HOMILIES OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
HOMILIES XXVI TO XXIX (CHAPTERS 11 & 12)

HOMILY XXVI.

HEBREWS xi. 20--22.

"By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith, Jacob when he was a dying blessed both the sons of Joseph, and worshiped[1] leaning on the top of his staff. By faith, Joseph when he died made mention of the departing of the children of Israel, and gave commandment concerning his bones."

[1.] "MANY prophets and righteous men" (it is said) "have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear and have not heard them." (Matt. xiii. 17.) Did then those righteous men know all the things to come? Yea, most certainly. For if because of the weakness of those who were not able to receive Him, the Son was not revealed,--He was with good reason revealed to those conspicuous in virtue. This Paul also says, that they knew "the things to come," that is the resurrection of Christ.

Or he does not mean this: but that "By faith, concerning things to come" [means] not [concerning] the world to come, but "concerning things to come" in this world. For how [except by faith] could a man sojourning in a strange land, give such blessings?

But on the other hand he obtained the blessing, and yet did not receive it.[1] Thou seest that what I said with regard to Abraham, may be said also of Jacob, that they did not enjoy[2] the blessing, but the blessings went to his posterity, while he himself obtained the "things to come." For we find that his brother rather enjoyed the blessing. For [Jacob] spent all his time in servitude and working as a hireling, and [amid] dangers, and plots, and deceits, and fears; and when he was asked by Pharaoh, he says, "Few and evil have my days been" (Gen. xlvii. 9); while the other lived in independence and great security, and afterwards was an object of terror to [Jacob]. Where then did the blessings come to their accomplishment, save in the [world] to come?

Seest thou that from the beginning the wicked have enjoyed things here, but the righteous the contrary? Not however all. For behold, Abraham was a righteous man, and he enjoyed things here as well, though with affliction and trials. For indeed wealth was all he had, seeing all else relating to him was full of affliction. For it is impossible that the righteous man should not be afflicted, though he be rich: for when he is willing to be overreached, to be wronged, to suffer all other things, he must be afflicted. So that although he enjoy wealth, [yet is it] not without grief. Why? you ask. Because he is in affliction and distress. But if at that time the righteous were in affliction, much more now.and

"By Faith," he says," Isaac blessed Jacob Esau concerning things to come" (and yet Esau was the elder; but he puts Jacob first for his excellence). Seest thou how great was his Faith? Whence did he promise to his sons so great blessings? Entirely from his having faith in God.

[2.] "By Faith, Jacob when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph."' Here we ought to set down the blessings entire, in order that both his faith and his prophesying may be made manifest. "And worshiped leaning,"[3] he says, "upon the top of his staff." Here, he means, he not only spoke, but was even so confident about the future things, as to show it also by his act. For inasmuch as another King was about to arise from Ephraim, therefore it is said, "And he bowed himself upon the top of his staff." That is, even though he was now an old man, "he bowed himself" to Joseph, showing the obeisance of the whole people which was to be [directed] to him. And this indeed had already taken place, when his brethren "bowed down" to him: but it was afterwards to come to pass through the ten tribes. Seest thou how he foretold the things which were to be afterwards? Seest thou how great faith they had? How they believed "concerning the things to come"?

For some of the things here, the things present, are examples of patience only, and of enduring ill-treatment, add of receiving nothing good; for instance, what is mentioned in the case of Abraham, in the case of Abel. But others are [examples] of Faith, as in the case of Noah, that there is a God, that there is a recompense. (For Faith in this place is manifold,[4] both of there being a recompense, and of awaiting it, not under the same conditions,[5] and of wrestling before the prizes.) And the things also which concern[6] Joseph are of Faith only. Joseph heard that [God] had made a promise to Abraham, that He had engaged His word "to thee and to thy seed will I give this land;" and though in a strange land, and not yet seeing the engagement fulfilled, but never faltered even so, but so believed as even to "speak of the Exodus, and to give commandment concerning his bones." He then not only believed himself, but led on the rest also to Faith: that having the Exodus always in mind (for he would not have "given commandment concerning his bones," unless he had been fully assured [of this]), they might look for their return [to Canaan].

Wherefore, when some men say, 'See ! Even righteous men had care about their sepulchers,' let us reply to them, that it was for his reason: for he knew that "the earth is the Lord's and all that therein is."[7] (Ps. xxiv. 1.) He could not indeed have been ignorant of this, who lived in so great philosophy, who spent his whole life in Egypt. And yet if he had wished, it was possible for him to return, and not to mourn or vex himself. But when he had taken up his father thither, why, did he enjoin them to carry up thence his own bones also? Evidently for this reason.

But what? Tell me, are not the bones of Moses himself laid in a strange land? And those of Aaron, of Daniel, of Jeremiah? And as to those of the Apostles we do not know where those of most of them are laid. For of Peter indeed, and Paul, and John, and Thomas, the sepulchers are well known; but those of the rest, being so many, have nowhere become known.[8] Let us not therefore lament at all about this, nor be so little-minded. For where-ever we may be buried, "the earth is the Lord's and all that therein is." (Ps. xxiv. 1.) Certainly what must take place, does take place: to mourn however, and lament, and bewail the departed, arises from littleness of mind.

[3.] (Ver. 23) "By faith, Moses when he was born, was hid three months of his parents." Dost thou see that in this case they hoped for things on the earth after their death?[1] And many things were fulfilled after their death. This is for some who say, 'After death those things were done for them, which they did not obtain while alive; nor did they believe [would be] after their death.'

Moreover Joseph did not say, He gave not the land to me in my life-time, nor to my father, nor to my grandfather, whose excellence too ought to have been reverenced; and will He vouchsafe to these wretched people what He did not vouchsafe to them? He said nothing of all this, but by Faith he both conquered and went beyond all these things.

He has named Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, all illustrious and admirable men. Again he makes the encouragement greater, by bringing down the matter to ordinary persons. For that the admirable should feel thus, is nothing wonderful, and to appear inferior to them, is not so dreadful: but to show oneself inferior even to people without names, this is the dreadful thing. And he begins with the parents of Moses, obscure persons, who had nothing so great as their son [had]. Therefore also he goes on to increase the strangeness of what he says by enumerating even women that were harlots, and widows. For "by Faith" (he says) "the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." And he mentions the rewards not only of belief but also of unbelief; as in [the case of] Noah.

But at present we must speak of the parents of Moses. Pharaoh gave orders that all the male children should be destroyed, and none had escaped the danger. Whence did these expect to save their child? From faith. What sort of Faith? "They saw" (he says) "that he was a proper child." The very sight drew them on to Faith: thus from the beginning, yea from the very swaddling-clothes, great was the Grace that was poured out on that righteous man, this being not the work of nature. For observe, the child immediately on its birth appears fair and not disagreeable to the sight. Whose [work] was this? Not that of nature, but of the Grace of God, which also stirred up and strengthened that barbarian woman, the Egyptian, and took and drew her on.

And yet in truth Faith had not a sufficient foundation in their case. For what was it to believe from sight? But you (he would say) believe from facts and have many pledges of Faith. For "the receiving with joyfulness the spoiling of their goods" (c. x. 34), and other such [things], were [evidences] of Faith and of Patience. But inasmuch as these [Hebrews] also had believed, and yet afterwards had become faint-hearted, he shows that the Faith of those [saints of old] also was long continued,[2] as, for instance, that of Abraham, although the circumstances seemed to contend against it.

"And" (he says) "they were not afraid of the king's commandment," although that was in operation,[3] but this [their hope respecting their child] was simply a kind of bare expectation. And this indeed was [the act] of his parents; but Moses himself what did he contribute?

[4.] Next again an example appropriate to them, or rather greater than that. For, saith he, (ver. 24-26) "by faith Moses when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;[4] for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." As though he had said to them, ' No one of you has left a palace, yea a splendid palace, nor such treasures; nor, when he might have been a king's son, has he despised this, as Moses did.' And that he did not simply leave [these things], he expressed by saying, "he refused," that is, he hated, he turned away. For when Heaven was set before him, it was superfluous to admire an Egyptian Palace.

And see how admirably Paul has put it. He did not say, 'Esteeming heaven, and the things in heaven,' 'greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,' but what? "The reproach of Christ." For the being reproached for the sake of Christ he accounted better than being thus at ease; and this itself by itself was reward.

"Choosing rather" (be says) "to suffer affliction with the people of God." For ye indeed suffer on your own account, but he "chose" [to suffer] for others; and voluntarily threw himself into so many dangers, when it was in his power both to live religiously, and to enjoy good things.

"Than" (he says) "to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." He called unwillingness "to suffer affliction with the" rest "sin ": this, he says, [Moses] accounted to be "sin." If then he accounted it "sin" not to be ready to "suffer affliction with" the rest, it follows that the suffering affliction must be a great good since he threw himself into it from the royal palace.

But this he did, seeing some great things before him. "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." What is, "the reproach of Christ"? It is being reproached in such ways as ye are, the reproach which Christ endured; Or that he endured for Christ's sake: for "that rock was Christ"[1] (1 Cor. x. 4); the being reproached as you are.

But what is "the reproach of Christ"? That [because] we repudiate the [ways] of our fathers we are reproached; that we are evil-entreated when we have run to God. It was likely that he also was reproached, when it was said to him, "Wilt thou kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday?" (Ex. ii. 14.) This is "the reproach of Christ," to be ill-treated to the end, and to the last breath: as He Himself was reproached and heard, "If Thou be the Son of God" (Matt. xxvii. 40), from those for whom He was crucified, from those who were of the same race. This is "the reproach of Christ" when a man is reproached by those of his own family, or by those whom he is benefiting. For [Moses] also suffered these things from the man who had been benefited [by him].

In these words he encouraged them, by showing that even Christ suffered these things, and Moses also, two illustrious persons. So that this is rather "the reproach of Christ" than of Moses inasmuch as He suffered these things from "His own." (John i. 11.) But neither did the one send forth lightnings, nor the Other feel any [anger],[2] but He was reviled and endured all things, whilst they "wagged their heads." (Matt. xxvii. 39.) Since therefore it was probable that they [the readers] also would hear such things, and would long for the Recompense, he says that even Christ and Moses had suffered the like. So then ease[3] is [the portion] of sin; but to be reproached, of Christ. For what then dost thou wish? "The reproach of Christ," or ease?

[5.] (Ver. 27) "By faith he forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is Invisible." What dost thou say? That he did not fear? And yet the Scripture says, that when he heard, he "was afraid "[4] (Ex. ii. 14), and for this cause provided for safety by flight, and stole away, and secretly withdrew himself; and afterwards he was exceedingly afraid. Observe the expressions with care: he said, "not fearing the wrath of the king," with reference to his even presenting himself again. For it would have been [the part] of one who was afraid, not to undertake again his championship, nor to have any hand in the matter. That he did however again undertake it, was [the part] of one who committed all to God: for he did not say, 'He is seeking me, and is busy [in the search], and I cannot bear again to engage in this matter.'

So that even flight was [an act of] faith. Why then did he not remain (you say)? That he might not cast himself into a foreseen danger. For this finally would have been tempting [God]: to leap into the midst of dangers, and say, 'Let us see whether God will save me.' And this the devil said to Christ, "Cast Thyself down." (Matt. iv. 6.) Seest thou that it is a diabolical thing, to throw ourselves into danger without cause and for no purpose, and to try whether God will save us? For he [Moses] could no longer be their champion when they who were receiving benefits were so ungrateful. It would therefore have been a foolish and senseless thing to remain there. But all these things were done, because, "he endured as seeing Him who is Invisible."

[6.] If then we too always see God with our mind, if we always think in remembrance of Him, all things will appear endurable to us, all things tolerable; we shall bear them all easily, we shall be above them all. For if a person seeing one whom he loves, or rather, remembering him is roused in spirit, and elevated in thought, and bears all things easily, while he delights in the remembrance; one who has in mind Him who has vouchsafed to love us in deed, and remembers Him, when will he either feel anything painful, or dread anything fearful or dangerous? When will he be of cowardly spirit? Never.

For all things appear to us difficult, because we do not have the remembrance of God as we ought; because we do not carry Him about alway in our thoughts. For surely He might justly say to us, "Thou hast forgotten Me, I also will forget thee." And so the evil becomes twofold, both that we forget Him and He us. For these two things are involved in each other, yet are two. For great is the effect of God's remembrance, and great also of His being remembered by us. The result of the one is that we choose good things; of the other that we accomplish them, and bring them to their end.[1] Therefore the prophet says, "I will remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and from the little hill of Hermon." (Ps. xlii. 6.) The people which were in Babylon say this: being there, I will remember Thee.

[7.] Therefore let us also, as being in Babylon, [do the same]. For although we are not sitting among warlike foes, yet we are among enemies. For some [of them] indeed were sitting as captives, but others did not even feel their captivity, as Daniel, as the three children (cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 1); who even while they were in captivity became in that very country more glorious even than the king who had carried them captive. And he who had taken them captive does obeisance to[2] the captives.

Dost thou see how great virtue is? When they were in actual captivity he waited on them as masters. He therefore was the captive, rather than they. It would not have been so marvelous if when they were in their native country, he had come and done them reverence in their own land, or if they had been rulers there. But the marvelous thing is, that after he had bound them, and taken them captive, and had them in his own country, he was not ashamed to do them reverence in the sight of all, and to "offer an oblation."[3] (Dan. ii. 46.)

Do you see that the really splendid things are those which relate to God, whereas human things are a shadow? He knew not, it seems, that he was leading away masters for himself, and that he cast into the furnace those whom he was about to worship.But to them, these things were as a dream.

Let us fear God, beloved, let us fear [Him]: even should we be in captivity, we are more glorious than all men. Let the fear of God be present with us, and nothing will be grievous, even though thou speak of poverty, or of disease, or of captivity, or of slavery, or of any other grievous thing: Nay even these very things will themselves work together for us the other way. These men were captives, and the king worshiped them: Paul was a tent-maker, and they sacrificed to him as a God.

[8.] Here a question arises: Why, you ask, did the Apostles prevent the sacrifices, and rend their clothes, and divert them from their attempt, and say with earnest lamentation, "What are ye doing? we also are men of like passions with you" (Acts xiv. 15); whereas Daniel did nothing of this kind.

For that he also was humble, and referred [the] glory to God no less than they, is evident from many places. Especially indeed is it evident, from the very fact of his being beloved by God. For if he had appropriated to himself the honor belonging to God, He would not have suffered him to live, much less to be in honor. Secondly, because even with great openness he said, "And as to me, O King, this secret hath not been revealed to me through any wisdom that is in me." (Dan. ii. 30.) And again; he was in the den for God's sake, and when the prophet brought him food, he saith, "For God hath remembered me." (Bel and the Dragon, yet. 38.) Thus humble and contrite was he.

He was in the den for God's sake, and yet he counted himself unworthy of His remembrance, and of being heard. Yet we though daring [to commit] innumerable pollutions, and being of all men most polluted, if we be not heard at our first prayer, draw back. Truly, great is the distance between them and us, as great as between heaven and earth, or if there be any greater.

What sayest thou? After so many achievements, after the miracle which had been wrought in the den, dost thou account thyself so humble? Yea, he says; for what things soever we have done, "we are unprofitable servants." (Luke xvii. 10.) Thus by anticipation did he fulfill the evangelical precept, and accounted himself nothing. For "God hath remembered me," he said. His prayer again, of how great lowliness of mind it is full. And again the three children said thus, "We have sinned, we have committed iniquity." (Song of the Three Children, ver. 6.) And everywhere they show their humility.

And yet Daniel had occasions innumerable for being puffed up; but he knew that these also came to him on account of his not being puffed up, and he did not destroy his treasure. For among all men, and in the whole world he was celebrated, not only[4] because the king cast himself on his face and offered sacrifice to him, and accounted him to be a God, who was himself honored as God in all parts of the world: for he ruled over the whole [earth]; (and this is evident from Jeremiah. "Who putteth on the earth," saith he, "as a garment." (See Jer. xliii. 12 and Ps. civ. 2.) And again, "I have given it to Nebuchadnezzar My servant" (Jer. xxvii. 6), and again from what he [the King] says in his letter).[5] And because he was held in admiration not only in the place where he was, but everywhere, and was greater than if the rest of the nations had been present and seen him; when even by letters [the King] confessed his submission[6] and the miracle. But yet again for his wisdom he was also held in admiration, for it is said, "Art thou wiser than Daniel?" (Ezek. xxviii. 3.) And after all these things he was thus humble, dying ten thousand times for the Lord's sake.

Why then, you ask, being so humble did he not repel either the adoration which was paid him by the king, or the offerings?

[9.] This I will not say, for it is sufficient for me simply to mention the question, and the rest I leave to you, that at least in this way I may stir up your thoughts. (This however I conjure you, to choose all things for the fear of God, having such examples; and because in truth we shall obtain the things here also, if we sincerely lay hold on the things which are to come.) For that he did not do this out of arrogance, is evident from his saying, "Thy gifts be to thyself." (Dan. v. 17.)

For besides this also again is another question, how while in words he rejected it, in deed he received the honor, and wore the chain[1] [of gold]. (Dan. v. 29.)

Moreover while Herod on hearing the cry "It is the voice of a god and not of a man," inasmuch as "he gave not God the glory, burst in sunder, and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts xii. 22, 23; see i. 18), this man received to himself even the honor belonging to God, not words only.

However it is necessary to say what this is. In that case [at Lystra] the men were falling into greater idolatry, but in this [of Daniel] not so. How? For his being thus accounted of, was an honor to God. Therefore he said in anticipation, "And as to me, not through any wisdom that is in me." (Dan. ii. 30.) And besides he does not even appear to have accepted the offerings. For he [the king] said (as it is written) that they should offer sacrifice, but it did not appear that the act followed. But there [at Lystra] they carried it even to sacrificing the bulls, and "they called" the one "Jupiter and" the other "Mercurius." (Acts xiv. 12.)

The chain [of gold] then he accepted, that he might make himself known; the offering however why does it not appear that he rejected it? For in the other case too they did not do it, but they attempted it, and the Apostles hindered them; wherefore here also he ought at once to have rejected [the adoration]. And there it was the entire people: here the King. Why he did not divert him [Daniel] expressed by anticipation, [viz.] that [the king] was not making an offering [to him] as to a God, to the overthrow of religious worship, but for the greater wonder. How so? It was on God's account that [Nebuchadnezzar] made the decree; wherefore [Daniel] did not mutilate[2] the honor [offered]. But those others [at Lystra] did not act thus, but supposed them to be indeed gods. On this account they were repelled.

And here, after having done him reverence, he does these things: for he did not reverence him as a God, but as a wise man.

But it is not clear that he made the offering: and even if he did make it, yet not that it was with Daniel's acceptance.

And what [of this], that he called him" Belteshazzar, the name of" his own "god "?[3] Thus [it seems] they accounted their gods to be nothing wonderful, when he called even the captive thus; he who commands all men to worship the image,[4] manifold and of various colors, and who adores the dragon.[5]

Moreover the Babylonians were much more foolish than those at Lystra. Wherefore it was not possible at once to lead them on to this. And many [more] things one might say: but thus far these suffice.

If therefore we wish to obtain all good things, let us seek the things of God. For as they who seek the things of this world fail both of them and of the others, so they who prefer the things of God, obtain both. Let us then not seek these but those, that we may attain also to the good things promised 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 XXVII.

HEBREWS xi. 28-31.

"Through faith, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land; which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned.[1] By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about seven days. By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace."

[1.] PAUL is wont to establish many things incidently, and is very full[2] of thoughts. For such is the grace of The Spirit. He does not comprehend a few ideas in a multitude of words, but includes great and manifold thought in brevity of expressions. Observe at least how, in the midst[3] of exhortation, and when discoursing about faith, of what a type and mystery he reminds us, whereof we have the reality. "Through faith" (he says) "he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them."

But what is "the sprinkling of blood"? [4] A lamb was slain in every household, and the blood was smeared on the door-posts, and this was a means of warding off the Egyptian destruction If then the blood of a lamb preserved the Jews unhurt in the midst of the Egyptians, and under so great a destruction, much more will the blood of Christ save us, who have had it sprinkled[5] not on the door-posts, but in our souls. For even now also the Destroyer is going about in this depth of night: but let us be armed with that Sacrifice. (He calls the "sprinkling"[6] anointing.) For God has brought us out from Egypt, from darkness, from idolatry.

Although what was done, was nothing, what was achieved was great. For what was done was blood; but was achieved, was salvation, and the stopping, and preventing of destruction The angel feared the blood; for he knew of what it was a Type; he shuddered, thinking on the Lord's death; therefore he did not touch the door-posts.

Moses said, Smear, and they smeared, and were confident. And you, having the Blood of the Lamb Himself, are ye not confident?

[2.] "By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." Again he compares one whole people with another, lest they should say, we cannot be as the saints.

"By faith" (he says) "they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land, which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned." Here he leads them also to a recollection of the sufferings in Egypt.

How, "by faith "? Because they had hoped to pass through the sea, and therefore they prayed: or rather it was Moses who prayed. Seest thou that everywhere Faith goes beyond human reasonings, and weakness and lowliness? Seest thou that at the same time they both believed, and feared punishment, both in the blood on the doors, and in the Red Sea?

And he made it clear that it was [really] water, through those that fell into it, and were choked; that it was not a mere appearance: but as in the case of the lions those who were devoured proved the reality of the facts, and in the case of the fiery furnace, those who were burnt; so here also thou seest that the same things become to the one a cause of salvation[7] and glory, and to the other of destruction.

So great a good is Faith. And when we fall into perplexity, then are we delivered, even though we come to death itself, even though our condition be desperate. For what else was left [for them]? They were unarmed, compassed about by the Egyptians and the sea; and they must either be drowned if they fled, or fall into the hands of the Egyptians. But nevertheless [He] saved them from impossibilities. That which was spread under the one as land, overwhelmed the others as sea. In the former case it forgot its nature: in the latter it even armed itself against them. (Cf. Wisd. xix. 20.)

[3.] "By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days." For assuredly the sound of trumpets is not able to throw down stones, though one blow for ten thousand years; but Faith can do all things.

Seest thou that in all cases it is not by natural sequence, nor yet by any law of nature that it was changed, but all is done contrary to expectation? Accordingly in this case also all is done contrary to expectation. For inasmuch as he had said again and again, that we ought to trust to the future hopes, he introduced all this argument with reason, showing that not now [only], but even from the beginning all the miracles have been accomplished and achieved by means of it.

"By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, having received the spies with peace." It would then be disgraceful, if you should appear more faithless even than a harlot. Yet she [merely] heard what the men related, and forthwith believed. Whereupon the end also followed; for when all perished, she alone was preserved. She did not say to herself, I shall be with my many friends.[1] She did not say, Can I possibly be wiser than these judicious men who do not believe,--and shall I believe? She said no such thing, but believed what had taken place,[2] which it was likely that they would suffer.

[4.] (Ver. 32) "And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell." After this he no longer puts down the names: but having ended with an harlot, and put them to shame by the quality of the person, he no longer enlarges on the histories, lest he should be thought tedious. However he does not set them aside, but runs over them, [doing] both very judiciously, avoiding satiety, and not spoiling the closeness of arrangement; he was neither altogether silent, nor did he speak so as to annoy; for he effects both points. For when a man is contending vehemently [in argument], if he persist in contending, he wearies out the hearer, annoying him when he is already persuaded, and gaining the reputation of vain ambitiousness. For he ought to accommodate himself to what is expedient.

"And what do I more say" (he says)? "For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets."

Some find fault with Paul, because he puts Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah in these places. What sayest thou? After having introduced the harlot, shall he not introduce these? For do not tell me of the rest of their life, but only whether they did not believe and shine in Faith.

"And the prophets," he says, (ver. 33) "who through faith subdued kingdoms." Thou seest that he does not here testify to their life as being illustrious; for this was not the point in question: but the enquiry thus far was about their faith. For tell me whether they did not accomplish all by faith?

"'By faith," he says, "they subdued kingdoms;" those with Gideon. "Wrought righteousness;" who? The same. Plainly he means here, kindness.[3]

I think it is of David that he says "they obtained promises." But of what sort were these? Those in which He said that his "seed should sit upon" his "throne." (Ps. cxxxii. 12.)

"Stopped the months of lions," (ver. 34) "quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword." See how they were in death itself, Daniel encompassed by the lions, the three children abiding in the furnace, the Israelites,[4] Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, in divers temptations; and yet not even so did they despair. For this is Faith ; when things are turning out adversely, then we ought to believe that nothing adverse is done, but all things in due order.

"Escaped the edge of the sword.": I think hat he is again speaking of the three children.

"Out of[5] weakness were made strong." Here be alludes to what took place at their return from Babylon. For "out of weakness," is out of captivity. When the condition of the Jews had now become desperate, when they were no better than dead bones, who could have expected that they would return from Babylon, and not return only; but also "wax valiant" and "turn to flight armies of aliens "? ' But to us,' some one says,[6] ' no such thing has happened.'But these are figures of "the things to come." (Ver. 35) "Women received their dead raised to life again." He here speaks of what occurred in regard to the prophets, Elisha, [and] Elijah; for they raised the dead.

[5.] (Ver. 35) "And others were tortured,[7] not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." But we have not obtained a Resurrection. I am able however, he means, to show that they also were cut off, and did "not accept [deliverance], that they

might obtain a better resurrection." For why, tell me, when it was open to them to live, did they not choose it? Were they not evidently looking for a better life? And they who had raised up others, themselves chose to die; in order "to obtain a better resurrection," not such as the children of those women.[8] Here I think he alludes both to John and to James. For beheading is called "torturing."[9]

It was in their power still to behold the sun. It was in their power to abstain from reproving[10] [sinners], and yet they chose to die; even they who had raised others chose to die themselves, "that they might obtain a better resurrection."

(Ver. 36) "And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment." He ends with these; with things that come nearer home. For these [examples] especially bring consolation, when the distress is from the same cause, since even if you mention something more extreme, yet unless it arise from the same cause, you have effected nothing. Therefore he concluded his discourse with this, mentioning "bonds, imprisonments, scourges, stonings," alluding to the case of Stephen, also to that of Zacharias.

Wherefore he added, "They were slain with the sword." What sayest thou? Some "escaped the edge of the sword," and some "were slain by the sword." (Ver. 34.) What is this? Which dost thou praise? Which dost thou admire? The latter or the former? Nay, he says: the former indeed, is appropriate to you, and the latter, because Faith was strong even unto death itself, and it is a type of things to come. For the wonderful qualities of Faith are two, that it both accomplishes great things, and suffers great things, and counts itself to suffer nothing.

And thou canst not say (he says) that these were sinners and worthless. For even if you put the whole world against them, I find that they weigh down the beam and are of greater value.[1] What then were they to receive in this life? Here he raises up their thoughts, teaching them not to be riveted to things present, but to mind[2] things greater than all that are in this present life, since the "world is not worthy" of them. What then dost thou wish to receive here? For it were an insult to thee, shouldst thou receive thy reward here.

[6.] Let us not then mind[3] worldly things, nor seek our recompense here, nor be so beggarly. For if "the" whole "world is not worthy of" them, why dost thou seek after a part of it? And with good reason; for they are friends of God.

Now by "the world" does he mean here the people, or the creation itself? Both: for the Scripture is wont to use the word of both. If the whole creation, he would say, with the human beings that belong to it, were put in the balance, they yet would not be of equal value with these; and with reason. For as ten thousand measures of chaff and hay would not be of equal value to ten pearls, so neither they; for "better is one that doeth the will of the Lord, than ten thousand transgressors" (Ecclus. xvi. 3);[4] meaning by "ten thousand" not [merely] many, but an infinite multitude.

Consider of how great value is the righteous man. Joshua the son of Nun said, "Let the sun stand still at Gibeon, the moon at the valley of Elom" (Josh. x. 12), and it was so. Let then the whole world come, or rather two or three, or four, or ten, or twenty worlds, and let them say and do this; yet shall they not be able. But the friend of God commanded the creatures of his Friend, or rather he besought his Friend, and the servants yielded, and he below gave command to those above. Seest thou that these things are for service fulfilling their appointed course?

This was greater than the [miracles] of Moses. Why (I ask)? Because it is not a like thing to command the sea and the heavenly [bodies]. For that indeed was also a great thing, yea very great, nevertheless it was not at all equal [to the other].

Why was this? The name of Joshua [JESUS],[5] was a type. For this reason then, and because of the very name, the creation reverenced him. What then! Was no other person called Jesus? [Yes]; but this man was on this account so called in type; for he used to be called Hoshea. Therefore the name was changed: for it was a prediction and a prophecy. He brought in the people into the promised land, as JESUS [does] into heaven; not the Law; since neither did Moses [bring them in], but remained without. The Law has not power to bring in, but grace. Seest thou the types which have been before sketched out from the beginning? He laid his commands on the creation, or rather, on the chief[6] part of the creation, on the very head itself as he stood below; that so when thou seest JESUS in the form of Man saying the same, thou mayest not be disturbed, nor think it strange. He, even while Moses was living, turned back wars. Thus, even while the Law is living, He directs[7] all things; but not openly.

[7.] But let us consider how great is the virtue of the saints. If here they work such things, if here they do such things, as the angels do, what then above? How great is the splendor they have?

Perhaps each of you might wish to be such as to be able to command the sun and moon. (At this point what would they say who assert that the heaven is a sphere?[8] For why did he not [merely] say, "Let the sun stand still," but added "Let the sun stand still at the valley of Elom," that is, he will make the day longer? This was done also in the time of Hezekiah. The sun went back. This again is more wonderful than the other, to go the contrary way, not having yet gone round his course.)

We shall attain to greater things than these if we will. For what has Christ promised us? Not that we shall make the sun stand still, or the moon, nor that the sun shall retrace his steps, but what? "I and the Father will come unto him," He says, "and We will make our abode with him." (John xiv. 23.) What need have I of the sun and the moon, and of these wonders, when the Lord of all Himself comes down and abides with me? I need these not. For what need I any of these things? He Himself shall be to me for Sun and for Light. For, tell me, if thou hadst entered into a palace, which wouldst thou choose, to be able to rearrange some of the things which have been fixed there, or so to make the king a familiar friend, as to persuade him to take up his abode with thee? Much rather the latter than the former.

[8.] But what wonder is it, says some one, that what a man commands, Christ should also? But Christ (you say) needs not the Father, but acts of His own authority, you say. Well. Therefore first confess and say, that he needs not the Father, and acts of His own authority: and then I will ask thee, whether His prayer is not in the way of condescension and arrangement (for surely Christ was not inferior to Joshua the son of Nun), and that He might teach us? For as when thou hearest a teacher lisping,[1] and saying over the alphabet, thou dost not say that he is ignorant; and when he asks, Where is such a letter? thou knowest that he does not ask in ignorance, but because he wishes to lead on the scholar; in like manner Christ also did not make His prayer as needing prayer, but desiring to lead thee on, that thou mayest continually apply thyself to prayer, that thou mayest do it without ceasing, soberly, and with great watchfulness.

And by watching, I do not mean, merely the rising at night, but also the being sober[2] in our prayers during the day. For such an one is called watchful.[3] Since it is possible both in praying by night to be asleep, and in praying by day to be awake, when the soul is stretched out towards God, when it considers with whom it holds converse, to whom its words are addressed, when it has in mind that angels stand by with fear and trembling, while he approaches gaping and scratching himself.

[9.] Prayer is a mighty weapon if it be made with suitable mind. And that thou mayest learn its strength, continued entreaty has overcome shamelessness, and injustice, and savage cruelty, and overbearing rashness. For He says," Hear what the unjust judge saith." (Luke xviii. 6.) Again it has overcome sloth also, and what friendship did not effect, this continued entreaty did: and "although he will not give him because he is his friend" (He says), "yet because of his importunity he will rise and give to him." (Luke xi. 8) And continued assiduity made her worthy who was unworthy. "It is not meet" (He says) "to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs. Yea! Lord! " she says, "for even the dogs eat [the crumbs] from their master's table." (Matt. xv. 26, 27.) Let us apply ourselves to Prayer. It is a mighty weapon if it be offered with earnestness, if without vainglory, if with a sincere mind. It has turned back wars, it has benefited an entire nation though undeserving. "I have heard their groaning" (He says) "and am come down to deliver them." (Acts vii. 34.) It is itself a saving medicine, and has power to prevent sins, and to heal misdeeds. In this the desolate widow was assiduous. (1 Tim. v. 5.)

If then we pray with humility, smiting our breast as the publican, if we utter what he did, if we say, "Be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke xviii. 13), we shall obtain all. For though we be not publicans, yet have we other sins not less than his.

For do not tell me, that thou hast gone wrong in some small matter [only], since the thing has the same nature. For as a man is equally called a homicide whether he has killed a child or a man, so also is he called overreaching whether he be overreaching in much or in little. Yea and to remember injuries too, is no small matter, but even a great sin. For it is said, "the ways of those who remember injuries [tend] to death." (Prov. xii. 28, LXX.) And "He that is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of hell," and he that "calleth his brother a fool" (Matt. v. 22), and senseless, and numberless such things.

But we partake even of the tremendous mysteries unworthily, and we envy, and we revile. And some of us have even oftentimes been drunk. But each one of these things, even itself by itself, is enough to cast us out of the kingdom, and when they even come all together, what comfort shall we have? We need much penitence, beloved, much prayer, much endurance, much perseverance, that we may be enabled to attain the good things which have been promised to us.

[10.] Let us then say, even we, "Be merciful to me a sinner," nay rather, let us not say it only, but let us also be thus minded; and should another call us so, let us not be angry. He heard the words, "I am not as this Publican" (Luke xviii. 11), and was not provoked thereby, but filled with compunction. He accepted the reproach, and he put away the reproach. The other spoke of the wound, and he sought the medicine. Let us say then, "Be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke xviii. 13); but even if another should so call us, let us not be indignant.

But if we say ten thousand evil things of ourselves, and are vexed when we hear them from others, then there is no longer humility, nor confession, but ostentation and vainglory. Is it ostentation (you say) to call one's self a sinner? Yes; for we obtain the credit of humility, we are admired, we are commended; whereas if we say the contrary of ourselves, we are despised. So that we do this too for the sake of credit. But what is humility? It is when another reviles us, to bear it, to acknowledge our fault, to endure evil speakings. And yet even this would not be [a mark] of humility but of candor. But now we call ourselves sinners, unworthy, and ten thousand other such names, but if another apply one of them to us, we are vexed, we become savage. Seest thou that this is not confession, nor even candor? Thou saidst of thyself that thou art such an one: be not indignant if thou hearest it also said by others, and art reproved.

In this way thy sins are made lighter for thee, when others reproach thee: for they lay a burden on themselves indeed, but thee they lead onwards into philosophy. Hear what the blessed David says, when Shimei cursed him, "Let him alone" (he says) "the Lord hath bidden him, that He might look on my humiliation" (he says):"And the Lord will requite me good for his cursing on this day." (2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12.)

But thou while saying evil things of thyself, even in excess, if thou hearest not from others the commendations that are due to the most righteous, art enraged. Seest thou that thou art trifling with things that are no subjects for trifling? For we even repudiate praises in our desire for other praises, that we may obtain yet higher panegyrics, that we may be more admired. So that when we decline to accept commendations, we do it that we may augment them. And all things are done by us for credit, not for truth. Therefore all things are hollow, all impracticable. Wherefore I beseech you now at any rate to withdraw from this mother of evils, vainglory, and to live according to what is roved by God, that so you may attain to the good things. to come, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father be glory, together with His Holy and good Spirit, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXVIII.

HEBREWS xi. 37, 38.

"They wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom this[1] world was not worthy); wandering in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth."

[1.] AT all times indeed, but especially then when I reflect upon the achievements of the saints, it comes over me to feel despondency concerning my own condition,[2] because we have not even in dreams experienced the things among which those men spent their whole lives, not paying the penalty of sins, but always doing rightly and yet always afflicted.

For consider, I beseech you, Elijah, to whom our discourse has come round to-day, for he speaks of him in this passage, and in him his examples end: which [example] was appropriate to their case. And having spoken of what befell the Apostles, that "they were slain with the sword, were stoned," he goes back again to Elijah, who suffered the same things with them. (See 2 Kings i. 8.) For since it was probable that they would not as yet hold the Apostles in so great estimation, he brings his exhortation and consolation from him who had been taken up [into Heaven] and who was held in special admiration.

For "they wandered about" (he says) "in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented,[3] of whom this world was not worthy."

They had not even raiment, he says, through the excess of affliction, no city, no house, no lodging-place; the same which Christ said, "but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." (Matt. viii. 20.) Why do I say "no lodging-place"? No standing-place: for not even when they had gained the wilderness, were they at rest. For he said not, They sat down in the wilderness, but even when they were there, they fled, and were driven thence, not out of the inhabited world only, but even out of that which was uninhabitable. And he reminds them of the places where they were set, and of things which there befell [them].

Then next, he says, they bring accusations against you for Christ's sake. What accusation had they against Elijah, when they drove him out, and persecuted him, and compelled him to struggle with famine? Which these [Hebrews] were then suffering. At least, the brethren, it is said, decided to send [relief] to those of the disciples who were afflicted. "Every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea" (Acts xi. 29), which was [the case] of these also.

"Tormented" [or "ill-treated "], he says that is, suffering distress, in journeyings, in dangers.

But "They wandered about," what is this? "Wandering," he says, "in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth," like exiles and outcasts, as persons taken in the basest [of crimes], as those not worthy to see the sun, they found no refuge from the wilderness, but must always be flying, must be seeking hiding-places, must bury themselves alive in the earth, always be in terror.

[2.] What then is the reward of so great a change?[1] What is the recompense?

They have not yet received it, but are still waiting; and after thus dying in so great tribulation, they have not yet received it. They gained their victory so many ages ago, and have not yet received [their reward]. And you who are yet in the conflict, are you vexed?

Do you also consider what a thing it is, and how great, that Abraham should be sitting, and the Apostle Paul, waiting till thou hast been perfected, that then they may be able to receive their reward. For the Saviour has told them before that unless we also are present, He will not give it them. As an affectionate father might say to sons who were well approved, and had accomplished their work, that he would not give them to eat, unless their brethren came. And art thou vexed, that thou hast not yet received the reward? What then shall Abel do, who was victor before all, and is sitting uncrowned? And what Noah? And what, they who lived in those [early] times: seeing that they wait for thee and those after thee?

Dost thou see that we have the advantage of them? For "God" (he says) "has provided some better thing for us." In order that they might not seem to have the advantage of us from being crowned before us, He appointed one time of crowning for all; and he that gained the victory so many years before, receives his crown with thee. Seest thou His tender carefulness?

And he did not say, "that they without us might not be crowned," but "that they without us might not be made perfect" ; so that at that time they appear perfect also. They were before us as regards the conflicts, but are not before us as regards the crowns. He wronged not them, but He honored us. For they also wait for the brethren. For if we are "all one body," the pleasure becomes greater to this body, when it is crowned altogether, and not part by part. For the righteous are also worthy of admiration in this, that they rejoice in the welfare of their brethren, as in their own. So that for themselves also, this is according to their wish, to be crowned along with their own members. To be glorified all together, is a great delight.

[3.] (Chap. xii. 1) "Wherefore" (he says) "we also being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses." In many places the Scripture derives its consolation in evils from corresponding things. As when the prophet says, "From burning heat, and from storm, and rain." (Isa. iv. 6.) This at least he says here also, that the memory of those holy men, reestablishes and recovers the soul which had been weighed down by woes, as a cloud does him who is burnt by the too hot rays [of the sun.]

And he did not say, "lifted on high above us," but, "compassing us about," which was more than the other; so that we are in greater security.

What sort of "cloud"? "A load of witnesses.''[2] With good reason he calls not those in the New [Testament] only, but those in the Old also, "witnesses" [or "martyrs"]. For they also were witnesses to the greatness of God, as for instance, the Three Children, those with Elijah, all the prophets.

"Laying aside all things." "All": what? That is, slumber, indifference, mean reasonings, all human things.

"And the sin which doth [so] easily beset us"; <greek>euneristaton</greek>, that is either "which easily circumvents us," or "what can easily be circumvented,"[3] but rather this latter. For it is easy, if we will, to overcome sin.

"Let us run with patience" (he says) "the race that is set before us." He did not say, Let us contend as boxers, nor, Let us wrestle, nor, Let us do battle: but, what was lightest of all, the [contest] of the foot-race, this has he brought forward. Nor yet did he say, Let us add to the length of the course; but, Let us continue patiently in this, let us not faint. "Let us run" (he says) "the race that is set before us."

[4.] In the next place as the sum and substance of his exhortation, which he puts both first and last, even Christ. (Ver. 2) "Looking" (he says) "unto JESUS the Author and Finisher of our Faith"; The very thing which Christ Himself also continually said to His disciples, "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of His household?" (Matt. x. 25.) And again, "The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord." (Matt. x. 24.)

"Looking" (he says), that is, that we may learn to run. For as in all arts and games, we impress the art upon our mind by looking to our masters, receiving certain rules through our sight, so here also, if we wish to run, and to learn to run well, let us look to Christ, even to Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith." What is this? He has put the Faith within us. For He said to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John xv. 16); and Paul too says, "But then shall I know, even as also I have been known."[1] (1 Cor. xiii. 12.) He put the Beginning into us, He will also put on the End.

"Who," he days, "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame." That is, it was in His power not to suffer at all, if He so willed. For "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Pet. ii. 22); as He also says in the Gospels, "The Prince of the world cometh and haft nothing in Me." (John xiv. 30.) It lay then in His power, if so He willed, not to come to the Cross. For, "I have power," He says, "to lay down My life; and I have power to take it again." (John x. 18.) If then He who was under no necessity of being crucified, was crucified for our sake, how much more is it right that we should endure all things nobly!

"Who for the joy that was set before Him" (he says) "endured the cross, despising the shame." But what is, "Despising the shame"? He chose, he means, that ignominious death. For suppose that He died. Why [should He] also [die] ignominiously? For no other reason, but to teach us to make no account of glory from men. Therefore though under no obligation He chose it, teaching us to be bold against it, and to set it at nought. Why did he say not "pain," but "shame"? Because it was not with pain[2] that He bore these things.

What then is the end? "He is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Seest thou the prize which Paul also says in an epistle, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow." (Phil. ii. 9, 10.) He speaks in respect to the flesh.[3] Well then, even if there were no prize, the example would suffice to persuade us to accept all [such] things. But now prizes also are set before us, and these no common ones, but great and unspeakable.

[5.] Wherefore let us also, whenever we suffer anything of this kind, before the Apostles consider Christ. Why? His whole life was full of insults. For He continually heard Himself called mad, and a deceiver, and a sorcerer; and at one time the Jews said," Nay," (it says) "but He deceiveth the people." (John vii. 12.) And again, "That deceiver said while He was yet alive, after three days I will rise again." (Matt. xxvii. 63.) As to sorcery too they calumniated Him, saying, "He casteth out the devils by Beelzebub." (Matt. xii. 24.) And that "He is mad and hath a devil." (John x. 20.) "Said we not well" (it says) "that He hath a devil and is mad?" (John viii. 48.)

And these things He heard from them, when doing them good, performing miracles, showing forth the works of God. For indeed, if He had been so spoken of, when He did nothing, it would not have been so wonderful: But [it is wonderful] that when He was teaching what pertained to Truth He was called "a deceiver," and when He cast out devils, was said to "have a devil," and when He was overthrowing all that was opposed [to God], was called a sorcerer. For these things they were continually alleging against Him.

And if thou wouldst know both the scoffs[4] and the ironical jeerings,[5] which they made against Him (what particularly wounds our souls), hear first those from His kindred. "Is not this" (it says) "the carpenter's son, whose father and mother we know? Are not his brethren sit with us?" (Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3; John vi. 42.) Also scoffing at Him from His country, they said He was "of Nazareth." And again, "search," it says, "and see, for out of Galilee hath no prophet arisen." (John vii. 52.) And He endured being so greatly calumniated. And again they said, "Doth not the Scripture say, that Christ cometh from the town of Bethlehem?" (John vii. 42.)

Wouldst thou see also the ironical jeerings they made? Coming, it says, to the very cross they worshiped Him; and they struck Him and buffeted Him, and said, "Tell us who it is that smote Thee" (Matt. xxvi. 68); and they brought vinegar to Him, and said, "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross." (Matt. xxvii. 40.) And again, the servant of the High Priest struck Him with the palm of his hand; and He says, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smiteth thou Me?" (John xviii. 23.) And in derision they put a robe about Him; and they spat in His face; and they were continually applying their tests, tempting Him.

Wouldest thou see also the accusations, some secret, some open, some from disciples? "Will ye also go away?" (John vi. 67) He says. And that saying, "Thou hast a devil" (John viii. 48, vii. 20), was uttered by those who already believed. Was He not continually a fugitive, sometimes in Galilee, and sometimes in Judea? Was not His trial great, even from the swaddling clothes? When He was yet a young child, did not His mother take Him and go down into Egypt? For all these reasons he says, "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

To Him then let us look, also to the [sufferings[1]] of His disciples, reading the [writings[2]] of Paul, and hearing him say," In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in persecutions,[3] in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments." (2 Cor. vi. 4, 5.) And again, "Even to this present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat." (1 Cor. iv. 11-13.) Has any one [of us] suffered the smallest part of these things? For, he says, [we are] "As deceivers, as dishonored, as having nothing." (2 Cor. vi. 8, 10.) And again, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in tribulations, in distress, in hunger." (2 Cor. xi. 24-26.) And that these things seem good to God, hear him saying, "For this I besought the Lord thrice, and He said to me, My Grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 8-10.) "Wherefore," he says, "l take pleasure in infirmities, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Moreover, hear Christ Himself saying, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John xvi. 33.)!

[6.] Ver. 3. "For consider," saith he, "Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." For if the sufferings of those near us arouse us, what earnestness will not those of our Master give us! What will they not work in us!

And passing by all [else], he expressed the whole by the [word] "Contradiction"; and by adding "such." For the blows upon the cheek, the laughter, the insults, the reproaches, the mockeries, all these he indicated by "contradiction." And not these only, but also the things which befell Him during His whole life, of teaching.

For a great, a truly great consolation are both the sufferings of Christ, and those of the Apostles. For He so well knew that this is the better way of virtue, as even to go that way Himself, not having need thereof: He knew so well that tribulation is expedient for us, and that it becomes rather a foundation for repose. For hear Him saying, "If a man take not his cross, and follow after Me, he is not worthy of Me." (Matt. x. 38.) If thou art a disciple, He means, imitate the Master; for this is [to be] a disciple. But if while He went by [the path of] affliction, thou [goest] by that of ease, thou no longer treadest the same path, which He trod, but another. How then dost thou follow, when thou followest not? How shall thou be a disciple, not going after the Master? This Paul also says, "We are weak, but ye are strong; we are despised, but ye are honored." (1 Cor. iv. 10.) How is it reasonable, he means, that we should be striving after opposite things, and yet that you should be disciples and we teachers?

[7.] Affliction then is a great thing, beloved, for it accomplishes two great things; It wipes out sins, and it makes men strong.

What then, you say, if it overthrow and destroy? Affliction does not do this, but our own slothfulness. How (you say)? If we are sober and watchful, if we beseech God that He would not "suffer us to be tempted above that we are able" (1 Cor. x. 13), if we always hold fast to Him, we shall stand nobly, and set ourselves against our enemy. So long as we have Him for our helper, though temptations blow more violently than all the winds, they will be to us as chaff and a leaf borne lightly along. Hear Paul saying, "In all these things" (are his words) "we are more than conquerors." (Rom. viii. 37.) And again, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Rom. viii. 18.) And again, "For the light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Cor. iv. 17.)

Consider what great dangers, shipwrecks, afflictions one upon another, and other such things, he calls "light "; and emulate this inflexible one, who wore this body simply and heedlessly.[4] Thou art in poverty? But not in such as Paul, who was tried by hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. For he suffered this not for one day, but endured it continually. Whence does this appear? Hear himself saying, "Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked." (1 Cor. iv. 11.) Oh! How great glory did he already have in preaching, when he was undergoing so great [afflictions]! Having now [reached] the twentieth year [thereof], at the time when he wrote this. For he says, "I knew a man fourteen years ago, whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not." (2 Cor. xii. 2.) And again, "After three years" (he says) "I went up to Jerusalem." (Gal. i. 18.) And again hear him saying, "It were better for me-to die, than that any man should make my glorying void." (1 Cor. ix. 15.) And not only this, but again also in writing he said, "We are become as the filth of the world." (1 Cor. iv. 13.) What is more difficult to endure than hunger? What than freezing cold? What than plottings made by brethren whom he afterwards calls "false brethren"? (2 Cor. xi. 26.) Was he not called the pest of the world? An Impostor? A subverter? Was he not cut with scourging?

[8.] These things let us take into our mind, beloved, let us consider them, let us hold them in remembrance, and then we shall never faint, though we be wronged, though we be plundered, though we suffer innumerable evils. Let it be granted us to be approved in Heaven, and all things [are] endurable. Let it be granted us to fare well there, and things here are of no account. These things are a shadow, and a dream; whatever they may be, they are nothing either in nature or in duration, while those are hoped for and expected.

For what wouldst thou that we should compare with those fearful things? What with the unquenchable fire? With the never-dying worm? Which of the things here canst thou name in comparison with the "gnashing of teeth," with the "chains," and the "outer darkness," with the "wrath," the "tribulation," the "anguish"? But as to duration? Why, what are ten thousand years to ages boundless and without end? Not so much as a little drop to the boundless ocean.

But what about the good things? There, the superiority is still greater. "Eye hath not seen," (it is said,) "ear hath not heard, neither have, entered into the heart of man" (1 Cor. ii. 9), and these things again shall be during boundless ages. For the sake of these then were it not well to be cut [by scourging] times out of number, to be slain, to be burned, to undergo ten thousand deaths, to endure everything whatsoever that is dreadful both in word and deed? For even if it were possible for one to live when burning in the fire, ought one not to endure all for the sake of attaining to those good things promised?

[9.] But Why do I trifle in saying these things to men who do not even choose to disregard riches, but hold fist to them as though they were immortal? And if they give a little out of much, think they have done all? This is not Almsgiving. For Almsgiving is that of the Widow who emptied out "all her living." (Mark xii. 44.) But if thou dost not go on to contribute so much as the widow, yet at least contribute the whole of thy superfluity: keep what is sufficient, not what is superfluous.

But there is no one who contributes even his superabundance. For so long as thou hast many servants,[1] and garments of silk, these things are all superfluities. Nothing is indispensable or necessary, without which we are able to live; these things are superfluous, and are simply superadded.[2] Let us then see, if you please, what we cannot live without. If we have only two servants, we can live. For whereas some live without servants, what excuse have we, if we are not content with two? We can also have a house built of brick of three rooms;[3] and this were sufficient for us. For are there not some with children and wife who have but one room?[4] Let there be also, if you will, two serving boys.

[10.] And how is it not a shame (you say) that a gentlewoman[5] should walk out with [only] two servants? It is no shame, that a gentlewoman should walk abroad with two servants, but it is a shame that she should go forth with many. Perhaps you laugh when you hear this. Believe me it is a shame. Do you think it a great matter to go out with many servants, like dealers in sheep, or dealers in slaves? This is pride and vainglory, the other is philosophy and respectability. For a gentlewoman ought not to be known from the multitude of her attendants. For what virtue is it to have many slaves? This belongs not to the soul, and whatever is not of the soul does not show gentility. When she is content with a few things, then is she a gentlewoman indeed; but when she needs many, she is a servant and inferior to slaves. Tell me, do not the angels go to and fro about the world alone, and need not any one to follow them? Are they then on this account inferior to us? They who need no [attendants] to us who need them? If then not needing an attendant at all, is angelic, who comes nearer to the angelic life, she who needs many [attendants], or she who [needs] few? Is not this a shame? For a shame it is to do anything out of place.

Tell me who attracts the attention of those who are in the public places,[6] she who brings many in her train, or she who [brings but] few? And is not she who is alone, less conspicuous even than she who is attended by few? Seest thou that this [first-named conduct] is a shame? Who attracts the attention of those in the public places, she who wears beautiful garments, or she who is dressed simply and artlessly? Again who attracts those in the public places, she who is borne on mules, and with trappings ornamented with gold, or she who walks out simply, and as it may be, with propriety? Or we do not even look at this latter, if we even see her; but the multitudes not only force their way to see the other, but also ask, Who is she, and Where from? And I do not say how great envy is hereby produced. What then (tell me), is it disgraceful to be looked at or not to be looked at? When is the shame greater, when all stare at her, or when no one [does]? When they inform themselves about her, or when they do not even care? Seest thou that we do everything, not for modesty's sake but for vainglory?

However, since it is impossible to draw you away from that, I am content for the present that you should learn that this [conduct] is no disgrace. Sin alone is a disgrace, which no one thinks to be a disgrace, Sin alone is a disgrace, which no one thinks tto be a disgrace, but everything rather than this.

[11] Let your dress be such as is needful, not superfluous. However, that we may not shut you up too narrowly, this I assure you, that we have no need of ornaments of gold, or of lace[1] And it is not I who say this. For that the words are not mine, hear the blessed Paul saying, and solemnly charging women "to adorn themselves, not with plaitings [of the hair], or gold, or pearls, or costly apparel." (1 Tim. ii. 9.) But with what kind, O Paul, wouldest thou tell us? For perhaps they will say, that only golden things are costly; and that silks are not costly. Tell us with what kind thou wouldest? "But having food and raiment,[2] let us therewith" (he says) "be content." a (1 Tim. vi. 8.) Let our garment be such as merely to cover us. For God hath given them to us for this reason, that we may cover our nakedness; and this any sort of garment can do, though but of trifling cost. Perhaps ye laugh, who wear dresses of silk; for in truth one may well laugh, considering what Paul enjoined and what we practice!

But my discourse is not addressed to women only, but also to men. For the rest of the things. which we have are all superfluous; only the poor possess no superfluities; and perhaps they too from necessity: since, if it had been in their power, even they would not have abstained [from theme. Nevertheless, "whether in pretense or in truth" (Phil. i. 18), so far they have no super-fluities.

[12.] Let us then wear such clothes as are sufficient for our need. For what does much gold mean? To those on the stage these things are fitting, this apparel belongs to them, to harlots, to those who do everything to be looked at. Let her beautify herself, who is on the stage or the dancing platform. For she wishes to attract all to her. But a woman who professes godliness, let her not beautify herself thus, but in a different way. Thou hast a means of beautifying thyself far better than that. Thou also hast a theater:[4] for that theater make thyself beautiful: clothe thyself with those ornaments. What is thy theater? Heaven, the company of Angels. I speak not of Virgins only, but also of those in the world. All as many as believe in Christ have that theater. Let us speak such things that we may please those spectators. Put on such garments that thou mayest gratify them.

For tell me, if a harlot putting aside her golden ornaments, and her robes, and her laughter, and her witty and unchaste talk, clothe herself with a cheap garment, and having dressed herself simply come [on the stage], and utter religious words, and discourse of chastity, and say nothing indelicate, will not all rise up? Will not this theater be dispersed? Will they not cast her out, as one who does not know how to suit herself to the crowd, and speaks things foreign to that Satanic theater? So thou also, if thou enter into the Theater of Heaven clad with her garments, the spectators will cast thee out. For there, there is no need of these garments of gold, but of different ones. Of what kind? Of such as the prophet names, "clothed in fringed work of gold, and in varied colors" (Ps. xlv. 13), not so as to make the body white and glistering, but so as to beautify the soul. For the soul it is, which is contending and wrestling in that Theater. "All the glory of the King's daughter is from within" (Ps. xlv. 13), it says. With these do thou clothe thyself; for [so] thou both deliverest thyself from other evils innumerable, and thy husband from anxiety and thyself from care.

For so thou wilt be respected by thy husband, when thou needest not many things. For every man is wont to be shy towards those who make requests of him; but when he sees that they have no need of him, then he lets down his pride, and converses with them as equals. When thy husband sees that thou hast no need of him in anything, that thou thinkest lightly of the presents which come from him, then, even though he be very arrogant,[5] he will respect thee more, than if thou weft clad in golden ornaments; and thou wilt no longer be his slave. For those of whom we stand in need, we are compelled to stoop to. But if we restrain ourselves we shall no longer be regarded as criminals,[6] but he knows that we pay him obedience from the fear of God, not for what is given by him. For now, when that he confers great favors on us, whatever honor he receives, he thinks he has not received all [that is due to him]: but then, though he obtain but a little, he will account it a favor he does not reproach, nor will he be himself compelled to overreach on thy account.

[13.] For what is more unreasonable, than to provide golden ornaments, to be worn in baths, and in market places? However, in baths and in market places it is perhaps no wonder, but that a woman should come into Church so decked out is very ridiculous. For, for what possible reason does she come in here wearing golden ornaments, she who ought to come in that she may hear [the precept] "that they adorn not themselves with gold, nor pearls, nor costly array"? (1 Tim. ii. 9.) With what object then, O woman, dost thou come? Is it indeed to fight with Paul, and show that even if he repeat these things ten thousand times thou regardest them not? Or is it as wishing to put us your teachers to shame as discoursing on these subjects in vain? For tell me; if any heathen and unbeliever, after he has heard the passage read where the blessed Paul says these things, having a believing wife, sees that she makes much account of beautifying herself, and puts on ornaments of gold, that she may come into Church and hear Paul charging [the women] that they adorn themselves, neither with "gold" (1 Tim. ii. 9), nor with "pearls," nor with "costly array," will he not indeed say to himself, when he sees her in her little room,[1] putting on these things, and arranging them beautifully, "Why is my wife staying within in her little room? Why is she so slow? Why is she putting on her golden ornaments? Where has she to go to? Into the Church? For what purpose? To hear? 'not with costly array';" will he not smile, will he not burst out into laughter? will he not think our religion[2] a mockery and a deceit? Wherefore, I beseech [you], let us leave golden ornaments to processions, to theaters, to signs on the shops.[3] But let not the image of God be decked out with these things: let the gentlewoman be adorned with gentility, and gentility is the absence of pride, and of boastful display.

Nay even if thou wish to obtain glory from men, thou wilt obtain it thus. For we shall not wonder so much that the wife of a rich man wears gold and silk (for this is the common practice of them all), as when she is dressed in a plain and simple garment made merely of wool. This all will admire, this they will applaud. For in that adorning indeed of ornaments of gold and of costly apparel, she has many to share with her. And if she surpass one, she is surpassed by another. Yea, even if she surpass all, she must yield the palm to the Empress herself. But in the other case, she outdoes all, even the Emperor's wife herself. For she alone in wealth, has chosen the [dress] of the poor. So that even if we desire glory, here too the glory is greater.

[14.] I say this not only to widows, and to the rich; for here the necessity of widowhood seems to cause this: but to those also who have a husband.

But, you say, I do not please my husband Elf I dress plainly]. It is not thy husband thou wishest to please, but the multitude of poor women; or rather not to please them, but to make them pine [with envy], and to give them pain, and make their poverty greater. How many blasphemies are uttered because of thee! 'Let there be no poverty' (say they). 'God hates the poor.' 'God loves not those in poverty.' For that it is not thy husband whom thou wishest to please, and for this reason thou deckest thyself out, thou makest plain to all by what thou thyself doest. For as soon as thou hast passed over the threshold of thy chamber,[4] thou immediately puttest off all, both the robes, and the golden ornaments, and the pearls; and at home of all places thou dost not wear them.

But if thou really wishest to please thy husband, there are ways of pleasing him, by gentleness, by meekness, by propriety. For believe me, O woman, even if thy husband be infinitely debased,[5] these are the things which will more effectually win him, gentleness, propriety, freedom from pride and expensiveness and extravagance. For even if thou devise ten thousand such things, thou wilt not restrain the profligate. And this they know who have had such husbands. For however thou mayest beautify thyself, he being a profligate will go off to a courtesan; while [the husband] that is chaste and regular thou wilt gain not by these means, but by the opposite: yea by these thou even causest him pain, clothing thyself with the reputation of a lover of the world. For what if thy husband out of respect, and that as a sober-minded man, does not speak, yet inwardly he will condemn thee, and will not conceal[6] ill-will[7] and jealousy. Wilt thou not drive away all pleasure for the future, by exciting ill-will against thyself?

[15.] Possibly you are annoyed at hearing what is said, and are indignant, saying, 'He irritates husbands still more against their wives.' I say this, not to irritate your husbands, but I wish that these things should be done by you willingly, for your own sakes, not for theirs; not to free them from envy but to free you from the parade of this life.

Dost thou wish to appear beautiful? I also wish it, but with beauty which God seeks, which "the King desires."[1] (Ps. xlv. 11.) Whom wouldst thou have as a Lover? God or men? Shouldest thou be beautiful with that beauty, God will "desire thy beauty"; but if with the other apart from this, He will abominate thee, and thy lovers will be profligates. For no man who loves a married woman is good. Consider this even in regard to the adorning that is external. For the other adorning, I mean that of the soul, attracts God; but this again, profligates. Seest thou that I care for you, that I am anxious for you, that ye may be beautiful, really beautiful, splendid, really splendid, that instead of profligate men, ye may have for your Lover God the Lord of all? And she who has Him for her Lover, to whom will she be like? She has her place among the choirs of Angels. For if one who is beloved of a king is accounted happy above all, what will her dignity be who is beloved of God with much love? Though thou put the whole world [in the balance against it], there is nothing equivalent to that beauty.

This beauty then let us cultivate; with these embellishments let us adorn ourselves, that we may pass into the Heavens, into the spiritual chambers, into the nuptial chamber that is undefiled. For this beauty is liable to be destroyed by anything; and when it lasts well, and neither disease nor anxiety impair it (which is impossible), it does not last twenty years. But the other is ever blooming, ever in its prime. There, there is no change to fear; no old age coming brings a wrinkle, no undermining disease withers it; no desponding anxiety disfigures it; but it is far above all these things. But this [earthly beauty] takes flight before it appears, and if it appears it has not many admirers. For those of well-ordered minds do not admire it; and those who do admire it, admire with wantonness.

[16.] Let us not therefore cultivate this [beauty], but the other: let us have that, so that with bright torches we may pass into the bridal chamber. For not to virgins only has this been promised, but to virgin souls. For had it belonged merely to virgins, those five would not have been shut out. This then belongs to all who are virgins in soul, who are freed from worldly imaginations: for these imaginations corrupt our souls. If therefore we remain unpolluted, we shall depart thither, and shall be accepted. "For I have espoused you," he says, "to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin unto Christ." (2 Cor. xi. 2.) These things he said, not with reference to Virgins, but to the whole body of the entire Church. For the uncorrupt soul is a virgin, though she have a husband: she is a virgin as to that which is Virginity indeed, that which is worthy of admiration. For this of the body is but the accompaniment and shadow of the other: while that is the True Virginity. This let us cultivate, and so shall we be able with cheerful countenance to behold the Bridegroom, to enter in with bright torches, if the oil do not fail us, if by melting down our golden ornaments we procure such oil as makes our lamps bright. And this oil is lovingkindness.

If we impart what we have to others, if we make oil therefrom, then it will protect us, and we shall not say at that time, "Give us oil, for our lamps are going out" (Matt. xxv. 8), nor shall we beg of others, nor shall we be shut out when we are gone to them that sell, nor shall we hear that fearful and terrible voice, while we are knocking at the doors, "I know you not." (Matt. xxv. 12.) But He will acknowledge us, and we shall go in with the Bridegroom, and having entered into the spiritual Bride-chamber we shall enjoy good things innumerable.

For if here the bride-chamber is so bright, the rooms so splendid, that none is weary of observing them, much more there. Heaven is the chamber,[2] and the bride-chamber[3] better than Heaven; then we shall enter. But if the Bride-chamber is so beautiful, what will the Bridegroom be?

And why do I say, 'Let us put away our golden ornaments, and give to the needy'? For if ye ought even to sell yourselves, if ye ought to become slaves instead of free women, that so ye might be able to be with that Bridegroom, to enjoy that Beauty, [nay] merely to look on that Countenance, ought you not with ready mind to welcome all things? We look at and admire a king upon the earth, but when [we see] a king and a bridegroom both, much more ought we to welcome him with readiness. Truly these things are a shadow, while those are a reality. And a King and a Bridegroom in Heaven! To be counted worthy also to go before Him with torches, and to be near Him, and to be ever with Him, what ought we not to do? What should we not perform? What should we not endure? I entreat you, let us conceive some desire for those blessings, let us long for that Bridegroom, let us be virgins as to the true Virginity. For the Lord seeks after the virginity of the soul. With this let us enter into Heaven, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" (Eph. v. 27); that we may attain also to the good things promised, of which may we all be partakers through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

HOMILY XXIX.

HEBREWS xii. 4-6.

"Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth: and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."[1]

[1.] There are two kinds of consolation, apparently opposed to one another, but yet contributing great strength each to the other; both of which he has here put forward. The one is when we say that persons have suffered much: for the soul is refreshed, when it has many witnesses of its own sufferings, and this he introduced above, saying, "Call to mind the former days, in which after ye had been illuminated ye endured a great fight of afflictions." (c. x. 32.) The other is when we say, "Thou hast suffered no great thing." The former, when [the soul] has been exhausted refreshes it, and makes it recover breath: the latter, when it has become indolent and supine, turns it again[2] and pulls down pride. Thus that no pride may spring up in them from that testimony [to their sufferings], see what he does. "Ye have not yet" (he says) "resisted unto blood, [striving] against sin." And he did not at once go on with what follows, but after having shown them all those who had stood "unto blood," and then brought in the glory of Christ, His sufferings,[3] he afterwards easily pursued his discourse. This he says also in writing to the Corinthians, "There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man" (1 Cor. x. 13), that is, small. For this is enough to arouse and set right the soul, when it considers that it has not risen to the whole [trial], and encourages itself from what has already befallen it.

What he means is this: Ye have not yet submitted to death; your loss has extended to money, to reputation, to being driven from place to place. Christ however shed His blood for you, while you have not [done it] for yourselves. He contended for the Truth even unto death fighting for you; while ye have not yet entered upon dangers that threaten death.

"And ye have forgotten the exhortation." That is, And ye have slackened your hands, ye have become faint. "Ye have not yet," he said, "resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Here he indicates that sin is both very vigorous,[4] and is itself armed. For the [expression] "Ye have resisted [stood firm against]," is used with reference to those who stand firm.[5]

[2.] "Which" (he says) "speaketh unto you as unto sons, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor hint when thou art rebuked of Him." He has drawn his encouragement from the facts themselves; over and above he adds also that which is drawn from arguments, from this testimony.

"Faint not" (he says) "when thou art rebuked of Him." It follows that these things are of God. For this too is no small matter of consolation, when we learn that it is God's work that such things have power,[6] He allowing [them]; even as also Paul says; "He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 9.) He it is who allows [them'].

"For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." Thou canst not say that any righteous man is without affliction: even if he appear to be so, yet we know not his other afflictions. So that of necessity every righteous man must pass through affliction. For it is a declaration of Christ, that the wide and broad way leads to destruction, but the strait and narrow one to life. (Matt. vii. 13, 14.) If then it is possible to enter into life by that means, and is not by any other, then all have entered in by the narrow [way], as many as have departed unto life.

Ver. 7. "Ye endure chastisement"[7] (he says); not for punishment, nor for vengeance, nor for suffering. See, from that from which they supposed they had been deserted [of God], from these he says they may be confident, that they have not been deserted. It is as if he had said, Because ye have suffered so many evils, do you suppose that God has left you and hates you? If ye did not suffer, then it were right to suppose this. For if "He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth," he who is not scourged, perhaps is not a son. What then, you say, do not bad men suffer distress? They suffer indeed; how then? He did not say, Every one who is scourged is a son, but every son is scourged. For in all cases He scourges His son: what is wanted then is to show, whether any son is not scourged. But thou wouldest not be able to say: there are many wicked men also who are scourged, such as murderers, robbers, sorcerers, plunderers of tombs. These however are paying the penalty of their own wickedness, and are not scourged as sons, but punished as wicked: but ye as sons.

[3.] Then again [he argues] from the general custom. Seest thou how he brings up arguments from all quarters, from facts in the Scripture, from its words, from our own notions, from examples in ordinary life? (Ver. 8.) "But if ye be without chastisement" [&c.]. Seest thou that he said what I just mentioned, that it is not possible to be a son without being chastened? For as in families, fathers care not for bastards, though they learn nothing, though they be not distinguished, but fear for their legitimate sons lest they should be indolent, [so here.]. If then not to be chastised is [a mark] of bastards, we ought to rejoice at chastisement, if this be [a sign] of legitimacy. "God dealeth with you as with sons"; for this very cause.

Ver. 9. "Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence." Again, [he reasons] from their own experiences, from what they themselves suffered. For as he says above, "Call to mind the former days" (c. x. 32), so here also "God" (he saith) "dealeth with you as with sons," and ye could not say, We cannot bear it: yea, "as with sons" tenderly beloved. For if they reverence their "fathers of the flesh," how shall not you reverence your heavenly Father?

However the difference arises not from this alone, nor from the persons, but also from the cause itself, and from the fact. For it is not on the same grounds that He and they inflict chastisement: but they [did it] with a view to "what seemed good to them," that is, fulfilling [their own] pleasure oftentimes, and not always looking to what was expedient. But here, that cannot be said. For He does this not for any interest of His own but for you, and for your benefit alone. They [did it] that ye might be useful to themselves also, oftentimes without reason; but here there is nothing of this kind. Seest thou that this also brings consolation? For we are most closely attached to those [earthly parents], when we see that not for any interests of their own they either command or advise us: but their earnestness is, wholly and solely, on our account. For this is genuine love, and love in reality, when we are beloved though we be of no use to him who loves us,--not that he may receive, but that he may impart. He chastens, He does everything, He uses all diligence, that we may become capable of receiving His benefits. (Ver. 10.) "For they verily" (he says) "for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."

What is "of his holiness"? It is, of His purity, so as to become worthy of Him, according to our power. He earnestly desires that ye may receive, and He does all that He may give you: do ye not earnestly endeavor that ye may receive? "I said unto the Lord" (one says) "Thou art my Lord, for of my good things Thou hast no need." (Ps. xvi. 2.)

"Furthermore," he saith," we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?" ("To the Father of spirits," whether of spiritual gifts, or of prayers, or of the incorporeal powers.) If we die thus, then "we shall live. For they indeed for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure," for what seems [so] is not always profitable, but "He for our profit."

[4.] Therefore chastisement is "profitable"; therefore chastisement is a "participation of holiness." Yea and this greatly: for when it casts out sloth, and evil desire, and love of the things of this life, when it helps the soul, when it causes a light esteem of all things here (for affliction [does] this), is it not holy? Does it not draw down the grace of the Spirit?

Let us consider the righteous, from what cause they all shone brightly forth. Was it not from affliction? And, if you will, let us enumerate them from the first and from the very beginning: Abel, Noah himself; for it is not possible that he, being the only one in that so great multitude of the wicked, should not have been afflicted; for it is said, "Noah being" alone "perfect in his generation, pleased God." (Gen. vi. 9.) For • consider, I beseech you, if now, when we have innumerable persons whose virtue we may emulate, fathers, and children, and teachers, we are thus distressed, what must we suppose he suffered, alone among so many? But should I speak of the circumstances of that strange and wonderful rain? Or should I speak of Abraham, his wanderings one upon another, the carrying away of his wife, the dangers, the wars, the famines? Should I speak of Isaac,[1] what fearful things he underwent, driven from every place, and laboring in vain, and toiling for others? Or of Jacob? for indeed to enumerate all his [afflictions] is not necessary, but it is reasonable to bring forward the testimony, which he himself (gave] when speaking with Pharaoh; "Few and evil are my days, and they have not attained to the days of my fathers." (Gen. xlvii. 9.) Or should I speak of Joseph himself? Or of Moses? Or of Joshua? Or of David? Or of Elijah? Or of Samuel? Or wouldest thou [that I speak] of all the prophets? Wilt thou not find that all these were made illustrious from their afflictions? Tell me then, dost thou desire to become illustrious from ease and luxury? But thou canst not.

Or should I speak of the Apostles? Nay but they went beyond all. And Christ said this, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John xvi. 33.) And again, "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice." (John xvi. 20.) And, that "Strait and narrow is the way[1] that teadeth unto life." (Matt. vii. 14.) The Lord of the way said, that it is "narrow and strait"; and dost thou seek the "broad" [way]? How is this not unreasonable? In consequence thou wilt not arrive at life, going another [way], but at destruction, for thou hast chosen the [path] which leads thither.

Wouldst thou that I bring before you those [that live] in luxury? Let us ascend from the last to the first. The rich man who is burning in the furnace; the Jews who live for the belly, "whose god is their belly" (Phil. iii. 19), who were ever seeking ease in the wilderness, were destroyed; as also those in Sodore, on account of their gluttony; and those in the time of Noah, was it not because they chose this soft and dissolute life? For "they luxuriated," it says, "in fullness of bread." (Ezek. xvi. 49.) It speaks of those in Sodom. But if "fullnes of bread" wrought so great evil, what should we say of other delicacies? Esau, was not he in ease? And what of those who being of "the sons of God" (Gen. vi. 2), looked on women, and were borne down the precipice? And what of those who were maddened by inordinate lust? and all the kings of the nations, of the Babylonians, of the Egyptians, did they not perish miserably? Are they not in torment?

[5.] And as to things now, tell me, are they not the same? Hear Christ saying, "They that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses" (Matt. xi. 8), but they who do not [wear] such things, are in Heaven. For the soft garment relaxes even the austere soul, breaks it and enervates it: yea, even if it meet with a body rough and hard, it speedily by such delicate treatment makes it soft and weak.

For, tell me, for what other reason do you suppose women are so weak? Is it from their sex only? By no means: but from their way of living, and their bringing up. For their avoiding exposure,[2] their inactivity, their baths, their unguents, their multitude of perfumes, the delicate softness of their couches, makes them in the end such as they are.

And that thou mayest understand, attend to what I say. Tell me; take from a garden a tree from those standing in the uncultivated[3] part and beaten by the winds, and plant it in a moist and shady place, and thou wilt find it very unworthy of that from which thou didst originally take it. And that this is true, [appears from the fact that] women brought up in the country are stronger than citizens of towns: and they would overcome many such in wrestling. For when the body becomes more effeminate, of necessity the soul also shares the mischief, since, for the most part, its energies are affected in accordance with the [body]. For in illness we are different persons owing to weakness, and when we become well, we are different again. For as in the case of a string when the tones[4] are weak and relaxed, and not well arranged, the excellence of the art is also destroyed, being obliged to serve the ill condition of the strings: so in the case of the body also, the soul receives from it many hurts, many necessities.[5] For when it needs much nursing, the other endures a bitter servitude.

[6.] Wherefore, I beseech you, let us make it strong by work, and not nurse it as an invalid.[6] My discourse is not to men only but to women also. For why dost thou, O woman, continually enfeeble[7] [thy body] with luxury and exhaust it?[7] Why dost thou ruin thy strength with fat? This fat is flabbiness, not strength. Whereas, if thou break off from these things, and manage thyself differently, then will thy personal beauty also improve according to thy wish, when strength and a good habit of body are there. If however thou beset it with ten thousand diseases, there will neither be bloom of complexion, nor good health; for thou wilt always be in low spirits. And you know that as when the air is smiling it makes a beautiful house look splendid, so also cheerfulness of mind when added to a fair countenance, makes it better: but if [a woman] is in low spirits and in pain she becomes more ill-looking. But diseases and pains produce low spirits; and diseases are produced from the body too delicate through great luxury. So that even for this you will flee luxury, if you take my advice.

'But, you will say, luxury gives pleasure.' Yes, but not so great as the annoyances. And besides, the pleasure goes no further than the palate and the tongue. For when the table has been removed, and the food swallowed, thou wilt be like one that has not partaken, or rather much worse, in that thou bearest thence oppression, and distension, and headache, and a sleep like death, and often too, sleeplessness from repletion, and obstruction of the breathing, and eructation. And thou wouldest curse bitterly thy belly, when thou oughtest to curse thy immoderate eating.

[7.] Let us not then fatten the body, but listen to Paul saying, "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof," (Rom. xiii. 14.) As if one should take food and throw it into a drain, so is he who throws it into the belly: or rather it is not so, but much worse. For in the one case he uses[1] the drain without harm to himself: but in the other he generates innumerable diseases. For what nourishes is a sufficiency which also can be digested: but what is over and above our need, not only does not nourish, but even spoils the other. But no man sees these things, owing to some prejudice and unseasonable pleasure.

Dost thou wish to nourish the body? Take away What is superfluous; give what is sufficient, and as much as can be digested, Do not load it, lest thou overwhelm it. A sufficiency is both nourishment and pleasure. For nothing is so productive of pleasure, as food well digested: nothing so [productive of] health: nothing [so productive of] acuteness of the faculties, nothing tends so much to keep away disease. For a sufficiency is both nourishment, and pleasure, and health; but excess is injury, and unpleasantness and disease. For what famine does, that also satiety does; or rather more grievous evils. For the former indeed within a few days carries a man off and sets him free; but the other eating into and putrefying the body, gives it over to long disease, and then to a most painful death. But we, while we account famine a thing greatly to be dreaded, yet run after satiety, which is more distressing than that.

Whence is this disease? Whence this madness? I do not say that we should waste ourselves away, but that we should eat as much food as also gives us pleasure, that is really pleasure, and can nourish the body, and furnish it to us well ordered and adapted for the energies of the soul, well joined and fitted together. But when it comes to be water-logged[2] by luxury, it cannot in the flood-wave, keep fast the bolts[3] themselves, as one may say, and joints which hold the frame together. For the flood-wave coming in, the whole breaks up and scatters.

"Make not provision for the flesh" (he says) "to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Rom. xiii. 14.) He said well. For luxury is fuel for unreasonable lusts; though the luxurious should be the most philosophical of all men, of necessity he must be somewhat affected by wine, by eating, he must needs be relaxed, he must needs endure the greater flame. Hence [come] fornications, hence adulteries. For a hungry belly cannot generate lust, or rather not one which has used just enough. But that which generates unseemly lusts, is that which is relaxed[4] by luxury. And as land which is very moist and a dung-hill which is wet through and retains much dampness, generates worms, while that which has been freed from such moistness bears abundant fruits, when it has nothing immoderate: even if it be not cultivated, it yields grass, and if it be cultivated, fruits: [so also do we].

Let us not then make our flesh useless, or unprofitable, or hurtful, but let us plant in it useful fruits, and fruit-bearing trees; let us not enfeeble them by luxury, for they too put forth worms instead of fruit when they are become rotten. So also implanted desire, if thou moisten it above measure, generates unreasonable pleasures, yea the most exceedingly unreasonable. Let us then remove this pernicious evil, that we may be able to attain the good things promised us, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory now and ever and world without end. Amen.

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