Chrysostom on Rm 3000
3000 For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily, and their debtors they are.”
3001 Since he had said that I have no longer “more place in these parts,” and, “I have a great desire, these many years, to come unto you,” but he still intended to delay; lest it should be thought that he was making a jest of them, he mentions the cause also why he still puts it off, and he says, that “I am going unto Jerusalem,” and is apparently giving the excuse for the delay. But by means of this he also makes good another object, which is the exhorting of them to alms, and making them more in earnest about it. Since if he had not been minded to effect this, it had sufficed to say, “I am going unto Jerusalem.” But now he adds the reason of his journey. “For I go,” says he, “to minister to the saints.” And he dwells over the subject, and enters into reasonings, and says that they “are debtors,” and that, “if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things,” that they might learn to imitate these. Wherefore also there is much reason to admire his wisdom for devising this way of giving the advice. For they were more likely to bear it in this way than if he had said it in the form of exhortation; as then he would have seemed to be insulting them, if, with a view to incite them, he had brought before them Corinthians and Macedonians.1 Indeed, this is the ground on which he does incite the others as follows, saying, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the Churches in Macedonia.” (2Co 8,1). And again he incites the Macedonians by these. “For your zeal,” he says, “hath provoked very many.” (2Co 9,2). And by the Galatians in like manner he does this, as when he says, “As I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” (1Co 16,1). But in the case of the Romans he does not do so, but in a more covert way. And he does this also in regard to the preaching, as when he says, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (1Co 14,36). For there is nothing so powerful as emulation. And so he often employs it. For elsewhere too he says,” “And so ordain I in all the Churches;” (1Co 7,17); and again, “As I teach everywhere in every Church.” (1Co 4,17). And to the Colossians he says, “that the Gospel increaseth and bringeth forth fruit in all the world.” (Col 1,6). This then he does here also in the case of alms. And consider what dignity there is in his expressions. For he does not say, I go to carry alms, but “to minister” (diakonwn). But if Paul ministers, just consider how great a thing is doing, when the Teacher of the world undertakes to be the bearer, and when on the point of travelling to Rome, and so greatly desiring them too, he yet prefers this to that. "For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia, that is, it meets their approbation, their desire. “A certain contribution,” And, he does not say alms, but “contribution” (koinwnian). And the “certain” is not used without a meaning, but to prevent his seeming to reproach these. And he does not say the poor, merely, but the “poor saints,” so making his recommendation twofold, both that from their virtue and that from their poverty. And even with this alone he was not satisfied, but he adds, “they are their debtors.” Then he shows how they are debtors. For if, he says, “the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their debt (A. V. duty) is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” But what he means is this. It was for their sakes that Christ came. To them it was that all the promises were made, to them of the Jews. Of them Christ came. (Wherefore also it said, “Salvation is of the Jews.”) (Jn 4,22). From them were the Apostles, from them the Prophets, from them all good things. In all these things then the world was made a partaker. If then, he says, ye have been made partakers in that which is greater, and when it was for them that the banquet was prepared, ye have been brought in to enjoy the feast that was spread (Mt 22,9), according to the Parable of the Gospel, ye are debtors also to share your carnal things with them, and to impart to them. But he does not say to share, but “to minister” (leitourghsai), so ranking them with ministers (diakonwn), and those that pay the tribute2 to kings. And he does not say in your carnal things, as he did in “their spiritual things.” For the spiritual things were theirs. But the carnal belonged not to these alone, but were the common property of all. For he bade money to be held to belong to all,3 not to those who were its possessors only.
Rm 15,28. “When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed unto them this fruit.”
That is, when I have laid it up as it were in the royal treasuries, as in a place secure from robbers and danger. And he does not say alms, but “fruit” again, to show that those who gave it were gainers by it. “I will come by you into Spain.” He again mentions Spain to show his forwardness (aoknon) and warmth towards them.
Rm 15,29. “And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.”
What is the force of, "In the fulness of the blessing? Either he speaks of alms (Gr. money), or generally of good deeds. For blessing is a name he very commonly gives to alms. As when he says, “As a blessing4 and not as covetousness.” (2Co 9,5). And it was customary of old for the thing to be so called. But as he has here added “of the Gospel,” on this ground we assert that he speaks not of money only, but of all other things. As if he had said, I know that when I come I shall find you with the honor and freshness of all good deeds about you, and worthy of countless praises in the Gospel.5 And this is a very striking mode of advice, I mean this way of forestalling their attention by encomiums. For when he entreats them in the way of advice, this is the mode of setting them right that he adopts.
Rm 15,30. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit.”
Here he again puts forward Christ and the Spirit, and makes no mention whatever of the Father. And I say this, that when you find him mentioning the Father and the Son, or the Father only, you may not despise either the Son or the Spirit. And he does not say the Spirit, but “the love of the Spirit.” For as Christ loved the world, and as the Father doth, so doth the Spirit also. And what is it that thou beseechest us, let me hear? “To strive together with me in your prayers to God for me,”
Rm 15,31. “That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea.”
A great struggle then lies before him. And this too is why he calls for their prayers. And he does not say that I may be engaged in it, but “I may be delivered,” as Christ commanded, to “pray that we enter not into temptation.”6 (Mt 26,41). And in saying this he showed, that certain evil wolves would attack them, and those who were wild beasts rather than men. And out of this he also found grounds for another thing, namely, for showing that he with good reason took the office of ministering to the Saints, if, that is, the unbelievers were in such force that he even prayed to be delivered from them. For they who were amongst so many enemies, were in danger of perishing by famine also. And therefore there was absolute need of aid coming (or “of his going”) from other quarters to them. “And that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the Saints.”
That is, that my sacrifice may be accepted, that with cheerfulness they may receive what is given them. See how he again exalts the dignity of those who were to receive it. Then he asks for the prayer of so great a people in order to what was sent being received. And by this he shows another point also, that to have given alms does not secure its being accepted. For when any one gives it constrainedly, or out of unjust gains, or for vanity, the fruit of it is gone.
Rm 15,32. “That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God.”
As he had said at the beginning, “If by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God, to come unto you” (Rm 1,10); so here again he takes refuge in the same Will, and says that this is why I press on and wish to be delivered from them, that I may see you shortly, and that with pleasure, without bringing any load of heaviness from thence. “And may with you be refreshed.”
See how he again shows unassumingness. For he does not say, I may teach you, and give you a lesson, but that, “I may with you be refreshed.” And yet he was the very man engaged in the striving and conflict. In what sense then does he say “that I may be refreshed with you (sunanapauswmai)?” It is to gratify them on this point too, and to make them the more cheerful by making them sharers of his crown, and to show that they too struggle and labor. Then, as was always his custom to do, he adds prayer after the exhortation, and says,
Rm 15,33. “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
Rm 16,1. “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a deaconess (A. V. servant) of the church which is at Cenchrea.”
See how many ways he takes to give her dignity. For he has both mentioned her before all the rest, and called her sister. And it is no slight thing to be called the sister of Paul. Moreover he has added her rank, by mentioning her being “deaconess.”7
Rm 16,2. “That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints. (Gr. “the saints.”)
That is, for the Lord’s sake, that she may enjoy honor among you. For he that receives a person for the Lord’s sake, though it be no great one that he receives, yet receives him with attention. But when it is a saint, consider what attention he ought to have shown him. And this is why he adds, “as becometh saints,” as such persons ought to be received. For she has two grounds for her having attention shown her by you, both that of her being received for the Lord’s sake, and that of her being a saint herself. And “that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need (or “asks,” crhzh) of you.” You see how little he burdens them. For he does not say, That ye despatch, but that ye contribute your own part, and reach out a hand to her: and that “in whatsoever business she hath need.” Not in whatsoever business she may be, but in such as she may ask of you. But she will ask in such things as lie in your power. Then again there comes a very great praise of her. “For she hath been a succorer of many and of myself also.”
80 See his judgment. First come the encomiums, then he makes an exhortation intervene, and then again gives encomiums, so placing on each side of the needs of this blessed woman her praises. For how can the woman be else than blessed who has the blessing of so favorable a testimony from Paul, who had also the power to render assistance to him who had righted the whole world? For this was the summit of her good deeds, and so he placed it the last, as he says, “and of “myself also.” But what does the phrase of myself also” convey? Of the herald of the world, of him who hath suffered so much, of him who is equal to assisting tens of thousands (murioi" arkounto"). Let us then imitate, both men and women, this holy woman and her that followeth, with her husband also. And who are they?
Rm 16,2. “Greet,” he says, “Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus.”
To the excellence of these St. Lc also bears witness. Partly when he says that Paul “abode with them, for by their occupation they were tent-makers” (Ac 18,3); and partly when he points out the woman as receiving Apollos, and instructing him in the way of the Lord. (Ac 18,26). Now these are great things, but what Paul mentions are greater. And what does he mention? In the first place he calls them “helpers,”8 to point out that they had been sharers of his very great labors and dangers. Then he says,
Rm 16,4. “Who for my life have laid down their own necks.”
You see they are thoroughly furnished martyrs. For in Nero’s time it is probable that there were thousands of dangers, at the time as he even commanded all Jews to be removed from Rome.” (Ac 8,2).
“Unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles.”
Here he hints at their hospitality, and pecuniary assistance, holding them in admiration because they had both poured forth their blood, and had made their whole property open to all. You see these were noble women, hindered no way by their sex in the course of virtue. And this is as might be expected. “For in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female.” (Ga 3,28). And what he had said of the former, that he said also of this. For of her also he had said, “she hath been a succorer of many, and of myself also.” So too of this woman “not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles.” Now that in this he might not seem to be a flatterer, he also adduces a good many more witnesses to these women.
Rm 16,5. “Likewise greet the Church that is in their house.”
For she had been so estimable as even to make their house a Church, both by making all in it believers, and because they opened it to all strangers. For he was not in the habit of calling any houses Churches, save where there was much piety, and much fear of God deeply rooted in them.9 And on this ground he said to the Corinthians also, “Salute Aquila and Priscilla, with the Church that is in their house.” (1Co 16,19). And when writing about Onesimus, “Paul unto Philemon, and to the beloved Apphia, and to the Church that is in their house.” (Phm 1,1-2). For it is possible for a man even in the married state to be worthy of being looked up to, and noble. See then how these were in that state and became very honorable, and yet their occupation was far from being honorable; for they were “tent-makers.” Still their virtue covered all this, and made them more conspicuous than the sun. And neither their trade nor their marriage (suzugia Ph 4,3) was any hurt to them, but the love which Christ required of them, that they exhibited. “For greater love hath no man than this, He says, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13). And that which is a proof of being a disciple, they achieve, since they took up the Cross and followed Him. For they who did this for Paul, would much rather have displayed their fortitude in Christ’s behalf.
Let rich and poor both hear all this. For if they who lived from their labor, and were managers of a workshop, exhibited such profuseness as to be of service to many Churches; what pardon can they expect, who are rich, and yet neglect the poor? For they were not sparing even of their blood for the sake of God’s will, but thou art sparing even of scanty sums, and many times sparest not thine own soul. But in regard to the teacher were they so, and not so with regard to the disciples? Nay even this cannot be said. For “the churches of the Gentiles,” he says, “thank them.” And yet they were of the Jews. But still they had such a clear (eilikrinpw") faith, as to minister unto them also with all willingness. Such ought women to be, not adorning themselves with “broidered hair, or gold, or costly array” (1Tm 2,9), but in these good deeds. For what empress pray, was so conspicuous or so celebrated as this wife of the tent-maker? she is in everybody’s mouth, not for ten or twenty years, but until the coming of Christ, and all proclaim her fame for things such as adorn far more than any royal diadem. For what is greater or so great, as to have been a succorer of Paul? at her own peril to have saved the teacher of the world? And consider: how many empresses there are that no one speaks of. But the wife of the tent-maker is everywhere reported of with the tent-maker (meaning perhaps St. Paul); and the width that the sun sees over, is no more of the world than what the glory of this woman runneth unto. Persians, and Scythians, and Thracians, and they who dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, sing of the Christian spirit of this woman, and bless it. 10 How much wealth, how many diadems and purples would you not be glad to venture upon obtaining such a testimony? For no one can say either, that in dangers they were of this character, and lavish with their money, and yet neglected the preaching. For he calls them “fellow-workers and helpers” on this ground. And this “chosen vessel” (Ac 9,15) does not feel ashamed to call a woman his helper but even finds an honor in doing so. For it is not the sex (fisei) that he minds, but the will is what he honors. What is equal to this ornament? Where now is wealth overflowing on every side? and where the adorning of the person? and where is vainglory? Learn that the dress of woman is not that put about the body, but that which decorates the soul, which is never put off, which does not lie in a chest, but is laid up in the heavens. Look at their labor for the preaching, the crown in martyrdom, the munificence in money, the love of Paul, the charm (filtron) they found in Christ. Compare with this thine own estate, thy anxiety about money, thy vying with harlots (i. e. in dress), thy emulating of the grass, 11 and then thou wilt see who they were and who thou art. Or rather do not compare only, but vie with this woman, and after laying aside the burdens of grass (cloh"), (for this is what thy costly dressing is), take thou the dress from heaven, and learn whence Priscilla became such as she was. How then did they become so? For two years they entertained Paul as a guest: (Probably Ac 19,10) and what is there that these two years may not have done for their souls? What am I to do then, you will say because I have not Paul? If thou be minded thou mayest have him in a truer sense than they. For even with them the sight of Paul was not what made them of such a character, but the words of Paul. And so, if thou be so minded, thou shall have both Paul, and Peter, and John, and the whole choir of the Prophets, with the Apostles, associating with thee continually. For take the books of these blessed ones, and hold a continual intercourse with their writings, and they will be able to make thee like the tent-maker’s wife. And why speak I of Paul? For if thou wilt, thou mayest have Paul’s Master Himself. For through Paul’s tongue even He will discourse with thee. And in another way again thou wilt be able to receive this Person, when thou receivest the saints, even when thou tendest those that believe on Him. And so even after their departure thou wilt have many memorials of piety. For even the table at which the saint ate, and a seat on which he sat, and the couch on which he lay knoweth how to pierce 12 him that received him; even after his departure. How then, think you, was that Shunamite pierced at entering the upper chamber where Elisha abode, when she saw the table, the couch on which the holy man slept; and what religiousness must she have felt come from it? 13 For had this not been so, she would not have cast the child there when dead, if she had not reaped great benefit from thence. For if so long time after upon entering in where Paul abode, where he was bound, where he sat and discoursed, 14 we are elevated, and find ourselves starting off from the places to that memory (so Field: Vulg. “the memory of that day”); when the circumstances were still fresher, what must those have been likely to feel, who had religiously entertained him? Knowing all this then, let us receive the Saints, that the house may shine, that it may be freed from choking thorns, that the bedchamber may become a haven. And let us receive them, and wash their feet. Thou art not better than Sarah, nor more noble, nor more wealthy, though thou be an empress. For she had three hundred and eighteen homeborn servants, at a time when to have two servants even was to be wealthy. And why do I mention the three hundred and eighteen servants? She had become possessed of the whole world in her seed and in the promises, she had the “friend of God” (Is 41,8 James Is 2,23) for her husband, God Himself as a Patron, a thing greater than any kingdom. And yet, though she was in so illustrious and honorable estate, this woman kneaded the flour, and did all the other servant’s offices, and stood by them as they banqueted too in the rank of a servant. Thou art not of nobler birth than Abraham, who yet did the part of domestics after his exploits after his victories, after the honor paid him by the king of Egypt, after driving out the kings of the Persians, and raising the glorious trophies. And look not to this; that in appearance the Saints that lodge with thee are but poor, and as beggars, and in rags many times, but be mindful of that voice which says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” (Mt 25,40). And, “Despise not one of these little ones, because their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” (Mt 18,10). Receive them then with readiness of mind, bringing as they do ten thousand blessings to thee, through the greeting of peace. (ib. 10,12, 13). And after Sarah, reflect upon Rebecca also, who both drew water and gave to drink, and called the stranger in, trampling down all haughtiness. However, through this, great were the rewards of hospitality she received! And thou, if thou be so minded, wilt receive even greater than those. For it will not be the fruit of children only that God will give thee, but the heaven, and the blessings there, and a freedom from hell, and a remission of sins. For great, yea, very great, is the fruit of hospitality. (Lc 11,41). Thus too Jethro, and that though he was a foreigner, gained for a relation him who with so great power commanded the sea. (Da 4,27 Ex 3,1). For his daughters too drew into his net this honorable prey. (Nb 10,29). Setting then thy thoughts upon these things, and reflecting upon the manly and heroic 15 temper of those women, trample upon the gorgeousness of this day, the adornments of dress, the costly jewelry, the anointing with perfumes. And have done with those wanton 16 and delicate airs, and that mincing walk, and turn all this attentiveness unto the soul, and kindle up in thy mind a longing for the heavens. For should but his love take hold of thee, thou wilt discern the mire and the clay, and ridicule the things now so admired. For it is not even possible for a woman adorned with spiritual attainments to be seeking after this ridiculousness. Having then cast this aside, which wives of the lewder sort of men, and actresses, and singers, have so much ambition in, clothe thee with the love of wisdom, with hospitality, with the succoring of the Saints, with compunction, with continual prayer. These be better than cloth of gold, these more stately than jewels and 17 than necklaces, 18 these both make thee of good repute among men, and bring thee great reward with God. This is the dress of the Church, that of the playhouses. This is worthy of the heaven, that, of horses and mules; that is put even round dead corpses, this shineth in a good soul alone wherein Christ dwelleth. Let this then be the dress for us to acquire, that we also may have our praise sung everywhere, and be well-pleasing to Christ, by Whom and with Whom, etc. Amen).
1 “That, as Chrys., Calvin, Grotius, and many, including Rückert and Olshauseu assume, Paul intended ‘courteously and gently’ (Luther) to suggest to the Romans that they should likewise bestow alms on those at Jerusalem, is very improbable, inasmuch as no reason is perceivable why he should not have ventured on a direct summons, and seeing, moreover, that he looked upon the work of collection as concluded, ver). 25,” Meyer.—G. B. S.
2 leitourgia, in Classical Greek, is performing a public service at one’s own expense.
3 (2Co 9,5, de Rebus Christianorum ante Const. p. 118, also Diss. ad Hist. Eccl. pert. vol. 2,1, . Chrys. speaks at length of wealth on 1Co 14,19, Hom. 35, p 499, O. T. He thinks it lawful, but dangerous, and recommends alms almost without limitation.
4 A. V. bounty, but margin, blessing).
5 It is certain that Chrys. is incorrect in his interpretation of the statement: “When I come unto you I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.” (29). The meaning is not that he shall find them abounding in this blessing, but that he (Paul) will come to them furnished with the fulness of this blessing. The joyful hopes of Paul respecting his journey to Rome and labors there, were not, indeed, wholly thwarted, but how different were the experiences of his journey and life there from what he had expected. He went thither a prisoner and such missionary labors as he was permitted to perform were accomplished while he was kept in ward by the civil authorities of Rome. And, yet, notwithstanding these hardships, who can doubt that his prayer was answered? He found joy in the saints at Rome who came out from the city as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to welcome him (Ac 28,15); he was permitted for two years, at least, to occupy his own hired house and freely to “preach the kingdom of God and teach the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him” (Ac 28,30-31); this preaching was crowned with signal success extending to the conversion of some of the members of Caesar’s household (Ph 4,22). It is propable that we owe to this same period of imprisonment at Rome the four epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians; if so, we have in them a reflection of the manifold activities and profound spiritual experiences of the apostle during his stay in Rome which constitute a genuine providential fulfilment of his desires, although it proved that as in the case of an earlier visit to Jerusalem, he went not knowing, the things that should befall him there (Ac 20,22).—G. B. S.
6 2 mss. add, So directing them to do this).
7 See Bingham, b. 2,c. 22, for a full account of the office of the widows, deaconesses, etc., also Cave, Prim. Christ. part 1,c. 8. Theodoret thinks it a sign of there being a considerable Church at Cenchrea, that they had a deaconess there.
8 sulleitourgou". Afterwards the common term by which Bishops spoke of each other. As the Nicene Fathers of Alexander. Ep. Synod. 5,fin. Theod. 1,9.
9 By “the church in the house” of Priscilla and Aquila, Chrys. understands the pious family which constituted the household. Such was the view of many of the older interpreters. The more probable view is that the “churches in the houses” (1Co 16,19 Col 4,15 Philem. Col 2) were assemblies of a part of the collective church of the city, formed for the sake of convenience of meeting, especially in the largest towns. There is no reason to believe that all the persons named below were members of the household—church of Priscilla and Aquila.—G. B. S).
10 Omitted by most mss.
11 thn pro" ton corton filoneikian. See Mt 6,30 Lc 12,28; Clem. Al. (Port). p. 232).
12 katanuxai, see p. 487, and p. 448.
13 See the use made of such recollections at the close of the 32d Homily.
14 (He seems to have some place at Antioch in his mind, but we do not know that St. Paul was ever hound there.
15 filosofian, he means their simple habits; as in keeping: sheep, and the character perhaps implied in Moses’ choice.
16 kataklan, Phryn). ap Bek. Anec. p. 45.
17 The remaining leaves of the Bodl). ms. are lost.
18 periderraiwn thus spelt. Jul. Poll. 5, 56).
3100 who is the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ.”
I Think that many even of those who have the appearance of being extremely good men, hasten over this part of the Epistle1 as superfluous, and having no great weight in it. And I think that the same befalls them in regard to the genealogy that is in the Gospel. For because it is a catalogue of names, they think they cannot get any great good from it. Yet the gold founders’ people2 are careful even about the little fragments;3 while these pass over even such great cakes of gold. That this then may not befall them, what I have already said were enough to lead them off from their listlessness. For that the gain even from this is no contemptible one, we have shown even from what was said on a former occasion, when we lifted up your soul by means of these addresses. We will endeavor then to-day also to mine in this same place. For it is possible even from bare names to find a great treasure. If, for instance, you were shown why Abraham was so called, why Sarah, why Israel, why Samuel, you would find even from this a great many real subjects of research. And from times too, and from places, you may gather the same advantage. For the good man waxes rich even from these; but he that is slothful, does not gain even from the most evident things. Thus the very name of Adam teaches us no small wisdom, and that of his son, and of his wife, and most of the others. For names serve to remind us of several circumstances. They show at once God’s benefits and women’s thankfulness. For when they conceived by the gift of God, it was they who gave these names to the children. But why are we now philosophizing about names, while meanings so important are neglected, and many do not so much as know the very names of the sacred books? Still even then we ought not to recede from an attention to things of this sort. For “thou oughtest,” He says, “to have put My money to the exchangers.” (Mt 25,27). And therefore though there be nobody that listens to it, let us do our part, and show that there is nothing superfluous, nothing added at random in the Scriptures. For if these names had no use, they would not then have been added to the Epistle, nor would Paul have written what he has written. But there are some even so low-minded, and empty, and unworthy of Heaven, as not to think that names only, but whole books of the Bible are of no use, as Leviticus, Joshua, and more besides. And in this way many of the simple ones have been for rejecting the Old Testament, and advancing on in the way, that results from this evil habit of mind, have likewise pruned away many parts of the New Testament also. But of these men,4 as intoxicated and living to the flesh, we do not make much account. But if any be a lover of wisdom, and a friend to spiritual entertainments, let him be told that even the things which seem to be unimportant in Scripture, are not placed there at random and to no purpose, and that even the old laws have much to profit us. For it says, “All these things are types (A. V. ensamples) and are written for our instruction.” (1Co 10,11). Wherefore to Timothy too he says, “Give heed to reading, to exhortation” (1Tm 4,13), so urging him to the reading of the old books, though he was a man with so great a spirit in him, as to be able to drive out devils,5 and to raise the dead. Let us now keep on with the subject in hand. “Salute my well-beloved Epenetus.” It is worth learning from this how he distributes to each the different praises. For this praise is no slight one, but even very great, and a proof of great excellence in him, that Paul should hold him beloved, Paul who had no idea of loving by favor, and not by cool judgment. Then another encomium comes, “Who is the first-fruits of Achaia.” For what he means is, either that he leaped forward before any one else, and became a believer (and this were no slight praise), or that he displayed more religious behavior than any other. And on this account after saying, “who is the first-fruits of Achaia,” he does not hold his peace, but to prevent your suspecting it to be a glory of the world’s, he added, “unto Christ.” Now if in civil matters, he that is first seemeth to be great and honorable, much more so in these. As then it was likely that they were of low extraction, he speaks of the true noble birth and preëminency, and gives him his honors from this. And he says, that he “is the first-fruits,” not of Corinth only, but of the whole nation, as having become as it were a door, and an entrance to the rest. And to such, the reward is no small one. For such an one will reap much recompense also from the achievements of others, in that he too contributed much toward them by beginning.
Rm 16,6. “Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.”
How is this? a woman again is honored and proclaimed victorious! Again are we men put to shame. Or rather, we are not put to shame only, but have even an honor conferred upon us. For an honor we have, in that there are such women amongst us, but we are put to shame, in that we men are left so far behind by them. But if we come to know whence it comes, that they are so adorned, we too shall speedily overtake them. Whence then is their adorning? Let both men and women listen. It is not from bracelets, or from necklaces, nor from their eunuchs either, and their maid-servants, and gold-broidered dresses, but from their toils in behalf of the truth. For he says, “who bestowed much labor on us,” that is, not on herself only, nor upon her own advancement, (see p. 520) (for this many women of the present day do, by fasting, and sleeping on the floor), but upon others also, so carrying on the race Apostles and Evangelists ran. In what sense then does he say, “I suffer not a woman to teach?” (1Tm 2,12). He means to hinder her from publicly coming forward (1Co 14,35), and from the seat on the bema,6 not from the word of teaching.7 Since if this were the case, how would he have said to the woman that had an unbelieving husband, “How knowest thou, O woman, if thou shalt save thy husband?” (1Co 7,16). Or how came he to suffer her to admonish children, when he says, but “she shall be saved by child-bearing8 if they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety?” (1Tm 2,15). How came Priscilla to instruct even Apollos? It was not then to cut in sunder private conversing for advantage that he said this, but that before all, and which it was the teacher’s duty to give in the public assembly; or again, in case the husband be believing and thoroughly furnished, able also to instruct her. When she is the wiser, then he does not forbid her teaching and improving him. And he does not say, who taught much, but “who bestowed much labor,” because along with teaching (tou logou) she performs other ministries besides, those in the way of dangers, in the way of money, in the way of travels. For the women of those days were more spirited than lions, sharing with the Apostles their labors for the Gospel’s sake. In this way they went travelling with them, and also performed all other ministries. And even in Christ’s day there followed Him women, “which ministered unto Him of their substance” (Lc 8,3), and waited upon the Teacher.
Rm 16,7. “Salute Andronicus and Junia my kinsmen.”
This also looks like an encomium. And what follows is much more so. And what sort is this of? “And my fellow-prisoners.” For this is the greatest honor, the noble proclamation. And where was Paul a prisoner, that he should call them “my fellow-prisoners?” A prisoner indeed he had9 not been, but he had suffered things worse 10 than prisoners, in being not an alien only to his country and his family, but in wrestling with famine and continual death, and thousands of other things. For of a prisoner the only misfortune is this, that he is separated from his relations, and often has to be a slave instead of being free. But in this case one may mention temptations thick as snow-flakes, which this blessed person underwent by being carried and taken about, scourged, fettered, stoned, shipwrecked, with countless people plotting against him. And captives indeed have no further foe after they are led away, but they even experience great care from those who have taken them. But this man was continually in the midst of enemies, and saw spears on every side, and sharpened swords, and arrays, and battles. Since then it was likely that these shared many dangers with him, he calls them fellow-captives. As in another passage also, “Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner.” (Col 4,10). Then another praise besides. “Who are of note among the Apostles.” And indeed to be apostles 11 at all is a great thing. But to be even amongst these of note, just consider what a great encomium this is! But they were of note owing to their works, to their achievements. Oh! how great is the devotion (filosofia) of this woman, 12 that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle! 13 But even here he does not stop, but adds another encomium besides, and says, “Who were also in Christ before me.”
For this too is a very great praise, that they sprang forth and came before others. But let me draw your attention to the holy soul, how untainted it is by vanity. For after glory such as his in kind and degree, he sets others before himseif, and does not hide from us the fact of his having come after them, nor is ashamed of confessing this. And why art thou surprised at his not being ashamed of this, when he shunneth not even to parade before men his former life, calling himseif “a blasphemer, and a persecutor?” (1Tm 1,13). Since then he was not able to set them before others on this score, he looked out himself, who had come in after others, and froth this he did find means of bestowing a praise upon them by saying, “Who were in Christ before me.”
Rm 16,8. “Greet Amplias my beloved.”
Here again he passes encomiums upon his person by his love. For the love of Paul was for God, carrying countless blessings with it. For if being loved by the king is a great thing, what a great encomium must it be to be beloved by Paul? For if he had not acquired great virtue, he would not have attracted his love? Since as for those who live in vice and transgressions he is accustomed (oide) not only to abstain from loving them, but even to anathematize them. As when he says, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed” (1Co 16,22); and, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Ga 1,8).
Rm 16,9. “Salute Urbane, my helper in the Lord.”
This is a greater encomium than the other. For this even comprehends that. “And Stachys, my beloved.” This again is an honor of the same kind.
82 Rm 16,10. “Salute Apelles, approved in Christ.”
There is no praise like this, being unblamable, and giving no handle in the things of God. For when he says, “approved in Christ,” he includes the whole list of virtues. And on what ground does he nowhere say my Lord such an one, my Master this? It is because these encomiums were greater than those. For those are mere titles of rank (timh"), but these are of virtue. And this same honor he paid them not at random, or as addressing several of inferior virtue with the high and great characters. For so far as he is addressing, and that too one along with another, and in the same letter, he honors them all alike. But by stating the praises particularly to each, he sets before us the virtue peculiar to each; so as neither to give birth to envy by honoring one and dishonoring another, nor to work in them listlessness and confusion, by giving them all the same dignity, though they did not deserve the same. See now how he again comes to the admirable women. For after saying, “Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household,”
Rm 16,11. “Salute Herodion my kinsman; greet them which be of the household of Narcissus;”
Who, it is likely, were not so worthy as the afore-mentioned, on which account also he does not mention them all by name even, and after giving them the encomium which was suited to them, that of being faithful, (and this the meaning of,
“Which are in the Lord.”
(He again reverts to the women, and says,
Rm 16,12. “Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.”
And in regard to the former woman, he says that “she bestowed labor upon you,” but of these that they are still laboring. And this is no small encomium, that they should be in work throughout, and should not only work, but labor even. But Persis he calls beloved too, to show that she is greater than these.
For he says, “Salute my beloved Persis.”
And of her great laborings he likewise bears testimony, and says, “which labored much in the Lord.”
(So well does he know how to name each after his deserts, so making these more eager by not depriving them of any of their dues, but commending even the slightest preëminence, and making the others more virtuous, and inciting them to the same zeal, by his encomiums upon these.
83 Rm 16,12. “Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”
Here again the good things are without any drawback, since the son and the mother are each of such a character, and the house is full of blessing, and the root agreeth with the fruit; for he would not have simply said, “his mother and mine,” unless he had been bearing testimony to the woman for great virtue.
Rm 16,14. “Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.”
Here do not be looking to how he starts them without any encomium, but how he did not reckon them, though far inferior, as it seems, to all, unworthy of being addressed by him. Or rather even this is no slight praise that he even calls them brethren, as also those that are after them he calls saints. For he says,
Rm 16,15. “Salute Philologus, and Julius, and Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them;”
Which was the greatest dignity, and unspeakable height of honor. Then to prevent any jealousy rising from his addressing one in one way and another in another, and some by name and some with no distinction, and some with more points of praise, and some with fewer, he again mingles them in the equality of charity, and in the holy kiss, saying,
Rm 16,16. “Salute one another with an holy kiss.”
To cast out of them, by this salutation, all arguing that confused them, and all grounds for little pride; that neither the great might despise the little, nor the little grudge at the greater, but that haughtiness and envy might be more driven away, when this kiss soothed down and levelled every one. And therefore he not only bids them salute in this way, but sends in like manner to them the greeting from the Churches. For “there salute you,” he says, not this or that person individually, but all of you in common,
“The Churches of Christ.”
You see that they are no small gains that we earn from these addresses, and what treasures we should have passed hastily over, unless in this part of the Epistle also we had examined it with accuracy, such, I mean, as was in our power. So if there be found any man of wisdom and spiritual, he will dive even deeper, and find a greater number of pearls. 14 But since some have often made it a question wherefore it was that in this Epistle he addressed so many, which thing he has not done in any other Epistle, we might say that it is owing to his never having seen the Romans yet, that he does this. And yet one may say, “Well, he had not seen the Colossians either, and yet he did not do anything of the kind.” But these were more honorable than others, and had come thither from other cities, as to a safer and more royal city. Since then they were living in a foreign country, and they needed much provision for security, 15 and some of them were of his acquaintance, but some too were there who had rendered him many important services, he with reason commends them by letters; for the glory of Paul was then not little, but so great, that even from his sending them letters, those who had the happiness to have an Epistle to them, gained much protection. For men not only reverenced him, but were even afraid of him. Had this not been so, 16 he would not have said, who had been “a succorer of many, and of myself also.” 17 (v. 2). And again, “I could wish that myself were accursed.” (Rm 9,3). And to Philemon he wrote and said, “as Paul the aged, and a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” (Ph 9). And to the Galatians, “Behold, I Paul say unto you.” (Ga 5,2). And, “Ye received me even as Jesus Christ.” (Ga 4,14). And writing to the Corinthians he said, “Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come unto you.” (1Co 4,18). And again, “These things I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos, that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.” (1Co 4,6). Now from all these passages it is clear that all had a great opinion of him. Wishing then that they should feel on easy terms, and be in honor, he addressed each of them, setting forth their praise to the best advantage he might. For one he calls beloved another kinsman, another both, another fellow-prisoner, another fellow-worker, another approved, another elect. And of the women one he addresses by her title, for he does not call her servant of the Church in an undefined way (because if this were so he would have given Tryphena and Persis this name too), but this one as having the office of deaconess, and another as helper and assistant, another as mother, another from the labors she underwent, and some he addresses from the house they belonged to, some by the name of Brethren, some by the appellation of Saints. And some he honors by the mere fact of addressing them, and some by addressing them by name, and some by calling them first-fruits, and some by their precedence in time, but more than all, Priscilla and Aquila. (tou" peri Pr. k. jA). For even if all were believers, still all were not alike, but were different in their merits. Wherefore to lead them all to greater emulation, he keeps no man’s encomiums concealed. For when they who labor 18 more, do not receive the greater reward also, many 19 become more listless. On this ground even in the kingdom, the honors, are not equal, nor among the disciples were all alike, but the three 20 were preëminent above the rest. And among these three again there was a great difference. For this is a very exact method observed by God even to the last. Hence, “one star differeth from another star in glory,” (1Co 15,41), it says. And yet all were Apostles and all are to sit on twelve thrones, 21 and all left their goods, and all companied with Him; still it was the three He took. And again, to these very three, He said it was possible (egcwrein) that some might even be superior. “For to sit,” He says, “on My right hand and on My left, is not mine to give, save to those for whom it is prepared.” (Mc 10,40). And He sets Peter before them, when He says, “Lovest thou Me more than these?” (Jn 21,15). And Jn too was loved even above the rest. For there shall be a strict examination of all, and if thou be but little better than thy neighbor, if it be even an atom, or anything ever so little, God will not overlook even this. And this even from of old one might see coming out. For even Lot was a righteous man, yet not so, as was Abraham; and Hezekiah again, yet not so as was David: and all the prophets, yet not so as was John.
Where then are they who with all this great exactness in view, yet will not allow that there is a hell? For if all the righteous are not to enjoy the same lot, if they exceed others even a little (“for one star,” it says, “differeth from another star in glory,”) (1Co 15,41), how are sinners to be in the same lot with the righteous? Such a confusion as this even man would not make, much less God! But if ye will, I will show you that even in the case of sinners, arguing from existing facts, there is this distinction, and exact just judgment. Now consider; Adam sinned, and Eve sinned, and both transgressed, yet they were not equally sinful. And therefore neither were they equally punished. For the difference was so great that Paul said, “Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 22 And yet the deceit was one. But still God’s searching examination pointed out a difference so great, as that Paul should make this assertion. Again, Cain was punished, but Lamech, who committed a murder after him, did not suffer near so great a punishment. And yet this was a murder, and that was a murder, and that so much the worse, because even by the example he had not become the better. But since the one neither killed his brother after exhortation, nor needed an accuser, nor shrunk from answering when God questioned him, but even without any accuser both pleaded again himself, and condemned himself more severely, he obtained pardon. But the other as having done the opposite was punished. See with what exactness God sifteth the facts. For this reason He punished those in the flood in one way, and those in Sodom in another; and the Israelites again, both those in Babylon, and those in Antiochus’ time, in different ways: so showing that He keeps a strict account of our doings. And these were slaves for seventy years, and those for four hundred, but others again ate their children, and underwent countless other more grievous calamities, and even in this way were not freed, either they or those that were burnt alive in Sodom. “For it shall be more tolerable,” He says, “for the land of Sodore and Gomorrha, than for that city.” (Mt 10,15). For if He hath no care for us, either when we sin or when we do aright, perhaps there will be some reason in saying that there is no punishment. But since He is so exceedingly urgent about our not sinning, and adopts so many means to keep us in the right, it is very plain that He punisheth the wicked, and also crowneth those that do right. But let me beg you to consider the unfairness of the generality. For they find fault with God because He so often long-suffering, overlooks so many that are impious, impure, or violent, without now suffering punishment. Again, if He threaten to punish them in the other world, they are vehement and pressing in their accusations. And yet if this be painful, they ought to accept and admire the other. But alas the folly! the unreasonable and asinine spirit! alas the sin-loving 23 soul, that gazes after vice! For it is from this that all these opinions have their birth. And so if they who utter these things should be minded to lay hold upon virtue, they will presently find themselves satisfied concerning hell also, and will not doubt. And where (it is said) and in what place is this hell? For some fablers say that it is in the valley of Josaphat, thus drawing that which was said about a certain by-gone war, to apply to hell. 24 But the Scripture does not say this. But in what place, pray, will it be? Somewhere as I think at least quite out of the pale of this world. For as the prisons and mines are at a great distance from royal residences, 25 so will hell be somewhere out of this world. Seek we not then to know where it is, but how we may escape it. Neither yet because God doth not punish all here, therefore disbelieve things to come. For merciful and long-suffering He is: that is why he threatens, and does not east us into it forthwith. For “I desire not,” He says, “the death of a sinner.” (Ez 18,32). But if there is no death of a sinner, the words are but idle. And I know indeed that there is nothing less pleasant to you than these words. But to me nothing is pleasanter. And would it were possible at our dinner, and our supper, and our baths, and everywhere, to be discoursing about hell. For we should not then feel the pain at the evils in this world, nor the pleasure of its good things. For what would you tell me was an evil? poverty? disease? captivity? maiming of the body? Why all these things are sport compared to the punishment there, even should you speak of those who are tormented with famine all their life long; or those who are maimed from their earliest days, and beg, even this is luxury compared to those other evils. Let us then continually employ ourselves with talking about these things. 26 For to remember hell prevents our falling into hell. Dost thou not hear St. Paul saying, “Who shall suffer everlasting punishment from the face of the Lord?” (2Th 1,9). Dost thou not hear what Nero’s character was, whom Paul even calls the Mystery of Antichrist? For “the mystery of iniquity,” he says, “already worketh.” (2Th 2,7). What then? Is Nero to suffer nothing? Is Antichrist to suffer nothing? or the Devil nothing? Then he will always be Antichrist, and so the Devil. For from mischief they will not leave off, unless they be punished. “Yea,” you say, “but that there is a hell everybody sees. But the unbelievers only are to fall into it.” What is the reason, pray? It is because the believers acknowledge their Master. And what is this to the purpose? when their life is impure, they will on this ground be punished more severely than the unbelievers. “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: but as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Rm 2,12). And, “The servant that knew his master’s will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Lc 12,47). But if there is no such thing as giving an account of one’s life, and all this is said in a loose way then neither will the Devil have vengeance taken upon him. For he too knows God, and far more than 27 men too, and all the demons know Him, and tremble, and own He is their Judge. If then there is no giving an account of our life, nor of evil deeds, then will they also clean escape. These things are not so, surely they are not! Deceive not yourselves, beloved. For if there is no hell, how are the Apostles to judge the twelve tribes of Israel? How cometh Paul to say, “Know ye not that we shall judge Angels? how much more things of this life?” (1Co 6,3). How came Christ to say, “The men of Nineveh shall arise and condemn this generation” (Mt 12,41); and, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment?” ib. 11,24). Why then make merry with things that are no subjects for merriment? Why deceive thyself and put cheats upon thy reason (paralogizh, om). thn yuchnsou)? Why fight with the love of God toward man? For it was through this that He prepared it, and threatened, that we might not be east into it, as having by this fear become better. And thus he that does away with speaking on these subjects doth nothing else than thrust us into it, and drive us thither by this deceit. Slacken not the hands of them then that labor for virtue, nor make the listlessness of them that sleep greater. For if the many be persuaded that there is no hell, when will they leave off vice? Or when will right be seen? I do not say between sinners and righteous men, but between sinners and sinners? For why is it that one is punished here, and another not punished, though he does the same sins, or even far worse? For if there be no hell, you will having nothing to say in defence of this to those who make it an objection. Wherefore my advice is, that we leave off this trifling, and stop the mouths of those that are gainsayers upon these subjects. For there will be an exact searching into the smallest things, both in the way of sins and in the way of good deeds, and we shall be punished for unchaste looks, and for idle words, and for mere reproachful words, and for drunkenness we shall render an account, as even for a cup of cold water we shall receive a reward, and a sigh only. (Qo 12,14). For it says, “Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry.” (Ez 9,4). How then darest thou to say that He, who with so great exactness will search into our doings, threatened hell in bare words, and lightly? Do not, I beseech you, do not with these vain hopes destroy thyself and those that are persuaded by thee! For if thou disbelievest our words, make enquiry of Jews and Gentiles, 28 and all heretics. And all of them as with one mouth will answer that a judgment there shall be, and a retribution. And are men not enough? Ask the devils themselves, and thou wilt hear them cry, “Why hast thou come thither to torment us before the time.” (Mt 8,29). And putting all this together persuade thy soul not to trifle idly, test by experience thou come to know there is a hell, but from this thou mayest be sobered, and so able to escape those tortures, and attain to the good things to come; whereof may we all partake by the grace and love towards man, etc.
1 (So mss. Ben. Sav). entolh".
2 Stallbaum ad Plat). Phileb. 74.
3 See the Introduction to Boyle’s Reflections, where this is beautifully applied to the improvement of all fragments of time by meditation.
4 Such as the Manichees, see St. Aug). Conf. p. 340, O. T. note at the end, and Marcion. Tert. adv. M. lib. 4.
5 This was done by his relies. St. Chrys. Hom. 1 ad Pop. Ant. §2, on the Statues, p. 4, O. T).
6 A raised place in which the Clergy were, 5,Suicer, and Bingham, b. 8,c. 6, §1, and 9–12.
7 Or “Teaching of the word.” tou th" logou th" didaskalia", but we have tou logou th" paraklhsew", He 13,22. The word of Exhortation.
8 St. C. does not seem to be here alluding to the former, but to the latter part of this very difficult passage. The most comprehensive view of it, on this interpretation, seems to be, that Christ has so hallowed all pain, that it has a saving influence in it: yet not in such wise saving, that the bearing of the great pain and peril of childbearing will atone for the neglect of the after labors of education. See Marlorate and Corn. a Lapide. in loc. The whole interpretation is questionable. Theoph. mentions some who take the words “the childbearing” of the birth of our Lord, which he rejects as not agreeing with what follows. But Estius justly observes, that the “abiding,” etc. may be better applied to the man and wife.
9 St Chrys. takes the word in its literal sense of a captive in war. If so meant it might be figurative, but it most likely refers either to an imprisonment, or to what he speaks of Cor. 11,26, as perils from robbers.
10 Lit. “far more like a prisoner”—for Field reads aicmalwtotera for calepwtera).
11 St. Chrys. on 2Co 8,23, p. 215. O. T. and Ph 2,25, p. 104 O. T. takes this word to mean messengers of the Churches. Theodoret, on Ph 2,25, takes it to mean “Bishop,” as on 1 Tim. 2,8, he says, “they then called the same persons Bishops and Elders, but those who are now called Bishops they named Apostles.” St. Chrys. Hom). in St. Ignat. call him an Apostle.
12 Hammond reads the name Junias, and supposes a man to be intended.
13 It is impossible to determine with certainty whether epiohmoi en toi" apostoloi" (7) means that the persons referred to were themselves apostles, or merely that they were held in high esteem by the apostles. The interpretation of Chrys. (the former) is possible both in point of language and in view of the fact that apostoloi embraced more than the twelve in N. T. usage, e. g. Paul, Barnabas, and probably, James, the Lord’s Brother (Ga 1,19) (so Tholuck, Rückert, Ewald). The more probable view is that Andronicus and Junias [not Junia as Chrys., certainly not if his interpretation is correct; that a woman should have been an apostle is out of the question] are designated as distinguished, honorably known among (by) the apostles. (So De Wette, Philippi, Holmann, Meyer).—G. B. S).
14 He perhaps means something in the names, as well as in the facts implied; most of them are significant. In several places, as where he refers to Ps 19,and in his metaphors, he shows that he knew and valued allegorical interpretation, but he makes little public use of it.
15 This is rather an unusual way of taking “pollh" asfaleia" edei apolauein autoi",” but the sequel allows no other.
16 i. e. had he not been so greatly esteemed.
17 autou emou, even of myself).
18 (So Field with 4 mss. Vulg. “do,”
19 polloi would bear to be rendered “they often.”
20 i. e. Peter, James, and John.
21 See Macarius, Hom. 6,v. fin. “So then many that were taught by Peter, came to repentance, and formed a new world, elect of God. You see how a beginning of judgment was manifested. For then a new world was made manifest. For then was power given them to sit and judge in this world. However, they will sit and give judgment at the coming of the Lord, in the resurrection of the dead.”
22 1Tm 2,14, whence it appears that St. C. looked upon the pains of childbirth as a punishment, though they were capable of being turned to good: see Gn 3,16).
23 mss. omit “pleasure-loving” and “love of pleasure” in the next line.
24 Jl 3,2, which is however a type of the last judgment. Is 30,33 can hardly be meant, as the LXX. there has not the name Tophet.
25 Ben. and 3 mss. basileiwn.
26 This whole argument is nearly that of the close of Hom. 25. The object of it is clearly to keep their minds to the subject, as well as to convince gainsayers.
27 So Field; others: “more than many.”
28 See Bp. Taplor, Serm. on Sir G. Dalston; and Bp. Butler, Anal. 1. 2, note n.
Chrysostom on Rm 3000