Chrysostom on 2Cor 2000

Homily XX. - 1Co 9, 10. Now He that supplied seed to the sower,

2000 both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness). (2Co 9,10-15)

2001 Herein one may particularly admire the wisdom of Paul, that after having exhorted from spiritual considerations and from temporal, in respect of the recompense also he again does the very same, making the returns he mentions of either kind. This, (for instance,) “He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness abideth for ever,” belongs to a spiritual return; that again, “multiply your seed for sowing,” to a temporal recompense. Still, however, he rests not here, but even again passes back to what is spiritual, placing the two continually side by side; for “increase the fruits of your righteousness,” is spiritual. This he does, and gives variety by it to his discourse, tearing up by the roots those their unmanly and faint-hearted reasonings, and using many arguments to dissipate their fear of poverty, as also the example which he now brings. For if even to those that sow the earth God gives, if to those that feed the body He grants abundance;reach more will He to those who till the soilof heaven, to those who take care for the soul; for these things He willeth should yet more enjoy His providing care. However, he does not state this in the way of inference nor in the manner I have done, but in the form of a prayer; t us at once makingthe reference plain, andthe rather leading them on to hope, not only from what [commonly] takes place, but also from his own prayer: for, ‘May He minister,’ saith he, ‘and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.’ Here also again he hints, in an unsuspicious way, at largeness [in giving], for the words, “multiply and increase,” are by way of indicating this; and at the same time he allows them to seek for nothing more than necessaries, saying, “bread for food.” For this also is particularly worthy of admiration in him, (and it is a point he successfully established even before,)namely, that in things which be necessary, he allows them to seek for nothing more than need requires; but in spiritual things counsels them to get for themselves a large superabundance. Wherefore he said above also, “that having a sufficiency ye may abound to every good work:” and here, “He that ministereth bread for food, multiply your seed for sowing;” that is to say, the spiritual [seed]. For he asks not almsgiving merely, but with largeness. Wherefore also I he continually calls it “seed.” For like as the corn cast into the ground showeth luxuriant crops, so also many are the handfuls almsgiving produceth of righteousness, and unspeakable the fruits it showeth. Then having prayed for great affluence unto them, he shows again in what they ought to expend it, saying,

2Co 9,11. “That being enriched in every thing to all liberality, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.”

Not that ye may consume it upon things not fitting, but upon such as bring much thanksgiving to God. For God made us to have the disposal of great things, and reserving to Himself that which is less yielded to us that which is greater. For corporeal nourishment is at His sole disposal, but mental He permitted to us; for we have it at our Own disposal whether the crops we have to show be luxuriant. For no need is here of rains and of variety of seasons, but of the will only, and they run up to heaven itself. And largeness in giving is what he here calls liberality. “Which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.” For neither is that which is done almsgiving merely, but also the ground of much thanksgiving: yea rather, not of thanksgiving only, but of many other things besides. And these as he goes on he mentions, that by showing it to be the cause of many good works, he may make them thereby the forwarder.

[2.] What then are these many good works? Hear him saying:

. “For the ministration of this service, not only filleth up the measure of the wants of the saints, but aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God; seeing that through the proving of you by this ministration, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession unto the Gospel, and for the liberality of your contribution unto them and unto all; while they also with supplication on your behalf, long after you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you.”

What he says is this; ‘in the first place ye not only supply the wants of the saints, but ye are abundant even;’ that is, ‘ye furnish them with even more than they need: next, through them ye send up thanksgiving to God, for they glorify Him for the obedience of your confession.’ For that he may not represent them asgiving thanks on this account solely, (I mean, because they received somewhat,) see how high-minded he makes them, exactly as he himself says to the Philippians, “Not that I desire a gift.” (Ph 4,17) ‘To them too I bear record of the same thing. For they rejoice indeed that ye supply their wants and alleviate their poverty; but far more, in that ye are so subjected to the Gospel; whereof this is an evidence, your contributing so largely.’ For this the Gospel enjoins.

“And for the liberality of your contribution unto them and unto all.” ‘And on this account,’ he says, ‘they glorify God that ye are so liberal, not unto them only, but also unto all.’ And this again is made a praise unto them that they gave thanks even for that which is bestowed upon others. ‘For,’ saith he, ‘they do honor, not to their own concerns only, but also tothose of others, and this although they are in the extremest poverty; which is an evidence of their great virtue. For nothing is so full of envy as the whole race of such as are in poverty. But they are pure from this passion; being so far from feeling pained because of the things ye impart to others, that they even rejoice over it no less than over the things themselves receive.’

“While they themselves also with supplication.” ‘For in respect of these things,’ saith he, ‘they give thanks to God, but in respect of your love and your coming together, they beseech Him that they may be counted worthyto see you. For they long after this, not for the money’s sake, but that they may be witnesses of the grace that hath been bestowed upon you.’ Seest thou Paul’s wisdom, how after havingexalted them, he ascribed the whole to God bycalling the thing “grace?” For seeing he hadspoken great things of them, in that he calledthem ministers and exalted them unto a greatheight, (since they offered service whilst he himself did but administer,) and termed them ‘proved,’ he shows that God was the Author of all these things. And he himself again, along with them, sends up thanksgiving, saying,

2Co 9,15. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”

And here he calls “gift,” even those so many good things which are wrought by almsgiving, both to them that receive and them that give; or else, those unspeakable good things which through His advent He gave unto the whole world with great munificence, which one may suspect to be the most probable. For that he may at once both sober, and make them more liberal, he puts them in mind of the benefits they had received from God. For this avails very greatly in inciting unto all virtue; and therefore he concluded his discourse with it. But if His Gift be unspeakable, what can match their frenzy who raise curious questions as to His Essence? But not only is His Gift unspeakable, but that “peace” also “passeth all understanding,” (Ph 4,7) whereby He reconciled the things which are above with those which are below.

[3.] Seeing then that we are in the enjoyment of so great grace, let us strive to exhibit a virtue of life worthy of it, and to make much account of almsgiving. And this we shall do, if we shun excess and drunkenness and gluttony. For God gave meat and drink not for excess, but for nourishment. For it is not the wine that produceth drunkenness, for if that were the case, every body would needs be drunken. ‘But,’ saith one, ‘it would be better, if even to drink it largely did not injure.’ These are drunkards’ words. For if to drink it largely doth injure, and yet not even so thou desistest from thy excess in it; if this is so disgraceful and injurious, and yet thou ceasest not even so from thy depraved longing; if it were possible both to drink largely and be nothing harmed, where wouldest thou have stayed in thine excess? Wouldest thou not have longed that the rivers even might become wine? wouldest thou not have destroyed and ruined everything? If there is a mean in food which when we overpass we are injured, and yet even so thou canst not bear the curb, but snapping it as under seizest on what every body else hath, to minister to the wicked tyranny of this gluttony; what wouldest thou not have done, if this natural mean were abolished? wouldest thou not have spent thy whole time upon it? Would it then have been well to strengthen a lust so unreasonable, and not prevent the harm arising from excess? and to how many other harms would not this have given birth?

But O the senseless ones! who wallowing as in mire, in drunkeness and all other debauchery, when they have got a little sober again, sit down and do nothing but utter such sort of sayings, ‘Why doth this end in this way?’ when they ought to be condemning their own transgressions. For instead of what thou now sayest, ‘Why hath He set bounds? why do not all things go on without any order?’ say, ‘Why do we not cease from being drunken? why are we never satiated? why are we more senseless than creatures without reason?’ For these things they ought to ask one another, and to hearken to the voice of the Apostle and learn how many good things he witnesseth to the Corinthians proceed from almsgiving, and to seize upon this treasure. For to contemn money maketh men approved, as he said; and provideth that God be glorified; and warmeth love; and worketh in men loftiness of soul; and constituteth them priests, yea of a priesthood that bringeth great reward. For the merciful man is not arrayed in a vest reaching to the feet, nor does he carry about bells, nor wear a crown; but he is wrapped in the robe of loving-kindness, a holier than the sacred vestment; and is anointed with oil, not composed of material elements, but produced by the Spirit, and he beareth a crown of mercies, for it is said, “Who crowneth thee with pity and mercies;” (Ps 103,4) and instead of wearing a plate bearing the Name of God, is himself like to God. For how? “Ye,” saith He, “shall be like unto your Father which is in heaven.” (Mt 5,45)

Wouldest thou see His altar also? Bezaleel built it not, nor any other but God Himself; not of stones, but of a material brighter than the heaven, of reasonable souls. But the priest entereth into the holy of holies. Into yet more awful places mayest thou enter when thou offerest this sacrifice, where none is present but “thy Father, Which seeth in secret,” (Mt 6,4) where no other beholdeth. ‘And how,’ saith one, ‘is it possible that none should behold, when the altar standeth in public view?’ Because this it is that is admirable, that in those times double doors and veils made the seclusion: but now, though doing thy sacrifice in public view, thou mayest do it as in the holy of holies, and in a far more awful manner. For when thou doest it not for display before men; though the whole world hath seen, none hath seen, because thou hast so done it. For He said not simply, “Do” it “not before men,” but added, “to be seen of them.” (Mt 6,1) This altar is composed of the very members of Christ, and the body of the Lord is made thine altar. That then revere; on the flesh of the Lord thou sacrificest the victim. This altar is more awful even than this which we now use, not only than that used of old. Nay, clamor not. For this altar is admirable because of the sacrifice that is laid upon it: but that, the merciful man’s, not only on this account, but also because it is even composed of the very sacrifice which maketh the other to be admired. Again, this is but a stone by nature; but become holy because it receiveth Christ’s Body: but that is holy because it is itself Christ’s Body. So that this beside which thou, the layman, standest, is more awful than that. Whether then does Aaron seem to thee aught in comparison of this, or his crown, or his bells, or the holy of holies? For what need is there henceforth to make our comparison refer to Aaron’s altar, when even compared with this, it has been shown to be so glorious? But thou honorest indeed this altar, because it receiveth Christ’s body; but him that is himself the body of Christ thou treatest with contumely, andwhen perishing, neglectest. This altar mayest thou everywhere see lying, both in lanes and in market places, and mayest sacrifice upon it every hour; for on this too is sacrifice performed. And as the priest stands invoking the Spirit, so dost thou too invoke the Spirit, not by speech, but by deeds. For nothing doth so sustain and kindle the fire of the Spirit, as this oil largely poured out. But if thou wouldest see also what becomes of the things laid upon it, come hither, and I will show thee them. What then is the smoke, what the sweet savor of this altar? Praise and thanksgiving. And how far doth it ascend? as far as unto heaven? By no means, but it passeth beyond the heaven itself, and the heaven of heaven, and arriveth even at the throne of the King. For, “Thy prayers,” saith he, “and thine alms are come up before God.” (Ac 10,4) And the sweet savor which the sense perceives pierceth not far into the air, but this opened the very vault of heaven. And thou indeed art silent, but thy work speaketh: and a sacrifice of praise is made, no heifer slain nor hide burnt, but a spiritual soul presenting her proper offering. For such a sacrifice is more acceptable than any loving-kindness. When then thou seest a poor believer, think that thou beholdest an altar: when thou seest such an one a beggar, not only insult him not, but even reverence him, and if thou seest another insulting him, prevent, repel it. For so shalt thou thyself be able both to have God propitious to thee, and to obtain the promised good things, whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom and with Whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever, and world without end. Amen).

Homily XXI. 2Co 10, 1-2. Now I Paul myself entreat you

2100 by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you: yea, I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some, which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. (2Co 10,1-6)

Having completed, in such sort as behoved his discourse of almsgiving, and having shown that he loves them more than he is loved, and having recounted the circumstances of his patience and trials, he now opportunely enters upon points involving more of reproof, making allusion to the false apostles, and concluding his discourse with more disagreeable matter, and with commendations of himself. For he makes this his business also throughout the Epistle. Which also perceiving, he hence oftentimes corrects himself, saying in so many words; “Do we begin again to commend ourselves?” (Ch. 3,1). and further on; “We commend not ourselves again, but give you occasion to glory:” (Ch. 5,12). and afterwards; “I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me.” (Ch. 12,11). And many such correctives doth he use. And one would not be wrong in styling this Epistle an eulogium of Paul; he makes such large mention both of his grace and his patience. For since there were some amongst them who thought great things of themselves, and set themselves above the Apostle, and accused him as a boaster, and as being nothing, and teaching no sound doctrine; (now this was in itself the most certain evidence of their own corruptness;) see how he begins his rebuke of them; “Now I Paul myself.” Seest thou what severity, what dignity, is here? For what he would say is this, ’ I beseech you do not compel me, nor leave me to use my power against those that hold us cheap, and think of us as carnal.’ This is severer than those threats towards them uttered in the former Epistle; “Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?” (1Co 4,21).and then again; “Now some are puffed up as though I were not coming to you; but I will come, and will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power.” (1Co 4,18-19). For in this place he shows both things, both his power, and his philosophy and forbearance; since he so beseeches them, and with such earnestness, that he may not be compelled to come to a display of the avenging power pertaining to him, and to smite and chastise them and exact the extreme penalty. For he implied this in saying, “But I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh.” For the present, however, let us speak of the commencement. “Now I Paul myself.” Great emphasis, great weight is here. So he says elsewhere, “Behold I Paul say unto you;” (Ga 5,2) and again, “As Paul the aged;” (Phm 1,9).and again in another place, “Who lath been a succorer of many, and of me.” Rm 16,2) So also here, “Now I Paul myself.” This even is a great thing, that himself beseecheth; but that other is greater which he added, saying, “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” For with the wish of greatly shaming them, he puts forward that “meekness and gentleness,” making his entreaty in this way more forcible; as if he had said, ‘Reverence the gentleness of Christ by which I beseech you.’ And this he said, at the same time also showing that although they should lay ever so strong a necessity upon him, he himself is more inclined to this: it is from being meek, not from want of power, that he does not proceed against them: for Christ also did in like manner.

“Who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you.” What, pray, is this? Surely he speaks in irony, using their speeches. For they said this, that ‘when he is present indeed, he is worthy of no account, but poor and contemptible; but when absent, swells, and brags, and sets himself up against us, and threatens.’ This at least he implies also afterwards, saying, “for his letters,” say they, “are weighty, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” (v. 10). He either then speaks in irony, manifesting great severity and saying, ‘I, the base, I, the mean, when present, (as they say,) and when absent, lofty:’ or else meaning that even though he should utter great things, it is not out of pride, but out of his confidence in them.

“But I beseech you, that I may hot when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I count to be bold against some which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. Seest thou how great his indignation, and how complete his refutation of those sayings of theirs? For he saith, ‘I beseech you, do not compel me to show that even present I am strong and have power.’ For since they said that ‘when absent, he is quite bold against us and exalteth himself,’ he uses their very words, ‘I beseech therefore that they compel me not to use my power.’ For this is the meaning of, “the confidence.” And he said not, ‘wherewith I am prepared,’ but ‘wherewith I count.’ ‘For I have not yet resolved upon this; they however give me reason enough, but not even so do I wish it.’ And yet he was doing this not to vindicate himself, but the Gospel. Now if where it was necessary to vindicate the Message, he is not harsh, but draws back and delays, and beseeches that there may be no such necessity; much more would he never have done any thing of the kind in his own vindication. ‘Grant me then this favor,’ he saith, ‘that ye compel me not to show, that even when present I am able to be bold against whomsoever it may be necessary; that is, to chastise and punish them.’ Seest thou how free he was from ambition, how he did nothing for display, since even where it was matter of necessity, he hesitates not to call the act, boldness. “For I beseech you,” he says, “that I may not when present show courage with the confidence, wherewith I think to be bold” against some. For this especially is the part of a teacher, not to be hasty in taking vengeance, but to work a reformation, and ever to be reluctant and slow in his punishments. How, pray, does he describe those whom he threatens? “Those that count of us as though we walked according to the flesh:” for they accused him as a hypocrite, as wicked, as a boaster.

[2.] 2Co 10,3. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

Here he goes on to alarm them also by the figure he uses, ‘for,’ says he, ‘we are indeed encompassed with flesh; I own it, but we do not live by the flesh;’ or rather, he said not even this, but for the present reserves it, for it belongs to the encomium on his life: but first discourseth of the Preaching, and shows that it is not of man, nor needeth aid from beneath. Wherefore he said not, ‘we do not live according to the flesh,’ but, “we do not war according to the flesh,” that is, ‘we have undertaken a war and a combat; but we do not war with carnal weapons, nor by help of any human succors.’

2Co 10,4. “For our weapons are not of the flesh.”For what sort of weapons are of the flesh? Wealth, glory, power, fluency, cleverness, circumventions, flatteries, hypocrisies, whatsoever else is similar to these. But ours are not of this sort: but of what kind are they?

“Mighty before God.”

And he said not, ‘we are not carnal,’ but, “our weapons.” For as I said, for the present he discourseth of the Preaching, and refers the whole power to God. And he says not, ‘spiritual,’ although this was the fitting opposite to “carnal,” but “mighty,” in this implying the other also, and showing that their weapons are weak and powerless. And mark the absence of pride in him; for he said not, ‘we are mighty,’ but, “our weapons are mighty before God.” ‘We did not make them such, but God Himself.’ For because they were scourged, were persecuted, and suffered wrongs incurable without number, which things were proofs of weakness: to show the strength of God he says, “but they are mighty before God.” For this especially shows His strength, that by these things He gains the victory. So that even though we are encompassed with them, yet it is He that warreth and worketh by them. Then he goes through a long eulogium upon them, saying,

“To the casting down of strong holds.” And lest when hearing of strong holds thou shouldest think of aught material, he says,

2Co 10,5. “Casting down imaginations.”

 First giving emphasis by the figure, and then by this additional expression declaring the spiritual character of the warfare. For these strongholds besiege souls, not bodies. Whence they are stronger than the others, and therefore also the weapons they require are mightier. But by strongholds he means the Grecian pride, and the strength of their sophisms and their syllogisms. But nevertheless, ‘these weapons,’ he says, ‘confounded every thing that stood up against them; for they cast down imaginations,

‘And every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God.’ He persisted in the metaphor that he might make the emphasis greater. ‘For though there should be strongholds,’ he saith,‘ though fortifications, though any other thing soever, they yield and give way before these weapons.

“And bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” And yet the name, “captivity,” hath an ill sound with it; for it is the destruction of liberty. Wherefore then has he used it? With a meaning of its own, in regard to another point. For the word “captivity” conveys two ideas, the loss of liberty, and the being so violently overpowered as not to rise up again. It is therefore in respect to this second meaning that he took it. As when he shall say “I robbed other churches,” (2Co 11,8) he does not intend the taking stealthily, but the stripping and taking their all, so also here in saying, “bringing into captivity.” For the fight was not equally maintained, but he conquered with great ease. Wherefore he did not say, ‘we conquer and have the better,’ only; but ‘we even bring “into captivity;”’ just as above, he did not say, ‘we advance engines against the “strongholds: “’ but, ‘we cast them down, for great is the superiority of our weapons.” For we war not with words,’ he saith, but with deeds against words, not with fleshly wisdom, but with the spirit of meekness and of power. How was it likely then I should hunt after honor, and boast in words, and threaten by letters;’ (as they accused him, saying, “his letters are weighty,”) ‘when our might lay not in these things?’ But having said, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” because the name of “captivity” was unpleasant, he presently afterwards put an end to the metaphor, saying, “unto the obedience of Christ:” from slavery unto liberty, from death unto life, from destruction to salvation. For we came not merely to strike down, but to bring over to the truth those who are opposed to us.

[3.] 2Co 10,6. “And being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be fulfilled.”

Here he alarmed these also, not those alone: ‘for,’ says he, ‘we were waiting for you, that when by our exhortations and threatenings we have reformed you, and purged and separated you from their fellowship; then, when those only are left who are incurably diseased, we may visit with punishment, after we see that you have really separated from them. For even now indeed ye obey, but not perfectly. ‘And yet if thou hadst done it now,’ saith one, ‘thou wouldest have wrought greater gain.’ ‘By no means, for if I had done it now, I should have involved you also in the punishment. Howbeit it behoved to punish them, indeed, but to spare you. Yet if I spared, I should have seemed to do it out of favor: now this I do not desire, but first to amend you, and then to proceed against them.’ What can be tenderer than the heart of the Apostle? who because he saw his own mixed up with aliens, desires indeed to inflict the blow, but forbears, and restrains his indignation until these shall have withdrawn, that he may smite these alone; yea rather, not these even. For he therefore threatens this, and says he is desirous to separate unto punishment them alone, that they also being amended by the fear may change, and he let loose his anger against no one. For just like a most excellent physician, and common father, and patron, and guardian, so did he all things, so cared he for all, removing impediments, checking the pestilent, running about every whither. For not by fighting did he so achieve the work, but advancing as if to a ready and an easy victory, he planted his trophies, undermining, casting down, overthrowing the strongholds of the devil, and the engines of the demons; and carried over their whole booty to the camp of Christ. Nor did he even take breath a little, bounding off from these to those, and from those again to others, like some very able general, raising trophies every day, or rather every hour. For having entered into the battle with nothing but a little tunic, the tongue of Paul took the cities of his enemies with their men and bows and spears and darts and all.

For he spake only; and, falling upon his enemies more fiercely than any fire, his wordsdrave out the demons and brought over unto him the men that were possessed of them. For when he cast out that demon, the evil one, fifty thousand sorcerers coming together burnt their books of magic and revolted to the truth. (See Ac 19,19) And like as in a war, when a tower has fallen or a tyrant been brought low, all his partizans cast away their arms and run unto the [opposing] general; so truly did it happen then also. For when the demon was cast out, they all having been besieged, and having cast away, yea rather having destroyed, their books, ran unto the feet of Paul. But he setting himself against the world as though against a single army, no where stayed his march, but did all things as if he were some man endued with wings: and now restored a lame, now raised a dead man, now blinded a third, (I mean the sorcerer,) nor even when shut up in a prison indulged in rest, but even there brought over to himself the jailor, effecting the goodly captivity we treat of).

[4.] Let us also imitate him after our power. And why do I say, after our power? For he that wills may come even near unto him, and behold his valor, and imitate his heroism. For still he is doing this work, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God.” And although many heretics have attempted to cut him in pieces’; yet still, even though dismembered, he displayeth a mighty strength. For both Marcion and Manichaeus use him indeed, but after cutting him in pieces; but still even so they are refuted by the several members. For even a hand only of this champion being found among them puts them utterly to the rout; and a foot only, left amongst others, pursues and prostrates them, in order that thou mayest learn the superabundance of his power, and that, although shorn of his limbs even, he is able to destroy all his adversaries. ‘This however,’ saith one, ‘is an instance of perversion, that those who are battling with each other should all use him.’ An instance of perversion certainly, but not in Paul, (God forbid,) but in them who use him. For he was not parti-colored, but uniform and clear, but they perverted his words to their own notions. ‘And wherefore,’ saith one, ‘were they so spoken as to give handles to those that wished for them?’ He did not give handles, but their frenzy used his words not rightly; since this whole world also is both wonderful and great, and a sure proof of the wisdom of God, and ’ the heavens declare the glory of God, and day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night declareth knowledge;” (Ps 19,1-2) but nevertheless, many have stumbled at it and in contrary directions to one another. And some have admired it so much above its worth as to think it God; whilst others have been so insensible of its beauty as to assert it to be unworthy of God’s creating hand, and to ascribe the greater share in it to a certain evil matter. And yet God provided for both points by making it beautiful and great that it might not be deemed alien from his wisdom; yet defective and not sufficient unto itself that it might not be suspected to be God. But nevertheless those who were blinded by their own reasonings fell away into contradictory notions, refuting one another, and becoming each the other’s accuser, and vindicating the wisdom of God even by the very reasonings which led them astray. And why do I speak of the sun and the heaven? The Jews saw so many marvels happen before their eyes, yet straightway worshipped a calf. Again they saw Christ casting out demons, yet called him one that had a demon. But this was no imputation against him that cast them out, but an accusation of their understanding who were so blinded. Condemn not then Paul on account of their judgment who have used him amiss; but understand well the treasures in him, and develop his riches, so shalt thou make noble stand against all, fenced by his armor. So shalt thou be able to stop the mouths both of Greeks and Jews. ‘And how,’ saith one, ‘seeing they believe him not?’ By the things wrought through him, by the reformation effected in the world. For it was not of human power that so great things could be done, but the Might of the Crucified, breathing on him, made him such as he was, and showed him more powerful than orators and philosophers and tyrants and kings and all men. He was net only able to arm himself and to strike down his adversaries, but to make others also such as himself. Therefore in order that we may become useful both to ourselves and to others, let us continually have him in our hands, using his writings for a meadow and garden of delight. For so shall we be able both to be delivered from vice and to choose virtue, and to obtain the promised good things, whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen).

Chrysostom on 2Cor 2000