Chrysostom on Rm 2400
2400 that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.”
Since he had given them what commands were fitting, he again thrusts them on to the performance of good works, in consideration of what was pressing upon them. For the time of judgment, he means, is at the doors. So too he wrote to the Corinthians also, “The remaining time is short.1 ” (1Co 7,29). And to the Hebrews again, “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (He 10,37). But in those cases it was to cheer those in trouble, and to solace the toils of their closely successive temptations, that he said those things: but in the passage before us he does it to rouse those that are asleep, this language being useful to us for both the purposes: and what is that which he says, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep?” It is, that near is the Resurrection, near the awful Judgment, and the day that burneth as a furnace, near. Henceforward then we must be free from our listlessness; “for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”2 You see how he puts the Resurrection now close by them. For as the time advances, he means, the season of our present life is wasting away, and that of the life to come waxes nearer. If then thou be prepared, and hast done all whatsoever He hath commanded, the day is salvation to thee (3 mss. and Cat). swthria soi); but if the contrary, not so. For the present however, it is not upon alarming grounds that he exhorts them, but upon kindly ones, thus also to untie them from their fellow-feeling for the things of this present world. Then since it was not unlikely, that in the beginning of their early endeavors they would be most earnest, in that their desire was then at its full vigor, but that as the time went on, the whole of their earnestness would wither down to nothing; he says that they ought however to be doing the reverse, not to get relaxed as time went on, but to be the more full of vigor. For the nearer the King may be at hand, the more ought they to get themselves in readiness; the nearer the prize is, the more wide awake ought they to be for the contest, since even the racers do this, when they are upon the end of the course, and towards the receiving of the prize, then they rouse themselves up the more. This is why he said, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”
Rm 13,12. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”
If then this is upon ending, and the latter is drawing near, let us henceforth do what belongs to the latter, not to the former. For this is what is done in the things of this life. And when we see the night pressing on towards the morning, and hear the swallow twittering, we each of us awake our neighbor, although it be night still. But so soon as it is actually departing, we hasten one another, and say It is day now! and we all set about the works of the day, dressing, and leaving our dreams, and shaking our sleep thoroughly off, that the day may find us ready, and we may not have to begin getting up, and stretching ourselves, when the sunlight is up. What then we do in that case, that let us do here also. Let us put off imaginings, let us get clear of the dreams of this life present, let us lay aside its deep slumber, and be clad in virtue for garments. For it is to point out all this that he says,
“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
Yes, for the day is calling us to battle-array, and to the fight. Yet fear not at hearing of array and arms. For in the case of the visible suit of armor, to put it on is a heavy and abhorred task. But here it is desirable, and worth being prayed for. For it is of Light the arms are! Hence they will set thee forth brighter than the sunbeam, and giving out a great glistening, and they place thee in security: for they are arms, and glit- tering do they make thee: for arms of light are they! What then, is there no necessity for thee to fight? yea, needful is it to fight, yet not to be distressed and toil. For it is not in fact war, but a solemn dance and feast-day, such is the nature of the arms, such the power of the Commander. And as the bridegroom goes forth with joyous looks from his chamber, so doth he too who is defended with these arms. For he is at once soldier and bridegroom. But when he says, “the day is at hand,” he does not even allow it to be but near, but puts it even now beside us. For he says,
“Let us walk becomingly,” (A. V. honestly, in this sense)”as in the day.” For day it already is. And what most people insist upon very much in their exhortations, that he also uses to draw them on, the sense of the becoming. For they had a great regard to the esteem of the multitude.3 And he does not say, walk ye, but let us walk, so making the exhortation free from anything grating, and the reproof gentle.
“Not in rioting and drunkenness.” Not that he would forbid drinking, but the doing it immoderately; not the enjoying of wine, but doing it to excess (meta paroinia"). As also the next thing he states likewise with the same measure, in the words,
“Not in chambering and wantonness;” for here also he does not prohibit the intercourse of the sexes, but committing fornication. “Not in strife and envying.” It is the deadly kind of passions then that he is for extinguishing, lust, namely, and anger. Wherefore it is not themselves only, but even the sources of them that he removes. For there is nothing that so kindles lust, and inflames wrath, as drunkenness, and sitting long at the wine. Wherefore after first saying, “not in rioting and drunkenness,” then he proceeded with, “not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” And even here he does not pause, but after stripping us of these evil garments, hear how he proceeds to ornament us, when he says,
Rm 13,14. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
(He no longer speaks of works, but he rouses them to greater things. For when he was speaking of vice, he mentioned the works of it: but when of virtue, he speaks not of works, but of arms, to show that virtue putteth him that is possessed of it into complete safety, and complete brightness. And even here he does not pause, but leading his discourse on to what was greater, a thing far more awestriking; he gives us the Lord Himself for a garment, the King Himself: for he that is clad with Him, hath absolutely all virtue.4 But in saying, “Put ye on,” he bids us be girt about with Him upon every side. As in another place he says, “But if Christ be in you.” (Rm 8,10). And again, “That Christ may dwell in the inner man.” (Ep 3,16-17, al. punct). For He would have our soul to be a dwelling for Himself, and Himself to be laid round about us as a garment, that He may be unto us all things both from within and from without. For He is our fulness; for He is “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ep 1,23): and the Way, and the Husband, and the Bridegroom;—for “I have espoused you as a chaste virgin to one husband,” (2Co 11,2): and a root, and drink, and meat, and life ;—for he says, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;” (Ga 2,20) and Apostle, and High-Priest, and Teacher, and Father, and Brother, and Joint-heir, and sharer of the tomb and Cross;—for it says, “We were buried together with Him,” and “planted together in the likeness of His Death” (Rm 6,4-5): and a Suppliant;—“For we are ambassadors in Christ’s stead” (2Co 5,20): and an “Advocate to the Father;”—for “He also maketh,” it says, “intercession for us:” (Rm 8,34) and house and inhabitant;—for He says, “He that abideth in Me and I in Him” (Jn 15,5): and a Friend; for, “Ye are My friends”(Jn 15,14): and a Foundation, and Corner-stone. And we are His members and His heritage, and building, and branches, and fellow-workers. For what is there that He is not minded to be to us, when He makes us cleave and fit on to Him in every way? And this is a sign of one loving exceedingly. Be persuaded then, and rousing thee from sleep, put Him on, and when thou hast done so, give thy flesh up to His bridle. For this is what he intimates in saying,
69 “And make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” For as he does not forbid drinking, but drinking to excess, not marrying, but doing wantonness; so too he does not forbid making provision for the flesh either, but doing so with a view “to fulfil the lusts thereof,” as, for instance, by going beyond necessaries. For that he does bid make provision for it, hear from what he says to Timothy, “Use a little wine for thy stom- ach’s sake, and thine often infirmities.” (1Tm 5,23). So here too he is for taking care of it, but for health, and not wantonness. For this would cease to be making provision for it, when you were lighting up the flame, when you were making the furnace powerful. But that you may form a clearer notion what “making provision” for it “to fulfil the lusts thereof” is, and may shun such a provision, just call to mind the drunken, the gluttonous, those that pride themselves in dress, those that are effeminate, them that live a soft and relaxed life, and you will see what is meant. For they do everything not that they may be healthy, but that they may be wanton and kindle desire. But do thou, who hast put on Christ, prune away all those things, and seek for one thing only, to have thy flesh in health. And to this degree do make provision for it, and not any further, but spend all thy industry on the care of spiritual things. For then you will be able to rouse yourself out of this sleep, without being weighed down with these manifold desires. For the present life is a sleep, and the things in it are no way different from dreams. And as they that are asleep often speak and see things other than healthful, so do we also, or rather we see much worse even. For he that doeth anything disgraceful or says the like in a dream,5 when he is rid of his sleep, is rid of his disgrace, also, and is not to be punished. But in this case it is not so, but the shame, and also the punishment, are immortal. Again, they that grow rich in a dream, when it is day are convicted of having been rich to no purpose. But in this case even before the day the conviction often comes upon them, and before they depart to the other life, those dreams have flown away.
Let us then shake off this evil sleep, for if the day find us sleeping, a deathless death will succeed, and before that day we shall be open to the attacks of all the enemies that are of this world, both men and devils: and if they be minded to undo us, there is nobody to hinder them. For if there were many watching, then the danger would not be so great; since however, one perhaps. there is, or two, who have lighted a candle, and would be as it were watching in the depth of night, while men were sleeping; therefore now we have need of much sleeplessness, much guardedness, to prevent our falling into the most irremediable evils. Doth it not now seem to be broad daylight? do we not think that all men are awake and sober? yet still (and perhaps you will smile at what I say, still say it I will) we seem all of us like men sleeping and snoring in the depth of night. And if indeed an incorporeal being could be seen, I would show you how most men are snoring, and the devil breaking through walls, and butchering us as we lie, and stealing away the goods within, doing everything fearlessly, as if in profound darkness. Or rather, even if it be impossible to see this with our eyes, let us sketch it out in words, and consider how many have been weighed down by evil desires, how many held down by the sore evil of wantonness, and have quenched the light of the Spirit. Hence it comes that they see one thing instead of another, hear one thing instead of another, and take no notice of any of the things here told them. Or if I am mistaken in saying so, and thou art awake, tell me what has been doing here this day, if thou hast not been hearing this as a dream. I am indeed aware that some can tell me (and I do not mean this of all); but do thou who comest under what has been said, who hast come here to no purpose, tell me what Prophet, what Apostle hath been discoursing to us to-day? and on what subjects? And thou wouldest not have it in thy power to tell me. For thou hast been talking a great deal here, just as in a dream, without hearing the realities. And this I would have said to the women too, as there is a great deal of sleeping amongst them. And would it were sleep! For he that is asleep says nothing either good or bad. But he that is awake as ye are puts forth many a word even for mischief on his own head, telling his interest, casting up his creditor accounts, calling to memory some barefaced bargaining, planting the thorns thick in his own soul, and not letting the seed make even ever so little advance. But rouse thyself, and pull these thorns up by the roots, and shake the drunkenness off: for this is the cause of the sleep. But by drunkenness I mean, not that from wine only, but from worldly thoughts, and with them that from wine also. (See p. 443). And this advice6 I am giving not to the rich only, but the poor too, and chiefly those that club together for social parties. For this is not really indulgence or relaxation, but punishment and vengeance. For indulgence lies not in speaking filthy things, but in talking solemnly, in being filled, not being ready to burst. But if thou thinkest this is pleasure, show me the pleasure by the evening! Thou canst not! And hitherto I say nothing of the mischiefs it leads to, but at present have only been speaking to you of the pleasure that withers away so quickly. For the party is no sooner broken up, than all that went for mirth is flown away. But when I come to mention the spewing, and the headaches, and the numberless disorders, and the soul’s captivity, what have you to say to all this? Have we any business, because we are poor, to behave ourselves unseemly too? And in saying this I do not forbid your meeting together, or taking your suppers at a common table, but to prevent your behaving unseemly, and as wishing indulgence to be really indulgence, and not a punishment, nor a vengeance, or drunkenness and revelling. Let the Gentiles (ellhe") see that Christians know best how to indulge, and to indulge in an orderly way. For it says, “Rejoice in the Lord with trembling.” (Ps 2,11). But how then can one rejoice? Why, by saying hymns, making prayers, introducing psalms in the place of those low songs. Thus will Christ also be at our table, and will fill the whole feast with blessing, when thou prayest, when thou singest spiritual songs, when thou invitest the poor to partake of what is set before thee, when thou settest much orderliness and temperance over the feast. So thou wilt make the party a Church,7 by hymning, in the room of ill-timed shouts and cheers, the Master of all things. And tell me not, that another custom has come to prevail, but correct what is thus amiss. “For whether ye eat,” it says, “or whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Co 10,31). For from banquets of that sort you have evil desires, and impurities, and wives come to be in disrepute, and harlots in honor among you. Hence come the upsetting of families and evils unnumbered, and all things are turned upside down, and ye have left the pure fountain, and run to the conduit of mire. For that an harlot’s body is mire, I do not enquire of any one else but of thine own self that wallowest in the mire, if thou dost not feel ashamed of thyself, if thou dost not think thyself unclean after the sin is over. Wherefore I beseech you flee fornication, and the mother of it, drunkenness. Why sow where reaping is impossible, or rather even if thou dost reap, the fruit brings thee great shame? For even if a child be born, it at once disgraces thyself, and has itself had injustice done it in being born through thee illegitimate and base. And if thou leave it never so much money, both the son of an harlot, and that of a servant-maid, is disreputable at home, disreputable in the city, disreputable in a court of law: disreputable too wilt thou be also, both in thy lifetime, and when dead. For if thou have departed even, the memorials of thy unseemliness abide. Why then bring disgrace upon all these? Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born.8 Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. Hence too come idolatries, since many, with a view to become acceptable, devise incantations, and libations, and love-potions, and countless other plans. Yet still after such great unseemliness, after slaughters, after idolatries, the thing seems to many to belong to things indifferent, aye, and to many that have wives too. Whence the mingle (foruto") of mischief is the greater. For sorceries9 are applied not to the womb that is prostituted, but to the injured wife, and there are plottings without number, and invocations of devils, and necromancies, and daily wars, and truceless fightings, and home-cherished jealousies. Wherefore also Paul, after saying, “not in chamberings and wantonness,” proceeds, “not in strife and envying,” as knowing the wars that result therefrom; the upsetting of families, the wrongs done to legitimate children, the other ills unnumbered. That we may then escape from all these, let us put on Christ, and be with Him continually. For this is what putting Him on is; never being without Him, having Him evermore visible in us, through our sanctification, through our moderation. So we say of friends, such an one is wrapped up (enedusato) in such another, meaning their great love, and keeping together incessantly. For he that is wrapped up in anything, seems to be that which he is wrapped in. Let then Christ be seen in every part of us. And how is He to be seen? If thou doest His deeds. And what did He do? “The Son of Man,” He says, “hath not where to lay His head.” (Lc 9,58). This do thou also aim after. 10 He needed the use of food, and He fared upon barley loaves. He had occasion to travel, and there were no horses or beast of burden anywhere, but He walked so far as even to be weary. He had need of sleep, and He lay “asleep upon the pillow in the fore (prumnh, here prwra") part of the ship.” (Mc 4,38). There was occasion for sitting down to meat, and He bade them lie down upon the grass. And His garments were cheap; and often He stayed alone, with no train after Him. And what He did on the Cross, and what amidst the insults, and all, in a word, that He did, do thou learn by heart (katamaqwn) and imitate. And so wilt thou have put on Christ, if thou “make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.” For the thing has no real pleasure, since these lusts gender again others more keen, and thou wilt never find satisfaction, but wilt only make thee one great torment. For as one who is in a continual thirst, even if he have ten thousand fountains hard by him, gets no good from this, as he is not able to extinguish the disorder, so is he that liveth continually in lusts. But if thou keep to what is necessary, thou wilt never come to have this fear, but all those things will go away, as well drunkenness as wantonness. Eat then only so much as to break thy hunger, have only so much upon thee as to be sheltered, and do not curiously deck thy flesh with clothing, lest thou ruin it. For thou wilt make it more delicate, and wilt do injury to its healthfulness, by unnerving it with so much softness. That thou mayest have it then a meet vehicle for the soul, that the helmsman may be securely seated over the rudder, and the soldier handle his arms with ease, thou must make all parts to be fitly framed together. For it is not the having much, but requiring little, that keeps us from being injured. For the one man is afraid even if he is not wronged: this other, even if he be wronged, is in better case than those that have not been wronged, and even for this very thing is in the better spirits. Let the object of our search be then, not how we can keep any one from using us spitefully, but how even if he wish to do it, he may be without the power. And this there is no other source whence to obtain, save by keeping to necessaries, and not coveting anything more. For in this way we shall be able to enjoy ourselves here, and shall attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love toward man, etc.
1 (1Co 7,29, stopping only is altered, as in Hom. 19,on the Hebrews (Matthiae) p. 225ed
2 `Hmwn is better taken with egguteron: “For now is salvation nearer to us than when we believed.” (So R. V). Both the position of the words and the requirements of emphasis favor this construction. Chrys. is essentially correct in referring h swthria here to the last things. The reference is to the Messianic salvation which is to be ushered in by the Parousia of the Lord from heaven. The period which shall intervene between the time of writing and the advent of Christ is designated as “night” (12), but the “day” which the Messianic swthria shall usher in is near(hggiken).—G. B. S).
3 St. Augustin de Civ. Dei, 5,13–15, discusses this motive, and the temporal good that comes of it, as to the Roman state; quoting Matt. 6,2.
4 In one of the apostle’s favorite figures, that of putting off, or on, as clothing, he states again the essential qualities of the Christian life. The Christian is even now to belong to that sphere of light into whose full glory he shall shortly be raised. The culminating thought is: “put on Christ.” Chrys.’ application of the apostle’s exhortation is one of his most eloquent passages.—G. B. S).
5 On this see St. Augustin, Conf. 10,30, p. 205 O. T). de Gn ad lit. 10,12, 12,15. St. Greg). Mor. 8,§42 sq. pp. 449, 450 O. T. Cassian. Collat.
6 This is a good illustration of Aristotle’s remark, that “general discourses on moral matters are pretty well useless, while particular ones are more like the truth.” Eth. 2,7).
7 Ora et ibi templum est, D. Bernard.
8 See Arist). Polit. 7,Tertull). Apol. 1,9, p. 22 O. T. and note r.
9 Or poisonings).
10 Lying on the bare ground was a common part of asceticism.
2500 but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs.”
2501 I Am aware that to most what is here said is a difficulty. And therefore I must first give the subject of the whole of this passage, and what he wishes to correct in writing this. What does he wish to correct then? There were many of the Jews which believed, who adhered of conscience to the Law, and after their believing, still kept to the observance of meats, as not having courage yet to quit the service of the Law entirely. Then that they might not be observed if they kept from swine’s flesh only, they abstained in consequence from all flesh, and ate herbs only, that what they were doing might have more the appearance of a fast than of observance of the Law.1 Others again were farther advanced, (teleioteroi) and kept up no one thing of the kind, who became to those, who did keep them, distressing and offensive, by re- proaching them, accusing them, driving them to despondency. Therefore the blessed Paul, out of fear lest, from a wish to be right about a trifle, they should overthrow the whole, and from a wish to bring them to indifferency about what they ate, should put them in a fair way for deserting the faith, and out of a zeal to put everything right at once, before the fit opportunity was come, should do mischief on vital points, so by this continual rebuking setting them adrift from their agreement in (omologia" ei") Christ, and so they should remain not righted in either respect: observe what great judgment he uses and how he concerns himself with both interests with his customary wisdom. For neither does he venture to say to those who rebuke, Ye are doing amiss, that he may not seem to be confirming the other in their observances; nor again, Ye are doing right, lest he should make them the more vehement accusers: but he makes his rebuke to square with each. And in appearance he is rebuking the stronger, but he pours forth all he has to say2 against the other in his address to these. For the kind of correction most likely to be less grating is, when a person addresses some one else, while he is striking a blow at a different person, since this does not permit the person rebuked to fly into a passion, and introduces the medicine of correction unperceived. See now with what judgment he does this, and how well-timed he is with it. For after saying, “make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof,” then he proceeds to the discussion of these points, that he might not seem to be speaking in defence of those who were the rebukers, and were for eating of anything. For the weaker part ever requires more forethought. Wherefore he aims his blow against the strong, immediately saying as follows, “Him that is weak in the faith.” You see one blow immediately given to him. For by calling him weak (asqenounta), he points out that he is not healthy (arrwston). Then he adds next, “receive,” and point out again that he requires much attention. And this is a sign of extreme debility. “Not to doubtful disputations.”3 See, he has laid on a third stripe. For here he makes it appear that his error is of such a nature, that even those who do not transgress in the same manner, and who nevertheless admit him to their affection, and are earnestly bent upon curing him, are at doubt.4 You see how in appearance he is conversing with these, but is rebuking others secretly and without giving offence. Then by placing them beside each other, one he gives encomiums, the other accusations. For he goes on to say, “One believeth that he may eat all things,” commending him on the score of his faith. “Another who is weak, eateth herbs,” disparaging this one again, on the score of his weakness. Then since the blow he had given was deadly (kairin), used hyperbolically), he comforts him again in these words,
Rm 14,3. “Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not.”
(He does not say, let him alone, nor does he say, do not blame him, nor yet, do not set him right; but do not reproach him, do not “despise” him, to show they were doing a thing perfectly ridiculous. But of this he speaks in other words. “Let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth.” For as the more advanced made light of these, as of little faith, and falsely healed, and spurious, and still Judaizers, so they too judged these as law-breakers, or as given to gluttony. And of these it is likely that many were of the Gentiles too. Wherefore he proceeds, for God hath received him. But in the other’s case he does not say this. And vet to be despised was the eater’s share, as a glutton, but to be judged, his that did not eat, as of little faith. But he has made them change places, to show that he not only does not deserve to be despised, but that he can even despise. But do I condemn him? he means. By no means. For this is why he proceeds, “for God hath received him.” Why then speakest thou to him of the law, as to a transgressor? “For God hath received him:” that is, has shown His unspeakable grace about him, and hath freed him from all charges against him; then again he turns to the strong.
Rm 14,4. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?”
Whence it appears that they too judged, and did not despise only. “To his own Master he standeth or falleth.”
2502 See here is another stroke. And the indignation seems to be against the strong man, and he attacks him. When he says, “Yea, he shall be holden up,” he shows that he is still wavering, and requireth so much attention as to call in God as a physician for this, “for God,” he says, “is able to make him stand.” And this we say of things we are quite in despair about. Then, that he may not despair he both gives him the name of a servant when he says, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” And here again he secretly attacks him. For it is not because he does things worthy to exempt him from being judged, that I bid you not judge him, but because he is Another’s servant, that is, not thine, but God’s. Then to solace him again he does not say, “falleth,” but what? “standeth or falleth.” But whether it be the latter or the former, either of these is the Master’s concernment, since the loss also goes to Him, if he does fall, as the riches too, if he stand. And this again if we do not attend to Paul’s aim in not wishing them to be rebuked before a fitting opportunity, is very unworthy of the mutual care becoming for Christians. But (as I am always saying) we must examine the mind with which it is spoken, and the subject on which it is said and the object he would compass when he says it. But he makes them respectful by no slight motive, when he says this: for what he means is, if God, Who undergoeth the loss, hitherto doth nothing, how can you be else than ill-timed and out of all measure exact, when you seize on (agkwn, throttle) him and annoy him?
Rm 14,5. “One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike.”
Here he seems to me to be giving a gentle hint about fasting. For it is not unlikely that some who fasted were always judging those who did not, or among the observances it is likely that there were some that on fixed days abstained, and on fixed days did not.5 Whence also he says, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” And in this way he released those who kept the observances from fear, by saying that the thing was indifferent, and he removed also the quarrelsomeness of those who attacked them, by showing that it was no very desirable (or urgent, perispoudaston) task to be always making a trouble about these things. Yet it was not a very desirable task, not in its own nature, but on account of the time chosen, and because they were novices in the faith. For when he is writing to the Colossians, it is with great earnestness that he forbids it, saying, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col 2,8, see p. 4). And again, “Let no man judge you in meat or in drink” (Col 2,16), and, “let no man beguile you of your reward.” (Col 2,18). And when writing to the Galatians with great precision, he exacts of them Christian spirit and perfectness in this matter. But here he does not use this vehemency, because the faith was lately planted in them. Let us therefore not apply the phrase, “Let every man be persuaded in his own mind,” to all subjects. For when he is speaking of doctrines, hear what he says, “If any one preacheth unto you any gospel other than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga 1,9), “even” if it be “an angel.” And again, “I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted.” (2Co 11,3). And in writing to the Philippians, he says, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” (Ph 3,2). But with the Romans, since it was not yet the proper time for setting things of this sort right, “Let every man,” he says, “be fully persuaded in his own mind.” For he had been speaking of fasting. It was to clear away the vanity of the others and to release these from fear then, that he said as follows:
Rm 14,6. “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” And, “He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
(He still keeps to the same subject. And what he means is about this. The thing is not concerned with fundamentals. For the thing requisite is, if this person and the other are acting for God’s sake, the thing requisite is (these words are repeated 3 mss.), if both terminate in thanksgiving. For indeed both this than and that give thanks to God. If then both do give thanks to God, the difference is no great one. But let me draw your notice to the way in which here also he aims unawares a blow at the Judaizers. For if the thing required be this, the “giving of thanks,” it is plain enough that he which eateth it is that “giveth thanks,” and not “he which eateth not.” For how should he, while he still holds to the Law? As then he told the Galatians, “As many of you as are justified by the Law are fallen from grace” (Ga 5,4); so here he hints it only, but does not unfold it so much. For as yet at was not time to do so. But for the present he bears with it (see (p. 337): but by what follows he gives it a further opening. For where he says,
Rm 14,7-8. “For none of us liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord,” by this too he makes the same clearer. For how can he that liveth unto the Law, be living unto Christ? But this is not the only thing that he effects by this, he also holds back the person who was in so much haste for their being set right, and persuades him to be patient, by showing that it is impossible for God to despise them, but that in due time He will set them right.
2503 What is the force then of “none of us liveth to himself?” It means, We are not free, we have a Master who also would have us live, and willeth not that we die, and to whom both of these are of more interest than to us. For by what is here said he shows that he hath a greater concern for us than we have ourselves, and considereth more than we do, as well our life to be wealth, as our death to be a loss. For we do not die to ourselves alone, but to our Master also, if we do die. But by death here he means that from the faith. However, this were enough to convince us that He taketh care for us, in that it is to Him we live, and to Him we die. Still he is not satisfied with saying this, but proceeds further. For after saying, “Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s,” and passing from that death to the physical one, that he may not give an appearance of harshness to his language, he gives another very great indication of His care for us. Now of what kind is this?
Rm 14,9. “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
And so let us at least convince thee, that He is thoughtful for our salvation. For had He not had this great care for us, where were the need of the Dispensation (or Incarnation, oikonomia")? He then that hath shown so much anxiety about our becoming His, as to take the form of a servant, and to die, will He despise us after we have become so? This cannot be so, assuredly it cannot! Nor would He choose to waste so much pains. “For to this end (he says) he also died,” as if any one were to say, Such an one will not have the heart to despise his servant. For he minded his own purse. (Ex 21,21). For indeed we are not so much in love with money, as is He with our salvation. Wherefore it was not money, but His own Blood that He gave as bail for us. And for this cause He would not have the heart to give them up, for whom He had laid down so great a price. See too how he shows that His power also is unspeakable. For he says, “to this end He both died and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” And above he said, “for whether we live or die, we are His.” See what a wide extended Mastery! see what unconquerable might! see what exact providence over us! For tell me not, he means, of the living. Even for the departed He taketh care. But if He doth of the departed, it is quite plain that He doth of the living also. For He hath not omitted any point for this Mastery, making out for Himself more claims than men do, and especially beside6 all other things in order to take care of us. For a man puts down money, and for this clings strongly to his own slave. But He Himself paid down His death; and the salvation of one who was purchased at so great a price, and the Mastery over whom He had gained with so much anxiety and trouble, He is not likely to count of no value. But this he says to make the Judaizer abashed, and to persuade him to call to mind the greatness of the benefit, and how that when dead he had come to be alive, and that there was nothing that he gained from the Law, and how that it would be the last degree of unfeelingness, to leave Him Who had shown so much care toward him, and run away back to the Law. After attacking him then sufficiently, he relaxes again, and says,
Rm 14,10. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?”
And so he seems to be setting them upon a level, but from that he has said, he shows that the difference between them is great. First then by the appellation of “brother” he does away with disputatiousness, and then also by calling that awful day to their mind. For after saying, “Why dost thou set at nought thy brother?” he proceeds, “For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
And he seems indeed to be again rebuking the more advanced in saying this, but he is putting the mind of the Judaizer to confusion by not only calling for his reverence to the benefit that had been done him, but also making him afraid of the punishment to come. “For we shall all,” he says, “stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
Rm 14,11-12. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
See how he again puts his mind into confusion, while he seems to be rebuking the other. For he intimates some such thing, as if he had said, How does it affect you? Are you to be punished for him? But this he does not say, but hints at it by putting it in a milder form, and saying, “For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ:” and, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” And he introduces the prophet7 in witness of the subjection of all to Him, yea a subjection extended even to those in the Old Testament, and of all absolutely. For he does not barely say every one shall worship, but “shall confess,” that is, shall given an account of what he has done.
2504 Be in anxiety then as seeing the Master of all sitting on his judgment-seat, and do not make schisms and divisions in the Church, by breaking away from grace, and running over to the Law. For the Law also is His. And why say I so of the Law? Even those in the Law and those before the Law are His. And it is not the Law that will demand an account of thee, but Christ, of thee and of all the human race. See how he has released us from the fear of the Law. Then that he may not seem to be saying this to frighten them for the occasion, but to have come to it in the course he had proposed himself, he again keeps to the same subject, and says,
Rm 14,13. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”
This does not apply to one less than the other: wherefore it may well fit with both, both the advanced man that was offended at the observance of meats, and the unadvanced that stumbled at the vehement rebuke given him. But consider, I pray you, the great punishment we shall suffer, if we give offence at all. For if in a case where the thing was against law, yet, as they rebuked unseasonably, he forbade their doing it, in order that a brother might not be made to offend and stumble; when we give an offence without having anything to set right even, what treatment shall we deserve? For if not saving others be a crime (and that it is so, he who buried the talent proves), what will be the effect of giving him offence also? But what if he gives himself the offence, you may say, by being weak? Why this is just why thou oughtest to be patient. For if he were strong, then he would not require so much attention. But now, since he is of the feebler sort, he does on this ground need considerable care. Let us then yield him this, and in all respects bear his burdens, as it is not of our own sins only that we shall have to give an account, but for those also wherein we cause others to offend. For if that account, were even by itself hard to pass, when these be added too, how are we to be saved? And let us not suppose, that if we can find accomplices in our sins, that will be an excuse; as this will prove an addition to our punishment. Since the serpent too was punished more than the woman, as was the woman likewise more than the man (1Tm 2,14); and Jezebel also was punished more severely than Ahab, who had seized the vineyard; for it was she that devised the whole matter, and caused the king to offend. (1R 21,23 1R 21,25 1R 21,29). And therefore thou, when thou art the author of destruction to others, wilt suffer more severely8 than those who have been subverted by thee. For sinning is not so ruinous as leading others also into the same. Wherefore he speaks of those who “not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rm 1,32) And so when we see any sinning, let us, so far from thrusting them on, even pull them back from the pit of iniquity, that we may not have to be punished for the ruin of others besides ourselves. And let us be continually in mind of the awful judgment-seat, of the stream of fire, of the chains never to be loosed, of the darkness with no light, the gnashing of teeth, and the venomous worm. “Ah, but God is merciful!” Are these then mere words? and was not that rich man punished for despising Lazarus? Are not the foolish9 virgins cast out of the Bride-chamber? Do not they who did not feed Him go away into “the fire prepared for the devil?” (Mt 25,41). Will not he that hath soiled garments be “bound hand and foot” (Mt 22,13), and go to ruin? Will, not he that demanded the hundred pence to be paid, be given over to the tormentors? Is not that said of the adulterers 10 true, that “their worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched?” 11 (Mc 9,43). Are these but mere threats then? Yea, it is answered. And from what source pray dost thou venture to make such an assertion, and that too when thou passest judgment of thine own opinion? Why, I shall be able to prove the contrary, both from what He said, and from what He did. (See Jn 5,22). For if you will not believe by the punishments that are to come, at least believe by those that have happened already. For what have happened, and have come forth into reality, surely are not threats and words. Who then was it that flooded the whole world, and affected that baleful wreck, and the utter destruction of our whole race! Who was it that after this hurled those thunders and lightnings upon the land of Sodom? Who that drowned all Egypt in the sea? Who that consumed the six hundred thousand men in the wilderness? Who that burnt up the synagogue of Abiram? Who that bade the earth open her mouth for the company of Core and Dathan, and swallow them up? Who that carried off the threescore and ten thousand at one sweep in David’s time? Shall I mention also those that were punished individually! Cain, who was given up to a continual vengeance? (the son of) Charmi, 12 who was stoned with his whole family? Or him, that suffered the same thing for gathering sticks on the sabbath? The forty children who were consumed by those beasts, and obtained no pardon even on the score of their age?
2505 And if you would see these same things even after the times of grace, just consider what great suffering the Jews had, how the women ate their children, some roasting them, and some consuming them in other ways: 13 how after being given up to irremediable famine, and wars varied and severe, they threw all previous catastrophes into the shade by the exceeding greatness of their own calamities. For that it was Christ Who did these things unto them, hear Him declaring as much, both by parables, and clearly and explicitly. By parables, as when He says. “But those that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them” (Lc 19,27); and by that of the vineyard, and that of the marriage. But clearly and explicitly, as when He threatens that they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into the nations, and there shall be upon the earth “distress of nations with perplexity, at the roaring of the sea and waves; 14 men’s hearts failing them for fear.” (Lc 21,24-26). “And there shall be tribulation, such as there never was, no, nor ever shall be.” (Mt 24,21). And what a punishment Ananias too and Sapphira suffered, for the theft of a few pieces of money, ye all know. Seest thou not the daily calamities also? Or have these too not taken place? Seest thou not now men that are pining with famine? those that suffer elephantiasis, or are maimed in body? those that live in constant poverty, those that suffer countless irreparable evils? Now then will it be reasonable for some to be punished, and some not? For if God be not unjust (and unjust He is not), thou also wilt assuredly suffer punishment, if thou sinnest. But if because He is merciful He doth not punish, then ought not these either to have been punished. But now because of these words of yours, God even here punisheth many, that when ye believe not the words of the threatening, the deeds of vengeance ye may at least believe.
And since things of old do not affright you so much, by things which happen in every generation, He correcteth those that in every generation are growing listless. And what is the reason, it may be said, why He doth not punish all here? That He may give the others an interval 15 for repentance. Why then does He not take vengeance upon all in the next world? 16 It is lest many should disbelieve in His providence. How many robbers are there who have been taken, and how many that have left this life unpunished? Where is the mercy of God then? it is my turn now to ask of thee. For supposing no one at all had vengeance taken upon him, then you might have taken refuge in this. But now that some are punished, and some are not, though they be the worse sinners, how can it be reasonable that there be not the same punishments for the same sins? How can those punished appear to be else than wronged? What reason is there then why all are not punished here? Hear His own defence for these things. For when some had died by the falling of a tower on them: He said to those who raised a question upon this, “Suppose ye that they were sinners above all men? I tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lc 13,4-5); so exhorting us not to feel confident when others suffer punishment, and we ourselves, though we have committed many transgressions, do not. For except we change our conduct, we assuredly shall suffer. And how, it may be said, is it that we are to be punished without end for sinning a short time here? how, I ask, is it that in this world, 17 those who in a short moment of time have done one murder, are condemned to constant punishment in the mines? “But it is not God that does this,” it may be said. How then came He to keep the man with a palsy for thirty and eight years in so great punishments? For that it was for sins that He punished him, hear what He says, “Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more.” (Jn 5,14). Still it is said, he found a release. But the case is not so with the other life. For that there, there will never be any release, 18 hear from His own mouth, “Their worm will not die, nor their fire be quenched.” (Mc 9,44). And “these shall go into everlasting life, but these into everlasting punishment.” (Mt 25,46). Now if the life be eternal, the punishment is eternal. Seest thou not how severely He threatened the Jews? Then have the things threatened come to pass, or were those that were told them a mere talk? “One stone shall not remain upon another.” (Lc 21,6). And has it remained? But what, when He says, “There shall be tribulation such as hath not been?” (Mt 24,21). Has it not come then? Read the history of Josephus, and thou wilt not be able to draw thy breath even, at only hearing what they suffered for their doings. This I say, not that I may pain you, but that I may make you secure, and lest by having humored you overmuch, I should but make a way for the endurance of sorer punishments. For why, pray, dost thou not deem it right thou shouldest be punished for sinning? Hath He not told thee all beforehand? Hath He not threatened thee? not come to thy aid? 19 not done things even without number for thy salvation’s sake? Gave He thee not the laver of Regeneration, and forgave He not all thy former sins? Hath He not after this forgiveness, and the laver, also given thee the succor of repentance if thou sin? Hath He not made the way to forgiveness of sins, even after all this, easy 20 to thee?
2506 Hear then what He hath enjoined: “If thou forgive thy neighbor, I also will forgive thee” (Mt 6,14), He says. What hardship is there in this? “If ye judge the cause of the fatherless, and see that the widow have right, come and let us converse together,” He saith, “and if your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow.” (Is 1,17-18). What labor is there here? “Tell thy sins, that thou mayest be justified.” (Is 43,26 LXX). What hardship is there in this? “Redeem thy sins with alms.” (Da 4,24). What toilsomeness is there in this? The Publican said, “Be merciful to me a sinner,” and “went down home justified.” (Lc 18,13-14). What labor is it to imitate the Publican? And wilt thou not be persuaded even after this that there is punishment and vengeance? At that rate thou wilt deny that even the devil is punished For, “Depart,” He says, “into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt 25,41). Now if there be no hell, then neither is he punished. But if he is punished, it is plain that we shall also. For we also have disobeyed, even if it be not in the same way. And how comest thou not to be afraid to speak such daring things? For when thou sayest that God is merciful, and doth not punish, if He should punish he will be found in thy case to be no longer merciful. See then unto what language the devil leadeth you? And what are the monks that have taken up with the mountains, and yield examples of such manifold self-denial, 21 to go away without their crown? For if the wicked are not to be punished, and there is no recompense made to any one, some one else will say, perhaps, that neither are the good crowned. Nay, it will be said, For this is suitable with God, that there should be a kingdom only, and not a hell. Well then, shall the whoremonger, and the adulterer, and the man who hath done evils unnumbered, enjoy the same advantages with the man who has exhibited soberness and holiness, and Paul is to stand with Nero, or rather even the devil with Paul? For if there be no hell and yet there will be a Resurrection of all, then the wicked will attain to the same good things! And who would say this? Who even of men that were quite crazed? or rather, which of the devils even would say this? For even they confess that there is a hell. Wherefore also they cried out and said, “Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (ib. viii. 29).
How then comest thou not to fear and tremble, when even the devils confess what thyself art denying? Or how is it that thou dost not see who is the teacher of these evil doctrines? For he who deceived the first man, and under the pretext of greater hopes, threw them out even of the blessings they had in possession, he it is who now suggests the saying and fancying of these things. And for this reason he persuades some to suspect there is no hell, that he may thrust them into hell. As God on the other hand threateneth hell, and made hell ready, that by coming to know of it thou mightest so live as not to fall into hell. And yet if, when there is a hell, the devil persuades thee to these things, how came the devils to confess it, if it did not exist, 22 whose aim and desire it is that we should not suspect anything of the kind, that through fearlessness we might become the more listless, and so fall with them into that fire? How then (it will be said) came they to confess it? It was through their not bearing the compulsion laid upon them. Taking all these things into consideration then, let those who talk in this way leave off deceiving both themselves and others since even for these words of theirs they will be punished for detracting (diasuronte") from those awful things, and relaxing the vigor 23 of many who are minded to be in earnest, and do not even do as much as those barbarians, for they, though they were ignorant of everything, when they heard that the city was to be destroyed, were so far from disbelieving, that they even groaned, and girded themselves with sackcloth, and were confounded, and did not cease to use every means until they had allayed the wrath. (Jon 3,5). But dost thou, who hast had so great experience of facts and of teaching, make light of what is told thee? The contrary then will be thy fate. For as they through fear of the words had not to undergo the vengeance in act, so thou who despisest the threatening by words, wilt have to undergo the punishment in very deed. And if now what thou art told seems a fable to thee, it will not, however, seem so when the very things convince thee, in that Day. Have you never noticed what He did even in this world? How when He met with two thieves, He counted them not worthy of the same estate, but one He led into the Kingdom, and the other He sent away into Hell? And why speak I of a robber and murderer? For even the Apostle He did not spare, when he had become a traitor, but even when He saw him rushing to the halter, and hanging, and bursting asunder in the midst (for he did “burst asunder, and all his bowels gushed out”) (Ac 1,18), still when He foresaw all these things, He let him suffer all the same, giving thee from the present a proof of all that is in the other world also. Do not then cheat yourselves, through being persuaded of the devil. These devices are his. For if both judges, and masters, and teachers, and savages, respect the good, and punish the evil, with what reason is the contrary to be the case with God, while the good man and he who is not so are deemed worthy of the same estate? And when will they leave off their wickedness? For they who now are expecting punishment, and are amongst so many terrors, those from the judges and from the laws, and yet do not for this depart from iniquity; when on their departing this life they are to lay aside even this fear, and are not only not to be cast into hell, but are even to obtain a kingdom; when will they leave doing wickedly? Is this then mercy, pray? to add to wickedness, to set up rewards for iniquity, to count the sober and the unchastened, the faithful and the irreligious, Paul and the devil, to have the same deserts? But how long am I to be trifling? Wherefore I exhort you to get you free from this madness, and having grown to be your own masters, persuade your souls to fear and to tremble, that they may at once be saved from the hell to come, and may, after passing the life in this world soberly, attain unto the good things to come by the grace and love towards man, etc.
1 Chrys. adopts the view which was common in antiquity as to who the “weak” here mentioned were. He regards them as judaizing Christians who were over-zealous for the Mosaic law and even went beyond its explicit requirements to abstain from swine’s flesh and abstained from meat altogether. Another class of interpreters have supposed that the scruples of the “weak” concerning meat had the same ground as in 1Co 8, and 1Co x., viz., the fear of eating flesh and drinking wine that had been used in the heathen sacrificial worship (So Rückert, Philippi, Neander). The chief objection to the former view is that they could not have derived their doctrine of entire abstinence from meat and wine from the Mosaic law, which prohibits only the flesh of certain unclean animals and does not prohibit wine at all except in particular cases. The difficulty with the second view is that the whole passage has no allusion to heathen sacrifices, which could hardly have been the case if they had been the ground of the scruple. On the contrary in 5,14 Paul in correcting these ascetic notions declares his conviction that nothing is “unclean of itself,” showing that their view was that flesh and wine possessed in themselves some power of pollution. The difficulties connected with these explanations have led many recent scholars to different explanations. Baur regarded the “weak” as Ebionitic Christians, but the Ebionites abstained from flesh as inherently sinful and it would seem that if this had been the opinion of the “weak” that Paul could hardly have treated it so mildly. Since the Ebionites date from about 70 a.d., these ascetics at Rome could have been Ebionitic only in the sense of having the germs of subsequent Ebionism. An opinion similar to this has been advocated by Ritschl, Meyer and Mangold. In their view the root of this asceticism was Essenic. There was certainly a Judeo-Christian minority in the Roman church. The ideas of the Essenes were widely disseminated among the Jews at the time. It is natural to suppose that among the Roman Jews there were Essenes or those of Essenic tendencies who upon their conversion would associate their rigorous asceticism with the Christian doctrine of the subjugation of the flesh. This view best meets the requirements of the passage. The Essenes abstained wholly from wine and practised a supra-legal regimen in regard to food. They would have no occasion to array themselves against the apostle’s doctrine and he therefore treats their scruples not in a polemic but in a cautious and conciliatory spirit.—G. B. S).
2 kenoi, i.e. so as not to have to say anything against them directly. St. Chrysostom turns the passage in that way more than Theodoret. See on 5,4, which Theod. applies directly against the Judaizers. His general remarks on the rhetoric of the passage are independent of this question.
3 Verse 2 counsels receiving to Christian fellowship those affected by these ascetic scruples but mh ei" diakrisei" dialogismwn. These words have been variously rendered: (1) “not to doubtful disputations” (A. V., R. V).; (2) “for decisions of doubts” (marg. R. V).; (3) not to judgings of thoughts (Meyer); “not to discussions of opinions” (Godet). It is the church against allowing the clear that the apostle exhorts scruples in question to be matter of debate and division but whether he means to place a limitation upon the church’s duty to receive the weak brethren or whether he exhorts them to refrain from making the opinions of the weak a matter of discussion and judgment, is a question still unsettled. The following consideration deserve attention in the decision of the question (1) Paul treats the “weak” throughout with great forbearance and tenderness. (2) The church is the party exhorted. (3) It is probably that the diakrisei" dialogismwn refer to actions or judgments which the church would be in danger of exercising toward the weak. (4) It is likely that the question of eating meats or herbs only (v. 2) is a specimen of the dialogismoi referred to. (5) Diakrisi" means an act of distinguishing things that differ, i.e. a logical or moral judgment. (6) The question remains whether dialogismo" means a doubt, or a thought, an opinion. The latter is the primary meaning and seems preferable here. Then the meaning would be: receive these persons to fellowship and abstain from criticisms and judgments upon their conscientious opinions. The translation of our Eng. vs. “not to doubtful disputations” is as ambiguous as the original phrase is in Greek. and is, therefore, a faithful rendering in respect of ambiguity. These translators seem to take diakrisei" as meaning “doubts”—a meaning which that word cannot be shown to bear.—G. B. S.
4 (He seems to mean, “are at doubt whether they may acknowledge such.” So Oecumenius seems to take it, who paraphrases this comment, and adds kai cwrizesqai, “and separate themselves.”
5 ecomenou", here opposed to apecomenou").
6 cwri": The construction seems imperfect: the Translator suggests cwrisqei", “separating Himself from all others.” If the passage be not corrupt, cwri" twn allwn apantwn is merely = in primis; and so Field).
7 Some mss. and edd. “with all attesting the subjection to Him.” The passage is found Is 45,23, probably the reading of the LXX., till it was corrected to suit the Hebrew. See Parsons ad loc.
8 Sav. Mar. and one ms. end the sentence, “having punishment exacted of the for those who have been made by thee to offend.”
9 The oil representing especially deeds of mercy. Hil. ad. 1. See St. Chrys. on Rm 11,6. p. 483.
10 See Mt 5,28, and 2P 2,14. And with respect to giving cause of offence to others, Mc 9,44.
11 Field’s punctuation will give the sense, “These then are mere words—the rich man is not punished, nor the foolish virgins cast out, etc., but these are only threats!” which is perhaps more vigorous. Compare Hom. 31,p. 496: also Browning’s Heretic’s Tragedy.
“Who maketh God’s menace an idle word?
Saith, it no more means what it proclaims
Than a damsel’s threat to her wanton bird?
—For she too prattles of ugly names.
Saith, he knoweth but one thing—what he knows?
That God is good and the rest is breath.”
12 Most mss. have “Charmi” or “Charmin;” one “Achar,” one “Achar the son of Charmi.”
13 Josephus, B. J. vi., 7,c. 8., Euseb. H. E. 3,6.
14 (So most mss. of St. Chrysostom, and the best of the N. T).
15 proqesmian, lit. a set time. He has used the term before with especial view to the length of the time.
16 i. e. so as to spare all in this.
17 See Butler’s Anal. 1,2. “But all this,” and 1,3. iii.
18 (So mss. lusin. Sav). lhxin, cessation: see 383, note 3.
19 So Field: Vulg. “made thee afraid.”
20 St. Chrysostom must not be understood here as making light of the labor of an effectual repentance, nor as excluding the office of the Church in accepting the Penitent. His object is to show that there is no such difficulty in repentance, as need be an objection to our belief in eternal punishment. He is speaking of repentance in the lowest degree, and he certainly held that different degrees of it would obtain different degrees of benefit. As of almsgiving on Rm 11,6, p. 485. etc. “It is possible to gain approval by thy last will, not indeed in such way as in thy lifetime,” and more generally ad Theodorum Lapsum, t. 1,p. 11, 12. Ben. where he represents it as difficult, though not so much so as it might seem to those who did not try it, and know its consolations: and Hom 1,de S. Pentec. fin. he says, “It is possible by diligence, prayer, and exceeding watchfulness, to wipe out all our sins that are written down. This then let us make our business all our days, that when we depart thither, we may obtain some forgiveness, and all escape irrevocable punishments.” Of confession he speaks strongly, de Cruce et Latrone, Hom. 1,t. 2, 407; B). ad Pop. Ant. Hom. 3, p. 42 E. on the Statues, p. 66 O. T. and of the power of the Priesthood to absolve, de Sac., c. 3, §5, t. 1,p. 384 E. quoting Ja. 5,14, 15).
21 murian askhsin: the term asceticism is an insufficient translation of ascesis, since its termination takes off the reality. The word “crown” hints at a play on its secular sense, of gymnastic training.
22 This sentence may be read so as to avoid the fault in reasoning; he breaks off the supposition as too absurd, and after a pause gives the true account of the case, which he in fact assumes in the first clause. The whole passage is rhetorical, and the first mention of the devils is introduced with tremendous power, as almost any one must have felt in reading it.
23 Or “undoing the awe,” as edd. before Field, and some mss.
Chrysostom on Rm 2400