also try this doctrine in worldly matters. For whom do we make sport of in our jests? Is it not of those whose minds are set upon it? Certainly then, these men are the most entirely destitute of it, having countless accusers and being slighted by all. And whom do we admire, tell me; is it not those who despise it? Certainly then, these are they that are glorified. For as he is rich, not who is in need of many things, but who is in need of nothing; so he is glorious, not who loveth glory, but who despiseth it; for this glory is but a shadow of glory. No one having seen a loaf painted, though he should be pressed with hunger ever so much, will attack the picture. Neither then do thou pursue these shadows, for this is a shadow of glory, not glory. And that thou mayest know that this is the manner of it and that it is a shadow, consider this that it must be so, when the thing hath a bad name amongst men, when all consider it a thing to be avoided, they even who desire it; and when he who hath it and he covets it are ashamed to be called after it. ' Whence then is this desire,' saith one, ' and how is the passion engendered? ' By littleness of soul, (for one ought not only to accuse it, but also to correct it,) by an imperfect mind, by a childish judgment. Let us then cease to be children, and let us become men: and let us every where pursue the reality, not the shadows, both in wealth, and in pleasure, and in luxury, and in glory, and in power; and this disease will cease, and many others also. For to pursue shadows is a madman's part. Wherefore also Paul said, "Awake up righteously and sin not." (1 Cor. xv. 34.) For there is yet another madness, sorer than that caused by devils, than that from frenzy. For that admits of forgiveness, but this is destitute of excuse, seeing the soul itself is corrupted and its right judgment lost; and that of frenzy indeed is an affection of the body, but this madness hath its seat in the artificer mind. As then of fevers those are sorer, yea incurable, which seize upon firm bodies and lurk in the recesses[2] of the nerves and are hidden away in the veins, so truly is this madness also, seeing it lurks in the recesses of the mind itself, perverting and destroying it. For how is it not clear and evident madness, yea, a distemper sorer than any madness, to despise the things which abide forever, and to cling with great eagerness to those which perish? For, tell me, if one were to chase the wind or try to hold it, should we not say that he was mad? And what? if one should grasp a shadow and neglect the reality;[3] if one should hate his own wife and embrace her shadow; or loathe his son and again love his shadow, wouldest thou seek any other clearer sign in proof of madness? Such are they also who greedily follow the present things. For they are all shadow, yea, whether thou mention glory, or power, or good report, or wealth, or luxury, or any other thing of this life. And therefore truly it is that the prophet said, "Surely man walketh in a shadow, yea, he disquieth himself in vain;" (Ps. xxxix. 6.) and again, "Our days decline like a shadow." (Ps. cii. 11.) And in another place, he calls human things smoke and the flower of grass. But it is not only his good things which are shadow, but his evils also, whether it be death thou mention, or poverty, or disease, or any other thing. What then are those things which abide, both good and evil? The eternal kingdom and the everlasting hell. For "neither shall the worm die, nor shall the fire be quenched:" (Mark ix. 44.) and "these shall rise again to everlasting life: and these to everlasting punishment." (Mat. xxv. 46.) That then we may escape the one and enjoy the other, letting go the shadow, let us cling to the real things with all earnestness, for so shall we obtain the kingdom of heaven, which may we all obtain though the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and might for ever and ever Amen.


2 COR. xiii. 10.

"For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not when present deal sharply, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for casting down."

HE was sensible he had spoken more vehemently than his wont, and especially towards the end of the Epistle. For he said before, "Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage towards you: Yea, I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present, with the confidence wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh;" (Chap. x. 1, 2. ) and, "being in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience shall be fulfilled :" (Ib. 6.) and, "I fear lest when I come, I should find you not such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not ;" (Chap. xii. 20.) and again, "lest when I come my God should humble me before you, and that I should mourn many of them which have sinned heretofore, and repented not of the lasciviousness and uncleanness which they committed :" (Ib. 21.) and afterwards, "I told you before and foretell you, as if I were present the second time, and being absent now I write, that, if I come again, I will not spare; seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ, that speaketh in me." (Chap. xiii. 2, 3.) Since then he had said these things and more besides, terrifying, shaming, reproaching, lashing them, he says, in excuse for all, "For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not when present dea. sharply." For I am desirous the sharpness should lie in my letters and not in my deeds. I wish my threats to be vehement, that they may continue threats and never go forth into action. Again even in this his apology he makes what he says more terrible, showing that it is not himself who is to punish, but God; for he added, "according to the authority which the Lord gave me;" and again, to show that he desires not to use his power to their punishment, he added, "not for casting down, but for building up." And he hinted indeed this now, as I said, but he left it to them to draw the conclusion that if they should continue unamended, even this again is building up, to punish those that are of such a mind. For so it is, and he knew it and showed it by his deeds.

Ver. 11. "For the rest,[1] brethren, rejoice, be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

What means, "for the rest, brethren, rejoice?"' Thou hast pained, terrified, thrown them into an agony, made them to tremble and fear, and how biddest thou them rejoice? 'Why, for this very reason I bid them rejoice. For,' he says, ' if what is your part follow' upon mine, there will be nothing to prevent that joy. For all my part has been done; I have suffered long, I have delayed, I have forborne to cut off, I have besought, I have advised, I have alarmed, I have threatened, so as by every means to gather you in unto the fruit of repentance. And now it behoveth that your part be done, and so your joy will be unfading.'

"Be perfected." What is, "be perfected?" 'Be complete, fill up what is deficient.'

"Be comforted." For, since their trials were numerous, and their perils great, he says, ' "be comforted," both by one another, and by us, and by your change unto the better. For if ye should have joy of conscience and become complete, nothing is wanting unto your cheerfulness and comfort. For nothing doth so produce comfort as a pure conscience, yea, though innumerable trials surround.'

"Be of the same mind, live in peace." The request he made in the former Epistle also, at the opening. For it is possible to be of one mind, and yet not to live in peace, [for instance], when people agree in doctrine, but in their dealings with each other are at variance. But Paul requires both.

"And the God of love and peace shall be with you." For truly he not only recommends and advises, but also prays. For either he prays for this, or else foretells what shall happen; or rather, both. 'For if ye do these things,' he says, ' for instance, if ye be "of one mind" and "live in peace," God also will be with you, for He is "the God of love and of peace," and in these things He delighteth, He rejoiceth. Hence shall peace also be yours from His love; hence shall every evil be removed. This saved the world, this ended the long war, this blended together heaven and earth, this made men angels. This then let us also imitate, for love is the mother of countless good things. By this we were saved, by this all those unspeakable good things [come] to us.'

[2.] Then to lead them on unto it, he says,

Ver. 12. "Salute one another with a holy kiss."

What is "holy?" not hollow,[1] not treacherous, like the kiss which Judas gave to Christ. For therefore is the kiss given, that it may be fuel unto love, that it may kindle the disposition, that we may so love each other, as brothers brothers, as children parents, as parents children; yea, rather even far more. For those things are a disposition implanted by nature, but these by spiritual grace. Thus our souls bound unto each other. And therefore when we return after an absence we kiss each other, our souls hastening unto mutual intercourse. For this is that member which most of all declares to us the workings of the soul. But about this holy kiss somewhat else may yet be said. To what effect? We are the temple of Christ; we kiss then the porch and entrance of the temple when we kiss each other. See ye not how many kiss even the porch of this temple, some stooping clown, others grasping it with their hand, and putting their hand to their mouth. And through these gates and doors Christ both had entered into us, and doth enter, whensoever we communicate. Ye who partake of the mysteries understand what I say. For it is in no common manner that our lips are honored, when they receive the Lord's Body. It is for this reason chiefly that we here kiss. Let them give ear who speak filthy things, who utter railing, and let them shudder to think what that mouth is they dishonor; let those give ear who kiss obscenely. Hear what things God hath proclaimed by thy mouth, and keep it undefiled. He hath discoursed of the life to come, of the resurrection, of immortality, that death is not death, of those other innumerable mysteries. For he that is about to be initiated comes to the priest's mouth as it were an oracle, to hear things full of awe. For he lost his life even from his forefathers, and comes to seek it again, and to ask how he may haply find and get it back. Then God announceth to him how it may be found, and that mouth becomes more awful than the very mercy-seat. For that mercy-seat never sent forth a voice like this, but spake much of lesser things, of wars and such peace as is here below: but this speaks all about heaven and the life to come, and things new and that pass understanding. And having said,

Ver. 13. "Salute one another with an holy kiss," he added, "All the saints salute you."

By this also giving them good hopes. He has added this in the place of the kiss, knitting them together by the salutation, for the words also proceed from the same mouth from which the kiss. Seest thou how he brings them all together, both those who are widely separated in the body and those who are near, these by the kiss and those by the written message?

[3.] Ver. 14. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God," and the Father,[2] "and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." After having united them to one other by the salutations and the kisses, he again closes his speech with prayer, with much carefulness uniting them unto God also. Where now are they who say that because the Holy Spirit is not inserted in the beginnings of the Epistles, He is not of the same substance? For, behold, he hath now enumerated Him with the Father and Son. And besides this, one may remark, that when writing to the Colossians and saying, "Grace to you, and peace from God our Father," he was silent of the Son, and added not, as in all his Epistles, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.[1] Is then the Son not of the same substance either, because of this? Nay, these reasonings are of extreme folly. For this very thing especially shows Him to be of the same substance, that Paul useth the expression [or not] indifferently. And that what is here said is no conjecture, hear how he mentions Son and Spirit, and is quite silent of the Father. For, writing to the Corinthians, he says, "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. vi. 11.) What then, tell me? were these not baptized into the Father? Then assuredly they were neither washed nor sanctified. But did they baptize them? doubtless then just as also they did baptize. How then did he not say, 'Ye are washed in the name of the Father?' Because it was indifferent in his view, at one time to make mention of this, at another of that Person; and you may observe this custom in many places of the Epistles. For writing to the Romans he says, "I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God," (Rom. xii. 1.) although those mercies are of the Son; and, "I beseech you by the love of the Spirit," (Rom. xv. 30.) although love is of the Father. Wherefore then mentioned he not the Son in "the mercies," nor the Father in "the love?" Because as being things plain and admitted, he was silent about them. Moreover, he will be found again, to put the gifts also themselves transposedly.[2] For having said here, "The grace of Christ, and the love of God and the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost;" he in another place speaks of "the communion of the Son," and of "the love of the Spirit." For, "I beseech you," he says, "by the love of the Spirit." (Rom. xv. 30.) And in his Epistle to the Corinthians, "God is faithful, by Whom ye were called into the communion of His Son." (1 Cor. i. 9.) Thus the things of the Trinity are undivided: and whereas the communion is of the Spirit, it hath been found of the Son; and whereas the grace is of the Son, it is also of the Father and of the Holy Spirit; for [we read], "Grace be to you from God the Father." And in another place, having enumerated many forms of it, he added, "But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally as He will." (1 Cor. xii. 11.) And I say these things, not confounding[3] the Persons, (away with the thought!)but knowing both the individuality and distinctness[4] of These, and the Unity of the Substance.

[4.] Let us then continue both to hold these doctrines in their strictness, and to draw to us the love of God. For before indeed He loved us when hating Him, and reconciled us who were His enemies; but henceforth He wishes to love us as loving Him. Let us then continue to love Him, so that we may be also loved by Him. For if when beloved by powerful men we are formidable to all, much more when [beloved] by God, And should it be needful to give wealth, or body, or even life itself for this love, let us not grudge them. For it is not enough to say in words that we love, but we ought to give also the proof of deeds; for neither did He show love by words only, but by deeds also. Do thou then also show this by thy deeds and do those things which please Him, for so shalt thou thyself reap again the advantage. For He needeth nothing that we have to bestow, and this is also a special proof of a sincere love, when one who needeth nothing and is not in any necessity, doth all for the sake of being loved by us. Wherefore also Moses said, "For what doth the Lord God require of you, but to love Him, and that thou shouldest be ready to walk after Him?" (Deut. x. 12.) So that when He biddeth thee love Him, He then most of all showeth that He loves thee. For nothing doth so secure our salvation as to love Him. See then, how that all His commandments even tend together to our repose and salvation and good report. For when he says, "Blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the meek, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the peacemakers;" (Matt. v. 3-9.) He Himself indeed reaps no advantage from these, but he enjoins them for our adorning and attuning; and when He says, "I was an hungred," it is not as needing that ministry from us, but as exciting thee to humanity. For He was well able even without thee to feed the poor man; but as bestowing upon thee an exceeding treasure, he laid these commands upon thee. For if the sun, which is but a creature, needeth not our eyes; for he abideth in his own proper brightness, even though none should look upon him, and we it is who are the gainers when we enjoy his beams; much more is this so with God. But that thou mayest learn this in yet another way; how great wilt thou have the distance to be between God and us? as great as between gnats and us, or much greater? Quite plainly it is much greater, yea, infinite. If then we vainglorious creatures need not service nor honor from gnats, much rather the Divine Nature [none from us], seeing It is impassible and needing nothing. The measure of that which He enjoyeth by us is but the greatness of our benefit, and the delight He taketh in our salvation. For this reason He also oftentimes relinquisheth His own, and seeketh thine. " For if any," he saith," have a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away;" (1 Cor. vii. 12.) and, "He that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery." Seest thou what unspeakable goodness? ' If a wife be a harlot,' He says, ' I do not compel the husband to live with her; and if she be an unbeliever, I do not forbid him,' Again, ' if thou be grieved against any one, I command him that hath grieved thee to leave My gift and to run to thee.' For He saith, "If thou art offering thy gift, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matt. v. 23, 24.) And what saith the parable of him that had devoured his all? (Matt. xviii. 24, &c.) Doth it not show this? For when he had eaten up those ten thousand talents, He had mercy on him, and let him go; but when he demanded of his fellowservant an hundred pence, he both called him wicked and delivered him over to the punishment. So great account doth He make of thy ease. The barbarian was about to sin against the wife of the just man, and He says, "I spared thee from sinning against me." (Gen. xx. 6.) Paul persecuted the Apostles, and He saith to him, "Why persecutest thou Me?" Others are hungry, and He Himself saith He is an hungred, and wanders about naked and a stranger, wishing to shame thee, and so to force thee into the way of almsgiving.

Reflecting then upon the love, how great He hath shown in all things, and still shows it to be, both having vouchsafed to make Himself known to us, (which is the greatest crown of good things, and light to the understanding and instruction in virtue,) and to lay down laws for the best mode of life, and having done all things for our sakes, having given His Son, and promised a kingdom, and invited us to those unspeakable good things, and prepared for us a most blessed life, let us do and say every thing so as both to appear worthy of His love and to obtain the good things to come; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

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