Chrysostom 1 Tm
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THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D.,
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HOMILIES ON THE EPISTLES TO THE EPHESIANS, PHILIPPIANS, COLOSSIANS, THESSALONIANS, AND THE EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND PHILEMON
208 The remark of Photius, that St. Chrysostom’s more finished works were those which he composed at Antioch, does not seem to afford a sufficient criterion for assigning a date to each set of Homilies. Tillemont appears to have been misled by it in the instance of those on the Epistles to Timothy, which he has on such grounds supposed to have been delivered at Constantinople. Montfaucon, however, alleges two reasons for placing them at Antioch.
1. That he speaks much of the Monks, as he used to do there, owing to the neighborhood of a large number of them, who lived in strict discipline and exemplary devotion. 2. That in speaking of Timothy’s office as Bishop, he never says a word of being one himself. A third reason may be added, which is perhaps more conclusive than either of these. In Hom. 8,on 2Tm 3,he seems pretty evidently to allude to the burning of the Temple of Apollo at Daphne. One can hardly doubt the allusion, in reading the full account in the Homily on St. Babylas; nor can it well be supposed that he would thus refer to it as a thing well known at any other place than Antioch.
The Homilies on the Epistle to Titus are fixed at Antioch by the mention of Daphne and the cave of Matrona in Hom. 3,(2). A passage in Hom. i. (4) seems to place him in a paternal relation to the people, as the plural we is constantly used by him for the singular. But the whole context seems rather to allude to another as Bishop, and he must be understood to speak as one of a body of clergy, in which in fact he held the second place.
Those on the Epistle to Philemon cannot easily be assigned to any particular date. The promise he mentions in the last Homily does not seem to afford a clue to it, but may possibly do so. The composition of these Homilies has been remarked on as negligent by Hemsterhusius, so that he takes them to have been extemporaneous effusions taken down by others. There may be some ground for this in the style, and in the paraphrastic character of the various readings, but as a commentary they are unusually closed and exact, and point out much of what regards the persuasive character of the Epistle that is not generally noticed.
For the Translation and some illustrative notes, the Editors are indebted to the Ap (Jc Tweed, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The text of the New Paris edition has been chiefly used, as it is improved from the Benedictine. Savile’s has been compared with it in many parts, and in every difficulty, and where both failed, a better reading has been sometimes found in the ms. marked B, which is in the British Museum marked Burney 48. The differences are, however, slight, and affect the Greek more than the Translation. A venice ms. which usually agrees with this has been collated for the Homilies on the Epistle to Philemon. An old Latin version published at Basle has been noticed in some places, where its variations appear to be derived from Greek copies.Oxford, 1843.C). M[Arriot].
The Oxford Translation Edited, with Additional Notes, ByRev. Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D.
1). Timothy too1 was one of the disciples of the Apostle Paul. To the extraordinary qualities of this youth testimony is borne by Luke, who informs us, that he was “well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.” (Ac 16,2). He became at once a disciple and a teacher, and gave this singular instance of his prudence, that hearing Paul preach without insisting upon circumcision, and understanding that he had formerly withstood Peter upon that point, he chose not only not to preach against it, but to submit to that rite. For Paul, it is said, “took and circumcised him” (Ac 16,3)., though he was of adult age, and so trusted him with his whole economy.2
The affection of Paul for him is a sufficient evidence of his character. For he elsewhere says of him, “Ye know the proof of him, that as a son with a father, he hath served with me in the Gospel.” (Ph 2,22). And to the Corinthians again he writes: “I have sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord.” (1Co 4,17). And again: “Let no man despise him, for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.” (1Co 16,10-11). And to the Hebrews he writes, “Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty.” (He 13,23). Indeed his love for him is everywhere apparent, and the miracles3 that are now wrought still attest his claims.4
2. If it should be asked why he addresses Epistles to Titus and Timothy alone, though Silas was approved, as also was Luke, for he writes, “Only Lc is with me” (2Tm 4,11), and Clement was one of his associates, of whom he says, “with Clement and other my fellow-laborers” (Ph 4,3), for what reason then does he write only to Titus and Timothy? It is because he had already committed the care of churches to these, and certain marked5 places had been assigned to them, but the others were in attendance upon him. For so preëminent in virtue was Timothy, that his youth was no impediment to his promotion; therefore he writes, “Let no man despise thy youth” (1Tm 4,12 1Tm 5,2); and again, “The younger women as sisters.”6 For where there is virtue, all other things are superfluous, and there can be no impediment. Therefore when the Apostle discourses of Bishops, among the many things he requires of them, he makes no particular mention of age. And if he speaks of a Bishop “being the husband of one wife,” and “having his children in subjection” (1Tm 3,2 3,4), this is not said, as if it were necessary he should have a wife and children; but that if any should happen from a secular life to be advanced to that office, they might be such as knew how to preside over their household and children, and all others committed to them. For if a man were both secular and deficient in these points, how should he be7 intrusted with the care of the Church?
1 kaiv. The reference is not clear. It may possibly be to Titus, whom he presently names before Timothy; but the explanations that follow would be hardly needed in that case.
2 i.e. his plan of meeting Jewish prejudices.
3 Of miracles said to be wrought by the bones of Timothy, see Hom. on Stat. 1, § 2, Ben.
4 parrhsivan. His freedom of speech in the court of Heaven. See Hom. 1,on Stat. § 2, and note at the end of Hom. 6,on Stat. Hom. 1,on Stat. enlarges on the character of Timothy from 1Tm 5,23.
5 Or conspicuous faneroi`".
6 Some copies omit the latter quotation).
7 So. Sav Ben. have been.
3. But why, you will say, does he address an Epistle to a disciple already appointed to the office of a Teacher? Ought he not to have been made perfect for his office, before he was sent? Yes; but the instruction which he needed was not that which was suited to a disciple, but that which was proper for a Teacher. You will perceive him therefore through the whole Epistle adapting his instructions to a Teacher. Thus at the very beginning he does not say, “Do not attend to those who teach otherwise,” but, “Charge them that they teach no other doctrine.” (1Tm 1,3).
100 1Tm 1,1-4
and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” [The R. V. omits kurivou and translates: Christ Jesus our hope, th`" eJlpivdo" hJmw`n.]
101 I). Great and admirable is the dignity of an Apostle, and we find Paul constantly setting forth the causes of it, not as if he took the honor to himself, but as intrusted with it, and being under the necessity of so doing. For when he speaks of himself as “called,” and that “by the will of God,” and again elsewhere, “a necessity is laid upon me” (1Co 9,16)., and when he says, “for this I was separated,” by these expressions all idea of arrogance and ambition is removed. For as he deserves the severest blame, who intrudes into an office which is not given him of God, so he who refuses, and shrinks from it when offered to him, incurs blame of another kind, that of rebellion and disobedience. Therefore Paul, in the beginning of this Epistle, thus expresses himself, “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God.” He does not say here, “Paul called,” but “by commandment.” He begins in this manner, that Timothy may not feel any human infirmity from supposing that Paul addresses him on the same terms as his disciples. But where is this commandment given? We read in the Ac of the Apostles: “The Spirit said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas.” (Ac 13,2). And everywhere in his writings Paul adds the name of Apostle, to instruct his hearers not to consider the doctrines he delivered as proceeding from man. For an Apostle can say nothing of his own, and by calling himself an Apostle, he at once refers his hearers to Him that sent him. In all his Epistles therefore he begins by assuming this title, thus giving authority to his words, as here he says, “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Saviour.” Now it does not appear that the Father anywhere commanded him. It is everywhere Christ who addresses him. Thus, “He said unto me, Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Ac 22,21); and again, “Thou must be brought before Caesar.” (Ac 27,24). But whatever the Son commands, this he considers to be the commandment of the Father, as those of the Spirit are the commandments of the Son. For he was sent by the Spirit, he was separated by the Spirit, and this he says was the commandment of God. What then? does it derogate from the power of the Son, that His Apostle was sent forth by the commandment of the Father? By no means. For observe, how he represents the power as common to both. For having said, “according to the commandment of God our Saviour”; he adds, “and Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” And observe, with what propriety he applies the titles. And indeed, the Psalmist applies this to the Father, saying, “The hope of all the ends of the earth.” (Ps 64,5). And again, the blessed Paul in another place writes, “For therefore we both labor, and suffer reproach, because we have hope in the living God.” The teacher must suffer dangers even more than the disciple. "For I will smite the shepherd, (he says,) “and the sheep shall be scattered abroad.” (Za 13,7). Therefore the devil rages with greater violence against teachers, because by their destruction the flock also is scattered. For by slaying the sheep, he has lessened the flock, but when he has made away with the shepherd, he has ruined the whole flock, so that he the rather assaults him, as working greater mischief by a less effort; and in one soul effecting the ruin of all. For this reason Paul, at the beginning, elevates and encourages the soul of Timothy, by saying, We have God for our Saviour and Christ for our hope. We suffer much, but our hopes are great; we are exposed to snares and perils, but to save us we have not man but God. Our Saviour is not weak, for He is God, and whatever be our dangers they will not overcome us; nor is our hope made ashamed, for it is Christ. For in two ways we are enabled to bear up against dangers, when we are either speedily delivered from them, or supposed by good hopes under them.
But Paul never calls himself the Apostle of the Father, but always of Christ. Because he makes everything common to both. The Gospel itself he calls “the Gospel of God.” And ent are as nothing.
“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith.”
This too is encouraging. For if he evinced such faith as to be called peculiarly Paul’s “own” son, he might be confident also with respect to the future. For it is the part of faith not to be cast down or disturbed, though circumstances occur that seem contrary to the promises. But observe he says, “my son,” and even “mine own son,” and yet he is not of the same substance. But what? was he of irrational kind? “Well,” says one, “he was not of Paul, so this does not imply ’being of’ another.” What then? was he of another substance neither was it so, for after saying “mine own son,” he adds, “in the faith,” to show that he was really “his own son,” and truly from him. There was no difference. The likeness he bore to him was in respect to his faith, as in human births there is a likeness in respect of substance The son is like the father in human beings, but with respect to God the proximity is greater. For here a father and a son, though of the same substance, differ in many particulars, as in color, figure, understanding, age, bent of mind, endowments of soul and body, and in many other things they may be like or unlike, but there is no such dissimilarity in the divine Essence. “By commandment.” This is a stronger expression than “called”, as we learn from other passages. As he here calls Timothy “mine own son,” in like manner he says to the Corinthians, “in Christ Jesus I have begotten you,” i.e. in faith; but he adds the word “own,” to show his particular likeness to himself, as well as his own love and great affection for him. Notice again the “in” applied to the faith. “My own son,” he says, “in the faith.” See what an honorable distinction, in that he calls him not only his “son,” but his “own” son.
102 1Tm 1,2. “Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Why is mercy mentioned here, and not in the other Epistles? This is a further mark of his affection. Upon his son he invokes greater blessings, with the anxious apprehension of a parent. For such was his anxiety, that he gives directions to Timothy, which he has done in no other case, to attend to his bodily health; where he says, “Use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities” (1Tm 5,23). Teachers indeed stand more in need of mercy.
“From God our Father,” he says, “and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here too is consolation. For if God is our Father, He cares for us as sons, as Christ says, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” (Mt 7,9).
103 1Tm 1,3. “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia.”
Observe the gentleness of the expression, more like that of a servant than of a master. For he does not say “I commanded,” or “bade” or even “exhorted,” but “I besought thee.” But this tone is not for all: only meek and virtuous disciples are to be treated thus. The corrupt and insincere are to be dealt with in a different manner, as Paul himself elsewhere directs, “Rebuke them with all authority” (Tt 2,15); and here he says “charge,” not “beseech,” but “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” What means this? That Paul’s Epistle which he sent them was not sufficient? Nay, it was sufficient; but men are apt sometimes to slight Epistles, or perhaps this may have been before the Epistles were written. He had himself passed some time in that city. There was the temple of Diana, and there he had been exposed to those great sufferings. For after the assembly in the Theater had been dissolved, and he had called to him and exhorted the disciples, he found it necessary to sail away, though afterwards he returned to them. It were worth enquiry, whether he stationed Timothy there at that time. For he says, that “thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine”: he does not mention the persons by name, that he might not, by the openness of his rebuke, render them more shameless. There were in that city certain false Apostles of the Jews, who wished to oblige the faithful to observe the Jewish law, a fault he is everywhere position to him. This is meant by “teaching another doctrine.”
1Tm 1,4. “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies.”
By “fables” he does not mean the law; far from it; but inventions and forgeries and counterfeit doctrines. For, it seems, the Jews wasted their whole discourse on these unprofitable points. knowledge and research. “That thou mightest charge some,” he says, “that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies.” Why does he call them “endless”? It is because they had no end, or none of any use, or none easy for us to apprehend. Mc how he disapproves of questioning. For where faith exists, there is no need of question. Where there is no room for curiosity, questions are superfluous. Questioning is the subversion of faith. For he that seeks has not yet found. He who questions cannot believe. Therefore it is his advice that we should not be occupied with questions, since if we question, it is not faith; for faith sets reasoning at rest. But why then does Christ say, “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Mt 7,7); and, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life”? (Jn 5,39). The seeking there is meant of prayer and vehement desire, and He bids “search the Scriptures,” not to introduce the labors of questioning, but to end them, that we may ascertain and settle their true meaning, not that we may be ever questioning, but that we may have done with it. And he justly said, “Charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables, and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than the dispensation of God in faith.” Justly has he which is the best medicine of our souls. This questioning therefore is opposed to the dispensation of God. For what is dispensed by faith? To recede His mercies and become better men; to doubt and dispute of nothing; but to repose in confidence. For what “ministers questions” displaces faith and that which faith hath wrought and builded. Christ has said that we must be saved by faith; this these teachers questioned and even denied. For since the announcement was present, but the issue of it future, faith was required. But they bring preoccupied by legal observances threw impediments in the way of faith. He seems also here to glance at the Greeks, where he speaks of “fables and genealogies,” for they enumerated their Gods.
Moral. Let us not then give heed to questions. For we were called Faithful, that wemight unhesitatingly believe what is delivered to us, and entertain no doubt. For if the things asserted were human, we ought to examine them; but since they are of God, they are only to be revered and believed. If we believe not, how shall we be persuaded of the existence of a God? For how knowest thou that there is a God, when thou callest Him to account? The Him without proofs and demonstrations. Even the Greeks know this; for they believed their Gods telling them, saith one, even without proof; and what?—That they were the offspring of the Gods. But why do I speak of the Gods? In the case of the man, a deceiver and sorcerer, (I speak of Pythagoras,) they acted in like manner, for of him it was said, He said it. And over their temples was an image of Silence, and her finger on her mouth, compressing her lips, and significantly exhorting all that passed by to be silent. And were their doctrines so sacred, and are ours less so? and even to be ridiculed? What extreme madness is this! The tenets of the Greeks indeed are rightly questioned. For they were of that nature, being but disputes, conflicts of reasonings, and doubts, and conclusions. But ours are far from all these. For human wisdom invented theirs, but ours were taught by the grace of the Spirit. Their doctrines are madness and folly, ours are true wisdom. In their case there is neither teacher nor scholar; but all alike are disputants. Here whether teacher or scholar, each is to learn of him from whom he ought to learn, and not to doubt, but obey; not to dispute, but believe).
For all the ancients obtained a good report through faith, and without this everything is subverted. And why do I speak of it in heavenly things? We shall find upon examination that earthly things depend upon it no less. For without this there would be no trade nor contracts, nor anything of the sort. And if it be so necessary here in things that are false, how much more in those. doctrines, such, for instance, as relate to nativity and fate. If you believe that there is a resurrection and a judgment, you will be able to expel from your mind all those false opinions. Believe that there is a just God, and you will not believe that there can be an unjust nativity. Believe that there is a God, and a Providence, and you will not believe that there can be a nativity, that holds alI things together. Believe that there is a place of punishment, and a Kingdom, and you will not brave in a nativity that takes away our free agency, and subjects us to necessity and force. Neither sow, nor plant, nor according to the course of nativity! What need have we more of Prayer? And why should you deserve to be a Christian, if there be this nativity? for you will not then be responsible. And whence proceed the arts of life? are these too from nativity? Yes, you say, and it is fated to one to become wise with labor. But can you show me one who has learnt an art without labor? You cannot. It is not then from nativity but from labor that he derives his skill.
But why does a man who is corrupt and wicked become rich, without inheriting it from raise, always arguing upon wealth and poverty, and never taking the case of vice and virtue. Now in this question talk not of that, but show me a man who has become bad, whilst he was striving to be good; or one that, without striving, has become good. For if Fate has any power, its power should be shown in the most important things; in vice and virtue, not in poverty and riches. Again you ask, why is one man sickly and another healthy? why is one honored, another disgraced? Why does ever thing succeed well with this man, whilst another meets with nothing but failure and impediments? Lay aside the notion of nativity, and you will know. Believe firmly that there is a God and a Providence, and all these things will be cleared up. “But I cannot,” you say, “conceive that honest man, and not to the virtuous? How can I believe this? for there must be facts to ground belief.” Well then, do these cases proceed from a nativity that was just, or unjust? “Unjust,” you say. Who then made it? “Not God,” you say, “it was unbegotten.” But how can the unbegotten produce these things? for they are contradictions. “These things are not then in any wise the works of God.” Shall we then enquire who made the earth, the sea, the heavens, the seasons? “Nativity,” you answer. Didnativity then produce in things inanimate such order and harmony, but in us, for whom these things were made, so much disorder? As if one, in building a house, should be careful to make it magnificent, but bestow not a thought upon his household. But who preserves the succession of the seasons? Who established the regular laws of nature? Who appointed the courses of day and night? These things are superior to any such nativity. “But these,” you say, “came to be of themselves.” And yet how can such a well-ordered system spring up of itself?
“But whence” you say “come the rich, the healthy, the renowned, and how are some made rich by covetousness, some by inheritance, some by violence? and why does God suffer the wicked to be prosperous?” We answer, Because the retribution, according to the desert of each, does not take place here, but is reserved for hereafter. Show me any such thing taking place Then! “Well,” say you, “give me here, and I do not look for hereafter.” But it is because you seek here, that you receive not. For if when earthly enjoyment is not within your reach, you seek present things so eagerly as to prefer them to future, what would you do if you were in possession of unmixed pleasure? God therefore shows you that these things are nothing, and indifferent; for if they were not indifferent, He would not below them on such men. You will own that it is a matter of indifference whether one be tall or short, black or white; so is it whether one be rich or poor. For, tell me, are not things necessary bestowed on all equally, as the capacity for virtue, the distribution of spiritual gifts? If you understood aright the mercies of God, you would not complain of wanting worldly things, whilst you enjoyed these best gifts equally with others; and knowing that equal distribution you would not desire superiority in the rest. As if a servant enjoying from his master’s bounty food, clothing, and lodging, and all other necessaries equally with his fellow- this reason it is, that God withdraws those things fore us, to extinguish this madness, and transfer our affections from them to heaven. But nevertheless we do not learn wisdom. As if a child possessing a toy, should prefer it to things necessary, and his father, to lead him against his will to what was better for him, should deprive him of his toy; so God takes these things from us, that He may lead us to heaven. If you ask then why He permits the wicked to be rich, it is because they are not high in His esteem. And if the righteous too are rich, it is rather that He allows it to be, than that He makes them so. they might gain wealth, do not seek wealth; when they might enjoy health, mortify their bodies; when they might rise to glory, make it their aim to be despised. But there is no good man, who ever studied to be bad. Let us therefore desist from seeking things below, and let us seek heavenly things; for so we shall be able to attain them, and we shall enjoy eternal delights, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now, and ever, and world without end. Amen.
200 and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
201 Nothing is so injurious to mankind as to undervalue friendship ; and not to cultivate it with the greatest care; as nothing, on the other hand, is so beneficial, as to pursue it to the utmost of our power. This Christ has shown, where He says, “If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father” (Mt 18,19); and again, “Because iniquity shall abound, love shall wax cold.” (Mt 24,12). It is this that has been the occasion of all heresies. For men, because they loved not their brethren, have envied those who were in high repute, and from envying, they have become eager for power, and from a love of power have introduced heresies. On this account Paul having said, “that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,” now shows that the manner in which this may be effected is by charity. As therefore when he says, “Christ is the end of the Law” (Rm 10,4), that is, its fulfillment, and this is connected with the former, so this a commandmentimplied in love. The end of medicine is health, but where there is health, there is no need to make much ado; so where there is love, there is no need of much commanding. But what sort of love does he speak of? That which is sincere, which is not merely in words but which flows from the disposition, from sentiment, and sympathy. “From a pure heart,” he says, either with respect to a right conversation, or sincere affection. For an impure life too produces divisions. “For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light.” (Jn 3,20). There is indeed a friendship even among the wicked. Robbers and murderers may love one another, but this is not “from a good conscience,” not “from a pure” but from an impure “heart,” not from “faith unfeigned,” but from that which is false and hypocritical. For faith points out the truth, and a sincere faith produces love, which he who truly believes in God cannot endure to lay aside.
1Tm 1,6. “From which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling.”
(He has well said, “swerved,” for it requires skill, to shoot straight and not beside the mark, to have the direction of the Spirit. For there are many things to turn us aside from the right course, and we should look but to one object.
1Tm 1,7. “Desiring to be teachers of the law.”
Here we see another cause of evil, the love of power. Wherefore Christ said, “Be not ye called Rabbi” (Mt 23,8); and the Apostle again, “For neither do they keep the law, but that they may glory in your flesh.” (Ga 6,13). They desire preëminence, he means, and on that account disregard truth.
“Understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
Here he censures them, because they know not the end and aim of the Law, nor the period for which it was to have authority. But if it was from ignorance, why is it called a sin? Because it was incurred not only from their desiring to be teachers of the law, but from their not retaining love. Nay, and their very ignorance arose from these causes. For when the soul abandons itself to carnal things, the clearness of its vision is dimmed, and falling from love it drops into contentiousness, and the eye of the mind is blinded. For he that is possessed by any desire for these temporal things intoxicated, as he is, with passion, cannot be an impartial judge of truth. “Not knowing whereof they affirm.”
202 For it is probable that they spoke of the law, and enlarged on its purifications and other bodily rites. The Apostle then forbearing to censure these, as either nothing, or at best a shadow and figure of spiritual things, proceeds in a more engaging way to praise the law, calling the Decalogue here the law, and by means of it discarding the rest. For if even these precepts punish transgressors, and become useless to us, much more the others.
1Tm 1,8-9. “.But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man.”
The law, he seems to say, is good, and again, not good. What then? if one use it not lawfully, is it not good? Nay even so it is good. But what he means is this; if any one fulfills it in his actions; for that is to “use it lawfully” as here intended. But when they expound it in their words, and neglect it in their deeds, that is using it unlawfully. For such an one uses it, but not to his own profit. And another way may be named besides. What is it? that the law, if thou use it aright, sends thee to Christ. For since its aim is to justify man, and it fails to effect this, it remits us to Him who can do so. Another way again of using the law lawfully, is when we keep it, but as a thing superfluous. And how as a thing superfluous? As the bridle is properly used, not by the prancing horse that champs it, but by that which wears it only for the sake of appearance, so he uses the law lawfully, who governs himself, though not as constrained by the letter of it. He uses the law lawfully who is conscious that he does not need it, for he who is already so virtuous that he fulfills it not from fear of it, but from a principle of virtue, uses it lawfully and safely: that is, if one so use it, not as being in fear of it, but having before his eyes rather the condemnation of conscience than the punishment hereafter. Moreover he calls him a righteous man, who has attained unto virtue. He therefore uses the law lawfully, who does not require to be instructed by it. For as points in reading are set before children; but he who does what they direct, without their aid, from other knowledge, shows more skill, and is a better reader; so he who is above the law, is not under the schooling of the law. For he keeps it in a much higher degree, who fulfills it not from fear, but from a virtuous inclination; since he that fears punishment does not fulfill it in the same manner as he that aims at reward. He that is under the law doth it not as he that is above the law. For to live above the law is to use it lawfully. He uses it lawfully, and keeps it, who achieves things beyond the law, and who does not need its instructions. For the law, for the most part, is prohibition of evil; now this alone does not make a man righteous, but the performance of good actions besides. Hence those, who abstain from evil like slaves, do not come up to the mark of the law. For it was appointed for the punishment of transgression. Such men indeed use it, but it is to dread its punishment. It is said, “Wilt thou not be afraid of the power? do that which is good” (Rm 13,3): which implies, that the law threatens punishment only to the wicked. But of what use is the law to him whose actions deserve a crown? as the surgeon is of use only to him who hath some hurt, and not to the sound and healthy man. “But for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.” He calls the Jews “lawless and disobedient” too. “The law (he says) worketh wrath,” that is, to the evil doers. But what to him who is deserving of reward? “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rm 3,20). What then with respect to the righteous? “the law is not made,” he says, “for a righteous man.” Wherefore? Because he is exempted from its punishment, and he waits not to learn from it what is his duty, since he has the grace of the Spirit within to direct him. For the law was given that men might be chastened by fear of its threatenings. But the tractable horse needs not the curb, nor the man that can dispense with instruction the schoolmaster.
“But for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers.” Thus he does not stop at the mention of sins in general, nor of these only, but goes over the several kinds of sin, to shame men, as it were, of being under the direction of the law; and having thus particularized some, he adds a reference to those omitted, though what he had enumerated were sufficient to withdraw men. Of whom then does he say these things? Of the Jews, for they were “murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers”: they were “profane and unholy,” for these too he means when he says, “ungodly and sinners,” and being such, the law was necessarily given to them. For did they not repeatedly worship idols? did they not stone Moses? were not their hands imbrued in the blood of their kindred? Do not the prophets constantly accuse them of these things? But to those who are instructed by a heavenly philosophy, these commandments are superfluous. “For murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liers, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”; for all the things which he had mentioned were the passions of a corrupted soul, and contrary, therefore, to sound doctrine.
1Tm 1,11. “According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my true.”
Thus the Law is still necessary for the confirmation of the Gospel, yet to those who obey it is unnecessary. And he calls the Gospel “glorious.” There were some who were ashamed of its persecutions, and of the sufferings of Christ, and so for the sake of these, as well as for others, he has called it “the glorious Gospel,” thus showing that the sufferings of Christ are our glory. And perhaps he glances too at the future. For if our present state is exposed to shame and reproach, it will not be so hereafter; and it is to things future, and not to things present, that the Gospel belongs. Why then did the Angel say, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born a Saviour”? (Lc 2,10). Because He was born to be their Saviour, though His miracles did not commence from His birth. “According to the Gospel,” he saith, “of the blessed God.” The glory he means is either that of the service of God, or, in that if present things are filled with its glory, yet much more will things future be so; when “His enemies shall be put under His feet” (1Co 15,25), when there shall be nothing opposed, when the just shall behold all those blessed things, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which hath not entered into the heart of man.” (1Co 2,9). “For I will” says our Saviour, “that they also may be with Me, where I am, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me.” (Jn 17,24).
203 Moral. Let us then learn who these are, and let us esteem them blessed, considering what felicities they will then enjoy, of what light and glory they will then participate. The glory of this world is worthless and not enduring, or if it abides, it abides but till death, and after that is wholly extinguished. For “his glory,” it says, “shall not descend after him.” (Ps 49,17). And with many it lasts not even to the end of life. But no such thing is to be thought of in that glory; it abides, and will have no end. For such are the things of God, enduring, and above all change or end. For the glory of that state is not from without, but from within. I mean, it consists not in a multitude of servant, or of chariot, nor in costly garments. Independently of these things, the man himself is clothed with glory. Here, without these things, the man appears naked. In the baths, we see the illustrious the undistinguished, and the base, alike bare. Often have the great been exposed to danger in public, being left on some occasion by their servants. But in that world men carry their glory about with them, and the Saints, like the Angels, wherever they appear, have their glory in themselves. Yea rather as the sun needs no vestures, and requires no foreign aid, but wherever he appears, his glory at once shines forth; so shall it then be.
Let us then pursue that glory, than which nothing is more venerable; and leave the glory of the world, as beyond anything worthless. “Boast not of thy clothing and raiment.” (Si 11,4). This was the advice given of old to the simple. Indeed the dancer, the harlot, the player, are arrayed in a gayer and more costly robe than thou. And besides, this boasting were of that, which if but moths attack, they can rob thee of its enjoyment. Dost thou see what an unstable thing it is, this glory of the present life? Thou pridest thyself upon that which insects make and destroy. For Indian insects, it is said, spin those fine threads of which your robes are made. But rather seek a clothing woven from things above, an admirable and radiant vesture, raiment of real gold; of gold not dug by malefactors’ hands out of the mine, but the produce of virtue. Let us clothe ourselves with a robe not the manufacture of poor men or slaves, but wrought by our Lord Himself. But your garments, you say, are in-wrought with gold! And what is that to thee? He that wrought it, not he that wears it, is the object of admiration, for there it is really due. It is not the frame on which the garment is stretched at the fuller’s, but the maker of it, that is admired. Yet the block wears it, and has it bound on itself. And as that wears it, but not for use, even so do some of these women, for the benefit of the garment, to air it, they say, that it may not be moth-eaten! Is it not then the extreme of folly to be solicitous about a thing so worthless, to do anything whatever, to risk your salvation for it, to make a mock at Hell, to set God at defiance, to overlook Christ hungering? Talk not of the precious spices of India, Arabia, and Persia, the moist and the dry, the perfumes and unguents, so costly and so useless. Why, O woman, dost thou lavish perfumes upon a body full of impurity within? why spend on what is offensive, as if one should waste perfumes upon dirt, or distill balms upon a brick. There is, if you desire it, a precious ointment and a fragrance, with which you might anoint your soul; not brought from Arabia, or Ethiopia, nor from Persia, but from heaven itself; purchased not by gold, but by a virtuous will, and by faith unfeigned. Buy this perfume, the odor of which is able to fill the world. It was of this the Apostles savored. “For we are (he says) a sweet savor, to some of death, to others of life.” (2Co 2,15-16). And what means this? That it is as they say, that the swine is suffocated by perfumes! But this spiritual fragrance scented not only the bodies but the garments of the Apostles; and Paul’s garments were so impregnated with it, that they cast out devils. What balmy leaf, what cassia, what myrrh so sweet or so efficacious as this perfume? For if it put devils to flight, what could it not effect? With this ointment let us furnish ourselves. And the grace of the Spirit will provide it through almsgiving. Of these we shall savor, when we go into the other world. And as here, he that is perfumed with sweet odors draws upon himself, the notice of all, and whether at the bath, or the assembly, or any other concourse of men, all follow him, and observe him; so, in that world, when souls come in that are fragrant with this spiritual savor, all arise and make room. And even here devils and all vices are afraid to approach it, and cannot endure it, for it chokes them. Let us then not bear about us that perfume which is a mark of effeminacy, but this, which is a mark of manhood, which is truly admirable, which fills us with a holy confidence. This is a spice which is not the produce of the earth, but springs from virtue, which withers not, but blooms for ever. This is it that renders those who possess it honorable. With this we are anointed at our Baptism, then we savor sweetly of it; but it must be by our care afterwards that we retain the savor. Of old the Priests were anointed with ointment, as an emblem of the virtue, the fragrance of which a Priest should diffuse around him.
But nothing is more offensive than the savor of sin, which made the Psalmist say, “My wounds stink and are corrupt.” (Ps 38,5). For sin is more foul than putrefaction itself. What, for instance, is more offensive than fornication? And if this is not perceived at the time of its commission, yet, after it is committed, its offensive nature, the impurity contracted in it, and the curse, and the abomination of it is perceived. So it is with all sin. Before it is committed it has something of pleasure, but after its commission, the pleasure ceases and fades away, and pain and shame succeed. But with righteousness it is the reverse. At the beginning it is attended with toil, but in the end with pleasure and repose. But even here, as in the one case the pleasure of sin is no pleasure, because of the expectation of disgrace and punishment, so in the other the toil is not felt as toil, by reason of the hope of reward. And what is the pleasure of drunkenness? The poor gratification of drinking, and hardly that. For when insensibility follows, and the man sees nothing that is before him, and is in a worse state than a madman, what enjoyment remains? Nay, one might well say there is no pleasure in fornication itself. For when passion has deprived the soul of its judgment, can there be any real delights? As well might we say that the itch is a pleasure! I should call that true pleasure, when the soul is not affected by passion, not agitated nor overpowered by the body. For what pleasure can it be to grind the teeth, to distort the eyes, to be irritated and inflamed beyond decency? But so far is it from being pleasant, that men hasten to escape from it, and when it is over are in pain. But if it were pleasure, they would wish not to escape from it, but to continue it. It has therefore only the name of pleasure.
But not such are the pleasures enjoyed by us; they are truly delightful, they do not agitate nor inflame. They leave the soul free, and cheer and expand it. Such was the pleasure of Paul when he said, “In this I rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice”; and again, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Ph 1,18 Ph 4,4). For sinful pleasure is attended with shame and condemnation; it is indulged in secret, and is attended with infinite uneasiness. But from all these the true pleasure is exempt. This then let us pursue, that we may attain those good things to come, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom, &c.
Chrysostom 1 Tm