HOMILIES OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
HOMILIES XXI TO XXV (CHAPTERS 10 & 11)

HOMILY XXI.

HEBREWS x. 32-34.

"But call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;[1] partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions,[2] and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion on those who were in bonds,[3] and took joyfully the spoiling of yourr goods, knowing that ye have for yourselves[4] in heaven a better and an enduring substance."

[1.] THE best Physicians after they have made a deep incision, and have increased the pains by the wound, soothing the afflicted part, and giving rest and refreshment to the disturbed soul, proceed not to make a second incision, but rather soothe that which has been made with gentle remedies, and such as are suited to remove the violence of the pain. This Paul also did after he had shaken their souls, and pierced them with the recollection of Hell, and convinced then, that he must certainly perish, who does despite to the grace of God, and after he had shown from the laws of Moses, that they also shall perish, and the more [fearfully], and confirm it by other testimonies, and had said, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God" (c. x. 31): then, lest the soul desponding through excessive fear, should be swallowed up with grief, he soothes them by commendations and exhortation, and gives them zeal derived from their own conduct. For, he says, "call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye had been enlightened, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." Powerful is the exhortation from deeds [already done]: for he who begins a work ought to go forward and add to it. As if he had said, when ye were brought in[5] [to the Church], when ye were in the rank of learners, ye displayed so great readiness, so great nobleness; but now it is no longer so. And he who encourages, does thus especially encourage them from their own example.

And he did not simply say, "ye endured a fight"[6] but a "great" [fight]. Moreover he did not say "temptations" but "fight," which is an expression of commendation and of very great praise.

Then he also enumerates them particularly, amplifying his discourse, and multiplying his praise. How? "Partly" (he says) "whilst ye were made a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions"; for reproach is a great thing, and calculated to pervert the soul, and to darken the judgment. For hear what the prophet says:[7] " While they daily say unto me, Where is thy God?" (Ps. xlii. 10.) And again, "If the enemy had reproached me, I would have borne it." (Ps. Iv. 12.) For since the human race is exceedingly vainglorious, therefore it is easily overcome by this.

And he did not simply say "by reproaches," but that even with great intensity, being "made a gazing-stock."[8] For when a person is reproached alone, it is indeed painful, but far more so when in presence of all. For tell me how great the evil was when men who had left the meanness of Judaism, and gone over, as it were, to the best course of life, and despised the customs of their fathers, were ill treated by their own people, and had no help.

[2.] I cannot say (he says) that ye suffered these things indeed and were grieved, but ye even rejoiced exceedingly. And this he expressed by saying, "Whilst ye became companions of them that were so used," and he brings forward the Apostles themselves. Not only (he means) were ye not ashamed of your own sufferings, but ye even shared with others who were suffering the same things. This too is the language of one who is encouraging them. He said not, 'Bear my afflictions, share with me,' but respect your own.

"Ye had compassion on them that were in bonds."[9] Thou seest that he is speaking concerning himself and the rest who were in prison. Thus ye did not account "bonds" to be bonds: but as noble wrestlers so stood ye: for not only ye needed no consolation in your own [distresses], but even became a consolation to others.

And "ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods." O! what "full assurance of faith"! (c. x. 22.) Then he also sets forth the motive, not only consoling them for their struggles, but also that they might not be shaken from the Faith. When ye saw your property plundered (he means) ye endured; for already ye saw Him who is invisible, as visible: which was the effect of genuine faith, and ye showed it forth by your deeds themselves.

Well then, the plundering was perhaps from the force of the plunderers, and no man could prevent it; so that as yet it is not clear, that ye endured the plundering for the faith's sake. (Although this too is clear. For it was in your power if you chose, not to be plundered, by not believing.) But ye did what is far greater than this; the enduring such things even "with joy"; which was altogether apostolical, and worthy of those noble souls, who rejoiced when scourged. For, it says, "they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the Name."[1] (Acts v. 41.) But he that endures "with joy," shows that he has some reward, and that the affair is no loss but a gain.

Moreover the expression "ye took"'[2] shows their willing endurance, because, he means, ye chose and accepted.

"Knowing" (he says) "that ye have for yourselves in heaven a better and an enduring substance"; instead of saying, firm, not perishing like this.

[3.] In the next place, having praised them, he says, (ver. 35) "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." What meanest thou? He did not say, 'ye have cast it away, and recover it': but, which tended more to strengthen them, "ye have it," he says. For to recover again that which has been cast away, requires more labor: but not to lose that which is held fast does not. But to the Galatians he says the very opposite: "My children of whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in you" (Gal. iv. 19); and with reason; for they were more supine, whence they needed a sharper word; but these were more faint-hearted, so that they rather needed what was more soothing.

"Cast not away therefore" (he says) "your confidence," so that they were in great confidence towards God. "Which hath" (he says) "great recompense of reward." "And when shall we receive them (some one might say)? Behold! All things on our part have been done." Therefore he anticipated them on their own supposition, saying in effect, If ye know that ye have in heaven a better substance, seek nothing here.

"For ye have need of patience," not of any addition [to your labors], that ye may continue in the same state, that ye may not cast away what has been put into your hands. Ye need nothing else, but so to stand as ye have stood, that when ye come to the end, ye may receive the promise.

(Ver. 36) "For" (he says) "ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Ye have need of one thing only, to bear with the delay; not that ye should fight again. Ye are at the very crown (he means); ye have borne all the combats of bonds, of afflictions; your goods have been spoiled. What then? Henceforward ye are standing to be crowned: endure this only, the delay of the crown. O the greatness of the consolation! It is as if one should speak to an athlete who had overthrown all, and had no antagonist, and then was to be crowned, and yet endured not that time, during which the president of the games comes, and places the crown [upon him]; and he impatient, should wish to go out, and escape as though he could not bear the thirst and the heat.

He then also hinting this, what does he say? (Ver. 37) "Yet a little while and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." For lest they should say, And when will He come? He comforts them from the Scriptures. For thus also when he says in another place, "Now is our salvation nearer" (Rom. xiii. 11), he comforts them because the remaining time is short. And this he says not of himself but from the Scriptures.[3] But if from that time it was said, "Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry," it is plain that now He is nearer. Wherefore also waiting is no small reward.

(Ver. 38) "Now the just" (he says) "shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." This is a great encouragement when one shows that they have succeeded in the whole matter and are losing it through a little indolence. (Ver. 39) "But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."

[4.] (Chap. xi. 1, 2) "Now faith is the substance[4] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report." O what an expression has he used, in saying, "an evidence of things not seen." For [we say] there is "evidence," in the case of things that are very plain.[5] Faith then is the seeing things not plain (he means), and brings what are not seen to the same full assurance with what are seen. So then neither is it possible to disbelieve in things which are seen, nor, on the other hand can there be faith unless a man be more fully assured with respect to things invisible, than he is with respect to things that are most clearly seen. For since the objects of hope seem to be unsubstantial, Faith gives them substantiality,[1] or rather, does not give it, but is itself their substance.[2] For instance, the Resurrection has not come, nor does it exist substantially, but hope makes it substantial in our soul. This is [the meaning of] "the substance of things."

If therefore it is an "evidence of things not seen," why forsooth do you wish to see them, so as to fall away from faith, and from being just?[3] Since "the just shall live by faith," whereas ye, if ye wish to see these things, are no longer faithful. Ye have labored (he says), ye have struggled: I too allow this, nevertheless, wait for this is Faith: do not seek the whole "here."

[5.] These things were indeed said to the Hebrews, but they are a general exhortation also to many of those who are here assembled. How and in what way? To the faint-hearted; to the mean-spirited. For when they see the wicked prospering, and themselves faring ill, they are troubled, they bear it impatiently: while they long for the chastisement, and the inflicting vengeance on others; while they wait for the rewards of their own sufferings. "For yet a little time, and He that shah come will come."

Let us then say this to the slothful: Doubtless there will be punishment; doubtless He will come, henceforth the events of the[4] Resurrection are even at the doors.

Whence [does] that [appear] (you say)? I do not say, from the prophets; for neither do I now speak to Christians only; but even if a heathen be here, I am perfectly confident, and bring forward my proofs, and will instruct him. How (you say)?

Christ foretold many things. If those former things did not come to pass, then do not believe them; but if they all came to pass, why doubt concerning those that remain? And indeed, it were very unreasonable,[5] nothing having come to pass, to believe the one, or when all has come to pass, to disbelieve the others.

But I will make the matter more plain by an example. Christ said, that Jerusalem should be taken, and should be so taken as no city ever was before, and that it should never be raised up: and in fact this prediction came to pass. He said, that there should be "great tribulation" (Matt. xxiv. 21), and it came to pass. He said that a grain of mustard seed is sown, so should the preaching [of the Gospel] be extended: and every day we see this running over the world. He said, that they who left father or mother, or brethren, or sisters, should have both fathers and mothers; And this we see fulfilled by facts. He said, "in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John xvi. 33), that is, no man shall get the better of you. And this we see by the events has come to pass. He said that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church" (Matt. xvi. 18), even though persecuted, and that no one shall quench the preaching [of the Gospel]: and the experience of events bears witness to this prediction also: and yet when He said these things, it was very hard to believe Him. Why? Because all these were words, and He had not as yet given proof of the things spoken. So that they have now become far more credible. He said that "when the Gospel should have been preached among all the nations, then the end shall come" (Matt. xxiv. 14); lo! now ye have arrived at the end: for the greater part of the world hath been preached to, therefore the end is now at hand. Let us tremble, beloved.

[6.] But what, tell me? Art thou anxious about the end? It indeed is itself near, but each man's life and death is nearer.[6] For it is said, "the days of our years are seventy years; but if [one be] in strength, fourscore years." (Ps. xc. 10; [LXX. lxxxix. 10].) The day of judgment is near. Let us fear. "A brother doth not redeem; shall man redeem?" (Ps. xlix. 7; [LXX. xlviii. 8].) There we shall repent much, "but in death no man shall praise Him." (Ps. vi. 5; [LXX. 6].) Wherefore he saith, "Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving" (Ps. xcv. 2; [LXX. xciv.]), that is, his coming. For here [in this life] indeed, whatever we do has efficacy; but there, no longer. Tell me, if a man placed us for a little while in a flaming furnace, should we not submit to anything in order to escape, even were it necessary to part with our money, nay to undergo slavery? How many have fallen into grievous diseases, and would gladly give up all, to be delivered from them, if the choice were offered them? If in this world then, a disease of short duration so afflicts us, what shall we do yonder, when repentance will be of no avail?

[7.] Of how many evils are we now full, without being conscious of them? We bite one another, we devour one another, in wronging, accusing, calumniating, being vexed by the credit of our neighbors. (Cf. Gal. v. 15.)

And see the difficulty? When a man wishes to undermine the reputation of a neighbor, he says, 'Such an one said this of him; O God, forgive me, do not examine me strictly, I must give account of what I have heard.'[1] Why then dost thou speak of it at all, if thou dost not believe it? Why dost thou speak of it? Why dost thou make it credible by much reporting? Why dost thou pass on the story which is not true? Thou dost not believe it, and thou entreatest God not to call thee to strict account? Do not say it then, but keep silence, and free thyself from all fear.

But I know not from whence this disease has fallen upon men. We have become tattlers, nothing remains[2] in our mind. Hear the exhortation of a wise man who says, "Hast thou heard a word? Let it die in[3] thee, be bold; it will not burst thee." (Ecclus. xix. 10.) And again, "A fool heareth a word, and travaileth, as a women in labor of a child." ( Ecclus. xix. 11.) We are ready to make accusations, prepared for condemning. Even if no other evil thing had been done by us, this were sufficient to ruin us, and to carry us away to Hell, this involves us in ten thousand evils. And that thou mayest know this certainly, hear what the prophet says, "Thou satest and spakest against thy brother." (Ps. 1. 20.)

But it is not I, you say, but the other [who told me]. Nay rather, it is thyself; for if thou hadst not spoken, another would not have heard: or even if he should hear it, yet thou wouldest not have been to blame for the sin. We ought to shade over and conceal the failings of neighbors, but thou paradest them under a cloak of zeal for goodness. Thou becomest, not an accuser, but a gossip, a trifler, a fool. O what cleverness! Without being aware of it, thou bringest disgrace upon thyself as well as on him.

And see what great evils which arise from this. Thou provokest the wrath of God. Dost thou not hear Paul saying about widows, "they not only" (these are his words) "learn to be idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, wandering about from house to house, and speaking things which they ought not." (1 Tim. v. 13.) So that even when thou believest the things which are said against thy brother, thou oughtest not even in that case to speak of them; much less, when thou dost not believe them.

But thou [forsooth] lookest to thine own interest? Thou fearest to be called to account by God? Fear then, lest even for thy tattling thou be called to account. For here, thou canst not say, 'O God, call me not to account for light talking': for the whole matter is light talking. Why didst thou publish it? Why didst thou increase the evil? This is sufficient to destroy us. On this account Christ said," Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matt. vii. 1.)

But we pay no regard to this, neither are we brought to our senses by what happened to the Pharisee. He said what was true, "I am not as this Publican" (Luke xviii. 11), he said it too in no man's hearing; yet was he condemned. If he were condemned when he said what was true, and uttered it in no man's hearing, what fearful [punishment] shall not they suffer, who like gossiping women, carry about everywhere lies which they do not even themselves believe? What shall they not endure?

[8.] Henceforward let us set "a door and a bolt before the mouth." (Ecclus. xxviii. 25.) For innumerable evils have arisen from tattling; families have been ruined, friendships torn asunder, innumerable other miseries have happened. Busy not thyself, O man, about the affairs of thy neighbor.

But thou art talkative and hast a weakness. Talk of thine own [faults] to God: thus the weakness will be no longer a weakness, but an advantage. Talk of thy own [faults] to thy friends, those who are thorough friends and righteous men, and in whom thou hast confidence, that so they may pray for thy sins. If thou speak of the [sins] of others, thou art nowise profited, neither hast thou gained anything, but hast ruined thyself. If thou confessest thy own [sins] to the Lord, thou hast great reward: for one says, "I said, I will confess against myself mine iniquity to the Lord, and Thou forgavest the impiety of my heart." (Ps. xxxii. 5.)

Dost thou wish to judge? Judge thine own [sins]. No one will accuse[4] thee, if thou condemn thyself: but he will accuse if thou do not condemn; he will accuse thee, unless thou convict thyself; will accuse thee of insensibility. Thou hast seen such an one angry, irritated, doing something else out of place? Think at once, even thou on thy own [faults]: and thus thou wilt not greatly condemn him, and wilt free thyself from the load of thy past transgressions. If we thus regulate our own conduct, if we thus manage our own life, if we condemn ourselves, we shall probably not commit many sins, and we shall do many good things, being fair and moderate; and shall enjoy all the promises to them that love God: to which may all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness 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 with end. Amen.

HOMILY XXII.

HEBREWS xi. 3, 4.

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness[1] that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."[2]

[1.] FAITH[3] needs a generous and vigorous soul, and one rising above all things of sense, and passing beyond the weakness of human reasonings. For it is not possible to become a believer, otherwise than by raising one's self above the common customs [of the world].

Inasmuch then as the souls of the Hebrews were thoroughly weakened, and though they had begun from faith, yet from circumstances, I mean sufferings, afflictions, they had afterwards become faint-hearted, and of little spirit, and were shaken from [their position], he encouraged them first indeed from these very things, saying, "Call to remembrance the former days" (c. x. 32); next from the Scripture saying, "But the just shall live by faith" (c. x. 38); afterwards from arguments, saying, "But Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (c. xi. 1.) And now again from their forefathers, those great and admirable men, as much as saying; If where the good things were close at hand, all were saved by faith, much more are we.

For when a soul finds one that shares the same sufferings with itself, it is refreshed and recovers breath. This we may see both in the case of Faith, and in the case of affliction: "that there may be comfort for you[4] it is said through our mutual faith." (Rom. i. 12.) For mankind are very distrustful, and cannot place confidence in themselves, are fearful about whatever things they think they possess, and have great regard for the opinion of the many.

[2.] What then does Paul do? He encourages them by the fathers; and before that by the common notions [of mankind].[5] For tell me, he says, since Faith is calumniated[6] as being a thing without demonstration[7] and rather a matter of deceit, therefore he shows that the greatest things are attained through faith and not through reasonings. And how does he show this, tell me?[8] It is manifest, he saith, that God made the things which are, out of things which are not,[9] things which appear, out of things which appear not, things which subsist, out of things which subsist not. But whence [is it shown] that He did this even "by a Word"? For reason suggests nothing of this kind; but on the contrary, that the things which appear are [formed] out of things which appear.

Therefore the philosophers expressly say that 'nothing comes out of things that are not'[10] being "sensual" (Jude 19), and trusting nothing to Faith And yet these same men, when they happen to say anything great and noble, are caught entrusting it to Faith. For instance, that "God is without beginning,[11] and unborn"[12]; for reason does not suggest this, but the contrary. And consider, I beseech you, their great folly. They say[13] that God is without beginning; and yet this is far more wonderful than the [creation] out of things that are not. For to say, that He is without beginning, that He is unborn, neither begotten by Himself nor by another is more full of difficulties,[14] than to say that God made the things which are, out of things which are not. For here there are many things uncertain: as, that some one made it, that what was made had a beginning, that, in a word, it was made. But in the other case, what? He is self-existing,[15] unborn, He neither had beginning nor time; tell me, do not these things require faith? But he did not assert this, which was far greater, but the lesser.

Whence [does it appear], he would say, that God made these things? Reason does not suggest it; no one was present when it was done. Whence is it shown? It is plainly the result of faith. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were made." Why "through faith"? Because "the things that are seen were not made of things which do appear." For this is Faith.

[3.] Having thus stated the general [principle],[1] he afterwards tests[2] it by individuals. For a man of note is equivalent to the world. This at all events he afterwards hinted. For when he had matched it against one or two hundred persons, and then saw the smallness of the number, he afterwards says, "by whom the world was outweighed in worth."[3] (c. xi. 38.)

And observe whom he puts first, him who was ill-treated, and that by a brother. It was their own affliction,[4] "For you also" (he says) "have suffered like things of your own countrymen." (1 Thess. ii. 14.) And by a brother who had been nothing wronged, but who envied him on God's account; showing that they also are looked on with an evil eye and envied. He honored God, and died because he honored Him: and has not yet attained to a resurrection. But his readiness is manifest, and his part[5] has been done, but God's part has not yet been carried out towards him.

And by a "more excellent sacrifice" in this place, he means that which is more honorable, more splendid, more necessary.

And we cannot say (he says) that it was not accepted. He did accept it, and said unto Cain, ["Hast thou] not [sinned], if thou rightly offer, but dost not rightly divide?" (Gen. iv. 7, LXX.) So then Abel both rightly offered, and rightly divided. Nevertheless for this, what recompense did he receive? He was slain by his brother's hand: and that sentence which his father endured on account of sin, this he first received who was upright. And he suffered so much the more grievously because it was from a brother, and he was the first [to suffer].

And he did these things rightly looking to no man. For to whom could he look, when he so honored God? To his father and his mother? But they had outraged Him in return for His benefits. To his brother then? But he also had dishonored [God]. So that by himself he sought out what was good.

And he that is worthy of so great honor, what does he suffer? He is put to death. And how too was he otherwise "testified of that he was righteous"? It is said, that fire came down and consumed the sacrifices. For instead of ["And the Lord] had respect to Abel and to his sacrifices" (Gen. iv. 4), the Syriac[6] said, "And He set them on fire." He therefore who both by word and deed bare witness to the righteous man and sees him slain for His sake, did not avenge him, but left him to suffer.

But your case is not such: for how could it be? You who have both prophets and examples, and encouragements innumerable, and signs and miracles accomplished? Hence that was faith indeed. For what miracles did he see, that he might believe he should have any recompense of good things? Did he not choose virtue from Faith alone?

What is, "and by it he being dead yet speaketh"? That he might not cast them into great despondency, he shows that he has in part obtained a recompense. How? 'The influence coming from him[7] is great, he means, "and he yet speaketh"; that is, [Cain] slew him, but he did not with him slay his glory and memory. He is not dead; therefore neither shall ye die. For by how much the more grievous a man's sufferings are, so much the greater is his glory.'

How does he "yet speak"? This is a sign both of his being alive, and of his being by all celebrated, admired, counted blessed. For he who encourages others to be righteous, speaks. For no speech avails so much, as that man's suffering. As then heaven by its mere appearance speaks, so also does he by being had in remembrance. Not if he had made proclamation of himself, not if he had ten thousand tongues, and were alive, would he have been so admired as now. That is, these things do not take place with impunity, nor lightly, neither do they pass away.

[4.] (Ver. 5) "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him." This man displayed greater faith than Abel. How (you ask)? Because, although be came after him, yet what befell [Abel] was sufficient to guide him back.[8] How? God foreknew that [Abel] would be killed. For He said to Cain: "Thou hast sinned: do not add thereto."[9] Honored by him, He did not protect him. And yet neither did this throw him [Enoch] into indifference. He said not to himself, 'What need of toils and dangers? Abel honored God, yet He did not protect him. For what advantage had he that was departed, from the punishment of his brother? And what benefit could he reap therefrom? Let us allow that he suffers severe punishment: what is that to him who has been slain?' He neither said nor thought anything of this kind, but passing beyond all these things, he knew that if there is a God, certainly there is a Rewarder also: although as yet they knew nothing of a resurrection. But if they who as yet know nothing of a resurrection, and see contradictory things here, thus pleased [God], how much more should we? For they neither knew of a resurrection, nor had they any examples to look to. This same thing then made [Enoch] well-pleasing [to God], namely, that he received nothing. For he knew that [God] "is a rewarder." Whence [knew he this]? "For He recompensed Abel," do you say? So that reason suggested other things, but faith the opposite of what was seen. Even then (he would say) if you see that you receive nothing here, be not troubled.

How was it "by faith" that "Enoch was translated"? Because his pleasing [God] was the cause of his translation, and faith [the cause] of his pleasing [Him]. For if he had not known that he should receive a reward, how could he have pleased [Him]? "But without faith it is impossible to please" Him. How? If a man believe that there is a God and a retribution, he will have the reward. Whence then is the well-pleasing?

[5.] It is necessary to "believe that He is," not 'what He is.'[1] If "that He is" needs Faith, and not reasonings; it is impossible to comprehend by reasoning 'what He is.' If that "He is a rewarder" needs Faith and not reasonings, how is it possible by Reasoning to compass His essence?[2] For what Reasoning can reach this? For some persons say that the things that exist are self-caused.[3] Seest thou that unless we have Faith in regard to all things, not only in regard to retribution, but also in regard to the very being of God, all is lost to us?

But many ask whither Enoch was translated, and why he was translated, and why he did not die, neither he nor Elijah, and, if they are still alive, how they live, and in what form. But to ask these things is superfluous. For that the one was translated, and that the other was taken up, the Scriptures have said; but where they are, and how they are, they have not added: For they say nothing more than is necessary. For this indeed took place, I mean his translation, immediately at the beginning, the human soul [thereby] receiving a hope of the destruction of death, and of the overthrow of the devil's tyranny, and that death will be done away; for he was translated, not dead, but "that he should not see death."

Therefore he added, he was translated alive, because he was well-pleasing [unto God]. For just as a Father when he has threatened his son, wishes indeed immediately after he has threatened, to relax his threat, but endures and continues resolute, that for a time he may chasten and correct him, allowing the threat to remain firm; so also God, to speak as it were after the manner of men, did not continue resolute, but immediately showed that death is done away. And first He allows death to happen, wishing to terrify the father through the son: For wishing to show that the sentence is verily fixed, He subjected to this punishment not wicked men at once, but him even who was well-pleasing, I mean, the blessed Abel; and almost immediately after him, He translated Enoch. Moreover, He did not raise the former, lest they should immediately grow bold; but He translated the other being yet alive: having excited fear by Abel, but by this latter giving zeal to be well-pleasing unto Him. Wherefore they who say that all things are ruled and governed of themselves,[4] and do not expect a reward, are not well-pleasing; as neither are the heathen. For "He becomes a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" by works and by knowledge.

[6.] Since then we have "a rewarder," let us do all things that we may not be deprived of the rewards of virtue. For indeed the neglecting such a recompense, the scorning such a reward, is worthy of many tears. For as to "those who diligently seek Him," He is a rewarder, so to those who seek Him not, the contrary.

"Seek" (He says) "and ye shall find" (Matt. vii. 7): but how can we find the Lord? Consider how gold is found; with much labor. [" I sought the Lord] with my hands" (it is said) "by night before Him, and I was not deceived" (Ps. lxxvii. 2. See LXX [Ps. lxxvi. 3]), that is, just as we seek what is lost, so let us seek God. Do we not concentrate our mind thereon? Do we not enquire of every one? Do we not travel from home? Do we not promise money?

For instance, suppose that any among us has lost his son, what do we not do? What land, what sea do we not make the circuit of? Do we not reckon money, and houses, and everything else as secondary to the finding him? And should we find him, we cling to him, we hold him fast, we do not let him go. And when we are going to seek anything whatever, we busy ourselves in all ways to find what is sought. How much more ought we to do this in regard to God, as seeking what is indispensable; nay rather, not in the same way, but much more! But since we are weak, at least seek God as thou seekest thy money or thy son. Wilt thou not leave thy home for Him? Hast thou never left thy home for money? Dost thou not busy thyself in all ways? When thou hast found [it], art thou not full of confidence?

[7.] "Seek" (He says) "and ye shall find." For things sought after need much care, especially in regard of God. For many are the hindrances, many the things that darken, many that impede our perception. For as the sun is manifest, and set forth publicly before all, and we have no need to seek it; but if on the other hand we bury ourselves and turn everything upside down, we need much labor to look at the sun; so truly here also, if we bury ourselves in the depth of evil desires, in the darkness of passions and of the affairs of this life, with difficulty do we look up, with difficulty do we raise our heads with difficulty do we see clearly. He that is buried underground, in whatever degree he sees upwards, in that degree does he come towards the sun. Let us therefore shake off the earth let us break through the mist which lies upon us. It is thick, and close, and does not allow us to see clearly.

And how, you say, is this cloud broken through? If we draw to ourselves the beams of "the sun of righteousness." "The lifting up of my hands" (it is said) "is an evening sacrifice." (Ps. cxli. 2.) With our hands let us also lift up our mind: ye who have been initiated know what I mean,[1] perhaps too ye recognize the expression, and see at a glance what I have hinted at. Let us raise up our thoughts on high.

I myself know many men almost suspended apart from the earth, and beyond measure stretching up their hands, and out of heart because it is not possible to be lifted into the air, and thus praying with earnestness. Thus I would have you always, and if not always, at least very often; and if not very often, at least now and then, at least in the morning, at least in the evening prayers.[2] For, tell me, canst thou not stretch forth the hands? Stretch forth the will, stretch forth as far as thou wilt, yea even to heaven itself. Even shouldst thou wish to touch the very summit, even if thou wouldst ascend higher and walk thereon, it is open to thee. For our mind is lighter, and higher than any winged creature. And when it receives grace from the Spirit, O! how swift is it! How quick is it! How does it compass all things! How does it never sink down or fall to the ground! These wings let us provide for ourselves: by means of them shall we be able to fly even across the tempestuous sea of this present life. The swiftest birds fly unhurt over mountains, and woods, and seas, and rocks, in a brief moment of time. Such also is the mind; when it is winged, when it is separated from the things of this life, nothing can lay hold of it, it is higher than all things, even than the fiery darts of the devil.

The devil is not so good a marksman, as to be able to reach this height; he sends forth his darts indeed, for he is void of all shame, yet he does not hit the mark; the dart returns to him without effect, and not without effect only, but it [falls] upon his own head. For what is sent forth by him must of necessity strike [something]. As then, that which has been shot out by men, either strikes the person against whom it is directed, or pierces bird, or fence, or garment, or wood, or the mere air, so does the dart of the devil also. It must of necessity strike; and if it strike not him that is shot at, it necessarily strikes him that shoots it. And we may learn from many instances, that when we are not hit, without doubt he is hit himself. For instance, he plotted against Job: he did not hit him, but was struck himself. He plotted against Paul, he did not hit him, but was struck himself. If we watch, we may see this happening everywhere. For even when he strikes, he is hit; much more then [when he does not hit].

[8.] Let us turn his weapons then against himself, and having armed and fortified ourselves with the shield of faith, let us keep guard with steadfastness, so as to be impregnable. Now the dart of the devil is evil concupiscence. Anger especially is a fire, a flame; it catches, destroys, consumes; let us quench it, by longsuffering, by forbearance. For as red-hot iron dipped into water, loses its fire, so an angry man filling in with a patient one does no harm to the patient man, but rather benefits him, and is himself more thoroughly subdued.

For nothing is equal to longsuffering. Such a man is never insulted; but as bodies of adamant are not wounded, so neither are such souls. For they are above the reach of the darts. The longsuffering man is high, and so high as not to receive a wound from the shot. When one is furious, laugh; but do not laugh openly, lest thou irritate him: but laugh mentally on his account. For in the case of children, when they strike us passionately, as though forsooth they were avenging themselves, we laugh. If then thou laugh, there will be as great difference between thee and him, as between a child and a man: but if thou art furious thou hast made thyself a child. For the angry are more senseless than children. If one look at a furious child, does he not laugh at him? "The poor-spirited" (it is said) "is mightily simple." (Prov. xiv. 29.) The simple then is a child: and "he who is longsuffering" (it is said) "is abundant in wisdom." This "abundant wisdom" then let us follow after, that we may attain to the good things promised us in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXIII.

HEBREWS xi. 7.

"By faith Noah, being warned of God[1] of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by Faith."

[1.] "BY faith" (he says) "Noah being warned of God." As the Son of God, speaking of His own coming, said, "In the days of Noah they married and were given in marriage" (Luke xvii. 26, 27), therefore the Apostle also recalled to their mind an appropriate image. For the example of Enoch, was an example only of Faith; that of Noah, on the other hand, of unbelief also. And this is a complete consolation and exhortation, when not only believers are found approved, but also unbelievers suffer the opposite.

For what does he say? "By faith being warned of God."[2] What is "being warned of God"? It is, "It having been foretold to him." But why is the expression "divine communication"[3] (Luke ii. 26) used? for in another place also it is said, "and it wag communicated[4] to him by the Spirit," and again, "and what saith the divine communication?"[3] (Rom. xi. 4.) Seest thou the equal dignity of the Spirit? For as God reveals,[5] so also does the Holy Spirit. But why did he speak thus? The prophecy is called "a divine communication."

"Of things not seen as yet," he says, that is of the rain.

"Moved with fear, prepared an ark." Reason indeed suggested nothing of this sort; For "they were marrying and being given in marriage"; the air was clear, there were no signs [of change]: but nevertheless he feared: "By faith" (he says) "Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house."

How is it, "By the which he condemned the world"? He showed them to be worthy of punishment, since they were not brought to their senses even by the preparation.

"And he became" (he says) "heir of the righteousness which is by Faith": that is, by his believing God he was shown to be righteous. For this is the [part] of a soul sincerely disposed towards Him and judging nothing more reliable than His words, just as Unbelief is the very contrary. Faith, it is manifest, works righteousness. For as we have been warned of God respecting Hell, so was he also: and yet at that time he was laughed at; he was reviled and ridiculed; but he regarded none of these things.

[2.] (Ver. 8, 9) "By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." ["By faith"]: for (tell me) whom did he see to emulate?[6] He had for father a Gentile, and an idolater; he had heard no prophets; he knew not whither he was going. For as they of the Hebrews who believed, looked to these [patriarchs] as having enjoyed blessings innumerable, he shows that none of them obtained anything as yet; all are unrewarded; no one as yet received his reward. "He "escaped from his country and his home, and "went out not knowing whither he went."

And what marvel, if he himself [were so], when his seed also dwelt in this same way? For seeing the promise disproved[7] (since He had said, "To thee will I give this land, and to thy seed"--Gen. xii. 7; xiii. 15), he saw his son dwelling there; and again his grandson saw himself dwelling in a land not his own; yet was he nowise troubled. For the affairs of Abraham happened as we might have expected, since the promise was to be accomplished afterwards in his family (although it is said even to himself, "To thee, and to thy seed," not, "to thee through thy seed," but "to thee and to thy seed"): still neither he, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, enjoyed the promise. For one of them served for hire, and the other was driven out: and he himself even was failing[1] through fear: and while he took some things indeed in war, others, unless he had had the aid of God, would have been destroyed. On this account [the Apostle] says, "with the heirs of the same promise"; not himself alone, he means; but the heirs also.

[3.] (Ver. 13) "These all died in faith," he says, "not having obtained[2] the promises." At this place it is worth while to make two enquiries; how, after saying that [God] "translated Enoch, and he was not found, so that he did not see death," does he say, "These all died in Faith." And again, after saying, "they not having obtained the promises," he declares that Noah had received a reward, "to the saving of his house," and that Enoch had been "translated," and that Abel "yet speaks," and that Abraham had gained a hold on the land, and yet he says, "These all died in Faith, not having obtained the promises." What then is [meant]?

It is necessary to solve the first [difficulty], and then the second. "These all" (he says) "died in faith." The word "all" is used here not because all had died, but because with that one exception "all these had died," whom we know to be dead.

And the [statement] "not having obtained the promises," is true: for surely the promise to Noah was not to be this [which is here spoken of]. But further, of what kind of "promises" is he speaking? For Isaac and Jacob received the promises of the land; but as to Noah and Abel and Enoch, what kind of promises did they receive? Either then he is speaking concerning these three; or if concerning those others also, the promise was not this, that Abel should be admired, nor that Enoch should be translated, nor that Noah should be preserved;[3] but these things came to them for their virtue's sake, and were a sort of foretaste of things to come. For God from the beginning, knowing that the human race needs much condescension, bestows on us not only the things in the world to come, but also those here; as for instance, Christ said even to the disciples, "Whosoever hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matt. xix. 29.) And again, "Seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. vi. 33.) Seest thou that these things are given by Him in the way of addition, that we might not faint?[4] For as the athletes have the benefit of careful attention, even when engaged in the combat, but do not then enjoy entire ease, living under rules, yet afterwards they enjoy it entire: so God also does not grant us here to partake of "entire" ease. For even here He does give [some].

[4.] "But having seen them afar off," he says,[5] "and embraced them." Here he hints at something mystical: that they received beforehand all the things which have been spoken concerning things to come; concerning the resurrection, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, concerning the other things, which Christ proclaimed when He came, for these are "the promises" of which he speaks. Either then he means this, or, that they did not indeed receive them, but died in confidence respecting them, and they were [thus] confident through Faith only.

"Having seen them afar off": four generations before; for after so many [generations], they went up out of Egypt.

"And embraced them," saith he, and were glad. They were so persuaded of them as even to "embrace [or "salute"] them," from the metaphor of persons on ship-board seeing from afar the longed-for cities: which, before they enter them, they take and occupy by words of greeting.

(Ver. 10) "For they looked" (he says) "for the[6] city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Seest thou that they received them in this sense, in their already accepting them and being confident respecting them. If then to be confident is to receive, it is in your power also to receive. For these, although they enjoyed not those [blessings], yet still saw them by their longing desire. Why now do these things happen? That we might be put to shame, in that they indeed, when things on earth were promised them, regarded them not, but sought the future "city": whereas God again and again speaks to us of the city[7] which is above, and yet we seek that which is here. He said to them, I will give you the things of the present [world]. But when He saw, or rather, when they showed themselves worthy of greater things, then He no longer suffers them to receive these, but those greater ones; wishing to show us that they are worthy of greater things, being unwilling to be bound to these. As if one should promise playthings to an intelligent child, not that he might receive them, but by way of exhibiting his philosophy, when he asks for things more important. For this is to show, that they held off from the land with so great earnestness, that they did not even accept what was given. Wherefore their posterity receive it on this account, for themselves were worthy of the land.

What is, "the city which hath foundations"? For are not these [which are visible] "foundations"? In comparison of the other, they are not.

"Whose Builder and Maker is God." O What an encomium on that city!

[5.] (Ver. 11) "By faith also Sarah herself," he says. Here he began [speaking] in a way to put them to shame, in case, that is, they should show themselves more faint-hearted than a woman. But possibly some one might say, How "by faith," when she laughed? Nay, while her laughter indeed was from unbelief, her fear [was] from Faith, for to say, "I laughed not" (Gen. xviii. 15), arose from Faith. From this then it appears that when unbelief had been cleared out, Faith came in its place.

"By faith also Sarah received strength to conceive seed even when she was past age."[1] What is, "to conceive seed "?[2] She who was become dead, who was barren, received power for the retaining of seed, for conception. For her imperfection was two-fold; first from her time of life for she was really old; secondly from nature, for she was barren.

(Ver. 12) "Wherefore even from one they" all "sprang, as the stars of the sky, and as the sand which is by the sea-shore." "Wherefore" (he says) "even from one they" all "sprang." Here he not only says that she bare [a child], but that she also became mother of so many as not even fruitful wombs [are mothers of]. "As the stars," He says. How then is it that He often numbers them, although He said, "As the stars of the heaven shall not be numbered, so neither shall your seed"? (Gen. xv. 5.) He either means the excess, or else [speaks of] those who are continually being born. For is it possible, tell me, to number their forefathers of one family as, such an one son of such an one, and such an one son of such an one? But here such are the promises of God, so skillfully arranged are His undertakings.

[6.] But if the things which He promised as additional, are so admirable, so beyond expectation, so magnificent, what will those be, to which these are an addition, to which these are somewhat over and above? What then can be more blessed than they who attain them? What more wretched than those who miss them? For if a man when driven out from his native country, is pitied by all; and when he has lost an inheritance is considered by all as an object of compassion, with what tears ought he to be bewailed, who fails of Heaven, and of the good things there stored up? Or rather, he is not even to be wept for: for one is wept for, when he suffers something of which he is not himself the cause; but when of his own choice he has entangled himself in evil, he is not worthy[3] of tears, but of wailings;[4] or rather then of mourning;[5] since even our Lord JESUS Christ mourned and wept for Jerusalem, impious as it was. Truly we are worthy of weepings innumerable, of wailings innumerable. If the whole world should receive a voice, both stones, and wood, and trees, and wild beasts, and birds, and fishes, and in a word, the whole world, if receiving a voice it should bewail us who have failed of those good things, it would not bewail and lament enough. For what language, what intellect, can represent that blessedness and virtue, that pleasure, that glory, that happiness, that splendor? "What eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man" (1 Cor. ii. 9), (he did not say, that they simply surpass [what we imagine]; but none hath ever conceived) "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." For of what kind are those good things likely to be, of which God is the Preparer and Establisher? For if immediately after He had made us, when we had not yet done anything, He freely bestowed so great [favors], Paradise, familiar intercourse with Himself, promised us immortality, a life happy and freed from cares; what will He not bestow on those who have labored and struggled so greatly, and endured on His behalf? For us He spared not His Only Begotten, for us when we were enemies He gave up His own SON to death; of what will He not count us worthy, having become His friends? what will He not impart to us, having reconciled us to Himself?

[7.] He both is abundantly and infinitely rich; and He desires and earnestly endeavors to obtain our friendship; we do not thus earnestly endeavor. What am I saying, 'do not earnestly endeavor'? We do not wish to obtain the good things as He wishes it. And what He has done shows that He wishes it more [than we]. For while, for our own sake, we with difficulty think lightly of a little gold: He, for our sake, gave even the Son who was His own. Let us make use of the love of God as we ought; let us reap the fruits of His friendship. For "ye are My friends" (he says) "if ye do what I say to you." (John xv. 14.) How wonderful! His enemies, who were at an infinite distance from Him, whom in all respects He excels by an incomparable superiority, these He has made His friends and calls them friends. What then should not one choose to suffer for the sake of this friendship? For the friendship of men we often incur danger, but for that of God, we do not even give up money. Our [condition] does indeed call for mourning, for mourning and tears and wailings, and loud lamentation and beating of the breast. We have fallen from our hope, we are humbled from our high estate, we have shown ourselves unworthy of the honor of God even after His benefits we are become unfeeling, and ungrateful. The devil has stripped us of all our good things. We who were counted worthy to be sons; we His brethren and fellow-heirs are come to differ nothing from His enemies that insult Him.

Henceforward, what consolation shall there be for us? He called us to Heaven, and we have thrust ourselves down to hell. "Swearing and lying and stealing and adultery, are poured out upon the earth." (Hos. iv. 2.) Some "mingle blood upon blood"; and others do deeds worse than blood-shedding. Many of those that are wronged, many of those that are defrauded prefer ten thousand deaths to the suffering such things: and except they had feared God, would even have killed themselves, being so murderously disposed against themselves. Are not these things then worse than blood-shedding?

[8.] "Woe is me, my soul! For the godly man is perished from the earth, and there is none upright among men" (Mic. vii. 1, 2, LXX.); let us also now cry out, first about our own selves but aid me in my lamentation.

Perhaps some are even disgusted and laugh. For this very cause ought we to make our lamentations the more intense, because we are so mad and beside ourselves, that we do not know that we are mad, but laugh at things for which we ought to groan. O man! "There is wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" from. i. 18); "God will come manifestly: a fire will burn before Him, and round about Him will be a mighty tempest." (Ps. 1. 3.) "A fire will burn before Him, and consume His enemies on every side." (Ps. xcvii. 3.) "The day of the Lord is as a burning oven." (Mal. iv. 1.) And no man lays up these things in his mind, but these tremendous and fearful doctrines are more despised than fables, and are trodden under foot. He that heareth,--there is no one: while they who laugh and make sport are--all. What resource will there be for us? Whence shall we find safety? "We are undone, we are utterly consumed" (Num. xvii. 12), we are become the laughingstock of our enemies, and a mockery for the heathen and the Demons. Now is the devil greatly elated; he glories and is glad. The angels to whom we had been entrusted are all ashamed and in sadness: there is no man to convert [you]: all means have been used by us in vain, and we seem to you as idle talkers. It is seasonable even now to call on the heaven, because there is no man that heareth; to take to witness the elements: "Hear, O heaven! and give ear, O earth! for the Lord hath spoken." (Isa. i. 2.)

Give a hand, stretch it forth, O ye who have not yet been overwhelmed, to them who are undone through their drunkenness: ye that are whole to them that are sick, ye that are sober-minded to them that are mad, that are giddily whirling round.

Let no man, I beseech you, prefer the favor of his friend to his salvation; and let violence and rebuke look to one thing only,--his benefit. When one has been seized by a fever, even slaves lay hold of their Masters. For when that is pressing on him, throwing his mind into confusion, and a swarm of slaves are standing by, they recognize not the law of Master and Servant, in the calamity of the Master.

Let us collect ourselves, I exhort you: there are daily wars, submersions [of towns], destructions innumerable all around us, and on every side the wrath of God is enclosing us as in a net. And we, as though we were well-pleasing to Him, are in security. We all make our hands ready for unjust gains, none for helping others: alI for plundering, none for protecting: each one is in earnest as to how he shall increase his possessions; no one as to how he shall aid the needy: each one has much anxiety how he may add to his wealth; no one how he may save his own soul. One fear possesses all, lest (you say) we should become poor; no man is in anguish and trembling lest we should fall into hell. These things call for lamentations, these call for accusation, these call for reprobation.

[9.] But I do not wish to speak of these things, but I am constrained by my grief. Forgive me: I am forced by sorrow to utter many things, even those which I do not wish. I see that our wound is grievous, that our calamity is beyond comfort, that woes have overtaken us greater than the consolation. We are undone. "O that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears" (Jer. ix. 1), that I might lament. Let us weep, beloved, let us weep, let us groan.

Possibly there may be some here who say, He talks to us of nothing but lamentation, nothing but tears. It was not my wish, believe me, it was not my wish, but rather to go through a course of commendations and praises: but now it is not the season for these. Beloved, it is not lamenting which is grievous, but the doing things which call for lamentations. Sorrow is not the: thing to shrink from, but the committing things that call for sorrow. Do not thou be punished, and I will not mourn. Do not die, and I will not weep. If the body indeed lies dead, thou callest on all to grieve with thee, and thinkest those without sympathy who do not mourn: And when the soul is perishing, dost thou tell us not to mourn?

But I cannot be a father, if I do not weep. I am a father full of affection. Hear how Paul exclaims, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again" (Gal. iv. 19): what mother in child-birth utters cries so bitter as he! Would that it were possible for thee to see the very fire that is in my heart, and thou wouldest know, that I burn [with grief] more intense than any woman, or gift that suffers untimely widowhood. She does not so mourn over her husband, nor any father over his son, as I do over this multitude that is here with us.

I see no progress. Everything turns to calumnies and accusations. No man makes it his business to please God; but (he says) 'let us speak evil of such an one or such an one.' 'Such an one is unfit to be among the Clergy.' 'Such an one does not lead a respectable life.' When we ought to be grieving for our own evils, we judge others, whereas we ought not to do this, even when we are pure from sins. "For who maketh thee to differ" (he says) "and what hast thou which thou didst not receive? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory, as though thou hadst not received it?" (1 Cor. iv. 7.) "And thou, why dost thou judge thy brother" (Rom. xiv. 10), being thyself full of innumerable evils? When thou sayest, Such an one is a bad man, and a spendthrift, and vicious, think of thyself, and examine strictly thy own [condition], and thou wilt repent of what thou hast said. For there is no, no not any, such powerful stimulus to virtue, as the recollecting of our sins.

If we turn over these two things in our minds, we shall be enabled to attain the promised blessings, we shall be enabled to cleanse ourselves and wipe away [what is amiss]. Only let us take serious thought sometime; let us be anxious about the matter, beloved. Let us grieve here in reflection, that we may not grieve yonder in punishment, but may enjoy the everlasting blessings, where "pain and sorrow and sighing are fled away" (Isa. xxxv. 10), that we may attain to the good things which surpass man's understanding, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for to Him is glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

HOMILY XXIV.

HEBREWS xi. 13-16.

"These all died in faith,[1] not having received the promises, hut having seen them afar off,[2] and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a county. And Italy if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed[3] to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city."

[1.] THE first virtue, yea the whole of virtue, is to be a stranger to this world, and a sojourner, and to have nothing in common with things here, but to hang loose from them, as from firings strange to us; As those blessed disciples did, of whom he says, "They wandered about in sheepskins, and in goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented:[4] of whom the world was not worthy." (c. xi. 37, 38.)

They called themselves therefore "strangers"; but Paul said somewhat much beyond this: for not merely did he call himself a stranger, but said that he was dead to the world, and that the world was dead to him. "For the world" (he says) "has been crucified to me and I to the world." (Gal. vi. 14.) But we, both citizens[5] and quite alive, busy ourselves about everything here as citizens. And what righteous men were to the world, "strangers" and "dead," that we are to Heaven. And what they were to Heaven, alive and acting as citizens, that we are to the world. Wherefore we are dead, because we have refused that which is truly life, and have chosen this which is but for a time. Wherefore we have provoked God to wrath, because when the enjoyments of Heaven have been set before us, we are not willing to be separated from things on earth, but, like worms, we turn about from the earth to the earth, and again from this to that;[1] and in short are not willing to look up even for a little while, nor to withdraw ourselves from human affairs, but as if drowned in torpor and sleep and drunkenness, we are stupefied with imaginations.

[2.] And as those who are under the power of sweet sleep lie on their bed not only during the night, but even when the morning has over-taken them, and bright day has come, and are not ashamed to indulge in pleasure, and to make the season of business and activity a time of slumber and indolence, so truly we also, when the day is drawing near, when the night is far spent, or rather the day; for "work" (it is said) "while it is day" (John ix. 4); when it is day we practice all that belongs to the night, sleeping, dreaming, indulging in luxurious fancies; and the eyes of our understanding are closed as well as those of our body; we speak amiss, we talk absurdly; even if a person inflict a deep wound upon us, if he carry off all our substance, if he set the very house on fire, we are not so much as conscious of it.

Or rather, we do not even wait for others to do this, but we do it ourselves, piercing and wounding ourselves every day, lying in unseemly fashion, and stripped bare of all credit, all honor, neither ourselves concealing our shameful deeds, nor permitting others to do so, but lying exposed to public shame, to the ridicule, the numberless jests of spectators and passers-by.

[3.] Do ye not suppose that the wicked themselves laugh at those who are of like characters to themselves, and condemn them? For since God has placed within us a tribunal which cannot be bribed nor ever utterly destroyed, even though we come to the very lowest depth of vice; therefore even the wicked themselves give sentence against themselves, and if one call them that which they are, they are ashamed, they are angry, they say that it is an insult. Thus they condemn what they do, even if not by their deeds, yet by their words, by their conscience, nay rather even by their deeds. For when they carry on their practices out of sight and secretly, they give the strongest proof of the opinion they hold concerning the thing itself. For wickedness is so manifest, that all men are its accusers, even those who follow after it, while such is the quality of virtue, that it is admired even by those who do not emulate it. For even the fornicator will praise chastity, and the covetous will condemn injustice, and the passionate will admire patience, and blame quarrelsomeness, and the wanton [will blame] wantonness.

How then (you say) does he pursue these things? From excessive indolence, not because he judges it good; otherwise he would not have been ashamed of the thing itself, nor would he have denied it when another accused him. Nay many when caught, not enduring the shame, have even hanged themselves. So strong is the witness within us in behalf of what is good and becoming. Thus what is good is brighter than the sun, and the contrary more unsightly than anything.

[4.] The saints were "strangers and sojourners." How and in what way? And where does Abraham confess himself "a stranger and a sojourner"? Probably indeed he even himself confessed it:[2] but David both confessed "I am a stranger" and what? "As all my fathers were." (Ps. xxxix. 12.) For they who dwell in tents, they who purchase even burial places for money, evidently were in some sense strangers, as they had not even where to bury their dead.

What then? Did they mean that they were "strangers" from the land that is in Palestine? By no means: but in respect of the whole world: and with reason; for they saw therein none of the things which they wished for, but everything foreign and strange. They indeed wished to practice virtue: but here there was much wickedness, and things were quite foreign to them. They had no friend, no familiar acquaintance, save only some few.

But how were they "strangers"? They had no care for things here. And this they showed not by words, but by their deeds. In what way?

He said to Abraham, "Leave that which seems thy country and come to one that is foreign": And he did not cleave to his kindred, but gave it up as unconcernedly as if he were about to leave a foreign land. He said to him, "Offer up thy son," and he offered him up as if he had no son; as if he had divested himself of his nature, so he offered him up. The wealth which he had acquired was common to all passers-by, and this he accounted as nothing. He yielded the first places to others: he threw himself into dangers; he suffered troubles innumerable. He built no splendid houses, he enjoyed no luxuries, he had no care about dress, which all are things of this world; but lived in all respects as belonging to the City yonder; he showed hospitality, brotherly love, mercifulness, forbearance, contempt for wealth and for present glory, and for all else.

And his son too was such as himself: when he was driven away, when war was made on him, he yielded and gave way, as being in a foreign land. For foreigners, whatever they suffer, endure it, as not being in their own country. Even when his wife was taken from him, he endured this also as being in a strange land: and lived in all respects as one whose home was above, showing sobermindedness and a well-ordered life.[1] For after he had begotten a son, he had no more commerce with his wife, and it was when the flower of his youth had passed that he married her, showing that he did it not from passion, but in subservience to the promise of God.

And what did Jacob? Did he not seek bread only and raiment, which are asked for by those who are truly strangers; by those that have come to great poverty? When he was driven out, did he not as a stranger give place? Did he not serve for hire? Did he not suffer afflictions innumerable, everywhere, as a stranger?

[5.] And these things (he says) they said, "seeking" their "own country." Ah! how great is the difference! They indeed were in travail-pains each day, wishing to be released from this world, and to return to their country. But we, on the contrary, if a fever attack us neglecting everything, weeping like little children, are frightened at death.

Not without reason we are thus affected. For since we do not live here like strangers, nor as if hastening to our country, but are like persons that are going away to punishment, therefore we grieve, because we have not used circumstances as we ought, but have turned order upside down. Hence we grieve when we ought to rejoice: hence we shudder, like murderers or robber chiefs, when they are going to be brought before the judgment-seat, and are thinking over all the things they have done, and therefore are fearful and trembling.

They, however, were not such, but pressed on. And Paul even groaned; "And we" (he says) "that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." (2 Cor. v. 4.) Such were they who were with Abraham; "strangers," he says, they were in respect of the whole world, and "they sought a country."

What sort of "country" was this? Was it that which they had left? By no means. For what hindered them if they wished, from returning again, and becoming citizens? but they sought that which is in Heaven? Thus they desired their departure hence, and so they pleased God; for "God was not ashamed to be called their God."

[6.] Ah! how great a dignity! He vouch-safed "to be called their God." What dost thou say? He is called the God of the earth, and the God of Heaven, and hast thou set it down as a great thing that "He is not ashamed to be called their God"? Great and truly great this is, and a proof of exceeding blessedness. How? Because He is called God of earth and of heaven as also of the Gentiles: in that He created and formed them: but [God] of those holy men, not in this sense, but as some true friend.

And I will make it plain to you by an example; as in the case of [slaves] in large households, when any of those placed over the household are very highly esteemed, and manage everything themselves, and can use great freedom towards their masters, the Master is called after them, and one may find many so called. But what do I say? As we might say the God, not of the Gentiles but of the world, so we might say "the God of Abraham." But you do not know how great a dignity this is, because we do not attain to it. For as now He is called the Lord of all Christians, and yet the name goes beyond our deserts: consider the greatness if He were called the God of one [person]! He who is called the God of the whole world is "not ashamed to be called" the God of three men: and with good reason: for the saints would turn the scale, I do not say against the world[2] but against ten thousand such. "For one man who doeth the will of the Lord,[3] is better than ten thousand transgressors." (Ecclus. xvi. 3.)

Now that they called themselves "strangers" in this sense is manifest. But supposing that they said they were "strangers" on account of the strange land, why did David also [call himself a stranger]? Was not he a king? Was not he a prophet? Did he not spend his life in his own country? Why then does he say, "I am a stranger and a sojourner"? (Ps. xxxix. 12.) How art thou a stranger? "As" (he says) "all my fathers were." Seest thou that they too were strangers? We have a country, he means, but not really our country. But how art thou thyself a stranger? As to the earth. Therefore they also [were strangers] in respect of the earth: For "as they were," he says, so also am I; and as he, so they too.

[7.] Let us even now become strangers; that God may "not be ashamed of us to be called. our God." For it is a shame to Him, when He is called the God of the wicked, and He also is ashamed of them; as He is glorified when He is [called the God] of the good and the kind, and of them that cultivate virtue. For if "we" decline to be called the masters of our wicked slaves, and give them up; and should any one come to us and say, 'such a one does innumerable bad things, he is your slave, is he not?' We immediately say," by no means," to get rid of the disgrace: for a slave has a close relation to his master, and the discredit passes from the One to the other.[1]-- But they were so illustrious, so full of confidence, that not only was He "not ashamed to be called" from them, but He even Himself says, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (Ex. iii. 6.)

Let us also, my beloved, become "strangers"; that God may "not be ashamed of us" that He may not be ashamed, and deliver us up to Hell. Such were they who said, "Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name, and in Thy Name have done many wonderful works!" (Matt. vii. 22.) But see what Christ says to them: "I know you not:" the very thing which masters would do, when wicked slaves run to them, wishing to be rid of the disgrace. "I know you not," He says. How then dost Thou punish those whom Thou knowest not? I said, "I know not," in a different sense: that is, "I deny you, and renounce you." But God forbid that we should hear this fatal and terrible utterance. For if they who east out demons and prophesied, were denied, because their life was not suitable thereto; how much more we!

[8.] And how (you ask) is it possible that they should be denied, who have shown prophetic powers, and wrought miracles, and cast out demons? Is it probable they were afterwards changed, and became wicked; and therefore were nothing benefited, even by their former virtue. For not only ought we to have our beginnings splendid, but the end also more splendid still.

For tell me, does not the Orator take pains to make the end of his speech splendid, that he may retire with applause? Does not the public officer make the most splendid display at the close of his administration? The wrestler, if he do not make a more splendid display and conquer unto the end, and if after vanquishing all he be vanquished by the last, is not all unprofitable to him? Should the pilot have crossed the whole ocean, yet if he wreck his vessel at the port, has he not lost all his former labor? And what [of] the Physician? If, after he has freed the sick man from his disease, when he is on the point of discharging him cured, he should then destroy him, has he not destroyed everything? So too in respect of Virtue, as many as have not added an end suitable to the beginning, and in unison and harmony with it, are ruined, and undone. Such are they who have sprung forth from the starting place bright and exulting, and afterwards have become faint and feeble. Therefore they are both deprived of the prize, and are not acknowledged by their master.

Let us listen to these things, those of us who are in love of wealth: for this is the greatest iniquity. "For the love of money is the root of all evil." (1 Tim. vi. 10.) Let us listen, those of us who wish to make our present possessions greater, let us listen and sometime cease from our covetousness, that we may not hear the same things as they [will hear]. Let us listen to them now, and be on our guard, that we may not hear them then. Let us listen now with fear, that we may not then listen with vengeance: "Depart from Me" (He says); "I never knew you" (Matt. vii. 23), no not even then (He means) when ye made a display of prophesyings, and were casting out demons.

It is probable that He also here hints at something else, that even then they were wicked; and from the beginning, grace wrought even by the unworthy. For if it wrought through Balaam, much more through the unworthy, for the sake of those who shall profit [by it].

But if even signs and wonders did not avail to deliver from punishment; much more, if a man happen to be in the priestly dignity :[2] even if he reach the highest honor, even if grace Work in him to ordination, even if unto all the other things, for the sake of those who need his leadership,[3] he also shall hear, "I never knew thee," no, not even then when grace wrought in thee.

[9.] O! how strict shall the search be there as to purity of life! How does that, of itself, suffice to introduce us into the kingdom? While the absence of it gives up the man [to destruction], though he have ten thousand miracles and signs to show. For nothing is so pleasing to God as an excellent course of life. "If ye love Me" (John xiv. 15), He declares; He did not say, "work miracles," but what? "Keep My commandments." And again, "I call you friends" (John xv. 14), not when ye cast out demons, but "if ye keep My words." For those things come of the gift of God: but these after the gift of God, of our own diligence also. Let us strive to become friends of God, and not remain enemies to Him.

These things we are ever saying, these exhortations we are ever giving, both to ourselves and to yon: but nothing more is gained. Wherefore also I am afraid. And I would have wished indeed to be silent, so as not to increase your danger. For when a person often hears, and even so does not act, this is to provoke the Lord to anger. But I fear also myself that other danger, that of silence, if when I am appointed to the ministering of the word, I should hold my peace.

What shall we then do that we may be saved? Let us begin [the practice of] virtue, as we have opportunity: let us portion out the virtues to ourselves, as laborers do their husbandry; in this month let us master evil-speaking, injuriousness, unjust anger; and let us lay down a law for ourselves, and say, To-day let us set this right. Again, in this month let us school ourselves in forbearance, and in another, in some other virtue: And when we have got into the habit of this virtue let us go to another, just as in the things we learn at school, guarding what is already gained, and acquiring others.

After this let us proceed to contempt for riches. First let us restrain our hands from grasping, and then let us give alms. Let us not simply confound everything, with the same hands both slaying and showing mercy forsooth. After this, let us go to some other virtue, and from that, to another. "Filthiness and foolish talking and jesting, let it not be even named among you." (Eph. v. 4, 3.) Let us be thus far in the right way.

There is no need of spending money, there is no need of labor, none of sweat, it is enough to have only the will, and all is done. There is no need to travel a long way, nor to cross a boundless ocean, but to be in earnest and of ready mind, and to put a bridle on the tongue. Unseasonable reproaches, anger, disorderly lusts, luxuriousness, expensiveness, let us cast off; and the desire of wealth also from our soul, perjury and habitual oaths.

If we thus cultivate ourselves, plucking out the former thorns, and casting in the heavenly seed, we shall be able to attain the good things promised. For the Husbandman will come and will lay us up in His Garner, and we shall attain to all good things, which may we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness 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 XXV.

HEBREWS xi. 17--19.

"By faith [Abraham],[1] when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure,"

[1.] GREAT indeed was the faith of Abraham. For while in the case of Abel, and of Noah, and of Enoch, there was an opposition of reasonings only, and it was necessary to go beyond human reasonings; in this case it was necessary not only to go beyond human reasonings, but to manifest also something more. For what was of God[2] seemed to be opposed to what was of God; and faith opposed faith, and command promise.

I mean this: He had said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and I will give thee this land." (Gen. xii. 1, 7.) "He gave him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foot on." (Acts vii. 5.) Seest thou how what was done was opposed to the promise? Again He said, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Gen. xxi. 12 ), and he believed: and again He says, Sacrifice to Me this one, who was to fill all the world from his seed. Thou seest the opposition between the commands and the promise? He enjoined things that were in contradiction to the promises, and yet not even so did the righteous man stagger, nor say he had been deceived.

For you indeed, he means, could not say this, that He promised ease and gave tribulation. For in our case, the things which He promised, these also He performs. How so? "In the world" (He says), "ye shall have tribulation." (John xvi. 33.) " He that taketh not his cross and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me." (Matt. x. 38.) "He that hateth not his life shall not find it." (John xii. 25.) And, "He that forsaketh not all that he hath, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me." (Luke xiv. 27, 33.) And again, "Ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake." (Matt. x, 18.) And again, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matt. x. 36.) But the things which pertain to rest are yonder.

But with regard to Abraham, it was different. He was enjoined to do what was opposed to the promises; and yet not even so was he troubled, nor did he stagger, nor think he had been deceived. But yon endure nothing except what was promised, yet you are troubled.

[2.] He heard the opposite of the promises from Him who had made them; and yet he was not disturbed, but did them as if they had been in harmony [therewith]. For they were in harmony; being opposed indeed according to human calculations, but in harmony [when viewed] by Faith. And how this was, the Apostle himself has taught us, by saying, "accounting[1] that God was able to raise Him up, even from the dead." By the same faith (he means) by which he believed that God gave what was not,[2] and raised up the dead, by the same was he persuaded that He would also raise him up after he had been slain in sacrifice. For it was alike impossible (to human calculation, I mean) from a womb which was dead and grown old and already become useless for child-bearing to give a child, and to raise again one who had been slain. But his previous faith prepared the way for things to come.

And see; the good things came first, and the hard things afterwards, in his old age. But for you, on the contrary, (he says) the sad things are first, and the good things last. This for those who dare to say, 'He has promised us the good things after death; perhaps He has deceived us.' He shows that "God is able to raise up even from the dead," and if God be able to raise from the dead, without all doubt He will pay all [that He has promised].

But if Abraham so many years before, believed "that God is able to raise from the dead," much more ought we to believe it. Thou seest (what I at first said) that death had not yet entered in and yet He drew them at once to the hope of the resurrection, and led them to such full assurance, that when bidden, they even slay their own sons, and readily offer up those from whom they expected to people the world.

And he shows another thing too, by saying, that "God tempted Abraham." (Gen. xxii. 1.) What then? Did not God know that the man was noble and approved? Why then did He tempt him? Not that He might Himself learn, but that He might show to others, and make his fortitude manifest to all.[3] And here also he shows the cause of trials, that they may not suppose they suffer these things as being forsaken [of God]. For in their case indeed, it was necessary that they should he tried, because there were many who persecuted or plotted against them: but in Abraham's case, what need was there to devise trials for him which did not exist? Now this trial, it is evident, was by His command. The others indeed happened by His allowance, but this even by His command. If then temptations make men approved in such wise that, even where there is no occasion, God exercises His own athletes; much more ought we to bear all things nobly.

And here he said emphatically, "By faith, when he was tried, he offered up Isaac," for there was no other cause for his bringing the offering but that.

[3.] After this he pursues the same thought. No one (he says) could allege, that he had another son, and expected the promise to be fulfilled from him, and therefore confidently offered up this one. "And" (his words are) "he offered up his only-begotten, who had received the promises." Why sayest thou "only-begotten"? What then? Of whom was Ishmael sprung? I mean "only-begotten" (he would say) so far as relates to the word of the promise. Therefore after saying, "Only-begotten," showing that he says it for this reason, he added, "of whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called," that is, "from" him. Seest thou how he admires what was done by the Patriarch? "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," and that son he brought to be sacrificed.

Afterwards, that no one may suppose he does this in despair, and in consequence of this command had cast away that Faith,[4] but may understand that this also was truly of faith, he says that he retained that faith also, although it seem to be at variance with this. But it was not at variance. For he did not measure the power of God by human reasonings, but committed all to faith. And hence he was not afraid to say, that God was "able to raise him up, even from the dead."

"From whence also he received him in a figure,"[5] that is in idea,[6] by the ram, he means. How? The ram having been slain, he was saved: so that by means of the ram he received him again, having slain it in his stead. But these things were types: for here it is the Son of God who is slain.

And observe, I beseech you, how great is His lovingkindness. For inasmuch as a great favor was to be given to men, He, wishing to do this, not by favor, but as a debtor, arranges that a man should first give up his own son on account of God's command, in order that He Himself might seem to be doing nothing great in giving up His own Son, since a man had done this before Him; that He might be supposed to do it not of grace, but of debt. For we wish to do this kindness also to those whom we love, others, to appear first to have received some little thing from them, and so give them all: and we boast more of the receiving than of the giving; and we do not say, We gave him this, but, We received this from him.

"From whence also" (are his words) "he received him in a figure," i.e. as in a riddle[1] (for the ram was as it were a figure of Isaac) or, as in a type. For since the sacrifice had been completed, and Isaac slain in purpose,[2] therefore He gave him to the Patriarch.

[4.] Thou seest, that what I am constantly saying, is shown in this case also? When we have proved that our mind is made perfect, and have shown that we disregard earthly things, then earthly things also are given to us; but not before; lest being bound to them already, receiving them we should be bound still. Loose thyself from thy slavery first (He says), and then receive, that thou mayest receive no longer as a slave, but as a master. Despise riches, and thou shalt be rich. Despise glory, and thou shalt be glorious. Despise the avenging thyself on thine enemies, and then shalt thou attain it. Despise repose, and then thou shalt receive it that in receiving thou mayest receive not as a prisoner, nor as a slave, but as a freeman.

For as in the case of little children, when the child eagerly desires childish playthings, we hide them from him with much care, as a ball, for instance, and such like things, that he may not be hindered from necessary things; but when he thinks little of them, and no longer longs for them, we give them fearlessly, knowing that henceforth no harm can come to him from them, the desire no longer having strength enough to draw him away from things necessary; so God also, when He sees that we no longer eagerly desire the things of this world, thenceforward permits us to use them. For we possess them as fleemen and men, not as children.

For [in proof] that if thou despise the avenging thyself on thine enemies, thou wilt then attain it, hear what he says, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink," and he added, "for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." (Rom. xii. 20.) And again, that if thou despise riches, thou shalt then obtain them, hear Christ saying, "There is no man which hath left father, or mother, or house, or brethren, who shall not receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matt. xix. 29.) And that if thou despise glory, thou shall then attain it, again hear Christ Himself saying, "He that will be first among you, let him be your minister." (Matt. xx. 26.) And again, "For whosoever shall humble himself, he shall be exalted." (Matt. xxiii. 12.) What sayest thou? If I give drink to mine enemy, do I then punish him? If I give up my goods, do I then possess them? If I humble myself, shall I then be exalted? Yea, He says, for such is My power, to give contraries by means of contraries. I abound in resources and in contrivances: be not afraid. The 'Nature of things' follows My will: not I attend upon Nature. I do all things: I am not controlled by them: wherefore also I am able to change their form and order.

[5.] And why dost thou wonder if [it is so] in these instances? For thou wilt find the same also in all others. If thou injure, thou art injured;[3] if thou art injured, then thou art uninjured; if thou punish, then thou hast not punished another, but hast punished thyself. For "he that loveth iniquity," it is said, "hateth his own soul." (Ps. xi. 5, LXX.) Seest thou that thou dost not injure, but art injured?[4] Therefore also Paul says, "Why do ye not rather take wrong?" (1 Cor. vi. 7.)Dost thou see that this is not to be wronged?

When thou insultest, then art thou insulted. And most persons partly know this: as when they say one to another, "Let us go away, do not disgrace yourself." Why? Because the difference is great between thee and him: for however much thou insultest him, he accounts it a credit. Let us consider this in all cases, and be above insults. I will tell you how.

Should we have a contest with him who wears the purple, let us consider that in insulting him, we insult ourselves, for we become worthy to be disgraced. Tell me, what dost thou mean? When thou art a citizen of Heaven, and hast the Philosophy that is above, dost thou disgrace thyself with him "that mindeth earthly things"? (Phil. iii. 19.) For though he be in possession of countless riches, though he be in power, he does not as yet know the good that is therein. Do not in insulting him, insult thyself. Spare thyself, not him. Honor thyself, not him. Is there not some Proverb such as this, He that honoreth;[5] honoreth himself? With good reason: for he honors not the other, but himself. Hear what a certain wise man says, "Do honor to thy soul according to the dignity thereof." (Ecclus. x. 28.) "According to the dignity thereof," what is this? if he have defrauded (it means), do not thou defraud; if he has insulted, do not thou insult.

[6.] Tell me, I pray thee, if some poor man has taken away clay thrown out of thy yard, wouldst thou for this have summoned a court of justice? Surely not. Why? Lest thou shouldst disgrace thyself; lest all men should condemn thee. The same also happens in this case. For the rich man is poor, and the more rich he is, the poorer is he in that which is indeed poverty. Gold is clay, cast out in the yard, not lying in thy house, for thy house is Heaven. For this, then, wilt thou summon a Court of Justice, and will not the citizens on high condemn thee? Will they not cast thee out from their country, who art so mean, who art so shabby, as to choose to fight for a little clay? For if the world were thine, and then some one had taken it, oughtest thou to pay any attention to it?

Knowest thou not, that if thou wert to take the world ten times or an hundred times, or ten thousand times, and twice that, it is not to be compared with the least of the good things in Heaven? He then who admires the things here slights those yonder, since he judges these worthy of exertion, though so far inferior to the other. Nay, rather indeed he will not be able to admire those other. For how [can he], whilst he is passionately excited towards these earthly things? Let us cut through the cords and entanglements: for this is what earthly things are.

How long shall we be stooping down? How long shall we plot one against another, like wild beasts; like fishes? Nay rather, the wild beasts do not plot against each other, but [against] animals of a different tribe. A bear for instance does not readily kill a bear, nor a serpent kill a serpent, having respect for the sameness of race. But thou, with one of the same race, and having innumerable claims,[1] as common origin, rational faculties, the knowledge of God, ten thousand other things, the force of nature, him who is thy kinsman, and partaker of the same nature--him thou killest, and involvest in evils innumerable. For what, if thou dost not thrust thy sword, nor plunge thy right hand into his neck, other things more grievous than this thou doest, when thou involvest him in innumerable evils. For if thou hadst done the other, thou wouldst have freed him from anxiety, but now thou encompassest him with hunger, with slavery, with feelings of discouragement, with many sins. These things I say, and shall not cease to say, not [as] preparing you to commit murder: nor as urging you to some crime short of that; but that you may not be confident, as if you were not to give account. "For" (it says) "he that taketh away a livelihood" (Ecclus. xxxiv. 22) and asketh bread, it says.[2]

[7.] Let us at length keep our hands to ourselves, or rather, let us not keep them, but stretch them out honorably, not for grasping, but for alms-giving. Let us not have our hand unfruitful nor withered; for the hand which doeth not alms is withered; and that which is also grasping, is polluted and unclean.

Let no one eat with such hands; for this is an insult to those invited. For, tell me, if a man when he had made us lie down on tapestry[3] and a soft couch and linen interwoven with gold, in a great and splendid house, and had set by us a great multitude of attendants, and had prepared a tray[4] of silver and gold, and filled it with many dainties of great cost and of all sorts, then urged us to eat, provided we would only endure his besmearing his hands with mire or with human ordure, and so sitting down to meat with us--would any man endure

this infliction? Would he not rather have considered it an insult? Indeed I think he would, and would have gone straightway off. But now in fact, thou seest not hands filled with what is indeed filth, but even the very food, and yet thou dost not go off, nor flee, nor find fault. Nay, if he be a person in authority, thou even accountest it a grand affair, and destroyest thine own soul, in eating such things. For covetousness is worse than any mire; for it pollutes, not the body but the soul, and makes it hard to be washed. Thou therefore, though thou seest him that sitteth at meat defiled with this filth both on his hands and his face, and his house filled with it, nay and his table also full of it (for dung, or if there be anything more unclean than that, it is not so unclean and polluted as those viands), dost thou feel as if forsooth thou wert highly honored, and as if thou wert going to enjoy thyself?

And dost thou not fear Paul who allows us to go without restraint to the Tables of the heathen if we wish, but not even if we wish to those of the covetous? For, "if any man who is called a Brother" (1 Cor. v. 11), he says, meaning here by Brother every one who is a believer simply, not him who leads a solitary life. For what is it which makes brotherhood? The Washing of regeneration; the being enabled to call God our Father. So that he that is a Monk, if he be a Catechumen, is not a Brother,'[5] but the believer though he be in the world, is a Brother. "If any man," saith he, "that is called a Brother." (1 Cor. v. 11.) For at that time there was not even a trace of any one leading a Monastic life, but this blessed [Apostle] addressed all his discourse to persons in the world. "If any man," he says, "that is called a Brother, be a fornicator, or covetous or a drunkard, with such an one, no not to eat." But not so with respect to the heathen: but "If any of them that believe not," meaning the heathen, "bid you and ye be disposed to go, whatsoever is set before you eat." (1 Cor. x. 27.)

[8.] "If any man that is called Brother be" (he says) "a drunkard." Oh ! what strictness Yet we not only do not avoid drunkards, but even go to their houses, partaking of what they set before us.

Therefore all things are upside down, all things are in confusion, and overthrown, and ruined. For tell me, if any such person should invite thee to a banquet, thee who art accounted poor and mean, and then should hear thee say, "Inasmuch as the things set before me are [the fruit] of overreaching, I will not endure to defile my own soul," would he not be mortified? Would he not be confounded? Would he not be ashamed? This alone were sufficient to correct him, and to make him call himself wretched for his wealth, and admire thee for thy poverty, if he saw himself with so great earnestness despised by thee.

But we "are become" (I know not why) "servants of men" (1 Cor. vii. 23), though Paul cries aloud throughout, "Be not ye the servants of men." Whence then have we become "servants of men"? Because we first became servants of the belly, and of money, and of glory, and of all the rest; we gave up the liberty which Christ bestowed on us.

What then awaiteth him who is become a servant (tell me)? Hear Christ saying, "The servant abideth not in the house for ever." (John viii. 35.) Thou hast a declaration complete in itself, that he never entereth into the Kingdom; for this is what "the House" means. For, He says, "in My Father's House are many mansions." (John xiv. 2.) "The servant" then "abideth not in the House for ever." By a servant He means him who is "the servant of sin." But he that "abideth not in the House for ever," abideth in Hell for ever, having no consolation from any quarter.

Nay, to this point of wickedness are matters come, that they even give alms out of these [ill-gotten gains], and many receive [them]. Therefore our boldness has broken down, and we are not able to rebuke any one. But however, henceforward at least, let us flee the mischief arising from this; and ye who have rolled yourselves in this mire, cease from such defilement, and restrain your rage for such banquets, if even now we may by any means be able to have God propitious to us, and to attain to the good things which have been promised: which may we all obtain in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

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