2 COR. i. 1, 4.

"Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God, which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; Who comfort us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

It is meet to enquire, first, why to the former Epistle he adds a second: and what can be his reason for thus beginning with the mercies and consolation of God.

Why then does he add a second Epistle? Whereas in the first he had said, "I will come to you, and will know not the word of them which are puffed up, but the power;" (1 Cor. iv. 19.) and again towards the end had promised the same in milder terms, thus, "I will come unto you when I shall have passed through Macedonia; for I do pass through Macedonia; and it may be that I shall abide, or even winter with you ;" (1 Cor. xvi. 5, 6.) yet now after along interval, he came not; but was still lingering and delaying even though the time appointed had passed away; the Spirit detaining him in other matters of far greater necessity than these. For this reason he had need to write a second Epistle, which he had not needed had he but a little out-tarried his time.(1)

But not for this reason only, but also because they were amended by the former; for him that had committed fornication whom before they applauded and were puffed up about, they had cut off and separated altogether. And this he shows where he says, "But if any hath caused sorrow, he hath caused sorrow not to me, but in part (that I press not too heavily) to you all. Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many." (2 Cor. ii. 5, 6.) And as he proceeds, he alludes again to the same thing when he says, "For behold that ye were made sorry after a godly sort, what earnest care it wrought in you, yea, what clearing-of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what longing, yea, what zeal, yea, what avenging! In every thing ye approved yourselves to be pure in this matter." (2 Cor. vii. 11.) Moreover, the collection(2) which he enjoined, they gathered with much forwardness. Wherefore also he says, "For I know your readiness of which I glory on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia hath been prepared for a year past." (2 Cor. ix. 2.) And Titus too, whom he sent, they received with all kindness, as he shows when he says again, "His inward affection is more abundantly toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him." (2 Cor. vii. 15.) For all these reasons he writes the second Epistle. For it was right that, as when they were in fault he rebuked them, so upon their amendment he should approve and commend them. On which account the Epistle is not very severe(1) throughout, but only in a few parts towards the end. For there were even amongst them Jews who thought highly of themselves, and accused Paul as being a boaster and worthy of no regard; whence also that speech of theirs; "His letters are weighty, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account:" (2 Cor. x. 10.) meaning thereby, when he is present he appears of no account, (for this is the meaning of, "his bodily presence is weak,") but when he is away he boasts greatly in what he writes, (for such is the signification of "his letters are weighty.") Moreover, to enhance their own credit these persons made a pretence of receiving nothing, to which he also alludes where he says, "that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we." (2 Cor. xi. 12.) And besides, possessing also the power of language, they were forthwith greatly elated. Wherefore also he calls himself "rude in speech," (2. Cor. xi. 6.) showing that he is not ashamed thereof; nor deems the contrary any great acquisition. Seeing then it was likely that by these persons some would be seduced, after commending what was right in their conduct, and beating down their senseless(2) pride in the things of Judaism, in that out of season they were contentious to observe them, he administers a gentle(3) rebuke on this subject also.

[2.] Such then, to speak summarily and by the way, appears to me the argument of this Epistle. It remains to consider the introduction, and to say why after his accustomed salutation he begins, as he does, with the mercies of God. But first, it is necessary to speak of the very beginning, and inquire why he here associates Timothy with himself. For, he saith, "Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timothy our brother." In the first Epistle he promised he would send him; and charged them, saying, "Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear." (1 Cor. xvi. 10.) How then is it that he associates him here in the outset with himself? After he had been amongst them, agreeably to that promise of his teacher, "I have sent unto you Timothy who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which be in Christ," (1 Cor. iv. 17.) and had set everything in order, he had returned back to Paul; who on sending him, had said, "Set him forward on his journey in peace that he may come to me, for I expect him with the brethren." (1 Cor. xvi. 11.)

Since then Timothy was restored to his teacher, and after having with him set in order the things in Asia, (for, says he, "I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost," 1 Cor. xvi. 8;) had crossed again into Macedonia; Paul not unreasonably associates him hereafter as abiding with himself. For then he wrote from Asia, but now from Macedonia. Moreover, thus associating him he at once gains increased respect for him, and displays his own exceeding humility(4): for Timothy was very inferior to himself, yet doth love bring all things together. Whence also he everywhere makes him equal with himself; at one time saying, "as a child serveth a father so he served with me;" (Phil. ii. 22.) at another, "for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do;" (1 Cor. xvi. 10.) and here, he even calleth him, "brother;" by all making him an object of respect to the Corinthians amongst whom he had been, as I have said, and given proof of his worth.

"To the Church of God which is at Corinth." Again he calleth them "the Church," to bring and bind them all together in one. For it could not be one Church, while those within her were sundered and stood apart. "With all the saints which are in the whole of Achaia. In thus saluting all through the Epistle addressed to the Corinthians, he would at once honor these, and bring together the whole nation. But he calls them "saints," thereby implying that if any be an impure person, he hath no share in this salutation. But why, writing to the mother city, does he address all through her, since he doth not so everywhere? For instance, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians he addressed not the Macedonians also; and in like manner in that to the Ephesians he doth not include all Asia; neither was that to the Romans written to those also who dwell in Italy. But in this Epistle he doth so; and in that to the Galatians. For there also he writeth not to one city, or two, or three, but to all who are scattered every where, saying, "Paul an Apostle, (not from men neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead,) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia. Grace to you and peace." (Gal. i. 1--3.) To the Hebrews also he writes one Epistle to all collectively; not distinguishing them into their several cities. What then can be the reason of this? Because, as I think, in this case all were involved in one common disorder, wherefore also he addresses them in common, as needing one common remedy. For the Galatians were all of them infected. So too were the Hebrews, and so I think these (Achaians) also.

[3.] So then having brought the whole nation together in one, and saluted them with his accustomed greeting, for, saith he, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:" (2 Cor i. 2.) hear how aptly to the purpose in hand he begins, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." (ver. 3.) Do you ask, how is this aptly to the purpose in hand? I reply, Very much so; for observe, they were greatly vexed and troubled that the Apostle had not come to them, and that, though he had promised, but had spent the whole time in Macedonia; preferring as it seemed others to themselves. Setting himself then to meet this feeling(1) against him, he declares the cause of his absence; not however directly stating it, as thus; "I know, indeed, I promised to come, but since I was hindered by afflictions forgive me, nor judge me guilty of any sort of contempt or neglect towards you:" but after another manner he invests the subject at once with more dignity and trustworthiness, and gives it greatness by the nature of the consolation(2), so that thereafter they might not so much as ask the reason of his delay. Just as if one, having promised to come to one he longed for, at length arriving after dangers innumerable, should say, ",Glory to Thee, O God, for letting me see the sight so longed for of his dear countenance! Blessed be Thou, O God, from what perils hast Thou delivered me!" for such a doxology is an answer to him who was preparing to find fault, and will not let him so much as complain of the delay; for one that is thanking God for deliverance from such great calamities he cannot for shame drag to the bar, and bid clear himself of loitering. Whence Paul thus begins, "Blessed be the God of mercies," implying by the very words that he had been both brought into and delivered from mighty perils. For as David also doth not address God every where in one way or with the same titles; but when he is upon battle and victory, "I will love Thee, he saith, O Lord my strength; the Lord is my bucklers(3):" when again upon delivery from affliction and the darkness which overwhelmed him, "The Lord is my light and my salvation;" (Ps. xxvii. 1.) and as the immediate occasion suggests, he names Him now from His loving-kindness, now from His justice, now from His righteous judgment:--in like way Paul also here at the beginning describeth Him by His loving-kindness, calling Him "the God of mercies," that is, "Who hath showed me so great mercies as to bring me up from the very gates of death."

And thus to have mercy is the peculiar and excellent attribute of God, and the most inherent in His nature; whence he calleth Him the "God of mercies."

And observe, I pray you, herein also the lowly-mindedness of Paul. For though he were in peril because of the Gospel he preached; yet saith he not, he was saved for his merit, but for the mercies of God. But this he afterwards declareth more clearly, and now goes on to say, "Who comforteth us in all affliction." (2 Cor. i. 4.) He saith not, "Who suffereth us not to come into affliction:" but, "Who comforteth in affliction." For this at once declareth the power of God; and increaseth the patience of those afflicted. For, saith he, "tribulation worketh patience." (Rom. v. 3.) And so also the prophet, " Thou hast set me at large when I was in distress." (Ps. iv. 1.) He doth not say, "Thou hast not suffered me to fall into affliction," nor yet, "Thou hast quickly removed my affliction," but, whilst it continueth, "Thou hast set me at large:" (Dan. iii. 21. &c.) that is, "hast granted me much freedom and refreshment." Which truly happened also in the case of the three children, for neither did He prevent their being cast into the flame, nor when so cast, did He quench it, but while the furnace was burning He gave them liberty. And such is ever God's way of dealing; as Paul also implies when he says, "Who comforteth us in all affliction."

But he teaches something more in these words: Do you ask what? Namely, that God doeth this not once, nor twice, but without intermission. For He doth not one while comfort, another not, but ever and constantly. Wherefore he saith, "Who comforteth," not, "Who hath comforted," and, "in all affliction," not, "in this or that," but, "in all."

"That we may be able to comfort them which are in any affliction through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." See you not how he is beforehand(4) with his defence by suggesting to the hearer the thought of some great affliction; and herein also is his modesty again apparent, that he saith not for their own merits was this mercy showed, but for the sake of those that need their assistance; "for," saith he, "to this end hath He comforted us that we might comfort one another." And hereby also he manifesteth the excellency of the Apostles, shewing that having been comforted and breathed awhile, he lieth not softly down as we, but goeth on his way to anoint(5), to nerve, to rouse others. Some, however, consider this as the Apostle's meaning. "Our consolation is that of others also:" but my opinion is that in this introduction, he is also censuring the false Apostles, those vain boasters who sat at home and lived in luxury; but this covertly and, as it were, incidentally, the leading object being to apologise for his delay. "For," [he would say,] "if for this end we were comforted that we might comfort others also, do not blame us that we came not; for in this was our whole time spent, in providing against the conspiracies, the violence, the terrors which assailed us."

[4.] "For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ." Not to depress the disciples by an aggravated account of his sufferings; he declareth on the other hand that great and superabundant was the consolation also, and lifteth up(1) their heart not hereby alone, but also by putting them in mind of Christ and calling the sufferings "His," and(2)prior to the consolation deriveth a comfort from the very sufferings themselves. For what joy can I have so great as to be partaker with Christ, and for His sake to suffer these things? What consolation can equal this? But not from this source only does he raise the spirits of the afflicted, but from another also. Ask you what other? In that he saith, "abound:" for he doth not say, "As the sufferings of Christ" are "in us," but as they "abound," thereby declaring that they endure not His sufferings only, but even more than these(3). For, saith he, "not whatsoever He suffered, that have we suffered; "but even more(4)," for, consider, "Christ was cast out, persecuted, scourged, died," but we, saith he, "more than all this," which even of itself were consolation enough. Now let no one condemn this speech of boldness; for be elsewhere saith, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh." (Col. i. 24.) Yet neither here nor there is it from boldness or any presumptousness. For as they wrought greater miracles than He according to that saying of His, "he that believeth on Me shall do greater works than these," (John xiv. 12.) but all is of Him that worketh in them; so did they suffer also more than He, but all again is of Him that comforteth them, and fitteth them to bear the evils that betide them.

With which respect Paul aware how great a thing he had said, doth again remarkably restrain it by adding, "So our comfort also aboundeth through Christ; "thus at once ascribing all to Him, and proclaiming herein also His loving-kindness; for, he saith not, "As our affliction, such our consolation;" but "far more;" for, he saith not, "our comfort is equal to our sufferings," but, "our comfort aboundeth," so that the season of struggles was the season also of fresh crowns. For, say, what is equal to being scourged for Christ's sake and holding converse with God; and being more than match for all things, and gaining the better of those who cast us out, and being unconquered by the whole world, and expecting hence such good things "as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man!" (1 Cor. ii. 9.) And what is equal to suffering affliction for godliness' sake, and receiving from God consolations infinite, and being rescued from sins so great, and counted worthy of the Spirit, and of being sanctified and justified, and regarding no man with fear and trembling, and in peril itself outshining all.

[5.] Let us then not sink down when tempted. For no self-indulger hath fellowship with Christ, nor sleeper, nor supine [person], nor any of these lax and dissolute livers. But Whoso is in affliction and temptation, this man standeth near to Him, whoso is journeying on the narrow way. For He Himself trode this; whence too He saith, " the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." So then grieve not when thou art in affliction; considering with Whom thou hast fellowship, and how thou art purified by trials; and how great gain is thine. For there is nothing miserable save the offending against God; but this apart, neither afflictions nor conspiracies, nor any other thing hath power to grieve the right-minded soul: but like as a little spark, if thou cast it into a mighty deep, thou presently puttest it out, so doth even a total and excessive sorrow if it light on a good conscience easily die away and disappear.

Such then was the spring of Paul's continual joy: because in whatever was of God he was full of hope; and did not so much as take count of ills so great, but though he grieved as a man yet sank not. So too was that Patriarch encompassed with joy in the midst of much painful suffering; for consider, he forsook his country, underwent journeyings long and hard; when he came into a strange land, had "not so much as to set his foot on." (Acts. vii. 5.) Then again a famine awaited him which made him once more a wanderer; after the famine again came the seizure of his wife, then the fear of death, and childlessness, and battle, and peril, and conspiracies, and at the last that crowning trial, the slaying of his only-begotten and true(1) son, that grievous irreparable [sacrifice.](3) For think not, I pray you, that because he readily obeyed, he felt not all the things he underwent. For though his righteousness had been, as indeed it was, inestimable(2), yet was he a man and felt as nature bade. But yet did none of these things cast him down, but he stood like a noble athlete, and for each one was proclaimed and crowned a victor. So also the blessed Paul, though seeing trials in very snow-showers assailing him daily, rejoiced and exulted as though in the mid-delights of Paradise. As then he who is gladdened with this joy cannot be a prey to despair; so he who maketh not this his own is easily overcome of all; and is as one that hath unsound armor, and is wounded by even a common stroke: but not so he who is well encased at all points, and proof against every shaft that cometh upon him. And truly stouter than any armor is joy in God; and whoso hath it, nothing can ever make his head droop or his countenance sad, but he beareth all things nobly. For what is worse to bear than fire? what more painful than continual torture? truly it is more overpowering(3) in pain than the loss of untold wealth, of children, of any thing; for, saith he, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life." (Job ii.4.) So nothing can be harder to bear than bodily pain; nevertheless, because of this joy in God, what even to hear of is intolerable, becomes both tolerable and longed for: and if thou take from the cross or from the gridiron the martyr yet just breathing, thou wilt find such a treasure of joy within him as admits not of being told.

[6.] And doth any one say, What am I to do (4); for now is no time of martyrdom? What sayest thou? Is now no time of martyrdom? Never is it not a time; but ever is it before our eyes; if we(5) will keep them open. For it is not the hanging on a cross only that makes a Martyr, for were this so, then was Job excluded from this crown; for he neither stood at bar, nor heard Judge's voice, nor looked on executioner; no, nor while hanging on tree aloft had his sides mangled; yet he suffered worse than many martyrs; more sharply than any stroke did the tale of those successive messengers strike, and goad him on every side: and keener the gnawings of the worms which devoured him in every part than thousand executioners.

Against what martyr then may he not worthily be set? Surely against ten thousand. For in every kind [of suffering] he both wrestled and was crowned; in goods, and children, and person, and wife, and friends, and enemies, and servants, (for these too even did spit in his face,) in hunger and visions and pains and noisomeness; it was for this I said he might worthily be set, not against one nor two nor three, but against ten thousand Martyrs. For besides what I have mentioned, the time also maketh a great addition to his crown; in that it was before the Law, before Grace, he thus suffered, and that, many months, and each in its worst form; and all these evils assailed him at once. And yet each individual evil by itself intolerable, even that which seemeth most tolerable, the loss of his goods. For many have patiently borne stripes, but could not bear the loss of their goods; but rather than relinquish any part of them were content even to be scourged for their sake and suffer countless ills; and this blow, the loss of goods, appeared to them heavier than all. So then here is another method of martyrdom for one who bears this loss nobly. And doth any ask, How shall we bear it nobly? When thou hast learned that by one word of thanksgiving thou shall gain more than all thou hast lost. For if at the tidings of our loss we be not troubled, but say, "Blessed be God," we have found far more abundant riches. For truly such great fruit thou shalt not reap by expending all thy wealth on the needy, by going about and seeking out the poor, and scattering thy substance to the hungry, as thou shalt gain by the same word. And so neither Job do I admire so much in setting wide his house to the needy, as I am struck with and extol his taking the spoiling of his substance thankfully. The same in the loss of children it happeneth to see. For herein, also, reward no less than his who offered(6) his son and presented him in sacrifice shall thou receive, if as thou seest thine die thou shall thank the God of love. For how shalt such an one be less than Abraham? He saw not his son stretched out a corpse, but only looked to do so. So if he gain in the comparison by his purpose to slay and his stretching forth his hand to take the knife, (Gen. xxii. 10.) yet doth he lose in that the child is lying dead here. And besides, he had some comfort in the prospect of a good work done, and the thought that this so excellent achievement was the work of his own fortitude, and that the voice he heard came from above made him the readier. But here is no such thing. So that he had need have a soul of adamant, who can bear with calmness to see a child, his only one, brought up in affluence, in the dawn(1) of fair promise, lying upon the bier(2) an outstretched corpse. And should such an one, hushing to rest the heavings of nature, be strengthened to say the words of Job without a tear, "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away;" (Job. i. 21.) for those words' sake alone, he shall stand with Abraham himself and with Job be proclaimed a victor. And if, staying the wailings of the women and breaking up the bands of mourners, he shall rouse them all to sing glory [to God], he shall receive above, below, rewards unnumbered; men admiring, angels applauding, God crowning him.

[7.] And sayest thou, How is it possible for one that is man not to mourn? I reply, If thou wilt reflect how neither the Patriarch nor Job, who both were men, gave way to any thing of the kind; and this too in either case before the Law, and Grace, and the excellent wisdom of the laws [we have]: if thou wilt account that the deceased has removed into a better country, and bounded away to a happier inheritance, and that thou hast not lost thy son but bestowed him henceforward in an inviolable spot. Say not then, I pray; thee, I am no longer called "father," for why an thou no longer called so, when thy son abideth? For surely thou didst not part with thy child nor lose thy son? Rather thou hast gotten him, and hast him in greater safety. Wherefore, no longer shalt thou be called "father" here only, but also in heaven; so that thou hast not lost the title "father," but hast gained it in a nobler sense; for henceforth thou shalt be called father not of a mortal child, but of an immoral; of a noble soldier; on duty continually within [the palace]. For think not because he is not present that therefore he is lost; for had he been absent in a foreign land, the title of thy relationship had not gone from thee with his body. Do not then gaze on the countenance of what lieth there, for so thou dost but kindle afresh thy grief; but away with thy thought from him that lieth there, up to heaven. That is not thy child which is lying there, but he who hath flown away and sprung aloft into boundless height. When then thou seest the eyes closed, the lips locked together, the body motionless, Oh be not these thy thoughts, "These lips no longer speak, these eyes no longer see, these feet no longer walk, but are all on their way to corruption!" Oh say not so: but say the reverse of this, "These lips shall speak better, and the eyes see greater things, and the feet shall mount upon the clouds; and this body which now rotteth away shall put on immortality, and I shall receive my son back more glorious. But if what thou seest distress thee, say to thyself the while, This is [only] clothing and he has put it off to receive it back more precious; this is an house and it is taken down to be restored in greater splendor. For like as we, when purposing to take houses down, allow not the inmates to stay, that they may escape the dust and noise; but causing them to remove a little while, when we have built up the tenement securely, admit them freely; so also doth God; Who taking down this His decaying tabernacle hath received him the while into His paternal dwelling and unto Himself, that when it hath been taken down and built anew He may then return it to him more glorious.

Say not then, "He is perished and shall no more be;" for these be the words of unbelievers; but say, "He sleepeth and will rise again," "He is gone a journey and will return with the King." Who sayeth tiffs? He(3) that hath Christ speaking in him. "For," saith he, "if we believe that Jesus died and rose again" and revived, "even so them also which Sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." (1 Thess. iv. 14.) If then thou seek thy son, there seek him where the King is, where is the army of the Angels; not in the grave; not in the earth; lest whilst he is so highly exalted, thyself remain grovelling on the ground.

If we have this true wisdom, we shall easily repel all this kind of distress; and "the God of mercies and Father of all comfort" comfort all our hearts, both those who are oppressed with such grief and those held down with any other Sorrow; and grant us deliverance from all despair and increase of spiritual joy; and to obtain the good things to come; whereunto may all we attain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom unto the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. i. 6, 7.

"Whether we be afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you is steadfast."

Having spoken of one, and that the chief ground of comfort and consolation, namely, having fellowship [by sufferings] with Christ: he layeth down as second this which he now mentions, namely, that the salvation of the disciples themselves was procured thereby. "Faint not, therefore, he says, nor be confounded and afraid because we are afflicted; for this same thing were rather a reason for your being of good cheer: for had we not been afflicted, this had been the ruin of you all." How and wherein? For if through lack of spirit(1) and fear of danger we had not preached unto you the word whereby ye learned the true knowledge, your situation had been desperate. Seest thou again the vehemence and earnest contention(2) of Paul? The very things which troubled them he uses for their comfort. For, saith he, the greater the intensity of our persecutions, the greater should be the increase of your good hope; because the more abundant also in proportion is your salvation and consolation. For what hath equal force of consolation with this of having obtained such good things through the preaching. Then that he may not seem to be bringing(3) the encomium round to himself alone, see how he maketh them too to share these praises. For to the words, "Whether we be afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation:" he adds, "which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer." (ver. 7.) Afterwards, indeed, he states this more clearly, thus saying, "As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the consolation;" but here also meanwhile he alludes to it in the words, "the same sufferings," so making(4) what he says include them. For what he saith is this, "Your salvation is not our work alone, but your own as well; for both we in preaching to you the word endure affliction, and ye in receiving it endure the very same; we to impart to you that which we received, ye to receive what is imparted and not to let it go." Now what humility can compare with this, seeing that those who fell so far short of him he raiseth to the same dignity of endurance? for he saith, "Which worked in the enduring of the same sufferings;" for not through believing only cometh your salvation, but also through the suffering and enduring the same things with us. For like as a pugilist(5) is an object of admiration, when he doth but show himself and is in good training and hath his skill within himself, but when he is in action(6), enduring blows and striking his adversary, then most of all shineth forth, because that then his good training is most put in action(7), and the proof of his skill evidently shown; so truly is your salvation also then more especially put into action(8), that is, is displayed, increased, heightened, when it hath endurance, when it suffereth and beareth all things nobly. So then the work(9) of salvation consisteth not in doing evil, but in suffering evil. Moreover he saith not, "which worketh," but, "which is wrought(10)," to show that together with their own willingness of mind, grace also which wrought in them did contribute much.

Ver. 7. "And our hope for you is steadfast." That is, though ye should suffer ills innumerable, we are confident that ye will not turn round(11), either upon your own trials or upon our persecutions. For so far are we from suspecting you of being confounded on account of our sufferings that even when yourselves are in peril, we are then confident concerning you.

[2.] Seest thou how great had been their advance since the former Epistle? For he hath here witnessed of them far greater things than of the Macedonians, whom throughout that Epistle he extolleth and commendeth. For on their [the Macedonians'] account he feared and saith, "We sent," unto you, "Timothy.to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith, that no man be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed." (1 Thess. iii. 2, 3.) And again: "For this cause when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by any means the tempter hath tempted you: and our labor should be in vain." (ver. 5.) But of these [the Corinthians] he saith nothing of this kind, but quite the contrary, "Our hope for you is steadfast."

Ver. 6, 7. "Or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. Knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort."

That for their sakes the Apostles were afflicted, he showed when he said, "whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation:" he wishes also to show that for their sakes also they were comforted. He said this indeed even a little above, although somewhat generally(1), thus; "Blessed be God, Who comforteth us in all our afflictions, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any affliction." He repeats it here too in other words more clearly and more(2) home to their needs. "For whether we be comforted," says he, "it is for your comfort." What he means is this; our comfort becometh your refreshment, even though we should not comfort you by word. If we be but a little refreshed, this availeth for encouragement to you; and if we be ourselves comforted, this becometh your comfort. For as ye consider our sufferings your own, so do ye also make our comfort your own. For surely it cannot be that, when ye share in worse fortune with us, ye will not share in the better. If then ye share in everything, as in tribulation so in comfort, ye will in no wise blame us for this delay and slowness in coming, because that both for your sakes we are in tribulation and for your sakes in comfort. For lest any should think this a hard saying, "for your sakes we thus suffer," he adds, "for your sakes also we are comforted," and "not we alone are in peril; for ye also," saith he, "are partakers of the same sufferings." Thus then, by admitting them to be partakers in the perils and ascribing to them the cause of their own comfort, he softeneth what he saith. If then we be beset by craft(3), be of good cheer; we endure this that your faith may grow in strength. And if we be comforted, glory(4) in this also; for we enjoy this too for your sakes, that thereby ye may receive some encouragement by sharing in our joy. And that the comfort he here speaks of is that which they(5) enjoyed not only from being comforted by themselves, (the Apostles) but also from knowing them (the Apostles) to be at rest, hear him declaring in what follows next, "Knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort." For as when we suffer persecution, ye are in distress as though yourselves so suffering; so are we sure that when we are comforted, ye think the enjoyment also your own. What more humble-minded than this spirit? He who so greatly surpasseth in perils, calleth them "partakers," who endured no part of them whatever(6); whilst of the comfort he ascribeth the whole cause to them, not to his own labors.

[3.] Next, having spoken before only generally of troubles, he now maketh mention of the place too where they (Ben. he) endured them.

Ver. 8. "For we would not, Brethren, have you ignorant concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia."

"These things we speak," saith he, "that ye may not be ignorant of what befell us; for we wish, yea have earnestly endeavored, that ye should know our affairs:" which is a very high proof of love. Of this even in the former Epistle he had before given notice, where he said, "For a great door and effectual is opened to me at Ephesus, and there are many adversaries." (1 Cor. xvi. 8, 9.) Putting them then in mind of this, and recounting how much he suffered, he saith, "I would not have you ignorant of our affliction which befell us in Asia." And in his Epistle to the Ephesians too he said the same. For having sent Tychicus to them, he gives this as the reason of his journey: whence he saith, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things; whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts." (Eph. vi. 21, 22.) And in other Epistles also he doeth the very same. Nor is it superfluous, but even exceedingly necessary: both because of his exceeding affection for the disciples, and because of their continued trials; wherein the knowledge of each other's fortunes was a very great comfort; so that if these were calamitous, they might be prepared both to be energetic and to be safer against falling; or if these were good, they might rejoice with them. He here, however, speaketh as well of being delivered from trials as of being assaulted by them, saying, "We were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power." Like a vessel sinking(1) under some mighty burden. He may seem to have said, only one thing here "exceedingly" and "beyond our power:" it is, however, not one but two; for lest one should object, "What then? granting the peril were exceeding, yet it was not great to you; "he added, it both was great and surpassed our strength, yea, so surpassed it, "That we despaired even of life."

That is, we had no longer any expectation of living. What David calleth "the gates of hell, the pangs" and "the shadow of death," this he expresseth by saying, "We endured peril pregnant. with certain death."

Ver. 9. "But we had the answer of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."

What is this, "the answer of death? "(2) The vote, the judgment, the expectation. For so spake our affairs; our fortunes gave this answer "We shall surely die."

To be sure, this did not come to the proof, but only as far as to our anticipations, and stopped there: for the nature of our affairs did so declare, yet the power of God allowed not the declaration to take effect, but permitted it to happen only in our thought and in expectation: wherefore he saith, "We had the answer of death in ourselves," not in fact.(3) And wherefore permitted He peril so great as to take away our hope and cause us to despair? "That we should not trust in ourselves," saith he, "but in God." These words Paul said, not that this was his own temper. Away with such a thought, but as attuning(4) the rest by what he saith of himself, and in his great care to speak modestly. Whence also further on he saith, "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, (meaning his trials,) lest I should be exalted overmuch." (2 Cor. xii. 7.) And yet God doth not say that He permitted them for this, but for another reason. What other? That His strength might be the more displayed; "For," saith he, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (ver. 9.) But, as I said, he no here forgetteth his own peculiar character, classing himself with those who fall short exceedingly and stand in need of much discipline and correction. For if one or two trials suffice to sober even ordinary men, how should he who of all men had most cultivated lowliness of mind his whole life long and had suffered as no other man did, after so many years and a practice of wisdom(5) worthy of the heavens, be in need of this admonition? Whence it is plain that here too, it is from modesty and to calm down those who thought highly of themselves and boasted, that he thus speaks, "That we should not trust in ourselves, but in God."

[4.] And observe how he treateth them tenderly(6) here also. For, saith he, these trials were permitted to come upon us for your sakes; of so great price(7) are ye in God's sight; for "whether we be afflicted," saith he, "it is for your consolation and salvation;" but they were "out of measure" for our sake, lest we should he high minded• "For we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead." He again putteth them in mind of the doctrine of the Resurrection whereon he said so much in the former Epistle, and confirmeth it from the present circumstance; whence he added,

Ver. 10. "Who delivered us out of so great deaths.(8)"

He said not, "from so great dangers," at once showing the insupportable severity of the trials, and confirming the doctrine I have mentioned. For whereas the Resurrection was a thing future, he showeth that it happeneth every day: for when [God] lifteth up again a man who is despaired of and hath been brought to the very gates of Hades, He showeth none other thing than a resurrection, snatching out of the very jaws of death him that had fallen into them: whence in the case of those despaired of and then restored either out of grievous sickness or insupportable trials, it is an ordinary way of speaking to say, We have seen a resurrection of the dead in his case.

Ver. 10, 11. "And we have set our hope that He will also still deliver us; ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many(1), thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf.

Since the words, "that we should not trust in ourselves," might seem to be a common charge and an accusation that pointed to some amongst them; he softeneth(2) again what he said, by calling their prayers a great protection and at the same time showing that [this] our life must be throughout a scene of conflict(3). For in those words, "And we have set our hope that He will also still deliver us," he predicts a future sleet(4) of many trials: but still no where aught of being forsaken, but of succor again and support. Then, lest on hearing that they were to be continually in perils they should be cast down, he showed before the use of perils; for instance, "that we should not trust in ourselves;" that is, that he may keep us in continual humility, and that their salvation may be wrought;and many other uses besides; the being partakers with Christ;(" for," saith he, "the sufferings of Christ abound in us ;" ) the suffering for the faithful; ("for," saith he, "whether we be afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation;") the superior lustre this last (i.e., their salvation) should shine with 5; "which," saith he, "worketh "[in you]" in the patient enduring of the same sufferings;" their being made hardy; and besides all these, that of seeing the resurrection vividly portrayed before their eyes: for, "He hath delivered us out of so great death;" being of an earnest mind and ever looking unto Him, "for," saith he, "we have set our hope that he will deliver" us; its rivetting(6) them to prayers, for he saith, "ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication." Thus having shown the gain of affliction and then having made them energetic: he anointeth once more their spirits [for the combat], and animates them to virtue by witnessing great things of their prayers, for that to these God had granted(7) Paul; as he saith, "Ye helping together on our behalf by prayer." But what is this: "That for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many(8), thanks may be given by many on our behalf? He delivered us from those deaths," saith he, "ye also helping together by prayer;" that is, praying all of you for us. For "the gift bestowed upon us," that is, our being saved, He was pleased to grant to you all, in order that many persons might give Him thanks, because that many also received the boon.

[5.] And this he said, at once to stir them up to prayer for others, and to accustom them always to give thanks to God for whatever befalleth others, showing that He too willeth this exceedingly. For they that are careful to do both these for others, will much more for themselves show an example of both. And besides this, he both teacheth them humility. and leadeth on to more fervent love. For if he who was so high above them owneth himself to have been saved by their prayers: and that to their prayers himself(9) had been granted as a boon of God, think what their modesty and disposition ought to have been. And observe, I pray you, this also; that even if God doeth any thing in mercy, yet prayer doth mightily contribute thereunto. For at the first he attributed his salvation to His mercies; for "The God of mercies," he says, Himself "delivered us," but here to the prayers also. For on him too that owed the ten thousand talents He had mercy after that he fell at His feet;(Mat. xviii. 24, 27.) although it is written, that "being moved with compassion, He loosed him." And again to the "woman of Canaan," it was after that long attendance and importunity(10) of hers, (Mat. xv. 22. ) that He finally granted the healing of her daughter, even though of His mercy He healed her. Hereby then we learn that even though we are to receive mercy, we must first make ourselves worthy of the mercy; for though there be mercy, yet it seeketh out those that are worthy. It will not come upon all without distinction; those even who have no feeling; for He saith, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." (Rom. ix. 15.) Observe at least what he saith here, "Ye also helping together by prayer." He hath neither ascribed the whole of the good work to them lest he should lift them up, nor yet deprived them of all share whatever in it, in order to encourage them and animate their zeal, and bring them together one to another. Whence also he said, "He also granted to you my safety." For ofttimes also God is abashed(11) by a multitude praying with one mind and mouth. Whence also He said to the prophet, "And shall not I spare this city wherein dwell more than six score thousand persons?" (Jonah iv. 11.) Then lest thon think He respecteth the multitude only, He saith, "Though the number of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved." (Is. x. 22.) How then saved He the Ninevites? Because in their case, there was not only a multitude, but a multitude and virtue too. For each one "turned from" his "evil way." (Jonah iii. 10. iv. 11.) And besides, when He saved them, He said that they discerned not "between their right hand and their left hand:" whence it is plain that even before, they sinned more out of simpleness than of wickedness: it is plain too from their being converted, as they were, by hearing a few words. But if their being six score thousand were of itself enough to save them, what hindered even before this that they should be saved? And why saith He not to the Prophet, And shall I not spare this city which so turneth itself? but bringeth forward the score thousands. He produceth this also as a reason over and above. For that they had turned was known to the prophet, but he knew not either their numbers or their simpleness. So by every possible consideration he is desirous to soften them. For even greatness of number hath power, when there is virtue withal. And truly the Scripture elsewhere also showeth this plainly, where it saith, "But prayer was made earnestly of the Church unto God for him:" (Acts xii. 5.) and so great power had it, even when the doors were shut and chains lay on him and keepers were sleeping by on either side, that it led the Apostle forth and delivered him from them all. But as where there is virtue, greatness of number hath mighty power; so where wickedness is, it profiteth nothing. For the Israelites of whom He saith that the number of them was as the sand of the sea, perished every one, and those too in the days of Noe were both many, yea, numberless; and yet this profited them nothing. For greatness of number hath no power of itself, but only as an adjunct(1).

[6.] Let us then be diligent in coming together in supplication; and let us pray for one another, as they did for the Apostles. For [so] we both fulfil a commandment, and are "anointed(2)" unto love: (and when I say love, I speak of every good thing:) and also learn(3) to give thanks with more earnestness: for they that give thanks for the things of others, much more will they for their own. This also was David wont to do, saying, "Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together;" (Ps. xxxiv. 3.) this the Apostle too doth every where require. This let us too labor in; and let us show forth unto all the beneficence of God that we may get companions in the act of praise: for if when we have received any good from men, by proclaiming it forth we make them the readier to serve us: much more shall we, by telling abroad the benefits of God, draw Him on to more good-will. And if when we have received benefits of men we stir up others also to join us in the giving of thanks, much more ought we to bring many unto God who may give thanks for us. For if Paul who had so great confidence [toward God] doth this, much more is it necessary for us to do it. Let us then exhort the saints to give thanks for us; and let us do the same ourselves for one another. To priests especially this good work belongs, since it is an exceeding privilege(4). For drawing near, we first give thanks for the whole world and the good things common [to all]. For even though the blessings of God be common, yet doth the common preservation(5) include thine own; so that thou both owest common thanksgivings for thine own peculiar(6) blessing, and for the common blessings shouldest of right render up thine own peculiar(7) praise: for He lighted up the sun not for thee alone, but also for all in common; but nevertheless thou for thy part hast it whole(8). For it was made so large for the common good; and yet thou individually seest it as large as all men have seen it; so that thou owest a thanksgiving as great as all together; and thou oughtest to give thanks for what all have in common and likewise for the virtue of others; for on account of others, too, we receive many blessings: for had there been found in Sodom ten righteous only, they had not suffered what they did. So then let us give thanks also for the confidence of others [toward God]. For this custom is an ancient one, planted in the Church from the beginning. Thus Paul also giveth thanks for the Romans, (Rom. i. 8.) for the Corinthians, (1 Cor. i. 4.) for the whole world, (1 Tim. ii. 1.) And tell me not, "The good work is none of mine;" for though it be none of thine, yet even so oughtest thou to give thanks that thy member is such an one. And besides, by thy acclamation thou makest it thine own, and sharest in the crown, and shalt thyself also receive the gift. On this account it is that the laws of the Church(9) command prayer also to be thus made, and that not for the faithful only, but also for the Catechumens. For the law stirreth up the faithful to make supplication for the uninitiated(10). For when the Deacon saith(11), "Let us pray earnestly for the Catechumens," he doth no other than excite the whole multitude of the faithful to pray for them; although the Catechumens are as yet aliens. For they are not yet of the Body of Christ, they have not yet partaken of the Mysteries, but are still divided from the spiritual flock. But if we ought to intercede for these, much more for our own members. And even therefore he saith, "earnestly let us pray," that thou shouldest not disown them as aliens, that thou shouldest not disregard them as strangers. For as yet they have not the appointed(1) prayer, which Christ brought in; as yet they have not confidence, but have need of others' aid who have been initiated. For without the king's courts they stand, far from the sacred precincts(2). Therefore they are even driven away whilst those awful prayers are being offered. Therefore also he exhorteth thee to pray for them that they may become members of thee, that they may be no longer strangers and Miens. For the words, "Let us pray," are not addressed to the priests alone, but also to those that make up the people: for when he saith, "Let us stand in order(3): let us pray; "he exhorteth all to the prayer.

[7.] Then beginning the prayer, he saith, "That the all-pitying and merciful God would listen to their prayers." For that thou mayest not say, What shall we pray? they are aliens, not yet united [to the body]. Whereby can I constrain(4) the regard of God? Whence can I prevail with Him to impart unto them mercy and forgiveness? That thou mayest not be perplexed with such questions as these, see how he disentangleth thy perplexity, saying, "that the all-pitying and merciful God." Heardest thou? "All-pitying God." Be perplexed no more. For the All-pitying pitieth all, both sinners and friends. Say not then, "How shall I approach Him for them?" Himself will listen to their prayers. And the Catechumens' prayer, what can it be but that they may not remain Catechumens? Next, he suggesteth also the manner of the prayer. And what is this? "That He would open the ears of their hearts;" for they are as yet shut and stopped up. "Ears," he saith, not these which be outward, but those of the understanding, "so as to hear 'the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered(5) into the heart of man.'" (1 Cor. ii. 9. Is. liv. 4.) For they have not heard the untold mysteries; but they stand somewhere at a distance and far off from them; and even if they should hear, they know not what is said; for those [mysteries] need much understanding, not hearing only: and the inward ears as yet they have not: wherefore also He next invoketh for them a Prophet's gift, for the Prophet spoke on this wise; "God giveth me the tongue of instruction, that I should know how to speak a word in season; for He opened my mouth; He gave to me betimes in the morning; He granted me a hearing ear." (Is. 1. 4. Sept.) For as the Prophets heard otherwise than the many, so also do the faithful than the Catechumens. Hereby the Catechumen also is taught not to learn to hear these things of men, (for He saith, "Call no man master upon the earth(6), but from above, from heaven, "For they shall be all taught of God." (Isa. liv. 13.)

Wherefore he says, "And instil(7) into them the word of truth," so that it may be inwardly learned(8); for as yet they know not the word of truth as they ought to know. "That He would sow His fear in them." But this is not enough; for "some fell by the wayside, and some upon the rock." But we ask not thus; but as on rich soil the plough openeth the furrows, so we pray it may be here also, that having the fallow ground of their minds(1) tilled deep, they may receive what is dropped upon them and accurately retain everything they have heard. Whence also he adds, "And confirm His faith in their minds;" that is, that it may not lie on the surface, but strike its root deep downwards. "That He would unveil to them the Gospel of Righteousness." He showeth that the veil is two-fold, partly that the eyes of their understanding were shut, partly that the Gospel was hidden from them. Whence he said a little above, "that He would open the ears of their hearts," and here, "that he would unveil unto them the Gospel of Righteousness;" that is, both that He would render them wise and apt for receiving(2) seed, and that He would teach them and drop the seed into them; for though they should be apt, yet if God reveal not, this profiteth nothing; and if God should unveil but they receive not, there resulteth like unprofitableness. Therefore we ask for both: that He would both open their hearts and unveil the Gospel. For neither if kingly ornaments lie underneath a veil, will it profit at all that the eyes be looking; nor yet that they be laid bare, if the eyes be not waking(3). But both will be granted, if first they(4) themselves desire it. But what then is "the Gospel of Righteousness?" That which maketh righteous. By these words he leadeth them to the desire of Baptism, showing that the Gospel is for the working(5) not only of the remission of sins, but also of righteousness.

[8.] "That He would grant to them a godly mind, sound judgment, and virtuous manner of life(6)." Let such of the faithful attend as are rivetted(7) to the things of [this] life. For if we are bidden to ask these things for the uninitiated: think in what things we ought to be occupied who ask these things for others. For the manner of life ought to keep pace with(8) the Gospel. Whence surely also the order of the prayer(9) shifts from the doctrines [of the Gospel] to the deportment: for to the words, "that He would unveil to them the Gospel of Righteousness;" it hath added, "that He would give unto them a Godly mind." And what is this "Godly?" That God may dwell in it. For He saith, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them;" (Lev. xxvi. 12.) for when the mind is become righteous, when it hath put off its sins, it becometh God's dwelling. (Rom. vi. 16.) But when God indwelleth, nothing of man will be left. And thus doth the mind become Godly, speaking every word from Him, even as in truth an house of God dwelling in it. Surely then the filthy in speech hath not a Godly mind, nor he who delighteth in jesting and laughter.

"Sound judgment." And what can it be to have "a sound judgment?" To enjoy the health that pertaineth to the soul: for he that is held down by wicked lusts and dazzled(10) with present things, never can be sound, that is, healthy. But as one who is diseased lusteth even after things which are unfit for him, so also doth he. "And a virtuous mode of life," for the doctrines need a mode of life [answerable]. Attend to this, ye who come to baptism at the close of life, for we indeed pray that after baptism ye may have also this deportment, but thou art seeking and doing thy utmost to depart without it. For, what though thou be justified(11): yet is it of faith only. But we pray that thou shouldest have as well the confidence that cometh of good works.

"Continually to think those things which be His, to mind those things which be His, to practise(12) those things which be His:" for we ask not to have sound judgment and virtuous deportment for one day only, or for two or three, but through the whole tenor and period(13) of our life; and as the foundation of all good things, "to mind those things which be His." For the many "seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." (Phil. ii. 21.) How then might this be? (For besides prayer, need is that we contribute also our own endeavors.) If we be(14) occupied in His law day and night. Whence he goeth on to ask this also, "to be occupied in His law;" and as he said above, "continually," so here "day and night." Wherefore I even blush for these who scarce once in the year are seen in church. For what excuse can they have who are bidden not simply "day and night" to commune with the law but "to be occupied in," that is, to be for ever holding converse with it(15), and yet scarce do so for the smallest fraction of their life?

"To remember His commandments, to keep His judgments." Seest thou what an excellent chain is here? and how each link hangs by the next compacted with more strength and beauty than any chain of gold? For having asked for a Godly mind, he telleth whereby this may be produced. Whereby? By continually practising(16) it. And how might this be brought about? By constantly giving heed to the Law. And how might men be persuaded to this? If they should keep His Commandments: yea rather, from giving heed to the law cometh also the keeping His Commandments; as likewise from minding the things which be His and from having a Godly mind, cometh the practising the things which be His. For each of the things mentioned jointly(1) procureth and is procured by the next, both linking it and being linked by it.

[9.] "Let us beseech for them yet more earnestly." For since by length of speaking the soul useth to grow drowsy, he again arouseth it up, for he purposeth to ask again certain great and lofty things. Wherefore he saith, "Let us beseech for them yet more earnestly." And what is this? "That He would deliver them from every evil and inordinate(2) thing." Here we ask for them that they may not enter into temptation, but be delivered from every snare, a deliverance as well bodily as spiritual.(3) Wherefore also he goeth on to say, "from every devilish sin and from every(4) besetment of the adversary," meaning, temptations and sins. For sin doth easily beset, taking its stand on every side, before, behind, and so casting down. For, after telling us what ought to be done by us, namely, to be occupied in His law, to remember His Commandments, to keep His judgments, he assures us next that not even is this enough, except Himself stand by and succor. For, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it;" (Ps. cxxvii. 1) and especially in the case of those who are yet exposed to the devil and are under his dominion. And ye that are initiated know this well. For call to mind, for instance, those words wherein ye renounced s his usurped(6) rule, and bent the knee and deserted to The King, and uttered those awful(7) words whereby we are taught in nothing whatever to obey him. But he calleth him adversary and accuser, because he both accuseth God to man and us to God, and us again one to another. For at one time he accused Job to God, saying, "Doth Job serve the Lord for nought?" (Job i. 9. LXX. ver. 16.) at another time God to Job, "Fire came down from heaven." And again, God to Adam, (Gen. iii. 5.) when He said their eyes would be opened. And to many men at this day, saying, that God taketh no care for the visible order of things, but hath delegated your affairs to demons(8). And to many of the Jews he accused Christ, calling Him a deceiver and a sorcerer. But perchance some one wisheth to hear in what manner he worketh. When he findeth not a godly mind, findeth not a sound understanding, then, as into a soul left empty, he leads his revel thither(9); when one remembereth not the commandments of God nor keepeth His judgments, then he taketh him captive and departeth. Had Adam, for instance, remembered the commandment which said, "Of every tree thou mayest eat:" (Gen. ii. 16.) had he kept the judgment which said, "In the day in which ye eat thereof, then(10) shall ye surely die;" it had not fared with him as it did.

"That He would count them worthy in due season of the regeneration of the laver, of the remission of sins." For we ask some things to come now, some to come hereafter; and we expound the doctrine n of the layer, and in asking instruct them to know its power. For what is said thenceforth familiarizes them to know already that what is there done is a regeneration, and that we are born again of the waters, just as of the womb; that they say not after Nicodemus, "How(12) can one be born when he is old! Can he enter into his mother's womb, and be born again?" Then, because he had spoken of "remission of sins," he confirmeth this by the words next following, "of the clothing of incorruption;" for he that putteth on sonship plainly becometh incorruptible. But what is that "in due season?" When any is well disposed, when any cometh thereunto with earnestness and faith; for this is the "due season" of the believer.

[10.] "That He would bless their coming in and their going out, the whole course of their life." Here they are directed to ask even for some bodily good, as being yet somewhat weak. "Their houses and their households," that is, if they have servants or kinsfolk or any others belonging to them. For these were the rewards of the old Covenant; and nothing then was feared so much as widowhood, childlessness, untimely mournings, to be visited with famine, to have their affairs go on unprosperously. And hence it is, that he alloweth these also fondly(13) to linger over petitions rather material(14), making them mount by little and little to higher things. For so too doth Christ; so too doth Paul, making mention of the ancient blessings: Christ, when He saith, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth;" Paul, when he saith, "Honor thy father and thy mother .... and thou shalt live long on the earth." "That He would increase their children and bless them, and bring them to full age, and teach(1) them wisdom." Here again is both a bodily and spiritual thing, as for persons yet but too much babes in disposition. Then what follows is altogether spiritual, "that He would direct all that is before them(2) unto good;" for he saith not simply, "all that is before them," but, "all that is before them unto good." For often a journey is before a man, but it is not good; or some other such thing, which is not profitable. Here by they are taught in every thing to give thanks to God, as happening for good. After all this, he bids them stand up during what follows. For having before cast them to the ground, when they have asked what they have asked and have been filled with confidence, now the word(3) given raiseth them up, and biddeth them during what follows engage for themselves also in supplication to God. For part we say ourselves, and part we permit them to say, now opening unto them the door of prayer, (exactly as we first teach children [what to say], and then bid them say it of themselves,) saying, "Pray ye, Catechumens, for the angel of peace;" for there is an angel that punisheth, as when He saith, "A band of evil angels," (Ps. lxxviii. 49) there is that destroyeth. Wherefore we bid them ask for the angel of peace, teaching them to seek that which is the bond of all good things, peace; so that they may be delivered from all fightings, all wars, all seditions. "That all that is before you may be peaceful;" for even if a thing be burdensome, if a man have peace, it is light. Wherefore Christ also said, "My peace I give unto you (John xiv. 27) for the devil hath no weapon so strong as fighting, and enmity, and war. "Pray that this day and all the days of your life be full(4) of peace." Seest thou how he again insisteth that the whole life be passed in virtue? "That your ends be Christian;" your highest good, the honorable and the expedient(5); for what is not honorable is not expedient either. For our idea of the nature of expediency is different from that of the many. "Commend yourselves to the living God and to His Christ;" for as yet we trust them not to pray for others, but it is sufficient(6) to be able to pray for themselves.

Seest thou the completeness of this prayer, both in regard of doctrine and of behavior? for when we have mentioned the Gospel and the clothing of incorruption and the Laver of Regeneration, we have mentioned all the doctrines: when again we spoke of a Godly mind, a sound understanding, and the rest of what we said, we suggested(7) the mode of life. Then we bid them(8) bow their heads; regarding it as a proof of their prayers being heard that God blessed them. For surely it is not a man that blesseth; but by means of his hand and his tongue we bring unto the King Himself the heads of those that are present. And all together shout the "Amen."

Now why have I said all this? To teach you that we ought to seek the things of others, that the faithful may not think it no concern of theirs when these things are said. For not to the walls Surely doth the Deacon say, "Let us pray for the Catechumens." But some are so without understanding, so stupid, so depraved(9), as to stand and talk not only during the time of the Catechumens, but also during the time of the faithful. Hence all is perverted; hence all is utterly lost: for at the very time when we ought most to propitiate God, we go away having provoked Him. So again in [the prayers of] the faithful(10), we are bidden to approach the God that loveth men, for Bishops, for Priests, for Kings, for those in authority, for earth and sea, for the seasons(11), for the whole world. When then we who ought to have such boldness as to pray for others, are scarce awake even whilst praying for ourselves,how can we excuse ourselves? how find pardon? Wherefore I beseech you that laying all this to heart, ye would know the time of prayer, and be lifted up and disengaged from earth, and touch the vault itself of heaven; so that we may have power to make God propitious and obtain the good things promised, whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom unto the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.


2 COR. i. 12.

"For our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and(1) sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves in the world."

Here again he openeth to us yet another ground of comfort, and that not small, yea rather, exceeding great, and well fitted to upraise a mind sinking(2) under perils. For seeing he had said, God comforted us(3), and God delivered us, and had ascribed all to His mercies and their prayers, lest he should thus make the hearer supine, presuming on God's mercy only and the prayers of others, he showeth that they themselves(4) had contributed not a little of their(5) own. And indeed he showed as much even before, when he said, "For as the sufferings of Christ abound [in us,] so our consolation also aboundeth." (ver. 5.) But here he is speaking of a certain other good work, properly their own(6). What then is this? That, saith he, in a conscience pure and without guile we behave ourselves every where in the world: and this availeth not a little to our encouragement and comfort; yea, rather, not to comfort merely, but even unto somewhat else far greater than comfort, even to our glorying. And this he said, teaching them too not to sink down in their afflictions, but, if so be they have a pure conscience, even to be proud of them; and at the same time quietly though(7) gently hitting at the false Apostles. And as in the former Epistle he saith, "Christ sent me to preach the Gospel, not in wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect:" (1 Cor. i. 17.) and, "that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God;" (ib. ii. 5.) so here also, "Not in wisdom, but in the grace of Christ."

And he hinted also something besides, by employing the words, "not in wisdom," that is, 'not in deceit,' here too striking at the heathen discipline(8). "For our glorying," saith he, "is this, the testimony of our conscience;" that is, our conscience not having whereof to condemn us, as if for evil doings we were persecuted. For though we suffer countless horrors, though from every quarter we be shot at and in peril, it is enough for our comfort, yea rather not only for comfort, but even for our crowning, that our conscience is pure and testifieth unto us that for no evil-doing, but for that which is well-pleasing to God, we thus suffer; for virtue's sake, for heavenly wisdom's, for the salvation of the many. Now that previous consolation was from God: but this was contributed by themselves and from the purity of their' life. Wherefore also he calls it their glorying(9), because it was the achievement of their own virtue. What then is this glorying and what doth our conscience testify unto us? "That in sincerity," that is to say, having no deceitful thing, no hypocrisy, no dissimulation, no flattery, no ambush or guile, nor any other such thing, but in all frankness, in simplicity, in truth, in a pure and unmalicious spirit, in a guileless mind, having nothing concealed, no festering sore(10). "Not in fleshly wisdom;" that is, not with evil artifice, nor with wickedness, nor with cleverness of words, nor with webs of sophistries, for this he meaneth by 'fleshly wisdom:' and that whereupon they(11) greatly prided themselves, he disclaims and thrusts aside: showing very abundantly(12) that this is no worthy ground for glorying: and that not only he doth not seek it, but he even rejecteth and is ashamed of it.

"But in the grace of God we behaved our selves in the world."

What is, "in the grace of God?" Displaying the wisdom that is from Him, the power from Him given unto us, by the signs wrought, by overcoming sages, rhetoricians, philosophers, kings, peoples, unlearned as we are and bringing with us nothing of the wisdom that is without. No ordinary comfort and glorying, however, was this, to be conscious to themselves that it was not men's power they had used; but that by Divine grace they had achieved all success. ["In the world(1)."] So not in Corinth only, but also in every part of the world.

"And more abundantly to you-ward." What more abundantly to you-ward? "In the grace of God we behaved ourselves." For we showed both signs and wonders amongst you, and greater strictness(2), and a life unblameable; for he calls these too the grace of God, ascribing his own good works also unto it. For in Corinth he even overleapt the goal(3), making the Gospel without charge, because he spared their weakness.

Ver. 13. "For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or even acknowledge."

For since he spoke great things of himself and seemed to be bearing witness to himself, an odious thing, he again appeals to them as witnesses of what he says. For, he saith, let no one think that what I say is a boastful flourish of writing; for we declare unto you what yourselves know; and that we lie not ye more than all others can bear us witness. For, when ye read, ye acknowledge that what ye know that we perform in our actions, this we say also in our writings, and your testimony doth not contradict our epistles; but the knowledge which ye had before of us is in harmony with your reading.

Ver. 14. "As also ye did acknowledge us in part."

For your knowledge of us, he saith, is not from hearsay but from actual experience. The words "in part" he added from humility. For this is his wont, when necessity constraineth him to say any highsounding thing, (for he never doth so otherwise, ) as desiring quickly to repress again the elation(4) arising from what he had said.

"And I hope ye will acknowledge even to the end."

[2.] Seest thou again how from the past he draws pledges for the future; and not from the past only, but also from the power of God? For he affirmed not absolutely, but cast the whole upon God and his hope in Him.

"That we are your glorying, even as ye also are our's, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.(5)"

Here he cuts at the root(6) of the envy that his speech might occasion, by making them sharers and partners in the glory of his good works. 'For these stick not with us, but pass over unto you also, and again from you to us.' For seeing he had extolled himself, and produced proof of the past and given security for the future(7); lest his hearers should reflect on him for talking proudly, or, as I have said, be hurried to enviousness, he makes the rejoicing a common one and declares that this crown of praises is theirs. For if, he says, we have shown ourselves to be such, our praise is your glory: even as when ye also are approved, we rejoice and leap for joy and are crowned. Here also again he displays his great humility by what he says. For he so levels his expressions, not as a master discoursing to disciples, but as a disciple unto fellow-disciples of his own rank. And observe how he lifts them on high and fills them with philosophy, sending them on to That Day. For, he saith, tell me not of the present things, that is, the reproaches, the revilings, the scoffings of the many, for the things here are no great matter, neither the good nor the painful; nor the scoffings nor the praises which come from men: but remember, I pray, that day of fear and shuddering in the which all things are revealed. For then both we shall glory in you, and ye in us; when ye shall be seen to have such teachers, who teach no doctrine of men nor live in wickedness nor give [men] any handle; and we to have such disciples, neither affected after the manner of men nor shaken, but taking all things with readiness of mind, and unseduced by sophistries s from what side soever. For this is plain even now to those that have understanding, but then to all. So that even if we are afflicted now, we have this, and that no light, consolation which the conscience affordeth now, and the manifestation itself then. For now indeed our conscience knoweth that we do all things by the grace of God, as ye also know and shall know: but then, all men as well will learn both our doings and yours: and shall behold us glorified through each other. For that he may not appear himself alone to derive lustre from this glorying, he gives to them also a cause of boasting, and leads them away from their present distresses. And as he did in respect to the consolation when he said, "We are comforted for your sakes," (ver. 6.) so he does here also, saying, 'we glory on your account, as ye also on ours,' every where making them partakers of every thing, of his comfort, his sufferings, his preservation. For this his preservation he ascribes to their prayers. "For God delivered us," he saith, "ye helping together by prayer." In like manner also he makes the gloryings common. For as in that place he says, "Knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also of the consolation:" so here too, "we are your glorying, as ye also are ours."

Ver. 15. "And in this confidence I was minded to come before unto you." What confidence? 'In relying exceedingly on you, glorying over you, being your glorying, loving you exceedingly, being conscious to myself of nothing evil, being confident that all is spiritual with us, and having you as witnesses of this.'

"I was minded to come unto you, and by you to pass into Macedonia."

And yet he promised the contrary in his former Epistle, saying thus: "Now I will come unto you when I shall have passed through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia." (1 Cor. xvi. 5.) How is it then that he here says the contrary? He doth not say the contrary: away with the thought. For it is contrary indeed to what he wrote, but not contrary to what he wished.

Wherefore also here he said not, 'I wrote that I would pass by you into Macedona; but, 'I was minded.' For though I did not write on that wise,' he says, 'nevertheless I was greatly desirous, and 'was minded,' even before, to have come unto you: so far was I from wishing to be later than my promise that I would gladly have come before it.' "That ye might have a second benefit(1)." What is, a second benefit? 'That ye might have a double benefit, both that from my writings, and that from my presence.' By "benefit" he here means pleasure(2).

Ver. 16, 17. "And by you to pass into Macedonia, and to come again from Macedonia unto you, and of you to be set forward on my journey unto Judaea. When I therefore was thus(3) minded, did I show fickleness?"

[3.] Here in what follows, he directly does away with the charge arising out of his delay and absence. For what he says is of this nature. "I was minded to come unto you." 'Wherefore then did I not come? Is it as light-minded and changeable?' for this is, "did I show fickleness?" By no means. But wherefore? "Because what things I purpose, I purpose not according to the flesh." What is, "not according to the flesh?" I purpose not 'carnally.'

Ver. 17. "That with me there should be the yea yea and the nay nay."

But still even this is obscure. What is it then he says? The carnal man, that is, he that is rivetted to the present things and is continually occupied in them, and is without the sphere of the Spirit's influence, has power to go every where, and to wander whithersoever he will. But he that is the servant of the Spirit, and is led, and led about by Him, cannot everywhere be lord of his own purpose, having made it dependent upon the authority thence given; but it so fares with him as if a trusty servant, whose motions are always ruled by his lord's biddings and who has no power over himself nor is able to rest even a little, should make some promise to his fellow-servants, and then because his master would have it otherwise should fail to perform his promise. This then is what he means by, "I purpose not according to the flesh." I am not beyond the Spirit's governance, nor have liberty to go where I will. For I am subject to lordship and commands, the Comforter's, and by His decrees I am led, and led about. For this cause I was unable to come, for it was not the Spirit's will. As happened also frequently in the Acts; for when he had purposed to come to one place, the Spirit bade him go to another. So that it was not from lightness, that is, fickleness in me that I came not, but that being subject to the Spirit I obeyed Him. Didst mark again his accustomed logic?(4) That by which they thought to prove that "he purposed according to the flesh," namely, the non-fulfilment of his promise, he uses as the special proof that he purposed according to the Spirit, and that the contrary had been purposing according to the flesh. What then? saith one: was it not with the Spirit that he promised what he did? By no means. For I have already said that Paul did not foreknow every thing that was to happen or was expedient. And it is for this reason that he says in the former Epistle, "that ye may set me forward on my journey whithersoever I go;" (1 Cor. xvi. 6.) entertaining this very fear that after he had said, 'into Judaea,' he might be compelled to go elsewhither; but now when his intention had been frustrated, he says it, "And of you be set forward on my journey unto Judaea." So much as was of love, he states, namely, the coming to them; but that which had no reference to them, his going, namely, from them into Judaea, he doth not add definitely. When however he had been proved wrong(5), he afterwards says here boldly, "toward Judaea." And this too befel for good, lest any among them should conceive of them (the Apostles, Acts xiv. 13.) more highly than they deserved. For if in the face of these things they wished to sacrifice bulls to them. upon what impiety would they not have driven, had they not given many instances of human weakness? And why marvel if he knew not all things that were to happen, seeing that ofttimes he even in prayers knoweth not what is expedient.

"For," saith he "we know not what we should pray for as we ought." And that he may not seem to be speaking modestly, he not only saith this, but instances wherein he knew not in prayers what was expedient. Wherein then was it? When he entreated to be delivered from his trials, saying, "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me. Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 7--9.) Seest thou how he knew not to ask what was expedient, and so although he asked often he obtained not.

Ver. 18. "But as God is faithful, our word toward you was(1) not yea and nay."

He skillfully overturns a rising objection. For one might say, If after having promised, thou hast put off coming, and yea is not yea, and nay nay, with thee, but what thou sayest now thou unsayest afterwards, as thou didst in the case of this Journey: woe is unto us, if all this were the case in the Preaching too. Now lest they should have these thoughts and be troubled thereat, he says, "But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not yea and nay." This, saith he, was not the case in the Preaching, but only in our travels and journeyings; whereas whatever things we have said in our preaching, these abide steadfast and unmoveable, (for he calleth his preaching here, "word.") Then he bringeth proof of this that cannot be gainsaid, by referring all to God. What he saith is this; 'the promise of my coming was my own and I gave that promise from myself: but the preaching is not my own, nor of man, but of God, and what is of God it is impossible should lie.' Whereupon also he said, "God is faithful," that is, "true." 'Mistrust not then what is from Him, for there is nought of man in it.'

[4.] And seeing he had said "word," he adds what follows to explain what kind of word he means. Of what kind then is it?

Ver. 19. "For the Son of God," saith he, "Who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Silvanus, and Timothy, was not yea and nay."

For on this account he brings before them the company of the teachers also, as thence too giving credibility to the testimony by those who taught, and not who heard it only. And yet they were disciples; however in his modesty he counts them as in the rank of teachers. But what is, "was not yea and nay?" I have never, he saith, unsaid what before I said in the Preaching. My discourse to you was not now this, now that. For this is not of faith, but of an erring mind.

"But in Him was the yea." That is, just as I said, the word abideth unshaken and steadfast."

Ver. 20. "For how many soever be the promises of God," in Him is the yea, and in Him the Amen, unto the glory of God by us."

What is this, "how many soever the promises of God?" The Preaching promised many things; and these many things they proffered and preached. For they discoursed of being raised again, and of being taken up, and of in corruption, and of those great rewards and unspeakable goods. As to these promises then, he saith that they abide immoveable, and in them is no yea and nay, that is, the things spoken were not now true, and now false, as was the case about my being with you, but always true. And first indeed he contends for the articles(2) of the faith, and the word concerning Christ, saying, "My word" and my preaching, "was not yea and nay;" next, for the promises "for how many soever be the promises, of God, in Him is the yea." But if the things He promised are sure and He will certainly give them, much more is He Himself and the word concerning Him, sure, and it can not be said that He is now, and now is not, but He "always" is, and is the same. But what is, "In Him is the yea, and the Amen." He signifies that which shall certainly be. For in Him, not in man, the promises have their being and fulfilment. Fear not, therefore; for it is not man so that thou shouldest mistrust; but it is God Who both said and fulfilleth. "Unto the glory of God through us." What is, "unto [His] glory through us?" He fulfilleth them by us, that is, and(3) by His benefits towards us unto His glory; for this is "for the glory of God." But if they be for the glory of God, they will certainly come to pass. For His own glory He will not think little of, even did He think little of our salvation. But as it is, He thinketh not little of our salvation either, both because He loveth mankind exceedingly, and because our salvation is bound up with His glory from these things accruing. So that if the promises are for His glory, our salvation also will certainly follow; to which also, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he reverteth continually, saying, "to the maintenance of His glory(4);" (Eph. i. 14.) and every where he layeth down this, and shows the necessity of this result. And in this regard he here saith, that His promises lie not: for they not only save us, but also glorify Him. Dwell not on this therefore that they were promised by us; and so doubt. For they are not fulfilled by us, but by Him. Yea, and the promises were by Him; for we spoke not to you our own words, but His.

Ver. 21, 22. "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; Who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." Again, from the past He stablisheth the future. For if it is He that establisheth us in Christ; (i.e., who suffereth us not to be shaken from the faith which is in Christ;) and He that anointed us and gave the Spirit in our hearts, how shall He not give us the future things?

For if He gave the principles and the foundations, and the root and the fount, (to wit, the true knowledge of Him, the partaking of the Spirit,) how shall He not give the things that come of these: for if for the sake of these(1) those are given, much more will he(2) supply those. And if to such as were enemies he gave these, much more when now made friends will He "freely give" to them those. Wherefore He said not simply "the Spirit," but named "earnest," that from this thou mightest have a good hope of the whole as well. For did He not purpose to give the whole, He would never have chosen to give "the earnest" and to waste it without object or result. And observe Paul's candor. For why need I say, saith he, that the truth of the promises standeth not in us? The fact of your standing unwavering and fixed is not in us, but this too is of God; "for" saith he, "He who stablisheth us is God." It is not we who strengthen you: for even we also need Him that stablisheth. So then let none imagine that the Preaching is hazardous in us. He hath undertaken the whole, He cared for the whole.

And what is, "anointed," and "sealed?" Gave the Spirit by Whom He did both these things, making at once prophets and priests and kings, for in old times these three sorts were anointed. But we have now not one of these dignities, but all three preeminently. For we are both to enjoy a kingdom and are made priests by offering our bodies for a sacrifice, (for, saith he, "present your members(3) a living sacrifice unto God;) and withal we are constituted prophets too: for what things "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," (1 Cor. ii. 9.) these have been revealed unto us.

[5.] And in another way too we become kings: if we have the mind to get dominion over our unruly thoughts, for that such an one is a king and more than he who weareth the diadem, I will now make plain to you. He hath many armies, but we again have thoughts exceeding them in number; for it is impossible to number the infinite multitude of the thoughts within us. Nor is their multitude all that one is to consider, but also that in this multitude of thoughts, there are many generals, and colonels, and captains, and archers, and slingers. What else makes a king? His apparel? But this one too is arrayed in a better and braver robe, which neither doth moth devour nor age impair. A crown too he hath of curious workmanship(4), that of glory, that of the tender mercies of God. For saith [the Psalmist], "Bless the Lord, O my soul, that crowneth thee with pity and tender mercies." (Ps. ciii. 2, 4.) Again, that of glory: "For thou hast crowned him with glory and honor." (Ps. viii. 6.) And" with favor Thou hast crowned us with a shield." (Ps. v. 12. LXX.) Again, that of grace: "For thou shalt receive a crown of grace upon thy head." (Prov. i. 9. LXX.) Seest thou this diadem of many wreaths, and surpassing the other in grace. But let us institute anew and from the beginning a stricter inquiry into the condition of these kings. That king hath dominion over his guards, and issues orders to all, and all obey and serve him; but here I show you greater authority. For the number here is as great or even greater: it remains to inquire into their obedience. And bring me not forth those that have ruled amiss(5), since I too bring those that have been driven from their kingdom and murdered by their very body guards. Let us then bring forth these instances, but seek for those of either kind who have ordered well their kingdom. And do thou put forward whom thou wilt. I oppose unto thee the patriarch against all. For when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, consider how many thoughts then rose up against him. Nevertheless, he brought all under submission, and all trembled before him more than before a king his guards; and with a look only he stilled them all and not one of them dared so much as mutter; but down they bowed and as unto a king gave place, one and all, though much exasperated and exceeding relentless. For even the heads of spears raised upright by many soldiers are not as fearful as were then those fearful thoughts, armed not with spears, but what is harder(6) to deal with than many spears, the sympathy of nature! Wherefore they had power to pierce his soul more than sharpened spear point. For never spear could be so sharp as were the goads of those thoughts, which, sharpened and upraised from beneath, from his affections, were piercing through and through the mind of that righteous man. For here there needs time and purpose and a stroke and pain, and then death follows; but there, there needed none of these, so much were the wounds speedier and acuter. But still though so many thoughts were then in arms against him, there was a deep calm, and they stood all in fair array; adorning rather than daunting him. See him at least stretching out the knife, and set forth as many as thou wilt, kings, emperors, Caesars, yet shalt thou tell of nought like this, have no like mien to point to, so noble, so worthy of the heavens. For that righteous man erected a trophy at that movement over the most arbitrary of tyrannies. For nothing is so tyrannical as nature; and find ten thousand tyrannicides, one like this shalt thou never show us. For it was the, triumph in that moment of an angel, not a man. For consider. Nature was dashed to the ground with all her weapons, with all her host: and he stood with outstretched hand, grasping not a crown, but a knife more glorious than any crown, and the throng of angels applauded, and God from heaven proclaimed him conquerer.

For seeing that his citzenship was in heaven, thence also he received that proclamation. (Phil. iii. 20.) What could be more glorious than this? rather, what trophy could ever be equal to it? For if on occasion of a wrestler's success, not a herald below but the king above should have risen up and himself proclaimed the Olympic Victor, would not this have seemed to him more glorious than the crown, and have turned the gaze of the whole theatre upon him? When then no mortal king, but God Himself, not in this theatre but in the theatre of the universe, in the assembly of the angels, the archangels, proclaimeth his name with uplifted voice shouting from heaven, tell me what place shall we assign to this holy man?

[6.] But if you will, let us listen too to the voice itself. What then was the voice? "Abraham, Abraham, lay not thy hand upon Isaac, neither do thou any thing unto him. For now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy son, thy well-beloved, for My sake." (Gen. xxii. 11, 12.) What is this? He that knoweth all things before they are, did He now know! And yet even to man the Patriarch's(1) fear of God was evident: so many proofs had he given that his heart was right toward God(2), as when He said to him, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred;" (Gen. xii. 1.) when for His sake and the honor due to Him he relinquished to his sister's son his priority; when He delivered him out of so great perils; when He bade him go into Egypt, and on his wife's being taken from him, he repined not, and more instances besides; and as I said, from these things even man would have learned the Patriarch's fear of God, much more than God Who waiteth not for the acts to know the end. And how too justified he him, if He knew not? For it is written, "Abraham believed, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 3.)

What then means this, "Now I know?" The Syriac hath, "Now thou hast made known;" that is, to men. For I knew of old, even before all those commandments. And why, to men even, "now?" for were not those acts enough to prove his mind was right toward God? They were enough indeed, but this one so much greater than them all that they appear nothing beside it. As exalting then this good work and showing its superiority to all, He so spake. For of things which exceed and surpass all that went before, most men are wont to speak so: for instance, if one receive from another a gift greater than any former one, he often says, "Now I know that such an one loves me," not hereby meaning that he knew not in the time past, but as intending to declare what is now given to be greater than all. So also God, speaking after the manner of men, saith, "Now I know," intending only to mark the exceeding greatness of the exploit; not that He "then" came to know either his fear or the greatness of it. For when He saith, "Come, let Us go down and see," (Gen. xi. 7; xviii. 21.) He saith it not as needing to go down, (for He both filleth all things and knoweth all things certainly,) but to teach us not to give sentence lightly. And when He saith, "The Lord looked down from Heaven:" (Ps. xiv. 2.) it describeth His perfect knowledge by a metaphor taken from men. So also here He saith, "Now I know," to declare this to be greater than all which had preceded it. Of this itself too He furnisheth proof by adding, "Because thou sparedst not thy son, thy well-beloved, for My sake; He saith not "thy son" only, but yet more, "thy well-beloved." For it was not nature only, but also parental fondness, which having both by natural disposition and by the great goodness of his child, he yet dared in him to spurn(3). And if about worthless children parents are not easily indifferent, but mourn even for them; when it is his son, his only-begotten, and his well-beloved, even Isaac, and the father himself is on the point of immolating him; who can describe the excessiveness of such philosophy? This exploit outshineth thousands of diadems and crowns innumerable. For the wearer of that crown, both death ofttimes assaileth and annoyeth, and before death, assaults of circumstances without number; but this diadem shall no one have strength to take from him that weareth it; no not even after death; neither of his own household, nor of strangers. And let me point you out the costliest stone in this diadem. For as a costly stone, so this comes at the end and clasps it. What then is this? the words, "for My sake?" for not herein is the marvel, that he spared not, but that it was "for His sake."

Oh! blessed right hand, of what a knife was it accounted worthy? oh! wondrous knife, of what a right hand was it accounted worthy? Oh! wondrous knife, for what a purpose was it prepared? to what an office did it serve? to what a type did it minister? How was it bloodied? how was it not bloodied? For I know not what to say, so awful was that mystery. It touched not the neck of the child, nor passed through the throat of that holy one: nor was crimsoned with the blood of the righteous; rather it both touched, and passed through, and was crimsoned, and was bathed in it, yet was not bathed. Perchance I seem to you beside myself, uttering such contradictions. For, in truth, I am beside myself, with the thought of the wondrous deed of that righteous man; but I utter no contradictions. For indeed the righteous man's hand thrust it in the throat of the lad, but God's Hand suffered it not, so thrust, to be stained with blood of the lad. For it was not Abraham alone that held it back, but God also: and he by his purpose gave the stroke, God by His voice restrained it. For the same voice both armed and disarmed(1) that right hand, which, marshalled under God, as if under a leader, performed all things at His beck, and all were ministered at His voice. For observe; He said, "Slay," and straightway it was armed: He said, "Slay not," and straightway it was disarmed: for every thing [before] had been fully prepared.

And now God showed the soldier and general to the whole world; this crowned victor to the theatre of the angels; this priest, this king, crowned with that knife beyond a diadem, this trophy-bearer, this champion, this conqueror without a fight. For as if some general having a most valiant soldier, should use his mastery of his weapons, his bearing, his ordered movements(2) to dismay the adversary; so also God, by the purpose, the attitude, the bearing only of that righteous man, dismayed and routed the common enemy of us all, the Devil. For I deem that even he then shrunk away aghast. But if any one say, 'And why did he not suffer that right hand to be bathed, and then forthwith raise him up after being sacrificed?' Because God might not accept such bloody offerings; such a table were that of avenging demons. But here two things were displayed, both the loving kindness of the Master, and the faithfulness of the servant. And before, indeed, he went out from his country: but then he abandoned even nature. Wherefore also he received his principal with usury: and very reasonably. For he chose to lose the name of father, to show himself a faithful servant. Wherefore he became not a father only, but also a priest; and because for God's sake he gave up his own, therefore also did God give him with these His own besides. When then enemies devise mischief, He allows it to come even to the trial, and then works miracles; as in the case of the furnace and the lions; (Dan. iii. and vi.)but when Himself biddeth, readiness(3) attained, He stayeth His bidding. What then, I ask, was wanting further in this noble deed? For did Abraham foreknow what would happen? Did he bargain for the mercy of God? For even though he were a prophet, yet the prophet knoweth not all things. So the actual sacrifice afterwards was superfluous and unworthy of God. And if it was fit he should learn that God was able to raise from the dead, by the womb he had learnt this much more marvellously, or rather he learnt it even before that proof, for he had faith.

[7.] Do not then only admire this righteous man, but also imitate him, and when thou seest him amid so great uproar and surge of waves sailing as in a calm, take thou in hand in like way the helm of obedience and fortitude. For look, pray, not only at this that he built up the altar and the wood; but remember too the voice of the lad, and reflect what hosts like snow storms(4) assaulted him to dismay him, when he heard the lad say, "My father, where is the lamb?" Bethink thee how many thoughts were then stirred up armed not with iron, but with darts of flame; and piercing into and cutting him through on every side. If even now many, and those not parents, are broken down(5), and would have wept, did they not know the end: and many, I see, do weep, though they know it; what must it be thought he would feel, who begat, who nurtured him, in old age had him, had him only, him such an one, who sees, who hears him, and is presently about to slay him? What intelligence in the words! What meekness in the question! Who then is here at work? The Devil that he might set nature in a flame? God forbid! but God, the more to prove the golden soul of the righteous man. For when indeed the wife of Job speaks, a Devil is at work. For of such sort the advice is. But this one uttereth nothing blasphemous, but what is both very devout and thoughtful; and great the grace that overspread the words, much the honey that dropped therefrom, flowing from a calm and gentle soul. Even a heart of stone these words were enough to soften. But they turned not aside, nay, shook not that adamant. Nor said he, 'Why callest thou him father, who in a little while will not be thy father, yea, who hath already lost that title of honor?' And why doth the lad ask the question? Not of impertinence merely, not of curiosity, but as anxious about what was proposed. For he reflected that had his father not meant to make him a partner in what was done, he would not have left the servants below, and taken him only with him. For this reason, too, surely, it is that when they were alone, then he asks him, when none heard what was said. So great was the judgment of the lad. Are ye not all warmed towards him, both men and women? Doth not each one of you mentally infold and kiss the child, and marvel at his judgment; and venerate the piety which, when he was both bound and laid on the wood, made him not be dismayed nor struggle nor accuse his father as mad; but he was even bound and lifted up and laid upon it, and endured all in silence, like a lamb, yea, rather like the common Lord of all. For of Him he both imitated the gentleness, and kept to the type. For "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep dumb before his shearer." (Is. liii. 7.) And yet Isaac spake; for his Lord spake also. How dumb then? This meaneth, he spake nothing wilful or harsh, but all was sweet and mild, and the words more than the silence manifested his gentleness. For Christ also said, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me? "(John xviii. 23) and manifested His gentleness more than if He had help His peace. And as this one speaketh with his father from the altar, so too doth He from the Cross, saying," Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." What then said the Patriarch? (ver. 8.) "God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt-offering, my son." Either uses the names of nature; the former, father; the latter, son; and on either side arduous is the war stirred up, and mighty the storm, and yet wreck no where: for religion(1) triumphed over all. Then after he heard of God, he spoke no further word nor was impertinently curious(2). Of such judgment was the child even in the very bloom of youth. Seest thou the king, over how many armies, in how many battles which beset him, he hath been victorious? For the barbarians were not so fearful to the city of Jerusalem when they assaulted her oftentimes, as were to this man the thoughts on every side besieging him: but still he overcame all. Wouldest thou see the priest also? The instance is at hand. For when thou hast seen him with fire and a knife; and standing over an altar, what doubtest thou after as to his priesthood? But if thou wouldest see the sacrifice also, lo, here a twofold one. For he offered a son, he offered also a ram, yea, more and above all, his own will. And with the blood of the lamb he consecrated his right hand(3), with the sacrifice of his son, his soul. Thus was he ordained a priest, by the blood of his only-begotten, by the sacrifice of a lamb; for the priests also were consecrated by the blood of the victims which were offered to God. Wouldest thou see the prophet also? It is written, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad." (Levit. viii. John viii. 56.)

So also art thou thyself made king and priest and prophet in the Layer; a king, having dashed to earth all the deeds of wickedness and slain thy sins; a priest, in that thou offerest thyself to God, having sacrificed thy body and being thyself slain also, "for if we died with Him," saith he, ''we shall also live with Him;" (2 Tim. ii. 11.) a prophet, knowing what shall be, and being inspired of God(4), and sealed(5). For as upon soldiers a seal, so is also the Spirit put upon the faithful. And if thou desert, thou art manifest [by it] to all. For the Jews had circumcision for a seal, but we, the earnest of the Spirit. Knowing then all this, and considering our high estate, let us exhibit a life worthy of the grace(6), that we may obtain also the kingdom to come; which may we all obtain through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

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