Chrysostom on Acts 1200
ACTS IV. 36, 37.—And Joses, who by the Apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles’ feet.”
The writer is now about to relate the affair of Ananias and Sapphira, and in order to show that the man’s sin was of the worst description, he first mentions him who performed the virtuous deed; that, there being so great a multitude all doing the same, so great grace, so great miracles, he, taught by none of these, but blinded by covetousness, brought destruction upon his own head. “Having land,—meaning that this was all he possessed,—sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles’ feet. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the Apostles’ feet.” (ch. 5,1, 2). The aggravating circumstance was, that the sin was concerted, and none other saw what was done. How came it into the mind of this hapless wretch to commit this crime? “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (v. 3). Observe even in this, a great miracle performed, greater far than the former. “Whiles it remained,” say she, “was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?” (v. 4). That is, “Was there any obligation and force? do we constrain you against your will?” “Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost.” (v. 5). This miracle is greater than that of the lame man, in respect of the death inflicted, and the knowing what was in the thought of the heart, even what was done in secret.1 “And great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, and wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?” (v. 6–8). The woman he would fain save, for the man had been the author of the sin: therefore he gives her time to clear herself, and opportunity for repentance, saying, “Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Holy Ghost? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then she fell down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost; and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things.” (v. 9–11).
After this fear had come upon them, he wrought more miracles; both Peter and the rest; “And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them,” i.e. to the Apostles; “but the people magnified them,” i.e. the Jewish people. If2 “no man durst join himself unto them,” the Apostles, “there were,” however, “the more added unto the Lord, believers, multitudes both of men and of women, insomuch that they brought out into the streets their impotent folk, and laid them upon couches and beds, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” (v. 12–15). For Peter was the wonderful one, and he to whom they more gave heed both because of his public harangue, the first and the second and the third, and because of the miracle; for he it was that wrought the miracle, the first, the second, the third: for the present miracle was twofold: first, the convicting the thoughts of the heart, and next the inflicting of death at his word of command. “That at the least the shadow of Peter passing by,” etc. This had not occurred in the history of Christ; but see here what He had told them actually coming to pass, that “they which believe on Me, the works that I do shall they do also; and greater works than these shall they do.” (Jn 14,12). “There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them that were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one.” (v. 16).
And now I would have you observe the way in which their whole life is interwoven. First there was despondency on account of Christ taken from them, and then came joy because of the Spirit descending upon them; again, dejection because of the scoffers, and then joy in the result of their own apology. And here again we find both dejection and gladness. In that they were become conspicuous, and that God made revelations to them, there was gladness: in that they had cut off some of their own company, there was sadness. Once more: again there is gladness upon their success, and again sadness by reason of the High Priest. And so it will be seen to be the case throughout. And the same will be found to hold in the case of the ancient saints likewise.—But let us look over again what has been said.
“They sold them,” it is written, “and brought the prices, and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet.” (Recapitulation. iv, 34–37). See, my beloved brethren, how instead of leaving the Apostles to sell, they themselves sold, and presented the prices to them. “But3 a certain man named Ananias,” etc. (v. 1). This history touches Bishops too, and very forcibly. And the wife of Ananias was privy to the thing done: therefore he examines her. But perhaps some one will say that he dealt very harshly with her. What do you mean? What harshness? If for gathering sticks a man is to be stoned, much rather ought he for sacrilege; for this money was become sacred. He that has chosen to sell his goods and distribute them, and then withdraws them, is guilty of sacrilege. But if he is sacrilegious, who resumes from his own, much more he who takes from what is not his own. And do not think that because the consequence is not now the same, the crime will go unpunished. Do you see that this is the charge brought against Ananias, that having made the money sacred, he afterwards secreted it? Couldest thou not, said Peter, after selling thy land, use the proceeds as thine own? Wast thou forbidden? Wherefore after thou hadst promised it? See how at the very beginning, the devil made his attack; in the very midst of such signs and wonders, how this man was hardened! Something of the same kind had happened upon a time in the Old Testament. The son of Charmi coveted the devoted thing: for observe there also what vengeance ensues upon the sin. Sacrilege, beloved, is a most grievous crime, insulting, and full of contempt. We neither obliged thee to sell, the Apostle says, nor to give thy money when thou hadst sold; of thine own free choice thou didst it; why hast thou then stolen from the sacred treasury? “Why,” he says, “hath Satan filled thine heart?” (v. 3). Well, if Satan did the thing, why is the man made guilty of it? For admitting the influence of the devil, and being filled with it. You will say, they ought to have corrected him. But he would not have received correction; for he that has seen such things as he had seen, and is none the better, would certainly be none the better for anything else that could be done; the matter was not one to be simply passed over: like a gangrene, it must be cut out, that it might not infect the rest of the body. As it is, both the man himself is benefitted in regard that he is not left to advance further in wickedness, and the rest, in that they are made more earnest; otherwise the contrary would have ensued. In the next place, Peter proves him guilty, and shows that the deed was not hidden from him, and then pronounces the sentence. But wherefore, upon what purpose hast thou done this? Didst thou wish to keep it? Thou oughtest to have kept it all along, and never to have professed to give it. The sacrilege, beloved, is a grievous one. For another, it may be, coveted what was not his own: but it was at thy discretion to keep what was thine own. Why then didst thou first make it sacred, and then take it? Out of excessive contempt hast thou done this. The deed does not admit of pardon, it is past pleading for.—Therefore let it be no stumbling-block to any, if at present also there are sacrilegious persons. If there were such persons then, much more now, when evils are many. But let us “rebuke them before all, that others also may fear.” (1Tm 5,20). Judas was sacrilegious, but it was no stumbling-block to the disciples. Do you see how many evils spring from love of money? “And great fear, it is said, came on all them that heard these things.” (v. 5). That man was punished, and others profited thereby. Not without cause. And yet, signs had been wrought before: true, but there was not such a sense of fear. So true is that saying, “The Lord is known by executing judgments.” (Ps 9,16). The same thing had occurred in the case of the Ark: Uzzah was punished and fear came upon the rest. (2S 2S 6,7). But in that instance the king through fear removed from him the Ark; but here the disciples became more earnestly heedful). [“ And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in,” etc.] (v. 7). But observe how Peter, instead of sending for her, waited till she entered; and how none of the others durst carry out the intelligence. Such the teacher’s awfulness, such the disciples’ reverence, such the obedience! “An interval of three hours,”—and yet the woman did not hear of it, and none of those present reported it, although there was time enough for it to be noised abroad; but they were afraid. This circumstance the Evangelist relates with wonder even, when he says, “Not knowing what was done, came in.” “And Peter answered unto her,” etc. (v. 8). And yet she might have perceived even from this that Peter knew the secret. For why, having questioned none other, does he question you? Was it not clear that he asked because he knew? But so great was her hardness, it would not let her attempt to evade the guilt; and with great confidence she replied; for she thought she was speaking only to a man. The aggravation of the sin was, that they committed it as with one soul, just as upon a settled compact between them. “How is it that ye have agreed together,” he said, “to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door.” (v. 9). First he makes her learn the sin, and then shows that she will justly suffer the same punishment with her husband, since she has committed the same wickedness: “And they shall carry thee out. And she fell down straightway at his feet,” for she was standing near him, and yielded up the ghost.” (v. 10). So entirely by their own act had they invited upon themselves the vengeance! Who after that would not be struck with awe? who would not fear the Apostle? who would not marvel? who not be afraid? “And they were with one accord, all of them in Solomon’s porch,” (v. 12) no longer in a house, but having occupied the very Temple, they there passed their time! No longer they guarded themselves against touching the unclean; nay, without scruple they handled the dead. And observe how, while to their own people they are severe, against the aliens they do not exercise their power. “But4 the people,” he says, “magnified them.” (v. 13). And as he had mentioned their being “in Solomon’s porch,” that you may not wonder how the multitude allowed this, he tells us that they did not dare even to approach them: for “no man,” he says, “durst join himself unto them.” “But believers were the more added unto the Lord, multitudes both of men and women: insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” (v. 14, 15). Great faith, surpassing what had been shown in the case of Christ. How comes this? Because Christ declared: “And greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.” (Jn 14,12). And these things the people do, while the Apostles remain there, and are not moving about from place to place: also from other places they were all bringing [their sick] on beds and couches: and from all quarters accrued to them fresh tribute of wonder; from them that believed, from them that were healed, from him that was punished; from their boldness of speech towards those (their adversaries), from the virtuous behavior of the believers: for certainly the effect produced was not owing to the miracles only. For though the Apostles themselves modestly ascribe it all to this cause, declaring that they did these things in the name of Christ, yet at the same time the life and noble conduct of the men helped to produce this effect. “And believers were more added unto the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” Observe, how he now no longer tells the number of them that believe; at such a rate was the faith making way even to an immense multitude, and so widely was the Resurrection proclaimed. So then “the people magnified them:” but they were now no longer lightly to be despised as once they were: for in a little moment, at a single turn of the scale, such have been the effects produced by the fisherman and by the publican! Earth was become a heaven, for manner of life, for boldness of speech, for wonders, for all besides; like Angels were they looked upon with wonder: all unconcerued for ridicule, for threats, for perils: compassionate5 were they, and beneficent; some of them they succoured with money, and some with words, and some with healing of their bodies and of their souls; no kind of healing (pan eido" iatreia") but they accomplished.
Peter all but pleads for himself, when at the point to inflict the punishment, and at the same time gives a lesson to the rest. For because the act would seem exceeding stern, therefore it is that he does so much6 in the case.7 In respect of the woman also the process of judgment was terrible. But8 see how many evils grow out of the sacrilege covetousness, contempt of God, impiety; and upon these too he pleaded for himself before the assembly, in that he did not immediately proceed to punishment, but first exposed the sin. None groaned, none lamented, all were terrified. For as their faith increased, the signs also were multiplied, and great was the fear among their own company: for the things which are from without do not so militate (polemei) against our peace, as do the acts of our own people. If we be firmly joined together, no9 warfare will be hard: but the mischief would be the being divided and broken up. Now they went about in the public place: with boldness they attacked even the market, and in the midst of enemies they prevailed, and that saying was fulfilled, “Be Thou Ruler in the midst among Thine enemies.” (Ps 110,2). This was a greater miracle, that they, arrested, cast into prison, should do such acts as these!
If those for lying suffered such things, what shall not the perjured suffer? Because she simply affirmed, “Yea, for so much,” ye see what she suffered. Bethink you then; they that swear and forswear themselves, of what should they be worthy? It10 comes in opportunely to-day even from the Old Testament to show you the heinousness of perjury. “There was,” it says, “a flying sickle, ten cubits in breadth.” (Zech. v. 2). The “flying” betokens the swift advent of the vengeance which pursues oaths; that it is many cubits in length and breadth, signifies the force and magnitude of the woes; that it comes flying “from heaven,” is to show that the vengeance comes from the judgment-seat on high: that it is in the form of a sickle,” denotes the inevitableness Of the doom: for just as the sickle, where it comes and has hooked the neck, is not drawn back with nothing but itself, but with the head reaped off, even so the vengeance which comes upon the sweaters is severe, and will not desist until it have completed its work. But if we swear and escape, let us not be confident; this is but to our woe. For what think ye? How many, since Ananias and Sapphira, have dared the same with them? How is it then, say you, that they have not met with the same fate? Not because it was allowed in them, but because they are reserved. for a greater punishment. For those who often sin and are not punished, have greater reason to fear and dread than if they were punished. For the vengeance is increased for them by their present impunity and the long-suffering of God. Then let us not look to this, that we are not punished; but let us consider whether we have not sinned: if sinning we are not punished, we have the more reason to tremble. Say, if you have a slave, and you only threaten him, and do not beat him; when is he most in fear, when most inclined to run away? Is is not when you only threaten him? And hence we advise each other not to be continually using threats, thereby choosing rather to agitate the mind by the terror, and lacerating it worse than with blows. For in the one instance the punishment is momentary, but in the other it is perpetual. If then no one feels the stroke of the sickle, do not look to this, but rather let each consider whether he commits such sins. Many like things are done now as were done before the Flood, yet no flood has been sent: because there is a hell threatened, and vengeance. Many sin as the people did in Sodom, yet no rain of fire has been poured down; because a river of fire is prepared. Many go the lengths of Pharaoh; yet they have not fared like Pharaoh, they have not been drowned in a Red Sea: for the sea that awaits them, is the sea of the bottomless pit, where the punishment is not accompanied with insensibility, where there is no suffocation to end all, but in ever lengthened torture, in burning, in strangling, they are consumed there. Many have offended like the Israelites, but no serpents have devoured them: there awaits them the worm that never dieth. Many have been like Gehazi, yet they have not been struck with leprosy: for instead of leprosy, it remains for them to be cut asunder, and numbered among the hypocrites. Many have both sworn and forsworn; but if they have indeed escaped, let us not be confident: the gnashing of teeth awaits them. Yea, here too they will suffer many grievous woes, though, it may be, not immediately, but after further transgressions, that the vengeance may be the greater; for even we often set out at first with small sins, and then through great offences lose all. Therefore when you see anything happening to you, call to mind that particular sin of yours. The sons of Jacob are an example of this. Remember Joseph’s brothers; they had sold their brother, they had even attempted to slay him; nay, they had slain him, as far as inclination went; they had deceived and grieved the old man; they suffered nothing. After many years they are brought into extreme peril, and now they are put in remembrance of this their sin. Exceeding wisely is this circumstance brought in. Hear what they say: “We are verily guilty concerning our brother.” (Gn 42,21). In this manner then do thou also, when anything happens, say, We are verily guilty, because we have not obeyed Christ; because we have sworn; my much swearing, and my false swearing, has fallen upon my own head. Confess thou; since they also confessed, and were saved. For what though the punishment follow not immediately? Since Ahab also did not immediately after his sin in the matter of Naboth suffer that vengeance which he yet at last suffered. (1R 21,19). And what is the reason of this? God sets thee a time, in which to wash thyself clean; but if thou persist, at last He will send down the vengeance. You have seen the fate of liars. Consider what is the fate of false swearers, consider, and desist. It is impossible a swearer should not forswear himself, whether he will or not; and no perjurer can be saved. One false oath sufficeth to finish all, to draw down upon us the whole measure of vengeance. Let us then take heed to ourselves, that we may escape the punishment due to this offence, and be deemed worthy of the loving kindness of God, through the grace and mercies of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
1 Chrys, evidently regards the death of Ananias and Sapphira as a miracle wrought by Peter (so Meyer). All that the narrative states is that Peter disclosed the sin of Ananias and foretold the fate of his wife (Lechler). The middle position seems preferable: Peter acted as the instrument of God, the agent of the divine retribution. His will acted in conscious harmony with the divine purpose of which it was the organ (so Gloag).—G. B. S.
2 Ei oudei" etolma kollasqai antoi" t. apost. For ei, which is the reading of A., and seems to be the true reading, b.c. N. have h. The passage is corrupt, but the sense may be restored by inserting the words of the sacred text as above: 1,e. To them, the Apostles, none durst join himself, but believers were the more added to the Lord, etc. Then o gar Petro" k. t. l. falls into its natural place as the comment on Petrou kan h skia. But with the other reading, h, the sense may be completed as below, p. 78, viz. “or, no man durst,” etc., [so that they were allowed to remain undisturbed in Solomon’s porch.] The modern text, after “the people magnified them,” substitutes: Eikotw": kai gar o P. k. t. l. “With reason. For indeed Peter was henceforth terrible, inflicting punishment, exposing even the thoughts of the mind: to whom also they gave more heed by reason of the miracle,” etc).
3 The modern text inserts here: “But not so Ananias: he secretes a part of the price of the field which he sold: wherefore also he is punished as one who did not manage his business rightly, and who was convicted of stealing what was his own.”
4 Edd. from E., omitting this and the following sentence, insert 5, 14, 15, and below, Jn 14,12, both of which are wanting in the old text).
5 Edd. from E. “But not only for this reason, but because, being exceedingly humane and beneficent, they succored some with money, some with healing of their bodies. Why hath Satan filled thine heart? Peter,” etc.
6 E. Edd. “therefore both in the case of the man himself,and in that of the wife, he makes the judgment terrible.”
7 Our author touches upon the difficulty which has so often been found in this narrative on account of the apparent disproportion of the penalty to the offence. But it is to be remembered that: (1) The narrative presents the sin as the most heinous—lying to God—trying to deceive the Holy Spirit whose organs the Apostles were. It was a deliberate conspiracy for this purpose. (2) These persons were members of the church who professed to possess and should have possessed the Holy Spirit. Instead they had been overcome by a Satanic principle which here makes its manifestation in pride and hypocrisy. The selfishness of the deed is the more grievous because of the great piety and sacrifice of the act which was counterfeited. Pride is the greater evil, the higher the virtue which it simulates. (3) Such a retributive miracle, besides being just in itself, may have been specially necessary in this early stage of the church’s life to warn against deception and fraud and to emphasize the principles of honor in the early church. “So terrible was this judgment in order to guard the first operations of the Holy Spirit” (Neander).—G. B. S.
8 Edd. from E. “Now if, their sin being inexcusable, he had not inflicted such punishment on them both, what contempt of God would thence have arisen! And that this was the reason, is evident from the fact, that he did not immediately,” etc.
9 E. Edd. “There will be none to war upon us: just as, if we be put asunder one from another, on the contrary all will set upon us. Hence it was that they henceforth were of good courage, and with boldness attacked,” etc.
10 Eukairon kai apo th" Palaia" deixai to calepon th" epiorkia" thmeron. Meaning perhaps that this had occurred in one of the Scripture Lessons for the day. Below, Kaqaper gar drepanon opouper an empesh ouk an kaq eauto anelkusqeih monon, alla kai apotemnomenh" th" kefalh". So A. B. N. Savil. and C., which last however has apo for apotemnomenh". Hales ap. Sav. suggests, that apotemn. th" kef. ought to be rejected: it is better however to supply ei" trachlon before empesh as in the translation. The meaning is explained in Serm. ad. Pop. Antioch. 15,t. 2,158. D. “A flying sword, one might manage to escape from, drepanhn de ei" ton trachlon empesousan kai anti scoiniou genomenhn, oudei" an diafugoi, but from a sickle darted round the neck and catching it as a halter would, there can be no escape.” Hence it appears that the innovator has quite mistaken the Author’s meaning. He reads, Kaqaper gar drepanon ei" trachlon empeson ouk an kaq eauto anelkusqeih, menei de pw" eti kai apotemnomenh" th" kefalh": 1,e. “having cut off one head, it still remains, that it may cut off more:” which is irrelevant to the matter in hand, viz. how). to drepanoeide" denotes to afukton th" timwria". Of the Edd. Savile alone retains the old and genuine reading. Montf. strangely remarks, “Savilianam lectionem esse Morelliana quam sequimur obscuriorem.”
ACTS V. 17, 18.—“Then having risen up, the high-priest and they that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison.”
“Having risen up,” that is, being1 roused, being excited at the things taking place, the high-priest and they which were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the Apostles:” they now assault them more vigorously: “and put them in the common prison;” but did not forthwith bring them to trial, because they expected them again to be softened down. “But the Angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” “And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.” (v. 19–21). This was done both for the encouragement of the disciples, and for the benefit and instruction of the others. And observe how the proceeding in the present instance is just the same as in what Christ Himself did. Namely, in His miracles though He does not let men see them in the act of being wrought, He furnishes the means whereby they may be apprised of the things wrought: thus, in His Resurrection, He did not let them see how He rose in the water made wine, the guests do not see it done, for they have been drinking much, and the discernment He loaves to others. Just so in the present case, they do not see them in the act of being brought forth, but the proofs from which they might gather what had been done, they do see. And it was by night that the Angel put them forth. Why was this? Because2 in this way they were more believed than they would have been in the other: so, people would not even have had occasion to put the question: they would not in some other way have believed. So it was in the old times, in the case of Nebuchadnezzar: he saw them praising God in the furnace, and then indeed he was put in amazement. (Da 3,24). Whereas then these priests ought as their first question to have asked, How came ye out? instead of this, as if nothing had happened, they ask, “Did we not straitly charge you not to speak?” (v. 28). And observe, by report of others they are apprised of all the circumstances: they see the prison remaining closed with safety, and the guards standing before the doors.3 A twofold security this; as was the case at the sepulchre, where was both the seal, and the men to watch. See how they fought against God! Say, was this of man’s doing, that happened to them? Who led them forth, when the doors were shut? How came they out, with the keepers standing before the door? Verily they must be mad or drunken to talk so. Here are men, whom neither prison, nor bonds, nor closed doors, had been able to keep in; and yet they expect to overpower them: such is their childish folly! Their officers come and confess what has taken place, as if on purpose to debar them from all show of reason. Do you mark how there is miracle upon miracle, differing in kind, some wrought by them, others on them, and these more illustrious than the others? “And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high-priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high-priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.” (v. 21–25). It4 is well ordered that the information was not brought to them at once, but they are first utterly at a loss what to think, that when they have considered it well and seen that there is a Divine Power in the case, then they may learn the whole state of the case. “Then came one, and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the other officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the multitude, lest they should have been stoned.” (v. 25, 26). O the folly of the men! “They feared,” saith he, “the multitude.” Why, how had the multitude helped the Apostles? When they ought to have feared that God Who was continually delivering them like winged creatures out of their power, instead of that, “they feared the multitude! “And the high-priest,” shameless, reckless, senseless, “asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (v. 27, 28). What then (say the Apostles)? Again with mildness they address them; and yet they might have said, “Who are ye, that ye countermand God?” But what do they say? Again in the way of exhortation and advice, and with much mildness, they make answer. “Then Peter and the other Apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” (v. 29). High magnanimity! He shows them too that they are fighting against God.5 For, he says, Whom ye killed, Him hath God raised up. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (v. 30, 31). And again they refer the whole to the Father, that He should not seem to be alien to the Father. “And hath exalted,” saith He, “with his right hand.” He affirms not merely the Resurrection, but the Exaltation also. “For to give repentance to Israel.” Observe here as before the gain (to them): observe the perfection of doctrine conveyed in the form of apology. “And we are witnesses of these things.” (v. 32). Great boldness of speech! And the ground of their credibility: “And so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Do you observe that they allege not only the Spirits testimony? And they said not, “Whom He hath given” to us, but, “to them that obey Him: therein alike showing their own unassuming: temper, and intimating the greatness of the gift, and showing the hearers that it was possible for them also to receive the Spirit. See, how these people were instructed both by deeds and by words, and yet they paid no heed, that their condemnation might be just. For to this end did God suffer the Apostles to be brought to trial, that both their adversaries might be instructed, and all might learn, and that the Apostles might be invigorated to boldness of speech. “And they hearing that, were cut to the heart.” (v. 33). The6 others (on a former occasion) “when they heard these things were pricked;” here they were cut (as with a saw) (dieprionto) “and desired to slay them.” (ch. 2,37).
But it is necessary now to look over again what we have read. “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. Brought7 them forth.” (Recapitulation, 5,19, 20). He did not bring them away to benefit themselves thereby, but, “Stand,” he says, “and speak in the temple to the people.” But if the guards had put them out, as those thought, they would have fled, that is, supposing they had been induced to come out: and if those had put them forth, they would not have stood in the temple, but would have absconded. No one is so void of sense, as not at once to see this. “Did we not straitly charge you?” (v. 28). Well, if they undertook to obey you, ye do well to call them to account: but if even at the very time they told you they would not obey, what account have you to call them to, what defence is there for them to make? “And behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”8 Mc the inconsistency of the accusations and the exceeding folly. They want to make it appear now, that the dispositions of the Jews9 are sanguinary, as if they were doing these things not for the truth’s sake, but in the wish to be revenged. And for this reason too the Apostles do not answer them with defiance (qrasew"): for they were teachers. And yet where is the man, who, with a whole city to back him, and endowed with so great grace, would not have spoken and uttered something big? But not so did these: for they were not angered; no, they pitied these men, and wept over them, and marked in what way they might free them from their error and wrath. And they no longer say to them, “Judge ye:” (ch. 4,19) but they simply affirm, saying, “Whom God raised up, Him do we preach: it is by the will of God that these things are done.” They said not, Did not we tell you even then, that “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard?” (Ac 4,20). for they are not contentious for glory; but they repeat again the same story,—the Cross, the Resurrection. And they tell not, wherefore He was crucified—that it was for our sakes: but they hint at this indeed, but not openly as yet, wishing to terrify them awhile. And yet what sort Of rhetoric is here? None at all,10 but everywhere it is still the Passion, and the Resurrection and the Ascension, and the end wherefore: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,” etc. (v. 30, 31). And yet what improbable assertions are these! Very improbable, no doubt; but for all that, not rulers, not people, had a word to say against them: but those had their mouths stopped, and these received the teaching. “And we,” saith he, “are witnesses of these things.” (v. 32). Of what things? Of His having promised forgiveness and repentance: for the Resurrection indeed was acknowledged, now. But that He giveth forgiveness, both we are witnesses, and “so is the Holy Ghost,” Who would not have come down, unless sins had been first remitted: so that this is an indisputable proof. “When they heard that, they, were cut” (to the heart), “and took counsel to slay them.” (v. 33). Hearest thou of the forgiveness of sins, O wretched man, and that God doth not demand punishment, and dost thou wish to slay them? What wickedness was this! And yet, either they ought to have convicted them of lying, or if they could not do that, to have believed: but if they did not choose to believe, yet they ought not to slay them. For what was there deserving of death? Such was their intoxication, they did not even see what had taken place. Observe, how everywhere the Apostles, when they have made mention of the crime, add the mention of forgiveness; showing, that while what had been done was worthy of death, that which was given was proffered to them as to benefactors! In what other way could any one have persuaded them?
“Then stood up the high-priest,” etc. As11 men in high repute, these(the Apostles) were about to take their place near to the Prophets. The Sadducees were they that were most sore on the subject of the Resurrection. But perchance some one will say: Why, what man, endowed with such gifts as the Apostles were, would not have been great? But consider,12 I pray you, how, before that they were endowed with the grace, “they were continuing steadfastly with one accord in prayer” (ch. 1,14), and depending on the aid from above. And dost thou, my beloved, hope for the kingdom of heaven, yet endurest naught? And hast thou received the Spirit, yet sufferest not such things, nor encounterest perils? But they, before they had breathing-time froth their former dangers, were again led into others. And even this too, that there is no arrogance, no conceit, how great a good it is! To converse with mildness, what a gain it is! For not all that they did was the immediate work of grace, but there are many marks of their own zeal as well. That the gifts of grace shine forth in them, this was from their own diligence. See, for instance, from the very beginning, how careful Peter is; how sober and vigilant: how they that believed east away their riches, had no private property, continued in prayer, showed that they were of one mind, passed their time in fastings. What grace, I ask (alone), did all this? Therefore it is that He brings the evidence home to them through their own officers. Just as in the case of Christ, it was their officers who said, “Never man spake as this Man speaketh.” (Jn 7,46). These13 (proofs) are more apt to be believed than the Resurrection.—Observe also the moderation shown by (the rulers) themselves, and how they give way. “The high-priest asked them, saying,” etc. (v. 27): here he reasons with them, forsooth, in a moderate tone; for he was frightened: indeed to hinder was what he desired rather than to kill, since that he cannot do: and with the view to rouse them all, and show them the extreme danger they are in, “And intend,” says he (to the Apostles),” to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Dost thou still take Him to be but man? He wants to make it appear that the injunction was necessary for their own safety. But mark what (Peter) says: “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (v. 31). Here he forbears to mention the Gentiles, not to give them a handle against him. “And they desired,” it says, “to slay them.” (v. 33). See again these in perplexity, these in pain: but those in quiet and cheerfulness and delight. It is not merely, They were grieved, but “They were cut” (to the heart). Truly this makes good that proverb, “Evil do, evil fare:” as we may see in this case. Here were these men in bonds, set at the bar of judgment, and the men that sit in judgment upon them were in distress and helpless perplexity. For as he who strikes a blow upon the adamant, gets the shock of the blow himself, so it was with these men. But they saw that not only was their boldness of speech not stopped, but rather their preaching increased the more, and that they discoursed without a thought of fear, and afforded them no handles against them.
Let us imitate these, my beloved: let us be undaunted in all our dangers. There is nothing dreadful to him that fears God; but all that is dreadful is for others. For when a man is delivered from his passions, and regards all present things as a shadow, say, from whom shall he suffer anything dreadful? whom shall he have to fear? whom shall he need plead to? Let us flee to this Rock which cannot be shaken. If any one were to build for us a city, and throw up a wall around it, and remove us to a land uninhabited, where there were none to disturb us, and there supply us with abundance of everything, and not suffer us to have aught to trouble us with anybody, he would not set us in such perfect safety, as Christ hath done now. Be it a city made of brass, if you will, surrounded on all sides with a wall, lofty and impregnable, let there be no enemy near it; let it have land plentiful and rich, let there be added abundance of other things, let the citizens too be mild and gentle, and no evil-doer there, neither robber, nor thief,’ no informer, no court of justice, but merely agreements (sunallalmata); and let us dwell in this city: not even thus would it be possible to live in security. Wherefore? Because there could not but be differences with servants, with wives, with children, to be a groundwork of much discomfort. But here was nothing of the kind; for here was nothing at all to pain them or cause any discomfort. Nay, what is more wonderful to say, the very things which are thought to cause discomfort, became matter of all joy and gladness. For tell me, what was there for them to be annoyed at? what to take amiss? Shall we cite a particular case for comparison with them? Well, let there be one of consular dignity, let him be possessed of much wealth, let him dwell in the imperial city, let him have no troublesome business with anybody, but only live in delight, and have nothing else but this to do, seated at the very summit of wealth and honor and power: and let us set against him a Peter, in bonds if you will, in evils without number: and we shall find that he is the man that lives the most delightfully. For when there is such excess of joy, as to be delighted when in bonds, think what must be the greatness of that joy! For like as those who are high in office, whatsoever evils may happen, are not sensible of them, but continue in enjoyment: so did these the more rejoice on account of these very evils. For it is impossible, impossible in words to express how great pleasure falls to their lot, who suffer for Christ’s sake: for they rejoice in their sufferings, rather than in their good things. Whoso loves Christ, knows what I say.—But what as regards safety? And who, I ask, if he were ever so rich, could have escaped so many perils, going about among so many different nations, for the sole purpose14 of bringing about a reformation in their manner of life? For it was just as if by royal mandate that they carried all before them, nay, far more easily, for never mandate could have been so effectual, as their words were. For the royal edict compels by necessity, but these drew men willingly and spontaneously, yea, and with hearts above measure thankful. What royal edict, I ask, would ever have persuaded men to part with all their property and their lives; to despise home, country, kindred, yea, even self-preservation? Yet the voices of fishermen and tent-makers availed for this. So that they were both happy, and more powerful and strong than all others. “Yes,” say you, “those of course were, for they wrought miracles.” (supra, p. 83, note 4). But I ask what miracles did those who believed work. the three thousand, and the five thousand; and yet these, we read, passed their time in gladness? And well they might: for thai which is the groundwork of all discomforts, the possession of riches, was done away with. For that, that, I say, was ever the cause both of wars and fighting, and grief, and discomfort, and all evils: the thing which makes life full of labor and troubles, it is that. And indeed it would be found that many more rich than poor have reason to be sad. If any think this is not true, their notion is derived not from the nature of the things, but from their own fancy. And if the rich do enjoy some sort of pleasure, this is not to be wondered at: for even those who are covered all over with the itch, have a good deal of pleasure. For that the rich are for all the world like these, and their mind affected in the same sort, is plain from this circumstance. Their cares annoy them, and they choose to be engrossed with them for the sake of the momentary pleasure: while those who are free from these affections, are in health and without discomfort. Whether is more pleasant, I ask, whether of the two more safe? To have to take thought only for a single loaf of bread and suit of clothes, or for an immense family, both slaves and freemen, not having care about himself (only)? For as this man has his fears for himself, so have you for those who depend on your own person. Why,15 I pray you, does poverty seem a thing to be shunned? Just in the same way as other good things are, in the judgment of many, things to be deprecated. “Yes,” say you, “but it is not that those good things are subjects for deprecation, but that they are hard of attainment.” Well, so is poverty, not a thing to be deprecated, but hard of attainment: so that if one could bear it, there would be no reason to deprecate it. For how is it that the Apostles did not deprecate it? how is it that many even choose it, and so far from deprecating, even run to it? For that which is really a thing to be deprecated, cannot be an object of choice save to madmen. But if it be the men of philosophic and elevated minds that betake themselves to this, as to a safe and salubrious retreat, no wonder if to the rest it wears a different appearance. For, in truth, the rich man seems to me to be just like a city, unwalled, situated in a plain, inviting assailants from all sides: but poverty, a secure fortress, strong as brass can make it, and the way up to it difficult. “And yet,” say you, “the fact is just the reverse: for these are they, who are often dragged into courts of law, these are they who are overborne and ill-treated.” No: not the poor, as poor, but those who being poor want to be rich. But I am not speaking of them, but of such as make it their study to live in poverty. For say, how comes it that nobody ever drags the brethren of the hills into courts of law? and yet if to be poor is to be a mark for oppression, those ought most of all to be dragged thither, since they are poorer than all others. How comes it that nobody drags the common mendicants into the law-courts? Because they are come to the extreme of poverty. How is it that none does violence to them, none lays vexatious informations against them? Because they abide in a stronghold too safe for that. How many think it a condition hard to struggle against, poverty, I mean, and begging! What then, I ask, is it a good thing to beg? “It is good, if there be comfort,” say you; “if there be one to give: it is a life so free from trouble and reverses, as every one knows.” But I do not mean to commend this; God forbid! what I advise is the not aiming at riches.
For say, whom would you rather call blessed? those who find themselves at home with virtue, (epithdeiou" pro" arethn) or those who stand aloof? Of course, those who are near. Say then, which of the two is the man to learn anything that is profitable, and to shine in the true wisdom? the former, or the latter? The first, all must see. If you doubt it, Satisfy yourself in this way. Fetch hither from the market-place any of the poor wretches there; let him be a cripple, lame, maimed: and then produce some other person, comely of aspect, strong in body, full of life and vigor in every part, overflowing with riches: let him be of illustrious birth, and possessed of great power. Then let us bring both these into the school of philosophy: which of them, I ask, is more likely to receive the things taught? The first precept, at the outset, “Be lowly and moderate” (for this is Christ’s command): which will be most able to fulfil it, this one or the other? “Blessed are they that mourn” (Mt 5,4): which will most receive this saying? “Blessed are the lowly:” which will most listen to this? “Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Mt 5,8 Mt 5,6 Mt 5,10). Which will with ease receive these sayings? And, if you will, let us apply to all of them these rules, and see how they will fit. Is not the one inflamed and swollen all over, while the other is ever lowly minded and subdued in his whole bearing? It is quite plain. Yes, and there is a saying to that effect among those that are without: “(I was) a slave,16 Epictetus by name, a cripple in body, for poverty a very Irus, and a friend of the Immortals.” For how, I would ask, can it be otherwise, but that the soul of the rich must teem with evils; folly, vainglory, numberless lusts, anger and passion, covetousness, iniquity, and what not? So that even for philosophy, the former is more congenially (epithdeia) disposed than the latter. By all means seek to ascertain which is the more pleasant: for this I see is the point everywhere discussed, whether such an one has the more enjoyable way of life. And yet even as regards this, we need not be in doubt; for to be near to health, is also to have much enjoyment. But whether of the two, I would ask, is best disposed (epithdeio") to the matter now in hand, that which we will needs carry into accomplishment—our law, I mean—the poor man or the rich? Whether of them will be apt to swear? The man who has children to be provoked with, the man who has his covenants with innumerable parties, or the man who is concerned to apply for just a loaf of bread or a garment? This man has not even need of oaths, should he wish, but always lives free from cares of business; nay, more, it is often seen that he who is disciplined to swear not at all, will also despise riches; and one shall see in his whole behavior his ways all branching off from this one good habit, and leading to meekness, to contempt of riches, to piety, to subduedness of soul, to compunction of heart. Then let us not be indolent, my beloved, but let us again show great earnestness: they who have succeeded, that they may keep the success achieved, that they be not easily caught by the receding wave, nor the refluent tide carry them back again [they17 too who are yet behindhand, that they may be raised up again, and strive to make up that which is wanting. And meanwhile let those who have succeeded, help those who have not been able to do the same]: and by reaching out their hands, as they would to men struggling in the deep water, receive them into the haven of no-swearing (anwmosia"). For it is indeed a haven of safety, to swear not at all: whatever storms burst upon us, to be in no danger of sinking there: be it anger, be it insult, be it passion, be it what it may, the soul is stayed securely; yea, though one have vented some chance word or other that ought not, and had been better not, to be spoken, yet be has laid himself under no necessity, no law. (Supra, Hom. 9,§5. ad. Pop. Ant. 8,§3). See what Herod did for his oath’s sake: he cut off the head of the Fore-runner. “But because of his oaths,” it says, “and because of them which sat at meat with him” (Mc 6,26), he cut off the head of the Prophet. Think what the tribes had to suffer for their oath in the matter of the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 21,5–10): what Saul had to suffer for his oath (1S 14,24, etc).. For Saul indeed perjured himself, but Herod did what was even worse than perjury, he committed murder. Joshua again—you know how it fared with him, for his oath in the matter of the Gibeonites. (Jos 9). For it is indeed a snare of Satan, this swearing. Let us burst18 the cords; let us bring ourselves into a condition in which it will be easy (not to swear); let us break loose from every entanglement, and from this snare of Satan. Let us fear the command of the Lord: let us settle ourselves in the best of habits: that, making progress, and having achieved this and the rest of the commandments, we may obtain those good things which are promised to them that love Him, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
1 Oecumenius has in part preserved the true reading, t. e. diegerqei", kinhqei", epi toi" ginomenoi" [text omitted] sfodroteron autoi" epitiqetai. A). b.c. Cat). t. e., dihgerqh, kinhqei" epi toi" gen. <dqŸKai eq. autou" en t. d.</dqŸ Nun sfodr. autoi" epitiqentai. And again after praou" esesqai,—Kai sfodr. epitiqentai (Cat). epitiqetai): eqento autou", f., en t. d. Aggelo" de k. t. l.—E. D. F. Edd. “Nothing more reckless than wickedness, nothing more audacious. Having learned by experience the courage of these men, from the attempts they had made before, they nevertheless attempt, and again come to the attack. What means it, ‘And having risen up, the high-priest and they that were with him?’ He was roused, it says, being excited at what had taken place. ‘And laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison.’ Now they assault them more vigorously: but did not forthwith, etc. And whence is it manifest that they assaulted them more vigorously? From their putting them in the common prison. Again they are involved in danger, and again they experience succor from God. And in what manner, hear from what follows.”
2 Oti outw mallon h ekeinw" episteuqhsan: outw kai ouk an epi to erwthsai hlqon, ouk an eterw" episteusan. If it be meant that the Apostles were more believed because the miracle itself was not seen, than they would have been if the Angel had brought them out in open day, this may be understood in a sense which St. Chrys. expresses elsewhere, viz. with reference to the nature of faith: “in the latter case there could have been no room for doubt; people would have been forced to acknowledge the claims of the Apostles.” Thus Hom. 6,in 1Co “Put the case that Christ should come this moment with all the Angels, reveal Himself as God, and all be subject unto Him: would not the heathen believe? But will this be counted unto the heathen for faith? No: this were no faith; for a compulsory power from without—the visible appearance—would have effected this. There is no free choice in the matter: ouk esti to pragma proairesew".” But then the next sentence ought to be, Ekeinw" gar oud an epi to er. hlqon: ei de ouc outw", ouk an eterw" ep., or to that effect.—Perhaps, however, the meaning is rather: “It was so plain to common sense that a miracle must have been wrought, that had the Angel brought them out in the sight of all men (outw), they could not have been more believed than they had a right to be as the case was (ekeinw"). Had the miracle been performed openly (outw), people would have had no occasion even to ask, How is this? And they who, as it was, were not brought to ask such a question, would certainly not have believed under any other circumstances. So in the Old Testament, Nebuchadnezzar, when he sees the Holy Men praising God in the furnace, is brought to ask in amazement, Did we not cast three men, etc.: but these priests are so hardened, that instead of asking as they ought to have done, How came ye out? they only ask, as if nothing had happened. Did we not straitly charge you, etc. And observe, they have no excuse for their wilful apathy: for they have had a full report of the circumstances from the officers: the prison shut, the guards at their posts.” If this be the meaning, we must replace ouk an or oud an in the sentence oti outw mallon k. t. l. But the text is too corrupt to be restored by any simple emendation.—Edd. “Because in this way, etc. especially as they would hot have been brought to ask the question, nor yet in another case would they themselves have believed;” allw" te kai oti ouk an, and oute mhn eterw" an kai autoi episteusan.
3 Here the mss. insert v. 21–23, inconveniently; for it interrupts the connection. Chrys. here deviates from his usual method, not following the narrative point by point, but reflecting first upon the conduct of the priests. Of course it is to be understood, that the whole text, at least to 5,28, had been first read out.
4 In the mss. this comment is placed before 5,24).
5 Here A). b.c. N. insert v. 29 omitted above by the two first. The following sentence, omitted here by D. E. F. and inserted after 5,31, is there repeated by A). b.c.
6 E. Edd. “Observe the excess of their wickedness. When they ought to have been struck with alarm at what they heard, here they are cut (to the heart), and take counsel in their temerity (bouleuontai eikh) to slay (them).” The innovator did not perceive the reference to 2,37 in oi alloi “tauta akousante" katenughsan.”
7 E. and Edd. “‘Having brought them forth.’ He does not himself bring them away, but lets them go: that in this way also their intrepidity might be known; which also they showed, in that by night they entered into the temple and taught.” In the following sentence perhaps the purport of what St. Chrys. said was, that “if, as the priests supposed, the guards had let them out, the guards themselves would have absconded, and the Apostles would not have stood in the temple, but would have escaped.” Ei ge peisqente" may have been said of the guards, “if they had been bribed or otherwise induced to let them out;” but all the mss. have ei ge p. exhlqon, in the sense, “supposing, which is not likely, that the Apostles had been induced to come forth at the request of the guards.” Savile gives this clause to the latter part, beginning as E. and Edd. with mallon de ei exeb. for kai ei exeb. “Supposing they had been induced to come out, or rather if those had put them out:” Ben. refers it to what precedes; “they would have fled, if they had come out at their request: nay, if those had put them out,” etc.
8 The meaning of the council’s statement: “Ye intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (28) probably is: You would cause an insurrection against us and thus be avenged for the crucifixion of Jesus (Meyer): others take it to mean: You would carry the idea that we had murdered an innocent man in crucifying Jesus (Hackett). The strong language of Peter in reply (29) which seems to imply: We cannot help consequences; we must obey God in our preaching and healing, favors the former view. The confusion of the text of Chrys. here (see (note in loco) makes his view on this point uncertain.—G. B.S).
9 fonika" loipon boulontai deixai ta" proairesei" twn AEIoudaiwn. As the latter part of the sentence, w" ou diAE alhqeian tauta poiountwn allAE amunasqai boulomenwn, seems inapplicable to the Jews, and to be meant for the Apostles, it may be conjectured that the true reading is twn Apostolwn: “that the Apostles were bent upon having blood.” But all the mss. have twn AEIoudaiwn, and the sense so far is satisfactory: viz. They want to make it appear now indeed what bloody-minded men the Jews are: now, not when Christ was crucified.
10 The modern text: “So artlessly did they preach the Gospel of life. But when he says, ‘He hath exalted,’ he states for what purpose, namely, ‘to give repentance’ he adds, ‘to Israel, and remission of sins.’ But, it will be said, these things seemed incredible. How say you? And why not rather credible. seeing that neither rulers,” etc.
11 Here begins a second recapitulation or rather gleaning, partly of matter not touched upon before, partly of further remarks on what has been said.— JW" eudokimounte" eggu" twn profhtwn emellon istasqai: This relates to 5,13–16, as the reason why they were “filled with indignation.” The innovator (E. F. D. Edd). not perceiving this, alters w" eudokimounte" to h w" eudokimounta", which he joins to the former sentence, “How else could any one have persuaded them than (by treating them) as persons in high repute?” and adds, “And mark their malignity: they set on them the Sadducees who were most sore on the subject of the Resurrection: but they got nothing by their wickedness. But perchance,” etc.
12 St. Chrysostom frequently contends against the common excuse, “We cannot attain to the holiness of the first Christians, because there are no miracles now.” Thus, he urges, Hom. in Matt. xlvi., that it was not their miracles that made the saints, both of the Old and of the New Testament, great and admirable, but their virtues: without which, no miracles would have availed for themselves or others: that if they wrought miracles, it was after they, by their noble qualities and admirable lives had attracted the Divine grace: for miracles proceed from a holy life, and this is also their goal: only he that lives a holy life receives this grace; and he that receives it, receives it only that he may amend the life of others …Let no man therefore wait for miracles. It afflicts the evil spirit when he is expelled from the body, much more when he sees the soul set free from sin: for in this lies Satan’s great power, and to destroy this, Christ died. In expelling this from thyself, thou hast performed a miracle greater than all miracles. This is not my doctrine; it is the doctrine of the Apostle Paul. 1Co 12,31, the “more excellent way” is not miracles, but Charity, the root of all good. If we practise this we need no miracles; and if we practise not from miracles we shall get no good).
13 tauta th" anastasew" pistotera. E. omits this, and inserts aphggeilan upostreyante" aper eidon. “They reported on their return just what they had seen:” so Edd. except Savile, who retains the reading of E. and adds to it as above (from N)).
14 eqnesi tosoutoi" omilwn uper metastasew" politeia" monh".
15 Edd. “And why,” you will ask, “is poverty thought a thing to be fled from!” Why, because other good things are, in the judgment of many, things to be fled from, not because they are to be deprecated, but because hard of attainment).
16 The Epigram is preserved in the Palatine Anthology, 7. 676.
Doulo" AEEpikthto" genomhn, kai swmati phro",
kai penian \Iro", kai filo" aqanatoi".
But our mss. except E., for \Iro" have iero", “sacred.”
17 Something is wanting in the old text to complete the sense: the matter in the brackets is supplied from E. D. F. Below, the same have: “to swear not at all: a haven, that one be not drowned by the storm bursting. For though wrath, though (sense of) insult, though passion boil over, yea though anything, be what it may, the soul is in security, so that it will not even utter aught that should not be spoken: for one has laid himself,” etc.
18 Diarrhxwmen ta scoinia: en eukolia katasthswmen eautou": pash" aporia" apallagwmen kai th" satanikh" pagido". 1,e. “The cords of this snare are, the ties of worldly business in the possession or pursuit of wealth: there is a condition, as was said above, in which it is full easy not to swear; let us bring ourselves into that condition: all that makes us say, ‘We cannot help swearing,’ (pash" aporia"), let us have done with it, and break loose from the snare of the devil.” The exhortation connects both parts of the “Morale”—the commendation of voluntary poverty, and the invective against swearing. In the modern text (E. F. D. Edd). this is lost sight of: it reads: diarr. ta sc. kai en euk. katasthsomen (al). -swmen) pash" fulakh": apallagwmen th" sat. pag. “Let us hurst the cords, and we shall bring ourselves into a facility of all watchfulness: let us break loose,” etc).
Chrysostom on Acts 1200