Fathers of the Church
Homilies on First Corinthians, 20-27
by John Chrysostom in Unknown (between 398-404) | translated by Translated By the Rev. Hubert Kestell Cornish, M.A., Late Fellow of Exeter College, and the Rev. John Medley, M.A., of Wadham College, Vicar of St. thomas, in the City of Exeter; Revised By the Rev. Talbot W. Chambers, d.d., Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church, New York
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.
It is necessary first to say what the meaning of this passage is: for so shall we readily comprehend the Apostle's discourse. For he that sees a charge brought against any one, except he first perceive the nature of the offence will not understand what is said. What then is it of which he was then accusing the Corinthians? A heavy charge and the cause of many evils. Well, what is it? Many among them, having learnt that (St. Matt. xv. 11.) "not the things which enter in defile the man, but the things which proceed out," and that idols of wood and stone, and demons, have no power to hurt or help, had made an immoderate use of their perfect knowledge of this to the harm both of others and of themselves. They had both gone in where idols were and had partaken of the tables there, and were producing thereby great and ruinous evil. For, on the one hand, those who still retained the fear of idols and knew not how to contemn them, took part in those meals, because they saw the more perfect sort doing this; and hence they got the greatest injury: since they did not touch what was set before them with the same mind as the others, but as things offered in sacrifice to idols; and the thing was becoming a way to idolatry. On the other hand, these very persons who pretended to be more perfect were injured in no common way, partaking in the tables of demons.
This then was the subject of complaint. Now this blessed man being about to correct it, did not immediately begin to speak vehemently; for that which was done came more of folly than of wickedness: wherefore in the first instance there was need rather of exhortation than of severe rebuke and wrath. Now herein observe his good sense, how he immediately begins to admonish.
"Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge." Leaving alone the weak, which he always doth, he discourses with the strong first. And this is what he did also in the Epistle to the Romans, saying, (Rom. xiv. 10.) "But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother?" for this is the sort of person that is able to receive rebuke also with readiness. Exactly the same then he doth here also.
And first he makes void their conceit by declaring that this very thing which they considered as peculiar to themselves, the having perfect knowledge, was common to all. Thus, "we know," saith he, "that we all have knowledge." For if allowing them to have high thoughts, he had first pointed out how hurtful the thing was to others, he would not have done them so much good as harm. For the ambitious soul when it plumes itself upon any thing, even though the same do harm to others, yet strongly adheres to it because of the tyranny of vain-glory. Wherefore Paul first examines the matter itself by itself: just as he had done before in the case of the wisdom from without, demolishing it with a high hand. But in that case he did it as we might have expected: for the whole thing was altogether blameworthy and his task was very easy. Wherefore he signifies it to be not only useless, but even contrary to the Gospel. But in the present case it was not possible to do this. For what was done was of knowledge, and perfect knowledge. Nor was it safe to overthrow it, and yet in no other way was it possible to cast out the conceit which had resulted from it. What then doeth he? First, by signifying that it was common, he curbs that swelling pride of theirs. For they who possess something great and excellent are more elated, when they alone have it; but if it be made out that they possess it in common with others, they no longer have so much of this feeling. First then he makes it common property, because they considered it to belong to themselves alone.
Next, having made it common, he does not make himself singly a sharer in it with them; for in this way too he would have rather set them up; for as to be the only possessor elates, so to have one partner or two perhaps among leading persons has this effect just as much. For this reason he does not mention himself but all: he said not, "I too have knowledge," but, "we know that we all have knowledge."
[2.] This then is one way, and the first, by which he cast down their pride; the next hath greater force. What then is this? In that he shews that not even this thing itself was in all points complete, but imperfect, and extremely so. And not only imperfect, but also injurious, unless there were another thing joined together with it. For having said that" we have knowledge," he added, "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth:" so that when it is without love, it lifts men up to absolute arrogance.
"And yet not even love," you will say, "without knowledge hath any advantage." Well: this he did not say; but omitting it as a thing allowed by all, he signifies that knowledge stands in extreme need of love. For he who loves, inasmuch as he fulfils the commandment which is most absolute of all, even though he have some defects, will quickly be blest with knowledge because of his love; as Cornelius and many others. But he that hath knowledge but hath not love, not only shall gain nothing more, but shall also be cast out of that which he hath, in many cases falling into arrogance. It seems then that knowledge is not productive of love, but on the contrary debars from it him that is not on his guard, puffing him up and elating him. For arrogance is wont to cause divisions: but love both draws together and leads to knowledge. And to make this plain he saith, "But if any man loveth God, the same is known of Him." So that "I forbid not this," saith he, "namely, your having perfect knowledge; but your having it with love, that I enjoin; else is it no gain, but rather loss."
Do you see how he already sounds the first note of his discourse concerning love? For since all these evils were springing from the following root, i. e., not from perfect knowledge, but from their not greatly loving nor sparing their neighbors; whence ensued both their variance and their self-satisfaction, and all the rest which he had charged them with; both before this and after he is continually providing for love; so correcting the fountain of all good things. "Now why," saith he, "are ye puffed up about knowledge? For if ye have not love, ye shall even be injured thereby. For what is worse than boasting? But if the other be added, the first also will be in safety. For although you may know something more than your neighbor, if you love him you will not set yourself up but lead him also to the same." Wherefore also having said, "Knowledge puffeth up," he added, "but love edifieth." He did not say, "Behaveth itself modestly," but what is much more, and more gainful. For their knowledge was not only puffing them up but also distracting them. On this account he opposes the one to the other.
[3.] And then he adds a third consideration, which was of force to set them down. What then is this? that although charity be joined with it, yet not even in that case is this our knowledge perfect. And therefore he adds,
Ver. 2. "But if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." This is a mortal blow. "I dwell not," saith he, "on the knowledge being common to all. I say not that by hating your neighbor and by arrogance, you injure yourself most. But even though you have it by yourself alone, though you be modest, though you love your brother, even in this case you are imperfect in regard of knowledge. "For as yet thou knowest nothing as thou oughtest to know," Now if we possess as yet exact knowledge of nothing, how is it that some have rushed on to such a pitch of frenzy as to say that they know God with all exactness? Whereas, though we had an exact knowledge of all other things, not even so were it possible to possess this knowledge to such an extent. For how far He is apart from all things, it is impossible even to say.
And mark how he pulls down their swelling pride: for he said not, "of the matters before us ye have not the proper knowledge," but, "about every thing." And he did not say, "ye," but, "no one whatever," be it Peter, be it Paul, be it any one else. For by this he both soothed them and carefully kept them under.
Ver. 3. "But if any man love God, the same," he doth not say, "knoweth Him," but, "is known of Him." For we have not known Him, but He hath known us. And therefore did Christ say, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." And Paul elsewhere, "Then shall I know fully, even as also I have been known."
Observe now, I pray, by what means he brings down their high- mindedness. First, he points out that not they alone knew the things which they knew; for "we all," he saith," have knowledge." Next, that the thing itself was hurtful so long as it was without love; for "knowledge," saith he, "puffeth up." Thirdly, that even joined with love it is not complete nor perfect. "For if any man thinketh that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing as yet as he ought to know," so he speaks. In addition to this, that they have not even this from themselves, but by gift from God. For he said not, "hath known God," but, "is known of Him." Again, that this very thing comes of love which they have not as they ought. For, "if any man," saith he, "love God, the same is known of Him." Having then so much at large allayed their irritation, he begins to speak doctrinally, saying thus.
[4.] Ver. 4. "Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one." Look what a strait he hath fallen into! For indeed his mind is to prove both; that one ought to abstain from this kind of banquet, and that it hath no power to hurt those who partake of it: things which were not greatly in agreement with each other. For when they were told that they had no harm, in them, they would naturally run to them as indifferent things. But when forbidden to touch them, they would suspect, on the contrary, that their having power to do hurt occasioned the prohibition. Wherefore, you see, he puts down their opinion about idols, and then states as a first reason for their abstaining the scandals which they place in the way of their brethren; in these words: "Now concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world." Again he makes it common property and doth not allow this to be theirs alone, but extends the knowledge all over the world. For "not among you alone," says he, "but every where on earth this doctrine prevails." What then is it? "That no idol is anything in the world; that there is no God but one." What then? are there no idols? no statues? Indeed there are; but they have no power: neither are they gods, but stones and demons. For he is now setting himself against both parties; both the grosser sort among them, and those who were accounted lovers of wisdom. Thus, seeing that the former know of no more than the mere stones, the others assert that certain powers reside in them, which they also call gods; to the former accordingly he says, that "no idol is anything in the world," to the other, that "there is no God but one."
Do you mark how he writes these things, not simply as laying down doctrine, but in opposition to those without? A thing indeed which we must at all times narrowly observe, whether he says anything abstractedly, or whether he is opposing any persons. For this contributes in no ordinary way to the accuracy of our doctrinal views, and to the exact understanding of his expressions.
[5.] Ver. 5. "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as there are gods many and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we unto Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him." Since he had said, that "an idol is nothing" and that "there is no other God;" and yet there were idols and there were those that were called gods; that he might not seem to be contradicting plain facts, he goes on to say, "For though there be that are called gods, as indeed there are;" not absolutely, "there are;" but, "called," not in reality having this but in name: "be it in heaven or on earth:—in heaven," meaning the sun and the moon and the remainder of the choir of stars; for these too the Greeks worshipped: but upon the earth demons, and all those who had been made gods of men:—"yet to us there is One God, the Father." In the first instance having expressed it without the word "Father," and said, "there is no God but one," he now adds this also, when he had utterly cast out the others.
Next, he adduces what indeed is the greatest token of divinity; "of Whom are all things." For this implies also that those others are not gods. For it is said (Jer. x. 11.), "Let the gods who made not the heaven and the earth perish." Then he subjoins what is not less than this, "and we unto Him." For when he saith, "of Whom are all things," he means the creation and the bringing of things out of nothing into existence. But when he saith, "and we unto Him," he speaks of the word of faith and mutual appropriation (oikeiw'sews), as also he said before (1 Cor. i. 30.), "but of Him are ye also in Christ Jesus." In two ways we are of Him, by being made when we were not, and by being made believers. For this also is a creation: a thing which he also declares elsewhere; (Eph. ii. 15.) "that He might create in Himself of the twain one new man."
"And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him." And in regard to Christ again, we must conceive of this in like manner. For through Him the race of men was both produced out of nothing into existence, and returned from error to truth. So that as to the phrase "of Whom," it is not to be understood apart from Christ. For of Him, through Christ, were we created.
[6.] Nor yet, if you observe, hath he distributed the names as if belonging exclusively, assigning to the Son the name Lord, and to the Father, God. For the Scripture useth also often to interchange them; as when it saith, (Psalm cx. 1.) "The Lord saith unto My Lord;" and again, (Psalm xlv. 8.) "Wherefore God Thy God hath appointed Thee;" and, (Rom. ix. 5.) "Of Whom is Christ according to the flesh, Who is God over all." And in many instances you may see these names changing their places. Besides, if they were allotted to each nature severally, and if the Son were not God, and God as the Father, yet continuing a Son: after saying, "but to us there is but One God," it would have been superfluous, his adding the word "Father," with a view to declare the Unbegotten. For the word of God was sufficient to explain this, if it were such as to denote Him only.
And this is not all, but there is another remark to make: that if you say, "Because it is said 'One God,' therefore the word God doth not apply to the Son;" observe that the same holds of the Son also. For the Son also is called "One Lord," yet we do not maintain that therefore the term Lord applies to Him alone. So then, the same force which the expression "One" has, applied to the Son, it has also, applied to the Father. And as the Father is not thrust out from being the Lord, in the same sense as the Son is the Lord, because He, the Son, is spoken of as one Lord; so neither does it cast out the Son from being God, in the same sense as the Father is God, because the Father is styled One God.
[7.] Now if any were to say, "Why did he make no mention of the Spirit?" our answer might be this: His argument was with idolaters, and the contention was about "gods many and lords many." And this is why, having called the Father, God, he calls the Son, Lord. If now he ventured not to call the Father Lord together with the Son, lest they might suspect him to be speaking of two Lords; nor yet the Son, God, with the Father, lest he might be supposed to speak of two Gods: why marvel at his not having mentioned the Spirit? His contest was, so far, with the Gentiles: his point, to signify that with us there is no plurality of Gods. Wherefore he keeps hold continually of this word, "One;" saying, "There is no God but One; and, to us there is One God, and One Lord." From which it is plain, that to spare the weakness of the hearers he used this mode of explanation, and for this reason made no mention at all of the Spirit. For if it be not this, neither ought he to make mention of the Spirit elsewhere, nor to join Him with the Father and the Son. For if He be rejected from the Father and Son, much more ought He not to be put in the same rank with them in the matter of Baptism; where most especially the dignity of the Godhead appears and gifts are bestowed which pertain to God alone to afford. Thus then I have assigned the cause why in this place He is passed over in silence. Now do thou if this be not the true reason, tell me, why He is ranked with Them in Baptism? But thou canst not give any other reason but His being of equal honor. At any rate, when he has no such constraint upon him, he puts Him in the same rank, saying thus: (2 Cor. xiii. 14.) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all:" and again, (ch. xii 4.) "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit: and there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of workings but the same God." But because now his speech was with Greeks and the weaker sort of the converts from among Greeks, for this reason he husbands it (tamieu'etai) so far. And this is what the prophets do in regard of the Son; no where making mention of Him plainly because of the infirmity of the hearers.
Ver. 7. "But not in all is knowledge," saith he. What knowledge doth be mean? about God, or about things offered in sacrifice to idols? For either he here glances at the Greeks who say that there are many gods and lords, and who know not Him that is truly God; or at the converts from among Greeks who were still rather infirm, such as did not yet know clearly that they ought not to fear idols and that "an idol is nothing in the world." But in saying this, he gently soothes and encourages the latter. For there was no need of mentioning all he had to reprove, particularly as he intended to visit them again with more severity.
[8.] "But some being used to the idol eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience being weak is defiled." They still tremble at idols, he saith. For tell me not of the present establishment, and that you have received the true religion from your ancestors. But carry back your thoughts to those times, and consider when the Gospel was just set on foot, and impiety was still at its height, and altars burning, and sacrifices and libations offering up, and the greater part of men were Gentiles; think, I say, of those who from their ancestors had received impiety, and who were the descendants of fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers like themselves, and who had suffered great miseries from the demons. How must they have felt after their sudden change! How would they face and tremble at the assaults of the demons! For their sake also he employs some reserve, saying, "But some with conscience of the things sacrificed to an idol. "Thus he neither exposed them openly, not to strike them hard; nor doth he pass by them altogether: but makes mention of them in a vague manner, saying, "Now some with conscience of the idol even until now eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol; that is, with the same thoughts as they did in former times: 'and their conscience being weak is defiled;'" not yet being able to despise and once for all laugh them to scorn, but still in some doubt. Just as if a man were to think that by touching a dead body he should pollute himself according to the Jewish custom, and then seeing others touching it with a clear conscience, but not with the same mind touching it himself, would be polluted. This was their state of feeling at that time. "For some," saith he, "with conscience of the idol do it even until now." Not without cause did he add, "even until now;" but to signify that they gained no ground by their refusing to condescend. For this was not the way to bring them in, but in some other way persuading them by word and by teaching.
"And their conscience being weak is defiled." No where as yet cloth he state his argument about the nature of the thing, but turns himself this way and that as concerning the conscience of the person partaking. For he was afraid lest in his wish to correct the weak person, he should inflict a heavy blow upon the strong one, and make him also weak. On which account he spares the one no less than the other. Nor doth he allow the thing itself to be thought of any consequence, but makes his argument very full to prevent any suspicion of the kind.
[9.] Ver. 8. "But meat doth not commend us to God. For neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we eat not are we the worse." Do you see how again he takes down their high spirit? in that, after saying that "not only they but all of us have knowledge," and that "no one knoweth any thing as he ought to know," and that "knowledge puffeth up;" then having soothed them, and said that "this knowledge is not in all," and that "weakness is the cause of these being defiled," in order that they might not say, "And what is it to us, if knowledge be not in all? Why then has not such an one knowledge? Why is he weak?"—I say, in order that they might not rejoin in these terms, he did not proceed immediately to point out clearly that for fear of the other's harm one ought to abstain: but having first made but a sort of: skirmish upon mention of him, he points out what is more than this. What then is this? That although no one were injured nor any perversion of another ensued, not even in this case were it right so to do. For the former topic by itself is laboring in vain. Since he that hears of another being hurt while himself has the gain, is not very apt to abstain; but then rather he doth so, when he finds out that he himself is no way advantaged by the thing. Wherefore he sets this down first, saying, "But meat commendeth us not to God." See how cheap he holds that which was accounted to spring from perfect knowledge! "For neither if we eat are we the better," (that is, stand higher in God's estimation, as if we had done any thing good or great :) "nor if we eat not are we the worse," that is, fall in anyway short of others. So far then he hath signified that the thing itself is superfluous, and as nothing. For that which being done profits not, and which being left undone injures not, must be superfluous.
[10.] But as he goes on, he discloses all the harm which was likely to arise from the matter. For the present, however, that which befel the brethren is his subject.
Ver. 9. "For take heed," saith he, "lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to the weak among the brethren." (tw^n adelphw^n not in rec. text.)
He did not say, "Your liberty is become a stumbling-block," nor did he positively affirm it that he might not make them more shameless; but how? "Take heed;" frightening them, and making them ashamed, and leading them to disavow any such conduct. And he said not, "This your knowledge," which would have sounded more like praise; nor "this your perfectness;" but, "your liberty;" a thing which seemed to savor more of rashness and obstinacy and arrogance. Neither said he, "To the brethren," but, "To those of the brethren who are weak;" enhancing his accusation from their not even sparing the weak, and those too their brethren. For let it be so that you correct them not, nor arouse them: yet why trip them up, and make them to stumble, when you ought to stretch out the hand? but for that you have no mind: well then, at least avoid casting them down. Since if one were wicked, he required punishment; if weak, healing: but now he is not only weak, but also a brother.
Ver. 10. "For if a man see thee who hast knowledge, sitting at meat in an idol's temple, will not his conscience if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols?"
After having said, "Take heed lest this your liberty become a stumbling-block," he explains how and in what manner it becomes so: and he continually employs the term "weakness," that the mischief may not be thought to arise from the nature of the thing, nor demons appear formidable. As thus: "At present," saith he, "a man is on the point of withdrawing himself entirely from all idols; but when he sees you fond of loitering about them, he takes the circumstance for a recommendation and abides there himself also. So that not only his weakness, but also your ill-timed behavior, helps to further the plot against him; for it is you who make him weaker."
Ver. 11. "And through thy meat he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died."
For there are two things which deprive you of excuse in this mischief; one, that he is weak, the other, that he is thy brother: rather, I should say, there is a third also, and one more terrible than all. What then is this? That whereas Christ refused not even to die for him, thou canst not bear even to accommodate thyself to him. By these means, you see, he reminds the perfect man also, what he too was before, and that for him He died. And he said not, "For whom even to die was thy duty;" but what is much stronger, that even Christ died for his sake. "Did thy Lord then not refuse to die for him, and dost thou so make him of none account as not even to abstain from a polluted table for his sake? Yea, dost thou permit him to perish, after the salvation so wrought, and, what is still more grievous, 'for a morsel of meat?'" For he said not, "for thy perfectness," nor "for thy knowledge," but "for thy meat." So that the charges are four, and these extremely heavy: that it was a brother, that he was weak, and one of whom Christ made so much account as even to die for him, and that after all this for a "morsel of meat" he is destroyed.
Ver. 12. "And thus sinning against the brethren, and wounding their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ."
Do you observe how quietly and gradually he hath brought their offence up to the very summit of iniquity? And again, he makes mention of the infirmity of the other sort: and so, the very thing which these considered to make for them, that he every where turns round upon their own head. And he said not, "Putting stumbling-blocks in their way," but, "wounding;" so as by the force of his expression to indicate their cruelty. For what can be more savage than a man who wounds the sick? and yet no wound is so grievous as making a man to stumble. Often, in fact, is this also the cause of death.
But how do they "sin against Christ?" In one way, because He considers the concerns of His servants as His own; in another, because those who are wounded go to make up His Body and that which is part of Him: in a third way, because that work of His which He built up by His own blood, these are destroying for their ambition's sake.
[11.] Ver. 13, "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for ever." This is like the best of teachers, to teach in his own person the things which he speaks. Nor did he say whether justly or unjustly; but in any case. "I say not," (such is his tone,) "meat offered in sacrifice to an idol, which is already prohibited for another reason; but if any even of those things which are within license and are permitted causes stumbling, from these also will I abstain: and not one or two days, but all the time of my life." For he saith, "I will eat no flesh for ever." And he said not, "Lest I destroy my brother," but simply, "That I make not my brother to stumble." For indeed it comes of folly in the extreme that what things are greatly cared for by Christ, and such as He should have even chosen to die for them, these we should esteem so entirely beneath our notice as not even to abstain from meats on their account.
Now these things might be seasonably spoken not to them only, but also to us, apt as we are to esteem lightly the salvation of our neighbors and to utter those satanical words. I say, satanical: for the expression, "What care I, though such an one stumble, and such another perish?" savors of his cruelty and inhuman mind. And yet in that instance, the infirmity also of those who were offended had some share in the result: but in our case it is not so, sinning as we do in such a way as to offend even the strong. For when we smite, and raven, and overreach, and use the free as if they were slaves, whom is not this enough to offend? Tell me not of such a man's being a shoemaker, another a dyer, another a brazier: but bear in mind that he is a believer and a brother. Why these are they whose disciples we are; the fishermen, the publicans, the tent-makers, of Him who was brought up in the house of a carpenter; and who deigned to have the carpenter's betrothed wife for a mother; and who was laid, after His swaddling clothes, in a manger; and who had not where to lay His head;—of Him whose journeys were so long that His very journeying was enough to tire Him down; of Him who was supported by others.
[12.] Think on these things, and esteem the pride of man to be nothing. But count the tent-maker as well as thy brother, as him that is borne upon a chariot and hath innumerable servants and struts in the market-place: nay, rather the former than the latter; since the term brother would more naturally be used where there is the greater resemblance. Which then resembles the fisherman? He who is supported by daily labor and hath neither servant nor dwelling, but is quite beset with privations; or that other who is surrounded with such vast pomp, and who acts contrary to the laws of God? Despise not then him that is more of the two thy brother, for he comes nearer to the Apostolic pattern.
"Not however," say you, "of his own accord, but by compulsion; for he doeth not this of his own mind." How comes this? Hast thou not heard, "Judge not, that ye be not judged?" But, to convince thyself that he doeth it not against his inclination, approach and give him ten thousand talents of gold, and thou shalt see him putting it away from him. And thus, even though he have received no wealth by inheritance from his ancestors, yet when it is in his power to take it, and he lets it not come near him neither adds to his goods, he exhibits a mighty proof of his contempt of wealth. For so John was the son of Zebedee that extremely poor man: yet I suppose we are not therefore to say that his poverty was forced upon him.
Whensoever then thou seest one driving nails, smiting with a hammer, covered with soot, do not therefore hold him cheap, but rather for that reason admire him. Since even Peter girded himself, and handled the dragnet, and went a fishing after the Resurrection of the Lord.
And why say I Peter? For this same Paul himself, after his incessant runnings to and fro and all those vast miracles, standing in a tent-maker's shop, sewed hides together: while angels were reverencing him and demons trembling. And he was not ashamed to say, (Acts xx. 34.) "Unto my necessities, and to those who were with me, these hands ministered." What say I, that he was not ashamed? Yea, he gloried in this very thing.
But you will say, "Who is there now to be compared with the virtue of Paul?" I too am aware that there is no one, yet not on this account are those who live now to be despised: for if for Christ's sake thou give honor, though one be last of all, yet if he be a believer he shall justly be honored. For suppose a general and a common soldier both present themselves before you, being friends of the king, and you open your house to both: in which of their persons would you seem to pay most honor to the king? Plainly in that of a soldier. For there were in the general, beside his loyalty to the king, many other things apt to win such a mark of respect from you: but the soldier had nothing else but his loyalty to the king.
Wherefore God bade us call to our suppers and our feasts the lame, and the maimed, and those who cannot repay us; for these are most of all properly called good deeds which are done for God's sake. Whereas if thou entertain some great and distinguished man, it is not such pure mercy, what thou doest but some portion many times is assigned to thyself also, both by vain-glory, and by the return of the favor, and by thy rising in many men's estimation on account of thy guest. At any rate, I think I could point out many who with this view pay court to the more distinguished among the saints, namely, that by their means they may enjoy a greater intimacy with rulers, and that they may find them thenceforth more useful in their own affairs and to their families. And many such favors do they ask in recompense from those saints; a thing which mars the repayment of their hospitality, they seeking it with such a mind.
And why need I say this about the saints? Since he who seeks, even from God, the reward of his labors in the present life and follows after virtue for this world's good, is sure to diminish his recompense. But he that asks for all his crowns wholly there, is found far more admirable; like that Lazarus, who even now is "receiving" (St. Luke xvi. 25.) there all "his good things;" like those Three Children, who when they were on the point of being thrown into the furnace said, (Dan. iii. 17, 18.) "There is a God in heaven able to deliver us; and if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up:" like Abraham, who even offered his son and slew him; and this he did, not for any reward, but esteeming this one thing the greatest recompense, to obey the Lord.
These let us also imitate. For so shall we be visited with a return of all our good deeds and that abundantly, because we do all with such a mind as this: so shall we obtain also the brighter crowns. And God grant that we may all obtain them, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, to the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now, henceforth, and for everlasting ages. Amen.
Am I not an Apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
Inasmuch as he had said, "If meat make my brother to stumble I will eat no flesh forever;" a thing which he had not yet done, but professed he would do if need require: lest any man should say, "Thou vauntest thyself at random, and art severe in discourse, and utterest words of promise, a thing easy to me or to any body; but if these sayings come from thy heart, shew by deeds something which thou hast slighted in order to avoid making thy brother stumble:" for this cause, I say, in what follows he is compelled to enter on the proof of this also, and to point out how he was used to forego even things permitted that he might not give offence, although without any law to enforce his doing so.
And we are not yet come to the admirable part of the matter: though it be admirable that he abstain even from things lawful to avoid offence: but it is his habit of doing so at the cost of so much trouble and danger "For why," saith he, "speak of the idol sacrifices? Since although Christ had enjoined that those who preach the Gospel should live at the charge of their disciples, I did not so, but chose, if need were, to end my life with famine and die the most grievous of deaths, so I might avoid receiving of those whom I instruct."
Not because they would otherwise be made to stumble, but because his not receiving would edify them: a much greater thing for him to do. And to witness this he summons themselves, among whom he was used to live in toil and in hunger, nourished by others, and put to straits, in order not to offend them. And yet there was no ground for their taking offence, for it would but have been a law which he was fulfilling. But for all this, by a sort of supererogations he used to spare them.
Now if he did more than was enacted lest they should take offence, and abstained from permitted things to edify others; what must they deserve who abstain not from idol sacrifices? and that, when many perish thereby? a thing which even apart from all scandal one ought to shrink from, as being "the table of demons."
The sum therefore of this whole topic is this which he works out in many verses. But we must resume it and make a fresh entrance on what he hath alleged. For neither hath he set it down thus expressly as I have worded it; nor doth he leap at once upon it; but begins from another topic, thus speaking;
[2.] "Am I not an Apostle?" For besides all that hath been said, this also makes no small difference that Paul himself is the person thus conducting himself. As thus: To prevent their alleging, "You may taste of the sacrifices, sealing at the same time:" for a while he withstands not that statement, but argues, "Though it were lawful, your brethren's harm should keep you from doing so;" and afterwards he proves that it is not even lawful. In this particular place, however, he establishes the former point from circumstances relating to himself. And intending presently to say that he had received nothing from them, he sets it not down at once, but his own dignity is what he first affirms: "Am I not an Apostle? am I not free?"
Thus, to hinder their saying, "True; thou didst not receive, but the reason thou didst not was its not being lawful;" he sets down therefore first the causes why he might reasonably have received, had he been willing to do so.
Further: that there might not seem to be any thing invidious in regard of Peter and such as Peter, in his saying these things, (for they did not use to decline receiving;) he first shows that they had authority to receive, and then that no one might say, "Peter had authority to receive but thou hadst not," he possesses the hearer beforehand with these encomiums of himself. And perceiving that he must praise himself, (for that was the way to correct the Corinthians,) yet disliking to say any great thing of himself, see how he hath tempered both feelings as the occasion required: limiting his own panegyric, not by what he knew of himself, but by what the subject of necessity required. For he might have said, "I most of all had a right to receive, even more than they, because 'I labored more abundantly than they.'" But this he omits, being a point wherein he surpassed them; and those points wherein they were great and which were just grounds for their receiving, those only he sets down: as follows:
"Am I not an Apostle? am I not free?" i.e. "have I not authority over myself? am I under any, to overrule me and forbid my receiving?"
"But they have an advantage over you, in having been with Christ."
"Nay, neither is this denied me." With a view to which he saith,
"Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" For "last of all," (c. xv. 8.) saith he, "as unto one born out of due time, He appeared unto me also." Now this likewise was no small dignity: since "many Prophets," (S. Mat. xiii. 17.) saith He, "and righteous men have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them:" and, "Days will come when ye shall desire to see one of these days." (S. Luke xvii.
"What then, though thou be 'an Apostle,' and 'free,' and hast 'seen Christ,' if thou hast not exhibited any work of an Apostle; how then can it be right for thee to receive?" Wherefore after this he adds,
"Are not ye my work in the Lord?" For this is the great thing; and those others avail nothing, apart from this. Even Judas himself was "an Apostle," and "free," and "saw Christ;" but because he had not "the work of an Apostle," all those things profited him not. You see then why he adds this also, and calls themselves to be witnesses of it.
Moreover, because it was a great thing which he had uttered, see how he chastens it, adding, "In the Lord:" i.e., "the work is God's, not mine."
Ver. 2. "If to others I am not an Apostle, yet at least I am to you."
Do you see how far he is from enlarging here without necessity? And yet he had the whole world to speak of, and barbarous nations, and sea and land. However, he mentions none of these things, but carries his point by concession, and even granting more than he need. As if he had said, "Why need I dwell on things over and above, since these even alone are enough for my present purpose? I speak not, you will observe, of my achievements in other quarters, but of those which have you for witnesses. Upon which it follows that if from no other quarter, yet from you I have a right to receive. Nevertheless, from whom I had most right to receive, even you whose teacher I was, from those I received not."
"If to others I am not an Apostle, yet at least I am to you." Again, he states his point by concession. For the whole world had him for its Apostle. "However," saith he, "I say not that, I am not contending nor disputing, but what concerns you I lay down. 'For the seal of mine Apostleship are ye:'" i.e., its proof. "Should any one, moreover, desire to learn whence I am an Apostle, you are the persons whom I bring forward: for all the signs of an Apostle have I exhibited among you, and not one have I failed in." As also he speaks in the Second Epistle, saying, (2 Cor. xii. 12) "Though I am nothing, truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works. For what is there wherein ye were made inferior to the rest of the Churches?" Wherefore he saith, "The seal of mine Apostleship are ye." "For I both exhibited miracles, and taught by word, and underwent dangers, and shewed forth a blameless life." And these topics you may see fully set forth by these two Epistles, how he lays before them the demonstration of each with all exactness.
[3.] Ver. 3. "My defence to them that examine me is this." What is, "My defence to them that examine me is this?" "To those whe seek to know whereby I am proved to be an Apostle, or who accuse me as receiving money, or inquire the cause of my not receiving, or would fain shew that I am not an Apostle: to all such, my instruction given to you and these things which I am about to say, may stand for a full explanation and defence." What then are these?
Ver. 4, 5. "Have we no right to eat and to drink? Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer?" Why, how are these sayings a defence? "Because, when it appears that I abstain even from things which are allowed, it cannot be just to look suspiciously on me as a deceiver or one acting for gain."
Wherefore, from what was before alleged and from my having instructed you and from this which I have now said, I have matter sufficient to make my defence to you: and all who examine me I meet upon this ground, alleging both what has gone before and this which follows: "Have we no right to eat and to drink? have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer? "Yet for all this, having it I abstain?"
What then? did he not use to eat or to drink?
It were most true to say that in many places he really did not eat nor drink: for (c. iv. II.) "in hunger," saith he, "and in thirst, and in nakedness" we were abiding." Here, however, this is not his meaning; but what? "We eat not nor drink, receiving of those whom we instruct, though we have a right so to receive."
"Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" Observe his skilfulness. The leader of the choir stands last in his arrangement: since that is the time for laying down the strongest of all one's topics. Nor was it so wonderful for one to be able to point out examples of this conduct in the rest, as in the foremost champion and in him who was entrusted with the keys of heaven. But neither does he mention Peter alone, but all of them: as if he had said, Whether you seek the inferior sort or the more eminent, in all you find patterns of this sort.
For the brethren too of the Lord, being freed from their first unbelief (vid. S. John vii. 5.), had come to be among those who were approved, although they attained not to the Apostles. And accordingly the middle place is that which he hath assigned to them, setting down those who were in the extremes before and after.
Ver. 6. "Or I only and Barnabas, have we not a right to forbear working?"
(See his humility of mind and his soul pure from envy, how he takes care not to conceal him whom he knew to be a partaker with himself in this perfection.) For if the other things be common, how is not this common? Both they and we are apostles and are free, and have seen Christ, and have exhibited the works of Apostles. Therefore we likewise have a right both to live without working and to be supported by our disciples.
[4.] Ver. 7. "What soldier ever serveth at his own charges?" For since, which was the strongest point, he had proved from the Apostles that it is lawful to do so, he next comes to examples and to the common practice; as he uses to do: "What soldier serveth at his own charges?" saith he. But do thou consider, I pray, how very suitable are the examples to his proposed subject, and how he mentions first that which is accompanied with danger; viz. soldiership and arms and wars. For such a kind of thing was the Apostolate, nay rather much more hazardous than these. For not with men alone was their warfare, but with demons also, and against the prince of those beings was their battle array. What he saith therefore is this: "Not even do heathen governors, cruel and unjust as they are, require their soldiers to endure service and peril and live on their own means. How then could Christ ever have required this?"
Nor is he satisfied with one example. For to him who is rather simple and dull, this also is wont to come as a great refreshment, viz. their seeing the common custom also going along with the laws of God. Wherefore he proceeds to another topic also and says, "Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?" For as by the former he indicated his dangers, so. by this his labor and abundant travail and care.
He adds likewise a third example, saying, "Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk thereof?" He is exhibiting the great concern which it becomes a teacher to show for those who are under his rule. For, in fact, the Apostles were both soldiers and husbandmen and shepherds, not of the earth nor of irrational animals, nor in such wars as are perceptible by sense; but of reasonable souls and in battle array with the demons.
It also must be remarked how every where he preserves moderation, seeking the useful only, not the extraordinary. For he said not, "What soldier serveth and is not enriched?" but, "What soldier ever serveth at his own charges?" Neither did he say, "Who planteth a vineyard, and gathereth not gold, or spareth to collect the whole fruit?" but, "Who eateth not of the fruit thereof?" Neither did he say, "Who feedeth a flock, and maketh not merchandize of the lambs?" But what? "And eateth not of the milk thereof?" Not of the lambs, but of the milk; signifying, that a little relief should be enough for the teacher, even his necessary food alone. (This refers to those who would devour all and gather the whole of the fruit.) "So likewise the Lord ordained," saying, "The laborer is worthy of his food." (St. Mat. x. 10.)
And not this only doth he establish by his illustrations, but he shows also what kind of man a priest ought to be. For he ought to possess both the courage of a soldier and the diligence of a husbandman and the carefulness of a shepherd, and after all these, to seek nothing more than necessaries.
[5.] Having shewn, as you see, both from the Apostles, that it is not forbidden the teacher to receive, and from illustrations found in common life, he proceeds also to a third head, thus saying,
Ver. 8. "Do I speak these things after the manner of men? or saith not the law also the same?"
For since he had hitherto alleged nothing out of the Scriptures, but put forward the common custom; "think not," saith he, "that I am confident in these alone, nor that I go to the opinions of men for the ground of these enactments. For I can shew that these things are also well-pleasing to God, and I read an ancient law enjoining them." Wherefore also he carries on his discourse in the form of a question, which is .apt to be done in things fully acknowledged; thus saying, "Say I these things after the manner of men?" i.e. "do I strengthen myself only by human examples?" "or saith not the law also the same?"
Ver. 9. "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."
And on what account hath he mentioned this, having the example of the priests? Wishing to establish it far beyond what the case required. Further, lest any should say, "And what have we to do with the saying about the oxen?" he works it out more exactly, saying, "Is it for the oxen that God careth;" Doth God then, tell me, take no care for oxen? Well, He doth take care of them, but not so as to make a law concerning such a thing as this. So that had he not been hinting at something important, training the Jews to mercy in the case of the brutes, and through these, discoursing with them of the teachers also; he would not have taken so much interest as even to make a law to forbid the muzzling of oxen.
Wherein he points out another thing likewise, that the labor of teachers both is and ought to be great.
And again another thing. What then is this? That whatever is said by the Old Testament respecting care for brutes, in its principal meaning bears on the instruction of human beings: as in fact do all the rest: the precepts, for example, concerning various garments; and those concerning vineyards and seeds and not making the ground bear divers crops, and those concerning leprosy; and, in a word, all the rest: for they being of a duller sort He was discoursing with them from these topics, advancing them by little and little.
And see how in what follows he doth not even confirm it, as being clear and self-evident. For having said, "Is it for the oxen that God careth?" he added, "or saith he it altogether for our sake?" Not adding even the "altogether" at random, but that he might not leave the hearer any thing whatever to reply.
And he dwells upon the metaphor, saying and declaring, "Yea for our sakes it was written, because he who ploweth ought to plow in hope;" i.e., the teacher ought to enjoy the returns of his labors; "and he that thresheth ought to thresh in hope of partaking." And observe his wisdom in that from the seed he transferred the matter to the threshing floor; herein also again manifesting the many toils of the teachers, that they in their own persons both plough and tread the floor. And of the ploughing, because there was nothing to reap, but labor only, he used the word, "hope;" but of treading the floor he presently allows the fruit, saying, "He that thresheth is a partaker of his hope."
Further, lest any should say, "Is this then the return for so many toils," he adds, "in hope," i.e., "which is to come." No other thing therefore doth the mouth of this animal being unmuzzled declare than this; that the teachers who labor ought also to enjoy some return.
[6.] Ver. 11. "If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?"
Lo, he adds also a fourth argument for the duty of yielding support. For since he had said, "What soldier ever serveth at his own charges?" and, "who planteth a vineyard?" and, "who feedeth a flock?" and introduced the ox that treadeth the corn; he points out likewise another most reasonable cause on account of which they might justly receive; viz. having bestowed much greater gifts, no more as having labored only. What is it then? "if we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" Seest thou a most just allegation and fuller of reason than all the former? for "in those instances," says he, "carnal is the seed, carnal also is the fruit; but here not so, but the seed is spiritual, the return carnal." Thus, to prevent high thoughts in those who contribute to their teachers, he signified that they receive more than they give. As if he had said, "Husbandmen, whatsoever they sow, this also do they receive; but we, sowing in your souls spiritual things, do reap carnal." For such is the kind of support given by them. Further, and still more to put them to the blush.
Ver. 12. "If others partake of this right over you, do not we yet more?"
See also again another argument, and this too from examples though not of the same kind. For it is not Peter whom he mentions here nor the Apostles, but certain other spurious ones, with whom he afterwards enters into combat, and concerning whom he says, (2 Cor. xi. 20.) "If a man devour you, if he take you captive, if he exalt himself, if he smite you on the face," and already he is sounding the prelude to the fight with them. Wherefore neither did he say, "If others take of you," but pointing out their insolence and tyranny and trafficking, he says, "if others partake of this right over you," i.e., "rule you, exercise authority, use you as servants, not taking you captive only, but with much authority." Wherefore he added "do not we yet more?" which he would not have said if the discourse were concerning the Apostles. But it is evident that he hints at certain pestilent men, and deceivers of them. "So that besides the law of Moses even ye yourselves have made a law in behalf of the duty of contribution."
And having said, "do not we yet more?" he does not prove why yet more, but leaves it to their consciences to convince them of that, wishing at the same time both to alarm and to abash them more thoroughly.
[7.] "Nevertheless, we did not use this right;" i.e., "did not receive." Do you see, when he had by so many reasons before proved that receiving is not unlawful, how he next says, "we receive not," that he might not seem to abstain as from a thing forbidden? "For not because it is unlawful," saith he, "do I not receive; for it is lawful and this we have many ways shown: from the Apostles; from the affairs of life, the soldier, the husbandman, and the shepherd; from the law of Moses; from the very nature of the case, in that we have sown unto you spiritual things; from what yourselves have done to others." But as he had laid down these things, lest he should seem to put to shame the Apostles who were in the habit of receiving; abashing them and signifying that not as from a forbidden thing doth he abstain from it: so again, lest by his large store of proof and the examples and reasonings by which he had pointed out the propriety of receiving, he should seem to be anxious to receive himself and therefore to say these things; he now corrects it. And afterwards he laid it down more clearly where he says, "And I wrote not these things, that it may be so done in my case;" but here his words are, "we did not use this right."
And what is a still greater thing, neither could any have this to say, that being in abundance we declined using it; rather, when necessity pressed upon us we would not yield to the necessity. Which also in the second Epistle he says; "I robbed other Churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you; and when I was present with you, and was in want, I was not a burden on any man." (2 Cor. xi. 8, 9.) And in this Epistle again, "We both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted." (1 Cor. iv. 11.) And here again he hints the same thing, saying, "But we bear all things." For by saying, "we bear all things," he intimates both hunger and great straits and all the other things. "But not even thus have we been compelled," saith he, "to break the law which we laid down for ourselves. Wherefore? "that we may cause no hinderance to the Gospel of Christ." For since the Corinthians were rather weak-minded, "lest we should wound you," saith he "by receiving, we chose to do even more than was commanded rather than hinder the Gospel," i.e., your instruction. Now if we in a matter left free to us, and when we were both enduring much hardship and having Apostles for our pattern, used abstinence lest we should give hindrance, (and he did not say, "subversion," but "hindrance;" nor simply "hindrance," but "any" hindrance,) that we might not, so to speak, cause so much as the slightest suspense and delay to the course of the Word: "If now," saith he, "we used so great care, how much more ought you to abstain, who both come far short of the Apostles and have no law to mention, giving you permission: but contrariwise are both putting your hand to things forbidden and things which tend to the great injury of the Gospel, not to its hindrance only and not even having any pressing necessity in view." For all this discussion he had moved on account of these Corinthians, who were making their weaker brethren to stumble by eating of things sacrificed to idols.
[8.] These things also let us listen to, beloved; that we may not despise those who are offended, nor, "cause any hindrance to the Gospel of Christ;" that we may not betray our own salvation. And say not thou to the when thy brother is offended, "this or that, whereby he is offended, hath not been forbidden; it is permitted." For I have something greater to say to thee: "although Christ Himself have permitted it, yet if thou seest any injured, stop and do not use the permission." For this also did Paul; when he might have received, Christ having granted permission, he received not. Thus hath our Lord in His mercy mingled much gentleness with His precepts that it might not be all merely of commandment, but that we might do much also of our own mind. Since it was in His power, had He not been so minded, to extend the commandments further and to say, "he who fasts not continually, let him be chastised; he who keeps not his virginity, let him be punished; he that doth not strip himself of all that he hath, let him suffer the severest penalty." But he did not so, giving thee occasion, if thou wilt, to be forward in doing more. Wherefore both when He was discoursing about virginity, He said, "He that is able to receive, let him receive it:" and in the case of the rich man, some things He commanded, but some He left to the determination of his mind. For He said not, "Sell what thou hast," but, "If thou wilt be perfect, sell."
But we are not only not forward to do more, and to go beyond the precepts, but we fall very short even of the measure of things commanded. And whereas Paul suffered hunger that he might not hinder the Gospel; we have not the heart even to touch what is in our own stores, though we see innumerable souls overthrown "Yea" saith one, "let the moth eat, and let not the poor eat; let the worm devour, and let not the naked be clothed; let all be wasted away with time, and let not Christ be fed; and this when He hungereth." "Why, who said this?" it will be asked. Nay, this is the very grievance, that not in words but in deeds these things are said: for it were less grievous uttered in words than done in deeds. For is not this the cry, day by day, of the inhuman and cruel tyrant, Covetousness, to those who are led captive by her? "Let your goods be set before informers and robbers and traitors for luxury, and not before the hungry and needy for their sustenance." Is it not ye then who make robbers? Is it not ye who minister fuel to the fire of the envious? Is it not ye who make vagabonds and traitors, putting your wealth before them for a bait? What madness is this? (for a madness it is, and plain distraction,) to fill your chests with apparel, and overlook him that is made after God's image and similitude, naked and trembling with cold, and with difficulty keeping himself upright.
"But he pretends," saith one, "this tremor and weakness." And dost thou not fear lest a thunderbolt from heaven, kindled by this word, should fall upon thee? (For I am bursting with wrath: bear with me.) Thou, I say, pampering and fattening thyself and extending thy potations to the dead of night and comforting thyself in soft coverlets, dost not deem thyself liable to judgment, so lawlessly using the gifts of God: (for wine was not made that we should be drunken; nor food, that we should pamper our appetites; nor meats, that we should distend the belly.) But from the poor, the wretched, from him that is as good as dead, from him demandest thou strict accounts, and dost thou not fear Christ's tribunal, so full of all awfulness and terror? Why, if he do play the hypocrite, he doth it of necessity and want, because of thy cruelty and inhumanity, requiring the use of such masks and refusing all inclination to mercy. For who is so wretched and miserable as without urgent necessity, for one loaf of bread, to submit to such disgrace, and to bewail himself and endure so severe a punishment? So that this hypocrisy of his goeth about, the herald of thine inhumanity. For since by supplicating and beseeching and uttering piteous expressions and lamenting and weeping and going about all day, he doth not obtain even necessary food, he devised perhaps even l this contrivance also, the disgrace and blame whereof falls not so much on himself as on thee: for he indeed is meet to be pitied because. he hath fallen into so great necessity; but we are worthy of innumerable punishments because we compel the poor to suffer such things. For if we would easily give way, never would he have chosen to endure such things.
And why speak I of nakedness and trembling? For I will tell a thing yet more to be shuddered at, that some have been compelled even to deprive their children of sight at an early age in order that they might touch our insensibility. For since when they could see and went about naked, neither by their age nor by their misfortunes could they win favor of the unpitying, they added to so great evils another yet sterner tragedy, that they might remove their hunger; thinking it to be a lighter thing to be deprived of this common light and that sunshine which is given to all, than to struggle with continual famine and endure the most miserable of deaths. Thus, since you have not learned to pity poverty, but delight yourselves in misfortunes, they satisfy your insatiable desire, and both for themselves and for us kindle a fiercer flame in hell.
[9.] And to convince you that this is the reason why these and such like things are done, I will tell you of an acknowledged proof which no man can gainsay. There are other poor men, of light and unsteady minds and not knowing how to bear hunger, but rather enduring every thing than it. These having often tried to deal with us by piteous gestures and words and finding that they availed nothing, have left off those supplications and henceforward our very wonder-workers are surpassed by them, some chewing the skins of worn-out shoes, and some fixing sharp nails into their heads, others lying about in frozen pools with naked stomachs, and others enduring different things yet more horrid than these, that they may draw around them the ungodly spectators. And thou, while these things are going on, standest laughing and wondering the while and making a fine show of other men's miseries, our common nature disgracing itself. And what could a fierce demon do more? Next, you give him money in abundance that he may do these things more promptly. And to him that prays and calls on God and approaches with modesty, you vouchsafe neither an answer nor a look: rather you utter to him, continually teazing you, those disgusting expressions, "Ought this fellow to live? or at all to breathe and see this sun?" whereas to the other sort you are both cheerful and liberal, as though you were appointed to dispense the prize of that ridiculous and Satanic unseemliness. Wherefore with more propriety to those who appoint these sports and bestow nothing till they see others punishing themselves, might these words be addressed, "Ought these men to live, to breathe at all, or see the sun, who trangress against our common nature, who insult God?" For whereas God saith, "Give alms, and I give thee the kingdom of heaven," thou hearest not: but when the Devil shews thee a head pierced with nails, on a sudden thou hast become liberal. And the contrivance of the evil spirit pregnant with so much mischief, hath wrought upon thee more than the promise of God bringing innumerable blessings. If gold were to be laid down to prevent the doing of these things or the looking upon them when done, there is nothing which thou oughtest not to practise and endure, to get rid of so excessive madness; but ye contrive every thing to have them done, and look on the doing of them. Still askest thou then, tell me, to what end is hell-fire? Nay, ask not that any more, but how is there one hell only? For of how many punishments are not they worthy, who get up this cruel and merciless spectacle and laugh at what both they and yourselves ought to weep over; yea, rather of the two, ye who compel them to such unseemly doings.
"But I do not compel them," say you. What else but compelling is it, I should like to know? Those who are more modest and shed tears and invoke God, thou art impatient even of listening to; but for these thou both findest silver in abundance and bringest around thee many to admire them.
"Well, let us leave off," say you, "pitying them. And dost thou too enjoin this?" Nay, it is not pity, O man, to demand so severe a punishment for a few pence, to order men to maim themselves for necessary food and cut into many pieces the skin of their head so mercilessly and pitifully. "Gently," say you, "for it is not we who pierce those heads." Would it were thou, and the horror would not be so horrible. For he that slays a man does a much more grievous thing than he who bids him slay himself, which indeed happens in the case of these persons. For they endure more bitter pains when they are bidden to be themselves the executors of these wicked commands.
And all this in Antioch, where men were first called Christians, wherein are bred the most civilized of mankind, where in old time the fruit of charity flourished so abundantly. For not only to those at hand but also to those very far off, they used to send, and this when famine was expected.
[10.] What then ought we to do? say you. To cease from this savage practice: and to convince all that are in need that by doing these things they will gain nothing, but if they modestly approach they shall find your liberality great. Let them be once aware of this, even though they be of all men most miserable, they will never choose to punish themselves so severely, I pledge myself; nay, they will even give you thanks for delivering them both from the mockery and the pain of that way of life. But as it is, for charioteers you would let out even your own children, and for dancers you would throw away your very souls, while for Christ an hungered you spare not the smallest portion of your substance. But if you give a little silver, you think as much of it as if you had laid out all you have, not knowing that not the giving but the giving liberally, this is true almsgiving. Wherefore also it is not those simply who give whom the prophet proclaims and calls happy, but those who bestow liberally. For he doth not say simply, He hath given, but what? (Ps. cxii. 8.) "he hathdispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor." For what profit is it, when out of it thou givest as it were a glass of water out of the sea, and even a widow's magnanimity is beyond thy emulation? And how wilt thou say, "Pity me, O Lord, according to thy great pity, and according to the multitude of thy mercies blot out my transgression," thyself not pitying according to any great pity, nay, haply not according to any little. For I am greatly ashamed, I own, when I see many of the rich riding upon their golden-bitted chargers with a train of domestics clad in gold, and having couches of silver and other and more pomp, and yet when there is need to give to a poor man, becoming more beggarly than the very poorest.
[11.] But what is their constant talk? "He hath," they say, "the common church-allowance." And what is that to thee? For thou wilt not be saved because I give; nor if the Church bestow hast thou blotted out thine own sins. For this cause givest thou not, because the Church ought to give to the needy? Because the priests pray, wilt thou never pray thyself? And because others fast, wilt thou be continually drunken? Knowest thou not that God enacted not almsgiving so much for the sake of the poor as for the sake of the persons themselves who bestow ?
But dost thou suspect the priest? Why this thing itself, to begin with, is a grievous sin. However, I will not examine the matter too nicely. Do thou it all in thine own person, and so shalt thou reap a double reward. Since in fact, what we say in behalf of almsgiving, we say not, that thou shouldest offer to us, but that thou shouldest thyself minister by thine own hands. For if thou bringest thine alms to me, perhaps thou mayest even be led captive by vain-glory, and oftentimes likewise thou shall go away offended through suspicion of something evil: but if ye do all things by yourselves, ye shall both be rid of offences and of unreasonable suspicion, and greater is your reward. Not therefore to compel you to bring your money hither, do I say these things; nor from indignation on account of the priests being ill-reported of. For if one must be indignant and grieve, for you should be our grief, who say this ill. Since to them who are spoken ill of falsely and vainly the reward is greater, but to the speakers the condemnation and punishment is heavier. I say not these things therefore in their behalf, but in solicitude and care for you. For what marvel is it if some in our generation are suspected, when in the case of those holy men who imitated the angels, who possessed nothing of their own, I mean the Apostles, there was a murmuring in the ministration to the widows (Acts VI I.) that the poor were overlooked? when "not one said that aught of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things common?" (Acts iv. 32.)
Let us not then put forward these pretexts, nor account it an excuse that the Church is wealthy. But when you see the greatness of her substance, bear in mind also the crowds of poor who are on her list, the multitudes of her sick, her occasions of endless expenses. Investigate, scrutinize, there is none to forbid, nay, they are even ready to give you an account. But I wish to go much farther. Namely, when we have given in our accounts and proved that our expenditure is no less than our income, nay, sometimes more, I would gladly ask you this further question: When we depart hence and shall hear Christ saying, "Ye saw me hungry, and gave me no meat; naked, and ye clothed me not;" what shall we say? what apology shall we make? Shall we bring forward such and such a person who disobeyed these commands? or some of the priests who were suspected? "Nay, what is this to thee? for I accuse thee," saith He, "of those things wherein thou hast thyself sinned. And the apology for these would be, to have washed away thine own offences, not to point to others whose errors have been the same as thine."
In fact, the Church through your meanness is compelled to have such property as it has now. Since, if men did all things according to the apostolical laws, its revenue should have been your good will, which were both a secure chest and an inexhaustible treasury. But now when ye lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth and shut up all things in your own stores, while the Church is compelled to be at charges with bands of widows, choirs of virgins, so journings of strangers, distresses of foreigners, the misfortunes of prisoners, the necessities of the sick and maimed, and other such like causes, what must be done? Turn away from all these, and block up so many ports? Who then could endure the shipwrecks that would ensue; the weepings, the lamentations, the wailings which would reach us from every quarter?
Let us not then speak at random what comes into our mind. For now, as I have just said, we are really prepared to render up our accounts to you. But even if it were the reverse, and ye had corrupt teachers plundering and grasping at every thing, not even so were their wickedness an apology for you. For the Lover of mankind and All-wise, the Only-Begotten Son of God, seeing all things, and knowing the chance that in so great length of time and in so vast a world there would be many corrupt priests; lest the carelessness of those under their rule should increase through their neglect, removing every excuse for indifference; "In Moses' seat," saith He, "sit the Scribes and the Pharisees; all things, therefore, whatsoever they bid you, these do ye, but do not ye after their works:" implying, that even if thou hast a bad teacher, this will not avail thee, shouldest thou not attend to the things which are spoken. For not from what thy teacher hath done but from what thou hast heard and disobeyed, from that, I say, doth God pass his sentence upon thee. So that if thou doest the things commanded, thou shalt then stand with much boldness: but if thou disobey the things spoken, even though thou shouldest show ten thousand corrupt priests, this will not plead for thee at all. Since Judas also was an apostle, but nevertheless this shall never be any apology for the sacrilegious and covetous. Nor will any be able when accused to say, "Why the Apostle was a thief and sacrilegious, and a traitor;" yea, this very thing shall most of all be our punishment and condemnation that not even by the evils of others were we corrected. For this cause also these things were written that we might shun all emulation of such things.
Wherefore, leaving this person and that, let us take heed to ourselves. For "each of us shall give account of himself to God." In order therefore that we may render up this account with a good defence, let us well order our own lives and stretch out a liberal hand to the needy, knowing that this only is our defence, the showing ourselves to have rightly done the things commanded; there is no other whatever. And if we be able to produce this, we shall escape those intolerable pains of hell, and obtain the good things to come; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
Know ye not that they which minister about sacred things eat of the temple? and they which wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so did the Lord ordain that they which proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel.
He takes great care to show that the receiving was not forbidden. Whereupon having said so much before, he was not content but proceeds also to the Law, furnishing an example closer to the point than the former. For it was not the same thing to bring forward the oxen and to adduce the law expressly given concerning priests.
But consider, I pray, in this also the wisdom of Paul, how he mentions the matter in a way to give it dignity. For he did not say, "They which minister about sacred things receive of those who offer them." But what? "They eat of the temple:" so that neither they who receive may be blamed nor they who give may be lifted up. Wherefore also what follows he hath set down in the same way.
For neither did he say, "They which wait upon the altar receive of them which sacrifice," but, "have their portion with the altar." For the things offered now no longer belonged to those who offered them, but to the temple and the altar. And he said not, "They receive the holy things," but, they "eat of the temple," indicating again their moderation, and that it behoves them not to make money nor to be rich. And though he say that they have their portion "with the altar," he doth not speak of equal distribution but of relief given them as their due. And yet the case of the Apostles was much stronger. For in the former instance the priesthood was an honor, but in the latter it was dangers and slaughters and violent deaths. Wherefore all the other examples together did not come up to the saying, "If we sowed unto you spiritual things:" since in saying, "we sowed," he points out the storms, the danger, the snares, the unspeakable evils, which they endured in preaching. Nevertheless, though the superiority was so great, he was unwilling either to abase the things of the old law or to exalt the things which belong to himself: nay he even contracts his own, reckoning the superiority not from the dangers, but from the greatness of the gift. For he said not, "if we have jeoparded ourselves" or "exposed ourselves to snares" but "if we sowed unto you spiritual things.
And the part of the priests, as far as possible, he exalts, saying, "They which minister about sacred things," and "they that wait upon the altar," thereby intending to point out their continual servitude and patience. Again, as he had spoken of the priests among the Jews, viz. both the Levites and the Chief Priests, so he hath expressed each of the orders, both the inferior and the superior; the one by saying, "they which minister about sacred things," and the other by saying, "they which wait upon the altar." For not to all was one work commanded; but some were entrusted with the coarser, others with the more exalted offices. Comprehending therefore all these, lest any should say, "why talk to us of the old law? knowest thou not that ours is the time of more perfect commandments?" after all those topics he placed that which is strongest of all, saying,
Ver. 14. "Even so did the Lord ordain that they who proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel."
Nor doth he even here say that they are supported by men, but as in the case of the priests, of "the temple" and "of the altar," so likewise here, "of the Gospel;" and as there he saith, "eat," so here, "live," not make merchandize nor lay up treasures. "For the laborer," saith He, "is worthy of his hire."
[2.] Ver. 15. "But I have used none of these things:"
What then if thou hast not used them now, saith one, but intendest to use them at a future time, and on this account sayest these things. Far from it; for he speedily corrected the notion, thus saying;
"And I write not these things that it may be so done in my case."
And see with what vehemence he disavows and repels the thing:
"For it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void."
And not once nor twice, but many times he uses this expression. For above he said, "We did not use this right:" and after this again, "that I abuse not my right:" and here, "but I have used none of these things." "These things;" what things? The many examples. That is to say, many things giving me license; the soldier, the husbandman, the shepherd, the Apostles, the law, the things done by us unto you, the things done by you unto the others, the priests, the ordinance of Christ; by none of these have I been induced to abolish my own law, and to receive. And speak not to me of the past: (although I could say, that I have endured much even in past times on this account,) nevertheless I do not rest on it alone, but likewise concerning the future I pledge myself, that I would choose rather to die of hunger than be deprived of these crowns.
"For it were good for me rather to die," saith he, "than that any man should make my glorying void."
He said not, "that any man should abolish my law," but, "my glorying." For lest any should say, "he doth it indeed but not cheerfully, but with lamentation and grief," willing to show the excess of his joy and the abundance of his zeal, he even calls the matter "glorying." So far was he from vexing himself that he even glories, and chooses rather to die than to fall from this "glorying." So much dearer to him even than life itself was that proceeding of his.
[3.] Next, he exalts it from another consideration also, and signifies that it was a great thing, not that he might show himself famous, (for far was he from that disposition,) but to signify that he rejoices, and with a view more abundantly to take away all suspicion. For on this account, as I before said, he also called it a glorying: and what saith he?
Ver. 16, 17, 18. "For if I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel! For if I do this of mine own will, I have a reward: but if not of mine own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge, so as not to use to the full my right in the Gospel."
What sayest thou? tell me. "If thou preach the Gospel, it is nothing for thee to glory of, but it is, if thou make the Gospel of Christ without charge?" Is this therefore greater than that? By no means; but in another point of view it hath some advantage, inasmuch as the one is a command, but the other is a good deed of my own free-will: for what things are done beyond the commandment, have a great reward in this respect: but such as are in pursuance of a commandment, not so great: and so in this respect he says, the one is more than the other; not in the very nature of the thing. For what is equal to preaching; since it maketh men vie even with the angels themselves. Nevertheless since the one is a commandment and a debt, the other a forwardness of free-will, in this respect this is more than that. Wherefore he saith, explaining the same, what I just now mentioned:
"For if I do this of mine own will, I have a reward, but if not of mine own will, a stewardship is entrusted to me;" taking the words of mine own "will" and "not of mine own will," of its being committed or not committed to him. And thus we must understand the expression, "for necessity is laid upon me;" not as though. he did aught of these things against his will, God forbid, but as though he were bound by the things commanded, and for contradistinction to the liberty in receiving before mentioned. Wherefore also Christ said to the disciples, (St. Luke xvii. 10.) "When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants; for we have done that which was our duty to do."
"What then is my reward? That when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel without charge." What then, tell me, hath Peter' no reward? Nay, who can ever have so great an one as he? And what shall we say of the other Apostles? How then said he, "If I do this of mine own will I have a reward, but if not of mine own will, a stewardship is entrusted to me?" Seest thou here also his wisdom? For he said not, "But if not of mine own will," I have no reward, but, "a stewardship is committed unto me:" implying that even thus he hath a reward, but such as he obtains who hath performed what was commanded, not such as belongs to him who hath of his own resources been generous and exceeded the commandment.
"What then is the reward? That, when I preach the Gospel," saith he, "I may make the Gospel without charge, so as not to use to the full my right in the Gospel." See how throughout he uses the term "right," intimating this, as I have often observed; that neither are they who receive worthy of blame. But he added,. "in the Gospel," partly to show the reasonableness of it, partly also to forbid our carrying the matter out into every case. For the teacher ought to receive, but not the mere drone also.
[4.] Ver. 19. "For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more."
Here again he introduces another high step in advance. For a great thing it is even not to receive, but this which he is about to mention is much more than that. What then is it that he says? "Not only have I not received," saith he," not only have I not used this right, but I have even made myself a slave, and in a slavery manifold and universal. For not in money alone, but, which was much more than money, in employments many and various have I made good this same rule: and I have made myself a slave when I was subject to none, having no necessity in any respect, (for this is the meaning of, "though I was free from all men;") and not to any single person have I been a slave, but to the whole world." brought Wherefore also he subjoined, "I myself under bondage to all." That is, "To preach the Gospel I was commanded, and to proclaim the things committed to my trust; but the contriving and devising numberless things beside, all that was of my own zeal. For I was only under obligation to invest the money, whereas I did every thing in order to get a return for it, attempting more than was commanded." Thus doing as he did all things of free choice and zeal and love to Christ, he had an insatiable desire for the salvation of mankind. Wherefore also he used to overpass by a very great deal the lines marked out, in every way springing higher than the very heaven.
[5.] Next, having mentioned his servitude, be describes in what follows the various modes of it.. And what are these?
Ver. 20. "And I became," says he, "to the Jews as a Jew, that I might gain Jews." And how did this take place? When he circumcised that he might abolish circumcision. Wherefore he said not, "a Jew," but, "as a Jew," which was a wise arrangement. What sayest thou? The herald of the world and he who touched the very heavens and shone so bright in grace, doth he all at once descend so low? Yea. For this is to ascend. For you are not to look to the fact only of his descending, but also to his raising up him that was bowed down and bringing him up to himself.
"To them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law." Either it is the explanation of what went before, or he hints at some other thing besides the former: calling those Jews, who were such originally and from the first: but "under the law," the proselytes, or those who became believers and yet adhered to the law. For they were no longer as Jews, yet 'under the law.' And when was he under the law? When he shaved his head; when he offered sacrifice. Now these things were done, not because his mind changed, (since such conduct would have been wickedness,) but because his love condescended. For that he might bring over to this faith those who were really Jews, he became such himself not really, showing himself such only, but not such in fact nor doing these things from a mind so disposed. Indeed, how could he, zealous as he was to convert others also, and doing these things only in order that he might free others who did them from that degradation?
Vet. 21. "To them that are without law, as without law." These were neither Jews, nor Christians, nor Greeks; but 'outside of the Law,' as was Cornelius, and if there were any others like him. For among these also making his appearance, he used to assume many of their ways. But some say that he hints at his discourse with the Athenians from the inscription on the altar, and that so he saith, "to them that are without law, as without law."
Then, lest any should think that the matter was a change of mind, he added, "not being without law to God, but under law to Christ;" i.e., "so far from being without law, I am not simply under the Law, but I have that law which is much more exalted than the older one, viz. that of the Spirit and of grace." Wherefore also he adds, "to Christ." Then again, having made them confident of his judgment, he states also the gain of such condescension, saying, "that I might gain them that are without law." And every where he brings forward the cause of his condescension, and stops not even here, but says,
Ver. 22. "To the weak became I weak, that I might gain the weak:" in this part coming to their case, with a view to which also all these things have been spoken. However, those were much greater things, but this more to the purpose; whence also he hath placed it after them. Indeed he did the same thing likewise in his Epistle to the Romans, when he was finding fault about meats; and so in many other places.
Next, not to waste time by naming all severally, he saith, "I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some."
Seest thou how far it is carried? "I am become all things to all men," not expecting, however, to save all, but that I may save though it be but a few. And so great care and service have I undergone, as one naturally would who was about saving all, far however from hoping to gain all: which was truly magnanimous and a proof of burning zeal. Since likewise the sower sowed every where, and saved not all the seed, notwithstanding he did his part. And having mentioned the fewness of those who are saved, again, adding, "by all means," he consoled those to whom this was a grief. For though it be not possible that all the seed should be saved, nevertheless it cannot be that all should perish. Wherefore he said, "by all means," because one so ardently zealous must certainly have some success.
Ver. 23. "And I do all things for the Gospel's sake, that I may be a joint partaker thereof."
"That is, that I may seem also myself to have added some contribution of mine own, and may partake of the crowns laid up for the faithful. For as he spake of "living of the Gospel," i.e, of the believers; so also here, "that I may be a joint partaker in the Gospel, that I may be able to partake with them that have believed in the Gospel." Do you perceive his humility, how in the recompense of rewards he places himself as one of the many, though he had exceeded all in his labors? whence it is evident that he would in his reward also. Nevertheless, he claims not to enjoy the first prize, but is content if so be he may partake with the others in the crowns laid up for them. But these things he said, not because he did this for any reward, but that hereby at least he might draw them on, and by these hopes might induce them to do all things for their brethren's sake. Seest thou his wisdom! Seest thou the excellency of his perfection? how he wrought beyond the things commanded, not receiving when it was lawful to receive. Seest thou the exceeding greatness of his condescension? how he that was "under law to Christ," and kept that highest law, "to them that were without law," was "as one without law," to the Jews, as a Jew, in either kind showing himself preeminent, and surpassing all.
[6.] This also do thou, and think not being eminent, that thou lowerest thyself, when for thy brother's sake thou submittest to some abasement. For this is not to fall, but to descend. For he who falls, lies prostrate, hardly to be raised up again; but he who descends shall also rise again with much advantage. As also Paul descended indeed alone, but ascended with the whole world: not acting a part, for he would not have sought the gain of them that are saved had he been acting. Since the hypocrite seeks men's perdition, and feigns, that he may receive, not that he may give. But the apostle not so: as a physician rather, as a teacher, as a father, the one to the sick, the other to the disciple, the third to the son, condescends for his correction, not for his hurt; so likewise did he.
To show that the things which have been stated were not pretence; in a case where he is not compelled to do or say any such thing but means to express his affection and his confidence; hear him saying, (Rom. viii. 39.) "neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Seest thou a love more ardent than fire? So let us also love Christ. For indeed it is easy, if we will. For neither was the Apostle such by nature. On this account, you see, his former life was recorded, so contrary to this, that we may learn that the work is one of choice, and that to the willing all things are easy.
Let us not then despair, but even though thou be a reviler, or covetous, or whatsoever thou art, consider that Paul was (1 Tim. i. 13, 16.) "a blasphemer, and persecutor, and injurious, and the chief of sinners," and suddenly rose to the very summit of virtue, and his former life proved no hindrance to him. And yet none with so great frenzy clings to vice as he did to the war against the Church. For at that time he put his very life into it; and because he had not ten thousand hands that he might stone Stephen with all of them, he was vexed. Notwithstanding, even thus he found how he might stone him with more hands, to wit, those of the false witnesses whose clothes he kept. And again, when he entered into houses like a wild beast and no otherwise did he rush in, haling, tearing men and women, filling all things with tumult and confusion and innumerable conflicts. For instance, so terrible was he that the Apostles, (Acts ix. 26.) even after his most glorious change, did not yet venture to join themselves to him. Nevertheless, after all those things he became such as he was: for I need not say more.
[7.] Where now are they who build up the necessity of fate against the freedom of the will? Let them hear these things, and let their mouths be stopped. For there is nothing to hinder him that willeth to become good, even though before he should be one of the vilest. And in fact we are more aptly disposed that way, inasmuch as virtue is agreeable to our nature, and vice contrary to it, even as sickness and health. For God hath given us eyes, not that we may look wantonly, but that, admiring his handiwork, we may worship the Creator. And that this is the use of our eyes is evident from the things which are seen. For the lustre of the sun and of the sky we see from an immeasurable distance, but a woman's beauty one cannot discern so far off. Seest thou that for this end our eye was chiefly given? Again, he made the ear that we should entertain not blasphemous words, but saving doctrines. Wherefore you see, when it receives any thing dissonant, both our soul shudders and our very body also. "For," saith one, (Ecclus. xxvii. 5.) "the talk of him that sweareth much maketh the hair stand upright." And if we hear any thing cruel or merciless, again our flesh creeps; but if any thing decorous and kind, we even exult and rejoice. Again, if our mouth utter base words, it causes us to be ashamed and hide ourselves, but if grave words, it utters them with ease and all freedom. Now for those things which are according to nature no one would blush, but for those which are against nature. And the hands when they steal hide themselves, and seek excuses; but if they give alms, they even glory. So that if we will, we have from every side a great inclination towards virtue. But if thou talk to me of the pleasure which arises from vice, consider that this also is a thing which we reap more of from virtue. For to have a good conscience and to be looked up to by all and to entertain good hopes, is of all things most pleasant to him that hath seen into the nature of pleasure, even as the reverse is of all things the most grievous to him that knows the nature of pain; such as to be reproached by all, to be accused by our own conscience, to tremble and fear both at the future and the present.
And that what I say may become more evident, let us suppose for argument's sake one man having a wife, yet defiling the marriage-bed of his neighbor and taking pleasure in this wicked robbery, enjoying his paramour. Then let us again oppose to him another who loves his own spouse. And that the victory may be greater and more evident, let the man who enjoys his own wife only, have a fancy also for the other, the adulteress, but restrain his passion and do nothing evil: (although neither is this pure chastity.) However, granting more than is necessary, that you may convince yourself how great is the pleasure of virtue, for this cause have we so framed our story.
Now then, having brought them together, let us ask them accordingly, whose is the pleasanter life: and you will hear the one glorying and exulting in the conquest over his lust: but the other—or rather, there is no need to wait to be informed of any thing by him. For thou shalt see him, though he deny it times without number, more wretched than men in a prison. For he fears and suspects all, both his own wife and the husband of the adulteress and the adulteress herself, and domestics, and friends, and kinsmen, and walls, and shadows, and himself, and what is worst of all, he hath his conscience crying out against him, barking aloud every day. But if he should also bring to mind the judgment-seat of God, he will not be able even to stand. And the pleasure is short: but the pain from it unceasing. For both at even, and in the night, in the desert and the city and every where, the accuser haunts him, pointing to a sharpened sword and the intolerable punishment, and with that terror consuming and wasting him. But the other, the chaste person, is free from all these things, and is at liberty, and with comfort looks upon his wife, his children, his friends, and meets all with unembarrassed eyes. Now if he that is enamored but is master of himself enjoy so great pleasure, he that indulges no such passion but is truly chaste, what harbor, what calm will be so sweet and serene as the mind which he will attain? And on this account you may see few adulterers but many chaste persons. But if the former were the pleasanter, it would be preferred by the greater number. And tell me not of the terror of the laws. For this is not that which restrains them, but the excessive unreasonableness, and the fact that the pains of it are more than the pleasures, and the sentence of conscience.
[8.] Such then is the adulterer. Now, if you please, let us bring before you the covetous, laying bare again another lawless passion. For him too we shall see afraid of the same things and unable to enjoy real pleasure: in that calling to mind both those whom he hath wronged, and those who sympathize with them, and the public sentence of all concerning himself, he hath ten thousand agitations.
And this is not his only vexation, but not even his beloved object can he enjoy. For such is the way of the covetous; not that they may enjoy do they possess, but that they may not enjoy. But if this seem to thee a riddle, hear next what is yet worse than this and more perplexing; that not in this way only are they deprived of the pleasure of their goods, by their not venturing to use them as they would, but also by their never being filled with them but living in a continual thirst: than which what can be more grievous? But the just man is not so, but is delivered both from trembling and hatred and fear and this incurable thirst: and as all men curse the one, even so do all men conspire to bless the other: and as the one hath no friend, so hath the other no enemy.
What now, these things being so acknowledged, can be more unpleasing than vice or more pleasant than virtue? Nay, rather, though we should speak for ever, no one shall be able to represent in discourse either the pain of this, or the pleasure of the other, until we shall experience it. For then shall we find vice more bitter than gall, when we shall have fully tasted the honey of virtue. Not but vice is even now unpleasant, and disgusting, and burdensome, and this not even her very votaries gainsay; but when we withdraw from her, then do we more clearly discern the bitterness of her commands. But if the multitude run to her, it is no marvel; since children also oftentimes, choosing things less pleasant, despise those which are more delightful and the sick for a momentary gratification lose the perpetual and more certain joy. But this comes of the weakness and folly of those who are possessed with any fondness, not of the nature of the things. For it is the virtuous man who lives in pleasure; he who is rich indeed and free indeed.
But if any one would grant the rest to virtue,—liberty, security freedom from cares, the fearing no man, the suspecting no man,—but would not grant it pleasure; to laugh, and that heartily, occurs to me, I confess, as the only course to be taken. For what else is pleasure, but freedom from care and fear and despondency, and the not being under the power of any? And who is in pleasure, tell me, the man in frenzy and convulsion, who is goaded by divers lusts, and is not even himself; or he who is freed from all these waves, and is settled in the love of wisdom, as it were in a harbor? Is it not evident, the latter? But this would seem to be a thing peculiar to virtue. So that vice hath merely the name of pleasure, but of the substance it is destitute. And before the enjoyment, it is madness, not pleasure: but after the enjoyment, straightway this also is extinguished. Now then if neither at the beginning nor afterwards can one discern the pleasure of it, when will it appear, and where?
And that thou mayest more clearly understand what I say, let us try the force of the argument in an example. Now consider. One is enamored of a fair and lovely woman: this man as long as he cannot obtain his desire is like unto men beside themselves and frantic; but after that he hath obtained it, he hath quenched his appetite. If therefore neither at the beginning doth he feel pleasure, (for the affair is madness,) nor in the end, (for by the indulgence of his lust he cools down his wild fancy,) where after all are we to find it? But our doings are not such, but both at the beginning they are freed from all disturbance, and to the end the pleasure remains in its bloom: nay rather there is no end of our pleasure, nor have our good things a limit, nor is this pleasure ever done away.
Upon all these considerations, then, if we love pleasure, let us lay hold on virtue that we may win good things both now and hereafter: unto which may we all attain, through the grace and mercy, &c.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?
Having pointed out the manifold usefulness of condescension and that this is the highest perfectness, and that he himself having risen higher than all towards perfection, or rather having gone beyond it by declining to receive, descended lower than all again; and having made known to us the times for each of these, both for the perfectness and for the condescension; he touches them more sharply in what follows, covertly intimating that this which was done by them and which was counted a mark of perfectness, is a kind of superfluous and useless labor. And he saith it not thus out clearly, lest they should become insolent; but the methods of proof employed by him makes this evident.
And having said that they sin against Christ and destroy the brethren, and are nothing profited by this perfect knowledge, except charity be added; he again proceeds to a common example, and saith,
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?" Now this he saith, not as though here also one only out of many would be saved; far from it; but to set forth the exceeding diligence which it is our duty to use. For as there, though many descend into the course not many are crowned, but this befalls one only; and it is not enough to descend into the contest, nor to anoint one's self and wrestle: so likewise here it is not sufficient to believe, and to contend in any way; but unless we have so run as unto the end to show ourselves unblameable, and to come near the prize, it will profit us nothing. For even though thou consider thyself to be perfect according to knowledge, thou hast not yet attained the whole; which hinting at, he said, "so run, that ye may obtain." They had not then yet, as it seems, attained. And having said thus, he teaches them also the manner.
Ver. 25. "And every man that striveth in the games is temperate in all things."
What is, "all things?" He doth not abstain from one and err in another, but he masters entirely gluttony and lasciviousness and drunkenness and all his passions. "For this," saith he, "takes place even in the heathen games. For neither is excess of wine permitted to those who contend at the time of the contest, nor wantonness, lest they should weaken their vigor, nor yet so much as to be busied about any thing else, but separating themselves altogether from all things they apply themselves to their exercise only." Now if there these things be so where the crown fails to one, much more here, where the incitement in emulation is more abundant. For here neither is one to be crowned alone, and the rewards also far surpass the labors. Wherefore also he puts it so as to shame them, saying, "Now they do it receive to a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible."
[2.] Ver. 56. "I therefore so run, as not uncertainly."
Thus having shamed them from those that are without, he next brings forward himself also, which kind of thing is a most excellent method of teaching: and accordingly we find him every where doing so.
But what is, "not uncertainly?" "Looking to some mark," saith he, "not at random and in vain, as ye do. For what profit have ye of entering into idol-temples, and exhibiting forsooth that perfectness? None. But not such am I, but all things whatsoever I do, I do for the salvation of my neighbor. Whether I show forth perfectness, it is for their sake; or condescension, for their sake again: whether I surpass Peter in declining to receive [compensation], it is that they may not be offended; or descend lower than all, being circumcised and shaving my head, it is that they may not be subverted. This is, "not uncertainly." But thou, why dost thou eat in idol-temples, tell me? Nay, thou canst not assign any reasonable cause. For "meat commendeth thee not to God; neither if thou eat art thou the better, nor if thou eat not art thou the worse." (I Cor. viii. 8.) Plainly then thou runnest at random: for this is, "uncertainly."
"So fight I, as not beating the air." This he saith, again intimating that he acted not at random nor in vain. "For I have one at whom I may strike, i.e., the devil. But thou dost not strike him, but simply throwest away thy strength."
Now so far then, altogether bearing with them, he thus speaks. For since he had dealt somewhat vehemently with them in the preceding part, he now on the contrary keeps back his rebuke, reserving for the end of the discourse the deep wound of all. Since here he says that they act at random and in vain; but afterwards signifies that it is at the risk of no less than utter ruin to their own soul, and that even apart from all injury to their brethren, neither are they themselves guiltless in daring so to act.
Ver. 27. "But I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected."
Here he implies that they are subject to the lust of the belly and give up the reins to it, and under a pretence of perfection fulfil their own greediness; a thought which before also he was travailing to express, when he said, "meats for the belly, and the belly for meats." (1 Cor. vi. 13.) For since both fornication is caused by luxury, and it also brought forth idolatry, he naturally oftentimes inveighs against this disease; and pointing out how great things he suffered for the Gospel, he sets this also down among them. "As I went," saith he, "beyond the commands, and this when it was no light matter for me:" ("for we endure all things," it is said,) "so also here I submit to much labor in order to live soberly. Stubborn as appetite is and the tyranny of the belly, nevertheless I bridle it and give not myself up to the passion, but endure all labor not to be drawn aside by it."
"For do not, I pray you, suppose that by taking things easily I arrive at this desirable result. For it is a race and a manifold struggle, and a tyrannical nature continually rising up against me and seeking to free itself. But I bear not with it but keep it down, and bring it into subjection with many struggles." Now this he saith that none may despairingly withdraw from the conflicts in behalf of virtue because the undertaking is laborious. Wherefore he saith, "I buffet and bring into bondage." He said not, "I kill:" nor., "I punish" for the flesh is not to be hated, but, "I buffet and bring into bondage;" which is the part of a master not of an enemy, of a teacher not of a foe, of a gymnastic master not of an adversary.
"Lest by any means, having preached to others, I myself should be a rejected."
Now if Paul feared this who had taught so many, and feared it after his preaching and becoming an angel and undertaking the leadership of the whole world; what can we say?
For, "think not," saith he, "because ye have believed, that this is sufficient for your salvation: since if to me neither preaching nor teaching nor bringing over innumerable persons, is enough for salvation unless I exhibit my own conduct also unblameable, much less to you."
[3.] Then he comes to other illustrations again. And as above he alleged the examples of the Apostles and those of common custom and those of the priests, and his own, so also here having set forth those of the Olympic games and those of his own course, he again proceeds to the histories of the Old Testament. And because what he has to say will be somewhat unpleasing he makes his exhortation general, and discourses not only concerning the subject before him, but also generally concerning all the evils among the Corinthians. And in the case of the heathen games, "Know ye not?" saith he: but here,
Chap. x. ver. 1. "For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant."
Now this he said, implying that they were not very well instructed in these things. And what is this which thou wouldest not have us ignorant of?
Ver. 1—5 "That our fathers," saith he, "were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual Rock that followed them: and the Rock was Christ. Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased."
And wherefore saith he these things? To point out that as they were nothing profited by the enjoyment of so great a gift, so neither these by obtaining Baptism and partaking of spiritual Mysteries, except they go on and show forth a life worthy of this grace. Wherefore also he introduces the types both of Baptism and of the Mysteries.
But what is, "They were baptized into Moses?" Like as we, on our belief in Christ and His resurrection, are baptized, as being destined in our own persons to partake in the same mysteries; for, "we are baptized," saith he, "for the dead," i.e., for our own bodies; even so they putting confidence in Moses, i.e., having seen him cross first, ventured also themselves into the waters. But because he wishes to bring the Type near the Truth; he speaks it not thus, but uses the terms of the Truth even concerning the Type.
Further: this was a symbol of the Font, and that which follows, of the Holy Table. For as thou eatest the Lord's Body, so they the manna: and as thou drinkest the Blood, so they water from a rock. For though they were things of sense which were produced, yet were they spiritually exhibited, not according to the order of nature, but according to the gracious intention of the gift, and together with the body nourished also the soul, leading it unto faith. On this account, you see, touching the food he made no remark, for it was entirely different, not in mode only but in nature also; (for it was manna;) but respecting the drink, since the manner only of the supply was extraordinary and required proof, therefore having said that "they drank the same spiritual drink," he added, "for they drank of a spiritual Rock that followed them," and he subjoined, "and the Rock was Christ." For it was not the nature of the rock which sent forth the water, (such is his meaning,) else would it as well have gushed out before this time: but another sort of Rock, a spiritual One, performed the whole, even Christ who was every where with them and wrought all the wonders. For on this account he said, "that followed them"
Perceivest thou the wisdom of Paul, how in both cases he points cut Him as the Giver, and thereby brings the Type nigh to the Truth? "For He who set those things before them," saith he, "the same also hath prepared this our Table: and the same Person both brought them through the sea and thee through Baptism; and before them set manna, but before thee His Body and Blood."
[4.] As touching His gift then, such is the case: now let us observe also what follows, and consider, whether when they showed themselves unworthy of the gift, He spared them. Nay, this thou canst not say. Wherefore also he added, "Howbeit with most of them God was not well- pleased;" although He had honored them with so great honor. Yea, it profited them nothing, but most of them perished. The truth is, they all perished, but that he might not seem to prophesy total destruction to these also, therefore he said, "most of them." And yet they were innumerable, but their number profited them nothing: and these were all so many tokens of love; but not even did this profit them, inasmuch as they did not themselves show forth the fruits of love.
Thus, since most men disbelieve the things said of hell, as not being present nor in sight; he alleges the things heretofore done as a proof that God doth punish all who sin, even though He have bestowed innumerable benefits upon them: "for if ye disbelieve the things to come," so he speaks, "yet surely the things that are past ye will not disbelieve." Consider, for example, how great benefits He bestowed on them: from Egypt and the slavery there He set them free, the sea He made their path, from heaven he brought down manna, from beneath He sent forth strange and marvellous fountains of waters; He was with them every where, doing wonders and fencing them in on every side: nevertheless since they showed forth nothing worthy of this gift, He spared them not, but destroyed them all.
Ver. 5. "For they were overthrown," saith he, "in the wilderness." Declaring by this word both the sweeping destruction, and the punishments and the vengeance inflicted by God, and that they did not so much as attain to the rewards proposed to them. Neither were they in the land of promise when He did these things unto them, but without and afar somewhere, and wide of that country; He thus visiting them with a double vengeance, both by not permitting them to see the land, and this too though promised unto them, and also by actual severe punishment.
And what are these things to us? say you. To thee surely they belong. Wherefore also he adds,
Ver. 6. "Now these things were figures of us."
For as the gifts are figures, even so are the punishments figures: and as Baptism and the Table were sketched out prophetically, so also by what ensued, the certainty of punishment coming on those who are unworthy of this gift was proclaimed beforehand for our sake that we by these examples might learn soberness. Wherefore also he adds,
"To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." For as in the benefits the types went before and the substance followed, such shall be the order also in the punishments. Seest thou how he signifies not only the fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely than those ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must needs be that the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
And see whom he handles first: those who eat in the idol-temples. For having said, "that we should not lust after evil things," which was general, he subjoins that which is particular, implying that each of their sins arose from evil lusting. And first he said this,
Ver. 7. "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, 'the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.'"
Do you hear how he even calls them "idolaters?" here indeed making the declaration, but afterwards bringing the proof. And he assigned the cause too wherefore they ran to those tables; and this was gluttony. Wherefore having said, "to the intent that we should not lust after evil things," and having added, nor "be idolaters," he names the cause of such transgression; and this was gluttony. "For the people sat down," saith he, "to eat and to drink," and he adds the end thereof, "they rose up to play." "For even as they," saith he, "from sensuality passed into idolatry; so there is a fear lest ye also may fall from the one into the other." Do you see how he signifies that these, perfect men forsooth, were more imperfect than the others whom they censured? Not in this respect only, their not bearing with their brethren throughout, but also in that the one sin from ignorance, but the others from gluttony. And from the ruin of the former he reckons the punishment to these, but allows not these to lay upon another the cause of their own sin but pronounces them responsible both for their injury, and for their own.
"Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed." Wherefore doth he here make mention of fornication. again, having so largely discoursed concerning it before? It is ever Paul's custom when he brings a charge of many sins, both to set them forth in order and separately to proceed with his proposed topics, and again in his discourses concerning other things to make mention also of the former: which thing God also used to do in the Old Testament, in reference to each several transgression, reminding the Jews of the calf and bringing that sin before them. This then Paul also does here, at the same time both reminding them of that sin, and teaching that the parent of this evil also was luxury and gluttony. Wherefore also he adds, "Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand."
And wherefore names he not likewise the punishment for their idolatry? Either because it was clear and more notorious, or because the plague was not so great at that time, as in the matter of Balaam, when they joined themselves to Baalpeor, the Midianitish women appearing in the camp and alluring them to wantonness according to the counsel of Balaam. For that this evil counsel was Balaam's Moses sheweth after this, in the following statement at the end of the Book of Numbers. (Numb. xxxi. 8, 11, 15, 16, in our translation.) "Balaam also the son of Beor they slew in the war of Midian with the sword and they brought the spoils. ... And Moses was wroth, and said, Wherefore have ye saved all the women alive? For these were to the children of Israel for a stumbling-block, according to the word of Balaam, to cause them to depart from and despise the word of the Lord for Peor's sake."
Ver. 9. "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and perished by serpents."
By this he again hints at another charge which he likewise states at the end, blaming them because they contended about signs. And indeed they were destroyed on account of trials, saying, "when will the good things come? when the rewards?" Wherefore also he adds, on this account correcting and alarming them,
Ver. 10. "Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer."
For what is required is not only to suffer for Christ, but also nobly to bear the things that come on us, and with all gladness: since this is the nature of every crown. Yea, and unless this be so, punishment rather will attend men who take calamity with a bad grace. Wherefore, both the Apostles when they were beaten rejoiced, and Paul gloried in his sufferings.
[5.] Ver. 11. "Now all these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come."
Again he terrifies them speaking of the "ends," and prepares them to expect things greater than had already taken place. "For that we shall suffer punishment is manifest," saith he, "from what hath been said, even to those who disbelieve the statements concerning hell-fire; but that the punishment also will be most severe, is evident, from the more numerous blessings which we have enjoyed, and from the things of which those were but figures. Since, if in the gifts one go beyond the other, it is most evident that so it will be in the punishment likewise." For this cause he both called them types, and said that they were "written for us" and made mention of an "end" that he might remind them of the consummation of all things. For not such will be the penalties then as to admit of a termination and be done away, but the punishment will be eternal; for even as the punishments in this world are ended with the present life, so those in the next continually remain. But when he said, "the ends of the ages," he means nothing else than that the fearful judgment is henceforth nigh at hand.
Ver. 12. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
Again, he casts down their pride who thought highly of their knowledge. For if they who had so great privileges suffered such things; and some for murmuring alone were visited with such punishment, and others for tempting, and neither their multitude moved God to repent, nor their having attained to such things; much more shall it be so in our case, except we be sober. And well said he, "he that thinketh he standeth:" for this is not even standing as one ought to stand, to rely on yourself: for quickly will such an one fall: since they too, had they not been high-minded and self- confident, but of a subdued frame of mind, would not have suffered these things. Whence it is evident, that chiefly pride, and carelessness from which comes gluttony also, are the sources of these evils. Wherefore even though thou stand, yet take heed lest thou fall. For our standing here is not secure standing, no not until we be delivered out of the waves of this present life and have sailed into the tranquil haven. Be not therefore high-minded at thy standing, but guard against thy falling; for if Paul feared who was firmer than all, much more ought we to fear.
[6.] Now the Apostle's word, as we have seen, was, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall;" but we cannot say even this; all of us, so to speak, having fallen, and lying prostrate on the ground. For to whom am I to say this? To him that committeth extortion every day? Nay, he lies prostrate with a mighty fall. To the fornicator? He too is cast down to the ground. To the drunkard? He also is fallen, and knoweth not even that he is fallen. So that it is not the season for this word, but for that saying of the prophet which he spake even to the Jews, (Jer. viii. 4.)—"He that falleth, doth he not rise again?" For all are fallen, and to rise again they have no mind. So that our exhortation is not concerning the not falling, but concerning the ability of them that are fallen to arise. Let us rise again then, late though it be, beloved, let us rise again, and let us stand nobly. How long do we lie prostrate? How long are we dranken, besotted with the excessive desire of the things of this life? It is a meet opportunity now to say, (Jer. vi. 10.) "To whom shall I speak and testify?" So deaf are all men become even to the very instruction of virtue, and thence filled with abundance of evils. And were it possible to discern their souls naked; as in armies when the battle is ended one may behold some dead, and some wounded, so also in the Church we might see. Wherefore I beseech and implore you, let us stretch out a hand to each other and thoroughly raise ourselves up. For I myself am of them that are smitten, and require one to apply some remedies.
Do not however despair on this account. For what if the wounds be severe? yet are they not incurable; such is our physician: only let us feel our wounds. Although we be arrived at the very extreme of wickedness, many are the ways of safety which He strikes out for us. Thus, if thou forbear to be angry with thy neighbor, thine own sins shall be forgiven. "For if ye forgive men," saith He, "your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Mat. vi. 14.) And if thou give alms, He will remit thee thy sins; for, "break off thy sins," saith He, "by alms." (Dan. iv. 54.) And if thou pray earnestly, thou shalt enjoy forgiveness: and this the widow signifieth who prevailed upon that cruel judge by the importunity of her prayer. And if thou accuse thine own sins, thou hast relief: for "declare thou thine iniquities first, that thou mayest be justified:" (Is. xlvii. 26.) and if thou art sorrowful on account of these things, this too will be to thee a powerful remedy: "for I saw," saith He, "that he was grieved and went sorrowful, and I healed his ways." (Is. lvii. 17.) And if, when thou sufferest any evil, thou bear it nobly, thou hast put away the whole. For this also did Abraham say to the rich man, that "Lazarus received his evil things, and here he is comforted." And if thou hast pity on the widow, thy sins are washed away. For, "Judge," saith He, "the orphan, and plead for the widow, and come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. And if your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and if they be as crimson, I will make them white as wool." (Is. 1. 17.) For not even a single scar of the wounds doth He suffer to appear. Yea, and though we be come to that depth of misery into which he fell, who devoured his father's substance and fed upon husks, and should repent, we are undoubtedly saved. And though we owe ten thousand talents, if we fall down before God and bear no malice, all things are forgiven us. Although we have wandered away to that place whither the sheep strayed from his keeper, even thence He recovers us again: only let us be willing, beloved. For God is merciful. Wherefore both in the case of him that owed ten thousand talents, He was content with His falling down before Him; and in the case of him who had devoured his father's goods, with his return only; and in the case of the sheep, with its willingness to be borne.
[7.] Considering therefore the greatness of His mercy, let us here make Him propitious unto us, and "let us come before His face by a full confession," (Ps. xcv. 2. LXX.) that we may not depart hence without excuse, and have to endure the extreme punishment. For if in the present life we exhibit even an ordinary diligence, we shall gain the greatest rewards: but if we depart having become nothing better here, even though we repent ever so earnestly there it will do us no good. For it was our duty to strive while yet remaining within the lists, not after the assembly was broken up idly to lament and weep: as that rich man did, bewailing and deploring himself, but to no purpose and in vain, since he overlooked the time in which he ought to have done these things. And not he alone, but many others there are like him now among the rich; not willing to despise wealth, but despising their own souls for wealth's sake: at whom I cannot but wonder, when I see men continually interceding with God for mercy, whilst they are doing themselves incurable harm, and unsparing of their very soul as if it were an enemy. Let us not then trifle, beloved, let us not trifle nor delude ourselves, beseeching God to have mercy upon us, whilst we ourselves prefer both money and luxury, and, in fact, all things to this mercy. For neither, if any one brought before thee a case and said in accusation of such an one, that being to suffer ten thousand deaths and having it in his power to rid himself of the sentence by a little money, he chose rather to die than to give up any of his property, would you say that he was worthy of any mercy or compassion. Now in this same way do thou also reason touching thyself. For we too act in this way, and making light of our own salvation, we are sparing of our money. How then dost thou beseech God to spare thee, when thou thyself art so unsparing of thyself, and honorest money above thy soul?
Wherefore also I am greatly astonished to see, how great witchery lies hid in wealth, or rather not in wealth, but in the souls of those that are beguiled. For there are, there are those that utterly derided this sorcery. For which among the things therein is really capable of bewitching us? Is it not inanimate matter? is it not transitory? is not the possession thereof unworthy of trust? is it not full of fears and dangers? nay, of murders and conspiracy? of enmity and hatred? of carelessness and much vice? is it not dust and ashes? what madness have we here? what disease?
"But," say you, "we ought not merely to bring such accusations against those that are so diseased, but also to destroy the passion." And in what other way shall we destroy it, except by pointing out its baseness and how full it is of innumerable evils?
But of this it is not easy to persuade a lover concerning the objects of his love. Well then, we must set before him another sort of beauty. But incorporeal beauty he sees not, being yet in his disease. Well then, let us show him some beauty of a corporeal kind, and say to him, Consider the meadows and the flowers therein, which are more sparkling than any gold, and more elegant and transparent than all kinds of precious stones. Consider the limpid streams from their fountains, the rivers which like oil flow noiselessly out of the earth. Ascend to heaven and behold the lustre of the sun, the beauty of the moon, the stars that cluster like flowers. "Why, what is this," say you, "since we do not, I suppose, make use of them as of wealth?" Nay, we use them mere than wealth, inasmuch as the use thereof is more needful, the enjoyment more secure. For thou hast no fear, lest, like money, any one should take them and go off: but you may be ever confident of having them, and that without anxiety or care. But if thou grieve because thou enjoy-est them in common with others, and dost not possess them alone like money; it is not money, but mere covetousness, which thou seemest to me to be in love with: nor would even the money be an object of thy desire, if it had been placed within reach of all in common.
[8.] Therefore, since we have found the beloved object, I mean Covetousness, come let me show thee how she hates and abhors thee, how many swords she sharpens against thee, how many pits she digs, how many nooses she ties, how many precipices she prepares; that thus at any rate thou mayest do away with the charm. Whence then are we to obtain this knowledge? From the highways, from the wars, from the sea, from the courts of justice. For she hath both filled the sea with blood, and the swords of the judges she often reddens contrary to law, and arms those who on the highway lie in wait day and night, and persuades men to forget nature, and makes parricides and matricides, and introduces all sorts of evils into man's life. Which is the reason why Paul entitles her "a root of these things." (I Tim. vi. 10.) She suffers not her lovers to be in any better condition than those who work in the mines. For as they, perpetually shut up in darkness and in chains, labor unprofitably; so also these buried in the caves of avarice, no one using any force with them, voluntarily draw on their punishment, binding on themselves fetters that cannot be broken. And those condemned to the mines. at least when even comes on, are released from their toils; but these both by day and night are digging in these wretched mines. And to those there is a definite limit of that hard labor, but these know no limit, but the more they dig so much the greater hardship do they desire. And what if those do it unwillingly, but these of their own will? in that thou tellest me of the grievous part of the disease, that it is even impossible for them to be rid of it, since they do not so much as hate their wretchedness. But as a swine in mud, so also do these delight to wallow in the noisome mire of avarice, suffering worse things than those condemned ones. As to the fact that they are in a worse condition, hear the circumstances of the one, and then thou wilt know the state of the other.
Now it is said that that soil which is impregnated with gold has certain clefts and recesses in those gloomy caverns. The malefactor then condemned to labor in that place, taking for that purpose a lamp and a mattock, so, we are told, enters within, and carries with him a cruse to drop oil from thence into the lamp, because there is darkness even by day, without a ray of light, as I said before. Then when the time of day calls him to his wretched meal, himself, they say, is ignorant of the time, but his jailor from above striking violently on the cave, by that clattering sound declares to those who are at work below the end of the day.
Do ye not shudder when ye hear all this? Let us see now, whether there be not things more grievous than these in the case of the covetous. For these too, in the first place, have a severer jailor, viz. avarice, and so much severer, as that besides their body he chains also their soul. And this darkness also is more awful than that. For it is not subject to sense, but they producing it within, whithersoever they go, carry it about with themselves. For the eye of their soul is put out: which is the reason why more than all Christ calls them wretched, saying, "But if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness." (S. Mat. vi. 23.) And they for their part have at least a lamp Shining, but these are deprived even of this beam of light; and therefore every day they fall into countless pitfalls. And the condemned when night overtakes them have a respite, sailing into that calm port which is common to all the unfortunate, I mean the night: but against the covetous even this harbor is blocked up by their own avarice: such grievous thoughts have they even at night, since then, without disturbance from any one, at full leisure they cut themselves to pieces.
Such are their circumstances in this world; but those in the next, what discourse shall exhibit? the intolerable furnaces, the rivers burning with fire, the gnashing of teeth, the chains never to be loosed, the envenomed worm, the rayless gloom, the never-ending miseries. Let us fear them, beloved, let us fear the fountain of so great punishments, the insatiate madness, the destroyer of our salvation. For it is impossible at the same time to love both money and your soul. Let us be convinced that wealth is dust and ashes, that it leaves us when we depart hence, or rather that even before our departure it oftentimes darts away from us, and injures us both in regard of the future and in respect of the present life. For before hell fire, and before that punishment, even here it surrounds us with innumerable wars, and stirs up strifes and contests. For nothing is so apt to cause war as avarice: nothing so apt to produce beggary, whether it show itself in wealth or in poverty. For in the souls of poor men also this grievous disease ariseth, and aggravates their poverty the more. And if there be found a poor covetous man, such an one suffers not punishment in money, but in hunger. For he allows not himself to enjoy his moderate means with comfort, but both racks his belly with hunger and punishes his whole body with nakedness and cold, and every where appears more squalid and filthy than any prisoners; and is always wailing and lamenting as though he were more wretched than all, though there be ten thousand poorer than he. This man, whether he go into the market-place, goes away with many a stripe; or into the bath, or into the theatre, he will still be receiving more wounds, not only from the spectators, but also from those upon the stage, where he beholds not a few of the unchaste women glittering in gold. This man again, whether he sail upon the sea, regarding the merchants and their richly-freighted ships and their enormous profits, will not even count himself to live: or whether he travel by land, reckoning up the fields, the suburban farms, the inns, the baths, the revenues arising out of them, will count his own life thenceforth not worth living; or whether thou shut him up at home, he will but rub and fret the wounds received in the market, and so do greater despite to his own soul: and he knows only one consolation for the evils which oppress him; death and deliverance from this life.
And these things not the poor man only, but the rich also, will suffer, who falls into this disease, and so much more than the poor, inasmuch as the tyranny presses more vehemently on him, and the intoxication is greater. Wherefore also he will account himself poorer than all; or rather, he is poorer. For riches and poverty are determined not by the measure of the substance, but by the disposition of the mind: and he rather is the poorest of all, who is always hangering after more and is never able to stay this wicked lust.
On all these accounts then let us flee covetousness, the maker of beggars, the destroyer of souls, the friend of hell, the enemy of the kingdom of heaven, the mother of all evils together; and let us despise wealth that we may enjoy wealth, and with wealth may enjoy also the good things laid up for us; unto which may we all attain, &c.
There hath no temptation taken you, but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.
Thus, because he terrified them greatly, relating the ancient examples, and threw them into an agony, saying, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall; "though they had borne many temptations, and had exercised themselves many times therein; for "I was with you," saith he, "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling:" (1 Cor. ii. 3.) lest they should say, "Why terrify and alarm us? we are not unexercised in these troubles, for we have been both driven and persecuted, and many and continual dangers have we endured:" repressing again their pride, he says, "there hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear," i.e., small, brief, moderate. For he uses the expression "man can bear,' in respect of what is small; as when he says, "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh." (Rom. vi. 19.) "Think not then great things," saith he, "as though ye had overcome the storm. For never have ye seen a danger threatening death nor a temptation intending slaughter:" which also he said to the Hebrews, "ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." (Heb. xii. 4.)
Then, because he terrified them, see how again he raises them up, at the same time recommending moderation; in the words, "God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." There are therefore temptations which we are not able to bear. And what are these? All, so to speak. For the ability lies in God's gracious influence; a power which we draw down by our own will. Wherefore that thou mayest know and see that not only those which exceed our power, but not even these which are "common to man" is it possible without assistance from God easily to bear, he added,
"But will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it."
For, saith he, not even those moderate temptations, as I was remarking, may we bear by our own power: but even in them we require aid from Him in our warfare that we may pass through them, and until we have passed, bear them. For He gives patience and brings on a speedy release; so that in this way also the temptation becomes bearable. This he covertly imtimates, saying, "will also make the way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it:" and all things he refers to Him.
[2.] Ver. 14. "Wherefore, my brethren, flee from idolatry."
Again he courts them by the name of kindred, and urges them to be rid of this sin with all speed. For he did not say, simply, depart, but "flee;" and he calls the matter "idolatry," and no longer bids them quit it merely on account of the injury to their neighbor, but signifies that the very thing of itself is sufficient to bring a great destruction.
Vet. 15. "I speak as to wise men: judge ye what I say."
Because he hath cried out aloud and heightened the accusation, calling it idolatry; that he might not seem to exasperate them and to make his speech disgusting, in what follows he refers the decision to them, and sets his judges down on their tribunal with an encomium. "For I speak as to wise men," saith he: which is the mark of one very confident of his own rights, that he should make the accused himself the judge of his allegations.
Thus also he more elevates the hearer, when he discourses not as commanding nor as laying down the law, but as advising with them and as actually pleading before them. For with the Jews, as more foolishly and childishly disposed, God did not so discourse, nor did He in every instance acquaint them with the reasons of the commands, but merely enjoined them; but here, because we have the privilege of great liberty, we are even admitted to be counsellors. And he discourses as with friends, and says, "I need no other judges, do ye yourselves pass this sentence upon me, I take you for arbiters."
[3.] Ver. 16. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the Blood of Christ?"
What sayest thou, O blessed Paul? When thou wouldest appeal to the hearer's reverence, when thou art making mention of awful mysteries, dost thou give the title of "cup of blessing" to that fearful and most tremendous cup? "Yea," saith he; "and no mean title is that which was spoken. For when I call it 'blessing,' I mean thanksgiving, and when I call it thanksgiving I unfold all the treasure of God's goodness, and call to mind those mighty gifts." Since we too, recounting over the cup the unspeakable mercies of God and all that we have been made partakers of, so draw near to Him, and communicate; giving Him thanks that He hath delivered from error the whole race of mankind; that being afar off, He made them nigh; that when they had no hope and were without God in the world, He constituted them His own brethren and fellow-heirs. For these and all such things, giving thanks, thus we approach. "How then are not your doings inconsistent," saith he, "O ye Corinthians; blessing God for delivering you from idols, yet running again to their tables?"
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the Blood of Christ?". Very persuasively spake he, and awfully. For what he says is this: "This which is in the cup is that which flowed from His side, and of that do we partake." But he called it a cup of blessing, because holding it in our hands, we so exalt Him in our hymn, wondering, astonished at His unspeakable gift, blessing Him, among other things, for the pouring out of this self-same draught that we might not abide in error: and not only for the pouring it out, but also for the imparting thereof to us all. "Wherefore if thou desire blood," saith He, "redden not the altar of idols with the slaughter of brute beasts, but My altar with My blood." Tell me, What can be more tremendous than this? What more tenderly kind? This also lovers do. When they see those whom they love desiring what belongs to strangers and despising their own, they give what belongs to themselves, and so persuade them to withdraw themselves from the gifts of those others. Lovers, however, display this liberality in goods and money and garments, but in blood none ever did so. Whereas Christ even herein exhibited His care and fervent love for us. And in the old covenant, because they were in an imperfect state, the blood which they used to offer to idols He Himself submitted to receive, that He might separate them from those idols; which very thing again was a proof of His unspeakable affection: but here He transferred the service to that which is far more awful and glorious, changing the very sacrifice itself, and instead of the slaughter of irrational creatures, commanding to offer up Himself.
[4.] "The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the Body of Christ?" Wherefore said he not, the participation? Because he intended to express something more and to point out how close was the union: in that we communicate not only by participating and partaking, but also by being united. For as that body is united to Christ, so also are we united to him by this bread.
But why adds he also, "which we break?" For although in the Eucharist one may see this done, yet on the cross not so, but the very contrary. For, "A bone of Him," saith one, "shall not be broken." But that which He suffered not on the cross, this He suffers in the oblation for thy sake, and submits to be broken, that he may fill all men.
Further, because he said, "a communion of the Body," and that which communicates is another thing from that whereof it communicates; even this which seemeth to be but a small difference, he took away. For having said, "a communion of the Body," he sought again to express something nearer. Wherefore also he added,
Ver. 17. "For we, who are many, are one bread, one body." "For why speak I of communion?" saith he, "we are that self-same body." For what is the bread? The Body of Christ. And what do they become who partake of it? The Body of Christ: not many bodies, but one body. For as the bread consisting of many grains is made one, so that the grains no where appear; they exist indeed, but their difference is not seen by reason of their conjunction; so are we conjoined both with each other and with Christ: there not being one body for thee, and another for thy neighbor to be nourished by, but the very same for all. Wherefore also he adds,
"For we all partake of the one bread." Now if we are all nourished of the same and all become the same, why do we not also show forth the, same love, and become also in this respect one? For this was the old way too in the time of our forefathers: "for the multitude of them that believed," saith the text, "were of one heart and soul." (Acts iv. 32.) Not so, however, now, but altogether the reverse. Many and various are the contests betwixt all, and worse than wild beasts are we affected towards each other's members. And Christ indeed made thee so far remote, one with himself: but thou dost not deign to be united even to thy brother with due exactness, but separatest thyself, having had the privilege of so great love and life from the Lord. For he gave not simply even His own body; but because the former nature of the flesh which was framed out of earth, had first become deadened by sin and destitute of life; He brought in, as one may say, another sort of dough and leaven, His own flesh, by nature indeed the same, but free from sin and full of life; and gave to all to partake thereof, that being nourished by this and laying aside the old dead material, we might be blended together unto that which is living and eternal, by means of this table.
[5.] Ver. 18. "Behold Israel after the flesh: have not they which eat the sacrifices communion with the altar?"
Again, from the old covenant he leads them unto this point also. For because they were far beneath the greatness of the things which had been spoken, he persuades them both from former things and from those to which they were accustomed. And he says well, "according to the flesh," as though they themselves were according to the Spirit. And what he says is of this nature: "even from persons of the grosser sort ye may be instructed that they who eat the sacrifices, have communion with the altar." Dost thou see how he intimates that they who seemed to be perfect have not perfect knowledge, if they know not even this, that the result of these sacrifices to many oftentimes is a certain communion and friendship with devils, the practice drawing them on by degrees? For if among men the fellowship of salt and the table becomes an occasion and token of friendship, it is possible that this may happen also in the case of devils.
But do thou, I pray, consider, how with regard to the Jews he said not, "they are par-takers with God," but, "they have communion with the altar;" for what was placed thereon was burnt: but in respect to the Body of Christ, not so. But how? It is "a Communion of the Lord's Body." For not with the altar, but with Christ Himself, do we have communion.
But having said that they have "communion with the altar," afterwards fearing lest he should seem to discourse as if the idols had any power and could do some injury, see again how he overthrows them, saying,
Ver. 19. "What say I then? That an idol is any thing? or that a thing sacrificed to idols is any thing?"
As if he had said, "Now these things I affirm, and try to withdraw you from the idols, not as though they could do any injury or had any power: for an idol is nothing; but I wish you to despise them." "And if thou wilt have us despise them," saith one, "wherefore dost thou carefully withdraw us from them?" Because they are not offered to thy Lord.
Ver. 20. "For that which the Gentiles sacrifice," saith he, "they sacrifice to demons, and not to God."
Do not then run to the contrary things. For neither if thou wert a king's son, and having the privilege of thy father's table, shouldest leave it and choose to partake of the table of the condemned and the prisoners in the dungeon, would thy father permit it, but with great vehemence he would withdraw thee; not as though the table could harm thee, but because it disgraces thy nobility and the royal table. For verily these too are servants who have offended; dishonored, condemned, prisoners reserved for intolerable punishment, accountable for ten thousand crimes. How then art thou riot ashamed to imitate the gluttonous and vulgar crew, in that when these condemned persons set out a table, thou runnest thither and partakest of the viands? Here is the cause why I seek to withdraw thee. For the intention of the sacrificers, and the person of the receivers, maketh the things set before thee unclean.
"And I would not that ye should have communion with demon." Perceivest thou the kindness of a careful father? Perceivest thou also the very word, what force it hath to express his feeling? "For it is my wish," saith he, "that you have nothing in common with them."
[6.] Next, because he brought in the saying by way of exhortation, lest any of the grosser sort should make light of it as having license, because he said, "I would not," and, "judge ye;" he positively affirms in what follows and lays down the law, saying,
Ver. 21. "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the Lord's table, and of the table of demons."
And he contents himself with the mere terms, for the purpose of keeping them away. Then, speaking also to their sense of shame, Ver. 22. "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He?" i.e.," Are we tempting Him, whether He is able to punish us, and irritating Him by going over to the adversaries and taking our stand with His enemies?" And this he said, reminding them of an ancient history and of their fathers' transgression. Wherefore also he makes use of this expression, which Moses likewise of old used against the Jews, accusing them of idolatry in the person of God. "For they," saith He, "moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they provoked Me to anger with their idols." (Deut. xxxii. 21.)
Are we stronger than He?" Dost thou see how terribly, how awfully he rebukes them, thoroughly shaking their very nerves, and by his way of reducing them to an absurdity, touching them to the quick and bringing down their pride? "Well, but why," some one will say, "did he not set down these things at first, which would be most effectual to withdraw them?" Because it is his custom to prove his point by many particulars, and to place the strongest last, and to prevail by proving more than was necessary. On this account then, he began from the lesser topics, and so made his way to that which is the sum of all evils: since thus that last point also became more easily admitted, their mind having been smoothed down by the things said before.
Ver. 23, 24. "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good."
Seest thou his exact wisdom? Because it was likely that they might say, "I am perfect and master of myself, and it does me no harm to partake of what is set before me;" "Evenso," saith he, "perfect thou art and master of thyself; do not however look to this, but whether the result involve not injury, nay subversion." For both these he mentioned, saying, "All things are not expedient, all things edify not;" and using the former with reference to one's self, the latter, to one's brother: since the clause, "are not expedient," is a covert intimation of the ruin of the person to whom he speaks; but the clause, "edify not," of the stumbling block to the brother.
Wherefore also he adds, "Let no man seek his own;" which he every where through the whole Epistle insists upon and in that to the Romans; when he says, "For even Christ pleased not Himself:" (Rom. xv. 3.) and again, "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit." (Cor. x. 33) And again in this place; he does not, however, fully work it out here. That is, since in what had gone before he had established it at length, and shown that he no where "seeks his own," but both "to the Jews became as a Jew and to them that are without law as without law," and used not his own "liberty" and "right" at random, but to the profit of all, serving all; he here broke off, content with a few words, by these few guiding them to the remembrance of all which had been said.
[7.] These things therefore knowing, let us also, beloved, consult for the good of the brethren and preserve unity with them. For to this that fearful and tremendous sacrifice leads us, warning us above all things to approach it with one mind and fervent love, and thereby becoming eagles, so to mount up to the very heaven, nay, even beyond the heaven. "For wheresoever the carcase is," saith He, "there also will be the eagles," (St. Mat. xxiv. 28.) calling His body a carcase by reason of His death. For unless He had fallen, we should not have risen again. But He calls us eagles, implying that he who draws nigh to this Body must be on high and have nothing common with the earth, nor wind himself downwards and creep along; but must ever be soaring heavenwards, and look on the Sun of Righteousness, and have the eye of his mind quick-sighted. For eagles, not daws, have a right to this table. Those also shall then meet Him descending from heaven, who now worthily have this privilege, even as they who do so unworthily, shall suffer the extremest torments.
For if one would not inconsiderately receive a king—(why say I a king? nay were, it but a royal robe, one would not inconsiderately touch it with unclean hands;)—though he should be in solitude, though alone, though no man were at hand: and yet the robe is nought but certain threads spun by worms: and if thou admirest the dye, this too is the blood of a dead fish; nevertheless, one would not choose to venture on it with polluted hands: I say now, if even a man's garment be what one would not venture inconsiderately to touch, what shall we say of the Body of Him Who is God over all, spotless, pure, associate with the Divine Nature, the Body whereby we are, and live; whereby the gates of hell were broken down and the sanctuaries of heaven opened? how shall we receive this with so great insolence? Let us not, I pray you, let us not slay ourselves by our irreverence, but with all awfulness and purity draw nigh to It; and when thou seest It set before thee, say thou to thyself, "Because of this Body am I no longer earth and ashes, no longer a prisoner, but free: because of this I hope for heaven, and to receive the good things therein, immortal life, the portion of angels, converse with Christ; this Body, nailed and scourged, was more than death could stand against; this Body the very sun saw sacrificed, and turned aside his beams; for this both the veil was rent in that moment, and rocks were burst asunder, and all the earth was shaken. This is even that Body, the blood-stained, the pierced, and that out of which gushed the saving fountains, the one of blood, the other of water, for all the world."
Wouldest thou from another source also learn its power? Ask of her diseased with an issue of blood, who laid hold not of Itself, but of the garment with which It was clad; nay not of the whole of this, but of the hem: ask of the sea, which bare It on its back: ask even of the Devil himself, and say, "Whence hast thou that incurable stroke? whence hast thou no longer any power? Whence art thou captive? By whom hast thou been seized in thy flight?" And he will give no other answer than this, "The Body that was crucified." By this were his goads broken in pieces; by this was his head crushed; by this were the powers and the principalities made a show of. "For," saith he, "having put off from himself principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Col. ii. 15.)
Ask also Death, and say, "whence is it that thy sting hath been taken away? thy victory abolished? thy sinews cut out? and thou become the laughing-stock of girls and children, who wast before a terror even to kings and to all righteous men?" And he will ascribe it to this Body. For when this was crucified, then were the dead raised up, then was that prison burst, and the gates of brass were broken, and the dead were loosed, and the keepers of hell-gate all cowered in fear. And yet, had He been one of the many, death on the contrary should have become more mighty; but it was not so. For He was not one of the many. Therefore was death dissolved. And as they who take food which they are unable to retain, On account of that vomit up also what was before lodged in them; so also it happened unto death. That Body, which he could not digest, he received: and therefore had to cast forth that which he had within him. Yea, he travailed in pain, whilst he held Him, and was straitened until He vomited Him up. Wherefore saith the Apostle, "Having loosed the pains of death." (Acts xi. 24.) For never woman labouring of child was so full of anguish as he was torn and racked in sunder, while he held the Body of the Lord. And that which happened to the Babylonian dragon, when, having taken the food it burst asunder in the midst this also happened unto him. For Christ came not forth again by the mouth of death, but having burst asunder and ripped up in the very midst, the belly of the dragon, thus from His secret chambers (Psalm xix. 5.) right gloriously He issued forth and flung abroad His beams not to this heaven alone, but to the very throne most high. For even thither did He carry it up.
This Body hath He given to us both to hold and to eat; a thing appropriate to intense love. For those whom we kiss vehemently, we oft- times even bite with our teeth. Wherefore also Job, indicating the love of his servants towards him, said, that they ofttimes, out of their great affection towards him, said, "Oh! that we were filled with his flesh!" (Job xxxi. 31.) Even so Christ hath given to us to be filled with His flesh, drawing us on to greater love.
[8.] Let us draw nigh to Him then with fervency and with inflamed love, that we may not have to endure punishment. For in proportion to the greatness of the benefits bestowed on us, so much the more exceedingly are we chastised when we show ourselves unworthy of the bountifulness. This Body, even lying in a manger, Magi reverenced. Yea, men profane and barbarous, leaving their country and their home, both set out on a long journey, and when they came, with fear and great trembling worshipped Him. Let us, then, at least imitate those Barbarians, we who are citizens of heaven. For they indeed when they saw Him but in a manger, and in a hut, and no such thing was in sight as thou beholdest now, drew nigh with great awe; but thou beholdest Him not in the manger but on the altar, not a woman holding Him in her arms, but the priest standing by, and the Spirit with exceeding bounty hovering over the gifts set before us. Thou dost not see merely this Body itself as they did, but thou knowest also Its power, and the whole economy, and art ignorant of none of the holy things which are brought to pass by It, having been exactly initiated into all.
Let us therefore rouse ourselves up and be filled with horror, and let us show forth a reverence far beyond that of those Barbarians; that we may not by random and careless approaches heap fire upon our own heads. But these things I say, not to keep us from approaching, but to keep us from approaching without consideration. For as the approaching at random is dangerous, so the not communicating in those mystical suppers is famine and death. For this Table is the sinews of our soul, the bond of our mind, the foundation of our confidence, our hope, our salvation, our light, our life. When with this sacrifice we depart into the outer world, with much confidence we shall tread the sacred threshold, fenced round on every side as with a kind of golden armor. And why speak I of the world to come? Since here this mystery makes earth become to thee a heaven. Open only for once the gates of heaven and look in; nay, rather not of heaven, but of the heaven of heavens; and then thou wilt behold what I have been speaking of. For what is there most precious of all, this will I show thee lying upon the earth. For as in royal palaces, what is most glorious of all is not walls, nor golden roofs, but the person of the king sitting on the throne; so likewise in heaven the Body of the King. But this, thou art now permitted to see upon earth. For it is not angels, nor archangels, nor heavens and heavens of heavens, that I show thee, but the very Lord and Owner of these. Perceivest thou how that which is more precious than all things is seen by thee on earth; and not seen only, but also touched; and not only touched, but likewise eaten; and after receiving It thou goest home?
Make thy soul clean then, prepare thy mind for the reception of these mysteries. For if thou wert entrusted to carry a king's child with the robes, the purple, and the diadem, thou wouldest cast away all things which are upon the earth. But now that it is no child of man how royal soever, but the only-begotten Son of God Himself, Whom thou receivedst; dost thou not thrill with awe, tell me, and cast away all the love of all worldly things, and have no bravery but that wherewith to adorn thyself? or dost thou still look towards earth, and love money, and pant after gold? What pardon then canst thou have? what excuse? Knowest thou not that all this worldly luxury is loathsome to thy Lord? Was it not for this that on His birth He was laid in a manger, and took to Himself a mother of low estate? Did He not for this say to him that was looking after gain, "But the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head?" (St. Mat. viii. 20.)
And what did the disciples? Did they not observe the same law, being taken to houses of the poor and lodged, one with a tanner, another with a tent-maker, and with the seller of purple? For they inquired not after the splendor of the house, but for the virtues of men's souls.
These therefore let us also emulate, hastening by the beauty of pillars and of marbles, and seeking the mansions which are above; and let us tread under foot all the pride here below with all love of money, and acquire a lofty mind. For if we be sober-minded, not even this whole world is worthy of us, much less porticoes and arcades. Wherefore, I beseech you, let us adorn our souls, let us fit up this house which we are also to have with us when we depart; that we may attain even to the eternal blessings, through the grace and mercy, &c.
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
Having said that "they could not drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the devils," and having once for all led them away from those tables, by Jewish examples, by human reasonings, by the tremendous Mysteries, by the rites solemnized among the idols; and having filled them with great fear; that he might not by this fear drive again to another extreme, and they be forced, exercising a greater scrupulosity than was necessary, to feel alarm, lest possibly even without their knowledge there might come in some such thing either from the market or from some other quarter; to release them from this strait, he saith, "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question." "For," saith he, "if thou eat in ignorance and not knowingly, thou art not subject to the punishment: it being thenceforth a matter not of greediness, but of ignorance."
Nor doth he free the man only from this anxiety, but also from another, establishing them in thorough security and liberty. For he cloth not even suffer them to "question;" i.e., to search and enquire, whether it be an idol-sacrifice or no such thing; but simply to eat every thing which comes from the market, not even acquainting one's self with so much as this, what it is that is act before us. So that even he that eateth, if in ignorance, may be rid of anxiety. For such is the nature of those things which are not in their essence evil, but through the man's intention make him unclean. Wherefore he saith, "asking no question."
Ver. 26. "For to the Lord belongeth the earth and the fulness thereof." Not to the devils. Now if the earth and the fruits and the beasts be all His, nothing is unclean: but it becomes unclean otherwise, from our intention and our disobedience. Wherefore he not only gave permission, but also,
Ver. 27. "If one of them that believe not biddeth you," saith he, "to a feast, and you are disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake."
See again his moderation. For he did not command and make a law that they should withdraw themselves, yet neither did he forbid it. And again, should they depart, he frees them from all suspicion. Now what may be the account of this? That so great curiousness might not seem to arise from any fear and cowardice. For he who makes scrupulous enquiry doth so as being in dread: but he who, on hearing the fact, abstains, abstains as out of contempt and hatred and aversion. Wherefore Paul, purposing to establish both points, saith, "Whatsoever is set before you, eat."
Ver. 28. "But if any man say unto you, This hath been offered in sacrifice unto idols; eat not, for his sake that showed it."
Thus it is not at all for any power that they have but as accursed, that he bids abstain from them. Neither then, as though they could injure you, fly from them, (for they have no strength;) nor yet, because they have no strength, indifferently partake: for it is the table of beings hostile and degraded. Wherefore he said, "eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake. For the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."(*)
Seest thou how both when he bids them eat and when they must abstain, he brings forward the same testimony? "For I do not forbid," saith he, "for this cause as though they belonged to others: ("for the earth is the Lord's:") but for the reason I mentioned, for conscience sake; i.e., that it may not be injured." Ought one therefore to inquire scrupulously? "Nay" saith he "for I said not thy conscience, but his. For I have already said, 'for his sake that showed it."' And again, v. 29, "Conscience, I say, not thine own, but the other's."
[2.] But perhaps some one may say, "The brethren indeed, as is natural, thou sparest, and dost not suffer us to taste for their sakes, lest their conscience being weak might be emboldened to eat the idol sacrifices. But if it be some heathen, what is this man to thee? Was it not thine own word, 'What have I to do with judging them that are without?' (1 Cor. v. 12.) Wherefore then dost thou on the contrary care for them?" "Not for him is my care," he replies, "but in this case also for thee." To which effect also he adds,
"For why is my liberty judged by another conscience?" meaning by "liberty," that which is left without caution or prohibition. For this is liberty, freed from Jewish bondage. And what he means is this: "God hath made me free and above all reach of injury, but the Gentile knoweth not how to judge of my rule of life, nor to see into the liberality of my Master, but will condemn and say to himself, Christianity is a fable; they abstain from the idols, they shun demons, and yet cleave to the things offered to them: great is their gluttony.'" "And what then?" it may be said. "What harm is it to us, should he judge us unfairly?" But how much better to give him no room to judge at all'. For if thou abstain, he will not even say this. "How," say you, "will he not say it? For when he seeth me not making these inquiries, either in the shambles or in the banquet; what should hinder him from using this language and condemning me, as one who partakes without discrimination?" It is not so at all. For thou partakest, not as of idol-sacrifices, but as of things clean. And if thou makest no nice enquiry, it is that thou mayest signify that thou fearest not the things set before thee; this being the reason why, whether thou enterest a house of Gentiles or goest into the market, I suffer thee not to ask questions; viz. lest thou become timid and perplexed, and occasion thyself needless trouble. Ver. 30. "If I by grace partake, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?" "Of what dost thou 'by grace partake?' tell me." Of the gifts of God. For His grace is so great, as to render my soul unstained and above all pollution. For as the sun sending down his beams upon many spots of pollution, withdraws them again pure; so likewise and much more, we, living in the midst of the world remain pure, if we will, by how much the power we have is even greater than his. "Why then abstain?" say you. Not as though I should become unclean, far from it; but for my brother's sake, and that I may not become a partaker with devils, and that I may not be judged by the unbeliever. For in this case it is no longer now the nature of the thing, but the disobedience and the friendship with devils which maketh me unclean, and the purpose of heart worketh the pollution. But what is, "why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? "I, for my part" saith he "give thanks to God that He hath thus set me on high, and above the low estate of the Jews, so that from no quarter am I injured. But the Gentiles not knowing my high rule of life will suspect the contrary, and will say, 'Here are Christians indulging a taste for our customs; they are a kind of hypocrites, abusing the demons and loathing them, yet running to their tables; than which what can be more senseless? We conclude that not for truth's sake, but through ambition and love of power they have betaken themselves to this doctrine.' What folly then would it be that in respect of those things whereby I have been so benefited as even to give solemn thanks, in respect of these I should become the cause of evil-speaking?" "But these things, even as it is," say you, "will the Gentile allege, when he seeth me not making enquiry." In no wise. For all things are not full of idol-sacrifices so that he should suspect this: nor dost thou thyself taste of them as idol-sacrifices. But not then scrupulous overmuch, nor again, on the other hand, when any say that it is an idol-sacrifice, do thou partake. For Christ gave thee grace and set thee on high and above all injury from that quarter, not that thou mightest be evil spoken of, nor that the circumstance which hath been such a gain to thee as to be matter of special thanksgiving, should so injure others as to make them even blaspheme. "Nay, why," saith he, "do I not say to the Gentile, 'I eat, I am no wise injured, and I do not this as one in friendship with the demons'?" Because thou canst not persuade him, even though thou shouldst say it ten thousand times: weak as he is and hostile. For if thy brother hath not yet been persuaded by thee, much less the enemy and the Gentile. If he is possessed by his consciousness of the idol- sacrifice, much more the unbeliever. And besides, what occasion have we for so great trouble?
"What then? whereas we have known Christ and give thanks, while they blaspheme, shall we therefore abandon this custom also?" Far from it. For the thing is not the same. For in the one case, great is our gain from bearing the reproach; but in the other, there will be no advantage. Wherefore also he said before, "for neither if we eat, are we the better; nor if we eat not, are we the worse." (c. viii. 8.) And besides this too he showed that the thing was to be avoided, so that even on another ground ought they to be abstained from, not on this account only but also for the other reasons which he assigned.
[3.] Ver. 31. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
Perceivest thou how from the subject before him, he carried out the exhortation to what was general, giving us one, the most excellent of all aims, that God in all things should be glorified?
Ver. 32. "Give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God:" i.e., give no handle to anyone: since in the case supposed, both thy brother is offended, and the Jew will the more hate and condemn thee, and the Gentile in like manner deride thee even as a gluttonous man and a hypocrite.
Not only, however, should the brethren receive no hurt from us, but to the utmost of our power not even those that are without. For if we are "light," and "leaven," and "luminaries," and "salt," we ought to enlighten, not to darken; to bind, not to loosen; to draw to ourselves the unbelievers, not to drive them away. Why then puttest thou to flight those whom thou oughtest to draw to thee?. Since even Gentiles are hurt, when they see us reverting to such things: for they know not our mind nor that our Soul hath come to be above all pollution of sense. And the Jews too, and the weaker brethren, will suffer the same.
Seest thou how many reasons he hath assigned for which we ought to abstain from the idol-sacrifices? Because of their unprofitableness, because of their needlessness, because of the injury to our brother, because of the evil-speaking of the Jew, because of the reviling of the Gentile, because we ought not to be partakers with demons, because the thing is a kind of idolatry.
Further, because he had said, "give no occasion of stumbling," and he made them responsible for the injury done, both to the Gentiles and to the Jews; and the saying was grievous; see how he renders it acceptable and light, putting himself forward, and saying,
Ver. 33. "Even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved."
Chap. xi. ver. I. "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ."
This is a rule of the most perfect Christianity, this is a landmark exactly laid down, this is the point that stands highest of all; viz. the seeking those things which are for the common profit: which also Paul himself declared, by adding, "even as I also am of Christ." For nothing can so make a man an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors. Nay, though thou shouldest fast, though thou shouldest lie upon the ground, and even strangle thyself, but take no thought for thy neighbor; thou hast wrought nothing great, but still standest far from this Image, while so doing. However, in the case before us, even the very thing itself is naturally useful, viz; the abstaining from idol-sacrifices. But "I," saith he, "have done many of those things which were unprofitable also: e.g., when I used circumcision, when I offered sacrifice; for these, were any one to examine them in themselves, rather destroy those that follow after them and cause them to fall from salvation: nevertheless, I submitted even to these on account of the advantage therefrom: but here is no such thing. For in that case, except there accrue a certain benefit and except they be done for others' sake, then the thing becomes injurious: but in this, though there be none made to stumble, even so ought one to abstain from the things forbidden.
But not only to things hurtful have I submitted, but also to things toilsome For, "I robbed other Churches," saith he, "taking wages of them; (2 Cor. xi. 8.) and when it was lawful to eat and not to work, I sought not this, but chose to perish of hunger rather than offend another." This is why he says, "I please all men in all things." "Though it be against the law, though it be laborious and hazardous, which is to be done, I endure all for the profit of others. So then, being above all in perfection, he became beneath all in condescension."
[4.] For no virtuous action can be very exalted, when it doth not distribute its benefit to others also: as is shown by him who brought the one talent safe, and was cut in sunder because he had not made more of it. And thou then, brother, though thou shouldest remain without food, though thou shouldest sleep upon the ground, though thou shouldest eat ashes and be ever wailing, and do good to no other; thou wilt do no great work. For so also those great and noble persons who were in the beginning made this their chiefest care: examine accurately their life, and thou wilt see clearly that none of them ever looked to his own things, but each one to the things of his neighbor, whence also they shone the brighter. For so Moses (to mention him first) wrought many and great wonders and signs; but nothing made him so great as that blessed voice which he uttered unto God, saying, "If Thou wilt forgive their sin," forgive.'" but if not, blot me also out." (Exod. xxxii. 32.) Such too was David: wherefore also he said, "I the shepherd have sinned, and I have done wickedly, but these, the flock, what have they done? Let Thine hand be upon me and upon my father's house." (2 Sam. xxiv. 17.) So likewise Abraham sought not his own profit, but the profit of many. Wherefore he both exposed himself to dangers and besought God for those who in no wise belonged to him.
Well: these indeed so became glorious. But as for those who sought their own, consider what harm too they received. The nephew, for instance, of the last mentioned, because he listened to the saying, "If thou wilt go to the right, I will go to the left;" (Gen. xiii. 9.) and accept-ring the choice, sought his own profit, did not even find his own: but this region was burned up, while that remained untouched. Jonah again, not seeking the profit of many, but his own, was in danger even of perishing: and while the city stood fast, he himself was tossed about and overwhelmed in the sea. But when he sought the profit of many, then he also found his own. So likewise Jacob among the flocks, not seeking his own gain, had exceeding riches for his portion. And Joseph also, seeking the profit of his brethren, found his own. At least, being sent by his father, (Gen xxxvii. 14.) I he said not, "What is this? Hast thou not heard that for a vision and certain dreams they even attempted to tear me in pieces, and I was held responsible for my dreams, and suffer punishment for being beloved of thee? What then will they not do when they get me in the midst of them?" He said none of these things, he thought not of them, but prefers the care of his brethren above all. Therefore he enjoyed also all the good things which followed, which both made him very brilliant and declared him glorious. Thus also Moses,—for nothing hinders that we should a second time make mention of him, and behold how he overlooked his own things and sought the things of others:—I say this Moses, being conversant in a king's court, because he "counted the reproach of Christ (Heb. xi. 26.) greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;" and having cast them even all out of his hands, became a partaker of the afflictions of the Hebrews;—so far from being himself enslaved, he liberated them also from bondage.
Well: these surely are great things and worthy of an angelical life. But the conduct of Paul far exceeds this. For all the rest leaving their own blessings chose to be partakers in the afflictions of others: but Paul did a thing much greater. For it was not that he consented to be a partaker in others' misfortunes, but he chose himself to be at all extremities that other men might enjoy blessings. Now it is not the same for one who lives in luxury to cast away his luxury and suffer adversity, as for one himself alone suffering adversity, to cause others to be in security and honor. For in the former case, though it be a great thing to exchange prosperity for affliction for your neighbor's sake, nevertheless it brings some consolation to have partakers in the misfortune. But consenting to be himself alone in the distress that others may enjoy their good things,— this belongs to a much more energetic soul, and to Paul's own spirit.
And not by this only, but by another and greater excellency doth he surpass all those before mentioned. That is, Abraham and all the rest exposed themselves to dangers in the present life, and all these were but asking for this kind of death once for all: but Paul prayed (Rom. ix. 3.,) that he might fall from the glory of the world to come for the sake of others' salvation.(*)
I may mention also a third point of superiority. And what is this? That some of those, though they interceded for the persons who conspired against them, nevertheless it was for those with whose guidance they had been entrusted: and the same thing happened as if one should stand up for a wild and lawless son, but still a son: whereas Paul wished to be accursed in the stead of those with whose guardianship he was not entrusted. For to the Gentiles was he sent. Dost thou perceive the greatness of his soul and the loftiness of his spirit, transcending the very heaven? This man do thou emulate: but if thou canst not, at least follow those who shone in the old covenant. For thus shalt thou find thine own profit, if thou seekest that of thy neighbor. Wherefore when thou feelest backward to care for thy brother, considering that no otherwise canst thou be saved, at least for thine own sake stand thou up for him and his interests.
[5.] And although what hath been said is sufficient to convince thee that no otherwise is it possible to secure our own benefit: yet if thou wouldst also assure thyself of it by the examples of common life, conceive a fire happening any where to be kindled in a house, and then some of the neighbors with a view to their own interest refusing to confront the danger but shutting themselves up and remaining at home, in fear lest some one find his way in and purloin some part of the household goods; how great punishment will they endure? Since the fire will come on and burn down likewise all that is theirs; and because they looked not to the profit of their neighbor, they lose even their own besides. For so God, willing to bind us all to each other, hath imposed upon things such a necessity, that in the profit of one neighbor that of the other is bound up; and the whole world is thus constituted. And therefore in a vessel too, if a storm come on, and the steersman, leaving the profit of the many, should seek his own only, he will quickly sink both himself and them. And of each several art too we may say that should it look to its own profit only, life could never stand, nor even the art itself which so seeketh its own. Therefore the husbandman sows not so much corn only as is sufficient for himself, since he would long ago have famished both himself and others; but seeks the profit of the many: and the soldier takes the field against dangers, not that he may save himself, but that he may also place his cities in security: and the merchant brings not home so much as may be sufficient for himself alone, but for many others also.
Now if any say, "each man doeth this, not looking to my interest, but his own, for he engages in all these things to obtain for himself money and glory and security, so that in seeking my profit he seeks his own:" this also do I say and long since wished to hear from you, and for this have I framed all my discourse; viz. to signify that thy neighbor then seeks. his own profit, when he looks to thine. For since men would no otherwise make up their mind to seek the things of their neighbor, except they were reduced to this necessity; therefore God hath thus joined things together, and suffers them not to arrive at their own profit except they first travel through the profit of others.
Well then, this is natural to man, thus to follow after his neighbors' advantage; but one ought to be persuaded not from this reason, but from what pleases God. For it is not possible to be saved, wanting this; but though thou shouldest exercise the highest perfection of the work and neglect others who are perishing, thou wilt gain no confidence towards God. Whence is this evident? From what the blessed Paul declared. "For if I bestow my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing," (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) saith he. Seeth thou how much Paul requireth of us? And yet he that bestowed his goods to feed the poor, sought not his own good, but that of his neighbor. But this alone is not enough, he saith. For he would have it done with sincerity and much sympathy. For therefore also God made it a law that he might bring us into the bond of love. When therefore He demands so large a measure, and we do not render even that which is less, of what indulgence shall we be worthy?
"And how," saith one, "did God say to Lot by the Angels, 'Escape for thy life?"' (Gen. xix. 17.) Say, when, and why. When the punishment was brought near, not when there was an opportunity of correction but when they were condemned and incurably diseased, and old and young had rushed into the same passions, and henceforth they must needs be burned up, and in that day when the thunderbolts were about to be launched. And besides, this was not spoken of vice and virtue but of the chastisement inflicted by God. For what was he to do, tell me? Sit still and await the punishment, and without at all profiting them, be burned up? Nay, this were the extremest folly.
For I do not affirm this, that one ought to bring chastisement on one's self without discrimination and at random, apart from the will of God. But when a man tarries long in sin, then I bid thee push thyself forward and correct him: if thou wilt, for thy neighbor's sake: but if not, at least for thine own profit. It is true, the first is the better course: but if thou reachest not yet unto that height, do it even for this. And let no man seek his own that he may find his own; and bearing in mind that neither voluntary poverty nor martyrdom, nor any other thing, can testify in our favor, unless we have the crowning virtue of love; let us preserve this beyond the rest, that through it we may also obtain all other, both present and promised blessings; at which may we all arrive through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ; Whom be the glory world without end. Amen.
Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.
Having completed the discourse concerning the idol-sacrifices as became him, and having rendered it most perfect in all respects, he proceeds to another thing, which also itself was a complaint, but not so great a one. For that which I said before, this do I also now say, that he doth not set down all the heavy accusations continuously, but after disposing them in due order, he inserts among them the lighter matters, mitigating what the readers would else feel offensive in his discourse on account of his continually reproving.
Wherefore also he set the most serious of all last, that relating to the resurrection. But for the present he goes to another, a lighter thing, saying, "Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things." Thus when the offence is admitted, he both accuses vehemently and threatens: but when it is questioned, he first proves it and then rebukes. And what was admitted, he aggravates: but what was likely to be disputed, he shows to be admitted. Their fornication, for instance, was a thing admitted. Wherefore there was no need to show that there was an offence; but in that case he proved the magnitude of the transgression, and conducted his discourse by way of comparison. Again, their going to law before aliens was an offence, but not so great a one. Wherefore he considered by the way, and proved it. The matter of the idol-sacrifices again was questioned. It was however, a most serious evil. Wherefore he both shows it to be an offence, and amplifies it by his discourse. But when he doeth this, he not only withdraws them from the several crimes, but invites them also to their contraries. Thus he said not only that one must not commit fornication, but likewise that one ought to exhibit great holiness. Wherefore he added, "Therefore' glorify God in your body, and in your spirit." (c. vi. 20.) And having said again that one ought not to be wise with the wisdom that is without, he is not content with this, but bids him also to "become a fool." (c. iii. 18.) And where he advises them not to go to law before them that are without, and to do no wrong; he goeth further, and takes away even the very going to law, and counsels them not only to do no wrong, but even to suffer wrong. (c. vi. 7, 8.)
And discoursing concerning the idol-sacrifices, he said not that one ought to abstain from things forbidden only, but also from things permitted when offence is given: and not only not to hurt the brethren, but not even Greeks, nor Jews. Thus, "give no occasion of stumbling," saith he, "either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God." (c. x. 32.)
[2.] Having finished therefore all the discourses concerning all these things, he next proceeds also to another accusation. And what was this? Their women used both to pray and prophesy unveiled and with their head bare, (for then women also used to prophesy;) but the men went so far as to wear long hair as having spent their time in philosophy, and covered their heads when praying and prophesying, each of which was a Grecian custom. Since then he had already admonished them concerning these things when present, and some perhaps listened to him and others disobeyed; therefore in his letter also again, he foments the place, like a physician, by his mode of addressing them, and so corrects the offence. For that he had heretofore admonished them in person is evident from what he begins with. Why else, having said nothing of this matter any where in the Epistle before, but passing on from other accusations, doth he straightway say, "Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you?"
Thou seest that some obeyed, whom he praises; and others disobeyed, whom he corrects by what comes afterwards, saying, "Now if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom." (ver. 16.) For if after some had done well but others disobeyed, he had included all in his accusation, he would both have made the one sort bolder, and have caused the others to become more remiss; whereas now by praising and approving the one, and rebuking the other, he both refreshes the one more effectually, and causes the other to shrink before him. For the accusation even by itself was such as might well wound them; but now that it takes place in contrast with others who have done well and are praised, it comes with a sharper sting. However, for the present he begins not with accusation, but with encomiums and great encomiums, saying, "Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things." For such is the character of Paul; though it be but for small matters he weaves a web of high praise; nor is it for flattery that he doth so: far from it; how could he so act to whom neither money was desirable, nor glory, nor any other such thing? but for their salvation he orders all his proceedings. And this is why he amplifies the encomium, saying, "Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things."
All what things? For hitherto his discourse was only concerning their not wearing long hair and not covering their heads; but, as I said, he is very bountiful in his praises, rendering them more forward. Wherefore he saith,
"That ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you." It appears then that he used at that time to deliver many things also not in writing, which he shows too in many other places. But at that time he only delivered them, whereas now he adds an explanation of their reason: thus both rendering the one sort, the obedient, more steadfast, and pulling down the others' pride, who oppose themselves. Further, he doth not say, "ye have obeyed, whilst others disobeyed," but without exciting suspicion, intimates it by his mode of teaching in what follows, where he saith,
Ver. 3. "But I would have ye know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
This is his account of the reason of the thing, and he states it to make the weaker more attentive. He indeed that is faithful, as he ought to be, and steadfast, doth not require any reason or cause of those things which are commanded him, but is content with the ordinance alone. But he that is weaker, when he also learns the cause, then both retains what is said with more care and obeys with much readiness.
Wherefore neither did he state the cause until he saw the commandment transgressed. What then is the cause? "The head of every man is Christ." Is He then Head of the Gentile also? In no wise. For if "we are the Body of Christ, and severally members thereof," (c. xii. 27.) and in this way He is our head, He cannot be the head of them who are not in the Body and rank not among the members. So that when he says, "of every man," one must understand it of the believer. Perceivest thou how every where he appeals to the hearer's shame by arguing from on high? Thus both when he was discoursing on love, and when on humility, and when on alms-giving, it was from thence that he drew his examples.
[2.] "But the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Here the heretics rush upon us with a certain declaration of inferiority, which out of these words they contrive against the Son. But they stumble against themselves. For if "the man be the head of the woman," and the head be of the same substance with the body, and "the head of Christ is God," the Son is of the same substance with the Father. "Nay," say they, "it is not His being of another substance which we intend to show from hence, but that He is under subjection." What then are we to say to this? In the first place, when any thing lowly is said of him conjoined as He is with the Flesh, there is no disparagement of the Godhead in what is said, the Economy admitting the expression. However, tell me how thou intendest to prove this from the passage? "Why, as the man governs the wife, saith he, "so also the Father, Christ." Therefore also as Christ governs the man, so likewise the Father, the Son. "For the head of every man," we read, "is Christ." And who could ever admit this? For if the superiority of the Son compared with us, be the measure of the Fathers' compared with the Son, consider to what meanness thou wilt bring Him. So that we must not try all things by like measure in respect of ourselves and of God, though the language used concerning them be similar; but we must assign to God a certain appropriate excellency, and so great as belongs to God. For should they not grant this, many absurdities will follow. As thus; "the head of Christ is God:" and, "Christ is the head of the man, and he of the woman." Therefore if we choose to take the term, "head," in the like sense in all the clauses, the Son will be as far removed from the Father as we are from Him. Nay, and the woman will be as far removed from us as we are from the Word of God. And what the Son is to the Father, this both we are to the Son and the woman again to the man. And who will endure this?
But dost thou understand the term "head" differently in the case of the man and the woman, from what thou dost in the case of Christ? Therefore in the case of the Father and the Son, must we understand it differently also. "How understand it differently?" saith the objector. According to the occasion . For had Paul meant to speak of rule and subjection, as thou sayest, he would not have brought forward the instance of a wife, but rather of a slave and a master. For what if the wife be under subjection to us? it is as a wife, as free, as equal in honor. And the Son also, though He did become obedient to the Father, it was as the Son of God, it was as God. For as the obedience of the Son to the Father is greater than we find in men towards the authors of their being, so also His liberty is greater. Since it will not of course be said that the circumstances of the Son's relation to the Father are greater and more intimate than among men, and of the Father's to the Son, less. For if we admire the Son that He was obedient so as to come even unto death, and the death of the cross, and reckon this the great wonder concerning Him; we ought to admire the Father also, that He begat such a son, not as a slave under command, but as free, yielding obedience and giving counsel. For the counsellor is no slave. But again, when thou hearest of a counsellor, do not understand it as though the Father were in need, but that the Son hath the same honor with Him that begat Him. Do not therefore strain the example of the man and the woman to all particulars.
For with us indeed the woman is reasonably subjected to the man: since equality of honor causeth contention. And not for this cause only, but by reason also of the deceit (1 Tim. ii. 14.) which happened in the beginning. Wherefore you see, she was not subjected as soon as she was made; nor, when He brought her to the man, did either she hear any such thing from God, nor did the man say any such word to her: he said indeed that she was "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh:" (Gen. ii. 23.) but of rule or subjection he no where made mention unto her. But when she made an ill use of her privilege and she who had been made a helper was found to be an ensnarer and ruined all, then she is justly told for the future, "thy turning shall be to thy husband." (Gen. iii. 16.)
To account for which; it was likely that this sin would have thrown our race into a state of warfare; (for her having been made out of him would not have contributed any thing to peace, when this had happened, nay, rather this very thing would have made the man even the harsher, that she made as she was out of him should not have spared even him who was a member of herself:) wherefore God, considering the malice of the Devil, raised up the bulwark of this word and what enmity was likely to arise from his evil device, He took away by means of this sentence and by the desire implanted in us: thus pulling down the partition-wall, i. e, the resentment caused by that sin of hers. But in God and in that undefiled Essence, one must not suppose any such thing.
Do not therefore apply the examples to all, since elsewhere also from this source many grievous errors will occur. For so in the beginning of this very Epistle, he said, (1 Cor. iii. 22, 23.) "All are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." What then? Are all in like manner ours, as "we are Christ's, and Christ is God's?" In no wise, but even to the very simple the difference is evident, although the same expression is used of God, and Christ, and us. And elsewhere also having called the husband "head of the wife," he added, (Eph. v. 23.) "Even as Christ is Head and Saviour and Defender of the Church, so also ought the man to be of his own wife." Are we then to understand in like manner the saying in the text, both this, and all that after this is written to the Ephesians concerning this subject? Far from it. It is impossible. For although the same words are spoken of God and of men, they do not have the same force in respect to God and to men, but in one way those must be understood, and in another these. Not however on the other hand all things diversely: since contrariwise they will seem to have been introduced at random and in vain, we reaping no benefit from them. But as we must not receive all things alike, so neither must we absolutely reject all.
Now that what I say may become clearer, I will endeavor to make it manifest in an example. Christ is called "the Head of the Church." If I am to take nothing from what is human in the idea, why, I would know, is the expression used at all? On the other hand, if I understand all in that way, extreme absurdity will result. For the head is of like passions with the body and liable to the same things. What then ought we to let go, and what to accept? We should let go these particulars which I have mentioned, but accept the notion of a perfect union, and the first principle; and not even these ideas absolutely, but here also we must form a notion, as we may by ourselves, of that which is too high for us and suitable to the Godhead: for both the union is surer and the beginning more honorable.
Again, thou hearest the word "Son;" do not thou in this case admit all particulars; yet neither oughtest thou to reject all: but admitting whatever is meet for God, e.g. that He is of the same essence, that He is of God; the things which are incongruous and belong to human weakness, leave thou upon the earth.
Again, God is called "Light." Shall we then admit all circumstances which belong to natural light? In no wise. For this light yields to darkness, and is circumscribed by space, and is moved by another power, and is overshadowed; none of which it is lawful even to imagine of That Essence. We will not however reject all things on this account, but will reap something useful from the example. The illumination which cometh to us from God, the deliverance from darkness, this will be what we gather from it.
[4.] Thus much in answer to the heretics: but we must also orderly go over the whole passage. For perhaps some one might here have doubt also, questioning with himself, what sort of a crime it was for the woman to be uncovered, or the man covered? What sort of crime it is, learn now from hence.
Symbols many and diverse have been given both to man and woman; to him of rule, to her of subjection: and among them this also, that she should be covered, while he hath his head bare. If now these be symbols. you see that both err when they disturb the proper order, and transgress the disposition of God, and their own proper limits, both the man falling into the woman's inferiority, and the woman rising up against the man by her outward habiliments.
For if exchange of garments be not lawful, so that neither she should be clad with a cloak, nor he with a mantle or a veil: ("for the woman," saith He, "shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garments:") much more is it unseemly for these (Deut. xxii. 5.) things to be interchanged. For the former indeed were ordained by men, even although God afterwards ratified them: but this by nature, I mean the being covered or uncovered. But when I say Nature, I mean God. For He it is Who created Nature. When therefore thou overturnest these boundaries, see how great injuries ensue.
And tell me not this, that the error is but small. For first, it is great even of itself: being as it is disobedience. Next, though it were small, it became great because of the greatness of the things whereof it is a sign. However, that it is a great matter, is evident from its ministering so effectually to good order among mankind, the governor and the governed being regularly kept in their several places by it.
So that he who transgresseth disturbs all things, and betrays the gifts of God, and casts to the ground the honor bestowed on him from above; not however the man only, but also the woman. For to her also it is the greatest of honors to preserve her own rank; as indeed of disgraces, the behavior of a rebel. Wherefore he laid it down concerning both, thus saying,
Ver. 4. "Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled. dishonoreth her head."
For there were, as I said, both men who prophesied and women who had this girl at that time, as the daughters of Philip, (Acts. xxi. 9.) as others before them and after them: concerning whom also the prophet spake of old: "your sons shall prophesy, and your daughters shall see visions." (Joel ii. 28. Acts ii. 17.)
Well then: the man he compelleth not to be always uncovered, but only when he prays. "For every man," saith he, "praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head." But the woman he commands to be at all times covered. Wherefore also having said, "Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head unveiled, dishonoreth her head," he stayed not at this point only, but also proceeded to say, "for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven." But if to be shaven is always dishonorable, it is plain too that being uncovered is always a reproach. And not even with this only was he content, but added again, saying, "The woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels." He signifies that not at the time of prayer only but also continually, she ought to be covered. But with regard to the man, it is no longer about covering but about wearing long hair, that he so forms his discourse. To be covered he then only forbids, when a man is praying; but the wearing long hair he discourages at all times. Wherefore, as touching the woman, he said, "But if she be not veiled, let her also be shorn;" so likewise touching the man, "If he have long hair, it is a dishonor unto him." He said not, "if he be covered" but, "if he have long hair," Wherefore also he said at the beginning, "Every man praying or prophesying, having any thing on his head, dishonoreth his head." He said not, "covered," but "having any thing on his head;" signifying that even though he pray with the head bare, yet if he have long hair, he is like to one covered. "For the hair," saith he, "is given for a covering."
Ver. 6. "But if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled."
Thus, in the beginning he simply requires that the head be not bare: but as he proceeds he intimates both the continuance of the rule, saying, "for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven," and the keeping of it with all care and diligence. For he said not merely covered, but "covered over," meaning that she be carefully wrapped up on every side. And by reducing it to an absurdity, he appeals to their shame, saying by way of severe reprimand, "but if she be not covered, let her also be shorn." As if he had said, "If thou cast away the covering appointed by the law of God, cast away likewise that appointed by nature."
But if any say, "Nay, how can this be a shame to the woman, if she mount up to the glory of the man?" we might make this answer; "She doth not mount up, but rather falls from her own proper honor." Since not to abide within our own limits and the laws ordained of God, but to go beyond, is not an addition but a diminuation. For as he that desireth other men's goods and seizeth what is not his own, hath not gained any thing more, but is diminished, having lost even that which he had, (which kind of thing also happened in paradise:) so likewise the woman acquireth not the man's dignity, but loseth even the woman's decency which she had. And not from hence only is her shame and reproach, but also on account of her covetousness.
Having taken then what was confessedly shameful, and having said, "but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven," he states in what follows his own conclusion, saying, "let her be covered." And he said not, "let her have long hair," but, "let her be covered," ordaining both these to be one, and establishing them both ways, from what was customary and from their contraries: in that he both affirms the covering and the hair to be one, and also that she again who is shaven is the same with her whose head is bare. "For it is one and the same thing," saith he, "as if she were shaven." But if any say, "And how is it one, if this woman have the covering of nature, but the other who is shaven have not even this?" we answer, that as far as her will goes, she threw that off likewise by having the head bare. And if it be not bare of tresses, that is nature's doing, not her own. So that as she who is shaven hath her head bare, so this woman in like manner. For this cause He left it to nature to provide her with a covering, that even of it she might learn this lesson and veil herself.
Then he states also a cause, as one discoursing with those who are free: a thing which in many places I have remarked. What then is the cause?
Ver. 7. "For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God."
This is again another cause. "Not only," so he speaks, "because he hath Christ to be His Head ought he not to cover the head, but because also he rules over the woman." For the ruler when he comes before the king ought to have the symbol of his rule. As therefore no ruler without military girdle and cloak, would venture to appear before him that hath the diadem: so neither do thou without the symbols of thy rule, (one of which is the not being covered,) pray before God, lest thou insult both thyself and Him that hath honored thee.
And the same thing likewise one may say regarding the woman. For to her also is it a reproach, the not having the symbols of her stib-jection. "But the woman is the glory of the man." Therefore the rule of the man is natural.
[5.] Then, having affirmed his point, he states again other reasons and causes also, leading thee to the first creation, and saying thus:
Ver. 8. "For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man."
But if to be of any one, is a glory to him of whom one is, much more the being an image of him.
Ver. 9. "For neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man."
This is again a second superiority, nay, rather also a third, and a fourth, the first being, that Christ is the head of us, and we of the woman; a second, that we are the glory of God, but the woman of us; a third, that we are not of the woman, but she of us; a fourth, that we are not for her, but she for us.
Ver. 10. "For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head"
"For this cause:" what cause, tell me? "For all these which have been mentioned," saith he; or rather not for these only, but also "because of the angels." "For although thou despise thine husband," saith he, "yet reverence the angels."
It follows that being covered is a mark of subjection and authority. For it induces her to look down and be ashamed and preserve entire her proper virtue. For the virtue and honor of the governed is to abide in his obedience.
Again: the man is not compelled to do this; for he is the image of his Lord: but the woman is; and that reasonably. Consider then the excess of the transgression when being honored with so high a prerogative, thou puttest thyself to shame, seizing the woman's dress. And thou doest the same as if having received a diadem, thou shouldest cast the diadem from thy head, and instead of it take a slave's garment.
Ver. 11. "Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord."
Thus, because he had given great superiority to the man, having said that the woman is of him and for him and under him; that he might neither lift up the men more than was due nor depress the women, see how he brings in the correction, saying, "Howbeit neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord." "Examine not, I pray," saith he, "the first things only, and that creation. Since if thou enquire into what comes after, each one of the two is the cause of the other; or rather not even thus each of the other, but God of all." Wherefore he saith, "neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord."
Ver. 12. "For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman."
He said not, "of the woman," but he repeats the expression, (from v. 7.) "of the man." For still this particular prerogative remains entire with the man. Yet are not these excellencies the property of the man, but of God. Wherefore also he adds, "but all things of God." If therefore all things belong to God, and he commands these things, do thou obey and gainsay not.
Ver. 13. "Judge ye in yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God veiled?" Again he places them as judges of the things said, which also he did respecting the idol-sacrifices. For as there he saith, "judge ye what I say:" (c. x. 15.) so here, "judge in yourselves:" and he hints something more awful here. For he says that the affront here passes on unto God: although thus indeed he doth not express himself, but in something of a milder and more enigmatical form of speech: "is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled?"
Ver. 14. "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor unto him?"
Ver. 15. "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given her for a covering." His constant practice of stating commonly received reasons he adopts also in this place, betaking himself to the common custom, and greatly abashing those who waited to be taught these things from him, which even from men s ordinary practice they might have learned. For such things are not unknown even to Barbarians: and see how he every where deals in piercing expressions: "every man praying having his head covered dishonoreth his head;" and again, "but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled:" and here again, "if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him; but if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given her for a covering."
"And if it be given her for a covering," say you, "wherefore need she add another covering?" That not nature only, but also her own will may have part in her acknowledgment of subjection. For that thou oughtest to be covered nature herself by anticipation enacted a law. Add now, I pray, thine own part also, that thou mayest not seem to subvert the very laws of nature; a proof of most insolent rashness, to buffet not only with us, but with nature also. This is why God accusing the Jews said, (Ezek. xvi. 21, 22.) "Thou hast slain thy sons and thy daughters: this is beyond all thy abominations."
And again, Paul rebuking the unclean among the Romans thus aggravates the accusation, saying, that their usage was not only against the law of God, but even against nature. "For they changed the natural use into that which is against nature." (Rom. i. 26.) For this cause then here also he employs this argument signifying this very thing, both that he is not enacting any strange law and that among Gentiles their inventions would all be reckoned as a kind of novelty against nature. So also Christ, implying the same, said, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also so them;" showing that He is not introducing any thing new.
Ver. 16. "But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God."
It is then contentiousness to oppose these things, and not any exercise of reason. Notwithstanding, even thus it is a measured sort of rebuke which he adopts, to fill them the more with self-reproach; which in truth rendered his saying the more severe. "For we," saith he, "have no such custom," so as to contend and to strive and to oppose ourselves. And he stopped not even here, but also added, "neither the Churches of God;" signifying that they resist and oppose themselves to the whole world by not yielding. However, even if the Corinthians were then contentious, yet now the whole world hath both received and kept this law. So great is the power of the Crucified.
[6.] But I fear lest having assumed the dress, yet in their deeds some of our women should be found immodest and in other ways uncovered. For therefore also writing to Timothy Paul was not content with these things, but added others, saying, "that they adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold." (1 Tim. ii. 9.) For if one ought not to have the head bare, but everywhere to carry about the token of authority, much more is it becoming to exhibit the same in our deeds. Thus at any rate the former women also used both to call their husbands lords, (1 Pe. iii. 6.) and to yield the precedence to them. "Because they for their part, "you say," used to love their own wives." I know that as well as you: I am not ignorant of it. But when we are exhorting thee concerning thine own duties, let not theirs take all thine attention. For so, when we exhort children to be obedient to parents, saying, that it is written, "honor thy father and thy mother," they reply to us, "mention also what follows, 'and ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath," (Eph. vi. 1-4.) And servants when we tell them that it is written that they should "obey their masters, and not serve with eye- service," they also again demand of us what follows, bidding us also give the same advice to masters. For Paul bade them also, they saw, "to forbear threatening." But let us not do thus nor enquire into the things enjoined on others, when we are charged with regard to our own: for neither will thy obtaining a partner in the charges free thee from the blame: but look to one thing only, how thou mayest rid thyself of those charges which lie against thyself. Since Adam also laid the blame on the woman, and she again on the serpent, but this did in no wise deliver them. Do not thou, therefore, for thy part, say this to me now, but be careful with all consideration to render what thou owest to thy husband: since also when I am discoursing with thy husband, advising him to love and cherish thee, I suffer him not to bring forward the law that is appointed for the woman, but I require of him that which is written for himself. And do thou therefore busy thyself with those things only which belong to thee, and show thyself tractable to thy consort. And accordingly if it be really for God's sake that thou obeyest thy husband, tell me not of the things which ought to be done by him, but for what things thou hast been made responsible by the lawgiver, those perform with exactness. For this is especially to obey God, not to transgress the law even when suffering things contrary to it. And by the same rule, he that being beloved loves, is not reckoned to do any great thing. But he that waits upon a person who hateth him, this above all is the man to receive a crown. In the same manner then do thou also reckon that if thy husband give thee disgust, and thou endure it, thou shalt receive a glorious crown: but if he be gentle and mild, what will there be for God to reward in thee? And these things I say, not bidding the husbands be harsh; but persuading the wives to bear even with harshness in their husbands. Since when each is careful to fulfil his own duty, his neighbor's part also will quickly follow: as when the wife is prepared to bear even with rough behavior in the husband, and the husband refrains from abusing her in her angry mood; then all is a calm and a harbor free from waves.
[7.] So also was it with those of old time. Each was employed in fulfilling his own duty, not in exacting that of his neighbor. Thus, if you mark it, Abraham took his brother's son: his wife found no fault with him. He commanded her to travel a long journey; she spake not even against this but followed. Again, after those many miseries and labors and toils having become lord of all, he yielded the precedency to Lot. And so far from Sarah being offended at this, she did not even open her mouth, nor uttered any such thing as many of the women of these days utter, when they see their own husbands coming off inferior in such allotments, and especially in dealing with inferiors; reproaching them, and calling them fools and senseless and unmanly and traitors and stupid. But no such thing did she say or think, but was pleased with all things that were done by him.
And another thing, and that a greater: after that Lot had the choice put in his power, and had thrown the inferior part upon his uncle, a great danger fell upon him. Whereof the patriarch hearing, armed all his people, and set himself against the whole army of the Persians with his own domestics only, and not even then did she detain him, nor say, as was likely, "O man, whither goest thou, thrusting thyself down precipices, and exposing thyself to so great hazards; for one who wronged thee and seized on all that was thine, shedding thy blood? Yea, and even if thou make light of thyself, yet have pity on me which have left house and country and friends and kindred, and have followed thee in so long a pilgrimage; and involve me not in widowhood, and in the miseries of widowhood." None of these things she said: she thought not of them but bore all in silence.
After this, her womb continuing barren, she herself suffers not the grief of women nor laments: but he complains, though not to his wife, but to God. And see how each preserves his own appropriate part: for he neither despised Sarah as childless, nor reproached her with any such thing: and she again was anxious to devise some consolation to him for her childlessness by means of the handmaid. For these things had not yet been forbidden then as now. For now neither is it lawful for women to indulge their husbands in such things, nor for the men, with or without the wife's knowledge, to form such connexions, even though the grief of their childlessness should infinitely harass them: since they also shall hear the sentence, "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." For now it is not permitted, but then it had not been forbidden. Wherefore both his wife commanded this, and he obeyed, yet not even thus for pleasure's sake. But "behold," it will be said, "how he cast Hagar out again at her bidding." Well, this is what I want to point out, that both he obeyed her in all things, and she him. But do not thou give heed to these things only, but examine, thou who urgest this plea, into what had gone before also, Hagar's insulting her, her boasting herself against her mistress; than which what can be more vexatious to a free and honorable woman?
[8.] Let not then the wife tarry for the virtue of the husband and then show her own, for this is nothing great; nor, on the other hand, the husband, for the obedience of the wife and then exercise self-command; for neither would this any more be his own well-doing; but let each, as I said, furnish his own share first. For if to the Gentiles smiting us on the right, we must turn the other cheek; much more ought one to bear with harsh behavior in a husband.
And I say not this for a wife to be beaten; far from it: for this is the extremest affront, not to her that is beaten, but to him who beateth. But even if by some misfortune thou have such a yokefellow allotted thee, take it not ill, O woman, considering the reward which is laid up for such things and their praise too in this present life. And to you husbands also this I say: make it a rule that there can be no such offence as to bring you under the necessity of striking a wife. And why say I a wife? since not even upon his handmaiden could a free man endure to inflict blows and lay violent hands. But if the shame be great for a man to beat a maidservant, much more to stretch forth the right hand against her that is free. And this one might see even from heathen legislatures who no longer compel her that hath been so treated to live with him that beat her, as being unworthy of her fellowship. For surely it comes of extreme lawlessness when thy partner of life, she who in the most intimate relations and in the highest degree, is united with thee; when she, like a base slave, is dishonored by thee. Wherefore also such a man, if indeed one must call him a man and not rather a wild beast, I should say, was like a parricide and a murderer of his mother. For if for a wife's sake we were commanded to leave even father and mother, not wronging them but fulfilling a divine law; and a law so grateful to our parents themselves that even they, the very persons whom we are leaving, are thankful, and bring it about with great eagerness; what but extreme frenzy can it be to insult her for whose sake God bade us leave even our parents?
But we may well ask, Is it only madness? There is the shame too: I would fain know who can endure it. And what description can set it before us; when shrieks and wailings are borne along the alleys, and there is a running to the house of him that is so disgracing himself, both of the neighbors and the passers by, as though some wild beast were ravaging within? Better were it that the earth should gape asunder for one so frantic, than that he should be seen at all in the forum after it.
"But the woman is insolent," saith he. Consider nevertheless that she is a woman, the weaker vessel, whereas thou art a man. For therefore wert thou ordained to be ruler; and wert assigned to her in place of a head, that thou mightest bear with the weakness of her that is set under thee. Make then thy rule glorious. And glorious it will be when the subject of it meets with no dishonor from thee. And as the monarch will appear so much the more dignified, as he manifests more dignity in the officer under him; but if he dishonor and depreciate the greatness of that rank, he is indirectly cutting off no small portion of his own glory likewise: so also thou dishonor her who governs next to thyself, wilt in no common degree mar the honor of thy governance.
Considering therefore all these things, command thyself: and withal think also of that evening on which the father having called thee, delivered thee his daughter as a kind of deposit, and having separated her from all, from her mother, from himself, from the family, intrusted her entire guardianship to thy right hand. Consider that (under God) through her thou hast children and hast become a father, and be thou also on that account gentle towards her.
Seest thou not the husbandmen, how the earth which hath once received the seed, they tend with all various methods of culture, though it have ten thousand disadvantages; e.g., though it be an unkindly soil or bear ill weeds, or though it be vexed with excessive rain through the nature of its situation? This also do thou. For thus shalt thou be first to enjoy both the fruit and the calm. Since thy wife is to thee both a harbor, and a potent healing charm to rejoice thy heart. Well then: if thou shalt free thy harbor from winds and waves, thou shalt enjoy much tranquility on thy return from the market-place: but if thou fill it with clamor and tumult, thou dost but prepare for thyself a more grievous shipwreck. In order then to prevent this, let what I advise be done: When any thing uncomfortable happens in the household, if she be in the wrong console her and do not aggravate the discomfort. For even if thou shouldest lose all, nothing is more grievous than to have a wife without good-will sharing thine abode. And whatever offence thou canst mention, thou wilt tell me of nothing so very painful as being at strife with her. So that if it were only for such reasons as these, let her love be more precious than all things. For if one another's burdens are to be borne, much more our own wife's.
Though she be poor do not upbraid her: though she be foolish, do not trample on her, but train her rather: because she is a member of thee, and ye are become one flesh. "But she is trifling and drunken and passionate." Thou oughtest then to grieve over these things, not to be angry; and to beseech God, and exhort her and give her advice, and do every thing to remove the evil. But if thou strike her thou dost aggravate the disease: for fierceness is removed by moderation, not by rival fierceness. With these things bear in mind also the reward from God: that when it is permitted thee to cut her off, and thou doest not so for the fear of God, but bearest with so great defects, fearing the law appointed in such matters which forbids to put away a wife whatsoever disease she may have: thou shalt receive an unspeakable reward. Yea, and before the reward thou shalt be a very great gainer, both rendering her more obedient and becoming thyself more gentle thereby. It is said, for instance, that one of the heathen philosophers, who had a bad wife, a trifler and a brawler, when asked, "Why, having such an one, he endured her;" made reply, "That he might have in his house a school and training-place of philosophy. For I shall be to all the rest meeker," saith he, "being here disciplined every day." Did you utter a great shout? Why, I at this moment am greatly mourning, when heathens prove better lovers of wisdom than we; we who are commanded to imitate angels, nay rather who are commanded to follow God Himself in respect of gentleness.
But to proceed: it is said that for this reason the philosopher having a bad wife, cast her not out; and some say that this very thing was the reason of his marrying her. But I, because many men have dispositions not exactly reasonable, advise that at first they do all they can, and be careful that they take a suitable partner and one full of all virtue. Should it happen, however, that they miss their end, and she whom they have brought into the house prove no good or tolerable bride, then I would have them at any rate try to be like this philosopher, and train her in every way, and consider nothing more important than this. Since neither will a merchant, until he have made a compact with his partner capable of procuring peace, launch the vessel into the deep, nor apply himself to the rest of the transaction. And let us then use every effort that she who is partner with us in the business of life and in this our vessel, may be kept in all peace within. For thus shall our other affairs too be all in calm, and with tranquility shall we run our course through the ocean of the present life. Compared with this, let house, and slaves, and money, and lands, and the business itself of the state, be less in our account. And let it be more valuable than all in our eyes that she who with us sits at the oars should not be in mutiny and disunion with us. For so shall our other matters proceed with a favoring tide, and in spiritual things also we shall find ourselves much the freer from hindrance, drawing this yoke with one accord; and having done all things well, we shall obtain the blessings laid up in store; unto which may we all attain, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
It is necessary in considering the present charge to state also first the occasion of it. For thus again will our discourse be more intelligible. What then is this occasion?
As in the case of the three thousand who believed in the beginning, all had eaten their meals in common and had all things common; such also was the practice at the time when the Apostle wrote this: not such indeed exactly; but as it were a certain outflowing of that communion which abode among them descended also to them that came after. And because of course some were poor, but others rich, they laid not down all their goods in the midst, but made the tables open on stated days, as it should seem; and when the solemn service was completed, after the communion of the Mysteries, they all went to a common entertainment, the rich bringing their provisions with them, and the poor and destitute being invited by them, and all feasting in common. But afterward this custom also became corrupt. And the reason was, their being divided and addicting themselves, some to this party, and others to that, and saying, "I am of such a one," and "I of such a one; "which thing also to correct he said in the beginning of the: Epistle, "For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them which are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas." Not that Paul was the person to whom they were attaching themselves; for he would not have borne it: but wishing by concession to tear up this custom from the root, he introduced himself, indicating that if any one had inscribed upon himself even his name when breaking off from the common body, even so the thing done was profane and extreme wickedness. And if in his case it were wickedness, much more in the case of those who were inferior to him.
[2.] Since therefore this custom was broken through, a custom most excellent and most useful; (for it was a foundation of love, and a comfort to poverty, and a corrective of riches, and an occasion of the highest philosophy, and an instruction of humility:) since however he saw so great advantages in a way to be destroyed, he naturally addresses them with severity, thus saying: "But in giving you this charge, I praise you not." For in the former charge, as there were many who kept (the ordinances), he began otherwise, saying thus: "Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things:" but here contrariwise, "But in giving you this charge, I praise you not." And here is the reason why he placed it not after the rebuke of them that eat the idol-sacrifices. But because that was unusually harsh he interposes the discourse about wearing of long hair, that he might not have to pass from one set of vehement reproofs to others again of an invidious kind and so appear too harsh: and then he returns to the more vehement tone, and says, "But in giving you this charge, I praise you not." What is this? That which I am about to tell you of. What is, "giving you this charge, I praise you not?" "I do not approve you," saith he, "because ye have reduced me to the necessity of giving advice: I do not praise you, because ye have required instruction in regard to this, because ye have need of an admonition from me." Dost thou perceive how from his beginning he signifieth that what was done was very profane? For when he that errs ought not to require so much as a hint to prevent his erring, the error would seem to be unpardonable.
And why dost thou not praise? Because "ye come together," saith he, "not for the better but for the worse;" i.e., because ye do not go forward unto virtue. For it were meet that your liberality should increase and become manifold, but ye have taken rather from the custom which already prevailed, and have so taken from it as even to need warning from me, in order that ye may return to the former order.
Further, that he might not seem to say these things on account of the poor only, he doth not at once strike in to the discourse concerning the tables, lest he render his rebuke such as they might easily come to think slightly of, but he searches for an expression most confounding and very fearful. For what saith he?
Ver. 18. "For first of all, when ye come together in the Church, I hear that divisions exist among you.
And he saith not, "For fear that you do not sup together in common;" "for I hear that you feast in private, and not with the poor:" but what was most calculated thoroughly to shake their minds, that he set down, the name of division, which was the cause of this mischief also: and so he reminded them again of that which was said in the beginning of the Epistle, and was "signified by them of the house of Chloe." (c. i. 11.) "And I partly believe it."
Thus, lest they should say, "But what if the accusers speak falsely?" he neither saith, "I believe it," lest he should rather make them reckless; nor again, on the other hand, "I disbelieve it," lest he Should seem to reprove without cause, but, "I partly believe it," saith he, i.e., "I believe it in a small part;" making them anxious and inviting them to return to correction.
[3.] Ver. 19. "For there must be also factions among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
By "factions," here he means those which concern not the doctrines, but these present divisions. But even if he had spoken of the doctrinal heresies, not even thus did he give them any handle. For Christ Himself said, "it must needs be that occasions of stumbling come," (Matt. xviii. 7.) not destroying the liberty of the will nor appointing any necessity and compulsion over man's life, but foretelling what would certainly ensue from the evil mind of men; which would take place, not because of his prediction, but because the incurably disposed are so minded. For not because he foretold them did these things happen: but because they were certainly about to happen, therefore he foretold them. Since, if the occasions of stumbling were of necessity and not of the mind of them that bring them in, it was superfluous His saying, "Woe to that man by whom the occasion cometh." But these things we discussed more at length when we were upon the passage itself; now we must proceed to what is before us.
Now that he said these things of these factions relating to the tables, and that contention and division, he made manifest also from what follows. For having said, "I hear that there are divisions among you," he stopped not here, but signifying what divisions he means he goes on to say, "each one taketh before other his own supper;" and again, "What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God?" However, that of these he was speaking is evident. And if he call them divisions, marvel not. For, as I said, he wishes to touch them by the expression: whereas had they been divisions of doctrine, he would not have discoursed with them thus mildly. Hear him, for instance, when he speaks of any such thing, how vehement lie is both in assertion and in reproof: in assertion, as when he says, "If even an angel preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed ;" (Gal. i. 8.) but in reproof, as when he says, "Whosoever of you would be justified by the law, ye are fallen away from grace." (Gal. v. 4.) And at one time he calls the corrupters "dogs," saying, "Beware of dogs:" (Phil. iii. 2.) at another, "having their consciences seared with a hot iron." (1 Tim. iv. 2.) And again, "angels of Satan:" (2 Cor. xi. 14-15.) but here he said no such thing, but spoke in a gentle and subdued tone.
But what is, "that they which are approved may be made manifest among you?" That they may shine the more. And what he intends to say is this, that those who are unchangeable and firm are so far from being at all injured hereby, but even shows them the more, and that it makes them more glorious. For the word, "that," is not every where indicative of cause, but frequently also of the event of things. Thus Christ Himself uses it, when He saith, "For judgement I am come into this world; that they which see not may see, and that they which see may be made blind." (John ix. 39.) So likewise Paul in another place, when discoursing of the law, he writes, "And the Law came in beside, that the trespass might abound." (Rom. v. 20.) But neither was the law given to this end that the trespasses of the Jews might be increased: (though this did ensue:) nor did Christ come for this end that they which see might be made blind, but for the contrary; but the result was such. Thus then also here must one understand the expression, "that they which are approved may be made manifest." For not at all with this view came heresies into being, that "they which are approved may be made manifest," but on these heresies taking place such was the result. Now these things he said to console the poor, those of them who nobly bore that sort of contempt. Wherefore he said not, "that they may become approved," but, "that they which are approved may be made manifest; showing that before this also they were such, but they were mixed up with the multitude, and while enjoying such relief as was afforded them by the rich, they were not very conspicuous: but now this strife and contentiousness made them manifest, even as the storm shows the pilot. And he said not, "that ye may appear approved," but, "that they which are approved may be made manifest, those among you who are such." For neither when he is accusing doth he lay them open, that he may not render them more reckless; nor when praising, that he may not make them more boastful; but he leaves both this expression and that in suspense, allowing each man's own conscience to make the application of what he saith.
Nor doth he here seem to me to be comforting the poor only, but those also who were not violating the custom. For it was likely that there were among them also those that observed it.
And this is why he said, "I partly believe it." Justly then doth he call these "approved," who not only with the rest observed the custom, but even without them kept this good law undisturbed. And he doth this, studying by such praises to render both others and these persons themselves more forward.
[4.] Then at last he adds the very form of offence. And what is it?
Ver. 20. "When ye assemble yourselves together," saith he, "it is not possible to eat the Lord's Supper."
Seest thou how effectually appealing to their shame, even already by way of narrative he contrives to give them his counsel? "For the appearance of your assembly," saith he, "is different. It is one of love and brotherly affection. At least one place receives you all, and ye are together in one flock. But the Banquet, when you come to that, bears no resemblance to the Assembly of worshippers." And he said not, "When ye come together, this is not to eat in common;' "this is not to feast with one another;" but otherwise again and much more fearfully he reprimands them, saying, "it is not possible to eat the Lord's Supper," sending them away now from this point to that evening on which Christ delivered the awful Mysteries. Therefore also he called the early meal "a supper." For that supper too had them all reclining at meat together: yet surely not so great was the distance between the rich and the poor as between the Teacher and the disciples. For that is infinite. And why say I the Teacher and the disciples? Think of the interval between the Teacher and the traitor: nevertheless, the Lord Himself both sat at meat with them and did not even cast him out, but both gave him his portion of salt and made him par-taker of the Mysteries.
Next he explains how "it is not possible to eat the Lord's Supper."
Ver. 21. "For in your eating, each one taketh before other his own supper," saith he, "and one is hungry, and another is drunken."
Perceivest thou how he intimates that they were disgracing themselves rather? For that which is the Lord's, they make a private matter: so that themselves are the first to suffer indignity, depriving their own table of its greatest prerogative. How and in what manner? Because the Lord's Supper, i.e. the Master's, ought to be common. For the property of the master belongs not to this servant without belonging to that, but in common to all. So that by "the Lord's" Supper he expresses this, the "community" of the feast. As if he had said, "If it be thy master's, as assuredly it is, thou oughtest not to withdraw it as private, but as belonging to thy Lord and Master to set it in common before all. For this is the meaning of, 'the Lord's.' But now thou dost not suffer it to be the Lord's, not suffering it to be common but feasting by thyself." Wherefore also he goes on to say,
"For each one taketh before other his own supper." And he said not, "cutteth off," but "taketh before," tacitly censuring them both for greediness and for precipitancy. This at least the sequel also shows. For having said this, he added again, "and one is hungry, and another is drunken," each of which showed a want of moderation, both the craving and the excess. See also a second fault again whereby those same persons are injured: the first, that they dishonor their supper: the second, that they are greedy and drunken; and what is yet worse, even when the poor are hungry. For what was intended to be set before all in common, that these men fed on alone, and proceeded both to surfeiting and to drunkenness. Wherefore neither did he say, "one is hungry, and another is filled:" but, "is drunken." Now each Of these, even by itself, is worthy of censure: for it is a fault to be drunken even without despising the poor; and to despise the poor without being drunken, is an accusation. When both then are joined together at the same time, consider how exceeding great is the transgression.
Next, having pointed out their profaneness, he adds his reprimand in what follows, with much anger, saying,
Ver. 22. "What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not?"
Seest thou how he transferred the charge from the indignity offered to the poor to the Church, that his words might make a deeper impression of disgust? Here now you see is yet a fourth accusation, when not the poor only, but the Church likewise is insulted. For even as thou makest the Lord's Supper a private meal, so also the place again, using the Church as a house. For it was made a Church, not that we who come together might be divided, but that they who are divided might be joined: and this act of assembling shows.
"And put them to shame that have not." He said not, "and kill with hunger them that have not," but so as much more to put them to the blush, "shame them;" to point out that it is not food which he cares for so much as the wrong done unto them. Behold again a fifth accusation, not only to overlook the poor but even to shame them. Now this he said, partly as treating with reverence the concerns of the poor, and intimating that they grieve not so for the belly as for the shame; and partly also drawing the hearer to compassion.
Having therefore pointed out so great impieties, indignity to the Supper, indignity to the Church, the contempt practised towards the poor; he relaxes again the tones of his reproof, saying, all of a sudden, "Shall I praise you? In this I praise you not." Wherein one might especially marvel at him that when there was need to strike and chide more vehemently after the proof of so great offences, he doeth the contrary rather, gives way, and permits them to recover breath. What then may the cause be? He had touched more painfully than usual in aggravating the charge, and being a most excellent physician, he adapts the incision to the wounds, neither cutting superficially those parts which require a deep stroke; (for thou hast heard him how he cut off among those very persons him that had committed fornication;) nor delivering over to the knife those things which require the milder sort of remedies. For this cause then here also he conducts his address more mildly, and in another point of view likewise, he sought especially to render them gentle to the poor: and this is why he discourses with them rather in a subdued tone.
[5.] Next, wishing also from another topic to shame them yet more, he takes again the points which were most essential and of them weaves his discourse.
Vet. 23. "For I received of the Lord," saith he, "that which also I delivered unto you: how that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread:"
Ver. 24. "And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me."
Wherefore doth he here make mention of the Mysteries? Because that argument was very necessary to his present purpose. As thus: "Thy Master," saith he, "counted all worthy of the same Table, though it be very awful and far exceeding the dignity of all: but thou considerest them to be unworthy even of thine own, small and mean as we see it is; and while they have no advantage over thee in spiritual things, thou robbest them in the temporal things. For neither are these thine own."
However, he doth not express himself thus, to prevent his discourse becoming harsh: but he frames it in a gentler form, saying, that "the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread."
And wherefore doth he remind us of the time, and of that evening, and of the betrayal? Not indifferently nor without some reason, but that he might exceedingly fill them with compunction, were it but from consideration of the time. For even if one be a very stone, yet when he considers that night, how He was with His disciples, "very heavy," how He was betrayed, how He was bound, how He was led away, how He was judged, how He suffered all the rest in order, he becometh softer than wax, and is withdrawn from earth and all the pomp of this world. Therefore he leads us to the remembrance of all those things, by His time, and His table, and His betrayal, putting us to shame and saying, "Thy Master gave up even Himself for thee: and thou dost not even share a little meat with thy brother for thine own sake."
But how saith he, that "he received it from the Lord?" since certainly he was not present then but was one of the persecutors. That thou mayest know that the first table had no advantage above that which cometh after it. For even to-day also it is He who doeth all, and delivereth it even as then.
And not on this account only doth he remind us of that night, but that he may also in another way bring us to compunction. For as we particularly remember those words which we hear last from those who are departing; and to their heirs if they should venture to transgress their commands, when we would put them to shame we say, "Consider that this was the last word that your father uttered to you, anal until the evening when he was just about to breathe his last he kept. repeating these injunctions:" just so Paul, purposing hence also to make his argument full of awfulness; "Remember," saith he, "that this was the last mysterious rite He gave unto you, and in that night on which He was about to be slain for us, He commanded these things, and having delivered to us that Supper after that He added nothing further."
Next also he proceeds to recount the very things that were done, saying, "He took bread, and, when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you." If therefore thou comest for a sacrifice of thanksgiving, do thou on thy part nothing unworthy of that sacrifice: by no means either dishonor thy brother, or neglect him in his hunger; be not drunken, insult not the Church. As thou comest giving thanks for what thou hast enjoyed: so do thou thyself accordingly make return, and not cut thyself off from thy neighbor. Since Christ for His part gave equally to all, saying, "Take, eat." He gave His Body equally, but dost not thou give so much as the common bread equally? Yea, it was indeed broken for all alike, and became the Body equally for all.
Ver. 25. "In like manner also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood: this do, as oft as ye drink of it, in remembrance of Me."
What sayest thou? Art thou making a remembrance of Christ, and despisest thou the poor and tremblest not? Why, if a son or brother had died and thou wert making a remembrance of him, thou wouldst have been smitten by thy conscience, hadst thou not fulfilled the custom and invited the poor: and when thou art making remembrance of thy Master, dost thou not so much as simply give a portion of the Table?
But what is it which He saith, "This cup is the New Covenant?" Because there was also a cup of the Old Covenant; the libations and the blood of the brute creatures. For after sacrificing, they used to receive the blood in a chalice and bowl and so pour it out. Since then instead of the blood of beasts He brought in His own Blood; lest any should be troubled on hearing this, He reminds them of that ancient sacrifice.
[6.] Next, having spoken concerning that Supper, he connects the things present with the things of that time, that even as on that very evening and reclining on that very couch and receiving from Christ himself this sacrifice, so also now might men be affected; and he saith,
Ver. 26. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till He come."
For as Christ in regard to the bread and the cup said, "Do this in remembrance of Me," revealing to us the cause of the giving of the Mystery, and besides what else He said, declaring this to be a sufficient cause to ground our religious fear upon:—(for when thou considerest what thy Master hath suffered for thee, thou wilt the better deny thyself:)—so also Paul saith here: "as often as ye eat ye do proclaim His death." And this is that Supper. Then intimating that it abides unto the end, he saith, "till He come."
Ver. 27. "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord."
Why so? Because he poured it out, and makes the thing appear a slaughter and no longer a sacrifice. Much therefore as they who then pierced Him, pierced Him not that they might drink but that they might shed His blood: so likewise doth he that cometh for it unworthily and reaps no profit thereby. Seest thou how fearful he makes his discourse, and inveighs against them very exceedingly, signifying that if they are thus to drink, they partake unworthily of the elements? For how can it be other than unworthily when it is he who neglects the hungry? who besides overlooking him puts him to shame? Since if not giving to the poor casteth one out of the kingdom, even though one should be a virgin; or rather, not giving liberally: (for even those virgins too had oil, only they had it not abundantly:) consider how great the evil will prove, to have wrought so many impieties?
"What impieties?" say you. Why sayest thou, what impieties? Thou hast partaken of such a Table and when thou oughtest to be more gentle than any and like the angels, none so cruel as thou art become. Thou hast tasted the Blood of the Lord, and not even thereupon dost thou acknowledge thy brother. Of what indulgence then art thou worthy? Whereas if even before this thou hadst not known him, thou oughtest to have come to the knowledge of him from the Table; but now thou dishonorest the Table itself; he having been deemed worthy to partake of it and thou not judging him worthy of thy meat. Hast thou not heard how much he suffered who demanded the hundred pence? how he made void the gift vouchsafed to him? Doth it not come into thy mind what thou wert and what thou hast become? Dost thou not put thyself in remembrance that if this man be poor in possessions, thou wast much more beggarly in good works, being full of ten thousand sins? Notwithstanding, God delivered thee from all those and counted thee worthy of such a Table: but thou art not even thus become more merciful: therefore of course nothing else remaineth but that thou shouldest be "delivered to the tormentors."
[7.] These words let us also listen to, all of us, as many as in this place approach with the poor to this holy Table, but when we go out, do not seem even to have seen them, but are both drunken and pass heedlessly by the hungry; the very things whereof the Corinthians were accused. And when is this done? say you. At all times indeed, but especially at the festivals, where above all times it ought not so to be. Is it not so, that at such times, immediately after Communion, drunkenness succeeds and contempt of the poor? And having partaken of the Blood, when it were a time for thee to fast and watch, thou givest thyself up to wine and revelling. And yet if thou hast by chance made thy morning meal on any thing good, thou keepest thyself lest by any other unsavory viand thou spoil the taste of the former: and now that thou hast been feasting on the Spirit thou bringest in asatanical luxury. Consider, when the Apostles partook of that holy Supper, what they did: did they not betake themselves to prayers and singing of hymns? to sacred vigils? to that long work of teaching, so full of all self-denial? For then He related and delivered to them those great and wonderful things, when Judas had gone out to call them who were about to crucify Him. Hast thou not heard how the three thousand also who partook of the Communion continued even in prayer and teaching, not in drunken feasts and revellings? But thou before thou hast partaken fastest, that in a certain way thou mayest appear worthy of the Communion: but when thou hast partaken, and thou oughtest to increase thy temperance, thou undoest all. And yet surely it is not the same to fast before this and after it. Since although it is our duty to be temperate at both times, yet most particularly after we have received the Bridegroom. Before, that thou mayest become worthy of receiving: after, that thou mayest not be found unworthy of what thou hast received.
"What then? ought we to fast after receiving?" I say not this, neither do I use any compulsion. This indeed were well: however, I do not enforce this, but I exhort you not to feast to excess. For if one never ought to live luxuriously, and Paul showed this when he said, "she that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Tim. v. 6.); much more will she then be dead. And if luxury be death to a woman, much more to a man: and if this done at another time is fatal, much more after the communion of the Mysteries. And dost thou having taken the bread of life, do an action of death and not shudder? Knowest thou not how great evils are brought in by luxury? Unseasonable laughter, disorderly expressions, buffoonery fraught with perdition, unprofitable trifling, all the other things, which it is not seemly even to name. And these things thou doest when thou hast enjoyed the Table of Christ, on that day on which thou hast been counted worthy to touch His flesh with thy tongue. What then is to be done to prevent these things? Purify thy right hand, thy tongue, thy lips, which have become a threshold for Christ to tread upon. Consider the time in which thou didst draw near and set forth a material table, raise thy mind to that Table, to the Supper of the Lord, to the vigil of the disciples, in that night, that holy night. Nay, rather should one accurately examine, this very present state is night. Let us watch then with the Lord, let us be pricked in our hearts with the disciples. It is the season of prayers, not of drunkenness; ever indeed, but especially during a festival. For a festival is therefore appointed, not that we may behave ourselves unseemly, not that we may accumulate sins, but rather that we may blot out those which exist.
I know, indeed, that I say these things in vain, yet will I not cease to say them. For if ye do not all obey, yet surely ye will not all disobey; or rather, even though ye should all be disobedient, my reward will be greater, though yours will be more condemnation. However, that it may not be more, to this end I will not cease to speak. For perchance, perchance, by my perseverance I shall be able to reach you.
Wherefore I beseech you that we do not this to condemnation; let us nourish Christ, let us give Him drink, let us clothe Him. These things are worthy of that Table. Hast thou heard holy hymns? Hast thou seen a spiritual marriage? Hast thou enjoyed a royal Table? Hast thou been filled with the Holy Ghost? Hast thou joined in the choir of the Seraphim? Hast thou become partaker of the powers above? Cast not away so great a joy, waste not the treasure, bring not in drunkenness, the mother of dejection, the joy of the devil, the parent of ten thousand evils. For hence is a sleep like unto death, and heaviness of head, and disease, and obliviousness, and an image of dead men's condition. Further, if thou wouldst not choose to meet with a friend when intoxicated, when thou hast Christ within, durst thou, tell me, to thrust in upon Him so great an excess?
But dost thou love enjoyment? Then, on this very account cease being drunken. For I, too, would have thee enjoy thyself, but with the real enjoyment, that which never fadeth. What then is the real enjoyment, ever blooming? Invite Christ to sup (Rev. ii. 20.) with thee; give Him to partake of thine, or rather of His own. This bringeth pleasure without limit, and in its prime everlastingly. But the things of sense are not such; rather as soon as they appear they vanish away; and he that hath enjoyed them will be in no better condition than he who hath not, or rather in a worse. For the one is settled as it were in a harbor, but the other exposes himself to a kind of torrent, a besieging army of distempers, and hath not even any power to endure the first swell of the sea.
That these things be therefore not so, let us follow after moderation. For thus we shall both be in a good state of body, and we shall possess our souls in security, and shall be delivered from evils both present and future: from which may we all be delivered, and attain unto the kingdom, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF I/XII, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.