Chrysostom 1 Tm 800
800 lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
801 “When thou prayest,” saith Christ, “thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Mt 6,5-6) What then says Paul? “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” This is not contrary to the other, God forbid, but quite in harmony with it. But how, and in what way? We must first consider what means, “enter into thy closet,” and why Christ commands this, if we are to pray in every place? or whether we may not pray in the church, nor in any other part of the house, but the closet? What then means that saying? Christ is recommending us to avoid ostentation, when He bids us offer our prayers not only privately, but secretly. For, when He says, “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Mt 6,3), it is not the hands that He. considers, but He is bidding them use the utmost caution against ostentation: and He is doing the like here; He did not limit prayer to one place, but required one thing alone, the absence of vainglory. The object of Paul is to distinguish the Christian from the Jewish prayers, therefore observe what he says: “In every place lifting up holy hands,” which was not permitted the Jews, for they were not allowed to approach God, to sacrifice and perform their services, elsewhere, but assembling from all parts of the world in one place, they were bound to perform all their worship in the temple. In opposition to this he introduces his precept, and freeing them from this necessity, he says in effect, Our ways are not like the Jewish; for as Christ commanded us to pray for all men because He died for all men, and I preach these things for all men, so it is good to “pray everywhere.” Henceforth the consideration is not of the place but of the manner of the prayer; “pray everywhere,” but “everywhere lift up holy hands.” That is the thing required. And what is “holy”? Pure. And what is pure? Not washed with water, but free from covetousness, murder, rapacity, violence, “without wrath and doubting.” What means this? Who is angry when he prays? It means, without bearing malice. Let the mind of him that prays be pure, freed from all passion. Let no one approach God in enmity, or in an unamiable temper, or with “doubting.” What is “without doubting”? Let us hear. It implies that we should have no misgiving but that we shall be heard. For it is said, “whatever ye ask believing ye shall receive.” (Mt 21,22) And again, “when ye stand praying forgive, if ye have aught against any one.” (Mc 11,25) This is to pray without wrath and doubting. But how can I believe that I shall obtain my request? By asking nothing opposed to that which He is ready to grant, nothing unworthyof the great King, nothing worldly, but all spiritual blessings; if you approach Him “without wrath,” having pure hands, “holy hands”: hands employed in almsgiving are holy. Approach Him thus, and you will certainly obtain your request. “For if ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Mt 7,11) By doubting he means misgiving. In like manner he says, I will that women approach God without wrath and doubting, lifting up holy hands: that they should not follow their own desires, nor be covetous or rapacious. For what if a woman does not rob or steal herself, but does it through means of her husband? Paul however requires something more of women, that they adorn themselves “in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair or gold or pearls or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” But what is this “modest apparel”? Such attire as covers them completely, and decently, not with superfluous ornaments, for the one is becoming, the other is not.
802 Moral. What? Dost thou approach God to pray, with broidered hair and ornaments of gold? Art thou come to a dance? to a marriage? to a gay procession? There such a broidery, such costly garments, had been seasonable, here not one of them is wanted. Thou art come to pray, to supplicate for pardon of thy sins, to plead for thine offenses, beseeching the Lord, and hoping to render Him propitious to thee. Why dost thou adorn thyself? This is not the dress of a suppliant. How canst thou groan? How canst thou weep? How pray with fervency, when thus attired? Shouldest thou weep, thy tears will be the ridicule of the beholders. She that weeps ought not to be wearing gold. It were but acting, and hypocrisy. For is it not acting to pour forth tears from a soul so overgrown with extravagance and ambition? Away with such hypocrisy! God is not mocked! This is the attire of actors and dancers, that live upon the stage. Nothing of this sort becomes a modest woman, who should be adorned “with shamefacedness and sobriety.”
Imitate not therefore the courtesans. For by such a dress they allure their many lovers; and hence many have incurred a disgraceful suspicion, and, instead of gaining any advantage from their ornaments, have injured many by bearing this character. For as the adulteress, though she may have a character for modesty, derives no benefit from that character, in the Day, when He who judges the secrets of men shall make all things manifest; so the modest woman, if she contrive by this dress to pass for an adulteress, will lose the advantage of her chastity. For many have suffered harm by this opinion. “What can I do,” thou sayest, “if another suspects me?” But thou givest the occasion by thy dress, thy looks, thy gestures. It is for this reason that Paul discourses much of dress and much of modesty. And if be would remove those things which are only the indications of wealth, as gold, and pearls, and costly array; how much more those things which imply studied ornament, as painting, coloring the eyes, a mincing gait, the affected voice, a languishing and wanton look; the exquisite care in putting on the cloak and bodice, the nicely wrought girdle, and the closely-fitted shoes? For he glances at all these things, in speaking of “modest apparel” and “shamefacedness.” For such things are shameless and indecent.
Bear with me, I beseech you, for it is not my aim by this plain reproof to wound or pain you, but to remove from my flock all that is unbecoming to them. But if these prohibitions are addressed to those who have husbands, who are rich, and live luxuriously; much more to those who have professed virginity. But what virgin, you say, wears gold, or broidered hair? Yet there may be such a studied nicety in a simple dress, as that these are nothing to it. You may study appearance in a common garment more than those who wear gold. For when a very dark colored robe is drawn closely round the breast with the girdle(as dancers on the stage are attired), with such nicety that it may neither spread into breadth nor shrink into scantiness, but be between both; and when the bosom is set off with many folds, is not this more alluring than any silken robes? and when the shoe, shining through its blackness, ends in a sharp point, and imitates the elegance of painting, so that even the breadth of the sole is scarce visible—or when, though you do not indeed paint the face, you spend much time and pains on washing it, and spread a veil across the forehead, whiter than the face itself—and above that put on a hood, of which the blackness may set off the white by contrast—is there not in all this the vanity of dress? What can one say to the perpetual rolling of the eyes? to the putting on of the stomacher; so artfully as sometimes to conceal, sometimes to disclose, the fastening? For this too they sometimes expose, so as to show the exquisiteness of the cincture, winding the hood entirely round the head. Then like the players, they wear gloves so closely fitted, that they seem to grow upon the hands: and we might speak of their walk, and other artifices more alluring than any ornament of gold. Let us fear, beloved, lest we also hear what the Prophet said to the Hebrew women who were so studious of outward ornament; “Instead of a girdle, thou shalt be girded with a halter, instead of well-set hair, baldness.” (Is 3,24), Sept) These things and many others, invented only to be seen and to attract beholders, are more alluring than golden ornaments. These are no trifling faults, but displeasing to God, and enough to mar all the self-denial of virginity.
803 Thou hast Christ for thy Bridegroom, O virgin, why dost thou seek to attract human lovers? He will judge thee as an adulteress. Why dost thou not wear the ornament that is pleasing to Him; modesty, chastity, orderliness, and sober apparel? This is meretricious, and disgraceful. We can no longer distinguish harlots and virgins, to such indecency have they advanced. A virgin’s dress should not be studied, but plain, and without labor; but now they have many artifices to make their dress conspicuous. O woman, cease from this folly. Transfer this care to thy soul, to the inward adorning. For the outward ornament that invests thee, suffers not that within to become beautiful. He that is concerned for that which is without, despises that which is within, even as he that is unconcerned about the exterior, bestows all his care upon the interior. Say not, “Alas! I wear a threadbare garment, mean shoes, a worthless veil; what is there of ornament in these?” Do not deceive thyself. It is impossible, as I said, to study appearance more by these than by costlier dresses; especially when they are close-fitted to the body, fashioned to an immodest show, and of shining neatness. Thou excusest thyself to me, but what canst thou say to God, who knows the heart and the spirit with which thou doest these things? “It is not done for fornication!” Perhaps not, but for admiration; and dost thou not blush for shame to be admired for such things? But thou sayest, “It is but chance I am so dressed, and for no motive of this kind.” God knoweth what thou sayest to me: is it to me thou must give account? Nay, it is to Him who is present at thy actions, and will one day require into them, to whom all things are naked and open. It is on this account that we now urge these things, that we may not let you be amenable to those severe judgments. Let us fear, therefore, lest He reprove you in the words of the Prophet to the Jewish women. “They come to be seen of me wantoning and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet.” (Is 3,16)
Ye have taken upon you a great contest, where wrestling, not ornament is required; where the battle awaits you, not sloth and ease. Observe the combatants and wrestlers in the games. Do they concern themselves about their walk or their dress? No, but scorning all these, and throwing about them a garment dripping with oil, they look only to one thing, to wound, and not be wounded. The devil stands grinding his teeth, watching to destroy thee every way, and thou remainest unconcerned, or concerned only about this satanic ornament. I say nothing about the voice, though much affectation is shown in this also, nor about perfumes, and other such luxuries. It is for these things we are ridiculed by the women of the world. The respect for virginity is lost. No one honors a virgin as she ought to be honored. They have given occasion to their own dishonor. Ought not they to be looked up to in the Church of God, as women coming from heaven? but now they are despised, and deservedly, though not those among them who are discreet. But when one who has a husband and children, and presides over a household, sees thee, who ought to be crucified to the world, more devoted to the world than herself, will she not ridicule and despise thee? See what care! what pains! In thy humble dress, thou exceedest her who wears the costliest ornament, and art more studious of appearance than she who is arrayed in gold. What is becoming to thee thou seekest not; that which misbecomes thee thou pursuest, when thou oughtest to be occupied in good works. On this account virgins are less honored than women of the world. For they do not perform works worthy of their virgin profession. This is not said to all; or rather it is said to all; to those who are in fault, that they may learn modesty; to those who are free from blame, that they may teach modesty to others. But beware lest this rebuke be verified in deed. For we have not said these things that we may grieve, but that we may correct you, that we may glory in you. And may we all do those things which are acceptable to God, and live to His glory, that we may obtain the blessings promised by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.
900 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in [through the] child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
901 Great modesty and great propriety does the blessed Paul require of women, and that not only with respect to their dress and appearance: he proceeds even to regulate their speech. And what says he? “Let the woman learn in silence”; that is, let her not speak at all in the church; which rule he has also given in his Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says, “It is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1Co 14,35); and the reason is, that the law has made them subject to men. And again elsewhere, “And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.” (Ibid) Then indeed the women, from such teaching, kept silence; but now there is apt to be great noise among them, much clamor and talking, and nowhere so much as in this place. They may all be seen here talking more than in the market, or at the bath. For, as if they came hither for recreation, they are all engaged in conversing upon unprofitable subjects. Thus all is confusion, and they seem not to understand, that unless they are quiet, they cannot learn anything that is useful. For when our discourse strains against the talking, and no one minds what is said, what good can it do to them? To such a degree should women be silent, that they are not allowed to speak not only about worldly matters, but not even about spiritual things, in the church. This is order, this is modesty, this will adorn her more than any garments. Thus clothed, she will be able to offer her prayers in the manner most becoming.
“But I suffer not a woman to teach.” “I do not suffer,” he says. What place has this command here? The fittest. He was speaking of quietness, of propriety, of modesty, so having said that he wished them not to speak in the church, to cut off all occasion of conversation, he says, let them not teach, but occupy the station of learners. For thus they will show submission by their silence. For the sex is naturally somewhat talkative: and for this reason he restrains them on all sides. “For Adam,” says he, “was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
If it be asked, what has this to do with women of the present day? it shows that the male sex enjoyed the higher honor. Man was first formed; and elsewhere he shows their superiority. “Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man.” (1Co 11,9) Why then does he say this? He wishes the man to have the preeminence in every way; both for the reason given above, he means, let him have precedence, and on account of what occurred afterwards. For the woman taught the man once, and made him guilty of disobedience, and wrought our ruin. Therefore because she made a bad use of her power over the man, or rather her equality with him, God made her subject to her husband. “Thy desire shall be to thy husband?” (Gn 3,16) This had not been said to her before.
But how was Adam not deceived? If he was not deceived, he did not then transgress? Attend carefully. The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me.” But the man did not say, The woman deceived me, but, “she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Now it is not the same thing to be deceived by a fellow-creature, one of the same kind, as by an inferior and subordinate animal. This is truly to be deceived. Compared therefore with the woman, he is spoken of as “not deceived.” For she was beguiled by an inferior and subject, he by an equal. Again, it is not said of the man, that he “saw the tree was good for food,” but of the woman, and that she “did eat, and gave it to her husband”: so that he transgressed, not captivated by appetite, but merely from the persuasion of his wife. The woman taught once, and ruined all. On this account therefore he saith, let her not teach. But what is it to other women, that she suffered this? It certainly concerns them; for the sex is weak and fickle, and he is speaking of the sex collectively. For he says not Eve, but “the woman,” which is the common name of the whole sex, not her proper name. Was then the whole sex included in the transgression for her fault? As he said of Adam, “After the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come” (Rm 5,14); so here the female sex transgressed, and not the male. Shall not womenthen be saved? Yes, by means of children. For it is not of Eve that he says, “If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” What faith? what charity? what holiness with sobriety? It is as if he had said, “Ye women, be not cast down, because your sex has incurred blame. God has granted you another opportunity of salvation, by the bringing up of children, so that you are saved, not only by yourselves, but by others.” See how many questions are involved in this matter. “The woman,” he says, “being deceived was in the transgression.” What woman? Eve. Shall she then be saved by child-bearing? He does not say that, but, the race of women shall be saved. Was not it then involved in transgression? Yes, it was, still Eve transgressed, but the whole sex shall be saved, notwithstanding, “by childbearing.” And why not by their own personal virtue? For has she excluded others from this salvation? And what will be the case with virgins, with the barren, with widows who have lost their husbands, before they had children? will they perish? is there no hope for them? yet virgins are held in the highest estimation. What then does he mean to say?
Some interpret his meaning thus. As what happened to the first woman occasioned the subjection of the whole sex, (for since Eve was formed second and made subject, he says, let the rest of the sex be in subjection,) so because she transgressed, the rest of the sex are also in transgression. But this is not fair reasoning; for at the creation all was the gift of God, but in this case, it is the consequence of the woman’s sin. But this is the amount of what he says. As all men died through one, because that one sinned, so the whole female race transgressed, because the woman was in the transgression. Let her not however grieve. God hath given her no small consolation, that of childbearing. And if it be said that this is of nature, so is that also of nature; for not only that which is of nature has been granted, but also the bringing up of children. “If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”; that is, if after childbearing, they keep them in charity and purity. By these means they will have no small reward on their account, because they have trained up wrestlers for the service of Christ. By holiness he means good life, modesty, and sobriety.
Chap. 3,ver. 1. “This is a faithful saying.”
902 This relates to the present subject, not to what follows, respecting the office of a Bishop. For as it was doubted, he affirms it to be a true saying, that fathers may be benefited by the virtue of their children, and mothers also, when they have brought them up well. But what if she be herself addicted to wickedness and vice? Will she then be benefited by the bringing up of children? Is it not probable that she will bring them up to be like herself? It is not therefore of any woman, but of the virtuous woman, that it is said she shall receive a great recompense for this also.
Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1Tm 5,10) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if theyneglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ep 6,4) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this manystruggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Si 23,17) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
Let us admonish them of these things. Let us employ sometimes advice, sometimes warnings, sometimes threatening. In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them, and do everything that the Evil One may not rob us of them. But now our practice is the very reverse of this. We take all care indeed to have our farm in good order, and to commit it to a faithful manager, we look out for it an ass-driver, and muleteer, and bailiff, and a clever accomptant. But we do not look out for what is much more important, for a person to whom we may commit our son as the guardian of his morals, though this is a possession much more valuable than all others. It is for him indeed that we take such care of our estate. We take care of our possessions for our children, but of the children themselves we take no care at all. What an absurdity is this! Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter. If that is not good, he will derive no advantage from his wealth, and if it is formed to goodness he will suffer no harm from poverty. Wouldest thou leave him rich? teach him to be good: for so he will be able to acquire wealth, or if not, he will not fare worse than they who possess it. But if he be wicked, though you leave him boundless wealth, you leave him no one to take care of it, and you render him worse than those who are reduced to extreme poverty. For poverty is better than riches for those children who are not well-disposed. For it retains them in some degree of virtue even against their will. Whereas money does not suffer those who would be sober to continue so, it leads them away, ruins them, and plunges them into infinite dangers.
Mothers, be specially careful to regulate your daughters well; for the management of them is easy. Be watchful over them, that they may be keepers at home. Above all, instruct them to be pious, modest, despisers of wealth, indifferent to ornament. In this way dispose of them in marriage. For if you form them in this way, you will save not only them, but the husbandwho is destined to marry them, and not the husband only, but the children, not the children only, but the grandchildren. For the root being made good, good branches will shoot forth, and still become better, and for all these you will receive a reward. Let us do all things therefore, as benefiting not only one soul, but many through that one. For they ought to go from their father’s house to marriage, as combatants from the school of exercise, furnished with all necessary knowledge, and to be as leaven able to transform the whole lump to its own virtue. And let your sons be so modest, as to be distinguished for their steadiness and sobriety, that they may receive great praise both from God and men. Let them learn to govern their appetites, to avoid extravagance, to be good economists, affectionate, and submissive to rule. For so they will be able to secure a good reward to their parents, so all things will be done to the glory of God, and to our salvation, through Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom, &c.
1000 A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.”
1001 As now proceeding to discourse of the Episcopal office, he sets out with showing what sort of a person a Bishop ought to be. And here he does not do it as in the course of his exhortation to Timothy, but addresses all, and instructs others through him. And what says he? “If a man desire the office of a Bishop,” I do not blame him, for it is a work of protection. If any one has this desire, so that he does not covet the dominion and authority, but wishes to protect the Church, I blame him not. “For he desireth a good work.” Even Moses desired the office, though not the power, and his desire exposed him to that taunt, “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” (Ac 7,27 Ex 2,14) If any one, then, desire it in this way, let him desire it. For the Episcopate is so called from having the oversight of all.
“A Bishop then,” he says, “must be blameless, the husband of one wife.” This he does not lay down as a rule, as if he must not be without one, but as prohibiting his having more than one. For even the Jews were allowed to contract second marriages, and even to have two wives at one time. For “marriage is honorable,” (He 13,4) Some however say, that this is said that he should be the husband of one wife. “Blameless.” Every virtue is implied in this word; so that if any one be conscious to himself of any sins, he doth not well to desire an office for which his own actions have disqualified him. For such an one ought to be ruled, and not to rule others. For he who bears rule should be brighter than any luminary; his life should be unspotted, so that all should look up to him, and make his life the model of their own. But in employing this exhortation, he had no common object in view. For he too was about to appoint Bishops, (which also he exhorts Titus to do in his Epistle to him,) and as it was probable that many would desire that office, therefore he urges these admonitions. “Vigilant,” he says, that is, circumspect, having a thousand eyes about him, quicksighted, not having the eyes of his mind dimmed. For many things occur which permit not a man to see clearly, to see things as they are. For care and troubles, and a load of business on all sides press upon him. He must therefore be vigilant, not only over his own concerns, but over those of others. He must be well awake, he must be fervent in spirit, and, as it were, breathe fire he must labor and attend upon his duty by day and by night, even more than a general upon his army; he must be careful and concerned for all. “Sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality.” Because these qualities are possessed by most of those who are under their rule, (for in these respects they ought to beequal to those who rule over them,) he, to showwhat is peculiar to the Bishops, adds, “apt toteach.” For this is not required of him that is ruled, but is most essential to him who has thisrule committed to him).
“Not given to wine”: here he does not so much mean intemperate, as insolent and impudent. “No striker”: this too does not mean a striker with the hands. What means then “no striker”? Because there are some who unseasonably smite the consciences of their brethren, it seems to be said with reference to them. “Not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient: not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” If then “he who is married cares for the things of the world” (1Co 7,33), and a Bishop ought not to care for the things of the world, why does he say the husband of one wife? Some indeed think that he says this with reference to one who remains free from a wife. But if otherwise, he that hath a wife may be as though he had none. (1Co 7,29) For that liberty was then properly granted, as suited to the nature of the circumstances then existing. And it is very possible, if a man will, so to regulate his conduct. For as riches make it difficult to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, yet rich men have often entered in, so it is with marriage. But why does he say, speaking of a Bishop, that he should be “not given to wine, hospitable,” when he should name greater things? Why said he not that he should be an Angel, not subject to human passions? Where are those great qualities of which Christ speaks, which even those under their rule ought to possess? To be crucified to the world, to be always ready to lay down their lives, as Christ said. “The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (Jn 10,11); and again, “He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10,38) But “not given to wine,” he says; a good prospect indeed, if such are the things of which a Bishop is to be admonished! Why has he not said that he ought to be already raised above the world? But dost thou demand less of the Bishop, than even of those in the world? For to these he saith, “Mortify your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3,5), and “He that is dead, is freed from sin.” (Rm 6,7) “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh”; and Christ again says, “Whosoever forsaketh not all that he hath, he is not worthy of Me.” (Lc 15,33) Why are not these things required by Paul? Plainly because few could be found of such a character, and there was need of many Bishops, that one might preside in every city.
1002 But because the Churches were to be exposed to attacks, he requires not that superior and highly exalted virtue, but a moderate degree of it; for to be sober, of good behavior, and temperate, were qualities common to many. “Having his children in subjection with all gravity.” This is necessary, that an example might be exhibited in his own house. For who would believe that he who had not his own son in subjection, would keep a stranger under command? “One that ruleth well his own house.” Even those who are without say this, that he who is a good manager of a house will be a good statesman. For the Church is, as it were, a small household, and as in a house there are children and wife and domestics, and the man has rule over them all; just so in the Church there are women, children, servants. And if he that presides in the Church has partners in his power, so hath the man a partner, that is, his wife. Ought the Church to provide for her widows and virgins? so there are in a family servants, and daughters, to be provided for. And, in fact, it is easier to rule the house; therefore he asks, “if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?”
1Tm 3,6. “Not a novice.” He does not say, not a young man, but not a new convert. For he had said, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (1Co 3,6) Wishing them to point out such an one, he used this word. For, otherwise, what hindered him from saying, “Not a young man”? For if youth only was an objection, why did he himself appoint Timothy, a young man? (and this he proves by saying to him, “Let no man despise thy youth.”) (1Tm 4,12) Because he was aware of his great virtue, and his great strictness of life. Knowing which he writes, “From a child thou hast learned the holy Scriptures.” (2Tm 3,15) And that he practiced intense fasting is proved by the words, “Use a little wine for thine often infirmities”; which he wrote to him amongst other things, as, if he had not known of such good works of his, he would not have written, nor given any such charge to his disciple. But as there were many then who came over from the Heathen, and were baptized, he says, “Do not immediately advance to a station of dignity a novice, that is, one of these new converts.” For, if before he had well been a disciple, he should at once be made a Teacher, he would be lifted up into insolence. If before he had learnt to be under rule, he should be appointed one of the rulers, he would be puffed up: therefore he adds, “Lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil,” that is, into the same condemnation which Satan incurred by his pride.
1Tm 3,7. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; test he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
This is rightly said, as he was certain to be reproached by them, and for the same reason perhaps he said, “the husband of one wife,” though elsewhere he says, “I would that all men were even as I myself!” (1Co 7,7), that is, practicing continency. That he may not therefore confine them within too narrow a limit, by requiring an over-strict conversation, he is satisfied to prescribe moderate virtue. For it was necessary to appoint one to preside in every city, as he writes to Titus, “That thou shouldest ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” (Tt 1,5) But what if he should have a good report, and fair reputation, and not be worthy of it? In the first place this would not easily happen. It is much for good men to obtain a good report among their enemies. But, in fact, he has not left this to stand by itself; a good report “also,” he says, that is, besides other qualities. What then, if they should speak evil of him without a cause from envy, especially as they were Heathens? This was not to be expected. For even they will reverence a man of blameless life. Why then does he say, speaking of himself, “Through evil: report and good report”? (2Co 6,6) Because it was not his life that they assailed, but his preaching. Therefore he says, “through evil report.” They were slandered as deceivers and impostors, on account of their preaching, and this because they could not attack their moral characters and lives. For why did no one say of the Apostles, that they were fornicators, unclean, or covetous persons, but that they were deceivers, which relates to their preaching only? Must it not be that their lives were irreproachable? It is manitest.
Therefore so let us too live, and no enemy, no unbeliever, will be able to speak evil of us. For he whose life is virtuous, is revered even by them. For truth stops the months even of enemies.
But how does he “fall into a snare”? By falling often into the same sins, as those who are without. For if he be such a character, the evil one soon lays another snare for him, and they soon effect his destruction. But if he should have a good report from his enemies, much more will he have it from his friends. For that it is not likely that he, whose life is blameless, should be ill-reported of, we may infer from the words of Christ; “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (Mt 5,16) But what if one be falsely accused, and from peculiar circumstances be slandered? Well this is a possible case; but even such an one ought not to be promoted. For the result is much to be feared. Therefore it is said he should have “a good report,” for your good works are to shine. As therefore no one will say that the sun is dark, not even the blind, (for he will be ashamed to oppose the opinion of all,) so him that is of remarkable goodness no one will blame. And though, on account of his doctrines, the Heathen will often slander him, yet they will not attack his virtuous life, but will join with others in admiring and revering it.
1003 Moral. Let us then so live, that the name of God be not blasphemed. Let us not, on the one hand, look to human reputation; nor on the other, subject ourselves to an evil report, but on both sides let us observe moderation; as he saith, “Among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Ph 2,15) For on this account He left us here, that we may be as luminaries. that we may be appointed Teachers of others, that we may be as leaven; that we may converse as angels among men, as men with children, as spiritual with natural men, that they may profit by us, that we may be as seed, and may bring forth much fruit. There were no need of words, if we so shone forth in our lives, there were no need of Teachers, did we but exhibit works. There would be no Heathen, if we were such Christians as we ought to be. If we kept the commandments of Christ, if we suffered injury, if we allowed advantage to be taken of us, if being reviled we blessed, if being ill-treated we did good (1Co 4,12); if this were the general practice among us, no one would be so brutal as not to become a convert to godliness. And to show this; Paul was but one man, yet how many did he draw after him? If we were all such as he, how many worlds might we not have drawn to us? Behold, Christians are more numerous than Heathens. And in other arts, one man can teach a hundred boys together; but here, where there are many more teachers, and many more than the learners, no one is brought over. For those who are taught, look to the virtue of their teachers: and when they see us manifesting the same desires, pursuing the same objects, power and honor, how can they admire Christianity? They see our lives open to reproach, our souls worldly. We admire wealth equally with them, and even more. We have the same horror of death, the same dread of poverty, the same impatience of disease, we are equally fond of glory and of rule. We harass ourselves to death from our love of money, and serve the time. How then can they believe? From miracles? But these are no longer wrought. From our conversation? It has become corrupt. From charity? Not a trace of it is anywhere to be seen. Therefore we shall have to give an account not only of our own sins, but of the injury done by them to others.
Let us then return to a sound mind; let us watch, and show forth a heavenly conversation upon earth. Let us say, “Our conversation is in heaven” (Ph 3,20), and let us upon earth maintain the contest. There have been great men, it may be said, amongst us, but “how,” says the Greek, “shall I believe it? for I do not see anything like it in your conduct. If this is to be said, we too have had our philosophers, men admirable for their lives.” “But show me another Paul, or a John: you cannot.” Would he not then laugh at us for reasoning in this manner? Would he not continue to sit still in ignorance, seeing that the wisdom we profess is in words, not in works? For now for a single halfpenny ye are ready to slay or be slain! For a handful of earth thou raisest lawsuit after lawsuit! For the death of a child thou turnest all upside down: I omit other things that might make us weep; your auguries, your omens, your superstitious observances, your casting of nativities, your signs, your amulets, your divinations, your incantations, your magic arts. These are crying sins, enough to provoke the anger of God; that after He has sent His own Son, you should venture on such things as these.
What then can we do but weep? For hardly is a small portion of the world in the way of salvation, and they who are perishing hear it, and rejoice that they are not destined to suffer alone, but in company with numbers. But what cause is this for joy? That very joy will subject them to punishment. For do not think that it is there as here, that to have companions in suffering affords consolation. And whence is this manifest? I will make it clear. Suppose that a man were commanded to be burnt, and that he saw his own son burning with him, and that the smell of his scorched flesh rose to his nostrils; would it not be of itself death to him? No doubt. And I will tell you how it is. If those who are not suffering, yet seeing those things are benumbed and faint with terror, much more will they be so affected, who are themselves sufferers. Wonder not at this. Hear a certain wise one saying, “Art thou become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?” (Is 14,10) For human nature is disposed to sympathy, and the affections of others move us to pity. Will then a father seeing His son in the same condemnation, or a husband his wife, or a man his fellow-man, receive consolation, and not rather an aggravation of his sufferings? Are not we in such case the more overcome? But there, you say, there are no such feelings. I know there are not; but there are others much more wretched. For there will be wailing inconsolable, all witnessing each other’s torments. Do they who are furnishing derive comfort in their distress from the participation of others? It is no consolation surely to see a son, a father, a wife, or grandchildren, suffering the same punishment. If one sees friends in such a case, is it any comfort? None! None! It rather adds to the intensity of our own sufferings! Besides, there are evils, which by reason of their severity cannot be mitigated by being common. If two men were together thrown into the fire, would they comfort one another? Tell me; if we have ever been attacked by a violent fever, have we not found that all consolation has failed us? for there are calamities, so overwhelming as to leave no room for comfort in the soul. When a wife has lost her husband, is it a lessening of her grief to number up the many who have suffered the like loss? Let us not therefore be supported by any such hope, rather let us find our sole consolation in repenting of our sins, in pursuing the good path that leads to Heaven, that we may obtain the kingdom of Heaven, by the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.
Chrysostom 1 Tm 800