Church Fathers: Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 110.01.53 Homily LXXXIII-LXXXIV

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Church Fathers: Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 110.01.53 Homily LXXXIII-LXXXIV



TOPIC: Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 110.01.53 Homily LXXXIII-LXXXIV

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Homily LXXXIII.

Matthew Chapter 26, Verse 36-Matthew Chapter 26, Verse 38

"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy: and He saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. "hyperlink

Because they clung to Him inseparably, therefore He saith, "Tarry ye here, while I go away and pray." For it was usual with Him to pray apart from them. And this He did teaching us in our prayers, to prepare silence for ourselves and great retirement.

And He takes with Him the three, and saith unto them, "my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Wherefore doth He not take all with Him? That they might not be cast down; but these He taketh that had been spectators of His glory. However, even these He dismisses: "And He went on a little farther, and prayeth, saying, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto them, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."hyperlink

Not without reason doth He inveigh against Peter most, although the others also had slept; but to make him feel by this also, for the cause which I mentioned before. Then because the others also said the same thing (for when Peter had said (these are the words), "Though I must die with Thee, I will not deny Thee; likewise also," it is added, "said all the disciples");hyperlink He addresses Himself to all, convicting their weakness. For they who are desiring to die with Him, were not then able so much as to sorrow with Him wake-fully, but sleep overcame them.

And He prays with earnestness, in order that the thing might not seem to be acting. And sweats flow over him for the same cause again, even that the heretics might not say this, that He acts the agony. Therefore there is a sweat like drops of blood, and an angel appeared strengthening Him, and a thousand sure signs of fear, lest any one should affirm the words to be reigned. For this cause also was this prayer. By saying then, "If it be possible, let it pass from me," He showed His humanity; but by saying, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt," He showed His virtue and self-command, teaching us even when nature pulls us back, to follow God. For since it was not enough for the foolish to show His face only, He uses words also. Again, words sufficed not alone, but deeds likewise were needed; these also He joins with the words, that even they who are in a high degree contentious may believe, that He both became man and died. For if, even when these things are so, this be still disbelieved by some, much more, if these had not been. See by how many things He shows the reality of the incarnation: by what He speaks, by what He suffers. After that He cometh and saith to Peter, as it is said, "What, couldest thou not watch one hour with me?"hyperlink All were sleeping, and He rebukes Peter, hinting at him, in what He spake. And the words, "with me," are not employed without reason; it is as though He had said, Thou couldest not watch with me one hour, and wilt thou lay down thy life for me? and what follows also, intimates this self-same thing. For "Watch," saith He, "and pray not to enter into temptation." See how He is again instructing them not to be self-confident, but contrite in mind, and to be humble, and to refer all to God.

And at one time He addresses Himself to Peter, at another to all in common. And to him He saith, "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee;" and to all in common, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation;" every way plucking up their self-will, and making them earnest-minded. Then, that He might not seem to make His language altogether condemnatory, He saith, "The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak." For even although thou dost desire to despise death, yet thou wilt not be able, until God stretch forth His hand, for the carnal mind draws down.

And again He prayed in the same way, saying, "Father, if this cannot pass from me except I drink it, Thy will be done,"hyperlink showing here, that He fully harmonizes with God's will, and that we must always follow this, and seek after it.

"And He came and found them asleep."hyperlink For besides that it was late at night, their eyes also were weighed down by their despondency. And the third time He went and spake the same thing, establishing the fact, that He was become man. For the second and third time is in the Scriptures especially indicative of truth; like as Joseph also said to Pharaoh, "Did the dream appear to thee the second time? For truth was this done, and that thou mightest be assured that this shall surely be."hyperlink Therefore He too once, and twice, and three times spake the same thing, for the sake of proving the incarnation.hyperlink

And wherefore came He the second time? In order to reprove them, for that they were so drowned in despondency, as not to have any sense even of His presence. He did not however reprove them, but stood apart from them a little, showing their unspeakable weakness, that not even when they had been rebuked, were they able to endure. But He doth not awake and rebuke them again, lest He should smite them that were already smitten, but He went away and prayed, and when He is come back again, He saith, "Sleep on now, and take your rest." And yet then there was need to be wakeful, but to show that they will not bear so much as the sight of the dangers, but will be put to flight and desert Him from their terror, and that He hath no need of their succor, and that He must by all means be delivered up, "Sleep on now," He saith, "and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."hyperlink

He shows again that what is done belongs to a divine dispensation.

2. But He doth not this only, but also, by saying, "into the hands of sinners," He cheers up their minds, showing it was the effect of their wickedness, not of His being liable to any charge.

"Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me."hyperlink For by all means He taught them, that the matter was not of necessity, nor of weakness, but of some secret dispensation. For, as we see, He fore-knew that Judas would come, and so far from flying, He even went to meet him. At any rate, "While He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people."hyperlink Seemly surely are the instruments of the priests! "with swords and staves" do they come against Him! And Judas, it is said, with them, one of the twelve. Again he calleth him "of the twelve," and is not ashamed. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast."hyperlink Oh! what depravity had the traitor's soul received. For with what kind of eyes did he then look at his Master? with what mouth did he kiss Him? Oh! accursed purpose; what did he devise? What did he dare? What sort of sign of betrayal did he give? Whomsoever I shall kiss, he saith. He was emboldened by his Master's gentleness, which more than all was sufficient to shame him, and to deprive him of all excuse for that he was betraying one so meek.

But wherefore doth He say this? Because often when seized by them He had gone out through the midst, without their knowing it. Nevertheless, then also this would have been done, if it had not been His own will that He should be taken. It was at least with a view to teach them this, that He then blinded their eyes, and Himself asked, "Whom seek ye?"hyperlink And they knew Him not, though being with lanterns and torches, and having Judas with them. Afterwards, as they had said, "Jesus;" He saith, "I am He" whom ye seek: and here again, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?"hyperlink

For after having shown His own strength, then at once He yielded Himself. But John saith, that even to the very moment He continued to reprove him, saying, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"hyperlink Art thou not ashamed even of the form of the betrayal? saith He. Nevertheless, forasmuch as not even this checked him, He submitted to be kissed, and gave Himself up willingly; and they laid their hands on Him, and seized Him that night on which they ate the passover, to such a degree did they boil with rage, and were mad. However, they would have had no strength, unless He had Himself suffered it. Yet this delivers not Judas from intolerable punishment, but even more exceedingly condemns him, for that though he had received such proof of His power, and lenity, and meekness, and gentleness, he became fiercer than any wild beast.

Knowing then these things, let us flee from covetousness. For that, that it was, which then drove him to madness; that exercises them who are taken thereby in the most extreme cruelty and inhumanity. For, when it makes them to despair of their own salvation, much more doth it cause them to overlook that of the rest of mankind. And so tyrannical is the passing, as sometimes to prevail over the keenest lust. Wherefore indeed I am exceedingly ashamed, that to spare their money, may indeed have bridled their unchastity, but for the fear of Christ they were not willing to live chastely and with gravity.

Wherefore I say, let us flee from it; for I will not cease for ever saying this. For why, O man, dost thou gather gold? Why dost thou make thy bondage more bitter? Why thy watching more grievous? Why thy anxiety more painful? Account for thine own the metals buried in the mines, those in the kings' courts. For indeed if thou hadst all that heap, thou wouldest keep it only, and wouldest not use it. For if now thou hast not used the things thou possessest, but abstainest from them as though they belonged to others, much more would this be the case with thee, if thou hadst more. For it is the way of the covetous, the more they heap up around them, the more to be sparing of it. "But I know," sayest thou, "that these things are mine." The possession then is in supposition only, not in enjoyment. But I should be an object of fear to men, sayest thou. Nay, but thou wouldest by this become a more easy prey both to rich and poor, to robbers, and false accusers, and servants, and in general to all that are minded to plot against thee. For if thou art desirous to be an object of fear, cut off the occasions by which they are able to lay hold of thee and pain thee, whoever have set their hearts thereon. Hearest thou not the parable that saith, that the poor and naked man, not even a hundred men gathered together are ever able to strip? For he hath his poverty as his great est protection, which not even the king shall ever be able to subdue and take.

3. The covetous man indeed all join in vexing. And why do I say men, when moths and worms war against such a man? And why do I speak of moths? Length of time is enough alone, even when no one troubles him, to do the greatest injury to such a man.

What then is the pleasure of wealth? For I see its discomforts, but do thou tell me the pleasure of it. And what are its discomforts? sayest thou: anxieties, plots, enmities, hatred, fear; to be ever thirsting and in pain.

For if any one were to embrace a damsel he loves, but were not able to satisfy his sire, he undergoes the utmost torment. Even so also doth the rich man. For he hath plenty, and is with her, but cannot satisfy all his desire; but the same result takes place as some wise man mentions; "The lust of eunuch to deflower a virgin;" and, "Like an eunuch embracing a virgin and groaning;"hyperlink so are all the rich.

Why should one speak of the other things? how such a one is displeasing to all, to his servants, his laborers, his neighbors, to them that handle public affairs, to them that are injured, to them that are not injured, to his wife most of all, and to his children more than to any. For not as men does he bring them up, but more miserably than menials and purchased slaves.

And countless occasions for anger, and vexation, and insult, and ridicule against himself, doth he bring about, being set forth as a common laughing stock to all. So the discomforts are these, and perhaps more than these; before one could never go through them all in discourse, but experience will be able to set them before us.

But tell me the pleasure from hence. "I appear to be rich," he saith, "and am reputed to be rich." And what kind of pleasure to be so reputed? It is a very great name for envy. I say a name, for wealth is a name only void of reality.

"Yet he that is rich," saith he, "indulges and delights himself with this notion." He delights himself in those things about which he ought to grieve. "To grieve? wherefore?" asks he. Because this renders him useless for all purposes, and cowardly and unmanly both with regard to banishment and to death, for he holds this double, longing more for money than for light. Such a one not even Heaven delights, because it beareth not gold; nor the sun, forasmuch as it puts not forth golden beams.

But there are some, saith he, who do enjoy what they possess, living in luxury, in gluttony, in drunkenness, spending sumptuously. You are telling me of persons worse than the first. For the last above all are the men, who have no enjoyment. For the first at least abstains from other evils, being bound to one love; but the others are worse than these, besides what we have said, bringing in upon themselves a crowd of cruel masters, and doing service every day to the belly, to lust, to drunkenness, to other kinds of intemperance, as to so many cruel tyrants, keeping harlots, preparing expensive feasts, purchasing parasites, flatterers, turning aside after unnatural lusts, involving their body and their soul in a thousand diseases springing therefrom.

For neither is it on what they want they spend their goods, but on ruining the body, and on ruining also the soul therewith; and they do the same, as if any one, when adorning his person, were to think he was spending his money on his own wants.

So that he alone enjoys pleasure and is master of his goods, who uses his wealth for a proper object; but these are slaves and captives, for they aggravate both the passions of the body and the diseases of the soul. What manner of enjoyment is this, where is siege and war, and a storm worse than all the raging of the sea? For if wealth find men fools, it renders them more foolish; if wanton, more wanton.

And what is the use of understanding, thou wilt say, to the poor man? As might be expected thou art ignorant; for neither doth the blind man know what is the advantage of light. Listen to Solomon, saying, "As far as light excelleth darkness, so doth wisdom excel folly."hyperlink

But how shall we instruct him that is in darkness? For the love of money is darkness, permitting nothing that is to appear as it is, but otherwise. For much as one in darkness, though he should see a golden vessel, though a precious stone, though purple garments, supposes them to be nothing, for he sees not their beauty; so also he that is in covetousness, knows not as he ought the beauty of those things that are worthy of our care. Disperse then I pray thee the mist that arises from this passion, and then wilt thou see the nature of things.

But nowhere do these things so plainly appear as in poverty, nowhere are those things. so disproved which seem to be, and are not, as in self-denial.

4. But oh! foolish men; who do even curse the poor, and say that both houses and living are disgraced by poverty, confounding all things. For what is a disgrace to a house? I pray thee. It hath no couch of ivory, nor silver vessels, but all of earthenware and wood. Nay, this is the greatest glory and distinction to a house. For to be indifferent about worldly things, often occasions all a man's leisure to be spent in the care of his soul.

When therefore thou seest great care about outward things, then be ashamed at the great unseemliness. For the houses of them that are rich most of all want seemliness. For when thou seest tables covered with hangings, and couches inlaid with silver, much as in the theatre, much as in the display of the stage, what can be equal to this unseemliness? For what kind of house is most like the stage, and the things on the stage? The rich man's or the poor man's? Is it not quite plain that it is the rich man's? This therefore is full of unseemliness. What kind of house is most like Paul's, or Abraham's? It is quite evident that it is the poor man's. This therefore is most adorned, and to be approved. And that thou mayest learn that this is, above all, a house's adorning, enter into the house of Zacchaeus, and learn, when Christ was on the point of entering therein, how Zacchaeus adored it. For he did not run to his neighbors begging curtains, and seats, and chairs made of ivory, neither did he bring forth from his closets Laconian hangings; but he adorned it with an adorning suitable to Christ. What was this? "The half of my goods I will give, he saith, "to the poor; and whomsoever I have robbed, I will restore fourfold."hyperlink On this wise let us too adorn our houses, that Christ may enter in unto us also. These are the fair curtains, these are wrought in Heaven, they are woven there. Where these are, there is also the King of Heaven. But if thou adorn it in another way, thou art inviting the devil and his company.

He came also into the house of the publican Matthew. What then did this man also do? He first adorned himself by his readiness, and by his leaving all, and following Christ.

So also Cornelius adorned his house with prayers and alms; wherefore even unto this day it shines above the very palace. For the vile state of a house is not in vessels lying in disorder, nor in an untidy bed, nor in walls covered with smoke, but in the wickedness of them that dwell therein. And Christ showeth it, for into such a house, if the inhabitant be virtuous, He is not ashamed to enter; but into that other, though it have a golden roof, He will never enter. So that while this one is more gorgeous than the palace, receiving the Lord of all, that with its golden roof and columns is like filthy drains and sewers, for it contains the vessels of the devil.

But these things we have spoken not of those who are rich for a useful purpose, but of the grasping, and the covetous. For neither is there amongst these, diligence nor care about the things needful, but about pampering the belly, and drunkenness, and other like unseemliness; but with the others about self-restraint. Therefore nowhere did Christ enter into a gorgeous house, but into that of the publican and chief publican, and fisherman, leaving the kings' palaces, and them that are clothed with soft raiment.

If then thou also desirest to invite Him, deck thy house with alms, with prayers, with supplications, with vigils. These are the decorations of Christ the King, but those of mammon, the enemy of Christ. Let no one be ashamed then of a humble house, if it hath this furniture; let no rich man pride himself on having a costly house, but let him rather hide his face, and seek after this other, forsaking that, that both here he may receive Christ, and there enjoy the eternal tabernacles, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might world without end. Amen.



Footnotes



1 [The only variation of text is the substitution of kai/ for to/te, at the beginoing of verse 38. The R. V. renders, "sorrowful and sore troubled," and "abide" instead of "tarry."-R.]

2 Matt. xxvi. 39-41. [The first part of verse 39 is abridged, and in 40 "them" is substituted for "the disciples." The remainder of the passage is in verbal agreement with the received text.-R.]

3 Matt. xxvi. 36.

4 Comp. Mark xiv. 37.

5 Matt. xxvi. 42. [The word "cup" is omitted as in R. V., but "from me" is retained as in the received text.-R.]

6 Matt. xxvi. 43. [R. V., "sleeping;" "again" is omitted.

7 Gen. xli. 32.

8 oi0konomi/a.

9 Matt. xxvi. 45.

10 Matt. xxvi. 46.

11 Matt. xxvi. 47.

12 Matt. xxvi. 48. [R. V., "take him."]

13 John xviii. 4.

14 Matt. xxvi. 50. [The Greek text in the Homily is e0f0 w[ pa/rei ; but there is some authority for e0f0 o$ pa/rei; which is abundantly attested in the New Testament passage. The latter reading is accepted in the R. V., "Friend, do that for which thou art come."-R.]

15 Luke xxii. 48.

16 Ecclus. xx. 4, xxx. 20.

17 Eccles. ii. 13.

18 Luke xix. 8. [Altered, as in previous citations.



Homily LXXXIV.

Matthew Chapter 26, Verse 51-Matthew Chapter 26, Verse 54

"And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched forth his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear." Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword unto his place, for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword. Thinkesthyperlink thou that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presentlyhyperlink give me more than twelve legions of angels? How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?"hyperlink

Who was this "one," who cut off the ear? John saith that it was Peter.hyperlink For the act was of his fervor.

But this other point is worth inquiry, wherefore they were bearing swords? For that they bore them is evident not hence only, but from their saying when asked, "here are two." But wherefore did Christ even permit them to have swords? For Luke affirms this too, that He said unto them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?" And when they said, "Nothing," He said unto them, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and a scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." And when they said, "Here are two swords," He said unto them, "It is enough."hyperlink

Wherefore then did He suffer them to have them? To assure them that He was to be betrayed. Therefore He saith unto them, "Let him buy a sword," not that they should arm themselves, far from it; but by this, indicating His being betrayed.

And wherefore doth He mention a scrip also? He was teaching them henceforth to be sober, and wakeful, and to use much diligence on their own part. For at the beginning He cherished them (as being inexperienced) with much putting forth of His power but afterwards bringing them forth as young birds out of the nest, He commands them to use their own wings. Then, that they might not suppose that it was for weakness He is letting them alone, in commanding them also to work their part, He reminds them of the former things, saying, "When I sent you without purse, lacked ye anything?" that by both they might learn His power, both wherein He protected them, and wherein He now leaveth them to themselves by degrees.

But whence were the swords there? They were come forth from the supper, and from the table. It was likely also there should be swords because of the lamb, and that the disciples, hearing that certain were coming forth against Him, took them for defense, as meaning to fight in behalf of their Master, which was of their thought only. Wherefore also Peter is rebuked for using it, and with a severe threat. For he was resisting the servant who came, warmly indeed, yet not defending himself, but doing this in behalf of his Master.

Christ however suffered not any harm to ensue. For He healed him, and showed forth a great miracle, enough to indicate at once both His forbearance and His power, and the affection and meekness of His disciple. For then he acted from affection, now with dutifulness. For when he heard, "Put up thy sword into its sheath,"hyperlink he obeyed straightway, and afterwards nowhere doeth this.

But another saith, that they moreover asked, "Shall we smite?"hyperlink but that He for-bad it, and healed the man, and rebuked His disciple, and threatened, that He might move him to obedience. "For all they that take the sword," He said, "shall die with the sword."

And he adds a reason, saying, "Think ye that I cannot pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But that the Scriptures might be fulfilled."hyperlink By these words He quenched their anger, indicating that to the Scriptures also, this seemed good. Wherefore there too He prayed, that they might take meekly what befell Him, when they had learnt that this again is done according to God's will.

And by these two things, He comforted them, both by the punishment of them that are plotting against Him, "For all they," He saith, "that take the sword shall perish with the sword;" and by His not undergoing these things against His will, "For I can pray, He saith, "to my Father."

And wherefore did He not say, "Think ye that I cannot destroy them all?" Because He was more likely to be believed in saying what He did say; for not yet had they the right belief concerning Him. And a little while before He had said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," and, "Father, let the cup pass from me;"hyperlink and He had appeared in an agony and sweating, and strengthened by an angel.

Since then He had shown forth many tokens of human nature, He did not seem likely to speak so as to be believed, if He had said, "Think ye that I cannot destroy them." Therefore He saith, "What, think ye that I cannot pray to my Father?" And again He speaks it humbly, in saying, "He will presently give me twelve legions of angels." For if one angel slew one hundred and eighty-five armed thousands,hyperlink what need of twelve legions against a thousand men? But He frames His language with a view to their terror and weakness, for indeed they were dead with fear. Wherefore also He brings against them the Scriptures, saying, "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?" alarming them by this also. For if this be approved by the Scriptures, do ye oppose and fight against them?

2. And to His disciples He saith these things; but to the others, "Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me."hyperlink

See how many things He doeth that might awaken them. He cast them to the ground, He healed the servant's ear, He threatened them with being slain; "For they shall perish with the sword," He saith, "who take the sword." By the healing of the ear, He gave assurance of these things also; from every quarter, both from the things present, and from the things to come, manifesting His power, and showing that it was not a work of their strength to seize Him. Wherefore He also adds, "I was daily with you, and sat teaching, and ye laid no hold on me;" by this also making it manifest, that the seizure was of His permission. He passed over the miracles, and mentions the teaching, that He might not seem to boast.

When I taught, ye laid no hold on me; when I held my peace, did ye come against me? I was in the temple, and no one seized me, and now do ye come upon me late and at midnight with swords and staves? What need was there of these weapons against Him, who was with you always? by these things teaching them, that unless He had voluntarily yielded, not even then would they have succeeded o For neither could they (who were not able to hold Him when in their hands, and who, when they had got Him in the midst of them, had not prevailed) even then have succeeded, unless He had been willing.

After this, He solves also the difficulty why He willed it then. For, "this was done," He saith, "that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."hyperlink See how even up to the last hour, and in the very act of being betrayed, He did all things for their amendment, healing, prophesying, threatening. "For," He saith, "they shall perish by the sword." To show that He is suffering voluntarily, He saith, "I was daily with you teaching;" to manifest His accordance with the Father, He adds, "That the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

But wherefore did they not lay hold on Him in the temple? Because they would not have dared in the temple, on account of the people. Wherefore also He went forth without, both by the place and by the time giving them security, and even to the last hour taking away their excuse. For He who, in order that He might obey the prophets, gave up even Himself, how did He teach things contrary to them?

"Then all His disciples," it is said, "forsook Him, and fled." For when He was seized, they remained; but when He had said these things to the multitudes, they fled. For thenceforth they saw that escape was no longer possible, when He was giving Himself up to them voluntarily, and saying, that this was done according to the Scriptures.

And when these were fled, "they lead Him away to Caiaphas; but Peter followed, and entered in to see what the end should be."hyperlink

Great was the fervor of the disciple; neither did he fly when he saw them flying, but stood his ground, and went in with Him. And if John did so too, yet he was "known to the high priest."hyperlink

And why did they lead Him away there where they were all assembled? That they might do all things with consent of the chief priests. For he was then high priest, and all were waiting for Christ there, to such a degree did they spend the whole night, and give up their sleep for this object. For neither did they then eat the passover, but watched for this other purpose. For John, when he had said that "it was early," added, "they entered into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover."hyperlink

What must we say then? That they ate it on another day, and broke the law, on account of their eager desire about this murder. For Christ would not have transgressed as to the time of the passover, but they who were daring all things, and trampling under foot a thousand laws. For since they were exceedingly boiling with rage, and having often attempted to seize Him, had not been able; having then taken Him unexpectedly, they chose even to pass by the passover, for the sake of satiating their murderous lust.

Wherefore also they were all assembled together, and it was a council of pestilent men,hyperlink and they ask some questions, wishing to invest this plot with the appearance of a court of justice. For "neither did their testimonies agree together;"hyperlink so reigned was the court of justice, and all things full of confusion and disorder.

"But false witnesses came, and said, This fellow said, I will destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it."hyperlink And indeed He had said, "In three days," but He said not, "I will destroy," but, "Destroy," and not about that temple but about His own body.hyperlink

What then doth. the high priest? Willing to press Him to a defense, that by that he might take Him, he saith, "Hearest Thou not what these witness against Thee? But He held His peace."hyperlink

For the attempts at defense were unprofitable, no man hearing. For this was a show only of a court of justice, but in truth an onset of robbers, assailing Him without cause, as in a cave, or on a road.

Wherefore "He held His peace," but the other continued, saying, "I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of the living God. But He said, Thou hast said. Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy."hyperlink And this he did to add force to the accusation, and to aggravate what He said, by the act. For since what had been said moved the hearers to fear, what they did about Stephen,hyperlink stopping their ears, this high priest doth here also.

3. And yet what kind of blasphemy was this? For indeed before He had said, when they were gathered together, "The Lord said unto my Lord. Sit Thou on my right hand,"hyperlink and interpreted the saying, and they dared say nothing, but held their peace, and from that time forth gainsaid Him no more. Why then did they now call the saying a blasphemy? And wherefore also did Christ thus answer them? To take away all their excuse, because unto the last day He taught that He was Christ, and that He sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come again to judge the world, which was the language of one manifesting His full accordance with the Father.

Having rent therefore his clothes, he saith, "What think ye?"hyperlink He gives not the sentence from himself, but invites it from them, as in a case of confessed sins, and manifest blasphemy. For, inasmuch as they knew that if the thing came to be inquired into, and carefully decided, it would free Him from all blame, they condemn Him amongst themselves, and anticipate the hearers by saying, "Ye have heard the blasphemy;" all but necessitating and forcing them to deliver the sentence. What then say they? "He is guilty of death;" that having taken Him as condemned, they should thus work upon Pilate thereupon to pass sentence. In which matter those others also being accomplices say, "He is guilty of death;" themselves accusing, themselves judging, themselves passing sentence, themselves being everything then.

But wherefore did they not bring forward the Sabbaths? Because He had often stopped their mouths; and moreover they wanted to take Him, and condemn Him by the things then said. And the high priest anticipated them, and gave the sentence as from them, and drew them all on by rending his vestments, and having led Him away as now condemned unto Pilate, thus did all.

Before Pilate at any rate they said nothing of this kind, but what? "Ifhyperlink this Man were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee;" attempting to put Him to death by political accusations. And wherefore did they not slay Him secretly? They were desirous also to bring up an evil report against His fame. For since many had now heard Him, and were admiring Him, and amazed at Him, therefore they endeavored that He should be put to death publicly, and in the presence of all.

But Christ hindered it not, but made full use of their wickedness for the establishment of the truth, so that His death should be manifest. And the result was the contrary to what they wished. For they wished to make a show of it, as in this way disgracing Him, but He even by these very things shone forth the more. And much as they said, "Let us put Him to death, lest the Romans come and take away our place and nation;"hyperlink and after they had put Him to death, this came to pass; so also here; their object was to crucify Him publicly, that they might injure His fame, and the contrary result took place.

For in proof that indeed they had power to have put Him to death, even amongst themselves, hear what Pilate saith: "Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law."hyperlink But they would not, that He might seem to have been put to death as a transgressor, as an usurper, as a mover of sedition. Therefore also they crucified thieves with Him; therefore also they said, "Write not that this man is King of the Jews; but that He said it."hyperlink

But all these things are done for the truth, so that they might not have so much as any shadow of a defense that is surely shameless. And at the sepulchre too, in the like manner, the seals and the watches made the truth to be the more conspicuous; and the mockings, and the jeerings, and the revilings, wrought again this self-same effect.

For such is the nature of error: it is destroyed by those things whereby it plots; thus at least it fell out even here, for they that seemed to have conquered, these most of all were put to shame, and defeated, and ruined; but He that seemed to be defeated, this man above all hath both shone forth, and conquered mightily.

Let us not then everywhere seek victory, nor everywhere shun defeat. There is an occasion when victory brings hurt, but defeat profit. For, for instance, in the case of them that are angry; he that hath been very outrageous seems to have prevailed; but this man above all is the one subdued and hurt by the most grievous passion; but he that hath endured nobly, this man hath got the better and conquered. And while the one hath not had strength to overcome so much as his own disease; the other hath removed another man's; this hath been subdued by his own, that hath got the better even of another's passion; and so far from being burnt up, he quenched the flame of another when raised to a height. But if he had minded to gain what seems to be victory, both he himself would have been overcome; and having inflamed the other, he would have occasioned him to have suffered this more grievously; and, like women, both the one and the other would have been disgracefully and miserably overthrown by their anger. But now he that hath exercised self-control is both freed from this disgrace, and hath erected a glorious trophy over anger both in himself and in his neighbor, through his honorable defeat.

4. Let us not then everywhere seek victory. For he that hath overreached hath conquered the person wronged, but with an evil victory, and one that brings destruction to him that has won it; but he that is wronged, and seems to have been conquered, if he have borne it with self-command, this above all is the one that hath the crown. For often to be defeated is better, and this is the best mode of victory. For whether one overreaches, or smites, or envies, he that is defeated, and enters not into the conflict, this is he who hath the victory.

And why do I speak of overreaching and envy? For he also that is dragged to martyrdom, thus conquers by being bound, and beaten, and maimed, and slain. And what is in wars defeat, namely, for the combatant to fall; this with us is victory. For nowhere do we overcome by doing wrongfully, but everywhere by suffering wrongfully. Thus also cloth the victory become more glorious, when we sufferers get the better of the doers. Hereby it is shown that the victory is of God. For indeed it hath an opposite nature to outward conquest. which fact is again above all an infallible sign of strength. Thus also the rocks in the sea, by being struck, break the waves; thus also all the saints were proclaimed, and crowned, and set up their glorious trophies, winning this tranquil victory. "For stir not thyself," He saith, "neither weary thyself. God hath given thee this might, to conquer not by conflict, but by endurance alone. Do not oppose thyself also as he does, and thou hast conquered; conflict not, and thou hast gained the crown.hyperlink Why dost thou disgrace thyself? Allow him not to say that by conflicting thou hast got the better, but suffer him to be amazed and to marvel at thy invincible power; and to say to all, that even without entering into conflict thou hast conquered."

Thus also the blessed Joseph obtained a good report, everywhere by suffering wrong getting the better of them who were doing it. For his brethren and the Egyptian woman were amongst those that were plotting against him, but over all did this man prevail. For tell me not of the prison, wherein this man dwelt, nor of the kings' courts where she abode, but show me who it is that is conquered, who it is that is defeated, who that is in despondency, who that is in pleasure. For she, so far from being able to prevail over the righteous man, could not master so much as her own passion; but this man prevailed both over her and over that grievous disease. But if thou wilt, hear her very words, and thou shalt see the trophy. "Thou broughtest in unto us here an Hebrew servant to mock us."hyperlink It was not this man that mocked thee, O wretched and unhappy woman, but the devil that told thee that thou couldest break down the adamant. This thy husband brought not in unto thee an Hebrew servant to plot against thee, but the wicked spirit brought in that unclean lasciviousness; he it was that mocked thee.

What then did Joseph? He held his peace, and thus is condemned, even as Christ is also.

For all those things are types of these. And he indeed was in bonds, and she in royal courts. Yet what is this? For he was more glorious than any crowned victor, even while continuing in his bonds, but she was in a more wretched condition than any prisoner, while abiding in royal chambers.

But not hence alone may one see the victory, and the defeat, but by the end itself. For which accomplished his desired object? The prisoner, not the high born lady? For he strove to keep his chastity, but she to destroy it. Which then accomplished what he desired? he who suffered wrong, or she who did the wrong. It is quite plain, that it is he who suffered. Surely then this is the one who hath conquered.

Knowing then these things, let us follow after this victory, which is obtained by suffering wrong, let us flee from that which is got by doing wrong. For so shall we both live this present life in all tranquility, and great quietness, and shall attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might world without end. Amen.



Footnotes



1 [R. V., "Or thinkest."]

2 [R. V., "even now."]

3 [The citation is very accurate; the only variation is the omission of mou after pate/ra.-R.]

4 John xviii. 10.

5 Luke xxii. 35-38. [On the renderings of verse 36, see R. V. The text of the Homily admits of either interpretation, but the comment favors the rendering given in the text of the R. V.-R.]

6 John xviii. 11.

7 Luke xxii. 49.

8 Matt. xxvi. 53.54.

9 Matt. xxvi. 38, 39.

10 2 Kings xix. 35.

11 Matt. xxvi. 55. [R. V., "robber"

" to seize me"

"ye took toe not."]

12 Matt. xxvi. 56.

13 Matt. xxvi. 57, 58. [Abridged and altered.]

14 John xviii. 15.

15 John xviii. 28. [Compare Homily LXXVI. 1, and the note there.-R.]

16 sune/drion loimw=n; cf. Ps. i. 1.

17 Mark xiv. 56, 59. [The passages are combined.-R.]

18 Matt. xxvi. 60, 61. [The citation is very free, not agreeing with anyone of the evangelists, according to our authorities; but it seems to combine terms from several passages.-R.]

19 See John ii. 19-21.

20 Matt. xxvi. 62, 63. [Freely cited ; the beginning is from the language of Pilate; chap. xxvii. 13-R.]

21 Matt. xxvi. 63-65. [In verse 63, "the living God" occurs twice, peculiar to this Homily in verse 64 "of heaven" is omitted. In other details the citation agrees with the received text.-R.]

22 Acts vii. 59.

23 Matt. xxii. 43-46.

24 Matt. xxvi. 66.

25 John xviii. 30. [R. V., "an evil-doer."]

26 John xi. 48. [Freely paraphrased.]

27 John xviii. 31.

28 John xix. 21. [The citation is accurate; "it," is supplied bythe translator to complete the sense.-R.]

29 1. [The following clause is omitted in the translation: "Much better and stronger art thou than thine antagonist."-R.]

30 Gen. xxxix. 17.