Chrysostom He 2100
2100 He 10,32-11,3
in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;1 partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions,2 and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion on those who were in bonds,3 and took joyfully the spoiling of yourr goods, knowing that ye have for yourselves4 in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”
[1.] The best Physicians after they have made a deep incision, and have increased the pains by the wound, soothing the afflicted part, and giving rest and refreshment to the disturbed soul, proceed not to make a second incision, but rather soothe that which has been made with gentle remedies, and such as are suited to remove the violence of the pain. This Paul also did after he had shaken their souls, and pierced them with the recollection of Hell, and convinced then, that he must certainly perish, who does despite to the grace of God, and after he had shown from the laws of Moses, that they also shall perish, and the more [fearfully], and confirm it by other testimonies, and had said, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (c. 10,31): then, lest the soul desponding through excessive fear, should be swallowed up with grief, he soothes them by commendations and exhortation, and gives them zeal derived from their own conduct. For, he says, “call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye had been enlightened, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Powerful is the exhortation from deeds [already done]: for he who begins a work ought to go forward and add to it. As if he had said, when ye were brought in5 [to the Church], when ye were in the rank of learners, ye displayed so great readiness, so great nobleness; but now it is no longer so. And he who encourages, does thus especially encourage them from their own example.
And he did not simply say, “ye endured a fight”6 but a “great” [fight]. Moreover he did not say “temptations” but “fight,” which is an expression of commendation and of very great praise.
Then he also enumerates them particularly, amplifying his discourse, and multiplying his praise. How? “Partly” (he says) “whilst ye were made a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions”; for reproach is a great thing, andcalculated to pervert the soul, and to darken the judgment. For hear what the prophet says:7 “While they daily say unto me, Where is thy God?” (Ps 42,10). And again, “If the enemy had reproached me, I would have borne it.” (Ps 4,12). For since the human race is exceedingly vainglorious, therefore it is easily overcome by this.
And he did not simply say “by reproaches,” but that even with great intensity, being “made a gazing-stock.”8 For when a person is reproached alone, it is indeed painful, but far more so when in presence of all. For tell me how great the evil was when men who had left the meanness of Judaism, and gone over, as it were, to the best course of life, and despised the customs of their fathers, were ill treated by their own people, and had no help.
2102 [2.] I cannot say (he says) that ye suffered these things indeed and were grieved, but ye even rejoiced exceedingly. And this he expressed by saying, “Whilst ye became companions of them that were so used,” and he brings forward the Apostles themselves. Not only (he means) were ye not ashamed of your own sufferings, but ye even shared with others who were suffering the same things. This too is the language of one who is encouraging them. He said not, ‘Bear my afflictions, share with me,’ but respect your own.
“Ye had compassion on them that were in bonds.”9 Thou seest that he is speaking concerning himself and the rest who were in prison. Thus ye did not account “bonds” to be bonds: but as noble wrestlers so stood ye: for not only ye needed no consolation in your own [distresses], but even became a consolation to others.
And “ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods.” O! what “full assurance of faith”! (c. 10,22). Then he also sets forth the motive, not only consoling them for their struggles, but also that they might not be shaken from the Faith. When ye saw your property plundered (he means) ye endured; for already ye saw Him who is invisible, as visible: which was the effect of genuine faith, and ye showed it forth by your deeds themselves.
Well then, the plundering was perhaps from the force of the plunderers, and no man could prevent it; so that as yet it is not clear, that ye endured the plundering for the faith’s sake. (Although this too is clear. For it was in your power if you chose, not to be plundered, by not believing). But ye did what is far greater than this; the enduring such things even “with joy”; which was altogether apostolical, and worthy of those noble souls, who rejoiced when scourged. For, it says, “they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the Name.” 10 (Ac 5,41). But he that endures “with joy,” shows that he has some reward, and that the affair is no loss but a gain.
Moreover the expression “ye took” 11 shows their willing endurance, because, he means, ye chose and accepted.
“Knowing” (he says) “that ye have for yourselves in heaven a better and an enduring substance”; instead of saying, firm, not perishing like this.
2103 [3.] In the next place, having praised them, he says, (He 10,35) “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” What meanest thou? He did not say, ‘ye have cast it away, and recover it’: but, which tended more to strengthen them, “ye have it,” he says. For to recover again that which has been cast away, requires more labor: but not to lose that which is held fast does not. But to the Galatians he says the very opposite: “My children of whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in you” (Ga 4,19); and with reason; for they were more supine, whence they needed a sharper word; but these were more faint-hearted, so that they rather needed what was more soothing.
“Cast not away therefore” (he says) “your confidence,” so that they were in great confidence towards God. “Which hath” (he says) “great recompense of reward.” “And when shall we receive them (some one might say)? Behold! All things on our part have been done.” Therefore he anticipated them on their own supposition, saying in effect, If ye know that ye have in heaven a better substance, seek nothing here.
“For ye have need of patience,” not of any addition [to your labors], that ye may continue in the same state, that ye may not cast away what has been put into your hands. Ye need nothing else, but so to stand as ye have stood, that when ye come to the end, ye may receive the promise.
(He 10,36) “For” (he says) “ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Ye have need of one thing only, to bear with the delay; not that ye should fight again. Ye are at the very crown (he means); ye have borne all the combats of bonds, of afflictions; your goods have been spoiled. What then? Henceforward ye are standing to be crowned: endure this only, the delay of the crown. O the greatness of the consolation! It is as if one should speak to an athlete who had overthrown all, and had no antagonist, and then was to be crowned, and yet endured not that time, during which the president of the games comes, and places the crown [upon him]; and he impatient, should wish to go out, and escape as though he could not bear the thirst and the heat.
(He then also hinting this, what does he say? (He 10,37) “Yet a little while and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” For lest they should say, And when will He come? He comforts them from the Scriptures. For thus also when he says in another place, “Now is our salvation nearer” (Rm 13,11), he comforts them because the remaining time is short. And this he says not of himself but from the Scriptures. 12 But if from that time it was said, “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry,” it is plain that now He is nearer. Wherefore also waiting is no small reward.
(He 10,38) “Now the just” (he says) “shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” This is a great encouragement when one shows that they have succeeded in the whole matter and are losing it through a little indolence. (He 10,39) “But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
2104 [4.] (He 11,1-2) “Now faith is the substance 13 of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” O what an expression has he used, in saying, “an evidence of things not seen.” For [we say] there is “evidence,” in the case of things that are very plain. 14 Faith then is the seeing things not plain (he means), and brings what are not seen to the same full assurance with what are seen. So then neither is it possible to disbelieve in things which are seen, nor, on the other hand can there be faith unless a man be more fully assured with respect to things invisible, than he is with respect to things that are most clearly seen. For since the objects of hope seem to be unsubstantial, Faith gives them substantiality, 15 or rather, does not give it, but is itself their substance. 16 For instance, the Resurrection has not come, nor does it exist substantially, but hope makes it substantial in our soul. This is [the meaning of] “the substance of things.”
If therefore it is an “evidence of things not seen,” why forsooth do you wish to see them, so as to fall away from faith, and from being just? 17 Since “the just shall live by faith,” whereas ye, if ye wish to see these things, are no longer faithful. Ye have labored (he says), ye have struggled: I too allow this, nevertheless, wait for this is Faith: do not seek the whole “here.”
2105 [5.] These things were indeed said to the Hebrews, but they are a general exhortation also to many of those who are here assembled. How and in what way? To the faint-hearted; to the mean-spirited. For when they see the wicked prospering, and themselves faring ill, they are troubled, they bear it impatiently: while they long for the chastisement, and the inflicting vengeance on others; while they wait for the rewards of their own sufferings. “For yet a little time, and He that shah come will come.”
Let us then say this to the slothful: Doubtless there will be punishment; doubtless He will come, henceforth the events of the 18 Resurrection are even at the doors.
Whence [does] that [appear] (you say)? I do not say, from the prophets; for neither do I now speak to Christians only; but even if a heathen be here, I am perfectly confident, and bring forward my proofs, and will instruct him. How (you say)?
Christ foretold many things. If those former things did not come to pass, then do not believe them; but if they all came to pass, why doubt concerning those that remain? And indeed, it were very unreasonable, 19 nothing having come to pass, to believe the one, or when all has come to pass, to disbelieve the others.
But I will make the matter more plain by anexample. Christ said, that Jerusalem should be taken, and should be so taken as no city ever was before, and that it should never be raised up: and in fact this prediction came to pass. He said, that there should be “great tribulation” (Mt 24,21), and it came to pass. He said that a grain of mustard seed is sown, so should the preaching [of the Gospel] be extended: and every day we see this running over theworld. He said, that they who left father or mother, or brethren, or sisters, should have both fathers and mothers; And this we see fulfilled by facts. He said, “in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16,33), that is, no man shall get the better of you. And this we see by the events has come to pass. He said that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church” (Mt 16,18), even though persecuted, and that no one shall quench the preaching [of the Gospel]: and the experience of events bears witness to this prediction also: and yet when He said these things, it was very hard to believe Him. Why? Because all these were words, and He had not as yet given proof of the things spoken. So that they have now become far more credible. He said that “when the Gospel should have been preached among all the nations, then the end shall come” (Mt 24,14); lo! now ye have arrived at the end: for the greater part of the world hath been preached to, therefore the end is now at hand. Let us tremble, beloved.
2106 [6.] But what, tell me? Art thou anxious about the end? It indeed is itself near, but each man’s life and death is nearer. 20 For it is said, “the days of our years are seventy years; but if [one be] in strength, fourscore years.” (Ps 90,10 [LXX. 89,10]). The day of judgment is near. Let us fear. “A brother doth not redeem; shall man redeem?” (Ps 49,7 [LXX. 48,8]). There we shall repent much, “but in death no man shall praise Him.” (Ps 6,5 [LXX. 6]). Wherefore he saith, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving” (Ps 95,2; [LXX. Ps 94.]), that is, his coming. For here [in this life] indeed, whatever we do has efficacy; but there, no longer. Tell me, if a man placed us for a little while in a flaming furnace, should we not submit to anything in order to escape, even were it necessary to part with our money, nay to undergo slavery? How many have fallen into grievous diseases, and would gladly give up all, to be delivered from them, if the choice were offered them? If in this world then, a disease of short duration so afflicts us, what shall we do yonder, when repentance will be of no avail?
2107 [7.] Of how many evils are we now full, without being conscious of them? We bite one another, we devour one another, in wronging, accusing, calumniating, being vexed by the credit of our neighbors. (Ga 5,15).And see the difficulty? When a man wishes to undermine the reputation of a neighbor, he says, ‘Such an one said this of him; O God, forgive me, do not examine me strictly, I must give account of what I have heard.’ 21 Why then dost thou speak of it at all, if thou dost not believe it? Why dost thou speak of it? Why dost thou make it credible by much reporting? Why dost thou pass on the story which is not true? Thou dost not believe it, and thou entreatest God not to call thee to strict account? Do not say it then, but keep silence, and free thyself from all fear.
But I know not from whence this disease has fallen upon men. We have become tattlers, nothing remains 22 in our mind. Hear the exhortation of a wise man who says, “Hast thou heard a word? Let it die in 23 thee, be bold; it will not burst thee.” (Si 19,10). And again, “A fool heareth a word, and travaileth, as a women in labor of a child.” (Si 19,11). We are ready to make accusations, prepared for condemning. Even if no other evil thing had been done by us, this were sufficient to ruin us, and to carry us away to Hell, this involves us in ten thousand evils. And that thou mayest know this certainly, hear what the prophet says, “Thou satest and spakest against thy brother.” (Ps 50,20).
But it is not I, you say, but the other [who told me]. Nay rather, it is thyself; for if thou hadst not spoken, another would not have heard: or even if he should hear it, yet thou wouldest not have been to blame for the sin. We ought to shade over and conceal the failings of neighbors, but thou paradest them under a cloak of zeal for goodness. Thou becomest, not an accuser, but a gossip, a trifler, a fool. O what cleverness! Without being aware of it, thou bringest disgrace upon thyself as well as on him.
And see what great evils which arise from this. Thou provokest the wrath of God. Dost thou not hear Paul saying about widows, “they not only” (these are his words) “learn to be idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, wandering about from house to house, and speaking things which they ought not.” (1Tm 5,13). So that even when thou believest the things which are said against thy brother, thou oughtest not even in that case to speak of them; much less, when thou dost not believe them.
But thou [forsooth] lookest to thine own interest? Thou fearest to be called to account by God? Fear then, lest even for thy tattling thou be called to account. For here, thou canst not say, ‘O God, call me not to account for light talking’: for the whole matter is light talking. Why didst thou publish it? Why didst thou increase the evil? This is sufficient to destroy us. On this account Christ said,“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Mt 7,1).
But we pay no regard to this, neither are we brought to our senses by what happened to the Pharisee. He said what was true, “I am not as this Publican” (Lc 18,11), he said it too in no man’s hearing; yet was he condemned. If he were condemned when he said what was true, and uttered it in no man’s hearing, what fearful [punishment] shall not they suffer, who like gossiping women, carry about everywhere lies which they do not even themselves believe? What shall they not endure?
2108 [8.] Henceforward let us set “a door and a bolt before the mouth.” (Si 28,25). For innumerable evils have arisen from tattling; families have been ruined, friendships torn asunder, innumerable other miseries have happened. Busy not thyself, O man, about the affairs of thy neighbor.
But thou art talkative and hast a weakness. Talk of thine own [faults] to God: thus the weakness will be no longer a weakness, but an advantage. Talk of thy own [faults] to thy friends, those who are thorough friends and righteous men, and in whom thou hast confidence, that so they may pray for thy sins. If thou speak of the [sins] of others, thou art nowise profited, neither hast thou gained anything, but hast ruined thyself. If thou confessest thy own [sins] to the Lord, thou hast great reward: for one says, “I said, I will confess against myself mine iniquity to the Lord, and Thou forgavest the impiety of my heart.” (Ps 32,5).
Dost thou wish to judge? Judge thine own [sins]. No one will accuse 24 thee, if thou condemn thyself: but he will accuse if thou do not condemn; he will accuse thee, unless thou convict thyself; will accuse thee of insensibility. Thou hast seen such an one angry, irritated, doing something else out of place? Think at once, even thou on thy own [faults]: and thus thou wilt not greatly condemn him, and wilt free thyself from the load of thy past transgressions. If we thus regulate our own conduct, if we thus manage our own life, if we condemn ourselves, we shall probably not commit many sins, and we shall do many good things, being fair and moderate; and shall enjoy all the promises to them that love God: to which may all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world with end. Amen).
3 toi`" desmivoi". This is held to be the true reading of the sacred text: toi`" desmoi]" mou was substituted here, but not in the body of the Homily, in some mss. and in the editions of St. Chrys. before the Benedictine.
4 eJautoi`" without ejn is the approved reading of the sacred text, and is found in all the mss. and Edd. of St. Chrys). [It is the reading in the margin of the A. V. and of the R. V. There is but slight authority for the ejn). “In heaven” is also omitted by the more important authorities, the critical editors, and by the R. V.—F. G.]
6 a]qlhsin, a contest, as that of wrestlers.
7 The common editions have the entire text, “My tears have been my meat day and night, while,” &c.
9 A catena, the Verona editions, and perhaps one ms. have “with my bonds.”
10 kathxiwvqhsan uJpe;r tou` ojnovmato" ajtimasqh`nai. The common editions of St. Chrys. as the common text of the New Testament, add aujtou`, “His Name,” in this and in other places.
12 It is to be observed that the words “(He that cometh will come and will not tarry,” are from the prophet Ha 2,3: where the LXX. has, eja;n uJsterhvsh/ uJpovmeinon aujto;n (“Him” not “it.”) o]ti ejrcovmeno" h]xei, kai; ouj mh; cronivsh/, &c. The Apostle interprets this by adding the article: oJ ejrcovmeno", the well-known designation of the Messiah.
14 dhvlwn. Savile and Morell following some mss. read ajdhvlwn, “obscure”: but St. Chrys. means that we use the word e]legco" of a proof which makes things most certain and evident [and so Mutianus read.—F. G.]).
17 or, “righteous.”
18 ta; th`" aj.
20 hJ de; eJkavstou zwh; ejggutevra pollw`/ kai; hJ teleuthv. But Mut). “sed et vitae finis uniuscujuscunque prope est.”
21 to; calepovn).
22 Or might it be read, ajkoh`" lovgon ojfeivlw; “am I responsible for what I hear, for common reports?”
2200 He 11,3-7
by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness1 that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”2
[1.] Faith3 needs a generous and vigorous soul, and one rising above all things of sense, and passing beyond the weakness of human reasonings. For it is not possible to become a believer, otherwise than by raising one’s self above the common customs [of the world].
Inasmuch then as the souls of the Hebrews were thoroughly weakened, and though they had begun from faith, yet from circumstances, I mean sufferings, afflictions, they had afterwards become faint-hearted, and of little spirit, and were shaken from [their position], he encouraged them first indeed from these very things, saying, “Call to remembrance the former days” (c. 10,32); next from the Scripture saying, “But the just shall live by faith” (c. 10,38); afterwards from arguments, saying, “But Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (c. 11,1). And now again from their forefathers, those great and admirable men, as much as saying; If where the good things were close at hand, all were saved by faith, much more are we.
For when a soul finds one that shares the same sufferings with itself, it is refreshed and recovers breath. This we may see both in the case of Faith, and in the case of affliction: “that there may be comfort for you4 it is said through our mutual faith.” (Rm 1,12). For mankind are very distrustful, and cannot place confidence in themselves, are fearful about whatever things they think they possess, and have great regard for the opinion of the many.
2202 [2.] What then does Paul do? He encourages them by the fathers; and before that by the common notions [of mankind].5 For tell me, he says, since Faith is calumniated6 as being a thing without demonstration7 and rather a matter of deceit, therefore he shows that the greatest things are attained through faith and not through reasonings. And how does he show this, tell me?8 It is manifest, he saith, that God made the things which are, out of things which are not,9 things which appear, out of things which appear not, things which subsist, out of things which subsist not. But whence [is it shown] that He did this even “by a Word”? For reason suggests nothing of this kind; but on the contrary, that the things which appear are [formed] out of things which appear.
Therefore the philosophers expressly say that ‘nothing comes out of things that are not’ 10 being “sensual” (Jud 19), and trusting nothing to Faith And yet these same men, when they happen to say anything great and noble, are caught entrusting it to Faith. For instance, that “God is without beginning, 11 and unborn” 12 ; for reason does not suggest this, but the contrary. And consider, I beseech you, their great folly. They say 13 that God is without beginning; and yet this is far more wonderful than the [creation] out of things that are not. For to say, that He is without beginning, that He is unborn, neither begotten by Himself nor by another is more full of difficulties, 14 than to say that God made the things which are, out of things which are not. For here there are many things uncertain: as, that some one made it, that what was made had a beginning, that, in a word, it was made. But in the other case, what? He is self-existing, 15 unborn, He neither had beginning nor time; tell me, do not these things require faith? But he did not assert this, which was far greater, but the lesser.
Whence [does it appear], he would say, that God made these things? Reason does not suggest it; no one was present when it was done. Whence is it shown? It is plainly the result of faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were made.” Why “through faith”? Because “the things that are seen were not made of things which do appear.” For this is Faith.
2203 [3.] Having thus stated the general [principle ], 16 he afterwards tests 17 it by individuals. For a man of note is equivalent to the world. This at all events he afterwards hinted. For when he had matched it against one or two hundred persons, and then saw the smallness of the number, he afterwards says, “by whom the world was outweighed in worth.” 18 (c. 11,38).
And observe whom he puts first, him who was ill-treated, and that by a brother. It was their own affliction, 19 “For you also” (he says) “have suffered like things of your own countrymen.” (1Th 2,14). And by a brother who had been nothing wronged, but who envied him on God’s account; showing that they also are looked on with an evil eye and envied. He honored God, and died because he honored Him: and has not yet attained to a resurrection. But his readiness is manifest, and his part 20 has been done, but God’s part has not yet been carried out towards him.
And by a “more excellent sacrifice” in thisplace, he means that which is more honorable,more splendid, more necessary.
And we cannot say (he says) that it was not accepted. He did accept it, and said unto Cain, [“Hast thou] not [sinned], if thou rightly offer, but dost not rightly divide?” (Gn 4,7 LXX). So then Abel both rightly offered, and rightly divided. Nevertheless for this, what recompense did he receive? He was slain by his brother’s hand: and that sentence which his father endured on account of sin, this he first received who was upright. And he suffered so much the more grievously because it was from a brother, and he was the first [to suffer].
And he did these things rightly looking to no man. For to whom could he look, when he so honored God? To his father and his mother? But they had outraged Him in return for His benefits. To his brother then? But he also had dishonored [God]. So that by himself he sought out what was good.
And he that is worthy of so great honor, what does he suffer? He is put to death. And how too was he otherwise “testified of that he was righteous”? It is said, that fire came down and consumed the sacrifices. For instead of [“And the Lord] had respect to Abel and to his sacrifices” (Gn 4,4), the Syriac 21 said, “And He set them on fire.” He therefore who both by word and deed bare witness to the righteous man and sees him slain for His sake, did not avenge him, but left him to suffer.
But your case is not such: for how could it be? You who have both prophets and examples, and encouragements innumerable, and signs and miracles accomplished? Hence that was faith indeed. For what miracles did he see, that he might believe he should have any recompense of good things? Did he not choose virtue from Faith alone?
What is, “and by it he being dead yet speaketh”? That he might not cast them into great despondency, he shows that he has in part obtained a recompense. How? ‘The influence coming from him 22 is great, he means, “and he yet speaketh”; that is, [Cain] slew him, but he did not with him slay his glory and memory. He is not dead; therefore neither shall ye die. For by how much the more grievous a man’s sufferings are, so much the greater is his glory.’
How does he “yet speak”? This is a sign both of his being alive, and of his being by all celebrated, admired, counted blessed. For he who encourages others to be righteous, speaks. For no speech avails so much, as that man’s suffering. As then heaven by its mere appearance speaks, so also does he by being had in remembrance. Not if he had made proclamation of himself, not if he had ten thousand tongues, and were alive, would he have been so admired as now. That is, these things do not take place with impunity, nor lightly, neither do they pass away.
2204 [4.] (He 11,5) “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him.” This man displayed greater faith than Abel. How (you ask)? Because, although be came after him, yet what befell [Abel] was sufficient to guide him back. 23 How? God foreknew that [Abel] would be killed. For He said to Cain: “Thou hast sinned: do not add thereto.” 24 Honored by him, He did not protect him. And yet neither did this throw him [Enoch] into indifference. He said not to himself, ‘What need of toils and dangers? Abel honored God, yet He did not protect him. For what advantage had he that was departed, from the punishment of his brother? And what benefit could he reap therefrom? Let us allow that he suffers severe punishment: what is that to him who has been slain?’ He neither said nor thought anything of this kind, but passing beyond all these things, he knew that if there is a God, certainly there is a Rewarder also: although as yet they knew nothing of a resurrection. But if they who as yet know nothing of a resurrection, and see contradictory things here, thus pleased [God], how much more should we? For they neither knew of a resurrection, nor had they any examples to look to. This same thing then made [Enoch] well-pleasing [to God], namely, that he received nothing. For he knew that [God] “is a rewarder.” Whence [knew he this]? “For He recompensed Abel,” do you say? So that reason suggested other things, but faith the opposite of what was seen. Even then (he would say) if you see that you receive nothing here, be not troubled.
How was it “by faith” that “Enoch was translated”? Because his pleasing [God] was the cause of his translation, and faith [the cause] of his pleasing [Him]. For if he had not known that he should receive a reward, how could he have pleased [Him]? “But without faith it is impossible to please” Him. How? If a man believe that there is a God and a retribution, he will have the reward. Whence then is the well-pleasing?
2205 [5.] It is necessary to “believe that He is,” not ‘what He is.’ 25 If “that He is” needs Faith, and not reasonings; it is impossible to comprehend by reasoning ‘what He is.’ If that “He is a rewarder” needs Faith and not reasonings, how is it possible by Reasoning to compass His essence? 26 For what Reasoning can reach this? For some persons say that the things that exist are self-caused. 27 Seest thou that unless we have Faith in regard to all things, not only in regard to retribution, but also in regard to the very being of God, all is lost to us?
But many ask whither Enoch was translated, and why he was translated, and why he did not die, neither he nor Elijah, and, if they are still alive, how they live, and in what form. But to ask these things is superfluous. For that the one was translated, and that the other was taken up, the Scriptures have said; but where they are, and how they are, they have not added: For they say nothing more than is necessary. For this indeed took place, I mean his translation, immediately at the beginning, the human soul [thereby] receiving a hope of the destruction of death, and of the overthrow of the devil’s tyranny, and that death will be done away; for he was translated, not dead, but “that he should not see death.”
Therefore he added, he was translated alive, because he was well-pleasing [unto God]. For just as a Father when he has threatened his son, wishes indeed immediately after he has threatened, to relax his threat, but endures and continues resolute, that for a time he may chasten and correct him, allowing the threat to remain firm; so also God, to speak as it were after the manner of men, did not continue resolute, but immediately showed that death is done away. And first He allows death to happen, wishing to terrify the father through the son: For wishing to show that the sentence is verily fixed, He subjected to this punishment not wicked men at once, but him even who was well-pleasing, I mean, the blessed Abel; and almost immediately after him, He translated Enoch. Moreover, He did not raise the former, lest they should immediately grow bold; but He translated the other being yet alive: having excited fear by Abel, but by this latter giving zeal to be well-pleasing unto Him. Wherefore they who say that all things are ruled and governed of themselves, 28 and do not expect a reward, are not well-pleasing; as neither are the heathen. For “He becomes a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” by works and by knowledge.
2206 [6.] Since then we have “a rewarder,” let us do all things that we may not be deprived of the rewards of virtue. For indeed the neglecting such a recompense, the scorning such a reward, is worthy of many tears. For as to “those who diligently seek Him,” He is a rewarder, so to those who seek Him not, the contrary.
“Seek” (He says) “and ye shall find” (Mt 7,7): but how can we find the Lord? Consider how gold is found; with much labor). [“ I sought the Lord] with my hands” (it is said) “by night before Him, and I was not deceived” (Ps 77,2, LXX [Ps 76,3]), that is, just as we seek what is lost, so let us seek God. Do we not concentrate our mind thereon? Do we not enquire of every one? Do we not travel from home? Do we not promise money?
For instance, suppose that any among us has lost his son, what do we not do? What land, what sea do we not make the circuit of? Do we not reckon money, and houses, and everything else as secondary to the finding him? And should we find him, we cling to him, we hold him fast, we do not let him go. And when we are going to seek anything whatever, we busy ourselves in all ways to find what is sought. How much more ought we to do this in regard to God, as seeking what is indispensable; nay rather, not in the same way, but much more! But since we are weak, at least seek God as thou seekest thy money or thy son. Wilt thou not leave thy home for Him? Hast thou never left thy home for money? Dost thou not busy thyself in all ways? When thou hast found [it], art thou not full of confidence?
2207 [7.] “Seek” (He says) “and ye shall find.” For things sought after need much care, especially in regard of God. For many are the hindrances, many the things that darken, many that impede our perception. For as the sun is manifest, and set forth publicly before all, and we have no need to seek it; but if on the other hand we bury ourselves and turn everything upside down, we need much labor to look at the sun; so truly here also, if we bury ourselves in the depth of evil desires, in the darkness of passions and of the affairs of this life, with difficulty do we look up, with difficulty do we raise our heads with difficulty do we see clearly. He that is buried underground, in whatever degree he sees upwards, in that degree does he come towards the sun. Let us therefore shake off the earth let us break through the mist which lies upon us. It is thick, and close, and does not allow us to see clearly.
And how, you say, is this cloud broken through? If we draw to ourselves the beams of “the sun of righteousness.” “The lifting up of my hands” (it is said) “is an evening sacrifice.” (Ps 141,2). With our hands let us also lift up our mind: ye who have been initiated know what I mean, 29 perhaps too ye recognize the expression, and see at a glance what I have hinted at. Let us raise up our thoughts on high.
I myself know many men almost suspended apart from the earth, and beyond measure stretching up their hands, and out of heart because it is not possible to be lifted into the air, and thus praying with earnestness. Thus I would have you always, and if not always, at least very often; and if not very often, at least now and then, at least in the morning, at least in the evening prayers. 30 For, tell me, canst thou not stretch forth the hands? Stretch forth the will, stretch forth as far as thou wilt, yea even to heaven itself. Even shouldst thou wish to touch the very summit, even if thou wouldst ascend higher and walk thereon, it is open to thee. For our mind is lighter, and higher than any winged creature. And when it receives grace from the Spirit, O! how swift is it! How quick is it! How does it compass all things! How does it never sink down or fall to the ground! These wings let us provide for ourselves: by means of them shall we be able to fly even across the tempestuous sea of this present life. The swiftest birds fly unhurt over mountains, and woods, and seas, and rocks, in a brief moment of time. Such also is the mind; when it is winged, when it is separated from the things of this life, nothing can lay hold of it, it is higher than all things, even than the fiery darts of the devil.
The devil is not so good a marksman, as to be able to reach this height; he sends forth his darts indeed, for he is void of all shame, yet he does not hit the mark; the dart returns to him without effect, and not without effect only, but it [falls] upon his own head. For what is sent forth by him must of necessity strike [something]. As then, that which has been shot out by men, either strikes the person against whom it is directed, or pierces bird, or fence, or garment, or wood, or the mere air, so does the dart of the devil also. It must of necessity strike; and if it strike not him that is shot at, it necessarily strikes him that shoots it. And we may learn from many instances, that when we are not hit, without doubt he is hit himself. For instance, he plotted against Job: he did not hit him, but was struck himself. He plotted against Paul, he did not hit him, but was struck himself. If we watch, we may see this happening everywhere. For even when he strikes, he is hit; much more then [when he does not hit].
2208 [8.] Let us turn his weapons then against himself, and having armed and fortified ourselves with the shield of faith, let us keep guard with steadfastness, so as to be impregnable. Now the dart of the devil is evil concupiscence. Anger especially is a fire, a flame; it catches, destroys, consumes; let us quench it, by longsuffering, by forbearance. For as red-hot iron dipped into water, loses its fire, so an angry man filling in with a patient one does no harm to the patient man, but rather benefits him, and is himself more thoroughly subdued.
For nothing is equal to longsuffering. Such a man is never insulted; but as bodies of adamant are not wounded, so neither are such souls. For they are above the reach of the darts. The longsuffering man is high, and so high as not to receive a wound from the shot. When one is furious, laugh; but do not laugh openly, lest thou irritate him: but laugh mentally on his account. For in the case of children, when they strike us passionately, as though forsooth they were avenging themselves, we laugh. If then thou laugh, there will be as great difference between thee and him, as between a child and a man: but if thou art furious thou hast made thyself a child. For the angry are more senseless than children. If one look at a furious child, does he not laugh at him? “The poor-spirited” (it is said) “is mightily simple.” (Pr 14,29). The simple then is a child: and “he who is longsuffering” (it is said) “is abundant in wisdom.” This “abundant wisdom” then let us follow after, that we may attain to the good things promised us in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
1 “was testified of.”
2 lalei`, with the most approved mss. of the Epistle; the editions have lalei`tai; which is the reading of the common texts of the N. T.
3 to; th`" pivstew".
4 w(ste ei\nai paravklhsin uJmi`n : the common editions follow mss. in which the very words of Rm 1,12 have been substituted.
5 koinh`" ejnnoiva".
6 Thus the sentence is inconsequent, as it stands in the best texts: in the common editions it is altered to, “For inasmuch as the Faith was at that time calumniated,” &c.
8 At this place and generally throughout the Homily: the later texts and the common editions insert the words of the Epistle, but not so the best mss. or the old translation.
9 ejx oujk o]ntwn, i.e. “out of nothing.”
10 “De nihilo nihil” is probably referred to.
13 levgonte", an irregular construction: the common texts substitute levgousin.
16 to; koivnon.
18 a]xio". St. Chrys. takes the word in its primary sense, “of like value,” “worth as much as.” See Hom. 27,, pp. 489 sqq.
19 oijkei`on to; pavqo".
20 ta; parAE aujtou`.
21 The reading of some mss. and of the editions except Savile’s was oJ kuvrivo" instead of oJ Suvro". On this Montfaucon has the note: “This sentence is imperfect. Mutianus’s rendering is, ‘On Abel (saith he) He looked, and on his sacrifices.’ But in the Syrian language it has, ‘And set [them] on fire.’ It would seem. therefore, that we should read). oJ Suvro", kai; ejnepuvrisen, ei\pen. The Hebrew words are hwhy [Ťyw
, which (not the Syriac translator, but) Theodotion renders kai; ejnepuvrisen oJ Qeov", ‘And God set [them] on fire,’ as may be seen in our edition of the Hexapla, and is proved by Jerome’s testimony on the passage. For the Syriac translation is, ‘and God was well pleased.’ So perhaps it might be an error of Chrysostom.” Four of the six mss. mentioned by Mr. Field [but not the Catena] have Suvro"). [Field’s mss. A and O have kuvrio".—F. G.]
22 hJ ejpiskophv hJ parAE aujtou`.
23 [ajpostrevyai. Some of Field’s mss. read ejpistrevyai. The sentence is not clear, but the meaning seems to be, “to guide him back from the evil ways of the world around.” The Bened. translator has ad eum avertendum; Mutianus, ad revocandum eum et dehortandum. The English edition, “to turn him away from [serving God],” is certainly wrong.—F. G.]
24 The words of the Septuagint, Gn iv. 7, are h]marte";;; hJsuvcason: for which St. Chrys. substitutes the words of Si 21,1, h(marte"É mh; prosqh`/" e]ti He combines these two texts (either from confusing them or by way of explanation) in three other places. See Mr. Fields’ note. The words were addressed to Cain before he killed his brother).
25 That is, what the substance of God is, is not a part of what we must believe in order to please Him: nor can it be ascertained by reasonings.
26 ta; th`" oujsiva".
29 The words of the Liturgy which were said throughout the Church Catholic, “Lift up your hearts,” &c.
30 ejn tai`" eJwqinai`", ejn tai" eJsperinai`"
Chrysostom He 2100