Chrysostom on Acts 4300
ACTS XX. 1.—“And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.”
There was need of much comforting after that uproar. Accordingly, having done this, he goes into Macedonia, and then into Greece. For, it says, “when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, and there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.” (v. 2, 3). Again he is persecuted by the Jews, and goes into Macedonia. “And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas.” (v. 4, 5). But how does he call Timothy a man “of Thessalonica?”1 This is not his meaning, but, “Of Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus and Gaius: of Derbe, Timothy,”2 etc., these, he says, went before him to Troas, preparing the way for him. “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.” (v. 6). For it seems to me that he made a point of keeping the feasts in the large cities. “From Philippi,” where the affair of the prison had taken place. This was his third coming into Macedonia, and it is a high testimony that be bears to the Philippians, which is the reason why he makes some stay there. “And upon the day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (v. 7). It was then the (season between Easter and) Pentecost.3 See how everything was subordinate to the preaching. It was also, it says, the Lord’s day.4 Not even during night-time was he silent, nay he discoursed the rather then, because of stillness. Mc how he both made a long discourse, and beyond the time of supper itself. But the Devil disturbed the feast—not that he prevailed, however—by plunging the hearer in sleep, and causing him to fall down. “And,” it says, “there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.” (v. 8–12). But observe, I pray you, the theatre, how crowded it was: and the miracle, what it was. “He was sitting in a window,” at dead of night. Such was their eagerness to hear him! Let us take shame to ourselves! “Aye, but a Paul” say you, “was discoursing then.” Yes, and Paul discourses now, or rather not Paul, either then or now, but Christ, and yet none cares to hear. No window in the case now, no importunity of hunger, or sleep, and yet we do not care to hear: no crowding in a narrow space here, nor any other such comfort. And the wonderful circumstance is, that though he was a youth, he was not listless and indifferent; and though (he felt himself) weighed down by sleep, he did not go away,5 nor yet fear the danger of falling down. It was not from listlessness that he slumbered, but from necessity of nature. But observe, I beseech you, so fervent was their zeal, that they even assembled in a third loft: for they had not a Church yet. “Trouble not yourselves,” he says. He said not, “He shall come to life again, for I will raise him up:” but mark the unassuming way in which he comforts them: “for his life,” says he, “is in him. When he was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten.” This thing cut short the discourse; it did no harm, however. “When he had eaten,” it says, “and discoursed a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.” Do you mark the frugality of the supper? Do you observe how they passed the whole night? Such were their meals, that the hearers came away sober, and fit for hearing. But we, in what do we differ from dogs? Do you mark what a difference (between us and those men)? “And they brought the young man alive, and,” it says, “were not a little comforted,” both because they received him back alive, and because a miracle had been wrought.6 “And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Thasos,7 there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.” (v. 13). We often find Paul parting from the disciples. For behold again, he himself goes afoot: giving them the easier way, and himself choosing the more painful. He went afoot, both that he might arrange many matters, and by way of training them to bear a parting from him.8 “And when he had joined us at Thasos, having taken him on board, we came to Mytilene; and having sailed thence on the morrow, we come over against Chios”—then they pass the island—“and on the next day we touched at Samos, and having stopped at Trogylium, on the following day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.” (v. 14–16). Why this haste? Not for the sake of the feast, but of the multitude. At the same time, by this he conciliated the Jews, as being one that did honor the feasts, wishing to gain even his adversaries: at the same time also he delivers the word.9 Accordingly, see what great gain accrued, from all being present. But that the interests of the people of Ephesus might not be neglected on that account, he managed for this in a different way. But let us look over again what has been said.
(Recapitulation). “And having embraced them,” it says, “he departed for to go into Macedonia.” (v. 1). By this again he refreshed them (anekthsato), giving them much consolation. “And having exhorted” the Macedonians, “with much discourse, he came into Greece.” (v. 2). Observe how we everywhere find him accomplishing all by means of preaching, not by miracles. “And we, sailed,” etc. The writer constantly shows him to us as hasting to get to Syria; and the reason of it was the Church, and Jerusalem, but still he restrained his desire, so as to set all right in those parts also10 And yet Troas is not a large place: why then do they pass seven days in it? Perhaps it was large as regarded the number of believers. And after he had passed seven days there, on the following day he spent the night in teaching: so hard did he find it to tear himself away from them, and they from him. “And when we came together” it says, “to break bread.” (v. 7–12). At the very time (of breaking bread) the discourse having taken its commencement,(*) extended:11 as representing that they were hungry, and it was not unseasonable: for the principal object (which brought them together) was not teaching, but they came together “to break bread;” discourse however having come up, he prolonged the teaching. See how all partook also at Paul’s table. It seems to me, that he discoursed while even sitting at table, teaching us to consider all other things as subordinate to this. Picture to yourselves, I beseech you, that house with its lights, with its crowd, with Paul in the midst, discoursing, with even the windows occupied by many: what a thing it was to see, and to hear that trumpet, and behold that gracious countenance!12 But why did he discourse during night time? Since “he was about to depart,” it says, and was to see them no more: though this indeed he does not tell them, they being too weak (to bear it), but be did tell it to the others. At the same time too the miracle which took place would make them evermore to remember that evening; so that the fall turned out to the advantage of the teacher. Great was the delight of the hearers, and even when interrupted it was the more increased. That (young man) was to rebuke all that are careless (of the word), he whose death was caused by nothing else than this, that he wished to hear Paul. “And we went before to ship,” etc. (v. 13). Wherefore does the writer say where they came, and where they went to? To show in the first place that he was making the voyage more leisurely—and this upon human grounds—and sailing past (some): also (for the same reason he tells) where he made a stay, and what parts he sailed past; (namely,) “that he might not have to spend the time in Asia.” (v. 16). Since had he come there, he could not have sailed by; he did not like to pain those who would have begged him to remain. “For he hasted,” it says, “if it were possible for him to keep the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem:” and (this) was not possible of he stayed). Observe, how he is also moved like other men. For therefore it is that all this is done, that we may not fancy that he was above human nature: (therefore) you see him desiring (something), and hasting, and in many instances not obtaining (his object): for those great and holy men were partakers of the same nature with us; it was in the will and purpose that they differed, and so it was that also they attracted upon themselves the great grace they did. See, for instance, how many things they order by an economy of their own. “That we give not offence” (2Co 6,3) to those who wish (to take offence), and, “That our ministry be not blamed.” Behold, both an irreproachable life and on the other hand condescension. This is (indeed to be ) called economy, to the (very) summit and height (of it).13 For he that went beyond the commandments of Christ, was on the other hand more humble than all. “I am made all things to all men,” he says, “that I might gain all.” (1Co 9,22). He cast himself also upon dangers, as he says in another place; “In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes in imprisonments.” (2Co 6,4-5). And great was his love for Christ. For if there be not this, all else is superfluous, both the economy (of condescending accommodation), and the irreproachable life, and the exposing himself to dangers. “Who is weak,” he says, “and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?” (2Co 11,29). These words let us imitate, and let us cast ourselves upon dangers for our brethren’s sake. Whether it be fire, or the sword, cast thyself on it, beloved, that thou mayest rescue (him that is) thy member: cast thyself, be not afraid. Thou art a disciple of Christ, Who laid down His life for His brethren: a fellow-disciple with Paul, who chose to suffer numberless ills for his enemies, for men that were warring against him; be thou filled with zeal, imitate Moses. He saw one suffering wrong, and avenged him; he despised royal luxury, and for the sake of those who were afflicted he became a fugitive, a wanderer, lonely and deserted; he passed his days in a foreign land; and yet he blamed not himself, nor said, “What is this? I despised royalty, with all that honor and glory: I chose to avenge those who were wronged, and God hath overlooked me: and not only hath He not brought me back to my former honor, but even forty years am I passing in a foreign land. Truly, handsomely14 have I received my wages, have I not!” But nothing of the kind did he say or think. So also do thou: be it that thou suffer any evil for doing good, be it that (thou have to wait) a long time, be not thou offended, be not discomposed: God will of a surety give thee thy reward. The more the recompense is delayed, the more is the interest of it increased. Let us have a soul apt to sympathize, let us have a heart that knows how to feel with others in their sorrows: no unmerciful temper (wmon), no inhumanity.
Though thou be able to confer no relief, yet weep thou, groan, grieve over what has happened: even this is not to no purpose. If it behooves us to feel for those who are justly punished by God, much more for those who suffer unjustly at the hands of men. (They of) “Aenan,”15 it saith, “came not forth to mourn for the house which was near her” (Mi 1,11): they shall receive pain, “in return for that they built for derision.” And again, Ezekiel makes this an accusation against them, that they did not grieve for (the afflicted). (Ez 16,2). What sayest thou, O Prophet? God punisheth, and shall I grieve for those that He is punishing? Yea verily: for God Himself that punisheth wisheth this: since neither does He Himself wish to punish, nay, even Himself grieves when punishing. Then be not thou glad at it. You will say, “If they are justly punished, we ought not to grieve.” Why, the thing we ought to grieve for is this—that they were found worthy of punishment. Say, when thou seest thy son undergoing cautery or the knife, dost thou not grieve? and sayest thou not to thyself, “What is this? It is for health this cutting, to quicken his recovery; it is for his deliverance, this burning?” but for all that, when thou hearest him crying out, and not able to health being restored is not enough to carry off the shock to nature. So also in the case of these, though it be in order to their health that they are punished, nevertheless let us show a brotherly feeling, a fatherly disposition. They are cuttings and cauteries, the punishments sent by God: but it is for this we ought to weep, that they were sick, that they needed such a mode of cure. If it be for crowns that any suffer these things, then grieve not; for instance, as Paul, as Peter suffered: but when it is for punishment that one suffers justice, then weep, then groan. Such was the part the prophets acted; thus one of them said, “Ah! Lord, dost thou destroy the residue of Israel?” (Ez 9,8). We see men-slayers, wicked men, suffering punishment, and we are distressed, and grieve for them. Let us not be philosophical beyond measure: let us show ourselves pitiful, that we may be pitied; there is nothing equal to this beautiful trait: nothing so marks to us the stamp of human nature as the showing pity, as the being kind to our fellow-men. In fact, therefore do the laws consign to public executioners the whole business of punishment: having compelled the judge to punish so far as to pronounce the sentence, thereafter they call forth those to perform the act itself. So true is it, that though it be justly done, it is not the part of a generous (filosofou) soul to inflict punishment, but it requires another sort of person for this: since even God punishes not by His own hand, but by means of the angels. Are they then executioners, the angels? God forbid: I say not this, but they are avenging powers. When Sodom was destroyed, the whole was done by them as the instruments: when the judgments in Egypt were inflicted, it was through them. For, “He sent,” it says, “evil angels among them.” (Ps 78,50). But when there is need of saying, God does this by Himself: thus, He sent the Son:—(b) but,16 “He that receiveth you, receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me.” (Mt 10,40). (a)And again He saith, “Then will I say unto the angels, Gather together them that do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace.” (Mt 13,30 Mt 13,41-42). But concerning the just, not so. (c) And again, “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness.” (Mt 22,13). Observe how in that case His servants minister: but when the point is to do good, see Himself doing the good, Himself calling: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.” (Mt 25,34). When the matter is, to converse with Abraham, then Himself comes to him: when it is, to depart to Sodom, He sends His servants, like a judge raising up those who are to punish. “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Mt 25,21); I (will make thee): but that other, not Himself, but His servants bind. Knowing these things, let us not rejoice over those who are suffering punishment, but even grieve: for these let us mourn, for these let us weep, that for this also we may receive a reward. But now, many rejoice even over those who suffer evil unjustly. But not so, we: let us show all sympathy: that we also may have God vouchsafed us, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
1 The phrase acri th" Asia" are omitted by a and B. and are now discarded in the leading critical editions. The residence of Timothy is not given, as being well known. It was probably Lystra (Ac 16,1).—G. B. S.
2 St. Chrysostom’s reading of 5,4 is peculiar, but does not appear in the vv. 11. of N. T. perhaps because the Edd. of Chrys. conform it to the usual text, which is Qessal. de, AEAr. kai Sek. kai Tai" Derbaio" kai Timoqeo", 1,e. two Thessalonians, and beside them Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, etc. But in the preceding chapter, 5,29, a Gaius was mentioned along with Aristarchus, and both as Macedonians. Hence it seems St. Chrys. read it with a stop after Gaio", of Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus and Gaius. In his remark, be seems to be giving a reason for striking out kai before Timoqeo": viz. “How does he call Timothy a Thessalonian, (as a negligent reader might suppose to be the case, viz., Of Thess. Ar. and Sec. and Gaius Derbaeus and Timothy?) He does not say this, but, of Thessalonians he mentions three, and then, of Derbe, Timothy, cf. 16,x., whereas Gaius was not of Derbe, but of Macedonia, xix). 29.” The note of Oecumen. on the passage shows that Derbaio" was supposed by some to be a proper name: “Of the rest, he tells us what countries they were of: for Timothy he is content with the name, his personal character was distinction enough, and besides he has already told us where T. came from: viz. 16,1. But if Derbaio" here is a noun of nation and not a proper name, perhaps he has here also mentioned his country.”
3 Penthkosth, meaning the whole of the seven weeks. The scope of the remark is, Being met for celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which followed the Sermon, and the discourse being lengthened out until midnight, they were fasting all the time (for the Eucharist was taken fasting, see Hom. 27,in ): so that, though it was during the weeks after Easter, when there was no fast, and not only so, but the Lord’s Day moreover, here was a fast protracted till midnight.
4 That the religious observance of Sunday is here alluded to has been generally assumed. Taken in connection with 1Co 16,2 and Ap 1,10, the passage renders it highly probable that at this time (about a.d. 57) the first day of the week was regularly observed by the Christians in memory of the Lord’s resurrection, although it is certain that the Jewish Christians still observed the Jewish Sabbath.—G. B. S).
5 ouk apesth, so as to lose the opportunity of hearing, and forego the “breaking of bread,” which was to follow the discourse. Comp). Hom. 10,in Gn init.
6 The narrative requires the interpretation of Chrys. that this was a case of restoration to life, not merely of revival from suspended animation (as Olshausen, Ewald, DeWette). This is established by the fact that Eutychus is said to have seen taken up nekro", not w" nekro". Moreover to hrqh vekro" (v. 9) is opposed hgagon zwnta (v. 12). He was dead; they brought him alive. It is true that the apostle says: “His life (soul) is in him,” but this is said after he had fallen upon and embraced him, or this may have been said from the standpoint of his confidence of a miraculous restoration, as Jesus said of Jairus’ daughter: “The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth,” meaning that from his standpoint and in view of his power she still lived, although she was in reality dead.—G. B. S.
7 Old text instead of (Asson has Qason, a misreading which appears in some mss. and Versions of the Acts: Cat., Nason.
8 paideuwn te autou" cwrizesqai autou: but mod. text ama kai paideuwn autou" mhde cwrizesqai autou. After this, old text hair anhcqhmen, fhsin, ei" thn Qason evidently confusing this clause of 5,13, with the first of 5,14, then, eita parecontai (for parerc)). thn nhson, followed by 5,15, 16. Mod. tent, 5,15 followed by “See, how Paul being urgent, they put to sea, and lose no time, but parercontai ta" nhsou",” and 5,16.
9 kai tou" ecqrou" elein (F). eleein) bouloueno", wishing by this means to overcome (for their good) even those who hated him. Then, ama kai ton logon kaqiei. Mod. text ama espeude ton logon kaqeinai. Mr. Field remarks on Hom. in 1 Cor. p. 553 B. where we have parainesin kaqihsi, that the much more usual expression is, ei" ti kaqeinai, and adds: “semel tantum ap. Nostrum reperimus logon kaqeinai, viz. t. 9,p. 236. E.”—our passage.
10 allAE omw" kateice ton poqon kai ta ekei katorqoun. The infinitive requires boulomeno" or the like: i.e. “though desirous to get to Jerusalem, he restrained his desire, and made a stay at Troas of seven days, wishing, etc.:” but B. gives the same sense by reading katorqwn, Cat). katwrqon. Mod. text outw" eice ton poqon kai ta ekei katorqoun).
11 Pro" auton ton kairon, archn o logo" labwn pareteinen w" endeiknumeno" peinhn: kai ouk hn akairon: ou gar prohgoumenw" ei" didaskalian kaqhken. This is evidently mutilated; the verb to o logo" is wanting: w" endeik. peinhn, either “making a display of,” or, “pleading as excuse the being hungry,” is unintelligible; so is ouk hn ak. Mod. text attempts to make sense by reading: “At the very time w enedeiknuto peinhn, kai ouk hn akairon, archn o logo" labwn paretaqh, wste ou prohg.”
12 Mod. text “many occupying even the windows, to hear that trumpet, and see that gracious countenance. What must the persons taught have been, and how great the pleasure they must have enjoyed!”
13 Touto oikonomia legetai ei" akrothta kai ei" uyo". “This”—the blameless life and therewith ougkatabasi" described in 2Co 6,3 ff—"is what one may indeed call Oikonomia—managing or dispensing things for the good of others, so that they shall have what is best for them in the best manner, without shocking their prejudices). Oikon., in the moral sense of the word, implies sugkatabasoi", letting one’s self down to the level of others for their good. (Hence below, kai ta th" oikonomia", kai (ta) tou alhptou biou). “Talk of ‘economy’—here you have it at its very top and summit, in a degree not to be surpassed.” Instead of uyo" the context seems to require “the lowest depth.” Hence mod. text to ei" akrothta einai kai uyou" areth", kai tapeinofrosunh" sugkatabasew". Kai akoue pw" o uperbainwn… “the being at the summit both of loftiness of virtue and of lowliness of condescension.” In the next sentence St. Paul is described as o uperbainwn ta paraggelmata tou Cristou, namely, the precept “that they which preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel,” 1Co 9,14).
14 Edd). kalw" ge: ou gar tou" misqou" apelabon: as if it meant, “And well that it is so: for I have not received my wages—therefore the reward is yet to come: not as it is with those who apecousi ton misqon autwn in this life, Mt 6,2 ff.” If this were the meaning, the sentence would be out of place; it should be, “He said nothing of the kind, but would rather have repressed such thoughts with the consideration, It is well: for I have not received my wages—they are yet to come.” But in fact here as elsewhere the Edd. overlook the ironical interrogation ou gar. Read kalw" ge (ou gar;) tou" misqou" ap elabon (or kalou" ge).
15 Ainan. Sav. marg., Sainan. LXX. Edd., Sennaar. Hebr., Zaanan.
16 This clause is evidently misplaced, and moreover requires to be completed. The meaning may be: “So in the highest of all God’s saving acts, the mission of the Son; for he that receiveth Him receiveth the Father.”
ACTS XX. 17–21.—“And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the Church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
See him, hasting to sail by, and yet not overlooking them, but taking order for all. Having sent for the rulers, through those he discourses to them (the Ephesians): but it is worthy of admiration, how finding himself under a necessity of saying certain great things about himself, he tries to make the least he can of it (peirata metriazein). “Ye know.” For just as Samuel, when about to deliver up the government to Saul says in their presence, “Have I taken aught of your hands? Ye are witnesses, and God also” (1S 12,3 1S 12,5); (so Paul here). David also, when disbelieved, says, “I was with the flock keeping my father’s sheep: and when the bear came, I scared her away with my hands” (1S 17,34-35): and Paul himself too says to the Corinthians “I am become a fool; ye have compelled me.” (2Co 12,11). Nay, God Himself also does the same, not speaking of himself upon any and every occasion, but only when He is disbelieved, then He brings up His benefits. Accordingly, see what Paul does here: first he adduces their own testimony: that you may not imagine his words to be mere boasting, he calls the hearers themselves as witnesses of the things he says, since he was not likely to speak lies in their presence. This is the excellence of a teacher, to have for witnesses of his merits those who are his disciples. And what is wonderful, Not for one day nor for two, says he, have I continued doing this. He wishes to cheer them for the future, that they may bravely bear all things, both the parting from him, and the trials about to take place—just as it was in the case of Moses and Joshua. And see how he begins: “How I have been with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility of mind.” Observe, what most becomes rulers: “hating pride” (Ex 18,21 LXX)., says (Moses): which (qualification) is especially in point for rulers, because to them there is (almost) a necessity of becoming arrogant. This (humility) is the groundwork of all that is good, as in fact Christ saith,1 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Mt 5,3). And (here) not simply, “with humility of mind,” but, “with all humility.” For there are many kinds of humility, in word and in action, towards rulers, and toward the ruled. Will you that I mention to you some kinds of humility? There are some who are lowly towards those who are lowly, and high towards the high: this is not the character of humility.2 Some then are such. Then, that he may not seem to be arrogant, he lays a foundation beforehand, removing that suspicion: For, “if, says he, I have acted ‘with all humility of mind,’ it is not from arrogance that I say the things I say.” Then for his gentleness, ever with much condescension making them his fellows. “With you,” he says, “have I been, serving the Lord;” he makes the good works common to them with himself: none of it his own peculiar. “What?” (you will say) “why, against God could he possibly bear himself arrogantly?” And yet there are many who do bear themselves arrogantly against God: but this man not even against his own disciples. This is the merit of a teacher, by his own achievements of virtue to form the character of his disciples. Then for his fortitude, upon which also he is very concise. “With many tears,” he says, “and temptations which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.” Do you see that he grieves at their doings? But here too he seems to show how sympathizing he was: for he suffered for those who were going to perdition, for the doers themselves: what was done to himself, he even rejoiced at it; for he belonged to that band which "rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for that Name (Ac 5,41): and again he says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you” (Col 1,24): and again, “For our light affliction, which is but for the moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2Co 4,17). These things, however, he says, by way of making the least of his merits (metriazwn). But there he show his fortitude, not so much of daring, as of enduring: “I,” says he, “have been evil entreated, but it was with you: and what is indeed the grievous part of the business, at the hands of Jews.” Observe, he puts here both love and fortitude. Mark, here, I pray you, a character of teaching: “I kept back nothing,” he says, ungruding fulness, unshrinking promptness—“ of what was profitable unto you :” because there were things which they did not need to learn. For as the hiding some things would have been like grudging, so the saying all things would be folly. This is why he adds, “that was profitable unto you. But have showed you, and have taught you :” have not only said, but also taught: not doing this either as a mere matter of form. For that this is what he means, observe what he says: “publicly, and from house to house:” thereby representing the exceeding toil, the great earnestness and endurance. “Both Jews, and Greeks.” Not (addressing myself) to you alone. “Testifying:” here, the boldness of speech: and that, even though we do no good, yet we must speak: for3 this is the meaning of “testifying,” when we speak to those who do not pay attention: and so the word diamarturasqai is for the most part used. “I call heaven and earth to witness” (Dt 4,26), diamarturomai, Moses, says: and now Paul himself, Diamarturomeno" “both to Jews and Greeks repentance toward God.” What testifiest thou? That they should be careful about their manner of life: that they should repent, and draw near to God. “Both to Jews and Greeks”—for neither did the Jews know Him—both4 by reason of their works, he says, “repentance towards God,” and, by reason that they knew not the Son, he adds, “and faith in the Lord Jesus” To what end, then, sayest thou these things? to what end dost thou put them in mind of them? What has come of it? hast thou anything to lay to their charge? Having first alarmed their feeling, then he adds, “And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” (v. 22–24). Wherefore says he this? By way of preparing them to be always ready to meet dangers, whether seen or unseen, and in all things to obey the Spirit.5 He shows that it is for great objects that he is led away from them. “Save that the Holy Ghost,” he says, me, “in every city witnesseth to me saying”—to show that he departs willingly; that (see (Hom. 45,p. 273) you may not imagine it any bond or necessity, when he says, “bound in the Spirit—that in every city bonds and afflictions await me.” Then also he adds this, “I count not my life dear, until I shall have fulfilled my course and the ministry, which I received of the Lord Jesus.” Until I shall have finished my course, says he, with joy. Do you mark how (clearly) these were the words not of one lamenting, but of one who forbore to make the most (of his troubles) (metriazonto") of one who would instruct those (whom he addressed), and sympathize with them in the things which were befalling He says not, “I grieve indeed,6 but one must needs bear it:” “but,” says he, “of none of those things do I make account, neither do I have,” 1,e. account “my life dear to me.” Why this again? not to extol himself, but to teach them, as by the former words, humility, so by these, fortitude and boldness: “I have it not precious,” i.e. “I love it not before this: I account it more precious to finish my course, to testify.” And he says not, “to preach,” “to teach”—but what says he? “to testify (diamarturasqai) — the Gospel of the grace of God.” He is about to say something more uncomfortable (fortikwteron), namely, “I am pure from the blood of all men (because on my part) there is nothing lacking:” he is about to lay upon them the whole weight and burden: so he first mollifies their feelings by saying, “And now behold I know that ye shall see my face no more.” The consolation7 is twofold: both that “my face ye shall see no more,” for in heart I am with you: and that it was not they alone (who should see him no more): for, “ye shall see my face no more, ye all, among whom I have gone about preaching the Kingdom.”8 So that he may well (say), "Wherefore I take you to record (read dio mart. for diamart).,—seeing I shall be with you no more—“ that I am pure from the blood of all men.” (v. 26). Do you mark how he terrifies them, and troubled and afflicted as their souls are, how hard he rubs them (epitribei)? But it was necessary. “For I have not shunned,” he says, “to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (v. 27). Why then, he who does not speak, has blood to answer for: that is, murder! Nothing could be more terrifying than this. He shows that they also, if they do it not, have blood to answer for. So, whereas he seems to be justifying himself, in fact he is terrifying them. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (or, bishops) to feed the Church of God (see (note 3), which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (v. 28). Do you mark? he enjoins them two things. Neither success in bringing others right of itself is any gain—for, I fear, he says, “lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away” (1Co 9,27); nor the being diligent for one’s self alone. For such an one is selfish, and seeks his own good only, and is like to him who buried his talent. “Take heed to yourselves:” this he says, not because our own salvation is more precious than that of the flock, but because, when we take heed to ourselves, then the flock also is a gainer. “In which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God.” See, it is from the Spirit ye have your ordination. This is one constraint: then he says, “To feed the Church of the Lord.”9 Lo! another obligation: the Church is the Lord’s.10 And a third: “which He hath purchased with His own blood.” It shows11 how precious the concern is; that the peril is about no small matters, seeing that even His own blood He spared not. He indeed, that he might reconcile those who were enemies, poured out even His blood: but thou, even when they are become thy friends, art not able to retain them. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (v. 29). Again he engages (enistrefei) them from another quarter, from the things which should come after: as when he says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood. After my departing,” he says, “grievous wolves shall enter in among you” (Ep 6,12); twofold the evil, both that he himself would not be present, and that others would assail them. “Then why depart, if thou knowest this beforehand?” The Spirit draws me, he says. Both “wolves,” and “grievous, not sparing the flock;” and what is worse, even “from among your own selves:” the grievous thing (this), when the war is moreover an intestine war. The matter is exceeding serious, for it is “the Church of the Lord :” great the peril for with blood He redeemed it: mighty the war, and twofold. “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (v. 30). “How then? what comfort shall there be?” “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (v. 31). See how many strong expressions are here: “with tears,” and “night and day,” and “every one.” For it was not that if he saw many,12 then he came in (to the work), but even were it for a single soul, he was capable of doing everything (for that one soul). So it was, in fact, that he compacted them together (unekrothsen) (so firmly as he did). “Enough done on my part: three years have I remained:” they had establishing enough, he says; enough of roofing. “With tears,” he says. Seest thou that the tears were on this account? The bad man grieves not: grieve thou: perhaps he will grieve also. As, when the sick man sees his physician partaking of food, he also is incited to do the same: so likewise here, when he sees thee weeping, he is softened: he will be a good and great man.13
(Recapitulation). “Not knowing,” he says, “the things that shall befall me.” (v. 22, 23). Then is this why thou departest? By no means; on the contrary (I know that), “bonds and afflictions await me.” That (there are) trials, I know, but of what kind I know not: which was more grievous. “But none of these things move me” (v. 24): for do not suppose that I say these things as lamenting them: for “I hold not my own life dear.” It is to raise up their minds that he says all this, and to persuade them not only not to flee, but also to bear nobly. Therefore it is that he calls it a “course” and a “ministry,” on the one hand, showing it to be glorious from its being a race, on the other, showing what was due from it, as being a ministry. I am a minister: nothing more. Having comforted them, that they might not grieve that he was so evil entreated, and having told them that he endured those things “with joy,” and having shown the fruits of them, then(and not before)he brings in that which would give them pain, that he may not overwhelm their minds. “And14 now behold,” etc. “Wherefore I take you to record, that I am pure from the blood of all men, because I have not shrunk from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God” (v. 25–27): * * * that (counsel) which concerns the present matter. “For I know this,” etc. (v. 29). “What then,” someone might say, “thinkest thou thyself so great? if thou shouldest depart, are we to die?” I say not this, he replies, that my absence causeth this: but what? That there should rise up against you certain of another sort: he says not, “because of my departing,” but “after my departing:” that is, after his going on his journey.—And yet this thing has happened already: much more (then will it happen) hereafter. Then we have the cause, “to draw away disciples after them.” (v. 30). That there are heresies, this is the cause, and no other than this. Then comes also consolation. But if He “purchased” it “with His own blood,” He will assuredly stand forward in its defence. “Night and day,” he says, “I cease not to warn with tears.” (v. 31). This might well be said in our case also: and though the speech seems to refer peculiarly to the teachers, it is common also to the disciples. For what, though I speak and exhort and weep night and day, while the disciple obeys not? Therefore15 it is that he says, “I take you to record:” since also himself says, “I am pure from the blood of all men: for I have not shunned to declare unto you.” (v. 26, 27). Why then, this only is to be a teacher, to declare, to preach, to instruct, shrink from nothing, to exhort night and day: but if, while one is doing all this, nothing comes of it, ye know what remains. Then ye have another justification: “I am pure from the blood of all men.” Think not that these words are spoken to us only: for indeed this speech is addressed to you also, that ye should attend to the things spoken, that ye should not start away from the hearing. What can I do? Lo! each day I rend myself with crying out, “Depart from the theatres:” and many laugh at us: “Desist from swearing, from covetousness:” numberless are our exhortations, and there is none to hear us. But I do not discourse during night? Fain would I do this also in the night time, and at your tables, if it were possible that one could be divided into ten thousand pieces, so as to be present with you and discourse. But if once in the week we call to you, and ye shrink back, and some of you do not even come here, and you that do come, depart having received no profit,—what shall we do? Many I know even sneer at us, that we are forever discoursing about the same things: so wearisome are we become to you by very satiety. But for this not we are to blame, but the hearers may thank themselves. For he indeed who is making good progress, rejoices to hear the same things always; it seems to be his praises that he hears spoken: but he who does not wish to get on, seems even to be annoyed, and though he hear the same thing but twice, it seems to him that he is hearing it often.
“I am pure,” he says, “from the blood of all men.” (v. 26). This was fit and proper for Paul to say, but we dare not say it, conscious as we are of numberless faults. Wherefore for him the ever vigilant, ever at hand, the man enduring all things for the sake of the salvation of his disciples, it was fit and proper to say this: but we must say that of Moses, “The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes” (Dt 3,26), because ye lead us also into many sins. For when we are dispirited at seeing you make no progress, is not the greater part of our strength struck down? For what, I ask you has been done? Lo! by the grace of God we also have now passed the space of three years,16 not indeed night and day exhorting you, but doing this, often every third day, or every seventh. What more has come of it? We accuse, we rebuke, we weep, we are in anguish, although not openly, yet in heart. But those (inward) tears are far more bitter than these (outward ones): for these indeed bring a kind of relief to the feelings of the sorrowful, whereas those aggravate it, and bind it fast. Since when there is any cause of grief, and one cannot give vent to the sorrow, lest he should seem to be vainglorious, think what he suffers! Were it not that people would tax me with excessive love of display, you would see me each day shedding fountains of tears: but to those my chamber is witness, and my hours of solitude. For believe me I have (at times) despaired of my own salvation, but from my mourning on your account, I have not even leisure to bemoan my own evils: so entirely are ye all in all to me. And whether I perceive you to be advancing, then, for very delight, I am not sensible of my own evils: or whether I see you not advancing, such is my grief, I again dismiss my own cares from my thoughts: brightening up on account of your good things, though I myself have evils without number, and saddened on account of your painful things, though my own successes are without number. For what hope is there for the teacher, when his flock is destroyed? What kind of life, what kind of expectation is there for him? With what sort of confidence will he stand up before God? what will he say? For grant that he has nothing laid to his charge, has no punishment to suffer, but is “pure from the blood of all men :” yet even so will he suffer a grief incurable: since fathers also though they be not liable to be called to account for their children’s sins, nevertheless have grief and vexation. And this profits them nothing,17 nor shields them (proistatai). “For it is they that watch for our souls, as those that must give account.” (He 13,17). This seems to be a fearful thing: to me this gives no concern after your destruction. For whether I give account, or not, it is no profit to me. Might it be, that ye were saved, and I to give account because of you: ye saved, and I charged with not having fulfiled my part! For my anxiety is not that you should be saved through me as the means, but only that you should be saved, no matter by what person as the instrument. Ye know not the pangs of spiritual childbirth, how overpowering they are; how he who is in travail with this birth, would rather be cut into ten thousand pieces, than see one of those to whom he has given birth perishing and undone. Whence shall we persuade you? By no other argument indeed, but by what has been done, in all that regards you we shall clear ourselves.18 We too shall be able to say, that in nothing have we “shrunk from declaring” to you the whole truth: nevertheless we grieve: and that we do grieve, is manifest from the numberless plans we lay and contrivances we devise. And yet we might say to ourselves, What matters it to me? I have done my part, “I am pure from” (their) “blood:” but this is not enough for comfort. If we could tear open our heart, and show it to you, ye would see with what largeness it holds (you) within it, both women and children and men; for such is the power of love, that it makes the soul more spacious than the heaven. “Receive us,” says (Paul): “we have wronged no man, ye are not straitened in us.” (2Co 7,2 2Co 6,12). He had all Corinth in his heart, and says, "Ye are not straitened: be ye also enlarged (2Co 6,13); but I myself could not say this, for I well know, that ye both love me and receive me. But what is the profit either from my love or from yours, when the things pertaining to God thrive not in us? It is a ground for greater sorrow, an occasion of worse mischief (lumh", al). luph"). I have nothing to lay to your charge: “for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” (Ga 4,15). “We yearn not only to give you the Gospel, but also our own souls.” (1Th 2,8). We are loved and we love (you): but this is not the question. But let us love Christ, “for the first commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God: and the second is like unto it, And thy neighbor as thyself.” (). We have the second, we need the first: need the first, exceedingly, both I and you. We have it, but not as we ought. Let us love Him: ye know how great a reward is laid up for them that love Christ: let us love Him with fervor of soul, that, enjoying his goodwill, we may escape the stormy waves of this present life, and be found worthy to obtain the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
1 i. e. putting this foremost of the Beatitudes.
2 Something more ought to follow, but the report is imperfect Mod. text “Others again there are who are not such as these, but who in the case of both characters preserve according to the occasion both the lowly and the high bearing: which thing indeed above all is characteristic of humility. Since then he is about to teach them such things, lest he should seem to be arrogant,” etc).
3 To gar diamarturasqai touto estin, otan. .<`85Ÿ To gar diamarturasqai w" epi to polu touto estin.
4 Old text dia te ta erga, dia te ton Uion agnoein: kai pistin thn ei" ton K. AEI. as if all this were said in explanation of the preceding Oude gar AEIoudaioi hdesan auton. But dia te ta erga explains the clause thn ei" ton Qeon metanoian, which requires to be inserted as in the Translation. Mod. text “both because they were ignorant of the Son, and because of their works, and their not having faith in the Lord Jesus.”
5 Chrys. understands “bound in the spirit” to mean constrained by the Holy Spirit (so Theophylact, Beza, Calvin, Wordsworth et al.). The fact that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the next verse (23) in such a way as to be distinguished apparently from “the spirit” here mentioned, has led most critics to believe that “the spirit” was Paul’s own spirit (so Meyer, Lechler, Lange, DeWette, Ewald, Alford, Hackett, Gloag)). Dedemeno" should not be taken as meaning bound with chains in prospect, 1,e., as seen in his spirit in advance (as Bengel, Conybeare and Howson), but rather constrained, inwardly constrained.—G. B. S).
6 mss. Cat. and Edd). algwmen “let us grieve:” but Savile, algw men. The next clause allAE oude hgoumai, or, allAE oude, JHgoumai, requires something to make sense of it, as in the Translation.
7 Diplh h paramuqia. The meaning is, “It was his face that they would see no more: he chooses that expression by way of softening matters, implying that in spirit he would be present: and again, all ye, not they only, so that the grief was not peculiar to them:” but this being rather obscure, A. substitutes aqumia, and mod. text Diplh h luph, 1,e. “the dejection (or, the sorrow) was twofold, both the being to see his face no more, and the, All of them.”
8 Neither of the two ideas which Chrys. draws from 5,25—(a) that though absent in body, he would be present with them in spirit; (b) that the “all” addressed refers to the whole company—comes naturally from the text. The apostle states his firm conviction that he shall not again visit Ephesus. Whether he ever did so or not, we do not know. The probabilities in the case would depend upon the question of a release from his Roman imprisonment. He hoped for such a release and intended to visit Colossae (Phm 1,22). On the supposition of such a release and on the consequent supposition of the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles, a visit after this time to Ephesus becomes very probable. especially since we find the apostle (2Tm 4,13 2Tm 4,20) at Troas and Miletus.—G.B.S.
9 Hence it appears that St. Chrys. reads Kuriou not Qeou in this text, though in the citation the Scribes give it according to the other reading, Qeou.
10 It is an interesting fact that in this passage where the reading vacillates between Kuriou and qeou, whale the report of the Homily has given us qeou, the citation of the N. T. text favors the reading Kuriou. The great majority of mss. read tou Kuriou: a
and B. have tou qeou (the usual Pauline formula). Many critics hold that Kur. was changed to q. in accordance with Pauline usage in the Epistles. The idea of the “blood of God” is against the reading qeou. Modern critics are nearly equally divided. Alford, Westcott and Hort, read qeou; Meyer, Tischendorf, Kuriou; to us the latter seems decidedly preferable.—G. B. S.
11 deiknusi timion to pragma, oti. Mod. text). polu deikn. di wn eipe timion to pr. So Edd). Multum ostendit dum dicit pretiosam rem. Ben).
12 Ou gar ei pollou" eide tote efeisato (mod). efeideto)). Non enim si multos vidisset, eis pepercisset, Ben. But Cat. has preserved the true reading, efistato.
13 (Estai crhsto" kai mega" anhr. The second epithet, being evidently unsuitable, mod. text crhsto" anhr kai prao" genhsetai. But perhaps c. a. kai. m. belongs to the next sentence, as an exclamation on 5,22. “A good and great man!” and for malassetai: estai we may read malacqhsetai.
14 Old text: ina mh katacwsh autwn thn dianoian, followed by the latter part of 5,27). Tou anaggeilai umin k. t. l. But the connection may also be, “I have not shrunk—of course in due order and proportion” (or something: of that kind) “that he may not overwhelm their minds, from declaring,” etc. It might seem, however, from the comment which follows, viz thn peri tou paronto" pragmato", that Chrys. is here proposing an interpretation of 5,27 different from what was implied in the first exposition, p. 269, and from that of 5,20: 1,e. “painful as it is, I have not shrunk from announcing to you all the counsel of God, to wit, as touching the present matter, my separation from you, so that ye shall see my face no more.” But this being very unsatisfactory, it is better to take the connection thus: Nor does he now shrink from declaring to them the whole counsel of God concerning the coming events, and their duty and responsibility therein. (We have therefore placed the mark of an hiatus before this clause).—Mod. text substitutes, “But what is this (that he adds), ‘Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things.’ What then,” etc.
15 The text is evidently confused or defective here. Mod. text “For that none may fancy it plea enouah for his justification, that he is a disciple while yet he does not yield, therefore having said, I take you to record, he adds, for I have not shunned,” etc).
16 St. Chrysostom succeeded Nectarius in the Archbishopric of Constantinople, 26th Feb. Coss. Honorius 4,and Eutychianus a.d. 398. Socrat. 6,2.—From the following passage :t appears that these Homm. though begun after Easter, perhaps of a.d. 400, extended over a considerable period of time, not being preached every day.—Below, mod, text spoils the sense by altering pikrotera into koufotera.
17 Mod. text inserts a fhsin, and makes the sentence interrogative. “And does this, you will say, profit them nothing nor shield them, that they watch for our souls? But then they watch as they that must give an account: and to some indeed this seems to be terrible.” The meaning in general seems to be: “If they perish, yet surely you can comfort yourself with the thought, that you at least are pure from their blood. No, this thought avails nothing to ward off (that sorrow). “Because they watch,” etc.—this seems a fearful thing. But if you be lost, it is not the thought of my accountability that gives me most concern—it is the thought of your perishing. Oh! that I might in the last day find you saved though not through me, yea, though I myself thereafter were called to account as not having done my part by you!”
18 JEterwqen men oudamoqen, apo de twn genomenwn) meaning perhaps, “From what has been done by us in our ministry: we will endeavor to persuade you by reminding you of all our care and pains for our salvation:”) ta kaqAE uma" panta apolusomeqa. AEApoluesqai (egklhmata), is frequent in Chrys., often confused with apoduesqai. See Mr. Field’s Index and Annotat. in Hom. Matth.
Chrysostom on Acts 4300