Chrysostom on Acts 800
ACTS III. 1.—“Now Peter and Jn went up together into the temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”
Everywhere we find these two Apostles in great harmony together. “To him Simon Peter beckoned.” (Jn 13,24). These two also “came together to the sepulchre. (Jn 20,3 et seq.) And concerning John, Peter said unto Christ, “And what shall this man do?” (Jn 21,21). Now as for the other miracles, the writer of this book omits them; but he mentions the miracle by which they were all1 put in commotion. Observe again that they do not come to them purposely; so clear were they of ambition, so closely did they imitate their Master. Why now did they go up to the temple? Did they still live as Jews? No, but for expediency (crhsimw").2 A miraculous sign again takes place, which both confirms the converts, and draws over the rest; and such, as they were a sign for having wrought.3 The disease was in the nature of the man, and baffled the art of medicine. He had been forty years lame (ch. 4,20), as the writer says afterwards, and no one during all that time had cured him. And the most obstinate diseases are those which are born with men. It was a great calamity, insomuch that even to provide for himself his necessary sustenance was impossible for him. The man was conspicuous both from the place, and from his malady. Hear how the matter is related. “And a certain man, lame from his mother’s womb, was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple.” (v. 2). He sought to receive alms, and he did not know who the men were. “Who seeing Peter and Jn about to go into the temple, asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said, Look on us.” (v. 3, 4). Yet, not even so were the man’s thoughts elevated, but he persisted in his importunity. For such is poverty; upon a refusal, it compels people still to persist. Let this put us to shame who fall back in our prayers. But observe, I pray you, Peter’s gentleness: for he said, “Look on us.” So truly did their very bearing, of itself, betoken their character. “And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give thee.” (v. 5, 6). He did not say, I give thee something much better than silver or gold: but what? “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up.” (v. 7). Such was also the way of Christ. Often He healed by word, often by an act, often also He stretched forth the hand, where men were somewhat weak in faith, that the cure might not appear to be spontaneous. “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up.” This act made manifest the Resurrection, for it was an image of the Resurrection. “And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked.” (v. 8). Perhaps it was by way of trying himself that he put it thus to further proof, whether perchance the thing done might not be to no purpose. His feet were weak; it was not that he had lost them. Some say that he did not even know how to walk.4 “And entered with them into the temple.” Of a truth it was marvellous. The Apostles do not urge him; but of his own accord he follows, by the act of following pointing out his benefactors. “And leaping and praising God;” not admiring them, but God that wrought by them. The man was grateful.
[“Now5 Peter and Jn went up together into the temple,” etc.] You observe how they continued in prayer. “The ninth hour:” there they prayed together). [“And a certain man,” etc.] The man was in the act of being carried at that instant. [“Whom they laid daily:”] (his bearers carried him away:) [“at the gate,” etc.] just when people went into the temple. And that you may not suppose that they carried him for some other purpose, but that it was in order that he might receive alms, hear what the writer says: “so that he might receive alms of those entering into the temple.” (Recapitulation of vv. 1–8). And this is the reason why he also makes mention of the places, to give evidence of what he relates. “And how was it,” you may ask, “that they did not present him to Christ?” Perhaps they were certain unbelieving men, that haunted the temple, as in fact neither did they present him to the Apostles, when they saw them entering, after having done such great miracles. “He asked,” it is written, “to receive an alms.” (v. 3). Their bearing marked them as certain devout and righteous men). [“And Peter fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said,” etc.] (v. 4, 5). And observe how Jn is everywhere silent, while Peter makes excuse for him also; “Silver and gold,” he says, “have I none.” (v. 6). He does not say, I have none here, as we are wont to speak, but absolutely, I have none. “What then?” he might say, “do you take no notice of me, your suppliant?” Not so, but of what I have, receive thou. Do you remark how unassuming Peter is, how he makes no display even to the object of his beneficence? [“In the name,” etc. “And he took him by the hand,” etc.] (v. 7). And the mouth and the hand did all. Such6 sort of persons were the Jews; lame, and the right thing being to ask for health, these same ask for money, grovelling on the ground: for this it was that they beset the temple—to get money. What then does Peter? He did not despise him; he did not look about for some rich subject; he did not say, If the miracle is not done to some great one (ei" ekeinon), nothing great is done: he did not look for some honor from him, no, nor heal him in the presence of people; for the man was at the entrance, not where the multitude were, that is, within. But Peter sought no such object; nor upon entering did he proclaim the matter: no, it was by his bearing that he attracted the lame man to ask. And the wonder is, that he believed so readily. For those who are set free from diseases of long standing, hardly believe their very eyesight. Once healed, he remains with the Apostles, giving thanks to God. “And he entered,” it is said, “with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (v. 8). Observe how restless he is, in the eagerness of his delight, at the same time shutting the mouths of the Jews. Also, that he leaped, was to prevent the suspicion of hypocrisy; for after all, this was beyond the possibility of deception. For if previously he was totally unable to walk, even when hunger pressed hard (and indeed he would not have chosen to share with his bearers the proceeds of his begging, if he had been able to manage for himself), this holds still more in the present ease. And how should he have feigned in behalf of those who had given him no alms? But the man was grateful, even after his recovery. And thus on either side his faith is shown, both by his thankfulness, and by the recent event.
(He was so7 well known to all, that “they recognized him. And all the people,” it says, “saw him walking and praising God; and they recognized (epeginwskon) that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple.” (v. 9). It is well said, “they recognized,” inasmuch as he was one unknown now by reason of what had happened: for we use this term with regard to objects, which we find a difficulty in recognizing). [“And they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”] Needs must it be believed that8 the name of Christ remits sins, seeing it produces even such effects as this. (“And as he held Peter and John, all the people came together at the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.” (v. 11). From his good feelings and love towards the Apostles, the lame man would not leave them; perhaps he was thanking them openly, and praising them. “And all the people,” it is said, “ran together unto them. And when Peter saw them, he answered.” (v. 12). Again it is he who acts, and addresses the people.
And in the former instance, it was the circumstance of the tongues that aroused them to hearing, now it was this miracle; then, he took occasion to speak from their accusations now, from their supposition. Let us then consider, in what this address differs from the former, and in what it agrees with that. The former was held in a house, before any one has come over, and before they themselves have wrought anything; this, when all are wondering, and the healed man is standing by; when none doubt, as in the other case where some said “These men are full of new wine.” (Ac 12,13). At the one, he was surrounded by all the Apostles as he spoke; but at this, he has Jn alone; for by this time he is bold, and become more energetic. Such is the nature of virtue; once started, it advances, and never stops. Observe also how it was divinely ordered, that the miracle should take place in the temple, that others also might wax bold, while the Apostles work not in holes (ei" katadusei") and corners, and in secret: though not in the interior of the temple either, where the greater number were. How then, I pray you, was it believed? The man himself who was healed proclaimed the benefit. For there was no reason why he should lie, nor why he should have joined a different set of people.9 Either then it was because of the spaciousness of the place, that he there wrought the miracle, or because the spot was retired. And observe the event. They went up for one object, and they accomplished another. Thus also did Cornelius: he prayed and fasted10 * * *. But hitherto they always call Him, “of Nazareth.” “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” said Peter, walk. For in the first instance, the thing required was, that He should be believed in.
Let us not, I pray you, give over at the beginning of the story:11 and if one has named some particular achievement of virtue, and then has dropped it for awhile, let us begin over again. If we get into the right mood (en exei), we shall soon arrive at the end, soon reach the summit. For earnestness, it is said, begets earnestness, and dulness begets dulness. He who has effected some little reformation, thereby receives encouragement to approach greater things, and thence again to go on something more than that; and just as it is with fire, the more wood it lays hold on, the more vehement it becomes, so likewise zeal, the more pious reflections it kindles, the more effectually is it armed against their opposites. As, for example: There are set in us, like so many thorns, perjury, falsehood hypocrisy, deceit, dishonesty, abusiveness, scoffing, buffoonery, indecency, scurrility; again under another head, covetousness, rapacity, injustice, calumny, insidiousness; again, wicked lust, uncleanness, lewdness, fornication, adultery; again, envy, emulation, anger, wrath, rancor, revenge, blasphemy, and numberless others. If we effect a reformation in the first instances, not only in them will the success have been achieved, but through them in the following cases also. For reason has then gained more strength to overthrow those other vices. For instance, if he, who has frequently sworn, once extirpates that satanic habit, he has not only gained this point, but a habit of piety in other respects will have been brought in. For no one, I suppose, averse to swearing would easily consent to do any other wicked act; he will feel a reverence for the virtue already acquired. Just as the man who wears a beautiful robe, will blush to roll himself in the mire; so is it also here. From this beginning he will come to learn not to be angry, not to strike, not to insult. For if once he has come right in little matters, the whole affair is done. Often, however, something of this sort takes place, that a person has once reformed, and then again through carelessness falls back into the old sins but too readily, so that the case becomes irremediable. For instance, we have made it a law to ourselves not to swear; we have got on well, for some three, or even four days; after that being hard put to it, we scattered away the whole of our collected gain; we then fall into indolence and recklessness. Still it is not right to give over; one must set to work zealously again. For it is said, he that has built up a house, and then sees his building pulled down, will have less spirit for building again. Yes, but for all this, one must not be dispirited, but must once more set to work zealously.
Let us then lay down daily laws for ourselves. For a time let us begin with the easier. Let us retrench all that superfluity of paths, and put a bridle on our tongues; let no one swear by God. Here is no outlay, here is no fatigue, here is no cost of time. It is sufficient to will, and all is done. It is a matter of habit. I beseech and entreat you, let us contribute thus much of zeal. Tell me, if I had bid you contribute your money, would not each one of you readily cast in according to his ability? If you saw me in extreme danger, would you not, if it had been possible, have cut off your own flesh to give me? Well, I am in danger now, and in great danger, such indeed that, were I withal confined to a dungeon, or had I received ten thousand stripes, or were a convict in the mines, I could not suffer more. Reach me then the hand. Consider how great is the danger, that I should not have been able to reform this which is least: I say “least” in regard to the labor required. What shall I have to say hereafter, when thus called to account? “Why did you not remonstrate? why did you not enjoin? why did you not lay the law before them? why did you not cheek the disobedient?” It will not be enough for me to say, that I did admonish. It will be answered, “You ought to have used more vehement rebuke; since Eli also admonished.” (1S 2,24). But God forbid I should compare you with Eli’s sons. Indeed, he did admonish them and say, “Nay, my sons, do not so; evil is the report that I hear of you.” (1S 3,13). But subsequently the Scripture saith, that he did not admonish his sons: since he did not admonish them severely, or with threats. For is it not strange indeed, that in the synagogues of the Jews the laws are in such force, and whatever the teacher enjoins is performed; while here we are thus despised and rejected? It is not my own glory that I care for (my glory is your good report), but it is for your salvation. Every day we lift up our voice, and shout in your ears. But there is none to hear. Still we take no strong measures. I fear we shall have to give an account at the coming Day of this excessive and unseasonable leniency.
Wherefore, with a loud and clear voice, I proclaim to all and testify, that those who are notorious for this transgression, who utter words which come “of the evil one,” (Mt 5,37). (for such is swearing,) shall not step over the threshold of the Church. Let this present month be the time allowed you for reforming in this matter. Talk not to me, “Necessity of business compels me to use oaths, else people do not believe me.” To begin with this, retrench those oaths which come merely of habit. I know many will laugh, but it is better to be laughed at now, than wept for hereafter. They will laugh, who are mad. For who, I ask, in his right mind would laugh at the keeping of the commandment? But suppose they do; why, it will not be at us, but at Christ, that such men will laugh. You shudder at the word! I knew you would. Now if this law were of my making, at me would be the laughing; but if Another be the Lawgiver, the jeering passes over to Him. Yes, and Christ was once spit upon, and smitten with the palm, smitten upon the face. Now also He bears with this, and it is no wonder (ouden apeiko")! For this, hell is prepared; for this, the worm that dieth not. Behold, again I say and testify; let him laugh that will, let him scoff that listeth. Hereunto are we set, to be laughed at and mocked, to suffer all things. We are “the offscouring” (1Co 4,13) or the world, as blessed Paul says. If any man refuse to conform to this order, that man I, by my word, as with a trumpet’s blast, do prohibit to set foot over the Church’s threshold, be he prince, be he even the crowned head. Either depose me from this station, or if I am to remain, expose me not to danger. I cannot bear to ascend this throne, without effecting Some great reformation. For if this be impossible, it is better to stand below. Nothing more wretched than a ruler who does his people no good. Do exert yourselves, and attend to this, I entreat you; and let us strive, and of a surety more will come of it. Fast, entreat God (and we will do the same with you) that this pernicious habit may be eradicated. It is no great matter,12 to become teachers to the world; no small honor to have it said everywhere, that really in this city there is not a man that swears. If this come to pass, you will receive the reward not only of your own good works; indeed what I am to you, this you will become to the world. Assuredly others also will emulate you; assuredly you will be a candle set upon a candlestick.
And is this, you will say, the whole matter? No, this is not all, but this is a beginning of other virtues. He who swears not, will certainly attain unto piety in other respects, whether he will or not, by dint of self-respect and awe. But you will urge that most men do not keep to it, but fall away. Well, better one man that doeth the will of the Lord, than ten thousand transgressors. In fact, hereby is everything subverted, everything turned upside down, I mean, because after the fashion of the Theatre we desire numbers not a select number. For what indeed will a multitude be able to profit? Would you learn that it is the saints, not the numbers, which make the multitude? Lead out to war ten hundred thousand men, and one saint, and let us see who achieves the most? Joshua the son of Nun went out to war, and alone achieved all; the rest were of no use.13 Wouldest thou see, beloved, that the great multitude, when it does not the will of God, is no better than a thing of naught? I wish indeed, and desire, and with pleasure would be torn in pieces, to adorn the Church with a multitude, yea, but a select multitude; yet if this be impossible, that the few should be select, is my desire. Do you not see, that it is better to possess one precious stone, than ten thousand farthing pieces? Do you not see that it is better to have the eye sound, than to be loaded with flesh, and yet deprived of sight? Do you not see that it is better to have one healthy sheep, than ten thousand with the murrain; that fine children, though few, are better than many children diseased withal; that in the Kingdom there will be few, but in hell many? What have I to do with a multitude? what profit therein? None. Rather they are a plague to the rest. It is as if one who had the option of ten healthy persons of ten thousand sick folks, should take to himself the latter in addition to the ten. The many who do nothing well, will avail us only for punishment hereafter, and disgrace for the time being. For no one will urge it as a point in our favor that we are many; we shall be blamed for being unprofitable. In fact, this is what men always tell us, when we say, We are many; “aye, but bad,” they answer.
Behold again: I give warning, and proclaim with a loud voice, let no one think it a laughing matter: I will exclude and prohibit the disobedient; and as long as I sit on this throne, I will give up not one of its rights. If any one depose me from it, then I am no longer responsible; as long as I am responsible, I cannot disregard them; on account not of my own punishment, but of your salvation. For I do exceedingly long for your salvation. To advance it, I endure pain and vexation. But yield your obedience, that both here and hereafter you may receive a plentiful reward, and that we may in common reap eternal blessings; through the grace and mercy of the only-begotten Son of God; to Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
1 Oecumen, has preserved the true reading: af ou pante" ekinhqhsan). mss. and Cat). ekinhsen. (N. in the margin, by a later hand, enikhse). E. and Edd). o de tollhn eice thn ekplhxin kai panta" exenise, touto legei.
2 There is no evidence that Peter and Jn attended upon the Jewish worshipsimply “for expediency.” There is much to the contrary. The early Christians had no idea of ceasing to be Jews. Peter at this time supposed it to be necessary for the Gentile converts to be circumcised (Ga 2).. It was incident to the gradual separation of Christianity from Judaism that those who had been zealous adherents of the latter should suppose that its forms were still to be the moulds of the new system. They were not for this reason less honestly and genuinely Christian, but had not yet apprehended the principle of Christian liberty as Paul afterward expounded it. The point of difficulty was not so much the entrance of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God as the question whether they should enter through the gate of Judaism—G. B. S.
3 kai oion shmein hsan poihsante". E. “And a miracle such as they had not yet wrought.” So Edd).
4 Oecumen. “That he leaped was either because he was incredulous of what had happened, or, by way of trying his power of stepping more surely and firmly, or, the man did not know how to walk.”
5 E. and Edd. “But let us look over again what has been said. ‘They went up,’ he says, ’at the hour of prayer, the ‘ninth hour.’ Perhaps just at that time they carried and laid the lame man, when people,” etc. In the old text the clause auton bastazonte" aphnegkan (which should be oi oi bast. auton) seems meant to explain kaq hmeran: they bore him daily, and the same persons carried him away.
6 E. and Edd). toioutoi tine" hsan kai AEIoudaioi (for oi AEI)). cwleuonte" <`85Ÿoi de (for autoi) mallon crhmata aitousi <`85Ÿoi kai dia touto …“Such sort of people were also [the] Jews, being lame (i e. like many beggars among ourselves): even when they have only to ask for health, yet they rather ask for money …who even for this reason beset the temple,” etc. But the meaning seems rather to be: “See here an emblem of the Jews. Lame, and needing but,” etc.
7 outw pasi gnwrimo" hn oti epeginwskon, A). b.c. D. F. Sav. Morel. Ben. But Commelin. and Ed. Par. Ben. 2. after Erasm. adopt the reading of E). ou mhn pasi gnwrimo" hn oqen kai: because of the following comment on epeginwskon. But the meaning is: They were all acquainted with him (it could not be otherwise): but seeing him walking and leaping, they found it difficult to believe that it was he, and yet they could not doubt it. This is well denoted by epeginskon: for we use this word, epi twn moli" gnwrizomenwn: strange as it was, they were satisfied that it was he, the man whom they all knew so well).
8 (Edei pisteuqhnai dioto, b.c. di oti A. This seems to be the comment on the remaining clause of 5,10, which we have supplied: but the meaning is obscure. The modern text has edei goun p. oti.
9 oude gar an eyeusato, oud an ep allou" tina" hlqen. It is not clear who are the alloi tines": and something is wanting. In fact, this part of the Homily is very defective. The next sentence seems to refer to the mention of the porch called Solomon’s, but evidently supposes something preceding: e. g. “The miracle was performed at the Beautiful Gate, beside which was the Porch called Solomon’s.”
10 E. and Edd). Kornhlio" alla nhsteuwn huceto, kai alla oea. “Cornelius prayed with fasting, for one object: and sees a vision of something other than he thought for.”
11 It can hardly be imagined that St. Chrysostom’s meaning is correctly reported here). AEEn arch tou dihghmato", can only mean, In the beginning of the narrative (of this miracle). It seems that the case of this man, who at first lies at the gate of the temple, unable to stir, and in the end, enters with the Apostles walking and leaping and praising God, furnished the theme for the ethical part of the discourse. “There is the like cure for our souls: let us not give over for want of success in the first attempt, but begin again after every failure.”
12 Ouden mega esti gen. didask. th" oik. Ou mikron k. t. l. The passage is manifestly corrupt, and the mss. lend no assistance. Ben. conjecturally, Nihil majus est quam esse doctores orbis: nec parum, etc. Ed. Par. Ben. 2). Fortasse, oukoun mega. But it is more likely that something is wanting, e. g. “It is no great matter [to be free from the vice of swearing. But to set an example to others would be a great thing], to be teachers herein of the whole world,” etc).
13 AEAlla pou qelei" idein. agaphte, oti o polu" oclo" k. t. l. The modern text, JO polu" oclo", agaphte, k. t. l).
ACTS III. 12.—“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this, or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we have made this man to walk?”
There is greater freedom of speech in this harangue, than in the former. Not that he was afraid on the former occasion, but the persons whom he addressed there, being jesters and scoffers, would not have borne it. Hence in the beginning of that address he also bespeaks their attention by his preamble; “Be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.” (ch. 2,14). But here there is no need of this management. (kataskeuh"). For his hearers were not in a state of indifference. The miracle had aroused them all; they were even full of fear and amazement. Wherefore also there was no need of beginning at that point, but rather with a different topic; by which, in fact, he powerfully conciliated them, namely, by rejecting the glory which was to be had from them. For nothing is so advantageous, and so likely to pacify the hearers, as to say nothing about one’s self of an honorable nature, but, on the contrary, to obviate all surmise of wishing to do so. And, in truth, much more did they increase their glory by despising glory, and showing that what had just taken place was no human act, but a Divine work; and that it was their part to join with the beholders in admiration, rather than to receive it from them. Do you see how clear of all ambition he is, and how he repels the honor paid to him? In the same manner also did the ancient fathers; for instance, Daniel said, “Not for any wisdom that is in me.” (Da 2,30). And again Joseph, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Gn 11,8). And David, “When the lion and the bear came, in the name of the Lord I rent them with my hands.” (1S 17,34). And so likewise here the Apostles, “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (v. 13). Nay, not even this;1 for not by our own merit did we draw down the Divine influence. “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers.” See how assiduously he thrusts himself (eiswqei) upon the fathers of old, lest he should appear to be introducing a new doctrine. In the former address he appealed to the patriarch David, here he appeals to Abraham and the rest. “Hath glorified His Servant2 Jesus.” Again a lowly expression, like as in the opening address.
But at this point he proceeds to enlarge upon the outrage, and exalts the heinousness of the deed, no longer, as before, throwing a veil over it. This he does, wishing to work upon them more powerfully. For the more he proved them accountable, the better his purpose were effected. “Hath glorified,” he says, ’His Servant Jesus, Whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.” The charge is twofold: Pilate was desirous to let Him go; you would not, when he was willing. “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince (or Author) of Life: Whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” (v. 14, 15). Ye desired a robber instead of Him. He shows the great aggravation of the act. As he has them under his hand, he now strikes hard. “The Prince of Life,” he says. In these words he establishes the doctrine of the Resurrection. “Whom God hath raised from the dead.” (ch. 2,26). “Whence doth this appear?” He no longer refers to the Prophets, but to himself, inasmuch as now he has a right to be believed. Before, when he affirmed that He was risen, he adduced the testimony of David; now, having said it, he alleges the College of Apostles. “Whereof we are witnesses”, he says.
“And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Seeking to declare the matter (zhtwn to pragma eipein), he straightway brings forward the sign: “In the presence,” he says, “of you all.” As he hid borne hard upon them, and had shown that He Whom they crucified had risen, again he relaxes, by giving them the power of repentance; “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” (v. 17). This is one ground of excuse. The second3 is of a different kind. As Joseph speaks to his brethren, “God did send me before you (Gn 45,5); what in the former speech he had briefly said, in the words, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken,”—this he here enlarges upon: “But what God before had showed by the mouth of all His Prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” (v. 18). At the same time showing, that it was not of their doing, if this be proved, that it took place after God’s counsel. He alludes to those words with which they had reviled Him on the Cross, namely “Let Him deliver Him, if He will have Him; for He said, I am the Son of God. If4 He trust in God, let Him now come down from the cross.” (Mt 27,42-43). O foolish men, were these idle words? It must needs so come to pass, and the prophets bear witness thereunto. Therefore if He descended not, it it was for no weakness of His own that He did not come down, but for very power. And Peter puts this by way of apology for the Jews, hoping that they may also close with what he says. “He hath so fulfilled,” he says. Do you see now how he refers everything to that source? “Repent ye therefore,” he says, “and be converted.” He does not add, “from your sins;” but, “that your sins, may be blotted out,” means the same thing. And then he adds the gain: “So shall the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord.” (v. 19). This betokens them in a sad state, brought low by many wars.5 For it is to the case of one on fire, and craving comfort, that the expression applies. And see now how he advances. In his first sermon, he but slightly hinted at the resurrection, and Christ’s sitting in heaven; but here he also speaks of His visible advent. “And He shall send Jesus the Christ ordained6 (for you), “Whom the heaven must (i.e. must of necessity) receive, until the times of the restitution of all things.” The reason why He does not now come is clear. “Which God hath spoken,” he continues, “by the mouth7 of His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” Before, he had spoken of David, here he speaks of Moses. “Of all things,” he says, “which He hath spoken.” But he does not say, “which Christ,” but, “which God hath spoken8 by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (v. 20, 21). Then he betakes him to the ground of credibility, saying, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things.” And then the greatness of the punishment: “And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those that follow, after, as many as have spoken have likewise foretold of these days.” (v. 23, 24). He has done well to set the distinction here. For whenever he says anything great, he appeals to them of old. And he found a text which contained both truths; just as in the other discourse he said, “Until He put His foes under His feet.” (ch. ii. 35). The remarkable circumstance is, that the two things stand together; that is, subjection and disobedience, and the punishment. “Like unto me,” he says. Then why are ye alarmed? “Ye are the children of the prophets” (v. 25): so that to you they spake, and for your sakes have all these things come to pass. For as they deemed that through their outrage they had become alienated (and indeed there is no parity of reason, that He Who now is crucified, should now cherish them as His own), he proves to them that both the one and the other are in accordance with prophecy. “Ye are the children,” he says, “of the Prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, ‘And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.’ Unto you first,” he continues, “God having raised up His Son (ton Paida) sent Him.” “To others indeed also, but to you first who crucified Him.” “To bless you,” he adds, “in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (v. 26).
Now let us consider again more minutely what has been read out. (Recapitulation). In the first place, he establishes the point that the miracle was performed by them9 ; saying, “Why marvel ye?” And he will not let the assertion be disbelieved: and to give it more weight, he anticipates their judgment. “Why look ye,” he says, “so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (v. 12). If this troubles and confounds you, learn Who was the Doer, and be not amazed. And observe how on all occasions when he refers to God, and says that all things are from Him, then he fearlessly chides them: as above where he said, “A man approved of God among you.” (ch. 2,22). And on all occasions he reminds them of the outrage they had committed, in order that the fact of the Resurrection may be established. But here he also subjoins something else; for he no more says, “of Nazareth,” but what? “The God of our fathers hath glorified His Servant Jesus.” (v. 13). Observe also the modesty. He reproached them not, neither did he say at once, “Believe then now: behold, a man that has been forty years lame, has been raised up through the name of Jesus Christ.” This he did not say, for it would have excited opposition. On the contrary, he begins by commending them for admiring the deed, and again calls them after their ancestor: “Ye men of Israel.” Moreover, he does not say, It was Jesus that healed him: but, “The God of our fathers hath glorified,” etc. But then, lest they should say, How can this stand to reason—that God should glorify the transgressor? therefore he reminds them of the judgment before Pilate, showing that, would they but consider, He was no transgressor; else Pilate had not wished to release Him. And he does not say, “when Pilate was desirous,” but, “was determined to let Him go.” “But ye denied the Holy One,” etc. (v. 13, 14). Him who had killed others, ye asked to be released; Him Who quickeneth them that are killed, ye did not wish to have! And that they might not ask again, How should it be that God now glorifies Him, when before He gave no assistance? he brings forward the prophets, testifying that so it behooved to be. “But those things which God before had showed,” etc., (infra 5,18). Then, lest they should suppose that God’s dispensation was their own apology, first he reproves them. Moreover, that the denying Him “to Pilate’s face,” was no ordinary thing; seeing that he wished to release Him. And that ye cannot deny this, the man who was asked in preference to Him is witness against you. This also is part of a deep dispensation. Here it shows their shamelessness and effrontery; that a Gentile, one who saw Him for the first time, should have discharged Him, though he had heard nothing striking; while they who had been brought up among His miracles, have done the very opposite! For, as be has said, “When he (Pilate) had determined to let Him go,” that it may not be imagined that he did this of favor, we read, “And he said, It is a custom with you to release one prisoner: will ye therefore that [ release unto you this man? (Mt 27,15). “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just.” (Mc 15,6). He does not say, “Ye delivered up;” but everywhere, “Ye denied.” For, said they, “We have no king but Caesar.” (Jn 19,15). And he does not say only, Ye did not beg off the innocent, and, “Ye denied” Him but, “Ye slew” Him. While they were hardened, he refrained from such language; but when their minds are most moved, then he strikes home, now that they are in a condition to feel it. For just as when men are drunk we say nothing to them, but when they are sober, and are recovered from their intoxication then we chide them; thus did Peter: when they were able to understand his words, then he also sharpened his tongue, alleging against them many charges; that, Whom God had glorified, they had delivered up; Whom Pilate would have acquitted they denied to his face; that they preferred the robber before Him.
Observe again how he speaks covertly concerning Christ’s power, showing that He raised Himself: just as in his first discourse he had said, “Because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (ch. 2,24), so here he says, “And killed the Prince of Life.” (v. 15). It follows that the Life He had was not from another. The prince (or author) of evil would be he that first brought forth evil; the prince or author of murder, he who first originated murder; so also the Prince (or Author) of Life must be He Who has Life from Himself.10 “Whom God raised up,” he continues: and now that he has uttered this, he adds, “And his name, upon faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given Him this perfect soundness). [The faith which is by Him h di autou pisti".] And11 yet it was h ei" autou pisti", “the faith which is in Him” (as its object) that did all. For the Apostles did not say, “By the name,” but, “In the name,” and it was in Him (ei" autou) that the man believed. But they did not yet make bold to use the expression, “The faith which is in Him.” For, that the phrase “By Him” should not be too low, observe that after saying, “Upon the faith of His name,” he adds, “His name hath made him strong,” and then it is that he says, “Yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness.” Observe how he implies, that in the kai ekeino former expression also “Whom God raised up,” he did but condescend to their low attainments. For that Person needed not Another’s help for His rising again, Whose Name raised up a lame man, being all one as dead. Mc how on all occasions he adduces their own testimony. Thus above, he said, “As ye yourselves also know;” and, “In the midst of you:” and here again, “Whom ye see and know: in the presence of you all.” (ch. 2,22). And yet that it was, “In His name,” they knew not: but they did know that the man was lame, that he stands there whole.12 They that had wrought the deed themselves confessed, that it was not by their own power, but by that of Christ. And had this assertion been unfounded, had they not been truly persuaded themselves that Christ had risen again, they would not have sought to establish the honor of a dead man instead of their own, especially while the eyes of the multitude were upon them. Then, when their minds were alarmed, immediately he encourages them, by the appellation of Brethren, “And now, brethren, I wot, etc.” For in the former discourse he foretold13 nothing, but only says concerning Christ, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly:” here he adds an admonition. There he waited till the people spoke: here, he knew how much they had already effected, and that the present assembly was better disposed toward them. “That through ignorance ye did it.” And yet the circumstances mentioned above were not to be put to the score of ignorance. To choose the robber, to reject Him Who had been adjudged to be acquitted, to desire even to destroy Him—how should this be referred to ignorance? Nevertheless, he gives them liberty to deny it, and to change their mind about what had happened. “Now this indeed, that you put to death the innocent, ye knew: but that you were killing “the Prince of Life,” this, belike, ye did not know.” And he exculpated not them alone, but also the chief contrivers of the evil, “ye and your rulers:” for doubtless it would have roused their opposition, had he gone off into accusation. For the evil-doer, when you accuse him of some wickedness that he has done, in his endeavor to exonerate himself, grows more vehement. And he no longer says, “Ye crucified,” “Ye killed,” but, “Ye did it;” leading them to seek for pardon. If those rulers did it through ignorance, much more did these present.14 “But these things which God before had showed,” etc. (v. 18). But it is remarkable, that both in the first and in the second discourse, speaking to the same effect, that is, in the former, “By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God;” and in this, “God before had showed that Christ should suffer;” in neither does he adduce any particular text in proof. The fact is, that each one of such passages is accompanied with many accusations, and with mention of the punishment in store for them [as]; “I will deliver up,” says one, “the wicked in requital for His grave, and the rich in return for His death.” (Is 53,9). And again, * * * “Those things,” he says, “which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” It shows the greatness of that “counsel,”15 in that all spoke of it, and not one only. It does not follow, because the event was through ignorance, that it took place irrespectively of God’s ordinance. See how great is the Wisdom of God, when it uses the wickedness of others to bring about that which must be. “He hath fulfilled,” he says: that they may not imagine that anything at all is wanting; for whatsoever Christ must needs suffer, has been fulfilled. But do not think, that, because the Prophets said this, and because ye did it through ignorance, this sufficeth to your exculpation. However, he does not express himself thus, but in milder terms says, “Repent ye therefore.” (v. 19). “Why? For16 either it was through ignorance, or by the dispensation of God.” “That your sins may be blotted out.” I do not mean the crimes committed at the Crucifixion; perhaps they were through ignorance; but so that your other sins may be blotted out: this17 only. “So shall the times of refreshing come unto you.” Here he speaks of the Resurrection, obscurely.18 For those are indeed times of refreshing, which Paul also looked for, when he said, “We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened.” (2Co 5,4). Then to prove that Christ is the cause of the days of refreshing, he says, “And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was for you ordained.” (v. 20). He said not, “That your sin may be blotter out,” but, “your sins;” for he hints at that sin also. “He shall send.” And whence?19 “Whom the heaven must receive.” (v. 21). Still [“must”] “receive?” And why not simply, Whom the heaven hath received? This, as if discoursing of old times: so, he says, it is divinely ordered, so it is settled: not a word yet of His eternal subsistence.—“ For Moses indeed said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord raise up for you:” “Him shall ye hear in all things that He shall speak unto you:” and having said, “All things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets,” (v. 22) now indeed he brings in Christ Himself. For, if He predicted many things and it is necessary to hear Him, one would not be wrong in saying that the Prophets have spoken these things. But, besides, he wishes to show that the Prophets did predict the same things. And, if any one will look closely into the matter, he will find these things spoken in the Old Testament, obscurely indeed, but nevertheless spoken. “Who was purposely designed,” says he: in Whom20 there is nothing novel. Here he also alarms them, by the thought that much remains to be fulfilled. But if so, how says he, “Hath fulfilled?” (v. 18). The things which it was necessary “that Christ should suffer,” are fulfilled: the things which must come to pass, not yet. “A prophet shall the Lord God raise up for you from among your brethren, like unto me.” This would most conciliate them. Do you observe the sprinkling of low matters and high, side by side,—that He Who was to go up into the heavens should be like unto Moses? And yet it was a great thing too. For in fact He was not simply like unto Moses,21 if so be that “every soul which will not hear shall be destroyed.” And one might mention numberless other things which show that He was not like unto Moses; so that it is a mighty text that he has handled. “God shall raise Him up unto you,” says Moses, “from among your brethren,” etc.: consequently Moses himself threatens those that should not hear. “Yea, and all the prophets,” etc.: all this22 is calculated to attract “Yea, and all the prophets,” says the Apostle. “from Samuel.” He refrains from enumerating them singly, not to make his discourse too long; but having alleged that decisive testimony of Moses, he passes by the rest. “Ye,” he says, “are the children of the Prophets, and of the covenant which God made.” (v. 25) “Children of the covenant;” that is, heirs. For test they should think that they received this offer from the favor of Peter, he shows, that of old it was due to them, in order that they may the rather believe that such also is the will of God. “Unto you first,” he continues, “God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him.” (v. 26). He does not say simply, “Unto you He sent His Son,” but also, after the resurrection, and when He had been crucified. For that they may not suppose that he himself granted them this favor, and not the Father, he says, “To bless you.” For if He is your Brother, and blesses you, the affair is a promise. “Unto you first.” That is, so far are you from having no share in these blessings, that He would have you become moreover promoters and authors of them to others. For23 you are not to feel like castaways. “Having raised up”: again, the Resurrection. “In turning away,” he says, “every one of you from his iniquities.” In this way He blesses you: not in a general way. And what kind of blessing is this? A great one. For of course not the turning a man away from his iniquities is itself sufficient to remit them also. And if it is not sufficient to remit, how should it be to confer a blessing? For it is not to be supposed that the transgressor becomes forthwith also blessed; he is simply released from his sins. But this,24 “Like unto me,” would no wise apply. “Hear ye Him,” he says; and not this alone, but he adds, “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” When he has shown them that they had sinned, and has imparted forgiveness to them, and promised good things, then indeed, then he says, “Moses also says the same thing.” What sort of connection is this: “Until the times of the restitution;” and then to introduce Moses, saying, that25 all that Christ said shall come to pass? Then also, on the other hand, he says, as matter of encomium (so that for this reason also ye ought to obey): “Ye are the children of the prophets and of the covenant:” i.e. heirs. Then why do you stand affected towards that which is your own, as if it were another’s? True, you have done deeds worthy of condemnation; still you may yet obtain pardon. Having said this, with reason he is now able to say, “Unto you God sent his Son Jesus to bless you.” He says not, To save you, but what is greater; that the crucified Jesus blessed His crucifiers.
Let us then also imitate Him. Let us cast out that spirit of murder and enmity. It is not enough not to retaliate (for even in the Old Dispensation this was exemplified); but let us do all as we would for bosom-friends, as we would for ourselves so for those who have injured us. We are followers of Him, we are His disciples, who after being crucified, sets everything in action in behalf of his murderers, and sends out His Apostles to this end. And yet we have often suffered justly; but those acted not only unjustly, but impiously; for He was their Benefactor, He had done no evil, and they crucified Him. And for what reason? For the sake of their reputation. But He Himself made them objects of reverence. “The scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses’ seat; all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that do ye, but after their works do ye not.” (Mt 23,2). And again in another place, “Go thy way, show thyself to the priest.” (Mt 8,4). Besides, when He might have destroyed them, He saves them. Let us then imitate Him, and let no one be an enemy, no one a foe, except to the devil.
Not a little does the habit of not swearing contribute to this end: I mean to the not giving way to wrath:26 and by not giving way to wrath, we shall not have an enemy either. Lop off the oaths of a man, and you have clipt the wings of his anger, you have smothered all his passion. Swearing, it is said, is as the wind to wrath. Lower the sails; no need of sails, when there is no wind. If then we do not clamor, and do not swear, we have cut the sinews of passion. And if you doubt this, just put it to experiment. Impose it as a law upon the passionate man that he shall never swear, and you will have no necessity of preaching moderation to hint. So the whole business is finished. For27 even though you do not forswear yourselves [yet], by swearing at all, do you not know in what absurd consequences you involve yourselves—binding yourselves to an absolute necessity and as with a cord, and putting yourselves to all manner of shifts, as men studying how to rescue their soul from an evil which there is no escaping, or, failing of that, obliged [by that self-imposed necessity] to spend your life thenceforth in vexation, in quarrels, and to curse your wrath? But all is in vain, and to no purpose. Threaten, be peremptory (diorisai), do all, whatever it be, without swearing; [so]: it is in your power to reverse analusai) both what you have said and what you have done if you have the mind. Thus on the present day I must needs speak more gently to you. For since ye have heard me, and the greater part of the reformation is achieved by you, now then let us see for what purpose the taking of oaths was introduced, and why allowed to be. In relating to you their first origin, and when they were conceived, and how, and by whom we shall give you this account in requital for your obedience. For it is fit that he who has made his practice right, should be taught the philosophy of the matter, but he who is not yet doing the right, is not worthy to be told the history.
They made many covenants in Abraham’s time, and slew victims, and offered sacrifices, and as yet oaths were not. Whence then did they come in? When evil increased, when all was confusion, upside down, when men had turned aside to idolatry: then it was, then, when men appeared no longer worthy to be believed, that they called God as witness, as if thereby giving an adequate surety for what they said. Such in fact is the Oath: it is a security where men’s principles cannot be trusted.28 So that in the indictment of the swearer the first charge is this,—that he is not to be trusted without a surety, and a great surety too: for such is the exceeding faithlessness, that they ask not man as surety, but will needs have God! Secondly, the same charge lies against him who receives the oath: that, in a question of compact, he must drag in God for warranty, and refuse to be satisfied unless he get Him. O the excessive stupidity, the insolence of such conduct! Thou, a worm, earth and dust, and ashes, and vapor, to drag in thy Lord as the, surety, and to compel the other to drag Him in likewise! Tell me, if your servants were disputing with each other, and exchanging29 assurances with each other, and the fellow-servant should declare that for his part he would not be satisfied till he had their common master given him for surety, would he not have stripes given him without number, and be made to know that the master is for other purposes, and not to be put to any such use as this? Why do I speak of a fellow-servant?30 For should he choose any respectable person, would not that person consider it an affront? But I do not wish to do this, say you.31 Well: then do not compel the other to do so either: since where men only are in question, this is done—if your party says, “I give such an one as my surety,” you do not allow him. “What then,” say you, “am I to lose what I have given?” I am not speaking of this; but that you allow him to insult God. For which reason greater shall be the inevitable punishment to him who forces the oath upon another, than to him who takes it: the same holds with regard to him who gives an oath when no one asks him. And what makes it worse, is, that every one is ready to swear, for one farthing, for some petty item, for his own injustice. All this may be said, when there is no perjury; but if perjury follow in the train, both he that imposes and he that takes the oath have turned everything upside down. “But there are some things,” you will say, “which are unknown.” Well take these into account, and do nothing negligently; but, if you do act negligently, take the loss to yourself as your punishment. It is better to be the loser thus, than in a very different way. For tell me—you force a man to take an oath, with what expectation? That he will forswear himself? But this is utter insanity; and the judgment will fall upon your own head; better you should lose your money, than he be lost. Why act thus to your own detriment, and to the insulting of God? This is the spirit of a wild beast, and of an impious man. But you do this in the expectation that he will not forswear himself? Then trust him without the oath. “Nay, there are many,” you reply, “who in the absence of an oath would presume to defraud; but, once the oath taken, would refrain.” You deceive yourself, man. A man having once learnt to steal, and to wrong his neighbor, will presume full oft to trample upon his oath; if on the contrary he shrinks from swearing, he will much more shrink from injustice. “But he is influenced against his will.” Well then, he deserves pardon.
But why am I speaking of this kind of oaths, while I pass over those in the market-place? For as regards these last, you can urge none of these pleas. For ten farthings you there have swearing and forswearing. In fact, because the thunderbolt does not actually fall from heaven, because all things are not overthrown, you stand holding God in your bonds: to get a few vegetables, a pair of shoes, for a little matter of money, calling Him to witness. What is the meaning of this? Do not let us imagine, that because we are not punished, therefore we do not sin; this comes of God’s mercy; not of our merit. Let your oath be an imprecation upon your own child, upon your own self: say, “Else let the hangman lash my ribs.” But you dare not. Is God less valuable than thy ribs? is He less precious than thy pate? Say “Else let me be struck blind.” But no. Christ so spares us, that He will not let us swear even by our own head; and yet we so little spare the honor of God, that on all occasions we must drag Him in! Ye know not what God is, and with what sort of lips he behooves to be invoked. Why, when we speak of any man of eminent worth, we say, “First wash your mouth, and then make mention of him:” and yet, that precious Name which is above every name, the Name which is marvellous in all the earth, the Name which devils hear and tremble, we haul about as we list! Oh! the force of habit! thereby has that Name become cheap. No doubt, if you impose on any one the necessity of coming into the sacred edifice to take his oath there, you feel that you have made the oath an awful one. And yet how is it that it seems awful in this way, but because we have been in the habit of using that at random, but not this? For ought not a shudder of awe to be felt when God is but named? But now, whereas among the Jews His Name was held to be so reverend, that it was written upon plates, and none was allowed to wear the characters except the high-priest alone: we bandy about His Name like any ordinary word. If simply to name God was not allowed to all; to call Him to witness, what audacity is it! nay, what madness! For if need were (rather than this)to fling away all that you have, ought you not readily to part with all? Behold, I solemnly declare and testify; reform these oaths of the forum, these superfluous oaths,32 and bring to me all those who wish to take them. Behold, in the presence of this assembly, I charge those who are set apart for the tending of the Houses of Prayer, I exhort and issue this order to them, that no person be allowed to take such oaths at his own discretion: or rather, that none be allowed to swear in any other way, but that the person be brought to me, whosoever he be, since even for these matters less will not serve but they must needs come before us, just as if one had to do with little children. May there be no occasion! It is a shame in some things still to need to be taught. Do you dare to touch the Holy Table, being a person unbaptized? No, but what is still worse, you the baptized dare to lay your hand upon the Holy Table, which not even all ordained persons are allowed to touch, and so to take your oath. Now you would not go and lay your hand upon the head of your child,33 and yet do you touch the Table, and not shudder, not feel afraid? Bring these men to me; I will judge, and send them away rejoicing, both the one and the other.34 Do what you choose; I lay it down as a law that there be no swearing at all. What hope of salvation, while we thus make all to have been done in vain? Is this the end of your bills, and your bonds, that you should sacrifice your own soul? What gain do you get so great as the loss? Has he forsworn himself? You have undone both him and yourself. But has he not? even so still you have undone (both), by forcing him to transgress the commandment.35 Let us cast out this disease from the soul: at any rate let us drive it out of the forum, out of our shops, out of our other work-places; our profits will but be the greater. Do not imagine that the success of your worldly plans is to be ensured by transgressions of the Divine laws. “But he refuses to trust me,” say you; and in fact I have sometimes heard this said by some: “Unless I swear oaths without number, the man will not trust me.” Yes, and for this you may thank yourself, because you are so off-hand with your oaths. For were it not so, but on the contrary were it clear to all men that you do not swear, take my word for it, you would be more readily believed upon your mere nod, than those are who swallow oaths by thousands. For look now: which do you more readily believe? me who do not swear, or those that do swear? “Yes,” say you, “but then you are ruler and bishop.” Then suppose I prove to you that it is not only for that reason? Answer me with truth, I beseech you; were I in the habit of perpetually swearing, would my office stand me in that stead? Not a whir. Do you see that it is not for this reason? And what do you gain at all? Answer me that. Paul endured hunger; do you then also choose to hunger rather than to transgress one of the commandments of God. Why are you so unbelieving? Here are you, ready to do and suffer all things for the sake of not swearing: and shall not He reward you? Shall He, Who sustains day by day both takers and breakers of oaths, give you over to hunger, when you have obeyed Him? Let all men see, that of those who assemble in this Church not one is a swearer. By this also let us become manifest, and not by our creed alone; let us have this mark also to distinguish us both from the Gentiles and from all men. Let us receive it as a seal from heaven, that we may everywhere be seen to be the King’s own flock. By our mouth and tongue let us be known, in the first place, just as the barbarians are by theirs: even as those who speak Greek are distinguished from barbarians, so let us be known. Answer me: the birds which are said to be parrots, how are they known to be parrots? is it not by speaking like men? Let us then be known by speaking like the Apostles; by speaking like the Angels. If any one bid you swear tell him, “Christ has spoken, and I do not swear.” This is enough to make a way for all virtue to come in. It is a gate to religion, a high road leading to the philosophy of piety;36 a kind of training-school. These things let us observe, that we may obtain also the future blessings, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, power and honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
1 AEAllAE oude touto ou gar, k. t. l. This seems to refer to eusebeia “but not by our holiness any more than by our own power.” The modern text: Oude touto hmeteron, fhsin ou gar, k. t. l. “Not even this is our own, he says; for not,” etc.
2 or, Child, ton paida. Oecumen. seems to have considered this as a lowly title, for he says: “And of Christ he speaks lowly, tw prosqeinai, ton Paida.” But to this remark he adds, “For that which in itself is glorified, can receive no addition of glory.”—Below kaqw" en tw prooimiw may refer to the prefatory. matter (after the citation from Joel) of the sermon in ch. ii.: see below, in the Recapitulation, whence we might here supply, anwterw elegen, “Ihsoun ton Naz. k. t. l.” “As in the opening address [above, he said: ‘Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God,’ etc.].” Or, “like as in the opening words of this discourse he speaks in lowly manner of themselves.” Oecumen. “He still keeps to lowlier matters, both as to themselves, and as to Christ. As to themselves, in saying that not by their own power they wrought the miracle. As to Christ,” etc.
3 h deutera etera, A). b.c. (N. om). h) Cat. Namely, the first, “Ye did it ignorantly, as did also your rulers.” The second, “It was ordered by the counsel of God:” as below, “And he puts this by way of apology,” etc. The Edd. have adopted the absurd innovation, “‘Through ignorance ye did it:’ this is one ground of excuse: the second is, ‘As did also your rulers:’” E. F. D.
4 Ei pepoiqen, A. C. F. D. N. Cat. and nun after katab. om. C. F. D. N. Cat).
5 Polemoi" attested by Cat. and Oec. but A. has ponoi", E. and Edd). kakoi". In the following sentence, Pro" gar ton kausoumenon kai paramuqian epizhtounta outo" an armoseien o logo", B. and Oec. read klausomenon, C. F. D. N). klausoumenon, (“to him that shall weep,”) A). kausamenon, Cat). kausoumenon, the true reading. The scribes did not perceive that Chr. is commenting on the word anayuxew", “refrigeration,” as implying a condition of burning: hence the alteration, klausomenon, or in the “Doric” form (Aristoph). klausoumenon. E. and Edd). Dio kai outw" eipen eisw" oti pro" ton pasconta kai paramuq. zhtounta k. t. l. “Wherefore also he speaks thus, knowing that it is to the case of one who is suffering,” etc.—In the text here commented upon, opw" an elqwsi kairoi anay., E. V. makes opw" an temporal, “When the times of refreshing,” etc. But here and elsewhere in the N. T. Mt 6,5; Lc 2,35; Ac 15,17; Rom. iii. 4; the correct usage is observed, according to which, opw" an is nearly equivalent to “so (shall);” 1,e. “that (opw") they may come, as in the event of your repentance (an) they certainly shall.” And so Chrys. took the passage: Eita to kerdo" epagei (Opw" k. t. l. “Then he adds the gain: So shall the times,” etc.
6 ton prokeceirismenon. Other mss. of N. T. read prokekhrugmenon, whence Vulg. E. V. “which was before preached.”
7 E. V. has “all,” and so some mss. pantwn, and St. Chrys. gives it a littte further on.
8 Instead of this clause, “by the mouth.” etc. the Edd. have from E. “Still by keeping the matter in the shade, drawing them on the more to faith by gentle degrees.”
9 Tew" kataskeuazei oti autoi epoihsan to qauma. 1,e. “by saying, Why marvel ye? he makes this good at the very outset: You see that a miracle has been wrought, and by us (as the instruments), not by some other man (this is the force of the autoi here). This he will not allow them to doubt for a moment: he forestalls their judgment on the matter: you see that it is done by us, and you are inclined to think it was by our own power or holiness,” etc. There is no need to insert the negative, oti ouk autoi: Erasm. and Ben. Lat).
10 Peter sharpens his accusation of them by the following contrasts: (1) This healing at which you wonder is to the glory of Christ, not of us. (2) God has glorified whom you have betrayed and denied. (3) This you did though Pilate himself would have released him. (4) You preferred to kill the holy and just one and let a murderer go free. (5) You sought to put to death the Author of Life. Vv. 12–15.—G. B. S.
11 The meaning of the following passage is plain enough, but the innovator has so altered it as to make it unintelligible. Yet the Edd. adopt his reading (E. D. F). without notice of the other and genuine reading. “And yet if it was h ei" auton pisti" that did all, and that (oti) it was ei" auton that the man believed, why did (Peter) say, not Dia tou onomato", but AEEn tw onomati>v Because they did not yet,” etc).
12 E. has oti ugih" esthken after ouk hdesan instead of after touto hdesan. So Commel. Erasm. Ed. Par. Hence D. F. have it in both places, and so Morel. Ben. All these omit oti before en tw on. “And yet in His name they knew not that he stands whole: but this they knew, that he was lame, (that he stands whole).” Savile alone has retained the genuine reading.
13 oudev proeipen, A). b.c. N. 1,e. foretold nothing concerning them. Edd). ouden peri eautwn eipen, “said nothing concerning (the hearers) themselves.”
14 There is one extenuating circumstance: they did it in ignorance (Cf. Lc 23,34; 1Co 2,8 Ac 13,27). This fact forms the transition-point to the presentation of a different side of the death of Jesus. It was their crime, but it was also God’s plan. They did it from motives of blindness and hate, but God designed it for their salvation. So that Peter, in effect, says: There is hope for you although you have slain the Lord, for his sacrificial death is the ground of salvation. To this view of the death of Christ he now appeals as basis of hope and a motive to repentance (oun 5,19).—G. B. S.
15 megalhn deiknusi thn boulhn, meaning the determinate counsel of God above spoken of. Above, after kai palin, some other citation is wanting, in illustration of his remark that the prophecies of the Passion are all accompanied with denunciations of punishment.
16 h gar kata agnoian, h kata oikonomian. Edd. omit this interlocution, Sav. notes it in the margin. “Repent ye therefore.” Why repent? for either it was through ignorance, or it was predestinated. (Nevertheless, you must repent, to the blotting out of your sins, etc).
17 touto monon, b.c. N. “this is all:” 1,e. no more than this: he does not impute that one great sin to them, in all its heinousness: he only speaks of their sins in general. A. and the other mss. omit these words).
18 The reference is hardly to the resurrection, but to the Parousia. To the hope of this event, always viewed as imminent, all the expressions: “times of refreshing,” “times of restitution” and “these days” (vv. 19–24) undoubtedly refer. So Olshansen, Meyer, Alford, Hackett, Gloag, Lechler and most recent critics.—G. B. S.
19 The modern text; “Saying this, he does not declare, Whence, but only adds,” etc.—AEAkmhn dexasqai. Ben). Utique suscipere. Erasm. adhuc accipere. It means, Is this still to take place, that he should say on dei dexasqai, as if the event were yet future? And he answer is, “He speaks in reference to former times, 1,e. from that point of view. (So Oecumen. in loc). to dei anti tou edei). And then as to the necessity; this dei is not meant in respect of Christ’s Divine Nature (for of that he forbears to speak), but the meaning is, So it is ordered,” etc. The report, however, is very defective, especially in what follows. He is commenting upon the words, “Until the time of restitution (or making good) of all that God spake,” etc). pantwn wn elalhsen o Qeo", which expression he compares with what is said of the Prophet like unto Moses, pantwn osa an lalhsn. Christ is that Prophet: and what He spake, the Prophets, obscurely indeed, spake before. He adds, that Peter’s mention of the yet future fulfilment of all that the Prophets have spoken is calculated also to alarm the hearers. See the further comment on these verses at the end of the recapitulation.
20 Ou ouden newteron. Meaning perhaps, that as Christ was from the first designed for the Jews, the Gospel is no novelty, as if nothing had been heard of such a Saviour before. E. D. F). wste ouden newteron, which is placed before the citation ton prokec.—Below, A). b.c. N). AEEplhrwsen a edei paqein; AEEplhrwqh a dei genesqai ecrhn oudepw, which is manifestly corrupt. We restore it thus: AEEplhrwsen; (A edei paqein eplhrwqh, a de genesqai ecrhn oudepw. The modern text: AEEplhrwsen a edei paqein; AEEplhrwsen, eipen, ouk eplhrwqh deiknu" oti a men ecrhn paqein, eplhrwsen a de (deoi add. F. D)). genesqai leipetai eti, oudepw.
21 C. N). Ou gar dh kata Mwsea hn, ei gar pa" o mh ak. exoloqreuqhsetai, muria de eipen ta deiknunta oti ouk esti kata Mwsea. B. omits ou gar . …hn, inadvertently passing from hn ou gar to the subsequent hn ei gar. A. omits the words muria . …oti, which disturb the sense of the passage. In the translation we have rejected the second gar. For eipen, Sav. marg. gives eipoi ti" an, which we have adopted. The modern text substitutes to, kai, estai for ei gar, and inserts kai alla after muria de.
22 Tauta ola epagwga is strangely rendered by Ben). hoec omnia adjecta sunt. But this is the comment, not upon the threatening in 5,23, but upon the matters contained in the following verses, 24–26.
23 Mh gar w" aperrimmenoi diakeisqe, B. N). oukoun mh gar, A). palin mh gar, C). mh oun, F. D). kai gar, Cat). oukoun mh. E. and Edd., which also add at the end of the sentence, h apobeblhmenoi, where the other mss. have, Palin h anastasi", as comment on anasthsa").
24 To de, W" eme oudamou logon an ecoi. He had before said. that in the very description of “the Prophet like unto Moses,” it is shown that He is more than like Moses: for instance, “Every soul which will not hear,” etc. would not apply to Moses. Having finished the description, he now adds, You see that the w" eme nowhere holds as the whole account of the matter: to be raised up (from the dead) and sent to bless, and this by turning every one from his iniquities, is not to be simply such as Moses. The modern text adds, “Unless it be taken in regard of the manner of legislation:” 1,e. Christ is like unto Moses considered as Deliverer and Lawgiver, not in any other respect.
25 E. and Edd. “that they shall hear all things which Christ shall say: and this not in a general way, but with a fearful menace” It is a powerful connection, for it shows that for this reason also they ought to obey Him. What means it, “Children of the Prophets,” etc.
26 legw dh to mh orgizesqai, as the explanation of ei" touto. The other text confuses the meaning by substituting kai to mh org. “Not to swear, and not to be angry, is a great help to this.” Which increases the “intricacy” of which Ben. complains in the following passage, where oaths are first said to be the wings of wrath, and then are compared to the wind filling the sails. Here instead of, wsper gar pneuma th" orgh" o orko", fhsin, esti, (cited as an apothegm), the modern text gives, wsper gar pn. h orgh kai o orko" esti. “For wrath and swearing is as a wind.” The imagery is incongruous: oaths, the wings of wrath: oaths the wind, and wrath (apparently) the sails: but the alterations do not mend the sense.
27 kan gar mh epiorkhte, omnunte" olw" ouk iste. The modern text, kai oute epiorkhsete, oute omosesqe olw". Ouk iste. Which does not suit the context. “Make it a law with the passionate man, never to swear. …The whole affair is finished, and you will neither perjure yourselves, nor swear at all.” He seems to be speaking of oaths and imprecations, by which a man in the heat of passion binds himself to do or suffer some dreadful thing. “Suppose you do not perjure yourself, yet think of the misery you entail upon yourself: you must either study all sorts of expedients to deliver your soul, or, since that cannot be without perjury, you must spend your life in misery, etc. and curse your wrath.”—AEAnagkh tini kai desmw, with comma preceding: so Sav. but A). b.c. anagkh nom. preceded by a full stop: “For needs must you, binding yourselves as with a cord,” etc: and so the modern text, with other alterations (adopted by Sav). which are meant to simplify the construction, but do not affect the sense. Below, AEEpeidh gar hkousate, kai to pleon umin katwrqwtai. Ben makes this a sentence by itself, Quia enim audistis, magna pars ret a vobis perfecta est. Savile connects it with the following, fere dh k. t. l. See p. 53, where he alludes to some who laughed at him, perhaps even on the spot).
28 Touto gar orko" esti, tropwn apistoumenwn egguh.
29 pistoumenwn eautou", A). b.c. N. as in the phrase pistousqai tina (orkw), “to secure a person’s good faith by oath.” Edd). apistoumenwn eautoi", “being objects of distrust to each other.”
30 omodoulon. So the mss. but we should have expected despothn, “the master.”
31 AEAllAE egw ou boulomai, fnsi. “I do not wish [so to insult God].—Then do not oblige the other to do so: [nay, do not suffer him:] just as, should he pretend to name as his surety some person with whom he has no right to take such a liberty, su ouk anech you would not allow him.” That this is the meaning, is shown by what follows: oti ton Qeon ubrisai anech: “he insults God, and you suffer him to do it.”
32 Tou" perittou", kai panta" emoi agagete. E. and Edd. for tou" perittou" kai have tou" de mh peiqomenou". The following passage relates to a practice of swearing by touching, the Sacred Volume on the Holy Table. Against this custom he inveighs in one of his Sermons ad Pop. Antioch. 15,§. 5. (t. 2,158. E). “What art thou doing, O man? On the Holy Table, and where Christ lies sacrificed, there sacrificest thou thy brother? …. sacrificest him in the midst of the Church, and that, with the death to come, the death which dieth not? Was the Church made for this, that we should come there to take oaths? No, but that we should pray there. Does the Table stand there, that we should make men swear thereby? No, it stands there that we may lose sins, not that we may bind them. But do thou, if nothing else, at least reverence the very Volume which thou holdest forth to the other to swear by: the very Gospel which thou, taking in thine hands, biddest the other make oath thereby,—open it, read what Christ there saith concerning oaths, and shudder, and desist.”—Here, he forbids the sacristans to admit persons for any such purpose. “Let such be brought to me, since I must needs be the person to be troubled with these things, as if you were little children, needing to be taught such a simple matter as this.”
33 i. e. to take an oath bythe head of your child. So in the Tract. de Virgin. t. 1,309 D. it is remarked, that “men of rude and dull minds, who do not scruple to swear by God in great matters and small, and break their oath without remorse, would not for a moment think of swearing by the head of their children: although the perjury is more heinous, and the penalty more dreadful, in the former than in the latter case, yet they feel this oath more binding than that.”
34 kai caironta" ekaterou" apopemyw. 1,e. “both of them glad (to be rid of the quarrel):” unless it is a threat, in the form of an ironical antiphrasis. In a law-suit one party comes off rejoicing (cairwn): here let both exult—if they can.
35 (Mt 5,34 Mt 5, not at all:” which St. Chrysostom (as the surest remedy) would enforce literally, and without any exception).
36 A). b.c. N. Sav. Ben). JOdo" epi filosofian eulabeia" eisagousa: (N. agousa:) palaistra ti" esti. E. F. D. omit eulabeia", and so Commel. Morel. It would be better transferred (as remarked by Ed. Par). to the next clause: “a training-school for piety:”
Chrysostom on Acts 800