Chrysostom hom. on Mt 31
31 Mt 9,18-27
“While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came in1 a ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even new dead; but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live.”
The deed overtook the words; so that the mouths of the Pharisees were the more stopped. For both he that came was a ruler of the synagogue, and his affliction terrible. For the young damsel was both his only child, and twelve years old, the very flower of her age; on which account especially He raised her up again, and that immediately.
And if Luke say that men came, saying, “Trouble not the Master, for she is dead;”2 we will say this, that the expression, “she is even now dead,” was that of one conjecturing from the time of his journeying, or exaggerating his affliction. For it is an usual thing with persons in need to heighten their own evils by their report, and to say something more than is really true, the more to attract those whom they are beseeching.
But see his dullness: how he requires of Christ two things, both His actual presence, and the laying on of His hand: and this by the way is a sign that he had left her still breathing. This Naaman also, that Syrian, required of the prophet. “For I thought,” saith he, “he will surely come out, and will lay on his hand.”3 For in truth they who are more or less dull of temper, require sight and sensible things.
And whereas Mark4 saith, He took the three disciples, and so doth Luke;5 our evangelist merely saith, “the disciples.” Wherefore then did He not take with Him Matthew, though he had but just come unto Him? To bring him to a more earnest longing, and because he was yet rather in an imperfect state. For to this intent doth He honor those, that these may grow such as those are. But for him it sufficed for the present, to see what befell the woman with the issue of blood, and to be honored by His table, and by His partaking of his salt.
1 [ei;selqwvn, “came in,” so Tischendorf, but the R. V. accepts the reading ei|" ejlqwvn, “there came one ruler.”—R.]
2 Lc 8,49.
3 2R 5,11, LXX).
4 Mc 5,37.
5 Lc 8,51.
And when He had risen up many followed Him, as for a great miracle, both on account of the person who had come, and because the more part being of a grosser disposition were seeking not so much the care of the soul, as the healing of the body; and they flowed together, some urged by their own afflictions, some hastening to behold how other men’s were cured: however, there were as yet but few in the habit of coming principally for the sake of His words and doctrine. Nevertheless, He did not suffer them to enter into the house, but His disciples only; and not even all of these, everywhere instructing us to repel the applause of the multitude.
2. “And, behold,” it is said, “a woman that had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.”6
Wherefore did she not approach Him boldly? She was ashamed on account of her affliction, accounting herself to be unclean. For if the menstruous woman was judged not to be clean, much more would she have the same thought, who was afflicted with such a disease; since in fact that complaint was under the law accounted a great uncleanness.7 Therefore she lies hidden, and conceals herself. For neither had she as yet the proper and correct opinion concerning Him: else she would not have thought to be concealed. And this is the first woman that came unto Him in public, having heard of course that He heals women also, and that He is on His way to the little daughter that was dead.
And she durst not invite him to her house, although she was wealthy;8 nay, neither did she approach publicly, but secretly with faith she touched His garments. For she did not doubt, nor say in herself, “Shall I indeed be delivered from the disease? shall I indeed fail of deliverance?” But confident of her health, she so approached Him. “For she said,” we read, “in herself, If I may only touch His garment, I shall be whole.” Yea, for she saw out of what manner of house He was come, that of the publicans, and who they were that followed Him, sinners and publicans; and all these things made her to be of good hope.
6 Mt 9,21-22. [R. V., “border” for “hem” “do” for “may ”; “made whole” for “whole”.]
7 Lv 15,25.
8 Eusebius,E. H.,viii. 18,mentions a tradition that she belonged to Cesarea Philippi, othetwise called Paneas,and that certain brazen statues of a man holding out his hand and a woman kneeling, which were there in his time, were set up at her expense, that being her native place. He adds, that a certain plant which grew by the Saviour’s statue. when it came to touch the hem of His garment, stopped growing and that it was endowed with virtue to cure all manner of diseases).
What then doth Christ? He suffers her not to be hid, but brings her into the midst, and makes her manifest for many purposes.
It is true indeed that some of the senseless ones say, “He does this for love of glory. For why,” say they, “did He not suffer her to be hid?” What sayest thou, unholy, yea, all unholy one? He that enjoins silence, He that passes by miracles innumerable, is He in love with glory?
For what intent then doth He bring her forward? In the first place He puts an end to the woman’s fear, lest being pricked by her conscience, as having stolen the gift, she should abide in agony. In the second place, He sets her right, in respect of her thinking to be hid. Thirdly, He exhibits her faith to all, so as to provoke the rest also to emulation; and His staying of the fountains of her blood was no greater sign than He affords in signifying His knowledge of all things. Moreover the ruler of the synagogue, who was on the point of thorough unbelief, and so of utter ruin, He corrects by the woman. Since both they that came said, “Trouble not the Master, for the damsel is dead;” and those in the house laughed Him to scorn, when He said, “She sleepeth;” and it was likely that the father too should have experienced some such feeling. Therefore to correct this weakness beforehand, He brings forward the simple woman. For as to that ruler being quite of the grosser sort, hear what He saith unto him: “Fear not, do thou believe only, and she shall be made whole.”9
Thus He waited also on purpose for death to come on, and that then He should arrive; in order that the proof of the resurrection might be distinct. With this view He both walks more leisurely, and discourses more with the woman; that He might give time for the damsel to die, and for those to come, who told of it, and said, “Trouble not the Master.”10 This again surely the evangelist obscurely signifies, when he saith, “While He yet spake, there came from the house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master.” For His will was that her death should be believed, that her resurrection might not be suspected. And this He doth in every instance. So also in the case of Lazarus, He waited a first and a second and a third day.11
On account then of all these things He brings her forward, and saith, “Daughter, be of good cheer,”12 even as He had said also to the paralyzed person, “Son, be of good cheer.” Because in truth the woman was exceedingly alarmed; therefore He saith, “be of good cheer,” and He calls her “daughter;” for her faith had made her a daughter. After that comes also her praise: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”
But Luke tells us also other things more than these concerning the woman. Thus, when she had approached Him, saith he, and had received her health, Christ did not immediately call her, but first He saith, “Which is he that touched me?” Then when Peter and they that were with Him said, Master, the multitude throng Thee, and press Thee, and sayest Thou, who touched me?”13 (which was a very sure sign both that He was encompassed with real flesh, and that He trampled on all vainglory, for they did not follow Him at all afar off, but thronged Him on every side); He for His part continued to say, “Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me;”14 answering after a grosser manner according to the impression of His hearers. But these things He said, that He might also induce her of herself to make confession. For on this account neither did He immediately convict her, in order that having signified that He knows all things clearly, He might induce her of her own accord to publish all, and work upon her to proclaim herself what had been done, and that He might not incur suspicion bysaying it.
Seest thou the woman superior to the ruler of the synagogue? She detained Him not, she took no hold of Him, but touched Him only with the end of her fingers, and though she came later, she first went away healed. And he indeed was bringing the Physician altogether to his house, but for her a mere touch suffered. For though she was bound by her affliction, yet her faith had given her wings. And mark how He comforts her, saying, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Now surely, had He drawn her forward for display, He would not have added this; but He saith this, partly teaching the ruler of the synagogue to believe, partly proclaiming the woman’s praise, and affording her by these words delight and advantage equal to her bodily health.
For that He did this as minded to glorify her, and to amend others, and not to show Himself glorious, is manifest from hence; that He indeed would have been equally an object of admiration even without this (for the miracles were pouring around Him faster than the snow-flakes, and He both had done and was to do far greater things than these): but the woman, had this not happened, would have gone away hid, deprived of those great praises. For this cause He brought her forward, and proclaimed her praise, and cast out her fear, (for “she came,” it is said, “trembling”15 ); and He caused her to be of good courage, and together with health of body, He gave her also other provisions for her journey, in that He said, “Go in peace.”16
3. “And when He came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He saith unto them, Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn.”17
Noble tokens, surely, these, of the rulers of synagogues; in the moment of her death pipes and cymbals raising a dirge! What then doth Christ? All the rest He cast out, but the parents He brought in; to leave no room for saying that He healed her in any other way. And before her resurrection too, He raises her in His word; saying, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth.” And in many instances besides He doeth this. As then on the sea He expels tumult from the mind of the by-standers, at the same time both signifying that it is easy for Him to raise the dead (which same thing He did with respect to Lazarus also, saying, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth18 ;” and also teaching us not to fear death; for that it is not death, but is henceforth become a sleep. Thus, since He Himself was to die, He doth in the persons of others prepare His disciples beforehand to be of good courage, and to bear the end meekly. Since in truth, when He had come, death was from that time forward a sleep.
But yet they laughed Him to scorn: He however was not indignant at being disbelieved by those for whom He was a little afterwards to work miracles; neither did He rebuke their laughter, in order that both it and the pipes, and the cymbals, and all the other things, might be a sure proof of her death. For since for the most raft, after the miracles are done, men disbelieve, He takes them beforehand by their own answers; which was done in. the case both of Lazarus and of Moses. For to Moses first He saith, “What is that in thine hand?”19 in order that when he saw it become a serpent, He should not forget that it was a rod before, but being reminded of his own saying, might be amazed at what was done. And with regard to Lazarus He saith, “Where have ye laid him?”20 that they who had said, “Come and see,” and “he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days,” might no longer be able to disbelieve His having raised a dead man.
Seeing then the cymbals and the multitude, He put them all out, and in the presence of the parents works the miracle; not introducing another soul, but recalling the same that had gone out, and awakening her as it were out of a sleep.
And He holds her by the hand, assuring the beholders; so as by that sight to make a way for the belief of her resurrection. For whereas the father said, “Lay thy hand upon her;”21 He on His part doth somewhat more, for He lays no hand on her, but rather takes hold of her, and raises her, implying that to Him all things are ready. And He not only raises her up, but also commands to give her meat, that the event might not seem to be an illusion. And He doth not give it Himself, but commands them; as also with regard to Lazarus He said, “Loose him, and let him go,”22 and afterwards makes him partaker of His table.23 For so is He wont always to establish both points, making out with all completeness the demonstration alike of the death and of the resurrection.
But do thou mark, I pray thee, not her resurrection only, but also His commanding “to tell no man;” and by all learn thou this especially, His freedom from haughtiness and vainglory. And withal learn this other thing also, that He cast them that were beating themselves out of the house, and declared them unworthy of such a sight; and do not thou go out with the minstrels, but remain with Peter, and John, and James.
For if He cast them out then, much more now. For then it was not yet manifest that death was become a sleep, but now this is clearer than the very sun itself. But is it that He hath not raised thy daughter now? But surely He will raise her, and with more abundant glory. For that damsel, when she had risen, died again; but thy child, if she rise again, abides thenceforth in immortal being.
4. Let no man therefore beat himself any more, nor wail, neither disparage Christ’s achievement. For indeed He overcame death. Why then dost thou wail for nought? The thing is become a sleep. Why lament and weep? Why, even if Greeks24 did this, they should be laughed to scorn; but when the believer behaves himself unseemly in these things, what plea hath he? What excuse will there be for them that are guilty of such folly, and this, after so long a time, and so clear proof of the resurrection?
But thou, as though laboring to add to the charge against thee, dost also bring us in heathen women singing dirges, to kindle thy feelings, and to stir up the furnace thoroughly: and thou hearkenest not to Paul, saying, “What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”25
And while the children of heathens, who know nothing of resurrection, do yet find words of consolation, saying, “Bear it manfully, for it is not possible to undo what hath taken place, nor to amend it by lamentations;” art not thou, who hearest sayings wiser and better than these, ashamed to behave thyself more unseemly than they? For we say not at all, “Bear it manfully, because it is not possible to undo what hath taken place,” but, “bear it manfully, because he will surely rise again;” the child sleeps and is not dead; he is at rest and hath not perished. For resurrection will be his final lot, and eternal life, and immortality, and an angel’s portion. Hearest thou not the Psalm that saith, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee?”26 God calleth it “bountiful dealing,” and dost thou make lamentation?
And what more couldest thou have done, if thou wert a foe and an enemy of the dead? Why, if there must be mourning, it is the devil that ought to mourn. He may beat himself, he may wail, at our journeying to greater blessings. This lamentation becomes his wickedness, not thee, who art going to be crowned and to rest. Yea, for death is a fair haven. Consider, at any rate, with how many evils our present life is filled; reflect how often thou thyself hast cursed our present life. For indeed things go on to worse, and from the very beginning thou wert involved in no small condemnation. For, saith He, “In sorrow that shalt bring forth children;” and, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread;”27 and, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”28
But of our state there, no such word at all is spoken, but all the contrary; that “grief and sorrow and sighing have fled away.”29 And that “men shall come from the east and from the west, and shall recline in the bosoms of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.”30 And that the region there is a spiritual bride-chamber, and bright lamps, and a translation to Heaven.
5. Why then disgrace the departed? Why dispose the rest to fear and tremble at death? Why cause many to accuse God, as though He had done very dreadful things? Or rather, why after this invite poor persons, and entreat priests to pray?31 “In order,” saith he, “that the dead may depart into rest; that he may find the Judge propitious.” For these things then art thou mourning and wailing? Thou art therefore fighting and warring with thyself: exciting a storm against thyself on account of his having entered into harbor.
“But what can I do?” saith he: “such a thing is nature.” The blame is not nature’s, neither doth it belong to the necessary consequence of the thing; but it is we that are turning all things upside down, are overcome with softness, are giving up our proper nobility, and are making the unbelievers worse. For how shall we reason with another concerning immortality? how shall we persuade the heathen, when we fear death, and shudder at it more than he? Many, for instance, among the Greeks32 although they knew nothing of course about immortality, have crowned themselves at the decrease of their children, and appeared in white garments, that they might reap the present glory; but thou not even for the future glory’s sake ceasest thy woman’s behavior and wailing.
But hast thou no heirs, nor any to succeed to thy goods? And which wouldest thou rather, that he should be heir of thy possessions, or of Heaven? And which didst thou desire, that he should succeed to the things that perish, which he must have let go soon after, or to things that remain, and are immoveable? Thou hadst him not for heir, but God had him instead of thee; he became not joint-heir with his own brethren, but he became “joint-heir with Christ.”
“But to whom,” saith he, “are we to leave our garments, to whom our houses, to whom our slaves and our lands?” To him again, and more securely than if he lived; for there is nothing to hinder. For if barbarians burn the goods of the departed together with them, much more were it a righteous thing for thee to send away with the dead what things he hath: not to be turned to ashes, like those, but to invest him with more glory; and that if he departed a sinner, it may do away his sins;33 but if righteous, that it may become an increase of reward and recompense.
But dost thou long to see him? Then live the same life with him, and thou wilt soon obtain that sacred vision.
And herewith consider this also, that though thou shouldest not hearken to us, thou wilt certainly yield to time. But no reward then for thee; for the consolation comes of the number of the days. Whereas if thou art willing now to command thyself, thou wilt gain two very great points: first, thou wilt deliver thyself from the intervening ills, next, thou wilt be crowned with the brighter crown from God. For indeed neither almsgiving nor anything else is nearly so great as bearing affliction meekly.
Bear in mind, that even the Son of God died: and He indeed for thee, but thou for thyself. And when He said, “If it be possible, let the cup pass from me,”34 and suffered pain, and was in agony, nevertheless He shunned not the end, but underwent it, and that with its whole course of exceeding woe.35 That is, He did by no means simply endure death, but the most shameful death; and before His death, stripes; and before His stripes, upbraidings, and jeers, and revilings; instructing thee to bear all manfully. And though He died, and put off His body, He resumed it again in greater glory, herein also holding out to thee good hopes. If these things be not a fable, lament not. If thou account these things to be sure, weep not; but if thou dost weep, how wilt thou be able to persuade the Greek that thou believest?
6. But even so doth the event still appear intolerable to thee? Well then, for this very cause it is not meet to lament for him, for he is delivered from many such calamities. Grudge not therefore against him, neither envy him: for to ask death for yourself because of his premature end, and to lament for him that he did not live to endure many such things, is rather the part of one grudging and envying.
And think not of this, that he will no more return home: but that thyself also art a little while after to go to him. Regard not this, that he returns here no more, but that neither do these things that are seen remain such as they are, but these too are being transformed. Yea, for heaven, and earth, and sea, and all, are being put together afresh,36 and then shalt thou recover thy child in greater glory.
And if indeed he departed a sinner, his wickedness is stayed; for certainly, had God known that he was being converted, He would not have snatched him away before his repentance: but if he ended his life righteous, he now possesses all good in safety. Whence it is manifest that thy tears are not of kindly affection, but of unreasoning passion. For if thou lovedst the departed, thou shouldest rejoice and be glad that he is delivered from the present waves.
For what is there more, I pray thee? What is there fresh and new? Do we not see the same things daily revolving? Day and night, night and day, winter and summer, summer and winter, and nothing more. And these indeed are ever the same; but our evils are fresh, and newer. Wouldest thou then have him every day drawing up more of these things, and abiding here, and sickening, and mourning, and in fear and trembling, and enduring some of the ills of life, dreading others lest he some time endure them? Since assuredly thou canst not say this, that one sailing over this great sea might possibly be free from despondency and cares, and from all other such things.
And withal take this also into account, that thou didst not bring him forth immortal; and that if he had not died now, he must have endured it soon after. But is it that thou hadst not thy fill of him? But thou wilt of a certainty enjoy him there. But longest thou to see him here also? And what is there to hinder thee? For thou art permitted even here, if thou be watchful; for the hope of the things to come is clearer than sight.
But thou, if he were in some king’s court wouldest not ever seek to see him, so long as thou heardest of his good report: and seeing him departed to the things that are far better, art thou faint-hearted about a little time; and that, when thou hast in his place one to dwell with thee?
But hast thou no husband? yet hast thou a consolation, even the Father of the orphans, and Judge of the widows. Hear even Paul pronouncing this widowhood blessed, and saying, “Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth in the Lord.”37 Because such an one will appear more approved, evincing as she doth greater patience. Mourn not therefore for that which is thy crown, that for which thou demandest a reward.
Since thou hast also restored His deposit, if thou hast exhibited the very thing entrusted to thee. Be not in care any more, having laid up the possession in an inviolable treasure-house.
But if thou wouldest really learn, both what is our present being, and what our life to come; and that the one is a spider’s web and a shadow, but the things there, all of them, immoveable and immortal; thou wouldest not after that want other arguments. For whereas now thy child is delivered from all change; if he were here, perhaps he might continue good, perhaps not so. Seest thou not how many openly cast off38 their own children? how many are constrained to keep them at home, although worse than the open outcasts?
Let us make account of all these things and practise self-command; for so shall we at once show regard to the deceased, and enjoy much praise from men, and receive from God the great rewards of patience, and attain unto the good things eternal; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.
9 Lc 8,50.
10 Mc 5,35 Lc 8,49.
11 Jn 11,6 Jn 11,39.
12 Mt 9,22; see verse 2
13 Lc 8,45.
14 Lc 8,46. [R. V., “power.”]
15 Lc 8,47. [The English rendering has been modified to indicate more exactly the words cited.—R.]
16 Lc 8,48.
17 Mt 9,23-24). [R. V., “the flute-players, and the crowdsmaking a tumult.”]
18 Jn 2,11.
19 Ex 4,2.
20 Jn 11,34 Jn 11,39.
21 Mt 9,18.
22 Jn 11,44.
23 Jn 12,2.
24 [Probably “Gentiles” or “heathen” would be a better reading. The contrast in with “believer”.—R.]
25 2Co 6,15. [R. V., “unbeliever.”]
26 Ps 116,7.
27 Gn 3,16 3,19.
28 Jn 16,33.
29 Is 35,10.
30 Mt 8,11.
31 Because the feasts and prayers for the dead being supposed to benefit those only who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and whose final happiness was therefore sure, it was an inconsistency in those who celebrated them to sorrow as if they had no hope. See Bingham, b. xxiii. c. 3,sec. 13,
32 [Or, “Gentiles.”]
33 Not that St. Chrysostom imagined that anything could be done to change the relative condition of those who have died in the favor or displeasure of God: see e. g. Hom. XXXVI. p. 506, ed.Field. Indeed, the same is implied in the words which immediately follow. “Dost thou long to see him? Then live the same life with him,” &c).
34 Mt 26,39.
35 meta; mollh`" th`" tragw/diva").
37 1Tm 5,5. [R. V., “hath her hope set on God.” Chrysostom reads ku;rion, and Augustin followed the same reading.—R.]
32 Mt 9,27-38 Mt 10,1-16
“And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.1 And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it2 unto you. And their eyes were opened.”
Wherefore can it be that He puts them off,3 and they crying out? Here again teaching us utterly to repel the glory that cometh from the multitude. For because the house was near, He leads them thither to heal them in private. And this is evident from the fact, that He charged them moreover to tell no man.
But this is no light charge against the Jews; when these men, though their eyes were struck out, receive the faith by hearing alone, but they beholding the miracles, and having their sight to witness what was. happening, do all just contrary. And see their earnestness also, both by their cry, and by their prayer itself. For they did not merely approach Him, but with loud cries, and alleging nought else but “mercy.”
And they called Him “Son of David,” because the name was thought to be honorable. In many passages, for instance, did the prophets4 likewise so call the kings, whom they wished to honor, and to declare great.
And having brought them into the house, He puts to them a further question. For in many cases He made a point of healing on entreaty, lest any should suppose Him to be rushing5 upon these miracles through vainglory: and not on this account alone, but to indicate also that they deserve healing, and that no one should say, “If it was of mere mercy that He saved, all men ought to be saved.” For even His love to man hath a kind of proportion; depending on the faith of them that are healed. But not for these causes only doth He require faith of them, but forasmuch as they called Him “Son of David,” He to lead them up to what is higher, and to teach them to entertain the imaginations they ought of Himself, saith, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” He did not say, “Believe ye that I am able to entreat my Father, that I am able to pray” but, “that I am able to do this?”
What then is their word? “Yea, Lord.” They call Him no more Son of David, but soar higher, and acknowledge His dominion.
And then at last He for His part lays His hand upon them, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.” And this He doth to confirm their faith, and to show that they are participators in the good work, and to witness that their words were not words of flattery. For neither did He say, “Let your eyes be opened,” but, “According to your faith be it unto you;” which He saith to many of them that came unto Him; before the healing of their bodies, hastening to proclaim the faith in their soul; so as both to make them more approved, and to render others more serious.
Thus with respect to the sick of the palsy also; for there too before giving nerve to the body, He raises up the fallen soul, saying, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.”6 And the young damsel too, when He had raised her up, He detained, and by the food taught her her Benefactor; and in the case of the centurion also He did in like manner, leaving the whole to his faith; and as to His disciples again, when delivering them from the storm on the sea. He delivered them first from their want of faith. Just so likewise in this case: He knew indeed, even before their cry, the secrets of their mind; but that He might lead on others also to the same earnestness, He makes them known to the rest as well, by the result of their cure proclaiming their hidden faith.
Then after their cure He commands them to tell no man; neither doth He merely command them, but with much strictness.
“For Jesus,” it is said, “straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country.”7
They however did not endure this, but became preachers, and evangelists; and when bidden to hide what had been done, they endured it not.
And if in another place we find Him saying, “Go thy way, and declare the glory of God,”8 that is not contrary to this, but even highly in agreement herewith. For He instructs us to say nothing ourselves, concerning ourselves, but even to forbid them that would eulogise us: but if the glory be referred to God, then not only not to forbid, but to command men to do this.
2. “And as they went out,” it is said, “behold, they brought unto Him a dumb man possessed with a devil.”9
For the affliction was not natural, but the device of the evil Spirit; wherefore also he needs others to bring him. For he could neither make entreaty himself, being speechless, nor supplicate others, when the evil spirit had bound his tongue, and together with his tongue had fettered his soul.
For this cause neither doth He require faith of him, but straightway heals the disease.
“For when the devil was cast out,” it saith, “the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”10
Now this especially vexed the Pharisees, that they preferred Him to all, not only that then were, but that had ever been. And they preferred Him, not for His healing, but for His doing it easily and quickly, and to diseases innumerable and incurable.
And thus the multitude; but the Pharisees quite contrariwise; not only disparaging the works, but saying things contradictory to themselves, and not ashamed. Such a thing is wickedness. For what say they?
“He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”11
1 [R. V. (and Chrysostom), “Have mercy on us, thou Son of David.”]
2 [R. V., “be it done.”]
4 Perhaps Is 37,35.
6 Mt 9,2. [“Thy sins are forgiven.” Comp, Homily XXIX. 1.—R.]
7 Mt 9,30-31.
8 Mc 5,19 Lc 8,39.
9 Mt 9,32. [“Demon” is more correct, here and through out the passage.—R.]
10 Mt 9,33.
11 Mt 9,34. [R. V., “By (or, in) the prince of the devils (Greek, demons) he casteth out devils.”]
What can be more foolish than this? For in the first place, as He also saith further on, it is impossible that a devil should cast out a devil for that being is wont to repair what belongs to himself, not to pull it down. But He did not cast out devils only, but also cleansed lepers, and raised the dead, and curbed the sea, and remitted sins, and preached the kingdom, and brought men unto the Father; things which a demon would never either choose, or at any time be able to effect. For the devils bring men to idols, and withdraw them from God, and persuade them to disbelieve the life to come. The devil doth not bestow kindness when he is insulted; forasmuch as even when not insulted, he harms those that court and honor him.
But He doeth the contrary.For after these their insults and revilings,
3. “He went about,” it is said, “all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease.”12
And so far from punishing them for their insensibility, He did not even simply rebuke them; at once both evincing His meekness, and so refuting the calumny; and at the same time minded also by the signs which followed to exhibit His proof more completely: and then to adduce also the refutation by words. He went about therefore both in cities, and in countries, and in their synagogues; instructing us to requite our calumniators, not with fresh calumnies, but with greater benefits. Since, if not for man’s sake, but God’s, thou doest good to thy fellow-servants; whatsoever they may do, leave not thou off doing them good, that thy reward may be greater; since he surely, who upon their calumny leaves off his doing good, signifies that for their praise’ sake, not for God’s sake, he applies himself to that kind of virtue.
For this cause Christ, to teach us that of mere goodness He had entered on this, so far from waiting for the sick to come to Him, of Himself hastened unto them, bearing them two of the greatest blessings; one, the gospel of the kingdom; another, the perfect cure of all their diseases. And not a city did He overlook, not a village did He hasten by, but visited every place.
4. And not even at this doth He stop, but He exhibits also another instance of His forethought. That is,
“When He saw,” it is said, “the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were troubled,13 and scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”14
See again His freedom from vainglory. That He may not draw all men unto Himself, He sends out His disciples.
And not with this view only, but that He might also teach them, after practising in Palestine, as in a sort of training-school, to strip themselves for their conflicts with the world. For this purpose then He makes the exercises even more serious than the actual conflicts, so far as pertained to their own virtue; that they might more easily engage in the struggles that were to ensue; as it were a sort of tender nestlings whom He was at length leading out to fly. And for the present He makes them physicians of bodies, dispensing to them afterwards the cure of the soul, which is the principal thing.
And mark how He points out the facility and necessity of the thing. For what saith He? “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” That is, “not to the sowing,” saith He, “but to the reaping do I send you.” Which in John He expressed by, “Other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.”15
And these things he said, at once repressing their pride, and preparing them to be of good courage, and signifying that the greater part of the labor came first.
And contemplate Him here too beginning from love to man, not with any requital. “For He had compassion, because they were troubled and scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd.” This is His charge against the rulers of the Jews, that being shepherds they acted the part of wolves. For so far from amending the multitude, they even marred their progress. For instance, when they were marvelling and saying, “It was never so seen in Israel:” these were affirming the contrary, “He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”16
But of what laborers doth He speak here? Of the twelve disciples. What then? whereas He had said, “But the laborers are few,” did He add to their number? By no means, but He sent them out alone. Wherefore then did He say, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He would17 send forth laborers into His harvest; and made no addition to their number? Because though they were but twelve, He made them many from that time forward, not by adding to their number, but by giving them power.
Then to signify how great the gift is, He saith, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest;” and indirectly declares it to be His own prerogative. For after having said, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest;” when they had not made any entreaty nor prayer, He Himself at once ordains them, reminding them also of the sayings of John,18 of the threshing floor, and of the Person winnowing, and of the chaff, and of the wheat. Whence it is evident that Himself is the husbandman, Himself the Lord of the harvest, Himself the master and owner of the prophets. For if He sent them to reap, clearly it was not to reap what belongs to another, but what Himself had sown by the prophets.
But not in this way only was He indirectly encouraging them, in calling their ministry a harvest; but also by making them able for the ministry.
“And when He had called unto Him,” it saith, “His twelve disciples, He gave them power against19 unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.”20
Still the Spirit was not yet given. For “there was not yet,” it saith, “a Spirit, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”21 How then did they cast out the spirits? By His command, by His authority.
And mark, I pray thee, also, how well timed was the mission. For not at the beginning did He send them; but when they had enjoyed sufficiently the advantage of following Him, and had seen a dead person raised, and the sea rebuked, and devils expelled, and a paralytic new-strung, and sins remitted, and a leper cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of His power, both by deeds and words, then He sends them forth: and not to dangerous acts, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine, but they had only to stand against evil speakings. However, even of this He forewarns them, I mean of their perils; preparing them even before the time, and making them feel as in conflict by His continual predictions of that sort.
5. Then, since He had mentioned to us two pairs of apostles, that of Peter, and that of John, and after those had pointed out the calling of Matthew, but had said nothing to us either of the calling or of the name of the other apostles; here of necessity He sets down the list of them, and their number, and makes known their names, saying thus:
“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; first, Simon, who is called Peter.”22
12 Mt 9,35). [R. V., “all manner of disease and all manner of sickness.” In the Homily, as in the best New restament Mss eju tw`/ law`/ is not found.—R.]
13 ejskulmevnoi, vexati, the reading of the Vulgate, and of most Mss. and Fathers: adopted by Griesbach into the text). [The R. V. renders this “distressed.”]
14 . [“will” is unnecessary.—R.]
15 Jn 4,38.
16 Mt 12,23-24). [See on Verse 34, in sec. 2.]
17 [Omit “would.”]
18 Mt 3,12.
19 [R. V., “authority over.”]
20 Mt 10,1. [ “Sickness” and “disease” should be transposed. Comp. on chap. 9,35, and R. V.—R.]
21 Jn 7,39. [Chrysostom accepts the reading sustained by our best authorities; but the literal rendering given above does not represent his view. In Homily LI., in John, he distinctly says: “For the Holy Ghost was not yet, that is, ‘was not yet given’.”—R.]
22 Mt 10,2.
Because there was also another Simon, the Canaanite; and there was Judas Iscariot, and Judas the brother of James; and James the son of Alphaeus, and James the son of Zebedee.
Now Mark doth also put them according to their dignity; for after the two leaders, He then numbers Andrew; but our evangelist not so, but without distinction; or rather He sets before himself even Thomas who came far short of him.
But let us look at the list of them from the beginning.
“First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother.”
Even this is no small praise. For the one he named from his virtue, the other from his high kindred, which was in conformity to his disposition.
Then, “James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.”
Seest thou how He arranges them not according to their dignity. For to me John seems to be greater, not only than the others, but even than his brother.
After this, when he had said, “Philip, and Bartholomew,” he added, “Thomas, and Matthew the Publican.”23
But Luke not so, but in the opposite order, and he puts him before Thomas
Next, “James the son of Alphaeus.” For there was, as I have already said, the son of Zebedee also. Then after having mentioned “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus,”24 and “Simon” Zelotes, whom he calls also “the Canaanite,” he comes to the traitor. And not as a sort of enemy or foe, but as one writing a history, so hath he described him. He saith not, “the unholy, the all unholy one,” but hath named him from his city, “Judas Iscariot.” Because there was also another Judas, “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus,” who, Luke saith, was the brother of James, saying, “Judas the brother of James.”25 Therefore to distinguish him from this man, it saith, “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.”26 And he is not ashamed to say, “who also betrayed Him.” So far were they from ever disguising aught even of those things that seem to be matters of reproach.
And first of all, and leader of the choir,27 is the “unlearned, the ignorant man.”28
But let us see whither, and to whom, He sends them.
“These twelve,” it is said, “Jesus sent forth.”29
23 Mt 10,3.
24 [R. V., “Thaddeus.” The longer reading arose quite early. Tischendorf accepts “Lebb’us”though it is not strongly supported, mainly because Mc has “Thaddeus.”—R.]
25 Lc 6,16.
26 Mt 10,4.
28 Ac 4,13
29 Mt 10,5.
What manner of men were these? The fishermen, the publicans: for indeed four were fishermen and two publicans, Matthew and James, and one was even a traitor. And what saith He to them? He presently charges them, saying,
“Go not into the way30 of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”31
“For think not at all,” saith He, “because they insult me, and call me demoniac, that I hate them and turn away from them. Nay, as I sought earnestly to amend them in the first place, so keeping you away from all the rest, to them do I send you as teachers and physicians. And I not only forbid you to preach to others before these, but I do not suffer you so much as to touch upon the road that leads thither, nor to enter into such a city.” Because the Samaritans too are in a state of enmity with the Jews. And yet it was an easier thing to deal with them, for they were much more favorably disposed to the faith; but the case of these was more difficult. But for all this, He sends them on the harder task, indicating his guardian care of them, and stopping the mouths of the Jews, and preparing the way for the teaching of the apostles, that people might not hereafter blame them for “entering in to men uncircumcised,”32 and think they had a just cause for shunning and abhorring them. And he calls them “lost,” not “stray,” “sheep,” in every way contriving how to excuse them, and whining their mind to himself.
30 [R.V. “any way.”]
31 Mt 10,5-6.
32 Ac 11,3.
6. “And as ye go,” saith He, “preach, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”33
33 Mt 10,7.
Seest thou the greatness of their ministry? Seest thou the dignity of apostles? Of nothing that is the object of sense are they commanded to speak, nor such as Moses spake of, and the prophets before them, but of some new and strange things. For while the former preached no such things, but earth, and the good things in the earth, these preached the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever is there.
And not from this circumstance only were these the greater, but also from their obedience: in that they shrink not, nor are they backward, like those of old;34 but, warned as they are of perils, and wars, and of those insupportable evils, they receive with great obedience His injunctions, as being heralds of a kingdom.
“And what marvel,” saith one, “if having nothing to preach that is dismal or grievous, they readily obeyed?” What sayest thou? nothing grievous enjoined them? Dost thou not hear of the prisons, the executions, the civil wars, the hatred of all men? all which, He said a little while after, they must undergo. True, as to other men, He sent them to be procurers and heralds of innumerable blessings: but for themselves, He said and proclaimed beforehand, that they were to suffer terrible and incurable ills.
After this, to make them trustworthy,35 He saith,
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,36 cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
See how He provides for their conduct, and that no less than for their miracles, implying that the miracles without this are nothing. Thus He both quells their pride by saying, “Freely ye have received, freely give;” and takes order for their being clear of covetousness. Moreover, lest it should be thought their own work,37 and they be lifted up by the signs that were wrought, He saith, “freely ye have received.” “Ye bestow no favor on them that receive you, for not for a price did ye receive these things, nor after toil: for the grace is mine. In like manner therefore give ye to them also, for there is no finding a price worthy of them.”
34 See .
35 [avxiopivstou", worthy of the confidence of those to whom they preached.—R.]
36 Mt 10,8. “Raise the dead,” is added in our copies). [There is some authority for omitting this clause in the New Testament, but recent critical editors retain it.—R.]
37 katgo;rqwma; nearly answering, perhaps, both here and in other places to meritum).
7. After this plucking up immediately the root of the evils,38 He saith,
38 1Tm 6,10.
“Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff.”39
He said not, “take them not with you,” but, “even if you can obtain them from another, flee the evil disease.” And you see that hereby He was answering many good purposes; first setting His disciples above suspicion; secondly, freeing them from all care, so that they might give all their leisure to the word; thirdly, teaching them His own power. Of this accordingly He quite speaks out to them afterwards, “Lacked ye anything, when I sent you naked and unshod?”40
He did not at once say, “Provide not,” but when He had said, “Cleanse the lepers, cast out devils,” then He said, “Provide nothing; freely ye have received, freely give;” by His way of ordering things consulting at once for their interest, their credit, and their ability.
But perhaps some one may say, that the rest may not be unaccountable, but “not to have a scrip for the journey, neither two coats, nor a staff, nor shoes,” why did He enjoin this? Being minded to train them up unto all perfection; since even further back, He had suffered them not to take thought so much as for the next day. For even to the whole world He was to send them out as teachers. Therefore of men He makes them even angels (so to speak); releasing them from all worldly care, so that they should be possessed with one care alone, that of their teaching; or rather even from that He releases them, saying, “Take no thought how or what ye shall speak.”41
And thus, what seems to be very grievous and galling, this He shows to be especially light and easy for them. For nothing makes men so cheerful as being freed from anxiety and care; and especially when it is granted them, being so freed, to lack nothing, God being present, and becoming to them instead of all things.
Next, lest they should say, “whence then are we to obtain our necessary food?” He saith not unto them, “Ye have heard that I have told you before, ’Behold the fowls of the air;’“42 (for they were not yet able to realise43 this commandment in their actions); but He added what came far short of this, saying, “For the workman is worthy of his meat;”44 declaring that they must be nourished by their disciples, that neither they might be high minded towards those whom they were teaching, as though giving all and receiving nothing at their hands; nor these again break away, as being despised by their teachers.
After this, that they may not say, “Dost thou then command us to live by begging?” and be ashamed of this, He signifies the thing to be a debt, both by calling them “workmen,” and by terming what was given, “hire.”45 For “think not,” saith He, “because the labor is in words, that the benefit conferred by you is small; nay, for the thing hath much toil; and whatsoever they that are taught may give, it is not a free gift which they bestow, but a recompence which they render: “for the workman is worthy of his meat.” But this He said, not as declaring so much to be the worth of the apostles’ labors, far from it; God forbid: but as both making it a law for them to seek nothing more, and as convincing the givers, that what they do is not an act of liberality, but a debt.
8. “And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy: and there abide till ye go thence.”46
That is, “it follows not,” saith He, “from my saying, ’The workman is worthy of his meat,’ that I have opened to you all men’s doors: but herein also do I require you to use much circumspection. For this will profit you both in respect of your credit, and for your very maintenance. For if he is worthy, he will surely give you food; more especially when ye ask nothing beyond mere necessaries.”
And He not only requires them to seek out worthy persons, but also not to change house for house, whereby they would neither vex him that is receiving them, nor themselves get the character of gluttony and self-indulgence.47 For this He declared by saying, “There abide till ye go thence.” And this one may perceive from the other evangelists also.48
Seest thou how He made them honorable by this also, and those that received them careful; by signifying that they rather are the gainers, both in honor, and in respect of advantage?
Then pursuing again the same subject, He saith,
“And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”49
Seest thou how far He declines not to carry His injunctions? And very fitly. For as champions of godliness, and preachers to the whole world, was He training them. And in that regard disposing them to practise moderation, and making them objects of love, He saith,
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.”50
That is, “do not,” saith He, “because ye are teachers, therefore wait to be saluted by others, but be first in showing that respect.” Then, implying that this is not a mere salutation, but a blessing, He saith, “If the house be worthy, it shall come upon it,” but if it deal insolently, its first punishment will be, not to have the benefit of your peace; and the second, that it shall suffer the doom of Sodom.” “And what,” it will be said, “is their punishment to us?” Ye will have the houses of such as are worthy.
But what means, “Shake off the dust of your feet?” It is either to signify their having received nothing of them, or to be a witness to them of the long journey, which they had travelled for their sake.
But mark, I pray thee, how He doth not even yet give the whole to them. For neither doth He as yet bestow upon them foreknowledge, so as to learn who is worthy, and who is not so; but He bids them inquire, and await the trial. How then did He Himself abide with a publican? Because he was become worthy by his conversion.
And mark, I pray thee, how when He had stripped them of all, He gave them all, by suffering them to abide in the houses of those who became disciples, and to enter therein, having nothing. For thus both themselves were freed from anxiety, and they would convince the others, that for their salvation only are they come; first by bringing in nothing with them. then by requiring no more of them than necessaries, lastly, by not entering all their houses without distinction.
Since not by the signs only did He desire them to appear illustrious, but even before the signs, by their own virtue. For nothing so much characterizes strictness of life,51 as to be free from superfluities, and so far as may be, from wants. This even the false apostles knew. Wherefore Paul also said, “That wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.”52
But if when we are in a strange country, and are going unto persons unknown to us, we must seek nothing more than our food for the day, much more when abiding at home.
9. These things let us not hear only, but also imitate. For not of the apostles alone are they said, but also of the saints afterwards. Let us therefore become worthy to entertain them. For according to the disposition of the entertainers this peace both comes and flies away again. For not only on the courageous speaking of them that teach, but also on the worthiness of them that receive, doth this effect follow.
Neither let us account it a small loss, not to enjoy such peace. For this peace the prophet also from of old proclaims, saying, “How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings of peace.”53 Then to explain the value thereof he added, “That bring good tidings of good things.”
This peace Christ also declared to be great, when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”54 And we should do all things, so as to enjoy it, both at home and in church. For in the very church too the presiding minister gives peace.55 And this which we speak of is a type of that. And you should receive it with all alacrity, in heart56 before the actual communion.57 For if not to impart it after the communion58 be disgusting, how much more disgusting to repel from you him that pronounces it!
For thee the presbyter sits, for thee the teacher stands, laboring and toiling. What plea then wilt thou have, for not affording him so much welcome as to listen to Him? For indeed the church is the common home of all, and when ye have first occupied it, we enter in, strictly observing the type which they exhibited. For this cause we also pronounce “peace” in common to all, directly as we enter, according to that law.
Let no one therefore be careless, no one inattentive,59 when the priests have entered in and are teaching; for there is really no small punishment appointed for this. Yea, and I for one would rather enter into any of your houses ten thousand times, and find myself baffled, than not be heard when I speak here. This latter is to me harder to bear than the other, by how much this house is of greater dignity; our great possessions being verily laid up here, here all the hopes we have. For what is here, that is not great and awful? Thus both this table is far more precious and delightful than the other,60 and this candle-stick than the candlestick there. And this they know, as many as have put away diseases by anointing themselves with oil61 in faith and in due season. And this coffer too is far better and more indispensable than that other chest; for it hath not clothes but alms shut up in it; even though they be few that own them. Here too is a couch better than that other; for the repose of the divine Scriptures is more delightful than any couch.
39 Mt 10,9-10. [R. V., “Get you no gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses (Greek ,girdles); no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff.”]
40 Lc 22,35. [The passage is paraphrased by Chrysostom.—R.]
41 Mt 10,19. [R. V., “Be not anxious,” etc.]
42 Mt 6,26.
44 Mt 10,10. [R. V., “For the laborer is worthy of his food.”]
45 See Lc 10,7.
46 Mt 10,11. [R. V., “Search out who, ”etc.]
47 eujkoliva". .
48 Lc 10,7.
49 Mt 10,12-13.
50 Mt 10,14-15.
52 2Co 11,12.
53 Is 52,7 Rm 10,15.
54 Jn 14,27.
55 See’ Bingham 13, 10, 8, quoting St, Chrys. Hom). in eos qui primum Pascha jejunant, P. 6,383. Sav. “There is nothing like peace and harmony. Therefore our Father (the Bishop) mounts not up to this throne, until he have invoked peace upon you all: nor when he stands up, doth he begin his instruction to you, until he have given peace to all ; and the priests, when about to consecrate, first make this prayer for you, and so begin the blessing: and the deacon also, when be bids you pray, joins this with the rest as matter of your prayer, that you should ask for the angel of peace, and that all the things set before you should be for your peace: also in dismissing you from this assembly, this is what he implores for you, saying, ‘Depart in peace.’ And in a word, we may not say or do any thing without this peace.” See also Bingham, 14, 4. 6; 4. 14: 15, 3, 1, 2; and the authors quoted by him, especially St. Chrysostom in various places from which it is evident that the table here means the holy table. and that his argument is, “We should receive our brethren’s salutations as home and elsewhere with a brotherly mind that we may be fit to impart to him the kiss of peace in the holy mysteries: the one is a type of, and a preparation for, the other as was the salutation here enjoined to the apostles. Especially ought we to be ready and attentive at the many salutations which the ministers offer to us in the earlier part of the service, that we may lose none of the benefit of that mysterious salutation which we know will come in the end and most awful part of it.”
56 [th`/ gnwvmh/.]
57 th`" Trapevzh").
58 i. e., to refuse the kiss of peace, which was always a part of the altar service).
And had we attained to excellence in respect of concord, then had we no other home beside this. And that there is nothing over-burdensome in this saying, the “three thousand,”62 bear witness, and the “five thousand,”63 who had but one home, one table, one soul; for “the multitude of them that believed,” we read, “were of one heart and of one soul.”64 But since we fall far short of their virtue, and dwell scattered in our several homes, let us at least, when we meet here, be earnest in so doing. Because though in all other things we be destitute and poor, yet in these we are rich. Wherefore here at least receive us with love when we come in unto you. And when I say, “Peace be unto you,”65 and ye say, “And with thy spirit,” say it not with the voice only, but also with the mind; not in mouth, but in understanding also. But if, while here thou sayest, “Peace also to thy spirit,” out of doors thou art mine enemy, spitting at and calumniating me. and secretly aspersing me with innumerable reproaches; what manner of peace is this?
For I indeed, though thou speak evil of me ten thousand times, give thee that peace with a pure heart, with sincerity of purpose, and I can say nothing evil at any time of thee; for I have a father’s bowels. And if I rebuke thee at any time, I do it out of concern for thee. But as for thee, by thy secret carping at me, and not receiving me in the Lord’s house, I fear lest thou shouldest in return add to my despondency; not for thine insulting me, not for thy casting me out, but for thy rejecting our peace, and drawing down upon thyself that grievous punishment.
For though I shake not off the dust, though I turn not away, what is threatened remains unchanged. For I indeed oftentimes pronounce peace to you, and will not cease from continually speaking it; and if, besides your insults, ye receive me not, even then I shake not off the dust; not that I am disobedient to our Lord, but that I vehemently burn for you. And besides, I have suffered nothing at all for you; I have neither come a long journey, nor with that garb and that voluntary poverty am I come (therefore we first blame ourselves), nor without shoes and a second coat; and perhaps this is why ye also fail of your part. However, this is not a sufficient plea for you; but while our condemnation is greater, to you it imparts no excuse.
10. Then the houses were churches, but now the church is become a house. Then one might say nothing worldly in a house, now one may say nothing spiritual in a church, but even here ye bring in the business from the market place, and while God is discoursing, ye leave off listening in silence to His sayings, and bring in the contrary things, and make discord. And I would it were your own affairs, but now the things which are nothing to you, those ye both speak and hear.
For this I lament, and will not cease lamenting. For I have no power to quit this house, but here we must needs remain until we depart from this present life. “Receive us”66 therefore, as Paul commanded. For his language in that place related not to a meal, but to the temper and mind. This we also seek of you, even love, that fervent and genuine affection. But if ye endure not even this, at least love yourselves, and lay aside your present remissness. This is sufficient for our consolation, if we see you approving yourselves, and becoming better men. So will I also myself show forth increased love, even “though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”67
For indeed there are many things to bind us together. One table is set before all, one Father begat us, we are all the issue of the same throes, the same drink hath been given to all; or rather not only the same drink, but also to drink out of one cup. For our Father desiring to lead us to a kindly affection, hath devised this also, that we should drink out of one cup; a thing which belongs to intense love.
But “there is no comparison between the apostles and us.” I confess it too, and would never deny it. For I say not, to themselves, but not even to their shadows are we comparable.
But nevertheless, let your part be done. This will have no tendency to disgrace you but rather to profit you the more. For when even to unworthy persons ye show so much love and obedience, then shall ye receive the greater reward.
For neither are they our own words which we speak, since ye have no teacher at all on earth; but what we have received, that we also give, and in giving we seek for nothing else from you, but to be loved only. And if we be unworthy even of this, yet by our loving you we shall quickly be worthy. Although we are commanded to love not them only that love us, but even our enemies. Who then is so hardhearted, who so savage, that after having received such a law, he should abhor and hate even them that love him, full as he may be of innumerable evils?
We have partaken of a spiritual table, let us be partakers also of spiritual love. For if robbers, on partaking of salt, forget their character; what excuse shall we have, who are continually partaking of the Lord’s body, and do not imitate even their gentleness? And yet to many, not one table only, but even to be of one city, hath sufficed for friendship; but we, when we have the same city, and the same house, and table, and way, and door, and root, and life, and head, and the same shepherd, and king, and teacher, and judge, and maker, and father, and to whom all things are common; what indulgence can we deserve, if we be divided one from another?
11. But the miracles, perhaps, are what ye seek after, such as they wrought when they entered in; the lepers cleansed, the devils driven out, and the dead raised? Nay, but this is the great indication of your high birth, and of your love, that ye should believe God without pledges. And in fact this, and one other thing, were the reasons why God made miracles to cease. I mean, that if when miracles are not performed, they that plume themselves on other advantages,—for instance, either on the word of wisdom, or on show of piety,—grow vainglorious, are puffed up, are separated one from another; did miracles also take place, how could there but be violent rendings? And that what I say is not mere conjecture, the Corinthians bear witness, who from this cause were divided into many parties.
Do not thou therefore seek signs, but the soul’s health. Seek not to see one dead man raised; nay, for thou hast learnt that the whole world is arising. Seek not to see a blind man healed, but behold all now restored unto that better and more profitable sight; and do thou too learn to look chastely, and amend thine eye.
For in truth, if we all lived as we ought, workers of miracles would not be admired so much as we by the children of the heathen. For as to the signs, they often carry with them either a notion of mere fancy, or another evil suspicion, although ours be not such. But a pure life cannot admit of any such reproach; yea, all men’s mouths are stopped by the acquisition of virtue.
Let virtue then be our study: for abundant are her riches, and great the wonder wrought in her. She bestows the true freedom, and causes the same to be discerned even in slavery, not releasing from slavery, but While men continue slaves, exhibiting them more honorable than freemen; which is much more than giving them freedom: not making the poor man rich, but while he continues poor, exhibiting him wealthier than the rich.
But if thou wouldest work miracles also, be rid of transgressions, and thou hast quite accomplished it. Yea, for sin is a great demon, beloved; and if thou exterminate this, thou hast wrought a greater thing than they who drive out ten thousand demons. Do thou listen to Paul, how he speaks, and prefers virtue to miracles. “But covet earnestly,” saith he, “the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”68 And when he was to declare this “way,” he spoke not of raising the dead, not of cleansing of lepers, not of any other such thing; but in Mace of all these he set charity. Hearken also unto Christ, saying, “Rejoice not that the demons obey you, but that your names are written in Heaven.”69 And again before this, “Many will say to me in that day, Have we not prophesied in Thy name, and cast out devils, and done many mighty works, and then I will profess unto them, I know you not.”70 And when He was about to be crucified, He called His disciples, and said unto them, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,” not “if ye cast out devils,” but “if ye have love one to another.”71 And again, “Hereby shall all men know that Thou hast sent me;” not “if these men raise the dead,” but, “if they be one.”72
For, as to miracles, they oftentimes, while they profiled another, have injured him who had the power, by lifting him up to pride and vainglory, or haply in some other way: but in our works there is no place for any such suspicion, but they profit both such as follow them, and many others.
These then let us perform with much diligence. For if thou change from inhumanity to almsgiving, thou hast stretched forth the hand that was withered. If thou withdraw from theatres and go to the church, thou hast cured the lame foot. If thou draw back thine eyes from an harlot, and from beauty not thine own, thou hast opened them when they were blind. If instead of satanical songs, thou hast learnt spiritual psalms, being dumb, thou hast spoken.
These are the greatest miracles, these the wonderful signs. If we go on working these signs, we shall both ourselves be a great and admirable sort of persons through these, and shall win over all the wicked unto virtue, and shall enjoy the life to come; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.
60 i. e. , than the common tables in your own houses).
61 See James 5,14, 15 Tertull). ad Scapul. c. 4. “Severus sought ont one Proculus, a Christian who had cured him at a certam time with oil, and kept him in his court until he died.” St. Jerome, vit. St. Hilarion, c. 32. “Very many, wounded by serpents, having had recourse to Hilarion, indeed all the husbandmen aud shepherds, upon touching their wounds with consecrated oil, recovered lasting health.” Other cases occur in church history, and illustrate the importance which the early writers attribute to the sacred oil in the church ritual, and the account of the miracle of St. Narcissus in Euseb. E. H. 6,9. This statement of St. Chrysostom should be borne in mind, as qualifying what he so often seems to affirm or imply, that miraculous gifts had been withdrawn).
62 Ac 2,41.
63 Ac 4,4
64 Ac 4,32.
65 See St. Chrys. on Coloss. Hom. III. (as quoted by Mr. Field). “When the bishop enters the church, immediately he says, ‘Peace be to all’; when he exhorts, ‘Peace to all;’ when he consecrates. ‘Peace to all,’ when he enjoins the salutation, ‘Peace to all’ when the sacrifice is ended, ‘Peace to all:’ and at intervals again, ‘Grace to you and Peace.’”
66 2Co 7,2.
67 2Co 12,15. [R. V., “Am I loved the less?” The reading accepted by Chrysostom agrees better with this interpretation).
68 1Co 12,31.
69 Lc 10,20.
70 Mt 7,22-23.
71 Jn 13,35.
72 Jn 17,22-23.
Chrysostom hom. on Mt 31