Chrysostom on Acts 1800
ACTS VII. 54.—“When they heard these things, they were cut to “the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”
See,1 once more, the wrong-doers in trouble. Just as the Jews are perplexed, saying,” What are we to do with these men?” so these also are “cut to the heart.” (ch. iv. 16). And yet it was he that had good right to be incensed, who, having done no wrong, was treated like a criminal, and was spitefully calumniated. But the calumniators had the worst of it in the end. So true is that saying, which I am ever repeating, “Ill to do, is ill to fare.” And yet he (in his charges against them) resorted to no calumny, but proved (what he said). So sure are we, when we are shamefully borne down in a matter wherein we have a clear conscience, to be none the worse for it.—“If2 they desired,” say you, “to kill him, how was it that they did not take occasion, out of what he said, that they might kill him?” They would fain have a fair-seeming plea to put upon their outrage. “Well then, was not the insulting them a fair plea?” It was not his doing, if they were insulted: it was the Prophet’s accusation of them. And besides, they did not wish it to look as if they killed him because of what he had said against them —just as they acted in the case of Christ; no, but for impiety: now3 this word of his was the expression of piety. Wherefore, as they attempted, besides killing him, to hurt his reputation also, “they were cut to the heart.” For they were afraid lest he should on the contrary become an object of even greater reverence. Therefore, just what they did in Christ’s case, the same they do here also. For as He said, “Ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of God” (Mt 26,64), and they, calling it blasphemy, “ran upon Him;” just so was it here. There, they “rent their garments;” here, they “stopped their ears. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him.” (v. 55–58). And yet, if he lied, they ought to have thought him beside himself, and to have let him go.—But he wished to bring them over, “and said, Behold,” etc., for, since he had spoken of Christ’s death, and had said nothing of His resurrection, he would fain add this doctrine also. “Standing at the right hand of God.” And in this manner He appeared to him:4 that, were it but so, the Jews might receive Him: for since the (idea of His) sitting (at the right hand of God) was offensive to them, for the present he brings forward only what relates to His Resurrection. This is the reason also why his face was glorified. For God, being merciful, desired to make their machinations the means of recalling them unto Himself. And see, how many signs are wrought! “And cast him out of the city, and stoned him.” Here again, “without the city,” and even in death, Confession and Preaching. (He 13,21). “And the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling5 upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (v. 59). This is meant to show them that he is not perishing, and to teach them. “And he knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (v. 60). To clear himself, and show that neither were his former words prompted by passion, he says, “Lord” “lay not this sin to their charge”: wishing also even in this way to win them over. For to show that he forgave their wrath and rage in murdering him, and that his own soul was free from all passion, was the way to make his saying to be favorably received.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death.” Hereupon arises a persecution, and it becomes a great one. “And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem. And they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles.” (ch. 8,1). Mc how once more God permits temptations to arise; mark, and well observe, how the events are ordered by Divine Providence. They were admired because of the signs: being scourged, they were none the worse for it: (some) were ordained in the matter of the widows6 : the word increased: once more, God permits a great hindrance to arise. And a persecution of no ordinary kind [“and they were all scattered,” etc.]; for they feared their enemies, now become more daring: and at the same time it is shown that they were but men, these that were afraid, that fled. For, that thou mayest not say after these things that7 by grace alone they effected (what they did), they were also persecuted, and themselves became more timorous, while their adversaries were more daring. “And were all scattered abroad,” it says, “except the Apostles.” But this was divinely ordered, so that they should no longer all sit there in Jerusalem. “And devout men,” it says, “carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.” (v. 2). If they were “devout,” why did they “make great lamentation over him?” They were not yet perfect. The man was gracious and amiable: this also shows that they were men—not their fear alone, but their grief and lamentation. Who would not have wept to see that mild, that lamb-like person stoned, and lying dead?8 Fit eulogy to be spoken over his grave has the Evangelist recorded, in this one speech, “Lay not this sin to their charge.”—“And made,” he says, “great lamentation over him.”—But let us look over again what has been said.
He9 mentions the cause of his (angelic) appearance (Recapitulation, vii 54; 8,2).; “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” And when he said, “I see the heavens opened, they stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord.” (v. 56, 57). And yet in what respect are these things deserving of accusation? “Upon him,” the man who has wrought such miracles, the man who has prevailed over all in speech, the man who can hold such discourse! As if they had got the very thing they wanted, they straightway give full scope to their rage. “And the witnesses,” he says, “laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. (v. 58). Observe how particularly he relates what concerns Paul, to show thee that the Power which wrought in him was of God. But after all these things, not only did he not believe, but also aimed at Him with a thousand hands: for this is why it says, “And Saul was consenting unto his death.”—And this blessed man does not simply pray, but does it with earnestness: “having kneeled down.” Mc his divine death! So long10 only the Lord permitted the soul to remain in him. “And having said this, he fell asleep.” (v. 60).—“And they were all scattered abroad throughout the region of Judea and Samaria. (ch. 8,1). And now without scruple they had intercourse with Samaria, whereas it had been said to them, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles” “and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.” (Mt 10,5). “Except the Apostles,” it says: they, in this way also, wishing to win the Jews,—but not to leave the city,—and to be the means of inspiring others with boldness.
“As for Saul, he made havoc of the Church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” (v. 3). Great was his frenzy: that he was alone, that he even entered into houses: for indeed he was ready to give his life for the Law. “Haling,” it says, “men and women:” mark both the confidence, and the violence,and the frenzy. All that fell into his hands, he put to all manner of ill-treatment: for in consequence of the recent murder, he was become more daring. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria.” (v. 4–9). Observe11 another trial, this affair of Simon. “Giving out,” it says, “that he was himself some great one. To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.” (v. 10–15). And (yet) great signs had been done: how then had they not received the Spirit? They had received the Spirit, namely, of remission of sins: but the Spirit of miracles they had not received. “For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (v. 16, 17). For, to show that this was the case, and that it was the Spirit of miracles they had not received, observe how, having seen the result, Simon came and asked for this. “And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying. Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (v. 18, 19).
“The12 persecution,” say you, “gained strength.” True, but at that very time to men possessed before (by a hostile power) it brought deliverance. For it planted the miracles like a stronghold, in the heart of the enemy’s’ country.—Not even the death of Stephen quenched their rage, nay, increased it rather: it scattered wide the teachers, so that the greater became the discipleship.—“And there was joy.” And yet there had been “great lamentation:” true; but mark again the good—“Of a long time” was the malady, but this man brought them deliverance.—And how came he to baptize Simon also? Just as Christ chose Judas.—And “beholding the signs” which he did, forasmuch as the others did not receive the (power of working) signs he durst not ask for it.—How was it then that they did not strike him dead, as they did Ananias and Sapphira? Because even in the old times, he that gathered sticks (on the sabbath-day) was put to death as a warning to others (Nb 15,32) and in no other instance did any suffer the same fate. So too on the present occasion, “Peter said to him, Thy money perish, because thou hast imagined that the gift of God is to be purchased with money.”—(v. 20). Why had not these received the Holy Ghost, when baptized? Either because Philip kept this honor for the Apostles; or, because he had not this gift (to impart); or, he was one of the Seven: which is rather to be said. Whence, I take it, this Philip was one of the Apostles.13 But observe; those went not forth: it was Providentially ordered that these should go forth and those be lacking, because of the Holy Ghost: for they had received power to work miracles, but not also to impart the Spirit to others: this was the prerogative of the Apostles. And observe (how they sent) the chief ones: not any others, but Peter [and John14 ]. “And when Simon,” it says, “saw that through laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given.” He would not have said, “And having seen,”15 unless there had been some sensible manifestation.16 “Then laid they their hands on them,” etc. Just as Paul also did, when they spake with tongues. (ch. 19,6). Observe the execrable conduct of Simon. “He offered money,” with what object? And yet he did not see Peter doing this for money. And it was not of ignorance that he acted thus; it was because he would tempt them, because he wished to get matter of accusation against them. And therefore also Peter says, “Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter, for thine heart is not right before God “because thou hast thought,” etc. (v. 21). Once more he brings to light what was in the thoughts, because Simon thought to escape detection. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive the bond of inquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” (v. 22–24). Even this17 he did only formally, as words of course, when he ought to have wept and mourned as a penitent. “If perchance it may be forgiven thee.” Not as though it would not have been pardoned, had he wept, but this is the manner of the Prophet also, to denounce absolutely, (apagoreuein) and not to say, “Howbeit, if thou do this, thy sin shall be forgiven,” but that in any wise the punishment shall take effect.
(a) “Therefore they that were scattered abroad, went everywhere, preaching the word.” But18 I would have thee admire how even in a season of calamity they neglected not the preaching. “Hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” (Recapitulation, 5,4–6). Just as in the case of Moses by contrast (with the magicians) the miracles were evident miracles, so here also. There was magic, and so these signs were manifest. (b) “For unclean spirits came out of many that were possessed with them “(v. 7); for this was a manifest miracle:—not as the magicians did: for the other (Simon), it is likely, bound (men with spells);—“and many,” it says, “that were palsied and lame were healed.” There was no deceit here: for it needed but that they should walk and work. “And to him they all gave heed, saying, This (man) is the Power of God.” (v. 10). And that was fulfilled which was spoken by Christ, “There shall come false Christs and false Prophets in My name.”—(Mt 24,24). “And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.” (v. 11). (a) And yet there ought to have been not one demoniac there, seeing that of a long time he had been bewitching them with sorceries: but if there were many demoniacs, many palsied, these pretences were not truth. But Philip here by his word also won them over, discoursing concerning the kingdom of Christ. (v. 12). “And Simon,” it says, “being baptized, continued with Philip (v. 13): not for faith’s sake, but in order that he might become such (as he). (b) But why did they not correct him instantly? They were content with his condemning himself. For this too belonged to their work of teaching (th" didaskalia") But19 when he had not power to resist, he plays the hypocrite, just as did the magicians, who said, “This is the finger of God.” And indeed that he might not be driven away again, therefore he “continued with Philip,” and did not part from him. “And when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem,” etc. (v. 13, 14). See how many things are brought about by God’s Providence through the death of Stephen! (a) “But they,” it says, “having come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet He was fallen upon none of them. Then laid they their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (v. 15–17). Seest thou that it was not to be done in any ordinary manner, but it needed great power to give the Holy Ghost? For it is not all one, to obtain remission of sins, and to receive such a power. (b) By degrees it is, that those receive the gift. It was a twofold sign: both the giving to those, and the not giving to this man.20 Whereas then this man ought, on the contrary, to have asked to receive the Holy Ghost, he, because he cared not for this, asks power to give It to others. And yet those received not this power to give: but this man wished to be more illustrious than Philip, he being among the disciples! (a) “He offered them money.” (v. 18, 19). What? had he seen the others doing this? had he seen Philip? Did he imagine they did not know with what mind he came to them? (b) “Thy money with thee to perdition” (v. 20): since thou hast not used it as it ought to be used. These are not words of imprecation, but of chastisement. “To thee,” he says, be it (to thee): being such. As if one should say, Let it perish along with thy purpose. Hast thou so mean conceptions of the gift of God, that thou hast imagined it to be altogether a thing of man? It is not this. (a)Wherefore also Peter well calls the affair a gift: “Thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” Dost thou observe how on all occasions they are clean from money? “For thine heart is not right in the sight of God.” (v. 21). Dost thou see how he does all of malice? To be simple, however, was the thing needed. (b) For had it been done with simplicity,21 he would have even welcomed his willing mind. Seest thou that to have mean conceptions of great things is to sin doubly? Accordingly, two things he bids him: “Repent and pray, if haply the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (v. 22). Seest thou it was a wicked thought he had entertained? Therefore he says, “If haply it may be forgiven thee:” because he knew him to be incorrigible. (a) “For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” (v. 23). Words of exceeding wrath! But otherwise he did not punish him: that faith may not thereafter be of compulsion; that the matter may not seem to be carried ruthlessly; that he may introduce the subject of repentance: or also, because it suffices for correction to have convicted him, to have told him what was in his heart, to have brought him to confess himself overcome (oti ealw). For that he says, “Pray ye for me,” is a confession thathe has done wrong. Observe him,22 what a miscreant he is; when he was convicted, then he believed: when again he was convicted, then he became humble.23 “Seeing24 his miracles,” [“he was amazed,” and came over.] He thought to be able to escape detection: he thought the thing was an art: but when he had not power to defeat (elein) the Apostles, * * * (b) Again, he fears the multitude, and is afraid to deny it; and yet he might have said, “I did not know: I did it in simplicity: but he was struck with dismay first by the former circumstance, that he was overcome (oti ealw), by the miracles and secondly by this, that his thoughts are made manifest. Therefore he now takes himself a long wayoff, to Rome, thinking the Apostle would not soon come there.
“And they, when they had testified, and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem. (v. 25). “Testified,” probably because of him (Simon), that they may not be deceived; that thenceforth they may be safe. “Having preached,” it says, “the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem.” Why do they go thither again where was the tyranny of the bad, where were those most bent upon killing them? Just as generals do in wars, they occupy that part of the scene of war which is most distressed. “And preached the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” Observe them again, how they do not (prohgoumenw") of set purpose come to Samaria, but driven by stress of persecution, just as it was in the case of Christ; and how when the Apostles go thither, it is to men now believers, no longer Samaritans. “But when the Apostles,” it says, “which were at Jerusalem heard this, they sent unto them Peter and John. Sent” them, again, to rid them of magic. And25 besides, (the Lord) had given them a pattern at the time when the Samaritans believed. “And in many villages,” it says, “of the Samaritans, they preached the Gospel.” (Jn 4,39). Observe how actively employed even their journeys were, how they do nothing without a purpose.26
Such travels should we also make. And why do I speak of travels? Many possess villages and lands, and give themselves no concern, nor make any account of this. That baths may be provided, their revenues increased, courts and buildings erected, for this they take plenty of pains: but for the husbandry of souls, not so. When you see thorns—answer me—you cut them up, you burn, you utterly destroy them, to rid your land of the hurt thence arising. And seest thou the laborers themselves overrun with thorns, and dost not cut them up, and art thou not afraid of the Owner Who shall call thee to account? For ought not each individual believer to build a Church, to get a Teacher, to cooperate (sunai resqai) (with him), to make this above all his object, that all may be Christians? Say, how is it likely thy laborer should be a Christian, when he sees thee so regardless of his salvation? Thou canst not work miracles, and so convert (peisai) him. By the means which are in thy power, convert him; by kindness, by good offices, by gentleness, by courting (kolakeia) him, by all other means. Market-places, indeed, and baths, the most do provide; but no Churches: nay, sooner everything than this! Wherefore I beseech and implore, as a favor I entreat, yea as a law I lay it down, that there be no estate to be seen destitute of a Church.27 Tell not me, There is one hard by; there is one in the neighboring properties; the expense is great, the income not great. If thou have anything to expend upon the poor, expend it there: better there than here. Maintain a Teacher, maintain a Deacon, and a sacerdotal body complete. As by a bride, whether a wife whom thou takest, or a daughter whom thou givest in marriage,28 so act by the Church: give her a dowry. So shall thy estate be filled with blessing. For what shall not be there of all that is good? Is it a small thing, tell me, that thy wine-press should be blessed;29 a small thing, tell me, that of thy fruits God is the first to taste, and that the first fruits are there (with Him)? And then even for the peace of the laboring people this is profitable. Then as one whom they must respect, there will be the presbyter among them and this will contribute to the security of the estate. There will be constant prayers there through thee30 (infra, note 1P 119) hymns and Communions through thee; the Oblation on each Lord’s Day. For only consider what a praise it will be, that, whereas others have built splendid tombs, to have it said hereafter: “Such a one butt this,” thou hast reared Churches! Bethink thee that even until the coming of Christ thou shalt have thy reward, who hast reared up the altars of God.
Suppose an Emperor had ordered thee to build an house that he might lodge there, wouldest thou not have done everything to please him? And here now it is palace of Christ, the Church, the Church which thou buildest. Look not at the cost, but calculate the profit. Thy people yonder cultivate thy field: cultivate thou their souls: they bring to thee thy fruits, raise thou them to heaven. He that makes the beginning is the cause of all the rest: and thou wilt be the cause that the people are brought under Christian teaching (kathcoumenwn) both there, and in the neighboring estates. Your baths do but make the peasants less hardy, your taverns give them a taste for luxury, and yet you provide these for credit’s sake. Your markets and fairs, (panhgurei") on the other hand, promote31 covetousness. But think now what a thing it would be to see a presbyter, the moving picture of Abraham, gray-headed, girded up, digging and working with his own hands? What more pleasant than such a field! Their virtue thrives. No intemperance there, nay, it is driven away: no drunkenness and wantonness, nay, it is cast out: no vanity, nay, it is extinguished. All benevolent tempers shine out the brighter through the simplicity of manners. How pleasant to go forth and enter into the House of God, and to know that one built it himself: to fling himself on his back in his litter, and32 after the bodily benefit of his pleasant airing, be present both at the evening and the morning hymns, have the priest as a guest at his table, in associating with him enjoy his benediction, see others also coming thither! This is a wall for his field, this in security. This is the field of which it is said,” The smell of a full field which the Lord hath blessed.” (Gn 27,27). If, even without this, the country is pleasant, because it is so quiet, so free from distraction of business, what will it not be when this is added to it? The country with a Church is like the Paradise of God. No clamor there, no turmoil, no enemies at variance, no heresies: there you shall see all friends, holding the same doctrines in common. The very quiet shall lead thee to higher views, and receiving thee thus prepared by philosophy, the presbyter shall give thee an excellent cure. For here, whatever we may speak, the noise of the market drives it all out: but there, what thou shalt hear, thou wilt keep fixed in thy mind. Thou wilt be quite another man in the country through him: and moreover to the people there he will be director, he will watch over them both by his presence and by his influence in forming their manners. And what, I ask, would be the cost? Make for a beginning a small house (en taxei naou) to serve as temple. Thy successor will build a porch, his successor will make other additions, and the whole shall be put to thy account. Thou givest little, and receivest the reward for the whole. At any rate, make a beginning: lay a foundation. Exhort one another, vie one with another in this matter. But now, where there is straw and grain and such like to be stored, you make no difficulty of building: but for a place where the fruits of souls may be gathered in, we below not a thought; and the people are forced to go miles and miles, and to make long journeys, that they may get to Church! Think, how good it is, when with all quietness the priest presents himself in the Church, that he may draw near unto God, and say prayers for the village, day by day, and for its owner! Say, is it a small matter, that even in the Holy Oblations evermore thy name is included in the prayers, and that for the village day by day prayers are made unto God?—How greatly this profits thee for all else! It chances33 that certain (great) persons dwell in the neighborhood, and have overseers: now to thee, being poor, one of them will not deign even to pay a visit: but the presbyter, it is likely, he will invite, and make him sit at his table. How much good results from this! The village will in the first place be free from all evil suspicion. None will charge it with murder, with theft: none will suspect anything of the kind.—They have also another comfort, if sickness befall, if death.—Then again the friendships formed there by people as they go side by side (to and from the Church) are not struck up at random and promiscuously: and the meetings there are far more pleasant than those which take place in marts and fairs. The people themselves also will be more respectable, because of their presbyter. How is it you hear that Jerusalem was had in honor in the old times above all other cities? Why was this? Because of the then prevailing religion. Therefore it is that where God is honored, there is nothing evil: as, on the contrary, where He is not honored, there is nothing good. It will be great security both with God and with men. Only, I beseech you, that ye be not remiss: only may you put your hand to this work. For if he who brings out “the precious from the vile,” shall be “as the mouth of God” (Jr 15,19); he who benefits and recovers so many souls, both that now are and that shall be even until the coming of Christ, what favor shall not that person reap from God! Raise thou a garrison against the devil: for that is what the Church is. Thence as from headquarters let the hands go forth to work: first let the people hold them up for prayers, and then go their way to work. So shall there be vigor of body; so shall the tillage be abundant; so shall all evil be kept aloof. It is not possible to represent in words the pleasure thence arising, until it be realized. Look not to this, that it brings in no revenue: if34 thou do it at all in this spirit, then do it not at all; if thou account not the revenue thou gettest thence greater than from the whole estate beside; if thou be not thus affected, then let it alone; if thou do not account this work to stand thee more in stead than any work beside. What can be greater than this revenue, the gathering in of souls into the threshing-floor which is in heaven! Alas, that ye know not how much it is, to gain souls! Hear what Christ says to Peter, “Feed My sheep.” (). If, seeing the emperors sheep, or herd of horses, by reason of having no fold or stable, exposed to depredation, thou wert to take them in hand, and build a fold or stables, or also provide a shepherd or herdsman to take charge of them, what would not the emperor do for thee in return? Now, thou gatherest the flock of Christ, and puttest a shepherd over them, and thinkest thou it is no great gain thou art earning? But, if for offending even one, a man shall incur so great a punishment, how can he that saves so many, ever be punished? What sin will he have thenceforth? for, though he have it, does not this blot it out? From the punishment threatened to him that offends, learn the reward of him that saves. Were not the salvation of even one soul a matter of great importance, to offend would not move God to so great angel Knowing these things, let us apply ourselves forthwith to this spiritual work. And let each invite me, and we will together help to the best of our ability. If there be three joint-owners, let them do it by each beating his part: if but one, he will induce the others also that are near. Only be earnest to effect this, I beseech you, that in every way being well-pleasing unto God, we may attain unto the eternal blessings, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, and honor, now and ever world without end. Amen.
1 In our mss. the Homily opens abruptly with the question, Pw" ouk elabon ek twn eirhmenwn aformhn ei" to [mh Cat.] anelein auton; which is left unanswered, till some way further on. See note 2.—Montf. notes, “Unus, eisto mh anelein.” But this reading does not appear in any of our mss. though the Catena has it. Edd. from E, have; “How it was that they did not take occasion from what he had said to kill him, but are still mad, and seek an accusation, one may well wonder. So ever in trouble are the wrong-doers. Just then as the chief priests, in their perplexity, said,” etc. F. D. adopting part of this addition, “but are still mad, and seek an accusation. See once more,” etc.
2 ouden padcomen. Kai eboulonto, fhsin (om. D. F)). anelein auton. (as if these words were part of the sacred text. Then) Profasin (AEAlla prof. D. F)). hqelon eulogon k. t. l. A). b.c. D. F. The modern text substitutes, AEEboulonto men oun anelein: allAE ou poiousi touto, aitian qelonte" eulogon k. t. l.—Oecumenius, however, begins his comment thus: Ei eboulonto anelein, pw" ouk aneilon evqew" tote; (Oti profasin eulogon k. t. l. Hence we restore the true reading, and the proper order. Namely, for Kai we read Ei, and transpose to this place, as part of the interlocution, the question pw" ouk elabon—; So, the fhsin is explained, the question is followed by its answer, and there is no abruptness.
3 touto de eusebeia" hn to rhma. 1,e. all that Stephen had spoken in accusation of their wickedness, especially 5,51–53, was the language of piety, of a devout man zealous for the honor of God: they could not say, “This is impious;” and they were waiting to catch at something which might enable them to cry out, “He blasphemeth:” and, disappointed of this, they were cut to the heart.—Below Ben. retains (from E. alone) mh palin kainon ti peri auton allo genhtai, though Savile had restored the genuine reading mh palin aidesimwtero" genhtai. They had desired to injure his reputation for sanctity, and now feared that his speech would have the opposite result.
4 Edd. from E). outw de autw legei fanhnai, w" pou diexeisin, ina kan outw dexwntai ton logon. “And Stephen describes Christ as appearing to Him in this manner, as one somewhere relates at large. in order that,” etc.: meaning, that he might have said “sitting at the right hand,” but forbears to do this, because it was offensive to the Jews, and accordingly tew" peri th" anastaew" kinei logon, kai fhsin auton istasqai. The clause w" pou diexeisin seems to have been intended by the innovator, not as part of the text, but as a gloss, “as is somewhere shown at large.” But what Chrys. says is, that Christ was pleased to appear in this attitude to Stephen for the sake of the Jews, in order, etc.—Hom. 6,in Ascens. (Cat. in 1,) he says, “Why standing, and not sitting? To show that He is in act to succor His martyr. For thus it is said also of the Father, ‘Stand up, O God, and, Now will I stand up, saith the Lord, I will set him in safety.’”—Below, Dia touto k. t. l. Comp. de Mundi Crest. Hom. 2,t). 6,447. C. “Why did He cause the face of Stephen to shine? Because he was to be stoned as a blasphemer for saying ‘Behold,’ etc., therefore God, forestalling this, crowned his face with angelic beauty, to show those thankless ones, that if he were a blasphemer, he would not have been thus glorified.” But E. (Edd)). apo toutou stocazomai dedox. “I conjecture that it was from this vision (Erasm.,from this time: Ben. hence) that his face was glorified.” In the next sentence, Edd. from E). di wn epebouleuonto ekeinoi, di autwn ebouleto autou" ekkalesasqai, ei kai mhden pleon egeneto. Kai ekbalonte" k. t. l. “by means of the very machinations wherewith those were assailed He desired to call (the doers) themselves to Himself, even if nothing more had been done.”
5 A. E. N. Cat. omit the ton Qeon.
6 katesthsan epi twn chrwn, A. C. N. Sav). ceirwn, Cat). cwrwn, B. D. E. F. Morel. Ben). versati sunt in regionibus, Erasm). constituti sunt tier regiones, Ben.
7 oti th capiti monon katwrtoun. Or, “that by grace they only succeeded,” i.e. always, without failure.
8 Chrys, seems to assume that andre" eulabei" refers to Christian men, a view that has been taken by some modern expositors (as Ewald and DeWette). It is better to understand by the term. pious Jews who were favorably disposed to Christianity (So Meyer, Olshausen, Lechler, Lange, Gloag, Hackett). The usage of eulabh" in the N. T. favors this view as it is applied to devout persons who were not Christians (vid. 2,5; Lc 2,25) in every case, except in xxii. 12 when it refers to Ananias, a Christian, but is used in describing him in a legal point of view: eulabh" kata ton nomon. Moreover, if Christians had been meant, they would not probably have been designated by so vague a term, but, as uniformly, would have been called disciples or brethren. The burial of Stephen by devout Jews recalls the burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus (Jn 19,38-39).—G. B. S.
9 Thn aitian th" oyew" fhsin). b.c. Sav. marg. meaning, That his face was as the face of an angel was caused by the glory of Christ which he now beholds. The modern text omits this, having said the same thing above in the words apo touton, see note 4, p. 112).
10 Ben. after Morel. from E. without notice of the true reading (A). b.c. N. Cat)., received by Savile, has: (Oqen qeio" auton kai o qanato" gegone. Mecri gar toutou sugkecwrhto tai" yucai" en tw adh einai. (The latter part is adopted also by D. F). “Whence also his death became divine. For until this time it had been granted to the souls to be in Hades.” This comment is derived from St. Cyril. Al. from whom the Catena cites: “Since we are justified by faith in Him …He hath wrought a new thing for us, to mhketi men ei" adou trecein ta" twn swmatwn apallattomena" yuca" kaqa kai prwhn, pempesqai de mallon ei" ceira" Qeou zwnto": that our souls, on their deliverance from our bodies, no longer as aforetime haste into Hades, but are conveyed into the hands of the Living God. And knowing this, Saint Stephen said, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” Oecumen, repeats this, almost in the same words.
11 In the old text, 5,4–10, are given continuously, and 5,11–19; between them the brief comments which we have restored to their proper places, viz. here and after 5,15: and after 5,19, the comment which we have placed after 5,17. In the modern text, the first comment (omitting legwn einai k. t. l). is placed after 5,10; in the second, the words, kai shmeia megala egeneto, are omitted; the rest is given after 5,19.
12 The modern text E. F. D. Edd. “But although the persecution then most gained strength, nevertheless God again delivered them, epiteicisa" autoi" ta shmeia. Stephen’s death, however, did not quench their rage, nay, increased it rather, wherefore also the teachers, etc. But observe again how good things take their turn with them, and how they are in joy. ‘For there was great joy,’ it says, ‘in that city.’ And yet there had also been ‘great lamentation.’ Thus is God ever wont to do, and to temper things grievous with things joyful, that He may be more held in admiration. But of a long time had this disease been upon Simon; wherefore not even thus is he rid of it.” But in the genuine text, (A). b.c. N. Cat. ad. 5,15–17, and 3, 4). the subject to exeileto and epeteicise is not Qeo", but diwguo": and the persons delivered are not the disciples, but the Samaritans, described as prokatecomenoi, viz. under the influence of Simon’s sorceries. In the last sentence, the meaning is entirely mistaken: for the noshma is the infatuation of the Samaritans, not the wickedness of Simon.—AEEpeteicise gar autoi" ta shmeia can hardly be rendered without an awkward periphrasis: epiteic. ti tini, a phrase frequently used by St. Chrys., means to raise up something against a person as an epiteicisma, (as Decelea in Attica against the Athenians in the Peloponnesian war:) see Mr. Field’s Index to Hom. in Matt.
13 (So A). b.c. N. Cat. Of the Edd., Savile alone retains this clause, the rest follow the mod. text, which rejects it. And indeed it can hardly be doubted, that St. Chrys. himself would have expunged, or altered this statement, had he revised these Homilies: for in the next Hom. he shows that the Philip of vv. 26 ff. was certainly not the Apostle, but probably one of the seven deacons. The fact seems to be, that having had no occasion until now to discuss this question, he had assumed (as others had done before him) that the Philip of the Eunuch’s history was the Apostle of that name: thus in Hom. ad Gen. 35,§2 (delivered but a few years before), he takes this for granted. Here, however, he perceives that the Philip who preached at Samaria could not be the Apostle: but at present he is still under the impression, that the person by whom the Eunuch was converted was St. Philip the Apostle, and accordingly speaks as in the text, “This Philip, I take it, was one of the Seven; he of the story of the Eunuch was one of the Apostles.” Of course it was impossible on a review of the circumstances to rest in this conclusion; and in the very beginning of the next Homily he tacitly revokes the notion here advanced, and points out how the command, “Arise, and go to the south,” must have been addressed to Philip in Samaria (the deacon), and not Philip the Apostle in Jerusalem. (See the note there). The early writers frequently confound the Philip of this chapter (the deacon and evangelist, Ac 21,9, with the Apostle: Polycrates ap. Eus. H. E. 3,30, and 5,24, (see Vales and Heinichen on the former passage)). Const. Apol. 6,7. S. Clementine Strom. 3,p. 192. Comp. St. Augustin Serm. 266. §5.—S. Isadore of Pelusium, Ep). 448, in reply to a correspondent who was not satisfied with his statement (Ep 447), that “Philip who baptized the Eunuch and catechized Simon was not the Apostle, but one of the Seven,” and requested proof from Scripture (AEEpeidh kai marturian zhtei" gpafikhn …AEEpeidh pollown apodeixewn era",) bids him observe, ch. 8,1. that the Apostles remained at Jerusalem: that Philip the Apostle would have been competent to impart the gift of the Spirit: and further suggests, that Philip the deacon, fleeing from the persecution, was on his way through Samaria to Caesarea his native place, (where we afterwards find him 21,9), when these events befell, viz. the preaching, etc., at Samaria, and the conversion of the Eunuch.—In the next sentence, ekeinoi (i.e. the Apostles) ouk exhesan: wkonomhqh toutou" (i.e. Philip the deacon and others) exelqein: kai ekeinou" (the Apostles) usterhsai: “should come after,” or rather, “should be lacking, be behindhand, not be forthcoming (at the time):” but Cat). kai ekeinou" eterw", “and those (the Apostles) otherwise.”—The modern text, after “next to Stephen,” proceeds thus: “Wherefore also, when baptizing, he did not impart the Spirit to the baptized, for neither had he authority to do so, since the gift belonged only to the Twelve. But observe; those went not forth; it was Providentially ordered that these should go forth, oi kai usteroun th" carito" dia to mhpw labein Pn. (A., who were deficient in the grace because they had not et received the Holy Ghost. For they received power, etc. Consequently, this was the prerogative of the Apostles.”
14 Kai ora tou" korufaiou" ouk allou" tina" alla Petron). b.c. D. F. N. Cat. but A. adds, seemingly from a marginal gloss, kai AEIwannhn mhn, “and John, however,” E. (Edd)). oten kai tou" kor. ouk allou" tina" estin idein touto poiounta". “Whence also the leaders, not any others, are to be seen doing this.”
15 Ouk an de eipen, A. B. D. F). ouk an didotai tote eipen, C). ouk an eiden, Cat. Sav. marg). iden N. Read, ouk an “idwn de” eipen.—E). ouk an outw" eipen.
16 Chrys. a propriately remarks that the word idwn (18) implies that there were visible manifestations connected with the gifts of the Spirit here spoken of. This would seem to show that when it said (16) that the Holy Spirit had not fallen upon any of the Samaritans. that the ordinary influences of the Spirit which accompany conversion, were not referred to, but some special and miraculous endowments such as the gift of tongues. and of prophecy and perhaps of miracles were meant.—G. B. S.
17 Kai touto afosiwsei (monon add. D. F)). epoiei, deon klausai kai penqhsai. Cat). afosiwmenw", 50,afosioumenw" “as a mere formal ceremony ominis causa.”
18 What follows, to the end of the Exposition, has by some accident fallen into strange confusion. In the Translation we have endeavored to restore the proper order. In the first place it should be observed, that the portion beginning Oi men diamarturamenoi, p. 148. D. Ben and ending at ote prwton episteusan, p). 149. A. consisting of about 20 lines, is interchanged with the portion of about 25 lines, beginning Deon oun touton, and ending ekei tou apostolou, p 149, C. These being restored to their proper order, which is evident from the contents of the two portions, we have, to the end of the Recapitulation, two portions, dividing at ouk iscusen elein tou" apostolou" (existato,) p. 148, B. the former beginning with the exposition of 5,4, the second with 5,7, and both ending at 5,24. These, it may be supposed, are two several and successive expositions. But it will be seen on comparing them, that each in itself is often abrupt and incomplete, and that their parts fit into each other in a way which can hardly be accidental. It may also be remarked, that the length of each is the same; each containing about 46 lines. We have marked the order of the mss. and Edd. by the letters a, b, prefixed to the several parts.
19 This sentence alone seems still to be out of its place). AEEpeidh de antisthnai ouk iscusen k. t. l. might be very fitly inserted in the passage below, ending ouk isc. elein t. ap. which is otherwise mutilated: see the note there.
20 Between this and the following sentence the mss. and Edd. give the exposition of 5,25.
21 Ei gar meta afeleia" egineto, kai kan F). apedexato (apedexanto C. F)). autou thn proqumian). b.c. F. The preceding sentence from (a) is kai mhn afelh edei einai. The connection being lost, this passage was not understood, and A. omits it, B. F. N. read asfaleia", and E. D. substitute, “If however he had come (proshlqen) as he ought to have come, he would have been received, he would not like a pest have been driven away.”
22 (Ora auton miaron onta. The modern text (Edd). alters the sense: ora pw", kaitoi miaro" wn, omw". “See how, miscreant though he is, nevertheless, etc.”
23 Simon believed (13) only in an intellectual sense, being impressed with wonder, rather than convinced of sin. So, now, it is fear of calamity and penalty, not repentance, which leads him to ask the apostles to pray for him.—G. B. S.
24 Qewrwn autou ta shmeia, enomize dunasqai lanqanein: enomize tecnhn einai to pragma: epeidh de ouk iscusen idein (Sav. marg). elein) tou" apostolou", existato kai proshlqen. A). b.c. This, which is the conclusion of (a), is both corrupt and defective. He is enlarging upon the miaria of Simon’s conduct, as shown in the preceding ote hlegcqn …ote palin hlegcqn: comp. the following sentence. It looks as if the sentence epeidh de antisthnai ouk iscusen k. t. l. must belong to this place. The reading elein t. ap. is probably the true one: oti ealw is twice said of Simon. Perhaps the passage may be restored somewhat thus: “Seeing his miracles, he was amazed, and came over.” He thought to escape detection, he thought the thing was an art: but when he had not power to resist, he plays the hypocrite, as the magicians did, who said, “This is the finger of God. Having seen the Apostles,” (hence the reading idein t. ap). how by laying on of hands etc.; again he thought it was an art, he thought to purchase it with money: but when he was not able to defeat the Apostles (as it was said above, “he wished to get matter of accusation against them,”) again he plays the hypocrite, and says, “Pray ye for me. etc.”—Edd. from E. “Seeing signs wrought he was amazed, showing that all was a lie (on his part). It is not said, Proshlqen, but, AEExistato. And why did he not do the former at once? He thought to be able, etc). epeidh de ouk iscuse laqein t. ap., proshlqen.”
25 allw" de, kai tupon autoi" ededwkei tote, ote oi Samapeitai episteusan. A. B. D. F. Sav. marg. But C. “to rid them of magic, to put them in mind of the doctrine which they learned from Christ when first they believed:” which reading is adopted by E. and Edd.
26 The preaching of Philip in Samaria was the first Gentile mission, for the Samaritans were a mixed people and were regarded as heathen by the Jews. An interesting concatenation of events took its rise in the bold preaching of Stephen. On the one side there proceeded from this the increased opposition of the Jewish nation and the sad calamity of the preacher’s own death, but on the other there flowed from this opposition and the persecution which was consequent upon it great benefit. The Christians were indeed scattered abroad by ill-treatment, but with them went the gospel message, and the great work of heathen missions dated directly back to the martyrdom of Stephen. Christian history furnishes no more impressive illustration of the saying of Tertullian: “The blood of martyrs is seed.”—G. B. S).
27 In St. Chrysostom’s time, little had been done for the conversion and instruction of the peasantry: hence in the latter half of the fourth century paganus came to be as synonymous with “heathen.” Even Christian proprietors neglected their duty in this regard, while they improved their properties, and swelled their revenues by great oppression of their tenants and laborers : see Hom. in Matt. xliii., lxi. and at the same time connived at the practice of the old idolatries , for the sake of the dues accruing to them from the temples which still remained. Thus Zeno of Verona, Serm. 15,p. 120, complains: In proediis vestris fumantia undique sola fana non nostis, quoe, si vera dicenda sunt, dissimulanda subtiliter custoditis. Jus templorum ne quis vobis eripiat, quotidie litigatis. The Christianity which was outwardly professed in the country parts was often for want of Churches and Clergy little more than nominal: and the heathen orator Libanius, in his Oratio pro Templis, addressed to the Emperor Theodosius: perhaps did not greatly exaggerate in the following description: “When you are told , that through this proceeding on your part (viz. the destruction of the Temples and suppression of the sacrifices) many are become Christians, you must not forget to distinguish between show and reality . They are not a whit changed from what they were before: they only say they are so. They resort indeed to public acts of religion, and mingle themselves with the general body of Christians . But when they have a show of praying, they invoke either none or the Gods.”—Moreover, the country clergy were often themselves ill-taught and needing instruction. Thus Hom. in Col. (t. 11,p. 392) delivered at Constantinople, Chrys. says: “How much instruction is needed by your brethren in the country, and by their teachers (kai tou" ekeinwn didaskalou")!” Which perhaps was the result of a law passed a.d. 398, Cod. Theodos. xvi. tit. 2 50,33 which enacted, that the clergy for the Churches founded on states, or in villages, should be from no other state or village, but that to which the Church pertained: and of these a certain number, at the discretion of the bishop, according to the extent of the village, etc.—On the other hand, Chrys. “on the Statues,” Or, 19,t. 2,p. 189 dwells with much delight on the virtues and patriarchal simplicity of the rural clergy in Syria, and the Christian attainments of their people.
28 JWsanei gunaika agagwn h numfhn, h qugatera, th AEEkkl. outw diakeiso. Before qug., A. B. F. N. insert kai, E. alone dou", and so Edd. Perhaps we may read wsanei numfh, h gun. ag., h dou" qug.
29 “The first-fruits of corn and of grapes, or wine were presented as oblations at the Altar, and the elements for the Holy Eucharist thence taken. See Can. Apost. 2,Cod. Afr. c. 37). Concil. Trull. c). 28. In a Sermon of St. Chrys. on the Ascension, this peculiar usage is mentioned, that a handful of ears of corn in the beginning of harvest was brought to the Church, words of benediction spoken over them, and so the whole field was considered as blessed. (Oper ginetai epi twn pediwn twn stacuhforwn, oligou" ti" stacua" labwn, kai mikrov dragma poihsa" kai prosevegkwn tw Qew, dia tou mikrou pasan thn arouran eulogei: outw kai o Cristo" k. t. l. (t). 2,450. C).” Neander.
30 dia se. Erasrm). propter te, Ben). pro te, but this would be uper sou, as below where this benefit is mentioned, uper tou kekthmenou.
31 aitai pleonexia". Edd. from E). itamou": ta de entauqa pan tounantion. “make them forward and impudent. But here all is just the reverse.” Below, w" eikona badizonta tou AEAbr. in the sense above expressed, as if it had been badizousanź. E. has ei" for w", “walking after the likeness:” and Sav. marg, ei" oikon bad. meta ton AEAbr. “walking into his house after (the manner of) Abraham.”
32 kai riyai eauton uption kai meta thn aiwran thn swmatikhn kai lucnikoi" kai ewqinoi" umnoi" paragenesqai. This passage has perplexed scribes and editors). Aiwra “a swing, swinging bed, hammock,” or, as here, “litter,” or rather, “a swinging in such a conveyance: after the swinging motion in his litter, pleasant and healthful for the body.” The meaning is: “without fatigue, lying at his ease on his back, he is borne to Church in his litter, and after this wholesome enjoyment for the body, gets good for his soul, in attending at evening and morning prayer. Ben). seipsumque projicere supinum, et past illam corpoream quietem: as if it related to taking rest in his bed, which is inconsistent with the scope of the description. Erasmus, et quiescere “in villa” securum, et habere “deambulationem” servientem corpori, “to sleep securely ‘in his villa.’ and to ‘take a walk’ which is good for the body.” Neander simply, und sich niederzuwerfen, “to prostrate himself,” (viz. on entering the Church)—overlooking both urtion and aiwran swm. Of the mss. A., for kai riyai k. t. l. substitutes, kai meta trofhn swm. “and after taking food for the body.” C. ex corr. gives ewan for aiwran, F). wran, Sav. marg. “wran al). ewan:” both unmeaning: N). wran with two letters erased before it; and B). kai meta thn enathn wran th" swmatikh" metalabein trofh" kai en lucn., “and after the ninth hour to partake of the food for the body, and to attend at evening and morning hymns:” quoe lectio non spernenda videtur,’ Ben. On the contrary, it is both needless and unsuitable, for the repast is mentioned afterwards. The “hymns” are the yalmo" epilucnio" s). lucniko", ad incensum lucernoe, which was Psalm 141,yalmo" ewqino", Psalm 63,St. Chrysost. in Psalm 140,and Constit. Apost. 2,59, viii. 37.
33 Sumbainei tiua" ek yeitonwn oikein kai epitropou" ecein. Sav. marg). legein. The meaning is not clearly expressed, but it seems to be this; “It chances that some important personage has an estate in your neighborhood, and occasionally resides there. His overseer informs him of your Church: he sends for your presbyter, invites him to his table, gains from him such information about your village, as he would never have acquired otherwise; for he thinks it beneath him even to call upon you. In this way, however, he learns that yours is a well-ordered village: and should any crime be committed in that part of the country by unknown persons no suspicion even wall light upon your people; no troublesome inquisition will be held, no fine or penalty levied on your estate.” The 5,1). legein cannot be the true reading, but something of this sort must be supplied: oi kai legousin autw. It seems also that something is wanting between tina" and ek geit. e. g). tina" ek twn dunatwterwn ek geit. oikein).
34 olw" ei ouwtw polei" mh poihsh". Ben). (Si omnino id facias, ne facias tamen. Neander, Wenn du so handelst, wirst du nichts thun, as if it were ou poihsei".
Chrysostom on Acts 1800