ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
HOMILIES ON FIRST CORINTHIANS, 1-10
[Translated by the Rev. Hubert Kestell Cornish, M.A., late Fellow of Exeter College, and the Rev. John Medley, M.A., of Wadham College, Vicar of St. Thomas, in the city of Exeter; revised by the Rev. Talbot W. Chambers, D.D., Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church, New York.]
[1.] As Corinth is now the first city of Greece, so of old it prided itself on many temporal advantages, and more than all the rest, on excess of wealth. And on this account one of the heathen writers entitled the place "the rich(1)." For it lies on the isthmus of the Peloponnesus, and had great facilities for traffic. The city was also full of numerous orators, and philosophers, and one(2)." I think, of the seven called wise men, was of this city. Now these things we have mentioned, not for ostentation's sake, nor to make, a display of great learning: (for indeed what is there in knowing these things?) but they are of use to us in the argument of the Epistle.
Paul also himself suffered many things in this city; and Christ, too, in this city appears to him and says, (Act. xviii. 10), "Be not silent, but speak; for I have much people in this city:" and he remained there two years. In this city [Acts xix. 16. Corinth put here, by lapse of memory, for Ephesus]. also the devil went out, whom the Jews endeavoring to exorcise, suffered so grievously. In this city did those of the magicians, who repented, collect together their books and burn them, and there appeared to be fifty thousand. (Acts xix. 18. arguri'ou omitted.) In this city also, in the time of Gallio the Proconsul, Paul was beaten before the judgment seat(3).
 The devil, therefore, seeing that a great and populous city had laid hold of the truth, a city admired for wealth and wisdom, and the head of Greece; (for Athens and Lacedaemon were then and since in a miserable state, the dominion having long ago fallen away from them;) and seeing that with great readiness they had received the word of God; what doth he? He divides the men. For he knew that even the strongest kingdom of all, divided against itself, shall not stand. He had a vantage ground too, for this device in the wealth, the wisdom of the inhabitants. Hence certain men, having made parties of their own, and having become self-elected made themselves leaders of the people, and some sided with these, and some with those; with one sort, as being rich; with another, as wise and able to teach something out of the common. Who on their part, receiving them, set themselves up forsooth to teach more than the Apostle did:(4) at which he was hinting, when he said, "I was not able to speak unto you as unto spiritual" (ch. iii. 1.); evidently not his inability, but their infirmity, was the cause of their not having been abundantly instructed. And this, (ch. iv. 8.) "Ye are become rich without us," is the remark of one pointing that way. And this was no small matter, but of all things most pernicious; that the Church should be torn asunder.
And another sin, too, besides these, was openly committed there: namely, a person who had had intercourse with his step-mother not only escaped rebuke, but was even a leader of the multitude, and gave occasion to his followers to be conceited. Wherefore he saith, (ch. 5. 2.) "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned." And after this again, certain of those who as they pretended were of the more perfect sort, and who for gluttony's sake used to eat of things offered unto idols, and sit at meat in the temples, Were bringing all to ruin. Others again, having contentions and strifes about money, committed unto the heathen courts (toi^s e`xwthen sicadthri'ois) all matters of that kind. Many persons also wearing long hair used to go about among them; whom he ordereth to be shorn. There was another fault besides, no trifling one; their eating in the churches apart by themselves, and giving no share to the needy.
And again, they were erring in another point, being puffed up with the gifts; and hence jealous of one another; which was also the chief cause of the distraction of the Church. The doctrine of the Resurrection, too, was lame (ekw'leue) among them: for some of them had no strong belief that there is any resurrection of bodies, having still on them the disease of Grecian foolishness. For indeed all these things were the progeny of the madness which belongs to Heathen Philosophy, and she was the mother of all mischief. Hence, likewise, they had become divided; in this respect also having learned of the philosophers. For these latter were no less at mutual variance, always, through love of rule and vain glory contradicting one another's opinions, and bent upon making some new discovery in addition to all that was before. And the cause of this was, their having begun to trust themselves to reasonings.
[3.] They had written accordingly to him by the hand of Fortunatus and Stephanas and Achaicus, by whom also he himself writes; and this he has indicated in the end of the Epistle: not however upon all these subjects, but about marriage and virginity; wherefore also he said, (ch. vii. 1.) "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote" &c. And he proceeds to give injunctions, both on the points about which they had written, and those about which they had not written; having learnt with accuracy all their failings. Timothy, too, he sends with the letters, knowing that letters indeed have great force, yet that not a little would be added to them by the presence of the disciple also.
Now whereas those who had divided the Church among themselves, from a feeling of shame lest they should seem to have done so for ambition's sake, contrived cloaks for what had happened, their teaching (forsooth) more perfect doctrines, and being wiser than all others; Paul sets himself first against the disease itself, plucking up the root of the evils, and its offshoot, the spirit of separation. And he uses great boldness of speech: for these were his own i disciples, more than all others. Wherefore he saith (ch. ix. 2.) "If to others I be not an Apostle, yet at least I am unto you; for the seal of my apostleship are ye." Moreover they were in a weaker condition (to say the least of it) than the others. Wherefore he saith, (ch. iii. 1, 2. oude` for ou'te). "For I have not spoken unto you as unto spiritual; for hitherto ye were not able, neither yet even now are ye able." (This he saith, that they might not suppose that he speaks thus in regard of the time past alone.)
However, it was utterly improbable that all should have been corrupted; rather there were some among them who were very holy. And this he signified(1) in the middle of the Epistle, where he says, (ch. iv. 3, 6.) "To me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you:" and adds, "these things I have in a figure transferred unto myself and Apollos."
Since then from arrogance all these evils were springing, and from men's thinking that they knew something out of the common, this he purgeth away first of all, and in beginning saith,
HOMILY I: 1 Cor. i. 1-3.
Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours: Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[1.] See how immediately, from the very beginning, he casts down their pride, and dashes to the ground all their fond imagination, in that he speaks of himself as "called." For what I have learnt, saith he, I discovered not myself, nor acquired by my own wisdom, but while I was persecuting and laying waste the Church I was called. Now here of Him that calleth is everything: of him that is called, nothing, (so to speak,) but only to obey.
"Of Jesus Christ." Your teacher is Christ; and do you register the names of men, as patrons of your doctrine?
"Through the will of God." For it was God who willed that you should be saved in this way. We ourselves have wrought no good thing, but by the will of God we have attained to this salvation; and because it seemed good to him, we were called, not because we were worthy.
"And Sosthenes our brother." Another instance of his modesty; he puts in the same rank with himself one inferior to Apollos; for great was the interval between Paul and Sosthenes. Now if where the interval was so wide he stations with himself one far beneath him, what can they have to say who despise their equals?
"Unto the Church of God." Not "of this or of that man," but of God.
"Which is at Corinth." Seest thou how at each word he puts down their swelling pride; training their thoughts in every way for heaven? He calls it, too, the Church "of God;" shewing that it ought to be united. For if it be "of God," it is united, and it is one, not in Corinth only, but also in all the world: for the Church's name (ekklhsi'a: properly an assembly) is not a name of separation, but of unity and concord.
"To the sanctified in Christ Jesus." Again the name of Jesus; the names of men he findeth no place for. But what is Sanctification? The Laver, the Purification. For he reminds them of their own uncleanness, from which he had freed them; and so persuades them to lowliness of mind; for not by their own good deeds, but by the loving-kindness of God, had they been sanctified.
"Called to be Saints." For even this, to be saved by faith, is not saith he, of yourselves; for ye did not first draw near, but were called; so that not even this small matter is yours altogether. However, though you had drawn near, accountable as you are for innumerable wickednesses, not even so would the grace be yours, but God's. Hence also, writing to the Ephesians, he said, (Eph. ii. 8.) "By grace have ye been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves;" not even the faith is yours altogether; for ye were not first with your belief, but obeyed a call.
"With all who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Not "of this or that man," but "the Name of the Lord."
[2.] "In every place, both theirs and ours." For although the letter be written to the Corinthians only, yet he makes mention of all the faithful that are in all the earth; showing that the Church throughout the world must be one, however separate in divers places; and much more, that in Corinth. And though the place separate, the Lord binds them together, being common to all. Wherefore also uniting them he adds, "both theirs and ours." And this is far more powerful [to unite], than the other [to separate]. For as men in one place, having many and contrary masters, become distracted, and their one place helps them not to be of one mind, their masters giving orders at variance with each other, and drawing each their own way, according to what Christ says, (St. Matt. vi. 24.) "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon;" so those in different places, if they have not different lords but one only, are not by the places injured in respect of unanimity, the One Lord binding them together. "I say not then, (so he speaks,) that with Corinthians only, you being Corinthians ought to be of one mind, but with all that are in the whole world, inasmuch as you have a common Master." This is also why he hath a second time added "our;" for since he had said, "the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord," lest he should appear to the inconsiderate to be making a distinction, he subjoins again, "both our Lord and theirs."
[3.] That my meaning may be clearer, I will read it according to its sense thus: "Paul and Sosthenes to the Church of God which is in Corinth and to all who call upon the Name of Him who is both our Lord and theirs in every place, whether in Rome or wheresoever else they may be: grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Or again thus; which I also believe to be rather more correct: "Paul and Sosthenes to those that are at Corinth, who have been sancified, called to be Saints, together with all who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in place, both theirs and ours; "that is to say, "grace unto you, and peace unto you, who are at Corinth, who have been sanctified and called;" not to you alone, but "with all who in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs."
Now if our peace be of grace, why hast thou high thoughts? Why art Thou so puffed up, being saved by grace? And if thou hast peace with God, why wish to assign thyself to others? since this is what separation comes to. For what if you be at "peace" with this man, and with the other even find "grace?" My prayer is that both these may be yours from God; both from Him I say, and towards Him. For neither do they abide (me'nei, Savile in marg.) secure except they enjoy the influence from above; nor unless God be their object will they aught avail you: for it profiteth us nothing, though we be peaceful towards all men, if we be at war with God; even as it is no harm to us, although by all men we are held as enemies, if with God we are at peace. And again it is no gain to us, if all men approve, and the Lord be offended; neither is there any danger, though all shun and hate us, if with God we have acceptance and love. For that which is verily grace, and verily peace, cometh of God, since he who finds grace in God's sight, though he suffer ten thousand horrors, feareth no one; I say not only, no man, but not even the devil himself; but he that hath offended God suspects all men, though he seem to be in security. For human nature is unstable, and not friends only and brethren, but fathers also, before now, have been altogether changed and often for a little thing he whom they begat, the branch of their planting, hath been to them, more than all foes, an object of persecution. Children, too, have cast off their fathers. Thus, if ye will mark it, David was in favor with God, Absalom was in favor with men. What was the end of each, and which of them gained most honor, ye know. Abraham was in favor with God, Pharaoh with men; for to gratify him they gave up the just man's wife. (See St. Chrys. on Gen. xii. 17.) Which then of the two was the more illustrious, and the happy man? every one knows. And why speak I of righteous men; The Israelites were in favor with God, but they were bated by men, the Egyptians; but nevertheless they prevailed against their haters and vanquished them, with how great triumph, is well known to you all.
For this, therefore, let all of us labor earnestly; whether one be a slave, let him pray for this, that he may find grace with God rather than with his master; or a wife, let her seek grace from God her Saviour rather than from her husband; or a soldier, in preference to his king and commander let him seek that favor which cometh from above. For thus among men also wilt thou be an object of love. [4.] But how shall a man find grace with God? How else, except by lowliness of mind? "For God, "saith one, (St. Jas. iv. 6.) "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble; and, (Ps. li. 17. tetapeinwme'nhn.) the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit, and a heart that is brought low God will not despise." For if with men humility is so lovely, much more with God. Thus both they of the Gentiles found grace and the Jews no other way fell from grace; (Rom. x. 13.) "for they were not subject unto the righteousness of God." The lowly man of whom I am speaking, is pleasing and delightful to all men, and dwells in continual peace, and hath in him no ground for contentions. For though you insult him, though you abuse him, whatsoever you say, he will be silent and will bear it meekly, and will have so great peace towards all men as one cannot even describe. Yea, and with God also. For the commandments of God are to be at peace with men: and thus our whole life is made prosperous, through peace one with another. For no man can injure God: His nature is imperishable, and above all suffering. Nothing makes the Christian so admirable as lowliness of mind. Hear; for instance, Abraham saying, (Gen. xviii. 27.) "But I am but dust and ashes;" and again, God [saying] of Moses, that (Numb. xii. 3.) "he was the meekest of all men." For nothing was ever more humble than he; who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egytians, as if they had been flies; and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person, and as a son-in-law was humbler than his father-in-law, (Exodus xviii. 24.) and took advice from him, and was not indignant, nor did he say, "What is this? After such and so great achievements, art thou come to us with thy counsel?" This is what most people feel; though a man bring the best advice, despising it, because of the lowliness of the person. But not so did he: rather through lowliness of mind he wrought all things well. Hence also he despised the courts of kings, (Heb. xi. 24-26.) since he was lowly indeed: for the sound mind and the high spirit are the fruit of humility. For of how great nobleness and magnanimity, thinkest thou, was it a token, to despise the kingly palace and table? since kings among the Egyptians are honored as gods, and enjoy wealth and treasures inexhaustible. But nevertheless, letting go all these and throwing away the very sceptres of Egypt, he hastened to join himself unto captives, and men worn down with toil, whose strength was spent in the clay and the making of bricks, men whom his own slaves abhorred, (for, saith he (ebdelu'ssonto, Sept. Ex. i. 2.) "The Egyptians abhorred them;") unto these he ran and preferred them before their masters. From whence it is plain, that whoso is lowly, the same is high and great of soul. For pride cometh from an ordinary mind and an ignoble spirit, but moderation, from greatness of mind and a lofty soul.
 And if you please, let us try each by examples. For tell me, what was there ever more exalted than Abraham? And yet it was he that said, "I am but dust and ashes;" it was he who said, (Gen. xiii. 8.) "Let there be no strife between me and thee." But this man, so humble, (Gen. xiv. 21-24,) despised ("Persian," i.e. perhaps, "of Elam.") Persian spoils, and regarded not Barbaric trophies; and this he did of much highmindedness, and of a spirit nobly nurtured. For he is indeed exalted who is truly humble; (not the flatterer nor the dissembler;) for true greatness is one thing, and arrogance another. And this is plain from hence; if one man esteem clay to be clay, and despise it, and another admire the clay as gold, and account it a great thing; which, I ask, is the man of exalted mind? Is it not he who refuses to admire the clay? And which, abject and mean? Is it not he who admires it, and set much store by it? Just so do thou esteem of this case also; that he who calls himself but dust and ashes is exalted, although he say it out of humility; but that he who does not consider himself dust and ashes, but treats himself lovingly and has high thoughts, this man for his part must be counted mean, esteeming little things to be great. Whence it is clear that out of great loftiness of thought the patriarch spoke that saying, "I am but dust and ashes;" from loftiness of thought, not from arrogance.
For as in bodies it is one thing to be healthy and plump, (sphrigw^nta, firm and elastic.) and another thing to be swoln, although both indicate a full habit of flesh, (but in this case of unsound, in that of healthful flesh;) so also here: it is one thing to be arrogant, which is, as it were, to be swoln, and another thing to be high-souled, which is to be in a healthy state. And again, one man is tall from the stature of his person; another, being short, by adding buskins(1) becomes taller; now tell me, which of the two should we call tall and large? Is it not quite plain, him whose height is from himself? For the other has it as something not his own; and stepping upon things low in themselves, turns out a tall person. Such is the case with many men who mount themselves up on wealth and glory; which is not exaltation, for he is exalted who wants none of these things, but despises them, and has his greatness from himself. Let us therefore become humble that we may become exalted; (St. Luke xiv. 11.) "For he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Now the self-willed man is not such as this; rather he is of all characters the most ordinary. For the bubble, too, is inflated, but the inflation is not sound; wherefore we call these persons "puffed up." Whereas the sober-minded man has no high thoughts, not even in high fortunes, knowing his own low estate; but the vulgar even in his trifling concerns indulges a proud fancy.
[6.] Let us then acquire that height which comes by humility. Let us look into the nature of human things, that we may kindle with the longing desire of the things to come; for in no other way is it possible to become humble, except by the love of what is divine and the contempt of what is present. For just as a man on the point of obtaining a kingdom, if instead of that purple robe one offer him some trivial compliment, will count it to be nothing; so shall we also laugh to scorn all things present, if we desire that other sort of honor. Do ye not see the children, when in their play they make a band of soldiers, and heralds precede them and lictors, and a boy marches in the midst in the general's place, how childish it all is? Just such are all human affairs; yea and more worthless than these: to- day they are, and to-morrow they are not. Let us therefore be above these things; and let us not only not desire them, but even be ashamed if any one hold them forth to us. For thus, casting out the love of these things, we shall possess that other love which is divine, and shall enjoy immortal glory. Which may God grant us all to obtain, through the grace and loving- kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with whom be to the Father, together with the holy and good Spirit, the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
HOMILY II: 1 Cor. i. 4, 5.
I thank my God always concerning you, for the Grace of God which was given you in Jesus Christ; that in every thing you were enriched in him.
. THAT which he exhorts others to do, saying, "(Phil. iv. 6.) Let your requests with thanksgiving be made known unto God," the same also he used to do himself: teaching us to begin always from these words, and before all things to give thanks unto God. For nothing is so acceptable to God as that men should be thankful, both for themselves and for others wherefore also he prefaces almost every Epistle with this. But the occasion for his doing so is even more urgent here than in the other Epistles. For he that gives thanks, does so, both as being well off, and as in acknowledgment of a favor: now a favor is not a debt nor a requital nor a payment: which indeed every where is important to be said, but much more in the case of the Corinthians who were gaping after the dividers of the Church.
[2.] "Unto my God." Out of great affection he seizes on that which is common, and makes it his own; as the prophets also from time to time use to say, (Ps. xliii. 4; lxii. 1.) "O God, my God;" and by way of encouragement he incites them to use the same language also themselves. For such expressions belong to one who is retiring from all secular things, and moving towards Him whom he calls on with so much earnestness: since he alone can truly say this, who from things of this life is ever mounting upwards unto God, and always preferring Him to all, and giving thanks continually, not [only] for the grace already given,(1) but whatever blessing hath been since at any time bestowed, for this also he offereth unto Him the same praise. Wherefore he saith not merely, "I give thanks," but "at all times, concerning you;" instructing them to be thankful both always, and to no one else save God only.
[3.] "For the grace of God." Seest thou how from every quarter he draws topics for correcting them? For where "grace" is, "works" are not i where "works," it is no more "grace." If therefore it be "grace," why are ye high-minded? Whence is it that ye are puffed up?
"Which is given you." And by whom was it given? By me, or by another Apostle? Not at all, but "by Jesus Christ." For the expression, "In Jesus Christ," signifies this. Observe how in divers places he uses the word en, "in," instead of di' hou, "through means of whom;" therefore its sense is no less.(*)
"That in every thing ye were enriched." Again, by whom? By Him, is the reply. And not merely "ye were enriched, but "in every thing." Since then it is first of all, "riches" then, "riches of God," next, "in every thing," and lastly, "through the Only-Begotten," reflect on the ineffable treasure!
Ver. 5. "In all utterance, and all knowledge." "Word" ["or utterance,"] not such as the heathen, but that of God. For there is knowledge without "word," and there is knowledge with "word." For so there are many who possess knowledge, but have not the power of speech; as those who are uneducated and unable to exhibit clearly what they have in their mind. Ye, saith he, are not such as these, but competent both to understand and to speak.
Ver. 6. "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you." Under the color of praises and thanksgiving he touches them sharply. "For not by heathen philosophy," saith he, "neither by heathen discipline, but "the grace of God," and by the "riches," by and the "knowledge," and the "word" given by Him, were you enabled to learn the doctrines of the truth, and to be confirmed unto the testimony of the Lord; that is, unto the Gospel. For ye had the benefit of many signs, many wonders unspeakable grace, to make you receive the Gospel. If therefore ye were established by signs and grace, why do ye waver?" Now these are the words of one both reproving, and at the same time prepossessing them in his favor.
[4.] Ver. 7. "So that ye come behind in no gift." A great question here arises. They who had been "enriched in all utterance," so as in no respect to "come behind m any gift," are they carnal? For if they were such at the beginning, much more now. How then does he call them "carnal?" For, saith he, (1 Cor. iii. 1.) "I was not able to speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal." What must we say then? That having in the beginning believed, and obtained all gifts, (for indeed they sought them earnestly,) they became remiss afterwards. Or, if not so, that not unto all are either these things said or those; but the one to such as were amenable to his censures, the other to such as were adorned with his praises. For as to the fact that they still had gifts; (1 Cor. xiv. 26, 29.) "Each one," saith he, "hath a psalm, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation; let all things be done unto edifying." And, "Let the prophets speak two or three." Or we may state it somewhat differently; that as it is usual with us to call the greater part the whole, so also he hath spoken in this place. Withal, I think he hints at his own proceedings; for he too had shewn forth signs; even as also he saith in the second Epistle to them, (2 Cor. xii. 12, 13.) "Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience:" and again, "For what is there wherein you were inferior to other churches?"
Or, as I was saying, he both reminds them of his own miracles and speaks thus with an eye to those who were still approved. For many holy men were there who had "set themselves to minister unto the saints," and had become "the first fruits of Achaia;" as he declareth (ch. xvi. 15.) towards the end.
[5.] In any case, although the praises be not very close to the truth, still however they are inserted by way of precaution, (oikonomikw^s) preparing the way beforehand for his discourse. For whoever at the very outset speaks things unpleasant, excludes his words from a hearing among the weaker: since if the hearers be his equals in degree they feel angry; if vastly inferior they will be vexed. To avoid this, he begins with what seem to be praises. I say, seem; for not even did this praise belong to them, but to the grace of God. For that they had remission of sins, and were justified, this was of the Gift from above. Wherefore also he dwells upon these points, which shew the loving-kindness of God, in order that he may the more fully purge out their malady.
[6.] "Waiting for the revelation (apoka'lupsin.) of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Why make ye much ado," saith he, "why are ye troubled that Christ is not come? Nay, he is come; and the Day. is henceforth at the doors." And consider his wisdom; how withdrawing them from human considerations he terrifies them by mention of the fearful judgment-seat, and thus implying that not only the beginnings must be good, but the end also. For with all these gifts, and with all else that is good, we must be mindful of that Day: and there is need of many labors to be able to come unto the end. "Revelation" is his word; implying that although He be not seen, yet He is, and is present even now, and then shall appear. Therefore there is need of patience: for to this end did ye receive the wonders, that ye may remain firm.
[7.] Ver. 8. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be unreprovable." Here he seems to court them, but the saying is free from all flattery; for he knows also how to press them home; as when he saith, (1 Cor. iv. 18, 21.) "Now some are puffed up as though I would not come to you:" and again, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" And, (2 Cor. xiii. 3.) "Since ye seek a proof I of Christ speaking in me." But he is also covertly accusing them: for, to say, "He shall confirm," and the word "unreprovable" marks them out as still wavering, and liable to reproof.
But do thou consider how he always fasteneth them as with nails to the Name of Christ. And not any man nor teacher, but continually the Desired One Himself is remembered by him: setting himself, as it were to arouse those who were heavy-headed after some debauch. For no where in any other Epistle doth the Name of Christ occur so continually. But here it is, many times in a few verses; and by means of it he weaves together, one may say, the whole of the proem. Look at it from the beginning. "Paul called [to be] an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have been sanctified in Jesus Christ, who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, grace [be] unto you and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God for the grace which hath been given you by Jesus Christ, even as the testimony of Christ hath been confirmed in you, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall confirm you unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And I beseech you by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Seest thou the constant repetition of the Name of Christ? From whence it is plain even to the most unobservant, that not by chance nor unwittingly he doeth this, but in order that by incessant application(2) of that glorious Name he may foment(*) their inflammation, and purge out the corruption of the disease.
[8.] Ver. 9. "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son." Wonderful! How great a thing saith he here! How vast in the magnitude of the gift which he declares! Into the fellowship of the Only-Begotten have ye been called, and do ye addict yourselves unto men? What can be worse than this wretchedness? And how have ye been called? By the Father. For since "through Him," and "in Him," were phrases which he was constantly employing in regard of the Son, lest men might suppose that he so mentioneth Him as being less, he ascribeth the same to the Father. For not by this one and that one, saith he, but "by the Father" have ye been called; by Him also have ye been "enriched." Again, "ye have been called;" ye did not yourselves approach. But what means, "into the fellowship of His Son?" Hear him declaring this very thing more clearly elsewhere. (2 Tim. ii. 12.) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him. Then, because it was a great thing which He had said, he adds an argument fraught with unanswerable conviction; for, saith he, "God is faithful," i. e. "true." Now if "true," what things He hath promised He will also perform. And He hath promised that He will make us partakers of His only-begotten Son; for to this end also did He call us. For (Rom. xi. 29.) "His gifts, and the calling of God," are without repentance.
These things, by a kind of divine art he inserts thus early, lest after the vehemence of the reproofs they might fall into despair. For assuredly God's part will ensue, if we be not quite impatient of His rein. (aphhnia'swmen) As the Jews, being called, would not receive the blessings; but this was no longer of Him that called, but of their lack of sense. For He indeed was willing to give, but they, by refusing to receive, cast themselves away. For, had He called to a painful and toilsome undertaking, not even in that case were they pardonable in making excuse; however, they would have been able to say that so it was: but if the call be unto cleansing, (Comp. i. 4-7.) and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and grace, and a free gift, and the good things in store, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; and it be God that calls, and calls by Himself; what pardon can they deserve, who come not running to Him? Let no one therefore accuse God; for unbelief cometh not of Him that calleth, but of those who start away (apophdw^ntas) from Him.
[9.] But some man will say, "He ought to ring men in, even against their will." Away with this. He doth not use violence, nor compel; for who that bids to honors, and crowns, and banquets, and festivals, drags people, unwilling and bound? No one. For this is the part of one inflicting an insult. Unto hell He sends men against their will, but unto the kingdom He calls willing minds. To the fire He brings men bound and bewailing themselves: to the endless state of blessings not so. Else it is a reproach to the very blessings themselves, if their nature be not such as that men should run to them of their own accord and with many thanks.
"Whence it is then," say you, "that all men do not choose them?" From their own infirmity. "And wherefore doth He not cut off their infirmity?" And how tell me--in what way--ought He to cut it off? Hath He not made a world that teacheth His loving-kindness and His power? For (Ps. xix. 1.) "the heavens," saith one, "declare the glory of God." Hath He not also sent prophets? Hath He not both called and honored us? Hath He not done wonders? Hath He not given a law both written and natural? Hath He not sent His Son? Hath he not commissioned Apostles? Hath He not wrought sins? Hath He not threatened hell? Hath He not promised the kingdom? Doth He not every day make His sun to rise? Are not the things which He hath enjoined so simple and easy, that many transcend His commandments in the greatness of their self-denial(2)? "What was there to do unto the vineyard and I have not done it?" (Is. v. 4.)
[10.] "And why," say you, "did He not make knowledge and virtue natural to us?" Who speaketh thus? The Greek or the Christian? Both of them, indeed, but not about the same things: for the one raises his objection with a view to knowledge, the other with a view to conduct. First, then, we will reply to him who is on our side; for I do not so much regard those without, as our own members.
What then saith the Christian? "It were meet to have implanted in us the knowledge itself of virtue." He hath implanted it; for if he had not done so, whence should we have known what things are to be done, what left undone? Whence are the laws and the tribunals? But "God should have imparted not [merely] knowledge, but also the very doing of it [virtue]. For what then wouldest thou have to be rewarded, if the whole were of God? For tell me, doth God punish in the same manner thee and the Greek upon committing sin(1)? Surely not. For up to a certain point thou hast confidence, viz. that which ariseth from the true knowledge. What then, if any one should now say that on the score of knowledge thou and the Greek will be accounted of like desert? Would it not disgust thee? I think so, indeed. For thou wouldest say that the Greek, having of his own wherewith to attain knowledge, was not willing. If then the latter also should say that God ought to have implanted knowledge in us naturally, wilt thou not laugh him to scorn, and say to him, "But why didst thou not seek for it? why wast thou not in earnest even as I?" And thou wilt stand firm with much confidence, and say that it was extreme folly to blame God for not implanting knowledge by nature. And this thou wilt say, because thou hast obtained what appertains to knowledge. So also hadst thou performed what appertains to practice, thou wouldest not have raised these questions: but thou art tired of virtuous practice, therefore thou shelterest thyself with these inconsiderate words. But how could it be at all right to cause that by necessity one should become good? Then shah we next have the brute beasts contending with us about virtue, seeing that some of them are more temperate than ourselves.
But thou sayest, "I had rather have been good by necessity, and so forfeited all rewards, than evil by deliberate choice, to be punished and suffer vengeance." But it is impossible that one should ever be good by necessity. If therefore thou knowest not what ought to be done, shew it, and then we will tell you what is right to say. But if thou knowest that uncleanness is wicked, wherefore dost thou not fly from the evil thing?
"I cannot," thou sayest. But others who have done greater things than this will plead against thee, and will more than prevail to stop thy mouth. For thou, perhaps, though living with a wife, an not chaste; but another even without a wife keeps his chastity inviolate. Now what excuse hast thou for not keeping the rule, while another even leaps beyond the lines(2) that have been drawn to mark it?
But thou sayest "I am not of this sort in my bodily frame, or my turn of mind." That is for want, not of power, but of will. For thus I prove that all have a certain aptness towards virtue: That which a man cannot do, neither will he be able to do though necessity be laid upon him; but, if, necessity being laid upon him, he is able, he that leaveth it undone, leaveth it undone out of choice. The kind of thing I mean is this: to fly up and be borne towards heaven, having a heavy body, is even simply impossible. What then, if a king should Command one to do this, and threaten death, saying," Those men who do not fly, I decree that they lose their heads, or be burnt, or some other such punishment:" would any one obey him? Surely not. For nature is not capable of it. But if in the case of chastity this same thing were done, and he were to lay down laws that the unclean should be punished, be burnt, he scourged, should suffer the extremity of torture, would not many obey the law? "No" thou wilt say: "for there is appointed, even now, a law forbidding to commit adultery(3) and all do not obey it." Not because the fear looses its power, but because the greater part expect to be unobserved. So that if when they were on the point of committing an unclean action the legislator and the judge came before them, the fear would be strong enough to cast out the lust. Nay, were I to apply another kind of force inferior to this; were I to take the man and remove him from the beloved person, and shut him up close in chains, he will be able to bear it, without suffering any great harm. Let us not say then that such an one is by nature evil: for if a man were by nature good, he could never at any time become evil; and if he were by nature evil, he could never be good. But now we see that changes take place rapidly, and that men quickly shift from this side to the other, and from that fill back again into this. And these things we may see not in the Scriptures only, for instance, that publicans have become apostles; and disciples, traitors; and harlots, chaste; and robbers; men of good repute; and magicians have worshipped; and ungodly men passed over unto godliness, both in the New Testament and in the Old; but even every day a man may see many such things occurring. Now if things were natural, they could not change. For so we, being by nature susceptible, could never by any exertions become void state of corruption unto incorruption: no one from hunger to the perpetual absence of that sensation. Wherefore neither are these things matters of accusation, nor do we reproach ourselves for them; nor ever did any one, meaning to blame another, say to him," O thou, corruptible and subject to passion: "but either adultery or fornication, or something of that kind, we always lay to the charge of those who are responsible; and we bring them before judges, who blame and punish, and in the contrary cases award honors.
[11.] Since then both from our conduct towards one another, and from others' conduct to us when judged, and from the things about which we have written laws, and from the things wherein we condemn ourselves, though there be no one to accuse us; and from the instances of our becoming worse through indolence, and better through fear; and from the cases wherein we see others doing well and arriving at the height of self-command, (philosophi'as) it is quite clear that we also have it in our power to do well: eyes that fearful day, and to give heed to virtue; and after a little labor, obtain the incorruptible crowns? For these words will be no defence to us; rather our fellow-servants, and those who have practised the contrary virtues, will condemn all who continue in sin: the cruel man will be condemned by the merciful; the evil, by the good; the fierce, by the gentle; the grudging, by the courteous; the vain-glorious, by the self- denying; the indolent, by the serious; the intemperate, by the sober- minded. Thus will God pass judgment upon us, and will set in their place both companies; on one bestowing praise, on the other punishment. But God forbid that any of those present should be among the punished and dishonored, but rather among those who are crowned and the winners of the kingdom. Which may God grant us all to obtain through the grace and loving- kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom unto the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.
HOMILY III: 1 Cor. i. 10.
Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak of the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
WHAT I have continually been saying, that we must frame our rebukes gently and gradually, this Paul doth here also; in that, being about to enter upon a subject full of many dangers and enough to tear up the Church from her foundations he uses very mild language. His word is that he "beseeches" them, and beseeches them "through Christ;" as though not even he were sufficient alone to make this supplication, and to prevail.
But what is this, "I beseech you through this man restless. Wherefore if at once (a'n me`n euthe'ws epiplh'xhs Savil. a'n mh` Ben.) you sharply rebuke you make a man fierce and impudent: but if you put him to shame, you bow down his neck, you check his confidence, you make him hang down his head. Which object being Paul's also, he is content for a while to beseech them through the Name of Christ. And what, of all things, is the object of his request?
"That ye may all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions [schisms] among you." The emphatic force of the word "schism," I mean the name itself, was a sufficient accusation. For it was not that they had become many parts, each entire within itself, but rather the One [Body which originally existed] had perished. For had they(1) been entire Churches, there might be many of them; but if they were divisions, [2.] In the next place, because be had sharply dealt with them by using the word "schism," he again softens and soothes them, saying, "That ye may be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." That is; since he had said, "That ye may all speak the same thing; "do not suppose," he adds, "that I mid concord should be only in words; I seek for that harmony which is of the mind." But since there is such a thing as agreement in words, and that hearty, not consents, is no longer "perfected," nor fitted in to complete accordance. There is also such a thing as harmony of opinions, where there is not yet harmony of sentiment; for instance, when having the same faith we are not joined together in love: for thus, in opinions we are one, (for we think the same things,) but in sentiment not so. And such was the case at that time; this person choosing one [leader], and that, another. For this reason he saith it is necessary to agree both in "mind" and in "judgment." For it was not from any difference in faith that the schisms arose, but from the division of their judgment through human contentiousness.
[3.] But seeing that whoso is blamed is unabashed so long as he hath no witnesses, observe how, not permitting them to deny the fact, he adduces some to bear witness.
Ver. 11. "For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them which are of the household of Chloe." Neither did he say this at the very beginning, but first he brought forward his charge; as one who put confidence in his informants. Because, had it not been so, he would not have found fault: for Paul was not a person to believe lightly. Neither then did he immediately say, "it hath still. Consider also his prudence in not speaking of any distinct person, but of the entire family; so as not to make them hostile towards the informer: for in this way he both protects him, and fearlessly opens the accusation. For he had an eye to the benefit not of the one side only, but of the other also. Wherefore he saith not, "It hath been declared to me by certain," but he indicates also the household, test they might suppose that he was inventing.
[4.] What was "declared? "That there are contentions among you." Thus, when he upon the informants.
Next he declares also the kind of contention.
Ver. 12. "That each one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas." "I say, contentions," saith he, "I mean, not about private matters, but of the more grievous of the Church. And yet they were not speaking about himself, nor about Peter, nor about Apollos; but he signifies that if these were not to be leaned on, much less others. For that they had not spoken about them, he saith further on: "And these things I have transferred in a figure unto myself and Apollos, that ye may learn in us net to go beyond the things which are written." For if it were not right for them to call themselves by the name of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas, much less of any others. If under the Teacher and the first of the Apostles, and one that had instructed so much people, it were not right to enroll themselves, much less under those who were nothing. By way of hyperbole then, seeking to withdraw them from their disease, he sets down these names. Besides, he makes his argument less severe, not mentioning by name the rude dividers of the Church, but concealing them, as behind a sort of masks, with the names of the Apostles.
"I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas. Not esteeming himself before Peter hath he set his name last, but preferring Peter to himself, and that greatly. He arranged his statement in the way of climax, (kata` au^xhsin) that he might not be supposed to do this for attack, and then mentions Apollos, and then Cephas. Not therefore to magnify himself did he do this, but in speaking of wrong things he administers the requisite correction in his own person first.
[5.] But that those who addicted themselves to this or that man were in error, is evident. And rightly he rebukes them, saying, "Ye do not well in that ye say, 'I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas.'" But why did he add, "And I of Christ?" For although these who addicted themselves to men were in error, not surely (ou'de pou Bened. ou dh'pou Savil.) those who dedicated themselves unto Christ. But this was not his charge, that they called themselves by the Name of Christ, but that they did not all call themselves by that Name alone. And I think that he added this of himself, wishing to make the accusation more grievous, and to point out that by this rule Christ must be considered as belonging to one party only: although they were not so using the Name themselves. For that this was what he hinted at he declared in the sequel, saying,
Ver. 3. "Is Christ divided" What he saith comes to this: "Ye have cut in pieces Christ, and distributed His body." Here is anger! here is chiding! here are words full of indignation! For whenever instead of arguing he interrogates only, his doing so implies a confessed absurdity.
But some say that he glanced at something else, in saying, "Christ is divided:" as if he had said, "He hath distributed to men and parted the Church, and taken one share Himself, giving them the other." Then in what follows, he labors to overthrow this absurdity, saying, "Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" Observe his Christ- loving mind; how thenceforth he brings the whole matter to a point in his own name, shewing, and more than shewing, that this honor belongs to no one. And that no one might think it was envy which moved him to say these things, therefore he is constantly putting himself forward. Observe, too, his considerate way, in that he saith not, "Did Paul make the world? did Paul from nothing produce you into being?" But only those things which belonged as choice treasures to the faithful, and were regarded with great solicitude--those he specifies, the Cross, and Baptism, and the blessings following on these. For the loving-kindness of God towards men is shewn by the creation of the world also: in nothing, however, so much as by the (th^s sugkataba'sews) condescension through the Cross. And he said not, "did Paul die for you?" but, "was Paul crucified?" setting down also the kind of death.
"Or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" Again, he saith not, "did Paul baptize you?" For he did baptize many: but this was not the question, by whom they had been baptized, but, into whose name they had been baptized! For since this also was a cause of schisms, their bring called after the name of those who baptized them, he corrects this error likewise saying, "Were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" "Tell me not," saith he, "who baptized, but into whose name. For not he that baptizeth, but he who is invoked in the Baptism, is the subject of enquiry. For this is He who forgives our sins(1)"
And at this point he stays the discourse, and does not pursue the subject any further. For he saith not, "Did Paul declare to you the good things to come? Did Paul promise you the kingdom of heaven?" Why, then, I ask, doth he not add these questions also? Because it is not all as one, to promise a kingdom and to be crucified. For the former neither had danger nor brought shame; but the latter, all these. Moreover, he proves the former from the latter: for having said, (Rom. vii. 32.) "He that spared not His own Son," he adds, "How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? And again, (Rom. v. 10.) "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled unto God by the death of His Son, much more bring reconciled, we shall be saved." This was one reason for his not adding what I made trial. The one were in promise l the other had already come to pass.
[6.] Ver. 14. "I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius." "Why are you elate at having baptized, when I for my part even give thanks that I have not done so!" Thus saying, by a kind of divine art (oikonomikw^s) he does away with their swelling pride upon this point; not with the efficacy of the baptism, (God forbid,) but with the folly of those who were puffed up at having been baptizers: first, by showing that the Gift is not theirs; and, secondly, by thanking God therefore. For Baptism truly is a great thing: but its greatness is not the work of the person baptizing, but of Him who is invoked in the Baptism: since to baptize is nothing as regards man's labor, but is much less than preaching the Gospel. Yea, again I say, great indeed is Baptism, and without baptism it is impossible to obtain the kingdom. Still a man of no singular excellence is able to baptize, but to preach the Gospel there is need of great labor.
Ver. 15. He states also the reason, why he giveth thanks that he had baptized no one. What then is this reason? "Lest anyone should say that ye were baptized into my own name" Why, did he mean that they said this in those other cases? Not at all; but, "I fear," saith he, "lest the disease should proceed even to that. For if, when insignificant persons and of little worth baptize, a heresy ariseth, had I, the first announcer of Baptism, baptized many, it was likely that they forming a party, would not were unsound in this respect and subjoining, "I baptized also the house of Stephanas," he again drags down their pride, saying besides, "I know not whether I baptized any other." For by this he signifies that neither did he seek much to enjoy the honor accruing hereby from the multitude, nor did he set about this work for glory's sake.
Ver. 17. And not by these only, but also by the next words, he greatly represses their pride, And therefore it was that Paul had it put into his hand.
And why, not being sent to baptize, did he baptize? Not in contention with Him that sent him, but in this instance laboring beyond his task. For he saith not, "I was forbidden" but, "I was not sent for this, but for that which was of the greatest necessity." For preaching the Gospel is a work perhaps for one or two; but baptizing, for everyone endowed with the priesthood. For a man being instructed and convinced, to take and baptize him is what any one whatever might do: for the rest, it is all effected by the will of the person drawing near, and the grace of God. But when unbelievers are to be instructed, there must be great labor, great wisdom. And at that time there was danger also annexed. In the former case the whole thing is done, and he is convinced, who is on the point of initiation: and it is no great thing when a man is convinced, to baptize him. But in the later case the labor is great, to change the deliberate will, to alter the turn of mind, and to tear up error by the roots, and to plant the truth in its place.
Not that he speaks out all this, neither doth he argue in so many words that Baptism has no labor, but that preaching has. For he knows how always to subdue his tone, whereas in the comparison with heathen wisdom he is very earnest, the subject enabling him to use more vehemency of language.
Not therefore in opposition to Him that sent him did he baptize; but, as in the case of the widows(1), though the apostles had said, (Acts. vi. 2.) "it is not fit that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables," he discharged the office (Acts xii. 25. [th`n diaconi'an) of a deacon, "Let the Elders who rule wall be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and in teaching." For as to teach the wrestlers in the games is the part of a spirited and skilful trainer, but to place the crown on the conquerors head may be that of one who cannot even wrestle, (although it be the crown which adds splendor to the conqueror,) so also in Baptism. It is impossible to be saved without it, yet it is no great thing which the baptizer doth, finding the will ready prepared.
[7.] "Not in wisdom of words, lest the Cress of Christ should be made of none effect."
Having brought down the swelling pride of those who were arrogant because of their baptizing, he changes his ground afterwards to meet those who boasted about heathen wisdom, and against them he puts on his armor with more vehemency. For to those who were puffed up with baptizing he said, "I give thanks that I baptized no one ;" and, "for Christ sent me not to baptize." He speaks neither vehemently nor argumentatively, but, having just hinted his meaning in a few words, passeth on quickly. But here at the very outset he gives a severe blow, saying, "Lest the Cross of Christ be made void." Why then pride thyself on a thing which ought to make thee hide thy face? Since, if this wisdom is at war with the Cross and fights with the Gospel, it is not meet to boast about it, but to retire with shame. For this was the cause why the Apostles were not wise; not through any weakness of the Gift, but lest the Gospel preached suffer harm. The sort of people therefore above mentioned were not those employed in advocating the Word: rather they were among its defamers. The unlearned men were the establishers of it. This was able to check vain glory, this to repress arrogance, this to enforce moderation.
"But if it was 'not by wisdom of speech,' why did they send Apollos who was eloquent?" It was not, he replies, through confidence in his power of speech, but because he was (Acts xviii. 24, 29.) "mighty in the Scriptures," and "confuted the Jews." And besides the point in question was that the leaders and first disseminators of the word were not eloquent; since these were the very persons to require some great power, for the expulsion of error in the first instance; and then, namely at the very outset, was the abundant strength needed. Now He who could do without educated persons at first, if afterwards some being eloquent were admitted by Him, He did so not because He wanted them, but because He would make no distinctions. For as he needed not wise men to effect whatever He would, so neither, if any were afterwards found such, did He reject them on that account.
[8.] But prove to me that Peter and Paul were eloquent. Thou canst not: for they were "unlearned and ignorant men!"(1) As therefore Christ, when He was sending out His disciples into the world, having shewn unto them His power in Palestine first, and said, (St. Luke xxii. 35. (hupodh'ma'tos, rec. text hupodhmatwn.) "When I sent you forth without purse and wallet and shoe, lacked ye any thing?" permitted them from that time forward to possess both a wallet and a purse; so also He hath done here: for the point was the manifestation of Christ's power, not the rejection of persons from the Faith on account of their Gentile wisdom, if they were drawing nigh. When the Greeks then charge the disciples with being uneducated, let us be even more forward in the charge than they. Nor let anyone say, "Paul was wise;" but while we exalt those among them who were great in wisdom and admired for their excellency of speech, let us allow that all on our side were uneducated; for it will be no slight overthrow which they will sustain from us in that respect also: and so the victory will be brilliant indeed.
I have said these things, because I once heard a Christian disputing in a ridiculous manner with a Greek, and both parties in their mutual fray ruining themselves. For what things the Christian ought to have said, these the Greek asserted; and what things it was natural to expect the Greek would say, these the Christian pleaded for himself. As thus: the dispute bring about Paul and Plato, the Greek endeavord to show that Paul was unlearned and ignorant; but the Christian, from simplicity, was anxious to prove that Paul was more eloquent than Plato. And so the victory was on the side of the Greek, this argument being allowed to prevail. For if Paul was a more considerable person than Plato, many probably would object that it was not by grace, but by excellency of speech that he prevailed; so that the Christian's assertion made for the Greek. And what the Greek said made wisdom, but of the grace of God.
Wherefore, lest we fall into the same error, and be laughed to scorn, arguing thus with Greeks whenever we have a controversy with them; let us charge the Apostles with want of learning; for this same charge is praise. And when they say that the Apostles were rude, let us follow up the remark and say that they were also untaught, and unlettered, and poor, and vile, and stupid, and obscure. It is not a slander on the Apostles to say so, but it is even a glory that, being such, they should have outshone the whole world. For these untrained, and rude, and illiterate men, as completely vanquished the wise, and powerful, and the tyrants, and those who flourished in wealth and glory and all outward good things, as though they had not been men at all: from whence it manifest that great is the power of the Cross; and that these things were done by no human strength. For the results do not keep the course of nature, rather what was done was above all nature. Now when any thing takes place above nature, and exceedingly above it, on the side of rectitude and utility; it is quite plain that these things are done by some Divine power and cooperation. And observe; the fisherman, the tentmaker, the publican, the ignorant, the unlettered, coming from the far distant country of Palestine, and having beaten off their own ground the philosophers, the masters of oratory, the skillful debaters alone prevailed against them in a short space of time; in the midst of many perils; the opposition of peoples and kings, the striving of nature herself, length of time, the vehement resistance of inveterate custom, demons in arms, the devil in battle array and stirring up all, kings, rulers, peoples, nations, cities, barbarians, Greeks, philosophers, orators, sophists, historians, laws, tribunals, divers kinds of punishments, deaths innumerable and of all sorts. But nevertheless all these were confuted and gave way when the fisherman spake; just like the light dust which cannot bear the rush of violent winds. Now what I say is, let us learn thus to dispute with the Greeks; that we be not like beasts and cattle, but prepared concerning "the hope which is in us." (1 St. Pet. iii. 15.) And let us pause for a while to work out this topic, no unimportant bare naked body they overthrew all their foes using no weapons but striking with the hand, and in conclusion killed some, and others took captive and led away, themselves receiving not so much as a wound; would anyone have ever said that the thing was of man? And yet the trophy of the Apostles is much more wonderful than that. For a naked man's escaping a wound is not so wonderful by far as that the ordinary and unlettered person--that a fisherman-should overcome such a degree of talent: (deino'thtos) and neither for fewness, nor for poverty, nor for dangers, nor for prepossession of habit, nor for so great austerity of the precepts enjoined, nor for the daily deaths, nor for the multitude of those who were deceived nor for the great reputation of the deceivers be turned from his purpose.
[9.] Let this, I say, be our way of overpower way of life rather than by words. For this is the main battle, this is the unanswerable arguments the argument from conduct. For though we give ten thousand precepts of philosophy in words, if we do not exhibit a life better than theirs, the gain is nothing. For it is not what is said that draws their attention, but their enquiry is, what we do; and they say, "Do thou first obey thine own words, and then admonish others. But if while thou sayest, infinite are the blessings in the world to come, thou seem thyself nailed down to this world, just as if no such things existed, thy works to weeping immoderately over the departed, doing turn it often in their minds. And this is what stays the unbelievers from becoming Christians.
Let us win them therefore by our life. Many, even among the untaught, have in that way astounded the minds of philosophers, as having exhibited in themselves also that philosophy which lies in deeds, and uttered a voice clearer than a trumpet by their mode of life and self-denial. For this is stronger than the tongue. But when I say, "one ought not to bear malice," and then do all manner of evils to the Greek, how shall I be able by words to win him, while by my deeds I am frightening him away? Let us catch them then by our mode of life; and by these souls let us build up the Church, and of these let us amass our wealth. There is nothing to weigh against a soul, not even the whole world. So that although thou give countless treasure unto the poor, thou wilt do no such work as he who converteth one soul (Jer. xv. 19.) "For he that taketh forth the precious from the vile shall be as my mouth:" so He speaks. A great good it is, I grant, to have pity on the poor; but it is nothing equal to the withdrawing them from error. For he that doth this resembles Paul and Peter: we being permitted to take up their Gospel, not with perils such as theirs;--with endurance of famines and pestilences, and all other evils, (for the present is a season of peace ;)--but so as to display that diligence which cometh of zeal. For even while we sit at home we may practice this kind of fishery. Who hath a friend or relation or inmate of his house, these things let him say, these do; and he shall be like Peter and Paul. And why do I say Peter and Paul? He shall be the mouth of Christ. For He saith, "He that taketh forth the precious from the vile shall be as My mouth." And though thou persuade not to-day, to-morrow thou shalt persuade. And though thou never persuade, thou shalt have thine own reward in full. And though thou persuade not all, a few out of many persuade all men; but still they discoursed with all, and for all they have their reward. For not according to the result of the things that are well done, but according to the intention of the doers, is God wont to assign the crowns; though thou pay down but two farthings, He receiveth them; and what He did in the case of the widow, the same will He do also in the case of those who teach. Do not thou then, because thou canst not save the world, despise the few; nor through longing after great things, withdraw thyself from the lesser. If thou canst not an hundred, take thou charge of ten; if thou canst not ten, despise not even five; if thou canst not five, do not overlook one; and if thou canst not one, neither so despair, nor keep back what may be done by thee. Seest thou not how, in matters of trade, they who are so employed make their profit not only of gold but of silver also? For if we do not flight the little things, we shall keep hold also of the great. But if we despise the small, neither shall we easily lay hand upon the other. Thus individuals become rich, gathering both small things and great. And so let us act; that in all things enriched, we may obtain the kingdom of heaven; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom unto the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and henceforth and for evermore. Amen.
HOMILY IV: 1 Cor. i. 18-20.
For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is de power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and be prudence of de prudent will I reject. Where is the Wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of the World?
To the sick and gasping even wholesome meats are unpleasant, friends and relations burdensome; who are often times not even recognized, but are rather accounted intruders. Much like this often is the case of those who are perishing in their souls. For the things which tend to salvation they know not; and those who are careful about them they consider to be troublesome. Now this ensues not from the nature of the thing, but from thor disease. And just what the insane do, hating those who take care of them, and besides reviling them, the same is the case with unbelievers also. But as in the case of the former, they who are insulted then more than ever compassionate them, and weep, taking this as the worst symptom of the disease in its intense form, when they know not their best friends; so also in the case of the Gentiles let us act; yea more than for our wives let us wail over them, because they know not the common salvation. For not so dearly ought a man to love his wife as we should love all men, and draw them over unto salvation; be a man a Gentile, or be he what he may. For these then let us weep; for "the word of the Cross is to them foolishness," being itself Wisdom and Power. For, saith he, "the word of the Cross to them that perish is foolishness."
For since it was likely that they, the Cross being derided by the Greeks, would resist and contend by aid of that wisdom, which came (forsooth) of themselves, as being disturbed by the expression of the Greeks; Paul comforting them saith, think it not strange and unaccountable, which is taking place. This is the nature of the thing, that its power is not recognized by them that perish. For they are beside themselves, and behave as madmen; and so they rail and are disgusted at the medicines which bring health.
[2.] But what sayest thou, O man? Christ became a slave for thee. "having taken the form of a slave," (Phil. ii. 7.) and was crucified, and rose again. And when thou oughtest for this reason to adore Him risen and admire His loving kindness; because what neither father, nor friend, nor son, did for thee, all this the Lord wrought for thee, the enemy and offender--when, I say, thou oughtest to admire Him for these things, callest thou that foolishness, which is full of so great wisdom? Well, it is nothing wonderful; for it is a mark of them that perish not to recognize the things which lead to salvation. Be not troubled, therefore, for it is no strange nor unaccountable event, that things truly great are mocked at by those who are beside themselves. Now such as are in this mind you cannot convince by human wisdom. Nay, if you want so to convince them, you do but the contrary. Fox the things which transcend reasoning require faith alone. Thus, should we set about convincing men by reasonings, how God became man, and entered into the Virgin's womb, and not commit the matter unto faith, they will but deride the more. Therefore they who inquire by reasonings, it is they who perish.
And why speak I of God? for in regard of created things, should we do this, great decision will ensue. For suppose a man, wishing to make out all things by reasoning; and let him try by thy discourse to convince himself how we see the light; and do thou try to convince him by reasoning, Nay, thou canst not: for if thou sayest that it suffices to see by opening the eyes, thou hast not expressed the manner, but the fact. For "why see we not," one will say, "by our hearing, and with our eyes hear? And why hear we not with the nostril, and with the hearing smell?" If then, he being in doubt about these things, and we unable to give the explanation of them, he is to begin laughing, shall not we rather laugh him to scorn? "For since both have their origin from one brain, since the two members are near neighbors to each other, why can they not do the same work?" Now we shall not be able to state the cause nor the method of the unspeakable and curious operation; and should we make the attempt, we should be laughed to scorn. Wherefore, leaving this unto God's power and boundless wisdom, let us be silent.
Just so with regard to the things of God; should we desire to explain them by the wisdom which is from without, great derision will ensue, not from their infirmity, but from the folly of men. For the great things of all no language can explain.
[3.] Now observe: when I say, "He was crucified;" the Greek saith, "And how can this be reasonable? Himself He helped not when undergoing crucifixion and sore trial at the moment of the Cross: how then after these things did He rise again and help others? For if He had been able, before death was the actually in the midst of horrors He should have shewn Himself above all horrors; and being in the enemy's hold should have overcome; this cometh of Infinite Power. For as in the case the fish, to suffer no harm from the monster, than if he had not been swallowed at all;--so also in regard of Christ; His not dying would not have been so inconceivable, as that having died He should loose the bands of death. Say not then, "why did He not help Himself on the Cross?" for he was hastening on to close conflict with death himself. (See Hooker, E. P. v. 48. 9.) He descended not from the Cross, not because He could not, but because He would not. For Him Whom the tyranny of death restrained not, how could the nails of the Cress restrain?
[4.] But these things, though known to us, are not so as yet to the unbelievers. Wherefore he said that "the word of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject." Nothing from himself which might give offence, does he advance up to this point; but first he comes to the testimony of the Scripture, and then furnished with boldness from thence, adopts more vehement words, and saith,
Ver. 20, 21. "Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? Where is the wise? Where the Scribe? Where the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." Having said, "It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise," He subjoins demonstration from facts, saying, "Where is the wise? where the Scribe?" at the same time glancing at both Gentiles and Jews. For what sort of philosopher, which among those who have studied logic, which of those knowing in Jewish matters, hath saved us and made known the truth? Not one. It was the fisherman's work, the whole of it.
Having then drawn the conclusion which he had in view, and brought down their pride, and of God?" The wisdom apparent in those works whereby it was His will to make Himself known. For to this end did he frame them, and frame them such as they are, that by a sort of proportion, (analo'gws) from the things which are seen heaven great as it is, not only was made by Him, but made with ease; and that boundless earth, too, was brought into being even as if it had been nothing. Wherefore of the former He saith, (Ps. cii. 25. tw^n cheirw^n LXX.) "The works of Thy fingers are the heavens," and concerning the earth, (Is. xl. 23. LXX.) "Who hath made the earth as it were nothing." Since then by this wisdom the world was unwilling to discover God, He employed what seemed to be foolishness, i.e. the Gospel, to persuade men; not by reasoning, but by faith. It remains that where God's wisdom is, there is no longer need of man's. For before, to infer that He who made the world such and so great, must in all reason be a God possessed of a certain uncontrollable, unspeakable power; and by these means to apprehend Him;--this was the part of human wisdom. But now we need no more reasonings, but faith alone. For to believe on Him that was crucified and buried, and to be fully persuaded that this Person Himself both rose again and sat down on high; this needeth not wisdom, nor reasonings, but faith. For the Apostles themselves came in not by wisdom, but by faith, and surpassed the heathen wise men in wisdom and loftiness, and that so much the more, as to raise disputings is less than to receive by faith the things of God. For this transcends all human understanding.
But how did He" destroy wisdom?" Being made known to us by Paul and others like him, He shewed it to be unprofitable. For towards receiving the evangelical proclamation, neither is the wise profited at all by wisdom, nor the unlearned injured at all by ignorance. But if for that impression, and more easily dealt with. For the shepherd and the rustic will more quickly receive this, once for all both repressing all doubting thoughts and delivering himself to is ever after useful for nothing. Thus when she ought to have displayed her proper powers, and by the works to have seen the Lord, she would not. Wherefore though she were now willing to introduce herself, she is not able. For the matter is not of that kind; this way of knowing God being far greater than the other. You see then, faith and simplicity are needed, and this we should seek every where, and prefer it before the wisdom which is from without. For "God," saith he, "hath made wisdom foolish."
But what is, "He hath made foolish?" He hath shewn it foolish in regard of receiving the faith. For since they prided themselves on it, He lost no time in exposing it. For what sort of wisdom is it, when it cannot discover the chief of things that are good? He caused her therefore to appear foolish, after she had first convicted herself. For if when discoveries might have been made by reasoning, she proved nothing, now when things proceed on a larger scale, how will she be able to accomplish aught? now when there is need of faith alone, and not of acuteness? You see then, God hath shewn her to be foolish.
It was His good pleasure, too, by the foolishness of the Gospel to save; foolishness, I say, not real, but appearing to be such. For that which is more wonderful yet is His having prevailed by bringing in, not another such wisdom more excellent than the first, but what seemed to be foolishness. He cast out Plato for example, not by means of another philosopher of more skill, but by an unlearned fisherman. For thus the defeat became greater, and the victory more splendid.
[5.] Ver. 22-24. Next, to shew the power of the Cross, he saith, "For Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-block, and unto Greeks foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God."
Vast is the import of the things here spoken! For he means to say how by contraries God hath overcome, and how the Gospel is not of man. What he saith is something of this sort. When, saith he, we say unto the Jews, Believe; they answer, Raise the dead, Heal the demoniacs, Shew unto us signs. But instead thereof what say we? That He was crucified, and died, who is preached. And this is enough, not only to fail in drawing over the unwilling, but even to drive away those even who are willing. Nevertheless, it drives not away, but attracts and holds fast and overcomes.
Again; the Greeks demand of us a rhetorical style, and the acuteness of sophistry. But preach we to these also the Cross: and that which, in the case of the Jews seemed to be weakness, this in the case of the Greeks is foolishness. Wherefore, when we not only fail in producing what they demand, but also produce the very opposites of their demand; (for the Cross has not merry no appearance of being a sign sought out by reasoning, but even the very annihilation of a sign;--is not merely deemed no proof of power, but a conviction of weakness;--not merry no display of wisdom, but a suggestion of foolishness;)--when therefore they who seek for signs and wisdom not only receive not the things which they ask, but even hear the contrary to what they desire, and then by means of contraries are persuaded;--how is not the power of Him that is preached unspeakable? As if to some one tempest-tost and longing for a haven, you were to shew not a haven but another wilder portion of the sea, and so could make him follow with thankfulness? Or as if a physician could attract to himself the man that was wounded and in need of remedies, by promising to cure him not with drugs, but with burning of him again! For this is a result of great power indeed. So also the Apostles prevailed, not simply without a sign, but even by a thing which seemed contrary to all the known signs. Which thing also Christ did in the case of the blind man. For when He would heal him, He took away the blindness by a thing that increased it: i. e. He put on clay. (St. John ix. 6.) As then by means of clay He healed the blind man, so also by means of the Cross He brought the world to Himself. That certainly was adding an offence, not taking an offence away. So did He also in creation, working out things by their contraries. With sand, for instance, He walled in the sea, having made the weak a bridle to the strong. He placed the earth upon water, having taken order that the heavy and the dense should be borne on the soft and fluid. By means of the prophets again with a small piece of wood He raised up iron from the bottom. (2 Kings vi. 5-7.) In like manner also with the Cross He hath drawn the world to Himself. For as the water heareth up the earth, so also the Cross beareth up the world. You see now, it is proof of great power and wisdom, to convince by means of the things which tell directly against us. Thus the Cross seems to be matter of offence; and yet far from offending, it even attracts.
[6.] Ver. 25. All these things, therefore, Paul bearing in mind, and being struck with astonishment, said that " the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men;" in relation to the Cross, speaking of a folly and weakness, not real but apparent. For he is answering with respect unto the other party's opinion. For that which philosophers were not able by means of reasoning to accomplish, this, what seemed to be foolishness did excellently well. Which then is the wiser, he that persuadeth the many, or he that persuadeth few, or rather no one? He who persuadeth concerning the greatest points, or about matters which are nothing? (mhde`n o'ntwn Reg. MS. mh deo'ntwn Bened.) What great labors did Plato endure, and his followers, discoursing to us about a line, and an angle, and a point, and about numbers even and odd, and equal unto one another and unequal, and such-like spiderwebs; (for indeed those webs are not more useless to man's life than were these subjects;) and without doing good to any one great or small by their means, so he made an end of his life. How greatly did he labor, endeavoring to show that the soul was immortal! and even as he came he went away, having spoken nothing with certainty, nor persuaded any hearer. But the Cross wrought persuasion by means of unlearned men; yea it persuaded even the whole world: and not about common things, but in discourse of God, and the godliness which is according to truth, and the evangelical way of life, and the judgment of the things to come. And of all men it made philosophers: the very rustics, the utterly unlearned. Behold how "the foolishness of God is wiser than men," and "the weakness stronger?" How "stronger?" Because it overran the whole world, and took all by main force, and while men were endeavoring by ten thousands to extinguish the name of the Crucified, the contrary came to pass: that flourished and increased more and more, but they perished and wasted away; and the living at war with the dead, had no power. So that when the Greek calls me foolish, he shows himself above measure foolish: since I who am esteemed by him a fool, evidently appear wiser than the wise. When he calls me weak, then he shows himself to be weaken For the noble things which publicans and fishermen were able to effect by the grace of God, these, philosophers, and rhetoricians, and tyrants, and in short the whole world, running ten thousand ways here and there, could not even form a notion of. For what did not the Cross introduce? The doctrine concerning the Immortality of the Soul; that concerning the Resurrection of the Body; that concerning the contempt of things present; that concerning the desire of things future. Yea, angels it hath made of men, and all, every where, practice self-denial, (philosophou^si) and show forth all kinds of fortitude.
[7.] But among them also, it will be said, many have been found contemners of death. Tell me who? was it he who drank the hemlock? But if thou wilt, I can bring forward ten thousand such from within the Church. For had it been lawful when prosecution bell them to drink hemlock and depart, all had become more famous than he. And besides, he drank when he was not at liberty to drink or not to drink; but willing or against his will he must robbers and man-slayers, having fallen under the condemnation of their judges, have suffered things more grievous. But with us it is all quite the contrary. For not against their will did the martyrs endure, but of their will, and being at liberty not to suffer; shewing forth fortitude harder than all adamant. This then you see is no great wonder, that he whom I was mentioning drank hemlock;it being no longer in his power not to drink, and also when he had arrived at a very great age. For when he despised life he stated himself to be seventy years old; if this can be called despising. For I for my part could not affirm it: nor, what is more, can anyone else. But show me some one enduring firm in torments for godliness' sake, as I shew thee ten thousand every where in the world. Who, while his nails were tearing out, nobly endured? Who, while his body joints were wrenching (anascaptome'nwn) asunder? Who, while his body was cut in pieces, (tou^ sw'matos kata` me'ros porthoume'nou; th^s kephalh^s;) member by member? or his head? Who, while his bones were forced out by levers? (anamochleuome'nwn) Who, while placed without intermission upon frying-pans? Who, when thrown into a caldron? Show me these instances. For to die by hemlock is all as one with a man's continuing in a state of sleep. Nay even sweeter than sleep is this sort of death, if report say true. But if certain [of them] did endure torments, yet of these, too, the praise is gone to nothing. For on some disgraceful occasion they perished; some for revealing mysteries; some for aspiring to dominion; others detected in the foulest crimes; others again rashly, and fruitlessly, and foolishly, there bring no reason for it, made away with themselves. But not so with us. Wherefore of the deeds of those nothing is said; but these flourish and daily increase. Which Paul having in mind said, "The weakness of God is stronger than all men."
[8.] For that the Gospel is divine, even from hence is evident; namely, whence could it have occurred to twelve ignorant men to attempt such great things? who sojourned in marshes, in rivers, in deserts; who never at any time perhaps had entered into a city nor into a forum;--whence did it occur, to set themselves in array against the whole world? For that they were timid and unmanly, he shews who wrote of them, not apologizing, nor enduring to throw their failings into the shade: which indeed of itself is a very great token of the truth. What then doth he say about them? That when Christ was apprehended, after ten thousand wonders, they fled; and he who remained, being the leader of the rest, denied. Whence was it then that they who when Christ was alive endured not the attack of the jews; now that He was dead and buried, and as ye say, had not risen again, nor had any talk with them, nor infused courage into them--whence did they set themselves in array against so great a world? Would they not have said among themselves, " what meaneth this? Himself He was not able to save, and will He protect us? Himself He defended not when alive, and will He stretch out the hand unto us now that he is dead? Himself, when alive, subdued not even one nation; and are we to convince the whole world by uttering His Name?" How, I ask, could all this be reason-abe, I will not say, as something to be done, but even as something to be imagined? From whence it is plain that had they not seen Him after He was risen, and received most ample proof of his power, they would not have ventured so great a cast.
[9.] For suppose they had possessed friends innumerable;would they not presently have made them all enemies, disturbing ancient customs, and removing their father's landmarks? (ho'ria Ms. Reg. e`thh Ben.) But as it was, they had them for enemies, all, both their own countrymen and foreigners. For although they had been recommended to veneration by everything external, would not all men have abhorred them, introducing a new polity? But now they were even destitute of everything; and it was likely that even on that account all would hate and scorn them at once. For whom will you name? The Jews? Nay, they had against them an inexpressible hatred on account of the things which had been done unto the Master. Not by changing the customs relating to the gods, but merely by substituting one line of conduct for another; was cast out of Sicily, and went near to lose his life.(1) This however did not ensue: so that he lost his liberty alone. And had not a certain Barbarian been more gentle than the tyrant of Sicily, nothing could have rescued the philosopher from slavery throughout life in a foreign land. And yet it is not all one to innovate in affairs of the kingdom, and in matters of religious worship. For the latter more than any thing else causes disturbance and troubles men. For to say, "let such and such an one marry such a woman, and let the guardians(2) [of the commonwealth] exercise their guardianship so and so," is not enough to cause any great disturbance: and especially when all this is lodged in a book, and no great anxiety on the part of the legislator to carry the proposals into practice. On the other hand, to say, " they be no gods which men worship, but demons; He who was crucified is God;" ye well know how great wrath it kindled, how severely men must have paid for it, what a flame of war it fanned.
For Protagoras, who was one of them, having dared to say, "I know of no gods," not going round the world and proclaiming it, but in a single city, was in the most imminent peril of his life(3). And Diagoras(4) the Milesian(5), and Theodorus, who was called Atheist,(6) although they had friends, and that influence which comes from eloquence, and were held in admiration because of their philosophy; yet nevertheless none of these profited them. And the great Socrates, too, he who surpassed in philosophy all among them, for this reason drank hemlock, because in his discourses of innovation brought so great danger on philosophers and wise men, and on those who had attained boundless popularity; and if they were not only unable to do what they wished, but were themselves also driven from life and county; how canst thou choose but be in admiration and astonishment, when thou seest that the fisherman hath produced such an effect upon the world, and accomplished his purposes; hath overcome all both Barbarians and Greeks
[10.] But they did not, you will say, introduce strange gods as the others did. Well, and in that you are naming the very point most to be wondered at; that the innovation is twofold, both to pull down those which are, and to announce the Crucified. For from whence came it into their minds to proclaim such things? whence, to be confident about their event? Whom of those before them could they perceive to have prospered in any such attempt? Were not all men worshipping demons? Were not all used to make gods of the elements? Was not the difference [but] in the mode of impiety? But nevertheless they attacked all, and overthrew all, and overran in a short time the whole world, like a sort of winged beings; making no account of dangers, of deaths, of the difficulty of the thing, of their own fewness, of the multitude of the opponents, of the authority, the power, the wisdom of those at war with them. For they had an ally greater than all these, the power of Him that had been crucified and was risen again. It would not have been so wondrous, had they chosen to wage war with the world in the literal sense,(po'lemon aisthhto'n) as this which in fact has taken place. For according to the law of battle they might have stood over against the enemies, and occupying some adverse ground, have arrayed themselves accordingly to meet their foes, and have taken their time for attack and dose conflict. But in this case it is not so. For they had no camp of their own, but were mingled with their enemies, and thus overcame them. Even in the midst of their enemies as they went about, they eluded their grasp, (laba`s Reg. blaba`s Bened.) and became superior, and achieved a splendid victory; a victory which fulfils the prophecy that saith, "Even in the midst of thine enemies thou shalt have dominion." (Ps. cx. 2) For this it was, which was full of all astonishment, that their enemies having them in their power, and casting them into prison and chains not only did not vanquish them, but themselves also eventually had to bow down to them: the scourgers to the scourged, the binders in chains to those who were bound, the persecutors to the fugitives. All these things then we could say unto the Greeks, yea much more than these; for the truth has enough and greatly to spare. (pollh' th^s alhthei'as h periousi'a.) And if ye will follow the argument, we will teach you the whole method of fighting against them. In the meanwhile let us here hold fast two heads; How did the weak overcome the strong? and, From whence came it into their thoughts, being such as they were, to form such plans, unless they enjoyed Divine aid?
[11.] So far then as to what we have to say. But let us shew forth by our actions all excellencies of conduct, and kindle abuntantly the fire of virtue. For "ye are lights," saith admitted a greater function than He hath to the sun: greater than heaven, and earth, and sea; and by so much greater, as spiritual things be more excellent than things sensible. When then we look unto the solar orb, and admire the beauty, and the body and the brightness of the luminary, let us consider again that greater and better is the light which is in us, as indeed the darkness also is more dreadful unless we take heed. And in fact a deep night oppresses the whole world. This is what we have to dispel and dissolve. It is night not among heretics and among Greeks only, but also in the multitude on our side, in respect of doctrines and of life. For many entirely disbelieve the resurrection; many fortify themselves with their horoscope; (ge`nesin heautoi^s epiteichi'zousi) many adhere to superstitious observances, and to omens, and auguries, and presages. And some likewise employ amulets and charms. But to these also we will speak afterwards, when we have finished what we have to say to the Greeks.
In the meanwhile hold fast the things which have been said, and be ye fellow-helpers with me in the battle; by your way of life attracting them to us and changing them. For, as I am always saying, He that teaches high morality (peri` philosophi'as) ought first to teach it in his own person, and be such as his hearers cannot do without. Let us therefore become such, and make the Greeks feel kindly towards us. And this will come to pass if we make up our minds not only not to do ill, but also to suffer ill. Do we not see when little children being borne in their father's arms give him that carries them blows on the cheek, how sweetly the father lets the boy have his fill of wrath, and when he sees that he has spent his passion, how his countenance brightens up? In like manner let us also act; and as fathers with children, so let us discourse with the Greeks. For all the Greeks are children. And this, some of their own writers have said, that "that people are children always, and no Greek is an old man." Now children cannot bear to take thought for any thing useful; so also the Greeks would be for ever at play; and they lie on the ground, grovelling in posture and in affections. Moreover, children oftentimes, when we are discoursing about important things, give no heed to anything that is said, but will even be laughing all the time: such also are the Greeks. When we discourse of the Kingdom, they laugh. And as spittle dropping in abundance from an infant's mouth, which oftentimes spoils its meat and drink, such also are the words flowing from the mouth of the Greeks, vain and unclean. Even if thou art giving children their necessary food, they keep on vexing those who furnish it with evil speech, and we must bear themselves, and stamp on the floor; just so do the Greeks also: when they behold the devil pilfering all their patrimony, and even the things which support their life, they laugh, and run to him as to a friend: but should any one take away any possession, be it wealth or any childish thing whosoever of that kind, they cry, they tear themselves. And as children expose their limbs unconsciously and blush not for shame; so the Greeks, wallowing in whoredoms and adulteries, and bring bare the laws of nature, and introducing unlawful intercourses, are not abashed.
Ye have given me vehement applause and acclamation(2), but with all your applause have a care lest you be among those of whom these things are said. Wherefore I beseech you all to become men: since, so long as we are children, how shall we teach them manli-
HOMILY V: 1 Cor. i. 26, 27.
Again; he proved at the same time that the thing is not new, but ancient, as it was presignified and foretold from the beginning. For, "It is written," saith he, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." Withal he shews that it was neither inexpedient nor unaccountable for things to take this course: (for, "seeing that in the wisdom of God the world," saith he, "knew not God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save them which believe:") and that the Cross is a demonstration of ineffable power and wisdom, and that the foolishness of God is far mightier than the wisdom of man. And this again he proves not by means of the teachers, but by means of the disciples themselves. For, "Behold your calling," saith he: that not only teachers of an untrained sort, but disciples also of the like class, were objects of His choice; that He chose "not many wise men" (that is his word) "according to the flesh." And so that of which he is speaking is proved to surpass both in strength and wisdom, in that it convinces both the many and the unwise: it being extremely hard to convince an ignorant person, especially when the discourse is concerning great and necessary things. However, they did work conviction. And of this he calls the Corinthians themselves as witnesses. For, "behold your calling, brethren," saith he: consider; examine: for that doctrines so wise, yea, wiser than all, should be received by ordinary men, testifies the greatest wisdom in the teacher.
[2.] But what means, "according to the flesh?" According to what is in sight; according to the life that now is; according to the discipline of the Gentiles. Then, leg he should seem to be at variance with himself, (for he had convinced both the Proconsul, (Acts xiii. 12.) and other wise men, too, we have seen coming over to the Gospel;) he said not, No wise man, but, "Not many wise men." For he did not designedly (apokeklhrwme'nws) call the ignorant and pass by the wise, but these also he received, yet the others in much larger number. And why? Because the wise man according to the he will not cast away his corrupt doctrine. And as in the case of a physician who might wish to teach certain persons the secrets of his art, those who know a few things, having a bad and perverse mode of practicing the art which they make a point of retaining, would not endure to learn quietly, but they who knew nothing would most readily embrace what was said: even so it was here. The unlearned were more open to conviction, for they were free from the extreme madness of accounting themselves wise. For indeed the excess of folly is in these more than any, these, I say, who commit unto reasoning things which cannot be ascertained except by faith. Thus, suppose the smith by means of the tongs drawing out the red-hot iron; if any one should insist on doing it with his hand, we should vote him guilty of extreme folly: so in like manner the philosophers who insisted on finding out these things for themselves disparaged the faith. And it was owing to this that they found none of the things they sought for.
"Not many mighty, not many noble;" for these also are filled with pride. And nothing is so useless towards an accurate knowledge of God as arrogance, and being nailed down (proshlw^sthai) to wealth: for these dispose a man to admire things present, and make no account of the future; and they stop up the ears through the multitude of cares: but "the foolish things of the world God chose:" which thing is the person one meets in the market more of a philosopher than themselves. Wherefore also he said himself, "That He might put to shame the wise." And not in this instance alone hath he done this, also in the case of the other advantages of life. For, to proceed, "the weak sons only, but needy also, and contemptible and obscure He called, that He might humble those who were in high places.
V. 18. "And the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things "that are not?" Those persons who are considered to be nothing because of their great insignificance. Thus hath He shown forth His great power, casting down the great by those who seem to be nothing. The same elsewhere he thus expresses, (2 Cor. xii. 9.) such as never applied themselves to any branch of learning, how all at once to discourse wisely on the things which are above the heavens For suppose a physician, an orator, or any one else: we then most admire him, when he convinces and instructs those completely uneducated. Now, if to instil into an uneducated man the rules of art be a very wonderful thing, much more things which pertain to so high philosophy.
[3.] But not for the wonders sake only, neither to shew His own power, hath He done this, but to check also the arrogant. And therefore he both said before, "That he might confound the wise and the strong, that He might bring to nought the things which are," and here again,
V. 29. "That no flesh should glory in the presence of God." For God doeth all things to this end, to repress vainglory and pride, to pull down boasting." "Do you, too," saith he, "employ yourselves in that work." He doth all, that we may put nothing to our own account; that we may ascribe all unto God. And have ye given yourselves over unto this person or to that? And what pardon will ye obtain?"
For God Himself hath shown that it is not possible we should be saved only by ourselves: and this He did from the beginning. For neither then could men be saved by themselves; but it required their compassing the beauty of the heaven, and the extent of the earth, and the mass of creation besides; if so they might be led by the hand to the great artificer of all the works. And He did this, repressing beforehand the self-conceit which was after to arise. Just as if a master who had given his scholar charge to follow wheresoever he might lead, when he sees him forestalling, and desiring to barn all things of himself, should permit him to go quite astray; and when he hath proved him incompetent to acquire the knowledge, should thereupon at length introduce to him what himself has to teach: so God also commanded in the beginning to trace Him by the idea which the creation gives; but since they would not, He, after showing by the experiment that they are not sufficient for themselves, conducts them again unto Him by another way. He gave for a tablet, the world; but the philosophers studied not in those things, neither were willing to obey Him, nor to approach unto Him by that way which Himself commanded. He introduces another way more evident than the former; one that might bring conviction that man is not of himself alone sufficient unto himself. For then scruples of reasoning might be started, and the Gentile wisdom employed, on their part whom He through the creation was leading by the hand; but now, unless a man become a fool, that is, unless he dismiss all reasoning and all wisdom, and deliver up himself unto the faith, it is impossible to be saved. You see that besides making the way easy, he hath rooted up hereby no trifling disease, namely, in forbidding to boast, and have high thoughts: "that no flesh should glory:" for hence came the sin, that men insisted on being wiser than the laws of God; not willing so to obtain knowledge as He had enacted: and therefore they did not obtain it at all. So also was it from the beginning. He said unto Adam, "Do such a thing, and such another thou must not do." He, as thinking to find out something more, disobeyed; and even what he had, he lost. He spake unto those that came after, "Rest not in the creature; but by means of it contemplate the Creator." They, forsooth, as if making out something wiser than what had been commanded, set in motion windings innumerable. Hence they kept dashing against themselves and one another, and neither found God, nor concerning the creature had any distinct knowledge; nor had any meet and true opinion about it. Wherefore again, with a very high hand, (ek pollou^ tou^ peri'ontos) lowering their conceit. He admitted the uneducated first, showing thereby that all men need the wisdom from above. And not only in the matter of knowledge, but also in all other things, both men and all other creatures He hath constituted so as to be in great need of Him; that they might have this also as a most forcible motive of submission and attachment, lest turning away they should perish. For this cause He did not suffer them to be sufficient unto themselves. For if even now many, for all their indigency, despise Him, were the case not so, whither would they not have wandered in haughtiness? So that He stayed them from boasting as they did, not from any grudge to them, but to draw them away from the destruction thence ensuing.
[4.] V. 30 "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
The expression "of Him," I suppose he uses here, not of our introduction into being, but with reference to the faith: that is, to our having become children of God, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh." (St. John i. 13.) "Think not then, that having taken away our glorying, He left us so: for there is another, a greater glorying, His gift. For ye are the children of Him in whose presence it is not meet to glory, having become so through Christ." And since he has said, "The foolish things of the world He chose, and the base," he signifies that they are nobler than all, having God for their Father. And of this nobility of ours, not this person or that, but Christ is the cause, having made us wise, and righteous, and holy. For so mean the words, "He was made unto us wisdom."
Who then is wiser than we are who have not the wisdom of Plato, but Christ Himself God having so willed.
But what means, "of God?" Whenever he speaks great things concerning the Only-Begotten, he adds mention of the Father, lest any one should think that the Son is unbegotten. Since therefore he had affirmed His power to be so great, and had referred the whole unto the Son, saying that He had "become wisdom unto us, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption;"--through the Son again referring the whole to the Father, he saith, "of God."
But why said he not, He hath made us wise, but "was made unto us wisdom?" To show the copiousness of the gift. As if he had said, He gave unto us Himself. And observe how he goes on in order. For first He made us wise by delivering from error, and then righteous and holy, by giving us the Spirit; and He hath so delivered us from all our evils as to be "of Him." and this is not meant to express communication of bring, (ousiw'sews) but is spoken concerning the faith. Elsewhere we find him saying, "We were made righteousness in Him;" in these words, "Him who knew no sin He made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him;" (5 Cor. v. 21.) but now he saith, "He hath been made righteousness unto us; so that whosoever will may partake plentifully." For it is not this man or that who hath made us wise, but Christ. "He that glorieth," therefore, "let him glory in Him," not in such or such an one. From Christ have proceeded all things. Wherefore, having said, "Who was made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," he added, "that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
For this cause also he had vehemently inveighed against the wisdom of the Greeks, to teach men this lesson, (tou^to auto` Savile; tou'tw(i) autw(i)^ Bened.) and no other: that (as indeed is no more than just) they should boast themselves in the Lord. For when of ourselves we seek the things which are above us, nothing is more foolish, nothing weaker than we are. In such case, a tongue well whetted we may have; but stability of doctrine we cannot have. Rather, reasonings, being alone, are like the webs of spider. For unto such a point of madness have some advanced as to say that there is nothing real in the whole of being: yea, they maintain positively that all things are contrary to what appears
Say not therefore that anything is from thyself, but in all things glory in God. Impute unto no man anything at any time. For if unto Paul nothing ought to be imputed much less unto any others. For, saith he, (ch. iii. 6.) "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." He that hath learnt to make his boast in the Lord, will never be dated, but will be moderate at all times, and thankful under all circumstances. But not such is the mind of the Greeks; they refer all to themselves; wherefore even of men they make gods. In so great shame hath desperate arrogance plunged them.(exetrachh'lisen
[5.] It is time then, in what remains, to go forth to battle against these. Recollect where we left our discourse on the former day. We were saying that it was not possible according to human cause and effect that fishermen should get the better of philosophers. But nevertheless it became possible: from whence it is dear that by grace it became so. We were saying that it was not possible for them even to conceive such great exploits: and we shewed that they not only conceived, but brought them to a conclusion with great ease. Let us handle, to-day, the same head of our argument: viz. From whence did it enter their thoughts to expect to overcome the world, unless they had seen Christ after He was risen? What? Were they beside themselves, to reckon upon any such thing inconsiderately and at random? For it goes even beyond all madness, to look, without Divine grace, for success in so great an undertaking. How did they succeed in it, if they were insane and frenzied? But if they were in their sober senses, as indeed the events shewed, how, but on receiving credible pledges from the heavens and enjoying the influence which is from above, did they undertake to go forth to so great wars, and to make their venture against earth and sea, and to strip and stand their ground so nobly, for a change in the customs of the whole world which had been so long time fixed, they being but twelve men?
And, what is more, what made them expect to convince their hearers, by inviting them to heaven and the mansions above? Even had they been brought up in honor, and wealth, and power, and erudition, not even so would it have been at all likely that they should be roused to so burthensome an undertaking. However, there would have been somewhat more of reason in their expectation. But as the case now stands, some of them had been occupied about lakes, some about hides(1), some about the customs: than which pursuits nothing is more unprofitable towards philosophy, and the persuading men to have high imaginations: and especially when one hath no example to shew. Nay, they had not only no examples to make their success likely, but they had examples against all likelihood of success, and those within their own doors.(*) (e`naula) For many for attempting innovations had been utterly extinguished, I say not among the Greeks, for all that was nothing, but among the Jews themselves at that very time; who not with twelve men, but with great numbers had applied themselves to the work. Thus both Theudas and Judas, having great bodies of men, perished together with their disciples. And the fear arising from their examples was enough to control these, had they not been strongly persuaded that victory without divine power was out of the question.
Yea, even if they did expect to prevail, with what sort of hopes undertook they such great dangers, except they had an eye to the world to come? But let us suppose that they hoped for no less than victory; what did they expect to gain from the bringing all men unto Him, "who is not risen again," as ye say? For if now, men who believe concerning the kingdom of heaven and blessings unnumbered with reluctance encounter dangers, how could they have undergone so many for nothing, yea rather, for evil? For if the things which were done did not take place, if Christ did not ascend into heaven; surely in their obstinate zeal to invent these things, and convince alI the world of them, they were offending God, and must expect ten thousand thunderbolts from on high.
[6.] Or, in another point of view; if they had felt this great zeal while Christ was living, yet on His death they would have let it go out. For He would have seemed to them, had He not risen, as a sort of deceiver and pretender. Know ye not that armies while the general and king is alive, even though they be weak, keep together; but when those in such office have departed, however strong they may be, they are broken up?
Tell me then, what were the enticing arguments whereupon they acted, when about to take hold of the Gospel, and to go forth unto all the world? Was there any kind of impediment wanting to restrain them? If they had been mad, (for I will not cease repeating it,) they could not have succeded at all; for no one follows the advice of madmen. But if they succeeded as in truth they did succeed, and the event proves, then none so wise as they. Now if none were so wise as they, it is quite plain, they would not lightly have entered upon the preaching. Had they not seen Him after He was risen, what was there sufficient to draw them out unto this war? What which would not have turned them away from it? He said unto them, "After three days I will rise again," and He made promises concerning the kingdom of heaven. He said, they should master the whole world, after they had received the Holy Spirit; and ten thousand other things besides these, surpassing all nature. So that if none of these things had come to pass, although they believed in Him while alive, after His death they would not have believed in Him, unless they had seen Him after He was risen. For they have said, "'After three days,' He said, ' I will rise again,' and He hath not arisen. He promised that He would give the Spirit, and He hath not sent Him. How then shall His sayings about the other world find credit with us, when His sayings about this are tried and found wanting?"
And why, if He rose not again, did they preach that He was risen? "Because they loved Him," you will say. But surely, it was likely that they would hate Him afterwards, for deceiving and betraying them; and because, having lifted them up with innumerable hopes, and divorced them from house, and parents, and all things, and set in hostility against them the entire nation of Jews, He had betrayed them after all. And if indeed the thing were of weakness, they might have pardoned it; but now it would be deemed a result of exceeding malice. For He ought to have spoken the truth, and not have promised heaven, being a mortal man, as ye say. So that the very opposite was the likely line for them to take; to proclaim the deception, and declare Him a pretender and imposter. Thus again would they have been rid of all their perils; thus have put an end to the war. Moreover, seeing that the Jews gave money unto the sails to say that they stole the body, if the disciples had come forward and said, "We stole Him, He is not risen again," what honor would they not have enjoyed? Thus it was in their power to be honored, nay, crowned. Why then did they for insults and dangers barter away these things, if it was not some Divine power which influenced them, and proved mightier than all these?
[7.] But if we do not yet convince, take this also into consideration; that had this not been so, though they were ever so well disposed, they would not have preached this Gospel in His name, but would have treated Him with abhorrence. For ye know that not even the names of those who deceive us in this sort are we willing to hear. But for what reason preached they also His name? Expecting to gain the mastery through Him? Truly the contrary was natural for them to expect; that even if they had been on the point of prevailing they were ruining themselves by bringing forward the name of a deceiver. But if they wished to throw into the shade former events, their fine was to be silent; at any rate, to contend for them earnestly was to excite more and more both of serious hostility and of ridicule. From whence then did it enter their thoughts to invent such things? I say, "invent:" for what they had heard, they had forgotten. But if, when there was no fear, they forgot many things, and some did not even understand, (as also the Evangelist himself saith,) now that so great a danger came upon them, how could it be otherwise than that all should fleet away from them? Why speak I of words? when even their love towards their Master Himself began gradually to fade away, through fear of what was coming: wherewith also He upraided them. For since, before this, they hung upon him, and were asking continually, "Whither goest Thou," but afterwards on His drawing out His discourse to so great length, and declaring the terrors which at the very time of the Cross, and after the Cross should befal them, they just continued speechless and frozen through fear;--hear how He alleges to them this very point saying, "None of you asketh Me, Wither goest Thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart." (St. John xvi. 5--6. ) Now if the expectation that He would die and rise again was such a grief to them, had they failed to see Him after He was risen, how could it be less than annihilation? Yea, they would have been fain to sink into the depths of the earth, what with dejection at being so deceived, and what with dread of the future. feeling themselves sorry straightened.
Again: from whence came their high doctrines? for the higher points, He said, they should hear afterwards. For, saith He, (St. John xvi. 12.) "I have many things to speak unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." So that the things not spoken were higher. And one of the disciples was not even willing to depart with Him into Judea, when he heard of dangers, but said, "Let us also go that we may die with Him," (St. John xi. 16.) taking it hardly(1) because he expected that he should die. Now if that disciple, while he was with Him, expected to die and shrunk back on that account, what must he not have expected afterwards, when parted from Him and the other disciples, and when the exposure of their shameless conduct was so complete?
[8.].Besides, what had they to say when they went forth? For the passion indeed all the world knew: for He had been hanged on high, upon the frame of wood, (ikri'ou) and in mid-day, and in a chief city, and at a principal feast and that from which it was least permitted that any should be absent. But the resurrection no man saw of those who were without: which was no small impediment to them in working conviction. Again, that He was buried, was the common talk of all: and that His disciples stole His body, the soldiers and all the Jews declared: but that He had risen again, no one of them who were without knew by sight. Upon what ground then did they expect to convince the world? For if, while miracles were taking place, certain soldiers were persuaded to testify the contrary, upon what ground did these expect without miracles to do the work of preachers, and without having a farthing to convince land and sea concerning the resurrection? Again, if through desire of glory they attempted this, so much the rather would they have ascribed doctrines each one to himself, and not to Him that was dead and gone. Will it be said, men would not have believed them? And which of the two was the likelier, being preached, to win their belief? He that was apprehended and crucified, or those who had escaped the hands of the Jews?
[9.] Next, tell me with what view were they to take such a course? They did not immediately, leaving Judaea, go into the Gentile cities, but went up and down within its limit. But how, unless they worked miracles, did they convince? For if such they really wrought, (and work them they did,) it was the result of God's power. If on the other hand they wrought none and prevailed, much more wonderful was the event. Knew they not the Jews-- tell me--and their evil practice, and their soul full of grudgings? For they stoned even Moses, (Numb. xiv. 10. comp. Exod. xvii. 4.) after the sea which they had crossed on foot; after the victory, and that marvellous trophy which they raised without blood, by means of his hands, over the Egyptians who had enslaved them; after the manna; after the rocks, and the fountains of rivers which break out thence; after ten thousand miracles in the land of Egypt and the Red Sea and the wilderness. Jeremiah they cast into a pit, and many of the prophets they slew. Here, for example, what saith Elias, after that fearful famine, and the marvellous rain, and the torch which he brought down from heaven, and the strange holocaust; driven, as he was, to the very extreme edge of their country: "Lord, thy prophets they have killed, thine altars they have digged down, and I am left alone, and they seek my life." (1 Kings xix. 10.) Yet were not those (who were so persecuted) disturbing any of the established rules. Tell me then, what ground had men for attending to these of whom we are speaking? For, on one hand, they were meaner persons than any of the prophets; on the other, they were introducing just such novelties as had caused the Jews to nail even their Master to the Cross
And in another way, too, it seemed less unaccountable for Christ to utter such things than for them; for He, they might suppose, acted thus to acquire glory for himself; but these they would have hated even the more, as waging war with them in behalf of another.
[10.] But did the laws of the Romans help them? Nay, by these they were more involved in difficulties. For their language was, (St. John xix. 12.) "Whosoever maketh himself a king is not Cæsar's friend." So that this alone was a sufficient impediment to them, that of Him who was accounted an usurper they were first disciples, and afterwards desirous to strengthen His cause. What in the world then set them upon rushing into such great dangers? And by what statements about Him would they be likely to gain credit? that He was crucified? That He was born of a poor Jewish woman who had been betrothed to a Jewish carpenter? That He was of a nation hated by the world? Nay, all these things were enough not only to fail of persuading and attracting the hearers, but also to disgust every one; and especially when affirmed by the tent-maker and the fisherman. Would not the disciples then bear all these things in mind? Timid nature can imagine more than the reality, and such were their natures Upon what ground then did they hope to succeed? Nay, rather, they had no hope, there being things innumerable to draw them aside, if so be that Christ had not risen. Is it not quite plain even unto most thoughtless that unless they had enjoyed a copious and mighty grace, and had received pledges of the resurrection, they would have been unable, I say not, to do and undertake these things, but even so much as to have them in their minds? For if when there were so great hinderances, in the way of their planning, I say not of their succeeding, they yet both planned and brought to effect and accomplishing things greater than all expectation, every one, I suppose, can see that not by human power but by divine grace they wrought things.
Now these arguments we ought to practice, not by ourselves only, but one with another; and thus also the discovery of what remains will be easier to us.
[11.] And do not, because thou art an artisan, suppose that this sort of exercise is out of your province; for even Paul was a tent-maker.
"Yes," saith some one, "but at that time he was also filled with abundant grace, and out of that he spake all things" Well; but before this grace, he was at the feet of Gamaliel; yea, moreover, and he received the grace, because of this, that he shewed a mind worthy of the grace; and after these things he again put his hand to his craft. Let no, one, therefore, of those who have trades be ashamed; but those, who are brought up to nothing and are idle, who employ many attendants, and are served by an immense retinue. For to be supported by continual hard work is a sort of asceticism. (philosophi'as) comp. Hooker, E. P. V. lxxii. 18.) The souls of such men are clearer, and their minds better strung. For the man who has nothing to do is apter to say many things at random, and do many things at random; and he is busy all day long about nothing, a huge lethargy taking him up entirely. But he that is employed will not lightly entertain in himself any thing useless, in deed in words, or in thoughts; for his whole soul is altogether intent upon his laborious way of livelihood. Let us not therefore despise those who support themselves by the labor of their own hands; but let us rather call them happy on this account. For tell me, what thanks are due unto thee, when after having received thy portion from thy father, thou goest on not in any calling, but lavishing away the whole of it at random? Knowest thou not that we shall no all have enjoyed greater licence here a more exact one; those who were afflicted with labor, or poverty, or any thing else of this kind, one not so severe? And this is plain from Lazarus and the rich man. For as thou, for neglecting the right use of the leisure, art justly accused; so the poor man, who having full employment hath spent his remnant of time upon right objects, great will be the crowns which he shall receive. But dost thou urge that a soldier's duties should at least excuse thee; and dost thou charge them with thy want of leisure? The excuse cannot be founded in reason. For Cornelius was a centurion, yet in no way did the soldier's belt impair his strict rule of life. But thou, when thou art keeping holiday with dancers and players, and making entire waste of thy life upon the stage, never thinkest of excusing thyself from such engagements by the necessity of military service or the fear of rulers: but when it is the Church to which we call you, then occur these endless impediments.
And what wilt thou say in the day, when thou seest the flame, and the rivers of fire, and the chains never to be broken; and shalt hear the gnashing of teeth? Who shall stand up for thee in that day, when thou shalt see him that hath labored with his own hand and hath lived uprightly, enjoying all glory; but thyself, who art now in soft raiment and redolent of perfumes, in incurable woe? What good will thy wealth and superfluity do thee? And the artisan--what harm will his poverty do him?
Therefore that we may not suffer then, let us fear what is said now, and let all our time be spent in employment on things which are really indispensable. For so, having propitiated God in regard of our past sins, and adding good deeds for the future, we shall be able to attain unto the kingdom of heaven: through the favor and loving-kindness, etc., etc.
HOMILY VI: 1 Cor. ii. 1, 2.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
Nothing was ever more prepared for combat than the spirit of Paul; or rather, I should say, not his spirit, (for he was not himself the inventor of these things,) but, nothing was ever equal to the grace working within him, which overcometh all things For sufficient indeed is what had been said before to cast down the pride of the boasters about wisdom; nay, even a part of it had been enough. But to enhance the splendor of the victory, he contends anew for the points which he had been affirming; trampling upon the prostrate foe. Look at it in this was He had brought forward the prophecy which saith, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." He had shewn the wisdom of God, in that by means of what seemed to be foolishness, He destroyed the philosophy of the Gentiles; he had shewn that the "foolishness of God is wiser than men ;" he had shewn that not only did He teach by untaught persons, but also chose untaught persons to learn of Him. Now he sheweth that both the thing itself which was preached, and the manner of preaching it, were enough to stagger people; and yet did not stagger them. As thus: "not only," saith he, "are the disciples uneducated, but I myself also, who am the preacher."
Therefore he saith, "And I, brethren, "(again he useth the word "brethren," to smooth down. the harshness of the utterance,)" came not with excellency of speech, declaring unto you the testimony of God." "What then? tell me, hadst thou chosen to come 'with excellency,' wouldest thou have been able?" "I, indeed, had I chosen, should not have been able; but Christ, if He had chosen, was able. But He would not, in order that He might render His trophy more brilliant." Wherefore also in a former passage, shewing that it was His work which had been done, His will that the word should be preached in an unlearned manner, he said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel; not with wisdom of words" But far greater, yea, infinitely greater, than Paul's willing this, is the fact that Christ willed it.
"Not therefore," saith he, "by display of eloquence, neither armed with arguments from without, do I declare the testimony of God." He saith not "the preaching," but "the testimony(1) of God;" which word was itself sufficient to withhold him. For he went about preaching death: and for this reason he added, "for I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." This was the meaning he meant to convey, that he is altogether destitute of the wisdom which is without; as indeed he was saying above," I came not with excellency of speech :" for that he might have possessed this also is plain; for he whose garments raised the dead and whose shadow expelled diseases,(2) much more was his soul capable of receiving eloquence. For this is a thing which may be taught: but the former transcendeth all art. He then who knows things beyond the reach of art, much more must he have had strength for lesser things. But Christ permitted not; for it was not expedient. Rightly therefore he saith, "For I determined not to know any thing: "for I, too, for my part have just the same will as Christ."
And to me it seems that he speaks to them in a lower tone even than to any others, in order to repress their pride. Thus, the expression, "I determined to know nothing," was spoken in contradistinction to the wisdom which is with out. "For I came not weaving syllogisms nor sophisms, nor saying unto you anything else than" Christ was crucified." They indeed have ten thousand things to say, and concerning ten thousand things they speak, winding out long courses of words, framing arguments and syllogisms, compounding sophisms without end. But I came unto you saying no other thing than "Christ was crucified," and all of them I out-stripped: which is a sign such as no words can express of the power of Him whom I preach."
[2.] Ver. 3. "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling."
This again is another topic: for not only are the believers unlearned persons; not only is he that speaketh unlearned; not only is the manner of the teaching of an unlearned cast throughout; not only was the thing preached of itself enough to stagger people; (for the cross and death were the message brought;) but together with these there were also other hindrances, the dangers, and the plots, and the daily fear, and the being hunted about. For the word "weakness," with him in many places stands for the persecutions: as also elsewhere. "My weakness which I had in my flesh ye did not set at nought:" (Gal. iv. 13, 14.)and again, "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my weakness." (2 Cor. xi. 30.) What [weakness]? "The governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes, desirous to apprehend me." (2 Cor. v. 32.) And again, "Wherefore I take pleasure in weakness:" (2 Cor. 12 10.) then, saying in what, he added, "In injuries, in necessities, in distresses." And here he makes the same statement; for having said, "And I was in weakness," etc. he did not stop at this point, but explaining the word "weakness" makes mention of his dangers. He adds again, "and in fear, and in much trembling, I was with you."
"How sayest thou? Did Paul also fear dangers?" He did fear, and dreaded them excessively; for though he was Paul, yet he was a man. But this is no charge against Paul, but infirmity of human nature; and it is to the praise of his fixed purpose of mind that when he even dreaded death and stripes, he did nothing wrong because of this fear. So that they who assert that he feared not stripes, not only do not honor him, but rather abridge greatly his praises. For if he feared not, what endurance or what self-restraint was there in bearing the dangers? I, for my part, on this account admire him; because being in fear, and not simply in "fear," but even in "trembling" at his perils, he so ran as ever to keep his crown; and gave not in for any danger, in his task of purging out(1) the world, and everywhere both by sea and land sowing the Gospel.
[3.] Ver. 4. "And my speech and my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom:" that is, had not the wisdom from without. Now if the doctrine preached had nothing subtle, and they that were called were unlearned, and he that preached was of the same description, and thereto was added persecution, and trembling and fear; tell me, how did they overcome without Divine power? And this is why, having said, "My speech and my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom," he added, "but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."
Dost thou perceive how "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness stronger?" They for their part, bring unlearned and preaching such a Gospel, in their chains and persecution overcame their persecutors. Whereby? was it not by their furnishing that evidence which is of the Spirit? For this indeed is confessed demonstration. For who, tell me, after he had seen dead men rising to life and devils cast out, could have helped admitting it?
But seeing that there are also deceiving wonders, such as those of sorcerers, he removes this suspicion also. For he said not simply "of power," but first, "of the Spirit," and then, "of power:" signifying that the things done were spiritual.
It is no disparagement, therefore, that the Gospel was not declared by means of wisdom; rather it is a very great ornament. For this, it will be allowed, is the clearest token of its being divine and having its roots from above, out of the heavens. Wherefore he added also,
Ver. 5. "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
Seest thou how dearly in every way he hath set forth the vast gain of this "ignorance," and the great loss of this "wisdom?" For the latter made void the Cross, but the former proclaimed the power of God: the latter, besides their failing to discover any of those things which they most needed, set them also upon boasting of themselves; the former, besides their receiving the truth, led them also to pride themselves in God. Again, wisdom would have persuaded many to suspect that the doctrine was of man: this clearly demonstrated it to be divine, and to have come down from heaven. Now when demonstration is made by wisdom of words, even the worse oftentimes overcome the better, having more skill in words; and falsehood outstrips the truth. But in this case it is not so: for neither doth the Spirit enter into an unclean soul, nor, having entered in, can it ever be subdued; even though alI possible cleverness of speech assail it. For the demonstration by works and signs is for more evident than that by words.
[4.] But some one may say perhaps, "If the Gospel is to prevail and hath no need of words, lest the Cross be made of none effect; for what reason are signs withholden now?" For what reason? Speakest thou in unbelief and not allowing that they were done even in the times of the Apostles, or dost thou truly seek to know? If in unbelief, I will first make my stand against this. I say then, If signs were not done at that time, how did they, chased, and persecuted, and trembling, and in chains, and having become the common enemies of the world, and exposed to all as a mark for ill usage, and with nothing of their own to allure, neither speech, nor show, nor wealth, nor city, nor nation, nor family, nor pursuit (etith'deuma,) nor glory, nor any such like thing; but with all things contrary, ignorance, meanness, poverty, hatred, enmity, and setting themselves against whole commonwealths, and with such a message to declare; how, I say, did they work conviction? For both the precepts brought much labor, and the doctrines many dangers. And they that heard and were to obey, had been brought up in luxury and drunkenness, and in great wickedness. Tell me then, how did they convince? Whence had they their credibility? For, as I have just said, If without signs they wrought conviction, far greater does the wonder appear. Do not then urge the fact that signs are not done now, as a proof that they were not done then. For as then they were usefully wrought; so now are they no longer so wrought.
Nor doth it necessarily follow from discourse being the only instrument of conviction, that now the "preaching" is in "wisdom." For both they who from the beginning sowed the word were unprofessional (idiw^tai) and unlearned, and spake nothing of themselves; but what things they received from God, these they distributed to the world: and we ourselves at this time introduce no inventions of our own; but the things which from them we have received, we speak unto all. And not even now persuade we by argumentation; but from the Divine Scriptures and from the miracles done at that time we produce the proof of what we say. On the other hand, even they at that time persuaded not by signs alone, but also by discoursing. And the signs and the testimonies out of the Old Scriptures, not the cleverness of the things said, made their words appear more powerful.
[5.] How then, you will say, is it that signs were expedient then, and now inexpedient? Let us suppose a case, (for as yet I am contending against the Greek, and therefore I speak hypothetically of what must certainly come to pass,) let us, I say, suppose a case; and let the unbeliever consent to believe our affirmations, though it be only by way of concession: (k'a'n kata' sundromh'n) for instance, That Christ will come. When then Christ shall come and all the angels with Him, and be manifested as God, and all things made subject unto Him; will not even the Greek believe? It is quite plan that he will also fall down and worship, and confess Him God, though his stubbornness exceed all reckoning. For who, at sight of the heavens opened and Him coming upon the clouds, and all the congregation of the powers above spread around Him, and rivers of fire coming on, and all standing by and trembling, will not fall down before Him, and believe Him God? Tell me, then; shall that adoration and knowledge be accounted unto the Greek for faith? No, on no account. And why not? Because this is not faith. For necessity hath done this, and the evidence of the things seen, and it is not of choice, but by the vastness of the spectacle the powers of the mind are dragged along. It follows that by how much the more evident and overpowering the course of events, by so much is the part of faith abridged. For this reason miracles are not done now.
And that this is the truth, hear what He saith unto Thomas (St. John xx. 29) "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." Therefore, in proportion to the evidence wherewith the miracle is set forth is the reward of faith lessened. So that if now also miracles were wrought, the same thing would ensue. For that then we shall no longer know Him by faith, Paul hath shewn, saying, "For now we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. v., 7. nu^n not in the received text.) As at that time, although thou believe, it shall not be imputed unto thee, because the thing is so palpable; so also now, supposing that such miracles were done as were formerly. For when we admit things which in no degree and in no way can be made out by reasoning, then it is faith. It is for this that hell is threatened, but is not shewn: for if it were shewn, the same would again ensue.
[6.] Besides if signs be what thou seekest after, even now thou mayest see signs, although not of the same kind; the numberless predictions and on an endless variety of subject: the conversion of the world, the self- denying (philosophi'an) course of the Barbarians, the change from savage customs, the greater intenseness of piety. "What predictions?" you will say. "For all the things just mentioned were written after the present state of things had begun." When? Where? By whom? Tell me. How many years ago? Will you have fifty, or an hundred? They had not then, a hundred years ago, anything written at all. How then did the world retain the doctrines and all the rest, since memory would not be sufficient? How knew they that Peter was crucified? (aneskolopi'sthh) How could it have entered the minds of men who came after the events had taken place to foretell, for instance, that the Gospel should be preached in every part of the whole world? that the Jewish institutions should cease, and never return again? And they who gave up their lives for the Gospel, how would they have endured to see the Gospel adulterated? And how would the writers have won credit, miracles having ceased? And how could the writings have penetrated to the region of Barbarians, and of Indians, and unto the very bounds of the ocean, if the relators had not been worthy of credit? The writers, too, who were they? When, how, and why, did they write at all? Was it to gain glory to themselves? Why then inscribed they the books with other men's names? "Why, from a wish to recommend the doctrine" As true, or as false? For if you say, they stock to it, as bring false; their joining it at all was out of all likelihood: but if as being truth, there was no need of inventions such as you speak of. And besides, the prophecies are of such a kind, as that even until now time has been unable to force aside the predicted course of things: (hws mh` duna'sthai biaze`sthai chro'nw(i) ta eirhme'na) for the destruction indeed of Jerusalem took place many years ago; but there are also other predictions which extend along from that time until His coming; which examine as you please: for instance, this, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world: (St. Matt. xxviii. 20.) and, "Upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: " (St. Matt. xvi. 18.) and, "This Gospel shall be preached unto all nations:" (St. Matt. xxiv. 14.) and that which the woman which was an harlot did(1): and many others more than these. Whence then the truth of this prediction if indeed it were a forgery? How did "the gates of hell" not "prevail" against "the Church?" How is Christ always "with us?" For had He not been "with us," the Church would not have been victorious. How was the Gospel spread abroad in every part of the world? They also who have spoken against us are enough to testify the antiquity of the books; I mean, such as Celsus(2) and he of Batanea(3), who came after him. For they, I suppose, were not speaking against books composed after there time.
 And besides, there is the whole world which with one consent hath received the Gospel. Now there could not have been so great agreement from one end of the earth to the other, unless it had been the Grace of the Spirit; but the authors of the forgery would have been quickly found out. Neither could so great excellencies have originated from inventions and falsehoods. Dost thou not see the whole world coming in; error extinguished; the austere wisdom (philosophi'an) of the old monks shining brighter than the sun; the choirs of the virgins; the piety among Barbarians; all men serving under one yoke? For neither by us alone were these things foretold, but also from the beginning, by the Prophets. For you will not, I trow, cavil at their predictions also: for the books are with their enemies, and through the zeal of certain Greeks they have been transferred into the Greek tongue. Many things then do these also foretell concerning these matters, shewing that it was God who should come among us.
 Why then do not all believe now? Because things have degenerated: and for this we are to blame. (For from hence the discourse is addressed unto us also.) For surely not even then did they trust to signs alone, but by the mode of life also many of the converts were attracted. For, "Let your light so shine before men," saith He, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (St. Matt. v. 16) And, "They were all of one heart and one soul, neither said any man that aught of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common; and distribution was made unto every man, according as he had need."; (Acts iv. 32, 35.) and they lived an angelic life. And if the same were done now, we should convert the whole word, even without miracles. But in the meanwhile, let those who will be saved attend to the Scriptures; for they shall find there both these noble doings, and those which are greater than these. For it may be added that the Teachers themselves surpassed the deeds of the others; living in hunger, in third, and nakedness. But we are desirous of enjoying great luxury, and rest, and ease; not so they: they cried aloud, "Even unto the present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place. (I Cor. iv. II.) And some ran from Jerusalem unto Illyricum, (Rom. xv. 19.) and another unto the country of the Indians, and another unto that of the Moors, and this to one part of the world, that to another. Whereas we have not the courage to depart even out of our own country; but seek for luxurious living and splendid houses and all other superfluities. For which of us ever was famished for the word of God's sake? Which ever abode in a wilderness? Which ever set out on a distant peregrination? Which of our teachers lived by the labor of his hands to assist others? Which endured death daily? Hence it is that they also who are with us have become slothful. For suppose that one saw soldiers and generals struggling with hunger, and thirst, and death, and with all dreadful things, and bearing cold and dangers and all like lions, and so prospering; then afterwards, relaxing that strictness, and becoming enervated, and fond of wealth, and addicted to business and bargains, and then overcome by their enemies it were extreme folly to seek for the cause of all this. Now let us reason thus in our own case and that of our ancestors; for we too have become weaker than all, and are nailed down unto this present life.
And if one be found having a vestige of the ancient wisdom, leaving the cities and the market-places, and the society of the world, and the ordering of others, he betakes himself to the mountains: and if one ask the reason of that retirement, he invents a plea which cannot meet with allowance. For, saith he, "lest I perish too, and the edge of my goodness be taken off, I start aside." Now how much better were it for thee to become less keen, and to gain others, than abiding on high to neglect thy perishing brethren?
When, however, the one sort are careless about virtue, and those who do regard it withdraw themselves far from our ranks, how are we to subdue our enemies? For even if miracles were wrought now, who would be persuaded? Or who of those without would give heed unto us, our iniquity being thus prevalent? For so it is, that our upright living seems unto the many the more trustworthy argument of the two: miracles admitting of a bad construction on the part of obstinate bad men: whereas a pure life will have abundant power to stop the mouth of the devil himself.
[9.] These things I say, both to governors and governed; and, before all others, unto myself; to the end that the way of life shown forth in us may be truly admirable, that taking our appropriate stations, we may look down on all things present; may despise wealth, and not despise hell; overlook glory, and not overlook salvation; endure toil and labor here, lest we fall into punishment there. Thus let us wage war with the Greeks; thus let us take them captive with a captivity better than liberty.
But while we say these things without intermission, over and over, they occur very seldom. Howbeit, be they done or not, it is right to remind you of them continually. For if some are engaged in deceiving by their fair speech, so much more is it the duty of those who allure back unto the truth, not to grow weary of speaking what is profitable. Again: if the deceivers make use of so many contrivances--spending as they do money, and applying arguments, and undergoing dangers, and making a parade of their patronage--much more should we, who are winning men from deceit, endure both dangers and deaths, and all things; that we may both gain ourselves and others, and become to our enemies irresistible, and so obtain the promised blessings, through the grace and loving-kindness, etc.
HOMILY VII: 1 Cor. ii. 6, 7.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect, yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, which are coming to naught; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God fore-ordained before the worlds unto our glory.
DARKNESS seems to be more suitable than light to those that are diseased in their eyesight: wherefore they betake themselves by preference to some room that is thoroughly shaded over. This also is the case with the wisdom which is spiritual. As the wisdom which is of God seemed to be foolishness unto those without: so their own wisdom, being foolishness indeed, was accounted by them wisdom. The result has been just as if a man having skill in navigation were to promise that without a ship or sails he would pass over a boundless tract of sea, and then endeavor by reasonings to prove that the thing is possible; but some other person, ignorant of it all, committing himself to a ship and a steersman and sailors, were thus to sail in safety. For the seeming ignorance of this man is wiser than the wisdom of the other. For excellent is the art of managing a ship; but when it makes too great professions it is a kind of folly. And so is every art which is not contented with its own proper limits. Just so the wisdom which is without [were wisdom indeed(1)] if it had had the benefit of the spirit. But since it trusted all to itself and supposed that it wanted none of that help, it became foolishness, although it seemed to be wisdom. Wherefore having first exposed it by the facts, then and not till then he calls it foolishness; and having first called the wisdom of God folly, according to their reckoning, then and not till then he shews it to be wisdom. (For after our proofs, not before, we are best able to abash the gainsayers.)
His words then are, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect:" for when I, accounted foolish and a preacher of follies, get the better of the wise, I overcome wisdom, not by foollishness but by a more perfect wisdom; a wisdom, too, so ample and so much greater, that the other appears foolishness. Wherefore having before called it by a name such as they named it at that time, and having both proved his victory from the facts, and shewn the extreme foolishness of the other side: he thenceforth bestows upon it its right name, saying, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect." "Wisdom" is the name he gives to the Gospel, to the method of salvation, the being saved by the Cross. "The perfect," are those who believe. For indeed they are "perfect," who know all human things to be utterly helpless, and who overlook them from the conviction that by such they are profited nothing: such Were the true believers.
"But not a wisdom of this world." For where is the use of the wisdom which is without, terminating here and proceeding no further, and not even here able to profit its possessors?
Now by the "rulers of the world," here, he means not certain demons, as some suspect,(1) but those in authority, those in power, those who esteem the thing worth contending about, philosophers, rhetoricians and writers of speeches (logogra'phous). For these were the dominant sort and often became leaders of the people.
"Rulers of the world" he calls them, because beyond the present world their dominion extends not. Wherefore, he adds further, "which are coming to nought ;" disparaging it both on its own account, and from those who wield it. For having shewn that it is false, that it is foolish, that it can discover nothing, that it is weak, he shews moreover that it is but of short duration.
[2.] "But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery." What mystery? For surely Christ saith, (St. Matt. x. 27. hkou'sate rec. text akou'ete.) "What ye have heard in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops." How then does he call it "a mystery?" Because that neither angel nor archangel, nor any other created power knew of it before it actually took place. Wherefore he saith, (Ephes. iii. 10.) "That now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." And this hath God done in honor to us, so that they not without us should hear the mysteries. For we, too, ourselves, whomsoever we make our friends, use to speak of this as a sure proof of friendship towards them, that we tell our secrets to no one in preference to them. Let those hear who expose to shame(2) the secrets of the Gospel, and unto all indiscriminately display the "pearls" and the doctrine, and who cast "the holy things" unto "dogs," and "swine," and useless reasonings. For the Mystery wants no argumentation; but just what it is, that only is to be declared. Since it will not be a mystery, divine and whole in all its parts, when thou addest any thing to it of thyself also.
And in another sense, too, a mystery is so called; because we do not behold the things which we see, but some things we see and others we believe. For such is the nature of our Mysteries. I, for instance, feel differently upon these subjects from an unbeliever. I hear, "Christ was crucified;" and forthwith I admire His loving-kindness unto men: the other hears, and esteems it weakness. I hear, "He became a servant;" and I wonder at his care for us: the other hears, and counts it dishonor. I hear, "He died;" and am astonished at His might, that being in death He was not holden, but even broke the bands of death: the other hears, and surmises it to be helplessness. He hearing of the resurrection, saith, the thing is a legend; I, aware of the facts which demonstrate it, fall down and worship the dispensation of God. He hearing of a layer, counts it merely as water: but I behold not simply the thing which is seen, but the purification of the soul which is by the Spirit. He considers only that my body hath been washed; but I have believed that the soul also hath become both pure and holy; and I count it the sepulchre, the resurrection, the sanctification, the righteousness, the redemption, the adoption, the inheritance, the kingdom of heaven, the plenary effusion (chorhgi'an) of the Spirit. For not by the sight do I judge of the things that appear, but by the eyes of the mind. I hear of the "Body of Christ:" in one sense I understand the expression, in another sense the unbeliever.
And just as children, looking on their books, know not the meaning of the letters, neither know what they see; yea more, if even a grown man be unskilful in letters, the same thing will befall him; but the skilful will find much meaning stored up in the letters, even complete lives and histories: and an epistle in the hands of one that is unskilful will be accounted but paper and ink; but he that knows how to read will both hear a voice, and hold converse with the absent, and will reply whatsoever he chooses by means of writing: so it is also in regard of the Mystery. Unbelievers albeit they hear, seem not to hear: but the faithful, having the skill which is by the Spirit, behold the meaning of the things stored therein. For instance, it is this very thing that Paul signified, when he said that even now the word preached is hidden: for "unto them that perish," he saith, "it is hidden." (2 Cor. iv. 3.)
In another point of view, the word indicates also the Gospel's being contrary to all expectation. By no other name is Scripture wont to call what happens beyond all hope and above all thought of men. Wherefore also in another place, "My mystery is for Me(1)," and for Mine. And Paul again, (2 Cor. xv. 51.) "Behold, I shew you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."
[3.] And though it be everywhere preached, still is it a mystery; for as we have been commanded, "what things we have heard in the ear, to speak upon the house tops," so have we been also charged, "not to give the holy things unto dogs nor yet to cast our pearls before swine." (St. Matt. vii. 9.) For some are carnal and do not understand: others have a veil upon their hearts and do not see: wherefore that is above all things a mystery, which everywhere is preached, but is not known of those who have not a right mind; and is revealed not by wisdom but by the Holy Ghost, so far as is possible for us to receive it. And for this cause a man would not err, who in this respect also should entitle it a mystery, the utterance whereof is forbidden. (apo'rrhton) For not even unto us, the faithful, hath been committed entire certainty and exactness. Wherefore Paul also said, (ch. xiii. 9.) "We know in part, and we prophesy in part: for now we see in a mirror darkly; but then face to face."
[4.] For this cause he saith, "We speak wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God fore-ordained before the worlds unto our glory. Hidden:" that is, that no one of the powers above hath learnt it before us; neither do the many know it now.
"Which he fore-ordained unto our glory" and yet, elsewhere he saith, "unto his own glory," for he considereth our salvation to be His own glory: even as also He calleth it His own riches, (vid. Ephes. iii. 8,) though He be Himself rich in good and need nothing in order that He may be rich.
"Fore-ordained," he saith, pointing out the care had of us. For so those are accounted most both to honor and to love us, whosoever shall have laid themselves out to do us good from the very beginning: which indeed is what fathers do in the case of children. For although they give not their goods until afterwards, yet at first and from the beginning they had predetermined this. And this is what Paul is earnest to point out now; that God always loved us even from the beginning and when as yet we were not. For unless He had loved us, He would not have fore-ordained our riches. Consider not then the enmity which hath come between; for more ancient than that was the friendship.
As to the words, "before the worlds," (pro` tw^n aiw'nwn) they mean eternal. For in another place also He saith thus, "Who is before the worlds." The Son also, if you mark it, will be found to be eternal in the same sense. For concerning Him he saith, (Heb. i. 2.) "By Him He made the worlds;" which is equivalent to subsistence before the worlds; for it is plain that the maker is before the things which are made.
[5.] Ver. 8. "Which none of the rulers of this world knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory."
Now if they knew not, how said He unto them, (St. John vii. 28.) "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am?" Indeed, concerning Pilate the Scripture saith, he knew not. (vid. St. John xix, 9.) It is likely also that neither did Herod know. These, one might say, are called rulers of this world: but if a man were to say that this is spoken concerning the Jews also and the Priests, he would not err. For to these also He saith, (St. John viii. 19.) "Ye know neither Me nor My Father." How then saith He a little before, "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am?" However, the manner of this way of knowledge and of that hath already been declared in the Gospel; (Hom. 49. on St. John,) and, not to be continually handling the same topic, thither do we refer our readers.
What then? was their sin in the matter of the Cross forgiven them? For He surely did say, "Forgive them." (Luke xxiii. 34.) If they repented, it was forgiven. For even he who set countless assailants on Stephen and persecuted the Church, even Paul, became the champion of the Church. Just so then, those others also who chose to repent, had forgiveness: and this indeed Paul himself meant, when he exclaims, (Rom. xi. 11, 1, 2). "I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid." "I say then, hath God cast away His people whom He foreknew? God forbid." Then, to shew that their repentance was not precluded, he brought forward as a decisive proof his own conversion, saying, "For I also am an Israelite."
As to the words, "They knew not;" they seem to me to be said here not concerning Christ's Person, but only concerning the dispensation hidden in that event: (peri` auth^s tou^ pra'gmatos th^s oikonomi'as) as if he had said, what meant "the death," and the "Cross," they knew not. For in that passage also He said not, "They know not Me," but, "They know not what they do;" that is, the dispensation which is being accomplished, and the mystery, they are ignorant of. For they knew not that the Cross is to shine forth so brightly; that it is made the salvation of the world, and the reconciliation of God unto men; that their city should be taken; and that they should suffer the extreme of wretchedness.
By the name of "wisdom," he calls both Christ, and the Cross and the Gospel. Opportunely also he called Him, "The Lord of glory." For seeing that the Cross is counted a matter of ignominy, he signifies that the Cross was great glory: but that there was need of great wisdom in order not only to know God but also to learn this dispensation of God: and the wisdom which was without turned out an obstacle, not to the former only, but to the latter also.
[6.] Ver. 9. "But as it is written, Things which eye saw not and ear heard not, and which entered not into the heart of man, whatsoever things God prepared for them that love Him."
Where are these words written? Why, it is said to have been "written," then also, when it is set down, not in words, but in actual events, as in the historical books(1); or when the same meaning is expressed, but not in the very same words, as in this place: for the words, "They to whom it was not told about Him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand," (Is. lii. 15; Sept. Comp. Rom. xv. 21.; Is. lxiv. 4.) are the same with "the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard." Either then this is his meaning, or probably it was actually written in some books, and the copies have perished. For indeed many books were destroyed, and few were preserved entire even in the first captivity. And this is plain, in those which remain to us.(*) For the Apostle saith (Acts iii. 24.) "From Samuel and the Prophets which follow after they have all spoken concerning Him:" and these their words are not entirely extant. Paul, however, as being learned in the law and speaking by the Spirit, would of course know all with accuracy. And why speak I of the captivity? Even before the captivity many books had disappeared; the Jews having rushed headlong to the last degree of impiety: and this is plain from the end of the fourth book of Kings, (2 Kings xxii. 8. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 14.) for the book of Deuteronomy could hardly be found, having been buried somewhere in a dunghill(2).
And besides, there are in many places double prophecies, easy to be apprehended by the wiser sort; from which we may find out many of the things which are obscure.
[7.] What then, hath "eye not seen what God prepared?" No. For who among men saw the things which were about to be dispensed? Neither then hath "the ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man." How is this? For if the Prophets spoke of it, how saith he, "Ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man?" It did not enter; for not of himself alone is he speaking, but of the whole human race. What then? The Prophets, did not they hear? Yes, they heard; but the prophetic ear was not the ear "of man:" for not as men heard they, but as Prophets. Wherefore he said, (Is. 1. 4. Sept.) "He hath added unto me an ear to hear," meaning by "addition" that which was from the Spirit. Froth whence it was plain that before hearing it had not entered into the heart of man. For after the gift of the Spirit the heart of the Prophets was not the heart of man, but a spiritual heart; as l also he saith himself, "We have the mind of Christ" (v. 16.) as if he would say, "Before we had the blessing of the Spirit and learnt the things which no man can speak, no one of us nor yet of the Prophets conceived them in his mind. How should we? since not even angels know them. For what need is there to speak," saith he, "concerning 'the rulers of this world,' seeing that no man knew them, nor yet the powers above?"
What kind of things then are these? That by what is esteemed to be the foolishness of preaching He shall overcome the world, and the nations shall be brought in, and there shall be reconciliation of God with men, and so great blessings shall come upon us! How then have we "known? Unto us," he saith, "God hath revealed them by His Spirit;" not by the wisdom which is without; for this like some dishonored handmaid hath not been permitted to enter in, and stoop down and look into (see St. John xx. 5.) the mysteries pertaining to the Lord. Seest thou how great is the difference between this wisdom and that? The things which angels knew not, these are what she hath taught us: but she that is without, hath done the contrary. Not only hath she failed. to instruct, but she hindered and obstructed, and after the event sought to obscure His doings, making the Cross of none effect. Not then simply by our receiving the knowledge, does he describe the honor vouchsafed to us, nor by our receiving it with angels, but, what is more, by His Spirit conveying it to us.
[7.] Then to show its greatness, he saith, If the Spirit which knoweth the secret things of God had not revealed them, we should not have learned them. Such an object of care was this whole subject to God, as to be among His secrets. Wherefore we needed also that Teacher who knoweth these things perfectly; for "the Spirit," (v. 10, 11, 12.)saith he, "searcheth all things, even the deep things of God." For the word "to search" is here indicative not of ignorance, but of accurate knowledge: it is the very same mode of speaking which he used even of God, saying, "He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit." (Rom. viii. 27.) Then having spoken with exactness concerning the knowledge of the Spirit, and having pointed out that it is as fully equal to God's knowledge, as the knowledge of a man itself to itself; and also, that we have learned all things from it and necessarily from it; he added, "which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Seest thou to what point he exalted us because of the Teacher's dignity? For so much are we wiser than they as there is difference between Plato and the Holy Spirit; they having for masters the heathen rhetoricians but we, the Holy Spirit.
[8.] But what is this, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual?" When a thing is spiritual and of dubious meaning, we adduce testimonies from the things which are spiritual. For instance, I say, Christ rose again--was born of a Virgin; I adduce testimonies and types and demonstrations; the abode of Jonah in the whale and his deliverance afterwards; the child-bearing of the barren, Sarah, Rebecca, and the rest; the springing up of the trees which took place in paradise (Gen. ii. 5.) when there had been no seeds sown, no rains sent down, no furrow drawn along. For the things to come were fashioned out and figured forth, as in shadow, by the former things, that these which are now might be believed when they came in. And again we shew, how of the earth was man, and how of man alone the woman; and this without any intercourse whatever; how the earth itself of nothing, the power of the Great Artificer being every where sufficient for all things. Thus "with spiritual things" do I "compare spiritual," and in no instance have I need of the Wisdom which is without-- neither its reasonings nor its embellishments. For such persons do but agitate the weak understanding and confuse it; and are not able to demonstrate clearly any one of the things which they affirm, but even have the contrary effect. They rather disturb the mind and fill it with darkness and much perplexity. Wherefore he saith, "with spiritual things comparing spiritual."(1) Seest thou how superfluous he sheweth it to be? and not only superfluous, but even hostile and injurious: for this is meant by the expressions, "lest the Cross of Christ be made of none effect," and, "that our ('your faith,' rec. text) faith should not stand in the wisdom of men." And he points out here, that it is impossible for those who confidently entrust every thing to it, to learn any useful thing: for [9.] Ver. 14. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."
It is necessary then to lay it aside first. "What then," some man will say; "is the wisdom from without stigmatized? And yet it is the work of God." How is this clear? since He made it not, but it was an invention of thine. For in this place he calls by the term "wisdom" curious research and superfluous elegance of words. But should any one say that he means the human understanding; even in this sense the fault is thine. For thou bringest a bad name upon it, who makest a bad use of it; who to the injury and thwarting of God demandest from it things which indeed it never had. Since then thou boastest therein and tightest with God, He hath exposed its weakness. For strength of body also is an excellent thing, but when Cain used it not as he ought, God disabled him and made him tremble (Gen. iv. 12, 14. Sept. "sighing and trembling "rec. ver. "fugitive and vagabond.") Wine also is a good thing; but because the Jews indulged in it immoderately, God prohibited the priests entirely from the use of the fruit.(2) And since thou also hast abused wisdom unto the rejecting of God, and hast demanded of it more than it can do of its own strength; in order to withdraw thee from human hope, he hath shewed thee its weakness.
For (to proceed) he is "a natural man, who attributes every thing to reasonings of the mind and considers not that he needs help from above; which is a mark of sheer folly. For God bestowed it that it might learn and receive help from Him, not that it should consider itself sufficient unto itself. For eyes are beautiful and useful, but should they choose to see without light, their beauty profits them nothing; nor yet their natural force, but even doth harm. So if you mark it, any soul also, if it choose to see without the Spirit, becomes even an impediment unto itself.
"How then, before this," it will be said, "did she see all things of herself?" Never at any time did she this of herself but she had creation for a book set before her in open view. But when men having left off to walk in the way which God commanded them, and by the beauty of visible objects to know the Great Artificer, had entrusted to disputations the leading-staff of knowledge; they became weak and sank in a sea of ungodliness; for they presently brought in that which was the abyss of all evil, asserting that nothing was produced from things which were not, but from uncreated matter; and from this source they became the parents of ten thousand heresies.
Moreover, in their extreme absurdities they agreed; but in those things wherein they seemed to dream out something wholesome, though it were only as in shadows, they fell out with one another; that on both sides they might be laughed to scorn. For that out of things which are not nothing is produced, nearly all with one accord have asserted and written; and this with great zeal. In these absurdities then they were urged on by the Devil. But in their profitable sayings, wherein they seemed, though it were but darkly, (en aini'gmati,) to find some part of what they sought, in these they waged war with one another: for instance, that the soul is immortal; that virtue needs nothing external; and that the being good or the contrary is not of necessity nor of fate.
Dost thou see the craft of the Devil? If any where he saw men speaking any thing corrupt, he made all to be of one mind; but if any where speaking any thing sound, he raised up others against them; so that the absurdities did not fail, being confirmed by the general consent, and the profitable parts died away, being variously understood. Observe how in every respect the soul is unstrung, (a'tonos) and is not sufficient unto herself. And this fell out as one might expect. For if, being such as she is, she aspire to have need of nothing and withdraw herself from God; suppose her not fallen into that condition, and into what extreme madness would she not have insensibly sunk? If, endowed with a mortal body, she expected greater things from the false promise of the Devil--(for, "Ye shall be," said he, "as gods" Gen. iii. 4)--to What extent would she not have cast herself away, had she received her body also, from the beginning, immortal. For, even after that, she asserted herself to be unbegotten and of the essence of God, through the corrupt mouth of the Manicheans(1), and it was this distemperature which gave occasion to her invention of the Grecian gods. On this account, as it seems to me, God made virtue laborious, with a view to bow down the soul and to bring it to moderation. And that thou mayest convince thyself that this is true, (as far as from trifles ones may guess at any thing great,) let us learn it from the Israelites. They, it is well known, when they led not a life of toil but indulged in relaxation, not being able to bear prosperity, fell away into ungodliness. What then did God upon this? He laid upon them a multitude of laws with a view to restrain their licence. And to convince you that these laws contribute not to any virtue, but were given to them as a sort of curb, providing them with an occasion of perpetual labor; hear what saith the prophet concerning them; "I gave them statutes which were not good." Ezek. xx. 25. What means, "not good?" Such as did not much contribute towards virtue. Wherefore he adds also, "and ordinances whereby they shall not live."
[10.] "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."
For as with these eyes no man could learn the things in the heavens; so neither the soul unaided the things of the Spirit. And why speak I of the things in heaven? It receives not even those in earth, all of them. For beholding afar off a square tower, we think it to be round; but such an opinion is mere deception of the eyes: so also we may be sure, when a man by means of his understanding alone examines the things which are afar off much ridicule will ensue. For not only will he not see them such as indeed they are, but will even account them the contraries of what they are. Wherefore he. added, "for they are foolishness unto him" But this comes not of the nature of the things, but of his infirmity, unable as he is to attain to their greatness through the eyes of his soul.
[11.] Next, pursuing his contrast, he states the cause of this, saying, "he knoweth not because they are spiritually discerned:" i.e. the things asserted require faith, and to apprehend them by reasonings is not possible, for their magnitude exceeds by a great deal the meanness of our understanding. Wherefore he saith, "but he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." For he that has sight, beholds himself all things that appertain to the man that has no sight; but no sightless person discerns what the other is about. So also in the case before us, our own matters and those of unbelievers, all of them we for our part know; but ours, they know not henceforth any more. We know what is the nature of things present, what the dignity of things to come; and what some day shall become of the world when this state of things shall be no more, and what sinners shall suffer, and the righteous shall enjoy. And that things present are nothing worth, we both know, and their meanness we expose; (for to "discern" is also to expose;) (anakri'nein, ele'gkein) and that the things to come are immortal and immoveable. All these things are known to the spiritual man; and what the natural man shall suffer when he is departed into that world; and what the faithful shall enjoy when he hath fulfilled his journey from this none of which are known to the natural man.
[12.] Wherefore also, subjoining a plain demonstration of what had been affirmed, he saith, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." That is to say, the things which are in the mind of Christ, these we know, even the very things which He willeth and hath revealed. For since he had said, "the Spirit had revealed them;" lest any one should set aside the Son, he subjoins that Christ also shewed us these things. Not meaning this, that all the things which He knoweth, we know; but that all the things Which we know are not human so as to be open to suspicion, but of His mind and spiritual.
For the mind which we have about these things we have of Christ; that is, the knowledge which we have concerning the things of the faith is spiritual; so that with reason we are "judged of no man." For it is not possible that a natural man should know divine thing, Wherefore also he said, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" implying that our own mind which we have about these things, is His mind. And this, "that he may instruct Him," he hath not added without reason, but with reference to what he had just now said, "the spiritual man no one discerneth." For if no man is able to know the mind of God, much less can he teach and correct it. For this is the meaning of, "that he may instruct Him."
Seest thou how from every quarter he repels the wisdom which is without, and shews that the spiritual man knoweth more things and greater? For seeing that those reasons, "That no flesh should glory;" and, "For this cause hath He chosen the foolish things, that He might confound the wise men;" and, "Lest the Cross of Christ should be made void:" seemed not to the unbelievers greatly worthy of credit, nor yet attractive, or necessary, or useful, he finishes by laying down the principal reason; because in this way we most easily see from Whom we may have the means of learning even high things, and things secret, and things which are above us. For reason was absolutely made of none effect by our inability to apprehend through Gentile wisdom the things above us.
You may observe, too, that it was more advantageous to learn in this way from the Spirit. For that is the easiest and clearest of all teaching.
"But we have the mind of Christ." Thai is, spiritual, divine, that which hath nothing human. For it is not of Plato, nor of Pythagoras, but it is Christ Himself, putting His own things into our mind.
This then, if naught else, let us revere, O beloved, and let our life shine forth as most excellent; since He also Himself maketh this a sure proof of great friendship, viz. the revealing His secrets unto us: where He saith, (St. John xv. 15.) "Henceforth I call you not servants, for all ye are My friends; for all things which I have heard from My Father I have told unto you:" that is, I have had confidence towards you. Now if this by itself is a proof of friendship, namely, to have confidence: when it appears that He has not only confided to us the mysteries conveyed by words, (ta` dia` rhma'twn musthri'a) but also imparted to us the same conveyed by works, (dia` tw^n ergw^n, i.e. sacramental actions) consider how vast the love of which this is the fruit. This, if nothing else, let us revere; even though we will not make any such great account of hell, yet let it be more fearful than hell to be thankless and ungrateful to such a friend and benefactor. And not as hired servants, but as sons and freemen, let us do all things for the love of our Father; and let us at last cease from adhering to the world that we may put the Greeks also to shame. For even now desiring to put out my strength against them, I shrink from so doing, lest haply, surpass them as we may by our arguments and the truth of what we teach, we bring upon ourselves much derision from the comparison of our way of life; seeing that they indeed, cleaving unto error and having no such conviction, abide by philosophy, but we do just the contrary. However, I will say it. For it may be, it may be that in practising how to contend against them, we shall long as rivals to become better than they in our mode of life also.
[14.] I was saying not long ago, that it would not have entered the Apostles' thoughts to preach what they did preach, had they not enjoyed Divine Grace; and that so far from succeeding, they would not even have devised such a thing. Well then, let us also to-day prosecute the same subject in our discourse; and let us shew that it was a thing impossible so much as to be chosen or thought of by them, if they had not had Christ among them: not because they were arrayed, the weak against the strong, not because few against many, not because poor against rich, not because unlearned against wise, but because the strength of their prejudice, too, was great. For ye know that nothing is so strong with men as the tyranny of ancient custom. So that although they had not been twelve only, and not so contemptible, and such as they really were, but another world as large as this, and with an equivalent number arrayed on their side, or even much greater; even in this case the result would have been hard to achieve. For the other party had custom on their side, but to these their novelty was an obstacle. For nothing so much disturbs the mind, though it be done for some beneficial purpose, as to innovate and introduce strange things, and most of all when this is done in matters relating to divine worship and the glory of God. And how great force there is in this circumstance I will now make plain; first having made the following statement that there was added also another difficulty with regard to the Jews. For in the case of the Greeks, they destroyed both their gods and their doctrines altogether; but not so did they dispute with the Jews, but many of their doctrines they abolished, while the God who had enacted the same they bade them worship. And affirming that men should honor the legislator, they said, "obey not in all respects the law which is of Him ;" for instance, in the keeping the Sabbath, or observing circumcision, or offering sacrifices, or doing any other like thing. So that not only was custom an impediment, but also the fact, that when they bade men worship God, they bade them break many of His laws.
[15. ] But in the case of the Greeks great was the tyranny of custom. For if it had been a custom of ten years only, I say not of such a length of time, and if it had preoccupied but a few men, I say not the whole world, when these persons made their approaches; even in this case the revolution would have been hard to effect. But now sophists, and orators, and fathers, and grandfathers, and many more ancient than all these, had been preoccupied by the error: the very earth and sea, and mountains and groves, and all nations of Barbarians, and all tribes of the Greeks, and wise men and ignorant, rulers and subjects, women and men, young and old, masters and slaves, artificers and husbandmen, dwellers in cities and in the country; all of them. And those who were instructed would naturally say, "What in the world is this? Have all that dwell in the world been deceived? both sophists and orators, philosophers and historians, the present generation and they who were before this, Pythagoreans, Platonists, generals, consuls, kings, they who in all cities from the beginning were citizens and colonists, both Barbarians and Greeks? And are the twelve fishermen and tent-makers and publicans wiser than all these? Why, who could endure such a statement?" However, they spake not so, nor had it in their mind, but did endure them, and owned that they were wiser than all. Wherefore they overcame even all. And custom was no impediment to this, though accounted invincible when she hath acquired her full swing by course of time.
And that thou mayest learn how great is the strength of custom, it hath oftentimes prevailed over the commands of God. And why do I say, commands? Even over very blessings. For so the Jews when they had manna, required garlic; enjoying liberty they were mindful of their slavery; and they were continually longing for Egypt, because they were accustomed to it. Such a tyrannical thing is custom.
If thou desire to hear of it from the heathens also; it is said that Plato, although well aware that all about the gods was a sort of imposture, condescended to all the feasts and all the rest of it, as being unable to contend with custom; and as having in fact learnt this from his master. For he, too, being suspected of some such innovation, was so far from succeeding in what he desired that he even lost his life; and this, too, after making his defence. And how many men do we see now by prejudice held in idolatry, and having nothing plausible to say, when they are charged with being Greeks, but alleging the fathers, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers. For no other reason did some of the heathens call custom, second nature. But when doctrines are the subject-matter of the custom, it becomes yet more deeply rooted. For a man would change all things more easily than those pertaining to religion. The feeling of shame, too, coupled with custom, was enough to raise an obstacle; and the seeming to learn a new lesson in extreme old age, and that of those who were not so intelligent. And why wonder, should this happen in regard of the soul, seeing that even in the body custom hath great force?
[16.] In the Apostles' case, however, there was yet another obstacle, more powerful than these; it was not merely changing custom so ancient and primitive, but there were perils also under which the change was effected. For they were not simply drawing men from one custom to another, but from a custom, wherein was no fear to an undertaking which held out threats of danger. For the believer must immediately incur confiscation, persecution, exile from his country; must suffer the worst ills, be hated of all men, be a common enemy both to his own people and to strangers. So that even if they had invited men to a customary thing out of novelty, even in this case it would have been a difficult matter. But when it was from a custom to an innovation, and with all these terrors to boot, consider how vast was the obstacle!
And again, another thing, not less than those mentioned, was added to make the change difficult. For besides the custom and the dangers, these precepts were both more burdensome, and those from which they withdrew men were easy and light. For their call was from fornication unto chastity; from love of life unto sundry kinds of death; from drunkenness unto fasting; from laughter unto tears and compunction; from covetousness unto utter indigence; from safety unto dangers: and throughout all they required the strictest circumspection. For, "Filthiness," (Ephes. v. 4.) saith he, "and foolish talking, and jesting, let it not proceed out of your mouth." And these things they spake unto those who knew nothing else than how to be drunken and serve their bellies; who celebrated feasts made up of nothing but of "filthiness" and laughter and all manner of revellings (kwmw(i)di'as hapa'shs.) So that not only from the matter pertaining to severity of life were the doctrines burthensome, but also from their being spoken unto men who had been brought up in careless ease, and "filthiness." and "foolish talking," and laughter and revellings. For who among those who had lived in these things, when he heard, (Matt. x. 38) "If a man take not up his cross and follow Me, he is not worthy of Me ;" and, (Ibid. 34) "I came not to send peace but a sword, and to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter at variance with her mother," would not have felt himself chilled all over (ena'rkhse)? And who, when he heard, "If a man bid not farewell to home and country and possessions, he is not worthy of Me," would not have hesitated, would not have refused? And yet there were men, who not only felt no chill, neither shrunk away when they heard these things, but ran to meet them and rushed upon the hardships, and eagerly caught at the precepts enjoined. Again, to be told, "For every idle word we shall give account;" (Matt. xii. 36) and, "whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her as soon as seen;" (Matt. v. 28, 25) and, "whosoever is angry without cause shall fall into hell;"--which of the men of that day would not these things have frightened off? And yet all came running in, and many even leaped over the boundaries of the course. What then was their attraction? Was it not, plainly, the power of Him who was preached? For suppose that the case were not as it is, but just contrary(1), that this side was the other, and the other this; would it have been easy, let me ask, to hold fast and to drag on those who resisted? We cannot say so. So that in every way that power is proved divine which wrought so excellently. Else how, tell me, did they prevail with the frivolous and the dissolute, urging them toward the severe and rough course of life?
[17.] Well; such was the nature of the precepts. But let us see whether the doctrine was attractive. Nay, in this respect also there was enough to frighten away the unbelievers. For what said the preachers? That we must worship the crucified, and count Him as God, who was born of a Jewish woman. Now who would have been persuaded by these words, unless divine power had led the way? That indeed He had been crucified and buried, all men knew; but that He had risen again and ascended, no one save the Apostles had seen.
But, you will say, they excited them by promises and deceived them by an empty sound of words. Nay, this very topic most particularly shews (even apart from all that has been said) that our doctrines are no deceit. For all its hardships took place here, but its consolations they were to promise after the resurrection. This very thing then, for I repeat it, shews that our Gospel is divine. For why did no one of the believers say, "I close not with this, neither do I endure it? Thou threatenest me with hardships here, and the good things thou promisest after the resurrection. Why, how is it plain that there will be a resurrection? Which of the departed hath returned? Which of those at rest hath risen again? Which of these hath said what shall be after our departure hence?" But none of these things entered into their minds; rather they gave up their very lives for the Crucified. So that this bare fact was more than anything a proof of great power; first, their working conviction at once, touching matters so important, in persons that had never in their lives before heard of any such thing; secondly, that they prevailed on them to take the difficulties upon trial, and to account the blessings as matter of hope. Now if they had been deceivers they would have done the contrary: their good things they would have promised as of this world (enteu^then, so St. John xviii. 36.); the fearful things they would not have mentioned, whether they related to the present life or the future. For so deceivers and flatterers act. Nothing harsh, nor galling, nor burdensome, do they hold out, but altogether the contrary. For this is the nature of deceit.
[18.] But "the folly," it will be said, "of the greater part caused them to believe what they were told." How sayest thou? When they were under Greeks, they were not foolish; but when they came over to us, did their folly then begin? And yet they were not men of another sort nor out of another world, that the Apostles took and persuaded: they were men too who simply held the opinions of the Greeks, but ours they received with the accompaniment of dangers. so that if with better reason they had maintained the former, they would not have swerved from them, now that they had so long time been educated therein; and especially as not without danger was it possible to swerve. But when they came to know from the very nature of the things that all on that side was mockery and delusion, upon this, even under menaces of sundry deaths, they sprang off (apeph'dhsan) from their customary ways, and came over voluntarily unto the new; inasmuch as the latter doctrine was according to nature, but the other contrary to nature.
But "the persons convinced," it is said, "were slaves, and woman, and nurses, and midwives, and eunuchs." Now in the first place, not of these alone doth our Church consist; and this is plain unto all. But be it of these; this is what especially makes the Gospel worthy of admiration; that such doctrines as Plato and his followers could not apprehend, the fishermen had power on a sudden to persuade the most ignorant sort of all to receive. For if they had persuaded wise men only, the result would not have been so wonderful; but in advancing slaves, and nurses, and eunuchs unto such great severity of life as to make them rivals to angels, they offered the greatest proof of their divine inspiration. Again; had they enjoined I know not what trifling matters, it were reasonable perhaps to bring forward the conviction wrought in these persons, to show the trifling nature of the things which were spoken: but if things great, and high, and almost transcending human nature, and requiring high thoughts, were the matter of their lessons of wisdom; the more foolishness thou showest in those who were convinced, by so much the more dost thou shew clearly that they who wrought the conviction were wise and filled with divine grace.
But, you will say, they prevailed on them through the excessive greatness of the promises. But tell me, is not this very thing a wonder to thee, how they persuaded men to expect prizes and recompenses after death? For this, were there nothing else, is to me matter of amazement. But this, too, it will be said, came of folly. Inform me wherein is the folly of these things: that the soul is immortal; that an impartial tribunal will receive us after the present life; that we shall render an account of our deeds and words and thoughts unto God that knoweth all secrets; that we shall see the evil undergoing punishment, and the good with crowns on their heads. Nay, these things are not of folly, but the highest instruction of wisdom. The folly is in the contrary opinions to these.
[19.] Were this then the only thing, the despising of things present, the setting much by virtue, the not seeking rewards here, but advancing far beyond in hopes, and the keeping the soul so intent and faithful as by no present terror to be hindered in respect of the hope of what shall be; tell me, to what high philosophy must this belong? But would you also learn the force of the promises and predictions in themselves, and the truth of those uttered both before and after this present state of things? Behold, I shew you a golden chain, woven cunningly from the beginning! He spake some things to them about Himself, and about the churches, and about the things to come; and as He spake, He wrought mighty works. By the fulfilment therefore of what He said, it is plain that both the wonders wrought were real, and the future and promised things also.
But that my meaning may be yet plainer, let me illustrate it from the actual case. He raised up Lazarus by a single word merely, and shewed him alive. Again, He said, "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against the Church (St. Matt. xvi. 18.) and, "He that forsaketh father or mother, shall receive an hundred-fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life." (ib. 19. 29.) The miracle then is one, the raising of Lazarus; but the predictions are two; made evident, the one here, the other in the world to come. Consider now, how they are all proved by one another. For if a man disbelieve the resurrection of Lazarus, from the prophecy uttered about the Church let him learn to believe the miracle. For the word spoken so many years before, came to pass then, and received accomplishment: for "the gates of Hades prevailed not against the Church." You see that He who spake truth in the prophecy, it is clear that he also wrought the miracle: and He who both wrought the miracle and brings to accomplishment the words which He spake, it is clear that He speaks the truth also in the predictions of things yet to come, when He saith, "He who despiseth things present shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." For the things which have been already done and spoken, He hath given as the surest pledges of those which shall hereafter come to pass.
Of all these things then, and the like to these, collecting them together out of the Gospels, let us tell them, and so stop their mouths. But if any one say, Why then was not error completely extinguished? this may be our answer: Ye yourselves are to blame, who rebel against your own salvation. For God hath so ordered this matter (w(i)kono'mhsen,) that not even a remnant of the old impiety need be left.
[20.] Now, briefly to recount what has been said: What is the natural course of things? That the weak should be overcome by the strong, or the contrary? Those who speak things easy, or things of the harsher sort? those who attract men with dangers, or with security? innovators, or those who strengthen custom? those who lead into a rough, or into a smooth way? three who withdraw men from the institutions of their fathers, or those who lay down no strange laws? those who promise all their good things after our departure from this world, or those who flatter in the present life? the few to overcome the many, or the many the few?
But you, too, saith one, gave promises pertaining to this life. What then have we promised in this life? The forgiveness of sins and the layer of regeneration. Now in the first place, baptism itself hath its chief part in things to come; and Paul exclaims, saying, (Col. iii. 4.) "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God: when your life shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory." But if in this life also it bath advantages, as indeed it hath, this also is more than all a matter of great wonder, that they had power to persuade men who had done innumerable evil deeds, yea such as no one else had done, that they should wash themselves clean of all, and they should give account of none of their offences. So that on this very account it were most of all meet to wonder that they persuaded Barbarians to embrace such a faith as this, and to have good hopes concerning things to come; and having thrown off the former burden of their sins, to apply themselves with the greatest zeal for the time to come to those toils which virtue requires, and not to gape after any object of sense, but rising to a height above all bodily things, to receive gifts purely spiritual: yea, that the Persian, the Sarmatian, the Moor, and the Indian should be acquainted with the purification of the soul, and the power of God, and His unspeakable mercy to men, and the severe discipline of faith, and the visitation of the Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of bodies, and the doctrines of life eternal. For in all these things, and in whatever is more than these, the fishermen, initiating by Baptism divers races of Barbarians, persuaded them (philosophei^n) to live on high principles.
Of all these things then, having observed them accurately, let us speak unto the Gentiles, and again, let us shew them the evidence of our lives: that by both means we ourselves may be saved and they drawn over by our means unto the glory of God. For unto Him be the glory for ever. Amen.
HOMILY VIII: Cor. iii. 1--3.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto Carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, and not with meat: for ye were not yet able to bear it; nay, not even now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal.
After having overturned the philosophy which is from without, and cast down all its arrogance, he comes unto another argument. For it was likely that they would say, "If we were putting forth the opinions of Plato, or of Pythagoras, or any other of the philosophers, reason were thou shouldest draw out such a long discourse against us. But if we announce the things of the Spirit, for what reason dost thou turn and toss up and down (a'nw kai` ka'tw stre'pheis) the wisdom which is from without?"
Hear then how he makes his stand against this. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual." Why, in the first place, says he, though you had been perfect in spiritual things also, not even so ought you to be elated; for what you preach is not your own, nor such as yourselves have found from your own means. But now even these things ye know not as ye ought to know them, but ye are learners, and the last of all. Whether therefore the Gentile wisdom be the occasion of your high imaginations; that hath been proved to be nothing, nay, in regard to spiritual things to be even contrary unto us: or if it be on account of things spiritual, in these, too, ye come short and have your place among the hindmost. Wherefore he saith, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual." He said not, "I did not speak," lest the thing might seem to proceed from his grudging them somewhat; but in two ways he brings down their high spirit; first, because they knew not the things that are perfect; next, because their ignorance was owing to themselves: yea, in a third way besides these, by pointing out that "not even now are they able [to bear it]." For as to their want of ability at first, that perhaps arose from the nature of the case. In fact, however, he does not leave them even this excuse. For not through any inability on their part to receive high doctrines, doth he say they received them not, but because they were "carnal." However, in the beginning this was not so blame-worthy; but that after so long a time, they had not yet arrived at the more perfect knowledge, this was a symptom of most utter dulness.
It may be observed, that he brings the same charge against the Hebrews, not however, with so much vehemence. For those, he saith, are such, partly because of tribulation: but these, because of some appetite for wickedness. Now the two things are not the same. He implies too, that in the one case he was intending rebuke, in the other rather stirring them up, when he spake these words of truth. For to these Corinthians he saith, "Neither yet now are ye able;" but unto the others (Heb. vi 1.) "Wherefore let us cease to speak of the first principles of Christ, and press on unto perfection:" and again, (Ib. v. 9.) "we are persuaded better things concerning you, and things which accompany salvation, though we thus speak."
[2.] And how calleth he those "carnal," who had attained so large a measure of the Spirit; and into whose praises, at the beginning he had entered so much at large? Because they also were carnal, unto whom the Lord saith, (St. Matt. vii. 22, 23.) "Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not;" and yet they both cast out devils, and raised the dead, and uttered prophecies. So that it is possible even for one who wrought miracles to be carnal. For so God wrought by Balaam, and unto Pharaoh He revealed things to come, and unto Nebuchadnezzar; and Caiaphas prophesied, not knowing what he said; yea, and some others cast out devils in His name, though they were (Luke ix. 49.) "not with Him;" since not for the doers' sake are these things done, but for others' sake: nor is it seldom, that those who were positively unworthy have been made instrumental to them. Now why wonder, if in the case of unworthy men these things are done for others' sake, seeing that so it is, even when they are wrought by saints? For Paul saith, (1 Cor. iii. 22.) "All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death:" and again, (Eph. iv. 11, 12) "He gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering." For if it were not so, there would have been no security against universal corruption. For it may be that rulers are wicked and polluted, and their subjects good and virtuous; that laymen may live in piety, and priests in wickedness; and there could not have been either baptism, or the body of Christ, or oblation, through such, if in every instance grace required merit. But as it is, God uses to work even by unworthy persons, and in no respect is the grace of baptism damaged by the conduct of the priest: else would the receiver suffer loss. Accordingly, though such things happen rarely, still, it must be owned, they do happen. Now these things I say, lest any one of the bystanders busying himself about the life of the priest, should be offended as concerning the things solemnized (ta` telou'mena). "For man introduceth nothing into the things which are set before us(1), but the whole is a work of the power of God, and He it is who initiates (ho mustagwgw^n) you into the mysteries."
[3.] "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. I fed you with milk, and not with meat. For ye were not able [to bear it.]"
For lest he should seem to have spoken ambitiously (philotimi'as he'neca, to obtain favor) these things which he hath just spoken; "the spiritual man judgeth all things," and, "he himself is judged of no man," and, "we have the mind of Christ;" with a view also to repress their pride: observe what he saith. "Not on this account," saith he, "was I silent, because I was not able to tell you more, but because 'ye are carnal: neither yet now are ye able.' "
Why said he not, "ye are not willing," but "ye are not able?" Even because he put the latter for the former. For as to the want of ability, it arises from the want of will. Which to them indeed is a matter of accusation, but to their teacher, of excuse. For if they had been unable by nature, one might perhaps have been forgiven them but since it was from choice, they were bereft of all excuse. He then speaks of the particular point also which makes them carnal. "For whereas there is among you strife, and jealousy, and division, are ye not carnal and walk as men?" Although he had fornications also and uncleannesses of theirs to speak of, he sets down rather that offence which he had been a good while endeavoring to correct. Now if "jealousy" makes men carnal, it is high time for us to bewail bitterly, and to clothe ourselves with sackcloth and lie in ashes. For who is pure from this passion? Except indeed I am but conjecturing the case of others from myself. If "jealousy" maketh men "carnal," and suffereth them not to be "spiritual," although they prophesy and show forth other wonderful works; now, when not even so much grace is with us, what place shall we find for our own doings; when not in this matter alone, but also in others of greater moment, we are convicted
[4. ] From this place we learn that Christ had good reason for saying, (St. John iii. 20.) "He that doeth evil cometh not to light;" and that unclean life is an obstacle to high doctrines, not suffering the clear- sightedness of the understanding to shew itself. As then it is not in any case possible for a person in error, but living uprightly, to remain in error; so it is not easy for one brought up in iniquity, speedily to look up to the height of the doctrines delivered to us, but he must be clean from all the passions who is to hunt after the truth: for whoso is freed from these shall be freed also from his error and attain unto the truth. For do not, I beseech you, think that abstinence merely from covetousness or fornication may suffice thee for this purpose. Not so. All must concur in him that seeketh the truth. Wherefore saith Peter, (Acts x. 34, 35.) "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him:" that is, He calls and attracts him unto the truth. Seest thou not Paul, that he was more vehement than any one in warring and persecuting? yet because he led an irreproachable life, and did these things not through human passion, he was both received, and reached a mark beyond all. But if any one should say, "How doth such a one, a Greek, who is kind, and good, and humane, continue in error?" this would be my answer: He hath some other passion, vainglory, or indolence of mind, or want of carefulness about his own salvation, accounting that all things which concern him are drifted along loosely and at random.(1) Peter calls the man irreproachable in all things one that "worketh righteousness," [and Paul says] "touching the righteousness which is in the law found blameless." Again, "I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience," (2 Tim. i. 3.) How then, you will say, were unclean persons considered worthy of the Gospel? Because they wished and longed for it. Thus the one sort, though in error, are attracted by Him, because they are clean from passions; the others, of their own accord approaching, are not thrust back. Many also even from their ancestors have received the true religion.
[5.] Ver. 3. "For whereas there is among you jealousy and strife."
At this point he prepares himself to wrestle with those whose part was obedience: for in what went before he hath been casting down the rulers of the Church, where he said that wisdom of speech is nothing worth. But here he strikes at those in subjection, in the words,
Ver. 4. "For when one saith, I am Paul, and I of Apollos, are ye not carnal?"
And he points out that this, so far from helping them at all or causing them to acquire any thing, had even become an obstacle to their profiting in the greater things. For this it was which brought forth jealousy, and jealousy had made them "carnal;" and the having become "carnal" left them not at liberty to hear truths of the sublimer sort.
Ver. 5. "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos?"
In this way, after producing and proving his facts, he makes his accusation henceforth more openly. Moreover, he employs his own name, doing away all harshness and not suffering them to be angry at what it is said. For if Paul is nothing and murmur not, much less ought they to think themselves ill used. Two ways, you see, he has of soothing them; first by bringing forward his own person, then by not robbing them of all as if they contributed nothing. Rather he allows them some small portion: small though it be, he does allow it. For having said, "Who is Paul, and who Apollos," he adds, "but ministers by whom ye believed." Now this in itself is a great thing, and deserving of great rewards: although in regard of the archetype and the root of all good, it is nothing. (For not he that "ministers" to our blessings, but he that provides and gives them, he is our Benefactor.) And he said not, "Evangelists," but "Ministers," which is more. For they had not merely preached the Gospel, but had also ministered unto us; the one being a matter of word only, while the other hath deed also. And so, if even Christ be a minister only of good things, and not the root Himself and the fountain, (I mean, of course, in that He is a Son,) observe to what an issue this matter is brought. (pou^ to` pra^gma kata'getai. "how deep and high it is made to go.") How then, you will ask, doth he say that He "was made a Minister of Circumcision? (Rom. xv. 8.) He is speaking in that place of His secret dispensation in the Flesh, and not in the same sense which we have now mentioned. For there, by "Minister," he means "Fulfiller," (plhrwth`n, i.e. of types), and not one that of his own store gives out the blessings.
Further, he said not, "Those who guide you into the Faith," but "those by whom ye believed;" again attributing the greater share to themselves, and indicating by this also the subordinate class of ministers (tou`s diako'nous k'anteu^then dhlw^n). Now if they were ministering to another, how come they to seize the authority for themselves? But I would have you consider how in no wise he lays the blame on them as seizing it for themselves, but on those who endow them with it. For the ground-work of the error lay in the multitude; since, had the one fallen away, the other would have been broken up. Here are two points which he has skilfully provided for: in that first he hath prepared, as by mining(huporu'xas,) in the quarter where it was necessary to overthrow the mischief; and next, on their side, in not attracting ill-will, nor yet making them more contentious.
Ver. 5. "Even as Christ (o Ku'rios, rec. text.) gave to every man."
For not even this small thing itself was of themselves, but of God, who put it into their hands. For lest they might say, What then? are we not to love those that minister unto us? Yea, saith he; but you should know to what extent. For not even this thing itself is of them, but of God who gave it.
Ver. 6. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."
That is, I first cast the word into the ground; but, in order that the seeds might not wither away through temptations, Apollos added his own part. But the whole was of God.
[6.] Ver. 7. "So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase."
Do you observe the manner in which he soothes them, so that they should not be too much irritated, on hearing, "Who is this person," and "Who is that?" "Nay, both are invidious, namely, both the saying, 'Who is this person? Who the other,'" and the saying, that "neither he that planteth nor he that watereth is any thing." How then does he soften these expressions? First, By attaching the contempt to his own person, "Who is Paul, and who Apollos?" and next, by referring the whole to God who gave all things. For after he had said, "Such a person planted," and added, "He that planteth is nothing," he subjoined, "but God that giveth the increase." Nor does he stop even here, but applies again another healing clause, in the words.
Ver. 8. "He that planteth and he that watereth, are one."
For by means of this he establishes another point also, viz. that they should not be exalted one against another. His assertion, that they are one, refers to their inability to do any thing without "God that giveth the increase." And thus saying, he permitted not either those who labored much to lift themselves up against those who had contributed less; nor these again to envy the former. In the next place, since this had a tendency to make men more indolent, I mean, all being esteemed as one, whether they have labored much or little; observe how he sets this right, saying, "But each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." As if he said, "Fear not, because I said, Ye are one; for, compared with the work of God, they are one; howbeit, in regard to labors, they are not so, but "each shall receive his own reward."
Then he smooths it still more, having succeeded in what he wished; and gratifies them, where it is allowed, with liberality.
Ver. 9. For we are God's fellow-workers: "ye are God's husbandry, God's building."
Seest thou how to them also he hath assigned no small work, having before laid it down that the whole is of God? For since he is always persuading them to obey those that have the rule over them, on this account he abstains from making very light of their teachers.
"Ye are God's husbandry."
For because he had said, "I planted," he kept to the metaphor. Now if ye be God's husbandry, it is right that you should be called not from those who cultivate you, but from God. For the field is not called the husbandman's, but the householder's.
"Ye are God's building."
Again, the building is not the workman's, but the master's. Now if ye be a building, ye must not be forced asunder: since this were no building. If ye be a farm, ye must not be divided, but be walled in with a single fence, namely, unanimity.
Ver. 10. "According to the Grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise master-builder I laid a foundation."
In this place he calls himself wise, not exalting himself, but to give them an ensample, and to point out that this is a wise man's part, to lay a foundation. You may observe as one instance of his modest bearing, that in speaking of himself as wise, he allowed not this to stand as though it were something of his own; but first attributing himself entirely unto God, then and not till then calls himself by that name. For, "according to the Grace of God," saith he, "which was given unto me." Thus, at once he signifies both that the whole is of God; and that this most of all is Grace, viz. the not being divided, but resting on One Foundation.
[7.] "Another buildeth thereon; but let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon."
Here, I think, and in what follows, he puts them upon their trial concerning practice, after that he had once for all knit them together and made them one.
Ver. 11. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
I say, no man can lay it so long as he is a master-builder; but if he lay it, (tithh(i) conj. for tethh(i). Douncoeus ap. Savil. viii. not. p. 261.) he ceases to be a master-builder.
See how even from men's common notions he proves the whole of his proposition. His meaning is this: "I have preached Christ, I have delivered unto you the foundation. Take heed how you build thereon, lest haply it be in vainglory, lest haply so as to draw away the disciples unto men." Let us not then give heed unto the heresies. "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid." Upon this then let us build, and as a foundation let us cleave to it, as a branch to a vine; and let there be no interval between us and Christ. For if there be any interval, immediately we perish. For the branch by its adherence draw m the fatness, and the building stands because it is cemented together. Since, if it stand apart it perishes, having nothing whereon to support itself. Let us not then merely keep hold of Christ, but let us be cemented to Him, for if we stand apart, we perish. "For they who withdraw themselves far from Thee, shall perish;" (Ps. lxxiii, 27. Sept.) so it is said. Let us cleave then unto Him, and let us cleave by our works. "For he that keepeth my commandments, the same abideth in Me" (John xiv. 21. in substance.) And accordingly, there are many images whereby He brings us into union. Thus, if you mark it, He is "the Head," we are "the body:" can there be any empty interval between the head and body? He is "a Foundation," we "a building:" He "a Vine," we "branches:" He "the Bridegroom," we "the bride:" He "the Shepherd," we "the sheep;" He is "the Way," we "they who walk therein." Again, we are "a temple," He "the Indweller:" He "the First-Begotten," we "the brethren:" He "the Heir," we "the heirs together with Him:" He "the Life," we "the living:" He "the Resurrection," we "those who rise again:" He "the Light," we "the enlightened." All these things indicate unity; and they allow no void interval, not even the smallest. For he that removes but to a little distance will go on till he has become very far distant. For so the body, receiving though it be but a small cut by a sword, perishes: and the building, though there be but a small chink, falls to decay: and the branch, though it be but a little while cut off from the root, becomes useless. So that this trifle is no trifle, but is even almost the whole. Whensoever then we commit some little fault or even negligence, let us not overlook that little; since this, being disregarded, quickly becomes great. So also when a garment hath begun to be torn and is neglected, it is apt to prolong its rent all throughout; and a roof, when a few tiles have fallen, being disregarded, brings down the whole house.
[8.] These things then let us bear in mind, and never slight the small things, lest we fall into those which are great. But if so be that we have slighted them and are come into the abyss of evils, not even when we are come there let us despond, lest we fall into recklessness (karhbari'an). For to emerge from thence is hard ever after, for one who is not extremely watchful; not because of the distance alone, but of the very position, too, wherein we find ourselves. For sin also is a deep, and is wont to bear down and crush. And just as those who have fallen into a well cannot with ease get out, but will want others to draw them up; so also is he that is come into any depth of sins. To such then we must lower ropes and draw them up. Nay rather, we need not others only, but ourselves also, that we for our part may fasten on ourselves and ascend, I say not so much as we have descended, but much further, if we be willing: for why? God also helpeth: for He willeth not the death of a sinner so much as his conversion. Let no one then despair; let no one have the feeling of the ungodly; for to them properly belongs this kind of sin: "an ungodly man having come into any depth of evils, makes light of it(1)." So that it is not the multitude of men's sins which causes their despair, but their ungodly mind.
Shouldest thou then have gone all lengths in wickedness, yet say unto thyself, God is loving unto men and he desires our salvation: for "though your sins be as scarlet, I will whiten you as snow," (Is. i. 10. Sept.) saith He; and unto the contrary habit I will change you. Let us not therefore give up in despair; for to fall is not so grievous, as to lie where we have fallen; nor to be wounded so dreadful, as after wounds to refuse healing. "For who shall boast that he has his heart chaste? or who shall say confidently that he is pure from sin?" (Prov. xx. 9. Sept.) These things I say not to make you more negligent, but to prevent your despairing.
Wouldest thou know how good our Master is? The Publican went up full of ten thousand wickednesses, and saying only, "Be merciful unto me," went down justified. (St. Luke xviii.
13, 14.) Yea, God saith by the prophet, "Because of sin for some little season I grieved him, (Is. lvii. 17, 18. Sept.) and I saw that (ei^don ho`ti not in Sept.) he was grieved and went sorrowful, and I healed his ways" (iasa'mhn auto`n, Sept.) What is there equal to this loving- kindness? On condition (hi`na stugna'sh. See St. John viii. 56. hi`na i'dh th`n hhme'ran) of his "being but sorrowful," so he speaks, "I forgave him his sins." But we do not even this: wherefore we especially provoke God to wrath. (For he, who by little things even is made propitious, when He meets not with so much as these, is of course indignant and exacts of us the last penalty; for this comes of exceeding contempt.) Who is there, for instance, that hath ever become melancholy for his sins? Who hath bemoaned himself? Who hath beaten his breast? Who hath taken anxious thought? Not one, to my thinking. But days without number do men weep for dead servants; for the loss of money: while as to the soul which we are ruining day by day, we give it not a thought. How then wilt thou be able to render God propitious, when thou knowest not even that thou hast sinned?
"Yea," saith some one, "I have sinned." "Yea," is thy word to me with the tongue: say it to me with thy mind, and with the word mourn heavily, that thou mayest have continual cheerfulness. Since, if we did grieve for our sins, if we mourned heavily over our offences, nothing else could give us sorrow, this one pang would expel all kinds of dejection. Here then is another thing also which we should gain by our thorough confession; namely, the not being overwhelmed (bapti'zesthai)with the pains of the present life, nor puffed up with its splendors. And in this way, again, we should more entirely propitiate God; just as by our present conduct we provoke Him to anger. For tell me, if thou hast a servant, and he, after suffering much evil at the hands of his fellow-servants, takes no account of any one of the rest, but is only anxious not to provoke his master; is he not able by this alone to do away thine anger? But what, if his offenses against thee are no manner of care to him, while on those against his fellow-servants he is full of thought; wilt thou not lay on him the heavier punishment? So also God doeth: when we neglect His wrath, He brings it upon us more heavily; but when we regard it, more gently. Yea, rather, He lays it on us no more at all. He wills that we should exact vengeance of ourselves for our offences, and thenceforth He doth not exact it Himself. For this is why He at all threatens punishment; that by fear He may destroy contempt; and when the threat alone is sufficient to cause fear in us, He doth not suffer us to undergo the actual trial. See, for instance, what He saith unto Jeremiah, (Jer. vii. 17, 18. Sept. transposing the first and second clauses.) "Seest thou not what they do? Their fathers light a fire, their children gather sticks together, their women knead dough." It is to be feared lest the same kind of thing be said also concerning us. "Seest thou not what they do? No one seeketh the things of Christ, but all their own. Their children run into uncleanness, their fathers into covetousness and rapine, their wives so far from keeping back their husbands from the pomps and vanities of life, do rather sharpen their appetites for them." Just take your stand in the market place; question the comers and goers, and not one wilt thou see hastening upon a spiritual errand, but all running after carnal things. How long ere we awake from our surfeiting?. How long are we to keep sinking down into deep slumber? Have we not had our fill of evils?
[9.] And yet one might think that even without words experience itself is sufficient to teach you the nothingness of things present. and their utter meanness. At all events, there have been men, who, exercising mere heathen wisdom and knowing nothing of the future, because they had proved the great worthlessness of present things, have left them on this account alone. What pardon then canst thou expect to obtain, grovelling on the ground and not despising the little things and transient for the sake of the great and everlasting: who also hearest God Himself declaring and revealing these things unto thee, and hast such promises from Him? For that things here have no sufficient power to detain a man, those have shewn who even without any promise of things greater have kept away from them. For what wealth did they expect that they came to poverty? There was none. But it was from their knowing full well that such poverty is better than wealth. What sort of life did they hope for that they forsook luxury, and gave themselves up unto severe discipline? Not any. But they had become aware of the very nature of things; and perceived that this of the two is more suitable, both for the strict training of the soul, and for the health of the body.
These things then duly estimating, and revolving with ourselves continually the future blessings, let us withdraw from this present world that we may obtain that other which is to come; through the favor and loving kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost &c., &c.
HOMILY IX: 1 Cor. iii., 12--15.
If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire shall prove each man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.
THIS is no small subject of enquiry which we propose, but rather about things which are of the first necessity and which all men enquire about; namely, whether hell fire have any end. For that it hath no end Christ indeed declared when he said, "Their fire shall not be quenched, and their worm shall not die. [Mark viii. 44, 46, 48.](3)
Well: I know that a Chill comes over you (narka^te) on hearing these things; but what am I to do? For this is God's own command, continually to sound these things in your ears, where He says, "Charge this people; (Fors. Exod. xix. 10. 20. diamartu'rai, Sept. here dia'steilai,) and ordained as we have been unto the ministry of the word, we must give pain to our hearers, not willingly but on compulsion. Nay rather, if you will, we shall avoid giving you pain. For saith He, (Rom. xiii. 3, in substance.) "if thou do that which is good, fear not:" so that it is possible for you to hear me not only without ill-will, but even with pleasure.
As I said then; that it hath no end, Christ has declared. Paul also saith, in pointing out the eternity of the punishment, that the sinners "shall pay the penalty of destruction, and that for ever" (2, Thes. i. 9.) And again, (1 Cor. vi. 9.) "Be not deceived; neither fornicators. nor adulterers, nor effeminate, shall inherit the kingdom of God." And also unto the Hebrews he saith, (Heb. xii. 14.) "Follow peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord." And Christ also, to those who said, "In thy Name we have done many wonderful works," saith, "Depart from Me, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity" (St. Matt. vii. 22.) And the virgins too who were shut out, entered in no more. And also about those who gave Him no food, He saith, (St. Matt. xxv. 46.) "They shall go away into everlasting punishment."
[2.] And say not unto me, "where is the rule of justice preserved entire, if the punishment hath no end?" Rather, when God doeth any thing, obey His decisions and submit not what is said to human reasonings. But moreover, how can it be any thing else than just for one who hath experienced innumerable blessings from the beginning, and then committed deeds worthy of punishment, and neither by threat nor benefit improved at all, to suffer punishment? For if thou enquire what is absolute justice; it was meet that we should have perished immediately from the beginning, according to the definition of strict justice. Rather not even then according to the rule of justice only; for the result would have had in it kindness too, if we had suffered this also. For when any one insults him that hath done him no wrong, according to the rule of justice he suffers punishment: but when it is his benefactor, who, bound by no previous favor, bestowed innumerable kindnesses, who alone is the Author of his being, who is God, who breathed his soul into him, who gave ten thousand gifts of grace, whose will is to take him up into heaven;--when, I say, such an one, after so great blessings, is met by insult, daily insult, in the conduct of the other party; how can that other be thought worthy of pardon? Dost thou not see how He punished Adam for one single sin?
"Yes," you will say; "but He had given him Paradise and caused him to enjoy much favor." Nay, surely it is not all as one, for a man to sin in the enjoyment of security and ease, and in a state of great affliction. In fact, this is the dreadful circumstance that thy sins are the sins of one not in any Paradise but amid the innumerable evils of this life; that thou art not sobered even by affliction, as though one in prison should still practise his crime. However, unto thee He hath promised things yet greater than Paradise. But neither hath He given them now, least He should unnerve thee in the season of conflicts; nor hath He been silent about them, lest He should quite cast thee down with thy labors. As for Adam, he committed but one sin and brought on himself certain death; whereas we commit ten thousand transgressions daily. Now if he by that one act brought on himself so great an evil and introduced death; what shall not we suffer who continually live in sins, and instead of Paradise, have the expectation of heaven?
The argument is irksome and pains the hearer: were it only by my own feelings, I know this. For indeed my heart is troubled and throbs; and the more I see the account of hell confirmed, the more do I tremble and shrink through fear. But it is necessary to say these things lest we fall into hell. What thou didst receive was not paradise, nor trees and plants, but heaven and the good things in the heavens. Now if he that had received less was comdemned, and no consideration exempted him, much more shall we who have sinned more abundantly, and have been called unto greater things, endure the woes without remedy.
Consider, for example, how long a time, but for one single sin, our race abides in death. Five thousand years(1) and more have passed, and death hath not yet been done away, on account of one single sin. And we cannot even say that Adam had heard prophets, that he had seen others punished for sins, and it was meet that he should have been terrified thereby and corrected, were it only by the example. For he was at that time first, and alone; but nevertheless he was punished. But thou canst not have anything of this sort to advance, who after so many examples art become worse; to whom so excellent a Spirit hath been vouchsafed, and yet thou drawest upon thyself not one sin, nor two, nor three, but sins without number! For do not, because the sin is committed in a small moment, calculate that therefore the punishment also must be a matter of a moment. Seest thou not those men, who for a single theft or a single act of adultery, committed in a small moment of time, oftentimes have spent their whole life in prisons, and in mines, struggling with continual hunger and every kind of death? And there was no one to set them at liberty, or to say, "The offence took place in a small moment of time; the punishment too should have its time equivalent to that of the sin."
[3.] But, "They are men," some one will say, "who do these things; as for God, He is loving unto men." Now, first of all, not even men do these things in cruelty, but in humanity. And God Himself, as He is loving unto men," in the same character doth He punish sins. (Sirac. xvi. 12.) "For as His mercy is great, so also is His reproof." When therefore thou sayest unto me, "God is loving unto men," then thou tellest me of so much the greater reason for punishing: namely, our sinning against such a Being. Hence also Paul said, (Heb. x. 31.) "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Endure I beseech you, the fiery force of the words, for perhaps--perhaps you will have some consolation from hence! Who among men can punish as God has punished? when He caused a deluge and entire destruction of a race so numerous; and again, when, a little while after, He rained fire from above, and utterly destroyed them all? What punishment from men can be like that? Seest thou not that the punishment even in this world is almost eternal? Four thousand years have passed away, and the punishment of the Sodomites abideth at its height. For as His mercy is great, so also is His punishment.
Again: if He had imposed any burdensome or impossible things, one might perhaps have been able to urge difficulty of the laws: but if they be extremely easy, what can we say for our not regarding even these? Suppose thou art unable to fast or to practice virginity; although thou art able if thou wilt, and they who have been able are a condemnation to us. But, however, God hath not used this strictness towards us; neither hath He enjoined these things nor laid them down as laws, but left the choice to be at the discretion of the hearers. Nevertheless, thou art able to be chaste in marriage; and thou art able to abstain from drunkenness. Art thou unable to empty thyself of all thy goods? Nay surely thou art able; and they who have done so prove it. But nevertheless He hath not enjoined this, but hath commanded not to be rapacious, and of our means to assist those who are in want. But if a man say, I cannot even be content with a wife only, he deceiveth himself and reasoneth falsely; and they condemn him who without a wife lives in chastity. But how, tell me, canst thou help using abusive words? canst thou not help cursing? Why, the doing these things is irksome, not the refraining from them. What excuse then have we for not observing precepts so easy and light? We cannot name any at all. That the punishment then is eternal is plain from all that hath been said.
[4.] But since Paul's saying appears to some to tell the other way, come let us bring it forward also and search it out thoroughly. For having said, "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereon, he shall receive a reward; and if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss," he adds, "but himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire." What shall we say then to this? Let us consider first what is "the Foundation," and what "the gold," and what "the precious stones," and what "the hay," and what the "stubble."
"The Foundation," then, he hath himself plainly signified to be Christ, saying, "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which," he saith "is Jesus Christ."
Next, the building seems to me to be actions. Although some maintain that this also is spoken concerning teachers and disciples and concerning corrupt heresies: but the reasoning doth not admit it. For if this be it, in what sense, while "the work is destroyed," is the "builder" to be "saved," though it be "through fire?" Of right, the author ought rather of the two to perish; but now it will be found that the severer penalty is assigned to him who hath been built into the work. For if the teacher was the cause of the wickedness, he is worthy to suffer severer punishment: how then shall he be "saved?" If, on the contrary, he was not the cause but the disciples became such through their own perverseness, he is no whit deserving of punishment, no, nor yet of sustaining loss: he, I say, who builded so well. In what sense then doth he say, "he shall suffer loss?"
From this it is plain that the discourse is about actions. For since he means next in course to put out his strength against the man who had committed fornication, he begins high up and long beforehand to lay down the preliminaries. For he knew how while discussing one subject, in the very discourse about that thing to prepare the grounds of another to which he intends to pass on. For so in his rebuke for not awaiting one another at their meals, he laid the grounds of his discourse concerning the mysteries. And also because now he is hastening on towards the fornicator, while speaking about the "Foundation," he adds, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God? and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy (phthei'rh, rec. version, "defile.") the Temple of God, him will God destroy." Now these things, he said, as beginning now to agitate with fears the soul of him that had been unchaste.
[5.] Ver. 12. "If any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble." For after the faith there is need of edification: and therefore he saith elsewhere, "Edify one another with these words." (perhaps 1 Thess. v. 11; iv. 5.) For both the artificer and the learner contribute to the edifying. Wherefore he saith, "But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon." (1 Cor. iii. 10.) But if faith had been the subject of these sayings, the thing affirmed is not reasonable. For in the faith all ought to be equal, since "them is but one faith;" (Eph. iv. 5.) but in goodness of life it is not possible that all should be the same. Because the faith is not m one case less, in another more excellent, but the same in all those who truly believe. But in life there is room for some to be more diligent, others more slothful; some stricter, and others more ordinary; that some should have done well in greater things, others in less; that the errors of some should have been more grievous, of others less notable. On this account he saith, "Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble,--every man's work shall be made manifest: "--his conduct; that is what he speaks of here:--"If any man's work abide which he built thereupon, he shall receive a reward; if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss." Whereas, if the saying related to disciples and teachers, he ought not to "suffer loss" for disciples refusing to hear. And therefore he saith, "Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor" not according to the result, but according to "the labor." For what if the hearers gave no heed? Wherefore this passage also proves that the saying is about actions.
Now his meaning is this: If any man have an ill life with a right faith, his faith shall not shelter him from punishment, his work being burnt up. The phrase, "shall be burned up," means, "shall not endure the violence of the fire." But just as if a man having golden armor on were to pass through a river of fire, he comes from crossing it all the brighter; but if he were to pass through it with hay, so far from profiling, he destroys himself besides; so also is the case in regard of men's works. For he doth not say this as if he were discoursing of material things being burnt up, but with a view of making their fear more intense, and of shewing how naked of all defence he is who abides in wickedness. Wherefore he said, "He shall suffer loss:" lo, here is one punishment: "but he himself shall be saved, but so as by fire;" lo, again, here is a second. And his meaning is, "He himself shall not perish in the same way as his works, passing into nought, but he shall abide in the tire.(1)
[6.] "He calleth it, however, "Salvation," you will say; why, that is the cause of his adding, "so as by fire:" since we also used to say, "It is preserved in the fire," when we speak of those substances which do not immediately burn up and become ashes. For do not at sound of the word fire imagine that those who are burning pass into annihilation. And though he call such punishment Salvation, be not astonished. For his custom is in things which have an ill sound to use fair expressions, and in good things the contrary. For example, the word "Captivity" seems to be the name of an evil thing, but Paul has applied it in a good sense, when he says, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."(2 Cor. x. 5.) And again, to an evil thing he hath applied a good word, saying, "Sin reigned," (Rom. v. 21.) here surely the term "reigning" is rather of auspicious sound. And so here in saying, "he shall be saved," he hath but darkly hinted at the intensity of the penalty: as if he had said, "But himself shall remain forever in punishment." He then makes an inference, saying,
[7.] Ver. 16. "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God?" For since he had discoursed in the section before, concerning those who were dividing the Church, he thenceforward attacks him also who had been guilty of uncleanness; not indeed as yet in plain terms but in a general way; hinting at his corrupt mode of life and enhancing the sin, by the Gift which had been already given to him. Then also he puts all the rest to shame, arguing from these very blessings which they had already: for this is what he is ever doing, either from the future or from the past, whether grievous or encouraging. First, from things future; "For the day shall declare it, because it is revealed by fire." Again, from things already come to pass; "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
Ver. 17. "If any man destroy the Temple of God, him will God destroy." Dost thou mark the sweeping vehemence of his words? However, so long as the person is unknown, what is spoken is not so invidious, all dividing among themselves the fear of rebuke.
"Him will God destroy," that is, will cause him to perish. And this is not the word of one denouncing a curse, but of one that prophesieth.
"For the Temple of God is holy:" but he that hath committed fornication is profane.
Then, in order that he might not seem to spend his earnestness upon that one, in saying, "for the Temple of God is holy," he addeth, "which ye are."
[8.] Ver. 18. "Let no man deceive himself." This also is in reference to that person, as thinking himself to be somewhat and flattering himself on wisdom. But that he might not seem to press on him at great length in a mere digression; he first throws him into a kind of agony and delivers him over unto fear, and then brings back his discourse to the common fault, saying, "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become (ge'nhtai. rec. vers. "be.") wise." And this(1) he doth afterwards with great boldness of speech, as having sufficiently beaten them downs, and shaken with that fear the mind not of that unclean person only, but of all the hearers also: so accurately does he measure the reach of what he has to say. For what if a man be rich, what if he be noble; he is viler than all the vile, when made captive by sin. For as if a man were a king and enslaved to barbarians, he is of all men most Wretched, so also is it in regard to sin: since sin is a barbarian, and the soul which hath been once taken captive she knoweth not how to spare, but plays the tyrant to the ruin of all those who admit her.
[9.] For nothing is so inconsiderate as sin: nothing so senseless, so utterly foolish and outrageous. All is overturned and confounded and destroyed by it, wheresoever it may alight. Unsightly to behold, disgusting and grievous. And should a painter draw her picture(3), he would not, methinks, err in fashioning her after this sort. A woman with the form of a beast, savage, breathing flames, hideous, black; such as the heathen poets depict their Scyllas. For with ten thousand hands she lays hold of our thoughts, and comes on unexpected, and tears everything in pieces, like those dogs that bite slily.
But rather, what need of the painter's art, when we should rather bring forward those who are made after sin's likeness?
Whom then will ye that we should portray first? The covetous and rapacious? And what more shameless than those eyes? What more immodest, more like a greedy dog? For no dog keeps his ground with such shameless impudence as he when he is grasping at all men's goods. What more polluted than those hands? What more audacious than that mouth, swallowing all down and not satisfied? Nay, look not on the countenance and the eyes as being a a man's. For such looks belong not to the eyes of men. He seeth not men as men; he seeth not the heaven as heaven. He does not even lift up his head unto the Lord; but all is money in his account. The eyes of men are wont to look upon poor persons in affliction, and to be softened; but these of the rapacious man, at sight of the poor, glare like wild beasts'. The eyes of men do not behold other men's goods as if they were their own, but rather their own as others; and they covet not the things given to others, but rather exhaust upon others their own means: but these are not content unless they take all men's property. For it is not a man's eye which they have, but a wild beast's. The eyes of men endure not to see their own body stripped of clothing, (for it is their own, though in person it belong to others,) but these, unless they strip every one and lodge all men's property in their own home, are never cloyed; yea rather they never have enough. Insomuch that one might say that their hands are not wild beasts' only, but even far more savage and cruel than these. For bears and wolves when they are satiated leave off their kind of eating: but these know not any satiety. And yet for this cause God made us hands, to assist others, not to plot against them. And if we were to use them for that purpose, better had they been cut off and we left without them. But thou, if a wild beast rend a sheep, art grieved; but when doing the same unto one of thine own flesh and blood, thinkest thou that thy deed is nothing atrocious? How then canst thou be a man? Seest thou not that we call a thing humane, when it is full of mercy and loving-kindness? But when a man doth any thing cruel or savage, inhuman is the title we give to such a one. You see then that the stamp of man as we portray him is his showing mercy; of a beast the contrary; according to constant saying, "Why, is a man a wild beast, or a dog?" (vid. 2 Kings viii. 13.) For men relieve poverty; they do not aggravate it. Again these men's mouths are the mouths of wild beasts; yea rather these are the fiercer of the two. For the words also, which they utter, emit poison, more than the wild beasts' teeth, working slaughter. And if one were to go through all particulars, one should then see clearly how inhumanity turns those who practise it from men into beasts.
[10.] But were he to search out the mind also of that sort of people, he would no longer call them beasts only, but demons. For first, they are full of great cruelty and of hatred against their "fellow-servant: (St. Mat. xviii. 33.) and neither is love of the kingdom there, nor fear of hell; no reverence for men, no pity, no Sympathy: but shamelessness and audacity, and contempt of all things to come. And unto them the words of God concerning punishment seem to be a fable, and His threats mirth. For such is the mind of the covetous man. Since then within they are demons, and without, wild beasts; yea, worse than wild beasts; where are we to place such as they are? For that they are worse even than wild beasts, is plain from this. The beasts are such as they are by nature: but these, endowed by nature with gentleness, forcibly strive against nature to train themselves to that which is savage. The demons too have the plotters among men to help them, to such an extent that if they had no such aid, the greater part of their wiles against us would be done away: but these, when such as they have spitefully entreated are vying with them, still try to be more spiteful then they. Again, the devil wages war with man, not with the demons of his own kind: but he of whom we speak is urgent in all ways to do harm to his own kindred and family, and doth not even reverence nature.
I know that many hate us because of these words; but I feel no hatred towards them; rather I pity and bewail those who are so disposed. Even should they choose to strike, I would gladly endure it, if they would but abstain from this their savage mind. For not I alone, but the prophet also with me, banisheth all such from the family of men saying, (Ps. xlix. 20. Sept. toi^s anoh'tois) "Man being in honor hath no understanding, but is like unto the senseless beasts."
Let us then become men at last, and let us look up unto heaven; and that which is according to His image, (Colos. iii. 10.) let us receive and recover: that we may obtain also the blessings to come through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and always, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.
HOMILY X: 1 Cor. iii. 18, 19.
Let no man deceive himself. If any man (en hum^in omitted.) thinketh that he is wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
AS I said before, having launched out before the proper time into accusation of the fornicator, and having half opened it obscurely in a few words, and made the man's conscience to quail, he hastens again to the battle with heathen wisdom, and to his accusations of those who were puffed up there-with, and who were dividing the Church: in order that having added what remained and completed the whole topic with accuracy, he might thenceforth suffer his tongue to be carried away with vehement impulse against the unclean person, having had but a preliminary skirmishing with him in what he had said before. For this, "Let no man deceive himself," is the expression of one aiming chiefly at him and quelling him beforehand by fear: and the saying about the "stubble," suits best with one hinting at him. And so does the phrase, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" For these two things are most apt to withdraw us from sin; when we have in mind the punishment appointed for the sin; and when we reckon up the amount of our true dignity. By bringing forward then "the hay" and "the stubble, "he terrifies; but by speaking of the dignity of that noble birth which was theirs, he puts them to shame; by the former striving to amend the more insensible kind, by the latter the more considerate.
[2.] "Let no man deceive himself; if any man thinketh that he is wise in this world, let him become a fool."
As he bids one become, as it were, dead unto the world;--and this deadness harms not at all, but rather profits, being made a cause of life:- -so also he bids him become foolish unto this world, introducing to us hereby the true wisdom. Now he becomes a fool unto the world, who slights the wisdom from without, and is persuaded that it contributes nothing towards his comprehension of the faith. As then that poverty which is according to God is the cause of wealth, and lowliness, of exaltation, and to despise glory is the cause of glory; so also the becoming a fool maketh a man wiser than all. For all, with us, goes by contraries.
Further: why said he not, "Let him put off wisdom," but, "Let him become a fool?" That he might most exceedingly disparage the heathen instruction. For it was not the same thing to say, "Lay aside thy wisdom," and, "become a fool." And besides, he is also training people not to be ashamed at the want of refinement among us; for he quite laughs to scorn all heathen things. And for the same sort of reason he shrinks not from the names, trusting as he does to the power of the things [which he speaks of].
Wherefore, as the Cross, though counted ignominious, became the author of innumerable blessings, and the foundation and root of glory unspeakable; so also that which was accounted to be foolishness became unto us the cause of wisdom. For as he who hath learned anything ill, unless he put away the whole, and make his soul level and clear, and so offer it to him who is to write on it, will know no wholesome truth for certain; so also in regard of the wisdom from without. Unless thou turn out the whole and sweep thy mind clear, and like one that is ignorant yield up thyself unto the faith, thou wilt know accurately nothing excellent. For so those also who see imperfectly if they will not shut their eyes and commit themselves unto others, but will be trusting their own matters to their own faulty eyesight, they will commit many more mistakes than those who see not.
But how, you will say, are men to put off this wisdom? By not acting on its precepts.
[3.] Then, seeing that he bade men so urgently withdraw themselves from it, he adds the cause, saying, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." For not only it contributes nothing, but it even hinders. We must then withdraw ourselves from it, as doing harm. Dost thou mark with what a high hand he carries off the spoils of victory, having proved that so far from profiting us at all, it is even an opponent?
And he is not content with his own arguments, but he has also adduced testimony again, saying, "For it is written, (Job v. 13.) He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." By "craftiness," i. e. by their own arms getting the better of them. For seeing that they made use of their wisdom to the doing away of all need of God, by it and no other thing He refuted them, shewing that they were specially in need of God. How and by what method? Because having by it become fools, by it, as was meet, they were taken. For they who supposed that they needed not God, were reduced to so great a strait as to appear inferior to fishermen and unlettered persons; and from that time forth to be unable to do without them. Wherefore he saith, "In their own craftiness" He took them. For the saying "I will destroy their wisdom," was spoken in regard to its introducing nothing useful; but this, "who taketh the wise in their own craftiness, with a view of shewing the power of God."
Next, he declares also the mode in which God took them, adding another testimony:
Ver. 20. "For the Lord," saith he, "knoweth the reasonings of men (Ps. xciv. 11. anthrw'pwn Sept.) that they are vain." Now when the Wisdom which is boundless pronounces this edict concerning them, and declares them to be such, what other proof dost thou seek of their extreme folly? Formen's judgments, it is true, in many instances fail; but the decree of God is unexceptionable and uncorrupt in every case.
[4.] Thus having set up so splendid a trophy of the judgment from on high, he employs in what follows a certain vehemence of style, turning it against those who were under his ministry, (archome'nous) and speaking thus:
Ver. 21. "Wherefore let no man glory in men; for all things are yours." He comes again to the former topic, pointing out that not even for their spiritual things ought they to be highminded, as having nothing of themselves. "Since then the wisdom from without is hurtful, and the spiritual gifts were not given by you, what hast thou wherein to boast?" And in regard to the wisdom from without, "Let no man deceive himself," saith he, because they were conceited about a thing which in truth did more harm than good. But here, inasmuch as the thing spoken of was really advantageous, "Let no man glory." And he orders his speech more gently: "for all things are yours."
Ver. 22. "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and ye are Christ's and Christ is God's." For because he had handled them sharply, he refreshes them again. And as above he had said, (1. Cor. iii. 9.) "We are fellow-workers with God;" and by many other expressions had soothed them: so here too he saith, "All things are yours; taking down the pride of the teachers, and signifying that so far from bestowing any favor on them, they themselves ought to be grateful to the others. Since for their sake they were made such as they were, yea, moreover, had received grace. But seeing that these also were sure to boast, on this account he cuts out beforehand this disease too, saying, "As God gave to every man," (Supr. vi. 5. 6.) and, "God gave the increase:" to the end that neither the one party might be puffed up as bestowers of good; nor the others, on their hearing a second time, "All things are yours," be again elated. "For, indeed, though it were for your sakes, yet the whole was God's doing." And I wish you to observe how he hath kept on throughout, making suppositions in his own name and that of Peter.
But what is, "or death?" That even though they die, for your sakes they die, encountering dangers for your salvation. Dost thou mark how he again takes down the high spirit of the disciples, and raises the spirit of the teachers? In fact, he talks with them as with children of high birth, who have preceptors, and who are to be heirs of all.
We may say also, in another sense, that both the death of Adam was for our sakes, that we might be corrected; and the death of Christ, that we might be saved.
"And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." In one sense "we are Christ's, and in another sense "Christ is God's," and in a third sense is "the world ours." For we indeed are Christ's, as his work: "Christ is God's, as a genuine Offspring, not as a work: in which sense neither is the world ours. So that though the saying is the same, yet the meaning is different. For "the world is ours," as being a thing made for our sakes: but "Christ is God's," as having Him the Author of his being, in that He is Father. And "we are Christ's," as having been formed by Him. Now "if they are yours," saith he, "why have ye done what is just contrary to this, in calling yourselves after their name, and not after Christ, and God?"
[5.] C. iv. ver. 1. "Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." After he had cast down their spirit, mark how again he refreshes it, saying, "as ministers of Christ." Do not thou then, letting go the Master, receive a name from the servants and ministers. "Stewards;" saith he, indicating that we ought not to give these things unto all, but unto whom it is due, and to whom it is fitting we should minister.
Ver. 2. "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful:" that is, that he do not appropriate to himself his master's goods, that he do not as a master lay claim for himself but administer as a steward. For a steward's part is to administer well the things committed to his charge: not to say that his master's things are his own; but, on the contrary, that his own are his master's. Let every one think on these things, both he that hath power in speech and he that possesses wealth, namely, that he hath been entrusted with a master's goods and that they are not his own; let him not keep them with himself, nor set them down to his own account; but let him impute them unto God who gave them all. Wouldest thou see faithful stewards? Hear what saith Peter, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man to walk?" (Acts iii. 12.) Unto(1) Cornelius also he saith, "We also are men of like passions with you:" and unto Christ Himself, "Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee." (St. Matt. xix. 27.) And Paul, no less, when he had said, "I labored more abundantly than they all," (I Cor. xv. 10.) added, "yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Elsewhere also, setting himself strongly against the same persons, he said, "For what hast thou which thou didst not receive?" (C. iv. 7.) "For thou hast nothing of thine own, neither wealth, nor speech, nor life itself; for this also is surely the Lord's. Wherefore, when necessity calls, do thou lay down this also. But if thou dostest on life, and being ordered to lay it down refusest, thou art no longer a faithful steward."
"And how is it possible, when God calls, to resist?" Well, that is just what I say too: and on this account do I chiefly admire the loving-kindness of God, that the things which He is able, even against thy will, to take from thee, these He willeth not to be paid in (eisenekthh^nai) by thee unwillingly, that thou mayest have a reward besides. For instance, He can take away life without thy consent; but His will is to do so with thy consent, that thou mayest say with Paul, "I die daily," (1 Cor. xv. 31.) He can take away thy glory without thy consent, and bring thee low: but He will have it from thee with thine own goodwill, that thou mayest have a recompense. He can make thee poor, though unwilling, but He will have thee willingly become such, that He may weave crowns for thee. Seest thou God's mercy to man? Seest thou our own brutish stupidity?
What if thou art come to great dignity, and hast at any time obtained some office of Church government? Be not high-minded. Thou hast not acquired the glory, but God hath put it on thee. As if it were another's, therefore, use it sparingly; neither abusing it nor using it upon unsuitable things, nor puffed up, nor appropriating it unto thyself; but esteem thyself to be poor and inglorious. For never,--hadst thou been entrusted with a king's purple to keep,--never would it have become thee to abuse the robe and spoil it, but with the more exactness to keep it for the giver. Is utterance given thee? Be not puffed up; be not arrogant; for the gracious gift is not thine. Be not grudging about thy Master's good, but distribute them among thy fellow-servants; and neither be thou elated with these things as if they were thine own, nor be sparing as to the distribution of them. Again, if thou hast children, they are God's which thou hast. If such be thy thought, thou wilt both be thankful for having them, and if bereft thou wilt not take it hard. Such was Job when he said, (Job i. 21.) "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away."
For we have all things from Christ. Both existence itself we have through Him, and life, and breath, and light, and air, and earth. And if He were to exclude us from any one of these, we are lost and undone. For (1 S. Pet. ii. xx.) "we are sojourners and pilgrims" And all this about "mine," and "thine," is bare words only, and doth not stand for things. For if thou do but say the house is thine, it is a word without a reality: since the very air, earth, matter, are the Creator's; and so art thou too thyself, who hast framed it; and all other things also. But supposing the use to be thine, even this is uncertain, not on account of death alone, but also before death, because of the instability of things.
[6.] These things then continually picturing to ourselves, let us lead strict lives; and we shall gain two of the greatest advantages. For first, we shall be thankful both when we have and when we are bereaved; and we shall not be enslaved to things which are fleeting by, and things not our own. For whether it be wealth that He taketh, He hath taken but His own; or honor, or glory, or the body, or the life itself: be it that He taketh away thy son, it is not thy son that He hath taken, but His own servant. For thou formedst him not, but He made him. Thou didst but minister to his appearing; the whole was God's own work. Let us give thanks therefore that we have been counted worthy to be His ministers in this matter. But what? Wouldest thou have had him for ever? This again proves thee grudging, and ignorant that it was another's child which thou hadst, and not thine own. As therefore those who part resignedly are but aware that they have what was not theirs; so whoever gives way to grief is in fact counting the King's property his own. For, if we are not our own, how can they be ours? I say, we: for in two ways we are His, both on account of our creation, and also on account of the faith. Wherefore David saith, "My substance is with Thee:" (Ps. xxxix. 7. hupo'stasis Sept. "hope" rec. vers. of. ver. 6; Ps. cxxxix. 14.) and Paul too, "For in Him we live and move and have our being:" (Acts xvii. 28.) and plying the argument about the faith, he says, (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.) "Ye are not your own," and "ye were bought with a price." For all things are God's. When then He calls and chooses to take, let us not, like grudging servants, fly from the reckoning, nor purloin our Master's goods. Thy soul is not thine; and how can thy wealth be thine? How is it then that thou spendest on what is unnecessary the things which are not thine? Knowest thou not that for this we are soon to be put on our trial, that is, if we have used them badly? But seeing that they are not our's but our Master's, it were right to expend them upon our fellow- servants. It is worth considering that the omission of this was the charge brought against that rich man: and against those also who had not given food to the Lord. (St. Luke xvi. 21. St. Matt. xxv. 42.)
[7.] Say not then, "I am but spending mine own, and of mine own I live delicately." It is not of thine own, but of other men's. Other men's, I say, because such is thine own choice: for God's will is that those things should be thine, which have been entrusted unto thee on behalf of thy brethren. Now the things which are not thine own become thine, if thou spend them upon others: but if thou spend on thyself unsparingly, thine own things become no longer thine. For since thou usest them cruelly, and sayest, "That my own things should be altogether spent on my own enjoyment is fair:" therefore I call them not thine own. For they are common to thee and thy fellow-servants; just as the sun is common, the air, the earth, and all the rest. For as in the case of the body, each ministration belongs both to the whole body and to each several member; but when it is applied to one single member only, it destroys the proper function of that very member: so also it comes to pass in the case of wealth. And that what I say may be made plainer; the food of the body which is given in common to the members, should it pass into one member, even to that it turns out alien in the end. For when it cannot be digested nor afford nourishment, even to that part, I say, it turns out alien. But if it be made common, both that part and all the rest have it as their own.
So also in regard of wealth. If you enjoy it alone, you too have lost it: for you will not reap its reward. But if you possess it jointly with the rest, then will it be more your own, and then will you reap the benefit of it. Seest thou not that the hands minister, and the mouth softens, and the stomach receives? Doth the stomach say, Since I have received, I ought to keep it all? Then do not thou I pray, in regard to riches, use this language. For it belongs to the receiver to impart. As then it is a vice in the stomach to retain the food and not to distribute it, (for it is injurious to the whole body,) so it is a vice in those that are rich to keep to themselves what they have. For this destroys both themselves and others. Again, the eye receives all the light: but it doth not itself alone retain it, but enlightens the entire body. For it is not its nature to keep it to itself, so long as it is an eye. Again, the nostrils are sensible of perfume; but they do not keep it all to themselves, but transmit it to the brain, and affect the stomach with a sweet savor, and by their means refresh the entire man. The feet alone walk; but they move not away themselves only, but transfer also the whole body. In like manner do thou, whatsoever thou hast been entrusted withal, keep it not to thyself alone, since thou art doing harm to the whole and to thyself more than all.
And not in the case of the limbs only may one see this occuring: for the smith also, if he chose to impart of his craft to no one, ruins both himself and all other crafts. Likewise the cordwainer, the husbandman, the baker, and everyone of those who pursue any necessary calling; if he chose not to communicate to anyone of the results of his art, will ruin not the others only but himself also with them.
And why do I say, "the rich?" For the poor too, if they followed after the wickedness of you who are covetous and rich, would injure you very greatly and soon make you poor; yea rather, they would quite destroy you, were they in your want unwilling to impart of their own: the tiller of the ground, (for instance,) of the labor of his hands; the sailor, of the gain from his voyages; the soldier, of his distinction won in the wars.
Wherefore if nothing else can, yet let this at least put you to shame, and do you imitate their benevolence. Dost thou impart none of thy wealth unto any? Then shouldest thou not receive any thing from another: in which case, the world will be turned upside down. For in every thing to give and receive is the principle of numerous blessings: in seeds, in scholars, in arts. For if any one desire tO keep his art to himself, he subverts both himself and the whole course of things. And the husbandman, if he bury and keep the seeds in his house, will bring about a grievous famine. So also the rich man, if he act thus in regard of his wealth, will destroy himself before the poor, heaping up the fire of hell more grievous upon his own head.
[8.] Therefore as teachers, however many scholars they have, impart some of their lore unto each; so let thy possession be, many to whom thou hast done good. And let all say, "such an one he freed from poverty, such an one from dangers. Such an one would have perished, had he not, next to the grace of God, enjoyed thy patronage. This man's disease thou didst cure, another thou didst rid of false accusation, another being a stranger you took in, another being naked you clothed." Wealth inexhaustible and many treasures are not so good as such sayings. They draw all men's gaze more powerfully than your golden vestments, and horses, and slaves. For these make a man appear even odious: (phortiko'n, a conj. of Saville's for phortika') they cause him to be hated as a common foe; but the former proclaim him as a common father and benefactor. And, what is greatest of all, Favor from God waits on thee in every part of thy proceedings. What I mean is, let one man say, He helped to portion out my daughter: another, And he afforded my son the means of taking his station among men: (eis a'ndras emphanh'nai) another, He made my calamity to cease: another, He delivered me from dangers. Better than golden crowns are words such as these, that a man should have in his city innumerable persons to proclaim his beneficence. Voices such as these are pleasanter far, and sweeter than the voices of the heralds marching before the archons; to be called saviour, benefactor, defender, (the very names of God;) and not, covetous, proud, insatiate, and mean. Let us not, I beseech you, let us not have a fancy for any of these titles, but the contrary. For if these, spoken on earth, make one so splendid and illustrious; when they are written in heaven, and God proclaims them on the day that shall come, think what renown, what splendor thou shalt enjoy! Which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom unto the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and always and unto everlasting ages. Amen.