HOMILIES OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
HOMILIES I TO IV (CHAPTERS 1 & 2)

HOMILY I.

HEBREWS i. 1, 2.

"God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath at the end of the days(1) spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds."

[1.] Truly, "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Rom. v. 20.) This at least the blessed Paul intimates here also, in the very beginning of his Epistle to the Hebrews. For since as it was likely that afflicted, worn out by evils, and judging of things thereby, they would think themselves worse off than all other men,--he shows that herein they had rather been made partakers of greater, even very exceeding, grace; arousing the hearer at the very opening of his discourse. Wherefore he says, "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath at the end of the days spoken unto us by His Son."

Why did he [Paul] not oppose "himself" to "the prophets"? Certainly, he was much greater than they, inasmuch as a greater trust was committed to him. Yet he doth not so. Why? First, to avoid speaking great things concerning himself. Secondly, because his hearers were not yet perfect. And thirdly, because he rather wished to exalt them, and to show that their superiority was great. As if he had said, What so great matter is it that He sent prophets to our fathers? For to us [He has sent] His own only-begotten Son Himself.

And well did he begin thus, "At sundry times and in divers manners," for he points out that not even the prophets themselves saw God

nevertheless, the Son saw Him. For the expressions, "at sundry times and in divers manners" are the same as "in different ways." "For I "(saith He) "have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the ministry of the Prophets." (Hos. xii. 10.) Wherefore the excellency consists not in this alone, that to them indeed prophets were sent, but to us the Son; but that none of them saw God, but the Only-begotten Son saw Him. He doth not indeed at once assert this, but by what he says afterwards he establishes it, when he speaks concerning His human nature; "For to which of the Angels said He, Thou art My Son," (ver. 5), and, "Sit thou on My right hand"? (Ver. 13.)

And look on his great wisdom. First he shows the superiority from the prophets. Then having established this as acknowledged, he declares that to them indeed He spake by the prophets, but to us by the Only-begotten. Then [He spake] to them by Angels, and this again he establishes, with good reason (for angels also held converse with the Jews): yet even herein we have the superiority, inasmuch as the Master [spake] to us, but to them servants, and prophets, fellow-servants.

[2.] Well also said he, "at the end of the days," for by this he both stirs them up and encourages them desponding of the future. For as he says also in another place, "The Lord is at hand, be careful for nothing" (Phil. iv. 5, 6), and again, "For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. xiii. 11): so also here. What then is it which he says? That whoever is spent in the conflict, when he hears of the end thereof, recovers his breath a little, knowing that it is the end indeed of his labors, but the beginning of his rest.

"Hath in the end of the days spoken unto us in [His] Son." Behold again he uses the saying, "in [His] Son,"(2) for "through the Son,"(3) against those who assert that this phrase is proper to the Spirit.(4) Dost thou see that the [word] "in" is "through"?(5)

And the expression, "In times past," and this, "In the end of the days," shadows forth some other meaning:--that when a long time had intervened, when we were on the edge of punishment, when the Gifts had failed, when there was no expectation of deliverance, when we were expecting to have less than all--then we have had more.

And see how considerately he hath spoken it. For he' said not, "Christ spake" (albeit it was He who did speak), but inasmuch as their souls were weak, and they were not yet able to hear the things concerning Christ, he says, "God hath spoken by Him." What meanest thou? did God speak through the Son? Yes. What then? Is it thus thou showest the superiority? for here thou hast but pointed out that both the New and the Old [Covenants] are of One and the same: and that this superiority is not great. Wherefore he henceforth follows on upon this argument, saying, "He spake unto us by [His] Son."

(Note, how Paul makes common cause, and puts himself on a level with the disciples, saying, He spake "to us": and yet He did not speak to him, but to the Apostles, and through them to the many. But he lifts them [the Hebrews] up, and declares that He spake also to them. And as yet he doth not at all reflect on the Jews. For almost all to whom the prophets spake, were a kind of evil and polluted persons. But as yet the discourse is not of these: but, hitherto of the gifts derived from God.)

"Whom He appointed," saith he, "heir of all." What is "whom He appointed heir of all"? He speaks here of the flesh [the human nature]. As He also says in the second Psalm, "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance." (Ps. ii. 8.) For no longer is "Jacob the portion of the Lord" nor "Israel His inheritance" (Deut. xxxii. 9), but all men: that is to say, He hath made Him Lord of all: which Peter also said in the Acts, "God hath made Him both Lord and Christ." (Acts ii. 36.) But he has used the name "Heir," declaring two things: His proper sonship(1) and His indefeasible sovereignty. "Heir of all," that is, of all the world.

[3.] Then again he brings back his discourse to its former point. "By whom also He made the worlds [the ages]."(2) Where are those who say, There was [a time] when He was not?

Then, using degrees of ascent, he uttered that which is far greater than all this, saying,

Ver. 3, 4. "Who, (being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power,) when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made(3) so much better than the Angels as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."

O! the wisdom of the Apostle! or rather, not the wisdom of Paul, but the grace of the Spirit is the thing to wonder at. For surely he uttered not these things of his own mind, nor in that way did he find his wisdom. (For whence could it be? From the knife, and the skins, or the workshop?) But it was from the working of God. For his own understanding did not give birth to these thoughts, which was then so mean and slender as in nowise to surpass the baser sort; (for how could it, seeing it spent itself wholly on bargains and skins?) but the grace of the Spirit shows forth its strength by whomsoever it will.

For just as one, wishing to lead up a little child to some lofty place, reaching up even to the top of Heaven, does this gently and by degrees, leading him upwards by the steps from below,--then when he has set him on high, and bidden him to gaze downwards, and sees him turning giddy and confused, and dizzy, taking hold of him, he leads him down to the lower stand, allowing him to take breath; then when he hath recovered it, leads him up again, and again brings him down;--just so did the blessed Paul likewise, both with the Hebrews and everywhere, having learnt it from his Master. For even He also did so; sometimes He led His hearers up on high, and sometimes He brought them down, not allowing them to remain very long.

See him, then, even here--by how many steps he led them up, and placed them near the very summit of religion, and then or ever they grow giddy, and are seized with dizziness, how he leads them again lower down, and allowing them to take breath, says, "He spake unto us by [His] Son," "whom He appointed Heir of all things."(4) For the name of Son is so far common. For where a true(5) [Son] it is understood of, He is above all: but however that may be, for the present he proves that He is from above.

And see how he says it: "Whom He appointed," saith he, "heir of all things." The phrase, "He appointed Heir," is humble. Then he placed them on the higher step, adding, "by whom also He made the worlds." Then on a higher still, and after which there is no other, "who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person." Truly he has led them to unapproachable light, to the very brightness itself. And before they are blinded see how he gently leads them down again, saying, "and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of he Majesty." He does not simply say, "He sat down," but "after the purifying, He sat town," for he hath touched on the Incarnation, and his utterance is again lowly.

Then again having said a little by the way (for he says, "on the right hand of the Majesty on high"), [he turns] again to what is lowly; "being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Henceforward then he treats here of that which is according to the flesh, since the phrase "being made better" doth not express His essence according to the Spirit,(1) (for that was not "made" but "begotten,") but according to the flesh: for this was "made." Nevertheless the discourse here is not about being called into(2) existence. But just as John says, "He that cometh after me, is preferred before me" (John i. 15, 30), that is, higher in honor and esteem; so also here, "being made so much better than the angels"--that is, higher in esteem and better and more glorious, "by how much He hath obtained by inheritance a more excellent name than they." Seest thou that he is speaking of that which is according to the flesh? For this Name,(3) God the Word ever had; He did not afterwards "obtain it by inheritance"; nor did He afterwards become "better than the Angels, when He had purged our sins"; but He was always "better," and better without all comparison.(4) For this is spoken of Him according to the flesh.

So truly it is our way also, when we talk of man, to speak things both high and low. Thus, when we say, "Man is nothing," "Man is earth," "Man is ashes," we call the whole by the worse part. But when we say, "Man is an immortal animal," and "Man is rational, and of kin to those on high," we call again the whole by the better part. So also, in the case of Christ, sometimes Paul discourseth from the less and sometimes from the better; wishing both to establish the economy, and also to teach about the incorruptible nature.

[4.] Since then "He hath purged our sins," let us continue pure; and let us receive no stain, but preserve the beauty which He hath implanted in us, and His comeliness undefiled and pure, "not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing." (Eph. v. 27.) Even little sins are "a spot and a wrinkle," such a thing, I mean, as Reproach, Insult, Falsehood.

Nay, rather not even are these small, but on the contrary very great: yea so great as to deprive a man even of the kingdom of Heaven. How, and in what manner? "He that calleth his brother fool, is in danger" (He saith) "of hellfire." (Matt. V. 22.) But if it be so with him

who calls a man "fool," which seems to be the slightest of all things, and rather mere children's talk; what sentence of punishment will not he incur, who calleth him malignant and crafty and envious, and casteth at him ten thousand other reproaches? What more fearful than this?

Now suffer, I beseech you, the word [of exhortation].(5) For if he that "doeth" [aught] to "one of the least, doeth it to Him" (Matt. xxv. 40), and he that "doeth it not to one of the least doeth it not to Him" (Matt. xxv. 45), how is it not the same also in the matter of good or evil speaking? He that reviles his brother, reviles God: and he that honors his brother, honors God. Let us train therefore our tongue to speak good words. For "refrain," it is said, "thy tongue from evil." (Ps. xxxiv. 13.) For God gave it not that we should speak evil, that we should revile, that we should calumniate one another; but to sing hymns to God withal, to speak those things which "give grace to the hearers" (Eph. iv. 29), things for edification, things for profit.

Hast thou spoken evil of a man? What is thy gain, entangling thyself in mischief together with him? For thou hast obtained the reputation of a slanderer. For there is not any, no not any evil, which stops at him that suffers it, but it includes the doer also. As for instance, the envious person seems indeed to plot against another, but himself first reaps the fruit of his sin, wasting and wearing himself away, and being hated of all men. The cheat deprives another of his money; yea and himself too of men's good will: and causes himself to be evil spoken of by all men. Now reputation is much better than money, for the one it is not easy to wash out, whereas it is easy to gain possession of the other. Or rather, the absence of the one doth no hurt to him that wanteth it; but the absence of the other makes you reproached and ridiculed, and an object of enmity and warfare to all.

The passionate man again first punishes and tears himself in pieces, and then him with whom he is angry.

Just so the evil speaker disgraces first himself and then him who is evil-spoken of: or, it may be, even this hath proved beyond his power, and while he departs with the credit of a foul and detestable kind of person, he causes the other to be loved the more. For when a man hearing a bad name given him, doth not requite the giver in the same kind, but praises and admires, he doth not praise the other, but himself. For I before observed that, as calumnies against our neighbors first touch those who devise the mischief, so also good works done towards our neighbors, gladden first those who do them. The parent either of good, or evil, justly reaps the fruit of it first himself. And just as water, whether it be brackish or sweet, fills the vessels of those who resort to it, but lessens not the fountain which sends it forth; so surely also, both wickedness and virtue, from whatever person they proceed, prove either his joy or his ruin.

So far as to the things of this world; but what speech may recount the things of that world, either the goods or the evils? There is none. For as to the blessings, they surpass all thought, not speech only; for their opposites are expressed indeed in terms familiar to us. For fire, it is said, is there, and darkness, and bonds, and a worm that never dieth. But this represents not only the things which are spoken of, but others more intolerable. And to convince thee, consider at once this first: if it be fire, how is it also darkness? Seest thou how that fire is more intolerable than this? For it hath no light. If it be fire, how is it forever burning? Seest thou how something more intolerable than this happens? For it is not quenched. Yea, therefore it is called unquenchable. Let us then consider how great a misery it must be, to be forever burning, and to be in darkness, and to utter unnumbered groanings, and to gnash the teeth, and not even to be heard. For if here any one of those ingeniously brought up, should he be cast into prison, speaks of the mere ill savor, and the being laid in darkness, and the being bound with murderers, as more intolerable than any death: think what it is when we are burning with the murderers of the whole world, neither seeing nor being seen, but in so vast a multitude thinking that we are alone. For the darkness and gloom doth not allow our distinguishing those who are near to us, but each will burn as if he were thus suffering alone. Moreover, if darkness of itself afflicteth and terrifieth our souls, how then will it be when together with the darkness there are likewise so great pains and burnings?

Wherefore I entreat you to be ever revolving these things with yourselves, and to submit to the pain of the words, that we may not undergo the punishment of the things. For assuredly, all these things shall be, and those whose doings have deserved those chambers of torture no man shall rescue, not father, nor mother, nor brother. "For a brother redeemeth not," He saith; "shall a man redeem?" (Ps. xlix. 7, LXX.), though he have much confidence, though he have great power with God. For it is He Himself who rewards every one according to his works, and upon these depends our salvation or punishment.

Let us make then to ourselves "friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke xvi. 9), that is: Let us give alms; let us exhaust our possessions upon them, that so we may exhaust that fire: that we may quench it, that we may have boldness there. For there also it is not they who receive us, but our own work: for that it is not simply their being our friends which can save us, learn from what is added. For why did He not say, "Make to yourselves friends, that they may receive you into their everlasting habitations," but added also the manner? For saying, "of the mammon of unrighteonsness," He points out that we must make friends of them by means of our possessions, showing that mere friendship will not protect us, unless we have good works, unless we spend righteously the wealth unrighteously gathered.

Moreover, this our discourse, of Almsgiving I mean, fits not only the rich, but also the needy. Yea even if there be any person who supporteth himself by begging, even for him is this word. For there is no one, so poverty-stricken, however exceeding poor he may be, as not to be able to provide "two mites." (Luke xxi. 2.) It is therefore possible that a person giving a small sum from small means, should surpass those who have large possessions and give more; as that widow did. For not by the measure of what is given, but by the means and willingness of the givers is the extent of the alms-deed estimated. In all cases the will is needed, in all, a right disposition; in all, love towards God. If with this we do all things, though having little we give little, God will not turn away His face, but will receive it as great and admirable: for He regards the will, not the gifts: and if He see that to be great, He assigneth His decrees and judges accordingly, and maketh them partakers of His everlasting benefits.

Which may God grant us all to obtain, by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY II.

HEBREWS i. 3.

"Who being the brightness of His Glory and the express Image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins."

[1.] EVERYWHERE indeed a reverential mind is requisite, but especially when we say or hear anything of God: Since neither can tongue speak nor thought(1) hear anything suitable to our God. And why speak I of tongue or thought?(1) For not even the understanding(2) which far excels these, will be able to comprehend anything accurately, when we desire to utter aught concerning God. For if "the peace of God surpasseth all understanding" (Phil. iv. 7), and "the things which are prepared for them that love Him have not entered into the heart of man" (1 Cor. ii. 9); much more He Himself, the God of peace, the Creator of all things, doth by a wide measure exceed our reasoning. We ought therefore to receive all things with faith and reverence, and when our discourse(3) fails through weakness, and is not able to set forth accurately the things which are spoken, then especially to glorify God, for that we have such a God, surpassing both our thought and our conception.(4) For many of our conceptions(5) about God, we are unable to express, as also many things we express, but have not strength to conceive of them. As for instance:--That God is everywhere, we know; but how, we no longer understand.(6) That there is a certain incorporeal power the cause of all our good things, we know: but how it is, or what it is, we know not. Lo! we speak, and do not understand. I said, That He is everywhere, but I do not understand it. I said, That He is without beginning, but I do not understand it. I said, That He begat from Himself, and again I know not how I shall understand it. And some things there are which we may not even speak--as for instance, thought conceives(7) but cannot utter.

And to show thee that even Paul is weak and doth not put out his illustrations with exactness; and to make thee tremble and refrain from searching too far, hear what he says, having called Him Son and named Him Creator, "Who being the brightness of His Glory, and the express image of His person."

This we must receive with reverence and clear of all incongruities. "The brightness of His glory," saith he. But observe in what reference he understands this, and so do thou receive it:--that He is of Him:(8) without passion: that He is neither greater, nor less; since there are some, who derive certain strange things from the illustration. For, say they, "the brightness" is not substantial,(9) but hath its being in another. Now do not thou, O man, so receive it, neither be thou sick of the disease of Marcellus(10) and Photinus.(11) For he hath a remedy for thee close at hand, that thou fall not into that imagination, nor doth he leave thee to be hurried down into that fatal malady. And what saith he? "And the express image of His person" [or "subsistence"(12)]: that is, just as He [the Father] is personally subsisting, being in need of nothing,(13) so also the Son. For he saith this here, showing the undeviating similitude(14) and the peculiar image of the Prototype, that He [the Son] is in subsistence by Himself.

For he who said above, that "by Him He made all things" here assigns to Him absolute authority. For what doth he add? "And upholding all things by the word of His power"; that we might hence infer not merely His being the express image of His Person, but also His governing all things with absolute authority.

See then, how he applies to the Son that which is proper to the Father. For on this account he did not say simply, "and upholding all things," nor did he say, "by His power," but, "by the word of His power." For much as just now we saw him gradually ascend and descend; so also now, as by steps, he goes up on high, then again descends, and saith, "by whom also He made the worlds."

Behold how here also he goes on two paths, by the one leading us away from Sabellius, by the other from Arius, yea and on another, that He [Christ] should not be accounted unoriginated,(1) which he does also throughout, nor yet alien from God. For if, even after so much, there are some who assert that He is alien, and assign to Him another father, and say that He is at variance with Him;--had [Paul] not declared these things, what would they not have uttered?

How then does he this? When he is compelled to heal, then is he compelled also to utter lowly things: as for instance, "He appointed Him" (saith he) "heir of all things," and "by Him He made the worlds." (Supra, ver. 2.) But that He might not be in another way dishonored, he brings Him up again to absolute authority and declares Him to be of equal honor with the Father, yea, so equal, that many thought Him to be the Father.

And observe thou his great wisdom. First he lays down the former point and makes it sure accurately. And when this is shown, that He is the Son of God, and not alien from Him, he thereafter speaks out safely all the high sayings, as many as he will. Since any high speech concerning Him, led many into the notion just mentioned, he first sets down what is humiliating and then safely mounts up as high as he pleases. And having said, "whom He appointed heir of all things," and that "by Him He made the worlds," he then adds, "and upholding all things by the word of His power." For He that by a word only governs all things, could not be in need of any one, for the producing all things.

[2.] And to prove this, mark how again going forward, and laying aside the "by whom," he assigns to Him absolute power. For after he had effected what he wished by the use of it, thenceforward leaving it, what saith he? "Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hands." (Infra, ver. 10.) Nowhere is there the saying "by whom," or that "by Him He made the worlds." What then? Were they not made by Him? Yes, but not, as thou sayest or imaginest, "as by an instrument": nor as though He would not have made them unless the Father had reached out a hand to Him. For as He "judgeth no man" (John v. 22), and is said to judge by the Son, in that He begat Him a judge; so also, to create by Him, in that He begat Him a Creator. And if the Father be the original cause of Him, in that He is Father, much more of the things which have been made by Him. When therefore he would show that He is of Him, he speaks of necessity lowly things. But when he would utter high things, Marcellus takes a handle, and Sabellius; avoiding however the excess of both, he holds a middle [way]. For neither does he dwell on the humiliation, lest Paul of Samosata should obtain a standing place, nor yet does he for ever abide in the high sayings; but shows on the contrary His abundant nearness, lest Sabellius rush in upon him. He names Him "Son," and immediately Paul of Samosata comes on him, saying that He is a son, as the many are. But he gives him a fatal wound, calling Him "Heir." But yet, with Arius, he is shameless. For the saying, "He appointed Him heir," they both hold: the former one saying, it comes of weakness; the other still presses objections, endeavoring to support himself by the clause which follows. For by saying, "by whom also He made the worlds," he strikes backwards the impudent Samosatene: while Arius still seems to be strong. Nevertheless see how he smites him likewise, saying again, "who being the brightness of His glory." But behold! Sabellius again springs on us, with Marcellus, and Photinus: but on all these also he inflicts one blow, saying, "and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power." Here again he wounds Marcion too;(2) not very severely, but however he doth wound him. For through the whole of this Epistle he is fighting against them.

But the very thing which he said, "the brightness of the glory," hear also Christ Himself saying, "I am the Light of the world." (John viii. 12.) Therefore he [the Apostle] uses the word "brightness," showing that this was said in the sense of "Light of Light." Nor is it this alone which he shows, but also that He hath enlightened our souls; and He hath Himself manifested the Father, and by "the brightness" he has indicated the nearness of the Being [of the Father and the Son(3)]. Observe the subtlety of his expressions. He hath taken one essence and subsistence to indicate two subsistences. Which he also doth in regard to the knowledge of the Spirit(4); for as he saith that the knowledge of the Father is one with that of the Spirit, as being indeed one, and in nought varying from itself (1 Cor. ii. 10--12): so also here he hath taken hold of one certain [thing] whereby to express the subsistence of the Two.(5)

And he adds that He is "the express Image." For the "express Image "is something other(1) than its Prototype: yet not Another in all respects, but as to having real subsistence. Since here also the term, "express image," indicates there is no variation from that whereof it is the "express image": its similarity in all respects. When therefore he calls Him both Form,(2) and express Image, what can they say? "Yea," saith he, "man is also called an Image of God."(3) What then! is he so [an image of Him] as the Son is? No (saith he) but because the term, image, doth not show resemblance. And yet, in that man is called an Image, it showeth resemblance, as in man. For what God is in Heaven, that man is on earth, I mean as to dominion. And as he hath power over all things on earth, so also hath God power over, all things which are in heaven and which are on earth. But otherwise, man is not called "Express image," he is not called Form: which phrase declares the substance, or rather both substance and similarity in substance. Therefore just as "the form of a slave" (Phil. ii. 6, 7) expresses no other thing than a man without variation(4) [from human nature], so also "the form of God" expresses no other thing than God.

"Who being" (saith he) "the brightness of His glory." See what Paul is doing. Having said, "Who being the brightness of His glory," he added again, "He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty": what names he hath used, nowhere finding a name for the Substance. For neither "the Majesty," nor "the Glory" setteth forth the Name, which he wishes to say, but is not able to find a name. For this is what I said at the beginning, that oftentimes we think something, and are not able to express [it]: since not even the word God is a name of substance, nor is it at all possible to find a name of that Substance.

And what marvel, if it be so in respect of God, since not even in respect of an Angel, could one find a name expressive of his substance? Perhaps too, neither in respect of the soul. For this name [soul] doth not seem to me to be significative of the substance thereof, but of breathing. For one may see that the same [thing] is called both Soul and Heart and Mind: for, saith he, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Ps. li. 10), and one may often see that it [the soul] is called spirit.

"And upholding all things by the word of His power." Tell me, "God said" (it is written), "Let there be light" (Gen. i. 3): "the Father, saith one,(5) commanded, and the Son obeyed"? But behold here He also [the Son] acts by word. For (saith he), "And upholding all things"--that is, governing; He holds together what would fall to pieces; For, to hold the world together, is no less than to make it, but even greater (if one must say a strange thing). For the one is to bring forward something out of things which are not: but the other, when things which have been made are about to fill back into non-existence, to hold and fasten them together, utterly at variance as they are with each other: this is indeed great and wonderful, and a certain proof of exceeding power.

Then showing the easiness, he said, "upholding": (he did not say, governing,(6) from the figure of those who simply with their finger move anything, and cause it to go round.) Here he shows both the mass of the creation to be great, and that this greatness is nothing to Him. Then again he shows the freedom from the labor, saying, "By the word of His power." Well said he, "By the word." For since, with us, a word is accounted to be a bare thing, he shows that it is not bare with God. But, how "He upholdeth by the word," he hath not further added: for neither is it possible to know. Then he added concerning His majesty: for thus John also did: having said that "He is God" (John i. 1), he brought in the handiwork of the Creation. For the same thing which the one indirectly expressed, saying, "In the beginning was the Word," and "All things were made by Him" (John i. 3), this did the other also openly declare by "the Word," and by saying "by whom also. He made the worlds." For thus he shows Him to be both a Creator, and before all ages, What then? when the prophet saith, concerning the Father, "Thou art from everlasting and to everlasting" (Ps. xc. 2), and concerning the Son, that He is before all ages, and the maker of all things--what can they say? Nay rather, when the very thing which was spoken of the Father,--"He which was before the worlds,"--this one may see spoken of the Son also? And that which one saith, "He was life" (John i. 4), pointing out the preservation of the creation, that Himself is the Life of all things,--so also saith this other, "and upholding all things by the word of His power": not as the Greeks who defraud Him, as much as in them lies, both of Creation itself, and of Providence, shutting up His power, to reach only as far as to the Moon.

"By Himself" (saith he) "having purged our sins." Having spoken concerning those marvelous and great matters, which are most above us, he proceeds to speak also afterwards concerning His care for men. For indeed the former expression, "and upholding all things," also was universal: nevertheless this is far greater, for it also is universal: for, for His part, "all" men believed.(1) As John also, having said, "He was life," and so pointed out His providence, saith again, and "He was light."

"By Himself," saith he, "having purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." He here setteth down two very great proofs of His care: first the "purifying us from our sins," then the doing it "by Himself." And in many places, thou seest him making very much of this,--not only of our reconciliation with God, but also of this being accomplished through the Son. For the gift being truly great, was made even greater by the fact that it was through the Son.

For(2) in saying, "He sat on the right hand," and, "having by Himself purged our sins,"--though he had put us in mind of the Cross, he quickly added the mention of the resurrection and ascension. And see his unspeakable wisdom: he said not, "He was commanded to sit down," but "He sat down." Then again, lest thou shouldest think that He standeth, he subjoins, "For to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit thou on My right hand."

"He sat" (saith he) "on the right hand of the Majesty on high." What is this "on high"? Doth he enclose God in place? Away with such a thought! but just as, when he saith, "on the right hand," he did not describe Him as having figure, but showed His equal dignity with the Father; so, in saying "on high," he did not enclose Him there, but expressed the being higher than all things, and having ascended up above all things. That is, He attained even unto the very throne of the Father: as therefore the Father is on high, so also is He. For the "sitting together" implies nothing else than equal dignity. But if they say, that He said, "Sit Thou," we may ask them, What then? did He speak to Him standing? Moreover, he said not that He commanded, not that He enjoined, but that "He said": for no other reason, than that thou mightest not think Him without origin and without cause. For that this is why he said it, is evident from the place of His sitting. For had he intended to signify inferiority, he would not have said, "on the right hand," but on the left hand.

Ver. 4. "Being made," saith he, "so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." The "being made," here, is instead of "being shown forth," as one may say. Then also from whir does he reason confidently? From the Name. Seest thou that the name Son is wont to declare true relationship? And indeed if He were not a true Son (and "true" is nothing else than "of Him"), how does he reason confidently from this? For if He be Son only by grace, He not only is not "more excellent than the angels," but is even less than they. How? Because righteous men too were called sons; and the name son, if it be not a genuine son, doth not avail to show the "excellency." When too he would point out that there is a certain difference between creatures and their maker, hear what he saith:

Ver. 5. "For to which of the Angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"? For these things indeed are spoken with reference also to the flesh: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"--while this,(3) "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee," expresses nothing else than "from [the time] that God is." For as He is said to be,(4) from the time present (for this befits Him more than any other), so also the [word] "To-day" seems to me to be spoken here with reference to the flesh. For when He hath taken hold of it, thenceforth he speaks out all boldly. For indeed the flesh partakes of the high things, just as the Godhead of the lowly. For He who disdained not to become man, and did not decline the reality, how should He have declined the expressions?

Seeing then that we know these things, let us be ashamed of nothing, nor have any high thoughts. For if He Himself being God and Lord and Son of God, did not decline to take the form of a slave, much more ought we to do all things, though they be lowly. For tell me, O man, whence hast thou high thoughts? from things of this life? but these or ever they appear, run by. Or, from things spiritual? nay, this is itself one spiritual excellency,--to have no high thoughts.

Wherefore then dost thou cherish high thoughts? because thou goest on aright? hear Christ saying, "When ye have done all things, say, we are unprofitable servants, for we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke xvii. 10.)

Or because of thy wealth hast thou high thoughts? Dost thou not see those before thee, how they departed naked and desolate? did we not come naked into life, and naked also shall depart? who hath high thoughts on having what is another's? for they who will use it to their own enjoyment alone, are deprived of it however unwillingly, often before death, and at death certainly. But (saith one) while we live we use them as we will. First of all, one doth not lightly see any man using what he hath as he will. Next, if a man do even use things as he will, neither is this a great matter: for the present time is short compared with the ages without end. Art thou high-minded, O man, because thou art rich? on what account? for what cause? for this befalleth also, robbers, and thieves, and man-slayers, and effeminate, and whoremongers, and all sorts of wicked men. Wherefore then art thou high-minded? Since if thou hast made meet use of it, thou must not be high-minded, lest thou profane the commandment: but if unmeet, by this indeed [it has come to pass that] thou art become a slave of money, and goods, and art overcome by them. For tell me, if any man sick of a fever should drink much water, which for a short space indeed quencheth his thirst, but afterwards kindleth the flame, ought he to be high-minded? And what, if any man have many cares without cause, ought he therefore to be high-minded? tell me, wherefore? because thou hast many masters? because thou hast ten thousand cares? because many will flatter thee? [Surely not.] For thou art even their slave. And to prove that to thee, hear plainly. The other affections which are within us, are in some cases useful. For instance, Anger is often useful. For (saith he) "unjust wrath shall not be innocent" (Ecclus. i. 22): wherefore it is possible for one to be justly in wrath. And again, "He that is angry with his brother without cause,(1) shall be in danger of hell." (Matt. v. 22.) Again for instance, emulation, desire, [are useful]: the one when it hath reference to the procreation of children, the other when he directs his emulation to excellent things. As Paul also saith, "It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing" (Gal. iv. 18) and, "Covet earnestly the best gifts." (1 Cor. xii. 31.) Both therefore are useful: but an insolent spirit is in no case good, but is always unprofitable and hurtful.

However, if a man must be proud, [let it be] for poverty, not for wealth. Wherefore? Because he who can live upon a little, is far greater and better than he who cannot. For tell me, supposing certain persons called to the Imperial City, if some of them should need neither beasts, nor slaves, nor umbrellas, nor lodging-places, nor sandals, nor vessels, but it should suffice them to have bread, and to take water from the wells,--while others of them should say, "unless ye give us conveyances, and a soft bed, we cannot come; unless also we have many followers, unless we may be allowed continually to rest ourselves, we cannot come, nor unless we have the use of beasts, unless too we may travel but a small portion of the day--and we have need of many other things also": whom should we admire? those or these? plainly, these who require nothing. So also here: some need many things for the journey through this life; others, nothing. So that it would be more fitting to be proud, for poverty if it were fitting at all.

"But the poor man," they say, "is contemptible." Not he, but those who despise him. For why do not I despise those who know not how to admire what they ought? Why, if a person be a painter, he will laugh to scorn all who jeer at him, so long as they are uninstructed; nor cloth he regard the things which they say, but is content with his own testimony. And shall we depend on the opinion of the many? Therefore, we are worthy of contempt when men despise us for our poverty, and we do not despise them nor call them miserable.

And I say not how many sins are produced by wealth, and how many good things by poverty. But rather, neither wealth nor poverty is excellent in itself, but through those who use it. The Christian shines out in poverty rather than in riches. How? He will be less arrogant, more sober-minded, graver, more equitable, more considerate: but he that is in wealth, hath many impediments to these things. Let us see then what the rich man does, or rather, he who useth his wealth amiss. Such an one practiceth rapine, fraud, violence. Men's unseemly loves, unholy unions, witchcrafts, poisonings, all their other horrors,--wilt thou not find them produced by wealth? Seest thou, that in poverty rather than in wealth the pursuit of virtue is less laborious? For do not, I beseech thee, think that because rich men do not suffer punishment here, neither do they sin. Since if it were easy for a rich man to suffer punishment, thou wouldest surely have found the prisons filled with them. But among its other evils, wealth hath this also, that he who possesseth it, transgressing in evil with impunity, will never be staved from doing so, but will receive wounds without remedies, and no man will put a bridle on him.

And if a man choose, he will find that poverty affords us more resources even for pleasure. How? Because it is freed from cares, hatred, fighting, contention, strife, from evils out of number.

Therefore let us not follow after wealth, nor be forever envying those who possess much. But let those of us who have wealth, use it aright; and those who have not, let us not grieve for this, but give thanks for all things unto God, because He enableth us to receive with little labor the same reward with the rich, or even (if we will) a greater: and froth small means we shall have great gains. For so he that brought the two talents, was admired and honored equally with him who brought the five. Now why? Because he was entrusted with [but] two talents, yet he accomplished all that in him lay, and brought in what was entrusted to him, doubled. Why then are we eager to have much entrusted to us, when we may by a little reap the same fruits, or even greater? when the labor indeed is less, but the reward much more? For more easily will a poor man part with his own, than a rich man who hath many and great possessions. What, know ye not, that the more things a man hath, the more he setteth his love upon? Therefore, lest this befall us, let us not seek after wealth, nor let us be impatient of poverty, nor make haste to be rich: and let those of us who have [riches] so use them as Paul commanded. ("They that have," saith he, "as though they had not, and they that use this world as not abusing it"--1 Cor. vii. 29, 31): that we may obtain the good things promised. And may it be granted to us all to obtain them, by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now, and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY III.

HEBREWS i. 6-8.

"And again when He bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the Angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."

[1.] OUR Lord Jesus Christ calls His coming in the flesh an exodus [or going out]: as when He saith, "The sower went out to sow." (Matt. xiii. 3.) And again, "I went out from the Father, and am come." (John xvi. 28.) And in many places one may see this. But Paul calls it an [eisodus or] coming in, saying, "And when again He bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world," meaning by this Bringing in, His taking on Him flesh.

Now why has he so used the expression? The things signified [thereby] are manifest, and in what respect it is [thus] said. For Christ indeed calls it a Going out, justly; for we were out from God. For as in royal palaces, prisoners and those who have offended the king, stand without, and he who desires to reconcile them, does not bring them in, but himself going out discourses with them, until having made them meet for the king's presence, he may bring them in, so also Christ hath done. Having gone out to us, that is, having taken flesh, and having discoursed to us of the King's matters, so He brought us in, having purged the sins, and made reconciliation. Therefore he calls it a Going out.

But Paul names it a Coming in, from the metaphor of those who come to an inheritance and receive any portion or possession. For the saying, "and when again He bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world," means this, "when he putteth the world into His hand." For when He was made known, then also He obtained possession of the whole thereof, He saith not these things concerning God The Word, but concerning that which is according to the flesh. For if according to John, "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him" (John i. 10): how is He "brought in," otherwise than in the flesh?

"And," saith he, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Whereas he is about to say something great and lofty, he prepares it beforehand, and makes it acceptable, in that he represents the Father as "bringing in" the Son. He had said above, that "He spake to us not by prophets but by His Son"; that the Son is superior to angels; yea and he establishes this from the name [SON]. And here, in what follows, from another fact also. What then may this be? From worship. And he shows how much greater He is, as much as a Master is than a slave; just as any one introducing another into a house straightway commands those having the care thereof to do him reverence; [so] saying in regard to the Flesh, "And let all the Angels of God worship Him."

Is it then Angels only? No; for hear what follows: "And of His Angels He saith, Which maketh His Angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire: but unto the Son, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Behold, the greatest difference! that they are created, but He uncreated. While of His angels He saith, who "maketh"; wherefore of the Son did He not say "Who maketh"? Although he might have expressed the difference as follows: "Of His Angels He saith, Who maketh His Angels spirits, but of the Son, 'The Lord created Me': 'God hath made Him Lord and Christ.'" (Prov. viii. 22; Acts ii. 36.) But neither was the one spoken concerning the Son, nor the other concerning God The Word, but concerning the flesh. For when he desired to express the true difference, he no longer included angels only, but the whole ministering power above. Seest thou how he distinguishes, and with how great clearness, between creatures and Creator, ministers and Lord, the Heir and true Son, and slaves?

[2.] "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Behold a symbol of Kingly Office. "A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom." Behold again another symbol of Royalty.

Then again with respect to the flesh (ver. 9) "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee."

What is, "Thy God"? Why, after that he hath uttered a great word, he again qualifieth it. Here he hits both Jews, and the followers of Paul of Samosata, and the Arians, and Marcellus, and Sabellius, and Marcion. How? The Jews, by his indicating two Persons, both God and Man;(1) the other Jews,(2) I mean the followers of Paul of Samosata, by thus discoursing concerning His eternal existence, and uncreated essence: for by way of distinction, against the word, "He made," he put, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Against the Arians there is both this same again, and also that He is not a slave; but if a creature, He is a slave. And against Marcellus and the others, that these are two Persons, distinguished in reference to their subsistence.(3) And against the Marcionites, that the Godhead is not anointed, but the Manhood.

Next he saith, "Above Thy fellows." But who are these His "fellows" other than men? that is Christ received "not the Spirit by measure." (John iii. 34.) Seest thou how with the doctrine concerning His uncreated nature he always joins also that of the "Economy"? what can be clearer than this? Didst thou see how what is created and what is begotten are not the same? For otherwise he would not have made the distinction, nor in contrast to the word, "He made" [&c.], have added, "But unto the Son He said, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Nor would he have called the name, "Son, a more excellent Name," if it is a sign of the same thing. For what is the excellence? For if that which is created, and that which is begotten be the same, and they [the Angels] were made, what is there [in Him] "more excellent"? Lo! again <greek>o</greek> <greek>Qeos</greek>, "God," with the Article.(4)

[3.] And again he saith (ver. 10--12): "Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest, and they shall all wax old as a garment, and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same and Thy years shall not fail."

Lest hearing the words, "and when He bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world"; thou shouldest think it as it were a Gift afterwards super-added to Him; above, he both corrected this beforehand, and again further corrects, saying, "in the beginning": not now, but from the first. See again he strikes both Paul of Samosata and also Arius a mortal blow, applying to the Son the things which relate to the Father. And withal he has also intimated another thing by the way, greater even than this. For surely he hath incidentally pointed out also the transfiguration of the world, saying, "they shall wax old as a garment, and as a vesture Thou shall fold them up, and they shall be changed." Which also he saith in the Epistle to the Romans, that he shall transfigure the world. (See Rom. viii. 21.) And showing the facility thereof, he adds, as if a man should fold up a garment so shall He both fold up and change it. But if He with so much ease works the transfiguration and the creation to what is better and more perfect, needed He another for the inferior creation? How far doth your shamelessness go? At the same time too this is a very great consolation, to know that things will not be as they are, but they all shall receive change, and all shall be altered, but He Himself remaineth ever existing, and living without end: "and Thy years," he saith, "shall not fail."

[4.] Ver. 13. "But to which of the Angels said He at any time, Sit thou on My right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool?" Behold, again he encourages them, inasmuch as their enemies were to be worsted, and their enemies are the same also with Christ's.

This again belongs to Sovereignty, to Equal Dignity, to Honor and not weakness, that the Father should be angry for the things done to the Son. This belongs to His great Love and honor towards the Son, as of a father towards a son. For He that is angry in His behalf how is He a stranger to Him? Which also he saith in the second Psalm, "He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn, and the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure." (Ps. ii. 4, 5.) And again He Himself saith, "Those that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither before Me, and slay them." (Luke xix. 27.) For that they are His own words, hear also what He saith in another place, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left desolate." (Luke xiii. 34, 35.) And again, "The kingdom shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt. xxi. 43.) And again, "He that falleth upon that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder." (Matt. xxi. 44.) And besides, He who is to be their Judge in that world, much more did He Himself repay them in this. So that the words "Till I make thine enemies thy footstool" are expressive of honor only towards the SON.

Ver. 14. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" What marvel (saith he) if they minister to the Son, when they minister even to our salvation? See how he lifts up their minds, and shows the great honor which God has for us, since He has assigned to Angels who are above us this ministration on our behalf. As if one should say, for this purpose (saith he) He employs them; this is the office of Angels, to minister to God for our salvation. So that it is an angelical work, to do all for the salvation of the brethren: or rather it is the work of Christ Himself, for He indeed saves as Lord, but they as servants. And we, though servants are yet Angels' fellow-servants. Why gaze ye so earnestly on the Angels (saith he)? They are servants of the Son of God, and are sent many ways for our sakes, and minister to our salvation. And so they are partners in service with us.

Consider ye how he ascribes no great difference to the kinds of creatures. And yet the space between angels and men is great; nevertheless he brings them down near to us, all but saying, For us they labor, for our sake they run to and fro: on us, as one might say, they wait. this is their ministry, for our sake to be sent every way.

And of these examples both the Old [Testament] is full, and the New. For when Angels bring glad tidings to the shepherds, or to Mary, or to Joseph; when they sit at the sepulcher, when they are sent to say to the disciples, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" (Acts i. 11), when they release Peter out of the prison, when they discourse with Philip, consider how great the honor is; when God sends His Angels for ministers as to friends; when to Cornelius [an Angel] appears, when [an Angel] brings forth all the apostles from the prison, and says, "Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people the words of this life" (Acts v. 20); and to Paul himself also an Angel appears. Dost thou see that they minister to us on God's behalf, and that they minister to us in the greatest matters? wherefore Paul saith, "All things are yours, whether life or death, or the world, or things present, or things to come." (1 Cor. iii. 22.)

Well then the SON also was sent, but not as a servant, nor as a minister, but as a Son, and Only-Begotten, and desiring the same things with the Father. Rather indeed, He was not "sent": for He did not pass from place to place, but took on Him flesh: whereas these change their places, and leaving those in which they were before, so come to others in which they were not.

And by this again he incidentally encourages them, saying, What fear ye? Angels are ministering to us.

[5.] And having spoken concerning the Son, both what related to the Economy, and what related to the Creation, and to His sovereignty, and having shown His co-equal dignity, and that as absolute Master He ruleth not men only but also the powers above, he next exhorts them, having made out his argument, that we ought to give heed to the things which have been heard. (c. it. 1.) "Wherefore we ought to give more earnest heed" (saith he) "to the things which we have heard." Why "more earnest"? Here he meant "more earnest" than to the Law: but he suppressed the actual expression of it, and yet makes it plain in the course of reasoning, not in the way of counsel, nor of exhortation. For so it was better.

Ver. 2, 3. "For if the word spoken by Angels" (saith he) "was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken to us by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him?"

Why ought we to "give more earnest heed to the things which we have heard"? were not those former things of God, as well as these? Either then he meaneth "more earnest" than [to] the Law, or "very earnest"; not making comparison, God forbid. For since, on account of the long space of time, they had a great opinion of the Old Covenant, but these things had been despised as vet new, he proves (more than his argument required) that we ought rather to give heed to these. How? By saying in effect, Both these and those are of God, but not in a like manner. And this he shows us afterwards: but for the present he treats it somewhat superficially, but afterwards more clearly, saying "For if that first covenant had been faultless" (c. viii. 7), and many other such things: "for that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (c. viii. 13.) But as yet he ventures not to say any such thing in the beginning of his discourse, nor until he shall have first occupied and possessed his hearer by his fuller [arguments].

Why then ought we "to give more earnest heed"? "Lest at any time," saith he, "we should let them slip"--that is, lest at any time we should perish, lest we should fall away. And here he shows the grievousness of this falling away, in that it is a difficult thing for that which hath fallen away to return again, inasmuch as it hath happened through wilful negligence. And he took this form of speech from the Proverbs. For, saith he, "my son [take heed] lest thou fall away" (Prov. iii. 21, LXX.), showing both the easiness of the fall, and the grievousness of the ruin. That is, our disobedience is not without danger. And while by his mode of reasoning he shows that the chastisement is greater, yet again he leaves it in the form of a question, and not in the conclusion. For indeed this is to make one's discourse inoffensive, when one does not in every case of one's self infer the judgment, but leaves it in the power of the hearer himself to give sentence: and this would render them more open to conviction. And both the prophet Nathan doth the same in the Old [Testament], and in Matthew Christ, saying, "What will He do to the husbandmen" (Matt. xxi. 40) of that vineyard? so compelling them to give sentence themselves: for this is the greatest victory.

Next, when he had said, "For if the word which was spoken by Angels was steadfast"--he did not add, much more that by Christ: but letting this pass, he said what is less, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" And see how he makes the comparison. "For if the word which was spoken by Angels," saith he. There, "by Angels," here, "by the Lord"--and there "a word," but here, "salvation."

Then lest any man should say, Thy sayings, O Paul, are they Christ's? he proves their trustworthiness both from his having heard these things of Him, and from their being now spoken by God; since not merely a voice is wafted, as in the case of Moses, but signs are done, and facts bear witness.

[6.] But what is this, "For if the word spoken by Angels was steadfast"? For in the Epistle to the Galatians also he saith to this effect, "Being ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator." (Gal. iii. 19.) And again, "Ye received a law by the disposition of Angels, and have not kept it." (Acts vii. 53.) And everywhere he saith it was given by angels. Some indeed say that Moses is signified; but without reason. For here he says Angels in the plural: and the Angels too which he here speaks of, are those in Heaven. What then is it? Either he means the Decalogue only (for there Moses spake, and God answered him--Ex. xix. 19),--or that angels were present, God disposing them in order,--or that he speaks thus in regard of all things said and done in the old Covenant, as if Angels had part in them. But how is it said in another place, "The Law was given by Moses" (John i. 17), and here "by Angels"? For it is said, "And God came down in thick darkness."(1) (Ex. xix. 16, 20.)

"For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast." What is "was steadfast"? True, as one may say; and faithful in its proper season; and all the things which had been spoken came to pass. Either this is his meaning, or that they prevailed, and the threatenings were coming to be accomplished. Or by "the word" he means injunctions. For apart from the Law, Angels sent from God enjoined many things: for instance at Bochim, in the Judges, in [the history of] Samson. (Judg. ii. x; xiii. 3.) For this is the cause why he said not "the Law" but "the word." And he seems to me haply rather to mean this, viz., those things which are committed to the management of angels. What shall we say then? The angels who were entrusted with the charge of the nation were then present, and they themselves made the trumpets, and the other things, the fire, the thick darkness. (Ex. xix. 16.)

"And every transgression and disobedience," saith he. Not this one and that one, but "every" one. Nothing, he saith, remained unavenged, but "received a just recompense of reward," instead of [saying] punishment. Why now spake he thus? Such is the manner of Paul, not to make much account of his phrases, but indifferently to put down words of evil sound, even in matters of good meaning. As also in another place he saith, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."(2) (2 Cor. x. 5.) And again he hath put "the recompense" for punishment,(3) as here he calleth punishment "reward." "If it be a righteous thing," he saith, "with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled rest." (2 Thess. i. 6, 7.) That is, justice was not violated, but God went forth against them, and caused the penalty to come round on the sinners, though not all their sins are made manifest, but only where the express ordinances were transgressed.

"How then shall we," he saith, "escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Hereby he signified, that other salvation was no great thing. Well too did he add the "So great." For not from wars (he saith) will He now rescue us, nor bestow on us the earth and the good things that are in the earth, but it will be the dissolution of death, the destruction of the devil, the kingdom of Heaven, everlasting life. For all these things he hath briefly expressed, by saying, "if we neglect so great salvation."

[7.] Then he subjoins what makes this worthy of belief. "Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord": that is, had its beginning from the fountain itself. It was not a man who brought it over(1) into the earth, nor any created power, but the Only-Begotten Himself.

"And was confirmed unto us by them that heard [Him]." What is" confirmed"? It was believed,(2) or, it came to pass. For (he saith) we have the earnest;(3) that is, it hath not been extinguished, it hath not ceased, but it is strong and prevaileth. And the cause is, the Divine power works therein. It means they who heard from the Lord, themselves confirmed us. This is a great thing and trustworthy: which also Luke saith in the beginning of his Gospel, "As they delivered unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word." (Luke i. 2.)

How then was it confirmed? What if those that heard were forgers? saith some one. This objection then he overthrows, and shows that the grace was not human. If they had gone astray, God would not have borne witness to them; for he subjoined (ver. 4), "God also bearing witness with them." Both they indeed bear witness, and God beareth witness too. How doth He bear witness? not by word or by voice, (though this also would have been worthy of belief): but how? "By signs, and wonders, and divers miracles." (Well said he, "divers miracles," declaring the abundance of the gifts: which was not so in the former dispensation, neither so great signs and so various.) That is, we did not believe them simply, but through signs and wonders: wherefore we believe not them, but God Himself.

"And by gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will."

What then, if wizards also do signs, and the Jews said that He "cast out devils through Beelzebub"? (Luke xi. 15.) But they do not such kind of signs: therefore said he "divers miracles": for those others were not miracles, [or powers,(4)] but weakness and fancy, and things altogether vain. Wherefore he said, "by gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will."

[8.] Here he seems to me to intimate something further. For it is not likely there were many there who had gifts, but that these had failed, upon their becoming more slothful. In order then that even in this he might comfort them, and not leave them to fall away, he referred all to the will of God. He knows (he says) what is expedient, and for whom, and apportions His grace accordingly. Which also he [Paul] does in the Epistle to the Corinthians, saying, "God hath set every one of us, as it pleased Him." (1 Cor. xii. 18.) And again, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." (1 Cor. xii. 7.)

"According to His will." He shows that the gift is according to the will of the Father. But oftentimes on account of their unclean and slothful life many have not received a gift, and sometimes also those whose life is good and pure have not received one. Why, I pray you? Lest they might be made haughty, that they might not be puffed up, that they might not grow more negligent, that they might not be more excited. For if even without a gift, the mere consciousness of a pure life be sufficient to lift a man up, much more when the grace is added also. Wherefore to the humble, to the simple, it was rather given, and especially to the simple: for it is said, "in singleness and gladness of heart." (Acts ii. 46.) Yea, and hereby also he rather urged them on, and if they were growing negligent gave them a spur. For the humble, and he who imagines no great things concerning himself, becomes more earnest when he has received a gift, in that he has obtained what is beyond his deserts, and thinks that he is not worthy thereof. But he who thinks he hath done well, reckoning it to be his due, is puffed up. Wherefore God dispenseth this profitably: which one may see taking place also in the Church: for one hath the word of teaching, another hath not power to open his mouth. Let not this man (he says) be grieved because of this. For "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." (1 Cor. xii. 7.) For if a man that is an householder knoweth to whom he should entrust anything, much more God, who understands the mind of men, "who knoweth all things or ever they come into being."(1) One thing only is worthy of grief, Sin: there is nothing else.

Say not, Wherefore have I not riches? or, If I had, I would give to the poor. Thou knowest not, if thou hadst them, whether thou wouldest not the rather be covetous. For now indeed thou sayest these things, but being put to the trial thou wouldest be different. Since also when we are satisfied, we think that we are able to fast; but when we have gone without a little space, other thoughts come into us. Again, when we are out of the way of strong drink, we think ourselves able to master our appetite, but no longer so, when we are caught by it.

Say not, Wherefore had I not the gift of teaching? or, If I had it, I should have edified innumerable souls. Thou knowest not, if thou hadst it, whether it would not be to thy condemnation,--whether envy, whether sloth, would not have disposed thee to hide thy talent. Now, indeed, thou art now free from all these, and though thou give not "the portion of meat" (Luke xii. 42), thou art not called to account: but then, thou wouldest have been responsible for many.

[9.] And besides, neither now art thou without the gift. Show in the little, what thou wouldst have been, if thou hadst had the other. "For if" (he says) "ye are not faithful in that which is little, how shall any one give you that which is great?" (Luke xvi. 11.) Give such proof as did the widow; she had two farthings,(2) and she cast in all, whatsoever she possessed.

Dost thou seek riches? Prove that thou thinkest lightly of the few things, that I may trust thee also concerning the many things. But if thou dost not think lightly even of these, much less wilt thou do so of the other.

Again, in speech, prove that thou canst use fitly exhortation and counsel. Hast thou not external eloquence? hast thou not store of thoughts? But nevertheless thou knowest these common things. Thou hast a child, thou hast a neighbor, thou hast a friend, thou hast a brother, thou hast kinsmen. And though publicly before the Church, thou art not able to draw out a long discourse, these thou canst exhort in private. Here, there is no need of rhetoric, nor of elaborate discourse: prove in these, that if thou hadst skill of speech, thou wouldest not have neglected it. But if in the small matter thou art not in earnest, how shall I trust thee concerning the great?

For, that every man can do this, hear what Paul saith, how he charged even lay people; "Edify," he says, "one another, as also ye do." (1 Thess. v. 11.) And, "Comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess. iv. 18.) God knoweth how He should distribute to every man. Art thou better than Moses? hear how he shrinks from the hardship. "Am I," saith he, "able to bear them? for Thou saidst to me, Bear them up, as a nursing-father would bear up the sucking-child." (Num. xi. 12.) What then did God? He took of his spirit and gave unto the others, showing that neither when he bare them was the gift his own, but of the Spirit. If thou hadst had the gift, thou wouldst perchance a have been lifted up, perchance wouldst thou have been turned out of the way. Thou knowest not thyself as God knoweth thee. Let us not say, To what end is that? on what account is this? When God dispenseth, let us not demand an account of Him: for this [is] of the uttermost impiety and folly. We are slaves, and slaves far apart from our Master, knowing not even the things which are before us.

[10.] Let us not then busy ourselves about the counsel of God, but whatsoever He hath given, this let us guard, though it be small, though it be the lowest, and we shall be altogether approved. Or rather, none of the gifts of God is small: art thou grieved because thou hast not the gift of teaching? Then tell me, which seems to you the greater, to have the gift of teaching, or the gift of driving away diseases? Doubtless the latter. But what? Tell me; doth it not seem to thee greater to give eyes to the blind than even to drive away diseases? But what? Tell me; doth it not seem to thee greater to raise the dead than to give eyes to the blind? What again, tell me; doth it not seem to thee greater to do this by shadows and napkins, than by a word? Tell me then, which wouldst thou? Raise the dead with shadows and napkins, or have the gift of teaching? Doubtless thou wilt say the former, to raise the dead with shadows and napkins. If then I should show to thee, that there is another gift far greater than this, and that thou dost not receive it when it is in thy power to receive it, art not thou justly deprived of those others? And this gift not one or two, but all may have. I know that ye open wide your mouths and are amazed, at being to hear that it is in your power to have a greater gift than raising the dead, and giving eyes to the blind, doing the same things which were done in the time of the Apostles. And it seems to you past belief.

What then is this gift? charity. Nay, believe me; for the word is not mine, but Christ's speaking by Paul. For what saith he? "Covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." (1 Cor. xii. 31.) What is this, "yet more excellent"? What he means is this. The Corinthians were proud over their gifts, and those having tongues, the least gift, were puffed up against the rest. He saith therefore, Do ye by all means desire gifts? I show unto you a way of gifts not merely excelling but far more excellent. Then he saith, "Though I speak with the tongues of Angels, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I have faith so as to remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2.)

Hast thou seen the gift? Covet earnestly this gift. This is greater than raising the dead. This is far better than all the rest, And that it is so, hear what Christ Himself saith, discoursing with His disciples, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples." (John xiii. 35.) And showing how, He mentioned not the miracles, but what? "If ye have love one with another." And again He saith to the Father, "Hereby shall they know that Thou hast sent Me, if they be one." (John xvii. 21.) And He said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another." (John xiii. 34.) Such an one therefore is more venerable and glorious than those who raise the dead; with reason. For that indeed is wholly of God's grace, but this, of thine own earnestness also. This is of one who is a Christian indeed: this shows the disciple of Christ, the crucified, the man that hath nothing common with earth. Without this, not even martyrdom can profit.

And as a proof, see this plainly. The blessed Paul took two of the highest virtues, or rather three; namely, those which consist in miracles, in knowledge, in life. And without this the others, he said, are nothing. And I will say how these are nothing. "Though I give my goods to feed the poor," he says, "and have not charity, I am nothing." (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) For it is possible not to be charitable even when one feeds the poor and exhausts one's means.

[11.] And indeed these things have been sufficiently declared by us, in the place concerning Charity:(1) and thither we refer the readers. Meanwhile, as I was saying, let us covet earnestly the Gift, let us love one another; and we shall need nothing else for the perfect acquisition of virtue, but all will be easy to us without toils and we shall do all perfectly with much diligence.

But see, even now, it is said, we love one another. For one man hath two friends, and another three. But this is not to love for God's sake, but for the sake of being beloved. But to love for God's sake hath not this as its principle of Love; but such an one will be disposed towards all men as towards brethren; loving those that are of the same faith as being true brothers; heretics and Heathen and Jews, brothers indeed by nature, but vile and unprofitable,--pitying and wearing himself out and weeping for them. Herein we shall be like God if we love all men, even our enemies; not, if we work miracles. For we regard even God with admiration when He worketh wonders, yet much more, when He showeth love towards man, when He is long-suffering. If then even in God this is worthy of much admiration, much more in men is it evident that this rendereth us admirable.

This then let us zealously seek after: and we shall be no way inferior to Paul and Peter and those who have raised innumerable dead, though we may not be able to drive away a fever. But without this [Love]; though we should work greater miracles even than the Apostles themselves, though we should expose ourselves to innumerable dangers for the faith: there will be to us no profit from any. And these things it is not I that say, but he, the very nourisher of Charity, knoweth these things. To him then let us be obedient; for thus we shall be able to attain to the good things promised, of which may we all be made partakers, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father with the Holy Ghost, be the glory, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY IV.

HEBREWS ii. 5--7.

"For unto Angels He hath not put in subjection. the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him?Thou madest him a little lower than the Angels."

[1.] I COULD have wished to know for certain whether any hear with fitting earnestness the things that are said, whether we are not casting the seeds by the wayside: for in that case I should have made my instructions with more cheerfulness. For we shall speak, though no one hear, for the fear which is laid on us by our Saviour. For, saith He, testify to this people; even if they hear not, thou shalt thyself be guiltless. (See Ezek. iii. 19.) If however I had been persuaded of your earnestness, I should have spoken not for fear only, but should have done it with pleasure also. For now indeed, even if no man hear, even if my work, so long as I fulfill my own part, brings no danger, still the labor is not altogether pleasant. For what profit is it, when though I be not blamed, yet no one is benefited? But if any would give heed we shall receive advantage not so much from avoiding punishment ourselves as from your progress.

How then shall I know this? Having taken notice of some of you, who are not very attentive, I shall question them privately, when I meet them. And if I find that they retain any of the things that have been spoken (I say not all, for this would not be very easy for you), but even if [they retain] a few things out of many, it is plain I should have no further doubts about the rest. And indeed we ought, without giving notice beforehand, to have attacked you when off your guard. However it will suffice, if even in this way I should be able to attain my purpose. Nay rather, even as it is, I can attack you when you are off your guard. For that I shall question you, I have forewarned you; but when I shall question you I do not as yet make evident. For perhaps it may be to-day; perhaps to-morrow, perhaps after twenty or thirty days, perhaps after fewer, perhaps after more. Thus has God also made uncertain the day of our death. Nor hath He allowed it be clear to us, whether it shall befall us to-day, or to-morrow, or after a whole year, or after many years; that through the uncertainty of the expectation we may through all time keep ourselves firm in virtue. And that we shall indeed depart, He hath said,--but when, He hath not yet said. Thus too I have said that I shall question you, but I have not added when, wishing you always to be thoughtful.

And let no man say, I heard these things four or five weeks ago, or more, and I cannot retain them. For I wish the hearer so to retain them as to have his recollection perpetual and not apt to fade, nor yet that he should disown what is spoken. For I wish you to retain them, not, in order to tell them to me, but that ye may have profit; and this is of most serious interest to me. Let no one then say this.

[2.] However, I must now begin with what follows in the epistle. What then is set before us to speak on to-day?

"For not to angels," he says, "did He put in subjection the world to come,(1) whereof we speak." Is he then discoursing concerning some other world? No, but concerning this. Therefore he added "whereof we speak," that he might not allow the mind to wander away in search of some other. How then does he call it "the world to come"? Exactly as he also says in another place, "Who is the figure of him that was to come,"(2) (Rom. v. 14,) when he is speaking about Adam and Christ in the Epistle to the Romans; calling Christ according to the flesh "Him that was to come" in respect of the times of Adam, (for [then] He was to come). So now also, since he had said, "but when he bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world": that thou mightest not suppose that he is speaking of another world, it is made certain from many considerations and from his saying "to come." For the world was to come, but the Son of God always was. This world then which was about to come, He put in subjection not to Angels but to Christ. For that this is spoken with reference to the Son (he says) is evident: for surely no one would assert the other alternative, that it had reference to Angels.

Then he brings forward another testimony also and says, "but one in a certain place testified, saying." Wherefore did he not mention the name of the prophet, but hid it? Yea, and in other testimonies also he doth this: as when he saith, "but when He bringeth in again the First-Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the Angels of God worship Him. And again, I will be to Him a Father. And of the Angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth" (c. i. 6, 5, 7, 10):--so also here he saith, "but one in a certain place testified, saying." And this very thing (I conceive) is the act of one that conceals himself, and shows that they were well skilled in the Scriptures; his not setting down him who uttered the testimony, but introducing it as familiar and obvious.

"What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels: Thou crownedst him with glory and honor."(1) (Ver. 8.) "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet."

Now although these things were spoken of human nature generally, they would nevertheless apply more properly to Christ according to the flesh. For this, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet," belongs to Him rather than to us. For the Son of God visited us when we were nothing: and after having assumed our [nature],(2) and united it to Himself, He became higher than all.

"For," he says, "in that He hath put all things in subjection under Him, He left nothing not put under Him: but now we see not yet all things put under Him." What he means is this:--since he had said, "Until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (c. i. 13),--and it was likely that they would still be grieved,--then having inserted a few things after this parenthetically, he added this testimony in confirmation of the former. For that they might not say, How is it that He hath put His enemies under His feet, when we have suffered so much? he sufficiently hinted at it in the former place indeed (for the word "until" showed, not what should take place immediately, but in course of time) but here he followeth it up. For do not suppose (he says) that because they have not vet been made subject, they are not to be made subject: for that they must be made subject, is evident; for, on this account was the prophecy spoken. "For," he says, "in that He hath put all things under Him, He left nothing not put under Him." How then is it that all things have not been put under Him? Because they are hereafter to be put under Him.

If then all things must be made subject to Him, but have not yet been made subject, do not grieve, nor trouble thyself. If indeed when the end were come, and all things were made subject, thou wert still suffering these things, with reason wouldst thou repine: "But now we see not yet all things put under Him." The King has not yet clearly conquered. Why then art thou troubled when suffering affliction? the preaching [of the Gospel] hath not yet prevailed over all; it is not yet time that they should be altogether made subject.

[3.] Then again there is another consolation if indeed He who is hereafter to have all put in subjection under Him, hath Himself also died and submitted to sufferings innumerable. (Ver. 9.) "But," he says, "we see Him who was made a little(3) lower than the angels, even Jesus, for the suffering of death"--then the good things again,--"crowned with glory and honor." Seest thou, how all things apply to Him? For the [expression], "a little," would rather suit Him, who was only three days in Hades, but not ourselves who are for a long time in corruption. Likewise also the [expression] "with glory and honor" will suit Him much more than us.

Again, he reminds them of the Cross, thereby effecting two things; both showing His care [for them] and persuading them to bear all things nobly, looking to the Master. For (he would say) if He who is worshiped of Angels, for thy sake endured to have a little less than the Angels, much more oughtest thou who art inferior to the Angels, to bear all things for His sake. Then he shows that the Cross is "glory and honor," as He Himself also always calls it, saying, "That the Son of Man might be glorified" (John xi. 5); and, "the Son of Man is glorified." (John xii. 23.) If then He calls the [sufferings] for His servants' sake "glory," much more shouldest thou the [sufferings] for the Lord.

Seest thou the fruit of the Cross, how great it is? fear not the matter: for it seemeth to thee indeed to be dismal, but it brings forth good things innumerable. From these considerations he shows the benefit of trial. Then he says, "That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

"That by the grace of God," he says. And He indeed because of the grace of God towards us suffered these things. "He who spared not His Own Son," he says, "but delivered Him up for us all." (Rom. viii. 32.) Why? He did not owe us this, but has done it of grace. And again in the Epistle to the Romans he says, "Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." (Rom. v. 15.)

"That by the grace of God He should taste death for every man," not for the faithful only, but even for the whole world: for He indeed died for all; But what if all have not believed? He hath fulfilled His own [part].

Moreover he said rightly "taste death for every man," he did not say "die." For as if He really was tasting it, when He had spent a little time therein, He immediately arose.

By saying then "for the suffering of death," he signified real death, and by saying "superior to angels," he declared the resurrection. For as a physician though not needing to taste the food prepared for the sick man, yet in his care for him tastes first himself, that he may persuade the sick man with confidence to venture on the food, so since all men were afraid of death, in persuading them to take courage against death, He tasted it also Himself though He needed not. "For," He says, "the prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in Me." (John xiv. 30.) So both the words "by grace" and "should taste death for every man," establish this.

[4.] Ver. 10. "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." He speaks here of the Father. Seest thou how again he applies the [expression] "by whom"(1) to Him? Which he would not have done, had it been [an expression] of inferiority, and only applicable to the Son. And what he says is this:--He has done what is worthy of His love towards mankind, in showing His First-born to be more glorious than all, and in setting Him forth as an example to the others, like some noble wrestler that surpasses the rest.

"The Captain of their salvation," that is, the Cause of their salvation. Seest thou how great is the space between? Both He is a Son, and we are sons; but He saves, we are saved. Seest thou how He both brings us together and then separates us; "bringing," he says, "many sons unto glory": here he brings us together,--"the Captain of their salvation," again he separates.

"To make perfect through sufferings."(2) Then sufferings are a perfecting, and a cause of salvation. Seest thou that to suffer affliction is not the portion of those who are utterly forsaken; if indeed it was by this that God first honored His Son, by leading Him through sufferings? And truly His taking flesh to suffer what He did suffer, is a far greater thing than making the world, and bringing it out of things that are not. This indeed also is [a token] of His loving-kindness, but the other far more. And [the Apostle] himself also pointing out this very thing, says, "That in the ages to come He might show forth the exceeding riches of His goodness, He both raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. ii. 7, 6.)

"For it became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through-sufferings." For (he means) it became Him who taketh tender care, and brought all things into being, to give up the Son for the salvation of the rest, the One for the many. However he did not express himself thus, but, "to make perfect through sufferings," showing the suffering for any one, not merely profits "him," but he himself also becomes more glorious and more perfect. And this too he says in reference to the faithful, comforting them by the way: for Christ was glorified then when He suffered. But when I say, He was glorified, do not suppose that there was an accession of glory to Him: for that which is of nature He always had, and received nothing in addition.

[5.] "For," he says, "both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Behold again how he brings [them] together, honoring and comforting them, and making them brethren of Christ, in this respect that they are "of one."(3) Then again guarding himself and showing that he is speaking of that which is according to the flesh, he introduces, "For He who sanctifieth," [i.e.] Christ, "and they who are sanctified," ourselves. Dost thou see how great is the difference?(4) He sanctifies, we are sanctified. And above he said, "the Captain of their salvation. For there is one God, of whom are all things." (5) (1 Cor. viii. 6.)

"For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Seest thou how again he shows the superiority? For by saying, "He is not ashamed," he shows that the whole comes not of the nature of the thing, but of the loving affection of Him who was "not ashamed" of anything, [yea] of His great humility. For though we be "of one," yet He sanctifieth and we are sanctified: and great is the difference.(6) Moreover "He" is of the Father, as a true Son, that is, of His substance; "we," as created, that is, brought out of things that are not, so that the difference is great. Wherefore he says, "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (ver. 12), "saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren." (Ps. xxii. 22.) For when He clothed Himself with flesh, He clothed Himself also with the brotherhood, and at the same time came in the brotherhood.

This indeed he brings forward naturally. But this (ver. 13 ) "I will put my trust in Him" ( 2 Sam. xxii. 3), what does it mean? For what follows this is also [introduced] naturally. "Behold, I and the children which God hath given Me." (Isaiah viii. 18.) For as here He shows Himself a Father, so before, a Brother. "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren," He saith.

And again he indicates the superiority and the great interval [between us], by what follows (ver. 14): "Since then the children," he saith, "are partakers of flesh and blood" (thou seest where he saith the likeness is? in reference to the flesh), "in like manner He also Himself took part of the same." Let all the Heretics be ashamed, let those hide their faces who say that He came in appearance and not in reality.(1) For he did not say, "He took part of these" only, and then say no more; although had he said thus, it would have been sufficient, but he asserted something more, adding "in like manner," not in appearance, he means, or by an image (since in that case "in like manner" is not preserved) but in reality; showing the brotherhood.

[6.] Next he sets down also the cause of the economy.(2) "That through death," he says, "He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."

Here he points out the wonder, that by what the devil prevailed, by that was he overcome, and the very thing which was his strong weapon against the world, [namely], Death, by this Christ smote him. In this he exhibits the greatness of the conqueror's power. Dost thou see how great good death hath wrought?

Ver. 15. "And should deliver them," he says, "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Why (he means) do ye shudder? Why do you fear him that hath been brought to nought? He is no longer terrible, but has been trodden under foot, hath been utterly despised; he is vile and of no account. (2 Tim. i. 10.)

But what is "through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage"? He either means this, that he who fears death is a slave, and submits to all things rather than die; or this, that all men were slaves of death and were held under his power, because he had not yet been done away; or that men lived in continual fear, ever expecting that they should die, and being afraid of death, could have no sense of pleasure, while this fear was present with them. For this he hinted at in saying," All their life-time." He here shows that the afflicted, the harassed, the persecuted, those that are deprived of country and of substance and of all other things, spend their lives more sweetly and more freely than they of old time who were in luxury, who suffered no such afflictions, who were in continual prosperity, if indeed these "all their life-time" were under this fear and were slaves; while the others have been made free and laugh at that which they shudder at. For this is now as if, when one was being led away to a captivity leading to death, and in continual expectation of it, one should feed him up with abundant dainties (something such as this was Death of old); but now, as if some one taking away that fear together with the dainties, were to promise a contest, and propose a combat that should lead no longer to death, but to a kingdom. Of which number wouldst thou have wished to be--those who are fed up in the prison-house, while every day looking for their sentence, or those who contend much and labor willingly, that they may crown themselves with the diadem of the kingdom? Seest thou how he has raised up their soul, and made them elated? He shows too, that not death alone has been put an end to, but that thereby he also who is ever showing that war without trace against us, I mean the devil, hath been brought to nought; since he that fears not death is out of reach of the devil's tyranny. For if "skin for skin, yea all things a man would give for his life" (Job ii. 4)--when any one has determined to disregard even this, of what henceforward will he be the slave? He fears no one, he is in terror of no one, he is higher than all, and more free than all. For he that disregards his own life, much more [doth he disregard] all other things. And when the devil finds a soul such as this, he can accomplish in it none of his works. For what? tell me, shall he threaten the loss of property, and degradation, and banishment from one's country? But these are small matters to him who "counteth not even his life dear" (Acts xx. 24) unto him, according to the blessed Paul. Thou seest that in casting out the tyranny of death, he also overthrew the strength of the devil. For he who has learnt to study innumerable [truths] concerning the resurrection,(3) how should he fear death? How should he shudder any more?

[7.] Therefore be ye not grieved, saying, why do we suffer such and such things? For so the victory becomes more glorious. And it would not have been glorious, unless by death He had destroyed death; but the most wonderful thing is that He conquered him by the very means by which he was strong, showing in every point the abundance of His means, and the excellence of His contrivances. Let us not then prove false to the gift bestowed on us. "For we," he says, "have received not a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (Rom. viii. 15; 2 Tim. i. 7.) Let us stand then nobly, laughing death to scorn.

But [I pause] for it comes over me to groan bitterly [at the thought of] whither Christ hath raised us up, and whither we have brought ourselves down. For when I see the wailings in the public places, the groanings over those departing life, the howlings, the other unseemly behavior, believe me, I am ashamed before those heathen, and Jews, and heretics who see it, and before all who for this cause openly laugh us to scorn. For whatever I may afterwards say, I shall talk to no purpose, when philosophizing concerning the resurrection. Why? Because the heathen do not attend to what is said by me, but to what is done by you. For they will say at once, 'when will any of these [fellows] be able to despise death, when he is not able to see another dead?'

Beautiful things were spoken by Paul, beautiful and worthy of Heaven, and of the love of God to man. For what does he say? "And He shall deliver them who through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage." But ye do not allow these things to be believed, fighting against them by your deeds. And yet many things exist for this very end, God building a stronghold against it, that He might destroy this same evil custom. For tell me, what mean the bright torches? Do we not send them before as athletes? And what [mean] the hymns? Do we not glorify God, and give thanks that at last He has crowned the departed one, that He has freed him from his labors, that taking away uncertainty, He has him with Himself? Are not the Hymns for this? Is not Psalmody for this? All these are the acts of those rejoicing. "For," it is said, "is any merry? let him sing psalms." (Jas. v. 13.) But to these things the heathen give no heed. For (one will say) do not tell me of him who is philosophical(1) when out of the affliction, for this is nothing great or surprising;--show me a man who in the very affliction itself is philosophical, and then I will believe the resurrection,

And indeed, that women engaged in the affairs of this life(2) should act thus is no way surprising. And yet indeed this even is dreadful; for from them also is the same philosophy required. Wherefore also Paul says, "But concerning them which are asleep, I would not have you ignorant, that ye sorrow not even as the rest who have no hope." (1 Thess. iv. 13.) He wrote not this to solitaries, nor to perpetual virgins, but to women and men in the world.(3) But however this is not so dreadful. But when any man or woman, professing to be crucified to the world, he tears his hair, and she shrieks violently--what can be more unseemly than this? Believe me when I say if things were done as they ought, such persons should be excluded for a long time from the thresholds of the Church. For those who are indeed worthy of being grieved for, are these who still fear and shudder at death, who have no faith in the resurrection.

'But I do not disbelieve the resurrection' (one says) 'but I long after his society.' Why then, tell me, when he goes from home, and that for a long absence, dost not thou do the same? Yea, but I do weep then also' (she says) 'and mourn as I long after him.' But that is the conduct of those that really long after their associates, this that of her who despairs of his return.

Think, what thou singest on that occasion, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." (Ps. cxvi. 7.) And again, "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." (Ps. xxiii. 4.) And again, "Thou art my refuge from the affliction which encompasseth me." (Ps. xxxii. 7.) Think what these Psalms mean. But thou dost not give heed, but art drunk from grief.

Consider carefully the funeral lamentations of others that thou mayest have a remedy in thine own case. "Return, O my soul, to thy rest, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." Tell me, sayest thou that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee, and weepest? Is not this mere acting, is it not hypocrisy? For if indeed thou really believest the things thou sayest, thy sorrow is superfluous: but if thou art in sport and acting a part, and thinkest these things fables, why dost thou sing psalms? Why dost thou even endure the attendants? Why dost thou not drive away the singers? But this would be the act of madmen. And yet far more the other.

For the present, then, I advise you: but as time goes on, I shall treat the matter more seriously: for indeed I am greatly afraid that by this practice some grievous disease may make its way into the Church. The case of the wailings then we will hereafter correct. And meanwhile I charge and testify, both to rich and poor, both to women and men.

May God indeed grant that you all depart out of life unwailed, and according to the fitting rule fathers now grown old may be attended to their graves by sons, and mothers by daughters, and grand-children, and great grand-children, in a green old age, and that untimely death may in no case occur. May this then be, and this I pray, and I exhort the prelates and all of you to beseech God for each other, and to make this prayer in common. But if (which God forbid, anti may it never happen) any bitter death should occur, bitter, I mean, not in its nature (for henceforth there is no bitter death, for it differs not at all from sleep), but bitter in regard of your disposition, if it should happen, and any should hire these mourning women, believe me when I say (I speak not without meaning(1) but as I have resolved, let him who will, be angry), that person we will exclude from the Church for a long time, as we do the idolater. For if Paul calls "the covetous man an idolater" (Eph. v. 5), (much more him who brings in the practices of the idolaters over a believer.

For, tell me, for what cause dost thou invite presbyters, and the singers? Is it not to afford consolation? Is it not to honor the departed? Why then dost thou insult him? And why dost thou make him a public show? And why dost thou make game as on a stage? We come, discoursing of the things concerning the resurrection, instructing all, even those who have not yet been smitten, by the honor shown to him, to bear it nobly if any such thing should happen and dost thou bring those who overthrow our [teachings] as much as in them lieth? What can be worse than this ridicule and mockery? What more grievous than this inconsistency?

[8.] Be ashamed and show reverence: but if ye will not, we cannot endure the bringing in upon the Church of practices so destructive. For, it is said, "them that sin rebuke before all." (1 Tim. v. 20.) And as to those miserable and wretched women, we through you forbid them(2) ever to introduce themselves into the funerals of the faithful, lest we should oblige them in good earnest to wail over their own evils, and teach them not to do these things in the ills of others, but rather to weep for their own misfortunes. For an affectionate father too, when he has a disorderly son, not only advises him not to draw near to the wicked, but puts them in fear also. Behold then, I advise you, and those women through you, that you do not invite such persons, and that they do not attend. And may God grant that my words may produce some effect, and that my threat may avail. But if (which God forbid) we should be disregarded, we have no choice henceforward but to put our threat into execution, chastising you by the laws of the Church, and those women as befits them.

Now if any man is obstinate and contemptuous, let him hear Christ saying even now, "If any one trespass against thee, go, tell him his fault between thee and him alone"; but if he will not be persuaded, "take with thee one or two." But if even so he contradict, "tell it to the Church, but if he shall also refuse to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17.) Now if when a man trespasses against me, and will not be persuaded, [the Lord] commands me thus to turn away from him, judge ye in what light I ought to hold him who trespasses against himself, and against God. For do not you yourselves condemn us when we come down so gently upon you?

If however any man disregard the bonds which we inflict, again let Christ instruct him, saying, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. xviii. 18.) For though we ourselves be miserable and good for nothing and worthy to be despised, as indeed we are; yet are we not avenging ourselves nor warding off anger, but are caring for your salvation.

Be influenced by reverence, I beseech you, and respect. For if a man bear with a friend when he attacks him more vehemently than he ought, ascertaining his object, and that he does it with kind intention, and not out of insolence; much more [should he bear with] a teacher when rebuking him, and a teacher who does not himself say these things as of authority, nor as one in the position of a ruler, but in that of a kindly guardian. For we do not say these things as wishing to exhibit our authority, (for how could we, praying that we may never come to the trial of them?) but grieving and lamenting for you.

Forgive me then, and let no man disregard the bonds of the Church. For it is not man who binds, but Christ who has given unto us this authority, and makes men lords of this so great dignity. For we indeed wish to use this power for loosing; or rather, we wish to have no need even of that, for we wish that there should not be any bound among us--we are not so miserable and wretched [as that] even though some of us are extreme good-for-nothings. If however we be compelled [so to act], forgive us. For it is not of our own accord, nor wishing it, but rather out of sorrow for you that are bound that we put the chains around you. But if any man despise these chains, the time of judgment will come, which shall teach him. And what comes after I do not wish to speak of, lest I should wound your minds. For in the first place indeed we do not wish to be brought into this necessity; but if we are so brought, we fulfill our own part, we cast around the chains. And if any man burst through them, I have done my part, and am henceforth free from blame, and thou wilt have to give account to Him who commanded me to bind.

For neither, when a king is sitting in public, if any of the guard who stand beside him be commanded to bind one of the attendants, and to put the chains around [him], and he should not only thrust this man away, but also break the bonds in pieces, is it the guard who suffers the insult, and not much more the King who gave the order. For if He claim as His own, the things which are done to the faithful, much more will He feel as if Himself insulted when he is insulted who has been appointed to teach.

But God grant that none of those who are over this Church should be driven to the necessity of [inflicting] these bonds. For as it is a good thing not to sin, so is it profitable to endure reproof. Let us then endure the rebuke, and earnestly endeavor not to sin; and if we should sin let us bear the rebuke. For as it is an excellent thing not to be wounded, but, if this should happen, to apply the remedy to the wound, so also in this case.

But God forbid that any man should need such remedies as these. "But we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." (c. vi. 9.) But we have discoursed more vehemently for the sake of greater security. For it is better that I should be suspected by you of being a harsh, and severe, and self-willed person, than that you should do things not approved of God. But we trust in God, that this reproof will not be unserviceable to you, but that ye will be so changed, that these discourses may be devoted to encomiums on you and to praises: that we may all be counted worthy to attain to those good things, which God hath promised to them that love Him in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

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