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    1. I HAD many genuine and true friends, men who understood the laws of friendship, and faithfully observed  them; but out of this large number there was one who excelled all the rest in his attachment to me, striving to  outstrip them as much as they themselves outstripped ordinary acquaintance. He was one of those who were  constantly at my side; for we were engaged in the same studies, and employed the same teachers.(1) We had the  same eagerness and zeal about the studies at which we worked, and a passionate desire produced by the same  circumstances was equally strong in both of us. For not only when we were attending school, but after we had left  it, when it became necessary to consider what course of life it would be best for us to adopt, we found ourselves to  be of the same mind.
    2. And in addition to these, there were other things also which preserved and maintained this concord unbroken  and secure. For as regarded the greatness of our fatherland neither had one cause to vaunt himself over the other,  nor was I burdened with riches, and he pinched by poverty, but our means corresponded as closely as our tastes.  Our families also were of equal rank, and thus everything concurred with our disposition.
    3. But when it became our duty to pursue the blessed life of monks, and the true philosophy,(2) our balance was  no longer even, but his scale mounted high, while I, still entangled in the lusts of this world, dragged mine down  and kept it low, weighting it with those fancies in which youths are apt to indulge. For the future our friendship  indeed remained as firm as it was before, but our intercourse was interrupted; for it was impossible for persons  who were not interested about the same things to spend much time together. But as soon as I also began to emerge  a little from the flood of worldliness, he received me with open arms; yet not even thus could we maintain our  former equality: for having got the start of me in time, and having displayed great earnestness, he rose again above  my level, and soared to a great height.
    4. Being a good man, however, and placing a high value on my friendship, he separated himself from all the rest  (of the brethren), and spent the whole of his time with me, which he had desired to do before, but had been  prevented as I was saying by my frivolity. For it was impossible for a man who attended the law-courts, and was in  a flutter of excitement


about the pleasures of the stage, to be often in the company of one who was nailed to his books, and never set foot  in the market place. Consequently when the hindrances were removed, and he had brought me into the same  condition of life as himself, he gave free vent to the desire with which he had long been laboring. He could not bear  leaving me even for a moment, and he persistently urged that we should each of us abandon our own home and  share a common dwelling :--in fact he persuaded me, and the affair was taken in hand.
    5. But the continual lamentations of my mother hindered me from granting him the favor, or rather from  receiving this boon at his hands. For when she perceived that I was meditating this step, she took me into her own  private chamber, and, sitting near me on the bed where she had given birth to me, she shed torrents of tears, to  which she added words yet more pitiable than her weeping, in the following lamentable strain: My child, it was not  the will of Heaven that I should long enjoy the benefit of thy father's virtue. For his death soon followed the pangs  which I endured at thy birth, leaving thee an orphan and me a widow before my time to face all the horrors of  widowhood, which only those who have experienced them can fairly understand. For no words are adequate to  describe the tempest-tossed condition of a young woman who, having but lately left her paternal home, and being  inexperienced in business, is suddenly racked by an overwhelming sorrow, and compelled to support a load of care  too great for her age and sex. For she has to correct the laziness of servants, and to be on the watch for their  rogueries, to repel the designs of relations, to bear bravely the threats of those who collect the public taxes,(1) and  harshness in the imposition of rates. And if the departed one should have left a child, even if it be a girl, great  anxiety will be caused to the mother, although free from much expense and fear: but a boy fills her with ten  thousand alarms and many anxieties every day, to say nothing of the great expense which one is compelled to incur  if she wishes to bring him up in a liberal way. None of these things, however, induced me to enter into a second  marriage, or introduce a second husband into thy father's house: but I held on as I was, in the midst of the storm  and uproar, and did not shun the iron furnace(2) of widowhood. My foremost help indeed was the grace from  above; but it was no small consolation to me under those I terrible trials to look continually on thy face and to  preserve in thee a living image of him who had gone, an image indeed which was a fairly exact likeness.
    On this account, even when thou wast an infant, and hadst not yet learned to speak, a time when children are  the greatest delight to their parents, thou didst afford me much comfort. Nor indeed can you complain that,  although I bore my widowhood bravely, I diminished thy patrimony, which I know has been the fate of many who  have had the misfortune to be orphans. For, besides keeping the whole of it intact, I spared no expense which was  needful to give you an honorable position, spending for this purpose some of my own fortune, and of my marriage  dowry. Yet do not think that I say these things by way of reproaching you; only in return for all these benefits I beg  one favor: do not plunge me into a second widowhood; nor revive the grief which is now laid to rest: wait for my  death: it may be in a little while I shall depart. The young indeed look forward to a distant old age; but we who  have grown old(3) have nothing but death to wait for. When, then, you shall have committed my body to the  ground, and mingled my bones with thy father's, embark for a long voyage, and set sail on any sea thou wilt: then  there will be no one to hinder thee: but as long as my life lasts, be content to live with me. Do not, I pray you,  oppose God in vain, involving me without cause, who have done you no wrong, in these great calamities. For if you  have any reason to complain that I drag you into worldly cares, and force you to attend to business, do not be  restrained by any reverence for the laws of nature, for training or custom, but fly from me as an enemy; but if, on  the contrary, I do everything to provide leisure for thy journey through this life, let this bond at least if nothing else  keep thee by me. For couldst thou say that ten thousand loved thee, yet no one will afford thee the enjoyment of so  much liberty, seeing there is no one who is equally anxious for thy welfare.
    6. These words, and more, my mother spake to me, and I related them to that noble youth. But he, so far from  being disheartened by these speeches, was the more urgent in making the same request as before. Now while we  were thus situated, he continually entreating, and I refusing my assent, we were both of us disturbed by a report  suddenly reaching us that we were about to be advanced to the dignity of


the episcopate.(1) As soon as I heard this rumor I was seized with alarm and perplexity: with alarm lest I should be  made captive against my will, and perplexity, inquiring as I often did whence any such idea concerning us could  have entered the minds of these men; for looking to myself I found nothing worthy of such an honor. But that  noble youth having come to me privately, and having conferred with me about these things as if with one who was  ignorant of the rumor, begged that we might in this instance also as formerly shape our action and our counsels the  same way: for he would readily follow me whichever course I might pursue, whether I attempted flight or  submitted to be captured. Perceiving then his eagerness, and considering that I should inflict a loss upon the whole  body of the Church if, owing to my own weakness, I were to deprive the flock of Christ of a young man who was  so good and so well qualified for the supervision of large numbers, I abstained from disclosing to him the purpose  which I had formed, although I had never before allowed any of my plans to be concealed from him. I now told  him that it would be best to postpone our decision concerning this matter to another season, as it was not  immediately pressing, and by so doing persuaded him to dismiss it from his thoughts, and at the same time  encouraged him to hope that, if such a thing should ever happen to us, I should be of the same mind with him. But  after a short time, when one who was to ordain us arrived, I kept myself concealed, but Basil, ignorant of this, was  taken away on another pretext, and made to take the yoke, hoping from the promises which I had made to him  that I should certainly follows or rather supposing that he was following me. For some of those who were present,  seeing that he resented being seized, deceived him by exclaiming how strange it was that one who was generally  reputed to be the more hot tempered (meaning me), had yielded very mildly to the judgment of the Fathers,  whereas he, who was reckoned a much wiser and milder kind of man, had shown himself hotheaded and conceited,  being unruly, restive, and contradictory.(2) Having yielded to these remonstrances, and afterwards having learned  that I had escaped capture, he came to me in deep dejection, sat down near me and tried to speak, but was  hindered by distress of mind and inability to express in words the violence to which he had been subjected. No  sooner had he opened his mouth than he was prevented from utterance by grief cutting short his words before they  could pass his lips. Seeing, then, his tearful and agitated condition, and knowing as I did the cause, I laughed for  joy, and, seizing his right hand, I forced a kiss on him, and praised God that my plan had ended so successfully, as I  had always prayed it might. But when he saw that I was delighted and beaming with joy, and understood that he  had been deceived by me, he was yet more vexed and distressed.
    7. And when he had a little recovered from this agitation of mind, he began: If you have rejected the part allotted  to you, and have no further regard for me (I know not indeed for what cause), you ought at least to consider your  own reputation; but as it is you have opened the mouths of all, and the world is saying that you have declined this  ministry through love of vainglory, and there is no one who will deliver you from this accusation. As for me, I  cannot bear to go into the market place; there are so many who come up to me and reproach me every day. For,  when they see me anywhere in the city, all my intimate friends take me aside, and cast the greater part of the  blame upon me. Knowing his intention, they say, for none of his affairs could be kept secret from you, you should  not have concealed it, but ought to have communicated it to us, and we should have been at no loss to devise some  plan for capturing him. But I am too much ashamed and abashed to tell them that I did not know you had long  been plotting this trick, lest they should say that our friendship was a mere pretence. For even if it is so, as indeed  it is--nor would you yourself deny it after what you have done to me--yet it is well to hide our misfortune from the  outside world, and persons who entertain but a moderate opinion of us. I shrink from telling them the truth, and  how things really stand with us, and I am compelled in future to keep silence, and look down on the ground, and  turn away to avoid those whom I meet. For if I escape the condemnation on the former charge, I am forced to  undergo judgment for speaking falsehood. For they will never believe me when I say that you ranged Basil  amongst those who are not permitted to know your secret affairs. Of this, however, I will not take much account,  since it has seemed agreeable to you, but how shall we endure the future disgrace? for some accuse you of  arrogance, others of vainglory: while those


who are our more merciful accusers, lay both these offences to our charge, and add that we have insulted those who  did us honor, although had they experienced even greater indignity it would only have served them right for passing  over so many and such distinguished men and advancing mere youths,(1) who were but yesterday immersed in the  interests of this world, to such a dignity as they never have dreamed of obtaining, in order that they may for a brief  season knit the eyebrows, wear dusky garments, and put on a grave face. Those who from the dawn of manhood  to extreme old age have diligently practised self-discipline, are now to be placed under the government of youths  who have not even heard the laws which should regulate their administration of this office. I am perpetually  assailed by persons who say such things and worse, and am at a loss how to reply to them; but I pray you tell me:  for I do not suppose that you took to flight and incurred such hatred from such distinguished men without cause or  consideration, but that your decision was made with reasoning and circumspection: whence also I conjecture that  you have some argument ready for your defence. Tell me, then, whether there is any fair excuse which I can make  to those who accuse us.
    For I do not demand any account for the wrongs which I have sustained at your hands, nor for the deceit or  treachery you have practised, nor for the advantage which you have derived from me in the past. For I placed my  very life, so to say, in your hands, yet you have treated me with as much guile as if it had been your business to  guard yourself against an enemy. Yet if you knew this decision of ours to be profitable, you ought not to have  avoided the gain: if on the contrary injurious, you should have saved me also from the loss, as you always said that  you esteemed me before every one else. But you have done everything to make me fall into the snare: and you had  no need of guile and hypocrisy in dealing with one who was wont to display the utmost sincerity and candor in  speech and action towards thee. Nevertheless, as I said, I do not now accuse you of any of these things, or reproach  you for the lonely position in which you have placed me by breaking off those conferences from which we often  derived no small pleasure and profit; but all these things I pass by, and bear in silence and meekness, not that thou  hast acted meekly in transgressing against me, but because from the day that I cherished thy friendship I laid it  down as a rule for myself, that whatever sorrow you might cause me I would never force you to the necessity of an  apology. For you know yourself that you have inflicted no small loss on me if at least you remember what we were  always saying ourselves, and the outside world also said concerning us, that it was a great gain for us to be of one  mind and be guarded by each other's friendship. Every one said, indeed, that our concord would bring no small  advantage to many besides ourselves; I never perceived, however, so far as I am concerned, how it could be of  advantage to others: but I did say that we should at least derive this benefit from it: that those who wished to  contend with us would find us difficult to master. And I never ceased reminding you of these things: saying the age  is a cruel one, and designing men are many, genuine love is no more, and the deadly pest of envy has crept into its  place: we walk in the midst of snares, and on the edge of battlements;(2) those who are ready to rejoice in our  misfortunes, if any should befall us, are many and beset us from many quarters: whereas there is no one to  condole with us, or at least the number of such may be easily counted. Beware that we do not by separation incur  much ridicule, and damage worse than ridicule. Brother aided by brother is like a strong city, and well fortified  kingdom.(3) Do not dissolve this genuine intimacy, nor break down the fortress. Such things and more I was  continually saying, not indeed that I ever suspected anything of this kind, but supposing you to be entirely sound in  your relation towards me, I did it as a superfluous precaution, wishing to preserve in health one who was already  sound; but unwittingly, as it seems, I was administering medicines to a sick man: and even so I have not been  fortunate enough to do any good, and have gained nothing by my excess of forethought. For having totally cast  away all these considerations, without giving them a thought, you have turned me adrift like an unballasted vessel  on an untried ocean, taking no heed of those fierce billows which I must encounter. For if it should ever be my lot  to undergo calumny, or mockery, or any other kind of insult or menace (and such things must frequently occur), to  whom shall I fly for refuge: to whom shall I impart my distress, who will be willing to succour me and drive back  my assailants and put a stop to their assaults? who


will solace me and prepare me to bear the coarse ribaldry which may yet be in store for me. There is no one since  you stand aloof from this terrible strife, and cannot even hear my cry. Seest thou then what mischief thou hast  wrought? now that thou hast dealt the blow, dost thou perceive what a deadly wound thou hast inflicted? But let all  this pass: for it is impossible to undo the past, or to find a path through pathless difficulties. What shall I say to the  outside world? what defence shall I make to their accusations.
    8. CHRYSOSTOM: Be of good cheer, I replied, for I am not only ready to answer for myself in these matters,  but I will also endeavor as well as I am able to render an account of those for which you have not held me  answerable. Indeed, if you wish it, I will make them the starting-point of my defence. For it would be a strange  piece of stupidity on my part if, thinking only of praise from the outside public, and doing my best to silence their  accusations, I were unable to convince my dearest of all friends that I am not wronging him, and were to treat him  with indifference greater than the zeal which he has displayed on my behalf, treating me with such forbearance as  even to refrain from accusing me of the wrongs which he says he has suffered from me, and putting his own  interests out of the question in consideration for mine.
    What is the wrong that I have done thee, since I have determined to embark from this point upon the sea of  apology? Is it that I misled you and concealed my purpose? Yet I did it for the benefit of thyself who wast deceived,  and of those to whom I surrendered you by means of this deceit. For if the evil of deception is absolute, and it is  never right to make use of it, I am prepared to pay any penalty you please: or rather, as you will never endure to  inflict punishment upon me, I shall subject myself to the same condemnation which is pronounced by judges on  evil-doers when their accusers have convicted them. But if the thing is not always harmful, but becomes good or  bad according to the intention of those who practise it, you must desist from complaining of deceit, and prove that  it has been devised against you for a bad purpose; and as long as this proof is wanting it would only be fair for  those who wish to conduct themselves prudently, not only to abstain from reproaches and accusation, but even to  give a friendly reception to the deceiver. For a well-timed deception, undertaken with an upright intention, has  such advantages, that many persons have often had to undergo punishment for abstaining from fraud. And if you  investigate the history of generals who have enjoyed the highest reputation from the earliest ages, you will find that  most of their triumphs were achieved by stratagem, and that such are more highly commended than those who  conquer in open fight. For the latter conduct their campaigns with greater expenditure of money and men, so that  they gain nothing by the victory, but suffer just as much distress as those who have been defeated, both in the  sacrifice of troops and the exhaustion of funds. But, besides this, they are not even permitted to enjoy all the glory  which pertains to the victory; for no small part of it is reaped by those who have fallen, because in spirit they were  victorious, their defeat was only a bodily one: so that had it been possible for them not to fall when they were  wounded, and death had not come and put the finishing stroke to their labors, there would have been no end of  their prowess. But one who has been able to gain the victory by stratagem involves the enemy in ridicule as well as  disaster. Again, in the other case both sides equally carry off the honors bestowed upon valor, whereas in this case  they do not equally obtain those which are bestowed on wisdom, but the prize falls entirely to the victors, and,  another point no less important is that they preserve the joy of the victory for the state unalloyed; for abundance of  resources and multitudes of men are not like mental powers: the former indeed if continually used in war  necessarily become exhausted, and fail those who possess them, whereas it is the nature of wisdom to increase the  more it is exercised. And not in war only, but also in peace the need of deceit may be found, not merely in  reference to the affairs of the state, but also in private life, in the dealings of husband with wife and wife with  husband, son with father, friend with friend, and also children with a parent. For the daughter of Saul would not  have been able to rescue her husband out of Saul's hands' except by deceiving her father. And her brother, wish-bag  to save him whom she had rescued when he was again in danger, made use of the same weapon as the wife?
    BASIL: But none of these cases apply to me: for I am not an enemy, nor one of those who are striving to injure  thee, but quite the contrary. For I entrusted all my interests to your judgment, and always followed it whenever  you bid me.
    CHRYSOSTOM: But, my admirable and excellent Sir, this is the very reason why I took the precaution of  saying that it was a good thing to employ this kind of deceit, not only in war, and in dealing with enemies, but also


in peace, and in dealing with our dearest friends. For as a proof that it is beneficial not only to the deceivers, but  also to those who are deceived; if you go to any of the physicians and ask them how they relieve their patients from  disease, they will tell you that they do not depend upon their professional skill alone, but sometimes conduct the  sick to health by availing themselves of deceit, and blending the assistance which they derive from it with their art.  For when the waywardness of the patient and the obstinacy of the complaint baffle the counsels of the physicians,  it is then necessary to put on the mask of deceit in order that, as on the stage, they may be able to hide what really  takes place. But, if you please, I will relate to you one instance of stratagem out of many which I have heard of  being contrived by the sons of the healing art.(1) A man was once suddenly attacked by a fever of great severity; the  burning heat increased, and the patient rejected the remedies which could have reduced it and craved for a draught  of pure wine, passionately entreating all who approached to give it him and enable him to satiate this deadly  craving--I say deadly, for if any one had gratified this request he would not only have exasperated the fever, but  also have driven the unhappy man frantic. Thereupon, professional skill being baffled, and at the end of its  resources and utterly thrown away, stratagem stepped in and displayed its power in the way which I will now  relate. For the physician took an earthen cup brought straight out of the furnace, and having steeped it in wine,  then drew it out empty, filled it with water, and, having ordered the chamber where the sick man lay to be  darkened with curtains that the light might not reveal the trick, he gave it him to drink, pretending that it was filled  with undiluted wine. And the man, before he had taken it in his hands, being deceived by the smell, did not wait to  examine what was given him, but convinced by the odor, and deceived by the darkness, eagerly gulped down the  draught, and being satiated with it immediately shook off the feeling of suffocation and escaped the imminent  peril.(2) Do you see the advantage of deceit? And if any one were to reckon up all the tricks of physicians the list  would run on to an indefinite length. And not only those who heal the body but those also who attend [to the  diseases of the soul may be found continually making use of this remedy. Thus the blessed Paul attracted those  multitudes of Jews:(3) with this purpose he circumcised Timothy,(4) although he warned the Galatians in his  letter(5) that Christ would not profit those who were circumcised. For this cause he submitted to the law, although  he reckoned the righteousness which came from the law but loss after receiving the faith in Christ.(6) For great is  the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not  to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where  resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind. For I would not call Phinees a murderer, although he  slew two human beings with one stroke:(7) nor yet Elias after the slaughter of the 100 soldiers, and the captain,(8)  and the torrents of blood which he caused to be shed by the destruction of those who sacrificed to devils.(9) For if  we were to concede this, and to examine the bare deeds in themselves apart from the intention of the doers, one  might if he pleased judge Abraham guilty of child-murder(10) and accuse his grandson(11) and descendant(12) of  wickedness and guile. For the one got possession of the birthright, and the other transferred the wealth of the  Egyptians to the host of the Israelites. But this is not the case: away with the audacious thought! For we not only  acquit them of blame, but also admire them because of these things, since even God commended them for the  same. For that man would fairly deserve to be called a deceiver who made an unrighteous use of the practice, not  one who did so with a salutary purpose. And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by  means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he  has not deceived.
    1. THAT it is possible then to make use of deceit for a good purpose, or rather that in such a case it ought not to  be called deceit, but a kind of good management worthy of all admiration, might be proved at greater length; but  since what has already been said suffices for demonstration, it would be irksome and tedious to lengthen out my  discourse upon the subject. And now it will remain for you to pave whether I have not employed this art to your  advantage.
    BASIL: And what kind of advantage have I derived from this piece of good management, or wise policy, or  whatever you may please to call it, so as to persuade me that I have not been deceived by you?
    CHRYSOSTOM: What advantage, pray, could be greater than to be seen doing those things which Christ with  his own lips declared to be proofs of love to Himself?(1) For addressing the leader of the apostles He said, "Peter,  lovest thou me?" and when he confessed that he did, the Lord added, "if thou lovest me tend my sheep." The  Master asked the disciple if He was loved by him, not in order' to get information (how should He who penetrates  the hearts of all men?), but in order to teach us how great an interest He takes in the superintendence of these  sheep. This being plain, it will likewise be manifest that a great and unspeakable reward will be reserved for him  whose labors are concerned with these sheep, upon which Christ places such a high value. For when we see any one  bestowing care upon members of our household, or upon our flocks, we count his zeal for them as a sign of love  towards ourselves: yet all these things are to be bought for money :--with how great a gift then will He requite  those who tend the flock which He purchased, not with money, nor anything of that kind, but by His own death,  giving his own blood as the price of the herd. Wherefore when the disciple said, "Thou knowest Lord that I love  Thee," and invoked the beloved one Himself as a witness of his love, the Saviour did not stop there, but added that  which was the token of love. For He did not at that time wish to show how much Peter loved Him, but how much  He Himself loved His own Church, and he desired to teach Peter and all of us that we also should bestow much  zeal upon the same. For why did God not spare His only-begotten Son, but delivered Him up, although the only  one He had?(2) It was that He might reconcile to Himself those who were disposed towards Him as enemies, and  make them His peculiar people. For what purpose did He shed His blood? It was that He might win these sheep  which He entrusted to Peter and his successors. Naturally then did Christ say, "Who then is the faithful and wise  servant, whom his lord shall make ruler over His household."(3) Again, the


words are those of one who is in doubt, yet the speaker did not utter them in doubt, but just as He asked Peter  whether he loved Him, not from any need to learn the affection of the disciple, but from a desire to show the  exceeding depth of his own love: so now also when He says, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant ?" he  speaks not as being ignorant who is faithful and wise, but as desiring to set forth the rarity of such a character, and  the greatness of this office. Observe at any rate how great the reward is--" He will appoint him," he says, "ruler  over all his goods."(1)
    2. Will you, then, still contend that you were not rightly deceived, when you are about to superintend the things  which belong to God, and are doing that which when Peter did the Lord said he should be able to surpass the rest  of the apostles, for His words were, "Peter, lovest thou me more than these?"(2) Yet He might have said to him, "If  thou lovest me practise fasting, sleeping on the ground, and prolonged vigils, defend the wronged, be as a father to  orphans, and supply the place of a husband to their mother." But as a matter of fact, setting aside all these things,  what does He say? "Tend my sheep." For those things which I have already mentioned might easily be performed  by many even of those who are under authority, women as well as men; but when one is required to preside over  the Church, and to be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the  magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also; and we must bring forward those who to a large extent  surpass all others, and soar as much above them in excellence of spirit as Saul overtopped the whole Hebrew  nation in bodily stature: or rather far more.(3) For in this case let me not take the height of shoulders as the  standard of inquiry; but let the distinction between the pastor and his charge be as great as that between rational  man and irrational creatures, not to say even greater, inasmuch as the risk is concerned with things of far greater  importance. He indeed who has lost sheep, either through the ravages of wolves, or the attacks of robbers, or  through murrain, or any other disaster befalling them, might perhaps obtain some indulgence from the owner of  the flock; and even if the latter should demand satisfaction the penalty would be only a matter of money: but he  who has human beings entrusted to him, the rational flock of Christ, incurs a penalty in the first place for the loss  of the sheep, which goes beyond material things and touches his own life: and in the second place he has to carry  on a far greater and more difficult contest. For he has not to contend with wolves, nor to dread robbers, nor to  consider how he may avert pestilence from the flock. With whom then has he to fight? with whom has he to  wrestle? Listen to the words of St. Paul.  "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against  powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."(4) Do you see  the terrible multitude of enemies, and their fierce squadrons, not steel clad, but endued with a nature which is of  itself an equivalent for a complete suit of armor. Would you see yet another host, stern and cruel, beleaguering this  flock? This also you shall behold from the same post of observation. For he who has discoursed to us concerning  the others, points out these enemies also to us, speaking in a certain place on this wise: "The works of the flesh are  manifest, which are these, fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,  emulation, wrath, strife,(5) backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults,"(6) and many more besides; for he did not  make a complete list, but left us to understand the rest from these. Moreover, in the case of the shepherd of  irrational creatures, those who wish to destroy the flock, when they see the guardian take to flight, cease making  war upon him, and are contented with the seizure of the cattle: but in this case, even should they capture the whole  flock, they do not leave the shepherd unmolested, but attack him all the more, and wax bolder, ceasing not until  they have either overthrown him, or have themselves been vanquished. Again, the afflictions of sheep are manifest,  whether it be famine, or pestilence, or wounds, or whatsoever else it may be which distresses them, and this might  help not a little towards the relief of those who are oppressed in these ways. And there is yet another fact greater  than this which facilitates release from this kind of infirmity. And what is that? The shepherds with great authority  compel the sheep to receive the remedy when they do not willingly submit to it. For it is easy to bind them when  cautery or cutting is required, and to keep them inside the fold for a long time, whenever it is expedient, and to  bring them one kind of food instead of another, and to cut them off from their supplies of water, and all other  things which the shepherds may decide to be conducive to their health they perform with great ease.


    3. But in the case of human infirmities, it is not easy in the first place for a man to discern them, for no man  "knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him."(1) How then can any one apply the remedy  for the disease of which he does not know the character, often indeed being unable to understand it even should he  happen to sicken with it himself? And even when it becomes manifest, it causes him yet more trouble: for it is not  possible to doctor all men with the same authority with which the shepherd treats his sheep. For in this case also it  is necessary to bind and to restrain from food, and to use cautery or the knife: but the reception of the treatment  depends on the will of the patient, not of him who applies the remedy. For this also was perceived by that  wonderful man (St. Paul) when he said to the Corinthians--"Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but  are helpers of your joy."(2) For Christians above all men are not permitted forcibly to correct the failings of those  who sin. Secular judges indeed, when they have captured malefactors under the law, show their authority to be  great, and prevent them even against their will from following their own devices: but in our case the wrong-doer  must be made better, not by force, but by persuasion. For neither has authority of this kind for the restraint of  sinners been given us by law, nor, if it had been given, should we have any field for the exercise of our power,  inasmuch as God rewards those who abstain from evil by their own choice, not of necessity. Consequently much  skill is required that our patients may be induced to submit willingly to the treatment prescribed by the physicians,  and not only this, but that they may be grateful also for the cure. For if any one when he is bound becomes restive  (which it is in his power to be), he makes the mischief worse; and if he should pay no heed to the  words which cut  like steel, he inflicts another wound by means of this contempt, and the intention to heal only becomes the  occasion of a worse disorder. For it is not possible for any one to cure a man by compulsion against his will.
    4. What then is one to do? For if you deal too gently with him who needs a severe application of the knife, and  do not strike deep into one who requires such treatment, you remove one Dart of the sore but leave the other: and  if on the other hand you make the requisite incision unsparingly, the patient,driven to desperation by his  sufferings, will often fling everything away at once, both the remedy and the bandage, and throw himself down  headlong, "breaking the yoke and bursting the band."(3) I could tell of many who have run into extreme evils  because the due penalty of their sins was exacted. For we ought not, in applying punishment, merely to proportion  it to the scale of the offence, but rather to keep in view the disposition of the sinner, lest whilst wishing to mend  what is torn, you make the rent worse, and in your zealous endeavors to restore what is fallen, you make the ruin  greater. For weak and careless characters, addicted for the most part to the pleasures of the world, and having  occasion to be proud on account of birth and position, may yet, if gently and gradually brought to repent of their  errors, be delivered, partially at least, if not perfectly, from the evils by which they are possessed: but if any one  were to inflict the discipline all at once, he would deprive them of this slight chance of amendment. For when once  the soul has been forced to put off shame it lapses into a callous condition, and neither yields to kindly words nor  bends to threats, nor is susceptible of gratitude, but becomes far worse than that city which the prophet reproached,  saying, "thou hadst the face of a harlot, refusing to be ashamed before all men."(4) Therefore the pastor has need  of much discretion, and of a myriad eyes to observe on every side the habit of the soul. For as many are uplifted to  pride, and then sink into despair of their salvation, from inability to endure severe remedies, so are there some,  who from paying  no penalty equivalent to their sins, fall into  negligence, and become far worse, and are  impelled  to greater sins. It behoves the priest therefore to leave none of these things unexamined, but, after a thorough  inquiry into all of them, to apply such remedies as he has appositely to each case, lest his zeal prove to be  in vain.  And not m this matter only, but also in the work of knitting together the severed members of the Church, one can  see that he has much to do. For the pastor of sheep has  his flock following him, wherever he may lead   them: and  if any should stray out of the straight path, and, deserting the good pasture, feed in unproductive or rugged place, a  loud shout suffices to collect them and bring back to the fold those who have been parted from it: but if a human  being wanders away from the right faith, great exertion, perseverance and patience tare required; for he cannot be  dragged back   by force, nor constrained by fear, but must be   led back by persuasion to the truth from which be  originally swerved. The pastor therefore ought to be of a noble spirit, so as not to despond, or to despair of the  salvation of wan-


derers from the fold, but continually to reason with himself and say, "Peradventure God will give them repentance  to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil."(1)  Therefore the Lord, when addressing His disciples, said, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant?"(2) For he  indeed who disciplines himself compasses only his own advantage, but the benefit of the pastoral function extends  to the whole people. And one who dispenses money to the needy, or otherwise succors the oppressed, benefits his  neighbors to some extent, but so much less than the priest in proportion as the body is inferior to the soul. Rightly  therefore did the Lord say that zeal for the flock was a token of love for Himself.
  BASIL: But thou thyself--dost thou not love Christ?
  Chrysostom: Yea, I love Him, and shall never cease loving Him; but I fear lest I should provoke Him whom I  love.
  BASIL: But what riddle can there be more obscure than this--Christ has commanded him who loves Him to tend  His sheep, and yet you say that you decline to tend them because you love Him who gave this command?
    Chrysostom: My saying is no riddle, but very intelligible and simple, for if I were well qualified to administer  this office, as Christ desired it, and then shunned it, my remark might be open to doubt, but since the infirmity of  my spirit renders me useless for this ministry, why does my saying deserve to be called in question? For I fear lest  if I took the flock in hand when it was in good condition and well nourished, and then wasted it through my  unskilfulness, I should provoke against myself the God who so loved the flock as to give Himself up for their  salvation and ransom.
    BASIL: You speak in jest: for if you were in earnest I know not how you would have proved me to be justly  grieved otherwise than by means of these very words whereby you have endeavored to dispel my dejection. I knew  indeed before that you had deceived and betrayed me, but much more now, when you have undertaken to clear  yourself of my accusations, do I plainly perceive and understand the extent of the evils into which you have led me.  For if you withdrew yourself from this ministry because you were conscious that your spirit was not equal to the  burden of the task, I ought to have been rescued from it before you, even if I had chanced to have a great desire for  it, to say nothing of having confided to you the entire decision of these matters: but as it is, you have looked solely  to your own interest and neglected mine. Would indeed you had entirely neglected them; then I should have been  well content: but you plotted to facilitate my capture by those who wished to seize me. For you cannot take shelter  in the argument that public opinion deceived you and induced you to imagine great and wonderful things  concerning me. For I was none of your wonderful and distinguished men, nor, had this been the case, ought you to  have preferred public opinion to truth. For if I had never permitted you to enjoy my society, you might have  seemed to have a reasonable pretext for being guided in your vote by public report; but if there is no one who has  such thorough knowledge of my affairs, if you are acquainted with my character better than my parents and those  who brought me up, what argument can you employ which will be convincing enough to persuade your hearers that  you did not purposely thrust me into this danger: say, what answer shall I make to your accusers?
    CHRYSOSTOM: Nay! I will not proceed to those questions until I have resolved such as concern yourself  alone, if you were to ask me ten thousand times to dispose of these charges. You said indeed that ignorance would  bring me forgiveness, and that I should have been free from all accusation if I had brought you into your present  position not knowing anything about you, but that as I did not betray you in ignorance, but was intimately  acquainted with your affairs, I was deprived of all reasonable pretext and excuse. But I say precisely the reverse: for  in such matters there is need of careful scrutiny, and he who is going to present any one as qualified for the  priesthood ought not to be content with public report only, but should also himself, above all and before all,  investigate the man's character. For when the blessed Paul says, "He must also have a good report of them which  are without,"(3) he does not dispense with an exact and rigorous inquiry, nor does he assign to such testimony  precedence over the scrutiny required in such cases. For after much previous discourse, he mentioned this  additional testimony, proving that one must not be contented with it alone for elections of this kind, but take it  into consideration along with the rest. For public report often speaks false; but when careful investigation  precedes, no further danger need be apprehended from it. On this account, after the other kinds of evidence he  places that which comes from those who are without. For he did not simply say, "he must have a good report," but  added the


words, "from them which are without," wishing to show that before the report of those without he must be  carefully examined. Inasmuch, then, as I myself knew your affairs better than your parents, as you also yourself  acknowledged, I might deserve to be released from all blame.
    BASIL: Nay this is the very reason why you could not escape, if any one chose to indite you. Do you not  remember hearing from me, and often learning from my actual conduct, the feebleness of my character? Were you  not perpetually taunting me for my pusillanimity, because I was so easily dejected by ordinary cares?
    5. CHRYSOSTOM: I do indeed remember often hearing such things said by you; I would not deny it. But if I  ever taunted you, I did it in sport and not in serious truth. However, I do not now dispute about these matters,  and I claim the same degree of forbearance from you while I wish to make mention of some of the good qualities  which you possess. For if you attempt to convict me of saying what is untrue, I shall not spare you, but shall drove  that you say these things rather by way of self--depreciation than with a view to truth, and I will employ no  evidence but your own words and deeds to demonstrate the truth of my assertion. And now the first question I  wish to ask of you is this: do you know how great the power of love is? For omitting all the miracles which were to  be wrought by the apostles, Christ said, "Hereby shall men know that ye are my disciples if ye love one  another,"(1) and Paul said that it was the fulfilling of the law,(2) and that in default of it no spiritual gift had any  profit. Well, this choice good, the distinguishing mark of Christ's disciples, the gift which is higher than all other  gifts, I perceived to be deeply implanted in your soul, and teeming with much fruit.
    BASIL: I acknowledge indeed that the matter is one of deep concern to me, and that I endeavor most earnestly  to keep this commandment, but that I have not even half  succeeded in so doing, even you yourself would bear me  witness if you would leave off talking out of partiality, and simply respect  the truth.
    6. CHRYSOSTOM: Well, then, I shall betake myself to my evidences, and shall now do what I threatened,  proving that you wish to disparage yourself rather than to speak the truth. But I will mention a fact which has only  just occurred, that no one may suspect me of attempting to obscure the truth by the great lapse of time in relating  events long past, as oblivion would then prevent any objection being made to the things which I might say with a  view to gratification.(3) For when one of our intimate friends, having been falsely accused of insult and folly, was  in extreme peril, you then flung yourself into the midst of the danger, although you were not summoned by any  one, or appealed to by the person who was about to be involved in danger. Such was the fact: but that I may convict  you out of your own mouth, I will remind you of the words you uttered: for when some did not approve of this  zeal, while others commended and admired it, "How can I help myself?" you said to those who accused you, "for I  do not know how otherwise to love than by giving up my life when it is necessary to save any of my friends who is  in danger:" thus repeating, in different words, indeed, but with the same meaning, what Christ said to his disciples  when he laid down the definition of perfect love. "Greater love," He said, "hath no man than this that a man lay  down his life for his friends." If then it is impossible to find greater love than this, you have attained its limit, and  both by your deeds and words have crowned the summit. This is why I betrayed you, this is why I contrived that  plot. Do I now convince you that it was not from any malicious intent, nor from any desire to thrust you into  danger, but from a persuasion of your future usefulness that I dragged you into this course?
    BASIL: Do you then suppose that love is sufficient for the correction of one's fellowmen?
    CHRYSOSTOM: Certainly it would contribute in a great measure to this end. But if you wish me to produce  evidence of your practical wisdom also, I will proceed to, do so, and will prove that your understanding exceeds  your loving-kindness.
    At these remarks he blushed scarlet and said, "Let my character be now dismissed: for it was not about this that  I originally demanded an explanation; but if you have any just answer to make to those who are without, I would  gladly hear what you have to say. Wherefore, abandoning this vain contest, tell me what defence I shall make, both  to those who have honored you and to those who are distressed on their account, considering them to be insulted.
    7. CHRYSOSTOM: This is just the point to which I am finally hastening, for as my ex-


planation to you has been completed I shall easily turn to this part of my defence. What then is the accusation  made by these persons, and what are their charges? They say that they have been insulted and grievously wronged  by me because I have not accepted the honor which they wished to confer upon me. Now in the first place I say  that no account should be taken of the insult shown to men, seeing that by paying honor to them I should be  compelled to offend God. And I should say to those who are displeased that it is not safe to take offence at these  things, but does them much harm. For I think that those who stay themselves on God and look to Him alone,  ought to be so religiously disposed as not to account such a thing an insult, even if they happened to be a thousand  times dishonored. But that I have not gone so far as even to think of daring anything of this kind is manifest from  what I am about to say. For if indeed I had been induced by arrogance and vainglory, as you have often said some   slanderously affirm, to assent to my accusers, I should have been one of the most iniquitous: of mankind, having  treated great and excellent men, my benefactors moreover, with contempt. For if men ought to be punished for  wronging those who have never wronged them, how ought we to honor those who have spontaneously preferred to  honor us? For no one could possibly say that they were requiting me for any benefits small or great which they had  received at my hands. How great a punishment then would one deserve if one requited them in the contrary  manner. But if such a thing never entered my mind, and I declined the heavy burden with quite a different  intention, why do they refuse to pardon me (even if they do not consent to approve), but accuse me of having  selfishly spared my own soul? For so far from having insulted the men in question I should say that I had even  honored them by my refusal.
    And do not be surprised at the paradoxical nature of my remark, for I shall supply a speedy solution of it.
    8. For had I accepted the office, I do not say all men, but those who take pleasure in speaking evil, might have  suspected and said many things concerning myself who had been elected and concerning them, the electors: for  instance, that they regarded wealth, and admired splendor of rank; or had been induced by flattery to promote me  to this honor: indeed I cannot say whether some one might not have suspected that they were bribed by money.  Moreover, they would have said, "Christ called fishermen, tentmakers, and publicans to this dignity,whereas these  men reject those who support themselves by daily labor: but if there be any one who devotes himself to secular  learning, and is brought up in idleness, him they receive and admire. For why, pray, have they passed by men who  have undergone innumerable toils in the service of the Church, and suddenly dragged into this dignity one who has  never experienced any labors of this kind, but has spent all his youth in the vain study of secular learning." These  things and more they might have said had I accepted the office: but not so now. For every pretext for maligning is  now cut away from them, and they can neither accuse me of flattery, nor the others of receiving bribes, unless  some choose to act like mere madmen. For how could one who used flattery and expended money in order to  obtain the dignity, have abandoned it to others when he might have obtained it? For this would be just as if a man  who had bestowed much labor upon the ground in order that the corn field might be laden with abundant produce,  and the presses overflow with wine, after innumerable toils and great expenditure of money were to surrender the  fruits to others just when it was time to reap his corn and gather in his vintage. Do you see that although what was  said might be far from the truth, nevertheless those who wished to calumniate the electors would then have had a  pretext for alleging that the choice was made without fair judgment and consideration. But as it is I have prevented  them from being open mouthed, or even uttering a single word on the subject. Such then and more would have  been their remarks at the outset. But after undertaking the ministry I should not have been able day by day to  defend myself against accusers, even if I had done everything faultlessly, to say nothing of the many mistakes  which I must have made owing to my youth and inexperience. But now I have saved the electors from this kind of  accusation also, whereas in the other case I should have involved them in innumerable reproaches. For what would  not the world have said? "They have committed affairs of such vast interest and importance to thoughtless youths,  they have defiled the flock of God, and Christian affairs have become a jest and a laughingstock." But now "all  iniquity shall stop her mouth."(1) For although they may say these things on your account, you will speedily teach  them by your acts that understanding is not to be estimated by age, and the grey head is not to be the test of an  elder--that the young man ought not to be absolutely excluded from the ministry, but only the novice: and the  difference between the two is great.
   1. CHRYSOSTOM: As regards the insult to those who have done me honor, what I have already said might be  sufficient to prove that in avoiding this office I had no desire to put them to shame; but I will now endeavor to  make it evident, to the best of my ability, that I was not puffed up by arrogance of any kind. For if the choice of a   generalship or a kingdom had been submitted to me, and I had then formed this resolution, any one might  naturally have suspected me of this fault, or rather I should have been found guilty by all men, not of arrogance,  but of senseless folly. But when the priesthood is offered to me, which exceeds a kingdom as much as the spirit  differs from the flesh, will any one dare to accuse me of disdain? And is it not preposterous to charge with folly  those who reject small things, but when any do this in matters of preeminent importance, to exempt such persons  from accusations of mental derangement, and yet subject them to the charge of pride? It is just as if one were to  accuse, not of pride, but of insanity, a man who looked with contempt on a herd of oxen and refused to be a  herdsman, and yet were to say that a man who declined the empire of the world, and the command of all the  armies of the earth, was not mad, but inflated with pride. But this assuredly is not the case; and they who say such  things do not injure me more than they injure themselves. For merely to imagine it possible for human nature to  despise this dignity is an evidence against those who bring this charge of the estimate which they have formed of  the office. For if they did not consider it to be an ordinary thing of no great account, such a suspicion as this would  never have entered their heads. For why is it that no one has ever dared to entertain such a suspicion with  reference to the dignity of the angels, and to say that arrogance is the reason why human nature would not aspire  to the rank of the angelic nature? It is because we imagine great things concerning those powers, and this does not  suffer us to believe that a man can conceive anything greater than that honor. Wherefore one might with more  justice indite those persons of arrogance who accuse me of it. For they would never have suspected this of others if  they had not previously depreciated the matter as being of no account. But if they say that I have done this with a  view to glory, they will be convicted of fighting openly against themselves and falling into their own snare; for I do  not know


what kind of arguments they could have sought in preference to these if they had wished to release me from the  charge of vainglory.
    2. For if this desire had ever entered my mind, I ought to have accepted the office rather than avoided it. Why?  because it would have brought me much glory. For the fact that one of my age, who had so recently abandoned  secular pursuits, should suddenly be deemed by all worthy of such admiration as to be advanced to honor before  those who have spent all their life in labors of this kind, and to obtain more votes than all of them, might have  persuaded all men to anticipate great and marvellous things of me. But, as it is, the greater part of the Church does  not know me even by name: so that even my refusal of the office will not be manifest to all, but only to a few, and  I am not sure that all even of these know it for certain; but probably many of them either imagine that I was not  elected at all, or that I was rejected after the election, being considered unsuitable, not that I avoided the office of  my own accord.
    3. BASIL: But those who do know the truth will be surprised.
    CHRYSOSTOM: And lo! these are they who, according to you, falsely accuse me of vainglory: and pride.  Whence then am I to hope for praise? From the many? They do not know the actual fact. From the few? Here  again the matter is perverted to my disadvantage. For the only reason why you have come here now is to learn  what answer ought to be given to them And what shall I now certainly say on account of these things? For wait a  little, and you will clearly perceive that even if all know the truth they ought not to condemn me for pride and love  of glory. And in addition to this there is another consideration: that not only those who make this venture, if there  be any such (which for my part I do not believe), but also those who suspect it of others, will be involved in no  small danger.
    4. For the priestly office is indeed discharged   on earth, but it ranks amongst heavenly ordinances; and very  naturally so: for neither  man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself,  instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels.  Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst  of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the  dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle,  the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, the deep silence within.(1) But if any one should  examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as  they are, yet are they  fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that "what has been  made glorious hath no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excelleth."(2) For when thou seest the Lord  sacrificed, and laid upon the altar,(2) and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers  empurpled with that precious blood,(4) canst thou then think that thou art still amongst men, and standing upon  the earth? Art thou not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought  from the soul, dost thou not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven?  Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sitteth on high with the Father is at that hour held in the  hands of all,(5) and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through


the eyes of faith!(1) Do these things seem to you fit to be despised, or such as to make it possible for any one to be  uplifted against them?
    Would you also learn from another miracle the exceeding sanctity of this office? Picture Elijah and the vast  multitude standing around him, and the sacrifice laid upon the altar of stones, and all the rest of the people hushed  into a deep silence while the prophet alone offers up prayer: then the sudden rush of fire from Heaven upon the  sacrifice:--these are marvellous things, charged with terror. Now then pass from this scene to the rites which are  celebrated in the present day; they are not only marvellous to behold, but transcendent in terror. There stands the  priest, not bringing down fire from Heaven, but the Holy Spirit: and he makes prolonged supplication,(2) not that  some flame sent down from on high  may consume the offerings, but that grace descending on the sacrifice may  thereby enlighten the souls of all, and render them more refulgent than silver purified by fire. Who can despise this  most awful mystery, unless he is stark mad and senseless? Or do you not know that no human soul could have  endured that fire in the sacrifice, but all would have been utterly consumed, had not the assistance of God's grace  been great.
    5. For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood,  to be enabled to draw nigh to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of  the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to  these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation. For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there  are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has  not given to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be  bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."(3) They who rule on earth  have indeed authority to bind, but only the body: whereas this binding lays hold of the soul and penetrates the  heavens; and what priests do here below God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the sentence of his servants.  For indeed what is it but all manner of heavenly authority which He has given them when He says, "Whose sins ye  remit they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain they are retained?"(4) What authority could be greater than this?  "The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son?"(5) But I see it all put into the hands of these men by the  Son. For they have been conducted to this dignity as if they were already translated to Heaven, and had  transcended human nature, and were released from the passions to which we are liable. Moreover, if a king should  bestow this honor upon any of his subjects, authorizing him to cast into prison whom he pleased and to release  them again, he becomes an object of envy and respect to all men; but he who has received from God an authority  as much greater as heaven is more precious than earth, and souls more precious than bodies, seems to some to  have received so small an honor that they are actually able to imagine that one of those who have been entrusted  with these things will despise the gift. Away with such madness! For transparent madness it is to despise so great a  dignity, without which it is not possible to obtain either our own salvation, or the good things which have been  promised to us. For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and  the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all  these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one,  without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious?
    6. These verily are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through  baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that    blessed Head. Wherefore they might not   only be more justly feared by us than rulers  and kings, but also be more  honored than parents; since these begat us of blood and the will of the flesh, but the others are the authors of our  birth from God, even that blessed regeneration which is the true freedom and the sonship according to grace. The  Jewish priests had authority to release the body from leprosy, or, rather, not to release it but only to examine those  who were already released, and you know how much the office of priest


was contended for at that time. But our priests have received authority to deal, not with bodily leprosy, but spiritual  uncleanness--not to pronounce it removed after examination, but actually and absolutely to take it away.  Wherefore they who despise these priests would be far more accursed than Dathan and his company, and deserve  more severe punishment. For the latter, although they laid claim to the dignity which did not belong to them,  nevertheless had an excellent opinion concerning it, and this they evinced by the great eagerness with which they  pursued it; but these men, when the office has been better regulated, and has received so great a development, have  displayed an audacity which exceeds that of the others, although manifested in a contrary way. For there is not an  equal amount of contempt involved in aiming at an honor which does not pertain to one, and in despising such  great advantages, but the latter exceeds the former as much as scorn differs from admiration. What soul then is so  sordid as to despise such great advantages? None whatever, I should say, unless it were one subject to some  demoniacal impulse. For I return once more to the point from which I started: not in the way of chastising only,  but also in the way of benefiting, God has bestowed a power on priests greater than that of our natural parents.  The two indeed differ as much as the present and the future life. For our natural parents generate us unto this life  only, but the others unto that which is to come. And the former would not be able to avert  death from their  offspring, or to repel the assaults of disease; but these others have often saved a sick soul, or one which was on the  point of perishing, procuring for some a milder chastisement, and preventing others from falling altogether, not  only by instruction and admonition, but also by the assistance wrought through prayers. For not only at the time of  regeneration, but afterwards also, they have authority to forgive sins. "Is any sick among   you?" it is said, "let him  call for the elders   of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the  Lord. And  the prayer of faith shall save the   sick, and the Lord will raise him up: and if   he have committed sins they shall be  forgiven  him."(1) Again: our natural parents, should  their children come into conflict with any men   of high rank  and great power in the world, are   unable to profit them: but priests have reconciled, not rulers and kings, but  God Himself  when His wrath has often been provoked  against them. Well! after this will any one venture to  condemn me for arrogance? For my part, after what has been said, I imagine such religious fear will possess the  souls of the hearers that they will no longer condemn those who avoid the office for arrogance and temerity, but  rather those who voluntarily come forward and are eager to obtain this dignity for themselves. For if they who have  been entrusted with the command of cities, should they chance to be wanting in discretion and vigilance, have  sometimes destroyed the cities and ruined themselves in addition, how much power think you both in himself and  from above must he need, to avoid sinning, whose business it is to beautify the Bride of Christ?
    7. No man loved Christ more than Paul: no man exhibited greater zeal, no man was counted worthy of more  grace: nevertheless, after all these great advantages, he still has fears and tremblings concerning this government  and those who were governed by him. "I fear," he says, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his  subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ."(2) And again, "I was with you  in fear and in much trembling;"(3) and this was a man who had been caught up to the third Heaven, and made  partaker of the unspeakable mysteries of God,(4) and had endured as many deaths as he had lived days after he  became a believer--a man, moreover, who would not use the authority given him from Christ lest any of his  converts should be offended.(5) If, then, he who went beyond the ordinances of God, and nowhere sought his own  advantage, but that of those whom he governed, was always so full of fear when he considered the greatness of his  government, what shall our condition be who in many ways seek our own, who not only fail to go beyond the  commandments of Christ, but for the most part transgress them? "Who is weak," he says, "and I am not weak?  who is offended and I burn not?"(6) Such an one ought the priest to be, or, rather, not such only: for  these are  small things, and as nothing compared with what I am about to say. And what is this? "I could wish," he says, "that  myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."(7) If any one can utter  such a speech, if any one has the soul which attains to such a prayer, he might justly be blamed if he took to flight:  but if any one should lack such excellence as much as I do, he would deserve to be hated, not if he avoided the  office, but if he accepted


it. For if an election to a military dignity was the business in hand, and they who had the right of conferring the  honor were to drag forward a brazier, or a shoemaker, or some such artisan, and entrust the army to his hands, I  should not praise the wretched man if he did not take to flight, and do all in his power to avoid plunging into such  manifest trouble. If, indeed, it be sufficient to bear the name of pastor, and to take the work in hand hap-hazard,  and there be no danger in this, then let whoso pleases accuse me of vainglory; but if it behoves one who undertakes  this care to have much understanding, and, before understanding, great grace from God, and uprightness of  conduct, and purity of life and superhuman virtue, do not deprive me of forgiveness if I am unwilling to perish in  vain without a cause.
    Moreover, if any one in charge of a full-sized merchant ship, full of rowers, and laden with a costly freight, were  to station me at the helm and bid me cross the AEgean or the Tyrrhene sea, I should recoil from the proposal at  once: and if any one asked me why? I should say, "Lest I should sink the ship." Well, where the loss concerns  material wealth, and the danger extends only to bodily death, no one will blame those who exercise great prudence;  but where the shipwrecked are destined to fall, not into the ocean, but into the abyss  of fire, and the death which  awaits them is not   that which severs the soul from the body, but   one which together with this dismisses it to    eternal punishment, shall I incur your wrath and hate because I did not plunge headlong into so great an evil?
    8. Do not thus, I pray and beseech you. I know my own soul, how feeble and puny it is:   I know the magnitude  of this ministry, and  the great difficulty of the work; for more stormy billows vex the soul of the priest than the  gales which disturb the sea.
    9. And first of all is that most terrible rock of vainglory, more dangerous than that of the Sirens, of which the  fable-mongers tell such marvellous tales: for many were able to sail past that and escape unscathed; but this is to  me so dangerous that even now, when no necessity of any kind impels me into that abyss, I am unable to keep  clear of the snare: but if any one were to commit this charge to me, it would be all the same as if he tied my hands  behind my back, and delivered me to the wild beasts dwelling on that rock to rend me in pieces day by day. Do you  ask what those wild beasts are? They are wrath, despondency, envy, strife, slanders, accusations, falsehood,  hypocrisy, intrigues, anger against those who have done no harm, pleasure at the indecorous acts of fellow,  ministers, sorrow at their prosperity, love of praise, desire of honor (which indeed most of all drives the human  soul headlong to perdition), doctrines devised to please, servile flatteries, ignoble fawning, contempt of the poor,  paying court to the rich, senseless and mischievous honors, favors attended with danger both to those who offer  and those who accept them, sordid fear suited only to the basest of slaves, the abolition of plain speaking, a great  affectation of humility, but banishment of truth, the suppression of convictions and reproofs, or rather the  excessive use of them against the poor, while against those who are invested with power no one dare open his lips.
    For all these wild beasts, and more than these, are bred upon that rock of which I have spoken, and those whom  they have once captured are inevitably dragged down into such a depth of servitude that even to please women they  often do many things which it is well not to mention. The divine law indeed has excluded women from the  ministry, but they endeavor to thrust themselves into it; and since they can effect nothing of themselves, they do all  through the agency of others; and they have become invested with so much power that they can appoint or eject  priests at their will:(1) things in fact are turned upside down, and the proverbial saying may be seen realized--"The  ruled lead the rulers:" and would that it were men who do this instead of women, who have not received a  commission to teach. Why do I say teach? for the blessed Paul did not suffer them even to speak in the Church.(2)  But I have heard some one say that they have obtained such a large privilege of free speech, as even to rebuke the  prelates of the Churches, and censure them more severely than masters do their own domestics.
    10. And let not any one suppose that I subject all to the aforesaid charges: for there are some, yea many, who are  superior to these entanglements, and exceed in number those who have been caught by them. Nor would I indeed  make  the priesthood responsible for these evils: far be such madness from me. For men of understanding do not  say that the sword is to blame for murder, nor wine for drunkenness, nor strength for outrage, nor courage for  foolhardiness, but they lay the blame on those who make an improper use of the gifts which have been bestowed  upon them by God, and punish them accordingly. Certainly, at least, the priesthood may justly accuse us


if we do not rightly handle it. For it is not  itself a cause of the evils already mentioned, but we, who as far as lies in  our power have defiled it with so many pollutions, by entrusting it to commonplace men who readily accept what is  offered them, without having first acquired a knowledge of their own souls, or considered the gravity of the office,  and when they have entered on the work, being blinded by inexperience, overwhelm with innumerable evils the  people who have been committed to their care. This is the very thing which was very nearly happening in my case,  had not God speedily delivered me from those dangers, mercifully sparing his Church and my own soul. For, tell  me, whence do you think such great troubles are generated in the Churches? I, for my part, believe the only source  of them to be the inconsiderate and random way in which prelates are chosen and appointed. For the head ought  to be the strongest part, that it may be able to regulate and control the evil exhalations which arise from the rest of  the body below; but when it happens to be weak in itself, and unable to repel those pestiferous attacks, it becomes  feebler itself than it really is, and ruins the rest of the body as well. And to prevent this now coming to pass, God  kept me in the position of the feet, which was the rank originally assigned to me. For there are very many other  qualities, Basil, besides those already mentioned, which the priest ought to have, but which I do not possess; and,  above all, this one:--his soul ought to be thoroughly purged from any lust after the office: for if he happens to have  a natural inclination for this dignity, as soon as he attains it a stronger flame is kindled, and the man being taken  completely captive will endure innumerable evils in order to keep a secure hold upon it, even to the extent of using  flattery, or submitting to something base and ignoble, or expending large sums of money. For I will not now speak  of the murders with which some have filled the Churches,(1) or the desolation which they have brought upon cities  in contending for the dignity, lest some persons should think what I say incredible. But I am of opinion one ought  to exercise so much caution in the matter, as to shun the burden of the office,(2) and when one has entered upon  it, not to wait for the judgment of others should any fault be committed which warrants deposition, but to  anticipate it by ejecting oneself from the dignity; for thus one might probably win mercy for himself from God: but  to cling to it in defiance of propriety is to deprive oneself of all forgiveness, or rather to kindle the wrath of God,  by adding a second error more offensive than the first.
    11. But no one will always endure the strain; for fearful, truly fearful is the eager desire after this honor. And in  saying this I am not in opposition to the blessed Paul, but in complete harmony with his words. For what says he?  "If any than desireth the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."(3) Now I have not said that it is a terrible  thing to desire the work, but only the authority and power. And this desire I think one ought to expel from the soul  with all possible earnestness, not permitting it at the outset to be possessed by such a feeling, so that one may be  able to do everything with freedom. For he who does not desire to be exhibited in possession of this authority, does  not fear to be deposed from it, and not fearing this will be able to do everything with the freedom which becomes  Christian men: whereas they who fear and tremble lest they should be deposed undergo a bitter servitude, filled  with all kinds of evils, and are often compelled to offend against both God and man. Now the soul ought not to be  affected in this way; but as in warfare we see those soldiers who are noble-spirited fight willingly and fall bravely,  so they who have attained to this stewardship should be contented to be consecrated to the dignity or removed  from it, as becomes Christian men, knowing that deposition of this kind brings its reward no less than the  discharge of the office. For  when any one suffers anything of this kind, in  order to avoid submitting to something  which is unbecoming or unworthy of this dignity, he procures punishment for those who wrongfully depose him,  and a greater reward for himself.   "Blessed," says our Lord, "are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you,  and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your  reward in Heaven."(4) And this, indeed, is the case when any one is expelled by those of his own rank either on  account of envy, with a view to the favor of others, or through hatred, or from any other wrong motive: but when it  is the lot of any one to  experience this treatment at the hand of opponents, I do not think a word is needed to  prove what great gain they confer upon him by their wickedness.
    It behoves us, then, to be on the watch on all sides, and to make a careful search lest any


spark of this desire should be secretly smouldering somewhere. For it is much to be wished that those who are  originally free from this passion, should also be able to avoid it when they have lighted upon this office. But if any  one, before he obtains the honor, cherishes in himself this terrible and savage monster, it is impossible to say into  what a furnace he will fling himself after he has attained it. Now I possessed this desire in a high degree (and do  not suppose that I would ever tell you what was untrue in self-disparagement): and this, combined with other  reasons, alarmed me not a little, and induced me to take flight. For just as lovers of the human person, as long as  they are permitted to be near the objects of their affection, suffer more severe torment from their passion, but  when they remove as far as possible from these objects of desire, they drive away the frenzy: even so when those  who desire this dignity are near it, the evil becomes intolerable: but when they cease to hope for it, the desire is  extinguished together with the expectation.
    12. This single motive then is no slight one: and even taken by itself it would have sufficed to deter me from this  dignity: but, as it is, another must be added not less than the former. And what is this? A priest ought to be sober  minded, and penetrating in discernment, and possessed of innumerable eyes in every direction, as one who lives  not for himself alone but for so great a multitude. But that I am sluggish and slack, and scarcely able to bring about  my own salvation, even you yourself would admit, who out of love to me art especially eager to conceal my faults.  Talk not to me in this connexion of fasting, and watching, or sleeping on the ground, and other hard discipline of  the body: for you know how defective I am in these matters: and even if they had been carefully practised by me  they could not with my present sluggishness have been of any service to me with a view to this post of authority.  Such things might be of great service to a man who was shut up in a cell, and caring only for his own concerns: but  when a man is divided among so great a multitude, and enters separately into the private cares of those who are  under his direction, what appreciable help can be given to their improvement unless he possesses a robust and  exceedingly vigorous character?
    13. And do not be surprised if, in connexion with such endurance, I seek another test of fortitude in the soul.  For to be indifferent to food and drink and a soft bed, we see is to many no hard task, especially at least to such as  are of a rough habit of life and have been brought up in this way from early youth, and to many others also; bodily  discipline and custom softening the severity of these laborious practices: but insult, and abuse, and coarse language,  and gibes from inferiors,whether wantonly or justly uttered, and rebukes vainly and idly spoken both by rulers and  the ruled--this is what few can bear, in fact only one or two here and there; and one may see men, who are strong  in the former exercises, so completely upset by these things, as to become more furious than the most savage  beasts. Now such men especially we should exclude from the precincts of the priesthood. For if a prelate did not  loathe food, or go barefoot, no harm would be done to the common interests of the Church; but a furious temper  causes great disasters both to him who possesses it, and to his neighbours. And there is no divine threat against  those who fail to do the things referred to, but hell and hell-fire are threatened against those who are angry without  a cause.(1) As then the lover of vainglory, when he takes upon him the government of numbers, sup  plies  additional fuel to the fire, so he who by himself, or in the company of a few, is unable to control his anger, but  readily carried away by it, should he be entrusted with the direction of a whole multitude, like some wild beast  goaded on all sides by countless tormentors, would never be able to live in tranquillity himself, and would cause  incalculable mischief to those who have been committed to his charge.
    14. For nothing clouds the purity of the reason, and the perspicuity of the mental vision so much as  undisciplined wrath, rushing along with violent impetuosity. "For wrath," says one, "destroys even the  prudent."(2) For the eye of the soul being darkened as in some nocturnal battle is not able to distinguish friends  from foes, nor the honorable from the unworthy, but handles them all in turn in the same way; even if some harm  must be suffered, readily enduring everything, in order to satisfy the pleasure of the soul. For the fire of wrath is a  kind of pleasure, and tyrannizes over the soul more harshly than pleasure, completely upsetting its healthy  organization. For it easily impels men to arrogance, and unseasonable enmities, and unreasonable hatred, and it  continually makes them ready to commit wanton and vain offences; and forces them to say and do many other  things of that kind, the soul being swept along by the rush of passion, and having nothing on which to fasten its  strength and resist so great an impulse.
    BASIL: I will not endure this irony of yours any longer: for who knows not how far removed you are from this  infirmity?


    CHRYSOSTOM: Why then, my good friend, do you wish to bring me near the pyre, and to provoke the wild  beast when he is tranquil? Are you not aware that I have achieved this condition, not by any innate virtue, but by  my love of retirement? and that when one who is so constituted remains contented by himself, or only associates  with one or two friends, he is able to escape the fire which arises from this passion, but not if he has plunged into  the abyss of all these cares? for then he drags not only himself but many others with him to the brink of  destruction, and renders them more indifferent to all consideration for mildness. For the mass of people under  government  are generally inclined to regard the manners of those who govern as a kind of model type, and to  assimilate themselves to them. How then could any one put a stop to their fury when he is swelling himself with  rage? And who amongst the multitude would straightway desire to become moderate when he sees the ruler  irritable? For it is quite impossible for the defects of priests to be concealed, but even trifling ones speedily become  manifest. So an athlete, as long as he remains at home, and contends with no one, can dissemble his weakness  even if it be very great, but when he strips for the contest he is easily detected. And thus for some who live this  private and inactive life, their isolation serves as a veil to hide their defects; but when they have been brought into  public they are compelled to divest themselves of this mantle of seclusion, and to lay bare their souls to all through  their visible movements. As therefore their right deeds profit many, by provoking them to equal zeal, so their  shortcomings make men more indifferent to the practice of virtue, and encourage them to indolence in their  endeavours after what is excellent. Wherefore his soul ought to gleam with beauty on every side, that it may   be  able to gladden and to enlighten the souls of those who behold it. For the faults of ordinary men, being committed  as it were in the dark, ruin only those who practise them: but the errors of a man in a conspicuous position, and  known to many, inflicts a common injury upon all, rendering those who have fallen more supine in their efforts  for good, and driving to desperation those who wish to take heed to themselves. And apart from these things, the  faults of insignificant men, even if they are exposed, inflict no injury worth speaking of upon any one: but they  who occupy the highest seat of honor are in the first place plainly visible to all, and if they err in the smallest  matters these trifles seem great to others: for all men measure the sin, not by the magnitude of the offence, but by  the rank of the offender. Thus the priest ought to be protected on all sides by a kind of adamantine armour, by  intense earnestness, and perpetual watchfulness concerning his manner of life, lest some one discovering an  exposed and neglected spot  should inflict a deadly wound: for all who surround him are ready to smite and  overthrow him: not enemies only and adversaries, but many even of those who profess friendship.
    The souls therefore of men elected to the priesthood ought to be endued with such power as the grace of God  bestowed on the bodies of those saints who were cast into the Babylonian furnace.(1) Faggot and pitch and tow are  not the fuel of this fire, but things far more dreadful: for it is no material fire to which they are subjected, but the  all-devouring flame of envy encompasses them, rising up on every side, and assailing them, and putting their life to  a more searching test than the fire then was to the bodies of those young men. When then it finds a little trace of  stubble, it speedily fastens upon it; and this unsound part it entirely consumes, but all the rest of the fabric, even if  it be brighter than the sunbeams, is scorched and blackened by the smoke. For as long as the life of the priest is  well regulated in every direction, it is invulnerable to plots; but if he happens to overlook some trifle, as is natural  in a human being, traversing the treacherous ocean of this life, none of his other good deeds are of any avail in  enabling him to escape the mouths of his accusers; but that little blunder overshadows all the rest. And all men are  ready to pass judgment on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human  nature, but like an angel, and emancipated from every species of infirmity. And just as all men fear and flatter a  tyrant as long as he is strong,   because they cannot put him down, but when they see his affairs going adversely,  those who  were his friends a short time before abandon their hypocritical respect, and suddenly become his  enemies and antagonists, and having discovered all his weak points, make an attack upon him, and depose him  from the government; so is it also in the case of priests. Those who honored him and paid court to him a short  time before, while he was strong, as soon as they have found some little handle eagerly  prepare to depose him, not  as a tyrant only, but something far more dreadful than that. And as the tyrant fears his body guards, so also does  the priest dread most of all his neighbours and fellow-ministers. For no others  covet his dignity so much, or know  his affairs so well as these; and if anything occurs, be-


ing near at hand, they perceive it before others, and even if they slander him, can easily command belief, and, by  magnifying trifles, take their victim captive. For the apostolic saying is reversed, "whether one member suffer, all  the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it;"(1) unless indeed a man  should be able by his great discretion to stand his ground against everything.
    Are you then for sending me forth into so great a warfare? and did you think that my soul would be equal to a  contest so various in character and shape? Whence did you learn this, and from whom? If God certified this to you,  show me the oracle, and I obey; but if you cannot, and form your judgment from human opinion only, please to  set yourself free from this delusion. For in what concerns my own affairs it is fairer to trust me than others;  inasmuch as "no man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him."(2) That I should have  made myself and my electors ridiculous, had I accepted this office, and should with great loss have returned to this  condition of life in which I now am, I trust I have now convinced you by these remarks, if not before. For not  malice only, but something much stronger--the lust after this dignity--is wont to arm many against one who  possesses it. And just as avaricious children are oppressed by the old age of their parents, so some of these, when  they see the priestly office held by any one for a protracted time--since it would be wickedness to destroy  him--hasten to depose him from it, being all desirous to take his place, and each expecting that the dignity will be  transferred to himself.
    15. Would you like me to show you yet another phase of this strife, charged with innumerable dangers? Come,  then, and take a peep at the public festivals when it is generally the custom for elections to be made to ecclesiastical  dignities, and you will then see the priest assailed with accusations as numerous as the people whom he rules. For  all who have the privilege of conferring the honor are then split into many parties; and one can never find the  council of elders(3) of one mind with each other, or about the man who has won the prelacy; but each stands apart  from the others, one preferring this man, another that. Now the reason is that they do not all look to one thing,  which ought to be the only object kept in view, the excellence of the character; but other qualifications are alleged as  recommending to this honor; for instance, of one it is said, "let him be elected because he belongs to an illustrious  family," of another "because he is possessed of great wealth, and would not need to be supported out of the  revenues of the Church," of a third "because he has come over from the camp of the adversary;" one is eager to  give the preference to a man who is on terms of intimacy with himself, another to the man who is related to him  by birth, a third to the flatterer, but no one will look to the man who is really qualified, or make some test of his  character. Now I am so far from thinking these things trustworthy criteria of a man's fitness for the priesthood,  that even if any one manifested great piety, which is no small help in the discharge of that office, I should not  venture to approve him on that account alone, unless he happened to combine good abilities with his piety. For I  know many men who have exercised perpetual restraint upon themselves, and consumed themselves with fastings,  who, as long as they were suffered to be alone, and attend to their own concerns, have been acceptable to God, and  day by day have made no small addition to this kind of learning; but as soon as they entered public life, and were  compelled to correct the ignorance of the multitude, have, some of them, proved from the outset incompetent for  so great a task, and others when forced to persevere in it, have abandoned their former strict way of living, and  thus inflicted great injury on themselves without profiting others at all. And if any one spent his whole time in the  lowest rank of the ministry, and reached extreme old age, I would not, merely out of reverence for his years,  promote him to the higher dignity; for what if, after arriving at that time of life, he should still remain unfit for the  office? And I say this now, not as wishing to dishonor the grey head, nor as laying down a law absolutely to exclude  from this authority those who come from the monastic circle (for there are instances of many who issued from that  body, having shone conspicuously in this dignity); but the point which I am anxious to prove is, that if neither piety  of itself, nor advanced age, would suffice to show that a man who had obtained the priesthood really deserved it,  the reasons formerly alleged would scarcely effect this. There are also men who bring forward other pretexts yet  more


absurd; for some are enrolled in the ranks of the clergy, that they may not range themselves among opponents,  and others on account of their evil disposition, lest they should do great mischief if they are overlooked. Could  anything be more contrary to right rule than this? that bad men, laden with iniquity, should be courted on account  of those things for which they ought to be punished, and ascend to the priestly dignity on account of things for  which they ought to be debarred from the very threshold of the Church. Tell me, then, shall we seek any further  the cause of God's wrath when we expose things so holy and awful to be defiled by men who are either wicked or  worthless? for when some men are entrusted with the administration of things which are not at all suitable to  them, and others of things which exceed their natural power, they make the condition of the Church like that of  Euripus.(1)
    Now formerly I used to deride secular rulers, because in the distribution of their honors they are not guided by  considerations of moral excellence, but of wealth, and seniority, and human distinction; but when I heard that this  kind of folly had forced its way into our affairs also, I no longer regarded their conduct as so atrocious. For what  wonder is it that worldly men, who love the praise of the multitude, and do everything for the sake of gain, should  commit these sins, when those who affect at least to be free from all these influences are in no wise better disposed  than they, but although engaged in a contest for heavenly things, act as if the question submitted for decision was  one which concerned acres of land, or something else of that kind? for they take commonplace men off-hand, and  set them to preside over those things, for the sake of which the only begotten Son of God did not refuse to empty  Himself of His glory and become man, and take the form of a servant, and be spat upon, and buffeted, and die a  death of reproach in the flesh. Nor do they stop even here, but add to these offences others still more monstrous;  for not only do they elect unworthy men, but actually expel those who are well qualified. As if it were necessary to  ruin the safety of the Church on both sides, or as if the former provocation were not sufficient to kindle the wrath  of God, they have contrived yet another not less pernicious. For I consider it as atrocious to expel the useful men  as to force in the useless. And this in fact takes place, so that the flock of Christ is unable to find consolation in any  direction, or draw its breath freely. Now do not such deeds deserve to be punished by ten thousand thunder-bolts,  and a hell-fire hotter than that with which we are threatened [in Holy Scripture]? Yet these monstrous evils are  borne with by Him who willeth not the death of a sinner, that he may be converted and live. And how can one  sufficiently marvel at His lovingkindness, and be amazed at His mercy? They who belong to Christ destroy the  property of Christ more than enemies and adversaries, yet the good Lord still deals gently with them, and calls  them to repentance. Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Glory to Thee! How vast is the depth of Thy lovingkindness! how  great the riches of Thy forbearance! Men who on account of Thy name have risen from insignificance and  obscurity to positions of honor and distinction, use the honor they enjoy against Him who has bestowed it, do  deeds of outrageous audacity, and insult holy things, rejecting and expelling men of zeal in order that the wicked  may ruin everything at their pleasure in much security, and with the utmost fearlessness. And if you would know  the causes of this dreadful evil, you will find that they are similar to those which were mentioned before; for they  have one root and mother, so to say--namely, envy; but this is manifested in several different forms: For one we  are told is to be struck out of the list of candidates, because he is young; another because he does not know how to  flatter; a third because he has offended such and such a person; a fourth lest such and such a man should be pained  at seeing one whom he has presented rejected, and this man elected; a fifth because he is kind and gentle; a sixth  because he is formidable to the sinful; a seventh for some other like reason; for they are at no loss to find as many  pretexts as they want, and can even make the abundance of a man's wealth an objection when they have no other.  Indeed they would be capable of discovering other reasons, as many as they wish, why a man ought not to be  brought suddenly to this honor, but gently and gradually. And here I should like to ask the question, "What, then,  is the prelate to do, who has to contend with such blasts? How shall he hold his ground against such billows? How  shall he repel all these assaults?"
    For if he manages the business(2) upon upright principles, all those who are enemies and adversaries both to  him and to the candidates do everything with a view to contention, provoking daily strife, and heaping infinite


scorn upon the candidates, until they have got them struck off the list, or have introduced their own favorites. In  fact it is just as if some pilot had pirates sailing with him in his ship, perpetually plotting every hour against him,  and the sailors, and marines. And if he should prefer favor with such men to his own salvation, accepting unworthy  candidates, he will have God for his enemy in their stead; and what could be more dreadful than that? And yet his  relations with them will be more embarrassing than formerly, as they will all combine with each other, and thereby  become more powerful than before. For as when fierce winds coming from opposite directions clash with one  another, the ocean, hitherto calm, becomes suddenly furious and raises its crested waves, destroying those who are  sailing over it, so also when the Church has admitted corrupt men, its once tranquil surface is covered with rough  surf and strewn with shipwrecks.
    16. Consider, then, what kind of man he ought to be who is to hold out against such a tempest, and to manage  skillfully such great hindrances to the common welfare; for he ought to be dignified yet free from arrogance,  formidable yet kind, apt to command yet sociable, impartial yet courteous, humble yet not servile, strong yet  gentle, in order that he may contend successfully against all these difficulties. And he ought to bring forward with  great authority the man who is properly qualified for the office, even if all should oppose him, and with the same  authority to reject the man who is not so qualified, even if all should conspire in his favor, and to keep one aim  only in view, the building up of the Church, in nothing actuated either by enmity or favor. Well, do you now think  that I acted reasonably in declining the ministry of this office? But I have not even yet gone through all my reasons  with you; for I have some others still to mention. And do not grow impatient of listening to a friendly and sincere  man, who wishes to clear himself from your accusations; for these statements are not only serviceable for the  defence which you have to make on my behalf, but they will also prove of no small help for the due administration  of the office. For it is necessary for one who is going to enter upon this path of life to investigate all matters  thoroughly well, before he sets his hand to the ministry. Do you ask why? Because one who knows all things clearly  will have this advantage, if no other, that he will not feel strange when these things befall him. Would you like me  then to approach the question of superintending widows, first of all, or of the care of virgins, or the difficulty of the  judicial function. For in each of these cases there is a different kind of anxiety, and the fear is greater than the  anxiety.
    Now in the first place, to start from that subject which seems to be simpler than the others, the charge of widows  appears to cause anxiety to those who take care of them only so far as the expenditure of money is concerned; but  the case is otherwise, and here also a careful scrutiny is needed, when they have to be enrolled,(1) for infinite  mischief has been caused by putting them on the list without due discrimination. For they have ruined households,  and severed marriages, and have often been detected in thieving and pilfering and unseemly deeds of that kind.  Now that such women should be supported out of the Church's revenues provokes punishment from God, and  extreme condemnation among men, and abates the zeal of those who wish to do good. For who would ever choose  to expend the wealth which he was commanded to give to Christ upon those who defame the name of Christ? For  these reasons a strict and curate scrutiny ought to be made so as to prevent the supply of the indigent being wasted,  not only by the women already mentioned, but also by those who are able to provide for themselves. And this  scrutiny is succeeded by no small anxiety of another kind, to ensure an abundant and unfailing stream of supply as  from a fountain; for compulsory poverty is an insatiable kind of evil, querulous and ungrateful. And great  discretion and great zeal is required so as to stop the mouths of complainers, depriving them of every excuse. Now  most men, when they see any one superior to the love of money, forthwith represent him as well qualified for this  stewardship. But I do not think that this greatness of soul is ever sufficient of itself, although it ought to be  possessed prior to all other qualities; for without this a man would be a destroyer rather than a protector, a wolf  instead of a shepherd; nevertheless, combined with this, the possession of another quality also should be  demanded. And this quality is forbearance, the cause of all good things in men, impelling as it were and conducting  the soul into a serene haven. For widows are a class who, both on account of their poverty, their age and natural  dispo-


sition, indulge in unlimited freedom of speech (so I had best call it); and they make an unseasonable clamor and  idle complaints and lamentations about matters for which they ought to be grateful, and bring accusations  concerning things which they ought contentedly to accept. Now the superintendent should endure all these things  in a generous spirit, and not be provoked either by their unreasonable annoyance or their unreasonable  complaints. For this class of persons deserve to be pitied for their misfortunes, not to be insulted; and to trample  upon their calamities, and add the pain of insult to that which poverty brings, would be an act of extreme brutality.  On this account one of the wisest of  men, having regard to the avarice and pride of human nature, and  considering the nature of poverty and its terrible power to depress even the noblest character, and induce it often  to act in these same respects without shame, in order that a man should not be irritated when accused, nor be  provoked by continual importunity to become an enemy where he ought to bring aid, he instructs him to be affable  and accessible to the suppliant, saying, "Incline thine ear to a poor man and give him a friendly answer with  meekness."(1) And passing by the case of one who succeeds in  exasperating (for what can one say to him who is  overcome?), he addresses the man who is able to bear the other's infirmity, exhorting him before he bestows his  gift to correct the suppliant by the gentleness of his countenance and the mildness of his words. But if any one,  although he does not take the property (of these widows), nevertheless loads them with innumerable reproaches,  and insults them, and is exasperated against them, he not only fails through his gift to alleviate the despondency  produced by poverty, but aggravates the distress by his abuse. For although they may be compelled to act very  shamelessly through the necessity of hunger, they are nevertheless distressed at this compulsion. When, then,  owing to the dread of famine, they are constrained to beg, and owing to their begging are constrained to put off  shame, and then again on account of their shamelessness are insulted, the power of despondency becoming of a  complex kind, and accompanied by much gloom,   settles down upon the soul. And one who has the charge of these  persons ought to be so long-suffering, as not only not to increase their despondency by his fits of anger, but also to  remove the greater part of it by his exhortation. For as the man who has been insulted, although he is in the  enjoyment of great abundance, does not feel the advantage of his wealth, on account of the blow which he has  received from the insult; so on the other hand, the man who has been addressed with kindly words, and for whom  the gift has been accompanied with encouragement, exults and rejoices all the more, and the thing given becomes  doubled in value through the manner in which it is offered. And this I say not of myself, but borrow from him  whose precept I quoted just now: "My son, blemish not thy good deeds, neither use uncomfortable words when  thou givest anything. Shall not the dew assuage the heat? So is a word better than a gift. Lo! is not a word better  than  a gift? but both are with a gracious man."(2)
    But the superintendent of these persons ought not only to be gentle and forbearing, but also skillful in the  management of property; for if this qualification is wanting, the affairs of the poor are again involved in the same  distress. One who was entrusted not long ago with this ministry, and got together a large hoard of money, neither  consumed it himself, nor expended it with a few exceptions upon those who needed it, but kept the greater part of  it buried in the earth until a season of distress occurred, when it was all surrendered into the bands of the enemy.  Much forethought, therefore, is needed, that the resources of the Church should be neither over abundant, nor  deficient, but that all the supplies which are provided should be quickly distributed among those who require them,  and the treasures of the Church stored up in the hearts of those who are under her rule.
    Moreover, in the reception of strangers, and the care of the sick, consider how great an expenditure of money is  needed, and how much exactness and discernment on the part of those who preside over these matters. For it is  often necessary that this expenditure should be even larger than that of which I spoke just now, and that he  who  presides over it should combine prudence and wisdom with skill in the art of supply, so as to dispose the affluent to  be emulous and ungrudging in their gifts, lest while providing for the relief of the sick, he should vex the souls of  those who supply their wants. But earnestness and zeal need to be displayed here in a far higher degree; for the sick  are difficult creatures to please, and prone to languor; and unless great accuracy and care are used, even a slight  oversight is enough to do the patient great mischief.
    17. But in the care of virgins, the fear is greater in proportion as the possession is more precious, and this flock  is of a nobler character


than the others. Already, indeed, even into the band of these holy ones, an infinite number of women have rushed  full of innumerable bad qualities; and in this case our grief is greater than in the other; for there is just the same  difference between a virgin and a widow going astray, as between a free-born damsel and her handmaid. With  widows, indeed, it has become a common practice to trifle, and to rail at one another, to flatter or to be impudent,  to appear everywhere in public, and to perambulate the market-place. But the virgin has striven for nobler aims,  and eagerly sought the highest kind of philosophy,(1) and professes to exhibit upon earth the life which angels lead,  and while yet in the flesh proposes to do deeds which belong to the incorporeal powers. Moreover, she ought not  to make numerous or unnecessary journeys, neither is it permissible for her to utter idle and random words; and  as for abuse and flattery, she should not even know them by name. On this account she needs the most careful  guardianship, and the greater assistance. For the enemy of holiness is always surprising and lying in wait for these  persons, ready to devour any one of them if she should slip and fall; many men also there are who lay snares for  them; and besides all these things there is the passionateness of their own human nature, so that, speaking  generally, the virgin has to equip herself for a twofold war, one which attacks her from without, and the other  which presses upon her from within. For these reasons he who has the superintendence of virgins suffers great  alarm, and the danger and distress is yet greater, should any of the things which are contrary to his wishes occur,  which God forbid. For if a daughter kept in seclusion is a cause of sleeplessness to her father, his anxiety about her  depriving him of sleep, where the fear is so great lest she should be childless, or pass the flower of her age  (unmarried), or be hated (by her husband),(2) what will he suffer whose anxiety is not concerned with any of these  things, but others far greater? For in this, case it is not a man who is rejected, but Christ  Himself, nor is this  barrenness the subject  merely of reproach, but the evil ends in the destruction of the soul; "for every tree," it is  said, "which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire."(3) And for one who has been  repudiated by the divine Bridegroom, it is not sufficient to receive a certificate of divorce and so to depart, but she  has to pay the penalty of everlasting punishment. Moreover, a father according to the flesh has many things which  make the custody of his daughter easy; for the mother, and nurse, and a multitude of handmaids share in helping  the parent to keep the maiden safe. For neither is she permitted to be perpetually hurrying into the market-place,  nor when she does go there is she compelled to show herself to any of the passers-by, the evening darkness  concealing one who does not wish to be seen no less than the walls of the house. And apart from these things, she  is relieved from every cause which might otherwise compel her to meet the gaze of men; for no anxiety about the  necessaries of life, no menaces of oppressors, nor anything of that kind reduces her to this unfortunate necessity,  her father acting in her stead in all these matters; while she herself has only one anxiety, which is to avoid doing or  saying anything unworthy the modest conduct which becomes her. But in the other case there are many things  which make the custody of the virgin difficult, or rather impossible for the father; for he could not have her in his  house with himself, as dwelling together in that way would be neither seemly nor safe. For even if they themselves  should suffer no loss, but continue to preserve their innocence unsullied, they would have to give an account for  the souls which they have offended, just as much as if they happened to sin with one another. And it being  impossible for them to live together, it is not easy to understand the movements of the character, and to suppress  the impulses which are ill regulated, or train and improve those which are better ordered and tuned. Nor is it an  easy thing to interfere in her habits of walking out; for her poverty and want of a guardian does not permit him to  become an exact investigator of the propriety of her conduct. For as she is compelled to manage all her affairs she  has many pretexts for going out, if at least she is not inclined to be self-controlled. Now he who commands her to  stay always at home ought to cut off these pretexts, providing for her independence in the necessaries of life, and  giving her some woman who will see to the management of these things. He must also keep her away from funeral  obsequies, and nocturnal festivals; for that artful serpent knows only too well how to scatter his poison through the  medium even of good deeds. And the maiden must be fenced on every side, and rarely go out of the house during  the whole year, except when she is constrained by inexorable necessity. Now if any one should say


that none of these things is the proper work of a bishop to take in hand, let him be assured that the anxieties and  the reasons concerning what takes place in every case have to be referred to him. And it is far more expedient that  he should manage everything, and so be delivered from the complaints which he must otherwise undergo on  account of the faults of others, than that he should abstain from the management, and then have to dread being  called to account for things which other men have done. Moreover, he who does these things by himself, gets  through them all with great ease; but he who is compelled to do it by converting every one's opinion does not get  relief by being saved from working single-handed, equivalent to the trouble and turmoil which he experiences  through those who oppose him and combat his decisions. However, I could not enumerate all the anxieties  concerned with the care of virgins; for when they have to be entered on the list, they occasion no small trouble to  him who is entrusted  with this business.
    Again, the judicial department of the bishop's office involves innumerable vexations, great consumption of time,  and difficulties exceeding those experienced by men who sit to judge secular affairs; for it is a labor to discover  exact justice, and when it is found, it is difficult to avoid destroying it. And not only loss of time and difficulty are  incurred, but also no small danger. For ere now, some of the weaker brethren having plunged into business,  because they have not obtained patronage have made shipwreck concerning the faith. For many of those who have  suffered wrong, no less than those who have inflicted wrong, hate those who do not assist them, and they will not  take into account either the intricacy of the matters in question, or the difficulty of the times, or the limits of  sacerdotal authority, or anything of that kind; but they are merciless judges, recognizing only one kind of  defence--release from the evils which oppress them. And he who is unable to furnish this, although he may allege  innumerable excuses, will never escape their condemnation.
    And talking of patronage, let me disclose another pretext for fault-finding. For if the bishop does not pay a  round of visits every day, more even than the idle men about town, unspeakable offence ensues. For not only the  sick, but also the whole, desire to be looked after, not that piety prompts them to this, but rather that in most cases  they pretend claims to honor and distinction. And if he should ever happen to visit more constantly one of the  richer and more powerful men, under the pressure of some necessity, with a view to the common benefit of the  Church, he is immediately stigmatized with a character for fawning and flattery. But why do I speak of patronage  and visiting? For merely from their mode of accosting persons, bishops have to endure such a load of reproaches as  to be often oppressed and overwhelmed by despondency; in fact, they have also to undergo a scrutiny of the way in  which they use their eyes. For the public rigorously criticize their simplest actions, taking note of the tone of their  voice, the cast of their countenance, and the degree of their laughter. He laughed heartily to such a man, one will  say, and accosted him with a beaming face, and a clear voice, whereas to me he addressed only a slight and passing  remark. And in a large assembly, if he does not turn his eyes in every direction when he is conversing, the majority  declare that his conduct is insulting.
    Who, then, unless he is exceedingly strong, could cope with so many accusers, so as either to avoid being indited  altogether, or, if he is indited, to escape? For he must either be without any accusers, or, if this is impossible, purge  himself of the accusations which are brought against him; and if this again is not an easy matter, as some men  delight in making vain and wanton charges, he must make a brave stand against the dejection produced by these  complaints. He, indeed, who is justly accused, may easily tolerate the accuser, for there is no bitterer accuser than  conscience; wherefore, if we are caught first by this most terrible adversary, we can readily endure the milder ones  who are external to us. But he who has no evil thing upon his conscience, when he is subjected to an empty charge,  is speedily excited to wrath, and easily sinks into dejection, unless he happens to have practised beforehand how to  put up with the follies of the multitude. For it is utterly impossible for one who is falsely accused without cause, and  condemned, to avoid feeling some vexation and annoyance at such great injustice.
    And how can one speak of the distress which bishops undergo, whenever it is necessary to cut some one off from  the full communion of the Church? Would indeed that the evil went no further than distress! but in fact the  mischief is not trifling. For there is a fear lest the man, if he has been punished beyond what he deserves, should  experience that  which was spoken of by the blessed Paul and "be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow."(1) The  nicest accuracy, therefore, is required in this matter also, lest what is intended to be


profitable should become to him an occasion of greater damage. For whatever sins he may commit after such a  method of treatment, the wrath caused by each of them must be shared by the physician who so unskillfully applied  his knife to the wound. What severe punishment, then, must be expected by one who has not only to render an  account of the offences which he himself has separately committed, but also incurs extreme danger on account of  the sins committed by others? For if we shudder at undergoing judgment for our own misdeeds, believing that we  shall not be able to escape the fire of the other world, what must one expect to suffer who has to answer for so  many others? To prove the truth of this, listen to the blessed Paul, or rather not to him, but to Christ speaking in  him, when he says "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit, for they watch for your souls as they that  shall give account."(1) Can the dread of this threat be slight? It is impossible to say: but these considerations are  sufficient to convince even the most incredulous and obdurate that I did not make this escape under the influence  of pride or vainglory, but merely out of fear for my own safety, and consideration of the gravity of the office.


BASIL heard this, and after a little pause thus replied:
    If thou wert thyself ambitious of obtaining this office, thy fear would have been reasonable; for in being  ambitious of undertaking it, a man confesses himself to be qualified for its administration, and if he fail therein,  after it has been entrusted to him, he cannot take refuge in the plea of inexperience, for he has deprived himself of  this excuse beforehand,(1) by having hurriedly seized upon the ministry, and whoever willingly and deliberately  enters upon it, can no longer say, "I have sinned in this matter against my will--and against my will I have ruined  such and such a soul;" for He who will one day judge him, will say to him, "Since then thou wert conscious of such  inexperience, and hadst not ability for undertaking this matter without incurring reproach, why wert thou so eager  and presumptuous as to take in hand what was so far beyond thy power? Who compelled thee to do so? Didst thou  shrink or fly, and did any one drag thee on by force?" But thou wilt hear nothing like this, for thou canst have  nothing of this kind to condemn thyself for; and it is evident to all that thou wert in no degree ambitious of this  dignity, for the accomplishment of the matter was due to the action of others. Hence, circumstances which leave  those who are ambitious of this office no chance of pardon when they err therein, afford thee ample ground for  excuse.
    CHRYSOSTOM: At this I shook my head and smiled a little, admiring the simple-mindedness of the man, and  thus addressed him: I could wish indeed that matters were as thou sayest, most excellent of men, but not in order  that I might be able to accept that office from which I lately fled. For if, indeed, no chastisement were to await me  for undertaking the care of the flock of Christ without consideration and experience, yet to me it would be worse  than all punishment, after being entrusted with so great a charge, to have seemed so base towards Him who  entrusted me with it. For what reason, then, did I wish that thou wert not mistaken in this opinion of thine? truly  for the sake of those wretched and unhappy beings (for so must I call them, who have not found out how to  discharge the duties of this office well,though thou weft to say ten thousand times


over that they had been driven to undertake it, and that, therefore, their errors therein are sins of ignorance)--for  the sake, I say, of such that they might succeed in escaping that unquenchable fire, and the outer darkness(1) and  the worm that dieth not(2) and the punishment of being cut asunder,(3) and perishing together with the hypocrites.
    But what am I to do for thee? It is not as thou sayest; no, by no means. And if thou wilt, I will give thee a proof  of what I maintain, from the case of a kingdom, which is not of such account with God as the priesthood. Saul, that  son of Kish, was not himself at all ambitious of becoming a king, but was going in quest of his asses, and came to  ask the prophet about them. The prophet, however, proceeded to speak to him of the kingdom, but not even then  did he run greedily after it, though he heard about it from a prophet, but drew back and deprecated it, saying,  "Who am I, and what is my father's house."(4) What then? When he made a bad use of the honor which had been  given him by God, were those words of his able to rescue him from the wrath of Him who had made him king?  And was he able to say to Samuel, when rebuked by him: "Did I greedily run and rush after the kingdom and  sovereign power? I wished to lead the undisturbed and peaceful life of ordinary men, but thou didst drag me to this  post of honor. Had I remained in my low estate I should easily have escaped all these stumbling blocks, for were I  one of the obscure multitude, I should never have been sent forth on this expedition, nor would God have  committed to my hands the war against the Amalekites, and if I had not had it committed to me, I should not have  sinned this sin." But all such arguments are weak as excuses, and not only weak, but perilous, inasmuch as they  rather kindle the wrath of God. For he who has been promoted to great honor by God, must not advance the  greatness of his honor as an excuse for his errors, but should make God's special favor towards him the motive for  further improvement; whereas he who thinks himself at liberty to sin because he has obtained some uncommon  dignity, what does he but study to show that the lovingkindness of God is the cause of his personal transgression,  which is always the argument of those who lead godless and careless lives. But we ought to be on no account thus  minded, nor to fall away into the insane folly of such people, but be ambitious at all times to make the most of  such powers as we have, and to be reverent both in speech and thought.
    For (to leave the kingdom and to come to the priesthood, which is the more immediate subject of our discourse)  neither was Eli ambitious of obtaining his high office, yet what advantage was this to him when he sinned therein?  But why do I say obtain it? not even had he wished could he have avoided it, because he was under a legal necessity  to accept it. For he was of the tribe of Levi, and was bound to undertake that high office which descended to him  from his forefathers, notwithstanding which even he paid no small penalty for the lawlessness(5) of his sons. And  the very first High Priest of the Jews,(6) concerning whom God spake so many words to Moses, when he was  unable to withstand alone the frenzy of so great a multitude, was he not very nearly being destroyed, but for the  intercession of his brother, which averted the wrath of God?(7) And since we have mentioned Moses, it will be well  to show the truth of what we are saying from what happened to him. For this same saintly Moses was so far from  grasping at the leadership of the Jews as to deprecate the offer,(8) and to decline it when God commanded him to  take it, and so to provoke the wrath of Him who appointed him; and not only then, but afterwards when he  entered upon his rule, he would gladly have died to have been set free from it: "Kill me," saith he, "if thou art going  to deal thus with me."(9) But what then? when he sinned at the waters of strife,(10) could these repeated refusals  be pleaded in excuse for him? Could they prevail with God to grant him pardon? And wherefore was he deprived of  the promised land? for no other reason, as we all know, than for this sin of his, for which that wondrous man was  debarred from enjoying the same blessings which those over whom he ruled obtained; but after many labors and  sufferings, after that unspeakable wandering, after so many, battles fought and victories won, he died outside the  land to reach which he had undergone so much toil and trial; and though he had weathered the storms of the deep,  he failed to enjoy the blessings of the haven after all. From hence then thou seest that not only they who grasp at  this office are left without excuse for the sins they commit in the dis-


charge thereof, but they too who come to it through the ambitious desire of others; for truly if those persons who  have been chosen for this high office by God himself, though they have never so often refused it, have paid such  heavy penalties, and if nothing has availed to deliver any of them from this danger, neither Aaron nor Eli, nor that  holy man the Saint, the prophet, the wonder worker, the meek above all the men which were upon the face of the  earth,(1) who spake with God, as a man speaketh unto his friend,(2) hardly shall we who fall so infinitely short of  the excellence of that great man, be able to plead as a sufficient excuse the consciousness that we have never been  ambitious of the dignity, more especially when many of the ordinations now-a-days do not proceed from the grace  of God, but are due to human ambition. God chose Judas, and counted him one of the sacred band, and committed  to him, as to the rest, the dignity of the apostolic office; yea he gave him somewhat beyond the others, the  stewardship of the money.(3) But what of that? when he afterwards abused both these trusts, betraying Him whom  he was commissioned to preach, and misapplying the money which he should have laid out well; did he escape  punishment?(4) nay for this very reason he even brought upon himself greater punishment, and very reasonably  too. For we must not use the high honors given to us by God so as to offend Him, but so as to please Him better.  But he who claims exemption from punishment where it is due, because he has been exalted to higher honor than  others, acts very much like one of those unbelieving Jews, who after hearing Christ say, "If I had not come and  spoken unto them, they had not had sin, "If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had  not had sin,"(5) should reproach the Saviour and benefactor of mankind by replying," Why, then, didst thou come  and speak? why didst thou work miracles? was it that thou mightest punish us the more?" But these are the words  of madness and of utter senselessness. For the Great Physician came not to give thee over, but to heal thee--not to  pass thee by when thou wert sick, but to rid thee entirely of disease. But thou hast of thine own accord withdrawn  thyself from his hands; receive therefore the sorer punishment. For as thou wouldest have been freed from thy  former maladies if thou hadst yielded to his treatment, so if, when thou sawest him coming to thine aid thou  reddest from him, thou wilt no longer be able to cleanse thyself of these infirmities, and as thou art unable, thou  wilt both suffer punishment for them, and also because for thy part thou madest God's solicitude for thy good of  none effect. Therefore we who act like this are not subjected to the same torment after as before we received  honor at God's hands, but far severer torment after than before. For he who has not become good even by being  well treated, deserves all the bitterer punishment. Since, then, this excuse of thine has been shown to be weak, and  not only fails to save those who take refuge in it, but exposes them so much the more, we must provide ourselves  with some other means of safety.
    BASIL: Tell me of what nature is that? since, as for me, I am at present scarce master of myself, thou hast  reduced me to such a state of fear and trembling by what thou hast said.
    CHRYSOSTOM: Do not, I beseech and implore thee, do not be so downcast. For while there is safety for us  who are weak, namely, in not undertaking this office at all, there is safety for you too who are strong, and this  consists in making your hopes of salvation depend, next to the grace of God, on avoiding every act unworthy of  this gift, and of God who gave it. For they certainly would be deserving of the greatest punishment who, after  obtaining this dignity through their own ambition, should then either on account of sloth, or wickedness, or even  inexperience, abuse the office. Not that we are to gather from this that there is pardon in store for those who have  not been thus ambitious. Yea, even they too are deprived of all excuse. For in  my judgment, if ten thousand were  to entreat and urge, a man should pay them no attention, but should first of all search his own heart, and examine  the whole matter carefully before yielding to their importunities. Now no one would venture to undertake the  building of a house were he not an architect, nor will any one attempt the cure of sick bodies who is not a skilled  physician; but even though many urge him, will beg off, and will not be ashamed to own his ignorance; and shall he  who is going to have the care of so many souls entrusted to him, not examine himself beforehand? will he accept  this ministry even though he be the most inexperienced of men, because this one commands him, or that man  constrains him, or for fear of offending a third? And if so, how will he escape casting himself together with them  into manifest misery. Had he continued as he was, it were possible for him to be saved, but now he involves others  in his own destruction. For whence can he hope for salvation? whence


to obtain pardon? Who will then successfully  intercede for us? they who are now perhaps  urging us and forcibly  dragging us on? But who will save these same at such a moment? For even they too will stand in need in their turn  of intercession, that they may escape the fire. Now, that I say not these things to frighten thee, but as representing  the matter as in truth it is, hear what the holy Apostle Paul saith to Timothy his disciple, his own and beloved son,  "Lay hands suddenly on no  man, neither be partaker of other men's sins."(1) Dost thou not see from what great  blame, yea and vengeance, we, so far as in us lies, have delivered those who were ready to put us forward for this  office.
    2. For as it is not enough for those who are chosen to say in excuse for themselves, "I did not summon myself to  this office, nor could I avoid what I did not see beforehand;" so neither will it be a sufficient plea for those who  ordain them to say that they did not know him who was ordained. The charge against them becomes greater on  account of their ignorance of him whom they brought forward, and what seems to excuse them only serves to  accuse them the more. For how absurd a thing, is it not? that they who want to buy a slave, show him to the  physician, and require sureties for the sale, and information about him from their neighbours, and after all this do  not yet venture on his purchase without asking for some time for a trial of him; while they who are going to admit  any one to so great an office as this, give their testimonial and their sanction loosely and carelessly, without further  investigation, just because some one wishes it, or to court the favor, or to avoid the displeasure of some one else.  Who shall then successfully intercede for us in that day, when they who ought to defend us stand themselves in  need of defenders? He who is going to ordain, therefore, ought to make diligent inquiry, and much more he who is  to be ordained. For though they who ordain him share his punishment, for any sins which he may commit in his  office, yet so far from escaping vengeance he will even pay a greater penalty than they--save only if they who chose  him acted from some worldly motive contrary to what seemed justifiable to themselves. For if they should be  detected so doing, and knowing a man to be unworthy have brought him forward on some pretext or   other, the  amount of their punishment shall be equivalent to his, nay perhaps the punishment shall be even greater for them  who appointed the unfit man. For he who gives authority to any one who is minded to destroy the Church, would  be certainly to blame for the outrages which that person commits. But if he is guilty of no such thing, and says that  he has been misled by the opinions of others, even then he shall not altogether remain unpunished, but his  punishment shall be a little lighter than his who has been ordained. What then? It is possible that they who elect  may come to the election deceived by a false report. But he who is elected could not say, "I am ignorant of myself,"  as others were of him. As one who will receive therefore a sorer punishment than they who put him forward, so  should he make his scrutiny of himself more careful than that which they make of him; and if they in ignorance  drag him on, he ought to come forward and instruct them carefully about any matters whereby he may stop their  being misled; and so having shown himself unworthy of trial may escape the burden of so high an office.
    For what is the reason why, in the arts of war, and merchandize,(2) and husbandry, and other departments of  this life, when some plan is proposed, the husbandman will not undertake to navigate the ship, nor the soldier to  till the ground, nor the pilot to lead an army, under pain of ten thousand deaths? Is it not plainly this? that each  foresees the danger which would attend his incompetence? Well, where the loss is concerned with trifles shall we  use so much forethought, and refuse to yield to the pressure of compulsion, but where the punishment is eternal,  as it is for those who know not how to handle the Priesthood, shall we wantonly and inconsiderately run into so  great danger, and then advance, as our excuse, the pressing entreaties of others? But He who one day will judge us  will entertain no such plea as this. For we ought to show far more caution in spiritual matters than in carnal. But  now we are not found exhibiting as much caution. For tell me: if supposing a man to be an artificer, when he is not  so, we invited him to do a piece of work, and he were to respond to the call, and then having set his hand to the  material prepared for the building, were to spoil the wood and spoil the stone, and so to build the house that it  straightway fell to pieces, would it be sufficient excuse for him to allege that he had been urged by others and did  not come of his own accord? in no wise; and very reasonably and justly so. For he ought to have refused even at the  call of others. So for the man who only spoils wood and stone, there will be no escape from paying the penalty, and  is he who de-


stroys souls, and builds the temple of God carelessly, to think that the compulsion of others is his warrant for  escaping punishment? Is not this very absurd? For I omit the fact as yet that no one is able to compel the man who  is unwilling. But be it that he was subjected to excessive pressure and divers artful devices, and then fell into a  snare; will this therefore rescue him from punishment? I beseech thee, let us not deceive ourselves, and pretend  that we know not what is obvious to a mere child. For surely this pretence of ignorance will not be able to profit in  the day of reckoning. Thou wert not ambitious, thou sayest, of receiving this high office, conscious of thine own  weakness. Well and good. Then thou oughtest, with the same mind, to have declined the solicitation of others; or,  when no one called thee, wast thou weak and incapable, but when those were found ready to offer thee this  dignity, didst thou suddenly become competent? What ludicrous nonsense! worthy of the extremest punishment.  For this reason also the Lord counsels the man who wishes to build a tower, not to lay the foundation before he  has taken his own ability to build into account, lest he should give the passers by innumerable opportunities of  mocking at him.(1) But in his case the penalty only consists in becoming a laughing-stock; while in that before us  the punishment is that of fire unquenchable, and of an undying worm,(2) gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, and  being cut asunder,(3) and having a portion with the hypocrites.
    But my accusers are unwilling to consider any of these things. For otherwise they would cease to blame a person  who is unwilling to perish without cause. It is not the management of corn and barley, oxen or sheep, that is now  under our consideration, nor any such like matters, but the very Body of Jesus. For the Church of Christ, according  to St. Paul, is Christ's Body,(4) and he who is entrusted with' its care ought to train it up to a state of healthiness,  and beauty unspeakable, and to look  everywhere, lest any spot or wrinkle,(5) or other like blemish should mar its  vigor and comeliness. For what is this but to make it appear worthy, so far as human power can, of the  incorruptible and ever-blessed Head which is set over it? If they who are ambitious of reaching an athletic condition  of body need the help of physicians and trainers,(6) and exact diet, and constant exercise, and a thousand other  rules (for the omission of the merest trifle upsets and spoils the whole), how shall they to whose lot falls the care of  the body, which has its conflict not against flesh and blood, but against powers unseen, be able to keep it sound  and healthy, unless they far surpass ordinary human virtue, and are versed in all healing proper for the soul?
    3. Pray, art thou not aware that that body is subject to more diseases and assaults than this flesh of ours, is more  quickly corrupted, and more slow to recover? and by those who have the healing of these bodies, divers medicines  have been discovered, and an apparatus of different instruments, and diet suitable for the sick; and often the  condition of the atmosphere is of itself enough for the recovery of a sick man; and there are instances of  seasonable sleep having saved the physician all further labor. But in the case before us, it is impossible to take any  of these things into consideration; nay there is but one method and way of healing appointed, after we have gone  wrong, and that is, the powerful application of the Word. This is the one instrument, the only diet, the finest  atmosphere. This takes the place of physic, cautery and cutting, and if it be needful to sear and amputate, this is the  means which we must use, and if this be of no avail, all else is wasted; with this we both rouse the soul when it  sleeps, and reduce it when it is inflamed; with this we cut off excesses, and fill up defects, and perform all manner  of other operations which are requisite for the soul's health. Now as regards the ordering of our daily life for the  best, it is true that the life of another may provoke us to emulation. But in the matter of spurious doctrine, when  any soul is diseased thereby, then there is great need of the Word, not only in view of the safety of our own people,  but in view of the enemy without. If, indeed, one had the sword of the spirit, and the shield of faith,(7) so as to be  able to work miracles, and by means of these marvels to stop the mouths of impudent gainsayers, one would have  little need of the assistance of the Word; still in the days of miracles the Word was by no means useless, but  essentially necessary. For St. Paul made use of it himself, although he was everywhere so great an object of wonder  for this miracles; and another(8) of those who belonged to the "glorious company of the Apostles" exhorts us to  apply ourselves to acquiring this power, when he says: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh  you a reason concerning the hope that


is in you," and they all, with one accord, committed the care of the poor widows to Stephen, for no other reason  than that they themselves might have leisure "for the ministry of the Word."(1) To this we ought equally to apply  ourselves, unless indeed we are endued with a power of working miracles. But if there is not the least sign of such a  power being left us, while on every side many enemies are constantly attacking us, why then it necessarily follows  that we should arm ourselves with this weapon, both in order that we may not be wounded ourselves with the darts  of the enemy, and in order that we may wound him.
    4. Wherefore it should be our ambition that the Word of Christ dwell in us richly.(2) For it is not for one kind of  battle only that we have to be prepared. This warfare is manifold, and is engaged with a great variety of enemies;  neither do all these use the same weapons, nor do they practice the same method of attack; and he who has to join  battle with all, must needs know the artifices of all, and be at once both archer and slinger, captain and general, in  the ranks and in command, on foot and on horseback, in sea-fight and in siege. In common warfare, indeed, each  man repels the enemy by discharging the particular duty which he has undertaken. But here it is otherwise; and if  any one wishes to come off conqueror in this warfare, he must understand all forms of the art, as the devil knows  well how to introduce his own assailants through any one spot which may happen to be unguarded, and to carry off  the sheep. But not so where he perceives the shepherd coming equipped with accurate knowledge at all points, and  well acquainted with his plottings. Wherefore we ought to be well-guarded in all parts: for a city, so long as it  happens to be surrounded with a wall, laughs to scorn the besiegers, abiding in great security; but if any one makes  a breach in the wall, though but of the size of a gate, the rest of the circuit is of no use, although the whole of it  stand quite securely; so it is with the city of God: so long as the presence of mind and wisdom of the shepherd,  which answers to the wall, protect it on all sides, all the enemy's devices end in his confusion and ridicule, and they  who dwell within the wall abide unmolested, but wherever any one has been able to demolish a single part, though  the rest stand never so fast, through that breach ruin will enter upon the whole. For to what purpose does a man  contend earnestly with the Greeks, if at the same time he becomes a prey to the Jews? or get the better of both  these and then fall into the clutches of the Manichaeans?(3) or after he has proved himself superior to them even, if  they who introduce fatalism(4) enter in, and make havoc of the flock? But not to enumerate all the heresies of the  devil, it will be enough to say that unless the shepherd is well skilled in refuting them all, the wolf, by means of any  one of them, can enter, and devour the greater part of the flock. In ordinary warfare we must always look for  victory being won or defeat sustained by the soldiers who are on the field of battle. But in the spiritual warfare the  case is quite different. For there it often happens that the combat with one set of enemies secures a victory for  others who never engaged in battle at all, nor took any trouble,   but were sitting still all the while; and he who has  not much experience in such occurrences will get pierced, so to say, with his own sword, and become the  laughing-stock of friends and foes alike. I will try by an example to make clear what I am saying. They who receive  the wild doctrines of Valentinus and Marcion,(5) and of all whose minds are similarly diseased, exclude the Law  given by God to Moses from the catalogue of the Divine Scriptures. But Jews so revere the Law, that although the  time has come which annuls it, they still contend for the observance of all its contents, contrary to the purpose of  God. But the Church of God, avoiding either extreme, has trodden a middle path, and is neither induced on the  one hand to place herself under its yoke, nor on the other does she tolerate its being slandered, but commends it,  though its day is over, because of its profitableness while its season lasted. Now it is necessary for him who is going  to fight with both these enemies,(6) to be fully conversant with this middle course, For if in wishing to teach the  Jews that they are out of date in clinging to the old law, he begins to find fault with it unsparingly, he gives no little  handle to those heretics who wish to pull it to pieces; and if in his ambition to stop their mouths he extols it  immoderately, and speaks of it with admiration, as


necessary for this present time, he unseals the lips of the Jews. Again they who labor under the frenzy of Sabellius  and the craze of Arius,(1) have both fallen from a sound faith for want of observing a middle course. The name of  Christian is applied to both these heretics; but if any one examines their doctrines, he will find the one sect not  much better than the Jews, and differing from them only in name, and the other(2) very nearly holding the heresy  of Paul of Samosata,(3) and that both are very wide of the truth. Great, therefore, is the danger in such cases, and  the way of orthodoxy is narrow and hemmed in by threatening crags on either side, and there is no little fear, test  when intending to strike at one enemy we should be wounded by the other. For if any one assert the unity of the  Godhead, Sabellius straightway turns that expression to the advantage of his own mental vagary,(4) and if he  distinguish the Persons, and say that the Father is one, and the Son another, and the Holy Spirit a third, up gets  Arius, ready to wrest that distinction of Persons into a difference of substance;(5) so we must turn and flee both  from the impious confounding of the Persons by the one, and the senseless division of the substance by the other,  confessing, indeed, that the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, while we add  thereunto a Trinity of Persons. For then we shall be able to fortify ourselves against the attacks of both heretics. I  might tell thee besides these, of several other adversaries against which, except we contend bravely and carefully,  we shall leave the field covered with wounds.
    5. Why should any one describe the silly chatter of our own people? For these are not less than the attacks upon  us from without, while they give the teacher even more trouble. Some out of an idle curiosity are rashly bent upon  busying themselves about matters which are neither possible for them to know, nor of any advantage to them if  they could know them. Others again demand from God an account of his judgments, and force themselves to  sound the depth of that abyss which is unfathomable. "For thy judgments," saith the Scriptures, "are a great  deep,"(6) and about their faith and practice thou wouldest find few of them anxious, but the majority curiously  inquiring into matters which it is not possible to discover, and the mere inquiry into which provokes God. For  when we make a determined effort to learn what He does not wish us to know, we fail to succeed (for how should  we succeed against the will of God?); and there only remains for us the danger arising from our inquiry. Now,  though this be the case, whenever any one authoritatively stops the search, into such fathomless depths, he gets  himself the reputation of being proud and ignorant; so that at such times much tact is needed on the Bishop's part,  so as to lead his people away from these unprofitable questions, and himself escape the above-named censures. In  short, to meet all these difficulties, there is no help given but that of speech, and if any be destitute of this power,  the souls of those who are put under his charge (I mean of the weaker and more meddlesome kind) are  no better  off than ships continually storm tossed. So that the Priest should do all that  in him lies, to gain this means of  strength.
    6. BASIL: "Why, then, was not St. Paul ambitious of becoming perfect in this art? He makes no secret of his  poverty of speech, but distinctly confesses himself to be unskilled, even telling the Corinthians so,(7) who were  admired for their eloquence, and prided themselves upon it."
    CHRYSOSTOM: This is the very thing which has ruined many and made them remiss in the study of true  doctrine. For while they failed to fathom the depths of the apostle's mind, and to understand the meaning of his  words, they passed all their time slumbering and yawning, and paying respect not to that ignorance which St. Paul  acknowledges, but to a kind from which he was as free as any man ever was in the world.
    But leaving this subject to await our consideration, I say this much in the meantime. Granting that St. Paul was  in this respect as unskilled as they would have him to be, what has that to do with the men of to-day? For he had a  greater power by far than power of speech, power which brought about greater results too; which was that his bare  presence, even though he was silent, was terrible to the


demons. But the men of the present day, if they were all collected in one place, would not be able, with infinite  prayers and tears, to do the wonders that once were done by the handkerchief of St. Paul. He too by his prayers  raised the dead,(1) and wrought such other miracles, that he was held to be a god by heathen;(2) and before he was  removed from this life, he was thought worthy to be caught up as far as the third heaven, and to share in such  converse as it is not lawful for mortal ears to hear.(3) But the men of to-day--not that I would say anything harsh  or severe, for indeed I do not speak by way of insult to them, but only in wonder--how is it that they do not  shudder when they measure themselves with so great a man as this? For if we leave the miracles and turn to the life  of this blessed saint, and look into his angelic conversation, it is in this rather than in his miracles that thou wilt  find this Christian athlete a conqueror. For how can one describe his zeal and forbearance, his constant perils, his  continual cares, and incessant anxiety for the Churches; his sympathy with the weak, his many afflictions, his  unwonted persecutions, his deaths daily? Where is the spot in the world, where is the continent or sea, that is a  stranger to the labours of this righteous man? Even the desert has known his presence, for it often sheltered him in  time of danger. For he underwent every species of attack, and achieved every kind of victory, and there was never  any end to his contests and his triumphs.
    Yet, all unawares, I have been led to do this man an injury. For his exploits are beyond all powers of description,  and beyond mine in particular, just as the masters of eloquence surpass me. Nevertheless, since that holy apostle  will judge us, not by the issue, but by the motive, I shall not forbear till I have stated one more circumstance which  surpasses anything yet mentioned, as much as he himself surpasses all his fellow men. And what is this? After so  many exploits, after such a multitude of victories, he prayed that he might go into hell, and be handed over to  eternal punishment, if so be that those Jews, who had often stoned him, and done what they could to make away  with him, might be saved, and come over to Christ.(4) Now who so longed for Christ? If, indeed, his feelings  towards him ought not to be described as something nobler than longing; shall we then any more compare  ourselves with this saint, after so great grace was imparted to him from above, after so great virtue was manifested  in himself? What could be more presumptuous?
    Now, that he was not so unskilled, as some count him to be, I shall try to show in what follows. The unskilled  person in men's estimation is not only one who is unpracticed in the tricks of profane oratory,(5) but the man who  is incapable of contending for the defence of the right faith, and they are right. But St. Paul did not say that he was  unskilled in both these respects, but in one only; and in support of this he makes a careful distinction, saying that  he was "rude in speech, but not in knowledge."(6) Now were I to insist upon the polish of Isocrates, the weight of  Demosthenes, the dignity of Thucydides, and the sublimity of Plato, in any one bishop, St. Paul would be a strong  evidence against me. But I pass by all such matters and the elaborate ornaments of profane oratory; and I take no  account of style or of delivery; yea let a man's diction be poor and his composition simple and unadorned, but let  him not be unskilled in the knowledge and accurate statement of doctrine; nor in order to screen his own sloth,  deprive that holy apostle of the greatest of his gifts, and the sum of his praises.
    7. For how was it, tell me, that he confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus,(7) though he had not yet  begun to work miracles? How was it that he wrestled with the Grecians and threw them?(8) and why was he sent to  Tarsus? Was it not because he was so mighty and victorious in the word, and brought his adversaries to such a pass  that they, unable to brook their defeat, were provoked to seek his life? At that time, as I said, he had not begun to  work miracles, nor could any one say that the masses looked upon him with astonishment on account of any glory  belonging to his mighty works, or that they who contended with him were overpowered by the force of public  opinion concerning him. For at this time he conquered by dint of argument only. How was it, moreover, that he  contended and disputed successfully with those who tried to Judaize in Antioch? and how was it that that  Areopagite,(9) an inhabitant of Athens, that most devoted of all cities to the gods, followed the apostle, he and his  wife? was it not owing to the discourse which they heard? And when Eutychus(10) fell from the lattice, was it not  owing to his long attendance even until midnight to St. Paul's preaching? How do we find him employed at  Thessalonica and Corinth, in Ephesus and in Rome itself? Did he not spend whole nights and days in interpreting  the Scriptures in their order? and


why should any one recount his disputes with the Epicureans and Stoics.(1) For were we resolved to enter into  every particular, our story would grow to an unreasonable length.
    When, therefore, both before working miracles, and after, St. Paul appears to have made much use of argument,  how can any one dare to pronounce him unskillful whose sermons and disputations were so exceedingly admired  by all who heard them? Why did the Lycaonians(2) imagine that he was Hermes? The opinion that he and  Barnabas were gods indeed, arose out of the sight of their miracles; but the notion that he was Hermes did not  arise from this, but was a consequence of his speech. In what else did this blessed saint excel the rest of the  apostles? and how comes it that up and down the world he is so much on every one's tongue? How comes it that  not merely among ourselves, but also among Jews and Greeks, he is the wonder of wonders? Is it not from the  power of his epistles? whereby not only to the faithful of to-day, but from his time to this, yea and up to the end,  even the appearing of Christ, he has been and will be profitable, and will continue to be so as long as the human  race shall last. For as a wall built of adamant, so his writings fortify all the Churches of the known world, and he as  a most noble champion stands in the midst, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,  casting down imaginations, and every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God,(3) and all this he  does by those epistles which he has left to us full of wonders and of Divine wisdom. For his writings are not only  useful to us, for the overthrow of false doctrine and the confirmation of the true, but they help not a little towards  living a good life. For by the use of these, the bishops of the present day fit and fashion the chaste virgin, which St.  Paul himself espoused to Christ,(4) and conduct her to the state of spiritual beauty; with these, too, they drive away  from her the noisome pestilences which beset her, and preserve the good health thus obtained. Such are the  medicines and such their efficacy left us by this so-called unskillful man, and they know them and their power best  who constantly use them. From all this it is evident that St. Paul had given himself to the study of which we have  been speaking with great diligence and zeal.
    8. Hear also what he says in his charge to his disciple:(5) "Give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching," and  he goes on to show the usefulness of this by adding, "For in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that  hear thee."(6) And again he says, "The Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach,  forbearing;"(7) and he proceeds to say, "But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been  assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings  which are able to make thee wise unto salvation,"(8) and again, "Every Scripture is inspired of God, and also  profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness, that the man of God  may be complete."(9) Hear what he adds further in his directions to Titus about the appointment of bishops. "The  bishop," he says, "must be holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to  convict the gain-sayers."(10) But how shall any one who is unskillful as these men pretend, be able to convict the  gainsayers and stop their mouths? or what need is there to give attention to reading and to the Holy Scriptures, if  such a state of unskillfulness is to be welcome among us? Such arguments are mere makeshifts and pretexts, the  marks of idleness and sloth. But some one will say, "it is to the priests that these charges are given:"--certainly, for  they are the subjects of our discourse. But that the apostle gives the same charge to the laity, hear what he says in  another epistle to other than the priesthood: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,"(11) and  again, "Let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each  one,"(12) and there is a general charge to all that they "be ready to"(13) render an account of their faith, and to the  Thessalonians, he gives the following command: "Build each other up, even as also ye do."(14) But when he speaks  of priests he says, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in  the word, and in teaching."(15) For this is the perfection of teaching when the teachers both by what they do, and  by what they say as well, bring their disciples to that blessed state of life which Christ appointed for them. For  example alone is not enough to instruct others. Nor do I say this of myself; it is our Saviour's own word. "For  whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great.(16) Now if doing were the same as teaching, the  second word here would be superfluous; and it had been enough to have said "whosoever shall


do" simply. But now by distinguishing the two, he shows that practice is one thing, and doctrine another, and that  each needs the help of the others in order to complete edification. Thou hearest too what the chosen vessel of  Christ says to the Ephesian elders: "Wherefore watch ye, remembering that for the space of three years, I ceased  not to admonish every one, night and day, with tears."(1) But what need was there for his tears or for admonition  by word of mouth, while his life as an apostle was so illustrious? His holy life might be a great inducement to men  to keep the commandments, yet I dare not say that it alone could accomplish everything.
    9. But when a dispute arises concerning matters of doctrine, and all take their weapons from the same  Scriptures, of what weight will any one's life be able to prove? What then will be the good of his many austerities,  when after such painful exercises, any one from the Priest's great unskillfulness in argument fall into heresy, and  be cut off from the body of the Church, a misfortune which I have myself seen many suffering. Of what profit then  will his patience be to to him? None; no more than there will be in a sound faith if the life is corrupt. Wherefore,  for this reason more than for all others, it concerns him whose office it is to teach others, to be experienced in  disputations of this kind. For though he himself stands safely, and is unhurt by the gainsayers, yet the simple  multitude under his direction, when they see their leader defeated, and without any answer for the gainsayers, will  be apt to lay the blame of his discomfiture not on his own weakness, but on the doctrines themselves, as though  they were faulty; and so by reason of the inexperience of one, great numbers are brought to extreme ruin; for  though they do not entirely go over to the adversary, yet they are forced to doubt about matters in which formerly  they firmly believed, and those whom they used to approach with unswerving confidence, they are unable to hold  to any longer steadfastly, but in consequence of their leader's defeat, so great a storm settles down upon their  souls, that the mischief ends in their shipwreck altogether. But how dire is the destruction, and how terrible the fire  which such a leader brings upon his own wretched head for every soul which is thus lost, thou wilt not need to  learn from me, as thou knowest all this perfectly. Is this then pride, is this vainglory in me, to be unwilling to be  the cause of the destruction of so many souls? and of procuring for myself greater punishment in the world to  come, than that which now awaits me there? Who would say so? surely no one, unless he should wish to find fault  where there is none, and to moralize over other men's calamities.
    1. How great is the skill required for the teacher in contending earnestly for the truth, has been sufficiently set  forth by us. But I have to mention one more matter beside this, which is a cause of numberless dangers, though for  my own part I should rather say that the thing itself is not the cause, but they who know not how to use it rightly,  since it is of itself a help to salvation and to much good besides, whenever thou findest that earnest and good men  have the management of it. What then, do I mean by this? The expenditure of great labor upon the preparation of  discourses to be delivered in public. For to begin with, the majority of those who are under the preachers' charge  are not minded to behave towards them as towards teachers, but disdaining the part of learners, they assume  instead the attitude of those who sit and look on at the public games; and just as the multitude there is separated  into parties, and some attach themselves to one, and some to another, so here also men are divided, and become  the partisans now of this teacher, now of that, listening to them with a view to favor or spite. And not only is there  this hardship, but another quite as great. For if it has occurred to any preacher to weave into his sermons any part  of other men's works, he is exposed to greater disgrace than those who steal money. Nay, often where he has not  even borrowed anything from any one, but is only suspected, he has suffered the fate of a thief. And why do I  speak of the works of others when it is not permitted to him to use his own resources without variety? For the  public are accustomed to listen not for profit, but for pleasure, sitting like critics of tragedies, and of musical  entertainments, and that facility of speech against which we declaimed just now, in this case becomes desirable,  even more than in the case of barristers, where they are obliged to contend one against the other. A preacher then  should have loftiness of mind, far exceeding my own littleness of spirit, that he may correct this disorderly and  unprofitable pleasure on the part of the multitude, and be able to lead them over to a more useful way of hearing,  that his people may follow and yield to him, and that he may not be led away by their own humors, and this it is  not possible to arrive at, except by two means: indifference to their praise, and the power of preaching well.(1)
    2. For if either of these be lacking,the remaining one becomes useless, owing to its divorce   from the other, for  if a preacher be indifferent   to praise, and yet cannot produce the doctrine


"which is with grace seasoned with salt,"(1) he becomes despised by the multitude, while he gains nothing from his  own nobleness of mind; and if on the other hand he is successful as a preacher, and is overcome by the thought of  applause, harm is equally done in turn, both to himself and the multitude, because in his desire for praise he is  careful to speak rather with a view to please than to profit. And as he who neither lets good opinion influence him,  nor is skillful in speaking, does not yield to the pleasure of the multitude, and is unable to do them any good worth  mentioning, because he has nothing to say, so he who is carried away with desire for praise, though he is able to  render the multitude better service, rather provides in place of this such food as will suit their taste, because he  purchases thereby the tumult of acclamation.
    3. The best kind of Bishop must, therefore, be strong in both these points, so that neither may supplant the  other. For if when he stands up in the congregation and speaks words calculated to make the careless wince,(2) he  then stumbles, and stops short, and is forced to blush at his failure, the good of what he has spoken is immediately  wasted. For they who are rebuked, being galled by what has been told them, and unable to avenge themselves on  him otherwise, taunt him, with jeers at this ignorance of his, thinking to screen their own reproach thereby.  Wherefore he ought, like some very good charioteer, to come to an accurate judgment about both these good  things, in order that he may be able to deal with both as he may have need; for when he is irreproachable in the  eyes of all, then he will be able, with just so much authority as he wishes, both to correct and to remit from  correction all those who are under his rule. But without this it will not be easy for him to do so. But this nobleness  of soul should be shown not only up to the limit of indifference to praise, but should go further in order that the  gain thus gotten may not in its turn be fruitless.
    4. To what else ought he then to be indifferent? Slander and envy. Unseasonable evil speaking,(3) however (for  of course the Bishop undergoes some groundless censure), it is well that he should neither fear nor tremble at  excessively, nor entirely pass over; but we ought, though it happen to be false, or to be brought against us by the  common herd, to try and extinguish it immediately. For nothing so magnifies both an evil and a good report as the  undisciplined mob. For accustomed to hear and to speak without stopping to make inquiry, they repeat at random  everything which comes in their way, without any regard to the truth of it. Therefore the Bishop ought not to be  unconcerned about the multitude, but straightway to nip their evil surmisings in the bud; persuading his accusers,  even if they be the most unreasonable of all men, and to omit nothing which is able to dispel an ill-favored report.  But if, when we do all this, they who blame us will not be persuaded, thenceforward we should give them no  concern. Since if any one be too quick to be dejected by these accidents, he will not be able at any time to produce  anything noble and admirable. For despondency and constant cares are mighty for destroying the powers of the  mind, and for reducing it to extreme weakness. Thus then must the Priest behave towards those in his charge, as a  father would behave to his very young children; and as such are not disturbed either by their insults or their blows,  or their lamentations, nor even if they laugh and rejoice with us, do we take much account of it; so should we  neither be puffed up by the promises of these persons nor cast down at their censure, when it comes from them  unseasonably. But this is hard, my good friend; and perhaps, methinks, even impossible. For I know not whether  any man ever succeeded in the effort not to be pleased when he is praised, and the man who is pleased at this is  likely also to desire to enjoy it, and the man who desires to enjoy it will, of necessity, be altogether vexed and  beside himself whenever he misses it. For as they who revel in being rich, when they fall into poverty are grieved,  and they who have been used to live luxuriously cannot bear to live shabbily; so, too, they who long for applause,  not only when they are blamed without a cause, but when they are not constantly being praised, become, as by  some famine, wasted in soul, particularly when they happen themselves to have been used to praise, or if they hear  others being praised. He who enters upon the trial of preaching with desires of this kind, how many annoyances  and how many pangs dost thou think that he has?  It is no more possible for the sea to be without waves than that  man to be without cares and grief.
    5. For though the preacher may have great ability (and this one would only find in a few), not even in this case is  he released from perpetual toil. For since preaching does not come by nature, but by study, suppose a man to reach  a high standard of it, this will then forsake him if he does not cultivate his power by constant application and  exercise. So that there is greater labor for the wiser than for the


unlearned. For there is not the same degree of loss attending negligence on the part of the one and the other, but  the loss is in exact proportion to the difference between the two possessions. For the latter(1) no one would blame,  as they furnish nothing worth regarding. But the former, unless they are constantly producing matter beyond the  reputation in which all hold them, great censure attends on all hands; and besides these things, the latter would  meet with considerable praise, even for small performances, while the efforts of the former, unless they be  specially wonderful and startling, not only fail to win applause, but meet with many fault-finders. For the audience  set themselves to be critics, not so much in judgment of what is said as of the reputation of the speaker, so that  whenever any one excels all others in oratorical powers, then especially of all others does he need laborious study.  For this man is not allowed to avail himself of the usual plea which human nature urges, that one cannot succeed in  everything; but if his sermons do not throughout correspond to the greatness of the expectations formed, he will go  away without having gained anything but countless jeers and censures; and no one takes this into consideration  about him, that dejection and pain, and anxiety, and often anger, may step in, and dim the clearness of his  thoughts and prevent his productions from coming from him unalloyed,(2) and that on the whole, being but a  man, he cannot be constantly the same, nor at all times acquit himself successfully, but naturally must sometimes  fall short of the mark, and appear on a lower level of ability than usual. None of these things, as I said, are they  willing to take into consideration, but charge him with faults as if they were sitting in judgment on an angel;  though in other cases, too, a man is apt to overlook the good performances of his neighbor, though they be many  and great, and if anywhere a defect appears, even if it be accidental, even if it only occur at long intervals, it is  quickly perceived, and always remembered, and thus small and trifling matters have often lessened the glory of  many and great doings.
    6. Thou seest, my excellent friend, that the man who is powerful in preaching has peculiar need of greater study  than others; and besides study, of forbearance also greater than what is needed by all those whom I have already  mentioned. For thus are many constantly springing up against him, in a vain and senseless spirit, and having no  fault to find with him, but that he is generally approved of, hate him; and he must bear their bitter malice nobly,  for as they are not able to hide this cursed hatred, which they so unreasonably entertain, they both revile, and  censure, and slander in private, and defame in public, and the mind which has begun to be pained and exasperated,  on every one of these occasions, will not escape being corrupted by grief. For they will not only revenge themselves  upon him by their own acts, but will try to do so by means of others, and often having chosen some one of those  who are unable to speak a word, will extol him with their praises and admire him beyond his worth. Some do this  through ignorance alone,(3) some through ignorance and envy, in order that they may ruin the reputation of the  other, not that they may prove the man to be wonderful who is not so, and the noble-minded man has not only to  struggle against these, but often against the ignorance of the whole multitude; for since it is not possible that all  those who come together should consist of learned men, but the chances are that the larger part of the  congregation is composed of unlearned people, and that even the rest, who are clearer headed than they, fall as far  short of being able to criticize sermons as the remainder again fall short of them; so that only one or two are seated  there who possess this power; it follows, of necessity, that he who preaches better than others carries away less  applause, and possibly goes home without being praised at all, and he must be prepared to meet such anomalies  nobly, and to pardon those who commit them in ignorance, and to weep for those who acquiesce in them on  account of envy as wretched and pitiable creatures, and not to consider that his powers have become less on either  of these accounts. For if a man, being a pre-eminently good painter, and superior to all in his art, sees the portrait  which he has drawn with great accuracy held up to ridicule, he ought not to be dejected, and to consider the picture  poor, because of the judgment of the ignorant; as he would not consider the drawing that is really poor to be  something wonderful and lovely, because of the astonishment of the inartistic.
    7. For let the best artificer be himself the critic of his own designs, and let his performances be determined to be  good or poor, according as the mind which designed them gives sentence upon them. But let him not even consider  the opinion, so erroneous and inartistic, of the outside world. Let, therefore, the man who undertakes the strain of


teaching never give heed to the good opinion of the outside world, nor be dejected in soul on account of such  persons; but laboring at his sermons so that he may please God, (For let this alone be his rule and determination,  in discharging this best kind of workmanship, not acclamation, nor good opinions,) if, indeed, he be praised by  men, let him not repudiate their applause, and when his hearers do not offer this, let him not seek it, let him not  be grieved. For a sufficient consolation in his labors, and one greater than all, is when he is able to be conscious of  arranging and ordering his teaching with a view to pleasing God.
    8. For if he be first carried away with the desire for indiscriminate praise, he will reap no advantage from his  labors, or from his power in preaching, for the mind being unable to bear the senseless censures of the multitude is  dispirited, and casts aside all earnestness about preaching. Therefore it is especially necessary to be trained to be  indifferent to all kinds of praise. For to know how to preach is not enough for the preservation of that power, if  this be not added: and if any one would examine accurately the man who is destitute of this art, he will find that he  needs to be indifferent to praise no less than the other,(1) for he will be forced to do many wrong things in placing  himself under the control of popular opinion. For not having the energy to equal those who are in repute for the  quality of their preaching, he will not refrain from forming ill designs against them, from envying them, and from  blaming them without reason, and from many such discreditable practices, but will venture everything, even if it be  needful to ruin his own soul, for the sake of bringing down their fame to the level of his own insignificance. And in  addition to this, he will leave off his exertions about his work; a kind of numbness, as it were, spreading itself over  his mind. For much toil, rewarded by scanty praise, is sufficient to cast down a man who cannot despise praise, and  put him into a deep lethargy, since the husbandman even when he spends time over some sorry piece of land, and  is forced to till a rock, quickly desists from his work, unless he is possessed of much earnestness about the matter,  or has a fear of famine impending over him. For if they who are able to speak with considerable power, need such  constant exercise for the preservation of their talent, he who collects no materials at all, but is forced in the midst  of his efforts to meditate; what difficulty, what confusion, what trouble will he experience, in order that he may be  able at great labor to collect a few ideas! and if any of those clergy who are under his authority, and who are placed  in the inferior order, be able in that position to appear. to better advantage than he; what a divine mind must he  have, so as not to be seized with envy or cast down by despondency. For, for one to be placed in a station of higher  dignity, and to be surpassed by his inferior in rank, and to bear this nobly, would not be the part of any ordinary  mind, nor of such as my own, but of one as hard as adamant; and if, indeed, the man who is in greater repute be  very for-bearing and modest, the suffering becomes so much the more easily borne. But if he is bold and boastful  and vainglorious, a daily death would be desirable for the other; he will so embitter his life, insulting him to his  face, and laughing at him behind his back, wresting much of his authority from him, and wishing to be everything  himself. But he is possessed of the greatest security, in all these circumstances, who has fluency in preaching, and  the earnest attention of the multitude about him, and the affection of all those who are under his charge. Dost not  thou know what a passion for sermons has burst in upon the minds of Christians now-a-days? and that they who  practice themselves in preaching are in especial honor, not only among the heathen, but among them of the  household of the faith? How then could any one bear such disgrace as to find that all are mute when he is  preaching, and think that they are oppressed, and wait for the end of the sermon, as for some release from work;  while they listen to another with eagerness though he preach long, and are sorry when he is about to conclude; and  almost angry when it is his purpose to be silent. If these matters seem to thee to be small, and easily to be  despised, it is because of thine inexperience. They are truly enough to quench zeal, and to paralyze the powers of  the mind, unless a man withdraw himself from all human passions, and study to frame his conduct after the  pattern of those incorporeal powers, who are neither pursued by envy, nor by longing for fame, nor by any other  morbid feeling. If then there be any man so constituted as to be able to subdue this wild beast, so difficult to  capture, so unconquerable, so fierce; that is to say, public fame, and to cut off its many heads, or rather to forbid  their growth altogether; he will easily be able to repel these many violent assaults, and to enjoy a kind of quiet  haven of rest. But he who has not freed himself from this monster, involves his soul in struggles of various kinds,  and perpetual agitation, and the burden both of despondency and of other passions. But why need I detail the rest  of these difficulties, which no one will be able to describe, or to learn unless he has had actual experience of them.
    1. Our condition here, indeed, is such as thou hast heard. But our condition hereafter how shall we endure,  when we are compelled to give our account for each of those who have been entrusted to us? For our penalty is not  limited to shame, but everlasting chastisement awaits us as well. As for the passage, "Obey them that have the rule  over you, and submit to them, for they watch in behalf of your souls as they that shall give account;(1) though I  have mentioned it once already, yet I will break silence about it now, for the fear of its warning is continually  agitating my soul. For if for him who causes one only, and that the least, to stumble, it is profitable that "a great  millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea;"(2) and if they who  wound the consciences of the brethren, sin against Christ Himself,(3) what then will they one day suffer, what  kind of penalty will they pay, who destroy not one only, or two, or three, but so many multitudes? For it is not  possible for inexperience to be urged as an excuse, nor to take refuge in ignorance, nor for the plea of necessity or  force to be put forward. Yea, if it were possible, one of those under their charge could more easily make use of this  refuge for his own sins than bishops in the case of the sins of others. Dost thou ask why? Because he who has been  appointed to rectify the ignorance of others, and to warn them beforehand of the conflict with the devil which is  coming upon them, will not be able to put forward ignorance as his excuse, or to say, "I have never heard the  trumpet sound, I did not foresee the conflict." For he is set for that very purpose, says Ezekiel, that he may sound  the trumpet for others, and warn them of the dangers at hand. And therefore his chastisement is inevitable, though  he that perishes happen to be but one. "For if when the sword comes, the


watchman does not sound the trumpet to the people, nor give them a sign, and the sword come and take any man  away, he indeed is taken away on account of his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hands."(1)
    2. Cease then to urge us on to a penalty so inevitable; for our discourse is not about an army, or a kingdom; but  about an office which needs the virtues of an angel. For the soul of the Priest ought to be purer than the very  sunbeams, in order that the Holy Spirit may not leave him desolate, in order that he may be able to say, "Now I  live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me."(2) For if they who dwell in the desert, and are removed far from  the city and the market-place, and the tumult therein, and who enjoy all their time a haven of rest, and of  peacefulness, are not willing to rely on the security of that manner of life, but add to it numberless other  safeguards, hedging themselves round on every side, and studying both to speak and to act with great  circumspection, so that to the utmost extent of human power they may draw near to God with assurance, and with  unstained purity, what power and strength, thinkest thou, does the ordained Priest need so as to be able to tear his  soul away from every defilement, and to keep its spiritual beauty unsullied? For he has need of far greater purity  than they; and whoever has need of greater purity, he too is subject to more pressing temptations than they, which  are able to defile him, unless by using constant self-denial and much labor, he renders his soul inaccessible to them.  For beauty of face, elegance of movement, an affected gait and lisping voice, pencilled eyebrows and enamelled  cheeks, elaborate braiding and dyeing of hair, costliness of dress, variety of golden ornaments, and the glory of  precious stones, the scent of perfumes, and all those other matters to which womankind devote themselves, are  enough to disorder the mind, unless it happen to be hardened against them, through much austerity of self  restraint. Now to be disturbed indeed by such things is nothing wonderful. But on the other hand, that the devil  should be able to hit and shoot down the souls of men by the opposite of these--this is a matter which fills us with  astonishment and perplexity.
    3. For ere now some men who have escaped these snares, have been caught by others widely differing from  these. For even a neglected appearance, unkempt hair, squalid dress, and an unpainted face, simple behavior, and  homely language, unstudied gait, and unaffected voice, a life of poverty, a despised, unpatronized and lonely  condition, have first drawn on the beholder to pity, and next to utter ruin; and many who have escaped the former  nets, in the way of gold ornaments and perfumes, and apparel, and all the rest, of which I have spoken as  connected with them, have easily fallen into these so widely differing from them, and have perished. When then  both by poverty and by riches, both by the adornment and the neglect of the personal appearance, both by studied  and unaffected manners, in short by all those means which I have enumerated, war is kindled in the soul of the  beholder, and its artifices surround him on every side, how will he be able to breathe freely while so many snares  encompass him? and what hiding-place will he be able to find--I do not say so as to avoid being forcibly seized by  them (for this is not altogether difficult)--but so as to keep his own soul undisturbed by polluting thoughts?
    And I pass by honors, which are the cause of countless evils. For those which come from the hands of women  are ruinous to the vigor of self-restraint, and often overthrow it when a. man does not know how to watch  constantly against such designs; while those which come from the hands of men, unless a man receive them with  much nobleness of mind, he is seized with two contrary emotions, servile flattery and senseless pride. To those  who  patronize him, he is obliged to cringe; and towards his inferiors he is puffed up, on account of the honors  which the others confer, and is driven into the gulf of arrogance. We have mentioned these matters indeed, but  how harmful they actually are, no one could well learn without experience. For not only these snares, but greater  and more delusive than these, he must needs encounter, who has his conversation in the world. But he who is  content with solitude, has freedom from all this, and if at any time a strange thought creates a representation of  this kind, the image is weak, and capable of being speedily subdued, because there is no fuel added to the flame  from without, arising from actual sight. For the recluse has but himself to fear for; or should he be forced to have  the care of others they are easily counted: and if they be many, yet they are less than those in our Churches, and  they give him who is set over them much lighter anxiety about them, not only on account of their fewness, but  because they are all free from worldly concerns, and have neither wife nor children, nor any such thing to care  about; and this makes them very deferential to their rulers, and allows them to share the same abode with them, so  that they are able to take in their failings accurately at a glance and correct them, seeing that the constant


supervision of a teacher is no little help towards advance in virtue.
    4. But of those who are subject to the Priest, the greater number are hampered with the cares of this life, and  this makes them the slower in the performance of spiritual duties. Whence it is necessary for the teacher to sow  every day (so to speak), in order that by its frequency at least, the word of doctrine may be able to be grasped by  those who hear. For excessive wealth, and an abundance of power, and sloth the offspring of luxury, and many  other things beside these, choke the seeds which have been let fall. Often too the thick growth of thorns does not  suffer the seed to drop even upon the surface of the soil. Again, excess of trouble, stress of poverty, constant  insults, and other such things, the reverse of the foregoing, take the mind away from anxiety about things divine;  and of their people's  sins, not even the smallest part can become   apparent; for how should it, in the case of those  the majority of whom they do not know even by sight?
    The Priest's relations with his people involve thus much difficulty. But if any inquire   about his relations with  God, he will find the   others to be as nothing, since these require  a greater and more thorough earnestness. For   he who acts as an ambassador on behalf of the whole city--but why do I say the city? on behalf of the whole world  indeed--prays that God would be merciful to the sins of all, not only of the living, but also of the departed.(1) What  manner of man ought he to be? For my part I think that the boldness of speech of Moses and Elias, is insufficient  for such supplication. For as though he were entrusted with the whole world and were himself the father of all  men, he draws near to God, beseeching that wars may be extinguished everywhere, that tumults may be quelled;  asking for peace and plenty, and a swift deliverance from all the ills that beset each one, publicly and privately; and  he ought as much to excel in every respect all those on whose behalf he prays, as rulers should excel their subjects.
    And whenever he invokes the Holy Spirit, and offers the most dread sacrifice, and constantly handles the  common Lord of all, tell me what rank shall we give him? What great purity and what real piety must we demand  of him? For consider what manner of hands they ought to be which minister in these things, and of what kind his  tongue which utters such words,(2) and ought not the soul which receives so great a spirit to be purer and holier  than anything in the world? At such a time angels stand by the Priest; and the whole sanctuary, and the space  round about the altar, is filled with the powers of heaven, in honor of Him who lieth thereon. For this, indeed, is  capable of being proved from the very rites which are being then celebrated. I myself, moreover, have heard some  one once relate, that a certain aged, venerable man, accustomed to see revelations, used to tell him, that he being  thought worthy of a vision of this kind, at such a time, saw, on a sudden, so far as was possible for him, a multitude  of angels, clothed in shining robes, and encircling the altar, and bending down, as one might see soldiers in the  presence of their King, and for my part I believe it. Moreover another told me, without learning it from some one  else, but as being himself thought worthy to be both an ear and eye witness of it, that, in the case of those who are  about to depart hence, if they happen to be partakers of the mysteries, with a pure conscience, when they are about  to breathe their last, angels keep guard over them for the sake of what they have received, and bear them hence.  And dost thou not yet tremble to introduce a soul into so sacred a mystery of this kind, and to advance to the  dignity of the Priesthood, one robed in filthy raiment, whom Christ has shut out from the rest of the band of  guests?(3) The soul of the Priest should shine like a light beaming over the whole world. But mine has so great  darkness overhanging it, because of my evil conscience, as to be always cast down and never able to look up with  confidence to its Lord. Priests are the salt of the earth.(4) But who would easily put up with my lack of  understanding, and my inexperience in all things, but thou, who hast been wont to love me beyond measure. For  the Priest ought not only to be thus pure as one who has been dignified with so high a ministry, but very discreet,  and skilled in many matters, and to be as well versed in the affairs of this life as they who are engaged in the world,  and yet to be free from them all more than the recluses who occupy the mountains. For since he must mix with  men who have wives, and who bring up children, who possess servants, and are surrounded with


wealth, and fill public positions, and are persons of influence, he too should be a many-sided man--I say  many-sided, not unreal, nor yet fawning and hypocritical, but full of much freedom and assurance, and knowing  how to adapt himself profitably, where the circumstances of the case require it, and to be both kind and severe, for  it is not possible to treat all those under one's charge on one plan, since neither is it well for physicians to apply  one course of treatment to all their sick, nor for a pilot to know but one way of contending with the winds. For,  indeed, continual storms beset this ship of ours, and these storms do not assail from without only, but take their  rise from within, and there is need of much condescension, and circumspection, and all these different matters  have one end in view, the glory of God, and the edifying of the Church.
    5. Great is the conflict which recluses undergo, and much their toil. But if any one compare their exertions with  those which the right exercise of the Priesthood involves, he will find the difference as great as the distance between  a king and a commoner. For there, if the labor is great indeed, yet the conflict is common to body and soul, or  rather the greater part of it is accomplished by the condition of the body, and if this be not strong, the inclination  remains undeveloped, and is unable to come out into action. For the habit of intense fasting, and sleeping on the  ground, and keeping vigil, and refraining from the bath, and great toil, and all other means which they use for the  affliction of the body are given up, when the body to be thus disciplined is not strong. But in this case purity of soul  is the business in hand, and no bodily vigor is required to show its excellence. For what does strength of body  contribute towards our being not self-willed, or proud, or headstrong, but sober and prudent, and orderly, and all  else, wherein St. Paul filled up the picture of the perfect Priest? But no one could say this of the virtues of the  recluse.
    6. But as in the case of wonder-workers, a large apparatus is required, both wheels and ropes and daggers; while  the philosopher has the whole of his art stored up in his mind,not requiring any external appliances: So accordingly  in the case before us. The recluse requires both a good condition of body, and a place suitable for his course of life,  in order that such may not be settled too far from intercourse with their fellow men, and may have the tranquillity  which belongs to desert places, and yet further, may not fail to enjoy the most favorable climate. For nothing is so  unbearable to a body worn with fastings as a climate which is not equable. And what trouble they are compelled to  take in the preparation of their clothing and daily food, as they are themselves ambitious of doing all with their  own hands, I need not speak of now. But the Priest will re quire none of these things to supply his wants, I but is  unconcerned about them, and participates in all things which are harmless, while he has all his skill stored up in the  treasure-house of his mind. But if any one admire a solitary life, and retirement from the society of the multitude,  I should say myself that such a life was a token of patience, but not a sufficient proof of entire fortitude of soul. For  the man who sits at the helm in harbor, does not yet give any certain proof of his art. But if one is able to guide his  ship safely in the   midst of the sea, no one would deny him to be an excellent steersman.
  7. It would be, therefore, in no wise excessively surprising to us, that the recluse, living as he does by himself, is  undisturbed and does not commit many and great sins. For he does not meet with things which irritate and excite  his mind. But if any one who has devoted himself to whole multitudes, and has been compelled to bear the sins of  many, has remained steadfast and firm, guiding his soul in the midst of the storm as if he were in a calm, he is the  man to be justly applauded and admired of all, for he has shown sufficient proof of personal manliness. Do not  thou, therefore, for thy part wonder if I, who avoid the market-place and the haunts of the multitude, have not  many to accuse me. For I ought not to wonder, if I sinned not when asleep, nor fell when I did not wrestle, nor  was hit if I did not fight. For who, tell me, who will be able to speak against me, and reveal my depravity? Can this  roof or cell? Nay, they would not be able to give tongue? Would my mother, who best of all knows my affairs? Well,  certainly with her I am neither in communication, nor have we ever come to a quarrel, and if this had happened,  no mother is so heartless and wanting in affection for her child as to revile and accuse before all him whom she  travailed with, and brought forth, and reared, if there were no reason to constrain her, nor any person to urge her  to such an act. Nevertheless, if any one desires to make a careful inspection of my mind, he will discover much  which is corrupt there. Nor art thou unaware of this who art specially wont to extol me with


praises before all. Now that I do not say these things out of mere modesty, recollect how often I said to thee, when  this subject   was being discussed between us, "If any one were to give me my choice whether I would rather gain  distinction in the oversight of the Church, or in the life of the recluse, I would vote a thousand times over for  accepting the former. For I have never failed to congratulate those who have been able to discharge this office well,  and no one will gainsay that what I counted blessed I would not have shunned were I able to take part in it filly.  But what am I to do? There is nothing so prejudicial to the oversight of the Church as this inactivity and negligence  of mine, which others think to be a sort of self-discipline, but which I hold to be a veil as it were of my personal  infirmity, covering the greater number of my defects and not suffering them to appear. For he who is accustomed  to enjoy such great freedom from business, and to pass his time in much repose, even if he be of a noble nature, is  confused by his inexperience, and is disturbed, and his inactivity deprives him of no small part of his natural ability.  But when, besides, he is of slow intellect, and ignorant also of these severe trials, which I take it is my case, he will  carry on this ministry which he has received no better than a statue. Wherefore of those who have come to such  great trial, out of that school, few shine; and the greater part betray themselves, and fall, and undergo much  hardship and sufferings; and no wonder. For the trials and the discipline are not concerned with the same things.  The man who is contending in no wise differs from those who are untrained. He who thus enters this list should  despise glory, be superior to anger, full of great discretion. But for the exercise of these qualities there is no scope  in his case who affects a secluded life. For he does not have many to provoke him in order that he may practise  chastising, the force of his anger: nor admirers and applauders in order that he may be trained to despise the  praises of the multitudes. And of the discretion which is required in the Church, there is no taking account in their  case. Whenever, therefore, they come to the trials of which they have never had practical experience, they get  bewildered, their heads are turned, they fall into a state of helplessness, and besides adding nothing to their  excellence, may have often lost that which they brought with them.
    8. BASIL: What then? shall we set over the administration of the Church those who move in society, and who  are careful about the concerns of this world, who are adepts at wrangling and vituperation, are full of countless  artifices, and versed in luxurious ways?
    CHRYSOSTOM: Hush, dear friend that thou art! Thou shouldest never entertain in thy thoughts such men as  these, when the Priesthood is under discussion, but only such as are able after mixing and associating with all, to  keep their purity undefiled, and their unworldliness, their holiness, constancy and sobriety unshaken, and to  possess all other virtues which belong to recluses, in a greater degree than they. He who has many defects, but is  able to hide them, by means of his seclusion, and to make them ineffectual, because he does not associate with any  one, when he comes into society will gain nothing, but the position of a laughing-stock, and will run greater risks  still, which I was very nearly experiencing myself, had not the providence of God quickly warded off such fire from  my head. For it is not possible for one in such a position to escape notice when he is so conspicuously placed, but  everything then is detected, and as the fire tests the material of metals, so too the trial of the clerical office searches  the souls of mortal men; and if any one be passionate or mean, or ambitious of fame, if he be boastful, or anything  else of the kind, it unveils all; and speedily lays bare his defects, and not only lays them bare, but increases their  painfulness and strength. For the wounds of the body, if they are galled, become harder to heal, and the emotions  of the mind when chafed and irritated, are naturally more exasperated, and those who possess them are driven to  commit greater sins. For they excite him who does not restrain them, to love of glory, and to boastfulness, and to  desire for this world's goods, and draw him downwards, both to luxury and laxity of life, and to laziness, and, little  by little, to evils worse than these which result from them. For many are the circumstances in society which have  the power to upset the balance of the mind, and to hinder its straightforward course;(1) and first of all is his social  intercourse with women. For it is not possible for the Bishop, and one who is concerned with the whole flock, to  have a care for the male portion of it, but to pass over the female, which needs more particular forethought,  because of its propensity to sins. But the man who is appointed to the administration of a Bishopric must have a  care for the moral health of these, if not in a greater, at least in no less a degree than the others. For it is necessary  to visit them when they are sick, to comfort them when they are sorrowful, and to reprove them when they are  idle,


and to help them when they are distressed; and in such cases the evil one would find many opportunities of  approach, if a man did not fortify himself with a very strict guard. For the eye, not only of the unchaste, but of the  modest woman pierces and disturbs the mind. Flatteries enervate it, and favors enslave it, and fervent love--the  spring one may say of all good--becomes the cause of countless evils to those who do not make a right use of it.  Constant cares too have ere now blunted the edge of the understanding, and have made that which was buoyant  heavier than lead, while anger has burst in like smoke, and taken possession of all the inner man.
    9. Why should any one speak of the injuries that result from grief,(2) the insults, the abuse, the censure from  superiors, from inferiors, from the wise, and from fools; for the class who are wanting in right judgment are  particularly fond of censuring, and will never readily allow any excuse. But the truly excellent Bishop ought neither  to think lightly   of these, but to clear himself with all men of the charges which they bring against him, with great  forbearance and meekness, pardoning   their unreasonable fault-finding, rather than being indignant and angry  about it. For if St. Paul feared lest he should incur a suspicion of theft, among his disciples, and therefore procured  others for the management of the money, that "no one" he says, "should blame us in this abundance which is  administered by us,(2) how ought we not to do all so as to remove evil suspicions, even if they happen to be false,  and most unreasonable, and very foreign to our thought? For we are not so utterly removed from any sin as St.  Paul from theft; notwithstanding, though so far from this evil practice, he did not, therefore, slight the suspicion of  the world, although it was very absurd, and even insane. For it was madness to have any such suspicion about that  blessed and admirable character. But none the less does he remove far off the causes of this suspicion,  unreasonable though it was, and such as no one who was in his senses would entertain, and he neither disdained  the folly of the multitudes, nor did he say, "To whose mind did it ever occur to suspect such things of us, after the  signs which I have wrought, and the forbearance which has marked my life, and when you all revered and admired  us?" Quite the contrary: he foresaw and expected this base suspicion, and pulled it up by the roots, or rather did  not suffer it to grow at all. Why? "Because," saith he, "we provide things honest not only before the Lord, but  before all men."(3) So great, yea and far greater zeal must we use, to uproot and prevent floating reports which are  not good, but to see beforehand from afar whence they come, and to remove beforehand the causes from which  they are produced, not to wait till they are established and are the common topics in every one's mouth. For then it  is not easy in the future to destroy them, but very difficult, perhaps impossible, and not without mischief, because  this is done after many have been injured. But how far shall I continue pursuing the unattainable? For to  enumerate all the difficulties in this direction, is nothing more nor less than measuring the ocean. Even when any  one should clear himself from every passion (which is a thing impossible) in order to correct the failings of others,  he is forced to undergo countless trials, and when his own infirmities are added, behold, an abyss of toil and care,  and all that he must suffer, who wishes to subdue the evils in himself and in those around him.
    10. BASIL: And now, art thou free from toils? hast thou no cares while thou livest by thyself?
    CHRYSOSTOM: I have indeed even now. For how is it possible for one who is a man, and who is living this  toilsome life of ours, to be free from cares and conflict? But it is not quite the same thing for man to plunge into a  boundless ocean and to cross a river, so great is the difference between these cares and those. For now, indeed, if I  were able to become serviceable to others, I should wish it myself, and this would be a matter of prayer with me.  But if it is not possible to help another, yet if it be practicable to save and rescue myself from the waves, I shall be  contented.
    BASIL: Dost thou then think this to be a great thing? and dost thou fancy that thou wilt be saved when thou art  not profitable to any other?
    CHRYSOSTOM: Thou hast spoken well and nobly, for I am not myself able to believe that it is possible for  one who has not labored for the salvation of his fellow to be saved, nor did it at all profit the wretched man in the  Gospel that he had not diminished his talent; but he perished through not increasing it and bringing it doubled to  his master.(4) Nevertheless, I think that my punishment will be milder when I am called to account, because I have  not saved others, than it would be if I should destroy myself and others too by becoming far worse after so great an  honor. For now I  trust that my chastisement will be proportioned


to the amount of my sins, but after receiving this office, I fear it would be not double, or threefold, but manifold,  because I should have caused very many to stumble, and after additional honor should have offended the God who  honored me.
    11. For this very cause God accuses the Israelites more vehemently, and shows that they were worthy of greater  chastisement, because they sinned after so many honors had come to them from Him, saying in one place: "But  you only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for your iniquities,"(1) and again,  "and I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites;(2) and before the times of the  prophets, wishing to show that sins receive sorer punishment by far when they occur in the case of the Priest than  in the case of the laity, He enjoins as great a sacrifice to be offered for the Priest as for the whole people,(3) and  this amounts to a proof on his part, that the wounds of the Priesthood need more assistance--that is, as great as  those of all the people together, and they would not have needed a greater, except they were worse; and they are  not worse in their nature, but are aggravated through the dignity of the Priest, who dares to commit them. And  why do I speak of the men who follow this ministration. For the daughters of the Priests,(4) who have no part in  the Priestly office, yet on account of their father's dignity undergo a far bitterer punishment for the same sins as  others, and the offense is the same in their case and in the daughters of the laity; namely, fornication in both; yet  the penalty is far severer for the former. Dost thou see with what abundant proof God shows thee that he demands  much greater punishment for the ruler than for the ruled? For no doubt he who punishes to a greater degree than  others the daughter of a certain man for that man's sake, will not exact the same penalty from the man who is the  cause of her additional chastisement as from others, but a much heavier one; and very reasonably; for the mischief  does not merely involve himself, but it destroys the souls of the weaker brethren and of them who look up to him,  and Ezekiel, writing to show this, distinguishes from one another the judgment of the rams and of the sheep.(5)
    12. Do we then seem to thee to entertain a reasonable fear? for in addition to what has been said, although  much toil is needful on my part, so that I should not be completely overwhelmed by the passions of my soul, yet I  endure the toil, and I do not shun the conflict. For even now I am taken captive by vainglory, but I often recover  myself, and I see at  a glance that I have been taken, and there are times when I rebuke my soul, which has been  enslaved; outrageous desires even now come over me, but they kindle only a languid flame,  since m bodily eves  cannot fasten upon any fuel to feed the fire. From speaking ill of any, or from hearing any one evil spoken of,  I  am utterly removed, since I have no one to  talk with; for surely these walls would never  give tongue; yet it is not  altogether in like manner possible to avoid anger, although there be none to provoke it. For often when the  recollection of outrageous men has come over me, and of the deeds done by them, it makes my heart swell. But  not permanently, for I quickly subdue its kindling, and persuade it to be quiet, saying that it is very inexpedient  and extremely despicable to leave one's own fault alone, and to busy one's self about the faults of one's neighbors.  But were I to come among the multitude, and to be involved in countless excitements, I should not be able to have  the benefit of this warning, nor to experience reflections which take me thus to task. But just as they who are  driven over precipices by a torrent, or in some other way, are able to foresee the destruction to which they are  finally going, and are unable to think of any means of help, so I, when I have fallen into the great tumult of my  passions, shall be able to see at a glance my chastisement daily increasing. But to be master of myself as I am now,  and to rebuke diseases of this sort raging on every side, would not be equally easy for me as it was before. For my  soul is weak and puny, and easily mastered, not only by these passions, but by envy, which is bitterer than all of  them. Neither does it know how to bear insults or honors temperately. But these do exceedingly elate it, while  those depress it. As, then, savage wild beasts, when they are in good condition, and in full vigor, overcome those  that fight with them, particularly, too,  if they be feeble and unskillful; but if any one were to weaken them by  starvation, he will put their rage to sleep, and will extinguish most of their strength; so that one, not over valiant,  might take up the conflict and battle with them: so also with the passions of the soul. He who makes them weak,  places them in subjection to right reason; but he who nourishes them carefully, makes his battle with them harder,  and renders them so formidable that he passes all his time in bondage and fear.
    What then is the food of these wild beasts? Of vainglory, indeed, it is honors and applause;of pride, abundance  of authority and power;


of envy, the reputation of one's neighbors; of avarice, the munificence of the generous; of incontinence, luxury and  the constant society of women; and other passions have their proper nutriment? And all these things will sorely  attack me if I come forth into the world, and will tear my soul to pieces, will be the more formidable and will make  my battle with them the harder. Whereas, while I am established here they will be subdued; and then, indeed, only  with great exertion; yet at the same time, by the Grace of God, they will be subdued, and there will not be anything  worse then than their bark. For these reasons I keep to this cell, and am inaccessible, self-contained, and  unsociable, and I put up with hearing countless complaints of this kind, although I would gladly efface them, and  have been vexed and grieved because I cannot; for it is not easy for me to become sociable, and at the same time to  remain in my present security. Therefore I beseech thee, too, to pity rather than to censure one beset with such  great difficulty.
    But we cannot yet persuade thee. Accordingly the time is now come that I should utter to thee the only thing  which I have left spoken. Perhaps it may seem to many to be incredible, but even so I shall not be ashamed to  bring it before the world, for though what is said is proof of an evil conscience and of many sins, yet, since God,  who is about to judge us, knows all accurately, what gain will result to us from the ignorance of men? What then is  this, which is yet unspoken? From that day on which thou didst impart to me the suspicion of the bishopric, my  whole system has often been in danger of being completely unhinged, such was the fear, such the despondency  which seized my soul; for on considering the glory of the Bride of Christ, the holiness, the spiritual beauty and  wisdom, and comeliness, and then reckoning up my own faults, I used not to cease bewailing both her and myself,  and amidst continual distress and perplexity, I kept saying--who then made such a suggestion as this? why has the  Church of God made so great a mistake? why has she so provoked her Master, as to be delivered over to me, the  unworthiest of all men, and to undergo such great disgrace? Considering these things often by myself, and being  unable to bear the thought of so monstrous a thing, I used to be like thunderstruck people, speechless, and unable  either to see or hear. And when this condition of great helplessness left me, for there were times when it passed  off, tears and despondency succeeded to it, and after the flood of tears, then fear again, entered in their stead,  disturbing, confusing and agitating my mind. In such a tempest I used to pass the time that is gone; but thou wast  ignorant of it, and thoughtest that I was spending my time in a perfect tranquillity, but I will now try and unveil to  thee the storm of my soul, for it may be thou wilt henceforth pardon me, abandoning your accusations. How then  shall I unveil this to thee? For if thou wouldest see this clearly, it is not otherwise possible than by laying bare my  own heart; but as this is impossible, I will try and show you as well as I can, by a certain faint illustration, the  gloom of my despondency, and from this image please to infer my condition.
    Let us suppose that the daughter of the King of all the earth under the sun is the betrothed of a certain man, and  that this damsel has matchless beauty, transcending that of human nature, and that in this respect she outstrips by  a long distance the whole race of women; also that she has virtues of the soul, so great as to distance by a long way  the whole generation of men that have been, or that shall be; and that the grace of her manners transcends all  Standards of art, and that the loveliness of her person is eclipsed by the beauty of her countenance; and that her  betrothed, not only for the sake of these things, is enamored of the maiden, but apart from these things has an  affection for her, and by his ardor throws into the shade the most passionate of lovers that ever were. Then let us  suppose, whilst he is burning with love, he hears from some quarter that some mean, abject man, low born, and  crippled in body, in fact a thoroughly bad fellow, was about to wed this wondrous, well-beloved maiden. Have we  then presented to thee some small portion of our grief? and is it enough to stay my illustration at this point? So far  as my despondency is concerned, I think it is enough; for this was the only purpose for which I introduced the  comparison, but that I may show you the measure of my fear, and my terror, let me proceed to another  description.
    Let there be an armament composed of infantry, cavalry, and marines, and let a number of triremes cover the  sea, and phalanxes of foot and horse cover most of the plains, and the ridges of the mountains, and let the metal of  their armor reflect the sunshine, and the glitter of the helmets and shields be reflected by the beams which are  emitted from them; let the clashing of spears and the neighing of horses be borne up to the very heavens, and let  neither sea nor land appear, but only brass and iron in every direction. Let the enemy be drawn up in battle array  opposite to these, fierce and savage men, and let the time of the engagement be now at hand. Then let some one  suddenly seize some young lad, one of


those brought up in the country, knowing nothing but the use of the shepherd's pipe and crook; let him be clad in  brazen armor, and let him be led round the whole camp and be shown the squadrons and their officers, the  archers, slingers, captains, generals, the foot and horse, the spearmen, the triremes and their commanders, the  dense mass of soldiers in the ships, and the multitude of engines of war lying ready on board. Let him be shown,  moreover, the whole array of the enemy, their repulsive aspect, and the varied stores and unusual quantity of their  arms; the ravines also and precipices of the mountains, deep and difficult. Let him be shown further on the  enemies' side, horses flying by some enchantment and infantry borne through the air, and sorcery of every power  and form; and let him consider the calamities of war, the cloud of spears, the hailstorm of arrows, that rest mist  and obscurity that gloomiest night which the multitude of weapons occasions, eclipsing the sunbeams with their  cloud, the dust no less than the darkness baffling the eyesight. The torrents of blood, the groanings of the falling,  the shouts of the surviving, the heaps of slain, wheels bathed in blood, horses with their riders thrown headlong  down, owing to the number of corpses, the ground a scene of general confusion, blood, and bows, and arrows,  hoofs of horses and heads of men lying together, a human arm and a chariot wheel and a helmet, a breast pierced  through, brains sticking to swords, the point of a dart broken off with an eye transfixed upon it. Then let him  reckon up the sufferings of the naval force, the triremes burning in the midst of the waves, and sinking with their  armed crews, the roaring of the sea, the tumult of the sailors, the shout of the soldiers, the foam of the waves  mixed with blood, and dashing over into all the ships; the corpses on the decks, some sinking, some floating, some  cast upon the beach, overwhelmed by the waves, and obstructing the passage of the ships. And when he has been  carefully instructed in all the tragedy of warfare, let the horrors of captivity and of slavery be added to it, worse  than any kind of death; and having told him all this, bid him mount his horse straightway, and take command of all  that armament.
    Dost thou really think that this lad would be equal to more than the mere description, and would not, at the very  first glance, lose heart?
    13. Do not think that I have exaggerated the matter by my account, nor suppose that because we are shut up in  this body, as in some prison house, and are unable to see anything of the invisible world, that what has been said is  overstated. For thou wouldest see a far greater and more formidabl econflict than this, couldest thou ever behold,  with these eyes of thine, the devil's most gloomy battle array, and his frantic onset. For there is no brass or iron  there. No horses, or chariots or wheels, no fire and darts. These are visible things. But there are other much more  fearful engines than these. One does not need against these enemies breastplate or shield, sword and spear, yet the  sight only of this accursed array is enough to paralyze the soul, unless it happen to be very noble, and to enjoy in a  high degree as a protection to its own courage the providential care of God. And if it were possible by putting off  this body, or still keeping it, to see clearly and fearlessly with the naked eye the whole of his battle array, and his  warfare against us, thou wouldest see no torrents of blood, nor dead bodies, but so many fallen souls, and such  disastrous wounds that the whole of that description of warfare which I just now detailed to thee thou wouldest  think to be mere child's sport and pastime rather than war: so many are there smitten every day, and the wounds  in the two cases do not bring about the same death, but as great as is the difference between the soul from the  body, so great is the difference between that death and this. For when the soul receives a wound, and falls, it does  not lie as a lifeless body, but it is thenceforth tormented, being gnawed by an evil conscience; and after its removal  hence, at the time of judgment, it is delivered over to eternal punishment; and if any one be without grief in regard  to the wounds given by the devil, his danger becomes the greater for his insensibility. For whoever is not pained by  the first wound, will readily receive a second, and after that a third. For the unclean spirit will not cease assaulting  to the last breath, whenever he finds a soul supine and indifferent to his first wounds; and if thou wouldest inquire  into the method of attack, thou wouldest find this much more severe and varied. For no one ever knew so many  forms of craft and deceit as that unclean spirit. By this indeed, he has acquired the greater part of his power, nor  can any one have so implacable a hatred against his worst enemies as the evil one against the human race. And if  any one inquire into the vehemence with which he fights, here again it would be ludicrous to bring men into  comparison with him. But if any one choose out the fiercest and most savage of beasts, and is minded to set their  fury against his, he will   find that they were meek and quiet in comparison, such rage does he breathe forth when  he attacks our souls; and the period of the war-


fare indeed in the former case is brief, and in this brief space there are respites; for the approach of the night and  the fatigue of slaughter, meal-times also, and many other things, afford a respite to the soldier, so that he can doff  his armor and breathe a little, and refresh himself with food and drink, and in many other ways recover his former  strength. But in the case of the evil one it is not possible ever to lay aside one's armor, it is not possible even to  take sleep, for one who would remain always unscathed. For one of two things must be: either to fall and perish  unarmed, or to stand equipped and ever watchful. For he ever stands with his own battle array, watching for our  indolence, and laboring more zealously for our destruction, than we for our salvation.
    And that he is not seen by us, and suddenly assails us, which things are a source of countless evils to those who  are not always on the watch, proves this kind of war to be harder than the other. Couldest thou wish us, then, in  such a case to command the soldiers of Christ? yea, this were to command them for the devil's service, for  whenever he who ought to marshal and order others is the most inexperienced and feeble of all men, by betraying  through this inexperience those who have been entrusted to his charge, he commands them in the devil's interests  rather than in Christ's.
    But why dost thou sigh? why weep? For my ease does not now call for wailing, but for joy and gladness.
    BASIL: But not my case, yea this calls for countless lamentations. For I am hardly able yet to understand to  what degree of evil thou hast brought me. For I came to thee wanting to learn what excuse I should make on thy  behalf to those who find fault with thee; but thou sendest me back after putting another case in the place of that I  had. For I am no longer concerned about the excuses I shall give them on thy behalf, but what excuse I shall make  to God for myself and my own faults. But I beseech thee, and implore thee, if my welfare is at all regarded by thee,  if there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any bowels, and mercies,(1) for thou knowest that  thyself above all hast brought me into this danger, stretch forth thine hand, both saying and doing what is able to  restore me, do not have the heart to leave me for the briefest moment, but now rather than before let me pass my  life with thee.
    CHRYSOSTOM: But I smiled, and said, how shall I be able to help, how to profit thee under so great a burden  of office? But since this is pleasant to thee, take courage, dear soul, for at any time at which it is possible for thee to  have leisure amid thine own cares, I will come and will comfort thee, and nothing shall be wanting of what is in my  power.
    On this, he weeping yet more, rose up. But I, having embraced him and kissed his head, led him forth, exhorting  him to bear his lot bravely. For I believe, said I, that through Christ who has called thee, and set thee over his own  sheep, thou wilt obtain such assurance from this ministry as to receive me also, if I am in danger at the last day,  into thine everlasting tabernacle.







    THESE two letters, which are the earliest of Chrysostom's extant works, are addressed to a friend who had been  a member of the little ascetic brotherhood which Chrysostom and Basil formed, soon after they had abandoned  secular life, as described in the first book of the Treatise on the Priesthood. Theodore, like Maximus, afterwards  Bishop of Isaurian Seleucia, who was another member of the same fraternity, had been a fellow student with  Chrysostom and Basil in the school of Libanius,(1) but was a few years younger than either of them. The strain  upon his powers of religious devotion had proved too much for him; he had withdrawn from the ascetic  brotherhood, and relapsed for a season into worldly habits, being fascinated by the beauty of a young lady named  Hermione, whom he was anxious to marry. His fall was regarded with almost as much sorrow and dismay by his  austere friends as if he had plunged into deadly vice. Prayers were continually offered, and great efforts made for  his restoration, amongst which must be reckoned the two letters which are here translated. They are the  productions of a youthful enthusiast, and as such allowances must be made for them; but they abound in passages  of great beauty and power, especially upon the infinite love and forbearance of God, as encouraging to repentance  and withholding from despair and recklessness into which Theodore seems to have been inclined to sink. The  appeal of Chrysostom, combined with the efforts of his other friends, was not in vain. Theodore once more  renounced the world and his matrimonial intentions, and retired into the seclusion of the fraternity. In A.D. 383,  when he was about thirty-three years of age, he was ordained priest, and in 392 he became Bishop of Mopsuestia,  where he died in A.D. 428 at the age of seventy-eight. Chrysostom seems to have retained his affection to him to  the last, and during his own exile at Cucusus, A.D. 404-7, wrote a letter to him which is full of expressions of  fervent admiration and regard. He was a most voluminous writer, and may be regarded as the ablest  representative of the school of Biblical interpretation founded by Diodorus of Tarsus, under whom he had studied,  together with Chrysostom and Basil. A fierce controversy raged during the fifth and sixth centuries respecting the  orthodoxy of some of his writings which some accused of preparing the way for Nestorianism. When this had died  down his name was comparatively forgotten, and it is only in modern times that his great merits as a  commentator, who boldly applied the historical and grammatical methods of examination to the books of Holy  Scripture, have been fully recognized.
    Tillemont was of opinion that of the two letters of Chrysostom the second only was addressed to Theodore,  who was afterwards Bishop of Mopsuestia. Montfaucon, however, Dupin, and Savile, maintain that both were  addressed to him, and their view is confirmed by the fact that Leontius of Byzantium (in Nest. et. Eutych. lib. iii. c.  7) and Isidore of Seville (de Script. Eccl. c. 6.) mention two letters of Chrysostom to Theodore of Mopsuestia.


                                HIS FALL.

                                LETTER I.

    "OH! that my head were water, and mine eyes a fountain of tears!"(1) it is seasonable for me to utter these  words now, yea much more than for the prophet in his time. For although I am not about to mourn over many  cities, or whole nations, yet shall I mourn over a soul which is of equal value with many such nations, yea even  more precious. For if one man who does the will of God is better than ten thousand transgressors, then thou wast  formerly better than ten thousand Jews. Wherefore no one would now blame me if I were to compose more  lamentations than those which are contained in the prophet, and to utter complaints yet more vehement. For it is  not the overthrow of a city which I mourn, nor the captivity of wicked then, but the desolation of a sacred soul, the  destruction and effacement of a Christ-bearing temple.(2) For would not any one who knew in the days of its glory  that well-ordered mind of thine which the devil has now set on fire, groan, imitating the lamentation of the  prophet; when he hears that barbarian hands have defiled the holy of holies, and have set fire to all things and  burned them up, the cherubim, the ark, the mercy seat, the tables of stone, the golden pot? For this calamity is  bitterer, yea bitterer than that, in proportion as the pledges deposited in thy soul were far more precious than  those. This temple is holier than that; for it glistened not with gold and silver, but with the grace of the Spirit, and  in place of the ark and the cherubim, it had Christ, and His Father, and the Paraclete seated within. But now all is  changed, and the temple is desolate, and bare of its former beauty and comeliness, unadorned with its divine and  unspeakable adornments, destitute of all security and protection; it has neither door nor bolt, and is laid open to  all manner of soul-destroying and shameful thoughts; and if the thought of arrogance or fornication, or avarice, or  any more accursed than these, wish to enter in there is no one to hinder them; whereas formerly, even as the  Heaven is inaccessible to all these, so also was the purity of thy soul. Now perhaps I shall seem to say what is  incredible to some who now witness thy desolation and overthrow; for on this account I wail and mourn, and shall  not cease doing so, until I see thee again established in thy former lustre. For although this seems to be impossible  to men, yet to God all things are possible. For it is He "who raiseth the poor from the earth, and lifteth up the  beggar from the dunghill, to set him with the princes, even with the princes of his people." It is He "who makes the  barren woman to dwell at home, a mother rejoicing over her children."(3) Do not then despair of the most perfect  change. For if the devil had such great power as to cast thee down from that pinnacle and height of virtue into the  extremity of evil doing, much more will God be able to draw thee up again to thy former confidence; and not only  indeed to make you what you were before, but even much happier. Only be not downcast, nor fling away good  hopes, nor fall into the condition of the ungodly. For it is not the multitude of sins which is wont to plunge men  into despair, but impiety of soul. Therefore Solomon did not make the unqualified statement "every one who has  entered into the den of the wicked, despiseth;" but only "he who is ungodly."(4) For


it is such persons only who are affected in this way when they have entered the den of the wicked. And this it is  which does not suffer them to look up, and re-ascend to the position from which they fell. For this accursed  thought pressing down like some yoke upon the neck of the soul, and so forcing it to stoop, hinders it from looking  up to the Master. Now it is the part of a brave and excellent man to break this yoke in pieces, to shake off the  tormentor fastened upon him; and to utter the words of the prophet, "As the eyes of a maiden look unto the hands  of her mistress, even so our eyes look unto the Lord our God until He have mercy upon us. Have pity upon us, O  Lord, have pity upon us, for we have been utterly filled with contempt."(1) Truly divine are these precepts, and  decrees of the highest form of spiritual wisdom. We have been filled, it is said, with contempt, and have undergone  countless distresses; nevertheless we shall not desist from looking up to God, neither shall we cease praying to him  until He has received our petition. For this is the mark of a noble soul, not to be cast down, nor be dismayed at the  multitude of the calamities which oppress it, nor to withdraw, after praying many times without success, but to  persevere, until He have mercy upon us, even as the blessed David saith.
    2. For the reason why the devil plunges us into thoughts of despair is that he may cut off the hope which is  towards God, the safe anchor, the foundation of our life, the guide of the way which leads to heaven, the salvation  of perishing souls. "For by hope" it is said, "we are saved."(2) For this assuredly it is which, like some strong cord  suspended from the heavens, supports our souls, gradually drawing towards that world on high those who cling  firmly to it, and lifting them above the tempest of the evils of this life. If any one then becomes enervated, and lets  go this sacred anchor, straightway he falls down, and is suffocated, having entered into the abyss of wickedness.  And the Evil One knowing this, when he perceives that we are ourselves oppressed by the consciousness of evil  deeds, steps in himself and lays upon us the additional burden, heavier than lead, of anxiety arising from despair;  and if we accept it, it follows of necessity that we are forthwith dragged down by the weight, and having been  parted from that cord, descend into the depth of misery where thou thyself art now, having forsaken the  commandments of the meek and lowly Master and executing all the injunctions of the cruel tyrant, and implacable  enemy of our salvation; having broken in pieces the easy yoke, and cast away the light burden, and having put on  the iron collar instead of these things, yea, having hung the ponderous millstone(3) from thy neck. Where then  canst thou find a footing henceforth when thou art submerging thy unhappy soul, imposing on thyself this  necessity of continually sinking downwards? Now the woman who had found the one coin called her neighbors to  share her joy; saying, "Rejoice with me;" but I shall now invoke all friends, both mine and thine, for the contrary  purpose, saying not "Rejoice with me" but "Mourn with me," and take up the same strain of mourning, and utter  the same cry of distress with me. For the worst possible loss has befallen me, not that some given number of  talents of gold, or some large quantity of precious stones have dropped out of my hand, but that he who was more  precious than all these things, who was sailing over this same sea, this great and broad sea with me, has, I know  not how, slipped overboard, and fallen into the very pit of destruction.
    3. Now if any should attempt to divert me from mourning, I shall reply to them in the words of the prophet,  saying "Let me alone, I will weep bitterly; labour not to comfort me."(4) For the mourning with which I mourn  now is not of a kind to subject me to condemnation for excess in lamentation, but the cause is one for which even  Paul, or Peter, had they been here, would not have been ashamed to weep and mourn, and reject all kinds of  consolation. For those who bewail that death which is common to all one might reasonably accuse of much  feebleness of spirit; but when in place of a corpse a dead soul lies before us, pierced with innumerable wounds, and  yet even in its death manifesting its former natural comeliness, and health, and beauty now extinguished, who can  be so harsh and unsympathetic as to utter words of encouragement in place of wailing and lamentation? For as in  the other world the absence of mourning is a mark of divine wisdom, so in this world the act of mourning is a  mark of the same. He who had already mounted to the sky, who was laughing to scorn the vanity of this life, who  regarded bodily beauty no more than if it had been in forms of stone, who despised gold as it had been mud, and  every kind of luxury as mire, even he, having been suddenly overwhelmed with the feverish longing of a  preposterous passion, has ruined his health, and manly strength, and the bloom of his youth, and


become a slave of pleasure. Shall we not weep then, I pray you, for such a man and bewail him, until we have got  him back again? And where do these things concern the human soul? It is not possible indeed to discover in this  world the means of release from the death of the body, and yet even this does not stay the mourners from  lamenting; but only in this world is it possible to bring to naught the death of the soul. "For in Hades" we read,  "who will confess thee?"(1) Is it not then the height of stupidity that they who mourn the death of the body should  do this so earnestly, although they know that they will not raise the dead man to life by their lamentation; but that  we should not manifest anything of the kind, and this when we know that often there is hope of conducting the  lost soul back to its former life? For many both now and in the days of our forefathers, having been perverted from  the right position, and fallen headlong out of the straight path, have been so completely restored as to eclipse their  former deeds by the latter, and to receive the prize, and be wreathed with the garland of victory, and be proclaimed  among the conquerors, and be numbered in the company of the saints. For as long as any one stands in the  furnace of pleasures, even if he has countless examples of this kind before him, the thing seems to him to be  impossible; but if he once gets a short start upon the way out from thence, by continually advancing he leaves the  fiercer part of the fire behind him and will see the parts which are in front of him, and before his footsteps full of  dew and much refreshment; only let us not despair or grow weary of the return; for he who is so affected, even if  he has acquired boundless power and zeal, has acquired it to no purpose. For when he has once shut the door of  repentance against himself, and has blocked the entrance into the race-course, how will he be able while he abides  outside to accomplish any good thing, either small or great? On this account the Evil One uses all kinds of devices  in order to plant in us this thought (of despair); for (if he succeeds) he will no longer have to sweat and toil in  contending with us; how should he, when we are prostrate and fallen, and unwilling to resist him? For he who has  been able to slip out of this chain, will recover his own strength and will not cease struggling against the devil to his  last gasp, and even if he had countless other falls, he will get up again, and will smite his enemy; but he who is in,  bondage to the cogitations of despair, and has unstrung his own strength, how will he be able to prevail, and to  resist, having on the contrary taken to flight?
    4. And speak not to me of those who have committed small sins, but suppose the case of one who is filled full of  all wickedness, and let him practice everything which excludes him from the kingdom, and let us suppose that this  man is not one of those who were unbelievers from the beginning, but formerly belonged to the believers, and  such as were well pleasing to God, but afterwards has become a fornicator, adulterer, effeminate, a thief, a  drunkard, a sodomite, a reviler, and everything else of this kind; I will not approve even of this man despairing of  himself, although he may have gone on to extreme old age in the practice of this great and unspeakable wickedness.  For if the wrath of God were a passion, one might well despair as being unable to quench the flame which he had  kindled by so many evil doings; but since the Divine nature is passionless, even if He punishes, even if He takes  vengeance, he does this not with wrath, but with tender care, and much loving-kindness; wherefore it behoves us to  be of much good courage, and to trust in the power of repentance. For even those who have sinned against Him  He is not wont to visit with punishment for His own sake; for no harm can traverse that divine nature; but He acts  with a view to our advantage, and to prevent our perverseness becoming worse by our making a practice of  despising and neglecting Him. For even as one who places himself outside the light inflicts no loss on the light, but  the greatest upon himself being shut up in darkness; even so he who has become accustomed to despise that  almighty power, does no injury to the power, but inflicts the greatest possible injury upon himself. And for this  reason God threatens us with punishments, and often inflicts them, not as avenging Himself, but by way of  attracting us to Himself. For a physician also is not distressed or vexed at the insults of those who are out of their  minds, but yet does and contrives everything for the purpose of stopping those who do such unseemly acts, not  looking to his own interests but to their profit; and if they manifest some small degree of self-control and sobriety  he rejoices and is glad, and applies his remedies much more earnestly, not as revenging himself upon them for  their former conduct, but as wishing to increase their advantage, and to bring them back to a purely sound state of  health. Even so God when we fall into the very extremity of madness, says and does everything, not by way of  avenging Himself on account of our former deeds; but because He wishes to release us from our disorder; and by  means of


right reason it is quite possible to be convinced of this.
    5. Now if any one should dispute with us concerning these things we will confirm them out of the divine oracles.  For who, I ask, became more depraved than the king of the Babylonians, who after having received such great  experience of God's power as to make obeisance to His prophet, and command offerings and incense to be  sacrificed to Him was again carried away to his former pride, and cast bound into the furnace those who did not  honour himself before God. Nevertheless this man who was so cruel and impious, and rather a beast than a human  being, God invited to repentance, and granted him several opportunities of conversion, first of all the miracle  which took place in the furnace, and after that the vision which the king saw but which Daniel interpreted, a vision  sufficient to bend even a heart of stone; and in addition to these things after the exhortation derived from events  the prophet also himself advised him, saying "Therefore, O king, let my counsel please thee, and redeem thy sins  by alms, and thy iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; it may be that long suffering will be shown to thy  offence."(1) What sayest thou O wise and blessed man? After so great a fall is there again a way of return? and  after so great a disease is health possible? and after so great a madness is there again a hope of soundness of mind?  The king has deprived himself beforehand of all hope, first of all by having ignored Him who created him; and  conducted him to this honour, although he had many evidences of His power and forethought to recount which  occurred both in his own case and in the case of his forefathers; but after this again when he had received distinct  tokens of God's wisdom and foreknowledge, and had seen magic, and astronomy and the theatre of the whole  satanic system of jugglery overthrown, he exhibited deeds yet worse than the former. For things which the wise  magi, the Gazarenes, could not explain, but confessed that they were beyond human nature, these a captive youth  having caused to be solved for him, so moved him by that miracle that he not only himself believed, but also  became to the whole world a clear herald and teacher of this doctrine.(2) Wherefore if even before having received  such a token it was unpardonable in him to ignore God, much more so was it after that miracle, and his  confession, and the teaching which was extended to others. For if he had not honestly believed that He was the  only true God he would not have shown such honour to His servant, or have laid down such laws for others. But  yet after making this kind of confession, he again lapsed into idolatry, and he who once fell on his face and made  obeisance to the servant of God, broke out into such a pitch of madness, as to cast into the furnace the servants of  God who did not make obeisance to himself. What then? did God visit the apostate, as he deserved to be visited?  No! He supplied him with greater tokens of His own power, drawing him back again after so great a display of  arrogance to his former condition; and, what is yet more wonderful, that owing to the abundance of the miracles  he might not again disbelieve what was done, the subject upon which He wrought the sign was none other than the  furnace which the king himself kindled for the children whom he bound and cast therein. Even to extinguish the  flame would have been a wonderful and strange thing; but the benign Deity in order to inspire him with greater  fear, and increase his dismay, and undo all his hardness of heart, did what was greater and stranger than this. For,  permitting the furnace to be kindled to as high a pitch as he desired, He then exhibited his own peculiar power, not  by putting down the devices of his enemies, but by frustrating them when they were set on foot. And, to prevent  any one who saw them survive the flame from supposing that it was a vision, He suffered those who cast them in  to be burned, thus proving that the thing seen was really fire; for otherwise it would not have devoured naphtha  and tow, and fagots and such a large number of bodies; but nothing is stronger than His command; but the nature  of all existing things obeys Him who brought them into being out of nothing; which was just what He manifested  at that time; for the flame having received perishable bodies, held aloof from them as if they had been  imperishable, and restored in safety, with the addition of much lustre, the deposit entrusted to it. For like kings  from some royal court, even so did those children come forth from the furnace, no one having the patience to look  any longer at the king, but all transferring their eyes from him to the strange spectacle, and neither the diadem nor  the purple robe, nor any other feature of royal pomp, attracted the multitudes of unbelievers so much as the sight  of those faithful ones, who tarried long in the fire, and then came out of it as men might have done who had  undergone this in a dream. For the most fragile of all our features, I mean the hair, prevailed more mightily than  adamant against the all-devouring flame. And the fact that when they were cast into the midst of the fire they  suffered no harm was not the only


wonder, but the further fact that they were speaking the whole time. Now all who have witnessed persons burning  are aware, that if they keep their lips fast closed, they can hold out for a short time at least against the  conflagration; but if any one chances to open his mouth, the soul instantly takes its flight from the body.  Nevertheless after such great miracles had taken place, and all who were present and beheld were amazed, and  those who were absent had been informed of the fact by means of letters, the king who instructed others remained  himself without amendment, and went back again to his former wickedness. And yet even then God did not  punish him, but was still long-suffering, counselling him both by means of visions and by His prophet. But when  he was not made anywise better by any of these things, then at last God inflicted punishment upon him, not by  way of avenging himself on account of his former deeds, but as cutting off the occasion of future evils, and checking  the advance of wickedness, and He did not inflict even this permanently, but after having chastised him for a few  years, He restored him again to his former honour, without having suffered any loss from his punishment, but on  the contrary having gained the greatest possible good; a firm hold upon faith in God, and repentance on account of  his former misdeeds.(1)
    6. For such is the loving-kindness of God; He never turns his face away from a sincere repentance, but if any  one has pushed on to the very extremity of wickedness, and chooses to return thence towards the path of virtue,  God accepts and welcomes, and does everything so as to restore him to his former position. And He does what is  yet more merciful; for even should any one not manifest complete repentance, he does not pass by one which is  small and insignificant, but assigns a great reward even to this; which is evident from what Esaias the prophet says  concerning the people of the Jews, speaking on this wise: "On account of his sin I put him to pain for a little while,  and smote him, and turned my face away from him, and he was pained, and walked sorrowfully, and then I healed  him, and comforted him."(2) And we might cite as another witness that most ungodly king, who was given over to  sin by the influence of his wife: yet when he only sorrowed, and put on sackcloth, and condemned his offences, he  so won for himself the mercy of God, as to be released from all the evils which were impending over him. For God  said to Elias "Seest thou how Ahab is pricked in the heart before my face? I will not bring the evil upon him in his  own days, because he hath wept before me."(3) And after this again, Manasses, having exceeded all in fury and  tyranny, and having subverted the legal form of worship, and shut up the temple, and caused the deceit of idolatry  to flourish, and having become more ungodly than all who were before him, when he afterwards repented, was  ranked amongst the friends of God. Now if, looking to the magnitude of his own iniquities, he had despaired of  restoration and repentance, he would have missed all which he afterwards obtained: but as it was, looking to the  boundlessness of God's tender mercy instead of the enormity of his transgressions, and having broken in sunder  the bonds of the devil, he rose up and contended with him, and finished the good course.(4) And not only by what  was done to these men, but also by the words of the prophet does God destroy the counsels of despair, speaking.  on this wise: "To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."(5) Now that  expression "to-day," may be uttered at every time of life, even on the verge of old age, if you desire it: for  repentance is judged not by quantity of time, but by disposition of the soul. For the Ninevites did not need many  days to blot out their sin, but the short space of one day availed to efface all their iniquity: and the robber also did  not take a long time to effect his entrance into Paradise, but in such a brief moment as one might occupy in  uttering a single word, did he wash off all the sins which he had committed in his whole life, and received the prize  bestowed by the divine approval even before the Apostles. And we also see the martyrs obtain glorious crowns for  themselves in the course, not of many years, but of a few days, and often in a single day only.
    7. Wherefore we have need of zeal in every direction, and much preparation of mind: and if we so order our  conscience as to hate our former wickedness, and choose the contrary path with as much energy as God desires and  commands,we shall not have anything less on account of the short space of time: many at least who were last have  far outstripped those who were first. For to have fallen is not a grievous thing, but to remain prostrate after talling,  and not to get up again; and, playing the coward and the sluggard, to conceal feebleness of moral purpose under  the reasoning of despair. To whom also the prophet spoke in perplexity saying "Doth he who falleth not rise


up, or he who turneth away not turn back?"(1) But if you inquire of me for instances of persons who have fallen  away after having believed, all these things have been said with reference to such persons, for he who has fallen  belonged formerly to those who were standing, not to those who were prostrate; for how should one in that  condition fall? But other things also shall be said, partly by means of parables, partly by plainer deeds and words.  Now that sheep which had got separated from the ninety and nine,(2) and then was brought back again, represents  to us nothing else than the fall and return of the faithful; for it was a sheep not of some alien flock, but belonging  to the same number as the rest, and was for merly pastured by the same shepherd, and it strayed on no common  straying, but wandered away to the mountains and in valleys, that is to say some long journey, far distant from the  right path. Did he then suffer it to stray? By no means, but brought it back neither driving it, nor beating it, but  taking it upon his shoulders. For as the best physicians bring back those who are far gone in sickness with careful  treatment to a state of health, not only treating them according to the laws of the medical art, but sometimes also  giving them gratification: even so God conducts to virtue those who are much depraved, not with great severity, but  gently and gradually, and supporting them on every side, so that the separation may not become greater, nor the  error more prolonged. And the same truth is implied in the parable of the prodigal son as well as in this. For he  also was no stranger, but a son, and a brother of the child who had been well pleasing to the father, and he plunged  into no ordinary vice, but went to the very extremity, so to say, of evil, he the rich and free and well-bred son being  reduced to a more miserable condition than that of household slaves, strangers, and hirelings. Nevertheless he  returned again to his original condition, and had his former honour restored to him. But if he had despaired of his  life, and, dejected by what had befallen him, had remained in the foreign land, he would not have obtained what he  did obtain, but would have been consumed with hunger, and so have undergone the most pitiable death: but since  he repented, and did not despair, he was restored, even after such great corruption, to the same splendour as  before, and was arrayed in the most beautiful robe, and enjoyed greater honours than his brother who had not  fallen. For "these many years," saith he "do I serve thee, neither transgressed I thy commandment at any time,  and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends; but when this thy son is come who  hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."(3) So great is the power of  repentance.
    8. Having then such great examples, let us not continue in evil, nor despair of reconciliation, but let us say also  ourselves "I will go to my Father," and let us draw nigh to God. For He Himself never turns away from us, but it  is we who put ourselves far off: for "I am a God" we read "at hand and not a God afar off."(4) And again, when  He was rebuking them   by the mouth of this prophet He said "Do not your sins separate between you and  me?"(5) Inasmuch then as this is the cause which puts us far from God, let us remove this obnoxious barrier, which  prevents any near approach being made.
    But now hear how this has actually occurred in real instances. Amongst the Corinthians some man of mark  committed a sin such as was not named even among the Gentiles. This man was a believer and belonged to the  household of Christ; and some say that he was actually a member of the priesthood. What then? Did Paul cut him  off from the communion of those who were in the way of salvation. By no means: for he himself it is who rebukes  the Corinthians countless times, backwards and forwards, because they did not bring the man to a state of  repentance: but, desiring to prove to us that there is no sin which cannot be healed, he said again concerning the  man who had transgressed more grievously than the Gentiles: "Deliver such an one to Satan for destruction of the  flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ."(6) Now this was prior to repentance: but  after he had repented "Sufficient," said he, "for such an one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many(7)  "and he charged them by a letter to console the man again, and to welcome his repentance, so that he should not  be got the better Of by Satan. Moreover when the whole Galatian people fell after having believed, and wrought  miracles, and endured many trials for the sake of their faith in Christ he sets them up again. For that they had  done miracles he testified when he said: "He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit and worketh miracles among  you:" (8) and that they endured many contests for the sake of the faith, he also testified when he says:


"Have ye suffered so many things in vain if it be indeed in vain."(1) Nevertheless after making so great an advance  they committed sin sufficient to estrange them from Christ concerning which he declares saying: "Behold, I Paul  tell you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing:" and again "ye who would be justified by the law  are fallen away from grace:"(2) and yet even after so great a lapse he welcomes them saying "my little children of  whom I am in travail again until Christ be formed in you(3)" showing that after extreme perversion it is possible  for Christ to be formed again in us: for He doth not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be  convened and live.
    9. Let us then turn to Him, my beloved friend, and execute the will of God. For He created us and brought us  into being, that He might make us partakers of eternal blessings, that He might offer us the kingdom of Heaven,  not that He might cast us into Hell and deliver us to the fire; for this was made not for us, but for the devil: but for  us the kingdom has been destined and made ready of old time. And by way of indicating both these truths He saith  to those on the right hand, "Come ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the  foundation of the world:" but to those on the left "Depart from me, ye cursed, into fire everlasting prepared" (he  no longer says "for you" but)"for the devil and his angels."(4) Thus hell has not been made for us but for him and  his angels: but the kingdom has been prepared for us before the foundation of the world. Let us not then make  ourselves unworthy of entrance into the bride-chamber: for as long as we are in this world, even if we commit  countless sins it is possible to wash them all away by manifesting repentance for our offences: but when once we  have departed to the other world even if we display the most earnest repentance it will be of no avail, not even if  we gnash our teeth, beat our breasts, and utter innumerable calls for succour, no one with the tip of his finger will  apply a drop to our burning bodies, but we shall only hear those words which the rich man heard in the parable  "Between us and you a great gulf has been fixed."(5) Let us then, I beseech you, recover our senses here and let us  recognize our Master as He ought to be recognized. For only when we are in Hades should we abandon the hope  derived from repentance: for there only is this remedy weak and unprofitable: but while we are here even if it is  applied in old age itself it exhibits much strength. Wherefore also the devil sets everything in motion in order to  root in us the reasoning which comes of despair: for he knows that if we repent even a little we shall not do this  without some reward. But just as he who gives a cup of cold water has his recompense reserved for him, so also the  man who has repented of the evils which he has done, even if he cannot exhibit the repentance which his offences  deserve, will have a commensurate reward. For not a single item of good, however small it may be, will be  overlooked by the righteous judge. For if He makes such an exact scrutiny of our sins, as to require punishment for  both our words and thoughts, much more will our good deeds, whether they be great or small, be reckoned to our  credit at that day. Wherefore, even if thyself in a slight degree at least from thy present disorder and excess, even  this will not be impossible: only set thyself to the task at once, and open the entrance into the place of contest; but  as long as thou tarriest outside this naturally seems difficult and impracticable to thee. For before making the trial  even if things are easy and manageable they are wont to present an appearance of much difficulty to us: but when  we are actually engaged in the trial, and making the venture the greater part of our distress is removed, and  confidence taking the place of tremor and despair lessens the fear and increases the facility of operation, and  makes our good hopes stronger. For this reason also the wicked one dragged Judas out of this world lest he should  make a fair beginning, and so return by means of repentance to the point from which he fell. For although it may  seem a strange thing to say, I will not admit even that sin to be too great for the succour which is brought to us  from repentance. Wherefore I pray and beseech you to banish all this Satanic mode of thinking from your soul,  and to return to this state of salvation. For if indeed I were commanding you to ascend to your former altitude all  at once, you would naturally complain of there being much difficulty in doing this: but if all which I now ask you to  do is to get up and return thence in and shrink, and make a retrograde movement? Have you not seen those who  have died in the midst of luxury and drunkenness, and sport and all the other folly of this life? Were are they now  who used to strut through the market place with much pomp, and a crowd of attendants? who were clothed in silk  and redolent with perfumes, and kept a table for their


musicians, the attentions of flatterers, the loud laughter, the relaxation of spirit, the enervation of mind, the  voluptuous, abandoned, extravagant manner of life--it has all come to an end. Where now have all these things  taken their flight? What has become of the body which enjoyed so much attention, and cleanliness. Go thy way to  the coffin, behold the dust, the ashes, the worms, behold the loathsomeness of the place, and groan bitterly. And  would that the penalty were limited to the ashes! but now transfer thy thought from the coffin and these worms to  that undying worm, to the fire unquenchable, to the gnashing of teeth, to the outer darkness, to affliction and  straitness, to the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, who although the owner of so much wealth, and clothed in  purple could not become the owner of even a drop of water; and this when he was placed in a condition of such  great necessity. The things of this world are in their nature no-wise better than dreams For just as those who work  in the mines or suffer some other kind of punishment more severe than this, when they have fallen asleep owing  to their many weary toils and the extreme bitterness of their life, and in their dreams see themselves living in  luxury and prosperity, are in no wise grateful to their dreams after they have awaked, even so that rich man having  become rich in this present life, as it were in a dream, after his departure hence was punished with that bitter  punishment. Consider these things, and having contrasted that fire with the conflagration of desires which now  possesses thee, release thyself from the furnace. For he who has thoroughly quenched this furnace here, will have  no experience of that in the other world: but if a man does not get the better of this furnace here, the other will lay  hold of him more vehemently when he has departed hence. How long a time dost thou wish the enjoyment of the  present life to be extended? For I do not suppose indeed that more than fifty years remain to thee so as to reach  extreme old age, nor indeed is even this at all assured to us: for how should they who cannot be confident about  living even to the evening rely upon so many years as these? And not only is this uncertain, but there is for often  when life has been extended for a long period, the conditions of luxury have not  been extended with it, but have  come, and at  the same time hastily departed. However, if pared with the endless ages, and those bitter deed both  good and evil things have an end, and that very speedily: but there, both are coextensive with immortal ages, and in  their quality differ unspeakably from the things which now are.
    10. For when you hear of fire, do not suppose the fire in that world to be like this: for fire in this world burns up  and makes away with anything which it takes hold of; but that fire is continually burning those who have once been  seized by it, and never ceases: therefore also is it called unquenchable. For those also who have sinned must put on  immortality, not for honour, but to have a constant supply of material for that punishment to work upon; and how  terrible this is, speech could never depict, but from the experience of little things it is possible to form some slight  notion of these great ones. For if you should ever be in a bath which has been heated more than it ought to be,  think then, I pray you, on the fire of hell: or again if you are ever inflamed by some severe fever transfer your  thoughts to that flame, and then you will be able clearly to discern the difference. For if a bath and a fever so afflict  and distress us, what will our condition be when we have fallen into that river of fire which winds in front of the  terrible judgment-seat. Then we shall gnash our teeth under the suffering of our labours and intolerable pains: but  there will be no one to succour us: yea we shall groan mightily, as the flame is applied more severely to us, but we  shall see no one save those who are being punished with us, and great desolation. And how should any one  describe the terrors arising to our souls from the darkness? for just as that fire has no consuming power so neither  has it any power of giving light: for otherwise there would not be darkness. The dismay produced in us then by  this, and the trembling and the great astonishment can be sufficiently realized in that day only. For in that world  many and various kinds of torment and torrents of punishment are poured in upon the soul from every side. And  if any one should ask, "and how can the soul bear up against such a multitude of punishments and continue being  chastised through interminable ages, let him consider what happens in this world, how many have often borne up  against a long and severe disease. And if they have died, this has happened not because the soul was consumed but  because the body was exhausted, so that had the latter not broken down, the soul would not have ceased being  tormented. When then we have received an incorruptible and inconsumable body there is nothing to prevent the  punishment being in-


definitely extended. For here indeed it is impossible that the two things should coexist. I mean severity of  punishment and permanence and cannot bear the concurrence of both: but when the imperishable state has  supervended, these terrible things will keep their hold upon us for infinite time with much force. Let us not then so  dispose ourselves now as if the excessive power of the tortures were destructive together with the soul, in a state of  eternal punishment, and there will not be any end to look to beyond this. How much luxury then, and how much  time will you weigh in the balance against this punishment and vengeance? Do you propose a period of a hundred  years or twice as long? and what is this compared with the endless ages? For what the dream of a single day is in the  midst of a whole lifetime, that the enjoyment of things here is as contrasted with the state of things to come. Is  there then any one who, for the sake of seeing a good dream, would elect to be perpetually punished? Who is so  senseless as to have recourse to this kind of retribution? For I am not yet accusing luxury nor revealing now the  bitterness which lurks in it: for the present is not the proper time for these remarks, but when ye have been able to  escape it. For now, entangled as you are by this passion, you will suspect me of talking nonsense, if I were to call  pleasure bitter: but when by the grace of God you have been released from the malady then you will know its topics  for another season, what I will say now is just this: Be it so, that luxury is luxury, and pleasure, pleasure, and that  they have nothing in them painful or disgraceful, what shall we say to the punishment which is in store for us? and  what shall we do then if we have taken our pleasure now, as it were in a shadow and a figure, but undergo  everlasting torment there in reality, when we might in a short space of time escape these tortures already  mentioned, and enjoy the good things which ar stored up for us? For this also is the work of the loving-kindness of  God, that our struggles are not protracted to a great length, but that after struggling for a brief, and tiny twinkling  of an eye (for such is present life compared with the other) we receive crowns of victory for endless ages. And it  will be no small affliction to the souls of those who are being punished at that time, to reflect, that when they had it  in their power in the few days of this life to make all good, they neglected their opportunity and surrendered  themselves to everlasting evil. And lest we should suffer this let us rouse ourselves while it is the acepted time,  while it is the day of salvation,(1) while the power of repentance is great. For not only the evils already mentioned,  but others also far worse than these await us if we are indolent. These indeed, and some bitterer than these have  their place in hell: but the loss of the good things involves so much pain, so much affliction and straitness, that even  if not other kind of punishment were appointed for those who sin here, it would of itself be sufficient to vex us  more bitterly than the torments in hell, and to confound our souls.
    11. For consider I pray the condition of the other life, so far as it is possible to consider it; for no words will  suffice for an adequate description: but from the things which ar told us, as if by means of certain riddles, let us try  and get some indistinct vision of it. "Pain and sorrow and sighing," we read "have fled away."(2) What then could  be more blessed than this life? It is not possible there to fear poverty and disease: it is not possible to see any one  injuring, or being injured, provoking, or being provoked, or angry, or envious, or burning with any outrageous  lust, or anxious concerning the supply of the necessaries of life, or bemoaning himself over the loss of some dignity  and power: for all the tempest of passion in us is quelled and brought to nought, and all will be in a condition of  peace, and gladness and joy, all things serene and tranquil, all will be daylight and brightness, and light, not this  present light, but one excelling this in splendour as much as this excels the brightness of a lamp. For things are not  concealed in that world by night, or by a gathering of clouds: bodies there are not set on fire and burned: for there  is neither night nor evening there, nor cold nor heat, nor any other variation of seasons: but the condition is of a  different kind, such as they only will know who have been deemed worthy of it; there is no old age there, nor any  of the evils of old age, but all things relating to decay are utterly removed, and incorruptible glory reigns in every  part. But greater than all these things in the perpetual enjoyment of intercourse with Christ in the company of  angels, and archangels, and the higher powers. Behold now the sky, and pass through it in thought to the region  beyond the sky, and consider the transfiguration to take place in the whole creation; for it will not continue to be  such as it is now, but will be far more brilliant and beautiful,


and just as gold glistens more brightly than lead, so will the future constitution of the universe be better than the  present: even as the blessed Paul saith "Because the creation also itself shall be delivered from the bondage of  corruption."(1) For now indeed, seeing that it partakes of corruption, it is subject to many things such as bodies of  this kind naturally experience: but then, having divested itself of all these things, we shall see it display its beauty in  an incorruptible form: for inasmuch as it is to receive incorruptible bodies, it will in future be itself also  transfigured into the nobler condition. Nowhere in that world will there be sedition and strife: for great is the  concord of the band of saints, all being ever in harmony with one another. It is not possible there to fear the devil,  and the plots of demons, or the threatenings of hell, or death, either that death which now is, or the other death  which is far worse than this, but every terror of this kind will have been done away. And just as some royal child,  who has been brought up in mean guise, and subject to fear and threats, lest he should deteriorate by indulgence  and become unworthy of his paternal inheritance, as soon as he has attained the royal dignity, immediately  exchanges all his former raiment for the purple robe, and the diadem and the crowd of body-guards, and assumes  his state with much confidence, having cast out of his soul thoughts of humility and subjection, and having taken  others in their place; even so will it happen then to all the saints
    And to prove that these words are no empty vaunt let us journey in thought to the mountain where Christ was  transfigured: let us behold him shining as He shone there; and yet even then He did not display to us all the  splendour of the world to come. For that the vision was accommodated to human eyes, and not an exact  manifestation of the reality is plain from the very words of the Evangelist. For what saith he? "He did shine as the  Sun."(2) But the glory of incorruptible bodies does not emit the same kind of light as this body which is corruptible,  nor is it of a kind to be tolerable to mortal eyes, but needs incorruptible and immortal eyes to contemplate it. But  at that time on the mountain He disclosed to them as much as it was possible for them to see without injuring the  sight of the beholders; and even so they could not endure it but fell upon their faces. Tell me, if any one led thee  into some bright place, where all were sitting arrayed in vestures of gold, and in the midst of the multitude pointed  out one other to thee who alone had garments wrought with precious stones, and a crown upon his head, and then  promised to place thee in the ranks of this people, wouldst thou not do everything to obtain this promise? Open  then even now in imagination thine eyes, and look on that assembly, composed not of men such as we are, but of  those who are of more value than gold and previous stones, and the beams of the sun, and all visible radiance, and  not consisting of men only but of beings of much more dignity than men,--angels, archangels, thrones, dominions,  principalities, powers. For as concerning the king it is not even possible to say what he is like: so completely do his  beauty, his grace, his splendour, his glory, his grandeur and magnificence elude speech and thought. Shall we then,  I ask, deprive ourselves of such great blessings, in order to avoid suffering for a brief period? For if we had to  endure countless deaths every day, or even hell itself, for the sake of seeing Christ coming in His glory, and' being  enrolled in the company of the saints, ought we not to undergo all those things? Hear what the blessed Peter says;  "it is good for us to be here."(3) But if he, when he beheld some dim image of the things to come, immediately cast  away all other things out of his soul on account of the pleasure produced in it by that vision; what would any one  say  when the actual reality of the things is presented, when the palace is thrown open and it is permitted to gaze  upon the King Himself, no longer darkly, or by means of a mirror,(4) but face to face; no longer by means of faith,  but by sight?
    12. The majority it is true of those who are not very sensibly minded propose to be content with escaping hell;  but I say that a far more severe punishment than hell is exclusion from the glory of the other world, and I think  that one who has failed to reach it ought not to sorrow so much over the miseries of hell, as over his rejection from  heaven, for this alone is more dreadful than all other things in respect of punishment. But frequently now when  we see a king, attended by a large bodyguard, enter the palace, we count those happy who are near him, and have a  share in his speech and mind, and partake of all the rest of his glory; and even if we have countless blessings, we  have no perception of any of them, and deem ourselves miserable when we look at the glory of those who are  round about him, although we know that such splendour is slippery and insecure, both on account of wars, and  plots, and envy, and because apart from these things it is not in itself worthy of any


consideration. But where the king of all is concerned, he who holds not a portion of the earth but the whole circuit  of it, or rather who comprehends it all in the hollow of his hand, and measures the Heavens with a span, who  upholdeth all things by the word of His power,(1) by whom all the nations are counted as nought, and as a drop of  spittle ;---in the case of such a king I say shall we no reckon it the most extreme punishment to miss being enrolled  in that company which is round about him, but be content if we merely escape hell? and what could be more  pitiable than this condition of soul? For this king does not come to judge the earth, drawn by a pair of white mules,  nor tiding in a golden chariot, nor arrayed in a purple robe and diadem. How then does He come? Hear the  prophets crying aloud and saying as much as it is possible to tell to men: for one saith "God shall come openly,  even our God and shall not keep silence: a fire shall be kindled before Him, and a mighty tempest shall be round  about Him: He shall call the Heaven from above and the earth that He may judge His people."(2)  But Esias  depicts the actual punishment impending over us speaking thus: "Behold the day of the Lord cometh, inexorable,  with wrath and anger; to lay the whole world desolate, and to destroy sinners out of it. For the stars of Heaven,  and Orion, and the whole system of the heaven shall not give their light, and the sun shall be darkened in its going  down,(3) and the moon shall not give her light; and I will ordain evils against the whole world, and visit their sins  upon the ungodly, and I will destroy the insolence of the lawless, and humble the insolence of the proud, and they  who are left shall be more precious than unsmelted gold, and a man shall be more precious than the sapphire  stone. For the heaven shall be disturbed(4) and the earth shall be shaken from its foundations by reason of the fury  of the wrath of the Lord of Sabaoth, in the day when His wrath shall come upon us."(5) And again "windows" he  saith "shall be opened from the Heaven, and the foundations of the earth shall be shaken the earth shall be  mightily confounded, the earth shall be bent low, it shall be perplexed with great perplexity, the earth shall stagger  grievously like the drunkard and the reveller; the earth shall shake as a hut, it shall fall and not be able to rise up  again: for iniquity has waxed mighty therein. And God shall set His hand upon the host of the Heaven in the height  in that day, and upon the kingdoms of the earth, and He shall gather together the congregation thereof into a  prison, and shall shut them up in a stronghold."(6) And Malachi speaking concordantly with these said" Behold the  Lord almighty cometh, and who shall abide the day of His coming or who shall stand when He appeareth? for He  cometh like a refiner's fire, and like fullers soap: and He shall sit refining and purifying as it were silver, and as it  were gold."(7) And again, "Behold," he saith, "the day of the Lord cometh, burning like an oven, and it shall  consume them, and all the aliens, and all who work iniquity shall be stubble, and the day which is coming shall set  fire to them saith the Lord almighty; and there shall be left neither root nor branch."(8) And the man greatly  beloved saith "I beheld until thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated, and his raiment was white  as snow, and the hair of his head was pure as wool: His throne was a flame of fire, and the wheels thereof burning  fire: a stream of fire wound its way in front of Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand  times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgment was set and the books were opened."(9) Then after a little  space "I beheld," he says, "in a vision of the night and behold" with the clouds of Heaven, one came like the Son of  Man, and reached unto the Ancient of Days, and was brought near before Him, and to Him was given rule, and  honor, and the kingdom, and all the people, tribes and tongues serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting  dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. As for me Daniel, my spirit  shuddered within me, and the visions of my head troubled me."(10) Then all the gates of the heavenly vaults are  opened, or rather the heaven itself is taken away out of the midst "for the heaven," we read "shall be rolled up like  a scroll,"(11) wrapped up in the middle like the skin and covering of some tent so as to be transformed into some  better shape. Then all things are full of amazement and horror and trembling: then even the angels themselves are  holden by much fear, and not angels only but also archangels and thrones, and dominions, and principalities and  authorities. "For the powers" we read "of the heavens shall be shaken," because their fellow-servants are required  to give an account of their life in this world.(12) For if when a single city is bring judged before rulers in this world,  all men


shudder, even those who are outside the danger, when the whole world is arraigned before such a judge as this who  needs no witnesses, or proofs, but independently of all these things brings forward deeds and words and thoughts,  and exhibits them all as in some picture both to those who have committed the sins and to those who are ignorant  of them, how is it not natural that every power should be confounded and shake? For if there were no river of fire  winding by, nor any terrible angels standing by the side of the throne, but men were merely summoned some to  be praised and admired, others to be dismissed with ignominy that they might not see the glory of God, ("For let  the ungodly" we read "be taken away that he may not see the glory of the Lord"(1))and if this were the only  punishment would not the loss of such blessings sting the souls of those who were deprived of them more bitterly  than all hell itself? For how great an evil this is cannot possibly be represented now in words; but then we shall  know it clearly in the actual reality. But now I pray add the punishment also to the scene, and imagine men not  only covered with shame, and veiling their heads, and bending them low, but also being dragged along the road to  the fire, and haled away to the instruments of torture and delivered over to the cruel powers, and suffering these  things just at the time when all they who have practised what is good, and wrought deeds worthy of eternal life, are  being crowned, and proclaimed conquerors, and presented before the royal throne.
    13. Now these are things which will happen in that day: but the things which will follow, after these, what  language can describe to us--the pleasure, the profit, the joy of being in the company of Christ? For when the soul  has returned to the proper condition of nobility, and is able henceforth with much boldness to behold its Master it  is impossible to say what great pleasure it derives therefrom, what great gain, rejoicing not only in the good things  actually in hand, but in the persuasion that these things will never come to an end. All that gladness then cannot be  described in words, nor grasped by the understanding: but in a dim kind of way, as one indicates great things by  means of small ones, I will endeavour to make it manifest. For let us scrutinize those who enjoy the good things of  the world in this present life, I mean wealth and power, and glory, how, exulting with delight, they reckon  themselves as no longer being upon the earth, and this although the things which they are enjoying are  acknowledged not to be really good, and do not abide with them, but take to flight more quickly than a dream: and  even if they should even last for a little time, their favour is displayed within the limits of this present life, and  cannot accompany us further. Now if these things uplift those who possess them to such a pitch of joy, what do you  suppose is the condition of those souls which are invited to enjoy the countess blessings in Heaven which are  always securely fixed and stable? And not only this, but also in their quantity and quality they excel present things  to such an extent as never entered even the heart of man.(2) For at the present time like an infant in the womb,  even so do we dwell in this world confined in a narrow space, and unable to behold the splendour and the freedom  of the world to come: but when the time of travail arrives and the present life is delivered at the day of judgment of  all men whom it has contained, those who have been miscarried go from darkness into darkness, and from  affliction into more grievous affliction: but those which are perfectly formed and have preserved the marks of the  royal image will be presented to the king, and will take upon themselves that service which angels and archangels  minister to the God of all. I pray thee then, O friend, do not finally efface these marks, but speedily restore them,  and stamp them more perfectly on thy soul. For corporeal beauty indeed God has confined within the limits of  nature, but grace of soul is released from the constraint and bondage arising from that cause inasmuch as it is far  superior to any bodily symmetry: and it depends entirely upon ourselves and the grace of God. For our Master,  being merciful has in this special way honoured our race, that He has entrusted to the necessity of nature the  inferior things which contribute nothing much to our advantage, and in their issue are matters of indifference, but  of the things which are really noble He has caused us to be ourselves the artificers. For if He had placed corporeal  beauty also under our control we should have been subjected to excessive anxiety, and should have wasted all our  time upon things which are of no profit, and should have grievously neglected our soul.
    For if, even as it is, when we have not this power in ourselves, we make violent efforts, and give ourselves up to  shadow painting, and because we cannot in reality produce bodily beauty, cunningly devise imitations by means of  paints, and dyes, and dressing of hair, and arrangement of garments, and pencilling of eyebrows, and many other  contrivances: what leisure should we have set apart for the soul


and serious matters, if we had it in our power to transfigure the body into a really symmetrical shape? For  probably, if this were our business, we should not have any other, but should spend all our time upon it: decking  the bondmaid with countess decorations, but letting her who is the mistress of this bond-maid lie perpetually in a  state of deformity and neglect. For this reason God, having delivered us from this vain occupation, implanted in us  the power of working upon the nobler element, and he who cannot turn an ugly body into a comely on, can raise  the soul, even when it has been reduced to the extremity of ugliness, to the very acme of grace, and make it so  amiable and desirable that not only are good men brought to long after it but even He who is the sovereign and  God of all, even as the Psalmist also when discoursing concerning this beauty, said "And the king shall have desire  of thy beauty." (1) Seest thou not also that in the houses of prostitutes the women who are ugly and shameless  would hardly be accepted by prize-fighters, and runaway slaves, and gladiators: but should any comely, well-born  and modest woman, owing to some mischance, have been reduced to this necessity, no man, even amongst those  who are very illustrious and great, would be ashamed of marriage with her? Now if there is so much pity amongst  men, and so much disdain of glory as to release from that bondage the women who have often been disgraced in  the brothel, and to place them in the position of wives, much more is this the case with God, and those souls which,  owing to the usurpation of the devil, have then from their original noble condition into the harlotry of this present  life. And you will find the prophets filled with examples of this kind, when they address Jerusalem; for she fell into  fornication, and a novel form of it, even as Ezekiel says: "To all harlots wages are given, but thou hast given wages  to thy lovers, and there hath been perversion in thee beyond all other women,"(2) and again another saith "Thou  didst sit waiting for them like a deserted bird."(3) This one then who hath committed fornication in this fashion  God calls back again. For the captivity which took place was not so much by way of vengeance as for the purpose of  conversion and amendment since if God had wished to punish them out-fight He would not again have brought  them back to their home. He would not have established their city and their temple in greater splendour than  before: "For the final glory of this house" He said "shall exceed the former."(4) Now if God did not exclude from  repentance her who who had many times committed fornication, much more will He embrace My soul, which has  now fallen for the first time. For certainly there is no lover of corporeal beauty, even if he be very frantic, who is so  inflamed will the love of his mistress as God longs after the salvation of our souls; and this we may perceive both  from the divine Scriptures. See at least, both in the introduction of Jeremiah, and many other places of the  prophets, when He is despised and contemned, how He again hastens forward and pursues the friendship of those  who turn away from him; which also He Himself made dear in the Gospels saying, "O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! thou  that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children  together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not?"(5) And Paul writing to the  Corinthians said "that God was in Christ reconciling the word unto Himself, not reckoning their trespasses unto  them, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ,  as though God were entreating by us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ be ye reconciled to God."(6) Consider  that this has now been said to us. For it is not merely want of faith, but also an unclean life which is sufficient to  work this abominate enmity. "For the carnal mind" we read "is enmity against God."(7) Let us then break down  the barrier, and hew it in pieces, and destroy it, that we may enjoy the blessed reconciliation, that we may become  again the fondly beloved of God.
    14. I know that thou art now admiring the grace of Hermione, and thou judgest that there is nothing in the  world to be compared to her comeliness; but if you choose, O friend, you shall yourself exceed her in comeliness  and gracefulness, as much as golden statues surpass those which are made of clay. For if beauty, when occurs in the  body, so fascinates and excites the minds of most men, when the soul is refulgent with it what can match beauty  and grace of this kind? For the groundwork of this corporeal beauty is nothing else but phlegm, and blood, and  humor, and bile, and the fluid of masticated food. For by these things both eyes and cheeks, and all  the other  features, are supplied with moisture; and if they do not receive that moisture, daily skin becoming unduly withered,  and the eyes


sunken, the whole grace of the countenance forthwith vanishes; so that if you consider what is stored up inside  those beautiful eyes, and that straight nose, and the mouth and the cheeks, you will affirm the well-shaped body to  be nothing else than a whited sepulchre; the parts within are full of so much uncleanness. Morever when you see a  rag with any of these things on it, such as phlegm, or spittle you cannot bear to touch it with even the tips of your  fingers, nay you cannot even endure looking at it; and yet are you in a flutter of excitement about the storehouses  and depositories of these things? But thy beauty was not of this kind, but excelled it as heaven is superior to earth;  or rather it was much better and more brilliant than this For no one has anywhere seen a soul by itself, stripped of  the body; but yet even so I will endeavour to present to you the beauty of this soul from another source. I mean  from the case of the greater powers Hear at least how the beauty of these struck the man greatly beloved; for  wishing to set forth their beauty and being unable to find a body of the same character, he had recourse to metallic  substances, and he was not satisfied even with these, but took the brilliancy of lightning for his illustration.(1) Now  if those powers, even when they did not disclose their essential nature pure and bare, but only in a very dim and  shadowy way, nevertheless shone so brightly, what must naturally be their appearance, when set free froth every  veil? Now we ought to form some such image of the beauty of the soul. "For they shall be," we read "equal unto the  angels."(2) Now in the case of bodies the fighter and finer kinds, and those which have retreated to the path which  tend towards the incorporeal, are very much better and more wonderful than the others The sky at least is more  beautiful than the earth, and fire than water, and the stars than precious stones; and we admire the rainbow far  more than violets and roses, and all other flowers which are upon the earth. And in short if it were possible with  the bodily eyes to behold the beauty of the soul you would laugh to scorn these corporeal illustrations, so feebly  have they presented to us the gracefulness of the soul. Let us not then neglect such a possession, nor such great  happiness, and especially when the approach to that kind of beauty becomes easy to us by our hopes of the things  to come. "For our light affliction?" we read, "which is but for the moment, worketh for us more and more  exceedingly an eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are  not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."(3) Now if the  blessed Paul called such afflictions as thou wottest of light and easy, because he did not look at the things which are  seen, much more tolerable is it merely to cease from wantonness. For we are not calling thee to those dangers  which he underwent, nor to those deaths which he incurred daily,(4) the constant beatings and scourgings, the  bonds, the enmity of the whole world, the hatred of his own people, the frequent vigils, the long journies, the  shipwrecks, the attacks of robbers, the plots of his own kinsfolk, the distresses on account of his friends, the  hunger, the cold, the nakedness, the burning, the despondency on account both of those who belonged to him, and  those who did not belong to him. None of these things do we now demand of thee; all that we ask for is that you  would release yourself from your accursed bondage, and return to your former freedom, having considered both  the punishment arising from your wantonness, and the honor belonging to your former manner of life. For that  unbelievers should be but languidly affected by the thought of the resurrection and never be in fear of this kind, is  nothing wonderful; but that we who are more firmly persuaded concerning the things of the other world than  those of the present, should spend our life in this miserable and deplorable way and be nowise affected by the  memory of those things, but sink into a state of extreme insensibility--this is irrational in the highest degree. For  when we who believe do the deeds of unbelievers, or rather are in a more miserable plight than they (for there are  some among them who have been eminent for the virtue of their life), what consolation, what excuse will be left  for us? And many merchants indeed who have incurred shipwreck have not given way, but have pursued the same  journey, and this when the loss which has befallen them was not owing to their own carelessness, but to the force  of the winds; and shall we who have reason to be confident concerning the end, and know certainly that if we do  not wish it, neither shipwreck nor accident of any kind will bring us damage, not lay hold of the work again, and  carry on our business as we did aforetime, but lie in idleness and keep our hands to ourselves? And would that we  kept them merely to ourselves and did not use them against ourselves which is a token of stark madness. For if any  pugilist, leaving his antagonist were to turn his hands against his own head, and deal blows to his own face, should


we not, I ask, rank him among madmen? For the devil has upset us and cast us down; therefore we ought to get up,  and not to be dragged down again and precipitate ourselves, and add blows dealt by ourselves to the blows dealt by  him. For the blessed David also had a fall like that which has now happened to you; and not this only but another  also which followed it. I mean that of murder. What then? did he remain prostrate? Did he not immediately rise up  again with energy and place himself in portion to fight the enemy? In fact he wrestled with him so bravely, that  even after his death he was the protector of his offspring. For when Solomon had perpetrated great inquity, and  had deserved countless deaths, God said that He would leave him the kingdom intact, thus speaking "I will surely  rend the kingdom out of thine hand and will give it to thy servant. Nevertheless I will not do this in thy days."  Wherefore? "For David thy father's sake, I will take it out of the hand of thy son."(1) And again when Hezekiah  was about to run the greatest possible risk, although he was a righteous man, God said that He would succour him  for the sake of this saint. "For I will cast my shield" He saith, "over this city to save it for my own sake, and for my  servant: David's sake."(2) So great is the force of repentance. But if he had determined with himself, as you do  now, that henceforth it was impossible to propitiate God, and if he had said within himself: "God has honoured me  with great honour, and has given me a place among among the prophets, and has entrusted me with the  government of my countrymen, and rescued me out of countless perils, how then, when  have offended against  Him after such great benefits, and have perpetrated the worst crimes, shall I be able to recover his favour?" If he  had thought thus, not only would he not have done the things which he afterwards his former evils.
     15. For not only the bodily wounds work death, if they are neglected, but also those of the soul; and yet we have  arrived at such a pitch of folly as to take the greatest care of the former, and to overlook the latter; and although in  the case of the body it naturally often happens that many wounds are incurable, yet we do not abandon hope, but  even when we hear the physicians constantly declaring, that it is not possible to get rid of this suffering by  medicines, we still  persist in exhorting them to devise at least some slight alleviation; but in the case of souls,  where there is no incurable malady; for it is not subject to the necessity of nature; here, as if the infirmities were  strange we are negligent and despairing; and where the nature of the disorder might naturally plunge us into  despair, we take as much pains as if there were great hope of restoration to health; but where there is no occasion  to renounce hope, we desist from efforts, and become as heedless as if matters were desperate; so much more  account do we take of the body than of the soul. And this is the reason why we are not able to save even the body.  For he who neglects the leading element, and manifests all his zeal about inferior matters destroys and loses both;  whereas he who observes the right order, and preserves and cherishes the more commanding element, even if he  neglects the secondary element yet preserves it by means of saving the primary one. Which also Christ signified to  us when He said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is  able to destroy both soul and body in Hell."(3)
    Well, do I convince you, that one ought never to despair of the disorders of the soul as incurable? or must I again  set other arguments in motion? For even if thou shouldst despair of thyself ten thousand times, I will never despair  of thee, and I will never myself be guilty of that for which I reproach others; and yet it is not the same thing for a  man to renounce hope of himself, as for another to renounce hope of him. For he who has this suspicion  concerning another may readily obtain pardon; but he who has it of himself will not. Why so pray? Because the one  has no controlling power over the zeal and repentance of the other, but over his own zeal and repentance a man  has sole authority. Nevertheless even so I will not despair of you; though you should any number of times be heard  the prophet vehemently declaring, and plainly threatening; "yet three days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,"(4)  even then did not lose heart, but, although they had no confidence that they should be able to move the utterance  was not accompanied by any qualification, but was a simple declaration), even then they manifested repentance  saying: "Who knoweth whether God will repent and be entreated, and turn from the fierceness of His wrath, and  that we perish not? And God


say their works that they turned from their evil ways, and God repented of the evil which He said He would do  unto them and He did it not."(1) Now if barbarian, and unreasoning men could perceive so much, much more  ought we to do this who have been trained in the divine doctrines and have seen such a crowd of ways; but far as is  the Heaven from the earth, so far are my thoughts from your mind, and my counsels from your counsels."(2) Now  if we admit to our favour household slaves when they have often offended against us, on their promising to become  better, and place them again in their former portion, and sometimes even grant them greater freedom of speech  than before; much more does God act thus. For if God had made us in order to punish us, you day until the  present time, what is there which can ever cause you to doubt? Have we provoked Him severely, so as no other  man ever future. For to sin may be a merely human failing, but to continue in the same sin ceases to be human,  and becomes altogether devilish. For observe how God by the mouth of His prophet Names this more than the  other. "For," we read, "I said unto her after she had done all these deeds of fornication, return unto me, and yet  she returned not."(3) And again: from another quarter, when wishing to show the great longing which He has for  our salvation, having heard how the people promised, after many transgressions, to tread the right way He said:  "Who will grant unto them to have such an heart as to fear me, and to keep my commandments all their days, that  it may be well with them and with their children forever?"(4) And Moses when reasoning with them said, "And  now, O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, and to walk in all His  ways, and to love Him?"(5) He then who is so anxious to be loved by us, and does everything for this end, and did  not spare even His only begotten Son on account of His love towards us, and who counts it a desirable thing if at  any time we become reconciled to Himself, how shall He not welcome and love us when we repent? Hear at least  what He says by the mouth of the prophet: "Declare thou first thy iniquities that thou mayest be justified."(6) Now  this He demands from us in order to intensify our love towards Him. For when one who loves, after enduring  many insults at the hands of those who are beloved, even then does not extinguish his fondness for them, the only  reason why he takes pains to make those insults public, is that by displaying the strength of his affection he may  induce them to feel a larger and warmer love. Now if the confession of sins brings so much consolation, much  more does the endeavour to wash them away by means of our deeds For if this was not the case, but those who had  vehemence in evil things, will also in turn exhibit the same in good things, being conscious and wiped them with  the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss, but she since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.  Mine head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee:  her sins which are many are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And  He said unto her, thy sins are forgiven."(7)
      16. For this reason also the devil, knowing that they who have committed great evils, when they have begun to  repent, do this with much zeal, inasmuch as they are conscious of their offences, fears and trembles lest they should  make a beginning of the work; for after they have made it they are no longer capable of being checked, and,  kindling like fire under the influence of repentance, they render their souls purer than pure gold, being impelled by  their conscience, and the memory of their former sins, as by some strong gale, towards the haven of virtue. And  this is the point in


which they have an advantage over those who have never fallen, that they exercise more vehement energy; if only,  as I said, they can lay hold of the beginning. For the task which is hard and difficult of accomplishment is to be able  to set foot on the entrance, and to reach the vestibule of repentance, and to repulse and overthrow the enemy  there when he is fiercely raging and assaulting us. But after this, he will not display so much fury when he has once  been worsted, and has fallen where he was strong. and we shall receive greater energy, and shall run this good race  with much ease. Let us then in future set about our return, let we have been appointed to find our home as  citizens. For to despair of ourselves not only has this evil that it shuts the gates of that city against us, and that it  drives us into greater indolence and contempt, but also that it plunges us into Satanic recklessness For the only  cause why the devil became such as he is was that he first of all despaired, and afterwards from despair sank into  recklessness For the soul, when once it has abandoned its own salvation, will no longer perceive that it is plunging  downwards, choosing to do and say everything which is adverse to its own salvation. And just as madmen, when  once they have fallen out of a sound condition, are neither afraid nor ashamed of anything, but fearlessly dare all  manner of things, even if they have to fall into fire, or deep water, or down a precipice; so they who have been  seized by the frenzy of despair are hence forward unmanageable, rushing into vice in every direction, and if death  does not come to put a stop to this madness, and Vehemence, they do themselves infinite mischief. Therefore I  entreat you, before you are deeply steeped in this drunkenness, recover your senses and rouse yourself up, and  shake off this Satanic fit, doing it gently and gradually if it be not possible to effect it all at once. For to me indeed  the easier course seems to be to wrench yourself once for all out of all the cords which hold you down, and transfer  yourself to the school of repentance. But if this seems to you a difficult thing, that you should be willing to enter on  the path which leads to better things, simply enter upon it, and lay hold on which once was yours, let us see you  once again standing on the pinnacle of virtue, and  in the same condition of perseverance as before. Spare those  who are made to stumble on thy account, those who ate falling, who are becoming more indolent, who are  despairing of the way of virtue. For dejection now holds possession of the band of brethren, while pleasure and  cheerfulness prevail in the councils of the unbelieving, and of those young men who are disposed to indolence. But  if thou return again to thy former strictness of life the result will be reversed, and all our shame will be transferred  to them, while we shall enjoy much confidence, seeing thee again crowned and proclaimed victor with more  splendour than before. For such victories bring greater renown and pleasure. For you will not only receive the  reward of your own achievements, but also of the exhortation and consolation of others, being exhibited as a  striking model, if ever any one should fall into the same condition, to encourage him to get up and recover himself.  Do not neglect such an opportunity of gain, nor drag our souls down into Hades with sorrow, but let us breathe  freely again, and shake off the cloud of despondency which oppresses us on thy account. For now, passing by the  consideration of our own troubles, we mourn over thy calamities, but if thou art willing to come to thy senses, and  see clearly, and to join the angelic host, you will release us from this sorrow, and will take away the greater part of  sins. For that it is possible for those who have come back again after repentance to shine with much lustre, and  oftentimes more than those who have never fallen at all, I have demonstrated from the divine writings. Thus at  least both the publicans and the harlots inherit the kingdom of Heaven, thus many of the last are placed before the  first.
    17. But I will tell thee also of events which have happened in our own time, and of which thou mayest thyself  have been witness You know probably that young Phoenician, the son of Urbanus, who was untimely left an  orphan, but possessed of much money, and many slaves and lands. This man, having in the first place bidden  complete farewell to his studies in the schools, and having laid aside the gay clothing which he formerly wore, and  all his worldly grandeur, suddenly arraying himself in a shabby cloak, and retreating to the solitude of the  mountains, exhibited a high degree of Christian philosophy not merely in proportion to the sacred mysteries, he  made still greater advances in virtue. And all were rejoicing, and a mere youth, should have suddenly trodden all  the pomps of this life under foot, and have ascended to the true height. Now which he


was in this condition, and an object of admiration, certain corrupt men, who according to the law of kindred had  the oversight of him dragged him back again into the former sea of worldliness. And so, having flung aside all his  habits, he again descended from the mountains into the midst of the forum, and used to go all round the city,  riding on horseback, and accompanied by a large retinue; and he was no longer willing to live even soberly; for  being inflamed by much luxury, he was constrained to fall into foolish love intrigues, and there was no one of those  conversant with him, who did not despair of his salvation; he was encompassed by such a swarm of flatterers,  besides the snares of orphanhood, youth, and great wealth. And persons who readily find fault with everything,  accused those who originally conducted him to this way of life,(1) saying that he had both missed his spiritual aims,  and would no longer be of any use in the management of his own affairs, having prematurely abandoned the  labours of study, and having been consequently unable to derive any benefit therefrom. Now while these things  were of chase, and had thoroughly learned by experience that those who are armed with hope in God ought not to  despair at all of such characters, kept a continual watch upon him, and if ever they saw him appear in the market  place they approached and saluted him. And at first he spoke to them from horseback, askance, as they followed by  his side; so great was the shamelessness which had at first got possession of him. But they, being merciful and  loving men, were not ashamed at all of this treatment, but continually looked to one thing only, how they might  rescue the lamb from the wolves; which in fact they actually accomplished by means of their perseverance. For  afterwards, as if he had been converted by some sudden stroke, and were put to shame by their great assiduity if  ever he saw them in the distance approaching, he would instantly dismount, and bending low would listen silently  in that attitude to all which fell from their lips, and in time he displayed even greater reverence and respect towards  them. And then, by the grace of God having gradually rescued him out of all those entanglements, they handed him  over again to his former state of seclusion and devout contemplation. And now he became so illustrious, that his  former life seemed to be nothing in comparison with that which he lived after his fall. For being well aware by  experience of the snare, and having expended all his wealth upon the needy, and released himself from all care of  that kind, he cut off every pretext for an attack from those who wished to make designs upon him; and now  treading the path which leads to heaven, he has already arrived at the very goal of virtue.
    This man indeed fell and rose again while he was still young; but another man, after enduring great toils during  his sojourn in the deserts, with only a single companion, and leading an angelic life, and being now on the way to  old age, afforded I know not how a little loophole to the evil one, through some Satanic condition of mind, and  carelessness; and although he had never seen a woman since he transferred himself to the monastic life, he fell into  a passionate desire for intercourse with women. And first of all he besought his companion to supply him with  meat and wine, and threatened, if he did not receive it, that he would go down into the market get some handle  and pretext for returning into the city. The other being perplexed at these things, and fearing, that if he hindered  this he might drive him into some great evil, suffered him to have his fill of this craving. But when his companion  perceived that this was a stale device, he openly threw off shame, and unmasked his pretence, and said that he must  positively himself go down to the city, and as the other had not power to prevent him, he desisted at last from his  efforts, and following him at a distance, watched to see what the meaning of this return could possibly be. And  having seen him enter a brothel, and knowing that he had intercourse with a harlot there, he waited until he had  satiated that foul desire, and then, when he came out, he received him with uplifted hands, and having embraced  and fervently kissed him, without uttering any rebuke on account of what had happened he only besought him,  seeing that he had satiated his desire, to return again to his dwelling in the wilderness. And the other, of  compunction for the deed which he had in another hut, and, having dosed the doors of the dwelling, to supply him  with bread and And when he had said this, and persuaded him, he shut himself up, and was there continually, with  fastings and prayers and tears, wiping off from his soul the defilement of his sin. And not long after when a  drought had


settled on the neighbouring region, and all in that country were lamenting over it, a certain man was commanded  by a vision to depart, and exhort this recluse to pray, and put an end to the drought. And when he had departed,  taking companions with him, they found the man, who formerly dwelt with him, there alone; and on enquiring  concerning the other they were informed that he was dead. But they, believing that they were deceived, betook  themselves again to prayer, and again by means of the same vision heard the same things which they had heard  before. And then, standing round the man who reply had deceived them, they besought him to show the other to  them; for they declared that he was not dead but living. When he heard this, and perceived that their compact was  exposed, he brought them to that holy man; and they having broken through the wall (for he had even blocked up  the entrance) and having all of them entered, prostrating themselves at his feet, and informing him of what had  happened, besought him to succour them against the famine. But he at first resisted, saying that he was far from  such confidence as that; for he ever had his sin before his eyes, as if it had only just taken place; but when they  related all which had happened to them they then induced him to pray; and having prayed he put an end to the  drought. And what happened to that young man who was at first a disciple of John the son of Zebedee, but  afterwards for a long time became a robber chief, and then again,having been captured by the holy hands of the  blessed Apostle returned from the robber dens and lairs to his former virtue, thou art not ignorant, but knowest it  all as accurately as I do: and I have often heard thee admiring the great condescension of the saint, and how he first  of all kissed the blood-stained hand of the young man, embracing him, and so brought him back to his former  condition.(1)
    18. Moreover also the blessed Paul not only welcomes Onesimus the unprofitable runaway thief, because he was  converted, but also asks his master to treat him who had repented, on equal terms of honour with his teacher, thus  saying: "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds, who was aforetime unprofitable  to thee, but now is profitable to thee and to me, whom I have sent back to thee; thou therefore receive him, that is  my very heart, whom I would fain have kept with me, that in thy behalf he might minister unto me in the bonds of  the Gospel; but without thy mind I would do nothing that thy goodness should not be as of necessity, but of free  will. For perhaps he was therefore pared from thee for a season that thou shouldest have him back for ever; no  longer as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially unto me; but how much rather to thee both in  the flesh and in the Lord? If then thou holdest me as a partner, receive him as myself."(2) And the same apostle, in  writing to the Corinthians, said, "Lest when I come I should mourn over many of those who have sinned  beforehand and have not repented;"(3) and again, "as I have said beforehand, so do I again declare beforehand,  that if I come again I will not spare."(3) Seest thou who they are whom he mourns, and whom he does not spare?  Not those who have sinned, but those who have not repented, and not simply those who have not repented, but  those who have been called once and again to this work, and would not be persuaded. For the expression "I have  said beforehand and do now say beforehand, as if I were present the second time, and being absent I write,"  implies exactly that which we are afraid may take place now in our case. For although Paul is not present who then  threatened the Corinthians,  yet Christ is present, who was then speaking through his mouth; and if we continue  obdurate, He will not spare us, but will smite us with a mighty blow, both in this world and the next. "Let us then  anticipate His countenance by our confessor"(4) let us pour out our hearts before Him. For "thou hast sinned," we  read, "do not add thereto any more, and the first instance."(6) Let us not then tarry for the accuser, but let us seize  his place beforehand, and so let us make our judge more merciful by means of our candour. Now I know indeed  that you confess your sins, and call yourself miserable above measure; but this is not the only thing I wish, but I  long For as long as you make this confession unfollow it. For no one will be able to do anything with zeal and the  proper method, unless he has first of all persuaded himself that he does it to advantage. For even the sower, was  not to gain any good from his labor? So


then he also who sows words, and tears, and confession, unless he does this with a good hope, will not be able to  desist from sinning, being still held down by the evil of despair; but just as that husbandman who despairs of any  crop of fruit will not in future hinder any of those things which damage the seeds, so also he who sows his  confession with tears, but does not expect any advantage for this, will not be able to overthrow those things which  spoil repentance. And what does spoil repentance is being again entangled in the same evils. "For there is one" we  read, "who builds, and one who pulls down, what have they gained more than toil? He who is dipped in water  because of contact with a dead body, and then touches it again, what has he gained by his washing?"(1) Even so if a  man fasts because of his sins, and goes his way again, and doeth the same things, who will hearken to his prayer?  And again we read "if a man goes back from righteousness to sin the Lord will prepare him for the sword,"(2) and,  "as a dog when he has returned to his vomit, and become odious, so is a fool who by his wickedness has returned  to his sin."(3)
    19. Do not then merely set forth thy sins being thy own accuser, but as one who ought to be justified by the  method of repentance; for thus thou wilt be able to put thy soul, which makes its confession, to shame, so that it  falls no more into the same sins. For to accuse ourselves vehemently and call ourselves sinners is common, so to  say, to unbelievers also. Many at least of those who belong to the stage, both men and women, who habitually  practise the greatest shamelessness, call themselves miserable, but not with the proper aim. Wherefore I would not  even call this confession; for the publication of their sins is not accompanied with compunction of soul, nor with  bitter tears, nor with conversion of life, but in fact some of them make it in quest of a reputation for the hearers  for candor of speech. For offences do not seem so grievous when some other person announces them as when the  perpetrator himself reports them. And they who under the influence of strong despair have lapsed into a state of  insensibility, and treat the opinion of their fellowmen with contempt proclaim their own evil deeds with much  effrontery, as if they were the doings of others. But I do not wish thee to be any of these, nor to be brought out of  despair to confession, but with a good expectation, after cutting away the whole root of despair, to manifest zeal in  the contrary direction. And what is the root and mother of this despair? It is indolence; or rather one would not  call it the root only, but also the nurse and mother. For as in the case of wool decay breeds moths, and is in turn  increased by them; so here also indolence breeds despair, and is itself nourished in turn by despair; and thus  supplying each other with this accursed exchange, they acquire no small additional power. If any one then cuts one  of these off, and hews it in pieces, he will easily be able to get the better of the remaining one. For on the one hand  he who is not indolent will never fall into despair, and on the other he who is supported by good hopes, and does  not despair of himself, will not be able to fall into indolence. Pray then, wrench this pair asunder, and break the  yoke in pieces, by which I mean a variable and yet depressing habit of thought; for that which holds these two  things together is not uniform, but manifold in shame and character. And what is this? It happens that one who has  repented has done many great and good deeds, but meanwhile he has committed some sin equivalent to those  good deeds, and this especially is sufficient to plunge him into despair, as if the buildings which had been set up  were all pulled down, and all the labor which he had bestowed upon them had been vain and come to naught. But  this must be taken into account, and such reasoning must be repelled, because, if we do not store up in good time a  measure of good deeds equivalent to the sins which are committed after them, nothing can hinder us from sinking  grievously and completely. But as it is, (right action(4)) like some stout breastplate does not suffer the sharp and  bitter dart to accomplish its work, but even if it is itself cut through, it averts much danger from the body. For he  who departs to the other world with many deeds both good and bad, will have some alleviation in respect of the  punishment and the torment there; but if a man is destitute of these good works, and takes only the evil with him,  it is impossible to say what great sufferings he will undergo, when he is conducted to everlasting punishment. For a  balance will be struck there between the evil deeds and those which are not such; and should the latter weigh down  the scale they will to no small extent have saved the doer of them, and the injury arising from the doing of evil  deeds is not so strong as to drag the man down from the foremost place; but if the evil deeds exceed, they carry  him off into hell fire, because the number of his good actions is not so great as to be able to make a stand against  this violent impulse. And these things are not merely sug-


gested by our own reasoning, but declared also by the divine oracles; for He Himself saith, "He shall reward every  man according to his works."(1) And not only in hell, but also in the kingdom one will find many differences; for  He saith "in my Fathers house are many mansions;"(2) and, "there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of  the moon."(3) And what wonder, if in dealing with such great matters he has spoken with such precision, seeing  that He declares there is a difference in that world even between one star and another? Knowing then all these  things let us never desist from doing good deeds, nor grow weary, nor, if we should be unable to reach the rank of  the sun or of the moon, let us despise that of the stars. For if only we display thus much virtue at least, we shall be  able to have a place in Heaven. And though we may not have become gold, or precious stone yet if we only occupy  the rank of silver we shall abide in the foundation; only let us not fall back again into that material which the fire  readily devours, nor, when we are unable to accomplish great things, desist also from small ones, for this is the part  of extreme folly, which I trust we may not experience. For just as material wealth increases if the lovers of it do not  despise even the smallest gains, so is it also with the spiritual. For it is a strange thing that the judge should not  overlook the reward of even a cup of cold water, but that we, if our achievements are not altogether great, should  neglect the performance of little things. For he who does not despise the lesser things, will exercise much zeal  concerning the greatest; but he who overlooks the former will also abstain from the latter; and to prevent this  taking place Christ has defined great rewards even for these small things. For what is easier than to visit the sick?  Yet even this He requites with a great recompense. Lay hold then on eternal life, delight in the Lord, and supplicate  Him; take up again the wealth to slip past thee. For if thou shouldst continue provoking God by thy deeds, thou  wilt destroy thyself; but if before much damage has been done, and all thy husbandry has been overwhelmed with a  flood, thou wilt dam up the channels of wickedness, thou wilt be able to recover again what has been spoiled and to  add to it not a lithe further produce: Having considered all these things, shake off the dust, get up from the ground,  and thou wilt be formidable to the adversary; for he himself indeed has overthrown thee, as if thou wouldst never  rise again; but if he sees thee again lifting up thy hands against him, he will receive such an unexpected blow that he  will be less forward in trying to upset thee again, and thou thyself wilt be more secure against receiving any wound  of that kind in future. For if the calamities of others are sufficient to instruct us, much more those which we have  ourselves undergone. And this is what I expect speedily to see in the case of thy own dear self, and that by the grace  of God thou art again become more radiant than before, and displaying such great virtue, as even to be a protector  of others in the world above. Only do not despair do not fall back; for I will not cease repeating this in every form  of speech, and wherever I see you, as well as by the lips of others; and if you listen to this you will no longer need  other remedies.

                               LETTER II.

    1. If it were possible to express tears and groans by means of writing I would have filled the letter, which I now  send to you, with them. Now I weep not because you are anxious concerning your patrimony, but because you have  blotted out your name from the list of the brethren, because you have trampled upon the covenant which you had  made with Christ. This is the reason why I shudder, this is the cause of my distress. On this account do I fear and  tremble, knowing that the rejection of this covenant will bring great condemnation upon those who have enlisted  for this noble warfare, and owing to indolence have deserted their proper rank. And that the punishment for such  is heavier than for others is manifest for this reason. For no one would indite a private individual for shunning  military service; but when once a man has become a soldier, if he be caught deserting the ranks, he runs a risk of  suffering the most his remaining in a fallen condition; neither is it a grievous thing for the warrior to be wounded,  but to despair after the blow has been struck, and to neglect the wound. No merchant, having once suffered  shipwreck, and lost his freight, desists from sailing, but again  crosses the sea and the billows, and the broad ocean,  and recovers his former wealth. We see athletes also who after many falls have gained the wreath of victory; and  often, before gained the wreath of now, a soldier who has once ran away has turned out a champion, and prevailed  over the enemy. Many also of those who have denied


Christ owing to the pressure of torture, have fought again, and departed at last with the crown of martyrdom upon  their brows. But if each of these had despaired after the first blow, he would not have reaped the subsequent  benefits. Even so now, beloved Theodore, because the enemy has shaken thee a little from thy position, do not  thou give thyself an additional thrust into the pit, but stand up bravely, and return speedily to the place from which  thou hast departed, and deem not this blow, lasting but for a little while, any reproach. For if you saw a soldier  returning wounded from war you would not reproach him; for it is a reproach to cast away one's arms, and to hold  aloof from the enemy; but as long as a man stands fighting, even if he be wounded and retreat for a short time, no  one is so unfeeling or inexperienced in matters of war, as to find any fault with him. Exemption from wounds is  the lot of non-combatants; but those who advance with much spirit against the enemy may sometimes be wounded  and fail; which is exactly what has now occurred in your case; for suddenly, while you attempted to destroy the  serpent you were bitten. But take courage, you need a little vigilance, and then not a trace of this wound will be  left; or rather by the grace of God thou wilt crush the head of the Evil One himself; nor let it trouble thee that thou  art soon impeded, even at the outset. For the eye, the keen eye of the Evil One perceived the excellence of thy soul,  and guessed from many tokens that a brave adversary would wax strong against him; for he expected that one who  had promptly attacked him with such great vehemence would easily overcome him, if he persevered. Therefore he  was diligent, and watchful, and mightily stirred up against thee, or rather against his own head, if thou wilt bravely  stand thy ground. For who did not marvel at thy quick, sincere, and fervent change to good? For delicacy of food  was disregarded, and costliness of raiment was despised, all manner of parade was put down, and all the zeal for  the wisdom of this world was suddenly transferred to the divine oracles; whole days were spent in reading, and  whole nights in prayer; no mention was made of thy family dignity, nor any thought taken of thy wealth; but to  rasp the knees and hasten to the feet of the brethren thou didst recognize as something nobler than high birth.  These things irritated the Evil One, these things stirred him up to more vehement strife; but sleeping on the bare  ground and the rest of the discipline he overthrew you, even then there was no need to despair; nevertheless one  would have said that the damage was great if defeat had taken place after many toils, and labour, and victories; but  inasmuch as he upset you as soon as you had stripped for the contest with him, all that he accomplished was to  render you more eager to do battle with him. For that fell pirate attacked thee just as thou wast sailing out of the  harbor, not when thou hadst returned from thy trading voyage. bringing a full cargo. And as when one has  attempted to stay a fierce lion, and has only grazed his skin, he has done him no injury but only stirred him up the  more against himself, and rendered him more confident and difficult to capture afterwards: even so the common  enemy of all has attempted to strike a deep blow, but has missed it, and consequently made his antagonist more  vigilant and wary for the future.
    2. For human nature is a slippery thing, quick to be cheated, but quick also to recover from deceit and as it  speedily falls, so also does it readily rise. For even that blessed man, I mean David the chosen king and prophet  after he had accomplished many good deeds, betrayed himself to be a man, for once he fell in love with a strange  woman, nor did he stop there but he committed adultery on account of his passion, and he committed murder on  account of his adultery; but he did not try to inflict a third blow upon himself because he had already received two  such heavy ones, but immediately hastened to the physician, and applied the remedies, fasting, tears, lamentation,  constant prayer, frequent confession of the sin; and so by these means he propitiated God, insomuch that he was  restored to his former position, insomuch that after adultery and murder the memory of the father was able to  shield the idolatry of the son. For the son of this David Solomon by name, was caught by the same snare as his  father, and out of complaisance to women fell away from the God of his fathers.(1) Thou seest how great an evil it  is not to master pleasure, not to upset the ruling principle in nature, and for a man to be the slave of women. This  same Solomon then, who was formerly righteous and wise but who ran a risk of being deprived of all the kingdom  on account of his sin, God permitted to keep the sixth part of the government on account of the renown of his  father.(2)
    Now if thy zeal had been concerned with worldly eloquence, and then thou hadst given it up in despair, I should  have reminded thee of the law courts and the judgment seat and the victories achieved there and the former


boldness of thy speech, and should have exhorted thee to return to your labours in that behalf: but inasmuch as our  race is for heavenly things, and we take no account of the things which are on each, I put thee in remembrance of  another court of justice, and of that fearful and tremendous seat of judgment; "for we must all be made manifest  before the judgment seat of Christ."(1) "And He will then sit as judge who is now disregarded by thee. What shall  we say then, let me ask at that time? or what defence shall we make, if we continue to disregard Him? What shall  we say then? Shall we plead the anxieties of business? Nay He has anticipated this by saying, "What shall it profit a  man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"(2) Or that we have been deceived by others? But it did not  help Adam in his defence to screen himself behind his wife, and say "the woman whom thou gavest me, she  deceived me;"(3) even as the serpent was no excuse for the woman. Terrible, O beloved Theodore, is that tribunal,  one which needs no accusers and waits for no witnesses; for "all things are naked and laid open to Him"(4) who  judges us, and we must submit to give an account not of deeds only but also of thoughts; for that judge is quick to  discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.(5) But perhaps you will allege weakness of nature as the excuse, and  inability to bear the yoke. And what kind of defence is this, that you have not strength to bear the easy yoke, that  you are unable to carry the light burden? Is recovery from fatigue a grievous and oppressive thing? For it is to this  that Christ calls us, saying," Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my  yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light"(6)  For what can be lighter I ask, than to be released from anxieties, and business, and fears, and labors, and to stand  outside the rough billows of life, and dwell in a tranquil haven?
    3. Which of all things in the world seems to you most desirable and enviable? No doubt you will say government,  and wealth, and public reputation. And yet what is more wretched than these things when they are compared with  the liberty of Christians. For the ruler is subjected to the wrath of the populace and to the irrational impulses of the  multitude, and to the fear of higher rulers, and to anxieties on behalf of those who are ruled, and the ruler of  yesterday becomes a private citizen to-day; for this present life in no wise differs from a stage, but just as there, one  man fills the position of a king, a second of a general, and a third of a soldier, but when evening has come on the  king is no king, the ruler no ruler, and the general no general, even so also in that day each man will receive his  due reward not according to the outward part which he has played but according to his works. Well ! is glory a  precious thing which perishes like the power of grass? or wealth, the possessors of which are pronounced unhappy?  "For woe" we read, "to the rich;"(7) and again, "Woe unto them who trust in their strength and boast themselves  in the multitude of their riches !"(8) But the Christian never becomes a private person after being a ruler, or a poor  man after being rich, or without honour after being held in honour; but he abides rich even when he is poor, and is  exited when he strives to humble himself; and from the rule which he exercises no human being can depose him,  but only one of those rulers who are under the power of this world's potentate of darkness.
    "Marriage is right," you say; I also assent to this. For "marriage," we read, "is honourable and the bed undefiled;  but fornicators and adulterers God will judge;"(9) but it is no longer possible for thee to observe the right  conditions of marriage. For if he who has been attached to a heavenly bridegroom deserts him, and joins himself to  a wife the act is adultery, even if you call it marriage ten thousand times over; or rather it is worse than adultery in  proportion as God is greater than man. Let no one deceive thee saying: "God hath not forbidden to marry;" I  know this as well as you; He has not forbidden to marry, but He has forbidden to commit adultery, may you be  preserved from ever engaging thyself in marriage ! And why dost thou marvel if marriage is judged as if it were  adultery, when God is disregarded? Slaughter has brought about righteousness, and mercy has been a cause of  condemnation more than slaughter; because the latter has been according to the mind of God but the former has  been forbidden. It was reckoned to Phinees for righteousness that he pierced to death the woman who committed  fornication, together with the fornicator;(10) but Samuel, that saint of God although he wept and mourned and  entreated for whole nights, could not rescue Saul from the condemnation which God issued against him, because  he saved, contrary to the design of God the king of the allen tribes whom he ought to have slain.(11) If then mercy  has been a cause of condemnation more than


slaughter because God was disobeyed, what wonder is it if marriage condemns more than adultery when it involves  the rejection of Christ? For, as I said at the beginning, if you were a private person no one would indict you for  shunning to serve as a soldier; but now thou art no longer thy own master, being engaged in the service of so great  a king. For if the wife hath not power over her own body,  but the husband,(1) much more they who live in Christ  must be unable to have authority over  their body. He who is now despised, the same will then be our judge; think  ever on Him and the river of fire: "For a river of fire" we read, "winds before His face;"(2) for it is impossible for  one who has been delivered over by Him to the fire to expect any end of his punishment. But the unseemly  pleasures of this life no-wise differ from shadows and dreams; for before the deed of sin is completed, the  conditions of pleasure are extinguished; and the punishments for these have no limit. And the sweetness lasts for a  little while but the pain is everlasting.
    Tell me, what is there stable in this world? Wealth which often does not last even to the evening? Or glory? Hear  what a certain righteous man says: "My life is swifter than a runner."(3) For as they dash away before they stand  still, even so does this glory take to flight before it has fairly reached us. Nothing is more precious than the soul;  and even they who have gone to the extremity of folly have not been ignorant of this; for "there is no equivalent of  the soul" is the saying of a heathen poet.(4) I know that thou hast become much weaker for the struggle with the  Evil One; I know that thou art standing in the very midst of the flame of pleasures; but if thou wilt say to the  enemy "We do not serve thy pleasures, and we do not bow down to the root of all thy evils; if thou wilt bend thine  eye upward, the Saviour will even now shake out the fire, and will burn up those who have flung thee into it, and  will send to thee in the midst of the furnace a cloud, and dew, and a rustling breeze, so that the fire may not lay  hold of thy thought or thy conscience. Only do not consume thyself with fire. For the arms and engines of  besiegers have often been unable to destroy the fortification of cities, but the treachery of one or two of the citizens  dwelling inside has betrayed them to the enemy without any trouble on his part. And now if none of thy thoughts  within betray thee, should the Evil One bring countless engines against thee from without he will bring them in  vain.
4. Thou hast by the grace of God many and great men who sympathize with thy trouble, who encourage you to the  fight, who tremble for thy soul,--Valerius the holy man of God, Florentius who is in every respect his brother,  Porphyrius who is wise with the wisdom of Christ, and many others. These are daily mourning, and praying for  you without ceasing; and they would have obtained what they asked for, long ago, if only thou hadst been willing to  withdraw thyself a little space out of the hands of the enemy. Now then is it not strange that, whilst others do not  even now despair of thy salvation, but are continually praying that they may have their member restored to them,  thou thyself, having once fallen, art unwilling to get up again, and remainest prostrate, all but crying aloud to the  enemy: "Slay me, smite me, spare not?" "Does he who falls not rise up again ?"(5) speaks the divine oracle. But  thou art striving against this and contradicting it; for if one who has fallen despairs it is as much as to say that he  who falls does not rise up again I entreat thee do not so great a wrong to thyself; do not pour upon us such a flood  of sorrow. I do not say at the present time, when thou hast not yet completed thy twentieth year, but even if, after  achieving many things, and spending thy whole life in Christ thou hadst, in extreme old age, experienced this  attack, even then it would not have been right to despair, but to call to mind the robber who was justified on the  cross, the labourers who wrought about the eleventh hour, and received the wages of the whole day. But as it is not  well that those who have fallen near the very extremity of life should abandon hope, if they be sober minded, so on  the other hand it is not safe to feed upon this hope, and say, "Here for a while, I will enjoy the sweets of life, but  afterwards, when I have worked for a short time, I shall receive the wages of the whole working time. For I  recollect hearing you often say, when many were exhorting you to frequent the schools;(6) "But what if I bring my  life to a bad end in a short space of time, how shall I depart to Him who has said ' Delay not to turn to the Lord,  nor put off day after day?' "(7) Recover this thought, and stand in fear of the thief; for by this name Christ calls our  departure hence, because it comes upon us unawares. Consider the anxieties of life which befall us, both those  which are personal to ourselves, and which are common to us with others, the fear (of rulers, the envy of citizens,  the danger which


often hangs over us imperilling even life itself, the labours, the distresses, the servile flatteries, such as are  unbecoming even to slaves if they be earnest minded mere the fruit of our labours coming to an end in this world,  a fact which is the most distressing of all. It has been the lot indeed of many to miss the enjoyment of the things  for which they have laboured, and after having consumed the prime of their manhood in labours and perils, just  when they hoped that they should receive their reward they have departed taking nothing with them. For if, after  undergoing many danger, and completing many campaigns, one will scarcely look upon an earthly king with  confidence, how will any one be able to behold the heavenly king, if he has fired and fought for another all his  time.
    5. Would you have me speak of the domestic cares of wife, and children and slaves? It is an evil thing to wed a  very poor wife, or a very rich one; for the former is injurious to the husbands means, the latter to his authority and  independence. It is a grievous thing to have children, still more grievous not to have any; for in the latter case  marriage has been to no purpose, in the former a bitter bondage has to be undergone. If a child is sick, it is the  occasion of no small fear; if he dies an untimely death, there is inconsolable grief; and at every stage of growth  there are various anxieties on their account, and many fears and toils. And what is one to say to the rascalities of  domestic slaves? Is this then life Theodore, when one's soul is distracted in so many directions, when a man has to  serve so many, to live for so many, and never for himself? Now amongst us, O friend, none of these things  happen, I appeal to yourself as a witness. For during that short time when you were willing to lift your head above  the waves of this world, you know what great cheerfulness and gladness you enjoyed. For there is no man free,  save only he who fives for Christ. He stands superior to all troubles, and if he does not choose to injure himself no  one else will be able to do this, but he is impregnable; he is not stung by the loss of wealth; for he has learned that  we "brought nothing into this world, neither can we carry anything out;"(1) he is not caught by the longings of  ambition or glory; for he has learned that our citizenship is in heaven;(2) no one annoys him by abuse, or provokes  him by blows; there is only one calamity for a Christian which is, disobedience to God; but all the other things,  such as loss of property, exile, peril of life, he does not even reckon to be a grievance at all. And that which all  dread, departure hence to the other world,--this is to him sweeter than life itself. For as when one has climbed to  the top of a cliff and gazes on the sea and those who are sailing upon it, he sees some being washed by the waves,  others running upon hidden rocks, some hurrying in one direction, others being driven in another like prisoners,  by the force of the gale, many actually in the water, some of them using their hands only in the place of a boat and  a rudder, and many drifting along upon a single plank, or some fragment of the vessel, others floating dead, a  scene of manifold and various disaster; even so he who is engaged in the service of Christ drawing himself out of  the turmoil and stormy billows of life takes his seat upon secure and lofty ground. For what position can be loftier  or more secure than that in which a man has only one anxiety, "How he ought to please God ? "(3) Hast thou seen  the shipwrecks, Theodore, of those who sail upon this sea? Wherefore, I beseech thee, avoid the deep water, avoid  the stormy billows, and seize some lofty spot where it is not possible to be captured. There is a resurrection, there  is a judgment, there is a terrible tribunal which awaits us when we have gone out of this world; "we must all stand  before the judgment-seat of Christ."(4) It is not in vain that we are threatened with hell fire, it is not without  purpose that such great blessings have been prepared for us. The things of this life are a shadow, and more naught  even than a shadow, being full of many fears, and many dangers, and extreme bondage. Do not then deprive  thyself both of that world, and of this, when you may gain both, if you please. Now that they who live in Christ will  gain the things of this world Paul teaches us when he says: "But I spare you;"(5) and again "But this I say for your  profit."(6) Seest thou that even here he who cares for the things of the Lord is superior to the man who has  married? It is not possible for one who has departed to the other world to repent; no athlete, when he has quitted  the lists, and the spectators have dispersed, can contend again.
    Be always thinking of these things, and break in pieces the sharp sword of the Evil One, by means of which he  destroys many. And this is despair, which cuts off from hope those who have been overthrown. This is the strong  weapon of the enemy, and the only way in which he holds down those who have been made captives is by binding  them with this chain, which, if we choose, we shall speedily be able to break by the grace of God. I know that I have  exceeded the due measure of a


letter, but forgive me; for I am not willingly in this condition, but have been constrained by my love and sorrow,  owing to which I forced myself to write this letter also,(1) although many would have prevented me. "Cease  labouring in vain and sowing upon rock" many have been saying to me. But I hearkened to none of them. For  there is hope I said to myself that, God willing, my letter will accomplish something; but if that which we deprecate  should take place, we shall at least have the advantage of escaping self reproach for keeping silence, and we shall  not be worse than sailors on the sea, who, when they behold men of their own craft drifting on a plank, because  their ship has been broken to pieces by the winds and waves, take down their sails, and cast anchor, and get into a  boat and try to rescue the men, although strangers, known to them only in consequence of their calamity. But if  the others were unwilling to be rescued no one would accuse those of their destruction who attempted to save  them. This is what we offer; but we trust that by the grace of God you also will do your part, and we shall again see  you occupying an eminent place in the flock of Christ. In answer to the prayers of the saints may we speedily  receive thee back, dear friend, sound in the true health. If thou hast any regard for us, and hast not utterly cast us  out of thy memory please vouchsafe a reply to our letter; for in so doing thou wilt give us much pleasure.

                        LETTER TO A YOUNG WIDOW.

    1. That you have sustained a severe blow, and that the weapon directed from above has been planted in a vital  part all will readily admit, and none even of the most rigid moralists will deny it; but since they who are stricken  with sorrow ought not to spend their whole time in mourning and tears, but to make good provision also for the  healing of their wounds, lest, if they be neglected their tears should aggravate the wound, and the fire of their  sorrow become inflamed, it is a good thing to listen to words of consolation, and restraining for a brief season at  least the fountain of thy tears to surrender thyself to those who endeavour to console thee. On this account I  abstained from troubling you when your sorrow was at its height, and the thunderbolt had only just fallen upon  you; but having waited an interval and permitted you to take your fill of mourning, now that you are able to look  out a little through the mist, and to open, your ears to those who attempt to comfort you, I also would second the  words of your handmaids by some contributions of my own. For whilst the tempest is still severe, and a full gale of  sorrow is blowing, he who exhorts another to desist from grief would only provoke him to increased lamentations  and having incurred his hatred would add fuel to the flame by such speeches besides being regarded himself as an  unkind and foolish person. But when the troubled water has begun to subside, and God has allayed the fury of the  waves, then we may freely spread the sails of our discourse. For in a moderate storm skill may perhaps play its part  but when the onslaught of the wind is irresistible experience is of no avail. For these reasons I have hitherto held  my peace, and even now have only just ventured to break silence because I have heard from thy uncle that one may  begin to take courage, as some of your more esteemed handmaids are now venturing to discourse at length upon  these matters, women also outside your own household, who are your kinsfolk, or are otherwise qualified for this  office. Now if you allow them to talk to you I have the greatest hope and confidence that you will not disdain my  words but do your best to give them a calm and quiet heating. Under any circumstances indeed the female sex is  the more apt to be sensitive to suffering; but when in addition there is youth, and untimely widowhood, and  inexperience in business, and a great crowd of cares, while the whole life previously has been nurtured in the midst  of luxury, and cheerfulness and wealth, the evil is increased many fold, and if she who is subjected to it does not  obtain help from on high even an accidental thought will be able to unhinge her. Now I hold this to be the  foremost and greatest evidence of God's care concerning thee; for that thou hast not been overwhelmed by grief,  nor driven out of thy natural condition of mind when such great troubles suddenly concurred to afflict thee was  not due to any human assistance but to the almighty hand the understanding of which there is no measure, the  wisdom which is past finding out, the "Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."(1) "For He Himself" it is  said "hath smitten us, and He will heal us; He will strike, and He will dress the wound and make us whole."(2)
    For as long as that blessed husband of thine was with thee, thou didst enjoy honour, and care and zealous  attention; in fact you enjoyed such as you might expect to enjoy from a husband; but since God took him to  Himself He has supplied his place to thee. And this is not my saying but that of the blessed prophet David for he  says "He will take up the fatherless and the widow,"(3) and elsewhere


he calls Him "father of the fatherless and judge of the widow;"(1) thus in many passages thou wilt see that He  earnestly considereth the cause of this class of mankind.
    2. But lest the continual repetition of this name of widow should upset thy soul, and disconcert thy reason,  having been inflicted on thee in the very flower of thy age, I wish first of all to discourse on this point, and to prove  to you that this name of widow is not a title of calamity but of honour, aye the greatest honour. For do not quote  the erroneous opinion of the world as a testimony, but the admonition of the blessed Paul, or rather of Christ. For  in his utterances Christ was speaking through him as he himself said "If ye seek a proof of Christ who is speaking  in me?"(2) What then does he say? "Let not a widow be enrolled under threescore years of age" and again "but the  younger widows refuse"(3) intending by both these sayings to indicate to us the importance of the matter. And  when he is making regulations about bishops he nowhere prescribes a standard of age, but in this case he is very  particular on the point, and, pray, why so? not because widowhood is greater than priesthood, but because widows  have greater labour to undergo than priests, being encompassed on many sides by a variety of business public and  private. For as an unfortified city lies exposed to all who wish to plunder it, so a young woman living in widowhood  has many who form designs upon her on every side not only those who aim at getting her money but also those  who are bent upon corrupting her modesty. And besides these we shall find that she is subjected to other  conditions also likely to occasion her fall. For the contempt of servants their negligence of business, the loss of that  respect which was formerly paid, the sight of contemporaries in prosperity, and often the hankering after luxury,  induce women to engage in a second marriage. Some there are who do not choose to unite themselves to men by  the law of marriage, but do so secretly and clandestinely. And they act thus in order to enjoy the praise of  widowhood; thus it is a state which seems to be not reproached, but admired and deemed worthy of honour among  men, not only amongst us who believe, but even amongst unbelievers also. For once when I was still a young man  I know that the sophist who taught me(4) (and he exceeded all men in his reverence for the gods) expressed  admiration for my mother before a large company. For enquiring, as was his wont, of those who sat beside him  who I was, and some one having said that I was the son of a woman who was a widow, he asked of me the age of  my mother and the duration of her widowhood, and when I told him that she was forty years of age of which  twenty had elapsed since she lost my father he was astonished and uttered a loud exclamation, and turning to those  present "Heavens!" cried he "what women there are amongst the Christians." So great is the admiration and  praise enjoyed by widowhood not only amongst ourselves, but also a amongst those who are outside the Church.   And being aware of all this the blessed Paul   said "Let not a widow be enrolled under threescore years of age."  And even after this great qualification of age he does not permit her to be ranked in this sacred society but  mentions some additional requisites "well reported of for good works, if she have brought up children if she have  lodged strangers if she have washed the saints feet if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed  every good work."(5) Heavens! what testing and scrutiny! how much virtue does he demand from the widow, and  how precisely does he define it! which he would not have done, had he not intended to entrust to her a position of  honour and dignity. And "the younger widows" he says "refuse; and then he adds the reason; "for when they have  waxed wanton against Christ they will marry."(6) By this expression he gives us to understand that they who have  lost their husbands are wedded to Christ in their stead. Observe how he asserts this by way of indicating the mild  and easy nature of this union; I refer to the passage "when they have waxed wanton against Christ they will  marry," as if He were some gentle husband who did not exercise authority over them, but suffered them to live in  freedom. Neither  did Paul confine his discourse on the subject to these remarks, but also in another place again he  has manifested great anxiety about it where he says "Now she who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth; but  she who is a widow indeed and desolate hath set her  hope in God, and continueth in prayers and supplications day  and night."(7) And writing to the Corinthians he says "But she is more blessed if she abide thus.(8) You see what  great praise is bestowed upon widowhood, and this in the New Testament, when the beauty of virginity also was  clearly brought to light. Nevertheless even the lustre of this state could not obscure the glories of widowhood, which  shines on brightly all the same, keeping its own value. When then we make mention of widowhood from time to  time, do not be cast down, nor consider the matter a reproach; for if this


be a matter of reproach, far more so is virginity.  But this is not the case; no! God forbid. For inasmuch as we all  admire and welcome women who live continently whilst their husbands are yet alive must we not be delighted with  those who manifest the same good feeling concerning their husbands when they have departed this, life, and praise  them accordingly? As I was saying then, as long as you lived with the blessed Therasius you enjoyed honour and  consideration such as is natural for a wife to receive from a husband; but now in his place you have God who is the  Lord of all, who hath of old been thy protector and will be so now   still more and with yet greater earnestness; and  as I have already said He hath displayed no slight token of his providential care by having preserved thee whole and  unharmed in the midst of such a furnace of anxiety and sorrow, and not suffering thee to undergo anything  undesirable. Now if He has not permitted any shipwreck to take place in the midst of so much rough water, much  more will He preserve thy soul in calm weather and lighten the burden of thy widowhood, and the consequences of  it which seem to be so terrible.
    3. Now if it is not the name of widow which distresses you, but the loss of such a husband I grant you that all the  world over amongst  men engaged in secular affairs there have been few like him, so affectionate, so gentle, so  humble, so sincere, so understanding, so devout. And certainly if he had altogether perished, and utterly ceased to  be, it would be right to be distressed, and sorrowful; but if he has only sailed into the tranquil haven, and taken his  journey to Him who is really his king, one ought not to mourn but to rejoice on these accounts. For this death is  not death, but only a kind of emigration and translation from the worse to the better, from earth to heaven, from  men to angels, and archangels, and Him who is the Lord of angels and archangels. For here on earth whilst he was  serving the  emperor there were dangers to be expected and many plots arising from men who bore ill-will, for in  proportion as his reputation increased   did the designs also of enemies abound; but now that he has departed to  the other world none of these things can be suspected. Wherefore in proportion as you grieve that God has taken  away one who was so good and worthy you ought to rejoice that he has departed in much safety and honour, and  being released from the trouble which besets this present season of danger, is in great peace and tranquillity. For is  it not out of place to acknowledge that heaven is far better than earth, and yet to mourn those who are translated  from this world to the other? For if that blessed husband of thine had been one of those who lived a shameful life  contrary to what God approved it would have been right to bewail and lament for him not only when he had  departed, but whilst he was still living; but inasmuch as he was one of those who are the friends of God we  should  take pleasure in him not only whilst living, but also when he has been laid to rest. And that we ought to act thus  thou hast surely heard the words of the blessed Paul "to depart and to be with Christ which is far better."(1) But  perhaps you long to hear your husband's words, and enjoy the affection which you bestowed upon him, and you  yearn for his society, and the glory which you had on his account, and the splendour, and honour, and security, and  all these things being gone distress and darken  your life. Well! the affection which you be stowed on him you can  keep now just as you formerly did.
    For such is the power of love, it embraces, and unites, and fastens together not only those who are present, and  near, and visible but also those who are far distant; and neither length of time, nor separation in space, nor  anything else of that kind can break up and sunder in pieces the affection of the soul. But if you wish to behold him  face to face (for this I know is what you specially long for) keep thy bed in his honour sacred from the touch of any  other man, and do thy best to manifest a life like his, and then assuredly thou shalt depart one day to join the same  company with him, not to dwell with him for five years as thou didst here, nor for 20, or 100, nor for a thousand  or twice that number but for infinite and endless ages. For it is not any physical relation, but a correspondence in  the way of living which qualifies for the inheritance of those regions of rest. For if it was identity of moral  constitution which brought Lazarus although a stranger to Abraham into the same heavenly bosom with him, and  qualifies many from east and west to sit down with him, the place of rest will receive thee also with the good  Therasius, if thou wilt exhibit the same manner of life as his, and then thou shalt receive him back again no longer  in that corporeal beauty which he had when he departed, but in lustre of another kind, and splendour outshining  the rays of the sun. For this body, even if it reaches a very high standard of beauty is nevertheless perishable; but  the bodies of those who have been well pleasing to God, will be invested with such glory as these eyes cannot even  look upon. And God has furnished us with certain tokens, and obscure indications of these things both in the Old  and in the New


Dispensation. For in the former the face of Moses shone with such glory as to be intolerable to the eyes of the  Israelites, and in the New the face of Christ shone far more brilliantly than his. For tell me if any one had  promised to make your husband king of all the earth, and then had commanded you to withdraw for twenty years  on his account, and had promised after that to restore him to you with the diadem and the purple, and to place you  again in the same rank with him, would you not have meekly endured the separation with due self-control? Would  you not have been well pleased with the gift, and deemed it a thing worth praying for? Well then submit to this  now, not for the sake of a kingdom on earth, but of a kingdom in Heaven; not to receive him back clad in a vesture  of gold but robed in immortality and glory such as is fitting for them to have who dwell in Heaven. And if you find  the trial very unbearable owing to its long duration, it may be that he will visit you by means of visions and  converse with you as he was wont to do, and show you the face for which you yearn: let this be thy consolation  taking the place of letters, though indeed it is far more definite than letters. For in the latter case there are but lines  traced with the pen to look upon, but in the former you see the form of his visage, and his gentle smile, his figure  and his movements, you hear his speech and recognize the voice which you loved so well.
    4. But since you mourn also over the loss of security which you formerly enjoyed on his account, and perhaps  also for the sake of those great hopes of distinction which were dawning (for I used to hear that he would speedily  arrive at the dignity of praefect, and this, I fancy, it is which more especially upsets and distresses thy soul) consider  I pray the case of those who have been in a higher official position than his, and yet have brought their life to a very  pitiable end. Let me. recall them to your memory: you probably know Theodore of Sicily by reputation:(1) for he  was one of the most distinguished men; he surpassed all in bodily stature and beauty as well as in the confidence  which he enjoyed with the Emperor, and he had more power than any member of the royal household, but he did   not bear this prosperity meekly, and having entered into a plot against the Emperor he was taken prisoner and  miserably beheaded; and his wife who was not a whit inferior to thy noble self in education and birth and all other  respects was suddenly stripped of all her possessions, deprived even of her freedom also, and enrolled amongst the  household slaves, and compelled to lead a life more pitiable than any  bondmaid, having this advantage only over  the rest that owing to the extreme severity of her calamity she moved to tears all who beheld her. And it is said also  that Artemisia who was the wife of a man of high reputation, since he also aimed at usurping the throne, was  reduced to this same condition of poverty, and also to blindness; for the depth of her despondency, and the  abundance of her tears destroyed her sight; and now she has need of persons to lead her by the hand, and to  conduct her to the doors of others that she may obtain the necessary supply of food.(2) And I might mention many  other families which, have been brought down in this way did I not know thee to be too pious and prudent in  disposition to wish to find consolation for thy own calamity out of the misfortunes of others. And the only reason  why I mentioned those instances to which I referred just now was that you might learn that human things are  nothingness but that truly  as the prophet says "all the glory of man is as the flower of grass."(3) For in proportion  to men's elevation and splendour is the ruin wrought for them, not only in the case of those who are under rule,  but also of the rulers themselves. For it would be impossible to find any private family which has been immersed in  such great calamities as the ills in which the imperial house has been steeped. For untimely loss of parents, and of  husbands, and violent forms of death, more outrageous and painful than those which occur in tragedies, especially  beset this kind of government.
    Now passing over ancient times, of those who have reigned in our own generation, nine in all, only two have  ended their life by a natural death; and of the others one was slain by a usurper,(4) one in battle,(5) one by a  conspiracy of his household guards,(6) one by the very man who elected him, and invested him with the purple,(7)  and of their wives some, as it is reported, perished by poison, others died of mere sorrow; while of those who still  survive one, who has an orphan son, is trembling with alarm lest any of those who are in power dreading what  may happen in the future should destroy him;(8) another has reluctantly yielded to much entreaty to return from  the exile into


which she had been driven by him who held the chief power.(1) And of the wives of the present rulers the one who  has recovered a little from her former calamities has much sorrow mingled with her joy because the possessor of  power is still young and inexperienced and has many designing men on all sides of him;(2) and the other is ready  to die of fear, and spends her time more miserably than criminals condemned to death because her husband ever  since he assumed the crown up to the present day has been constantly engaged in warfare and fighting, and is  more exhausted by the shame and the reproaches which assail him on all sides than by actual calamities.(3) For that  which has never taken place has now come to pass, the barbarians leaving their own country have overrun an  infinite space of our territory,   and that many times over, and having set fire to the land, and captured the towns  they are   not minded to return home again, but after the manner of men who are keeping holiday rather than  making war, they laugh us all to scorn;(4) and it is said that one of their kings declared that he was amazed at the  impudence of our soldiers, who although slaughtered more easily than sheep still expect to conquer, and are not  willing to quit their own country; for he said that he himself was satiated with the work of cutting them to pieces.  Imagine what the feelings of the Emperor and his wife must be on hearing these words!
    5. And since I have made mention of this  war, a great crowd of widows has occurred to me, who in past times  derived very great lustre from the honour enjoyed by their husbands, but now are all arrayed in a dark mourning  robe and spend their whole time in lamentation. For they had not the advantage which was enjoyed by thy dear  self. For thou, my excellent friend, didst see that goodly husband of thine lying on his bed, and didst hear his last  words, and receive his instructions as to what should be done about the affairs of the family, and learn how by the  provisions of his will they were guarded against every kind of encroachment on the part of rapacious and designing  men. And not only this, but also when he was yet lying dead thou didst often fling thyself upon the body, and kiss  his eyes, and embrace him, and wail over him, and thou didst see him conducted to burial with much honour, and  didst everything necessary for his obsequies, as was fitting, and from frequent visits to his grave thou hast no slight  consolation of thy sorrow. But these women have been deprived of all these things, having all sent out their  husbands to war in the hope of receiving them back again, instead of which it has been their lot to receive the bitter  tidings of their death. Neither has any one come back to them with the bodies of their slain, or bringing anything  save a message describing the manner of their death. And some there are who have not even been vouchsafed this  record, or been enabled to learn how their husbands fell, as they were buried beneath a heap of slain in the thick of  battle.
    And what wonder if most of the generals perished thus, when even the Emperor himself having been blockaded  in a certain village with a few soldiers did not dare to go out and oppose the assailants, but remained inside and  when the enemy had set fire to the building was burnt to death together with all that were therein, not men only,  but horses, beams and walls, so that the whole was turned into a heap of ashes? And this was the tale which they  who departed to war with the Emperor brought back to his wife in place of the Emperor himself.(5) For the  splendours of the world differ in no-wise whatever from the things which happen on the stage, and the beauty of  spring flowers. For in the first place they flee away before they have been manifested; and then, even if they have  strength to last a little while, they speedily become ready to decay. For what is more worthless than the honour and  glory which is paid by the multitude? what fruit has it? what kind of profit? what serviceable end does it meet? And  would that this only was the evil! but in fact besides failing to get anything good from the possession, he who owns  this most cruel mistress is continually forced to bear much which is painful and injurious; for mistress she is of  those who own her, and in proportion as she is flattered by her slaves does she exalt herself against them, and ties  them down by increasingly harsh commands; but she would never be able to revenge herself on those who despise  and neglect her; so much fiercer is she than any tyrant and wild beast. For tyrants and wild animals are often  mollified by humouring, but her fury is greatest when we are most complaisant to her, and if she finds any one  who will listen to her, and yield to her in everything there is no kind of command from which in future she can be  induced to abstain.


Moreover she has also another ally whom one would not do wrong to call her daughter. For after she herself has  grown to maturity and fairly taken root amongst us, she then produces arrogance, a thing which is no less able  than herself to drive the soul of those who possess it into headlong ruin.
    6. Tell me then dost thou lament this that God hath reserved thee from such a cruel bondage, and that He has  barred every avenue against these pestilential diseases? For whilst thy husband was living they ceased not  continually assaulting the thoughts of thy heart, but since his death they have no starting point whence they can lay  hold of thy understanding. This then is a discipline which ought to be practised in future--to abstain from  lamenting the withdrawal of these evils, and from hankering after the bitter tyranny which they exercise. For  where they blow a heavy blast they upset all things from the foundation and shatter them to pieces; and just as  many prostitutes, although by nature ill favoured and ugly, do yet by means of enamels and pigments excite the  feelings of the youthful whilst they are still tender, and when they have got them under their control treat them  more insolently than any slave; so also do these passions, vainglory and arrogance, defile the souls of men more  than any other kind of pollution.
    On this account also wealth has seemed to the majority of men to be a good thing; at least when it is stripped of  this passion of vainglory it will no longer seem desirable. At any rate those who have been permitted to obtain in  the midst of their poverty popular glory have no longer preferred wealth, but rather have despised much gold when  it was bestowed upon them. And you have no need to learn from me who these men were, for you know them  better than I do, Epaminondas, Socrates, Aristeides, Diogenes, Krates who turned his own land into a sheep  walk.(1) The others indeed, inasmuch as it was not possible for them to get rich, saw glory brought to them in  the  midst of their poverty, and straightway  devoted themselves to it, but this man threw away even what he possessed;  so infatuated were they in the pursuit of this cruel monster. Let us not then weep because God has rescued us from  this shameful thraldom which is an  object of derision and of much reproach; for there is nothing splendid in it save  the name it bears, and in reality it places those who possess it in a position which belies its appellation, and there is  no one who does not laugh to scorn the man who does anything with a view to glory. For it is only he who has not  an eye to this who will be enabled to win respect and glory; but he who sets a great value on popular glory, and  does and endures everything for the sake of obtaining it is the very man who will fail to attain it, and be subjected  to all the exact opposites of glory, ridicule, and accusation, scoffing, enmity and hatred. And this is wont to happen  not only among men, but also among you women, and indeed more especially in your case. For the woman who is  unaffected in mien, and gait, and dress, and seeks no honour from any one is admired by all women, and they are  ecstatic in their praise and call her blessed, and invoke all manner of good things upon her; but a vain-glorious  woman they behold with aversion and detestation, and avoid her like some wild beast and load her with infinite  execrations and abuse. And not only do we escape these evils by refusing to accept popular glory, but we shall gain  the highest advantages in addition to those which have been already mentioned, being trained gradually to loosen  our hold of earth and move in the direction of heaven, and despise all worldly things. For he who feels no need of  the honour which comes from men, will perform with security whatever good things he does, and neither in the  troubles, nor in the prosperities of this life will he be very seriously affected; for neither can the former depress  him, and cast him down, nor can the latter elate and puff him up, but in precarious and troubled circumstances he  himself remains exempt from change of any kind. And this I expect will speedily be the case with your own soul,  and having once for all torn yourself away from all worldly interests you will display amongst us a heavenly  manner of life, and in a little while will laugh to scorn the glory which you now lament, and despise its hollow and  vain mask. But if you long for the security which you formerly enjoyed owing to your husband, and the protection  of your property, and immunity from the designs of any of those persons who trample upon the misfortunes of  others "Cast thy care upon the Lord and He will nourish thee."(2) "For look," it is said, "to past generations and  see, who ever placed his hope on the Lord and was put to shame, or who ever called upon Him, and was neglected,  or who ever remained constant to His commandments and was forsaken?"(3) For He who has alleviated this  intolerable calamity, and placed you even now in a state of tranquillity will also avert impending evils; for that you  will never receive another blow more severe than this you would yourself admit.


Having then so bravely borne present troubles, and this when you were inexperienced, you will far more easily  endure future events should any of the things contrary to our wishes, which God forbid, occur. Therefore seek  Heaven, and all things which conduce to life in the other world, and none of the things here will be able to harm  thee, not even the world-ruler of darkness himself, if only we do not injure ourselves. For if any one deprives us of  our substance, or hews our body in pieces, none of these things concern us, if our soul abides in its integrity.
    7. Now, once for all, if you wish your property to abide with you in security and yet further to increase I will  show thee the plan, and the place where none of those who have designs upon it will be allowed to enter. What  then is the place? It is Heaven. Send away thy possessions to that good husband of thine and neither thief, nor  schemer, nor any other destructive thing will be able to pounce upon them. If you deposit these goods in the other  world, you will find much profit arising from them. For all things which we plant in Heaven yield a large and  abundant crop, such as might naturally be expected from things which have their roots in Heaven. And if  you do  this, see what blessings you will enjoy, m the first place eternal life and the things promised to those who love God,  "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man," and in the second place  perpetual intercourse with thy good husband; and you will relieve yourself from the cares and fears, and dangers,  and designs, and enmity and hatred which beset you here. For as long as you are surrounded with this property  there will probably be some to make attempts upon it; but if you transfer it to Heaven, you will lead a life of  security and safety, and much tranquillity, enjoying independence combined with godliness. For it is very  irrational, when one wishes to buy land, and is seeking for productive ground, if, Heaven being proposed to him  instead of earth, and the possibility presented of obtaining an estate there he abides still on earth, and puts up with  the toils that are connected with it; for it often disappoints our hopes.
    But since thy soul is grievously upset and vexed on account of the expectation often entertained that thy husband  would attain the rank of prefect, and the thought that he was untimely snatched away from that dignity consider  first of all this fact, that even if this hope was a very well grounded one nevertheless it was only a human hope,  which often falls to the ground; and we see many things of this kind happening in life, those which were  confidently expected having remained unfulfilled, whereas those which never even entered the mind have  frequently come to pass, and this we constantly see occurring everywhere in cases of governments and kingdoms,  and inheritances, and marriages. Wherefore even if the opportunity were very near at hand, yet as the proverb says  "between the cup and the lip there is many a slip" and the Scripture saith "from the morning until the evening the  time is changed."(1)
    So also a king who is here to-day is dead tomorrow; and again this same wise man illustrating the reversal of  men's hopes says "many tyrants have sat down upon the ground, and one that was never thought of has worn the  crown."(2) And it was not absolutely certain that if he lived he would arrive at this dignity; for that which belongs  to the future is uncertain, and causes us to have various suspicions. For on what grounds was it evident that had he  lived he would have attained   that dignity and that things would not have  turned out the other way, and that he  would have lost the office he actually held either from falling a victim to disease, or from being exposed to the envy  and ill will of those who wished to excel him in prosperity, or from suffering some other grievous misfortune. But  let us suppose, if you please, that it was perfectly evident that in any case had he survived he would have obtained  this high distinction; then in proportion to the magnitude of the dignity would have been the increased dangers,  and anxieties, and intrigues which he must have encountered. Or put these even on one side, and let us suppose  him to traverse that sea of difficulties safely, and in much tranquillity; then tell me what is the goal? not that which  he has now reached; no, not that, but something different, probably unpleasant and undesirable. In the first place  his sight of heaven, and heavenly things would have been delayed, which is no small loss to those who have put  their trust in things to come; and in the next place, even had he lived a very pure life yet the length of his life and  the exigencies of his high office would have prevented his departing in such a pure condition as has now been the  case. In fact it is uncertain whether he might not have undergone many changes and given way to indolence before  he breathed his last. For now we are confident that by the grace of God he has taken his flight to the region of rest,  because he had not committed himself to any of those deeds which exclude from the kingdom of Heaven; but in  that case after long contact with public busi-


ness, he might probably have contracted great  defilement. For it is an exceedingly rare thing for one who is  moving in the midst of such great evils to hold a straight course, but to go   astray, both wittingly and against his  will, is a   natural thing, and one which constantly occurs. But, as it is, we have been relieved. from this  apprehension, and we are firmly persuaded that in the great day he will appear in   much radiance, shining forth  near the King, and going with the angels in advance of Christ and clad with the robe of unutterable glory, and  standing by the side of the King as he gives judgment, and acting as one of His chief ministers. Wherefore desisting  from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that  having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to  him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a  bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more  delightful and far nobler kind.



    On the holy martyr Saint Ignatius, the god-bearer,(1) archbishop of Antioch the great, who was carried off to  Rome, and there suffered martyrdom, and thence was conveyed back again to Antioch.
    1. Sumptuous and splend identertainers give frequent and constant entertainments, alike to display their own  wealth, and to show goodwill to their acquaintance. So also the grace of the Spirit, affording us a proof of his own  power, and displaying much goodwill towards the friends of God, sets before us successively and constantly the  tables of the martyrs. Lately, for instance, a maiden quite young, and unmarried, the blessed martyr Pelagia,  entertained us, with  much joy. To-day again, this blessed and noble martyr Ignatius has succeeded to her feast.  The persons are different: The table is one. The wrestlings are varied: The crown is one. The contests are  manifold: The prize is the same. For in the case of the heathen contests, since the tasks are bodily, men alone are,  with reason, admitted. But here,  since the contest is wholly concerning the soul, the lists are open to each sex, for  each kind the theatre is arranged. Neither do men alone disrobe, in order that the women may not take refuge in  the weakness of their nature, and seem to have a plausible excuse, nor have women only quitted themselves like  men, lest the race of men be put to shame; but on this side and on that many are proclaimed conquerors, and are  crowned, in order that thou mayest learn by means of the exploits themselves that in Christ Jesus neither male nor  female,(2) neither sex, nor weakness of body, nor age, nor any such thing could be a hindrance to those who run in  the course of religion; if there be a noble readiness, and an eager mind, and a fear of God, fervent and kindling, be  established in our souls. On this account both maidens and women, and men, both young and old, and slaves, and  freemen, and every rank, and every age, and each sex, disrobe for those contests, and in no respect suffer harm,  since they have brought a noble purpose to these wrestlings. The season then already calls us to discourse of the  mighty works of this saint. But our   reckoning is disturbed and confused, not knowing what to say first, what  second, what third,  so great a multitude of things calling for   eulogy surrounds us, on every side; and we  experience the same thing as if any one went into a meadow, and seeing many a rosebush and many a violet, and  an abundance of lilies, and other spring flowers manifold and varied, should be in doubt what he should look at  first, what second, since each of those he saw invites him to bestow his glances on itself. For we too, coming to this  spiritual meadow of the mighty works of Ignatius, and beholding not the flowers of spring, but the manifold and  varied fruit of the spirit in the soul of this man, are confused and in perplexity, not knowing to which we are first  to give our consideration, as each of the things we see draws us away from its neighbours, and entices the eye of  the soul to the sight of its own beauty. For see, he presided over the Church   among us nobly, and with such  carefulness as Christ desires. For that which Christ declared


to be the highest standard and rule of the Episcopal office, did this man display by his deeds. For having heard  Christ saying, the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep,(1) with all courage he did lay it down for the  sheep.
    He held true converse with the apostles and drank of spiritual fountains. What kind of person then is it likely  that he was who had been reared, and who had everywhere held converse with them, and had shared with them  truths both lawful and unlawful to utter, and who seemed to them worthy of so great a dignity? The time again  came on, which demanded courage; and a soul which despised all things present, glowed with Divine love, and  valued things unseen before the things which are seen; and he lay aside the flesh with as much ease as one would  put off a garment. What then shall we speak of first? The teaching of the apostles which he gave proof of  throughout, or his indifference to this present life, or the strictness of his virtue, with which he administered his  rule over the Church; which shall we first call to mind? The martyr or the bishop or the apostle. For the grace of the  spirit having woven a threefold crown, thus bound it on his holy head, yea rather a manifold crown. For if any one  will consider them carefully, he will find each of the crowns, blossoming with other crowns for us.
    2. And if you will, let us come first to the praise of his episcopate. Does this seem to be one crown alone? come,  then, let us unfold it in speech, and you will see both two, and three, and more produced from it. For I do not  wonder at the man alone that he seemed to be worthy of so great an office, but that he obtained this office from  those saints, and that the hands of the blessed apostles touched his sacred head. For not even is this a slight thing to  be said in his praise, nor because he won greater grace from above, nor only because they caused more abundant  energy of the Spirit to come upon him, but because they bore witness that every virtue possessed by man was in  him. Now how this is, I tell you. Paul writing to Titus once on a time--and when I say Paul, I do not speak of him  alone, but also of Peter and James and John, and the whole band of them; for as in one lyre, the strings are  different strings, but the harmony is one, so also in the band of the apostles the persons are different, but the  teaching is one, since the artificer is one, I mean the Holy Spirit, who moves their souls, and Paul showing this  said, "Whether therefore they, or I, so we preach.(2) This man, then, writing to Titus, and showing what kind of  man the bishop ought to be, says, "For the bishop must be blameless as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon  angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober-minded,  just, holy, temperate, holding to the faithful word, which is according to the teaching, that he may be able both to  exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers;"(3) and to Timothy again, when writing upon this  subject, he says somewhat like this: "If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. The bishop,  therefore, must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to  hospitality, apt to teach, no brawler, no striker, but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money. Dost thou see what  strictness of virtue he demands from the bishop? For as some most excellent  painter from life, having mixed many  colors, if he be about to furnish an original likeness of the royal form, works with all accuracy, so that all who are  copying it, and painting from it, may have a likeness accurately drawn, so accordingly the blessed Paul, as though  painting some royal likeness, and furnishing an original sketch of it, having mixed the different colors of virtue, has  painted in the features of the office of bishop complete, in order that each of those who mount to that dignity,  looking thereupon, may administer their own affairs with just such strictness.
    Boldly, therefore, would I say that Ignatius took an accurate impression of the whole of this, in his own soul;  and was blameless and without reproach, and neither self-willed, nor soon angry, nor given to wine, nor a striker,  but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money, just, holy, temperate, holding to the faithful word which is  according to the teaching, sober, sober-minded, orderly, and all the rest which Paul demanded. "And what is the  proof of this?" says one. They who said these things ordained him, and they who suggest to others with so great  strictness to make proof of those who are about to mount to the throne of this office, would not themselves have  done this negligently. But had they not seen all this virtue planted in the soul of this martyr would not have  entrusted him with this office. For they knew accurately how great danger besets those who bring about such  ordinations, carelessly and hap-hazard. And Paul again, when showing this very thing to the same Timothy wrote  and says, "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins."(4) What dost thou say? Has  an-


other sinned, and do I share his blame and his punishment? Yes, says he, the man who authorizes evil; and just as  in the case of any one entrusting into the hands of a raging and insane person a sharply pointed sword, with which  the madman commits murder, that man who gave the sword incurs the blame; so any one who gives the authority  which arises from this office to a man living in evil, draws down on his own head all the fire of that man's sins and  audacity. For he who provides the root, this man is the cause of all that springs from it on every side. Dost thou see  how in the meanwhile a double crown of the episcopate has appeared, and how the dignity of those who ordained  him has made the office more illustrious, bearing witness to every exhibition of virtue in him?
    3. Do you wish that I should also reveal to you another crown springing from this very matter? Let us consider  the time at which he obtained this dignity. For it is not the same thing to administer the Church now as then, just  as it is not the same thing to travel along a road well trodden, and prepared, after many wayfarers; and along one  about to be cut for the first time, and containing ruts, and stones, and full of wild beasts, and which has never yet,  received any traveller. For now, by the grace of God, there is no danger for bishops, but deep peace on all sides,  and we all enjoy a calm, since the Word of piety has been extended to the ends of the world, and our rulers keep  the faith with strictness. But then there was nothing of this, but wherever any one might look, precipices and  pitfalls, and wars, and fightings, and dangers; both rulers, and kings, and people and cities and nations, and men at  home and abroad, laid snares for the faithful. And this was not the only serious thing, but also the fact that many  of the believers themselves, inasmuch as they tasted for the first time strange doctrines, stood in need of great  indulgence, and were still in a somewhat feeble condition and were often upset. And this was a thing which used to  grieve the teachers, no less than the fightings without, nay rather much more. For the fightings without, and the  plottings, afforded much pleasure to them on account of the hope of the rewards awaiting them. On this account  the apostles returned from the presence of the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been beaten;(1)  and Paul cries  out, saying: "I rejoice in my sufferings,"(2) and he glories in his afflictions everywhere. But the wounds of those at  home, and the fails of the brethren, do not suffer them to breathe again, but always, like some most heavy yoke,  continually oppress and afflict the neck of their soul. Hear at least how Paul, thus rejoicing in sufferings, is bitterly  pained about these. "For who, saith he, is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?"(3) and  again, "I fear lest when I come I shall find you not such as I would, and I be found of you such as ye would not,"(4)  and a little afterwards, "Lest when I come again to you, God humble me, and I shall mourn many of those who  have sinned before, and have not repented, of their uncleanness, and wantonness, and fornication which they have  committed."(5) And throughout thou seest that he is in tears and lamentations on account of members of the  household, and evermore fearing and trembling for the believers. Just as then we admire the pilot, not when he is  able to bring those who are on board safe to shore when the sea is calm, and the ship is borne along by favourable  winds, but when the deep is raging and the waves contending, and the passengers themselves within in revolt, and  a great storm within and without besets those who are on board, and he is able to steer the ship with all security; so  we ought to wonder at, and admire those who then had the Church committed to their hands, much more than  those who now have the management of it; when there was a great war without and within, when the plant of the  faith was more tender, and needed much care, when, as a newly-born babe, the multitude in the church required  much forethought, and the greatest wisdom in any soul destined to nurse it; and in order that ye may more clearly  learn, how great crowns they were worthy of, who then had the Church entrusted to them, and how great work  and danger there was in undertaking the matter on the threshold and at the beginning, and in being the first to  enter upon it, I bring forward for you the testimony of Christ, who  pronounces a verdict on these things, and  confirms the opinion which has been expressed by me. For when he saw many coming to him, and was wishing to  show the apostles that the prophets toiled more than they, he says: "Others have laboured, and ye have entered  into their labour."(6) And yet the apostles toiled much more than the prophets. But since they first sowed the word  of piety, and won over the untaught souls of men to the truth, the greater part of the work is credited to them. For  it is by no means the same thing for one to come and teach after many teachers, and himself to be the first to sow  seeds. For that which has been already practised, and has become customary with many, would be easily


accepted; but that which is now for the first time heard, agitates the mind of the hearers, and gives the teacher a  great deal to do. This at least it was which disturbed the audience at Athens, and on this account they turned away  from Paul, reproaching him with, "Thou bringest certain strange things to our ears."(1) For if the oversight of the  Church now furnishes much weariness and work to those who govern it, consider how double and treble and  manifold was the work then, when there were dangers and fighting and snares, and fear continually. It is not  possible to set forth in words the difficulty which those saints then encountered, but  he alone will know it who  comes to it by experience.
    4. And I will speak of a fourth crown, arising for us out of this episcopate. What then is this? The fact that he  was entrusted with our own native city. For it is a laborious thing indeed to have the oversight of a hundred men,  and of fifty alone. But to have on one's hands so  great a city, and a population extending to two hundred  thousand, of how great virtue and wisdom dost thou think there is a proof? For as in the care of armies, the wiser  of the generals have on their hands the more leading and more numerous regiments, so, accordingly, in the care of  cities. The more able of the rulers are entrusted with the larger and more populous. And at any rate this city was of  much account to God, as indeed He manifested by the very deeds which He did. At all events the master of the  whole world, Peter, to whose hands He committed the keys of heaven, whom He commanded to do and to bear  all, He bade tarry here for a long period. Thus in His sight our city was equivalent to the whole world. But since I  have mentioned Peter, I have perceived a fifth crown woven from him, and this is that this man succeeded to the  office after him. For just as any one taking a great stone from a foundation hastens by all means to introduce an  equivalent to it, lest he should shake the whole building, and make it more unsound, so, accordingly, when Peter  was about to depart from here, the grace of the Spirit introduced another teacher equivalent to Peter, so that the  building already completed should not be made more unsound by the insignificance of the successor. We have  reckoned up then five crowns, from the importance of the office, from the dignity of those who ordained to it,  from the difficulty of the time, from the size of the city, from the virtue of him who transmitted the episcopate to  him. Having woven all these, it was lawful to speak of a sixth, and seventh, and more than these; but in order that  we may not, by spending the whole time on the consideration of the episcopate, miss the details about the martyr,  come from this point, let us pass to that conflict. At one time a grievous warfare was rekindled against the Church,  and as though a most grievous tyranny over-spread the earth, all were carried off from the midst of the  market-place. Not indeed charged with anything monstrous, but because being freed from error, they hastened to  piety; because they abstained from the service of demons, because they recognized the true God, and worshipped  his only begotten Son, and for things for which they ought to have been crowned, and admired and honoured, for  these they were punished and encountered countless tortures, all who embraced the faith, and much more they  who had the oversight of the churches. For the devil, being crafty, and apt to contrive plots of this kind, expected  that if he took away the shepherds, he would easily be able to scatter the flocks. But He who takes the wise in their  craftiness, wishing to show him that men do not govern His church, but that it is He himself who everywhere tends  those who believe on Him, agreed that this should be, that he might see, when they were taken away, that the cause  of piety was not defeated, nor the word of preaching quenched, but rather increased; that by these very works he  might learn both himself, and all those who minister to him, that our affairs are not of men, but that the subject of  our teaching has its root on high, from the heavens; and that it is God who everywhere leads the Church, and that  it is not possible for him who fights against God, ever to win the day. But the Devil did not only work this evil, but  another also not less than this. For not only in the cities over which they presided, did he suffer the Bishops to be  slaughtered; but he took them into foreign territory and slew them; and he did this, in anxiety at once to take them  when destitute of friends, and hoping to render them weaker with the toil of their journey, which accordingly he  did with this saint. For he called him away from our city to Rome, making the course twice as long, expecting to  depress his mind both by the length of the way and the number of the days, and not knowing that having Jesus  with him, as a fellow traveller, and fellow exile on so long a journey, he rather became the stronger, and afforded  more proof of the power that was with him, and to a greater degree knit the Churches together. For the cities  which were on the road running together from all sides, encouraged the athlete, and sped him on his way with  many supplies, sharing in his conflict


by their prayers, and intercessions. And they derived no little comfort when they saw the martyr hastening to death  with so much readiness, as is consistent in one called to the realms which are in the heaven, and by means of the  works themselves, by the readiness and by the joyousness of that noble man, that it was not death to which he was  hastening, but a kind of long journey and migration from this world, and ascension to heaven; and he departed  teaching these things in every city, both by his words, and by his deeds, and as happened in the case of the Jews,  when they bound Paul, and sent him to Rome, and thought that they were sending him to death, they were sending  a teacher to the Jews who dwelt there. This indeed accordingly happened in the case of Ignatius in larger measure.  For not to those alone who dwell in Rome, but to all the cities lying in the intervening space, he went forth as a  wonderful teacher, persuading them to despise the present life, and to think naught of the things which are seen,  and to love those which are to come, to look towards heaven, and to pay no regard to any of the terrors of this  present life. For on this and on more than this, by means of his works, he went on his way instructing them, as a  sun rising from the east, and hastening to the west. But rather more brilliant than this, for this is wont to run on  high, bringing material light, but Ignatius shone below, imparting to men's souls the intellectual light of doctrine.  And that light on departing into the regions of the west, is hidden and straightway causes the night to come on. But  this on departing to the regions of the west, shone there more brilliantly, conferring the greatest benefits to all  along the road. And when he arrived at the city, even that he instructed in Christian wisdom. For on this account  God permitted him there to end his life, so that this man's death might be instructive to all who dwell in Rome.  For we by the grace of God need henceforward no evidence, being rooted in the faith. But they who dwelt in  Rome, inasmuch as these was great impiety there, required more help. On this account both Peter and Paul, and  this man after them, were all slain there, partly, indeed, in order that they might purify with their own blood, the  city which had been defiled with blood of idols, and partly in order that they might by their works afford a proof of  the resurrection of the crucified Christ, persuading those who dwell in Rome, that they would not with so much  pleasure disdain this present life, did they not firmly persuade themselves that they were about to ascend to the  crucified Jesus, and to see him in the heavens. For in reality it is the greatest proof of the resurrection that the slain  Christ should show forth so great power after death, as to persuade living men to despise both country and home  and friends, and acquaintance and life itself, for the sake of confessing him, and to choose in place of present  pleasures, both stripes and dangers and death. For these are not the achievements of any dead man, nor of one  remaining in the tomb but of one risen and living, Since how couldest thou account, when he was alive, for all the  Apostles who companied with him becoming weaker through fear to betray their teachers and to flee and depart;  but when he died, for not only Peter and Paul, but even Ignatius, who had not even seen him, nor enjoyed his  companionship, showing such earnestness as to lay down life itself for his sake?
    5. In order then that all who dwell in Rome might learn that these things are a reality, God allowed that there  the saint should be perfected,(1) and that this was the reason I will guarantee from the very manner of his death.  For not outside the walls, in a dungeon, nor even in a court of justice, nor in some corner, did he receive the  sentence which condemned him, but in the midst of the theatre, while the whole city was seated above him, he  underwent this form of martyrdom, wild beasts being let loose upon him, in order that he might plant his trophy  against the Devil, beneath the eyes of all, and make all spectators emulous of his own conflicts. Not dying thus  nobly only, but dying even with pleasure. For not as though about to be severed from life, but as called to a better  and more spiritual life, so he beheld the wild beasts gladly. Whence is this manifest? From the words which he  uttered when about to die, for when he heard that this manner of punishment awaited him, "may I have joy," said  he, "of these wild beasts."(2) For such are the loving. For they receive with pleasure whatever they may suffer for  the sake of those who are beloved, and they seem to have their desire satisfied when what happens to them is more  than usually grievous. Which happened, therefore, in this man's case. For not by his death alone, but also by his  readiness he studied to emulate the apostles, and hearing that they, after they had been scourged retired with joy,  himself too wished to imitate his teachers, not only by his death, but by his joy. On this account he said, "may I  have joy of thy wild beasts," and much milder than the tongue of the tyrant did he consider the mouths of these;  and very reasonably. For while that invited


him to Gehenna, their mouths escorted him to a kingdom. When, therefore, he made an end of life there, yea  rather, when he ascended to heaven, he departed henceforward crowned. For this also happened through the  dispensation of God, that he restored him again to us, and distributed the martyr to the cities. For that city received  his blood as it dropped, but ye were honoured with his remains, ye enjoyed his episcopate, they enjoyed his  martyrdom. They saw him in conflict, and victorious, and crowned, but ye have him continually. For a little time  God removed him from you, and with greater glory granted him again to you. And as those who borrow money,  return with interest what they receive, so also God, using this valued treasure of yours, for a little while, and having  shown it to that city, with greater brilliancy gave it back to you. Ye sent forth a Bishop, and received a martyr; ye  sent him forth with prayers, and ye received him with crowns; and not only ye, but all the cities which intervene.  For how do ye think that they behaved when they saw his remains being brought back? What pleasure was  produced! how they rejoiced! with what applause on all sides they beset the crowned one! For as with a noble  athlete, who has wrestled down all his antagonists, and who comes forth with radiant glory from the arena, the  spectators receive him, and do not suffer him to tread the earth, bringing him home on their shoulders, and  besetting him with countless praises: so also the cities in order receiving this saint then from Rome, and bearing  him upon their shoulders as far as this city, escorted the crowned one with praises, celebrating the champion, in  song; laughing the Devil to scorn, because his artifice was turned against him, and what he thought to do against  the martyr, this turned out for his behoof. Then, indeed, he profited, and encouraged all the cities; and from that  time to this day he enriches this city, and as some perpetual treasure, drawn upon every day, yet not failing, makes  all who partake of it more prosperous, so also this blessed Ignatius filleth those who come to him with blessings,  with boldness, nobleness of spirit, and much courage, and so sendeth them home.
    Not only to-day, therefore, but every day let us go forth to him, plucking spiritual fruits from him. For it is, it is  possible for him who comes hither with faith to gather the fruit of many good things. For not the bodies only, but  the very sepulchres of the saints have been filled with spiritual grace. For if in the case of Elisha this happened, and  a corpse when it touched the sepulchre, burst the bands of death and returned to life again,(1) much rather now,  when grace is more abundant, when the energy of the spirit is greater, is it possible that one touching a sepulchre,  with faith, should win great power; thence on this account God allowed us the remains of the saints, wishing to  lead by them us to the same emulation, and to afford us a kind of haven, and a secure consolation for the evils  which are ever overtaking us. Wherefore I beseech you all, if any is in despondency, if in disease, if under insult, if  in any other circumstance of this life, if in the depth of sins, let him come hither with faith, and he will lay aside all  those things, and will return with much joy, having procured a lighter conscience from the sight alone. But more, it  is not only necessary that those who are in affliction should come hither, but if any one be in cheerfulness, in glory,  in power, in much assurance towards God, let not this man despise the benefit. For coming hither and beholding  this saint, he will keep these noble possessions unmoved, persuading his own soul to be moderate by the  recollection of this man's mighty deeds, and not suffering his conscience by the mighty deeds to be lifted up to any  self conceit. And it is no slight thing for those in prosperity not to be puffed up at their good fortune, but to know  how to bear their prosperity with moderation, so that the treasure is serviceable to all, the resting place is suitable,  for the fallen, in order that they may escape from their temptations, for the fortunate, that their success may  remain secure, for those in weakness indeed, that they may return to health, and for the healthy, that they may not  fall into weakness. Considering all which things, let us prefer this way of spending our time, to all delight, all  pleasure, in order that rejoicing at once, and profiling, we may be able to become partakers with these saints, both  of their dwelling and of their home, through the prayers of the saints themselves, through the grace and  lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory to the Father with the Holy Spirit, now and always  forever and ever amen.


                     ON THE HOLY MARTYR, S. BABYLAS.

    1. I was anxious to-day to pay the debt which I promised you when I was lately here. But what am I to do? In the  meanwhile, the blessed Babylas has appeared, and has called me to himself, uttering no voice, but attracting our  attention by the brightness of his countenance. Be ye not, therefore, displeased at the delay in my payment; at all  events, the longer the time is, the more the interest will increase. For we will deposit this money with interest.(1)  Since thus did the master command who entrusted it to us. Being confident, therefore, about what is lent, that  both the principal and the profit await you, let us not pass by the gain which falls in our way to-day, but revel in the  noble actions of the blessed Babylas.
    How, indeed, he presided over the Church which is among us, and saved that sacred ship, in storm, and in wave,  and billow; and what a bold front he showed to the emperor, and how he lay down his life for the sheep and  underwent that blessed slaughter; these things and such as these, we will leave to the eider among our teachers, and  to our common father, to speak of. For the more remote matters, the aged can relate to you but as many things as  happened lately, and within our lifetime, these, I a young man will relate to you, I mean those after death, those  after the burial of the martyr, those which happened while he remained in the suburbs of the city. And I know  indeed that the Greeks will laugh at my promise, if I promise to speak of the noble deeds after death and burial of  one who was buried, and had crumbled to dust. We shall not assuredly on this account keep silence, but on this  very account shall especially speak, in order that by showing this marvel truly, we may turn their laughter upon  their own head. For of an ordinary man there would be no noble deeds after death. But of a martyr, many and  great deeds, not in order that he might become more illustrious (for he has no need of glory from the multitude),  but that thou, the unbeliever mayest learn that the death of the martyrs is not death, but the beginning of a better  life, and the prelude of a more spiritual conversation, and a change from the worse to the better. Do not then look  at the fact, that the mere body of the martyr lies destitute of energy of soul; but observe this, that a greater power  takes its place by the side of it, different from the soul itself--I mean the grace of the Holy Spirit, which pleads to all  on behalf of the resurrection, by means of the wonders which it works. For if God has granted greater power to  bodies dead and crumbled to dust, than to all living, much more will he grant to them a better life than the former,  and a longer, at the time of the bestowal of his crowns; what then are this saint's noble deeds? But be not  disturbed, if we take our discourse a little further back. For they who wish to display their portraits to advantage,  do not uncover them until they have placed the spectators a little way off from the picture, making the view clearer  by the distance. Do you then also have patience with me while I direct my discourse into the past.
    For when Julian who surpassed all in impiety, ascended the imperial throne, and grasped the despotic sceptre,  straightway he lifted up his hands against the God who created him, and ignored his benefactor, and looking from  the earth beneath to the heavens, howled after the manner of mad dogs, who alike bay at those who do not feed  them and those who do feed them. But he rather was mad with a more savage madness than theirs. For they  indeed turn from, and hate their friends and strangers alike. But this man used to fawn upon demons, strangers to  his salvation, and used to worship them with every mode of worship. But his benefactor, and Saviour, and him who  spared not the only Begotten, for his sake, he turned from and used to hate, and made havoc of the cross, the very  thing which uplifted the whole world when it was lying prostrate, and drave away the darkness on all sides, and  brought in light more brilliant than the sunbeams; nor yet even then did he desist from his frenzy, but promised  that he would tear the nation of the Galilaeans, out of the midst of the world; for thus he was wont to call us; and  yet if he thought the names of the Christians an abomination, and Christianity itself to be full of much shame, for  what reason did he not desire to put us to shame by that means, but with a strange name? Yea because he knew  clearly, that to be called by what belongs to Christ, is a great ornament not only to men, but to angels, and to the  powers above. On this account he set everything in motion, so as to strip us of this ornament, and put a stop to the  preaching of it. But this was impossible, O wretched and miserable man! as it was impossible to destroy the heaven  and to quench the sun, and to shake and cast down the foundations of the earth, and those things


Christ foretold, thus saying: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."(1)
    Well, thou dost not submit to Christ's words; accept therefore the utterance which thus his deeds give. For I  indeed having been privileged to know what the declaration of God is, how strong, how invincible a thing, have  believed that is more trustworthy than the order of nature, and than experience in all matters. But do thou still  creeping on the ground, and agitated with the investigations of human reasoning, receive the witness of the deeds.  I gainsay nothing. I strive not.
    2. What then do the deeds say? Christ said that it was easier for heaven and earth to be destroyed, than for any  of his words to fail.(2) The emperor contradicted these words, and threatened to destroy his decrees. Where then is  the emperor who threatened these things? He is perished and is corrupted, and is now in Hades, awaiting the  inevitable punishment. But where is Christ who uttered these decrees? In Heaven, on the right hand of the Father,  occupying the highest throne of glory; where are the blasphemous words of the Emperor, and his unchastened  tongue? They are become ashes, and dust and the food of worms. Where is the sentence of Christ? It shines forth  by the very truth of the deed, receiving its lustre from the issue of the events, as from a golden column. And yet the  emperor left nothing undone, when about to raise war against us, but used to call prophets together, and summon  sorcerers, and everything was full of demons and evil spirits.
    What then was the return for this worship? The overturning of cities, the bitterest famine of all famines. For ye  know doubtless, and remember, how empty indeed the market place was of wares, and the workshops full of  confusion, when everyone strove to snatch up what came first and to depart. And why do I speak of famine, when  the very fountains of waters were failing, fountains which by the abundance of their stream, used to eclipse the  rivers. But since I have mentioned the fountains, come, forthwith, let us go up to Daphne, and conduct our  discourse to the noble deeds of the martyr. Although you desire me still to parade the indecencies of the Greeks,  although I too desire this, let us abstain; for wherever the commemoration of a martyr is, there certainly also is the  shame of the Greeks. This emperor then, going up to Daphne used to weary Apollo, praying, supplicating,  entreating, so that the events of the future might be foretold to him. What then did the prophet, the great God of  the Greeks? "The dead prevent me from uttering," saith he, "but break open the graves, dig up the bones, move  the dead." What could be more impious than these commands? The Demon of grave-robbing, introduces strange  laws and devises new methods of expelling strangers. Who ever heard of the dead being driven forth? who ever saw  lifeless bodies ordered to be moved as he commanded, overturning from their foundations the common laws of  nature. For the laws of nature are common to all men, that he who departs this life should be hidden in the earth,  and delivered over for burial, and be covered up in the bosom of the earth the mother of all; and these laws,  neither Greek, barbarian, Scythian, nor if there be any more savage than they, ever changed, but all reverence  them, and keep them, and thus they are sacred and venerated by all. But the Demon raises his mask, and with bare  head, resists the common laws of nature. For the dead, he says, are a pollution. The dead are not a pollution, a  most wicked demon, but a wicked intention is an abomination. But if one must say something startling, the bodies  of the living full of evil, are more polluting than those of the dead. For the one minister to the behests of the mind,  but the other lie unmoved. Now that which is unmoved, and destitute of all perception would be free from all  accusation. Not that I even would say that the bodies of the living are by nature polluting; but that everywhere a  wicked and perverted intention is open to accusations from all.
    The dead body then is not a pollution O Apollo, but to persecute a maiden who wishes to be modest, and to  outrage the dignity of a virgin, and to lament at the failure of the shameless deed, this is worthy of accusation, and  punishment. There were at all events, many wonderful and great prophets among ourselves, who spake also many  things concerning the future, and they in no case used to bid those who asked them to dig up the bones of the  departed. Yea Ezekiel standing near the bones themselves was not only not hindered by them, but added flesh, and  nerves and skin to them, and brought them back to life again.(3) But the great Moses did not stand near the bones  of the dead, but bearing off the whole dead body of Joseph, thus foretold things to come.(4) And very reasonably,  for their words were the grace of the Holy Spirit. But the words of these, a deceit, and a lie which is no wise able to  be concealed. For that these things were an excuse, and pretence and that he feared the blessed Babylas, is manifest  from what the emperor did. For leaving all the other dead, he only moved  that martyr. And


yet if he did these things, in disgust at him, and not in fear, it were necessary that he should order the coffin to be  broken, thrown into the sea, carried to the desert, be made to disappear by some other method of destruction; for  this is the part of one who is disgusted. Thus God did when he spake to the Hebrews about the abominations of  the Gentiles. He bade their statues to be broken, not to bring their abominations from the suburbs to the city.
    3. The martyr then was moved, but the demon not even then enjoyed freedom from fear, but straightway  learned that it is possible to move the bones of a martyr, but not to escape his hands. For as soon as the coffin was  drawn into the city, a thunderbolt came from above upon the head of his image, and burnt it all up. And yet, if not  before, then at least there was likelihood that the impious emperor would be angry, and that he would send forth  his anger against the testimony of the martyr. But not even then did he dare, so great fear possessed him. But  although he saw that the burning was intolerable, and knew the cause accurately; he kept quiet. And this is not only  wonderful that he did not destroy the testimony, but that he not even dared to put the roof on to the temple again.  For he knew, he knew, that the stroke was divinely sent, and he feared lest by forming any further plan, he should  call down that fire upon his own head. On this account he endured to see the shrine of Apollo brought to so great  desolation; For there was no other cause, on account of which he did not rectify that which had happened, but fear  alone. For which reason he unwillingly kept quiet, and knowing this left as much reproach to the demon, as  distinction to the martyr. For the walls are now standing, instead of trophies, uttering a voice clearer than a  trumpet. To those in Daphne, to those in the city, to those who arrive from far off, to those who are with us, to  those men which shall be hereafter, they declare everything by their appearance, the wrestling, the struggle, the  victory of the martyr. For it is likely that he who dwells far off from the suburb, when he sees the chapel of the  saint deprived of a shrine, and the temple of Apollo deprived of its roof would ask the reason of each of these  things; and then after learning the whole history would depart hence. Such are the noble deeds of the martyr after  death, wherefore I count your city blessed, that ye have shown much zeal about this holy man. For then, when he  returned from Daphne, all our city poured forth into the road, and the market places were empty of men, and the  houses were empty of women, and the bedchambers were destitute of maidens. Thus also every age and each sex  passed forth from the city, as if to receive a father long absent who was returning from sojourn far away. And you  indeed gave him back to the band of fellow enthusiasts. But the grace of God did not suffer him to remain there for  good, but again removed him beyond the river,(1) so that many parts of the country were filled with the sweet  savor of the martyr. Neither even when he came hither was he destined to be alone, but he quickly received, a  neighbor, and a fellow-lodger, and one of similar life.(2) For he shared with him the same dignity, and for the sake  of religion shewed forth equal boldness. Wherefore he obtained the same abode as he, this wonderful man being   no vain imitator, as it seems, of the martyr. For for so long a time he laboured there, sending letters continually to  the emperor, wearying the authorities, and bringing he ministry of the body to bear upon the martyr. For ye know,  doubtless, and remember that when the midday summer sun possessed the heaven, he together with his  acquaintances, used to walk thither everyday, not as spectator only, but also, as intending to be a sharer in what  was going on. For he often handled stone, and dragged a rope, and listened, in advance of the workmen  themselves, to one who wanted to erect any building, For he knew, he knew what rewards lie in store for him for  these things. And on this account he continued doing service to the martyrs, not only by splendid buildings nor  even by continual feasts, but by a better method than these. And what is this? He imitates their life, emulates their  courage, throughout according to his ability he keeps the image of the martyrs alive, in himself. For see, they gave  their bodies to the slaughter, he has mortified the members of his flesh which are upon the earth. They stopped the  flame of fire, he quenched the flame of lust. They fought against the teeth of beasts, but this man bore off the most  dangerous of our passions, anger. For all these things let us give thanks to God, because he hath thus granted us  noble martyrs, and pastors worthy of martyrs, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of  Christ(3) with whom be glory, honor, and might to the Father, with the Holy and lifegiving Spirit, now and always,  for ever and ever. Amen.

                      CONCERNING LOWLINESS OF MIND.




There is an allusion at the beginning of this Homily to some remarks recently made on the parable of the Pharisee  and the Publican. These occur in Chrysostom's fifth Homily against the Anomoeans, one of a set of Homilies  which, from internal evidence, may be assigned to the close of the year 386, or beginning of 387. The following  homily therefore was delivered at Antioch, probably just before Christmas 386. There were some persons who  explained the words of St. Paul cited in the title as signifying that provided Christ was preached it mattered not  whether the actual doctrines taught were true or heretical. The main object of the homily is to vindicate the  language of the Apostle from this erroneous and mischievous interpretation.
1. When lately we made mention of the Pharisee and the publican, and hypothetically  yoked two chariots out of  virtue and vice; we pointed out each truth, how great is the gain of humbleness of mind, and how great the damage  of pride. For this, even when conjoined with righteousness and fastings and tithes, fell behind; while that, even  when yoked with sin, outstripped the Pharisee's pair, even although the charioteer it had was a poor one. For what  was worse than the publican? But all the same since he made his soul contrite, and called himself a sinner; which  indeed he was; he surpassed the Pharisee, who had both fastings to tell of and tithes; and was removed from any  vice. On account of what, and through what? Because even if he was removed from greed of gain and robbery, he  had rooted over his soul(2) the mother of all evils--vain-glory and pride. On this account Paul also exhorts and says  "Let each one prove his own work; and then he will have his ground of boasting for himself, and not for the  other." Whereas he publicly came forward(3) as an accuser of the whole world;(4) and said that he himself was  better than all living men. And yet even if he had set himself before ten only, or if five, or if two, or if one, not  even was this endurable; but as it was, he not only set himself before the whole world, but also accused all men.  On this account he fell behind in the running. And just as a ship, after having run through innumerable surges, and  having escaped many storms, then in the very mouth of the harbour having been dashed against some rock, loses  the whole treasure which is stowed away in her--so truly did this Pharisee, after having undergone the labours of  the fasting, and of all the


rest of his virtue, since he did not master his tongue, in the very harbour underwent shipwreck of his cargo.(1) For  the going home from prayer, whence he ought to have derived gain, having rather been so greatly damaged, is  nothing else than undergoing shipwreck in harbour.
    2. Knowing therefore these things, beloved even if we should have mounted to the very pinnacle of virtue, let us  consider ourselves last of all; having learned that pride is able to cast down even from the heavens themselves him  who takes not heed, and humbleness of mind to bear up on high from, the very abyss of sins him who knows how  to be sober. For this it was that placed the publican before the Pharisee; whereas that, pride I mean and an  overweening spirit, surpassed even an incorporeal power, that of the devil; while humbleness of mind and the  acknowledgment of his own sins committed brought the robber into Paradise before the Apostles. Now if the  confidence which they who confess their own sins effect for themselves is so great, they who are conscious to  themselves of many good qualities, yet humble their own souls, how great crowns will they not win.(2) For when  sinfulness be put together with humbleness of mind it runs with such ease as to pass and out-strip righteousness  combined with pride. If therefore thou have put it to with righteousness, whither will it not reach? through how  many heavens will it not pass? By the throne of God itself surely it will stay its course;(3) in the midst of the angels,  with much confidence. On the other hand if pride, having been yoked with righteousness, by the excess and weight  of its own wickedness had strength enough to drag down its confidence; if it be put together with sinfulness, into  how deep a hell will it not be able to precipitate him who has it? These things I say, not in order that we should be  careless of righteousness, but that we should avoid pride; not that we should sin, but that we should be  sober-minded. For humbleness of mind is the foundation of the love of wisdom which pertains to us. Even if thou  shouldest have built a superstructure of things innumerable; even if almsgiving, even if prayers, even if fastings,  even if all virtue; unless this have first been laid as a foundation, all will be built upon it(4) to no purpose and in  vain; and it will fall down easily, like that building which had been placed on the sand.(5) For there is no one, no  one of our good deeds, which does not need this; there is no one which separate from this will  be able to stand.  But even if thou shouldest mention temperance, even if virginity, even if despising of money, even if anything  whatever, all are unclean and accursed and loathsome, humbleness of mind being absent. Everywhere therefore let  us take her with us,(6) in words, in deeds, in thoughts, and with this let us build these (graces).
    3. But the things belonging to humbleness of mind have been sufficiently spoken of; not for the value of the  virtue;(7) for no one will be able to celebrate it in accordance with its value; but for the intelligence of your love.  For well do I know that even from the few things that have been said you will embrace it with much zeal. But since  it is also necessary to make clear and manifest the apostolic saying which has been to-day read; seeming as it does  to many to afford a pretext for indolence; so that some may not, providing for themselves hence a certain frigid  defence, neglect their own salvation--to this let us direct our discourse. What then is this saying? "Whether m  pretence," it says, "or in sincerity,(8) Christ is preached."(9) This many wrest absolutely ,o and just as happens,  without reading what precedes and what comes after it; but having cut it off from the sequence of the remaining  members, to the destruction of their own soul they put it forward to the more indolent. For attempting to seduce  them from the sound faith; then seeing them afraid and trembling; on the ground of its not being without danger  to do this,(11) and desiring to relieve their fears, they bring forward this apostolic declaration, saying, Paul  conceded this, by saying, "Whether m pretence or in sincerity, let Christ be proclaimed." But these things are not  (true), they are not. For in the first place he did not say "let him be proclaimed," but "he is proclaimed," and the  difference between this and that is wide. For the saying "let him be proclaimed" belongs to a lawgiver; but the  saying "he is proclaimed" to one announcing the event. For that Paul does not ordain a law that there should be  heresies, but draws away all who attended to him, hear what he says, "If any one preaches to you a gospel besides  what ye have received, let him be ana-


thema, were it even I, were it even an angel from the heavens."(1) Now he would not have anathematized both  himself and an angel, if he had known the act to be without danger. And again--"I am jealous of you with a  jealousy of God," he says; "for I have betrothed you to one husband a chaste virgin: and fear lest at some time, as  the serpent beguiled Eve by his wiliness, so your thoughts should be corrupted from the singleness that is towards  Christ."(2) See, he both set down singleness, and granted no allowance. For if there were allowance, there was no  danger; and if there was no danger Paul would not have feared: and Christ would not also have commanded that  the tares should be burned up, if it were a thing indifferent to attend to this one or that or another; or to all  indiscriminately.(3)
    4. What ever then is what is meant? I wish to narrate to you the whole history from a point a little earlier;(4) for  it is needful to know in what circumstances Paul was when he was writing these things by letter. In what  circumstances therefore was he? In prison and chains and intolerable perils. Whence is this manifest? From the  epistle itself. For earlier than this he says, "Now I wish you to know, brethren, that the circumstances in which I  am have come rather to the furtherance s of the Gospel; so that my bonds have become manifest in Christ in the  whole Court, and to all the others; and a good many(6) of the brethren, trusting to my bonds, the more  exceedingly dare fearlessly to speak the word."(7) Now Nero had then cast him into prison. For just as some  robber having set foot in the house, while all are sleeping, when stealing every thing,(8) if he see any one having lit  a lamp, both extinguishes the light and slays him who holds the lamp, in order that he may be allowed in security to  steal  and rob the property of others; so truly also the Caesar Nero then, just as any robber and burglar while all  were sleeping a deep and unconscious slumber; robbing the property of all, breaking into marriage chambers,(9)  subverting houses, displaying every form of wickedness; when he saw Paul having lighted a lamp throughout the  world; (the word of his teaching;) and reproving his wickedness, exerted himself both to extinguish what was  preached, and to put the teachers out of the way; in order that he might be allowed with authority to do anything he  pleased; and after binding that holy man, cast him into prison. It was at that time then that the blessed Paul wrote  these things. Who would not have been astounded? who would not have marvelled? or rather who could adequately  have been astounded at and admired that noble and heaven-reaching soul; in that, while bound in Rome and  imprisoned, at so great a distance as that, he wrote a letter to the Philippians? For you know how great is the  distance between Macedonia and Rome. But neither did the length of the way, nor the amount of time (required),  nor the press of business, nor the peril and the dangers coming one upon another, nor anything else, drive out his  love for and remembrance of the disciples; but he retained them all in his mind; and not so strongly were his hands  bound with the chains as his soul was bound together and rivetted by his longing for the disciples:(10) which very  thing itself indeed also declaring, in the preface of the Epistle he said, "On account of my having you in my heart,  both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel."(11) And just as a King, having ascended  upon his throne at morning-tide and taken his seat in the royal courts, immediately receives from all quarters  innumerable letters; so truly he also, just as in royal courts, seated in the dungeon, both received and sent his  letters in far greater number; the nations from all quarters referring to his wisdom every thing about(12) what had  taken place  among themselves; and he administered more business than the reigning monarch in proportion to  his having had a larger dominion entrusted to him. For in truth God had brought and put into his hands not those  who inhabited the country of the Romans only, but also all the barbarians, both land and sea. And by way of  showing this he said to the Romans, "Now I would not that ye should be ignorant, brethren, that ofttimes I have  purposed to come to you, and have been hindered until the present; in order that I might have some fruit also  among you, as among the rest of the Gentiles too. Both to Greeks and barbarians, both to wise and those without  understanding I am a debtor."(13) Every day therefore he was in anxious thought at one moment for Corinthians,  at another for Macedonians; how Philippians, how Cappadocians, how Galatians, how Athenians, how they who  inhabited Pon-


tus. how all together were. But all the same, having had the whole world put into his hands, he continually cared  not for entire nations only, but also for  each single man; and now indeed he despatched a letter on behalf of  Onesimus, and now on behalf of him who among the Corinthians had committed fornication. For neither used he  to regard this--that it was the individual who had sinned and needed advocacy; but that it was a human being; a  human being, the living thing most precious to God; and for whose sake the Father had not spared even the  Only-begotten.
    5. For do not tell me that this or that man is a runaway slave, or a robber or thief, or laden with countless faults,  or that he is a mendicant and abject, or of low value and worthy of no account; but consider that for his sake the  Christ died; and this sufficeth thee for a ground for all solicitude. Consider what sort of person he must be, whom  Christ valued at so high a price as not to have spared even his own blood. For neither, if a king had chosen to  sacrifice himself on any one's behalf, should we have sought out another demonstration of his being some one  great and of deep interest to the King--I fancy not--for his death would suffice to show the love of him who had  died towards him. But as it is not man, not angel, not archangel; but the Lord of the heavens himself, the  only-begotten Son of God himself having clothed himself with flesh, freely gave himself on our behalf. Shall we not  do everything, and take every trouble, so that the men who have been thus valued may enjoy every solicitude at our  hands? And what kind of defence shall we have? what allowance? This at least is the very thing by way of declaring  which Paul also said, "Do not by thy meat destroy him for whose sake Christ died."(1) For desiring to shame, and  to bring to solicitude, and to persuade to care for their neighbours, those who despise their brethren, and look  down upon them as being weak, instead of all(2) else he set down the Master's death.
    Sitting then in the prison he wrote the letter to the Philippians from that so great distance. For such as this is the  love that is according to God:(3) it is interrupted by no one of human things, since it has its roots from above in  the heavens(4) and its recompense. And what says he? "Now I desire that ye should know, brethren"(5) Seest thou  solicitude for his scholars? seest thou a teacher's carefulness? Hear too of loving affection of scholars towards their  teacher, that thou mayest know that this was what made them strong and unconquerable--the being bound  together with one another. For if "Brother helped by brother is as a strong city;"(6) far more so many bound  together by the bonds of love  would have entirely repulsed the plotting of the wicked demon. That indeed then  Paul was bound up with the disciples, requires not even any demonstration further nor argument for us, since in  truth even when in bonds he anxiously cared for them, and each day, he was also dying for them, burning with his  longing.
    6. And that the disciples too were bound up with Paul with all perfectness;(7) and that not men only but women  also, hear what he says about Phoebe. "Now I commend(8) to you Phoebe the sister, being a deaconess of the  Church which is in Cenchreae; that ye may receive her in the Lord worthily of the saints, and stand by her, in  whatever matter she may require you, since(9) she has proved a helper(10) of many; and of me myself."(11) But in  this instance he bore witness to her of her zeal so far as help went (only;)(12) but Priscilla and Aquila went as far  even as death for Paul's sake; and about them he thus writes, saying, "Aquila and Priscilla salute you, who for my  life's sake laid down their own neck;"(13) for death clearly. And about another again writing to these very persons  he says, "Because he went as far as death; having counselled ill for his life, in order that he might supply your  deficiency in your service towards me.(14) Seest thou how they loved their teacher? how they regarded his rest(15)  before their own life? On this account no one surpassed them then. Now this I say, not  that we may hear only, but  that we may also imitate; and not to the ruled only, but also to those who rule is what we say addressed; in order  that both scholars may display much solicitude about their teachers, and the teachers may have the same loving  affection as Paul about those placed under them; not those present only, but also those who are far off. For also  Paul, dwelling in the whole world just as in one house, thus


continually took thought for the salvation of all; and having dismissed every thing of his  own; bonds and troubles  and stripes and  straits, watched over and inquired into each  day, in what state the affairs of the disciples  were;  and often for this very purpose alone  sent, now Timothy, and now Tychicus; and  about him he says, "That he  may know your circumstances, and encourage your hearts:"(1)   and about Timothy; "I have sent him, being  no  longer able to contain myself; lest in some  way the tempter have tempted you."(2) And Titus again elsewhere, and  another to another place. For since he himself, by the compulsion of his bonds being often detained in one place,  was unable to meet those who were his vitals, he met them through the disciples.
    7. And then therefore being in bonds he writes to the Philippians, saying, "Now I desire that ye should know,  brethren,"(3) calling the disciples brethren. For such a thing as this is love; it casts out all inequality, and knows not  superiority and dignity; but even if one be higher than all, he descends to the lowlier position of all; just what Paul  also used to do. But let us hear what it is that he desires they should know. "That the things which happened unto  me," he says, "have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel."(4) Tell me, how and in what way? Hast thou  then been released from thy bonds? hast thou then put off thy chain? and dost thou with free permission preach in  the city? hast thou then, having gone into an assembly, drawn out many long discourses about the faith, and  departed after gaining many disciples? hast thou then raised the dead and been made an object of wonder? hast  thou then cleansed lepers, and all were astounded? hast thou driven away demons, and been exalted? No one of  these things, he says. How then did the furtherance of the gospel take place? tell me. "So that my bonds," he says,  "have become openly known in the whole Court, and to all the rest."(5) What sayest thou? this then, this was the  furtherance, this the advance, this the increase of the proclamation--that all knew that thou wast bound. Yes, he  says: Hear at least what comes next, that thou mayest learn that the bonds not only proved no hindrance, but also  a ground of greater freedom of speech. "So that several(6) of the brethren in the Lord, in reliance on my bonds,  more abundantly  dare fearlessly to speak the word."(7) What  sayest thou, O Paul? have thy bonds inspired  not  anxiety but confidence? not fear but earnest longing? The things mentioned have no consistency.(8)I too know it.  For neither did these things take place according to the consistency of human affairs, he means,(9) but what came  about was above nature, and the successes were of divine grace. On this account what used to cause anxiety to all  others, that to him afforded confidence. For also if any one, having taken the leader of an army land confined him,  have made this publicly  known, he throws the whole camp into flight; and if any one have carried a shepherd away  from the flock, the security with which he drives off the sheep is great. But not in Paul's case was it thus, but the  contrary entirely. For the leader of the army was bound, and the soldiers became more forward in spirit; and the  confidence with which they sprung upon their adversaries was greater: the shepherd was in confinement, and the  sheep were not consumed, nor even scattered.
8. Who ever saw, who ever heard of, the scholars taking greater encouragement in the dangers of their teachers?  How was it that they feared not? how was it that they were not terrified? how was it that they did not say to Paul,  "Physician, heal thyself,"(10) deliver thyself from thy manifold perils, and then thou will be able to procure for us  those countless good things? How was it they did not say these things? How! It was because they had been  schooled, from the grace of the Spirit, that these things took place not out of weakness, but out of the permission  of the Christ; in order that the truth might shine abroad more largely; through bonds and imprisonments and  tribulations and straits increasing and rising, to a greater volume. Thus is the power of Christ in weakness  perfected.(11) For indeed if his bonds had crippled Paul(12) and made him cowardly; either himself or those  belonging to him; one could not but feel difficulty; but if rather they prepared him to feel confidence and brought  him into greater renown, one must be astounded and marvel, how through a thing involving dishonour glory was  procured for the disciple--through a thing inspiring Cowardice confidence and encouragement resulted to them all.  For who was not astounded at him then, seeing him encircled with a chain? Then demons took to flight all the  more, when they saw him spending his


time in a prison. For not so splendid does the diadem make a royal head, as the chain his hands; not owing to their  proper nature, but owing to the grace that darted brightness on them.(1) On this account it was that great  encouragement resulted to the disciples. For also they saw his body indeed bound, but his tongue not bound, his  hands indeed tightly manacled,(2) but his voice unshackled, and traversing the whole world more swiftly than the  solar ray. And this became to them an encouragement; learning as they did from the facts that no one of present  things is to be dreaded. For when the soul has been genuinely imbued by divine longing and love, it pays regard to  no one of things present; but just as those who are mad venture themselves against fire and sword and wild beasts  and sea and all else, so these too, maddened with a most noble and most spiritual frenzy, a frenzy arising from  sanity,(3) used to laugh at all things that are seen. On this account, seeing their teachers bound, they the more  exulted, the more prided themselves; by facts giving to their adversaries a demonstration that on all sides they were  impregnable and indomitable.
    9. Then therefore, when matters were in this state, some of the enemies of Paul, desiring to fan up the war to  greater vehemence, and to make the hatred of the tyrant, which was fell towards him greater, pretended that they  themselves also preached; (and they did preach the right and sound faith,) for the sake of the doctrine advancing  more rapidly: and this they did, not with the desire to disseminate the faith; but in order that Nero, having learnt  that the preaching was increasing and the doctrine advancing, might the sooner have Paul led away to execution?  There were therefore two schools; that of Paul's scholars and that of Paul's enemies; the one preaching out of  sincerity, and the others out of love of contention and the hatred they felt towards Paul. And by way of declaring  this he said, "Some indeed through envy and strife are preaching Christ," (pointing out those his enemies) "but  some also through good pleasure;"(5) saying this about his own scholars.(6) Then next about those; "Some indeed  out of contentiousness," (his enemies,) not purely, not soundly, but, "thinking that they are thereby bringing  pressure upon my bonds;(7) but the others out of love;" (this again about his own brethren ;) "knowing that I am  set(8) 'for the defence of the gospel." For what? Nevertheless, in any way; whether in pretence or in sincerity,  Christ is being announced."(9) So that vainly and to no purpose is this saying taken in reference to heresies. For  those who then were preaching were not preaching corrupt doctrine; but sound and right belief. For if they were  preaching corrupt doctrine, and were teaching other things contrary to Paul, what they desired was certain not to  succeed to them. Now what did they desire? That the faith having grown, and the disciples of Paul having become  numerous, it should rouse Nero to greater hostility. And if they were preaching different doctrines, they would not  have made the disciples of Paul numerous; and by not doing so,(10) they would not have exasperated the tyrant.  He does not therefore say this--that they were bringing in corrupt doctrines--but that the motive from which they  were preaching, this was corrupt. For it is one thing to state the pretext(11) of their preaching, and another that  their preaching itself was not sound. For the preaching does not become sound when the doctrine is laden with  deception; and the pretext does not become sound when the preaching indeed is sound, but they who preach do  not preach for the sake of God, but either with a view of enmity, or with a view to the favour of others.
    10. He therefore does not say this--that they were bringing in heresies; but that it was not from a right motive,  nor through piety(12) that they were preaching what they did preach. For it was not that they might increase the  gospel that they were doing this; but that they might wage war against him, and throw him into greater danger--on  this account he accuses them. And see how with exactitude he laid it.(13) "Thinking," he says, "that they were  putting pressure upon my bonds."(14) He did not say, putting, but "thinking they were putting upon," that is  supposing, by way of pointing out that even if they so supposed,


still he himself was not in such a position; but that he even rejoiced on account of the advance of the preaching. He  added therefore saying, "But in this I both rejoice and will rejoice:"(1) whereas if he held their doctrines deception,  and they were bringing in heresies, Paul could not possibly rejoice. But since the doctrine was sound and of  genuine parentage, on this account he says, "I rejoice and will rejoice." For what if they(2) are destroying  themselves by doing this out of contentiousness? Still, even unwillingly, they are strengthening my cause. Seest  thou how great is Paul's power? how he is caught by no one of the devil's machinations? And not only is he not  caught; but also by these themselves he subdues him. For great indeed is both the devil's craftiness,(3) and the  wickedness of those who minister to him; for under pretence of being of the same mind, they desired to extinguish  the proclamation(4) But "he who seizes the cunning in their craftiness"(5) did not permit that this should take  place then. By way of declaring this very thing at least Paul said "But the continuing in the flesh is the more  necessary for your sake; and this I confidently know, that I shall continue and remain in company with you all."(6)  For those men indeed set their mind on casting me out of the present life, and are ready to endure anything for  this object; but God does not permit it on your account.
    11. These things therefore, all of them, remember with exactness in order that you may be able with all wisdom  to correct those who use the Scriptures without reference to circumstances(7) and at hap-hazard, and for the  destruction of their neighhours. And we shall be able both to remember what has been said, and to correct others,  if we always betake ourselves to prayers as a refuge, and beseech the God who gives the word of wisdom to grant  both intelligence in hearing, and a careful and unconquerable guardianship of this spiritual deposit in our hands.  For things which often we have not strength to perform successfully from our own exertions, these we shall have  power to accomplish easily through prayers. I mean prayers which are persevering. For always and without  intermission it is a duty to pray, both for him who is in affliction, and him who is in relief from it, and him who is  in dangers, and him who is in prosperity--for him who is in relief and much prosperity, that these may remain  unmoved and without vicissitude, and may never change; and for him who is in affliction and his many dangers,  that he may see some favourable change brought about to him, and be transported into a calm of consolation. Art  thou in a calm? Then beseech God that this calm may continue settled to thee. Hast thou seen a storm risen up  against thee? Beseech God earnestly(8) to cause the billow to pass, and to make a calm out of the storm. "Hast  thou been heard? Be heartily thankful for this; because thou hast been heard. Hast thou not been heard?  Persevere(9) in order that thou mayest be heard. For even if God at any time delay the giving, it is not in hatred  and aversion;(10) but from the desire by the deferring of the giving perpetually to retain thee with himself; just in  the way also that affectionate fathers do;(11) for they also adroitly manage the perpetual and assiduous attendance  of children who are rather indolent by the delay of the giving. There is to thee no need of mediators in audience  with God; nor of that much canvassing;(12) nor of the fawning upon others; but even if thou be destitute, even if  bereft of advocacy, alone, by thyself, having called on God for help, thou wilt in any case succeed.(13)  He is not so  wont to assent when entreated by others on our behalf, as by ourselves who are in need; even if we be laden with  ten thousand evil deeds. For if in the case of men, even if we have come into countless collisions with them, when  both at dawn and at mid-day and in the evening we show ourselves to those who are aggrieved against us, by the  unbroken continuance and the persistent meeting and interview we easily demolish their enmity--far more in the  case of God would this be effected.
    12. But thou art unWorthy. Become worthy by thy assiduity. For that it both is possible that the unworthy  should become worthy from his assiduity; and that God assents more when called on by ourselves than by others;  and


that he often delays the giving, not from the wish that we should be utterly perplexed, nor to send us out(1) with  empty hands; but in order that he may become the author of greater good things to us--these three points I will  endeavour to make evident by the parable which has to-day been read to you. The woman of Chanaan had come to  Christ praying on behalf of a daughter possessed by a demon, and crying out with much earnestness,(2) (it says,(3)  "Have pity on me, Lord, my daughter is badly possessed by a demon." See, the woman of a strange nation, and a  barbarian, and outside of the Jewish commonwealth. For indeed what else (was she) than a dog, and unworthy of  the receiving her request? For "it is not," he says, "good to take the children's bread, and to give it to the dogs."  But, all the same, from her assiduity, she became worthy. For not only did he admit her into the nobility of  children, dog as she was; but also he sent her off with that high encomium saying, "O woman great is thy faith; be  it done to thee as thou wilt."(5) Now when the Christ says, "great is thy faith," seek thou no other demonstration  of the greatness of soul which was in the woman. Seest thou how, from her assiduity the woman, being unworthy,  became worthy? Desirest thou also to learn that we accomplish (our wish) by calling on him by ourselves more than  by others? She cried out, and the disciples having come to him say, "Let her go away, for she is crying after us:"(6)  and to them he says, "I am not sent, unless to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."(7) But when she had come to  him by herself and continued crying, and saying, "Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat from the table of their  masters,"(8) then he granted the favour and says, "Be it done unto thee as thou wilt." Seest thou how, when they  were entreating him, he repelled; but when she who needed the gift herself cried out, he assented? For to them he  says, "I am not sent, unless to the lost sheep of the house of Israel;" but to her(9) he said, "Great is thy faith; be it  done unto thee as thou wilt." Again, at the beginning and in the prelude of her request he answered nothing; but  when both once and twice and thrice she had come to him, then he granted the boon; by the issue making us  believe that he had delayed the giving, not that be might repel her(10) but that he might display to us all the  woman's endurance. For if he had delayed in order that he might repel her, he would not have granted it even at  the end; but since he was waiting to display to all her spiritual wisdom, on this accouter he was silent.(11) For if he  had granted it immediately and at the beginning, we should not have known the woman's virtue.(12) "Let her  go"(13) it says, "because she is clamouring behind us." But what (says) the Christ? "Ye hear a voice, but I see the  mind: I know what she is going to say. I choose not to permit the treasure hidden in her mind to escape notice; but  I am waiting and keeping silence; in order that having discovered it I may lay it down in publicity, and make it  manifest to all.
    13. Having therefore learned all these things, even if we be in sins, and unworthy of receiving, let us not despair;  knowing, that by assiduity of soul we shall be able to become worthy of the request. Even if we be unaided by  advocate and destitute, let us not faint; knowing that it is a strong advocacy--the coming to God one's self by one's  self with much eagerness. Even if he delay and defer with respect to the giving, let us not be dispirited; having  learned that the putting it off and delay is a sure proof of caring and love for mankind. If we have thus persuaded  ourselves; and with a soul deeply pained and fervent, and thoroughly roused purpose; and such as that with which  the woman of Chanaan approached, we too come to him, even if we be dogs; even if we have done anything  whatever dreadful; we shall both rebut(14) our own crimes, and obtain so great liberty of speech(15) as also to be  advocates for others; in the way in which also this woman of Chanaan not only herself enjoyed liberty of speech  and ten thousand encomiums, but had power to snatch her dear daughter(16) out of her intolerable sufferings.


For nothing--nothing is more powerful than prayer when fervent and genuine. This both disperses present  dangers, and rescues from the penalties which take place at that hour.(1) That therefore we may both complete our  passage through the present life with ease,(2) and depart thither(3) with confidence, with much zeal and eagerness  let us perform this perpetually. For thus shall we be able both to attain the good things which are laid up, and to  enjoy those excellent hopes; which God grant that we may all attain; by the grace and loving kindness and  compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ--with whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, honour,  dominion, to the ages of the ages.(4) Amen.

                             ST. CHRYSOSTOM:



                      REV. W. R. W. STEPHENS, M.A.,


                               ASSISTED BY

                       REV. T. P. BRANDRAM, M.A.,



                           FIRST INSTRUCTION.

    To those about to be illuminated;(1) and for what reason the layer is said to be of regeneration and not of  remission of sins; and that it is a dangerous thing not only to forswear oneself, but also to take an oath, even  though we swear truly.
    1. How delightful and lovable is our band of young brethren! For brethren I call you, even now before you have  been brought forth, and before your birth I welcome this relationship with you: For I know, I know dearly, to how  great an honour you are about to be led, and to how great a dignity; and those who are about to receive dignity, all  are wont to honor, even before the dignity is conferred, laying up for themselves beforehand by their attention  good will for the future. And this also I myself now do. For ye are not about to be led to an empty dignity, but to  an actual kingdom: and not simply to a kingdom, but to the kingdom of the Heavens itself. Wherefore I beseech  and entreat you that you remember me when you come into that kingdom, and as Joseph said to the chief butler  "Remember me when it shall be well with thee,"(2) this also I say now to you, do ye remember me when it is well  with you. I do not ask this in return for interpreting your dreams, as he; for I have not come to interpret dreams  for you, but to discourse of matters celestial, and to convey to you glad tidings of such good things as "eye hath not  seen, and ear hath not heard and which have entered not into the heart of man, such are the things which God hath  prepared for them that love him."(3) Now Joseph indeed said to that chief butler, "yet three days and Pharaoh will  restore thee to thy chief butlership." But I do not say, yet three days and ye shall be set to pour out the wine of a  tyrant, but yet thirty days, and not Pharaoh but the king of Heaven shall restore you to the country which is on  high, Jerusalem, which is free--to the city which is in the heavens; and he said indeed, "Thou shalt give the cup into  the hands of Pharaoh." But I say not that you shall give the cup into the hands of the king, but that the king shall  give the cup into your hand--that dread cup, full of much power, and more precious than any created thing. The  initiated know the virtue of this cup, and you yourselves shall know it a little while hence. Remember me,  therefore, when you come into that kingdom, when you receive the royal robe, when you are girt with the purple  dipped in the master's blood, when you will be


crowned with the diadem, which has lustre leaping forth from it on all sides, more brilliant than the rays of the  sun. Such are the gifts of the Bridegroom, greater indeed than your worth, but worthy of his lovingkindness.
    Wherefore, I count you blessed already before those sacred nuptials, and I do not only count you blessed, but I  praise your prudence in that you have not come to your illumination as the most slothful among men, at your last  breath, but already, like prudent servants, prepared with much goodwill to obey your master, have brought the  neck of your soul with much meekness and readiness beneath the bands of Christ, and have received His easy  yoke, and have taken His light burden. For if the grace bestowed be the same both for you and for those who are  initiated at their last hour, yet the matter of the intention is not the same, nor yet the matter of the preparation for  the rite. For they indeed receive it on their bed, but you in the bosom of the Church, which is the common mother  of us all; they indeed with lamentation and weeping, but you rejoicing, and exceeding glad: they sighing, you giving  thanks; they indeed lethargic with much fever, you filled with much spiritual pleasure; wherefore in your case all  things are in harmony with the gift, but in theirs all are adverse to it. For there is wailing and much lamentation on  the part of the initiated, and children stand around crying, wife tearing her cheeks, and dejected friends and tearful  servants; the whole aspect Of the house resembles some wintry and gloomy day. And if thou shalt open the heart  of him who is lying there, thou wilt find it more downcast than are these. For as winds meeting one another with  many a contrary blast, break up the sea into many parts, so too the thought of the terrors preying upon him assail  the Soul of the sick man, and distract his mind with many anxieties. Whenever he sees his children, he thinks of  their fatherless condition; whenever he looks from them to his wife, he considers her widowhood; when he sees the  servants, he beholds the desolation of  the whole house; when he comes back to him  self, he calls to mind his own  present life, and being about to be torn from it, experiences a great cloud of despondency. Of such a kind is the  soul of him who is about to be initiated. Then in the midst of its tumult and confusion, the Priest enters, more  formidable than the fever itself, and more distressing than death  to the relatives of the sick man. For the entrance  of the Presbyter is thought to be a greater reason for despair than the voice of the physician despairing Of his life,  and that  which suggests eternal life seems to be a symbol of death. But I have not yet put the finishing stroke to  these ills. For in the midst of relatives raising a tumult and making preparations, the soul has often taken its flight,  leaving the body desolate; and in many cases, while it was present it was useless, for when it neither recognizes  those who are present, nor hears their voice, nor is able to answer those words by which it will make that blessed  covenant with the common master of us all, but is as a useless log, or a stone, and he who is about to be  illuminated lies there differing nothing from a corpse, what is the profit of initiation in a case of such insensibility?
    2. For he who is about to approach these holy and dread mysteries must be awake and alert, must be clean from  all cares of this life, full of much self-restraint, much readiness; he must banish from his mind every thought  foreign to the mysteries, and on all sides cleanse and prepare his home, as if about to receive the king himself. Such  is the preparation of your mind: such are your thoughts; such the purpose of your soul. Await therefore a return  worthy of this most excellent decision from God, who overpowers with His recompense those who show forth  obedience to Him. But since it is necessary for his fellow servants to contribute of their own, then we will  contribute of our own; yea rather not even are these things our own, but these too are our Master's. "For what  hast thou," saith He, "that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst  not received it?"(1) I wished to say this first of all, why in the world our fathers, passing by the whole year, settled  that the children of the Church should be initiated at this season; and for what reason, after the instruction from  us, removing your shoes and raiment, unclad and unshod, with but one garment on, they conduct you to hear the  words of the exorcisers. For it is not thoughtlessly and rashly that they have planned this dress and this season for  us. But both these things have a certain mystic and secret reason. And I wished to say this to you. But I see that our  discourse now constrains us to something more necessary. For it is necessary to say what baptism is, and for what  reason it enters into our life, and what good things it conveys to us.
    But, if you will, let us discourse about the name which this mystic cleansing bears: for its name is not one, but  very many and various. For this purification is called the layer of regeneration. "He saved us," he saith, "through  the laver of regeneration, and renewing of the


Holy Ghost."(1) It is called also illumination, and this St. Paul again has called it, "For call to remembrance the  former days in which after ye were illuminated ye endured a great conflict of sufferings;"(2) and again, "For it is  impossible for those who were once illuminated, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and then fell away, to renew  them again unto repentance."(3) It is called also, baptism: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put  on Christ."(4) It is called also burial: "For we were buried" saith he, "with him, through baptism, into death."(5) It  is called circumcision: "In whom ye were also circumcised, with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting  off of the body of the sins of the flesh."(6) It is called a cross: "Our old man was crucified with him that the body of  sin might be done away."(7) It is also possible to speak of other names besides these, but in order that we should  not spend our whole time over the names of this free gift, come, return to the first name, and lotus finish our  discourse by declaring its meaning; but in the meantime, let us extend our teaching a little further. There is that  layer by means of the baths, common to all men, which is wont to wipe off bodily uncleanness; and there is the  Jewish layer, more honorable than the other, but far inferior to that of grace; and it too wipes off bodily  uncleanness, but not simply uncleanness of body, since it even reaches to the weak conscience. For there are many  matters, which by nature indeed are not unclean, but which become unclean from the weakness of the conscience.  And as in the ease of little children, masks, and other bugbears are not in themselves alarming, but seem to little  children to be alarming, by reason of the weakness of their nature, so it is in the case of those things of which I was  speaking; just as to touch dead bodies is not naturally unclean, but when this comes into contact with a weak  conscience, it makes him who touches them unclean. For that the thing in question is not unclean naturally, Moses  himself who ordained this law showed, when he bore off the entire corpse of Joseph, and yet remained clean. On  this account Paul also, discoursing to us about this uncleanness which does not come naturally but by reason of the  weakness of the conscience, speaks somewhat in this way, "Nothing is common of itself save to him who  accounteth anything to be common."(8) Dost thou not see that uncleanness does not arise from the nature of the  thing, but from the weakness of the reasoning about it? And again: "All things indeed are clean, howbeit it is evil to  that man who eateth with offense."(9) Dost thou see that it is not to eat, but to eat with offense, that is the cause of  uncleanness?
    3. Such is the defilement from which the layer of the Jews cleansed. But the layer of grace, not such, but the real  uncleanness which has introduced defilement into the soul as well as into the body. For it does not make those  who have touched dead bodies dean, but those who have set their hand to dead works: and if any man be  effeminate, or a fornicator, or an idolator, or a doer of whatever ill you please, or if he be full of all the wickedness  there is among men: should he fall into this pool of waters, he comes up again from the divine fountain purer than  the sun's rays. And in order that thou mayest not think that what is said is mere vain boasting, hear Paul speaking  of the power of the layer, "Be not deceived: neither idolators, nor fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor  abusers of themselves with men, nor covetous, not drunkards, not revilers, not extortioners shah inherit the  kingdom of God."(10) And what has this to do with what has been spoken? says one, "for prove the question  whether the power of the laver thoroughly cleanses all these things." Hear therefore what follows: "And such were  some of you, but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,  and in the spirit of our God." We promise to show you that they who approach the lover become clean from all  fornication: but the word has shown more, that they have become not only clean, but both holy and just, for it does  not say only "ye were washed," but also "ye were sanctified and were justified." What could be more strange than  this, when without toil, and exertion, and good works, righteousness is produced? For such is the lovingkindness of  the Divine gift that it makes men just without this exertion. For if a letter of the Emperor, a few words being  added, sets free those who are liable to countless accusations, and brings others to the highest honors; much rather  will the Holy Spirit of God, who is able to do all things, free us from all evil and grant us much righteousness, and  fill us with much assurance, and as a spark falling into the wide sea would straightway be quenched, or would  become invisible, being overwhelmed by the multitude of the waters, so also all human wickedness, when it falls  into the pool of the divine fountain, is more swiftly and easily overwhelmed,


and made invisible, than that spark. And for what reason, says one, if the layer take away all our sins, is it called,  not a layer of remission of sins, nor a laver of cleansing, but a laver of regeneration? Because it does not simply  take away our sins, nor simply cleanse us from our faults, but so as if we were born again. For it creates and  fashions us anew not forming us again out of earth, but creating us out of another element, namely, of the nature  of water. For it does not simply wipe the vessel clean, but entirely remoulds it again. For that which is wiped clean,  even if it be cleaned with care, has traces of its former condition, and bears the remains of its defilement, but that  which fails into the new mould, and is renewed by means of the flames, laying aside all uncleanness, comes forth  from the furnace, and sends forth the same brilliancy with things newly formed. As therefore any one who takes  and recasts a golden statue which has been tarnished by time, smoke, dust, rust, restores it to us thoroughly  cleansed and glistening: so too this nature of ours, rusted with the rust of sin, and having gathered much smoke  from our faults, and having lost its beauty, which He had from the beginning bestowed upon it from himself, God  has taken and cast anew, and throwing it into the waters as into a mould, and instead of fire sending forth the  grace of the Spirit, then brings us forth with much brightness, renewed, and made afresh, to rival the beams of the  sun, having crushed the old man, and having fashioned a new man, more brilliant than the former.
    4. And speaking darkly of this crushing, and this mystic cleansing, the prophet of old said, "Thou shalt dash  them in pieces like a potter's vessel."(1) For that the word is in reference to the faithful, what goes before  sufficiently shows us, "For thou art my Son," he says, "to-day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the  heathen for three inheritance, the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession."(2) Dost thou see how he has made  mention of the church of the Gentiles, and has spoken of the kingdom of Christ extended on all sides? Then he  says again, "Thou shall rule them with a rod of iron;" not grievous, but strong: "thou shalt break them in pieces  like a potter's vessel."(3) Behold then, the layer is more mystically brought forward. For he does not say earthen  vessels: but vessels of the potter. But, give heed: For earthen vessels when crushed would not admit of  refashioning, on account of the hardness which was gained by them from the fire. But the fact is that the vessels of  the potter are not earthen, but of clay; wherefore, also, when they have been distorted, they can easily, by the skill  of the artificer, be brought again to a second shape. When, therefore, God speaks of an irremediable calamity, he  does not say vessels of the potter, but an earthen vessel; when, for instance, he wished to teach the prophet and the  Jews that he delivered up the city to an irremediable calamity, he bade him take an earthen wine-vessel, and crush  it before all the people, and say, "Thus shall this city be destroyed, be broken in pieces."(4) But when he wishes to  hold out good hopes to them, he brings the prophet to a pottery, and does not show him an earthen vessel, but  shows him a vessel of clay, which was in the hands of the potter, falling to the ground: and brings him to it saying,  "If this potter has taken up and remodelled his vessel which has fallen, shall I not much rather be able to restore  you when you have fallen?"(5) It is possible therefore for God not only to restore those who are made of clay,  through the layer of regeneration, but to bring back again to their original state, on their careful repentance, those  who have received the power(4) of the Spirit, and have lapsed. But this is not the time for you to hear words about  repentance, rather may the time never come for you to fall into the need of these remedies, but may you always  remain in preservation of the beauty and the brightness which ye are now about to receive, unsullied. In order,  then, that ye may ever remain thus, come and let us discourse to you a little about your manner of life. For in the  wrestling schools falls of the athletes are devoid of danger. For the wrestling is with friends, and they practice all  their exercises on the persons of their teachers. But when the time of the contest has come, when the lists are open,  when the spectators are seated above, when the president has arrived, it necessarily follows that the combatants, if  they become careless, fall and retire in great disgrace, or if they are in earnest, win the crowns and the prizes. So  then, in your case these thirty days are like some wrestling school, both for exercise and practice: let us learn from  thence already to get the better of that evil demon. For it is to contend with him that we have to strip ourselves,  with him after baptism are we to box and fight. Let us learn from thence already his grip, on what side he is  aggressive, on what side he can easily threaten us, in order that, when the contest comes on, we may not feel  strange, nor become confused, as seeing new forms of wrestling; but having already prac-


ticed them amongst ourselves, and having learnt all his methods, may engage in these forms of wrestling against  him with courage. In all ways, therefore, is he accustomed to threaten us, but especially by means of the tongue,  and the mouth. For there is no organ so convenient for him for our deception and our destruction as an  unchastened tongue and an unchecked utterance. Hence come many slips on our part: hence many serious  accusations against us. And the ease of these falls through the tongue a certain one showed, when he said, "Many  fell by the sword, but not so many as by the tongue."(1) Now the gravity of the fall the same person shows us again  when he says: "To slip upon a pavement is better than to slip with the tongue."(2) And what he speaks of is of this  kind. Better it is, says he, that the body should fall and be crushed, than that such a word should go forth as  destroys the soul; and he does not speak of falls merely; he also admonishes us that much forethought should be  exercised, so that we should not be tripped up, thus saying "Make a door and bars for thy mouth,"(3) not that we  should prepare doors and bars, but that with much security, we should shut the tongue off from outrageous words;  and again in another place, after showing that we need influence from above, both as accompanying and preceding  our own effort so as to keep this wild beast within: stretching forth his hands to God, the prophet said, "Let the  lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice, set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips;"  and he who before admonished, himself too(4) says again, "Who shall set a watch before my mouth, and a seal of  wisdom upon my lips?"(5) Dost thou not see, each one fearing these fails and bewailing them, both giving advice,  and praying that the tongue may have the benefit of much watchfulness? and for what reason, says one, if this  organ brings us such ruin, did God originally place it within us? Because indeed, it is of great use, and if we are  careful, it is of use only, and brings no ruin. Hear, for example, what he says who spoke the former words, "Death  and life are in the power of the tongue."(6) And Christ points to the same thing when he says, "By thy words thou  shalt be condemned, and by thy words thou shalt be justified."(7) For the tongue stands in the midst ready for use  on either hand. "Thou art its master. Thus indeed a sword lies in the midst, and if thou use it against thine  enemies, this organ becomes a means of safety for thee. But if thou thrust its stroke against thyself, not the nature  of the iron, but thine own transgression becomes the cause of thy slaughter. Let us then take this view of the  tongue. It is a sword lying in the midst; sharpen it for the purpose of accusing thine own sins. Thrust not the  stroke against thy brother. For this reason God surrounded it with a double fortification; with the fence of the  teeth and the barrier of the lips, that it may not rashly and without circumspection utter words which are not  convenient. Well, dost thou say it will not endure this? Bridle it therefore within. Restrain it by means of the teeth,  as though giving over its body to these executioners and making them bite it. For it is better that when it sins now  it should be bitten by the teeth, than one day when it seeks a drop of water and is parched with heat, to be unable  to obtain this consolation. In many other ways indeed it is wont to sin, by raillery and blasphemy, by uttering foul  words, by slander, swearing, and perjury.
    5. But in order that we may not by saying everything at once to-day, confuse your minds, we put before you one  custom, namely, about the avoidance of oaths, saying this much by way of preface, and speaking plainly--that if you  do not avoid oaths, I say not perjury merely, but those too which happen in the cause of justice, we shall not  further discourse upon any other subject. For it is monstrous that teachers of letters should not give a second  lesson to their children until they see the former one fixed well in their memory, but that we, without being able to  express our first lessons clearly, should inculcate others before the first are completed. For this is nothing else than  to pour into a perforated jar. Give great care, then, that ye silence not our mouth. For this error is grave, and it is  exceedingly grave because it does not seem to be grave, and on this account I fear it, because no one fears it. On  this account the disease is incurable, because it does not seem to be a disease; but just as simple speech is not a  crime, so neither does this seem to be a crime, but with much boldness this transgression is committed: and if any  one call it in question, straightway laughter follows, and much ridicule, not of those who are called in question for  their oaths, but of those who wish to rectify the disease. On this account I largely extend my discourse about these  matters. For I wish to pull up a deep root, and to wipe out a long-standing evil: I speak not of perjury alone, but  even of oaths in good faith. But so and so, says one, a forbearing man, consecrated to the priesthood, living in  much self-control and piety, takes an oath. Do not speak to me of this forbearing person, this


self-controlled, pious man who is consecrated to the priesthood; but if thou wilt, add that this man is Peter, or Paul,  or even an angel descended out of heaven. For not even in such a case do I regard the dignity of their persons. For  the law which I read upon oaths, is not that of the servant, but of the King: and when the edicts of a king are read,  let every claim of the servants be silent. But if thou art able to say that Christ bade us use oaths, or that Christ did  not punish the doing of this, show me, and I am persuaded. But if he forbids it with so much care, and takes so  much thought about the matter as to class him who takes an oath with the evil one (for whatsoever is more than  these, namely, than yea and nay, saith he, is of the devil),(1) why dost thou bring this person and that person  forward? For not because of the carelessness of thy fellow servants, but from the injunctions of his own laws, will  God record his vote against thee. I have commanded, he says, thou oughtest to obey, not to shelter thyself behind  such and such a person and concern thyself with other persons' evil. Since the great David sinned a grievous sin, is  it then safe for us to sin? Tell me: on this account then we ought to make sure of this point, and only to emulate  the good works of the saints; and if there is carelessness, and transgression of the law anywhere, we ought to flee  from it with great care. For our reckoning is not with our fellow-servants, but with our Master, and to him we shall  give account for all done in our life. Let us prepare ourselves therefore for this tribunal. For even if he who  transgresses this law be beyond everything revered and great, he shall certainly pay the penalty attaching to the  transgression. For God is no respecter of persons. How then and in what way is it possible to flee from this sin?  For one ought to show not only that the crime is grievous, but to give counsel how we may escape from it. Hast  thou a wife, hast thou a servant, children, friends, acquaintance, neighbors? To all these enjoin caution on these  matters. Custom is a grievous thing, terrible to supplant, and hard to guard against, and it often attacks us  unwilling and unknowing; therefore in so far as thou knowest the power of custom, to such an extent study to be  freed from any evil custom, and transfer thyself to any other most useful one. For as that custom is often able to  trip thee up, though thou art careful, and guardest thyself, and takest thought, and consideration, so if thou  transferrest thyself to the good custom of abstaining from oaths, thou wilt not be able, either involuntarily or  carelessly, to fall into the fault of oaths. For custom is really great and has the power of nature. In order then that  we do not continually distress ourselves let us transfer ourselves to another custom, and ask thou each one of thy  kindred and acquaintance this favor, that he advise thee and exhort thee to flee from oaths, and reprove thee, when  detected in them. For the watch over thee which takes place on their part, is to them too counsel and a suggestion  to what is right. For he who reproves another for oaths, will not himself easily fall into this pit. For much sweating  is no ordinary pit, not only when it is about little matters but about the greatest. And we, whether buying  vegetables, or quarrelling over two farthings, or in a rage with our servants and threatening them, always call upon  God as our witness. But a freeman, possessed of some barren dignity, thou wouldest not dare to call upon as  witness in the market to such things; but even if thou attemptedst it, thou wilt pay the penalty of thine insolence.  But the King of Heaven, the Lord of Angels, when disputing both about purchases and money, and what not, thou  draggest in for a testimony. And how can these things be borne? whence then should we escape from this evil  custom? After setting those guards of which I spoke round us, let us fix on a specified time to ourselves for  amendment, and adding thereto condemnation if, when the time has passed, we have not amended this. How long  time will suffice for the purpose? I do not think that they who are very wary, and on the alert, and watchful about  their own salvation, should need more than ten days, so as to be altogether free from the evil custom of oaths. But  if after ten days we be detected swearing, let us add a penalty due to ourselves, and let us fix upon the greatest  punishment and condemnation of the transgression; what then is this condemnation? This I do not fix upon, but  will suffer you yourselves to determine the sentence. So we arrange matters in our own case, not only in respect of  oaths but in respect of other defects, and fixing a time for ourselves, with most grievous punishments, if at any  time we have fallen into them, shall come clean to our Master, and shall escape the fire of hell, and shall stand  before the judgment seat of Christ with boldness, to which may we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of  our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory to the Father together with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever: Amen.


                     SECOND INSTRUCTION.

    To those about to be illuminated; and concerning women who adorn themselves with plaiting of hair, and gold,  and concerning those who have used omens, and amulets, and incantations, all which are foreign to Christianity.
    1. I HAVE come to ask first of all for some fruit in return for the words lately said out of brotherly love to you.  For we do not speak in order that ye should hear simply, but in order that ye should remember what has been said,  and may afford us evidence of this, by your works. Yea, rather, not us, but, God, who knows the secrets of the  heart. On this account indeed instruction is so called, in order that even when we are absent, our discourse may  instruct your hearts.(1) And be not surprised if, after an interval of ten days only, we have come asking for fruit  from the seed sown. For in one day it is possible at once to let the seed fall, and to accomplish the harvest. For  strengthened not by our own power alone, but by the influence which comes from God, we are summoned to the  conflict. Let as many therefore as have received what has been spoken, and have fulfilled it by their works, remain  reaching forth to the things which are before. But let as many as have not yet arrived at this good achievement,  arrive at it straightway, that they may dispel the condemnation which arises out of their sloth by their diligence for  the future. For it is possible, it is indeed possible for him who has been very slothful, by using diligence for the  future to recover the whole loss of the time that is past. Wherefore, He says, "To-day if ye will hear his voice,  harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation."(2) And this, He says, exhorting and counselling us; that we  should never despair, but so long as we are here, should have good hopes, and should lay hold on what is before us,  and hasten towards the prize of our high calling of God. This then let us do, and let us inquire into the names of  this great gift. For as ignorance of the greatness of this dignity makes those who are honored with it more slothful,  so when it is known it renders them thankful, and makes them more earnest; and anyhow it would be disgraceful  and ridiculous that they who enjoy such glory and honors from God, should not even know what the names of it  are intended to show forth. And why do I speak about this gift, for if thou wilt consider the common name of our  race, thou wilt receive the greatest instruction and incentive to virtue. For this name "Man," we do not define  according as they who are without define it, but as the Divine Scripture has bidden us. For a man is not merely  whosoever has hands and feet of a man, nor whosoever is rational only, but whosoever practices piety and virtue  with boldness. Hear, at least, what he says concerning Job. For in saying that "there was a man in the land of  Ausis,"(3) he does not describe him in those terms in which they who are without describe him, nor does he say  this because he had two feet and broad nails, but he added the evidences of his piety and said, "just, true, fearing  God, eschewing every evil deed,"(4) showing that this is a man; even as therefore another says, "Fear God, and  keep his commandments, because this is the whole man."(5) But if the name man affords such a great incentive to  virtue, much rather the term faithful. For thou art called faithful on this account, because thou hast faith in God,  and thyself art entrusted from Him with righteousness, sanctification, cleansing of soul, adoption, the kingdom of  heaven. He entrusted thee with these, and handed them over to thee. Thou in turn hast entrusted, and handed  over other things to him, almsgiving, prayers, self-control and every other virtue. And why do I say almsgiving? If  thou givest him even a cup of cold water, thou shalt not indeed lose this, but even this he keeps with care against  that day, and will restore it with overflowing abundance. For this truly is wonderful, that he does not keep only  that which has been entrusted to him, but in recompensing it increases it.
    This too he has bidden thee do according to thy power, with what has been entrusted to thee, to extend the  holiness which thou hast received, and to make the righteousness which comes from the layer brighter, and the gift  of grace more radiant; even as therefore Paul did, increasing all the good things which he


received by his subsequent labors, and his zeal, and his diligence. And look at the carefulness of God; neither did he  give the whole to thee then, nor withhold the whole, but gave part, and promised part. And for what reason did he  not give the whole then? In order that thou mightest show thy faith about Him, believing, on his promise alone, in  what was not yet given. And for what reason again did he not there dispense the whole, but did give the grace of  the Spirit, and righteousness and sanctification? In order that he might lighten thy labors for thee, and by what has  been already given may also put thee in good hope for that which is to come. On this account, too, thou art about  to be called newly-enlightened, because thy light is ever new, if thou wilt, and is never quenched. For this light of  day, whether we will or no, the night succeeds, but darkness knows not that light's ray. "For the light shineth in the  darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not."(1) Not so bright at least is the world, when the  sunbeams come  forth, as the soul shines and becomes brighter when it has received grace from the Spirit and learns more exactly  the nature of the case. For when night prevails, and there is darkness, often a man has seen a coil of rope and has  thought it was a serpent, and has fled from an approaching friend as from an enemy, and being aware of some  noise, has become very much alarmed; but when the day has come, nothing of this sort could happen, but all  appears just as it really is; which thing also occurs in the case of our soul. For when grace has come, and driven  away the darkness of the understanding, we learn the exact nature of things, and what was before dreadful to us  becomes contemptible. For we no longer fear death, after learning exactly, from this sacred initiation, that death is  not death, but a sleep and a seasonable slumber; nor poverty nor disease, nor any other such thing, knowing that  we are on our way to a better life, undefiled and incorruptible, and free from all such vicissitudes.
    2. Let us not therefore remain craving after the things of this life, neither after the luxury of the table, or  costliness of raiment. For thou hast the most excellent of raiment, thou hast a spiritual; table thou hast the glory  from on high, and Christ is become to thee all things, thy table, thy raiment, thy home, thy head, thy stem. "For as  many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ."(2) See how he has become raiment for thee. Dost  thou wish to learn how he becomes a table for thee? "He who eateth me," says He, "as I live because of the Father,  he also shall live because of me;"(3) and that he becometh a home for thee, "he that eateth my flesh abideth in me,  and I in him;(4) and that He is a stem He says again, "I am the vine, ye the branches,"(5) and that he is brother,  and friend, and bridegroom, "I no longer call you servants: for ye are my friends;"(6) and Paul again, "I espoused  you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ;"(7) and again, "That he might be the  first-born among many brethren;"(8) and we become not his brethren only, but also his children, "For behold," he  says, "I and the children which God has given me"(9) and not this only, but His members, and His body. For as if  what has been said were not enough to show forth the love and the good will which He has shown forth towards  us, He has added another thing greater and nearer still, caring himself besides, our head. Knowing all these  matters, beloved, requite thy benefactor by the best conversation, and considering the greatness of the sacrifice,  adorn the members of thy body; consider what thou receivest in thine hand, and never suffer it to strike any one,  nor shame what has been honored with so great a gift by the sin of a blow. Consider what thou receivest in thine  hand, and keep it clean from all covetousness and extortion; think that thou dost not receive this in thy hand, but  also puttest it to thy mouth, and guard thy tongue in purity from base and insolent words, blasphemy, perjury, and  all other such things. For it is disastrous that what is ministered to by such most dread mysteries, and has been  dyed red with such blood, and has become a golden sword, should be perverted to purposes of raillery, and insult,  and buffoonery. Reverence the honor with which God has honoured it, and bring it not down to the vileness of sin,  but having reflected again that after the hand and the tongue, the heart receives this dread mystery, do not ever  weave a plot against thy neighbor, but keep thy thoughts pure from all evil. Thus thou shall be able to keep thine  eyes too, and thy hearing safe. For is it not monstrous, after this mystic voice is borne from heaven--I mean the  voice of the Cherubim--to defile thy hearing with lewd songs,, and dissolute melodies? and does it not deserve the  utmost punishment if, with the same eyes with which thou lookest upon the unspeakable and dread mysteries, thou  lookest upon harlots, and dost commit adultery in thy heart. Thou art called to a marriage, beloved: enter not in  clad in sordid raiment, but take a robe suitable to the


marriage. For if when men are called to a material marriage, though they be poorer than all others, they often  possess themselves of or buy clean raiment, and so go to meet those who called them. Do thou too who hast been  called to a spiritual marriage, and to a royal banquet, consider what kind of raiment it would be right for thee to  buy, but rather there is not even need to purchase, yea he himself who calls thee gives it thee gratis, in order that  thou mayest not be able to plead poverty in excuse. Keep, therefore, the raiment which thou receivedst. For if thou  losest it, thou wilt not be able to use it henceforth, or to buy it. For this kind of raiment is nowhere sold. Hast thou  heard how those who were initiated, in old time, groaned, and beat their breasts, their conscience thereupon  exciting them? Beware then, beloved, that thou do not at any time suffer like this. But how wilt thou not suffer, if  thou dost not cast off the wicked habit of evil men? For this reason I said before, and speak now and will not cease  speaking, if any has not rectified the defects in his morals, nor furnished himself with easily acquired virtue, let him  not be baptized. For the laver is able to remit former sins, but there is no little fear, and no ordinary danger lest we  return to them, and our remedy become a wound. For by how much greater the grace is, by so much is the  punishment more for those who sin after these things.
    3. In order, therefore, that we return not to our former vomit, let us henceforward discipline ourselves. For that  we must repent beforehand, and desist from our former evil, and so come forward for grace, hear what John says,  and what the leader of the apostles says to those who are about to be baptized. For the one says, "Bring forth fruit  worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our Father;"(1) and the other  says again to those who question him, "Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus  Christ."(2) Now he who repents, no longer touches the same matters of which he repented. On this account, also,  we are bidden to say, "I renounce thee, Satan," in order that we may never more return to him? As therefore  happens in the case of painters from life, so let it happen in your case. For they, arranging their boards, and tracing  white lines upon them, and sketching the royal likeness in outline, before they apply the actual colors, rub out  some lines, and change some for others, rectifying mistakes, and altering what is amiss with all freedom. But when  they put on the coloring for good, it is no longer in their power to rub out again, and to change one thing for  another, since they injure the beauty of the portrait, and the result becomes an eyesore. Consider that thy soul is  the portrait; before therefore the true coloring of the spirit comes, wipe out habits which have wrongly been  implanted in thee, whether swearing, or falsehood, or insolence, or base talking, or jesting, or whatever else thou  hair a habit of doing of things unlawful. Away with the habit, in order that thou mayest not return to it, after  baptism. The layer causes the sins to disappear. Correct thy habits, so that when the colors are applied, and the  royal likeness is brought out, thou mayest no more wipe them out in the future; and add damage and scars to the  beauty which has been given thee by God.(4) Restrain therefore anger, extinguish passion. Be not thou vexed, be  sympathizing, be not exasperated, nor say, "I have been injured in regard to my soul." No one is injured in regard  to the soul if we do not injure ourselves in regard to the soul; and how this is, I now say. Has any one taken away  thy substance? He has not injured thee in regard to thy soul, but thy money. But if thou cherish ill-will against him,  thou hast injured thyself in regard to thy soul. For the money taken away has wrought thee no damage, nay has  even been profitable, but thou by not dismissing thine anger wilt give account in the other world for this cherishing  of ill-will. Has any one reviled thee and insulted thee. He has in no way injured thy soul, and not even thy body.  Hast thou reviled in return and insulted? Thou hast injured thyself in regard to thy soul, for for the words which  thou hast Said thou art about to render account there; and this I wish you to know chiefly of all, that the Christian,  and faithful man, no one is able to injure in regard to the soul, not even the devil himself; and not only is this  wonderful, that God hath made us inaccessible to all his designs, but that he has constituted us fit for the practice of  virtue, and there is no hinderance, if we will, even though we be poor, weak in body, outcast, nameless,  bondservants. For neither poverty, nor infirmity, nor deformity of body, nor servitude, nor any other of such  things could ever become a hinderance to virtue; and why do I say, poor, and a bondservant,


and nameless? Even if thou art a prisoner, not even this would be ever any hinderance to thee as regards virtue.  And how this is I proceed to say. Has any of thy household grieved thee and provoked thee? dismiss thy wrath  against him. Have bonds, and poverty, and obscurity been any hinderance to thee in this respect? and why do I say  hinderance? They have both helped and contributed to restrain pride.  Hast thou seen another prospering? do not  envy him. For not even in this case is poverty a bar. Again, whenever thou needest to pray, do so with a sober and  watchful mind, and nothing shall be a bar even in that case. Show all meekness, forbearance, self-restraint, gravity.  For these things need no external helps. And this especially is the chief point about virtue, that it has no necessity  for wealth, power, glory, nor anything of that kind, but of a sanctified soul alone, and it seeks for nothing more.  And behold, also, the same thing happening in respect of grace. For if any one be lame, if he has had his eyes put  out, if he be maimed in body, if he has fallen into the last extremity of weakness, grace is not hindered from  coming by any of these things. For it only seeks a soul receiving it with readiness, and all these external things it  passes over. For in the case of worldly soldiers, those who are about to enlist them for the army seek for stature of  body and healthy condition, and it is not only necessary that he who is about to become a soldier should have these  alone, but he must also be free. For if anybody be a slave, he is rejected. But the King of Heaven seeks for nothing  of this kind, but receives slaves into his army, and aged people, and the languid in limb, and is not ashamed. What  is more merciful than this? What could be more kind? For he seeks for what is in our own power, but they seek for  what is not in our power. For to be a slave or free is not our doing. To be tall, again, or short is not in our own  power, or to be aged, or well grown, and such like. But to be forbearing and kind, and so forth, are matters of our  own choice; and God demands of us only those things of which we have control. And quite reasonably. For He  does not call Us to grace because of his own need, but because of doing us kindness; but kings, because of services  required by them; and they carry men off to an outward and material warfare, but He to a spiritual combat; and it  is not only in the case of heathen wars, but in the case of the games also that one may see the same analogy. For  they who are about to be brought into the theatre, do not descend to the contest until the herald himself takes  them beneath the gaze of all, and leads them round, shouting out and saying, "Has any one a charge against this  person?" although in that case the struggle is not concerned with the soul, but with the body. Wherefore then dost  thou demand proofs of nobleness? But in this case there is nothing of the kind, but all is different, our contest not  consisting of hand locked in hand, but in philosophy of soul, and excellence of mind. The president of our conflicts  does the opposite. For he does not take us, and lead us round and say, "Has any one a charge against this man?"  but cries out, "Though all men, though demons, stand up with the devil and accuse him of extreme and  unspeakable crimes, I reject him not, nor abhor him, but removing him from his accusers, and freeing him from  his wickedness, thus I bring him to the contest. And this is very reasonable. For there indeed the president  contributes nothing towards the victory, in the case of the combatants, but stands still in the midst. But here, the  President of the contests for holiness becomes a fellow-combatant, and helper, sharing with them the conflict  against the devil.
    4. And not only is this the wonderful thing that he remits our sins, but that he not even reveals them nor makes  them manifest and patent, nor compels us to come forward into the midst, and to tell out our errors, but bids us  make our defense to him alone, and to confess ourselves to him. And yet among secular judges, if any tell any of  the robbers or grave-riflers, when they are arrested, to tell their errors and be quit of their punishment, they would  accede to this with all readiness, despising the shame through desire of safety. But in this case there is nothing of  this kind, but he both remits the sins, nor compels us to marshal them in array before any spectators. But one  thing alone he seeks, that he who enjoys this remission should learn the greatness of the gift. How is it not,  therefore, absurd that in case where he does us service, he should be content with our testimony only, but in those  where we serve him we seek for others as witnesses, and do a thing for ostentation's sake? While we wonder then  at his kindliness, let us show forth our doings, and before all others let us curb the vehemence of our tongue, and  not always be giving utterance. "For in the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression."(1) If indeed then  thou hast anything useful to say, open thy lips. But if there be nothing necessary for thee to  say, be silent, for it is  better. Art thou a handicraftsman? as thou sittest at work, sing psalms. Dost thou not wish to sing with thy mouth?  do this in thine heart; a psalm is a great com-


panion. In this case thou shall undergo nothing serious, but shalt be able to sit in thy workshop as in a monastery.  For not suitableness of place, but strictness of morals will afford us quiet. Paul, at least, pursuing his trade in a  workshop suffered no injury to his own virtue.(1) Do not thou therefore say, How can I, being a handicraftsman  and a poor man, be a philosopher? This is indeed the very reason why thou mayest be a philosopher. For poverty is  far more conducive to piety for us than wealth, and work than idleness; since wealth is even a hinderance to those  who do not take heed. For when it is needful to dismiss anger, to extinguish envy, to curb passion, to offer prayer,  to exhibit forbearance and meekness, kindliness and charity, when would poverty be a bar? For it is not possible by  spending money to accomplish these things, but by exhibiting a fight disposition; almsgiving especially needs  money, but even it shines forth in greater degree through poverty. For she who spent the two mites was poorer  than all men, and yet surpassed all.(2) Let us not then consider wealth to be anything great, nor gold to be better  than clay. For the value of material things is not owing to their nature, but to our estimate of them. For if any one  would inquire carefully, iron is much more necessary than gold. For the one contributes to no need of our life, but  the other has furnished us with the greater part of our needs, ministering to countless arts; and why do I speak of a  comparison between gold and iron? For these stones(3) are more necessary than precious stones. For of those  nothing serviceable could be made, but out of these, houses and walls and cities are erected. But do thou show me  what gain could be derived from these pearls, rather what harm would not happen? For in order that thou mayest  wear one pearl drop, countless poor people are pinched with hunger. What excuse wilt thou hit upon? what pardon?
    Dost thou wish to adorn thy face? Do so not with pearls, but with modesty, and dignity. So thy countenance will  be more full of grace in the eyes of thy husband. For the other kind of adorning is wont to plunge him into a  suspicion of jealousy, and into enmity, quarrelsomeness and strife, for nothing is more annoying than a face which  is suspected. But the ornament of compassion and modesty casts out all evil suspicion, and will draw thy partner to  thee more strongly than any bond. For natural beauty does not impart such comeliness to the face as does the  disposition of him who beholds it, and nothing is so wont to produce that disposition as modesty and dignity; so  that if any woman be comely, and her husband be ill affected towards her, she appears to him the most worthless  of all women; and if she do not happen to be fair of face, but her husband be well affected towards her, she appears  more comely than all. For sentence is given not according to the nature of what is beheld, but according to the  disposition of the beholders. Adorn thy face then with modesty, dignity, pity, lovingkindness, charity, affection for  thy husband, forbearance, meekness, endurance of ill. These are the tints of virtue. By means of these thou wilt  attract angels not human beings to be thy lovers. By means of these thou hast God to commend thee, and when  God receives thee, he will certainly win over thy husband for thee. For if the wisdom of a man illuminates his  countenance,(4) much more does the virtue of a woman illuminate her face; and if thou considerest this to be a  great ornament, tell me what will be the advantage of the pearls in that day? But why is it necessary to speak of that  day, since it is possible to show all this from what happens now. When, then, they who thought fit to revile the  emperor were dragged to the judgment hall, and were in danger of extreme measures being taken, then the  mothers, and the wives, laying aside their necklaces, and their golden ornaments, and pearls, and all adornment,  and golden raiment, wearing a simple and mean dress, and besprinkled with ashes, prostrated themselves before  the doors of the judgment hall and thus won over the judges; and if in the case of these earthly courts of justice, the  golden ornaments, and the pearls, and the variegated dress would have been a snare and a betrayal, but  forbearance, and meekness, and ashes, and tears, and mean garments persuaded the judge, much more would this  take place in the case of that impartial and dread tribunal. For what reason wilt thou be able to state, what defense,  when the Master lays these pearls to thy charge, and brings the poor who have perished with hunger into the  midst? On this account Paul said, "not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly raiment."(5) For therein  would be a snare. And if we were to enjoy them continually, yet we shall lay them aside with death. But arising out  of virtue there is all security, and no vicissitude and changeableness, but here it makes us more secure, and also  accompanies us there. Dost thou wish to possess pearls, and never to lay aside this wealth ? Take off all ornament  and place it in the hands


of Christ through the poor. He will keep all thy wealth for thee, when He shall raise up thy body with much  radiancy. Then He shall invest thee with better wealth and greater ornament, since this present is mean and  absurd. Consider then whom thou wishest to please, and for whose sake thou puttest on this ornament, not in  order that the ropemaker and the coppersmith and the huckster may admire. Then art thou not ashamed, nor  blushest thou when thou showest thyself to them? doing all on their account whom thou dost not consider worthy  of accosting.
    How then wilt thou laugh this fancy to scorn? If thou wilt remember that word, which thou sentest forth when  thou wert initiated, I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy service. For the frenzy about pearls is pomp of  Satan. For thou didst receive gold not in order that thou mightest bind it on to thy body, but in order that thou  mightest release and nourish the poor. Say therefore constantly, I renounce thee, Satan. Nothing is more safe than  this word if we shall prove it by our deeds.
    5. This I think it right that you who are about to be initiated should learn. For this  word is a covenant with the  Master. And just  as we, when we buy slaves, first ask those who  are being sold if they are willing to be our  servants: So also does Christ. When He is about to receive thee into service, He first asks if thou wishest to leave  that cruel and relentless tyrant, and He receives covenants from thee. For his service is not forced upon thee. And  see the lovingkindness of God. For we, before we put down the price, ask those who are being sold, and when we  have  learned that they are willing, then we put down the price. But Christ not so, but He even put down the price  for us all; his precious blood. For, He says, ye were bought with a price.(1) Notwithstanding, not even then does  He compel those who are unwilling, to serve him; but except thou hast grace, He says, and of thine own accord and  will determinest to enroll thyself under my rule, I do not compel, nor force thee. And we should not have chosen  to buy wicked slaves. But if we should at any time have so chosen, we buy them with a perverted choice, and put  down a corresponding price for them. But Christ, buying ungrateful and lawless slaves, put down the price of a  servant of first quality, nay rather much more, and so much greater that neither speech nor thought can set forth  its greatness. For neither giving heaven, nor earth, nor sea, but giving up that which is more valuable than all these,  his own blood, thus He bought us. And after all these things, he does not require of us witnesses, or registration,  but is content with the single word, if thou sayest it from thy heart. "I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp," has  included all. Let us then say this, "I renounce thee, Satan," as men who are about in that world at that day to have  that word demanded of them, and let us keep it in order that we may then return this deposit safe. But Satan's  pomps are theatres, and the circus, and all sin, and observance of days, and incantations and omens.
    "And what are omens?" says one. Often when going forth from his own house he has seen a one-eyed or lame  man, and has shunned him as an omen. This is a pomp of Satan. For meeting the man does not make the day turn  out ill, but to live in sin. When thou goest forth, then, beware of one thing--that sin does not meet thee. For this it  is which trips us up. And without this the devil will be able to do us no harm. What sayest thou? Thou seest a man,  and shunnest him as an omen, and dost not see the snare of the devil, how he sets thee at war with him who has  done thee no wrong, how he makes thee the enemy of thy brother on no just pretext; but God has bidden us love  our enemies; but thou art turned away from him who did thee no wrong, having nothing to charge him with, and  dost thou not consider how great is the absurdity, how great the shame, rather how great is the danger? Can I  speak of anything more absurd? I am ashamed, indeed, and I blush: But for your salvation's sake, I am, I am  compelled to speak of it. If a virgin meet him he says the day becomes unsuccessful; but if a harlot meet him, it is  propitious, and profitable, and full of much business; are you ashamed? and do you smite your foreheads, and bend  to the ground? But do not this on account of the words which I have spoken, but of the deeds which have been  done. See then, in this case, how the devil hid his snare, in order that we might turn away from the modest, but  salute and be friendly to the unchaste. For since he has heard Christ saying that "He who looketh on a woman to  desire her, has already committed adultery with her,"(2) and has seen many get the better of unchastity, wishing by  another wrong to cast them again into sin, by this superstitious observance he gladly persuades them to pay  attention to whorish women.
    And what is one to say about them who use charms and amulets, and encircle their heads and feet with golden  coins of Alexander


of Macedon. Are these our hopes, tell me, that after the cross and death of our Master, we should place our hopes  of salvation on an image of a Greek king? Dost thou not know what great result the cross has achieved? It has  abolished death, has extinguished sin, has made Hades useless, has undone the power of the devil, and is it not  worth trusting for the health of the body? It has raised up the whole world, and dost thou not take courage in it?  And what wouldest thou be worthy to suffer, tell me? Thou dost not only have amulets always with thee, but  incantations bringing drunken and half-witted old women into thine house, and art thou not ashamed, and dost  thou not blush, after so great philosophy, to be terrified at such things? and there is a graver thing than this error.  For when we deliver these exhortations, and lead them away, thinking that they defend themselves, they say, that  the woman is a Christian who makes these incantations, and utters nothing else than the name of God. On this  account I especially hate and turn away from her, because she makes use of the name of God, with a view to  ribaldry. For even the demons uttered the name of God, but still they were demons, and thus they used to say to  Christ, "We know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God,"(1) and notwithstanding, he rebuked them, and drave  them away. On this account, then, I beseech you to cleanse yourselves from this error, and to keep hold of this  word as a staff; and just as without sandals, and cloak, no one of you would choose to go down to the market-place,  so without this word never enter the market-place, but when thou art about to pass over the threshold of the  gateway, say this word first: I leave thy ranks, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy service, and I join the ranks of Christ.  And never go forth without this word. This shall be a staff to thee, this thine armor, this an impregnable fortress,  and accompany this word with the sign of the cross on thy forehead. For thus not only a man who meets you, but  even the devil himself, will be unable to hurt you at all, when he sees thee everywhere appearing with these  weapons; and discipline thyself by these means henceforth, in order that when thou receivest the seal(2) thou  mayest be a well-equipped soldier, and planting thy trophy against the devil, may receive the crown of  righteousness, which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus  Christ, with whom be glory to the Father and to the Holy Spirit for ever and ever--Amen.

                               OF DEMONS.

                 INTRODUCTION BY REV. W. R. W. STEPHENS.

   The three following Homilies are closely connected in subject, and the opening sentence of the third clearly  proves that it was delivered two days after the second; but it is impossible to say whether that which is placed first  was really delivered before the other two. It must however have been spoken at Antioch, since Chrysostom refers  at the beginning of it to his sermons "on the obscurity of prophecies" in which passages occur which clearly imply  that he was not then a Bishop. The second of the three homilies here translated was delivered in the presence of a  Bishop, as is clearly indicated by the commencement, and as the third was as already mentioned delivered two days  after the second we may safely affirm that they were all spoken at Antioch when Chrysostom was a presbyter there  under the Episcopate of Flavian.
    They deal with errors against which Chrysostom throughout his life most strenuously contended. In an age of  great depravity there seem to have been many who tried to excuse the weak resistance which they made to evil,  both in themselves, and in others, by maintaining that the world was abandoned to the dominion of devils, or to  the irresistible course of fate. To counteract the disastrous effects of such philosophy, which surrendered man to  the current of his passions, it was necessary to insist very boldly and resolutely on the essential freedom of the will,  on moral responsibility, and the duty of vigorous exertion in resisting temptation. And Chrysostom did this to an  extent which some thought carried him perilously near the errors of the Pelagian heresy. No one however has  described in more forcible language the powerful hold of sin upon human nature, and the insufficiency of man to  shake it off without the assistance of divine grace. What he does most earnestly combat, both in the following  homilies and very many others, is the doctrine that evil was an original integral part of our nature: he maintains  that it is not a substantial inherent force (<greek>dunamis</greek> <greek>enupostats</greek>). If evil was a part  of our nature in this sense it would be no more reprehensible than natural appetites and affections. We do not try  to alter that which is by nature (<greek>fusei</greek>) sin therefore is not by nature, because by means of  education, laws, and punishments we do seek to alter that. Sin comes through defect in the moral purpose  (<greek>proairesis</greek>). Our first parents fell through indolence of moral purpose (<greek>raqumia</greek>)  and this is the principal cause of sin now. They marked out a path which has been trodden ever since: the force of  will has been weakened in all their posterity: so that though evil is not an inherent part of man's nature yet he is  readily inclined to it (<greek>oxurrephs</greek> <greek>pror</greek> <greek>kakian</greek>); and this tendency  must be perpetually counteracted by vigorous exertion, and a bracing up of the moral purpose, with the aid of  divine grace. Profoundly convinced therefore on the one hand of a strong and universal tendency to sin, but on the  other of an essential freedom of the will, Chrysostom sounds alternately the note of warning and  encouragement,--warning against


that weakness, indolence, languor of moral purpose which occasions a fall,--encouragement to use to the full all the  powers with which man is gifted, in reliance on God's forbearance and love, and on His willingness to help those  who do not despair of themselves. Despair is the devil's most potent instrument for effecting the ruin of man; for  it is that which prevents him from rising again after he has fallen. St. Paul repented, and, not despairing, became  equal to angels: Judas repenting, but despairing, rushed into perdition.

                                HOMILY I.


    I indeed was hoping, that from the continuance of my discourse, you would have had a surfeit of my words: but I  see that the contrary is happening: that no surfeit is taking place from this continuance, but that your desire is  increased, that an addition is made not to your satiety but to your pleasure, that the same thing is happening which  the winebibbers at heathen drinking-bouts experience; for they, the more they pour down unmixed wine, so much  the rather they kindle their thirst, and in your case the more teaching we inculcate, so much the rather do we kindle  your desire, we make your longing greater, your love for it the stronger. On this account, although I am conscious  of extreme poverty, I do not cease to imitate the ostentatious among entertainers, both setting before you my table  continuously, and placing on it the cup of my teaching, filled full: for I see that after having drunk it all, you retire  again thirsting. And this indeed has become evident during the whole time, but especially since the last Lord's Day:  For that ye partake of the divine oracles insatiably, that day particularly shewed: whereon I discoursed about the  unlawfulness of speaking ill one of another, when I furnished you with a sure subject for self accusation, suggesting  that you should speak ill of your own sins, but should not busy yourselves about those of other people: when I  brought forward the Saints as accusing themselves indeed, but sparing others: Paul saying I am the chief of sinners,  and that God had compassion on him who was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious,(1) and calling  himself one born out of due time, and not even thinking himself worthy of the title of Apostle:(2) Peter saying  "Depart from me because I am a sinful man:"(3) Matthew styling himself a publican even in the days of his  Apostleship:(4) David crying out and saying "My iniquities have gone over my head, and as a heavy burden have  been burdensome to me:"(5) and Isaiah lamenting and bewailing "I am unclean, and have unclean lips:"(6) The  three children in the furnace of fire, confessing and saying that they have sinned and transgressed, and have not  kept the commandments of God. Daniel again makes the same lamentation. When after the enumeration of these  Saints, I called their accusers flies, and introduced the right reason for the comparison, saying, that just as they  fasten themselves upon the wounds of others, so also the accusers bite at other people's sins, collecting disease  therefrom for their acquaintance, and those who do the opposite, I designated bees, not gathering together  diseases, but building honeycombs with the greatest devotion, and so flying to the meadow of the virtue of the  Saint: Then accordingly--then ye shewed your insatiable longing. For when my discourse was extended to some  length, yea to an interminable length, such as never was, many indeed expected that your eagerness would be  quenched by the abundance of what was said. But the contrary happened. For your heart was the rather warmed,  your desire was the rather kindled: and whence was this evident? The acclamations at least which took place at the  end were greater, and the shouts more clear, and the same thing took place as at the forge. For as there at the  beginning indeed the light of the fire is not very clear, but when the flame has caught the whole of the wood that is  laid upon it, it is raised to a great height; so also accordingly this happened on the occasion of that day. At the  beginning indeed, this assembly was not vehemently stirred by me. But when the discourse was extended to some  length, and gradually took hold of all the subjects and the teaching spread more widely, then accordingly, then the  desire


of listening was kindled in you, and the applause broke forth, more vehemently. On this account, although I had  been prepared to say less than was spoken, I then exceeded the measure, nay rather I never exceeded the measure.  For I am wont to measure the amount of the teaching not by the multitude of the words spoken, but by the  disposition of the audience. For he who meets with a disgusted audience, even if he abridge his teaching, seems to  be vexatious, but he who meets with eager, and wide-awake, and attentive hearers, though he extend his discourse  to some length, not even thus fulfils their desire.
    But since it happens that there are in so great a congregation, certain weak ones, unable to follow the length of  the discourse, I wish to suggest this to them, that they should hear and receive, as much as they can, and having  received enough should retire: There is no one who forbids, or compels them to remain beyond their natural  strength. Let them not however necessitate the abridgement of the discourse before the time and the proper hours.  Thou art replete, but thy brother still hungers. Thou art drunk with the multitude of the things spoken, but thy  brother is still thirsty. Let him then not distress thy weakness, compelling thee to receive more than thine own  power allows: nor do thou vex his zeal by preventing him from receiving all that he can take in.
    2. This also happens at secular feasts. Some indeed are more quickly satisfied, some more tardily, and neither do  these blame those, nor do they condemn these. But there indeed to withdraw more quickly is praiseworthy, but  here to withdraw more quickly is not praiseworthy, but excusable. There to leave off more slowly, is culpable and  faulty, here to withdraw more tardily, brings the greatest commendation, and good report. Pray why is this?  Because there indeed the tardiness arises from greediness, but here the endurance, and patience are made up of  spiritual desire and divine longing.
    But enough of preamble. And we will proceed hereupon to that business which remained over to us from that  day. What then was that which was then spoken? that all men had one speech, just as also they had one nature, and  no one was different in speech, or in tongue. Whence then comes so great a distinction in speech? From the  carelessness of those who received the gift--of both of which matters we then spoke, shewing both the  lovingkindness of the Master through this unity of speech, and the senselessness of the servants through their  distinction of speech. For he indeed foreseeing that we should waste the gift nevertheless gave it: and they to whom  it was entrusted, waxed evil over their charge This is then one way of explanation, not that God wrested the gift  from us but that we wasted what had been given. Then next after that, that we received afterwards gifts greater  than those lost. In place of temporal toil he honoured us with eternal life. In place of thorns and thistles he  prepared the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our souls. Nothing was more insignificant than man, and nothing  became more honoured than man. He was the last item of the reasonable creation. But the feet became the head,  and by means of the first-fruits, were raised to the royal throne. For just as some generous and opulent man who  has seen some one escape from shipwreck and only able to save his bare body from the waves, cradles him in his  hands, and casts about him a bright garment, and conducts him to the highest honours; so also God has done in the  case of our nature. Man cast aside all that he had, his fight to speak freely, his communion with God, his sojourn in  Paradise, his unclouded life, and as from a shipwreck, went forth bare. But God received him and straightway  clothed him, and taking him by the hand gradually conducted him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck was quite  unpardonable. For this tempest was due entirely not to the force of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor.
    And yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for the magnitude of the calamity, and him who had  suffered shipwreck in harbour, he received as lovingly as if he had undergone this in the midst of the open sea. For  to fall in Paradise is to undergo shipwreck in harbour. Why so? Because when no sadness, or care, or labours, or  toil, or countless waves of desire assaulted our nature, it was upset and it fell. And as the miscreants who sail the  sea, often bore through the ship with a small iron tool, and let in the whole sea to the ship from below; so  accordingly then, when the Devil saw the ship of Adam, that is his soul, full of many good things, he came and  bored it through with his mere voice, as with some small iron tool, and emptied him of all his wealth and sank the  ship itself. But God made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal throne. Wherefore  Paul cries out and says, "He raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him, on his right hand in the heavenly  places, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness towards us."(1) What  dost thou say?


the thing has already happened and has an end, and dost thou say "in order that he might shew to the ages to  come?" Has he not shewn? He has already shewn, but not to all men, but to me who am faithful, but the  unbelieving has not yet seen the wonder. But then, in that day the whole nature of man will come forward, and  will wonder at that which has been done, but especially will it be more manifest to us. For we believe even now;  but hearing and sight do not put a wonder before us in the same way, but just as in the case of kings when we hear  of the purple robe, and the diadem, and the golden raiment, and the royal throne, we wonder indeed, but  experience this in greater degree when the curtains are drawn aside and we see him seated on the lofty judgment  seat. So also in the case of the Only-Begotten, when we see the curtains of heaven drawn aside, and the King of  angels descending thence, and with his bodyguard of the heavenly hosts, then we perceive the wonder to be greater  from our sight of it. For consider with me what it is to see our nature borne upon the Cherubim, and the whole  angelic force surrounding it.
    3. But look, with me, too, at the wisdom of Paul, how many expressions he seeks for, so as to present to us the  lovingkindness of God. For he did not speak merely the word grace, nor riches, but what did he say? "The  exceeding riches of his grace in kindness."(1) But notwithstanding even so, he is below the mark; and even as the  slippery bodies when grasped by countless hands, escape our hold, and slip through easily; so also are we unable to  get hold of the lovingkindness of God in whatever expressions we may try to grasp it, but the exceeding magnitude  of it baffles the feebleness of our utterances. And Paul there--fore experiencing this, and seeing the force of words  defeated by its magnitude, desists after saying one word: and what is this? "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable  gift."(2) For neither speech, nor any mind is able to set forth the tender care of God. On this account he then says  that it is past finding out, and elsewhere "The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your  hearts."(3)
    But, as I was saying, these two ways of explanation are found in the meantime: one indeed that God has not  wrested the gift that  we have lost; and next, that the good things which have been given to us are even greater than  those which we have lost. And I wish also to mention a third too. What then is the third? That even if he had not  given the things after these, which were greater than those we had lost, but had only taken away what had been  given to us, as we furnished the reason why, (for let this be added); even this is enough of itself to shew his tender  care towards us. For not only to give, but also to take away what was given, is a mark of the greatest  loving-kindness, and, if you will, let us lay bare the matter, in the case of Paradise. He gave Paradise. This of his  own tender care. We were seen to be unworthy of the gift. This of our own senselessness. He took away the gift  from those who became unworthy of it. This came of his own goodness. And what kind of goodness is it, says one,  to take away the gift? Wait, and thou shalt fully hear. For think, what Cain would have been, dwelling in Paradise  after his bloodguiltiness. For if, when he was expelled from that abode, if when condemned to toil and labour, and  beholding the threat of death hanging over his head, if seeing the calamity of his father before his eyes, and holding  the traces of the wrath of God still in his hands, and encompassed with so great horrors, he lashed out into such  great wickedness, as to ignore nature, and to forget one born from the same birth pangs, and to slay him who had  done him no wrong, to lay hold on his brother's person, and to dye his right hand with blood, and when God  wanted him to be still, to refuse submission and to affront his maker, to dishonour his parents; if this man had  continued to dwell in Paradise--look, into how great evil he would have rushed. For if when so many restraints  were laid upon him, he leapt with fatal leaps; and if these walls were set at nought, whither would he not have  precipitated himself?
    Wouldest thou learn too from the mother of this man, what a good result the expulsion from the life of Paradise  had, compare what Eve was before this, and what she became afterwards. Before this indeed, she considered that  deceiving Devil, that wicked Demon to be more worth believing than the commandments of God, and at the mere  sight of the tree, she trampled under foot the law which had been laid down by Him. But when the expulsion from  Paradise came, consider how much better and wiser she grew. For when she bare a son, she says "I have gotten a  man through the Lord."(4) She straightway flew to the master. who before this had despised the master, and she  neither ascribes the matter to nature, nor puts the birth down to the laws of marriage, but she recognizes the Lord  of Nature, and acknowledges thanks to Him for the birth of the little child. And she who before this deceived her  husband, afterwards


even trained the little child, and gave him a name which of itself was able to bring the gift of God to her  remembrance: and again when she bare another, she says "God hath raised up seed to me in place of Abel whom  Cain slew."(1) The woman remembers her calamity, and does not become impatient but she gives thanks to God,  and calls the little child after his gift, furnishing it with constant material for instruction. Thus even in his very  deprivation God conferred greater benefit. The woman suffered expulsion from Paradise, but by means of her  ejection she was led to a knowledge of God, so that she found a greater thing than she lost. And if it were  profitable, says one, to suffer expulsion from Paradise, for what cause did God give Paradise at the beginning? This  turned out profitably to man, on account of our carelessness, since, if at least, they had taken heed to themselves,  and had acknowledged their master, and had known how to be self-restrained, and to keep within bounds, they  would have remained in honour. But when they treated the gifts which had been given them with insolence, then it  became profitable, that they should be ejected. For what cause then did God give at first? In order that he might  shew forth his own lovingkindness, and because He himself was prepared to bring us even to greater honour. But  we were the cause of chastisement and punishment on all sides, ejecting ourselves through our indifference to  goods which were given to us. Just as therefore an affectionate father, at first indeed, suffers his own son to dwell  in his home, and to enjoy all his father's goods, but when he sees that he has become worthless of the honour, he  leads him away from his table, and puts him far from his own sight, and often casts him forth from his paternal  home, in order that he, suffering expulsion, and becoming better by this slight and this dishonour, may again shew  himself worthy of restoration, and may succeed to his father's inheritance: So has God done. He gave Paradise to  man. He cast him out when he appeared unworthy, in order that by his dwelling outside, and through his  dishonour, he might become better, and more self-restrained, and might appear worthy again of restoration. Since  after those things he did become better, he brings him back again and says "To-day shalt thou be with me in  Paradise."(2) Dost thou see that not the gift of Paradise but even the ejection from Paradise was a token of the  greatest tender care? For had he not suffered expulsion from Paradise, he would not again have appeared worthy of  Paradise.
    4. This argument therefore let us maintain throughout, and let us apply it to the case of the subject lying before  us. God gave a speech common to all. This is part of his loving kindness to men. They did not use the gift rightly,  but they lapsed to utter folly. He took away again that which had been given. For if when they had one speech, they  fell into so great folly, as to wish to build a tower to heaven: had they not immediately been chastised would they  not have desired to lay hold on the height of heaven itself? For why? If indeed that were impossible for them, yet  notwithstanding their impious thoughts are made out from their plan. All which things God foresaw, and since  they did not use their oneness of speech rightly, he rightly divided them by difference of speech. And see with me,  his lovingkindness. "Behold," saith he "they all have one speech, and this they have begun to do."(3) For what  reason did he not at once proceed to the division of tongues, but first of all defend himself, as if about to be judged  in a lawcourt? And yet at least no one can say to him why hast thou thus done? yea he is at liberty to do all things as  he wills. But still as one about to give account, he thus sets up a defence, teaching us to be gentle and loving. For if  the master defends himself to his servants, even when they have done him this wrong; much more ought we to  defend ourselves to one another, even if we are wronged to the highest degree. See at least how he defends himself.  "Behold they have all one mouth and one speech" saith he, "and this they have begun to do," as if he said let no  one accuse me of this when he sees the division of tongues. Let no one consider that this difference of speech was  made over to men from the beginning. "Behold they all have one mouth, and one speech." But they did not use the  gift aright. And in order that thou mayest understand that he does not chastise for what has taken place so much as  he provides for improvement in the future, hear the sequel "and now none of all the things will fail them, which  they set on foot to do."(4) Now what he says, is of such a kind as this. If they do not pay the penalty now, and be  restrained from the very root of their sins, they will never cease from wickedness. For this is what "none of the  things will fail them which they set on foot to do means, as if he said, and they will add other deeds yet more  monstrous. For such a thing is wickedness; if when it has taken a start it be not hindered, as fire catching wood, so  it rises to an un-


speakable height. Dost thou see that the deprivation of oneness of speech was a work of much lovingkindness? He  inflicted difference of speech upon them, in order that they might not fall into greater wickedness. Hold fast this  argument then with me, and let it ever be fixed and immoveable in your minds, that not only when he confers  benefits but even when he chastises God is good and loving. For even his chastisements and his punishments are  the greatest part of his beneficence, the greatest form of his providence. Whenever therefore thou seest that  famines have taken place, and pestilences, and drought and immoderate rains, and irregularities in the  atmosphere, or any other of the things which chasten human nature, be not distressed, nor be despondent, but  worship Him who caused them, marvel at Him for His tender care. For He who does these things is such that He  even chastens the body that the soul may become sound. Then does God these things saith one? God does these  things, and even if the whole city, nay even if the whole universe were here I will not shrink from saying this.  Would that my voice were clearer than a trumpet, and that it were possible to stand in a lofty place, and to cry  aloud to all men, and to testify that God does these things. I do not say these things in arrogance but I have the  prophet standing at my side, crying and saying, "There is no evil in the city which the Lord hath not done"(1)--now  evil is an ambiguous term; and I wish that you shall learn the exact meaning of each expression, in order that on  account of ambiguity you may not confound the nature of the things, and fall into blasphemy.
    5. There is then evil, which is really evil; fornication, adultery, covetousness, and the countless dreadful things,  which are worthy of the utmost reproach and punishment. Again there is evil, which rather is not evil, but is called  so, famine, pestilence, death, disease, and others of a like kind. For these would not be evils. On this account I said  they are called so only. Why then? Because, were they evils, they would not have become the sources of good to us,  chastening our pride, goading our sloth, and leading us on to zeal, making us more attentive. "For when," saith  one, "he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned, and came early to God."(2) He calls this evil  therefore which chastens them, which makes them purer, which renders them more zealous, which leads them on  to love of wisdom; not that which comes under suspicion and is worthy of reproach; for that is not a work of God,  but an invention of our own will, but this is for the destruction of the other. He calls then by the name of evil the  affliction, which arises from our punishment; thus naming it not in regard to its own nature, but according to that  view which men take of it. For since we are accustomed to call by the name of evil, not only thefts and adulteries,  but also calamities; so he has called the matter, according to the estimate of mankind. This then is that which the  prophet saith "There is no evil in the city which the Lord hath not done." This too by means of Isaiah God has  made clear saying "I am God who maketh peace and createth evil,"(3) again naming calamities evils. This evil also  Christ hints at, thus saying to the disciples, "sufficient for the day is the evil thereof,"(4) that is to say the affliction,  the misery. It is manifest then on all sides, that he here calls punishment evil; and himself brings these upon us,  affording us the greatest view of his providence. For the physician is not only to be commended when he leads  forth the patient into gardens and meadows, nor even into baths and pools of water, nor yet when he sets before  him a well furnished table, but when he orders him to remain without food, when he oppresses him with hunger  and lays him low with thirst, confines him to his bed, both making his house a prison, and depriving him of the  very light, and shadowing his room on all sides with curtains, and when he cuts, and when he cauterizes, and when  he brings his bitter medicines, he is equally a physician. How is it not then preposterous to call him a physician who  does so many evil things, but to blaspheme God, if at any time He doeth one of these things, if He bring on either  famine or death, and to reject his providence over all? And yet He is the only true physician both of souls and  bodies. On this account He often seizes this nature of ours wantoning in prosperity, and travailing with a fever of  sins, and by want, and hunger, and death and other calamities and the rest of the medicines of which He knows,  frees us from diseases. But the poor alone feel hunger, says one. But He does not chasten with hunger alone, but  with countless other things. Him who is in poverty He has often corrected with hunger, but the rich and him who  enjoys prosperity, with dangers, diseases, untimely deaths. For He is full of resources, and the medicines which He  has for our salvation are manifold.
    Thus too the judges do. They do not honour, or crown those only who dwell in cities, nor do they provide gifts  alone, but they also


often correct. On this account both the sword is sharpened by them, and tortures are prepared; both the wheel and  the stocks, and the executioners, and countless other forms of chastisement. That which the executioner is to the  judges, famine is to God--as an executioner correcting us and leading us away from vice. This too, it is possible to  see in the case of the husbandmen: They do not then, only protect the root of the vine, nor hedge it round but  prune it, and lop off many of the branches; on this account not only have they a hoe, but a sickle too, suitable for  cutting: yet notwithstanding we do not find fault with them, but then above all we admire them, when we see them  cutting off much that is unserviceable, so as through the rejection of what is superfluous to afford great security to  that which remains. How is it not then preposterous, that we should thus approve of a father indeed and a  physician and a judge, and a husbandman, and should neither blame nor censure him who casts his son out of his  house nor the physician who puts his patient to torture nor the judge who corrects, nor the husbandman who  prunes: but that we should blame and smite with countless accusations God, if he would at any time raise us up,  when we are as it were, besotted through the great drunkenness which comes of wickedness? How great madness  would it not be, not even to allow God a share of the same self-justification, of which we allow our fellow servants  a share?
    6. Fearing these things for them who reproach God, I speak now, in order that they may not kick against the  pricks, and cover their own feet with blood, that they may not throw stones to heaven; and receive wounds on their  own head. But I have somewhat else far beyond this to say. For omitting to ask (I say this by way of concession) if  God took from us to our profit, I only say this; that if He took what had been given, not even thus, could anyone  be able to reproach Him. For He was Lord of his own. Among men indeed, when they entrust us with money, and  lend us silver, we give them our thanks for the time during which they lent it, we are not indignant at the time at  which they take back their own. And shall we reproach God who wishes to take back his own? Indeed now is this  not the extreme of folly? yea the great and noble Job did not act thus. For not only when he received, but even  when he was deprived, he gives the greatest thanks to God saying." The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; may  the name of the Lord be blessed for ever."[1] But if it is right to give thanks for both these even separately, and  deprivation is not the less serviceable than bestowal; what excusableness should we have, tell me, in recompensing  in a contrary spirit, and being impatient with Him when we ought to worship, who is so gentle, and loving and  careful, who is wiser than every Physician, and more full of affection than any father, juster than any judge, and  more anxious than any husbandman, in healing these souls of ours? What then could be more insane and senseless  than they who in the midst of so great good order, say that we are deprived of the providence of God? For just as if  some one were to contend that the soul was murky and cold, he would produce an example of extreme insanity, by  his opinion; so if any one doubts about the providence of God, much rather is he liable to charges of madness.
    Not so manifest is the Sun, as the providence of God is clear. But nevertheless some dare to say that Demons  administer our affairs. What can I do? Thou hast a loving Master. He chooses rather to be blasphemed by thee  through these words, than to commit thine affairs to the Demons and persuade thee by the reality how Demons  administer. For then thou wouldest know their wickedness well by the experience of it. But rather indeed now it is  possible to set it before you as it were by a certain small example. Certain men possessed of Demons coming forth  out of the tombs met Christ, and the Demons kept beseeching him to suffer them to enter the herd of swine. And  he suffered them, and they went away, and straightway precipitated them all headlong.(2) Thus do Demons  govern; and yet to them the swine were of no particular account, but with thee there is ever a warfare without a  truce, and an implacable fight, and undying hatred. And if in the case of those with whom they had nothing in  common they did not even endure that they should be allowed a brief breathing space of time: if they had gotten  unto their power us their enemies who are perpetually stinging them what would they not have done? and what  incurable mischief would they not have accomplished? For for this reason God let them fall upon the herd of swine,  in order that in the case of the bodies of irrational animals thou mayest learn their wickedness, and that they would  have done to the possessed the things which they did to the swine, had not the demoniacs in their very madness  experienced the providence of God, is evident to all: and now therefore when thou seest a man excited by a  Demon, worship the Master. Learn the wickedness of the


Demons. For it is possible to see both things in the case of these Demons, the lovingkindness of God, and the evil  of the Demons. The  evil of the Demons when they harass and disturb the soul of the demented: and the  lovingkindness of God whenever he restrains and hinders so savage a Demon, who has taken up his abode within,  and desires to hurl the man headlong, and does not allow him to use his own power to the full, but suffers him to  exhibit just so much strength, as both to bring the man to his senses, and make his own wickedness apparent. Dost  thou wish to form another example to see once more how a Demon arranges matters when God allows him to use  his own power? Consider the herds, the flocks of Job, how in one instant of time he annihilated all, consider the  pitiable death of the children, the blow that was dealt to his body: and thou shalt see the savage and inhuman and  unsparing character of the wickedness of the Demons, and from these things thou shall know clearly that if God  had. entrusted the whole of this world to their authority, they would have confused and disturbed everything, and  would have assigned to us their treatment of the swine, and of those herds, since not even for a little breathing  space of time could they have endured to spare us our salvation. If Demons were to arrange affairs, we should be  in no better condition than possessed men, yea rather we should be worse than they. For God did not give them  over entirely to the tyranny of the Demons, otherwise they would suffer far worse things than these which they  now suffer. And I would ask this of those who say these things, what kind of disorder they behold in the present,  that they set down all our affairs to the arrangement of Demons? And yet we behold the sun for so many years  proceeding day by day in regular order, a manifold band of stars keeping their own order, the courses of the moon  unimpeded, an invariable succession of night and day, all things, both above and below, as it were in a certain  fitting harmony, yea rather even far more, and more accurately each keeping his own place, and not departing  from the order which God who made them ordained from the beginning.
    7. And what is the use of all this, says one, when the heaven indeed, and sun, and moon, and the band of stars,  and all the rest keep much good order, but our affairs are full of confusion and disorder. What kind of confusion,  O man, and disorder? A certain one, says he, is rich, and overbearing, He is rapacious and covetous, he drains the  substance of the poor day by day, and suffers no terrible affliction. Another lives in forbearance, self-restraint, and  uprightness, and is adorned with all other good qualities, and is chastened with poverty and disease, and extremely  terrible afflictions. Are these then the matters which offend thee? Yes, these, says he. If then thou seest both of the  rapacious, many chastened, and of those living virtuously, yea some even enjoying countless goods, why dost thou  not abandon thine opinion, and be content with the Almighty? Because it is this very thing which offends me more.  For why when there are two evil men, is one chastened, and another gets off, and escapes; and when there are two  good men, one is honoured, and the other continues under punishment? And this very thing is a very great work of  God's providence. For if he were to chasten all the evil men, here; and were to honour here all the good men, a day  of judgment were superfluous. Again if he were to chasten no wicked man, nor were to honour any of the good,  then the base would become baser and worse, as being more careless than the excellent, and they who were  minded to blaspheme would accuse God all the more, and say that our affairs were altogether deprived of his  providence. For if when certain evil men are chastened, and certain good men punished, they likewise say that  human affairs are subject to no providence; if even this did not happen what would they not say? and what words  would they not send forth? On this account some of the wicked he chastens, and some he does not chasten and  some of the good he honours and some he does not honour. He does not chasten all, in order that he may  persuade thee, that there is a Resurrection. But he chastens some in order that he may make the more careless,  through fear by means of the punishment of the others, more in earnest. Again he honours certain of the good, in  order that he may lead on others by his honours to emulate their virtue. But he does not honour all, in order that  thou mayest learn that there is another season for rendering to all their recompense. For if indeed all were to  receive their deserts here, they would disbelieve the account of the Resurrection. But if no one were to receive his  desert here, the majority would become more careless. On this account some he chastens, and others he does not  chasten, profiling both those who are chastened, and those who are not chastened. For he separates their  wickedness from those, and he makes the others by their punishment, more self-restrained. And this is manifest  from what Christ himself said. For when they announced to him that a tower had been brought to the ground, and  had buried certain men, he saith to them "What think ye? that


these men were sinners only? I say to you nay, but if ye do not repent ye also shall suffer the same thing."(1)
    Dost thou see how those perished on account of their sin, and the rest did not escape on account of their  righteousness, but in order that they might become better by the punishment of the others? Were not then the  chastened unjustly dealt with says one? For they could without being chastened themselves become better by the  punishment of others. But if He had known that they would become better from penitence God would not have  chastened them. For if when he foresaw that many would profit nothing from his longsuffering, he nevertheless  bears with them, with much tolerance, fulfilling his own part, and affording them an opportunity of coming out of  their own senselessness to their sober senses one day; how could he deprive those who were about to become  better from the punishment of others, of the benefit of repentance? So that they are in no way unjustly treated,  both their evil being cut off by their punishment, and their chastening is to be lighter there, because they suffered  here beforehand. Again, they who were not chastened are in no way unjustly treated; for it was possible for them,  had they wished, to have used the longsuffering of God, to accomplish a most excellent change, and wondering at  his tolerance, to have become ashamed at his exceeding forbearance, and one day to have gone over to virtue, and  to have gained their own salvation by the punishment of others. But if they remain in wickedness, God is not to  blame, who on this account was longsuffering, that he might recover them, but they are unworthy of pardon, who  did not rightly use the longsuffering of God: and it is not only possible to use this argument as a reason why all the  wicked are not chastened here, but another also not less than this. Of what kind then is this? That if God brought  upon all, the chastenings which their sins deserved, our race would have been carried off, and would have failed to  come down to posterity. And in order that thou mayest learn that this is true, hear the prophet saying "If Thou  observedst iniquity
    O Lord, who shall stand?"(2) And if it seems good to thee to investigate this saying, leaving the accurate enquiry  into the life of each, alone: (For it is not possible even to know all that has been accomplished by each man) let us  bring forward those sins which all, without contradiction, commit: and from these it will be plain and manifest to  us, that if we were chastened for each of our sins, we should long ago have perished. He who has called his brother  fool, "is liable to the hell of fire" saith Heft Is there then any one of us who has never sinned this sin? What then?  ought he to be straightway carried off? Therefore we should have been all carried off and would have disappeared,  long ago, indeed very long ago. Again he who swears, saith he, even if he fulfil his oath, doeth the works of the  wicked one.(4) Who is there then, who has not sworn? Yea rather who is there who has never sworn falsely? He  who looketh on a woman, saith he, with unchaste eyes,(5) is wholly an adulterer, and of this sin any one would  find many guilty. When then these acknowledged sins are such and so insufferable, and each of these of itself  brings upon us inevitable chastisement, if we were to reckon up the secret sins committed by us, then we shall see  especially that the providence of God does not bring upon us punishment for each sin. So that when thou seest  anyone rapacious, covetous, and not chastened, then do thou unfold thine own conscience; reckon up thine own  life, go over the sins which have been committed and thou shalt learn rightly that in thine own case first, it is not  expedient to be chastened for each of thy sins: for on this account the majority make reckless utterances, since they  do not look on their own case before that of others, but we all leaving our own alone, examine that of the rest. But  let us no longer do this, but the reverse, and if thou seest any righteous man chastened, remember Job: for if any  one be righteous, he will not be more righteous than that man, nor within a small distance of approaching him.  And if he suffer countless ills, he has not yet suffered so much, as that man.
    8. Taking this then into thy mind, cease charging the master; learning that it is not by way of deserting him does  God let such an one suffer ill, but through desire to crown him, and make him more distinguished. And if thou  seest a sinner punished, remember the paralytic who passed thirty eight years on his bed. For that that man was  delivered over then to that disease through sin, hear Christ saying "Behold thou art made whole; sin no more lest a  worse thing happen to thee."(6) For either when we are chastened, we pay the penalty of our sins, or else we  receive the occasion of crowning if, when we live in rectitude, we suffer ill. So that whether we live in  righteousness, or in sins, chastening is a useful thing for us, sometimes making us more distinguished, sometimes  rendering us more self-controlled, and lightening our punishment


to come for us. For that it is possible that one chastened here, and bearing it thankfully should experience milder  punishment there hear St. Paul saying "For this reason many are weak and sickly, and some sleep. For if we judged  ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged we are corrected by the Lord, that we should not be  condemned with the world."(1) Knowing all these things therefore, Let us both moralize in this way on the  providence of God, and stop the mouths of the gainsayers. And if any of the events which happen pass our  understanding, let us not from this consider that our affairs are not governed by providence, but perceiving His  providence in part, in things incomprehensible let us yield to the unsearchableness of His wisdom. For if it is not  possible for one not conversant with it to understand a man's art, much rather is it impossible for the human  understanding to comprehend the infinity of the providence of God. "For his judgments are unsearchable and his  ways past finding out"(2) But nevertheless from small portions we gain a clear and manifest faith about the whole,  we give thanks to him for all that happens. For there is even another consideration that cannot be contradicted, for  those who wish to moralize about the providence of God For we would ask the gainsayers, is there then a God? and  if they should say there is not, let us not answer them. For just as it is worthless to answer madmen, so too those  who say there is no God. For if a ship having few sailors, and passengers, would not be conducted safely for one  mile even, without the hand which guides it, much more, such a world as this, having so many persons in it,  composed of different elements, would not have continued so long a time, were there not a certain providence  presiding over it, both governing, and continually maintaining this whole fabric, and if in shame, through the  common opinion of all men, and the experience of affairs, they confess that there is a God, let us say this to them.  If there is a God, as indeed there is, it follows that He is just, for if He is not just neither is He God, and if He is  just He recompenses to each according to their desert. But we do not see all here receiving according to their  desert. Therefore it is necessary to hope for some other requital awaiting us, in order that by each one receiving  according to his desert, the justice of God may be made manifest. For this consideration does not only contribute  to our wisdom about providence alone, but about the Resurrection; and let us teach others, and let us do all  diligence to shut the mouths of them who rave against the master, and let us ourselves glorify him in all things. For  thus shall we win more of his care, and enjoy much of his influence, and thus shall we be able to escape from real  evil, and obtain future good, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, By whom and with  whom be glory to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen.

                               HOMILY II.


    1. When Isaac, in old time, was desirous to eat a meal at the hands of his son, he sent his son forth from the  house to the chace. But when this Isaac was desirous to accept a meal at my hands he did not send me forth from  the house, but himself ran to our table. What could be more tenderly affectionate than he? What more humble?  who thought fit to shew his warm love thus, and deigned to descend so far. On this account surely, we also having  spent the tones of our voice, and the strength of our feet over the morning discourse, when we saw his fatherly  face, forgot our weakness, lay aside our fatigue, were uplifted with pleasure; we saw his illustrious hoary head, and  our soul was filled with light. On this account too, we set out our table with readiness, in order that he should eat  and bless us. There is no fraud and guile, here, as there was then, there. One indeed was commanded to bring the  meal--but another brought it. But I was commanded to bring it, and brought it too. Bless me then, O my father,  with spiritual blessing, which we all also pray ever to receive, and


which is profitable not only to thee, but also to me, and to all these. Entreat the common master of us all, to  prolong thy life to the old age of Isaac. For this is both for me, and for these, more valuable, and more needful  than the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth.
    But it is time to proceed to set out our table; what then is this? The remains of what was lately said with a view  to our love of you. For still--still--we renew our discourse concerning the Devil, which we started two days ago,  which we also addressed to the initiated, this morning when we discoursed to them about renunciation, and  covenant. And we do this, not because our discourse about the Devil is sweet to us, but because the doctrine about  him is full of security for you. For he is an enemy and a foe, and it is a great security to know clearly, the tactics of  your enemies. We have said lately, that he does not overcome by force, nor by tyranny, nor through compulsion,  nor through violence. Since were this so, he would have destroyed all men. And in testimony of this we brought  forward the swine, against which the Demons were unable to venture anything, before the permission of the  Master.(1) The herds and flocks of Job. For not even did the Devil venture to destroy these, until he received  power from above. We learned therefore this one thing first, that he does not overcome us by force, or by  compulsion; next after that, we added that even when he overcomes by deceitfulness, not thus does he get the  better of all men, Then again we brought that athlete Job, himself into the midst, against whom he set countless  schemes going, and not even thus got the better of him, but withdrew defeated. One question still remains. What  then is this matter? That if he does not overcome says one, by force, yet by deceitfulness. And on this account it  were better that he should be destroyed. For if Job got the better of him, yet Adam was deceived and overthrown.  Now if once for all he had been removed from the world, Adam would never have been overthrown. But now he  remains, and is defeated indeed by one, but gets the better of many. Ten overcame him, but he himself overcomes  and wrestles down ten thousand and if God took him away from the world, these ten thousand would not have  perished. What then shall we say to this? That first of all they who overcame are more valuable far than they who  are defeated, even if the latter be more, and the former less. "For better is one," saith he "that doeth the will of  God than ten thousand transgressors."(2) And next, that if the antagonist were taken away he who overcomes is  thereby injured. For if thou lettest the adversary remain, the more slothful are injured, not on account of the more  diligent, but by their own slothfulness; whereas it thou takest away the antagonist, the more diligent are betrayed  on account of the slothful, and neither exhibit their own power, nor win crowns.
    2. Perhaps ye have not yet understood what has been said. Therefore it is necessary that I should say it again  more clearly. Let there be one antagonist. But let there be also two athletes about to wrestle gainst him, and of  these two athletes let one be consumed with gluttony, unprepared, void of strength, nerveless; but the other  diligent, of good habit, passing his time in the wrestling school, in many gymnastic exercises, and exhibiting all the  practice which bears upon the contest. If then thou takest away the antagonist, which of these two hast thou  injured? The slothful, pray, and unprepared, or the earnest one who has toiled so much? It is quite dear that it is  the earnest one: For the one indeed is wronged by the slothful, after the antagonist has been taken away. But the  slothful, while he remains, is no longer injured on account of the earnest. For he has fallen, owing to his own  slothfulness.
    I will state another solution of this question, in order that thou mayest learn, that the Devil does not injure, but  their own slothfulness everywhere overthrows those who do not take heed. Let the Devil be allowed to be  exceeding wicked, not by nature, but by choice and conviction. For that the Devil is not by nature wicked, learn  from his very names. For the Devil, the slanderer that is, is called so from slandering; for he slandered man to God  saying "Doth Job reverence thee for nought? but put out thine hand, and touch what he hath, see if he will not  blaspheme thee to thy face."(4) He slandered God again to man saying "Fire fell from heaven and burnt up the  sheep." For he was anxious to persuade him, that this warfare was stirred up from above, out of the heavens, and  he set the servant at variance with the master, and the master with his servant; rather he did not set them at  variance, but attempted to indeed, but was not able, in order that whenever thou mayest set another servant at  variance with his master, Adam with God, and believing the Devil's slander, thou mayest learn that he gained  strength, not owing to his own power but from that man's slothfulness and carelessness. He is called the Devil  therefore on that


account. But to slander, and to refrain from slander is not natural, but an action which takes place and which  ceases to take place, occurring and ceasing to occur. Now such things do not reach the rank of the nature or of the  essence of a thing. I know that this consideration about essence and accident is hard to be grasped by many. But  there are they who are able to lend a finer ear, wherefore also we have spoken these things. Do you wish that I  should come to another name? You shall see that that also is not a name which belongs to his essence or nature. He  is called wicked. But his wickedness is not from his nature, but from his choice. For even this at one time is  present, at another time is absent. Do not thou then say this to me that it always remains with him. For it was not  indeed with him at the beginning, but afterwards came upon him; wherefore he is called apostate. Although many  men are wicked, he alone is called wicked by pre-eminence. Why then is he thus called? Because though in no way  wronged by us, having no grudge whether small or great, when he saw mankind had in honour, he straightway  envied him his good. What therefore could be worse than this wickedness, except when hatred and war exist,  without having any reasonable cause. Let the Devil then be let alone, and let us bring forward the creation, in  order that thou mayest learn that the Devil is not the cause of ills to us, if we would only, take heed: in order that  thou mayest learn that the weak in choice, and the unprepared, and slothful, even were there no Devil, falls, and  casts himself into many a depth of evil. The Devil is evil. I know it myself and it is acknowedged by all, yet give  heed strictly to the things which are now about to be said. For they are not ordinary matters, but those about which  many words, many times, and in many places arise, about which there is many a fight and battle not only on the  part of the faithful against unbelievers but also on the part of the faithful against the faithful. For this is that which  is full of pain.
    3. The Devil then is acknowledged, as I said, to be evil by all. What shall we say about this beautiful and  wondrous creation? Pray is the creation too, wicked? and who is so corrupt, who so drill, and demented as to accuse  the creation? what then shall we say about this? For it is not wicked, but is both beautiful and token of the wisdom  and power and lovingkindness of God. Hear at least how the prophet marvels at it, saying, "How are thy works  magnified O Lord! in wisdom Thou hast made them all."(1) He did go through them one by one, but withdrew  before the incomprehensible wisdom of God. And that he has made it thus beautiful and vast hear a certain one  saying, "From the vastness and beauty of the creatures, the originator of them is proportionably seen."(2) Hear too  Paul saying, "For the invisible things of Him, since the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being perceived  through the things that are made."(3) For each of these by which he spake declared that the creation leads us to the  knowledge of God, because it causes us to know the Master fully. What then? If we see this beautiful and  wondrous creation itself becoming a cause of impiety to many, shall we blame it? In no wise, but them who were  unable to use the medicine rightly. Whence then is this which leads us to the knowledge of God, a cause of impiety?  "The wise" saith he "were darkened in their understandings, and worshipped and served the creature more than  the creator"(4) The Devil is nowhere here, a Demon is nowhere here, but the creation alone is set before us, as the  teacher of the knowledge of God. How then has it become the cause of impiety? Not owing to its own nature, but  owing to the carelessness of those who do not take heed. What then? Shall we take away even the creation? tell me.
    And why do I speak about the creation? Let us come to our own members. For even these we shall find to be a  cause of destruction if we do not take heed, not because of their own nature, but because of our sloth. And look; an  eye was given, in order that thou mayest behold the creation and glorify the Master. But if thou dost not use the  eye well, it becomes to thee the minister of adultery. A tongue has been given, in order that thou mayest speak  well, in order that thou mayest praise the Creator. But if thou givest not excellent heed, it becomes a cause of  blasphemy to thee. And hands were given thee that thou mayest stretch them forth unto prayer. But if thou are not  wary, thou stretchest them out unto covetousness. Feet were given in order that thou mayest run unto good works,  but if thou art careless thou wilt cause wicked works by means of them: Dost thou see that all things hurt the weak  man? Dost thou see that even the medicines of salvation inflict death upon the weak, not because of their own  nature but because of his weakness? God made the heaven in order that thou mayest wonder at the work, and  worship the master. But others leaving the creator alone, have worshipped the heaven; and this from
their own carelessness and senselessness. But


why do I speak of the creation? assuredly what could be more conducive to salvation than the Cross? But this Cross  has become an offence to the weak. "For the word of the Cross is to them that are perishing, foolishness: but to  those which are being saved, it is the power of God."(1)And again, "we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a  stumbling-block and unto Gentiles foolishness."(2) What could be more fit for teaching than Paul, and the  apostles? But the Apostles became a savour of death to many. He says at least "to one a savour from death unto  death: to the other a savour from life unto life."(3) Dost thou see that the weak is hurt even by Paul, but the strong  is injured not even by the Devil?
    4. Dost thou wish that we should exercise the argument in the case of Jesus Christ? What is equal to that  salvation? what more profitable than that presence? But this very saving presence, so profitable, became an  additional means of chastening to many. "For for judgment" saith he "came I into this world, that they which see  not may see, and that they which see may become blind."(4) What dost thou say? The light became a cause of  blindness? The light did not become a cause of blindness, but the weakness of the eyes of the soul was not able to  entertain the light. Thou hast seen that a weak man is hurt on all sides, but the strong is benefited on all sides For  in every case, the purpose is the cause, in every case the disposition is master. Since the Devil, if thou wouldest  understand it, is even profitable to us, if we use him aright, and benefits us greatly, and we gain no ordinary  advantages; and this, we shewed in a small degree from the case of Job. And it is possible also to learn this from  Paul: for writing about the fornicator he thus speaks "Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the  flesh, that the spirit may be saved."(5) Behold even the Devil has become a cause of salvation, but not because of  his own disposition, but because of the skill of the Apostle. For as the physicians taking serpents and cutting off  their destructive members, prepare medicines for antidotes; so also did Paul. He took whatever was profitable of  the chastening that proceeds from the Devil, and left the rest alone; in order that thou mayest learn that the Devil  is not the cause of salvation, but that he hasted to destroy and devour mankind. But that the Apostle through his  own wisdom cut his throat: hear in the second epistle to the Corinthians, what he saith about this very fornicator,  "confirm your love towards him," "lest by any means such an one should be swallowed up by over much sorrow."  And, "we be taken advantage of by Satan."(6) We have snatched beforehand the man from the gullet of the wild  beast, he saith. For the Apostle often used the Devil as an executioner. For the executioners punish those who have  done wrong, not as they choose, but as the judges allow. For this is the rule for the executioner, to take vengeance,  giving heed to the command of the judge. Dost thou see to what a dignity the Apostle mounted? He who was  invested with a body, used the bodiless as an executioner; and that which their common master saith to the Devil,  concerning Job: charging him thus, "Touch his flesh, but thou shall not touch his life;"(7) giving him a limit, and  measure of vengeance, in order that the wild beast might not be impetuous and leap upon him too shamelessly;  this too the Apostle does. For delivering the fornicator over to him he says "For the destruction of the flesh,"(8)  that is "thou shall not touch his life." Dost thou see the authority of the servant? Fear not therefore the Devil, even  if he be bodiless: for he has come in contact with him. And nothing is weaker than he who has come into such  contact even though he be not invested with a body, as then nothing is stronger than he who has boldness even  though he bear about a mortal body.
    5. All these things have been now said by me, not in order that I may discharge the Devil from blame, but that I  may free you from slothfulness. For he wishes extremely to attribute the cause of our sins to himself, in order that  we being nourished by these hopes, and entering on all kinds of evil, may increase the chastening in our own case,  and may meet with no pardon from having transferred the cause to him. Just as Eve met with none. But let us not  do this. But let us know ourselves. Let us know our wounds. For thus shall we be able to apply the medicines. For  he who does not know his disease, will give no care to his weakness. We have sinned much: I know this well. For  we are all liable for penalties. But we are not deprived of pardon; nor shall we fall away from repentance for we  still stand in the arena, and are in the struggles of repentance. Art thou old, and hast thou come to the last outlet of  life? Do not consider even thus that thou hast fallen from repentance, nor despair of thine own salvation, but  consider the robber who was freed on the cross. For what was briefer than that hour in which he was crowned? Yet  notwithstanding even this was enough for him, for salvation. Art


thou young? Do not be confident in thy youth, nor think that thou hast a very fixed term of life, "For the day of the  Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."(1) On this account he has made our end invisible, in order that we might  make our diligence and our forethought plain. Dost thou not see men taken away prematurely day after day? On  this account a certain one admonishes "make no tarrying to turn to the Lord and put not off from day to day,"(2)  lest at any time, as thou delayest, thou art destroyed. Let the old man keep this admonition, let the young man take  this advice. Yea, art thou in security, and art thou rich, and dost thou abound in wealth, and does no affliction  happen to thee? Still hear what Paul says "when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon  them."(3) Affairs are full of much change. We are not masters of our end. Let us be masters of virtue. Our Master  Christ is loving.
    6. Do you wish that I shall speak of the ways of repentance? They are many, and various, and different, and all  lead to heaven. The first way of repentance is condemnation of sins. "Declare thou first thy sins that thou mayest  be justified."(4) Wherefore also the prophet said "I said, I will speak out, my transgression to the Lord, and thou  remittedst the iniquity of my heart."(5) Condemn thyself therefore for thy sins. This is enough for the Master by  way of self-defence. For he who condemns his sins, is slower to fall into them again. Awake thy conscience, that  inward accuser, in order that thou mayest have no accuser at the judgment seat of the Lord. This is one way of  repentance, the best; and there is another not less than this, not to bear a grudge against thine enemies to  overcome anger, to forgive the sins of our fellow-servants. For so will those which have been done against the  master be forgiven us. See the second expiation of sins: "For if ye forgive" saith he, "your debtors, your Heavenly  Father will also forgive you."(6) Dost thou wish to learn a third way of repentance? Fervent and diligent prayer,  and to do this from the bottom of the heart. Hast thou not seen that widow, how she persuaded the shameless  judge?(7) But thou hast a gentle Master, both tender, and kind. She asked, against her adversaries, but thou dost  not ask against thine adversaries, but on behalf of thine own salvation. And if thou wouldest learn a fourth way, I  will say almsgiving. For this has a great power and unspeakable. For Daniel saith to Nebuchadnezzar when he had  come to all kinds of evil, and had entered upon all impiety, "O King let my counsel be acceptable unto thee,  redeem thy sins by almsgiving and thine iniquities by compassion on the poor."(8) What could be compared with  this lovingkindness? After countless sins, after so many transgressions, he is promised that he will be reconciled  with him he has come into conflict with if he will show kindness to his own fellow-servants. And modesty, and  humility, not less than all words spoken, exhaust the nature of sins. And the publican is proof, being unable to  declare his good deeds, in sight of all, bringing forward his humility, and laying aside the heavy burden of his  sins.(9) See we have shewn five ways of repentance: first the condemnation of sins, next the forgiveness of our  neighbours' sins, thirdly that which comes of prayer, fourth that which comes of almsgiving, fifth that which comes  of humility. Do not thou then be lazy; but walk in all these day by day. For the ways are easy, nor canst thou plead  poverty. And even if thou livest poorer than all, thou art able to leave thine anger, and be humble, and to pray  fervently, and to condemn sins, and thy poverty is in no way a hindrance. And why do I speak thus, when not even  in that way of repentance in which it is possible to spend money (I speak of almsgiving), not even there is poverty  any hindrance to us from obeying the command? The widow who spent the two mites is a proof.(10) Having  learned then the healing of our wounds, let us constantly apply these medicines, in order that we may return to  health and enjoy the sacred table with assurance; and with much glory, reach Christ the king of glory, and attain to  everlasting good by the grace, and compassion, and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with  whom be glory, power, honour, to the Father, together with the all holy, and good and quickening Spirit, now and  always and for ever and ever. Amen.

                               HOMILY III.


    1. The day before yesterday we set on foot our sermon concerning the Devil, out of our love for you. But others,  the day before yesterday while these matters were being set on foot here, took their places in the theatre, and were  looking on at the Devil's show. They were taking part in lascivious songs; ye were having a share in spiritual music.  They were eating of the Devil's garbage: ye were feeding on spiritual unguents. Who pray decoyed them? Who pray  separated them from the sacred flock? Did the Devil pray deceive them? How did he not deceive you? you and they  are men alike; I mean as regards your nature. You and they have the same soul, you have the same desires, so far  as nature is concerned. How is it then that you and they were not in the same place? Because you and they have  not the same purpose. On this account they indeed are under deception, but you beyond deception. I do not say  these things again as discharging the Devil from accusation, but as desiring earnestly to free you from sins. The  Devil is wicked; I grant this indeed, but he is wicked for himself not towards us if we are wary. For the nature of  wickedness is of this kind. It is destructive to those alone who hold to it. Virtue is the contrary. It is not only able  to profit those who hold to it, but those nearest at hand too. And in order that thou mayest learn that evil is evil in  itself, but good is also good to others, I provide thee with proverbial evidence: "My son" saith he "if thou art  become evil, thou shall bear thine evils alone, but if wise, for thyself and thy neighbour."(1)
    They were deceived in the theatre, but ye were not deceived. This is the greatest proof of things, a clear  testimony, and unquestionable reasoning, that in every case, the purpose is master. Do thou accordingly use this  method of proof, and if thou seest a man living in wickedness, and exhibiting all kinds of evil; then blaming the  providence of God, and saying that by the necessity of fortune and fate and through tyranny of Demons He gave  us our nature, and on all sides shifting the cause from himself indeed, and transferring it to the creator who  provides for all; silence his speech not by word, but by deed, shewing him mother fellow servant living in virtue  and forbearance. There is no need of long speeches, no need of a complex plan, nor even of syllogisms. By means  of deeds the proof is brought about. He said to him: thou art a servant, and he is a servant; thou art a man and he  is a man. Thou livest in the same world: thou art nourished with the same nourishment under the same heaven:  How is it that thou art living in wickedness, he in virtue? on this account God allowed the wicked to be mingled  with the good; and did not give one law to the wicked indeed, and appointed another world as a colony for the  good, but mixed these and those; conferring great benefit. For the good appear more thoroughly approved when  they are in the midst of those who try to hinder them from living rightly, and who entice them to evil, and yet keep  hold of virtue. "For there must" he saith "be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made  manifest among you."(2)
    Therefore also on this account he has left the wicked to be in the world, in order that the good may shine the  brighter. Dost thou see how great is the gain? But the gain is not owing to the wicked, but owing to the courage of  the good. On this account also we admire Noe, not because he was righteous nor yet because he was perfect alone,  but because in that perverse and wicked generation he preserved his virtue, when he had no pattern of virtue, when  all men invited him to wickedness; and he went his whole way contrary to them, like some traveller, pursuing his  way while the great multitude is being borne along vehemently. On this account he did not simply say "Noe was  just, perfect," but added "in his generation"(3) in that perverse, that desperate generation, when there was no  acquisition of virtue. To the good indeed then this was the gain from the wicked. Thus at all events; also trees  tossed about by contrary winds, become stronger. And there is a gain to the wicked from their mixing with the  good. They feel confusion, they are ashamed, they


blush in their presence; and even if they do not abstain from evil, yet nevertheless they dare what they dare with  secrecy. And this is no small thing not to have transgression publicly committed. For the life of the others becomes  the accuser of the wickedness of these. Hear at least what they say about the righteous man. "He is grievous to us,  even when beheld,"(1) and it is no small beginning of amendment to be tormented at his presence. For if the sight  of the righteous man did not torment them, this word would not have been uttered. But to be stung, and pinched  in conscience at his presence, would be no little hindrance to indulging in wickedness with pleasure, Dost thou see  how great is the gain both to the good from the wicked, and to the wicked from the good? On this account God has  not set them apart, but allowed them to be mingled together.
    2. Let our argument also about the Devil be the same. For on this account He hath left him also to be here, in  order that he might render thee the stronger, in order that he may make the athlete more illustrious, in order that  the contests may be greater. When therefore any one says, why has God left the Devil here? say these words to  him, because he not only does no harm to the war and the heedful, but even profits them, not owing to his own  purpose (for that is wicked), but owing to their courage who have used that wickedness aright. Since he even fixed  upon Job not on this account that he might make him more illustrious, but in order that he might upset him. On  this account he is wicked both because of such an opinion and such a purpose. But notwithstanding he did no harm  to the righteous man, but he rather rejoiced in the conflict as we accordingly shewed. Both the Demon shewed his  wickedness and the righteous man his courage. But he does upset many says one: owing to their weakness, not  owing to his own strength: for this too has been already proved by many examples. Direct thine own intention  aright then, and thou shalt never receive harm from any, but shall get the greatest gain, not only from the good but  even from the wicked. For on this account, as I have before said, God has suffered men to be with one another,  and especially the wicked with the good, in order that they may bring them over to their own virtue. Hear at least  what Christ saith to his disciples, "The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a woman who took leaven and hid it in  three measures of meal."(2) So that the righteous have the power of leaven, in order that they may transfer the  wicked to their own manner of conduct. But the righteous are few, for the leaven is small. But the smallness in no  way injures the lump, but that little quantity converts the whole of the meal to itself by means of the power  inherent in it. So accordingly the power also of the righteous has its force not m the magnitude of their number,  but in the grace of the Spirit. There were twelve Apostles. Dost thou see how little is the leaven? The whole world  was in unbelief. Dost thou see how great is the lump? But those twelve turned the whole world to themselves. The  leaven and the lump had the same nature but not the same manner of conduct. On this account he left the wicked  in the midst of the good, that since they are of the same nature as the righteous they may also become of the same  purpose.
    Remember these things. With these stop the mouths of the indolent, the dissolute, the slothful, the indisposed  towards the labours of virtue, those who accuse their common Master. "Thou hast sinned" he saith "be still."(3)  "Do not add a second more grievous sin? It is not so grievous to sin, as after the sin to accuse the Master. Take  knowledge of the cause of the sin, and thou wilt find that it is none other than thyself who hast sinned. Everywhere  there is a need of a good intention. I have shewn you this not from simple reasoning only, but from the case of  fellow-servants living in the world itself. Do thou also use this proof. Thus too our common master will judge us.  Learn this method of proof, and no one will be able to reason with you. Is any a fornicator? Shew him another who  is self-restrained. Is any covetous and rapacious? Shew him one who gives alms. Does he live in jealousy and envy?  Shew him one clean from passion. Is he overcome by anger? Bring into the midst one who is living in wisdom, for  we must not only have recourse to ancient example, but take our models from present times. For even to-day by  the grace of God, good deeds are done not less than of old. Is a man incredulous? and does he think that the  scriptures are false? Does he not believe that Job was such as he was? Shew him another man, emulating the life of  that righteous person. Thus will the Master also judge us: He places fellow servants with fellow-servants, nor does  he give sentence according to his own judgment, in order that no one may begin to say again, as that servant said,  who was entrusted with the talent, and who instead of a talent brought the accusation. "Thou art an austere  man."(5) For he


ought to mourn, because he did not double the talent, but rendered his sin the more grievous, by adding to his own  idleness, his accusation against the Master. For what saith he? "I knew thee that thou art an austere man." O  miserable, and wretched, ungrateful and lazy man! Thou oughtest to have accused thine own idleness, and to have  taken away somewhat from thy former sin. But thou in bringing an account against the master hast doubled thy  sin instead of doubling thy talent.
    3. On this account God places together servants and servants in order that the one set may judge the other, and  that some being judged by the others may not be able for the future to accuse the master. On this account, he saith  "The Son of Man cometh in the glory of his Father."(1) See the equality of the glory: he does not say in glory like  to the glory of the Father, but in the glory of the Father, and will gather together all the nations. Terrible is the  tribunal: terrible to the sinful, and the accountable. Since to those who are conscious to themselves of good works,  it is desirable and mild. "And he will place the sheep on his right hand, and the kids on his left."(2) Both these and  those are men. For what reason then are those indeed sheep but these kids? Not that thou mayest learn a  difference in their nature, but the difference in their purpose. But for what reason are the who did not show  compassion kids? Because that animal is unfruitful and is not able to contribute services, either by its milk, or by  progeny, or by its hair, to those who possess it, being on all sides destitute of such a contribution as this, on  account of the immaturity of its age. On this account he has called those who bear no fruit, by comparison, kids,  but those on the right hand sheep. For from these the offering is great, both of their natural wool, their progeny,  and their milk. What then does he say to them? "Ye saw me hungering and ye fed me, naked and ye clothed me, a  stranger and ye took me in." Again to those he says the contrary. And yet both these and those were alike men,  both these and those received the same promises, the same rewards were assigned to both on doing right. The  same person came both to these and to those, with the same nakedness: and to these and to those with the same  hunger, and in the same way and a stranger. All things were alike to those and to these.
    How then was the end not the same? Because the purpose did not permit it. For this alone made the difference.  On this account the one set went to Gehenna, but the other to the Kingdom. But if the Devil were the cause to  them of their sins, these would not be destined to be chastened, when another sinned and drove them on. Dost  thou see here both those who sin, and those who do good works? Dost thou see how on seeing their  fellow-servants they were silenced? Come and let us bring our discourse to another example for thy benefit. There  were ten virgins he says.(3) Here again there are purposes which are upright, and purposes which are sinful, in  order thou mayest see side by side, both the sins of the one and the good works of the others. For the comparison  makes these things the plainer. And these and those were virgins; and these were five, and also those. All awaited  the bridegroom. How then did some enter in, and others did not enter in? Because some indeed were churlish, and  others were gentle and loving. Dost thou see again that the purpose determined the nature of the end, not the  Devil? Dost thou see that the judgments were parallel, and that the verdict given proceeds from those who are like  each other? Fellow-servants will judge fellow-servants. Dost thou wish that I should shew thee a comparison arising  from contrasts? for there is one also from contrasts so that the condemnation may become the greater. "The men  of Nineveh" he saith "shall rise up, and shall condemn this generation."(4) The judged are no longer alike, for the  one are barbarians, the others are Jews. The one enjoyed prophetic teaching, the others were never partakers of a  divine instruction. And this is not the only difference, but the fact that in that case a servant went to them, in this  the master; and that man came and proclaimed an overthrow; but this man declared the glad tidings of a kingdom  of heaven. Which of these was it the more likely, would believe? The barbarians, and ignorant, and they who had  never partaken of divine teaching, or they who had from their earliest age been trained in prophetic books? To  every one, it is plain, that the Jews would be more likely to believe. But the contrary took place. And these  disbelieved the Master when he preached a kingdom of heaven, but those believed their fellow-servant when he  threatened an overthrow: in order that their goodness, and these men's folly might be manifested to a greater  degree. Is there a Demon? a Devil? chance? or Fate? has not each become the cause to himself both of evil, and of  virtue? For if they themselves were not to be liable to account, he would not have said that they shall judge this  generation. Nor would he have said that the Queen of the


South would condemn the Jews. For then indeed not only will one people condemn another people, but one man  will often judge a whole people, when they who, it is allowed, might readily have been deceived, are found to  remain undeceived, and they who ought in every way to have the advantage, turn out to be worsted. On this  account, we made mention of Adam and of Job, for there is necessity to revert to that subject, so as to put the  finish to our discourse. He attacked Adam indeed by means of mere words, but Job by means of deeds. For the  one he denuded of all his wealth, and deprived of his children. But from this man he took not away anything, great  or little of his possessions. But let us rather examine the very words and the method of the plot. "The serpent  came" saith he "and said to the woman, What is it that God hath said, ye shall not eat of every tree which is in the  garden"(1) Here it is a serpent; there a woman, in the case of Job: mean while great is the difference between the  counsellors. The one(2) is a servant, the other(3) a partner of the man's life. She is a helpmate, but the other is  under subjection. Dost thou see how unpardonable this is? Eve indeed, the servant in subjection deceived: but  him(4) not even his partner, and helpmate could overthrow. But let us see what he saith. "What is this that God  hath said, thou shalt not eat of every tree?" Assuredly indeed God did not say this but the opposite. See the villany  of the Devil. He said that which was not spoken, in order that he might learn what was spoken. What then did the  woman? She ought to have silenced him, she ought not to have exchanged a word with him. In foolishness she  declared the judgment of the Master. Thereby she afforded the Devil a powerful handle.
    4. See what an evil it is to commit ourselves rashly to our enemies, and to conspirators against us. On this  account Christ used to say, "Give not holy things to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, lest they  turn and rend you."(5 And this happened in the case of Eve. She gave the holy things to the dog, to the swine. He  trod under foot the words: and turned and rent the woman. And see how he works evil. "Ye shall not die the  death" saith heft
    Give me your attention on this point, that the woman was able to understand the deceit. For he immediately  announced his enmity, and his warfare against God, he immediately contradicted Him. Let it be so. Before this  thou declaredst the judgment to one who wished to learn it. After this why didst thou follow one who said the  opposite? God said ye shall die the death." The Devil made answer to this and said "ye shall not die the death."  What could be clearer than this warfare? From what other quarter ought one to learn the enemy and the foe, than  from his answer returned to God? She ought then immediately to have fled from the bait, she ought to have started  back from the snare. "Ye shall not die the death," saith he "for God knoweth, that on the day on which ye eat, your  eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods. In hope of a greater promise she cast away the goods in her hand.  He promised that he would make them Gods, and cast them down into the tyranny of death. Whence then O  woman didst thou believe the Devil? What good didst thou discern? Was not the trustworthiness of the lawgiver  sufficient to prove that the one was God, both creator and framer of the world, and the other the Devil and an  enemy? And I do not say the Devil. Thou thoughtest that he was a mere serpent. Ought a serpent to claim such  equality that thou shouldest tell him the Master's judgment? Thou seest that it was possible to perceive the deceit,  but she would not, and yet God gave many proofs of his own beneficence and shewed forth his care of his works.  For he formed man, who had not existed before; and breathed a soul into him, and made him according to his  image, making him ruler of all things upon the earth, and granted him a helpmate, planted Paradise, and having  committed to him the use of the rest of the trees, refused him the taste of one only: and this very prohibition he  made for man's advantage. But the Devil manifested no good things by his deed, whether little, or great: but  exciting the woman with mere words and puffing her up with vain hopes, thus he deceived her. But nevertheless  she considered the Devil to be more worthy of credit than God, although God shewed forth his good will by his  works. The woman believed in one who professed mere words, and nothing else. Dost thou see how, from folly  alone and sloth, and not from force, the deceit happened? and in order that thou mayest learn it more clearly hear  how the scripture accuses the woman: For it does not say, being deceived, but "seeing the tree that it was fair, she  ate." So that the blame belongs to her uncontrolled vision, not to the deceit alone which comes from the Devil. For  she was defeated by yielding to her own desire, not by the wickedness. of the Demon. On this count she did not  have the benefit of pardon, but though she said, "the serpent deceived me," she paid the uttermost penalty. For it  was in her power not to have fallen. And in


order that thou mayest understand this more clearly, come, let us conduct our discourse to the case of Job; from  the defeated to the vanquisher, from the conquered to the conqueror. For this man will give us greater zeal, so that  we may raise our hands against the Devil. There he who deceived and conquered was a serpent; here the tempter  was a woman, and she did not prevail: and yet at least she was far more persuasive than he. For to Job after the  destruction of his wealth, after the loss of his children, after being stripped bare of all his goods, her wiles were  added. But in the other case there was nothing of this kind. Adam did not suffer the destruction! of his children,  nor did he lose his wealth: he did not sit upon a dunghill, but inhabited a Paradise of luxury and enjoyed all  manner of fruits, and fountains and rivers, and every other kind of security. Nowhere was there labour or pain, or  despair and cares, or reproaches, and insults, or the countless ills which assailed Job: but nevertheless, when  nothing of this kind existed, he fell and was overthrown. Is it not evident that it was on account of sloth? Even so  therefore as the other, when all these things beset him, and weighed upon him, stood nobly and did not fall, is it  not evident that his steadfastness was owing to his vigilance of soul?
    5. On both sides, beloved, reap the utmost gain, and avoid the imitation of Adam knowing how many ills are  begotten of indolence: and imitate the piety of Job, learning how many glorious things spring from earnestness.  Consider him, the conqueror throughout, and thou shall have much consolation in all pain: and peril. For as it  were in the common theatre of the world that blessed and noble man stands forth, and by means of the sufferings  which happened to him discourses to all to bear all things which befal them nobly, and never give in to. the troubles  which come upon them. For verily, there is no human suffering which cannot receive consolation from thence. For  the sufferings which are scattered over the whole world, these came together, and bore down upon one body, even  his. What pardon then shall there be for him who is unable to bear with thankfulness his share of the troubles  which are brought upon him? Since he appears not bearing a part only, but the entire ills of all men, and in order  that thou mayest not condemn the extravagance of my words, come, and let us take in hand severally the ills that  came upon him, and bring forward this fulfilment of them. And if thou wishest, let us first bring forward that  which seems to be the most unendurable of all, I mean poverty, and the pain which arises from it. For everywhere  all men bewail this. What was poorer then than Job, who was poorer than the outcasts at the baths, and those who  sleep in the ashes of the furnace, poorer in fact than all men? For these indeed have one ragged garment, but he sat  naked, and had only the garment which nature supplies, the clothing of the flesh, and this the Devil destroyed on  all sides, with a distressing kind of decay. Again these poor folk are at least under the roof of the porches at the  baths, and are covered with a shelter. But he continued always to pass his nights in the open air, not having even  the consolation of a bare roof. And, what is still greater, the fact that these are conscious of many terrible evils  within themselves, but he was conscious of nothing against himself. For this is to be noticed in each of the things  which happened to him, a thing which caused him greater pain, and produced more perplexity; the ignorance of the  reason of what took place. These persons then, as I said, would have many things with which to reproach  themselves. And this contributes no little to consolation in calamity; to be conscious in oneself of being punished  justly. But he was deprived of this consolation, and while exhibiting a conversation full of virtue, endured the fate  of those who had dared to do extreme wickedness. And these folk who are with us, are poor from the outset, and  from the beginning are versed in calamity. But he endured calamity in which he was unversed, experiencing the  immense change from wealth. As then the knowledge of the cause of what takes place, is the greatest consolation;  so it is not less than this, to have been versed in poverty from the beginning, and so to continue in it. Of both  these consolations that man was deprived, and not even then, did he fall away. Dost thou see him indeed come to  extreme poverty, even in comparison with which it is impossible to find a fellow? For what could be poorer than  the naked who has not even a roof over him? Yea rather not even was it in his power to enjoy the bare ground, but  he sat upon the dunghill. Therefore whenever thou seest thyself come to poverty, consider the suffering of the just  one, and straightway thou shalt rise up, and shake off every thought of despondency. This one calamity therefore  seems to men to be the groundwork of all sufferings together. And the second after it, yea rather before it, is the  affliction of the body. Who then was even so disabled? Who endured such disease? Who received or saw any one  else receive so great an affliction? No one. Little by little his body was wasted, and a stream of worms on every side  issued from his limbs, the running was constant, and the evil smell which surrounded him was


strong, and the body being destroyed little by little, and decaying with such putrefaction, used to make food  distasteful and hunger was to him strange and unusual. For not even was he able to enjoy the nourishment which  was given to him. For saith he "I see my food to be loathsome."(1) Whenever then thou fallest into weakness, O  man, remember that body and that saintly flesh. For it was saintly and pure, even when it had so many wounds.  And if any one belong to the army, and then unjustly and without any reasonable pretext, be hanged upon the  pillory, and has his sides rasped to pieces, let him not think the matter to be a reproach, nor let him give way to the  pain when he thinks upon this saint. But this man, says one, has much comfort and consolation in knowing that  God was bringing these sufferings upon him. This indeed especially troubled and disturbed him, to think that the  just God who had in every way been served By him, was at war with him. And he was not able to find any  reasonable pretext for what took place, since, when at least he afterwards learned the cause, see what piety he  shewed, for when God said to him "Dost thou think that I have had dealings with thee in order that thou mightest  appear righteous?"(2) conscious-stricken he says "I will lay my hand upon my mouth, once have I spoken but to a  second word I will not proceed,"(3) and again "as far as the hearing of the ear I have heard thee before, but now  mine eye hath seen thee, wherefore I have held myself to be vile, and am wasted away, and I consider myself to be  earth and ashes.(4)
    6. But if thou thinkest that this is sufficient for consolation, thou wilt thyself also be able to experience this  comfort. And even if thou dost not suffer any of these misfortunes at the hands of God but owing to the insolence  of men; and yet givest thanks and dost not blaspheme him who is able to prevent them indeed, but who permits  them for the sake of testing thee: just as they who suffer at the hands of God are crowned, so also thou shalt obtain  the same reward, because thou hast borne nobly the calamities which were brought upon thee from men, and didst  give thanks to him who was able indeed to hinder them, but not willing.
    Behold then! thou hast seen poverty and disease, and both in the extremest degree brought upon this just man.  Dost thou wish that I should shew thee the warfare at nature's hands, in such excessive degree waged then against  this noble man? He lost ten children, the ten at one fell swoop, the ten in the very bloom of youth, ten who  displayed much virtue, and that not by the common law of nature, but by a violent and pitiable death. Who could  be able to recount so great a calamity? No one. Whenever therefore thou losest son and daughter together, have  recourse to this just man, and thou shalt find altogether much comfort for thyself. Were these then the only  misfortunes which happened to him? The desertion and treachery of his friends, and the gibes, and raillery, and the  mockery and derision, and the tearing in pieces by all, was something intolerable. For the character of calamities is  not of such a kind, that they who reproach us about our calamities are wont to vex our soul. Not only was there no  one to soothe him but many even on many sides beset him with taunts. And thou seest him lamenting this bitterly,  and saying "but even you too fell upon me."(5) And he calls them pitiless, and says "My neighbours have rejected  me, and my servants spake against me, and I called the sons of my concubines, and they turned away from me."(6)  "And others" saith he "sport upon me, and I became the common talk of all.(7) And my very raiment" saith he  "abhorred me"(8) These things at least are unbearable to hear, still more to endure in their reality, extreme  poverty, and intolerable disease new and strange, the loss of children so many and so good, and in such a manner,  reproaches and gibes, and insults from men. Some indeed mocked and some reproached and others despised; not  only enemies, but even friends; not only friends, but even servants, and they not only mock and reproach, but  even abhorred him, and this not for two or three, or ten days, but for many months; and (a circumstance which  happened in that man's case alone) not even had he comfort by night, but the delusions of terrors by night were a  greater aggravation of his misfortunes by day. For that he endured more grievous things in his sleep, hear what he  says "why dost thou frighten me in sleep, and terrify me in visions?"[9] What man of iron what heart of steel could  have endured so many misfortunes? For if each of these was unbearable in itself, consider what a tumult their  simultaneous approach excited. But nevertheless he bore all these, and in all that happened to him he sinned not,  nor was there guile in his lips.
    7. Let the sufferings of that man then be the medicines for our ills, and his grievous surging sea the harbour of  our sufferings, and in each of the accidents which befal us, let us consider this saint, and seeing one person ex-


hausting the misfortunes of the universe, we shall conduct ourselves bravely in those which fall to our share, and as  to some affectionate mother, stretching forth her hands on all sides, and receiving and reviving her terrified  children, so let us always flee to this book, and even if the pitiable troubles of all men assail us, let us take sufficient  comfort for all and so depart. And if thou sayest, he was Job, and for this reason bore all this, but I am not like  him; thou suppliest me with a greater accusation against thyself and fresh praise of him. For it is more likely that  thou shouldest be able to bear all this than he. Why pray? Because he indeed was before the day of grace and of the  law, when there was not much strictness of life, when the grace of the Spirit was not so great, when sin was hard to  fight against, when the curse prevailed and when death was terrible. But now our wrestlings have become easier, all  these things being removed after the coming of Christ; so that we have no excuse, when we are unable to reach the  same standard as he, after so long a time, and such advantage, and so many gifts given to us by God. Considering  therefore all these things, that misfortunes were greater for him, and that when the conflict was more grievous,  then he stripped for the contest; let us bear all that comes upon us nobly, and with much thankfulness, in order  that we may be able to obtain the same crown as he, by the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with  whom be glory to the Father together with the Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.


    1. I LATELY inflicted a severe stroke upon those who are grasping and wish to overreach others;(1) I did this  not in order to wound them but in order to correct them; not because I hate the men, but because I detest their  wickedness. For so the physician also lances the abscess, not as making an attack upon the suffering body, but as a  means of contending with the disorder and the wound. Well to-day let us grant them a little respite, that they may  recover from their distress, and not recoil from the remedy by being perpetually afflicted. Physicians also act thus;  after the use of the knife they apply plasters and drugs, and let a few days pass whilst they devise things to allay the  pain. Following their example let me today, devising means for them to derive benefit from my discourse, start a  question concerning doctrine, directing my speech to the words which have been read. For I imagine that many  feel perplexed as to the reason why these words were uttered by Christ: and it is probable also that any heretics  who are present may pounce upon the words, and thereby upset many of the more simple-minded brethren.
    In order then to build a wall against their attack and to relieve those who are in perplexity from bewilderment  and confusion, let us take in hand the words which have been cited, and dwell upon the passage, and dive into the  depths of its meanings. For reading does not suffice unless knowledge also be added to it. Even as the eunuch of  Candace read, but until one came who instructed him in the meaning of what he was reading he derived no great  benefit from it. In order therefore that  you may not be in the same condition attend to what is said, exert your  understanding, let me have your mind disengaged from other thoughts, let your eye be quick-sighted, your  intention earnest: let your soul be set free from worldly cares, that we may not sow our words upon the thorns, or  upon the rock, or by the way side, but that we may till a deep and rich field, and so reap an abundant harvest. For  if you thus attend to what is said you will render my labour lighter and facilitate the discovery of that which you are  seeking.
    What then is the meaning of the passage which has been read "Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me?"  What does the saying mean? For we ought to unlock the passage by first giving a clear interpretation of the words.  What then does the saying mean? "Father if it be possible take away the cross." How sayest thou? is he ignorant  whether this be possible or impossible? Who would venture to say this? Yet the words are those of one who is  ignorant: for the addition of the word "if," is indicative of doubt: but as I said we must not attend to the words  merely, but turn our attention to the sense, and learn the aim of the speaker, and the cause and the occasion, and  by putting all these things together turn out the hidden meaning. The unspeakable Wisdom then, who knoweth the  Father even as the Father knoweth the Son, how should he have been ignorant of this?


For this knowledge concerning His passion was not greater than the knowledge concerning His essential nature,  which He alone accurately knew. "For as the Father knoweth me"' He says "even so know I the Father."(1) And  why do I speak of the only begotten Son of God? For even the prophets appear not to have been ignorant of this  fact, but to have known it clearly, and to have declared beforehand with much assurance that so it must come to  pass, and would certainly be.
    Hear at least how variously all announce the cross. First of all the patriarch Jacob: for directing his discourse to  Him he says "Out of a tender shoot didst thou spring up:"(2) by the word shoot signifying the Virgin and the  undefiled nature of Mary. Then indicating the cross he said "Thou didst lie down and slumber as a lion, and as a  lion's whelp; who shall raise him up?"(3) Here he called death a slumbering and a sleep, and with death he  combined the resurrection when he said "who shall raise him up?" No one indeed save he himself--wherefore also  Christ said "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again,"(4) and again "Destroy this  temple and in three days I will raise it up."(5) And what is meant by the words "thou didst lie down and slumber as  a lion?" For as the lion is terrible not only when he is awake but even when he is sleeping, so Christ also not only  before the cross but also on the cross itself and in the very moment of death was terrible, and wrought at that time  great miracles, turning back the light of the sun, cleaving the rocks, shaking the earth, rending the veil, alarming  the wife of Pilate, convicting Judas of sin, for then he said "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent  blood;"(6) and the wife of Pilate declared "Have nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things  in a dream because of Him."(7) The darkness took possession of the  earth, and night appeared at midday, then   death was brought to nought, and his tyranny   was destroyed: many bodies at least of the  saints which slept arose.  These things the  patriarch declaring beforehand, and demonstrating that, even when crucified, Christ would be  terrible, said "thou didst lie down and slumber as a lion." He did not say thou shall slumber but thou didst slumbe,  rbecause it would certainly come to pass. For it is the  custom of the prophets in many places to predict things to  come as if they were already  past. For just as it is impossible that things  which have happened should not have  happened, so is it impossible that this should not happen, although it be future. On this account they predict things  to come under the semblance of past time, indicating by this means the impossibility of their failure, the certainty  of their coming to pass. So also spake David, signifying the cross; "They pierced my hands and my feet."(8) He did  not say they "shall pierce" but "they pierced" "they counted all my bones."(9) And not only does he say this, but he  also describes the things which were done by the soldiers. "They parted my garments among themselves, and upon  my vesture did they cast lots."(10) And not only this but he also relates they gave Him gall to eat, and vinegar to  drink. For he says "they gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."(11) And again  another one says that they smote him with a spear, for "they shall look on Him whom they pierced."(12) Esaias  again in another fashion predicting the cross said He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his  shearer is dumb, so openeth he not his mouth." In his humiliation his judgment was taken away."(13)
    2. Now observe I pray how each one of these writers speaks as if concerning things already past, signifying by  the use of this tense the absolute inevitable certainty of the event. So also David, describing this tribunal, said,  "Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things? The Kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers  were gathered together against the Lord and against his  Christ."(14) And not only does he mention the trial, and  the cross, and the incidents on the   cross, but also him who betrayed him, declaring that he was his familiar  companion and guest. "For," he saith, "he that eateth bread with me did magnify his heel against me."(15) Thus  also does he foretell the voice which Christ was to utter on the cross saying "My God, My God why hast thou  forsaken me?"(16) and the burial also does he describe: "They laid me in the lowest pit, in dark places, and in the  shadow of death."(17) And the resurrection: "thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, neither shalt thou suffer thy  Holy One to see corruption;"(18) and the ascension: "God has gone up with a merry noise, the Lord with the  sound of the trump."(19) And the session on the right hand: "The Lord said to my Lord sit thou on my right hand  until I make thy foes thy footstool."(20) But Esaias also declares the cause; saying, "for the transgressions of my


people is He brought to death,"(1) and because all have strayed like sheep, therefore is he sacrificed."(2) Then also  he adds mention of the result, saying "by his stripes we have all been healed:"(3) and "he hath borne the sins of  many."(4) The prophets then knew the cross, and the cause of the cross and that which was effected by it, and the  burial and the resurrection, and the ascension, and the betrayal, and the trial, and described them all with accuracy:  and is He who sent them and commanded them to speak these things ignorant of them Himself? What reasonable  man would say that? Seest thou that we must not attend merely to the words? For this is not the only perplexing  passage, but what follows is more perplexing. For what does He say? "Father if it be possible let this cup pass from  me." Here he will be found to speak not only as if ignorant, but as if deprecating the cross: For this is what He  says. "If it be permissible let me not be subjected to crucifixion and death." And yet when Peter, the leader of the  apostles, said this to Him, "Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not happen unto Thee," He rebuked him so severely  as to say; "get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offence unto me, for thou savourest not the things which be of  God, but those which be of men:"(5) although a short time before he had pronounced him blessed. But to escape  crucifixion seemed to Him so monstrous a thing, that him who had received the revelation from the Father, him  whom He had pronounced blessed, him who had received the keys of Heaven, He called Satan, and an offence,  and accused him of not savouring the things which be of God because he said to Him, "Be it far from thee Lord,  this shall never be unto Thee"--namely crucifixion. He then who thus vituperated the disciple, and poured such an  invective upon him as actually to call him Satan (after having bestowed such great praise on him), because he said  "avoid crucifixion," how could He desire not to be crucified? and how after these things when drawing the picture  of the good shepherd could He declare this to be the special proof of his virtue, that he should be sacrificed for the  sake of the sheep, thus saying, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep?"(6)  Nor did He even stop there, but also added, "but he that is an hireling and not the shepherd seeth the wolf coming  and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth."(7) If then it is the sign of the good shepherd to sacrifice himself, and of the  hireling to be unwilling to undergo this, how can He who calls Himself the good shepherd beseech that he may not  be sacrificed? And how could He say "I lay down my life of myself"? For if thou layest down thy life of thyself, how  canst thou beseech another that thou mayest not lay it down? And how is it that Paul marvels at Him on account of  this declaration, saying "Who being in the form of God counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but  emptied Himself taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a  man he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross."(8) And He Himself  again speaks in this wise, "For this cause doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it  again."(9) For if He does not desire to lay it down, but deprecates the act, and beseeches the Father, how is it that  He is loved on this account? For love is of those who are like minded. And how does Paul say again "Love one  another even as Christ also loved us and gave Himself for us?"(10) And Christ Himself when He was about to be  crucified said "Father, the hour has come: glorify thy Son,"(11) speaking of the cross as glory: and  how then does  He deprecate it here when He urges it there? For that the cross is glory listen to what the evangelist says "the Holy  Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."(12) Now the hearing of this expression is "grace was  not yet given because the enmity towards men was not yet destroyed by reason that the cross had not yet done its  work." For the cross destroyed the enmity of God towards man, brought about the reconciliation, made the earth  Heaven, associated men with angels, pulled down the citadel of death, unstrung the force of the devil, extinguished  the power of sin, delivered the world from error, brought back the truth, expelled the Demons, destroyed temples,  overturned altars, suppressed the sacrificial offering, implanted virtue, rounded the Churches. The cross is the will  of the Father, the glory of the Son, the rejoicing of the Spirit, the boast of Paul, "for," he says, "God forbid that I  should boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."(13) The  cross is that which is brighter than the sun, more  brilliant than the sunbeam: for when the sun is darkened then the cross shines brightly: and the sun is darkened  not because it is extinguished, but because it is overpowered by the brilliancy of the cross. The cross has broken our  bond, it has made the prison of death ineffectual, it is the demonstration of the love of God. "For


God so loved the world that He gave His  only-begotten Son, that every one who believes m Him should not  perish."(1) And again Paul says "If being enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."(2) The  cross is the impregnable wall, the invulnerable shield, the safeguard of the rich, the resource of the poor, the  defence of those who are exposed to snares, the armour of those who are attacked, the means of suppressing  passion, and of acquiring virtue, the wonderful and marvellous sign. "For this generation seeketh after a sign: and  no sign shall be given it save the sign of Jonas";(3) and again Paul says, "for the Jews ask for a sign and the Greeks  seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified."(4) The cross opened Paradise, it brought in the robber, it conducted  into the kingdom of Heaven the race of man which was about to perish, and was not worthy even of earth. So  great are the benefits which have sprung and do spring from the cross, and yet doth He not desire to be crucified I  ask? Who would venture to say this? And if He did not desire it who compelled Him, who forced Him to it? and  why did He send prophets beforehand announcing that He would be crucified, if He was not to be, and did not  wish to undergo it? And for what reason does He call the cross a cup, if He did not desire to be crucified? For that  is the word of one who signifies the desire which he has concerning the act. For as the cup is sweet to those who are  thirsty so also was crucifixion to Him: wherefore also He said "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with  you,"(5) and this He meant not absolutely, but relatively, because after that evening the cross was awaiting Him.
    3. He then who calls the thing glory, and rebukes the disciple because he was trying to hinder Him, and proves  that what constitutes the good shepherd is his sacrificing himself on behalf of the sheep, and declares that he  earnestly longs for this thing, and willingly goes to meet it, how is it that He beseeches it may not come to pass?  And if He did not wish it what difficulty was there in hindering those who came for that purpose? But in fact you  behold Him hastening towards the deed. At least when they came upon Him He said "Whom seek ye?" and they  replied "Jesus." Then He saith to them "Lo! I am He: and they went backward and fell to the ground."(6) Thus  having first crippled them and proved that He was able to escape their hands, He then surrendered Himself, that  thou mightest learn that not by compulsion or force, or the tyrannical power of those who attacked Him, did He  unwillingly submit to this, but willingly with purpose and desire, preparing for it a long time before. Therefore also  were prophets sent beforehand, and patriarchs foretold the events, and by means of words and deeds the cross was  prefigured. For the sacrifice of Isaac also signified the cross to us: wherefore also Christ said "Abraham your father  rejoiced to see my glory and he saw it and was glad."(7) The patriarch then was glad beholding the image of the  cross, and does He Himself deprecate it? Thus Moses also prevailed over Amalek when he displayed the figure of  the cross: and one may observe countless things happening in the Old Testament descriptive by anticipation of the  cross. For what reason then was this the case if He who was to be crucified did not wish it to come to pass? And the  sentence which follows this is yet more perplexing. For having said "Let this cup pass from me He added  "nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt."(8) For herein as far as the actual expression is concerned we find two  wills opposed to one another: if at least the Father desires Him to be crucified, but He Himself does not desire it.  And yet we everywhere behold Him desiring and purposing the same things as the Father. For when He says  "grant to them, as I and Thou are one that they also may be one in us,"(9) it is equivalent to saying that the  purpose of the Father and of the Son is one. And when He says "The words which I speak I speak not myself, but  the Father which dwelleth in me, He doeth these works,"(10) He indicates the same thing. And when He says "I  have not come of myself"(11) and "I can of my own self do nothing"(12)he does not say this as signifying that He  has been  deprived of authority, either to speak or to act (away with the thought!),but as desiring to prove the  concord of his purpose, both in words and deeds, and in every kind of transaction, to be one and the same with the  Father, as I have already frequently demonstrated. For the expression "I speak not of myself" is not an abrogation  of authority but a demonstration of agreement. How then does He say here "Nevertheless not as I will but as  Thou wilt"? Perhaps I have excited a great conflict in your mind, but be on the alert: for although many words have  been uttered I know well that your zeal is still fresh: for the discourse is now hastening on to the solution. Why  then has this form of speech been employed? Attend carefully, The doctrine of the incarnation was very hard to  receive. For the exceeding measure of His lovingkindness and the magnitude of His con


descension were full of awe, and needed much preparation to be accepted. For consider what a great thing it was to  hear and to learn that God the ineffable, the incorruptible, the unintelligible, the invisible, the incomprehensible,  in whose hand are the ends of the earth,(1) who looketh upon the earth, and causeth it to tremble, who toucheth  the mountains, and maketh them smoke,(2) the weight of whose condescension not even the Cherubim were able  to bear but veiled their faces by the shelter of their wings, that this God who surpasses all understanding, and  baffles all calculation, having passed by angels, archangels, and all the spiritual powers above, deigned to become  man, and to take flesh formed of earth and clay, and enter the womb of a virgin, and be borne there the space of  nine months, and be nourished with milk, and suffer all things to which man is liable. Inasmuch then as that which  was to happen was so strange as to be disbelieved by many even when it had taken place, He first of all sends  prophets beforehand, announcing this very fact. For instance the patriarch predicted it saying "Thou didst spring  from a tender shoot my son: thou didst lie down and slumber as a lion;"(3) and Esaias saying "Behold the Virgin  shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call His name Emmanuel;"(4) and elsewhere again "We beheld Him as  a young child, as a root in a dry ground;"(5) and by the dry ground he means the virgin's womb. And again "unto  us a child is born, unto us a son is given?"(6) and again "there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a  flower shall spring out of his root."(7) And Baruch in the book of Jeremiah says "this is our God: no other shall be  reckoned by the side of Him: He found out every   path of knowledge and gave it to Jacob His  servant, and lsrael  his beloved. After these things also He appeared upon the earth, and held converse with men."(8) And David  signifying His incarnate presence said "He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool, and like the drop  which distills upon the earth"(9) because He noiselessly and gently entered into the Virgin's womb.
    4. But these proofs alone did not suffice, but even when He had come, lest what had taken place should be  deemed an illusion, He warranted the fact not only by the sight but by duration of time and by passing through all  the phases incident to man. For He did not enter once for all into a man matured and completely developed, but  into a virgin's womb,   so as to undergo the process of gestation and birth and  suckling and growth, and by the  length of the time and the variety of the stages of growth to give assurance of what had come to pass. And not even  here were the proofs concluded, but even when bearing about the body of flesh He suffered it to experience the  infirmities of human nature and to be hungry, and thirsty, and to sleep and feel fatigue; finally also when He came  to the cross He suffered it to undergo the pains of the flesh. For this reason also streams of sweat flowed down  from it and an angel was discovered strengthening it, and He was sad and down-cast: for before He uttered these  words He said "my soul is troubled, and exceeding sorrowful ever unto death?"(10) If then after all these things  have taken place the wicked mouth of the devil speaking through Marcion of Pontus, and Valentinus, and  Manichaeus of Persia and many more heretics, has attempted to overthrow the doctrine of the Incarnation and has  vented a diabolical utterance declaring that He did not become flesh, nor was clothed with it, but that this was  mere fancy, and illusion, a piece of acting and pretence, although the sufferings, the death, the burial, the thirst, cry  aloud against this teaching; supposing that none of these things had happened would not the devil have sown these  wicket doctrines of impiousness much more widely? For this reason, just as He hungered, as He slept, as He felt  fatigue, as He ate and drank, so also did He deprecate death, thereby manifesting his humanity, and that infirmity  of human nature which does not submit without pain to be torn from this present life. For had He not uttered any  of these things, it might have been said that if He were a man He ought to have experienced human feelings. And  what are these? in the case of one about to be crucified, fear and agony, and pain in being torn from present life:  for a sense of the  charm which surrounds present things is implanted in human nature: on this account wishing to  prove the reality of the fleshly clothing, and to give assurance of the incarnation He manifests the actual feelings of  man with full demonstration.
    This is one consideration, but there is another no less important. And what is this? Christ having come to earth  wished to instruct men in all virtue: now the instructor teaches not only by word, but also by deed: for this is the  teacher's best method of teaching. A pilot  for instance when he makes the apprentice sit by his side shows him  how he handles the rudder, but he also joins speech to action, and does not depend upon words alone or example


alone: in like manner also an architect when he has placed by his side the man who is intended to learn from him  how a wall is contructed, shows him the way by means of action as well as by means of oral teaching; so also with  the weaver, and embroiderer, and gold refiner, and coppersmith;--and every kind of art has teachers who instruct  both orally and practically. Inasmuch then as Christ Himself came to instruct us in all virtue, He both tells us what  ought to be done, and does it. "For," he says, "he who does and teaches the same shall be called great in the  kingdom of heaven."(1) Now observe; He commanded men to be lowly-minded, and meek, and He taught this by  His words: but see how He also teaches it by His deeds. For having said "Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are  the meek,"(2) He shows how these virtues ought to be practised. How then did He teach them? He took a towel  and girded Himself and washed the disciples' feet.(3) What can match this lowliness of mind? for He teaches this  virtue no longer by His words only but also by His deeds. Again He teaches meekness and forbearance by His acts.  How so? He was struck on the face by the servant of the high priest, and said "If I have spoken evil bear witness of  the evil: but if well why smitest thou me?"(4) He commanded men to pray for their enemies: this also again He  teaches by means of His acts: for when He had ascended the cross He said "Father forgive them for they know not  what they do."(5) As therefore He commanded men to pray so does He Himself pray, instructing thee to do so by  his own unflagging utterances of prayer. Again He commanded us to do good to those who hate us, and to deal  fairly with those who treat us despitefully:(6) and this He did by his own acts: for he cast devils out of the Jews,  who said that He Himself was possessed by a devil, He bestowed benefits on His persecutors, He fed those who  were forming designs against Him, He conducted into His kingdom those who were desiring to crucify Him. Again  He said to His disciples "Get you no gold nor silver neither brass in your purses,"(7) thus training them for  poverty: and this also He taught by His example, thus saying, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,  but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head."(8) And He had neither table nor dwelling nor anything else  of that kind: not because He was at a loss to obtain them, but because He was instructing men to go in that path.  After the same manner then he taught them also to pray. They said to Him "Teach us to pray."(9) Therefore also  He prays, in order that they may learn to pray. But it was necessary for them not merely to learn to pray but also  how they ought to pray: for this reason He delivered to them a prayer in this form: "Our Father which art in  Heaven hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so on earth. Give us this day  our daily bread: and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors: and lead us not into temptation:"(10) that  is into danger, into snares. Since then He commanded them to pray "lead us not into temptation," He instructs  them in this very precept by putting it m practice Himself, saying "Father if it be possible, let this cup pass away  from me, thus teaching all the saints not to plunge into dangers, not to fling themselves into them but to wait for  their approach, and to exhibit all possible courage, only not to rush forwards themselves, or to be the first to  advance against terrors. Why so, pray? both to teach us lowliness of mind, and also to deliver us from the charge of  vainglory. On this account it is said also in this passage that when He had spoken these words "He went away and  prayed:" and after He had prayed He speaks thus to His disciples "Could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch  and pray that ye enter not into temptation."(11) Seest thou He not only prays but also admonishes? "For the Spirit  indeed is willing," He said, "but the flesh is weak."(12) Now this He said by way of emptying their soul of vanity,  and delivering them from pride, teaching them self-restraint, training them to practice moderation. Therefore the  prayer which He wished to teach them, He Himself also offered, speaking after the manner of men, not according  to His Godhead (for the divine nature is impassable) but according to His manhood. And He prayed as instructing  us to pray, and even to seek deliverance from distress; but, if this be not permitted, then to acquiesce in what  seems good to God. Therefore He said "Nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt:" not because He had one will  and the Father another; but in order that He might instruct men even if they were in distress and trembling, even  if danger came upon them, and they were unwilling to be torn from present life, nevertheless to postpone their  own will to the will of God: even as Paul also when he had been instructed practically exhibited both these  principles; for he besought that temptations might be removed from him, thus saying "For this thing I besought the  Lord thrice:"(13) and yet since it


did not please God to remove it, he says "Wherefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in l insults, in persecutions."(1)  But perhaps what I have said is not quite clear: therefore I will make it clearer. Paul incurred many dangers and  prayed that he might not be exposed to them. Then he heard Christ saying "my grace is sufficient for thee, for my  strength is made perfect in weakness."(2) As soon then as he saw what the will of God was, he in future submitted  his will to God's will. By means of this prayer then Christ taught both these truths, that we should not plunge into  dangers, but rather pray that we may not fall into them; but if they come upon us we should bear them bravely,  and postpone our own will to the will of God. Knowing these things then let us pray that we may never enter into  temptation: but if we do enter it let us beseech  God to give us patience and courage, and let us honour His will in  preference to every will of our own. For then we shall pass through this present life with safety, and shall obtain  the blessings to come: which may we all receive by the favour and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with  Whom be to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, glory, might, honour, now and for ever world without end.  Amen.


                            THROUGH THE ROOF.

    1. HAVING lately come across the incident of the paralytic(1) who lay upon his bed beside the pool, we  discovered a rich and large treasure, not by delving in the ground, but by diving into his heart: we found a treasure  not containing silver and gold and precious stones, but endurance, and philosophy, and patience and much hope  towards God, which is more valuable than any kind of jewel or source of wealth. For material riches are liable to  the designs of robbers, and the tales of false accusers, and the violence of housebreakers, and the villany of  servants, and when they have escaped all these things, they often bring the greatest ruin upon those who possess  them by exciting the eyes of the envious, and consequently breeding countless storms of trouble. But the spiritual  riches escape all these occasions of mischief and are superior to all abuse of this kind, laughing to scorn both  robbers, and housebreakers, and slanderers, and false accusers and death itself. For they are not parted from the  possessor by death, but on the contrary the possession becomes then more especially secured to the owners, and  they accompany them on their journey to the other world, and are transplanted with them to the future life, and  become marvellous advocates of those with whom they depart hence, and render the judge propitious to them.
    This wealth we found in great abundance stored in the soul of the paralytic. And you are witnesses who with  great zeal drew up draughts of this treasure yet without exhausting it. For such is the nature of spiritual wealth; it  resembles fountains of water, or rather exceeds their plenteousness, being most abundant when it has many to  draw upon it. For when it enters into any man's soul it is not divided, not diminished, but coming in its entireness  to each remains continually unconsumed, being incapable of ever failing: which was just what took place at that  time. For although so many have applied to the treasure, and all are drawing upon it as much as they can--but why  do I speak of you, seeing that it has made countless persons rich from that time to the present day, and yet abides  in its original perfection? Let us not then grow weary in having recourse to this source of spiritual wealth: but as far  as possible let us now also draw forth draughts from it, and let us gaze upon our merciful Lord, gaze upon His  patient servant. He had been thirty and eight years struggling with an incurable infirmity and was perpetually  plagued by it, yet he did not repine, he did not utter a blasphemous word, he did not accuse his Maker, but endured  his calamity bravely and with much meekness. And whence is this manifest? you say: for Scripture has not told us  anything clearly concerning his former life, but only that he had been thirty-eight years in his infirmity; it has not  added a word to prove that he did not show discontent, or anger or petulance. And yet it has made this plain also,  if any one will pay careful attention to it, not looking at it curiously and carelessly. For when you hear that on the  approach of Christ who was a stranger to him, and regarded merely as a man, he spoke to him with such great  meekness, you may be able to perceive his former wisdom. For when Jesus said to him "Wilt thou be made  whole?" he did not make the natural reply "thou seest me who have been this long time lying sick of the palsy, and  dost thou ask


me if I wish to be made whole? hast thou come to insult my distress, to reproach me and laugh me to scorn and  make a mock of my calamity? He did not say or conceive anything of this kind but meekly replied "Yea Lord."(1)  Now if after thirty-eight; years he was thus meek and gentle, when all the vigour and strength of his reasoning  faculties was broken down, consider what he is likely to have been at the outset of his trouble. For be assured that  invalids are not so hard to please at the beginning of their disorder, as they are after a long lapse of time: they  become most intract able, most intolerable to all, when the malady is prolonged. But as he, after so many years,  was so wise, and replied with so much forbearance, it is quite clear that during the previous time also he had been  bearing that calamity with much thankfulness.
    Considering these things then let us imitate the patience of our fellow-servant: for his paralysis is sufficient to  brace up our souls: for no one can be so supine and indolent after having observed the magnitude of that calamity  as not to endure bravely all evils which may befall him, even if they are more intolerable than all that were ever  known. For not only his soundness but also his sickness has become a cause of the greatest benefit to us: for his  cure has stimulated the souls of the hearers to speak the praise of the Lord, and his sickness and infirmity has  encouraged you to patience, and urged you to match his zeal; or rather it has exhibited to you the lovingkindness of  God. For the actual deliverance of the man. to such a malady, and the protracted duration of his infirmity is a sign  of the greatest care for his welfare. For as a gold refiner having cast a piece of gold into the furnace suffers it to be  proved by the fire until such time as he sees it has become purer: even so God permits the souls of men to be tested  by troubles until they become pure and transparent and have reaped much profit from this process of sifting:  wherefore this is the greatest species of benefit.
    2. Let us not then be disturbed, neither dismayed, when trials befall us. For if the gold refiner sees how long he  ought to leave the piece of gold in the furnace, and when he ought to draw it out, and does not allow it to remain in  the fire until it is destroyed and burnt up: much more does God understand this, and when He sees that we have  become more pure, He releases us from our trials so that we may not be overthrown and cast down by the  multiplication of our evils. Let us then not be repining, or faint-hearted, when some unexpected thing befalls us;  but let us suffer Him who knows these things accurately, to prove our hearts by fire as long as He pleases: for He  does this for a useful purpose and with a view to the profit of those who are tried.
    On this account a certain wise man admonishes us saying "My Son, if thou come to serve the Lord prepare thy  soul for temptation, set thy heart aright and constantly endure and make not haste in time of trouble";(2) "yield to  Him" he says, "in all things," for He knoweth exactly when it is right to pluck us out of the furnace of evil. We  ought therefore everywhere to yield to Him and always to give thanks, and to bear all things contentedly, whether  He bestows benefits or chastisement upon us, for this also is a species of benefit. For the physician, not only when  he bathes and nourishes the patient and conducts him into pleasant gardens, but also when he uses cautery and the  knife, is a physician all the same: and a father not only when he caresses his son, but also when he expels him from  his house, and when he chides and scourges him, is a father all the same, no less than when he praises him.  Knowing therefore that God is more tenderly loving than all physicians, do not enquire too curiously concerning  His treatment nor demand an account of it from Him, but whether He is pleased to let us go free or whether He  punishes, let us offer ourselves for either alike; for He seeks by means of each to lead us back to health, and to  communion with Himself, and He knows our several needs, and what is expedient for each one, and how and in  what manner we ought to be saved, and along that path He leads us. Let us then follow whither-soever He bids us,  and let us not too carefully consider whether He commands us to go by a smooth and easy path, or by a difficult  and rugged one: as in the case of this paralytic. It was one species of benefit indeed that his soul should be purged  by the long duration of his suffering, being delivered to the fiery trial of affliction as to a kind of furnace; but it was  another benefit no less than this that God was present with him in the midst of the trials, and afforded him great  consolation. He it was who strengthened him, and upheld him, and stretched forth a hand to him, and suffered  him not to fall. But when you hear that it was God Himself do not deprive the paralytic of his meed of praise,  neither him nor any other man who is tried and yet steadfastly endures. For even if we be infinitely wise, even if  we are mightier and stronger than all men, yet in the absence of His grace we shall not


be able to withstand even the most ordinary temptation. And why do I speak of such insignificant and abject  beings as we are? For even if one were a Paul, or a Peter, or a James, or a John, yet if he should be deprived of the  divine help he would easily be put to shame, overthrown, and laid prostrate. And on behalf of these I will read you  the words of Christ Himself: for He saith to Peter "Behold Satan hath asked to have you that he may sift you as  wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not."(1) What is the meaning of "sift"? to turn and twist, and  shake and stir and shatter, and worry, which is what takes place in the case of things which are winnowed: but I he  says have restrained him, knowing that you are not able to endure the trial, for the expression "that thy faith fail  not" is the utterance of one who signifies that if he had permitted it his faith would have failed. Now if Peter who  was such a fervent lover of Christ and exposed his life for Him countless times and sprang into the foremost rank  in the Apostolic band, and was pronounced blessed by his Master, and called Peter on this account because he kept  a firm and inflexible hold of the faith, would have been carried away and fallen from profession if Christ had  permitted the devil to try him as much as he desired, what other man will be able to stand, apart from His help?  Therefore also Paul saith "But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will  with the temptation also make the way of escape that ye may be able to bear it."(2) For not only does He say that  He does not suffer a trial to be inflicted beyond our strength, but even in that which is proportioned to our  strength He is present carrying us through it, and bracing us up, if only we ourselves first of all contribute the  means which are at our disposal, such as zeal, hope in Him, thanksgiving, endurance, patience. For not only in the  dangers which are beyond our strength, but in those which are proportioned to it, we need the divine assistance, if  we are to make a brave stand; for elsewhere also it is said "even as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so  our comfort also aboundeth through Christ, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, by the  comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."(3) So then he who comforted this man is the same who  permitted the trial to be inflicted upon him. And now observe after the cure what tenderness He displays. For He  did not leave him and depart, but having found him in the temple he saith "behold! thou art made whole; sin no  more lest some worse thing happen unto thee."(4) For had He permitted the punishment because He hated him  He would not have released him, He would not have provided for his future safety: but the expression "lest some  worse thing happen unto thee" is the utterance of one who would check coming evils beforehand. He put an end to  the disease, but did not put an end to the struggle: He expelled the infirmity but did not expel the dread of it, so  that the benefit which had been wrought might remain unmoved. This is the part of a tender-hearted physician,  not only to put an end to present pains, but to provide for future security, which also Christ did, bracing up his soul  by the recollection of past events. For seeing that when the things which distress us have departed, the recollection  of them oftentimes departs with them, He wishing it to abide continually, saith "sin no more lest some worse thing  happen unto thee."
    3. Moreover it is possible to discern His forethought and consideration not only from this, but also from that  which seems to be a rebuke. For He did not make a public exposure of his sins, but yet He told him that he  suffered what he did suffer on account of his sins, but what those sins were He did not disclose; nor did He say  "thou hast sinned" or "thou hast trangressed," but He indicated the fact by one simple utterance "sin no more;"  and having said so much as just to remind him of it He put him more on the alert against future events, and at the  same time He made manifest to us all his patience and courage and wisdom, having reduced him to the necessity of  publicly lamenting his calamity, and having displayed his own earnestness on the man's behalf, "for while I am  coming," he says, "another steppeth down before me:"(5) yet he did not publicly expose his sins. For just as we  ourselves desire to draw a veil over our sins even so does God much more than we: on this account He wrought the  cure in the presence of all, but He gives the exhortation or the advice privately. For He never makes a public  display of our sins, except at any time He sees men insensible to them. For when He says "ye saw me hungry, and  fed me not: and thirsty and gave me no drink,"(6) He speaks thus at the present time in order that we may not  hear these words in time to come. He threatens, He exposes us in this world, that He may not have to expose us in  the other: even as He threatened to overthrow


the city of the Ninevites(1) for the very reason that He might not overthrow it. For if He wished to publish our sins  He would not announce beforehand that He would publish them: but as it is He does make this announcement in  order that being sobered by the fear of exposure, if not also by the fear of punishment we may purge ourselves  from them all. This also is what takes place in the case of baptism: for He conducts the man to the pool of water  without disclosing his sins to any one; yet He publicly presents the boon and makes it manifest to all, while the  sins of the man are known to no one save God Himself and him who receives the forgiveness of them. This also  was what took place in the case of this paralytic, He makes the reproof without the presence of witnesses, or rather  the utterance is not merely a reproof but also a justification; He justifies Himself as it were for evil-entreating him  so long, telling him and proving to him that it was not without cause and purpose that He had suffered him to be  so long afflicted, for He reminded him of his sins, and declared the cause of his infirmity. "For having found him,"  we read, "in the temple, He said unto him, sin no more lest some worse thing happen unto thee."
    And now since we have derived so much profit from the account of the former paralytic let us turn to the other  who is presented to us in St. Matthew's Gospel. For in the case of mines where any one happens to find a piece of  gold he makes a further excavation again in the same place: and I know that many of those who read without care  imagine that one and the same paralytic is presented by the four evangelists: but it is not so. Therefore you must  be on the alert, and pay careful attention to the matter. For the question is not concerned with ordinary matters,  and this discourse when it has received its proper solution will be serviceable against both Greeks and Jews and  many of the heretics. For thus all find fault with the evangelists as being at strife and variance: yet this is not the  fact, Heaven forbid! but although the, outward appearance is different, the grace of the Spirit which works upon the  soul of each is one, and where the grace of the Spirit is, there is love, joy, and peace; and there war and disputation,  strife and contention are not. How then shall we make it clear that this paralytic is not the same as the other, but a  different man? By many tokens, both of place and time, and season, and day, and from the manner of the cure,  and the coming of the physician and the loneliness of the man who was healed. And what of this? some one will  say: for have not many of the evangelists given diverse accounts of other signs? Yes, but it is one thing to make  statements which are diverse, and another, statements which are contradictory; for the former causes no discord or  strife: but that which is now presented to us is a strong case of contradiction unless it be proved that the paralytic at  the pool was a different man from him who is described by the other three evangelists. Now that you may  understand what is the difference between statements which are diverse and contradictory, one of the evangelists  has stated that Christ carried the cross,(2) another that Simon the Cyrenian carried it:(3) but this causes no  contradiction or strife. "And how," you say, "is there no contradiction between the statements that he carried and  did not carry?" Because both took place. When they went out of the Praetorium Christ was carrying it: but as they  proceeded Simon took it from Him and bore it. Again in the case of the robbers, one says that the two  blasphemed:(4) another that one of them checked him who was reviling the Lord.(5) Yet in this again there is no  contradiction: because here also both things took place, and at the beginning both the men behaved ill: but  afterwards when signs occurred, when the earth shook and the rocks were rent, and the sun was darkened, one of  them was converted, and became more chastened, and recognized the crucified one and acknowledged his  kingdom. For to prevent your supposing that this took place by some constraining force of one impelling him from  within, and to remove your perplexity, he exhibits the man to you on the cross while he is still retaining his former  wickedness in order that you may perceive that his conversion was effected from within and out of his own heart  assisted by the grace of God and so he became a better man.
    4. And it is possible to collect many other instances of this kind from the Gospels, which seem to have a  suspicion of contradiction, where there is no real contradiction, the truth being that some incidents have been  related by this writer, others by that; or if not occurring at the same hour one author has related the earlier event  another the later; but in the present case there is nothing of this kind, but the multitude of the evidences which I  have mentioned proves to those who pay any attention whatever to the matter, that the paralytic was not the same  man in both instances. And this would be no slight proof to demonstrate that the evangelists were in harmony  with each


other and not at variance. For if it were the same man the discord is great between the two accounts: but if it be a  different one all material for dispute has been destroyed.
    Well then let me now state the actual reasons why I affirm that this man is not the same as that. What are they?  The one is cured in Jerusalem, the other in Capernaum; the one by the pool of water, the other in some house;  there is the evidence from place: the former during the festival: there is the evidence from the special season: the  former had been thirty and eight years suffering from infirmity: concerning the other the evangelist relates nothing  of that kind: there is the evidence from time: the former was cured on the Sabbath: there is the evidence from the  day: for had this man also been cured on the Sabbath Matthew would not have passed by the fact in silence nor  would the Jews who were present have held their peace: for they who found fault for some other reason even when  a man was not cured on the Sabbath would have been yet more violent in their accusation against Christ if they  had got an additional handle from the argument of the special day. Moreover this man was brought to Christ: to  the other Christ Himself came, and there was no man to assist him. "Lord," said he," I have no man: "whereas this  man had many who came to his aid, who also let him down through the roof. And He healed the body of the other  man before his soul: for after he had cured the paralysis He then said "Behold thou art made whole, sin no more:"  but not so in this case, but after He had healed his soul, for He said to him "Son be of good cheer thy sins be  forgiven thee," He then cured his paralysis. That this man then is not the same as the other has been clearly  demonstrated by these proofs, but it now remains for us to turn to the beginning of the narrative and see how  Christ cured the one and the other, and why differently in each case: why the one on the Sabbath and the other not  on the Sabbath, why He came Himself to the one but waited for the other to be brought to Him, why He healed  the body of the one and the soul of the other first. For He does not these things without consideration and purpose  seeing that He is wise and prudent. Let us then give our attention and observe Him as He performs the cure. For  if in the case of physicians when they use the knife or cautery or operate in any other way upon a maimed and  crippled patient, and cut off a limb, many persons crowd round the invalid and the physician who is doing these  things, much more ought we to act thus in this case, in proportion as the physician is greater and the malady more  severe, being one which cannot be corrected by human art, but only by divine grace. And in the former case we  have to see the skin being cut, and matter discharging, and gore set in motion, and to endure much discomfort  produced by the spectacle, and great pain and sorrow not merely from the sight of the wounds, but also from the  suffering undergone by those who are subjected to this burning or cutting: for no one is so stony-hearted as to  stand by those who are suffering these things, and hear them shrieking, without being himself overcome and  agitated, and experiencing much depression of spirit; but yet we undergo all this owing to our desire to witness the  operation. But in this case nothing of that kind has to be seen, no application of fire, no plunging in of an  instrument, no flowing of blood, no pain or shrieking of the patient; and the reason of this is, the wisdom of the  healer, which needs none of these external aids, but is absolutely self-sufficient. For it is enough that He merely  utters a command and all distress ceases. And the wonder is not only that He effects the cure with so much ease,  but also without pain, causing no trouble to those who are being healed.
    Seeing then that the marvel is greater and the cure more important, and the pleasure afforded to the spectators  unalloyed by any kind of sorrow, let us now carefully contemplate Christ in the act of healing. "And He entered  into a boat and crossed over and came into His own city: and behold they brought to him a man sick of the palsy  lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick. of the palsy "Son! be of good cheer: thy sins are  forgiven."(1) Now they were inferior to the centurion in respect of their faith, but superior to the impotent man by  the pool. For the former neither invited the physician nor brought the sick man to the physician; but approached  Him as God and said "Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed."(2) Now these men did not invite the  physician to the house, and so far they are on an equality with the centurion: but they brought the sick man to the  physician and so far they are inferior, because they did not say "speak the word only." Yet they are far better than  the man lying by the pool. For he said "Lord I have no man when the water is troubled to put me into the pool:"  but these men knew that Christ had no need either of water, or pool, or anything else of that kind: nevertheless  Christ not only released the servant of the centurion but the other two men also from their maladies, and did not  say: "because thou hast proffered


a smaller degree of faith the cure which thou receivest shall be in proportion;" but He dismissed the man who  displayed the greater faith with eulogy and honour, saying "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."(1)  On the man who exhibited less faith than this one he bestowed no praise yet He did not deprive him of a cure, no!  not even him who displayed no faith at all. But just as physicians when curing the same disorder receive from some  person a hundred gold pieces, from others half, from others less and from some nothing at all: even so Christ  received from the centurion a large and unspeakable degree of faith, but from this man less and from the other not  even an ordinary amount, and yet He healed them all. For what reason then did He deem the man who made no  deposit of faith worthy of the benefit? Because his failure to exhibit faith was not owing to indolence, or to  insensibility of soul, but to ignorance of Christ and having never heard any miracle in which He was concerned  either small or great. On this account therefore the man obtained indulgence: which in fact the evangelist obscurely  intimates when he says, "for he wist not who it was,"(2) but he only recognized Him by sight when he lighted upon  Him the second time.
    5. There are indeed some who say that this man was healed merely because they who brought him believed; but  this is not the fact. For "when He saw their faith" refers not merely to those who brought the man but also to the  man who was brought. Why so? "Is not one man healed," you say, "because another has believed?" For my part I  do not think so unless owing to immaturity of age or excessive infirmity he is in some way incapable of believing.  How then was it you say that in the case of the woman of Canaan the mother believed but the daughter was cured?  and how was it that the servant of the centurion who believed rose from the bed of sickness and was preserved.  Because the sick persons themselves were not able to believe. Hear then what the woman of Canaan says: "My  daughter is grievously vexed with a devil(3) and sometimes she falleth into the water and sometimes into the  fire:"(4) now how could she believe whose mind was darkened and possessed by a devil, and was never able to  control herself, not in her sound senses? As then in the case of the woman of Canaan so also in the case of the  centurion; his servant lay ill in the house, not knowing Christ, himself, nor who He was. How then was he to  believe in one who was unknown to him, and of whom he had never yet obtained any experience? But in the case  before us we cannot say this: for the paralytic believed. Whence is this manifest? From the very manner of his  approach to Christ. For do not attend simply to the statement that they let the man down through the roof: but  consider how great a matter it is for a sick man to have the fortitude to undergo this. For you are surely aware that  invalids are so faint-hearted and difficult to please as often to decline the treatment administered to them on their  sick bed, and to prefer bearing the pain which arises from their maladies to undergoing the annoyance caused by  the remedies. But this man had the fortitude to go outside the house, and to be carried into the midst of the market  place, and to exhibit himself in the presence of a crowd. And it is the habit of sick folk to die under their disorder  rather than disclose their personal calamities. This sick man however did not act thus, but when he saw that the  place of assembly was filled, the approaches blocked, the haven of refuge obstructed, he submitted to be let down  through the roof. So ready in contrivance is desire, so rich in resource is love. "For he also that seeketh findeth, and  to him that knocketh it shall be opened."(5) The man did not say to his friends "What is the meaning of this? why  make this ado? why push on? Let us wait until the house is cleared and the assembly is dissolved: the crowds will  withdraw, we shall then be able to approach him privately and confer about these matters. Why should you expose  my misfortunes in the midst of all the spectators, and let me down from the roof-top, and behave in an unseemly  manner?" That man said none of these things either to himself or to his bearers, but regarded it as an honour to  have so many persons made witnesses of his cure. And not from this circumstance only was it possible to discern  his faith but also from the actual words of Christ. For after he had been let down and presented Christ said to him,  "Son! be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." And when he heard these words he was not indignant, he did  not complain, he did not say to the physician "What mean you by this? I came to be healed of one thing and you  heal another. This is an excuse and a pretence and a screen of incompetence. Do you forgive sins which are  invisible?" He neither spoke nor thought any of these things, but waited, allowing the physician to adopt the  method of healing which He desired. For this reason also Christ did not go to him, but


waited for him to come, that He might exhibit his faith to all. For could He not have made the entrance easy? But  He did none of these things; in order that He might exhibit the man's zeal and fervent faith to all. For as He went  to the man who had been suffering thirty and eight years because he had no one to aid him, so did He wait for this  man to come to him because he had many friends that He might make his faith manifest by the man being brought  to Him, and inform us of the other man's loneliness by going to him, and disclose the earnestness of the one and  the patience of the other to all and especially to those who were present. For some envious and misanthropical  Jews were accustomed to grudge the benefits done to their neighbours and to find fault with His miracles,  sometimes on account of the special season, saying that He healed on the sabbath day; sometimes on account of  the life of those to whom the benefit was done, saying "if this man were a prophet He would have known who the  woman was who touched Him:"(1) not knowing that it is the special mark of a physician to associate with the  infirm and to be constantly seen by the side of the sick, not to avoid them, or hurry from their presence--which in  fact was what He expressly said to those murmurers; "They that are whole have no need of a physician but they  that are sick."(2) Therefore in order to prevent their making the same accusations again He proves first of all that  they who come to Him are deserving of a cure on account of the faith which they exhibit. For this reason He  exhibited the loneliness of one man, and the fervent faith and zeal of the other: for this reason He healed the one  on the Sabbath, the other not on the Sabbath: in order that when you see them accusing and rebuking Christ on  another day you may understand that they accused him on the former occasion also not because of their respect for  the law, but because they could not contain their own malice. But why did He not first address Himself to the cure  of the paralytic, but said, "Son ! be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee?" He did this very wisely. For it is a  habit with physicians to destroy the originating cause of the malady before they remove the malady itself. Often for  example when the eyes are distressed by some evil humour and corrupt discharge, the physician, abandoning any  treatment of the disordered vision, turns his attention to the head, where the root and origin of the infirmity is:  even so did Christ act: He represses first of all the source of the evil. For the source and root and mother of all evil  is the nature of sin. This it is which enervates our bodies: this it is which brings on disease: therefore also on this  occasion He said, "Son ! be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." And on the other He said, "Behold ! thou art  made whole, sin no more lest some worse thing happen unto thee," intimating to both that these maladies were  the offspring of sin. And in the beginning and outset of the word disease as the consequence of sin attacked the  body of Cain. For after the murder of his brother, after that act of wickedness, his body was subject to palsy.(3) For  trembling is the same thing as palsy. For when the strength which regulates a living creature becomes weakened,  being no longer able to support all the limbs, it deprives them of their natural power of direction, and then having  become unstrung they tremble and turn giddy.
   6. Paul also demonstrated this: for when he was reproaching the Corinthians with a certain sin he said, "For this  cause many are weak and sickly among you." Therefore also Christ first removes the cause of the evil, and having  said "Son ! be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee," He uplifts the spirit and rouses the downcast soul: for the  speech became an efficient cause and having entered into the conscience it laid hold of the soul itself and cast out of  it all distress. For nothing creates pleasure and affords confidence so much as freedom from self-reproach. For  read was the case with Lazarus, that he received his evil things in full, and thereupon was comforted: and again in  another place we read, "Comfort ye my people say ye to the heart of Jerusalem, that she hath received of the Lord's  hand double for her sins."(4)  And again the prophet says "O Lord give us peace, for thou hast requited all things to  us,"(5) indicating that penalties and punishments work forgiveness of sins; and this we might prove


from many passages. It seems to me then that the reason why He said nothing to that man about remission of  sins, but only secured him against the future, was because the penalty for his sins had been already worked out by  the long duration of his sickness: or if this was not the reason, it was because he had not yet attained any high  degree of belief concerning Christ that the Lord first addressed Himself to the lesser need, and one which was  manifest and obvious, the health of the body; but in the case of the other man He did not act thus, but inasmuch as  this man had more faith, and a loftier soul, He spoke to him first of all concerning the more dangerous disease:  with the additional object of exhibiting his equality of rank with the Father. For just as in the former case He  healed on the Sabbath day because He wished to lead men away from the Jewish mode of observing it, and to take  occasion from their reproaches to prove Himself equal with the Father: even so in this instance also, knowing  beforehand what they were going to say, He uttered these words that He might use them as a starting-point and a  pretext for proving His equality of rank with the Father. For it is one thing when no one brings an accusation or  charge to enter spontaneously upon a discourse about these things, and quite another when other persons give  occasion for it, to set about the same work in the order and shape of a defence. For the nature of the former  demonstration was a stumbling block to the hearers: but the other was less offensive, and more acceptable, and  everywhere we see Him doing this, and manifesting His equality not so much by words as by deeds. This at any  rate is what the Evangelist implied when he said that the Jews persecuted Jesus not only because He broke the  Sabbath but also because He said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God,(1) which is a far  greater thing,  for He effected this by the demonstration of His deeds. How then do the envious and wicked act,  and those who seek to find a handle in every direction? "Why does this man blaspheme?" they say  for "no man  can forgive sins save God alone."(2) As they persecuted Him there because He broke the Sabbath, and took  occasion from their reproaches to declare His equality with the Father in the form of a defence, saying "my Father  worketh hitherto and I work,"(3) so here also starting from the accusations which they make He proves from these  His exact likeness to the Father. For what was it they said? "No man can forgive sins save God alone." Inasmuch  then as they themselves laid down this definition, they themselves introduced the rule, they themselves declared the  law, He proceeds to entangle them by means of their own words. "You have confessed," He says, "that forgiveness  of sins is an attribute of God alone: my equality therefore is unquestionable." And it is not these men only who  declare this but also the prophet thus saying: "who is God as thou?" and then, indicating His special attribute he  adds "taking away iniquity and passing over unrighteousness."(4) If then any one else appears thus doing the same  thing He also is God, God even as that one is God. But let us observe how Christ argues with them, how meekly  and gently, and with all tenderness. "And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: this man  blasphemeth." They did not utter the word, they did not proclaim it through the tongue, but reasoned in the secret  recesses of their heart. How then did Christ act? He made public their secret thoughts before the demonstration  which was concerned with the cure of the paralytic's body, wishing to prove to them the power of His Godhead.  For that it is an attribute of God alone, a sign of His deity to shew the secrets of His mind, the Scripture saith  "Thou alone knowest men's hearts."(5) Seest thou that this word "alone," is not used with a view of contrasting  the Son with the Father. For if the Father alone knows the heart, how does the Son know the secrets of the mind?  "For He Himself" it is said, "knew what was in man ";(6) and Paul when proving that the knowledge of secret  things is a special attribute of God says, "and He that searchest the heart," 7 shewing that this expression is  equivalent to the appellation "God." For just as when I say "He who causeth rain said," I signify none other than  God by mentioning the deed, since it is one which belongs to Him alone: and when I say "He who maketh the sun  to rise," without adding the word God, I yet signify Him by mentioning the deed: even so when Paul said "He who  searcheth the hearts," he proved that to search the heart is an attribute of God alone. For if this expression had not  been of equal force with the name "God" for pointing out Him who was signified, he would not have used it  absolutely and by itself. For if the power were shared by Him in common with some created being, we should not  have known who was signified, the community of power causing confusion in the mind of the hearers. Inasmuch  then as this appears to be a special attribute of the Father, and yet is manifested of the Son whose equal-


ity becomes thence unquestionable, therefore we read "why think ye evil in your hearts? for whether is easier: to  say: Thy sins are forgiven thee or to say arise and walk?"
    7. See moreover He makes a second proof of His power of forgiving sins. For to forgive sins is a very much  greater act than to heal the body, greater in proportion as the soul is greater than the body. For as paralysis is a  disease of the body, even so sin is a disease of the soul: but although this is the greater it is not palpable: whereas  the other although it be less is manifest. Since then He is about to use the less for a demonstration of the greater  proving that He acted thus on account of their weakness, and by way of condescension to their feeble condition He  says "whether is easier? to say thy sins are forgiven thee or to say arise and walk?" For what reason then should He  address Himself to the lesser act on their account? Because that which is manifest presents the proof in a more  distinct form. Therefore He did not enable the man to rise until He had said to them "But that ye may know that  the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy) arise and walk:" as if  He had said: forgiveness of sins is indeed a greater sign: but for your sakes I add the less also since this seems to  you to be a proof of the other. For as in another case when He praised the centurion for saying "speak the word  only and my servant shall be healed: for I also say to this man go and he goeth and to the other come and he  cometh" He confirmed promising that which belongs only to the Father," He having upbraided and accused them  and proved by His deeds that He did not blaspheme supplied us with indisputable evidence that He could do the  same things as the Father who begat Him Observe at least the manner in which He pleases to establish the fact  that what belongs to the Father only, belongs also to Himself: for He did not simply enable the parlytic to get up,  but also said "but that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins:" thus it was his  endeavour and earnest desire to prove above all things that He had the same authority as the Father.                          8. Let us then carefully hold fast alI these things, both those which were spoken yesterday and the day before that,  and let us beseech God that they may abide immoveably in our heart, and let us contribute zeal on our side, and  constantly meet in this place. For in this way we shall preserve the truths which have been formerly spoken, and  we shall add others to our store; and if any of them slip from our memory through the lapse of time we shall easily  be able to recover them by the aid of continual teaching. And not only will the doctrines abide sound and  uncorrupt but our course of life will have the benefit of much diligent care and we shall be able to pass through this  present state of existence with pleasure and cheerfulness. For whatever kind of suffering is oppressing our soul  when we come here will easily be got rid of: seeing that now also Christ is present, and he who approaches Him  with faith will readily receive healing from Him. Suppose some one is struggling with perpetual poverty, and at a  loss for necessary food, and often goes to bed hungry, if he has come in here, and heard Paul saying that he passed  his time in hunger and thirst and nakedness, and that he experienced this not on one or two or three days, but  constantly (this at least is what he indicates when he says "up to the present hour we both dear to Him: but He  permitted it out of His Paul who was continually suffering from disorders, and never had any respite from  prolonged infirmity, even as Paul also said "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities,"(2)  where he does not speak merely of infirmities as such. Or another having been subjected to false accusation has  acquired a bad reputation with the public, and this is continually vexing and gnawing his soul: he enters this place  and hears "Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you and say all manner of evil against you falsely: rejoice ye  and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in Heaven:"(3) then he will lay aside all despondency and receive  every kind of pleasure: for it is written "leap for joy, and


be exceeding glad when men cast out your name as evil."(1) In this manner then God comforts those that are evil  spoken of, and them that speak evil He puts in fear after another manner saying "every evil word which men shall  speak they shall give an account thereof whether it be good or eviL"(2)
    Another perhaps has lost a little daughter or a son, or one of his kinsfolk, and he also having come here listens  to Paul groaning over this present fife and longing to see that which is to come, and oppressed by his sojourn in  this world, and he will go away with a sufficient remedy for his grief when he has heard him say "Now concerning  them that are asleep I would not have you ignorant brethren that ye sorrow not even as others who have no  hope."(3) He did not say concerning the dying," but "concerning them that are asleep" proving that death is a  sleep. As then if we see any one sleeping we are not disturbed or distressed, expecting that he will certainly get up:  even so when we see any one dead, let us not be disturbed or dejected for this also is a sleep, a longer one indeed,  but still a sleep. By giving it the name of slumber He comforted the mourners and overthrew the accusation of the  unbelievers. If you mourn immoderately over him who has departed you will be like that unbeliever who has no  hope of a resurrection. He indeed does well to mourn, inasmuch as he cannot exercise any spiritual wisdom  concerning things to come: but thou who hast received such strong proofs concerning the future life, why dost thou  sink into the same weakness with him? Therefore it is written "now concerning them that are asleep we would not  have you ignorant that ye sorrow not even as others who have no hope."
    And not only from the New Testament but from the Old also it is possible to receive abundant consolation. For  when you hear of Job after the loss of his property, after the destruction of his herds, after the loss not of one, or  two, or three, but of a whole troop of sons in the very flower of their age, after the great excellence of soul which he  displayed, even if thou art the weakest of men, thou wilt easily be able to repent and regain thy courage. For thou,  O man, hast constantly attended thy sick son, and hast seen him laid upon the bed, and hast heard him uttering his   last words, and stood beside him whilst he was drawing his last breath and hast dosed his eyes, and shut his  mouth: but he was not did not see them breathing their last gasp, but the house became the common grave of them  all, and on the same table brains and blood were poured forth, and pieces of wood and tiles, and dust, and  fragments of flesh, and all these things were mingled together in like manner. Nevertheless after such great  calamities of this kind he was not petulant, but what does he say--" The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; as it  seemed good unto the Lord even so has it cometo pass, blessed be the name of the Lord for ever."(4) Let this  speech be our utterance also over each event which befalls us; whether it be loss of property, or infirmity of body,  or insult, or false accusation or any other form of evil incident to mankind, let us say these words "The Lord gave,  the Lord hath taken away; as it seemed good to the Lord so has it come to pass; blessed be the name of the Lord  for ever." If we practise this spiritual wisdom, we shall never experience any evil, even if we undergo countess  sufferings, but the gain will be greater than the loss, the good will exceed the evil: by these words thou wilt cause  God to be merciful unto thee, and wilt defend thyself against the tyranny of Satan. For as soon as thy tongue has  uttered these words forthwith the Devil hastens from thee: and when he has hastened away, the cloud of dejection  also is dispelled and the thoughts which afflict us take to flight, hurrying off in company with him, and in addition  to all this thou wilt win all manner of blessings both here and in Heaven. And you have a convincing example in  the case of Job, and of the Apostle, who having for God's sake despised the troubles of this world, obtained the  everlasting blessings. Let us then be trustful and in all things which befall us let us rejoice and give thanks to the  merciful God, that we may pass through this present life with serenity, and obtain the blessings to come, by the  grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom be glory, honour and might always, now and ever,  world without end. Amen.




    1. I DID no good as it seems by the prolonged discourse which I lately addressed to destitute of her children.  Wherefore also I am again compelled to seem vexatious and burdensome, reproving those who are present, and  finding fault with those who have been left behind: with them because they have not put away thor sloth,, and with  you because you have not given a helping hand to the salvation of your brethren. I am compelled to seem  burdensome and vexatious, not on behalf of myself, or my own possessions, but on your behalf and for your  salvation, which is more precious to me than anything else. Let him who pleases take it in bad part, and call me  insolent and impudent, yet will I not cease continually annoying him for the same purpose; for nothing is better  for me than this kind of impudence. For it may be, it may be, that this is at least if nothing else, will put you to  shame, and that to avoid being perpetually importuned concerning the same things, ye will take part in the tender  care of your brethren. For what profit is there to me in praise when I do not see you making advances in virtue?  and what harm is there from the silence of the hearers when I behold your piety increasing? For the praise of the  speaker does not consist in applause, but in the zeal of the hearers for godliness: not in noise made just at the time  of hearing, but in lasting earnestness. As soon as applause has issued from the lips it is dispersed in air and  perishes; but the moral improvement of the hearers brings an imperishable and immortal reward both to him who  speaks and to them who obey. The praise of your cheers makes the speaker illustrious here, but the piety of your  soul affords the teacher much confidence before the judgment-seat of Christ. Wherefore if any one loves the  speaker, let him not desire the applause but the profit of the hearers. To one which brings extreme punishment,  and an turn out a bad man, since he restored it intact: nevertheless he did turn out a bad man as regarded his  management of the deposit. For he did not double that which was entrusted to him; and so was punished. Whence  it is manifest that even if we are earnest and well trained, and have much zeal about hearing the holy scriptures this  does not suffice for our salvation. For the deposit must be doubled, and it becomes doubled when together with  our own salvation we undertake to make some provision for the good of others. For the man in the parable said  "Lo! there thou hast that is thine:" but this did not serve him for a defence: for it was said to him "thou oughtest to  have put the money to the exchangers"(2)
    And observe I pray how easy the commands of the Master are: for men indeed make those who lend out capital  sums at interest answera-


ble for recalling them; "you have made the deposit," one says, "you must call it in: I have no concern with the man  who has received it." But God does not act thus; He only commands us to make the deposit, and does not render  us liable for the recall. For the speaker has the power of advising, not of persuading. Therefore he says: "I make  thee answerable for depositing only, and not for the recall." What can be easier than this? And yet the servant  called the master hard, who was thus gentle and merciful. For such is the wont of the ungrateful and indolent; they  always try to shift the blame of their offences from themselves to their master. And therefore the man was thrust  out with torture and bonds into the outer darkness And lest we should suffer this penalty let us deposit our  teaching with the brethren, whether they be persuaded by it, or not. For if they be persuaded they will profit both  themselves and us: and if they are not, they involve themselves indeed in inevitable punishment, but will not be  able to do us the slightest injury. For we have done our part, by giving them advice: but if they do not listen to it no  harm will result to us from that. For blame would attach to us not for failing to persuade, but for failing to advise:  and after prolonged and continual exhortation and counsel they and not we, have to reckon henceforth with God.
    I have been anxious at any rate to know clearly, whether you continue to exhort your brethren, and if they  remain all the time in the same condition of indolence: otherwise I would never have given you any trouble: as it  is, I have fears that they may remain uncorrected in consequence of your neglect and indifference. For it is  impossible that a man who continually has the benefit of exhortation and instruction should not become better and  more diligent. The proverb which I am about to cite is certainly a common one, nevertheless it confirms this very  truth. For "a perpetual dropping of water" it says, "wears a rock," yet what is softer than water? and what is harder  than a rock? Nevertheless perpetual action conquers nature: and if it conquers nature much more will it be able to  prevail over the human will. Christianity is no child's play, my beloved: no matter of secondary importance. I am  continually saying these things, and yet I effect nothing.
    2. How am I distressed, think you, when I call to mind that on the festival days the multitudes assembled  resemble the broad expanse of the sea, but now not even the smallest part of that multitude is gathered together  here? Where are they now who oppress us with their presence on the feast days? I look for them, and am grieved  on their account when I mark what a multitude are perishing of those who are in the way of salvation,(1) how large  a loss of brethren I sustain, how few are reached by the things which concern salvation, and how the greater part of  the body of the Church is Eke a dead and motionless carcase. "And what concern is that to us?" you say. The  greatest possible concern if you pay no attention to your brethren, if you do not exhort and advise, if you put no  constraint on them, and do not forcibly drag them hither, and lead them away out of their deep indolence. For that  one ought not to be useful to himself alone, but also to many others, Christ declared mayest enjoy the light by  thyself, but that thou mayest bring back yonder man who has gone astray. For what profit is a lamp if it does not  give light to him who sits in darkness? and what profit is a Christian when he benefits no one, neither leads any  one back to virtue? Again salt is not an astringent to itself but braces up those parts of the body which have  decayed, and prevents them from falling to pieces and perishing. Even so do thou, since God has appointed thee to  be spiritual salt, bind and brace up the decayed members, that is the indolent and sordid brethren, and having  rescued them from their indolence as from some form of corruption, unite them to the rest of the body of the  Church. And this is the reason why He called you leaven: for leaven also does not leaven itself, but, little though it  is, it affects the whole lump however big it may be. So also do ye: although ye are few in number, yet be ye many  and powerful in faith, and in zeal towards God. As then the leaven is not weak on account of its littleness, but  prevails owing to its inherent heat, and the force of its natural quality so ye also will be able to bring back a far  larger number than yourselves, if you will, to the same degree of zeal as your own. Now if they make the summer  season their excuse: for I hear of their saying things of this kind, "the present stifling heat is excessive, the  scorching sun is intolerable, we cannot bear being trampled and crushed in the crowd, and to be steaming all over  with perspiration and oppressed by the heat and confined space:" I am ashamed of them, believe me: for such  excuses are


womanish: indeed even in their case who have softer bodies, and a weaker nature, such pretexts do not suffice for  justification. Nevertheless, even if it seems a disgrace to make a reply to a defence of this kind, yet is it necessary.  For if they put forward such excuses as these and do not blush, much more does it behove us not to be ashamed of  replying to these things. What then am I to say to those who advance these pretexts? I would remind them of the  three children in the furnace and the flame, who when they saw the fire encircling them on all sides, enveloping  their mouth and their eyes and even their breath, did not cease singing that sacred and mystical hymn to God, in  company with the universe, but standing in cheerfulness than they who abide in some flowery field:(1) and  together with these three children I should think it proper to remind them also of the lions which were in Babylon,  and of Daniel and the den:(2) and not of this one only but also of another den, and the prophet Jeremiah, and the  mire in which he was smothered up to the neck.(3) And emerging from these dens, I would conduct these per sons  who put forward heat as an excuse into the prison and exhibit Paul to them there, and Silas bound fast in the  stocks, covered with bruises and wounds lacerated all over their body with a mass of stripes, yet singing praises to  God at midnight and celebrating their holy fire, and the den, and amongst wild beasts, and mire, and in a prison  and the stocks and amidst stripes and gaolers, and intolerable sufferings, never complained of any of these things  but were continually uttering prayers and sacred songs with much energy and fervent zeal, whilst we who have not  undergone any of their innumerable sufferings small or great, neglect our own salvation on account of a scorching  sun and a tittle short lived heat and toil, and forsaking the assembly wander away, depraving ourselves by going to  meetings which are thoroughly unwholesome? When the dew of the divine oracles is so abundant dost thou make  heat thy excuse? "The water which I will give him," saith Christ "shall be in him a well of water springing up into  everlasting life;"(4) and again; "He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers  of living water"(5) Tell me; when thou hast spiritual wets and rivers art thou afraid of material heat? Now in the  market place where there is so much turmoil and crowding, and scorching wind, how is it that you do not make  suffocation and heat an excuse for absenting yourself? For it is impossible for you to say that there you can enjoy a  cooler temperature, and that all the heat is concentrated here with us:--the truth is exactly the reverse; here indeed  owing to the pavement floor, and to the construction of the building in other respects (for it is carried up to a vast  height), the air is lighter and cooler: whereas there the sun is strong in every direction, and there is much crowding,  and vapour and dust, and other things which add to discomfort far more than these. Whence it is plain that these  senseless excuses are the offspring of indolence and of a supine disposition, destitute of the fire of the Holy Spirit.
    3. Now these remarks of mine are not so much directed to them, as to you who do not bring them forward, do  not rouse them from their indolence, and draw them to this table of salvation. Household slaves indeed when they  have to discharge some service in common, summon their fellow slaves, but you when of the advantage by your  neglect. "But what if they do not desire it?" you say. Make them desire it by your continual importunity: for if they  see you insisting upon it they certainly will desire it. Nay these things are a mere excuse and pretence. How many  fathers at any rate are there here who have not their sons standing with them? Was it so difficult for thee to bring  hither some of thy children? Whence it is dear that the absence of all the others who remain outside is due not only  to their own indolence, but also to your neglect. But now at leash if never before, rouse yourselves up, and let each  person enter the Church accompanied by a member of his family: let them incite and urge one another to the  assembly here, the father his son, the son his father, the husbands their wives and the wives their husbands the  master his slave, brother his brother, friend his friend: or rather let us not summon friends only but also enemies  to this common treasury of good things. If thy enemy sees thy care for his welfare, he will undoubtedly relinquish  his hatred.
    Say to him: "art thou not ashamed and dost thou not blush before the Jews who keep their sabbath with such  great strictness, and from the evening of it abstain from all work? And if they see the sun verging towards setting  on the day of the Preparation they break off business, and cut short their traffic: and if


any one who has been making a purchase from them, before the evening, comes in the evening bringing the price,  they do not suffer themselves to take it, or to accept the money." And why do I speak of the price of market wares  and transaction of business? Even if it were possible to receive a treasure they would rather lose the gain than  trample on their law. Are the Jews then so strict, and this when they keep the law out of due season, and cling to  an observance of it which does not profit them, but rather does them harm: and wilt thou, who art superior to the  shadow, to whom it has been vouchsafed to see the Sun of Righteousness, who art ranked as a citizen of the  Heavenly commonwealth, wilt thou not display the same zeal as those who unseasonably cleave to what is wrong,  thou who hast been entrusted with the truth, but although thou art summoned here for only a short part of the day,  canst thou not endure to spend even this upon the hearing of the divine oracles? and What kind of indulgence,  pray, could you obtain? and what answer will you have to make which is reasonable and just? It is utterly  impossible that one who is so indifferent and indolent should ever obtain indulgence, even if he should allege the  necessities of wordly affairs ten thousand times over as an excuse. Do you not know that if you come and worship  God and take part in the work which goes on here. the business you have on hand is made much easier for you?  Have you worldly anxieties? Come here on that account that by the time you spend here you may win for yourself  the favour of God, and so depart with a sense of security; that you may have Him for your ally, that you may  become invincible to the demons because you are assisted by the heavenly hand. If you have the benefit of prayers  uttered by the fathers, if you take part in common prayer, if you listen to the divine oracles, if you win for yourself  the aid of God, if, armed with these weapons, you then go forth, not even the devil himself will be able henceforth  to look you in the face, much less wicked men who are eager to insult and malign you. But if you go from your  house to the market place, and are found destitute of these weapons, you will be easily mastered by all who insult  you. This is the reason why both in public and private affairs, many things occur contrary to our expectation,  because we have not been diligent about spiritual things in the first place, and secondarily about the secular, but  have inverted the order. For this reason also the proper sequence and right arrangement of things has been upset,  and all our affairs are full of much confusion. Can you imagine what distress and grief I suffer when I observe, that  if a public holy day and festival is at hand there is a concourse of all the inhabitants of the city, although there is no  one to summon them; but when the holy day and festival are past, even if we should crack our voice by continuing  to call over in my mind I have groaned heavily, and said to myself: What is the use of exhortation or advice, when  you do everything merely by the force of habit, and do not become a whir more zealous in consequence of my  teaching? For whereas in the festivals you need no exhortation from me, but, when they are past you profit nothing  by my teaching, do you not show that my discourse, so far as you are concerned, is superfluous?
    4. Perhaps many of those who hear these things are grieved. But such is not the sentiment of the indolent: else  they would put away their carelessness, like ourselves, who are daily anxious about your affairs. And what gain do  you make by your secular transactions in proportion to the damage you sustain? It is impossible to depart from any  other assembly, or gathering, in the possession of so much gain as you receive from the time spent here, whether it  be the law court, or council-chamber, or even the palace itself. For we do not commit the administration of nations  or cities nor the command of armies to those who enter here, but another kind of government more dignified than  that of the empire itself; or rather we do not ourselves commit it, but the grace of the spirit.
    What then is the government, more dignified than that of the empire, which they who enter here receive? They  are trained to master untoward passions, to rule wicked lusts, to command anger, to regulate ill-will, to subdue  vainglory. The emperor, seated on the imperial throne, and wearing his diadem, is not so dignified as the man who  has elevated his own inward right reason to the throne of government over base passions, and by his dominion  over them has bound as it were a glorious diadem upon his brow. For what profit is there, pray, in purple, and  raiment wrought with gold, and a jewelled crown, when the soul is in captivity to the passions? What gain is there  in outward freedom when the ruling element within us is reduced to a state of disgraceful and pitiable servitude.  For just as when a fever penetrates deep, and inflames all the inward parts, there is no benefit to be got from the  outward surface of the body, although it is not affected in the same way: even so when our soul is violently carried  away by the passion within, no outward government, not


even the imperial throne, is of any profit, since reason is deposed from the throne of empire by the violent  usurpation of the passions, and bows and trembles beneath their insurrectionary movements. Now to prevent this  taking place prophets and apostles concur on all sides in helping us, repressing our passions, and expelling all the  ferocity of the irrational element within us, and committing a mode of government to us far more dignified than  the empire. This is why I said that they who deprive themselves of this care(1) receive a blow in the vital parts,  sustaining greater damage than can be inflicted from any other quarter inasmuch as they who come here get  greater gain than they could derive from any other source: even as Scripture has declared. The law said "Thou shalt  not appear before the Lord empty;"(2) that is, enter not into the temple without sacrifices. Now if it is not right to  go into the house of God without sacrifices, much more ought we to enter the assembly accompanied by our  brethren: for this sacrifice and offering is better than that, when thou bringest a soul with thee into the Church. Do  you not see doves which have been trained, how they hunt for others when they are let out? Let us also do this. For  what kind of excuse shall we have, if irrational creatures are able to hunt for an animal of their own species, while  we who have been honoured with reason and so much wisdom neglect this kind of pursuit? I exhorted you in my  former discourse with these words: "Go, each of you to the houses of your neighbours, wait for them to come out,  lay hold of them, and conduct them to their common mother: and imitate those who are mad upon theatre going,  who diligently arrange to meet each other and so wait at early dawn to see that iniquitous spectacle." Yet I have not  effected anything by this exhortation. Therefore I speak again and shall not cease speaking, until I have persuaded  you. Hearing profits nothing unless it is accompanied by practice. It makes our punishment heavier, if we  continually hear the same things and do none of the things which are spoken. That the chastisement will be  heavier, hear the they have no cloke for their sin."(3) And the Apostle says "for not the hearers of the law shall be  justified."(4) These things He says to the hearers; but when He wishes to instruct the speaker also, that even he  will not gain anything from his teaching unless his behaviour is in close correspondence with his doctrine, and his  manner of life is in harmony with his speech, hear how the Apostle and the prophet address themselves to him: for  the latter says "but to the sinner said God, why dost thou preach my laws and takest my covenant in thy mouth,  whereas thou hast hated instruction?"(5) And the Apostle, addressing himself to these same again who thought  great things of their teaching, speaks on this wise: "Thou art confident that thou thyself art a leader of the blind, a  light of those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes: thou therefore that teachest  another teachest thou not thyself?"(6) Inasmuch then as it could neither profit me the speaker to speak, nor you  the hearers to hear, unless we comply with the things which are spoken, but rather would increase our  condemnation, let us not limit the display of our zeal to hearing only, but let us observe what is said, in our  deeds.  For it is indeed a good thing to spend time continually in hearing the divine oracles: but this good thing becomes  useless when the benefit to be derived from hearing is not linked with it.
    Therefore that you may not assemble here in vain I shall not cease beseeching you with all earnestness, as I have  often besought you before, "conduct your brethren to us, exhort the wanderers, counsel them not by word only but  also by deed." This is the more powerful, teaching--that which comes through our manners and behaviour--Even if  you do not utter a word, but yet, after you have gone out of this assembly, by your mien, and your look, and your  voice and all the rest of your demeanour you exhibit to the men who have been left behind the gain which you have  brought away with you, this is sufficient for exhortation and advice. For we ought to go out from this place as it  were from some sacred shrine, as men who have descended from heaven itself, who have become sedate, and  philosophical, who do and say everything in proper measure: and when a wife sees her husband returning from the  assembly, and a father his son, and a friend his friend, and an enemy his enemy, let them all receive and they  perceive that you have become milder more philosophical, more devout. Consider what privileges you enjoy who  hast been initiated into the mysteries.(7) with what company thou offerest up that mystic hymn, with what  company thou criest aloud the "Ter sanctus."


art ranked as a citizen of the commonwealth above, that thou hast been enrolled in the choir of Angels, that thou  hast conversed with the Lord, that thou hast been in the company of Christ. If we regulate ourselves in this way we  shall not need to say anything, when we go out to those who are left behind: but from our advantage they will  perceive their own loss and will hasten hither, so as to enjoy the same benefits themselves. For when, merely by  the use of their senses, they see the beauty of your soul shining forth, even if they are the most stupid of men, they  will become enamoured of your goodly appearance. For if corporeal beauty excites those who behold it, much more  will symmetry of soul be able to move the spectator, and stimulate him to equal zeal. Let us then adorn our inward  man, and let us be mindful of the things which are said here. when we go out: for there especially is it a proper  time to remember them; and just as an athlete displays in the lists the things which he has learned in the training  school: even so ought we to display in our transactions in the world without the things which we have heard here.
    5. Bear in mind then the things which are said here, that when you have gone out and the devil lays hold of you  either by means of anger or vainglory, or any other passion, you may call to remembrance the teaching which you  have received here and may be able easily to shake off the grasp of the evil one. Do you not see the  wrestling-masters in the practising grounds, who, after countess contests having obtained exemption from  wrestling on account of their age, sit outside the lines by the side of the dust and shout to those who are wrestling  inside, telling one to grasp a hand, or drag a leg, or seize upon the back, and by many other directions of that kind,  saying, "if you do so and so you will easily throw your antagonist," they are of the greatest service to their pupils?  Even so do thou look to thy training master the blessed Paul, who after countless victories is now sitting outside  the boundary, I mean this present life, and cries aloud to us who are wrestling, shouting out by means of his  Epistles, when he sees us overcome by wrath and resentment of injuries, and choked by passion; "if thy enemy  hunger feed him, if he thirst give him drink;"(1)--a beautiful precept full of spiritual wisdom, and serviceable both  to the doer and the receiver. But the reminder of the passage causes much perplexity, and does not seem to  correspond to the sentiment of him who uttered the former words. And what is the nature of this? the saying that  "by so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." For by these words he does a wrong both to the doer and  the receiver: to the latter by setting his head on fire, and plating coals upon it; for what good will he get from  receiving food and drink in proportion to the evil he will suffer from the heaping of coals on his head? Thus then  the recipient of the benefit is wronged, having a greater vengeance inflicted on him, but the benefactor also is  injured in another way. For what can he gain from doing good to his enemies when he acts in the hope of revenge?  For he who gives meat and drink to his enemy for the purpose of heaping coals of fire on his head would not  become merciful and kind, but cruel and harsh, having inflicted an enormous punishment by means of a small  benefit. For what could be more unkind than to feed a person for the purpose of heaping coals of fire on his head?  This then is the contradiction: and now it remains that the solution should be added, in order that by those very  things which seem to do violence to the letter of the law you may dearly see all the wisdom of the lawgiver. What  then is the solution?
    That great and noble-minded man was well aware of the fact that to be reconciled quickly with an enemy is a  grievous and difficult thing; grievous and difficult, not on account of its own nature, but of our moral indolence.  But he commanded us not only to be reconciled with our enemy, but also to feed him; which was far more grievous  than the former. For if some are infuriated by the mere sight of those who have annoyed them, how would they be  willing to feed them when they were hungry? And why do I speak of the sight infuriating them? If any one makes  mention of the persons, and merely introduces their name in sorely, it revives the wound in our imagination, and  increases the heat of passion. Paul then being aware of all these things and wishing to make what was hard and  difficult of correction smooth and easy, and to persuade one who could not endure to see his enemy, to be ready to  confer that benefit already mentioned upon him, added the words about coals of fire, in order that a man  prompted by the hope of vengeance might hasten to do this service to one who had annoyed him. And in order that  one of them hastening to its accustomed food may be captured by means of it and easily held fast: even so Paul also  wishing to lead on the man who has been wronged to below a benefit on the man who has


wronged him does not present to him the bare hook of spiritual wisdom, but having covered it as it were with a  kind of bait, I mean the "coals of fire," invites the man who has been noyed him; but when he has come he holds  him fast in future, and does not let him make off, the very nature of the deed attaching him to his enemy; and he  all but says to him: "if thou art not willing to feed the man who has wronged thee for piety's sake: feed him at least  from the hope of punishing him." For he knows that if the man once sets his hand to the work of conferring this  benefit, a starting-point is made and a way of reconciliation is opened for him. For certainly no one would have the  heart to regard a man continually as his enemy to whom he has given meat and drink, even if he originally does  this in the hope of vengeance. For time as it goes on relaxes the tension of his anger. As then the fisherman, if he  presented the bare hook would never allure the fish, but when he has covered it gets it unawares into the mouth of  the creature who comes up to it: so also Paul if he had not advanced the expectation of inflicting punishment would  never have persuaded those who were wronged to undertake to benefit those who had annoyed them. Wishing  then to persuade those who recoiled in disgust, and were paralysed by the very sight of their enemies, to confer the  greatest benefits upon them, he made mention of the coals of fire, not with a view of thrusting the persons in  question into inexorable punishment, but in order that when he had persuaded those who were wronged to benefit  their enemies in the expectation of punishing them, he might afterwards in time persuade them to abandon their  anger altogether. They unites again the man who has done the wrong to him who has been provoked. First of all  by the very manner of the benefit: (for there is no one so degraded and unfeeling as to be unwilling, when he  receives meat and drink, to become the servant and friend of him who does this for him): and in the second place  through the dread of vengeance. For the passage, "by so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" seems  indeed to be addressed to the person who gives the food; but it more especially touches him who has caused the  annoyance, in order that through fear of this punishment he may be deterred from remaining continually in a state  of enmity, and being aware that the reception of food and drink might do him the greatest mischief if he constantly  retains his animosity, may suppress his anger. For thus he will be able to quench the coals of fire. Wherefore the  proposed punishment and vengeance both induces the one who has been wronged to benefit him who has annoyed  him, and it deters and checks him who has given the provocation, and impels him to reconciliation with the man  who gives him meat and drink. Paul therefore linked the two persons by a twofold bond, the one depending on a  benefit, the other on an act of vengeance. For the difficulty is to make a beginning and to find an opening for the  reconciliation: but when that has once been reared in whatever way it may be, all which follows will be smooth and  easy. For even if at first the man who has been annoyed feeds his enemy in the hope of punishing him, yet  becoming his friend by the act of giving him food he will be able to expel the desire of vengeance. For when he has  become a friend he will no longer feed the man who has been reconciled to him, with an expectation of this kind.  Again he who has given the provocation, when he sees the man who has been wronged electing to give him meat  and drink, casts out all his animosity, both on account of this deed, and also of his fear of the punishment which is  in store for him, even if he be excessively hard and harsh and stony hearted, being put to shame by the benevolence  of him who gives him food, and dreading the punishment reserved for him, if he continues to be an enemy after  accepting the food.
    For this reason Paul did not stop even here in his exhortation, but when he has emptied each side of wrath he  proceeds to correct their disposition, saying, "be not overcome of eviL" "For if," he says, "you continue to bear  resentment and to seek revenge you seem indeed to conquer your enemy, but in reality you are being conquered  by evil, that is, by wrath: so that if you wish to conquer, be reconciled, and do not make an attack upon your  adversary;" for a brilliant victory is that in which by means of good, that is to say by forbearance, you overcome evil  expelling wrath and resentment. But the injured man, when inflamed with passion would not have borne these  words. Therefore when he had satisfied his wrath he proceeded to conduct him to the best reason for  reconciliation, and did not permit him to remain permanently animated by the wicked hope of vengeance. Dost  thou perceive the wisdom of the lawgiver? And that you may learn that he introduced this law only on account of  the weakness of those who would not otherwise be content to make terms amongst themselves, hear how Christ,  when He ordained a law on this same subject did not pro-


pose the same reward, as the Apostle; but, having said "Love your enemies do good to them that hate you," which  means give them food and drink, He did not add "for in so doing ye shall heap coals of fire on their heads:" but  what did He say? "that ye may become like your Father who is in Heaven."(1) Naturally so, for He was discoursing  to Peter, James, and John and the rest of the apostolic band: therefore He proposed that reward. But if you say  that even on this understanding the precept is onerous you improve once more the defence which I am making for  Paul, but you deprive yourself of every plea of indulgence. For I can prove to you that this which seems to you  onerous was accomplished under the Old Dispensation when the manifestation of spiritual wisdom was not so  great as it is now. Impressions which were employed by him who originally brought it in, that he might leave no  room for excuse to those who do not observe it: for the precept "if thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst give  him drink" is not the utterance of Paul in the first instance, but of Solomon.(2) For this reason he quoted the  words that he might persuade the hearer that for one who has been advanced to such a high standard of wisdom to  regard an old law as onerous and grievous which was often fulfilled by the men of old time, is one of the basest  things possible. Which of the ancients, you ask, fulfilled it? There were many, but amongst others David especially  did so more abundantly? He did not indeed merely give food or drink to his enemy, but also rescued him several  times from death, when he was in jeopardy; and when he had it in his power to slay him he spared him once, twice,  yea many times. As for Saul he hated and abhorred him so much after the countless good services which he had  done, after his brilliant triumphs, and the salvation which he had wrought in the matter of Goliath, that he could  not bear to mention him by his own name, but called him after his father. For once when a festival was at hand,  and Saul, having devised some treachery against him, and contrived a cruel plot, did not see him arrive "where,"  said he, "is the son of Jesse?"(3) He called him by his father's name, both because on account of his hatred he could  not endure the recollection of his proper name, and also because he thought to damage the distinguished position  of that righteous man by a reference to his low birth;--a miserable and despicable thought: for certainly, even if he  had some accusation to bring against the father this could in no wise injure David. For each man is answerable for  his own deeds, and by these he can be praised and accused. But as it was, not having any evil deed to mention, he  brought forward his low birth, expecting by this means to throw his glory into the shade, which in fact was the  height of folly. For what kind of offence is it to be the child of insignificant and humble then, "the son of Jesse,"  but when David found him sleeping inside the cave, he did not call him the "son of Kish," but by his title of  honour: "for I will not lift up my hand," he said, "against the Lord's anointed."(4) So purely free was he from  wrath and resentment of injuries: he calls him the Lord's anointed who had done him such great wrongs, who  countless good services had many times attempted to destroy him. For he did not consider how Saul deserved to be  treated, but he considered what was becoming for himself both to do and to say, which is the greatest stretch of  moral wisdom. How so? When thou hast got thy enemy in a prison, made fast by a twofold, or rather by a triple  chain, confinement of space, dearth of assistance, and necessity of sleep, dost thou not demand a penalty and  punishment of him? "No," he says; "for I am not now regarding what he deserves to suffer, but what it behoves me  to do." He did not look to the facility for slaying, but to the accurate observance of the moral wisdom which was  becoming to him. And yet which of the existing circumstances was not sufficient to prompt him to the act of  slaughter? Was not the fact that his enemy was delivered bound into his hands a sufficient inducement? For you are  aware I suppose that we hasten more eagerly to deeds for which facilities abound, and the hope of success increases  our desire to act, which was just what happened then in his case.
    Well! did the captain who then counselled and urged him to the deed,(5) did the memory of past events induce  him to slay? no one of these things moved him: in fact the very facility for slaughter averted him from it: for he  bethought him that God had put Saul in his hands for the purpose of furnishing ample ground and opportunity for  the exercise of moral wisdom. You then perhaps admire him, because he did not cherish the memory of any of his  past evils: but I am much more astonished at him for another reason. And what is this? that the fear of future  events did not


impel him to lay violent hands on his enemy. For he knew dearly that if Saul escaped his hands, he would again be  his adversary; yet he preferred exposing himself to danger by letting go the man who had wronged him, to  providing for his own security by laying violent hands upon his foe. What could equal then the great and generous  spirit of this man, who, when the law commanded eye to be plucked out for eye, and tooth for tooth, and  retaliation on equal terms,(2) not only abstained from doing this, but exhibited a far greater measure of moral  wisdom? At least if he had slain Saul at that time he would have retained credit for moral wisdom unimpaired, not  merely because he had acted on the defensive, not being himself the originator of violence, but also because by his  great moderation he was superior to the precept "an eye for an eye." For he would not have inflicted one slaughter  in return for one; but, in return for many deaths, which Saul endeavoured to bring on him, having attempted to  slay him not once or twice but many times, he would have brought only one death on Saul; and not only this, but if  he had proceeded to avenge himself out of fear of the future, even this, combined with the things already  mentioned, would procure him the reward of forbearance without any deduction. For he who is angry on account  of the things which have been done to him, and demands misses the consideration of all past evils, although they  are many and painful, but is compelled to take steps for self-defence from fear of the future, and by way of  providing for his own security, no one would deprive him of the rewards of moderation.
    7. Nevertheless David did not act even thus, but found a novel and strange form of moral wisdom: and neither  the remembrance of things past, nor the fear of things to come, nor the instigation of the captain, nor the solitude  of the place, nor the facility for slaying, nor anything else incited him to kill; but he spared the man who was his  enemy, and had given him pain just as if he was some benefactor, and had done him much good. What kind of  indulgence then shall we have, if we are mindful of past transgressions, and avenge ourselves on those who have  given us pain, whereas that innocent man who had undergone such great sufferings and expected more and death  the man who would cause him endless troubles?
    His moral wisdom then we may perceive, not only from the fact that he did not slay Saul, when there was so  strong a compulsion, but also that he did not utter an irreverent word against him, although he who was insulted  would not have heard him. Yet we often speak evil of friends when they are absent, he on the contrary not even of  the enemy who had done him such great wrong. His moral wisdom then we may perceive from these things: but  his lovingkindness and tender care from what he did after these things. For when he had cut off the fringe of Saul's  garment, and had taken away the bottle of water he withdrew afar off and stood and shouted, and exhibited these  things to him whose life he had by his deeds that he suspected him without a cause as his enemy, and aiming  therefore at winning him into friendship. Nevertheless when he had even thus failed to persuade him, and could  have laid hands on him, he again chose rather to be an exile from his country and to sojourn in a strange land, and  suffer distress every day, in procuring necessary food than to remain at home and vex his adversary. What spirit  could be kinder than his? He was indeed justified in saying "Lord remember David and all his meekness."(2) Let  us also imitate him, and let us neither say nor do evil to our enemies, but benefit them according to our power: for  we shall do more good to ourselves than to them. "For if ye forgive your enemies," we are told "ye shall be  forgiven."(3) Forgive base offences that thou mayest receive  a royal pardon for thy offences; but if any one has  done thee great wrongs, the greater the wrongs you forgive, the greater will be the pardon which you will receive.  Therefore we have been instructed to say "Forgive us, as we forgive," that we may learn that the measure of our  forgiveness takes its beginning in the first place from ourselves. Wherefore in proportion to the severity of the evil  which the enemy does to us is the greatness of the benefit which he bestows. Let us then be earnest and eager to be  reconciled with those who have vexed us, whether their wrath be just or uncessity that the trial of the case should be


brought forward in the other world. As then many men when they have a dispute with one another, if they come to  a friendly understanding together outside the law court save themselves loss, and alarm, and many risks, the issue  of the case turning out in accordance with the sentiment of each party; but if they severally entrust the affair to the  judge the only result to them will be loss of money, and in many cases a penalty, and the permanent endurance of  their hatred; even so here if we come to terms during our present life we shall relieve ourselves from all  punishment; but if while remaining enemies we depart to that terrible tribunal in the other world we shall certainly  pay the utmost penalty at the sentence of the judge there, and shall both of us undergo inexorable punishment: he  who is unjustly wroth because he is thus unjustly disposed, and he who is justly wroth, because he has, however  justly, cherished resentment. For even if we have been unjustly ill-treated, we ought to grant pardon to those who  have wronged us. And observe how he urges and incites those who have unjustly given pain to reconciliation with  those whom they have wronged. "If thou offerest thy gift before the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother  hath ought against thee, go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother."(1) He did not say, "assemble, and offer thy  sacrifice" but "be reconciled and then offer it." Let it lie there, he says, in order that the necessity of making the  offering may constrain him who is justly wroth to come to terms even against his will. See how he again prompts  us to go to the man who has provoked us when he says "Forgive your debtors in order that your Father may also  forgive your trespasses." For He did not propose a small reward, but one which far exceeds the magnitude of the  achievement. Considering all these things then, and counting the recompense which is given in this case and  remembering that to wipe away sins does not entail much labour and zeal, let us pardon those who have wronged  us. For that which others scarcely accomplish, I mean the blotting out of their own sins by means of fasting and  lamentations, and prayers, and sackcloth, and ashes, this it is possible for us easily to effect without sackcloth and  ashes and fasting if only we blot out anger from our heart, and with sincerity forgive those who have wronged us.  May the God of peace and love, having banished from our soul all wrath and bitterness, and anger, deign to grant  that we being closely knit one to another according to the proper adjustment of the parts,(2) may with one accord,  one mouth and one soul continually offer up our hymns of thanksgiving due to Him: for to Him be glory and  power for ever and ever. Amen.





                              UPON ENEMIES.

    1. I ACCOUNT you happy for the zeal, beloved, with which you flock into the Father's house. For from this zeal  I have ground for feeling confidence about your health also with respect to the soul; for indeed the school of the  Church is an admirable surgery--a surgery, not for bodies, but for souls. For it is spiritual, and sets right, not fleshly  wounds, but errors of the mind,(1) and of these errors and wounds the medicine is the word. This medicine is  compounded, not from the herbs growing on the earth, but from the words proceeding from heaven--this no hands  of physicians, but tongues of preachers have dispensed. On this account it lasts right through; and neither is its  virtue impaired by length of time, nor defeated by any strength of diseases. For certainly the medicines of  physicians have both these defects; for while they are fresh they display their proper strength, but when much time  has passed; just as those bodies which have grown old; they become weaker; and often too the difficult character of  maladies is wont to baffle them; since they are but human. Whereas the divine medicine is not such as this; but  after much time has intervened, it still retains all its inherent virtue. Ever since at least Moses was born (for from  thence dates the beginning of the Scripture) it has healed so many human beings; and not only has it not lost its  proper power, but neither has any disease ever yet overcome it. This medicine it is not possible to get by payment  of silver; but he who has displayed sincerity of purpose and disposition goes his way having it all. On account of  this both rich and poor alike obtain the benefit of this healing process. For where there is a necessity to pay down  money the man of large means indeed shares the benefit; but the poor man often has to go away deprived of the  gain, since his income does not suffice him for the making up of the medicine. But in this case, since it is not  possible to pay down silver coin, but it is needful to display faith and a good purpose, he who has paid down these  with forwardness of mind, this is he who most reaps the advantage; since indeed these are the price paid for the  medicinal treatment. And the rich and the poor man share the benefit alike; or rather it is not alike that they share  the benefit, but often the poor man goes away in the enjoyment of more. What ever can be the reason? It is  because the rich man, possessed beforehand by many thoughts, having the pride and puffed-up temper belonging  to wealthiness; living with carelessness and lazy ease as companions, receives the medicine of the hearing of the  Scriptures not with much attention, nor with much earnestness; but the poor man, far removed from delicate  living and gluttony and indolence; spending all his time in handicraft and honest labours; and gathering hence  much


love of wisdom for the soul; becomes thereby more attentive and free from slackness, and is wont to give his mind  with more accurate care to all that is said: whence also, inasmuch as the price he has paid is higher, the benefit  which he departs having reaped is greater.
    2. It is not as absolutely bringing an accusation against those who are wealthy that I say all this; nor as praising  the poor without reference to circumstances: for neither is wealth an evil, but the having made a bad use of wealth;  nor is poverty a virtue, but the having made a virtuous use of poverty. That rich man who was in the time of  Lazarus was punished,(1) not because he was rich, but because he was cruel and inhuman. And that poor man who  rested in the bosom of Abraham was praised, not because he was poor, but because he had borne his poverty with  thankfulness.
    For of things--(now attend carefully to this saying; for it will avail to put into you sufficient religious knowledge,  and to cast out all unsound reasoning, and to bring about your having your judgment right concerning the truth of  things)--well, of things some are by nature morally good, and others the contrary; and others neither good nor evil,  but they occupy the intermediate position. A good thing piety is by nature, impiety an evil thing; a good thing  virtue, an evil thing wickedness; but wealth and poverty in themselves are neither the one nor the other; but from  the will of those who use them they become either the one or the other. For if thou hast used thy wealth for  purposes of philanthropy, the thing becomes to thee a foundation of good; but if for rapine and grasping and  insolence, thou hast turned the use of it to the direct opposite; but for this wealth is not chargeable, but he who has  used his wealth for insolence. So also we may say of poverty: if thou have borne it nobly by giving thanks to the  Master, what has been done becomes to thee a cause and ground for receiving crowns; but if on account of this  thou blaspheme thy Creator, and accuse Him for His providence, thou hast again used the thing to an evil purpose.  But just as in that case it is not wealth that is responsible for the avarice, but the person who has made a bad use of  wealth, so also here we are not to lay the blame of the blasphemy on poverty, but on him who did not choose to  bear the thing in a sober spirit. For in every case both the praise and the blame belong to our own will and choice.  Good is wealth, yet not absolutely, but to him only to whom it is not sin; and again poverty is wicked, but not  absolutely, but only in the mouth of the impious, because he is discontented, because he blasphemes, because he is  indignant, because he accuses Him who has made him.
    3 Let us not therefore accuse riches, nor revile poverty absolutely, but those who do not will(2) to use these  virtuously; for the things themselves lie in the middle. But as I was saying (for it is good to return to the former  subject), both rich and poor enjoy the benefit of the medicines administered here with the same boldness and  freedom; and often the poor with more earnestness. For the special excellence of the medicines is not this only,  that they heal souls, that their virtue is not destroyed by length of time, that they are not worsted by any disease,  that the benefit is publicly offered gratuitously, that the healing treatment is on a footing of equality both for rich  and poor--but they have another quality also not inferior to these good points. Pray of what character is this? It is  that we do not publicly expose those who come to this surgery. For they who go off to the surgeries of the outside  world, have many who examine their wounds, and unless the physician have first uncovered the sore, he does not  apply the dressing; but here not so, but seeing as we do innumerable patients, we go through the medical treatment  of them in a latent manner. For not by dragging into publicity those who have sinned do we thus noise abroad the  sins committed by them; but after putting forth our teaching, as common to all, we leave it entirely to the  conscience of the hearers; so that each may draw to himself from what is said the suitable medicine for his own  wound. For there proceeds the word of doctrine from the tongue of the speaker, containing accusation of  wickedness, praise of virtue, blame of lewdness, commendation of chasteness, censure of pride, praise of  gentleness, just as a medicine of varied and manifold ingredients, compounded from every kind; and to take what  is applicable to himself and salutary is the part of each of the hearers. The word then issues openly, and settling  into the conscience of each, secretly both affords the healing treatment which comes from it, and before the malady  has been divulged, has often restored health.
    4. You at all events heard yesterday how I extolled the power of prayer, how I reproached those who pray with  listlessness; without having publicly exposed one of them. Those then who were conscious to themselves of  earnestness, accepted that commendation of prayer,


and became still more earnest by the praises, while those who were conscious to themselves of listlessness,  accepted on the other hand the rebuking, and put off their carelessness. But neither these nor those do we know;  and this ignorance is serviceable to both--how, I now tell you. He who has heard the commendations of prayer and  is conscious to himself of earnestness, were he to have many witnesses of the commendations, would have lapsed  towards pride; but, as it is, by having secretly accepted the praise, he is removed from all arrogance. On the other  hand he who is conscious to himself of listlessness, having heard the accusation, has become better from the  accusation, as having no one of men a witness of the rebuking; and this was of no ordinary profit to him. For on  account of the being flurried at the opinion of the vulgar,(1) so long as we may think that we escape notice in our  wickedness, we exert ourselves to become better; but when we have become notorious to all, and have lost the  consolation derived from the escaping notice, we grow more shameless and remiss rather. And just as sores  become more painful by being unbandaged and frequently exposed to cold air, so also the soul after having sinned,  if in the presence of many it be rebuked for what it has done amiss, grows thereby more shameless. In order  therefore that this might not take place, the word administered its medicine to you covertly. And that you may  understand(2) that the gain which this covert treatment has is great, hear what the Christ says. "If thy brother have  committed a fault against thee convince him of it," and he did not say "between him and the whole town," nor,  "between thee and the whole people,"(3) but "only between thee and him." Let the accusation, he says, be  unwitnessed to, in order that the change to amendment may be made easy of digestion. A great good surely, the  making the advice unpublished. Sufficient is the conscience, sufficient that incorruptible judge. It is not so much  thou who rebukest him who has done wrong as his own conscience (that accuser is the sharper), nor dost thou do it  with the more exact knowledge of the faults committed. Add not therefore wound to wound by exposing him who  has done wrong; but administer for thyself the counsel unwitnessed. This therefore we a, re doing now--the very  thing that Paul also did, framing the indictment against him who among the Corinthians had sinned without citing  of witnesses. And hear how. "On this account," he says, "brethren, I have applied these figures of speech to myself  and Apollos." And yet not he himself nor Apollos were they who had rent the people in schism and divided the  Church; but all the same he concealed the accusation, and just as by some masks, by hiding the countenances of the  defendants by his own and Apollos' names, he afforded them power to amend of that wickedness. And again,  "Lest in some way after I have come God humble me, and I may have to mourn many of those who have before  sinned, and have not repented over the uncleanness and lasciviousness which they had committed."(4) See how  here also he indefinitely mentions those who had sinned, in order that he might not, by openly bringing the  accusation, render the soul of those who had sinned more shameless. Therefore, just as we administer our reproofs  with so much sparing of your feelings, so do ye also with all seriousness receive the correction; and attend with  carefulness to what is said.
    5. We discoursed to you yesterday about the power which is in prayer. I pointed out(5) how the devil then lies in  wait, deceiver that he is. For since he sees very great gain accruing to us from prayer, then most he assails us, in  order that he may disable us from our defence;(6) that he may send us off home empty-handed. And just as before  magistrates, when the officers of the court who are about the person of the magistrate have a hostile feeling toward  those who come before him, they by their staves drive them away to a distance, preventing their coming near and  resorting to lamentation and so obtaining compassion; so also the devil, when he has seen us coming to the judge,  drives us away to a distance, not by any staff, but through our own slackness. For he knows, he knows clearly, that  if they have come to him in a sober spirit, and have told the sins committed, and have mourned with their soul  fervent, they will depart having received full forgiveness; for God loves mankind; and on this account he is  beforehand with them, and debars them from access,(7) in order that they may obtain no one of the things which  they need. But the soldiers of magistrates with violence scare away those who are coming to them; but he with no  compulsion, but by deceiving us, and throwing us into security. On this account we are not deserving even of  allowance, since we voluntarily deprive ourselves of the good things. Prayer with


earnestness is a light of the understanding and soul--a light unquenchable and perpetual. On this account he  throws into our minds countless rubbish-heaps of imaginations; and things which we never had imagined, these  collecting together at the very moment of prayer he pours down upon our souls. And just as winds often rushing  from an opposite quarter by a violent gust extinguish a lamp's flame as it is being lighted, so also the devil, when he  has seen the' flame of our prayer being kindled, blowing it on every side with the blasts of countless thoughts, does  not desist before and until he has quenched the light. But the very thing which they who are kindling those lamps  do, this let us also do. And what do they do? When they see a violent wind coming, by laying their finger upon the  opening of the lamp they bar the entrance against the wind. For so long as he assails from without we shall be able  to stand against him; but when we have opened to him the doors of the mind, and have received the enemy inside;  after that we are no longer able to withstand even a little; but, having on all sides completely extinguished the  memory,(1) just as a smoking lamp, he allows our mouth to utter empty words. But just as they put their finger  upon the opening of the lamp, so let us lay consideration upon our mind: let us close off from the wicked spirit the  entrance, in order that he may not quench our light of prayer. Remember both those illustrations, both that of the  soldiers and the magistrate, and that respecting the lamp. For with this purpose we adduce to you these  illustrations; with which we are conversant, in which we live, in order that, after we have departed hence and have  returned home, we may from things of familiar occurrence receive a reminder of what has been said.
    6. Prayer is a strong piece of armour and a great security. You heard yesterday how the three children, fettered as  they were, destroyed the power of the fire; how they trampled down the blaze; how they overcame the furnace, and  conquered the operation of the element. Hear to-day again how the noble and great Isaac overcame the nature  itself of bodies through prayer. They destroyed(2) the power of fire, this man to-day loosed the bonds of  incapacitated nature. And learn how he effected this. "Isaac," it says, "prayed(3) concerning his wife, because she  was barren." This has to-day been read to you; yesterday the sermon was about prayer; and to-day again there is a  demonstration of the power of prayer. See how the grace of the Spirit has ordered that what has been read to-day  harmonises with what was said yesterday. "Isaac," it says, "prayed concerning Rebecca his wife, because she was  barren." This first is worth inquiring into, for what cause she was barren. She was of a life admirable and replete  with much chastity--both herself and her husband. We cannot lay hold(4) of the life of those just ones, and say that  the barrenness was the work of sin. And not only was she herself barren, but also his mother Sarah, who had  borne him; not only was his mother barren and his wife, but also his daughter-in-law, the wife of Jacob, Rachel.  What is the meaning of this band of barren ones? All were righteous, all living in virtue, all were witnessed to by  God. For it was of them that He said, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Of  the same persons Paul also thus speaks. "For which cause God is not ashamed to call himself their God."(5) Many  are the commendations of them in the New, many the praises of them in the Old Testament. On all sides they  were bright and illustrious, and yet they all had barren wives, and continued in childlessness until an advanced  period. When therefore thou seest man and wife living with virtue; when thou seest them beloved of God, caring  for piety, and yet suffering the malady of childlessness; do not suppose that the childlessness is at all a retribution  for sins. For many are God's reasons for the dispensation, and to us inexplicable; and for all we must be heartily  thankful, and think those only wretched who live in wickedness; not those who do not possess children. Often God  does it expediently, though we know not the cause of events. On this account in every case it is our duty to admire  His wisdom, and to glorify His unspeakable love of man.
    7. Well,(6) this consideration indeed is able to school us in moral character, but it is necessary also to state the  cause for which those women were barren. What then was the cause? It was in order that when thou hast seen the  Virgin bringing forth our common Master, thou mightest not disbelieve. Wherefore exercise thy mind in the womb  of the barren; in order that when thou hast seen the womb, disabled and bound as it is, being opened to the  bearing of children from the grace of God, thou mightest not marvel at hearing that a virgin has brought forth. Or  rather even marvel and be astounded; but do not disbelieve the marvel. When the Jew says to thee, "how did the  virgin bear?" say to him "how did she bear who was barren and


enfeebled by old age?" There were then two hindrances, both the unseasonableness of her age and the  unserviceableness of nature; but in the case of the Virgin there was one hindrance only, the not having shared in  marriage. The barren one therefore prepares the way for the virgin. And that thou mayest learn that it was on this  account that the barren ones had anticipated it, in order that the Virgin's childbirth might be believed, hear the  words of Gabriel which were addressed to her--For when he had come and said to her, "thou shalt conceive in the  womb and bear a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus;" the Virgin was astonished and marvelled, and said, "how  will this be to me, since I know not a man." What then said the Angel? "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee."  Seek not the sequence of nature, he says, when that which takes place is above nature; look not round for marriage  and throes of child-birth, when the manner of the birth is too grand for marriage. "And how will this be," she says,  "since I know not a husband." And verily on this account shall this be, since thou knowest no husband. For didst  thou know a husband, thou wouldest not have been deemed worthy to serve this ministry. So that, for the reason  why thou disbelievest, for this believe. And thou wouldest not have been deemed worthy to serve this ministry, not  because marriage is an evil; but because virginity is superior; and fight it was that the entry of the Master should be  more august than ours; for it was royal, and the king enters through one more august. It was necessary that He  should both share as to birth, and be diverse from ours. Wherefore both these things are managed.
    For the being born from the womb is common in respect to us, but the being born without marriage is a thing  greater than on a level with us. And the gestation and conception in the belly belongs to human nature; but that  the pregnancy should take place without sexual intercourse is too august for human nature.(1) And for this purpose  both these things took place, in order that thou mayest learn both the pre-eminence and the fellowship with thee of  Him who was born.
    8. And pray consider the wisdom of all that was done. Neither did the pre-eminence injure the likeness and  kinship to us, nor did the kinship to us dim the pre-eminence; but both were displayed by all the circumstances;  and the one had our condition in its entirety, and the other what was diverse compared with us. But just as I was  saying, on this account the barren ones went before, in order that the Virgin's child-birth might be believed, that  she(1) might be led by the hand to faith in that promise and undertaking which she heard from the angel, saying,  "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the miraculous power(2) of the Most High shall overshadow  thee"--thus, he says, thou art able to bear. Look not to the earth; it is from the heavens that the operation will  come. That which takes place is a grace of the Spirit; pray inquire not about nature and laws of marriage. But since  those words were too high for her, he wills to afford also another demonstration. But do thou, pray, observe how  the barren one leads her on the way to the belief in this. For since that demonstration was too high for the Virgin's  intelligence, hear how he brought down what he said to lower things also, leading her by the hand by sensible facts.  For "behold," he says, "Elizabeth thy kinswoman--she also has conceived a son in her old age; and this month is the  sixth to her who was called barren." Seest thou that the barren one was for the sake of the Virgin? since with what  object did he adduce to her the child-bearing of her kinswoman? with what object did he say, "in her old age?" with  what object did he add, "who was called barren?" It was by way of inducing her by all these things, manifestly, to  the believing the glad annunciation. For this cause he spoke of both the age and the disabling effect of nature; for  this cause he awaited the time also which had elapsed from the conception; for he did not tell to her the glad tidings  immediately from the beginning,(3) but awaited for a six-months period to have passed to the barren one, in order  that the puerperal swelling might, for the rest, be a pledge of the pregnancy, and an indisputable demonstration  might arise of the conception. And pray again look at the intelligence of Gabriel. For he neither reminded her(4) of  Sarah, nor of Rebecca, nor of Rachel; and yet they also were barren, and they had grown old, and that which took  place was a marvel; but the stories were ancient. Now things new and recent and occurring in our generation are  wont to induce us into the belief of marvels more than those which are old. On this account having let those  women alone, that she should understand from her kinswoman Elizabeth herself what was coming upon her, he  brought it forward; so as from her to lead her to her own--that most awful and august childbirth. For the child-birth  of the barren one lay between ours and that of the Master less indeed than that of the Virgin, but greater


than ours. On this account it was by Elizabeth lying between, just as by some bridge, that he lifted up the mind of  the Virgin from the travail which is according to nature, to that which is above nature.
    9. I did desire to say more, and to teach you other reasons for which Rebecca, and Rachel, were barren; but the  time does not permit; urging on the discourse to the power of prayer. For on this account indeed I have mooted all  these points, that ye might understand how the prayer of Isaac unbound the barrenness of his wife; and that prayer  for so long a time. "Isaac," it says, "continually prayed about Rebecca his wife, and God listened to him." For do  not suppose that he invoked God and had immediately been listened to; for he had spent much time in praying to  God. And if you desire to learn how much, I will tell you this too with exactness. He had spent the number of  twenty years in praying to God. Whence is this manifest? from the sequence itself. For the Scripture, desiring to  point out the faith and the endurance and the love of wisdom of that righteous man, did not break off and leave  untold even the time, but made it also clear to us, covertly indeed, so as to rouse up our indolence; but nevertheless  did not allow it to be uncertain, Hear then how it covertly indicated to us the time. "Now Isaac was forty years old  when he took Rebecca, a daughter of Bethuel the Syrian." You hear how many years old he was when he brought  home his wife: "Forty years old," it says, "he was when he took Rebecca." But since we have learnt how many years  old he was when he married his wife, let us learn also when he after all became a father, and how many years old  he was then, when he begat Jacob; and we shall be able to see how long a time his wife had remained barren; and  that during all that time he continued to pray to God. How many years old then was he when he begat Jacob?  "Jacob," it says, "came forth laying hold with his right hand of his brother's heel: on this account he called him  Jacob, and him Esau. Now Isaac was sixty years old when he begat them." If therefore when he brought Rebecca  home he was forty years old, and when he begat the sons sixty, it is very plain that his wife had remained barren  for twenty years between, and during all this time Isaac continued to pray to God.
    10. After this do we not feel shame, and hide our faces, at seeing that righteous man for twenty years  persevering(1) and not desisting; we ourselves after a first or second petition often fainting and indignant? And yet  he indeed had in large measure liberty of speech towards God,(2) and all the same he felt no discontent at the delay  of the giving, but remained patient, whereas we, laden with countless sins, living with an evil conscience, displaying  no good will towards the Master; if we are not heard before having spoken, are bewildered, impatiently recoil,  desist from asking--on this account we always retire with empty hands. Who has for twenty years besought God for  one thing, as this righteous man did? or rather who for twenty months only? Yesterday I was saying that they are  many who pray with slackness, and yawning, and stretching themselves, and continually shifting their attitude, and  indulging in every carelessness in their prayers--but to-day I have found also another damage attaching itself to  their prayers more destructive than that one. For many, throwing themselves prostrate, and striking the ground  with their forehead, and pouring forth hot tears, and groaning bitterly from the heart(3) and stretching out their  hands, and displaying much earnestness, employ this warmth and forwardness against their own salvation. For it is  not on behalf of their own sins that they beseech God; nor are they asking forgiveness of the offences committed  by them; but they are exerting this earnestness against their enemies entirely, doing just the same thing as if one,  after whetting his sword, were not to use the weapon against his enemies, but to thrust it through his own throat.  So these also use their prayers not for the remission of their own sins, but about revenge on their enemies; which  is to thrust the sword against themselves. This too the wicked one has devised, in order that on all sides we may  destroy ourselves, both through slackness and through earnestness. For the one class by their carelessness in their  prayers exasperate God, by displaying contempt through their slackness; and the others, when they display  earnestness, display the earnestness on the other hand against their own salvation. "A certain person," he (the  devil) says, "is slack: that is sufficient for me with a view to his obtaining nothing; this man is earnest and  thoroughly aroused; what then must be done to accomplish the same result? I cannot slacken his earnestness, nor  throw him into carelessness; I will contrive his de-


struction in the other way. How so? I will manage that he use his earnestness for transgressing the law:" (for the  praying against one's personal enemies is a transgression of law). "He shall depart therefore not only having  gained nothing by his earnestness, but also having endured the hurt which is greater than that caused through  slackness." Such as these are the injuries of the devil: the one sort he destroys through their remissness; and the  other through thor earnestness itself, when it is shown not according to God's laws.
    11. But it is also worth hearing the very words of their prayer, and how the words are of a puerile mind; of how  infantile a soul. I am ashamed in truth when about to repeat them; but it is absolutely necessary to repeat them,  and to imitate that coarse tongue. What then are the words? "Avenge me of my enemies, show them that I too  have God (on my side)." They do not then learn, man, that we have God, when we are indignant and angry and  impatient; but when we are gentle and meek and subdued, and practise all love of wisdom. So also God said, "Let  your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in the heavens."(1)  Perceivest thou not that it is an insult to God, the making a request to God against thine enemies? And how is it an  insult? one will say. Because He Himself said, "pray for your enemies;" and brought in this divine law. When  therefore thou claimest that the legislator should relax his own laws; and callest upon him to legislate in opposition  to himself; and supplicatest him who had forbidden thee to pray against thine enemies to hear thee praying against  thine enemies; thou art not praying in doing this, nor calling upon him; but thou art insulting the lawgiver, and  acting with drunken violence towards him, who is sure to give to thee the good things which result from prayer.  And how is it possible to be heard when praying, tell me, when thou exasperatest him who is sure to hear? For by  doing these things thou art pushing thine own salvation into a pit, and art rushing down a precipice, by striking  thine enemy before the king's eyes.(2) For even if thou doest not this with the hands, with thy words thou strikest  him, the thing which thou darest not do even in the case of thy fellow-slaves. At least dare to do this in a ruler's  presence, and though thou hast done countless public services, thou wilt straightway surely be led away to  execution. Then (I ask) in the presence of a ruler dost thou not dare to insult thine equal, but when doing this in  God's presence, tell me, dost thou not shudder, nor fear when in the time of entreaty and prayer bring so savage  and turning thyself into a wild beast; and displaying greater want of feeling than he who demanded payment of the  hundred pence?(3) For that thou art more insolent than he, listen to the story itself. A certain man owed ten  thousand talents to his master; then, not having (where-with) to pay, he entreated him to be long-suffering, in  order that, his wife having been sold and his house and his children, he might settle his master's claim. And the  master seeing him lamenting had compassion on him, and remitted the ten thousand talents. He having gone out  and found another servant owing him a hundred pence, seizing his throat demanded them with great cruelty and  inhumanity. The Master having heard this threw him into the prison, and laid on him again the debt of the ten  thousand talents which he had before remitted; and he paid the penalty of the cruelty shown towards his  fellow-servant.
    12. Now do thou consider in how much more unfeeling and insensible in a way thou hast acted even than he,  praying against thine enemies. He did not beg his master to demand, but he himself demanded, the hundred  pence; whereas thou even callest on the Master for this shameless and forbidden demand. And he seized his  fellow-servant's throat not before his lord's eyes, but outside; while thou in the very moment of prayer, standing in  the King's presence, doest this. And if he, for doing this without either having urged his master to the demand, and  after going forth, met with no forgiveness; thou, both stirring up the Master to (exacting) this forbidden payment,  and doing this before his eyes, what sort of penalty will thou have to pay? tell me. But thy mind is inflamed by the  memory of the enmity, and swells, and thy heart rises,(4) and when recurring in memory to him who has caused  pain, thou art unable to reduce the swelling of thy thought. But set against this inflammation the memory resulting  from thine own sins committed the fear resulting from the punishment to come. Recall to memory for how many  things thou art accountable to thy master, and that for all those things thou owest Him satisfaction; and this fear  will surely overcome that anger; since indeed this is far more powerful than that passion. Recall the memory of hell  and punishment and vengeance during the time of thy prayer; and thou wilt not be able even to receive thine  enemy into


thy mind.(1) Make thy mind contrite, humble thy soul by the memory of the offences committed by thee, and  wrath will not be able even to trouble thee. But the cause of all these evils is this, that we scrutinise the sins of all  others with great exactitude; while we let our own pass with great remissness. Whereas we ought to do the  contrary--to keep our own faults unforgotten; but never even to admit a thought of those of others. If we do this  we shall both have God propitious, and shall cease cherishing immortal anger against our neighbours, and we shall  never have any one as an enemy; and even if we should have at any time we shall both quickly put an end to his  enmity, and should obtain speedy pardon for our own sins. For just as he who treasures up the memory of wrong  against his neighbour does not permit the punishment upon his own sins to be done away; so he who is clear of  anger will speedily be clear of sins also. For if we, wicked as we are and enslaved to passion, on account of the  commandment of God overlook all the faults committed against us, much more will He who is a lover of mankind,  and good, and free from any passion, overlook our delinquencies, rendering to us the recompense of our kindly  spirit towards our neighbour in the forgiveness of our own sins: which God grant that we may attain, by the grace  and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the dominion, to the ages of the ages.  Amen.


                                HOMILY I.


    1. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"--it is always seasonable to utter this but more especially at the present time.  Where are now the brilliant surroundings of thy consulship? where are the gleaming torches? Where is the dancing,  and the noise of dancers' feet, and the banquets and the festivals? where are the garlands and the curtains of the  theatre? where is the applause which greeted thee in the city, where the acclamation in the hippodrome and the  flatteries of spectators? They are gone--all gone: a wind has blown upon the tree shattering down all its leaves, and  showing it to us quite bare, and shaken from its very root; for so great has been the violence of the blast, that it has  given a shock to all these fibres of the tree and threatens to tear it up from the roots. Where now are your reigned  friends? where are your drinking parties, and your suppers? where is the swarm of parasites, and the wine which  used to be poured forth all day long, and the manifold dainties invented by your cooks? where are they who courted  your power and did and said everything to win your favour? They were all mere visions of the night, and dreams  which have vanished with the dawn of day: they were spring flowers, and when the spring was over they all  withered: they were a shadow which has passed away--they were a smoke which has dispersed, bubbles which have  burst, cobwebs which have been rent in pieces. Therefore we chant continually this spiritual song--"Vanity of  vanities, all is vanity." For this saying ought to be continually written on our walls, and garments, in the market  place, and in the house, on the streets, and on the doors and entrances, and above all on the conscience of each  one, and to be a perpetual theme for meditation. And inasmuch as deceitful things, and maskings and pretence  seem to many to be realities it behoves each one every day both at supper and at breakfast, and in social assemblies  to say to his neighhour and to hear his neighbour say in return "vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Was I not  continually telling thee that wealth was a runaway? But you would not heed me. Did I not tell thee that it was an  unthankful servant? But you would not be persuaded. Behold actual experience has now proved that it is not only a  runaway, and ungrateful servant, but also a murderous one, for it is this which has caused thee now to fear and  tremble. Did I not say to thee when you continually rebuked me for speaking the truth, "I love thee better than  they do who flatter thee?" "I who reprove thee care more for thee than they who pay thee court?" Did I not add to  these words by saying that the wounds of friends were more to be relied upon than the voluntary kisses of  enemies.(1) If you had submitted to my wounds their kisses would not have wrought thee this destruction: for my  wounds work health, but their kisses have produced an incurable disease. Where are now thy cup-bearers, where  are they who cleared the way for thee in the market place, and sounded thy praises endlessly in the ears of all?  They have fled, they have disowned thy friendship, they are providing for their own safety by means of thy distress.  But I do not act thus, nay in thy misfortune I do not abandon thee, and now when thou art fallen I protect and  tend thee. And the Church which


you treated as an enemy has opened her bosom and received thee into it; whereas the theatres which you courted,  and about which you were oftentimes indignant with me have betrayed and ruined thee. And yet I never ceased  saying to thee "why doest thou these things?" "thou art exasperating the Church, and casting thyself down  headlong," yet thou didst hurry away from all my warnings. And now the hippodromes, having exhausted thy  wealth, have whetted the sword against thee, but the Church which experienced thy untimely wrath is hurrying in  every direction, in her desire to pluck thee out of the net.
    2. And I say these things now not as trampling upon one who is prostrate, but from a desire to make those who  are still standing more secure; not by way of irritating the sores of one who has been wounded, but rather to  preserve those who have not yet been wounded in sound health; not by way of sinking one who is tossed by the  waves, but as instructing those who are sailing with a favourable breeze, so that they may not become  overwhelmed. And how may this be effected? by observing the vicissitudes of human affairs. For even this man had  he stood in fear of vicissitude would not have experienced it; but whereas neither his own conscience, nor the  counsels of others wrought any improvement in him, do ye at least who plume yourselves on your riches profit by  his calamity: for nothing is weaker than human affairs. Whatever term therefore one may employ to express their  insignificance it will fall short of the reality; whether he calls them smoke, or grass, or a dream or spring flowers, or  by any other name; so perishable are they, and more naught than nonentities;(1) but that together with their  nothingness they have also a very perilous element we have a proof before us. For who was more exalted than this  man? Did he not surpass the whole world in wealth? had he not climbed to the very pinnacle of distinction? did not  all tremble and fear before him? Yet lo! he has become more wretched than the prisoner, more pitiable than the  menial slave, more indigent than the beggar wasting away with hunger, having every day a vision of sharpened  swords and of the criminal's grave, and the public executioner leading him out to his death; and he does not even  know if he once enjoyed past pleasure, nor is he sensible even of the sun's ray, but at mid day his sight is dimmed  as if he were encompassed by the densest gloom. But even let me try my best I shall not be able to present to you  in language the suffering which he must naturally undergo, in the hourly expectation of death. But indeed what  need is there of any words from me, when he himself has clearly depicted this for us as in a visible image? For  yesterday when they came to him from the royal court intending to drag him away by force, and he ran for refuge  to the holy furniture,(2) his face was then, as it is now, no better than the countenance of one dead: and the  chattering of his teeth, and the quaking and quivering of his whole body, and his faltering voice, and stammering  tongue, and in fact his whole general appearance were suggestive of one whose soul was petrified.
    3. Now I say these things not by way of reproaching him, or insulting his misfortune, but from a desire to soften  your minds towards him, and to induce you to compassion, and to persuade you to be contented with the  punishment which has already been inflicted. For since there are many inhuman persons amongst us who are  inclined, perhaps, to find fault with me for having admitted him to the sanctuary, I parade his sufferings from a  desire to soften their hardheartedness by my narrative.
    For tell me, beloved brother, wherefore art thou indignant with me? You say it is because he who continually  made war upon the Church has taken refuge within it. Yet surely we ought in the highest degree to glorify God, for  permitting him to be placed in such a great strait as to experience both the power and the lovingkindness of the  Church:--her power in that he has suffered this great-vicissitude in consequence of the attacks which he made upon  her: her lovingkindness in that she whom he attacked now casts her shield in front of him and has received him  under her wings, and placed him in all security not resenting any of her former injuries, but most lovingly opening  her bosom to him. For this is more glorious than any kind of trophy, this is a brilliant victory, this puts both  Gentiles and Jews to shame, this displays the bright aspect of the Church: in that having received her enemy as a  captive, she spares him, and when all have despised him in his desolation, she alone like an affectionate mother has  concealed him under her cloak,(3) opposing both the wrath of the king, and the rage of the people, and their  overwhelming hatred. This is an ornament for the altar. A strange kind of ornament, you say, when the accused  sinner, the extortioner, the robber is permitted to lay hold of the altar. Nay! say not so: for even the harlot took  hold of the feet of Jesus, she who was stained with the most accursed and unclean sin: yet her deed was no  reproach to


Jesus, but rather redounded to His admiration and praise: for the impure woman did no injury to Him who was  pure, but rather was the vile harlot rendered pure by the touch of Him who was the pure and spotless one. Grudge  not then, O man. We are the servants of the crucified one who said "Forgive them for they know not what they  do."(1) But, you say, he cut off the right of refuge here by his ordinances and divers kinds of laws. Yes! yet now he  has learned by experience what it was he did, and he himself by his own deeds has been the first to break the law,  and has become a spectacle to the whole world, and silent though he is, he utters from thence a warning voice to  all, saying "do not such things as I have done, that ye suffer not such things as I suffer." He appears as a teacher by  means of his calamity, and the altar emits great lustre, inspiring now the greatest awe from the fact that it holds the  lion in bondage; for any figure of royalty might be very much set off if the king were not only to be seen seated on  his throne arrayed in purple and wearing his crown, but if also prostrate at the feet of the king barbarians with  their hands bound behind their backs were bending low their heads. And that no persuasive arguments have been  used, ye yourselves are witnesses of the enthusiasm, and the concourse of the people. For brilliant indeed is the  scene before us to day, and magnificent the assembly, and I see as large a gathering here to-day as at the Holy  Paschal Feast. Thus the man has summoned you here without speaking and yet uttering a voice through his actions  clearer than the sound of a trumpet: and ye have all thronged hither to-day, maidens deserting their boudoirs, and  matrons the women's chambers, and men the market place that ye may see human nature convicted, and the  instability of worldly affairs exposed, and the harlot-face which a few days ago was radiant (such is the prosperity  derived from extortion) looking uglier than any wrinkled old woman, this face I say you may see denuded of its  enamel and pigments by the action of adversity as by a sponge
    4. Such is the force of this calamity: it has made one who was illustrious and conspicuous appear the most  insignificant of men. And if a rich man should enter the assembly he derives much profit from the sight: for when  he beholds the man who was shaking the whole world, now dragged down from so high a pinnacle of power,  cowering with fright, more terrified than a hare or a frog, nailed fast to yonder pillar, without bonds, his fear  serving instead of a chain, panic-stricken and trembling, he abates his haughtiness, he puts down his pride, and  having acquired the kind of wisdom concerning human affairs which it concerns him to have he departs instructed  by example in the lesson which Holy Scripture teaches by precept:--"All flesh is grass and all the glory of man as the  flower of grass: the grass withereth and the flower faileth"(2) or "They shall wither away quickly as the grass, and  as the green herb shall they quickly fail"(3) or "like smoke are his days,"(4) and all passages of that kind. Again the  poor man when he has entered and gazed at this spectacle does not think meanly of himself, nor bewail himself on  account of his poverty, but feels grateful to his poverty, because it is a place of refuge to him, and a calm haven, and  secure bulwark; and when he sees these things he would many times rather remain where he is, than enjoy the  possession of all men for a little time and afterwards be in jeopardy of his own life. Seest thou how the rich and  poor, high and low, bond and free have derived no small profit from this man's taking refuge here? Seest thou how  each man will depart hence with a remedy, being cured merely by this sight? Well! have I softened your passion,  and expelled your wrath? have I extinguished your cruelty? have I induced you to be pitiful? Indeed I think I have;  and your countenances and the streams of tears you shed are proofs of it. Since then your hard rock has turned  into deep and fertile soil let us hasten to produce some fruit of mercy, and to display a luxuriant crop of pity by  falling down before the Emperor or rather by imploring the merciful God so to soften the rage of the Emperor,  and make his heart tender that he may grant the whole of the favour which we ask. For indeed already since that  day when this man fled here for refuge no slight change has taken place; for as soon as the Emperor knew that he  had hurried to this asylum, although the army was present, and incensed on account of his misdeeds, and  demanded him to be given up for execution, the Emperor made a long speech endeavouring to allay the rage of the  soldiers, maintaining that not only his offences, but any good deed which he might have done ought to be taken  into account, declaring that he felt gratitude for the latter, and was prepared to forgive him as a fellow creature for  deeds which were otherwise. And when they again urged him to avenge the insult done to the imperial majesty,  shouting, leaping, and brandishing their spears, he shed streams of tears from his gentle eyes, and having reminded  them of the Holy Table


to which the man had fled for refuge he succeeded at last in appeasing their wrath.
    5. Moreover let me add some arguments which concern ourselves. For what pardon could you deserve, if the  Emperor bears no resentment when he has been insulted, but ye who have experienced nothing of this kind display  so much wrath? and how after this assembly has been dissolved will ye handle the holy mysteries, and repeat that  prayer by which we are commanded to say "forgive us as we also forgive our debtors"(1) when ye are demanding  vengeance upon your debtor? Has he inflicted great wrongs and insults on you? I will not deny it. Yet this is the  season not for judgment but for mercy; not for requiring an account, but for showing loving kindness: not for  investigating claims but for conceding them; not for verdicts and vengeance, but for mercy and favour. Let no one  then be irritated or vexed, but let us rather beseech the merciful God to grant him a respite from death, and to  rescue him from this impending destruction, so that he may put off his transgression, and let us unite to approach  the merciful Emperor beseeching him for the sake of the Church, for the sake of the altar, to concede the life of one  man as an offering to the Holy Table. If we do this the Emperor himself will accept us, and even before his praise  we shall have the approval of God, who will bestow a large recompense upon us for our mercy. For as he rejects  and hates the cruel and inhuman, so does He welcome and love the merciful and humane man; and if such a man  be righteous, all the more glorious is the crown which is wreathed for him: and if he be a sinner, He passes over his  sins granting this as the reward of compassion shown to his fellow-servant. "For" He saith "I will have mercy and  not sacrifice,"(2) and throughout the Scriptures you find  Him always enquiring after this, and declaring it to be the  means of release from sin. Thus then we shall dispose Him to be propitious to us, thus we shall release ourselves  from our sins, thus we shall adorn the Church, thus also our merciful Emperor, as I have already said, will  commend us, and all the people will applaud us, and the ends of the earth will admire the humanity and gentleness  of our city, and all who hear of these deeds throughout the world will extol us. That we then may enjoy these good  things, let us fall down in prayer and supplication, let us rescue the captive, the fugitive, the suppliant from danger  that we ourselves may obtain the future blessings by the favour and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be  glory and power, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.

                               HOMILY II.


                             TAKEN CAPTIVE.

    1. Delectable indeed are the meadow, and the garden, but far more delectable the study of the divine writings.  For there indeed are flowers which fade, but here are thoughts which abide in full bloom; there is the breeze of the  zephyr, but here the breath of the Spirit: there is the hedge of thorns, but here is the guarding providence of God;  there is the song of cicadae, but here the melody of the prophets: there is the pleasure which comes from sight, but  here the profit which comes from study. The garden is confined to one place, but the Scriptures are in all parts of  the world; the garden is subject to the necessities of the seasons, but the Scriptures are rich in foliage, and laden  with fruit alike in winter and in summer. Let us then give diligent heed to the study of the Scriptures: for if thou  doest this the Scripture will expel thy despondency, and engender pleasure, extirpate vice, and make virtue take  root, and in the tumult of life it will save thee from suffering like those who are tossed by troubled waves. The sea  rages but thou sailest on with calm. weather; for thou hast the study of the Scriptures for thy pilot; for this is the  cable which the trials of life do not break asunder. Now that I lie not events themselves bear witness. A few days  ago the Church was besieged: an army came, and fire issued from their eyes,  yet it did not scorch the olive tree;  swords  were unsheathed, yet no one received a wound  the imperial gates were in distress, but the Church was in  security. And yet the tide of


war flowed hither; for here the refugee was sought, and we withstood them, not fearing their rage. And wherefore  prithee? because we held as a sure pledge the saying "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church:  and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."(1) And when I say the Church I mean not only a place but also a  plan of life:(2) I mean not the walls of the Church but the laws of the Church. When thou takest refuge in a  Church, do not  seek shelter merely in the place but in the spirit of the place. For the Church is not wall and roof  but faith and life.
    Do not tell me that the man having been surrendered was surrendered by the Church if he had not abandoned  the Church he would not have been surrendered. Do not say that he fled here for refuge and then was given up:  the Church did not abandon him but he abandoned the Church. He was not surrendered from within the Church  but outside its walls. Wherefore did he forsake the Church? Didst thou desire to save thyself? Thou shouldst have  held fast to the altar. There were no walls here, but there was the guarding providence of God. Wast thou a sinner?  God does not reject thee: for "He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."(3) The harlot was  saved when she clung to His feet. Have ye heard the passage read to-day? Now I say these things that thou mayest  not hesitate to take refuge in the Church. Abide with the Church, and the Church does not hand thee over to the  enemy: but if thou fliest from the Church, the Church is not the cause of thy capture. For if thou art inside the fold  the wolf does not enter: but if thou goest outside, thou art liable to be the wild beast's prey: yet this is not the fault  of the fold, but of thy own pusillanimity. The Church hath no feet. Talk not to me of walls and arms: for walls wax  old with time, but the Church has no old age. Walls are shattered by barbarians, but over the Church even demons  do not prevail. And that my words are no mere vaunt there is the evidence of facts. How many have assailed the  Church, and yet the assailants have perished while the Church herself has soared beyond the sky? Such might hath  the Church: when she is assailed she conquers: when snares are laid for her she prevails: when she is insulted her  prosperity increases: she is wounded yet sinks not under her wounds; tossed by waves yet not submerged; vexed by  storms yet suffers no shipwreck; she wrestles and is not worsted, fights but is not vanquished. Wherefore then did  she suffer this war to be? That she might make more manifest the splendour of her triumph. Ye were present on  that day, and ye saw what weapons were set in motion against her, and how the rage of the soldiers burned more  fiercely than fire, and I was hurried away to the imperial palace.(4) But what of that? By the grace of God none of  those things dismayed me.
    2. Now I say these things in order that ye too may follow my example. But wherefore was I not dismayed?  Because I do not fear any present terrors. For what is terrible? Death? nay this is not terrible: for we speedily reach  the unruffled haven. Or spoliation of goods? "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I  depart;"(5) or exile? "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof;"(6) or false accusation? "Rejoice and be  exceeding glad, when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for great is your reward in Heaven."(7) I  saw the swords and I meditated on Heaven; I expected death, and I bethought me of the resurrection; I beheld the  sufferings of this lower world, and I took account of the heavenly prizes; I observed the devices of the enemy, and I  meditated on the heavenly crown: for the occasion of the contest was sufficient for encouragement and  consolation. True! I was being forcibly dragged away, but I suffered no insult from the act; for there is only one  real insult, namely sin: and should the whole world insult thee, yet if thou dost not insult thyself thou art not  insulted. The only real betrayal is the betrayal of the conscience: betray not thy own conscience, and no one can  betray thee. I was being dragged away and I saw the events--or rather I saw my words turned into events, I saw my  discourse which I had uttered in words being preached in the market-place through the medium of actual events.  What kind of discourse? the same which I was always repeating. The wind has blown and the leaves have fallen  "The grass has withered and the flower has faded."(8) The night has departed and the day has dawned; the shadow  has been proved vain and the truth has appeared. They mounted up to the sky, and they came down to the level of  earth: for the waves which were swelling high have been laid low by means of merely human events. How? The  things which were taking place were a lesson. And I said to myself will posterity learn self-control? or before two  days have passed by will these events have been abandoned to oblivion? The warnings were sounding in their ears.  Again let me utter, yet again I will speak. What profit will there be? Certainly there will be profit. For


if all do not hearken, the half will hearken; and if not the half, the third part: and if not the third the fourth: and if  not the fourth, perhaps ten: and if not ten, perhaps five: and if not five perhaps one: and if not one, I myself have  the reward prepared for me. "The grass withereth and the flower fadeth; but the word of God abideth for ever."(1)
    3. Have ye seen the insignificance of human affairs? have ye seen the frailty of power? Have ye seen the wealth  which I always called a runaway and not a runaway only, but also a murderer. For it not only deserts those who  possess it, but also slaughters them; for when any one pays court to it then most of all does it betray him. Why dost  thou pay court to wealth which to-day is for thee, and to-morrow for another? Why dost thou court wealth which  can never be held fast? Dost thou desire to court it? dost thou desire to hold it fast? Do not bury it but give it into  the hands of the poor. For wealth is a wild beast: if it be tightly held it runs away: if it be let loose it remains where  it is; "For," it is said, "he hath dispersed abroad and given to the poor; his righteousness remaineth forever."(2)  Disperse it then that it may remain with thee; bury it not lest it run away. Where is wealth? I would gladly enquire  of those who have departed. Now I say these things not by way of reproach, God forbid, nor by way of irritating  old sores, but as endeavouring to secure a haven for you out of the shipwreck of others. When soldiers and swords  were threatening, when the city was in a blaze of fury, when the imperial majesty was powerless, and the purple  was insulted, when all places were full of frenzy, where was wealth then? where was your silver plate? where were  your silver couches? where your household slaves? they had all betaken themselves to flight; where were the  eunuchs? they all ran away; where were your friends? they changed their masks. Where were your houses? they  were shut up. Where was your money? the owner of it fled: and the money itself, where was that? it was buried.  Where was it all hidden? Am I oppressive and irksome to you in constantly declaring that wealth betrays those who  use it badly? The occasion has now come which proves the truth of my words. Why dost thou hold it so tightly,  when in the time of trial it profiteth thee nothing? If it has power when thou fallest into a strait, let it come to thy  aid, but if it then runs away what need hast thou of it? events themselves bear witness. What profit was there in it?  The sword was whetted death was impending, an army raging: there was apprehension of imminent peril; and yet  wealth was nowhere to be seen. Where did the runaway flee? It was itself the cause which brought about all these  evils, and yet in the hours of necessity it runs away. Nevertheless many reproach me saying continually thou  fasteneth upon the rich: while they on the other hand fasten upon the poor. Well I do fasten upon the rich: or  rather not the rich, but those who make a bad use of their riches. For I am continually saying that I do not attack  the character of the rich man, but of the rapacious. A rich man is one thing, a rapacious man is another: an affluent  man is one thing, a covetous man is another. Make clear distinctions, and do not confuse things which are diverse.  Art thou a rich man? I forbid thee not. Art thou a rapacious man? I denounce thee. Hast thou property of thy own?  enjoy it. Dost thou take the property of others? I will not hold my peace. Wouldest thou stone me for this? I am  ready to shed my blood: only I forbid thy sin. I heed not hatred, I heed not war: one thing only do I heed, the  advancement of my hearers. The rich are my children, and the poor also are my children: the same womb has  travailed with both, both are the offspring of the same travail-pangs. If then thou fastenest reproaches on the poor  man, I denounce thee: for the poor man does not suffer so much loss as the rich. For no great wrong is inflicted on  the poor man, seeing that in his case the injury is confined to money; but in thy case the injury touches the soul.  Let him who wills cast me off, let him who wills stone me, let him who wills hate me: for the plots of enemies are  the pledges to me of crowns of victory, and the number of my rewards will be as the number of my wounds.
    4. So then I fear not an enemy's plots: one thing. only do I fear, which is sin. If no one convicts me of sin, then  let the whole world make war upon me. For this kind of war only renders me more prosperous. Thus also do I  wish to teach you a lesson. Fear not the devices of a potentate, but fear the power of sin. No man will do thee  harm, if thou dost not deal a blow to thyself. If thou hast not sin, ten thousand swords may threaten thee, but God  will snatch thee away out of their reach: but if thou hast sin, even shouldest thou be in paradise thou wilt be cast  out.  Adam was in paradise yet he fell; Job was on  a dung hill, yet he was crowned victorious. What profit was  paradise to the one? or what injury was the dung hill to the other? No man laid snares for the one, yet was he  overthrown: the devil laid snares for the other, and yet he was crowned. Did not the devil take


his property? Yes, but he did not rob him of his godliness. Did he not lay violent hands  upon his sons? yes: but he  did not shake his faith. Did he not tear his body to pieces? yes but he did not find his treasure. Did he not arm his  wife against him? yes but he did not overthrow the soldier. Did he not hurl arrows and darts at him? yes but he  received no wounds. He advanced his engines but could not shake the tower; he conducted his billows against him,  but did not sink the ship. Observe this law I beseech you, yea I clasp your knees, if not with the bodily hand, yet in  spirit, and pour forth tears of supplication. Observe this law I pray you, and no one can do you harm. Never call  the rich man happy; never call any man miserable save him who is living in sin: and call him happy who lives in  righteousness. For it is not the nature of their circumstances, but the disposition of the men which makes both the  one and the other. Never be afraid of the sword if thy conscience does not accuse thee: never be afraid in war if thy  conscience is clear. Where are they who have departed? tell me. Did not all men once bow down to them? did not  those who were in authority tremble greatly before them? did they not pay court to them? But sin has come, and all  things are manifested in their true lights; they who were attendants have become judges, the flatterers are turned  into executioners; they who once kissed his hands, dragged him themselves from the church, and he who yesterday  kissed his hand is to-day his enemy. Wherefore? Because neither did he yesterday love him with sincerity. For the  opportunity came and the actors were unmasked. Didst thou not yesterday kiss his hands, and call him saviour,  and guardian, and benefactor? Didst thou not compose panegyrics without end? wherefore to-day dost thou accuse  him? Why yesterday a praiser, and to-day an accuser? why yesterday utter panegyrics, and to-day reproaches? What  means this change? what means this revolution?
    5. But I am not like this: I was the subject of his plots, yet I became his protector. I suffered countless troubles at  his hands, yet I did not retaliate. For I copy the example of my Master, who said on the cross, "Forgive them, for  they know not what they do." Now I say these things that you may not be perverted by the suspicion of wicked  men. Now many changes have taken place, since I had the oversight of the city, and yet no one learns I  self-control? But when I say no one, I do  not condemn all, God forbid. For it is impossible that this rich soil when  it has  received seed, should not produce one eat; of corn: but I am insatiable, I do not wish many to be saved but  all. And if but one be left in a perishing condition, I perish also, and deem that the Shepherd should be imitated  who had ninety-nine sheep, and yet hastened after the one which had gone astray.(1) How long will money last?  how long this silver and gold? how long these draughts of wine? how long the flatteries of slaves? how long these  goblets wreathed with garlands? how long these satanic drinking feasts, full of diabolical activity?
    Dost thou not know that the present life is a sojourn in a far country? for art thou a citizen? Nay thou art a  wayfarer. Understandest thou what I say? Thou art not a citizen, but thou art a wayfarer, and a traveller. Say not: I  have this city and that. No one has a city. The city is above. Present life is but a journey. We are journeying on  every day, while nature is running its course. Some there are who store up goods on the way: some who bury  jewellery on the road. Now when you enter an inn do you beautify the inn? not so, but you eat and drink and  hasten to depart. The present life is an inn: we have entered it, and we bring present life to a close: let us be eager  to depart with a good hope, let us leave nothing here, that we may not lose it there. When you enter the inn, what  do you say to the servant? Take care where you put away our things, that you do not leave anything behind here,  that nothing may be lost, not even what is small and trifling, in order that we may carry everything back to our  home. Thou art a wayfarer and traveller, and indeed more insignificant than the wayfarer. How so? I will tell you.  The wayfarer knows when he is going into the inn, and when he is going out; for the egress as well as the regress is  in his own power: but when I enter the inn, that is to say this present life, I know not when I shall go out: and it  may be that I am providing myself with sustenance for a long time when the Master suddenly summons me saying  "Thou fool, for whom shall those things be which thou hast prepared? for on this very night thy soul is being taken  from thee."(2) The time of thy departure is uncertain, the tenure of thy possessions insecure, there are  innumerable precipices, and billows on every side of thee. Why dost thou rave about shadows? why desert the  reality and run after shadows?
    6. I say these things, and shall not cease saying them, causing continual pain, and dressing the wounds; and this  not for the sake of the fallen, but of those who are still standing. For they have departed, and their career is


ended, but those who are yet standing have gained a more secure position through their calamities. "What then,"  you say, "shall we do?" Do one thing only, hate riches, and love thy life--cast away thy goods; I do not say all of  them, but cut off the superfluities. Be not covetous of other men's goods, strip not the widow, plunder not the  orphan, seize not his house: I do not address myself to persons but to facts. But if any one's conscience attacks  him, he himself is responsible for it, not my words. Why art thou grasping where thou bringest ill-will upon  thyself? Grasp where there is a crown to be gained. Strive to lay hold not of earth but of heaven. "The kingdom of  Heaven belongs to violent men and men of violence take it by force."(1) Why dost thou lay hold of the poor man  who reproaches thee? Lay hold of Christ who praises thee for it. Dost thou see thy senselessness and madness?  Dost thou lay hold of the poor man who has little? Christ says "lay hold of me; I thank thee for it, lay hold of my  kingdom and take it by violence." If thou art minded to lay hold of an earthly kingdom, or rather if thou art  minded to have designs upon it thou art punished; but in the case of the heavenly kingdom thou art punished if  thou dost not lay hold of it. Where worldly things are concerned there is ill-will, but where spiritual there is love.  Meditate daily on these things, and if two days hence thou seest another riding in a chariot, arrayed in raiment of  silk, and elated with pride, be not again dismayed and troubled. Praise not a rich man, but only him who lives in  righteousness. Revile not a poor man, but learn to have an upright and accurate judgment in all things.
    Do not hold aloof from the Church; for nothing is stronger than the Church. The Church is thy hope, thy  salvation, thy refuge. It is higher than the heaven, it is wider than the earth. It never waxes old, but is always in full  vigour. Wherefore as significant of its solidity and stability Holy Scripture calls it a mountain: or of its purity a  virgin, or of its magnificence a queen; or of its relationship to God a daughter; and to express its productiveness it  calls her barren who has borne seven: in fact it employs countless names to represent its nobleness. For as  the  master of the Church has many names: being called the Father, and the way,(2) and the life,(3) and the light,(1)  and the arm,(5) and the propitiation,(6) and the foundation,(7) and the door,(8) and the sinless one,(9) and the  treasure,(10) and Lord, and God, and Son, and the only begotten, and the form of God,(11) and the image(12) of  God so is it with the Church itself: does one name suffice to present the whole truth? by no means. But for this  reason there are countless names, that we may learn something concerning God, though it be but a small part.  Even so the Church also is called by many names. She is called a virgin, albeit formerly she was an harlot: for this is  the miracle wrought by the Bridegroom, that He took her who was an harlot and hath made her a virgin. Oh! what  a new and strange event? With us marriage destroys virginity, but with God marriage hath restored it. With us she  who is a virgin, when married, is a virgin no longer: with Christ she who is an harlot, when married, becomes a  virgin.
    7. Let the heretic who inquires curiously into the nature of heavenly generation saying "how did the Father beget  the Son?" interpret this single fact, ask him how did the Church, being an harlot, become a virgin? and how did she  having brought forth children remain a virgin? "For I am jealous over you," saith Paul, "with a godly jealousy, for I  espoused you to one husband that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ."(13) What wisdom and  understanding! "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy." What means this? "I am jealous," he says: art thou  jealous seeing thou art a spiritual man? I am jealous he says as God is. And hath God jealousy? yea the jealousy not  of passion, but of love, and earnest zeal. I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God. Shall I tell thee how He  manifests His jealousy? He saw the world corrupted by devils, and He delivered His own Son to save it. For words  spoken in reference to God have not the same force as when spoken in reference to ourselves: for instance we say  God is jealous, God is wroth, God repents, God hates. These words are human, but they have a meaning which  becomes the nature of God. How is God jealous? "I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God."(14) Is God  wroth? "O Lord reproach me not in thine indignation."(15) Doth God slumber? "Awake, wherefore sleepest thou,  O Lord?"(16) Doth God repent? "I repent that I have made man."(17) Doth God hate? "My soul hateth your feasts  and your new moons."(18) Well do not consider the poverty of the expressions: but grasp their divine meaning.  God is jealous,


for He loves, God is wroth, not as yielding to passion, but for the purpose of chastising, and punishing. God sleeps,  not as really slumbering, but as being long-suffering. Choose out the expression. Thus when thou hearest that God  begets the Son, think not of division but of the unity of substance. For God has taken many of these words from us  as we also have borrowed others from Him, that we may receive honour thereby.
    8. Dost thou understand what I have said? Attend carefully my beloved. There are divine names, and there are  human names. God has received from me, and He Himself hath given to me. Give me thine, and take mine He  says. Thou hast need of mine: I have no need of thine, but thou hast of mine inasmuch as my nature is unmixed,  but thou art a human being encompassed with a body, seeking also corporeal terms in order that, by borrowing  expressions which are familiar to thee, thou who art thus encompassed with a body, mayest be able to think on  thoughts which transcend thy understanding. What kind of names hath He received from me, and what kind hath  He given to me? He Himself is God, and He hath called me God; with Him is the essential nature as an actual fact,  with me only the honour of the name: "I have said ye are gods, and ye are all children of the most highest."(1)  Here are words, but in the other case there is the actual reality. He hath called me god, for by that name I have  received honour. He Himself was called man, he was called Son of man, he was called the Way, the Door, the  Rock. These words He borrowed from me; the others He gave from Himself to me. Wherefore was He called the  Way? That thou mightest understand that by Him we have access to the Father. Wherefore was He called the  Rock? that thou mightest understand the secure and unshaken character of the faith. Wherefore was He called the  Foundation? That thou mightest understand that He upholdeth all things. Wherefore was He called the Root? That  thou mightest understand that in Him we have our power of growth. Wherefore was He called the Shepherd?  Because He feeds us. Wherefore was He called a sheep? Because He was sacrificed for us and became a propitiatory  offering. Wherefore was He called the Life? Because He raised us up when we were dead. Wherefore was He called  the Light? Because He delivered us from darkness. Why was He called an Arm? Because He is of one substance  with the Father. Why was He called the Word? Because He was begotten of the Father. For as my word is the  offspring of my spirit, even so was the Son begotten of the Father. Wherefore is He called our raiment? Because I  was clothed with Him when I was baptized. Why is He called a table? Because I feed upon Him when I partake of  the mysteries. Why is He called a house? Because I dwell in Him. Why is He called an inmate of the house?  Because we become His Temple. Wherefore is He called the Head? Because I have been made a member of His.  Why is He called a Bridegroom? Because He hath taken me as His bride. Wherefore is He called undefiled?  Because He took me as a virgin. Wherefore is He called Master? Because I am His bondmaid.
    9. For observe the Church, how, as I was saying, she is sometimes a bride, sometimes a daughter, sometimes a  virgin, sometimes a bondmaid, sometimes a queen, sometimes a barren woman, sometimes a mountain,  sometimes a garden, sometimes fruitful in children, sometimes a lily, sometimes a fountain: She is all things.  Therefore having heard these things, think not I pray you that they are corporeal; but stretch thy thought further:  for such things cannot be corporeal. For example: the mountain is not the maid: the maid is not the bride: the  queen is not the bond-maid: yet the Church is all these things. Wherefore? because the element in which they exist  is not corporeal but spiritual. For in a corporeal sphere these things are confined within narrow limits: but in a  spiritual sphere they have a wide field of operation. "The queen stood on thy right hand."(2) The queen? How did  she who was down-trodden and poor become a queen? and where did she ascend? the queen herself stood on high  by the side of the king. How? because the king became a servant; He was not that by nature, but He became so.  Understand therefore the things which belong to the Godhead, and discern those which belong to the  Dispensation. Understand what He was, and what He became for thy sake, and do not confuse things which are  distinct, nor make the argument of his lovingkindness an occasion for blasphemy. He was lofty, and she was lowly:  lofty not by position but by nature. His essence was pure, and imperishable: His nature was incorruptble,  unintelligible, invisible, incomprehensible, eternal, unchangeable, transcending the nature of angels, higher than  the powers above, overpowering reason, surpassing thought, apprehended not by sight but by faith alone. Angels  beheld Him and trembled, the Cheru-


bim veiled themselves with their wings, in awe. He looked upon the earth, and caused it to tremble: He threatened  the sea and dried it up:(1) he brought rivers out of the desert: He weighed the mountains in scales, and the valleys  in a balance.(2) How shah I express myself? how shall I present the truth? His greatness hath no bounds, His  wisdom is beyond reckoning, His judgments are untraceable, His ways unsearchable.(3) Such is His greatness and  His power, if indeed it is safe even to use such expressions. But what am I to do? I am a human being and I speak  in human language: my tongue is of earth and I crave forgiveness from my Lord. For I do not use these  expressions in a spirit of presumption, but on account of the poverty of my resources arising from my feebleness  and the nature of our human tongue. Be mercyful to me, O Lord, for I utter these words not in presumption but  because I have no others: nevertheless I do not rest content with the meanness of my speech, but soar upwards on  the wings of my understanding. Such is His greatness and power. I say this, that without dwelling on the words, or  on the poverty of the expressions, thou mayest also thyself learn to act in the same way. Why dost thou marvel if I  do this, inasmuch as He also does the same, when He wishes to present something to our minds which transcends  human powers? Since He addresses human beings He uses also human illustration, which are indeed insufficient to  represent the thing spoken of, and cannot exhibit the full proportions of the matter, yet suffice for the infirmity of  the hearers.
    10. Make an effort, and do not grow weary of my prolonged discourse. For as when He manifests Himself, He  is not manifested as He really is, nor is His bare essence manifested (for no man hath seen God in His real nature;  for when He is but partially revealed the Cherubim tremble--the mountains smoke, the sea is dried up, the heaven  is shaken, and if the revelation were not partial who could endure it?) as then, I say, He does not manifest Himself  as He really is, but only as the beholder is able to see Him, therefore doth He appear sometimes in the form of old  age, sometimes of youth, sometimes in fire, sometimes in air, sometimes in water, sometimes in armour, not  altering his essential nature, but fashioning His appearance to suit the various condition of those who are affected  by it. In like manner also when any one wishes to say anything concerning Him he employs human illustrations.  For instance I say: He went up into the mountain and He was transfigured before them, and His countenance  shone as the sun, and His raiment became white as snow."(4) He disclosed, it is said, a little of the Godhead, He  manifested to them the God dwelling amongst them "and He was trans-figured before them." Attend carefully to  the statement. The writer says and He was trans-figured before them, and His raiment shone as the light, and His  countenance was as the sun. When I said "such is His greatness and power" and added "be merciful to 'me O  Lord," (for I do not rest satisfied with the expression but am perplexed,, having no other framed for the purpose) I  wish you to understand, that I learned this lesson from Holy Scripture. The evangelist then wished to describe His  splendour and he says "He shone" How did He shine? tell me. Exceedingly. And how do you express this? He  shone "as the sun." As the sun sayest thou? Yea. Wherefore? Because I know not any other luminary more  brilliant. And He was white sayest thou as snow? wherefore as snow? Because I know not any other substance  which is whiter. For that He did not really shine thus is proved by what follows: the disciples fell to the ground. If  he had shone as the sun the disciples would not have fallen; for they saw the sun every day, and did not fall: but  inasmuch as he shone more brilliantly than the sun or snow, they, being unable to bear the splendour, fell to the  earth.
    11. Tell me then, O evangelist, did He shine more brightly than the sun, and yet dost thou say, "as the sun?"  Yea: wishing to make that light known to thee, I know not any other greater luminary, I have no other comparison  which holds a royal place amongst luminaries. I have said these things that thou mayest not rest contentedly in the  poverty of the language used: I have pointed out to thee the fall of the disciples: they fell to the earth, and were  stupified and overwhelmed with slumber. "Arise" He said, and lifted them up, and yet they were oppressed. For  they could not endure the excessive brightness of that shining, but heavy sleep took possession of their eyes: so far  did the light which was manifested exceed the light of the sun. Yet the evangelist said "as the sun," because that  luminary is familiar to us and surpasses all the rest.
    But as I was saying, He who was thus great and powerful desired an harlot. I speak of our human nature under  that name. If a man indeed desire an harlot he is condemned, and doth God desire one? Yea verily. Again a


man desireth an harlot that he may become a fornicator: but God that He may convert the harlot into a virgin: so  that the desire of the man is the destruction of her who is desired: but the desire of God is salvation to her who is  desired. And why did He who is so great and powerful desire an harlot? that He might become the husband  thereof. How doth He act? He doth not send to her any of His servants, He sendeth not angel, archangel,  Cherubim, or Seraphim; but He himself draws nigh Who loves her. Again when thou hearest of love, deem it not  sensous. Cull out the thoughts which are contained in the words, even as an excellent bee settles on the flowers,  and takes the honey comb, but leaves the herbs God desired an harlot, and how doth He act? He does not conduct  her on high; for He would not bring an harlot into Heaven, but He Himself comes down. Since she could not  ascend on high, He descends to earth. He cometh to the harlot, and is not ashamed: He cometh to her secret  dwelling place. He beholds her in her drunkenness. And how doth He come? not in the bare essence of His  original nature, but He becomes that which the harlot was, not in intention but in reality does He become this, in  order that she may not be scared when she sees Him, that she may not rush away, and escape. He cometh to the  harlot, and becomes man. And how does He become this? He is conceived in the womb, he increases little by little  and follows like me the course of human growth. Who is it who does this? the Deity as manifested, not the  Godhead; the form of the servant not that of the Master; the flesh which belongs to me, not the essential nature  which belongs to Him: He increases little by little, and has intercourse with mankind. Although He finds the  harlot, human nature, full of sores, brutalised, and oppressed by devils, how does He act? He draws nigh to her.  She sees Him and tees away. He calleth the wise men saying "Why are ye afraid? I am not a judge, but a physician.  "I came not to judge the world but to save the world."(1) Straightway He calleth the wise men. Oh! new and  strange event. The immediate first-fruits of His coming are wise men. He who upholds the world lieth in a  manger, and He who careth for all things is a nursling in swaddling bands The temple is founded and the God  dwelleth therein. And wise men come and straightway worship Him: the publican comes and is turned into an  evangelist: the harlot comes and is turned into a maiden: the Canaanitish woman comes and partakes of his  lovingkindness. This is the mark of one who loves, to forbear demanding an account of sins, and to forgive  transgressions and offences. And how does He act? He takes the sinner and espouses her to himself. And what  doth He give her? a signet ring. Of what nature? the Holy Spirit. Paul saith "now He who establishment us with  you is God who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit."(1) The Spirit then He giveth her. Next He  saith "Did not I plant thee in a garden?" She saith "yea?" And how didst thou fall from thence? "The devil came  and cast me out of the garden." Thou wast planted in the garden and he cast thee out: behold I plant thee in  myself, I uphold thee. How? The devil dares not approach me. Neither do I take thee up into Heaven; but  something greater than Heaven is here: I carry thee in myself who am the Lord of Heaven. The shepherd carries  thee and the wolf no longer comes: or rather I permit him to approach. And so the Lord carrieth our nature: and  the devil approaches and is worsted. "I have planted thee in myself:" therefore He saith "I am the root, ye are the  branches:"(3) so He planted her in Himself. "But," she saith, "I am a sinner and unclean." "Let not this trouble  thee, I am a physician. I know my vessel, I know how it was perverted. It was formerly a vessel of clay, and it was  perverted. I remodel it by means of the layer of regeneration and I submit it to the action of fire." For observe: He  took dust from the earth and made the man; He formed him. The devil came, and perverted him. Then the Lord  came, took him again, and remoulded, and recast him in baptism, and He suffered not his body to be of day, but  made it of a harder ware. He subjected the soft day to the fire of the Holy Spirit. "He shall baptize you with the  Holy Ghost and with fire:"(4) He was baptized with water that he might be remodelled, with fire that he might be  hardened. Therefore the Prophet speaking beforehand under divine guidance declared "Thou shalt dash them in  pieces like vessels of the potter."(5) He did not say like vessels of earthenware which every one possesses: for by a  potter's vessels are meant those which the potter is fashioning on the wheel: now the potter's vessels are of clay,  but ours are of harder ware. Speaking beforehand therefore of the remoulding which is wrought by means of  baptism he saith, "thou shalt dash them in pieces like vessels of a potter"--He means that He remodels and recasts  them. I descend into the ware


of baptism, and the fashion of my nature is remoulded, and the fire of the Spirit recasts it, and it is turned into a  harder ware. And that my words are no empty vaunt hear what Job says, "He hath made us as clay,"(1) and Paul,  "but we have this treasure in earthen vessels."(2) But consider the strength of the earthen vessel was not shattered.  "A day  and a night have I been in the deep." He hath been in the deep, and the earthen vessel was not dissolved:  he suffered shipwreck and the treasure was not lost; the ship was submerged and yet the freight floated. "But we  have this treasure" he says. What kind of treasure? a supply of the Spirit, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.  Of what nature, tell me? "in the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk."(4) "Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee  whole"(5) I say unto thee thou evil spirit, go out of him.(6)
    12. Hast thou seen a treasure more brilliant than royal treasures? For what can the pearl of a king do like that  which the words of an Apostle effected? Set crowns innumerable upon dead men, and they will not be raised: but  one word went forth from an Apostle, and it brought back revoked nature, and restored it to its ancient condition.  "But we have this treasure." O treasure which not only is preserved, but also preserves the house where it is stored  up. Dost thou understand what I have said? The kings of the earth, and rulers when they have treasures, prepare  large houses, having strong walls, bars, doors, guards, and bolts in order that the treasure may be preserved: but  Christ did the contrary: He placed the treasure not in a stone vessel but in an earthen one. If the treasure is great  wherefore is the vessel weak? But the reason why the vessel is weak is not because the treasure is great; for this is  not preserved by the vessel, but itself preserves the vessel. I deposit the treasure: who is able henceforth to steal it?  The devil has come, the world has come, multitudes have come, and yet they have not stolen the treasure: the  vessel has been scourged, yet the treasure was not betrayed; it has been drowned in the sea, yet the treasure was  not shipwrecked: it has died yet the treasure survives. He gave therefore the earnest of the Spirit. Where are they  who blaspheme the Spirit's majesty? Give ye heed. "He that establisheth us with you in Christ is God who also hath  given the earnest of the Spirit."(7) You all know that the earnest is a small part of the whole; let me tell you how.  Some one goes to buy a house at a great price; ;and he says "give me an earnest that I may have confidence: or one  goes to take a wife for himself, he arranges about dowry and property, and he says "give me an earnest." Observe:  in the purchase of a slave and in all covenants there is an earnest. Since then Christ made a covenant with us (for  He was about to take me as a bride) he also assigned a dowry to me not of money, but of blood. But this dowry  which He assigns is the bestowal of good things "such as eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, neither hath  entered into the heart of man."(8) He assigned them for the dowry:--immortality, praise with the angels, release  from death, freedom from sin, the inheritance of a kingdom (so great are his riches), righteousness, sanctification,  deliverance from present evils, discovery of future blessings. Great was my dowry. Now attend carefully: mark  what He does. He came to take the harlot, for so I call her, unclean as she was, that thou mightest understand the  love of the bridegroom. He came; He took me: He assigns me a dowry: He saith "I give thee my wealth." How?  "Hast thou lost," He saith, "paradise?" take it back. Hast thou lost thy beauty? take it back; take all these things.  But yet the dowry was not given to me here.
    13. Observe, this is the reason why He speaks beforehand with reference to this dowry; He warranted to me in  the dowry the resurrection of the body,--immortality. For immortality does not always follow resurrection, but the  two are distinct. For many have risen, and been again laid low, like Lazarus and the bodies of the saints.(9) But in  this case it is not so, but the promise is of resurrection, immortality, a place in the joyful company of angels, the  meeting of the Son of Man in the clouds, and the fulfilment of the saying "so shall we ever be with the Lord,"(10)  the release from death, the freedom from sin, the complete overthrow of destruction. Of what kind is that? "Eye  hath not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for  them that love Him." Dost thou give me good things which I know not? He saith "yea; only be espoused to me  here, love me in this world." "Wherefore dost thou not give me the dowry here? "It will be given when thou hast  come to my Father, when thou hast entered the royal palace. Didst thou come to me!


nay I came to thee. I came not that thou shouldst abide here but that I might take thee and return. Seek not the  dowry here: all depends on hope, and faith. "And dost thou give me nothing in this world?" He answers "Receive  an earnest that thou mayest trust me concerning that which is to come: receive pledges and betrothal gifts."  Therefore Paul saith "I have espoused you."(1) As gifts of betrothal God has given us present blessings: they are an  earnest of the future; but the full dowry abides in the other world. How so? I will tell you. Here I grow old, there I  grow not old; here I die, there I die not, here I sorrow, there I sorrow not; here is poverty, and disease, and  intrigue, there nothing of that kind exits: here is darkness and light, there is light alone: here is intrigue, there is  liberty; here is disease, there is health; here is life which has an end, there is life which hath no end; here is sin,  there is righteousness, and sin is banished; here is envy, there nothing of the kind exists "Give me these things"  one says; "Nay! wait in order that thy fellow-servants also may be saved; wait I say. He who establisheth us and  hath given us the earnest "--what kind of earnest? the Holy Spirit, the supply of the Spirit. Let me speak concerning  the Spirit. He gave the signet ring to the Apostles, saying "take this and give it to all." Is the ring then portioned  out, and yet not divided? It is so. Let me teach you the meaning of the supply of the Spirit: Peter received, and Paul  also received the Holy Spirit. He went about the world, he released sinners from their sins, he restored the lame,  he clothed the naked, he raised the dead, he cleansed the lepers, he bridled the devil, he strangled the demons, he  held converse with God, he planted a Church, levelled temples to the earth, overturned altars, destroyed vice,  established virtue, made angels of men.
    14. All these things we were. But "the earnest" filled the whole world. And when I say the whole I mean all  which the sun shines upon, sea, islands, mountains, valleys, and hills. Paul went hither and thither, like some  winged creature, with one mouth only contending against the enemy, he the tentmaker, who handled the  workman's knife and sewed skins together: and yet this his craft was no hindrance to his virtue, but the tentmaker  was stronger than demons, the uneloquent man was wiser than the wise. Whence was this? He received the  earnest, he bore the signet ring and carried it about. All men saw that the King had espoused our nature: the  demon saw it and retreated, he saw the earnest, and trembled and withdrew: he saw but the Apostle's garments(2)  and fled. O the power of the Holy Spirit. He bestowed authority not on the soul, nor on the body, but even on  raiment; nor on raiment only but even on a shadow. Peter went about and his shadow put diseases to flight,(3) and  expelled demons, and raised the dead to life. Paul went about the world, cutting away the thorns of ungodliness,  sowing broadcast the seeds of godliness, like an excellent ploughman handling the ploughshare of doctrine. And to  whom did he go? To Thracians, to Scythians, to Indians, to Maurians to Sardinians, to Goths, to wild savages, and  he changed them all. By what means? By means of "the earnest." How was he sufficient for these things? By the  grace of the Spirit. Unskilled, ill-clothed, ill-shod he was upheld by Him "who also hath given the earnest of the  Spirit" Therefore he saith "and who is sufficient for these things?(4) But our sufficiency is of God, who hath made  us sufficient as ministers of the new Testament, not of the letter but of the Spirit."(5) Behold what the Spirit hath  wrought: He found the earth filled with demons and He has made it heaven. For meditate not on present things  but review the past in your thought. Formerly there was lamentation, there were altars everywhere, everywhere the  smoke and fumes of sacrifice, everywhere unclean rites and mysteries, and sacrifices, everywhere demons holding  their orgies, everywhere a citadel of the devil, everywhere fornication decked with wreaths of honour; and Paul  stood alone. How did he escape being overwhelmed, or torn in pieces? How could he open his mouth? He entered  the Thebaid,(6) and made captives of men, He entered the royal palace, and made a disciple of the king.(7) He  entered the hall of judgment, and the judge saith to him "almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian,"(8)  and the judge became a disciple. He entered the prison, and took the jailor captive.(9) He visited an island of  barbarians, and made a viper the instrument of his teaching.(10) He visited the Romans, and attracted the senate  to his doctrine. He visited rivers, and desert places in all parts of the world. There is no land or sea which has not  shared in the benefits of his labours; for God has given human nature the earnest of His signet,


and when He gives it He saith: some things I give thee now, and others I promise. Therefore the prophet saith  concerning her "The queen did stand upon thy right hand in a vesture woven with gold." He does not mean a real  vesture, but virtue. Therefore the Scripture elsewhere saith "How camest thou in hither not having a wedding  garment?" so that here he does not mean a garment, but fornication, and foul and unclean living. As then foul  raiment signifies sin, so does golden raiment signify virtue. But this raiment belonged to the king. He Himself  bestowed the raiment upon her: for she was naked, naked and disfigured. "The queen stood on thy right hand in a  vesture woven with gold."(1) He is speaking not of raiment but of virtue. Observe: the expression itself has great  nobility of meaning. He does not say "in a vesture of gold" but "in a vesture woven with gold." Listen intelligently.  A vesture of gold is one which is gold throughout: but a vesture woven with gold is one which is partly of gold,  partly of silk. Why then did he say that the bride wore not a vesture of gold, but one woven with gold? Attend  carefully. He means the constitution of the Church in its varied manifestations. For since we do not all belong to  one condition of life, but one is a virgin, another a widow, a third lives a life of devotion--so the robe of the Church  signifies the constitution of the Church.
    15. Inasmuch then as our Master knew that if He carved out only one road for us, many must shrink from it,  He carved out divers roads. Thou canst not enter the kingdom it may be by the way of virginity. Enter it then by  the way of single marriage. Canst thou not enter it by one marriage? Perchance thou mayest by means of a second  marriage. Thou canst not enter by the way of continence: enter then by the way of almsgiving: or thou canst not  enter by the way of almsgiving? then try the way of fasting. If thou canst not use this way, take that--or if not that,  then take this. Therefore the prophet spoke not of a garment of gold, but of one woven with gold. It is of silk, or  purple, or gold. Thou canst not be a golden part? then be a silken one. I accept thee, if only thou art clothed in my  raiment. Therefore also Paul saith "If any man builds upon this foundation, gold, silver, previous stones."(2) Thou  canst not be the precious stone? then be the gold. Thou canst not be the gold? then be the silver, if only thou art  resting upon the foundation. And again elsewhere, "there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon,  and another glory of the stars."(3) Thou canst not be a sun? then be a moon. Thou canst not be a moon? then be a  star. Thou canst not be a large star? be content to be a tittle one if only thou art in the Heaven. Thou canst not be  a virgin? then live continently in the married state, only abiding in the Church. Thou canst not be without  possessions? then give alms, only abiding in the Church, only wearing the proper raiment, only submitting to the  queen.(4) The raiment is woven with gold, it is manifold in texture. I do not bar the way against thee: for the  abundance of virtues has rendered the dispensation of the king easy in operation. "Clothed in a vesture woven  with gold, manifold in texture." Her vesture is manifold: unfold, if you please, the deep meaning of the expression  here used, and fix your eyes upon this garment woven with gold. For here indeed some five celibate, others live in  an honourable estate of matrimony being not much inferior to them: some have married once, others are widows  in the flower of their age. For what purpose is a paradise? and wherefore its variety? having divers flowers, and  trees, and many pearls. There are many stars, but only one sun: there are many ways of living, but only one  paradise; there are many temples, but only one mother of them all. There is the body, the eye, the finger. but all  these make up but one man. There is the same distinction between the small, the great, and the less. The virgin  hath need of the married woman; for the virgin also is the product of marriage, that marriage may not be despised  by her. The virgin is the root of marriage: thus all things have been linked together, the small with the great, and  the great with the small. "The queen did stand on thy right hand clothed in a vesture wrought with gold, manifold  in texture" Then follows "Hearken! O daughter" The conductor of the bride says that thou art about to go forth  from thy home to the home of the bridegroom who in his essential nature far surpasses thee. I am the conductor of  the bride. "Hearken O daughter" Did she immediately become the wife? Yea: for here there is nothing corporeal.  For He espoused her as a wife, He loves her as a daughter, He provides for her as a handmaid, He guards her as a  virgin, He fences her round like a garden, and cherishes her like a member: as a head He provides for her, as a root  he causes her to grow, as a shepherd He feeds her, as a bridegroom He weds her, as a propitiation He pardons her,  as a sheep He is sacrificed, as a bridegroom He preserves her in beauty, as a


husband He provides for her support. Many are the meanings in order that we may enjoy a part if it be but a small  part of the divine economy of grace. "Hearken O daughter" and behold, and look upon things which are bridal and  yet spiritual. Hearken O daughter. She was at first a daughter of demons, a daughter of the earth, unworthy of the  earth and now she has become a daughter of the king. And this He wished who loved her. For he who loves does  not investigate character: love does not regard uncomeliness: on this account indeed is it called love because it  oftentimes hath affection for an uncomely person.(1) Thus also did Christ. He saw one who was uncomely (for  comely I could not call her) and He loved her, and He makes her young, not having spot or wrinkle. Oh what a  bridegroom! adorning with grace the ungracefulness of his bride! Hearken O daughter! hearken and behold! Two  things He sixth "Hearken" and "Behold," two which depend on thyself, one on thy eyes, the other on thy hearing.  Now since her dowry depended on hearing(and although some of you have been acute enough to perceive this  already, let them tarry for those who are feebler: I commend those who have anticipated the truth, and make  allowances for those who only follow in their track) since the dowry then depended on hearing--(and what is  meant by heating? faith: for "faith cometh by hearing" faith as opposed to fruition, and actual experience) I said  before that He divided the dowry into two, and gave some portion to the bride for an earnest, whilst He promised  others in the future. What did He give her? He gave her forgiveness of sins, remission of punishment,  righteousness, sanctification, redemption, the body of the Lord, the divine, spiritual Table, the resurrection of the  dead. For all these things the Apostles had. Therefore He gave some parts and promised others. Of some there was  experience and fruition, others depended upon hope and faith. Now listen. What did He below? Baptism and the  Sacrifice. Of these there is experience. What did He promise? Resurrection, immortality of the body, union with  angels, a place in the joyful company of archangels, and as a citizen in His kingdom, immaculate life, the good  things "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man, things which God hath  prepared for them that love Him."
    16. Understand what is said, lest ye lose it: I am labouring to enable you to perceive it. The dowry of the bride  then was divided into two portions consisting of things present and things to come; things seen and things heard,  things given and things taken on trust, things experienced, and things to be enjoyed hereafter; things belonging to  present life, and things to come after the resurrection. The former things you see, the latter you hear. Observe  then what He says to her that you may not suppose that she received the former things only, though they be great  and ineffable, and surpassing all understanding. "Hearken O daughter and behold;" hear the latter things and  behold the former that thou mayest not say "am I again to depend on hope, again on faith, again on the future?"  See now: I give some things, and I promise others: the latter indeed depend on hope, but do thou receive the  others as pledges, as an earnest, as a proof of the remainder. I promise thee a kingdom: and let present things be  the ground of thy trust, thy trust in me. Dost thou promise me a kingdom? Yea. I have given thee the greater part,  even the Lord of the kingdom, for "he who spared not his own son, but gave him up for us all, how shall He not  with Him also freely give us all things?"(2) Dost thou give me the resurrection of the body? Yea; I have given thee  the greater part. What is the nature of it? Release from sins. How is that the greater part? Because sin brought forth  death. I have destroyed the parent, and shall I not destroy the offspring? I have dried up the root, and shall I not  destroy the produce. Hearken O daughter and behold." What am I to behold? Dead men raised to life, lepers  cleansed, the sea restrained, the paralytic braced up into vigour, paradise opened, loaves poured forth in  abundance, sins remitted, the lame man leaping, the robber made a citizen of paradise, the publican turned into an  evangelist, the harlot become more modest than the maid. Hear and behold. Hear of the former things and behold  these. Accept from present things a proof of the others; concerning those I have given thee pledges, things which  are better than they are." "What is the meaning of this thy saying?" These things are mine. "Hearken O daughter  and behold." These things are my dower to thee. And what doth the bride contribute? Let us see. What I pray thee  dost thou bring that thou mayest not be portionless? What can I, she answers, bring to thee from heathen altars,  and the steam of sacrifices and from devils? What have I to contribute? what? sayest thou? Thy will and thy faith.  "Hearken O daughter and behold." And what wilt thou have me do? "Forget thy own


people." What kind of people? the devils the idols, the sacrificial smoke, and steam and blood. "Forget thy own  people, and thy father's house." Leave thy father and come after me. I left my Father, and came to thee, and wilt  thou not leave thy father? But when the word leave is used in reference to the Son do not understand by it an  actual leaving. What He means is "I condescended, I accommodated myself to thee, I assumed human flesh." This  is the duty of the bridegroom, and of the bride, that thou shouldest abandon thy parents, and that we should be  wedded to one another. "Hearken O daughter and behold, and forget thy own people, and thy father's house."  And what dost thou give me if I do forget them? "and the king shall desire thy beauty." Thou hast the Lord for thy,  lover. If thou hast Him for thy lover, thou hast also the things which are his. I trust ye may be able to understand  what is said: for the thought is a subtle one, and I wish to stop the mouth of the Jews.
    Now exert your minds I pray: for whether one hears, or forbears to hear I shall dig and till the soil. "Hearken O  daughter, and behold, forget also thy own people, and thy fathers house, and the king shah desire thy beauty." By  beauty in this passage the Jew understands sensible beauty; not spiritual but corporeal.
    17. Attend, and let us learn what corporeal, and what spiritual beauty are. There is soul and body: they are two  substances: there is a beauty of body, and there is a beauty of soul. What is beauty of body? an extended eyebrow, a  merry glance, a blushing cheek, ruddy lips, a straight neck, long wavy hair tapering fingers, upright stature, a fair  blooming complexion. Does this bodily beauty come from nature, or from choice? Confessedly it comes from  nature. Attend that thou mayest learn the conception of philosophers. This beauty whether of the countenance, of  the eye, of the hair, of the brow, does it come from nature, or from choice? It is obvious that it comes from nature.  For the ungraceful woman, even if she cultivate beauty in countless ways, cannot become graceful in body: for  natural conditions are fixed, and confined by limits which they cannot pass over. Therefore the beautiful woman is  always beautiful, even if she has no taste for beauty: and the ungraceful cannot make herself graceful, nor the  graceful ungraceful. Wherefore? because these things come from nature. Well! thou hast seen corporeal beauty.  Now let us turn inwards to the soul: let the handmaid approach the mistress! let us turn I say to the soul. Look  upon that beauty, or rather listen to it: for thou canst not see it since it is invisible--Listen to that beauty. What  then is beauty of soul? Temperance, mildness, almsgiving, love, brotherly kindness, tender affection, obedience to  God, the fulfilment of the law, righteousness, contrition of heart. These things are the beauty of the soul. These  things then are not the results of nature, but of moral disposition. And he who does not possess these things is able  to receive them, and he who has them, if he becomes careless, loses them. For as in the case of the body I was  saying that she who is ungraceful cannot become graceful; so in the case of the soul I say the contrary that the  graceless soul can become full of grace. For what was more graceless than the soul of Paul when he was a  blashphemer and insulter: what more full of grace when he said "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the  course, I have kept the faith."(1) What was more graceless than the soul of the robber? what more full of grace  when he heard the words "Verily I say unto thee to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise?"(2) What was more  graceless than the publican when he practised extortion? but what more full of grace when he declared his  resolution.(3) Seest thou that thou canst not alter grace of body, for it is the result not of moral disposition, but of  nature. But grace of soul is supplied out of our own moral choice. Thou hast now received the definition. Of what  kind are they? that the beauty of the soul proceeds from obedience to God. For if the graceless soul obeys God it  puts off its ungracefulness, and becomes full of grace. "Saul! Saul!" it was said, "why persecutest thou me?" and he  replied "and who art Thou Lord?" "I am Jesus."(4) And he obeyed, and his obedience made the graceless soul full  of grace. Again, He saith to the publican "come follow me"(5) and the publican rose up and became an apostle: and  the graceless soul became full of grace. Whence? by obedience. Again He saith to the fishermen "Come ye after me  and I will make you to become fishers of men:"(6) and by their obedience their minds became full of grace. Let us  see then what kind of beauty He is speaking of here. "Hearken O daughter and behold, and forget thy own people  and thy fathers house, and the king shall desire thy beauty" What kind of beauty will he desire? the spiritual kind.  How so? because she is to "forget" He saith "hearken and forget." These are acts of moral choice. "Hearken!" he  said: "an ungraceful one hears and her ungracefulness being that of the


body is not removed. To the sinful woman He has said "Hearken," and if she will obey she sees what manner of  beauty is bestowed upon her. Since then the ungracefulness of the bride was not physical, but moral (for she did  not obey God but transgressed) therefore he leads her to another remedy. Thou didst become ungraceful then, not  by nature, but by moral choice: and thou didst become full of grace by obedience. "Hearken O daughter and behold  and forget thy own people, and thy father's house, and the king shall desire thy beauty." Then that thou mayest  learn that he does not mean anything visible to sense, when thou hearest the word beauty, think not of eye, or  nose, or mouth, or neck, but of piety, faith, love, things which are within--"for all the glory of the king's daughter is  from within." Now for all these things let us offer thanks to God, the giver, for to Him alone belongeth glory,  honour, might, for ever and ever. Amen.

                               A TREATISE


    1. I KNOW well that to coarse-minded persons, who are greedy in the pursuit of present things, and are nailed  to earth, and enslaved to physical pleasure, and have no strong hold upon spiritual ideas, this treatise will be of a  strange and paradoxical kind: and they will laugh immoderately, and condemn me for uttering incredible things  from the very outset of my theme. Nevertheless, I shall not on this account desist from my promise, but for this  very reason shall proceed with great earnestness to the proof of what I have undertaken. For if those who take that  view of my subject will please not to make a clamour and disturbance, but wait to the end of my discourse, I am  sure that they will take my side, and condemn themselves, finding that they have been deceived hitherto, and will  make a recantation, and apology, and crave pardon for the mistaken opinion which they held concerning these  matters, and will express great gratitude to me, as patients do to physicians, when they have been relieved from the  disorders which lay seige to their body. For do not tell me of the judgment which is prevailing in your mind  at the  present time, but wait to hear the contention of my arguments and then you will be able to record an impartial  verdict without being hindered by ignorance from forming a true judgment. For even judges in secular causes, if  they see the first orator pouring forth a mighty torrent of words and overwhelming everything with his speech do  not venture to record their decision without having patiently listened to the other speaker who is opposed to him;  and even if the remarks of the first speaker seem to be just to an unlimited extent, they reserve an unprejudiced  hearing for the second. In fact the special merit of judges consists in ascertaining with all possible accuracy what  each side has to allege and then bringing forward their own judgment.
    Now in the place of an orator we have the common assumption of mankind which in the course of ages has  taken deep root in the minds of the multitude, and declaims to the following effect throughout the world. "All  things" it says "have been turned upside down, the human race is full of much confusion and many are they who  every day are being wronged, insulted, subjected to violence and injury, the weak by the strong, the poor by the  rich: and as it is impossible to number the waves of the sea, so is it impossible to reckon the multitude of those who  are the victims of intrigue, insult, and suffering; and neither the correction of law, nor the fear of being brought to  trial, nor anything else can arrest this pestilence and disorder, but the evil is increasing every day, and the groans,  and lamentations, and weeping of the sufferers are universal; and the judges who are appointed to reform such  evils, themselves intensify the tempest, and inflame the disorder, and hence many of the more senseless and  despicable kind, seized with a new kind of frenzy, accuse the providence of God, when they see the forbearing man  often violently seized, racked, and oppressed, and the audacious, impetous, low and low-born man waxing rich,  and invested with authority, and becoming formidable to many, and inflicting countless troubles upon the more  moderate, and this perpetrated both in town and country,


and desert, on sea and land. This discourse of ours of necessity comes in by way of direct opposition to what has  been alleged, maintaining a contention which is new, as I said at the beginning, and contrary to opinion, yet useful  and true, and profitable to those who will give heed to it and be persuaded by it; for what I undertake is to prove  (only make no commotion) that no one of those who are wronged is wronged by another, but experiences this  injury at his own hands.
    2. But in order to make my argument plainer, let us first of all enquire what injustice is, and of what kind of  things the material of it is wont to be composed; also what human virtue is, and what it is which ruins it; and  further what it is which seems to ruin it but really does not. For instance (for I must complete my argument by  means of examples) each thing is subject to one evil which ruins it; iron to rust, wool to moth, flocks of sheep to  wolves. The virtue of wine is injured when it ferments and turns sour: of honey when it loses its natural  sweetness, and is reduced to a bitter juice. Ears of corn are ruined by mildew and droughts and the fruit, and  leaves, and branches of vines by the mischievous host of locusts, other trees by the caterpillar, and irrational  creatures by diseases of various kinds: and not to lengthen the list by going through all possible examples, our own  flesh is subject to fevers, and palsies, and a crowd of other maladies. As then each one of these things is liable to  that which ruins its virtue, let us now consider what it is which injures the human race, and what it is which ruins  the virtue of a human being. Most men think that there are divers things which have this effect; for I must mention  the erroneous opinions on the subject, and, after confuting them, proceed to exhibit that which really does ruin our  virtue: and to demonstrate clearly that no one could inflict this injury or bring this ruin upon us unless we betrayed  ourselves. The multitude then having erroneous opinions imagine that there are many different things which ruin  our virtue: some say it is poverty, others bodily disease, others loss of property, others calumny, others death and  they are perpetually bewailing and lamenting these things: and whilst they are commiserating the sufferers and  shedding tears they excitedly exclaim to one another "What a calamity has befallen such and such a man! he has  been deprived of all his fortune at a blow." Of another again one will say: "such and such a man has been attacked  by severe sickness and is despaired of by the physicians in attendance." Some bewail and lament the inmates of the  prison, some those who have been expelled from their country n and transported to the land of exile, others  those  who have been deprived of their freedom, others those who have been seized and made captives by enemies, others  those who have been drowned, or burnt, or buried by the fall of a house, but no one mourns those who are living  in wickedness: on the contrary, which is worse than all, they often congratulate them, a practice which is the cause  of all manner of evils. Come then (only, as I exhorted you at the outset, do not make a commotion), let me prove  that none of the things which have been mentioned injure the man who lives soberly, nor can ruin his virtue. For  tell me if a man has lost his all either at the hands of calumniators or of robbers, or has been stripped of his goods  by knavish servants, what harm has the loss done to the virtue of the man?
    But if it seems well let me rather indicate in the first place what is the virtue of a man, beginning by dealing with  the subject in the case of existences of another kind so as to make it more intelligible and plain to the majority of  readers.
    3. What then is the virtue of a horse? is it to have a bridle studded with gold and girths to match, and a band of  silken threads to fasten the housing, and clothes wrought in divers colours and gold tissue, and head gear studded  with jewels, and locks of hair plaited with gold cord? or is it to be swift and strong in its legs, and even in its paces,  and to have hoofs suitable to a well bred horse, and courage fitted for long journies and warfare, and to be able to  behave with calmness in the battle field, and if a rout takes place to save its rider? Is it not manifest that these are  the things which constitute the virtue of the horse, not the others? Again, what should you say was the virtue of  asses and mules? is it not the power of carrying burdens with contentment, and accomplishing journies with ease,  and having hoofs like rock? Shall we say that their outside trappings contribute anything to their own proper virtue?  By no means. And what kind of vine shall we admire? one which abounds in leaves and branches, or one which is  laden with fruit? or I what kind of virtue do we predicate of an olive? is it to have large boughs, and great luxuriance  of leaves, or to exhibit an abundance of its proper fruit dispersed over all parts of the tree? Well, let us act in the  same way in the case of human beings also: let us determine what is the virtue of man, and let us regard that alone  as an injury, which is destructive to it. What then is the


virtue of man? not riches that thou shouldest fear poverty: nor health of body that thou shouldest dread sickness,  nor the opinion of the public, that thou shouldest view an evil reputation with alarm, nor life simply for its own  sake, that death should be terrible to thee: nor liberty that thou shouldest avoid servitude: but carefulness in  holding true doctrine, and rectitude in life. Of these things not even the devil himself will be able to rob a man, if  he who possesses them guards them with the needful carefulness: and that most malicious and ferocious demon is  aware of this. For this cause also he robbed Job of his substance, not to make him poor, but that he might force  him into uttering some blasphemous speech; and he tortured his body, not to subject him to infirmity, but to upset  the virtue of his soul. But nevertheless when he had set all his devices in motion, and turned him from a rich man  into a poor one (that calamity which seems to us the most terrible of all), and had made him childless who was  once surrounded by many children, and had scarified his whole body more cruelly than the executioners do in the  public tribunals (for their nails do not lacerate the sides of those who fall into their hands so severely as the  gnawing of the worms lacerated his body), and when he had fastened a bad reputation upon him (for Job's friends  who were present with him said "thou hast not received the chastisement which thy sins deserve," and directed  many words of accusation against him), and after he had not merely expelled him from city and home and  transferred him to another city, but had actually made the dunghill serve as his home and city; after all this, he not  only did him no damage but rendered him more glorious by the designs which he formed against him. And he not  only failed to rob him of any of his possessions although he had robbed him of so many things, but he even  increased the wealth of his virtue. For after these things he enjoyed greater confidence inasmuch as he had  contended in a more severe contest. Now if he who underwent such sufferings, and this not at the hand of man,  but at the hand of the devil who is more wicked than all men, sustained no injury, which of those persons who say  such and such a man injured and damaged me will have any defence to make in future? For if the devil who is full  of such great malice, after having set all his instruments in motion, and discharged all his weapons, and poured out  all the evils incident to man, in a superlative degree upon the family and the person of that righteous man  nevertheless did him no injury, but as I was saying rather profited him: how shall certain be able to accuse such and  such a man alleging that they have suffered injury at their hands, not at their own?
    4. What then? some one will say, did he not inflict injury on Adam, and upset him, and cast him out of paradise?  No: he did it not, but the cause was the listlessness of him who was injured, and his want of temperance and  vigilance. For he who applied such powerful and manifold devices and yet was not able to subdue Job, how could he  by inferior means have mastered Adam, had not Adam betrayed himself through his own listlessness? What then?  Has not he been injured who has been exposed to slander, and suffered confiscation of his property, having been  deprived of all his goods, and is thrown out of his patrimony, and struggles with extreme poverty? No! he has not  been injured, but has even profited, if he be sober. For, tell me, what harm did this do the apostles? Were they not  continually struggling with hunger, and thirst and nakedness? And this was the very reason why they were so  illustrious, and distinguished, and won for themselves much help from God. Again what harm was done to Lazarus  by his disease, and sores, and poverty and dearth of protectors? Were they not the reasons why garlands of victory  were more abundantly woven for him? Or what harm was done to Joseph by his getting evil reported of, both in  his own land, and in the land of strangers? for he was supposed to be both an adulterer and fornicator: or what  harm did servitude do him or expatriation? Is it not specially on account of these things that we regard him with  admiration and astonishment? And why do I speak of removal into a foreign land, and poverty,  and evil report,  and bondage? For what harm did death itself inflict on Abel, although it was a violent and untimely death, and  perpetrated by a brother's hand? Is not this the reason why his praise is sounded throughout the whole world? Seest  thou how the discourse has demonstrated even more than it promised? For not only has it disclosed the fact that no  one is injured by anybody, but also that they who take heed to themselves derive the greater gain (from such  assaults). What is the purpose then it will be said of penalties and punishments? What is the purpose of hell? What  is the purpose of such great threatenings, if no one is either injured or injures? What is it thou sayest? Why dost  thou confuse the argument? For I did not say that no one injures, but that no one is injured. And how is it possible,  you will say, for no one to be injured when many


are committing injury? In the way which I indicated just now. For Joseph's brethren did indeed injure him, yet he  himself was not injured: and Cain laid snares for Abel, yet he himself was riot ensnared. This is the reason why  there are penalties and punishments. For God does not abolish penalties on account of the virtue of those who  suffer; but he ordains punishments on account of the malice of those who do wickedly. For although they who are  evil entreated become more illustrious in consequence of the designs formed against them, this is not due to the  intention of those who plan the designs, but to the courage of those who are the victims of them. Wherefore for the  latter the rewards of philosophy are made ready and prepared, for the former the penalties of wickedness. Hast  thou been deprived of thy money? Read the word "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I  return thither."(1) And add to this the apostolic saying "for we brought nothing into this world; it is certain we can  carry nothing out."(2) Art thou evil reported of, and have some men loaded thee with countless abuse? Remember  that passage where it is said "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you"(3) and "rejoice ye and leap for  joy when they shall cast upon you an evil name."(4) Hast thou been transported into the land of exile? Consider  that thou hast not here a fatherland, but that if thou wilt be wise thou art bidden to regard the whole world as a  strange country. Or hast thou been given over to a sore disease? quote the apostolic saying "the more our outward  man decayeth, so much the more is the inward man renewed day by day."(5) Has any one suffered a violent death?  consider the case of John, his head cut off in prison, carried in a charger, and made the reward of a harlot's  dancing. Consider the recompense which is derived from these things: for all these sufferings when they are  unjustly inflicted by any one on another, expiate sins, and work righteousness. So great is the advantage of them in  the case of those who bear them bravely.
    5. When then neither loss of money, nor slander, nor railing, nor banishment, nor diseases, nor tortures, nor  that which seems more formidable than all, namely death, harms those who suffer them, but rather adds to their  profit, whence can you prove to me that any one is injured when he is not injured at all from any of these things?  For I will endeavour to prove the reverse, showing that they who are most injured and insulted, and suffer the  most incurable evils are the persons who do these things. For what could be more miserable than the condition of  Cain, who dealt with his brother in this fashion? what more pitiable than that of Phillip's wife who beheaded John?  or the brethren of Joseph who sold him away, and transported him into the land of exile? or the devil who tortured  Job with such great calamities? For not only on account of his other iniquities, but at the same time also for this  assault he will pay no trifling penalty. Dost thou see how here the argument has proved even more than was  proposed, shewing that those who are insulted not only sustain no harm from these assaults, but that the whole  mischief recoils on the head of those who contrive them? For since neither wealth nor freedom, nor life in our  native land nor the other things which I have mentioned, but only right actions of the soul, constitute the virtue of  man, naturally when the harm is directed against these things, human virtue itself is no wise harmed. What then?  supposing some one does harm the moral condition of the soul? Even then if a man suffers damage, the damage  does not come from another but proceeds from within, and from the man himself. "How so," do you say? When  any one having been beaten by another, or deprived of his goods, or having endured some other grievous insult,  utters a blasphemous speech, he certainly sustains a damage thereby, and a very great one, nevertheless it does not  proceed from him who has inflicted the insult, but from his own littleness of soul. For what I said before I will now  repeat, no man if he be infinitely wicked could attack any one more wickedly or more bitterly than that revengeful  demon who is implacably hostile to us, the devil: but yet this cruel demon had not power to upset or overthrow him  who lived before the law, and before the time of grace, although he discharged so many and such bitter weapons  against him from all quarters. Such is the force of nobility of soul. And what shall I say of Paul? Did he not suffer  so many distresses that even to make a list of them is no easy matter? He was put in prison, loaded with chains,  dragged hither and hither, scourged by the Jews, stoned, lacerated on the back not only by thongs, but also by rods,  he was immersed in the sea, oftentimes beset by robbers, involved in strife with his own countrymen, continually  assailed both by foes and by acquaintance, subjected to countless intrigues, struggling with hunger and


nakedness, undergoing other frequent and lasting mischances and afflictions: and why need I mention the greater  part of them? he was dying every day: but yet, although subjected to so many and such grievous sufferings, he not  only uttered  no blasphemous word, but rejoiced over these things and gloried in them: and one time he says "I  rejoice in my sufferings,"(1) and then again "not only this but we also glory in afflictions."(2) If then he rejoiced  and gloried when suffering such great troubles what excuse will you have, and what defence will you make if you  blaspheme when you do not undergo the smallest fraction of them.
    6. But I am injured in other ways, one will say, and even if I do not blaspheme, yet when I am robbed of my  money I am disabled from giving alms. This is a mere pretext and pretence. For if you grieve on this account know  certainly that poverty is no bar to almsgiving. For even if you are infinitely poor you are not poorer than the  woman who possessed only a handful of meal,(3) and the one who had only two mites,(4) each of whom having  spent all her substance upon those who were in need was an object of surpassing admiration: and such great  poverty was no hindrance to such great lovingkindness, but the alms bestowed from the two mites was so  abundant and generous as to eclipse all who had riches, and in wealth of intention and superabundance of zeal to  surpass those who cast in much coin. Wherefore even in this matter thou art not injured but rather benefitted,  receiving by means of a small contribution rewards more glorious than they who put down large sums. But since, if  I were to say these things for ever, sensuous characters which delight to grovel in worldly things, and revel in  present things would not readily endure parting from the fading flowers (for such are the pleasant things of this  life) or letting go its shadows: but the better sort of men indeed cling to both the one and the other, while the more  pitiable and abject cling more strongly to the former than to the latter, come let us s strip off the pleasant and  showy masks which hide the base and ugly countenance of these things, and let us expose the foul deformity of the  harlot. For such is the character of a life of this kind which is devoted to luxury, and wealth and power: it is foul  and ugly and full of much abomination, disagreeable and burdensome, and charged with bitterness. For this indeed  is the special feature in this life which deprives those who are captivated by it of every excuse, that although it is the  aim of their longings and endeavours, yet is it filled with much annoyance and bitterness, and teems with  innumerable evils, dangers, bloodshed, precipices, crags, murders, fears and tremblings, envy and ill-will, and  intrigue, perpetual anxiety and care, and derives no profit, and produces no fruit from these great evils save  punishment and revenge, and incessant torment. But although this is its character it seems to be to most men an  object of ambition, and eager contention, which is a sign of the folly of those who are captivated by it, not of the  blessedness of the thing itself. Little children indeed are eager and excited about toys and cannot take notice of the  things which become full grown men. There is an excuse for them on account of their immaturity: but these others  are debarred from the right of defence, because, although of full age they are childish in disposition, and more  foolish than children in their manner of life.
    Now tell me why is wealth an object of ambition? For it is necessary to start from this point, because to the  majority of those who are afflicted with this grievous malady it seems to be more precious than health and life, and  public reputation, and good opinion, and country, and household, and friends, and kindred and everything else.  Moreover the flame has ascended to the very clouds: and this fierce heat has taken possession of land and sea. Nor  is there any one to quench this fire: but all people are engaged in stirring it up, both those who have been already  caught by it, and those who have not yet been caught, in order that they may be captured. And you may see every  one, husband and wife, household slave, and freeman, rich and poor, each according to his ability carrying loads  which supply much fuel to this fire by day and night: loads not of wood or faggots (for the fire is not of that kind),  but loads of souls and bodies, of unrighteousness and iniquity. For such is the material of which a fire of this kind  is wont to be kindled. For those who have riches place no limit anywhere to this monstrous passion, even if they  compass the whole world: and the poor press on to get in advance of them, and a kind of incurable craze, and  unrestrainable frenzy and irremediable disease possesses the souls of all. And this affection has conquered every  other kind and thrust it away expelling it from the soul: neither friends nor kindred are taken into account: and  why do I speak of friends and kindred? not even wife and children are


regarded, and what can be dearer to man than these? but all things are dashed to the ground and trampled  underfoot, when this savage and inhuman mistress has laid hold of the souls of all who are taken captive by her.  For as an inhuman mistress, and harsh tyrant, and savage barbarian, and public and expensive prostitute she  debases and exhausts and punishes with innumerable dangers and torments those who have chosen to be in  bondage to her; and yet although she is terrible and harsh, and fierce and cruel, and has the face of a barbarian, or  rather of a wild beast, fiercer than a wolf or a lion, she seems to those who have been taken captive by her gentle  and loveable, and sweeter than honey. And although she forges swords and weapons against them every day, and  digs pitfalls and leads them to precipices and crags and weaves endless snares of punishment for them, yet is she  supposed to make these things objects of ambition to those who have been made captive, and those who are  desiring to be captured. And just as a sow delights and revels in wallowing in the ditch and mire, and beetles  delight in perpetually crawling over dung; even so they who are captivated by the love of money are more miserable  than these creatures. For the abomination is greater in this case, and the mire more offensive: for they who are  addicted to this passion imagine that much pleasure is derived from it: which does not arise from the nature of the  thing, but of the understanding which is afflicted with such an irrational taste. And this taste is worse in their case  than in that of brutes: for as with the mire and the dung the cause of pleasure is not in them, but in the irrational  nature of the creatures who plunge into it; even so count it to be in the case of human beings.
    7. And how might we cure those who are thus disposed? It would be possible if they would open their ears to us,  and unfold their heart, and receive our words. For it is impossible to turn and divert the irrational animals from  their unclean habit; for they are destitute of reason: but this the gentlest of all tribes, honoured by reason and  speech, I mean human nature, might, if it chose, readily and easily be released from the mire and the stench, and  the dung hill and its abomination. For wherefore, O man, do riches seem to thee worthy such diligent pursuit? Is it  on account of the pleasure which no doubt is derived from the table? or on account of the honour and the escort of  those who pay court to thee, because of thy wealth? is it because thou art able to defend thyself against those who  annoy thee, and to be an object of fear to all? For yon cannot name any other reasons, save pleasure and flattery,  and fear, and the power of taking revenge; for wealth is not generally wont to make any one wiser, or more  self-controlled, or more gentle, or more intelligent, or kind, or benevolent, or superior to anger, or gluttony or  pleasure: it does not train any one to be moderate, or teach him how to be humble, nor introduce and implant any  other piece of virtue in the soul. Neither could you say for which of these things it deserves to be so diligently  sought and desired. For not only is it ignorant how to plant and cultivate any good thing, but even if it finds a store  of them it mars and stunts and blights them; and some of them it even uproots, and introduces their opposites,  unmeasured licentiousness, unseasonable wrath, unrighteous anger, pride, arrogance, foolishness. But let me not  speak of these; for they who have been seized by this malady will not endure to hear about virtue and vice, being  entirely abandoned to pleasure and therefore enslaved to it. Come then let us forego for the time being the  consideration of these points, and let us bring forward the others which remain, and see whether wealth has any  pleasure, or any honour: for in my eyes the case is quite the reverse. And first of all, if you please, let us investigate  the meals of rich and poor, and ask the guests which they are who enjoy the purest and most genuine pleasure; is it  they who recline for a full day on couches, and join breakfast and dinner together, and distend their stomach, and  blunt their senses, and sink the vessel by an overladen cargo of food, and waterlog the ship, and drench it as in  some shipwreck of the body, and devise fetters, and manacles, and gags, and bind their whole body with the band  of drunkenness and surfeit more grievous than an iron chain, and enjoy no sound pure sleep undisturbed by  frightful dreams, and are more miserable than madmen and introduce a kind of self-imposed demon into the soul  and display themselves as a laughing stock to the gaze of their servants, or rather to the kinder sort amongst them  as a tragical spectacle eliciting tears, and cannot recognize any of those who are present, and are incapable of  speaking or hearing but have to be carried away from their couches to their bed;--or is it they who are sober and  vigilant, and limit their eating by their need, and sail with a favourable breeze, and find hunger and thirst the best  relish in their food and drink? For nothing is so conducive to enjoyment and health as to be hungry and thirsty  when one attacks the viands, and to identify satiety with the sim-


ple necessity of food, never overstepping the limits of this, nor imposing a load upon the body too great for its  strength.
    8. But if you disbelieve my statement study the physical condition, and the soul of each class. Are not the bodies  vigorous of those who live thus moderately (for do not tell me of that which rarely happens, although some may be  weak from some other circumstance, but form your judgment from those instances which are of constant  occurrence), I say are they not vigorous, and their senses clear, fulfilling their proper function with much ease?  whereas the bodies of the others are flaccid and softer than wax, and beset with a crowd of maladies? For gout soon  fastens upon them, and untimely palsy, and premature old age, and headache, and flatulence, and feebleness of  digestion, and loss of appetite, and they require constant attendance of physicians, and perpetual doseing, and daily  care. Are these things pleasurable? tell me. Who of those that know what pleasure really is would say so? For  pleasure is produced when desire leads the way, and fruition follows: now if there is fruition, but desire is nowhere  to be found, the conditions of pleasure fail and vanish. On this account also invalids, although the most charming  food is set before them, partake of it with a feeling of disgust and sense of oppression: because there is no desire  which gives a keen relish to the enjoyment of it. For it is not the nature of the food, or of the drink, but the  appetite of the eaters which is wont to produce the desire, and is capable of causing pleasure. Therefore also a  certain wise man who had an accurate knowledge of all that concerned pleasure, and understood how to moralize  about these things said "the fall soul mocketh at honeycombs:"(1) showing that the conditions of pleasure consist  not in the nature of the meal, but in the disposition of the eaters. Therefore also the prophet recounting the  wonders in Egypt and in the desert mentioned this in connexion with the others "He satisfied them with honey out  of the rock."(2) And yet nowhere does it appear that honey actually sprang forth for them out of the rock: what  then is the meaning of the expression? Because the people being exhausted by much toil and long travelling, and  distressed by great thirst rushed to the cool spring, their craving for drink serving as a relish, the writer wishing to  describe the pleasures which they received from those fountains called the water honey, not meaning that the  element was converted into honey, but that the pleasure received from the water rivalled the sweetness of honey,  inasmuch as those who partook of it rushed to it in their eagerness to drink.
    Since then these things are so and no one can deny it, however stupid he may be: is it not perfectly plain that  pure, undiluted, and lively pleasure is to be found at the tables of the poor? whereas at the tables of the rich there is  discomfort, and disgust and defilement? as that wise man has said "even sweet things seem to be a vexation."(3)
    9. But riches some one will say procure honour for those who possess them, and enable them to take vengeance  on their enemies with ease. And is this a reason, pray, why riches seem to you desirable and worth contending  for;--that they nourish the most dangerous passion in our nature, leading on anger into action, swelling the empty  bubbles of ambition, and stimulating and urging men to arrogance? Why these are just the very reasons why we  ought resolutely to turn our backs upon riches, because they introduce certain fierce and dangerous wild beasts into  our heart depriving us of the real honour which we might receive from all, and introducing to deluded men another  which is the opposite of this, only painted over with its colours, and persuading them to fancy that it is the same,  when by nature it is not so, but only seems to be so to the eye. For as the beauty of courtesans, made up as it is of  dyes and pigments, is destitute of real beauty, yet makes a foul and ugly face appear fair and beautiful to those who  are deluded by it when it is not so in reality: even so also riches force flattery to look like honour. For I beg you not  to consider the praises which are openly bestowed through fear and fawning: for these are only tints and pigments;  but unfold the conscience of each of those who flatter you in this fashion, and inside it you will see countless  accusers declaring against you, and loathing and detesting you more than your bitterest adversaries and foes. And if  ever a change of circumstances should occur which would remove and expose this mask which fear has  manufactured, just as the sun when it emits a hotter ray than usual discloses the real countenances of those women  whom I mentioned, then you will see clearly that all through the former time you were held in the greatest  contempt by those who paid court to you, and you fancied you were enjoying honour from those who thoroughly  hated you, and in their heart poured infinite abuse upon you, and longed to see


you involved in extreme calamities. For there is nothing like virtue to produce honour,--honour neither forced nor  feigned, nor hidden under a mask of deceit, but real and genuine, and able to stand the test of hard times.
    10. But do you wish to take vengeance on those who have annoyed you? This, as I was saying just now, is the  very reason why wealth ought specially to be avoided. For it prepares thee to thrust the sword against thy. self, and  renders thee liable to a heavier account in the future day of reckoning, and makes thy punishment intolerable. For  revenge is so great an evil that it actually revokes the mercy of God, and cancels the forgiveness of countless sins  which has been already bestowed. For he who received remission of the debt of ten thousand talents, and after  having obtained so great a boon by merely asking for it then made a demand of one hundred pence from his fellow  servant, a demand, that is, for satisfaction for his transgression against himself, in his severity towards his fellow  servant recorded his own condemnation; and for this reason and no other he was delivered to the tormentors, and  racked, and required to pay back the ten thousand talents; and he was not allowed the benefit of any excuse or  defence, but suffered the most extreme penalty, having been commanded to deposit the whole debt which the  lovingkindness of God had formerly remitted.(1) Is this then the reason, pray, why wealth is so earnestly pursued  by thee, because it so easily conducts thee into sin of this kind? Nay verily, this is why you ought to abhor it as a foe  and an adversary teeming with countless murders. But poverty, some one will say, disposes men to be  discontented and often also to utter profane words, and condescend to mean actions. It is not poverty which does  this, but littleness of soul: for Lazarus also was poor, aye! very poor: and besides poverty he suffered from  infirmity, a bitterer trial than any form of poverty, and one which makes poverty more severely felt; and in  addition to infirmity there was a total absence of protectors, and difficulty in finding any to supply his wants, which  increased the bitterness of poverty and infirmity. For each of these things is painful in itself, but when there are  none to minister to the sufferer's wants, the suffering becomes greater, the flame more painful, the distress more  bitter, the tempest fiercer, the billows stronger, the furnace hotter. And if one examines the case thoroughly there  was yet a fourth trial besides these--the unconcern and luxury of the rich man who dwelt hard by. And if you would  find a fifth thing, serving as fuel to the flame, you will see quite clearly that he was beset by it. For not only was  that rich man living luxuriously, but twice, and thrice, or rather indeed several times in the day he saw the poor  man: for he had been laid at his gate, being a grievous spectacle of pitiable distress, and the bare sight of him was  sufficient to soften even a heart of stone: and yet even this did not induce that unmerciful man to assist this case of  poverty: but he had his luxurious table spread, and goblets wreathed with flowers, and pure wine plentifully poured  forth, and grand armies of cooks, and parasites, and flatterers from early dawn, and troops of singers, cupbearers,  and jesters; and he spent all his time in devising every species of dissipation, and drunkenness, and surfeiting, and  in revelling in dress and feasting and many other things. But although he saw that poor man every day distressed  by grievous hunger and the bitterest infirmity, and the oppression of his many sores, and by destitution, and the  ills which result from these things, he never even gave him a thought: yet the parasites and the flatterers were  pampered even beyond their need; but the poor man, and he so very poor, and encompassed with so many  miseries, was not even vouchsafed the crumbs which fell from that table, although he greatly desired them: and yet  none of these things injured him, he did not give vent to a bitter word, he did not utter a profane speech; but like a  piece of gold which shines all the more brilliantly when it is purified by excessive heat, even so he, although  oppressed by these sufferings, was superior to all of them, and to the agitation which in many cases is produced by  them. For if generally speaking poor men, when they see rich men, are consumed with envy and racked by  malicious ill-will, and deem life not worth living, and this even when they are well supplied with necessary food,  and have persons to minister to their wants; what would the condition of this poor man have been had he not been  very wise and noble hearted, seeing that he was poor beyond all other poor men, and not only poor. but also  infirm, and without any one to protect or cheer him, and lay in the midst of the city as if in a remote desert, and  wasted away with bitter hunger, and saw all good things being poured upon the rich man as out of a fountain, and  had not the benefit of any human consolation, but lay exposed as a perpetual meal for the tongues of the dogs, for  he was so enfeebled and broken down in


body that he could not scare them away? Dost thou perceive that he who does not injure himself suffers no evil? for  I will again take up the same argument.
    11. For what harm was done to this hero by his bodily infirmity? or by the absence of protectors? or by the  coming of the dogs? or the evil proximity of the rich man? or by the great luxury, haughtiness and arrogance of the  latter? Did it enervate him for the contest on behalf of virtue? Did it ruin his fortitude? Nowhere was he harmed at  all, but that multitude of sufferings, and the cruelty of the rich man, rather increased his strength, and became the  pledge for him of infinite crowns of victory, a means of adding to his  rewards, an augmentation of his  recompense, and a promise of an increased requital. For he was crowned not merely on account of his poverty, or  of his hunger or of his sores, or of the dogs licking them: but because, having such a neighbour as the rich man, and  being seen by him every day, and perpetually overlooked he endured this trial bravely and with much fortitude, a  trial which added no small flame but in fact a very strong one to the fire of poverty, and infirmity and loneliness.
    And, tell me,what was the case of the blessed Paul? for there is nothing to prevent my making mention of him  again. Did he not experience innumerable storms of trial? And in what respect was he injured by them? Was he not  crowned with victory all the more in consequence,--because he suffered hunger, because he was consumed with  cold and nakedness, because he was often tortured with the scourge, because he was stoned, because he was cast  into the sea? But then some one says he was Paul, and called by Christ. Yet Judas also was one of the twelve, and  he too was called of Christ; but neither his being of the twelve nor his call profited him, because he had not a mind  disposed to virtue. But Paul although struggling with hunger, and at a loss to procure necessary food, and daily  undergoing such great sufferings, pursued with great zeal the road which leads to heaven: whereas Judas although  he had been called before him, and enjoyed the same advantages as he did, and was initiated in the highest form of  Christian life, and partook of the holy table and that most awful of sacred feasts, and received such grace as to be  able to raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers, and cast out devils, and often heard discourses concerning poverty,  and spent so long a time in the company of Christ Himself, and was entrusted with the money of the poor, so that  his passion might be soothed thereby (for he was a thief) even then did not become any better, although he had  been favoured with such great condescension. For since Christ knew that he was covetous, and destined to perish  on account of his love of money he not only did not demand punishment of him for this at that time, but with a  view to softening down his passion he was entrusted with the money of the poor, that having some means of  appeasing his greed he might be saved from falling into that appalling gulf of sin, checking the greater evil  beforehand by a lesser one.
    12. Thus in no case will any one be able to injure a man who does not choose to injure himself: but if a man is  not willing to be temperate, and to aid himself from his own resources no one will ever be able to profit him.  Therefore also that wonderful history of the Holy Scriptures, as in some lofty, large, and broad picture, has  portrayed the lives of the men of old time, extending the narrative from Adam to the coming of Christ: and it  exhibits to you both those who are upset, and those who are crowned with victory in the contest, in order that it  may instruct you by means of all examples that no one will be able to injure one who is not injured by himself,  even if all the world were to kindle a fierce war against him. For it is not stress of circumstances, nor variation of  seasons, nor insults of men in power, nor intrigues besetting thee like snow storms, nor a crowd of calamities, nor  a promiscuous collection of all the ills to which mankind is subject, which can disturb even slightly the man who is  brave, and temperate, and watchful; just as on the contrary the indolent and supine man who is his own betrayer  cannot be made better, even with the aid of innumerable ministrations. This at least was made manifest to us by  the parable of the two men, of whom the one built his house upon the rock, the other upon the sand:(1) not that  we are to think of sand and rock, or of a building of stone, and a roof, or of rivers, and rain, and wild winds,  beating against the buildings, but we are to extract virtue and vice as the meaning of these things, and to perceive  from them that no one injures a man who does not injure himself. Therefore neither the rain although driven  furiously along, nor the streams dashing against it with much vehemence, nor the wild winds beating against it  with a mighty rush, shook the one house in any degree: but it remained undisturbed, unmoved: that thou mightest  understand that no trial can agitate the man who does not betray himself. But the house of the other man


was easily swept away, not on account of the force of the trials (for in that case the other would have experienced  the same fate), but on account of his own folly; for it did not fall because the wind blew upon it, but because it was  built upon the sand, that is to say upon indolence and iniquity. For before that tempest beat upon it, it was weak  and ready to fall. For buildings of that kind, even if no one puts any pressure on them, fall to pieces of themselves,  the foundation sinking and giving way in every direction. And just as cobwebs part asunder, although no strain is  put upon them, but adamant remains unshaken even when it is struck: even so also they who do not injure  themselves become stronger, even if they receive innumerable blows; but they who betray themselves, even if there  is no one to harass them, fall of themselves, and collapse and perish. For even thus did Judas perish, not only  having been unassailed by any trial of this kind, but having actually enjoyed the benefit of much assistance.
    13. Would you like me to illustrate this argument in the case of whole nations? What great forethought was  bestowed upon the Jewish nation! was not the whole visible creation arranged with a view to their service? was not  a new and strange method of life introduced amongst them? For they had not to send down to a market, and so  they had the benefit of things which are sold for money without paying any price for them: neither did they cleave  furrows nor drag a plough, nor harrow the ground, nor east in seed, nor had they need of rain and wind, and  annual seasons, nor sunshine, nor phases of the moon, nor climate, nor anything of that kind; they prepared no  threshing floor, they threshed no grain, they used no winnowing fan for separating the grain from the chaff, they  turned no mill-stone, they built no oven, they brought neither wood nor fire into the house, they needed no  baker's art, they handled no spade, they sharpened no sickle, they required no other art, I mean of weaving or  building or supplying shoes: but the word of God was everything to them. And they had a table prepared off hand,  free of all toil and labour. For such was the nature of the manna; it was new and fresh, nowhere costing them any  trouble, nor straining them by labour. And their clothes, and shoes, and even their physical frame forgot their  natural infirmity: for l the former did not wear out in the course of so long a time nor did their feet swell although  they made such long marches. of  physicians, and medicine, and all other concern about that kind of art, there was  no mention at all amongst them; so completely banished was infirmity of every kind: for it is said "He brought  them out with silver and gold; and there was not one feeble person among their tribes."(1) But like men who had  quitted this world, and were transplanted to another and a better one, even so did they eat and drink, neither did  the sun's ray when it waxed hot smite their heads; for the cloud parted them from the fiery beam, hovering all  round them, and serving like a portable shelter for the whole body of the people. Neither at night did they need a  torch to disperse the darkness, but they had the pillar of fire, a source of unspeakable light, supplying two wants,  one by its shining. the other by directing the course of their journey; for it was not only luminous, but also  conducted that countless host along the wilderness with more certainty than any human guide. And they journeyed  not only upon land but also upon sea as if it had been dry land; and they made an audacious experiment upon the  laws of nature by treading upon that angry sea, marching through it as if it had been the hard and resisting surface  of a rock; and indeed when they placed their feet upon it the element became like solid earth, and gently sloping  plains and fields; but when it received their enemies it wrought after the nature of sea; and to the Israelites indeed  it served as a chariot, but to their enemies it became a grave; conveying the former across with ease, but drowning  the latter with great violence. And the disorderly flood of water displayed the good order and subordination which  marks reasonable and highly intelligent men, fulfilling the part at one time of a guardian, at another of an  executioner, and exhibiting these opposites together on one day. What shall one say of the rocks which gave forth  streams of water? what of the clouds of birds which covered the whole face of the earth by the number of their  carcases? what of the wonders in Egypt? what of the marvels in the wilderness? what of the triumphs and bloodless  victories? for they subdued those who opposed them like men keeping holiday rather than making war. And they  vanquished their own masters without the use of arms; and overcame those who fought with them after they left  Egypt by means of singing and music; and what they did was a festival rather than a campaign, a religious  ceremony rather than a battle. For all these wonders took place not merely for the purpose of supplying their need,  but also that the people might preserve more accurately


the doctrine which Moses inculcated of the knowledge of God; and voices proclaiming the presence of their Master  were uttered on all sides of them. For the sea loudly declared this, by becoming a road for them to march upon,  and then turning into sea again: and the waters of the Nile uttered this voice when they were converted into the  nature of blood; and the frogs, and the great army of locusts, and the caterpillar and blight declared the same thing  to all the people; and the wonders in the desert, the manna, the pillar of fire, the cloud, the quails, and all the other  incidents served them as a book, and writing which could never be effaced, echoing daily in their memory and  resounding in their mind. Nevertheless after such great and remarkable providence, after all those unspeakable  benefits, after such mighty miracles, after care indescribable, after continual teaching, after instruction by means of  speech, and admonition by means of deeds, after glorious victories, after extraordinary triumphs, after abundant  supply of food, after the plentiful production of water, after the ineffable glory with which they were invested in the  eyes of the human race, being ungrateful and senseless they worshipped a calf, and paid reverence to the head of a  bull, even when the memorials of God's benefits in Egypt were fresh in their minds, and they were still in actual  enjoyment of many more.
    14. But the Ninevites, although a barbarous and foreign people who had never participated in any of these  benefits, small or great, neither words, nor wonders, nor works when they saw a man who had been saved from  shipwreck, who had never associated with them before, but appeared then for the first time, enter their city and say  "yet three days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,"(1) were so converted and reformed by the mere sound of these  words, and putting away their former wickedness, advanced in the direction of virtue by the path of repentance,  that they caused the sentence of God to be revoked, and arrested the threatened disturbance of their city, and  averted the heaven-sent wrath, and were delivered from every kind of evil. "For," we read, "God saw that every  man turned from his evil way, and was converted to the Lord."(2) How turned? I ask. Although their wickedness  was great, their iniquity unspeakable, their moral sores difficult to heal, which was plainly shown by the prophet  when he said "their wickedness ascended even unto the heaven:" (3) indicating by the distance of the place the  magnitude of their wickedness; nevertheless such great iniquity which was piled up to such a height as to reach even  to the heaven, all this in the course of three days in a brief moment of time through the effect of a few words which  they heard from the mouth of one man and he an unknown shipwrecked stranger they so thoroughly abolished,  removed out of sight, and put away, as to have the happiness of hearing the declaration "God saw that every one  turned from his evil way, and He repented of the evil which God said He would do them." Seest thou that he who  is temperate and watchful not only suffers no injury at the hands of man, but even turns back Heaven-sent wrath?  whereas he who betrays himself and harms himself by his own doing, even if he receives countess benefits, reaps  no great advantage. So, at least, the Jews were not profited by those great miracles, nor on the other hand were the  Ninevites harmed by having no share in them; but inasmuch as they were inwardly well-disposed, having laid hold  of a slight opportunity they became better, barbarians and foreigners though they were, ignorant of all divine  revelation, and dwelling at a distance from Palestine.
    15. Again, I ask, was the virtue of the "three children" corrupted by the troubles which beset them? Whilst they  were still young, mere youths, of immature age, did they not undergo that grievous affliction of i captivity? had they  not to make a long journey from home, and when they had arrived in the foreign country were they not cut off  from fatherland and home and temple, and altar and sacrifices, and offerings, and drink offerings, and even the  singing of psalms? For not only were they debarred from their home, but as a consequence from many forms of  worship also. Were they not given up into the hands of barbarians, wolves rather than men? and, most painful  calamity of all, when they had been banished into so distant and barbarous a country, and were suffering such a  grievous captivity were they not without teacher, without prophets, without ruler? "for," it is written, "there is no  ruler, nor prophet, nor governor, nor place for offering before Thee and finding mercy."(4) Yea moreover they  were cast into the royal palace, as upon some cliff and crag, and a sea full of rocks and reefs, being compelled to  sail over that angry sea without a pilot or signal man, or crew, or sails; and they were cooped up in the royal court  as in a prison. For inasmuch as they knew spiritual wisdom, and were superior to worldly things, and despised all


human pride and made the wings of their soul soar upwards, they counted their sojourn there as an aggravation of  their trouble. For had they been outside the court, and dwelling in a private house they would have enjoyed more  independence: but having been cast into that prison (for they deemed the splendour of the palace no better than a  prison, no safer than a place of rocks and crags) they were straightway subjected to cruel embarrassment. For the  king commanded them to be partakers of his own table, a luxurious, unclean and profane table, a thing which was  forbidden them, and seemed more terrible than death; and they were lonely men hemmed in like lambs amongst  so many wolves. And they were constrained to choose between being consumed by famine or rather led off to  execution, and tasting of forbidden meats. What then did these youths do, forlorn as they were, captives, strangers,  slaves of those who commanded these things. They did not consider that this strait or the absolute power of him  who possessed the state sufficed to justify their compliance; but they employed every device and expedient to  enable them to avoid the sin, although they were abandoned on every side. For they could not influence men by  money: how should they, being captives? nor by friendship and social intercourse? how should they being strangers?  nor could they get the better of them by any exertion of power: how was it possible being slaves? nor matter them  by force of numbers: how could they being only three? Therefore they approached the eunuch who possessed the  necessary authority, and persuaded him by their arguments. For when they saw him fearful and trembling, and in  an agony of alarm concerning his own safety, and the dread of death which agitated his soul was intolerable: "for I  fear" said he "my lord the king, lest he should see your countenances sadder than the children which are of your  sort and so shall ye endanger my head to the king," (1) having released him from this fear they persuaded him to  grant them the favour. And inasmuch as they brought to the work all the strength which they had, God also  henceforth contributed his strength to it. For it was not God's doing only that they achieved those things for the  sake of which they were to receive a reward, but the beginning and starting point was from their own purpose, and  having manifested that to be noble and brave, they won for themselves the help of God, and so accomplished their  aim.
16. Dost thou then perceive that if a man does not injure himself, no one else will be able to harm him? Behold at  least youthfulness, and captivity and destitution, and removal into a foreign land, and loneliness, and dearth of  protectors, and a stern command, and great fear of death assailing the mind of the eunuch, and poverty, and  feebleness of numbers, and dwelling in the midst of barbarians, and having enemies for masters, and surrender  into the hands of the king himself, and separation from all their kindred, and removal from priests and prophets,  and from all others who cared for them, and the cessation of drink offerings and sacrifices, and loss of the temple  and psalmody, and yet none of these things harmed them; but they had more renown then than when they enjoyed  these things in their native land. And after they had accomplished this task first and had wreathed their brows with  the glorious garland of victory, and had kept the law even in a foreign land, and trampled under foot the tyrant's  command, and overcome fear of the avenger, and yet received no harm from any quarter, as if they had been  quietly living at home and enjoying the benefit of all those things which I mentioned, after they had thus fearlessly  accomplished their work they were again summoned to other contests. And again they were the same men; and  they were subjected to a more severe trial than the former one, and a furnace was kindled, and they were  confronted by the barbarian army in company with the king: and the whole Persian force was set in motion and  everything was devised which tended to put deceit or confront upon them: divers kinds of music, and various forms  of punishment, and threats, and what they saw on every side of them was alarming, and the words which they  heard were more alarming than what they saw; nevertheless inasmuch as they did not betray themselves, but made  the most of their own strength, they never sustained any kind of damage: but even won for themselves more  glorious crowns of victory than before. For Nabuchadonosor bound them and cast them into the furnace, yet he  burnt them not. but rather benefited them, and rendered them more illustrious. And although they were deprived  of temple (for I will repeat my former remarks) and altar, and fatherland, and priests and prophets, although they  were in a foreign and barbarous county, in the very midst of the furnace, surrounded by all that mighty host, the  king himself who wrought this looking on, they set up a glorious trophy, and won a notable victory, having sung  that admirable and extraordinary hymn which from that day to this has been sung


throughout the world and will continue to be sung to future generations.
    Thus then when a man does not injure himself, he cannot possibly be hurt by another: for I will not cease  harping constantly upon this saying. For if captivity, and bondage, and loneliness and loss of country and all  kindred and death, and burning, and a great army and a savage tyrant could not do any damage to the innate  virtue of the three children captives, bondmen, strangers though they were in a foreign land, but the enemy's  assault became to them rather the occasion of greater confidence: what shall be able to harm the temperate man?  There is nothing, even should he have the whole world in arms against him. But, some one may say, in their case  God stood beside them, and plucked them out of the flame. Certainly He did; and if thou wilt play thy part to the  best of thy power, the help which God supplies will assuredly follow.
    17. Nevertheless the reason why I admire those youths, and pronounce them blessed, and enviable, is not  because they tramped on the flame, and vanquished the force of the fire: but because they were bound, and cast  into the furnace, and delivered to the fire for the sake of true doctrine. For this it was which constituted the  completeness of their triumph, and the wreath of victory was placed on their brows as soon as they were cast into  the furnace and before the issue of events it began to be weaved for them from the moment that they uttered those  words which they spoke with much boldness and freedom of speech to the king when they were brought into his  presence. "We have no need to answer thee concerning this thing: for our God in Heaven whom we serve is able  to rescue us out of the burning fiery furnace: and He will deliver us out of thy hands, O King. But if not, be it  known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy Gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set  up."(1) After the utterance of these words I proclaimed them conquerors; after these words having grasped the  prize of victory, they hastened on to the glorious crown of martyrdom, following up the confession which they  made through their words with the confession made through their deeds. But if when they had been cast into it, the  fire had respect for their bodies, and undid their bonds, and suffered them to go down into it without fear, and  forgot its natural force, so that the furnace of fire became as a fountain of cool water, this marvel was the effect of  God's grace and of the divine wonder-working power. Yet the heroes themselves even before these things took  place, as soon as they set foot in the flames had erected their trophy, and won their victory, and put on their crown,  and had been proclaimed conquerors both in Heaven and on earth, and so far as they were concerned nothing was  wanting for their renown. What then wouldst thou have to say to these things? Hast thou been driven into exile,  and expelled from thy county? Behold so also were they. Hast thou suffered captivity, and become the servant of  barbarian makers. Well! this also thou wilt find befell these men. But thou hast no one present there to regulate  thy state nor to advise or instruct thee? Well ! of attention of this kind these men were destitute. Or thou hast been  bound, burned, put to death? for thou canst not tell me of anything more painful than these things. Yet lo! these  men having gone through them all, were made more glorious by each one of them, yea more exceedingly  illustrious, and increased the store of their treasures in Heaven. And the Jews indeed who had both temple, and  altar, and ark and cherubim, and mercy-seat, and veil, and an infinite multitude of priests, and daily services, and  morning and evening sacrifices, and continually heard the voices of the prophets, both living and de-pared,  sounding in their ears, and carried about with them the recollection of the wonders which were done in Egypt, and  in the wilderness, and all the rest, and turned the story of these things over in their hands, and had them inscribed  upon their door posts and enjoyed the benefit at that time of much supernatural power and every other kind of  help were yet no wise profited, but rather damaged, having set up idols in the temple itself, and having sacrificed  their sons and daughters under trees, and in almost every part of the country in Palestine having offered those  unlawful and accursed sacrifices, and perpetrated countless other deeds yet more monstrous. But these men  although in the midst of a barbarous and hostile land, having their occupation in a tyrant's house, deprived of all  that care of which I have been speaking, led away to execution, and subjected to burning, not only suffered no  harm there from small or great, but became the more illustrious. Knowing then these things, and collecting  instances of the like kind from the inspired divine Scriptures (for it is possible to find many such examples in the  case of various other persons) we deem that neither a difficulty arising from seasons or events, nor compulsion and  force, nor the arbitrary authority


of potentates furnish a sufficient excuse for us when we transgress. I will now conclude my discourse by repeating  what I said at the beginning, that if any one be harmed and injured he certainly suffers this at his own hands, not  at the hands of others even if there be countless multitudes injuring and insulting him: so that if he does not suffer  this at his own hands, not all the creatures who inhabit the whole earth and sea if they combined to attack him  would be able to hurt one who is vigilant and sober in the Lord. Let us then, I beseech you, be sober and vigilant at  all times, and let us endure all painful things bravely that we may obtain those everlasting and pure blessings in  Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power, now and ever throughout all ages. Amen.

                          LETTERS TO OLYMPIAS.

                               TO MY LADY,


    1. COME now let me relieve the wound of thy despondency, and disperse the thoughts which gather this cloud  of care around thee. For what is it which upsets thy mind, and why art thou sorrowful and dejected? Is it because of  the fierce black storm which has overtaken the Church, enveloping all things in darkness as of a night without a  moon, and is growing to a head every day, travailing to bring forth disastrous shipwrecks, and increasing the ruin  of the world? I know all this as well as you; none shall gainsay it, and if you like I will form an image of the things  now taking place so as to present the tragedy yet more distinctly to thee. We behold a sea upheaved from the very  lowest depths, some sailors floating dead upon the waves, others engulfed by them, the planks of the ships  breaking up, the sails torn to tatters, the masts sprung, the oars dashed out of the sailors' hands, the pilots seated  on the deck, clasping their knees with their hands instead of grasping the rudder, bewailing the hopelessness of  their situation with sharp cries and bitter lamentations, neither sky nor sea clearly visible, but all one deep and  impenetrable darkness, so that no one can see his neighbour, whilst mighty is the roaring of the billows, and  monsters of the sea attack the crews on every side.
    But how much further shall I pursue the unattainable? for whatever image of our present evils I may seek speech  shrinks baffled from the attempt. Nevertheless even when I look at these calamities I do not abandon the hope of  better things, considering as I do who the pilot is in all this--not one who gets the better of the storm by his art, but  calms the raging waters by his rod. But if He does not effect this at the outset and speedily, such is His custom--He  does not at the beginning put down these terrible evils, but when they have increased, and come to extremities,  and most persons are reduced to despair, then He works wondrously, and beyond all expectation, thus manifesting  his own power, and training the patience of those who undergo these calamities. Do not therefore be cast down.  For there is only one thing, Olympias, which is really terrible, only one real trial, and that is sin; and I have never  ceased continually harping upon this theme; but as for all other things, plots, enmities, frauds, calumnies, insults,  accusations, confiscation, exile, the keen sword of the enemy, the peril of the deep, warfare of the whole world, or  anything else you like to name, they are but idle tales. For whatever the nature of these things may be they are  transitory and perishable, and operate in a mortal body without doing any injury to the vigilant soul. Therefore the  blessed Paul, desiring to prove the insignificance both of the pleasures and sorrows relating to this life, declared the  whole truth in one sentence when he said--"For the things which are seen are temporal."(1) Why then dost thou  fear temporal things which pass away like the stream of a river. For such is the nature of present things whether  they be pleasant or painful. And another prophet compared all human prosperity not to grass, but to another  material even more flimsy, describing the whole of it "as the flower of grass." For he did not single out any one  part of it, as wealth alone, or luxury alone, or power, or honour; but having comprised all the things which are  esteemed splendid amongst men under the one designa-


tion of glory he said "all the glory of man is as the flower of grass."(1)
    2. Nevertheless, you will say, adversity is a terrible thing and grievous to be borne. Yet look at it again compared  with another image and then also learn to despise it. For the railings, and insults, and reproaches, and gibes  inflicted by enemies, and their plots are compared to a worn-out garment, and moth-eaten wool when God says  "Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings, for they shall wax old as doth a garment,  and like moth-eaten wool so shall they be consumed."(2) Therefore let none of these things which are happening  trouble thee, but ceasing to invoke the aid of this or that person, and to run after shadows (for such are human  alliances), do thou persistently call upon Jesus, whom thou servest, merely to bow his head; and in a moment of  time all these evils will be dissolved. But if thou hast already called upon Him, and yet they have not been  dissolved, such is the manner of God's dealing (for I will resume my former argument); He does not put down  evils at the outset, but when they have grown to a head, when scarcely any form of the enemy's malice remains  ungratified, then He suddenly converts all things to a state of tranquillity and conducts them to an unexpected  settlement. For He is not only able to turn as many things as we expect and hope, to good, but many more, yea  infinitely more. Wherefore also Paul saith "now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we  ask or think."(3) Could He not, for example, have prevented the three children at the outset from falling into trial?  But He did not choose to do this, thereby conferring great pain upon them. Therefore He suffered them to be  delivered into the hands of barbarians, and the furnace to be heated to an immeasurable height and the wrath of  the king to blaze even more fiercely than the furnace, and hands and feet to be bound with great severity and they  themselves to be cast into the fire; and then, when all they who beheld despaired of their rescue, suddenly, and  beyond all hope, the wonder-working power of God, the supreme artificer, was displayed, and shone forth with  exceeding splendour. For the fire was bound, and the bondmen were released; and the furnace became a temple of  prayer, a place of fountains and dew, of higher dignity than a royal court, and the very hairs of their head prevailed  over that all devouring element which gets the better even of iron and stone, and masters every kind of substance.  And a solemn song of universal praise was instituted there by these holy men inviting every kind of created thing  to join in the wondrous melody; and they uttered hymns of thanksgiving to God for that they had been bound, and  also burnt, as far at least as the malice of their enemies had power; that they had been exiles from their country,  captives deprived of their liberty, wandering outcasts from city and home, sojourners in a strange and barbarous  land; for all this was the outpouring of a grateful heart. And when the malicious devices of their enemies were  perfected (for what further could they attempt after their death?) and the labours of the heroes were completed,  and the garland of victory was woven, and their rewards were prepared and nothing more was wanting for their  renown; then at last their calamities were brought to an end, and he who caused the furnace to be kindled, and  delivered them over to that great punishment, became himself the panegyrist of those holy heroes, and the herald  of God's marvellous deed, and everywhere throughout the world issued letters full of reverent praise, recording  what had taken place, and becoming the faithful herald of the miracles wrought by the wonder-working God. For  inasmuch as he had been an enemy and adversary what he wrote was above suspicion even in the opinion of  enemies.
    3. Dost thou see the abundance of resource belonging to God? His wisdom, His extraordinary power, His  loving-kindness and care? Be not therefore dismayed or troubled but continue to give thanks to God for all things,  praising, and invoking Him; beseeching and supplicating; even if countless tumults and troubles come upon thee,  even if tempests are stirred up before thy eyes let none of these things disturb thee. For our Master is not baffled  by the difficulty, even if all things are reduced to the extremity of ruin. For it is possible for Him to raise those who  have fallen, to convert those who are in error, to set straight those who have been ensnared, to release those who  have been laden with countless sins, and make them righteous, to quicken those who are dead, to restore lustre to  decayed things,and freshness to those which have waxen old. For if He makes things which are not, come into  being, and bestows existence on things which are nowhere by any means manifest, how much more will He rectify  things which already exist. But you will say there are many who perish, many who are caught by snares. Many such  things have indeed often taken place, yet afterwards have all received their appropriate correction, save some few  who have remained in an incurable condition, even after the change in their circumstances. Why are you troubled  and distracted because such a person is cast out and


such another is put into his place? Christ was crucified and the release of Barabbas the robber was demanded, and  the depraved populace clamoured for the preservation of the murderer rather than of the Saviour and benefactor.  How many think you then stumbled at these things? how many were destroyed? But I must carry my argument yet  further back. Did not He who was crucified become immediately after his birth a wanderer and a fugitive? was He  not from the very cradle removed with the whole household into a strange land, taking that long journey into a  barbarous region? And this removal gave occasion to torrents of blood, and cruel murder and slaughter, and all the  children of tender age were cut to pieces just as if they had been soldiers arrayed in battle, and infants torn from  the breast were handed over to death, and even when the milk was in their throats, the sword was driven through  their necks. What could be more distressing than this tragedy? And these things were done by him who sought to  destroy Jesus, yet the long-suffering God endured this tragical cruelty, which caused so much bloodshed, and  forbore to prevent it although He had the power, displaying his long-suffering for some inscrutably wise purpose.  And when Jesus had returned from the foreign land and was grown up, war was rekindled against him on every  side. First of all the disciples of John were envious of Him and tried to slander Him, although John himself  behaved reverently to Him, and they said "He who was with thee beyond Jordan, behold the same baptizeth and all  men come to Him."(1) For these were the words of men who were already irritated, and agitated by ill-will, and  consumed by that passion. For the same reason also one of the disciples who said these things disputed with a  certain Jew and raised a contentious argument about purifying, comparing one kind of baptism with another, the  baptism of John with that of the disciples of Christ. "For there arose" it  is said, "a questioning on the part of  John's  disciples with a certain Jew about purifying."(2)   And when He began to work miracles how  many  calumniators He had! Some called Him a Samaritan and demoniac saying "Thou art a Samaritan and hast a  Devil"(3) others "a deceiver," saying "This man is not of God but deceiveth the multitude"(4) others "a sorcerer"  saying "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the prince of the Devils"(5) and they continually said these things  against Him and called Him an adversary of God, and a gluttonous, and greedy man, and a drunkard, and a friend  of the wicked and depraved. "For" He said, "the Son of man came eating and drinking and they say behold a  gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners."(6) And when he was conversing with the  harlot they called Him a false prophet; "For had He been a prophet," one said, "He would have known who this  woman is which speaketh unto Him;"(7) in fact every day they sharpened their teeth against Him. And not only  did the Jews  thus oppose Him, but even those who were reputed to be his brethren were not sincerely attached to  Him, but even out of his own family opposition was kindled against Him. See at least how they also themselves  were perverted, from the evangelist adding the remark "for neither did His brethren believe on Him."(8)
    4. But since you call to mind many who were offended and went astray, how many of the disciples do you  suppose were offended at the time of the crucifixion? One betrayed Him, the others took to flight, one denied  Him, and when all had abandoned Him He was led away bound without companions. How many then think you  who had lately seen Him working His miracles, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, casting out devils, multiplying  loaves, and doing all other kinds of wonderful deeds, were offended at that season, when they beheld  Him led  away and bound, surrounded by common soldiers, and followed by Jewish priests making a tumult and uproar;  alone in the midst hemmed in by all his enemies, and the traitor standing by and exulting in his deed? And what  was the effect think you when He was being scourged? and probably a vast multitude was present. For it was an  illustrious festival which brought all together, and this drama of iniquity was enacted in the capital city, and in the  very middle of the day. How many think you who were present then were offended when they saw Him bound,  scourged, streaming with blood, examined before the governor's tribunal, and not one of His disciples standing by?  What was the effect again when He was subjected to those manifold kinds of mockery, successively repeated, when  they crowned Him with thorns, then arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, then put a reed in His hand, then fell down  and worshipped Him, setting in motion every species of ribaldry and derision? How many think you were  offended, how many bewildered, how many perplexed when they smote Him on the cheek and said "prophesy  unto us thou Christ who is He that smote thee?"(9) and when they led


Him hither and thither, and spent the whole day in scoffs and abuse, and ribaldry and derision in the midst of the  Jewish assembly? and when the servant of the High-Priest dealt Him a blow; and when the soldiers parted His  garments amongst them and when He was led up to the cross, having the marks of the scourge upon His back, and  was fastened to the wood, how many think you were offended? For not even then were those savage beasts  softened, but became more furious than before, and the tragedy became more intense, and the ribaldry increased.  For some said "Ah! thou that destroyest the temple, and in three days buildest it up;"(1) and some, "He saved  others, Himself He cannot save."(2)
    And others said "If thou art the Son of God come down from the cross and we will believe thee."(3)
    Again when they insulted Him by offering Him gall and vinegar on the sponge how many think you were  offended? or when the robbers reviled Him? or when as I have already said, they made that dreadful and  monstrous assertion that the robber and housebreaker, the man laden with the crime of murder deserved to be  released rather than Jesus, and having received permission from the judge to make their choice preferred Barabbas,  desiring not only to crucify Christ, but also to involve Him in infamy? For they thought that by these means they  should be able to manufacture the belief that He was worse than the robber, and such a great transgressor that  neither on the plea of mercy, nor of the privilege of the Festival was it possible to save Him. For they did  everything with a view to slander His fame; which also was the reason why they crucified the two robbers with  Him. Nevertheless the truth was not obscured, but shone forth all the more clearly. And they accused Him of  usurping kingly power saying "Every one who maketh himself a king is not a friend of Caesar"(4) bringing this  charge of usurpation against one who had not where to lay his head. Moreover they brought a calumnious  accusation of blasphemy against Him. For the High Priest rent his clothes saying "He hath spoken blasphemy;  what further need have we of witnesses?"(5) And what was the nature of his death? was it not a violent one? was  it  not the death of capital offenders? of execrable criminals? was it not of the vilest kind? was it not the death of those  who have perpetrated the worst offences, and are not worthy to draw even their last breath upon the earth? And  then as to the manner of his burial, was it not accomplished as a matter of favour? For a certain one came and  begged for his body. Thus not even he who buried Him belonged to his own friends, to those whom He had  benefited, to his disciples, to those who had enjoyed such free and salutary intercourse with Him, for all had taken  to flight, all had hurried away from Him. And that base Suspicion which his enemies contrived in consequence of  the resurrection when they said "His disciples came and stole Him"(6) how many think you were offended, how  many for a time upset by that? For the story prevailed at that time, although it was a fabrication, and was bought  for money; nevertheless it held its ground amongst some people, after the seals (of the sepulchre were broken)(7)  after the manifest appearance of the truth. For the multitude did not know the prediction of the resurrection (and  no wonder), inasmuch as even his disciples did not understand it; for we read "they did not know that He must  rise again from the dead."(8) How many therefore think you were offended in those days? And yet the  long-suffering God patiently endured, ordering all things according to His own inscrutable wisdom.
    5. Then again after those days the disciples continued to live in hiding and secrecy, being fugitives full of fear  and trembling, continually shifting from place to place, and even when they began to appear after fifty days, and to  work miracles, they did not enjoy perfect security; but even after those events there were innumerable  stumbling-blocks to offend the weaker brethren, when they were scourged, when the Church was distressed, when  they themselves were driven away, and their enemies had the upper hand in many places, and raised tumults. For  when they had acquired much confidence by means of the miracles which they wrought, then the death of Stephen  again caused a severe persecution, and dispersed them all, and involved the Church in confusion; and the disciples  were again alarmed, fugitive, and distressed. And yet the Church continually grew, when it flourished by means of  the signs which were wrought and became illustrious from the manner of its introduction. One disciple for  example was let down through a window, and so escaped the hands of the ruler; others were brought out of prison  by an angel and so released from their fetters; others were received into the houses of common people and artisans  when they were driven out by those in authority; they were courteously treated in every way, by female sellers of  purple, by tentmakers, and


tanners dwelling in the outskirts of the cities, and by the sea shore. Frequently moreover they did not dare to  appear in the middle of the towns; and if they did venture there themselves their entertainers did not. And thus  amidst alternate trials, and respites from trial, the fabric of the Church was wrought, and they who once stumbled  were afterwards set upright, and they who wandered away were brought back, and the ruined places were built up  more firmly than before. For this cause when Paul prayed that the preaching of the word might proceed by a  smooth course only, God rich in wisdom and resource did not yield to His disciple; nay even when many times  invoked he would not consent but said "my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in  weakness."(1) If then even now you will  reckon up the good things with the painful, you will see that many events  have occurred  which if not positive signs and wonders do yet  resemble signs, and are unspeakable proofs of  the  great providence and succour of God. But  that you may not hear everything from me without any trouble, I leave  this as thy task, that you may reckon up everything accurately and compare them with the misfortunes, and by  occupying yourself with this good employment may divert your mind from despondency; for you will derive much  consolation from this work.
    Pray say many kind words from me to all your blessed household. May you continue in good health and good  spirits, most reverend and divinely favoured lady.
    If you wish me to write long letters inform   me of this, and pray do not deceive me by saying that you have  thrown off all despondency, and are enjoying a season of rest. For letters  are a remedy of the proper kind to  produce   great cheerfulness in thee, and you will continually see letters from me. And when you write  to me again  do not say "I have much comfort  from your letters, for this I know of myself, but tell me that you have as much as  I wish you to have, that you are not confounded with sorrow, that you do not pass your time in weeping, but in  serenity and cheerfulness.

                              TO OLYMPIAS.

    Do not be anxious on my behalf, nor rack yourself with solicitude, on account of the severity of the winter, and  the weakness of my  digestion, and the incursions of the Isaurians. For the winter is only what it is wont to be in  Armenia; nothing more need be said about it; and it does not very seriously injure me. For in anticipation of these  things I have devised many plans for averting the mischief which might arise from them; keeping up a constant  fire, setting screens about the chamber in which I live, using a large number of rugs, and staying always indoors.  This indeed is irksome to me, if it were not for the benefit to be derived; for as long as I remain indoors I am not  severely distressed by the cold; but if I am compelled to go out a little, and come in contact with the outer air, I  suffer no small damage. Wherefore I beseech thee dear lady, and entreat thee as a very great favour to pay great  attention to the restoration of thy bodily health. For dejection causes sickness; and when the body is exhausted and  enfeebled, and remains in a neglected condition, deprived of the assistance of physicians, and of a wholesome  climate, and an abundant supply of the necessaries of life, consider how great an aggravation of distress is  occasioned thereby. Wherefore I beseech you, dear lady, to employ various and skilled physicians, and to take  medicines which avail to correct these conditions. For a few days ago when I suffered from a tendency to vomiting,  owing to the state of the atmosphere, I had recourse amongst other remedies to the drug which was sent me by my  most discreet mistress Syncletion, and I found that no more than three days' application of it cured my infirmity. I  beseech you therefore to make use of this remedy also yourself and to arrange that some more of it may be sent to  me. For having again felt somewhat upset, I again had recourse to it, and completely cured my disorder; for it  allays the deep internal inflammation, draws out moisture on the skin, causes a moderate degree of warmth,  infuses no little vigor, and excites an appetite for food; and all these effects I experienced in the course of a few  days. Let then my most honoured lord the Count Theophilus be exhorted to take means to send some of this to  me again. And do not be distressed at my wintering here, for I am in a much more comfortable and sounder state  of health than I was last year; so that if you also would take the requisite care of yourself, you would be in a far  more satisfactory condition. Now if you say that your ailments have been produced by despondency how is it that  you again ask for letters from me, seeing that you have not derived any benefit from them in the direction of  cheerfulness, but have sunk so deeply under the tyranny of despondency as even to desire to depart out of this  world. Are you ignorant how great a reward even of sickness awaits one who has a thankful spirit? Have I not  often, both in person, and through letters, dis-


coursed to you concerning this theme? But since the pressure of business perhaps, or the peculiar nature of your  sickness, and the quick succession of changes in your condition do not permit you to retain what I have said  constantly and dearly in your mind, listen once more whilst I try to heal the wounds of thy despondency by  repeating the same incantations: "for to write the same things," it is said, "to me indeed is not grievous, and for  you it is safe."(1)
    2. What is it then which I say and write? Nothing, Olympias, redounds so much to the credit of any one as  patient endurance in suffering. For this is indeed the queen of virtues, and the perfection of crowns; and as it  excels all other forms of righteousness, so this particular species of it is more glorious than the rest. Perhaps what I  have said seems obscure; I will therefore try to make it clearer. What then is it that I affirm? Not the spoliation of  goods, even if one were to be stripped bare of all one's possessions, not the loss of honours, nor expulsion from  one's country, and transportation to a distant land, nor the strain of labour and toil, nor imprisonment, and  bondage, nor reproaches, and abuse, and scoffings (not indeed that you are to think the courageous endurance of  such things a slight kind of fortitude, as Jeremiah that great and eminent prophet proves who was not a little  distressed by this kind of trial);(2) yet not even this, nor the loss of children, even should they be torn from us in  one fell swoop, nor the perpetual assaults of enemies, nor anything else of that nature, no, nor even the head and  crown of things accounted painful, namely death, terrible and loathsome though it be, is so oppressive as infirmity  of body. And this is proved by the greatest hero of endurance,(3) who, when he was encompassed by bodily  sickness, thought death would be a release from the calamities which were depressing him; and when he underwent  all the other sufferings, was not sensible of them, although he received blow after blow, and at last a deadly one.  For it was no slight matter, but rather an evidence of the most malignant cruelty on the part of his enemy in  dealing with one who was no novice in suffering, nor entering the lists for the first time, but already exhausted  with the frequent repetition of assaults, to inflict upon him that deadly blow, the destruction of his children, so  cruelly inflicted moreover that all of either sex were destroyed at the same moment in early youth and by a violent  end, and so instantaneous was their death that it involved their burial also. For their father neither saw them laid  upon a  bed, nor kissed their hands, nor heard their last words, nor touched their hands and knees, nor did he shut  their mouths, or close their eyes when they were about to die, acts which tend not a little to console parents who  are being parted from their children; neither did he follow some of them to burial, and find others on his return  home to console him for those who had departed; but he heard that as they were reclining on their couches at a  banquet, a banquet full of love, not of excess, a table of brotherly kindness, they were all overwhelmed; and blood,  and wine, the cups and the ceiling, the table, and the dust, and the limbs of his children, were all mingled together.  Nevertheless when he heard these things, and others before these which were also distressing; for they too had  perished in a distressing way; flocks and whole herds had been destroyed, the latter having been consumed by fire  sent down from heaven, (so said the evil messenger of this tragedy,) and the former having been all seized together  by various enemies, and cut to pieces as well as the shepherds themselves; nevertheless I say when he saw this great  storm stirred up in a brief moment of time affecting his lands, his house, his cattle, and his children, when he saw  billow following billow, and long lines of rocks, and the darkness was profound, and the surging waves unbearable,  even then he was not tortured by despondency, and scarcely seemed to feel the things which had happened, save so  far as he was a man and a father. But when he was delivered over to sickness and sores, then did he also long for  death, then did he also bewail himself and lament, so that you may understand how this kind of suffering is more  severe than all others, and this form of patience the highest of all. Nor is the Devil himself unaware, of this fact; for  when after having set in motion all these trials he perceived that the hero remained untroubled and undismayed he  rushed to this as the greatest contest of all, saying that all the other calamities were bearable, as loss of child, or  property, or anything else (for this is what is meant by the expression "skin for skin"(4)) but the deadly blow was  when pain was inflicted on a man's body. And therefore when he had been worsted after this contest, he had no  longer a word to utter, although on former occasions he had made the most strenuous and shameless resistance. In  this instance however he found  that he could not invent any further shameless device, but hid his face and  retreated.
  3. Think not however that it is an excuse


to justify you in desiring death, that Job desired it, not being able to bear his sufferings. For consider the time  when he desired it, and the disposition of his circumstances--the law was not given, the prophets had not appeared,  grace had not been shed forth as it was afterwards, nor had he the advantage of any other kind of philosophy. For  as a proof that more is demanded from us than from those who lived then, and that harder tasks are assigned to  us, listen to Christ, when He says "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees  ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven."(1) Do not think therefore that to pray for death now is  exempt from blame, but hearken to the voice of St. Paul when he says "To depart and to be with Christ is far  better, but to abide in the flesh is more necessary for your sake."(2) For in proportion as the strain of the affliction  is increased are the garlands of victory multiplied; in proportion as the gold is heated does it become purified, the  longer the merchant makes his voyage on the sea, the larger is the freight which he collects. Do not then think that  the labour now allotted to you is a slight one, but rather that it is higher than all which you have undergone, I mean  that which consists in infirmity of body. For in the case of Lazarus(3) (and although I may have often said this to  you, it nowise hinders me from saying it now) this bodily infirmity availed for his salvation; and he departed to the  bosom of the man who possessed a dwelling which he shared with all who passed by,(4) and was continually  shifting his home on account of God's command, and  sacrificed his own son, his only begotten, who had been  given him in extreme old age; although Lazarus had done none of these things yet he obtained this blessing  inasmuch as he cheerfully endured poverty, and infirmity, and friendlessness. For this is so great a good to those  who bear anything bravely that it releases any one who may have committed the greatest sins from the heaviest  burden of them; or if any one is an upright and just man it becomes an additional ground of the greatest  confidence. For it is a bright wreath of victory for the just, shining far above the brightness of the sun, and it is the  greatest means of purification for those who have sinned. On this account Paul delivers the man who had made the  incestuous marriage to "destruction of the flesh," purifying him by this means. For as a proof that what was done  did purify even from so great a stain hear his words "that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."(5) And  when he was accusing others of another very awful sin, that of partaking unworthily of the holy table and those  secret mysteries, and had said that such a person will be "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,"(6) observe how  he says that they also are purified from that grievous stain--"therefore are many weak and sickly among you."(7)  And then by way of proving that they will not be confined to this condition of punishment, but that some profit  will be derived from it, namely release from the penalties to which the sin is liable, he added: "for if we would  judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But now when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we  should not be condemned with the world."(8) Moreover that they who have lived very righteously derive much  benefit from such chastisement is plain from the case of Job, who was more illustrious after it than before, and  from the case of Timothy, who although he was such a good man, and entrusted with such an important ministry,  and made the circuit of the world with Paul passed not two or three days, nor ten or twenty, or a hundred, but  many in succession in ill health, his body being very seriously enfeebled. Paul shows this where he said "Use a little  wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities."(9) And he who raised the dead did not cure this man's  infirmity, but left him in the furnace of his sickness so that he might therefrom contract a very great abundance of  confidence. For the lessons which Paul himself had enjoyed from his Master, and the training which he had  received from Him, he imparted to his disciple. For although he was not subjected to bodily infirmity, yet he was  buffeted by trials not less severe, which inflicted much physical pain. "For there was given unto me" he says "a  thorn in  the flesh a messenger of Satan to buffet me"(10) meaning by this the blows, the bonds, the chains, the  imprisonments, the being dragged about, and maltreated, and tortured by the scourges of public executioners.  Wherefore also being unable to bear the pain occasioned to the body by these things "for this I besought the Lord  thrice (thrice here meaning many times) that I might be delivered from this thorn." And then when he did not  obtain his petition, having learned the benefit of the trial, he held his peace, and rejoiced at the things which  happened unto him.
    Therefore even if you remain at home, and are set fast in bed, do not consider your life


an idle one; for you undergo more severe pains than those who are dragged, and maltreated, and tortured by  executioners, inasmuch as in this excessive infirmity of yours you have a perpetual executioner residing with you.
    4. Do not then now desire death, nor neglect the means of cure; for indeed this would not be safe. On this  account Paul also exhorts Timothy to take the greatest care of himself. As regards infirmity then enough has now  been said. But if it is separation from me which causes your despondency expect release from this. And I have not  said this now merely to encourage you, but I am sure that it really will be the case. For if it were not destined to  happen, I should long ago, so at least I think, have departed from this world, considering the trials which have been  inflicted on me. For to pass over all that occurred in Constantinople, after my departure thence, you may  understand what  sufferings I endured on that long and cruel journey, most of which were sufficient to produce  death; what I endured after my arrival here, after my removal from Cucusus, and after my sojourn in Arabissus.  Yet I have survived all these things, and now I am in sound health, and great security, so that all Armenians are  astonished that with such a feeble and flimsy frame as mine I can support such an intolerable amount of cold, or  that I can breathe at all, when those who are habituated to the winter are suffering from it in no common degree.  Nevertheless I have remained uninjured up to the present day, having escaped the hands of robbers who have  repeatedly attacked us, and yet in daily want of the necessaries of life, and deprived of the use of a bath; and  although since my sojourn here I have been constantly without this luxury I am now so established in the habit that  I do not even long for the comfort to be derived from it, but am in sounder health than before. And neither the  inclemency of the climate, nor the desolation of the region, nor the scarcity of provisions, nor the lack of  attendants, nor the unskillfulness of physicians, nor the deprivation of the bath, nor perpetual confinement in one  chamber as in a prison, and the impossibility of moving about which I always used continually to need, nor  perpetual contact with fire and smoke, nor fear of robbers, nor a constant state of siege, nor anything else of this  kind has got the better of me; on the contrary I am in a sounder condition of  health than I was elsewhere,  although I then  received great care and attention. Taking all these things then into consideration pray shake   off  the despondency which now oppresses you, and do not exact inordinate and cruel penances from yourself. I sent  you the treatise which I have lately written, that "no one can harm the man who does not injure himself,"(1) and  the letter which I now send your honour contends for the same position. I beg you therefore to go over it  constantly, and if your health permits you, recite it aloud. For if you will, it may prove an effectual remedy for you.  But if you are contentious with me, and do not try to cure yourself, and will not rouse yourself from these dismal  swamps of despondency in spite of the unlimited amount of advice and exhortation which you enjoy I shall not on  my part readily consent to send you frequent and long letters, if you are not to derive any benefit in the way of  cheerfulness from them. How then shall I know this? not by your merely saying so, but by a practical proof,  inasmuch as you lately affirmed that it was nothing but despondency which caused this sickness of yours. Since  then you have yourself made this confession I shall not believe that you have got rid of your despondency unless  you have got rid of your bodily infirmity. For if it is the former which causes your disorder, as you say in your  letter, it is obvious that when that has been dispersed the other will be removed at the same time, and when the  root has been plucked up, the branches perish with it;--and if the branches continue flowering and flourishing, and  producing an unnatural amount of fruit I cannot believe that you have been set free from the root of your distress.  Therefore do not show me words but facts, and, if you get well, you will see letters sent to you again exceeding the  limits of former communications. Deem it then no small consolation that I am alive, and in goo