Chrysostom He 2900

Homily XXIX. Hebrews 12,4–6.—“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood,

2900 He 12,4-11
striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth: and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”1

[1.] There are two kinds of consolation, apparently opposed to one another, but yet contributing great strength each to the other; both of which he has here put forward. The one is when we say that persons have suffered much: for the soul is refreshed, when it has many witnesses of its own sufferings, and this he introduced above, saying, “Call to mind the former days, in which after ye had been illuminated ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” (c. 10,32). The other is when we say, “Thou hast suffered no great thing.” The former, when [the soul] has been exhausted refreshes it, and makes it recover breath: the latter, when it has become indolent and supine, turns it again2 and pulls down pride. Thus that no pride may spring up in them from that testimony [to their sufferings], see what he does. “Ye have not yet” (he says) “resisted unto blood, [striving] against sin.” And he did not at once go on with what follows, but after having shown them all those who had stood “unto blood,” and then brought in the glory of Christ, His sufferings,3 he afterwards easily pursued his discourse. This he says also in writing to the Corinthians, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man” (1Co 10,13), that is, small. For this is enough to arouse and set right the soul, when it considers that it has not risen to the whole [trial], and encourages itself from what has already befallen it.

What he means is this: Ye have not yet submitted to death; your loss has extended to money, to reputation, to being driven from place to place. Christ however shed His blood for you, while you have not [done it] for yourselves. He contended for the Truth even unto death fighting for you; while ye have not yet entered upon dangers that threaten death.

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation.” That is, And ye have slackened your hands, ye have become faint. “Ye have not yet,” he said, “resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Here he indicates that sin is both very vigorous,4 and is itself armed. For the [expression] “Ye have resisted [stood firm against],” is used with reference to those who stand firm.5

2902 [2.] “Which” (he says) “speaketh unto you as unto sons, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor hint when thou art rebuked of Him.” He has drawn his encouragement from the facts themselves; over and above he adds also that which is drawn from arguments, from this testimony.

“Faint not” (he says) “when thou art rebuked of Him.” It follows that these things are of God. For this too is no small matter of consolation, when we learn that it is God’s work that such things have power,6 He allowing [them]; even as also Paul says; “He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (
2Co 12,9). He it is who allows [them’].

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” Thou canst not say that any righteous man is without affliction: even if he appear to be so, yet we know not his other afflictions. So that of necessity every righteous man must pass through affliction. For it is a declaration of Christ, that the wide and broad way leads to destruction, but the strait and narrow one to life. (Mt 7,13-14). If then it is possible to enter into life by that means, and is not by any other, then all have entered in by the narrow [way], as many as have departed unto life.

He 12,7. “Ye endure chastisement”7 (he says); not for punishment, nor for vengeance, nor for suffering. See, from that from which they supposed they had been deserted [of God], from these he says they may be confident, that they have not been deserted. It is as if he had said, Because ye have suffered so many evils, do you suppose that God has left you and hates you? If ye did not suffer, then it were right to suppose this. For if “He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth,” he who is not scourged, perhaps is not a son. What then, you say, do not bad men suffer distress? They suffer indeed; how then? He did not say, Every one who is scourged is a son, but every son is scourged. For in all cases He scourges His son: what is wanted then is to show, whether any son is not scourged. But thou wouldest not be able to say: there are many wicked men also who are scourged, such as murderers, robbers, sorcerers, plunderers of tombs. These however are paying the penalty of their own wickedness, and are not scourged as sons, but punished as wicked: but ye as sons.

2903 [3.] Then again [he argues] from the general custom. Seest thou how he brings up arguments from all quarters, from facts in the Scripture, from its words, from our own notions, from examples in ordinary life? (He 12,8). “But if ye be without chastisement” [&c.]. Seest thou that he said what I just mentioned, that it is not possible to be a son without being chastened? For as in families, fathers care not for bastards, though they learn nothing, though they be not distinguished, but fear for their legitimate sons lest they should be indolent, [so here.]. If then not to be chastised is [a mark] of bastards, we ought to rejoice at chastisement, if this be [a sign] of legitimacy. “God dealeth with you as with sons”; for this very cause.

He 12,9. “Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence.” Again, [he reasons] from their own experiences, from what they themselves suffered. For as he says above, “Call to mind the former days” (c. 10,32), so here also “God” (he saith) “dealeth with you as with sons,” and ye could not say, We cannot bear it: yea, “as with sons” tenderly beloved. For if they reverence their “fathers of the flesh,” how shall not you reverence your heavenly Father?

However the difference arises not from this alone, nor from the persons, but also from the cause itself, and from the fact. For it is not on the same grounds that He and they inflict chastisement: but they [did it] with a view to “what seemed good to them,” that is, fulfilling [their own] pleasure oftentimes, and not always looking to what was expedient. But here, that cannot be said. For He does this not for any interest of His own but for you, and for your benefit alone. They [did it] that ye might be useful to themselves also, oftentimes without reason; but here there is nothing of this kind. Seest thou that this also brings consolation? For we are most closely attached to those [earthly parents], when we see that not for any interests of their own they either command or advise us: but their earnestness is, wholly and solely, on our account. For this is genuine love, and love in reality, when we are beloved though we be of no use to him who loves us,—not that he may receive, but that he may impart. Hechastens, He does everything, He uses all diligence, that we may become capable of receiving His benefits. (

What is “of his holiness”? It is, of His purity, so as to become worthy of Him, according to our power. He earnestly desires that ye may receive, and He does all that He may give you: do ye not earnestly endeavor that ye may receive? “I said unto the Lord” (one says) “Thou art my Lord, for of my good things Thou hast no need.” (Ps 16,2).

“Furthermore,” he saith,“we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?” (“To the Father of spirits,” whether of spiritual gifts, or of prayers, or of the incorporeal powers). If we die thus, then “we shall live. For they indeed for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure,” for what seems [so] is not always profitable, but “He for our profit.”

2904 [4.] Therefore chastisement is “profitable”; therefore chastisement is a “participation of holiness.” Yea and this greatly: for when it casts out sloth, and evil desire, and love of the things of this life, when it helps the soul, when it causes a light esteem of all things here (for affliction [does] this), is it not holy? Does it not draw down the grace of the Spirit?

Let us consider the righteous, from what cause they all shone brightly forth. Was it not from affliction? And, if you will, let us enumerate them from the first and from the very beginning: Abel, Noah himself; for it is not possible that he, being the only one in that so great multitude of the wicked, should not have been afflicted; for it is said, “Noah being” alone “perfect in his generation, pleased God.” (
Gn 6,9). For consider, I beseech you, if now, when we have innumerable persons whose virtue we may emulate, fathers, and children, and teachers, we are thus distressed, what must we suppose he suffered, alone among so many? But should I speak of the circumstances of that strange and wonderful rain? Or should I speak of Abraham, his wanderings one upon another, the carrying away of his wife, the dangers, the wars, the famines? Should I speak of Isaac,8 what fearful things he underwent, driven from every place, and laboring in vain, and toiling for others? Or of Jacob? for indeed to enumerate all his [afflictions] is not necessary, but it is reasonable to bring forward the testimony, which he himself (gave] when speaking with Pharaoh; “Few and evil are my days, and they have not attained to the days of my fathers.” (Gn 47,9). Or should I speak of Joseph himself? Or of Moses? Or of Joshua? Or of David? Or of Elijah? Or of Samuel? Or wouldest thou [that I speak]of all the prophets? Wilt thou not find that all these were made illustrious from their afflictions? Tell me then, dost thou desire to become illustrious from ease and luxury? But thou canst not.

Or should I speak of the Apostles? Nay but they went beyond all. And Christ said this, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” (Jn 16,33). And again, “Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice.” (Jn 16,20). And, that “Strait and narrow is the way9 that teadeth unto life.” (Mt 7,14). The Lord of the way said, that it is “narrow and strait”; and dost thou seek the “broad” [way]? How is this not unreasonable? In consequence thou wilt not arrive at life, going another [way], but at destruction, for thou hast chosen the [path] which leads thither.

Wouldst thou that I bring before you those [that live] in luxury? Let us ascend from the last to the first. The rich man who is burning in the furnace; the Jews who live for the belly, “whose god is their belly” (Ph 3,19), who were ever seeking ease in the wilderness, were destroyed; as also those in Sodore, on account of their gluttony; and those in the time of Noah, was it not because they chose this soft and dissolute life? For “they luxuriated,” it says, “in fullness of bread.” (Ez 16,49). It speaks of those in Sodom. But if “fullnes of bread” wrought so great evil, what should we say of other delicacies? Esau, was not he in ease? And what of those who being of “the sons of God” (Gn 6,2), looked on women, and were borne down the precipice? And what of those who were maddened by inordinate lust? and all the kings of the nations, of the Babylonians, of the Egyptians, did they not perish miserably? Are they not in torment?

2905 [5.] And as to things now, tell me, are they not the same? Hear Christ saying, “They that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses” (Mt 11,8), but they who do not [wear] such things, are in Heaven. For the soft garment relaxes even the austere soul, breaks it and enervates it: yea, even if it meet with a body rough and hard, it speedily by such delicate treatment makes it soft and weak.

For, tell me, for what other reason do you suppose women are so weak? Is it from their sex only? By no means: but from their way of living, and their bringing up. For their avoiding exposure, 10 their inactivity, their baths, their unguents, their multitude of perfumes, the delicate softness of their couches, makes them in the end such as they are.

And that thou mayest understand, attend to what I say. Tell me; take from a garden a tree from those standing in the uncultivated 11 part and beaten by the winds, and plant it in a moist and shady place, and thou wilt find it very unworthy of that from which thou didst originally take it. And that this is true, [appears from the fact that] women brought up in the country are stronger than citizens of towns: and they would overcome many such in wrestling. For when the body becomes more effeminate, of necessity the soul also shares the mischief, since, for the most part, its energies are affected in accordance with the [body]. For in illness we are different persons owing to weakness, and when we become well, we are different again. For as in the case of a string when the tones 12 are weak and relaxed, and not well arranged, the excellence of the art is also destroyed, being obliged to serve the ill condition of the strings: so in the case of the body also, the soul receives from it many hurts, many necessities. 13 For when it needs much nursing, the other endures a bitter servitude.

2906 [6.] Wherefore, I beseech you, let us make it strong by work, and not nurse it as an invalid. 14 My discourse is not to men only but to women also. For why dost thou, O woman, continually enfeeble 15 [thy body] with luxury and exhaust it? 16 Why dost thou ruin thy strength with fat? This fat is flabbiness, not strength. Whereas, if thou break off from these things, and manage thyself differently, then will thy personal beauty also improve according to thy wish, when strength and a good habit of body are there. If however thou beset it with ten thousand diseases, there will neither be bloom of complexion, nor good health; for thou wilt always be in low spirits. And you know that as when the air is smiling it makes a beautiful house look splendid, so also cheerfulness of mind when added to a fair countenance, makes it better: but if [a woman] is in low spirits and in pain she becomes more ill-looking. But diseases and pains produce low spirits; and diseases are produced from the body too delicate through great luxury. So that even for this you will flee luxury, if you take my advice.

‘But, you will say, luxury gives pleasure.’ Yes, but not so great as the annoyances. And besides, the pleasure goes no further than the palate and the tongue. For when the table has been removed, and the food swallowed, thou wilt be like one that has not partaken, or rather much worse, in that thou bearest thence oppression, and distension, and headache, and a sleep like death, and often too, sleeplessness from repletion, and obstruction of the breathing, and eructation. And thou wouldest curse bitterly thy belly, when thou oughtest to curse thy immoderate eating.

2907 [7.] Let us not then fatten the body, but listen to Paul saying, “Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof,” (Rm 13,14). As if one should take food and throw it into a drain, so is he who throws it into the belly: or rather it is not so, but much worse. For in the one case he uses 17 the drain without harm to himself: but in the other he generates innumerable diseases. For what nourishes is a sufficiency which also can be digested: but what is over and above our need, not only does not nourish, but even spoils the other. But no man sees these things, owing to some prejudice and unseasonable pleasure.

Dost thou wish to nourish the body? Take away What is superfluous; give what is sufficient, and as much as can be digested, Do not load it, lest thou overwhelm it. A sufficiency is both nourishment and pleasure. For nothing is so productive of pleasure, as food well digested: nothing so [productive of] health: nothing [so productive of] acuteness of the faculties, nothing tends so much to keep away disease. For a sufficiency is both nourishment, and pleasure, and health; but excess is injury, and unpleasantness and disease. For what famine does, that also satiety does; or rather more grievous evils. For the former indeed within a few days carries a man off and sets him free; but the other eating into and putrefying the body, gives it over to long disease, and then to a most painful death. But we, while we account famine a thing greatly to be dreaded, yet run after satiety, which is more distressing than that.

Whence is this disease? Whence this madness? I do not say that we should waste ourselves away, but that we should eat as much food as also gives us pleasure, that is really pleasure, and can nourish the body, and furnish it to us well ordered and adapted for the energies of the soul, well joined and fitted together. But when it comes to be water-logged 18 by luxury, it cannot in the flood-wave, keep fast the bolts 19 themselves, as one may say, and joints which hold the frame together. For the flood-wave coming in, the whole breaks up and scatters.

“Make not provision for the flesh” (he says) “to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Rm 13,14). He said well. For luxury is fuel for unreasonable lusts; though the luxurious should be the most philosophical of all men, of necessity he must be somewhat affected by wine, by eating, he must needs be relaxed, he must needs endure the greater flame. Hence [come] fornications, hence adulteries. For a hungry belly cannot generate lust, or rather not one which has used just enough. But that which generates unseemly lusts, is that which is relaxed 20 by luxury. And as land which is very moist and a dung-hill which is wet through and retains much dampness, generates worms, while that which has been freed from such moistness bears abundant fruits, when it has nothing immoderate: even if it be not cultivated, it yields grass, and if it be cultivated, fruits: [so also do we].

Let us not then make our flesh useless, or unprofitable, or hurtful, but let us plant in it useful fruits, and fruit-bearing trees; let us not enfeeble them by luxury, for they too put forth worms instead of fruit when they are become rotten. So also implanted desire, if thou moisten it above measure, generates unreasonable pleasures, yea the most exceedingly unreasonable. Let us then remove this pernicious evil, that we may be able to attain the good things promised us, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory now and ever and world without end. Amen).

1 or, “accepteth.”
2 ejpistrevfei, or, “turns, converts to God.”
3 to; kauvchma tou` Cristou` ta; paqhvmata, or, “our glory—our boast—the sufferings of Christ.”
4 sfovdra pnevousan.
5 [There is a paronomasia here To; ajntikatevsthte, pro;" tou;" eJstw`ta" ei]rhtai, which cannot easily be reproduced in English.—F. G.]
6 to; toiau`ta dunhqh`nai.
7 eij" paideivan. eij" paideivan uJpomevnete is the reading of the best mss. &c. of St. Chrys. as it is the approved reading of the Epistle. The later [printed] texts have the later reading eij p. uJp).
8 The common texts substitute Jacob for Isaac here, omitting the following clause where Jacob is mentioned (as they also in the preceding sentence have “temptations” instead of “families”); to correct the apparent inaccuracies of the text. But Mr. Field shows from other passages of St. Chrys. that he really means Isaac, having in view Gn 26,18–22, 27).
9 St. Chrys. seems to have read this text without the words hJ puvlh.
10 “to the heat,” skiatrofiva.
11 ejn th`/ ejrhvmw/, “dry and open part?”
12 fqovggoi.
13 ajnavgka".
14 noshleuvwmen.
15 ejkpluvnei"…ejxivthlon, lit). “washed out,” and “faded,” as when colors are washed out of dresses).
16 ejkpluvnei"…ejxivthlon, lit). “washed out,” and “faded,” as when colors are washed out of dresses).
17 ejrgavzetai.
18 uJpevrantlon.
19 govmfou".
20 pladw`sa, “wet and soft.”

Homily XXX. Hebrews 12,11–13.—“No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,\i

3000 He 12,11-13

1 but grievous,2 nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are3 exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees: and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed.”

[1.] They who drink bitter medicines, first submit to some unpleasantness, and afterwards feel the benefit. For such is virtue, such is vice. In the latter there is first the pleasure, then the despondency: in the former first the despondency, and then the pleasure. But there is no equality; for it is not the same, to be first grieved and afterwards pleased, and to be first pleased and afterwards grieved. How so? because in the latter case the expectation of coming despondency makes the present pleasure less: hut in the former the expectation of coming pleasure cuts away the violence of present despondency; so that the result is that in the one instance we never have pleasure, in the latter we never have grief. And the difference does not lie in this only, but also in other ways. As how? That the duration is not equal, but far greater and more ample. And here too, it is still more so in things spiritual.

From this [consideration] then Paul undertakes to console them; and again takes up the common judgment of men, which no one is able to stand against, nor to contend with the common decision, when one says what is acknowledged by all.

Ye are suffering, he says. For such is chastisement; such is its beginning. For “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous.” Well said he, “seemeth not,” Chastisement he means is not grievous but “seemeth” so. “All chastisement”: not this and that, but “all,” both human and spiritual. Seest thou that he argues from our commonnotions? “Seemeth” (he says) “to be grievous,” so that it is not [really so]. For what sort of grief brings forth joy? So neither does pleasure bring forth despondency.

“Nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them which have been exercised thereby.” Not “fruit” but “fruits,”4 a great abundance.

“To them” (he says) “which have been exercised thereby.” What is “to them which have been exercised thereby”? To them that have endured for a long while, and been patient. And he uses an auspicious5 expression. So then, chastisement is exercise, making the athlete strong, and invincible in combats, irresistible in wars.

If then “all chastisement” be such, this also will be such: so that we ought to look for good things, and for a sweet and peaceful end. And do not wonder if, being itself hard, it has sweet fruits; since in trees also the bark is almost destitute of all quality,6 and rough; but the fruits are sweet. But he took it from the common notion. If therefore we ought to look for such things, why do ye vex yourselves? Why, after ye have endured the painful, do ye despond as to the good? The distasteful things which ye had to endure, ye endured: do not then despond as to the recompense.

(He speaks as to runners, and boxers, and warriors.7 Seest thou how he arms them, how he encourages them? “Walk straight,” he says. Here he speaks with reference to their thoughts; that is to say, not doubting. For if the chastisement be of love, if it begin from loving care, if it end with a good result (and this he proves both by facts and by words, and by all considerations), why are ye dispirited? For such are they who despair, who are not strengthened by the hope of the future. “Walk straight,” he says, that your lameness may not be increased, but brought back to its former condition. For he that runs when he is lame, galls the sore place. Seest thou that it is in our power to be thoroughly healed?

3002 [2.] He 12,14. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” What he also said above, “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together” (c. 10,25), he hints at in this place also. For nothing so especially makes persons easily vanquished and subdued in temptations, as isolation. For, tell me, scatter a phalanx in war, and the enemy will need no trouble, but will take them prisoners, coming on them separately, and thereby the more helpless.“Follow peace with all men, and holiness”8 (he says). Therefore with the evil-doers as well? “If it be possible,” he says, “as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rm 12,18). For thy part (he means) “live peaceably,” doing no harm to religion: but in whatever thou art ill-treated, bear it nobly. For the bearing with evil is a great weapon in trials. Thus Christ also made His disciples strong by saying, “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves,” (Mt 10,16). What dost Thou say? Are we “among wolves,” and dost Thou bid us to be “as sheep,” and “as doves”? Yea, He says. For nothing so shames him that is doing us evil, as bearing nobly the things which are brought upon us: and not avenging ourselves either by word or by deed. This both makes us more philosophical ourselves and procures a greater reward, and also benefits them. But has such an one been insolent? Do thou bless [him]. See how much thou wilt gain from this: thou hast quenched the evil, thou hast procured to thyself a reward, thou hast made him ashamed, and thou hast suffered nothing serious.

3003 [3.] “Follow peace with all men, and holiness.” What does he mean by “holiness”9 ? Chaste, and orderly living in marriage. If any person is unmarried (he says) let him remain pure, let him marry: or if he be married, let him not commit fornication, but let him live with his own wife: for this also is “holiness.” How? Marriage is not “holiness,” but marriage preserves the holiness which [proceeds] from Faith, not permitting union with a harlot. For “marriage is honorable” (c. 13,4), not holy. Marriage is pure: it does not however also give holiness, except by forbidding the defilement of that [holiness] which has been given by our Faith.

“Without which” (he says) “no man shall see the Lord.” Which he also says in the [Epistle] to the Corinthians. “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor covetous persons, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (
1Co 6,9-10). For how shall he who has become the body of a harlot, how shall he be able to be the body of Christ?

3004 [4.] He 12,15. “Looking diligently 10 test any man come short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled: lest there be any fornicator or profane person.” Dost thou see how everywhere he puts the common salvation intothe hands of each individual? “Exhorting one another daily” (he says) “while it is called To-day.” (c. 3,13). Do not then cast all [the burden] on your teachers; do not [cast] all upon them who have the rule over you: ye also (he means) are able to edify one another. Which also he said in writing to the Thessalonians, “Edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1Th 5,11). And again, “Comfort one another with these words.” (1Th 4,18). This we also now exhort you.

3005 [5.] If ye be willing, ye will have more success with each other than we can have. For ye both are with one another for a longer time, and ye know more than we of each other’s affairs, and ye are not ignorant of each other’s failings, and ye have more freedom of speech, and love, and intimacy; and these are no small [advantages] for teaching, but great and opportune introductions for it: ye will be more able than we both to reprove and to exhort. And not this only, but because I am but one, whereas ye are many; and ye will be able, however many, to be teachers. Wherefore I entreat you, do not “neglect this gift.” (1Tm 4,14). Each one of you has a wife, has a friend, has a servant, has a neighbor; let him reprove him, let him exhort him.

For how is it not absurd, with regard to [bodily] nourishment, to make associations for messing together, and for drinking together, and to have a set day whereon to club with one another, as they say, and to make up by the association what each person being alone by himself fails short of—as for instance, if it be necessary to go to a funeral, or to a dinner, or to assist a neighbor in any matter—and not to do this for the purpose of instruction in virtue? Yea, I entreat you, let no man neglect it. For great is the reward he receives from God. And that thou mayest understand, he who was entrusted with the five talents is the teacher: and he with the one is the learner. If the learner should say, I am a learner, I run no risk, and should hide the reason, 11 which he received of God, that common and simple [reason], and give no advice, should not speak plainly, should not rebuke, should not admonish, if he is able, but should bury [his talents] in the earth (for truly that heart is earth and ashes, which hides the gift of God): if then he hides it either from indolence, or from wickedness, it will be no defense to him to say, ‘I had but one talent.’ Thou hadst one talent. Thou oughtest then to have brought one besides, and to have doubled the talent. If thou hadst brought one in addition, thou wouldst not have been blamed. For neither did He say to him who brought the two, Wherefore hast thou not brought five? But He accounted him of the same worth with him who brought the five. Why? Because he gained as much as he had. And, because he had received fewer than the one entrusted with the five, he was not on this account negligent, nor did he use the smallness [of his trust, as an excuse] for idleness. And thou oughtest not to have looked to him who had the two; or rather, thou oughtest to have looked to him, and as he having two imitated him who had five, so oughtest thou to have emulated him who had two. For if for him who has means and does not give, there is punishment, how shall there not be the greatest punishment for him who is able to exhort in any way, and does it not? In the former case the body is nourished, in the latter the soul; there thou preventest temporal death, here eternal.

3006 [6.] But I have no [skill of] speech, 12 you say. But there is no need of [skill of] speech nor of eloquence. If thou see a friend going into fornication, say to him, Thou art going after an evil thing; art thou not ashamed? Dost thou not blush? This is wrong. ‘Why, does he not know’ (you say) ‘that it is wrong?’ Yes, but he is dragged on by lust. They that are sick also know that it is bad to drink cold water, nevertheless they need persons who shall hinder [them from it]. For he who is suffering, will not easily be able to help himself in his sickness. There is need therefore of thee who art in health, for his cure. And if he be not persuaded by thy words, watch for him as he goes away and hold him fist; peradventure he will be ashamed.

‘And what advantage is it’ (you say), ‘when he does this for my sake, and because he has been held back by me?’ Do not be too minute in thy calculations. For a while, by whatever means, withdraw him from his evil practice; let him be accustomed not to go off to that pit, whether through thee, or through any means whatever. When thou hast accustomed him not to go, then by taking him after he has gained breath a little thou wilt be able to teach him that he ought to do this for God’s sake, and not for man’s. Do not wish to make all right at once, since you cannot: but do it gently and by degrees.

If thou see him going off to drinking, or to parties where there is nothing but drunkenness,then also do the same; and again on the other hand intreat him, if he observe that thou hast any failing, to help thee and set thee right. For in this way, he will even of himself, bear reproof, when he sees both that thou needest reproofs as well, and that thou helpest him, not as one thathad done everything right, nor as a teacher, but as a friend and a brother. Say to him, I have done thee a service, in reminding thee of things expedient: do thou also, whatever failing thou seest me have, hold me back, 13 set me right. If thou see me irritable, if avaricious, restrain me, bind me by exhortation.

This is friendship; thus “brother aided by brother becomes a fortified city.” (
Pr 18,19). For not eating and drinking makes friendship: such friendship even robbers have and murderers. But if we are friends, if we truly care for one another, let us in these respects help one another. This leads us to a profitable friendship: let us hinder those things which lead away to hell.

3007 [7.] Therefore let not him that is reproved be indignant: for we are men and we have failings; neither let him who reproves do it as exulting over him and making a display, but privately, with gentleness. He that reproves has need of greater gentleness, that thus he may persuade [them] to bear the cutting. Do you not see surgeons, when they burn, when they cut, with how great gentleness they apply their treatment? Much more ought those who reprove others to act thus. For reproof is sharper even than fire and knife, and makes [men] start. On this account surgeons take great pains to make them bear the cutting quietly, and apply it as tenderly as possible, even giving in 14 a little, then giving time to take breath.

(So ought we also to offer reproofs, that the reproved may not start away. Even if therefore, it be necessary to be insulted, yea even to be struck, let us not decline it. For those also who are cut [by the surgeons] utter numberless cries against those who are cutting them; they however heed none of these things, but only the health of the patients. So indeed in this case also we ought to do all things that our reproof may be effectual, to bear all things, looking to the reward which is in store.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens,” saith he, “and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (
Ga 6,2). So then, both reproving and bearing with one another, shall we be able to fulfill edification. And thus will ye make the labor light for us, in all things taking a part with us, and stretching out a hand, and becoming sharers and partakers, both in one another’s salvation, and each one in his own. Let us then endure patiently, both bearing “one another’s burdens,” and reproving: that we may attain to the good things promised in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen).

1 “of joy.”
2 “of grief.”
3 [The Revision has here correctly “have been exercised,” and it is so commented upon by St. Chrys. below.—F. G.]
4 karpouv"). [At the head of the homily the word is in the singular, as in the text of Hebrews; it is here commented upon as if in the plural.—F. G.]
5 eujfhvmw/.
6 a]poio".
7 These words refer to ver. 13, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed,” which is inserted in the text of the common editions.
8 “the sanctification.” [It is the same word as above and is rendered in the R. V). “the sanctification.”—F. G.]
9 “sanctification,” as 1Th 4,3, &c.
10 ejpiokopou`nte".
11 to;n lovgon, includes “word,” and “doctrine.”
12 lovgou.
13 ajnacaivtison.
14 ejndidovnte").

Chrysostom He 2900