The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Acts of the ApostlesTranslated, with notes, by Rev. J. Walker, M.A., of Brasenose College;
Rev. J. Sheppard, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford; and
Rev. H. Browne, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
revised, with notes, by Rev. George B. Stevens, Ph.D., D.D., Professor in Yale University.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Homily V.Acts II. 14
"Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words."
["Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem,"] whom the writer above described as strangers. Here he directs his discourse to those others, the mockers,  and while he seems to reason with those, he sets these right. For indeed it was divinely ordered that "some mocked," that he might have a starting-point for his defence, and by means of that defence, might teach. ["And all ye that dwell in Jerusalem."] It seems they accounted it a high encomium to dwell in Jerusalem too.  "Be this," says he, "known unto you, and hearken unto my words." In the first instance he made them more disposed to attend to him. "For not as ye  suppose," says he, "are these drunken." Do you observe the mildness of his defence? (v. 15.) Although having the greater part of the people on his side, he reasons with those others gently; first he removes the evil surmise, and then he establishes his apology. On this account, therefore, he does not say, "as ye mock," or, "as ye deride," but, "as ye suppose;" wishing to make it appear that they had not said this in earnest, and for the present taxing them with ignorance rather than with malice. "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day." And why this? Is it not possible at the third hour to be drunken? But he did not insist upon this to the letter; for there was nothing of the kind about them; the others said it only in mockery.  Hence we learn that on unessential points one must not spend many words. And besides, the sequel is enough to bear him out on this point: so now the discourse is for all in common. "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord God. (v. 16, 17. Joel ii. 28.) Nowhere as yet the name of Christ, nor His promises but the promise is that of the Father. Observe the wisdom: observe the considerate forbearance: (sunkatabasin.) He did not pass on to speak at once of the things relating to Christ; that He had promised this after His Crucifixion; truly that would have been to upset all. And yet, you will say, here was sufficient to prove His divinity. True, it was, if believed (and the very point was that it should be believed); but if not believed, it would have caused them to be stoned. "And I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh." He offers even to them excellent hopes, if they would have them. And so far, he does not leave it to be regarded as the exclusive advantage of himself and his company; which would have made them be looked upon with an evil eye; thus cutting off all envious feeling. "And your sons shall prophesy." And yet, he says, not yours this achievement, this distinction; the gift has passed over to your children. Himself and his company he calls their sons, and those [whom he is addressing] he calls his and their fathers. "And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy." So far he shows that he and his have found favor, in that they had received (kataxiothentas) [the Spirit]; not so they whom he is addressing; for that they had crucified [the Lord]. So Christ also, willing to mitigate their wrath, said, "By whom do your sons cast out devils?" (Matt. xii. 27.) He did not say, My disciples; for indeed it seemed a flattering mode of expression. And so Peter also did not say, `They are not drunk, but speak  by the Spirit:' but he takes refuge with the prophet, and under shelter of him, so speaks. As for the accusation [of drunkenness], he cleared himself of that by his own assertion; but for the grace, he fetches the prophet as witness. "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh." ["And your sons," etc.] To some the grace was imparted through dreams, to others it was openly poured forth. For indeed by dreams the prophets saw, and received revelations.
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Well, let us look over again what has been said. It is well managed, that as against men laughing and mocking, he starts up and begins with, "Be this known unto you all and hearken unto my words." But he begins by saying, "Ye men of Judea." By the expression 'Ioudhaioi, I take him to mean those that lived in Judea.--And, if you please, let us compare those expressions in the Gospel, that you may learn what a sudden change has taken place in Peter. "A damsel," it is written, "came out unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth." And, says he, "I know not the Man." And being again questioned, "he began to curse and to swear." (Matt. xxvi. 69-72.) But see here his boldness, and his great freedom of speech.--He did not praise those who had said, "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God;" but by his severity towards those others, he made these more earnest, and at the same time his address is clear from all appearance of adulation. And it is well to remark, on all occasions, however the Apostles may condescend to the level of their hearers (sunkatabasis), their language is clear from all appearance both of adulation and of insolence: which is a difficult point to manage.
Now that these things should have occurred at "the third hour," was not without cause. For  the brightness of this fire is shown at the very time when people are not engaged in their works, nor at dinner; when it is bright day, when all are in the market-place. Do you observe also the freedom which fills his speech? "And hearken to my words." And he added nothing, but, "This," says he, "is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days." He shows, in fact, that the consummation is nigh at hand, and the words, "In the last days," have a kind of emphasis. ["I will pour out," etc.] And then, that he may not seem to limit the privilege to the sons only, he subjoins, "And your old men shall dream dreams." Mark the sequence. First sons; just as David said, "Instead of thy fathers, were begotten thy sons." (Ps. xlv. 17.) And again Malachi; "They shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. And on my handmaidens, and on my servants." (Mal. iv. 6.) This also is a token of excellence, for we have become His servants, by being freed from sin. And great is the gift, since the grace passes over to the other sex also, not as of old, it was limited to just one or two individuals, as Deborah and Huldah.  He did not say that it was the Holy Ghost, neither did he expound the words of the prophet; but he merely brings in the prophecy to fight its own battle. As yet also he has said nothing about Judas; and yet it was known to all what a doom and punishment he had undergone; for nothing was more forcible than to argue with them from prophecy: this was more forcible even than facts. For when Christ performed miracles, they often contradicted Him. But when Christ brought forward the prophet, saying, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand," they were silent, and "no man," we read, "was able to answer Him a word." (Ps. xc. 1.) And on all occasions He Himself also appealed to the Scriptures; for instance, "If he called them gods to whom the word of God came." (John x. 35.) And in many places one may find this. On this account here also Peter says, "I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh;" that is, upon the Gentiles also. But he does not yet reveal this, nor give interpretations; indeed,  it was better not to do so (as also this obscure saying, "I will show wonders in heaven above," put them the more in fear because it was obscure.) And it would have been more an offence, had it been interpreted from the very first. Then besides, even as plain, he passes over it, wishing to make them regard it as such. But after all, he does interpret to them anon, when he discourses to them upon the resurrection, and after he has paved the way by his discourse. (infra v. 39.) For  since the good things were not sufficient to allure them, [it is added, "And I will show wonders, etc."]. Yet  this has never been fulfilled. For none escaped then [in that former judgment], but now the faithful did escape, in Vespasian's time. And this it is that the Lord speaks of, "Except those days had been shortened, not all flesh should be saved."--["Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke."] (Matt. xxiv. 22.) The worst to come first;  namely, the inhabitants to be taken, and then the city to be razed and burnt. Then he dwelt upon the metaphor, bringing before the eyes of the hearers the overthrow and the taking. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood." What means, the moon turned into blood? It denotes the excess of the slaughter. The language is fraught with helpless dismay. (supra p. 32.) "And it shall come to pass, every one who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Every one," he says: though he be priest (but he does not vet reveal the meaning), though bond, though free. For  there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus, no bond, no free. (Gal. iii. 28.) Well may it be so, for all these are but shadow. For if in king's palaces there is no high-born nor low-born, but each appears according to his deeds; and in art, each is shown by his works; much more in that school of wisdom (philosophia). "Every one who shall invoke." Invoke: not any how, for it is written, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord:" but with (diatheseos) inward earnest affection, with a life more than commonly good, with the confidence which is meet. Thus far, however, he makes the discourse light, by introducing that which relates to faith, and that terrible which relates to the punishment.  For in the invocation is the salvation.
What, I pray you, is this you say? Do you talk of salvation for them after the Cross? Bear with me a little. Great is the mercy of God. And this very fact does, no less than the resurrection, prove him to be God, yea, no less than His miracles--the fact that He calls these to Him. For surpassing goodness is, above all things, peculiarly God's own. Therefore also He says, "None is good save one, that is, God." (Luke xviii. 19.) Only let us not take this goodness for an occasion of negligence. For He also punishes as God. In fact, the very punishments here spoken of, He brought them to pass, even He who said, "Every one who shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved." I speak of the fate of Jerusalem;  that intolerable punishment: of which I will tell you some few of the particulars, useful to us in our contest, both with the Marcionites and many other heretics. For, since they distinguish between Christ a good God, and that evil God [of the Old Testament], let us see who it was that effected these things. The evil God, taking vengeance for Christ? or not so? How then alien to Him? But was it the good God? Nay, but it is demonstrated that both the Father and the Son did these things. The Father in many places; for instance, when He says in the parable of the vineyard,  ["He will miserably destroy those wicked husbandmen" (Matt. xxi. 41); again in the parable of the marriage feast, the King is said] to send His armies (ib. xxii. 7): and the Son, when He says, "But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me." (Luke xix. 27.) * * *.  And they sent, saying, We will not have Thee to reign over us. Would you like then to hear the things which actually came to pass? Moreover, Christ Himself also speaks of the future tribulations, than which never any thing more dreadful came to pass; never any thing more ruthless, my beloved, than the deeds then done!  And He Himself declared it. For what could you wish to see more grievous than these? * * *--probed them with their daggers!  -- * * * But shall I relate to you the shocking case of the woman, that tragic tale? * * * (Joseph. B. J. vi. 3. 4.) Did not the actual events cast all misery into the shade? But shall I tell you of famines and pestilences? One might speak of horrors without number: nature was unknown; law unknown; they outdid wild beasts in ferocity. True, these miseries came by the fate of wars; but because God, because Christ so willed it to be. These facts will apply both against the Marcionites and against those who do not believe that there is a hell: for they are sufficient to silence their impudence. Are not these calamities more severe than the Babylonian?  Are not these sufferings more grievous than the famines of that time? Yes, for ["never was the like from the beginning of the world"] "no, nor ever shall be such." (Matt. xxiv. 21.) And this was Christ's own declaration. In what sense then, think ye, is it said that Christ remitted them their sin?  Perhaps it seems a commonplace question: but do ye solve it.--It is not possible to show anywhere, even in fiction, any thing like what the reality was here. And had it been a Christian that wrote this history, the matter might be regarded with suspicion: but if he was a Jew, and a Jewish zealot, and after the Gospel, how can the meaning of the facts be otherwise than palpable to all men? For you will see the man, how, everywhere, he always extols the concerns of the Jews.--There is therefore a hell, O man! and God is good.--Aye, did you shudder at hearing these horrors? But these, which take place here, are nothing in comparison with what shall be in that world. Once more I am compelled to seem harsh, disagreeable, stern. But what can I do? I am set to this: just as a severe schoolmaster is set to be hated by his scholars: so are we. For would it not be strange indeed, that, while those who have a certain post assigned them by kings do that which is appointed them, however disagreeable the task may be, we, for fear of your censure, should leave our appointed task undone? Another has a different work. Of you, many have it for their work, to show mercy, to act humanely, to be pleasant and agreeable to the persons to whom you are benefactors. But to those to whom we do good, we seem stern and severe, troublesome and disagreeable. For we do good, not by the pleasure we give, but by the pain we inflict. So it is also with the physician: though he indeed is not excessively disagreeable, for the benefit afforded by his art is had immediately; ours hereafter. So again the magistrate is odious to the disorderly and seditious; so the legislator is vexatious to them for whom he makes laws. But not so he that invites to enjoyment, not so he that prepares public festivities and entertainments, and puts all the people in garlands: no, these are men that win acceptance, feasting, as they do, whole cities with all sorts of spectacles; contributing largely, bearing all the cost. And therefore those whom they have treated, requite them for these enjoyments with words of welcome and benediction, with hanging (parapetasmata) of tapestries, and a blaze of lamps, and with wreaths, and boughs, and brilliant garments. Whereas, at the sight of the physician, the sick become sad and downcast: at sight of the magistrate, the rioters become subdued: no running riot then, no gambolling, except when he also goes over into their ranks.  Let us see, then, which render the best service to their cities; those who provide these festivities, and banquetings, and expensive entertainments, and manifold rejoicings; or those who restrain all those doings, bearing before them stocks, scourges, executioners, dreaded soldiers, and a voice fraught with much terror: and issuing orders, and making men hang down their heads, and with the rod dispersing the idlers in the market-place. Let us see, I say; these are the disagreeable, those the beloved: let us see where the gain rests. (lelei.) What comes then of your pleasure-givers? A kind of frigid enjoyment, lasting till the evening, and to-morrow vanished; mirth ungoverned, words unseemly and dissolute. And what of these? Awe, sobriety, subdued thoughts; reasonableness of mind, an end of idleness; a curb on the passions within; a wall of defence, next to God,  against assailants from without. It is by means of these we have each our property but by those ruinous festivities we dissipate it. Robbers indeed have not invaded it, but vainglory together with pleasure acts the part of robber. Each sees the robber carrying off everything before his eyes, and is delighted at it! A new fashion of robbery, this, to induce people to be glad when one is plundering them! On the other part, there is nothing of the kind: but God, as the common Father, has secured us as by a wall against all [depredators], both seen and unseen.  For, "Take heed," saith He, "that ye do not your alms before men." (Matt. vi. 1.) The soul learns from the one, [excess;  from the other] to flee injustice. For injustice consists not merely in grasping at more wealth than belongs to us, but in giving to the belly more than its needful sustenance, in carrying mirth beyond its proper bounds, and causing it to run into frantic excesses. From the one, it learns sobriety; from the other, unchastity. For it is unchastity, not merely to have carnal intercourse with women, but even to look upon a woman with unchaste eyes. From the one, it learns modesty; from the other, conceited self-importance. For, "All things," says the Apostle, "are lawful for me, but not all things expedient." (1 Cor. vi. 12.) From the one, decent behavior; from the other unseemliness. For, as to the doings in the theatres, I pass these. But to let you see that it is not even a pleasure either, but a grief, show me, but a single day after the festival, both those who spent their money in giving it, and those who were feasted with spectacles: and you shall see them all looking dejected enough, but most of all him, your (ekheinon) famous man that has spent his money for it. And this is but fair: for, the day before, he delighted the common man, and the common man indeed was in high good humor and enjoyment, and rejoiced indeed in the splendid garment, but then not having the use of it, and seeing himself stripped of it, he was grieved and annoyed; and wanted to be the great man, seeing even his own enjoyment to be small compared with his.  Therefore, the day after, they change places, and now he, the great man, gets the larger share in the dejection.
Now if in worldly matters, amusements are attended with such dissatisfaction, while disagreeable things are so beneficial, much more does this hold in things spiritual. Why is it that no one quarrels with the laws, but on the contrary all account that matter a common benefit? For indeed not strangers from some other quarter, nor enemies of those for whom the laws are made, came and made these orders, but the citizens themselves, their patrons, their benefactors: and this very thing, the making of laws, is a token of beneficence and good-will. And yet the laws are full of punishment and restraint, and there is no such thing as law without penalty and coercion. Then is it not unreasonable, that while the expositors of those laws are called deliverers, benefactors, and patrons, we are considered troublesome and vexatious if we speak of the laws of God? When we discourse about hell, then we bring forward those laws: just as in the affairs of the world, people urge the laws of murder, highway robbery, and the like, so do we the penal laws: laws, which not man enacted, but the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself. Let him that hath no mercy, He says, be punished (Matt. xviii. 23); for such is the import of the parable. Let him that remembereth injuries, pay the last penalty. Let him that is angry without cause, be cast into the fire. Let him that reviles, receive his due in hell. If you think these laws which you hear strange, be not amazed. For if Christ was not intended to make new laws, why did He come? Those other laws are manifest to us; we know that the murderer and adulterer ought to be punished. If then we were meant only to be told the same things over again, where was the need of a heavenly Teacher? Therefore He does not say, Let the adulterer be punished, but, whoso looketh on with unchaste eyes. And where, and when, the man will receive punishment, He there tells us. And not in fine public monuments, nor yet somewhere out of sight,  did He deposit His laws; not pillars of brass did He raise up, and engrave letters thereon, but twelve souls raised He up for us, the souls of the Apostles, and in their minds has He by the Spirit inscribed this writing. This cite we to you. If this was authorized to Jews, that none might take refuge in the plea of ignorance, much more is it to us. But should any say, "I do not hear, therefore have no guilt," on this very score he is most liable to punishment. For, were there no teacher, it would be possible to take refuge in this plea; but if there be, it is no longer possible. Thus see how, speaking of Jews, the Lord deprives them of all excuse; "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin:" (John xv. 22): and Paul again, "But I say, have they not heard? Nay, but into all the earth went forth their sound." (Rom. x. 18.) For then there is excuse, when there is none to tell the man; but when the watchman sits there, having this as the business of his life, there is excuse no longer. Nay, rather, it was the will of Christ, not that we should look only upon these written pillars, but that we should ourselves be such. But since we have made ourselves unworthy of the writing, at least let us look to those. For just as the pillars threaten others, but are not themselves obnoxious to punishment, nor yet the laws, even so the blessed Apostles. And observe; not in one place only stands this pillar, but its writing is carried round about in all the world. Whether you go among the Indians, you shall hear this: whether into Spain, or to the very ends of the earth, there is none without the hearing, except it be of his own neglect. Then be not offended, but give heed to the things spoken, that ye may be able to lay hold upon the works of virtue, and attain unto the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, power, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"Ye men of Israel, hear these my words."
["Ye men of Israel"]: it is not for flattery that he uses this term; but, as he has borne hard upon them, he relaxes a little, and puts them in mind of their great ancestor  [Israel]. Here again he begins with an introduction, that they may not become excited, now that he is going to make express mention to them of Jesus: for in what preceded, there was no reason why they should be excited, while the Prophet was the subject of discourse: but the name of Jesus would have given offence at the very outset.--And he does not say, "Do as I bid you," but, Hear; as being not at all exacting. And observe how he forbears to speak of the high matters, and begins with the very low: "Jesus," he says: and then straightway mentions the place He belonged to, being one which was held in mean estimation: "Jesus of Nazareth": and does not say anything great about Him, nor even such as one would say about a Prophet, so far: "Jesus," he says, "of Nazareth, a man proved (to be) from God among you." Observe; what great matter was this, to say that He was sent from God?  For this was the point which on all occasions both He and John and the Apostles were studious to show. Thus hear John saying: "The same said unto me On whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding on him, this is He." (John i. 33.) But Christ Himself does this to an extreme; Of Myself I am not come, He sent Me. (ib. vii. 28.) And everywhere in the Scriptures this seems the point most studiously insisted upon. Therefore also this holy leader of the blessed company, the lover of Christ, the good shepherd, the man put in trust with the keys of heaven, the man who received the Spiritual Wisdom, when he has first subdued the Jews by fear; and has shown what great things have been vouchsafed to the disciples, and what a right they have to be believed, then first proceeds to speak concerning Him. Only think what boldness it was to say it, in the midst of the murderers--that He is risen! And yet he does not all at once say, He is risen; but what?--"He came," says he, "from God: this is manifest by the signs which"--he does not yet say, Jesus Himself wrought: but what?--"which God wrought by Him in the midst of you." He calls themselves as witnesses. "A man proved (to be sent) from God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God wrought by him in the midst of you, as also ye yourselves know." Then, having fallen upon the mention of that their sacrilegious outrage, observe how he endeavors to quit them of the crime: "Him," he says, "being by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God delivered up": (v. 23) [adding however,] "ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:" for though it was predetermined, still they were murderers.  ["By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God:"] all but using the same words as Joseph did; just as he said to his brethren; "Be not angry one with another by the way: God sent me hither." (Gen. xlv. 5, 24.) It is God's doing. "What of us, then?" (it might be said,) "it was even well done on our part." That they may not say this, therefore it is that he adds, "By wicked hands ye have crucified and slain."  Here then he hints at Judas; while at the same time he shows them that it was not from any strength of theirs, and would not have been, if He had not Himself permitted it: it was God that delivered Him up. He has transferred the evil entire upon the head of Judas, now already parted from them; for he it was that delivered Him over to them by the kiss. Or, "By wicked hands," refers to the soldiers: for neither is it simply, "Ye have slain," but, By wicked men ye have done this.  And observe how everywhere they make it of great importance that the Passion should first be confessed. Whom God Raised Up (v. 24), says he. This was the great thing; and observe how he sets it in the middle of his discourse: for the former matters had been confessed; both the miracles and the signs and the slaying--"Whom God," says he, "raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be kept in its power." It is something great and sublime that he has hinted at here. For the expression, "It was not possible," even itself is that of one assigning something.  It shows that death itself in holding Him had pangs as in travail, and was sore bestead:  whereas, by pains, or, travail-pangs, of death, the Old Testament means danger and disaster: and that He so rose as never more to die. For the assertion, "Seeing that it was not possible that He should be holden of it," means this, that His rising was not common to the rest. Then, however, before their thoughts can enter at all into his meaning, he brings David upon them, an authority which sets aside all human reasoning. "For David saith (with reference) to Him." (v. 25.) And observe how, once more, the testimony is lowly. For therefore he begins the citation further up, with the matters of lowlier import: therefore  was death not in the number of grievous things [because], says he, "I foresaw the Lord always before my face, that He is on my right hand that I should not be moved:" (v. 25-27) and, "that Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." Then, having finished the citation from the Prophet, he adds; "Men and brethren." (v. 29.) When he is about to say anything great, he uses this opening address, to rouse and to conciliate them. "Let me be allowed," he says, "to speak freely to you of the patriarch David." Remarkable lowliness, in a case where he was giving no hurt, nor was there any reason why the hearers should be angry. For he did not say, This is not said concerning David, but concerning the Christ. But in another point of view: by his reverential expression towards the blessed David, he awed them; speaking of an acknowledged fact as if it were a bold thing to say, and therefore begging them to pardon him for saying it. And thereupon his expression is not simply "concerning David," but "concerning the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried:" he does not also say, "and is not risen again," but in another way (though this too would have been no great thing to say), "And his sepulchre is with us unto this day," he has said what comes to the same thing. Then--and even so he does not come to the mention of Christ, but what next?--he goes on with his encomium upon David, "Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that with an oath God had sworn unto him." (v. 30.) But this he says, that were it but on account of the honor shown to David, and the descent from him, they may accept what is said concerning Christ's resurrection, as seeing that it would be an injury to the prophecy, and a derogating from (thes eis autous timhes) their honor, if this were not the fact. "And knowing," he says, "that with an oath God had sworn unto him"--he does not say simply "promised"--"of the fruit of his loins after the flesh to raise up Christ, to seat Him upon his throne." Observe how he has again only hinted at what is sublime. For now that he has soothed them with his expression, he confidently adds this: The prophet [saith it] "of His resurrection, that neither was His soul left in hell, nor did His flesh see corruption." (v. 31.) This again is wonderful: it shows that His resurrection was not like that of other men. For though death laid hold on Him, yet it did not its own work then.--And, as regards the sin, he has spoken of that, covertly and darkly; of the punishment, he forbore to add anything; but that they had slain Him, this he has spoken out; for the rest he now comes to the sign given by God. And when it is once proved, that He, the slain, was just, was dear to God, then, though thou be silent of the punishment, be sure that he which did the sin will condemn himself more than ever thou canst condemn him. So then, that he refers all to the Father, is in order that they may receive what is said: and that assertion, "Not possible," he fetches in from the prophecy. Well then, let us again look over what has been said.
"Jesus of Nazareth, a man proved (to be sent) from God unto you." (Recapitulation of v. 22-31): one, of whom, by reason of His works, there can be no doubt; but who, on the contrary, is demonstrated. Thus also Nicodemus said, "No man can do these miracles which Thou doest--By miracles, and wonders, and signs which God wrought by Him in the midst of you" (John iii. 2): not secretly. Setting out from facts notorious to those whom he was addressing, he then comes to things hidden. Thereupon [in saying, "By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,"] (v. 23) he shows that it was not because they had the power to do it, and that there was a wisdom and a Divine arrangement in the event, seeing it was from God. He rapidly passes over the unpleasant part, [adding, "Whom God raised up," etc.] (v. 24). For it is always a point of great importance with them to show that He was once dead. Though ye should deny it, says he, (ekeinoi) those (present) will bear witness to the fact. ["Having loosed the pangs of death."] He that gives Death trouble, may much more give trouble to them that crucified Him: however, nothing of the kind is here said, as that He had power to slay you. Meanwhile,  let us also learn thus to hold. For one that is in pain like a woman in travail, does not hold the thing held, and is not active but passive; and makes haste to cast it off. And it is well said: "For David saith in reference to him" (v. 25); that you may not refer that saying to the Prophet.--["Therefore being a Prophet, and knowing," etc.] (v. 30, 31.) Do you observe how he now interprets the prophecy, and does not  give it bare of comment? How did He "seat Him upon" David's "throne?" For the kingdom after the Spirit is in heaven. Observe how, along with the resurrection, he has also declared the kingdom in the fact of His rising again. He shows that the Prophet was under constraint: for the prophecy was concerning Him. Why does he say, not, Concerning His kingdom (it was a great matter), but "Concerning His resurrection?" And how did He seat Him upon his (David's) throne? Why, He reigns as King over Jews also, yea, what is much more, over them that crucified Him. "For His flesh saw no corruption." This seems to be less than resurrection, but it is the same thing.
"This Jesus"--observe how he does not call Him otherwise--"hath God raised up; whereof all we are witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted" (v. 33, 34): again he takes refuge with the Father, and yet it had been enough to say what precedes: but he knows what a great point this is. Here he has hinted at the Ascension also, and that Christ is in heaven: but neither does he say this openly. "And having received," says he, "the promise of the Holy Ghost." Observe how, in the beginning of his discourse, he does not say that Jesus Himself had sent It, but the Father: now, however, that he has mentioned His signs and the things done to Him by the Jews, and has spoken of His resurrection, he boldly introduces what he has to say about these matters, again adducing themselves as witnesses by both senses: ["He hath shed forth this, which ye do see and hear."] And of the resurrection he has made continual mention, but of their outrageous deed he has spoken once for all. "And having received the promise of the Holy Ghost." This again is great. "The promise," he says; because [promised] before His Passion. Observe how he now makes it all His ["He hath poured forth this"], covertly making a great point. For if it was He that poured it forth, it is of Him that the Prophet has spoken above, "In the last days I will pour forth of My Spirit on My Servants, and on Mine handmaids, and I will do wonders in the heaven above. (supra, v. 17.) Observe what he secretly puts into it! But then, because it was a great thing, he again veils it with the expression of "His having received of the Father." He has spoken of the good things fulfilled, of the signs; has said, that He is king, the point that touched them; has said, that it is He that gives the Spirit. (Arist. Rhet. 1. 3.) (For, however much a person may say, if it does not issue in something advantageous, he speaks to no purpose.) Just as John: "The same," says he, "shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." (Matt. iii. 11.) And it shows that the Cross not only did not make Him less, but rendered Him even more illustrious, seeing that of old God promised it to Him, but now has given it. Or [it may be], "the promise" which He promised to us. He so foreknew it about to be, and has given it to us greater after the resurrection. And, "hath poured it out," he says; not  requiring worthiness: and not simply gave, but with abundance. Whence  does this appear? Henceforth after the mention of His giving the Spirit, he confidently speaks also of His ascension into heaven; and not only so, but again adducing the witness, and reminding them of that Person concerning Whom Christ once spake. (Matt. xxii. 43) "For not David," says he "ascended into the heavens. (v. 34.) Here he no longer speaks in lowly phrase,  having the confidence which results from the things said; nor does he say, "Be it permitted me to speak," or the like: "But he saith himself; The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." Now if He be David's Lord, much more shall they not disdain Him. "Sit thou on My right hand;" he has set the whole matter here; "until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool:" here also he has brought upon them a great terror, just as in the beginning he showed what He does to His friends, what to his enemies. And again, as to the act of subjugation, not to provoke unbelief, he ascribes it to the Father. Since then these are great things that he has uttered, he again brings his discourse down to lowly matters. "Let therefore," he says, "the whole house of Israel know assuredly: i.e. question ye not, nor doubt ye: then also in the tone of command it follows; "that God hath made Him both Lord"--this he says from David--"and Christ," (v. 36), this from the Psalm:  For when it would have been rightly concluded, "Let therefore the whole house of Israel know assuredly that" He sitteth on the right hand of God, this, which would have been great, he forbears, and brings in a different matter which is much more humble, and the expression "Hath made;" i.e. hath ordained: so that there is nothing about (ousiosis) communication of substance here, but the expression relates to this which has been mentioned. "Even this Jesus, Whom ye crucified." He does well to end with this, thereby agitating their minds. For when he has shown how great it is, he has then exposed their daring deed, so as to show it to be greater, and to possess them with terror. For men are not so much attracted by benefits as they are chastened by fear. 
But the admirable and great ones, and beloved of God, need none of these motives: men, such as was Paul: not of the kingdom, not of hell, made he account. For this is indeed to love Christ, this to be no hireling, nor to reckon it a matter of trafficking and trading, but to be indeed virtuous, and to do all for the love of God. (Rom. ix. 3.) Then what tears does it not deserve, when, owing so large a measure, we do not even like traders seek the kingdom of heaven! He promises us so great things, and not even so is He worthy to be heard? What can come up to this enmity!  And yet, they are mad after money-making, though it be with enemies, though it be with slaves, though it be with persons most hostile to them, that they come in contact, though it be with persons utterly evil, if only they expect that they shall be enabled by their means to make money, they will do everything, will flatter, and be obsequious, and make themselves slaves, and will esteem them more to be revered than all men, to get some advantage out of them: for the hope of money does not allow them to give a thought to any such considerations as these. But the Kingdom is not so powerful as money is; nay, rather, not in the smallest proportion as powerful. For  it is no ordinary Being that promises: but this is greater than even the Kingdom itself that we receive it from such a Giver! But now the case is the same as if a king, wishing, after ten thousand other benefits, to make us his heirs and coheirs with his son [should be despised]: while some captain of a band of robbers, who has done ten thousand wrongs to us and to our parents, and is himself fraught with ten thousand wickednesses, and has utterly marred our honor and our welfare, should, on presenting a single penny, receive our worship. God promises a Kingdom, and is despised: the Devil helps us to hell, and he is honored! Here God, there Devil. But let us see the difference of the tasks enjoined. For if there were none of these considerations in the case: if it were not, here God, there Devil; not, here one helping to a kingdom, there to a hell: the nature itself of the tasks enjoined were sufficient to induce us to comply with the former. For what does each enjoin? The one,  the things which make glorious; the other the things which put to shame: one, the things which involve in ten thousand calamities and disgraces; the other, the things which have with them abundant refreshment. For look: the one saith, "Learn ye of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matt. xi. 29): the other saith, Be thou savage, and ungentle, and passionate, and wrathful, and more a wild beast than a man. Let us see which is more useful, which, I pray you, more profitable. "Speak not of this," say you.  * * * But consider that he is the devil: above all indeed, if that be shown: there is need also to undergo toils, and, on the other hand, the prize of victory will be greater. For not he that enjoins easy tasks is the kind (kedemon) benefactor, but he that enjoins what is for our good. Since fathers also enjoin disagreeable tasks; but for this  they are fathers: and so again do masters to slaves: but kidnappers and destroyers (lumehones) on the other hand, do just the reverse. And  yet that the commands of Christ are attended with a pleasure, is manifest from that saying. For to what sort do you take the passionate man to belong, and to what the forbearing and meek? Does not the soul of the (ekeinou) one  seem to be in a kind of solitary retreat, enjoying exceeding quiet; while that of (toutou) the other is like a market-place and tumult and the midst of cities, where great is the clamor of those going out, the noise of camels, mules, asses: of men shouting loud to those that meet them, that they may not be trodden under foot: and again, of silver-beaters, of braziers, of men thrusting and pushing this way and that and some overborne, some overbearing? But the soul of (toutou) the former is like some mountain-top, with its delicate air, its pure sunshine, its limpid gushing fountains, its multitude of charming flowers, while the vernal meads and gardens put on their plumage of shrubs and flowers, and glance with rifling waters: and if any sound is heard there, it is sweet, and calculated to affect the ear with a sense of much delight. For either the warbling birds perch on the outermost spray of the branching trees, and cicadas, nightingales and swallows, blended in one harmony, perform a kind of concerted music; or the zephyr gently stirring the leaves, draws whistling tones from pines and firs, resembling oft the notes of the swan: and roses, violets, and other flowers, gently swayed, and (kuanizonta) dark-dimpling, show like a sea just rippled over with gentle undulations. Nay, many are the images one might find. Thus, when one looks at the roses, one shall fancy that he beholds in them the rainbow; in the violets a waving sea; in the lilies, the sky. But  not by the spectacle alone, and the beholding, does such an one then cause delight: but also in the very body of him that looks to the meadow, rather it refreshes him, and causes him to breathe freely, so that he thinks himself more in heaven than on earth. There is withal a sound of a different kind, when water from the mountain-steep, borne by its own force through ravines gently plashes over its pebbly bed with lulling noise, and so relaxes our frame with the pleasurable sensations, as quickly to draw over our eyes the soft languor of slumber. You have heard the description with pleasure: perhaps also it has made you enamored of solitude. But sweeter far than this solitude is the soul * * of the long-suffering. For it was not for the sake of describing a meadow, nor for the sake of making a display of language, that we have broached this similitude: but the object was, that, seeing how great is the delight of the long suffering, and how, by converse with a long suffering man, one would be far more both delighted and benefited, than by frequenting such spots, ye may follow after such men. For when not even a breath of violence proceeds from such a soul, but mild and engaging words, then indeed does that gentle softness of the zephyr find its counterpart: entreaties also, devoid of all arrogance, but forming the resemblance to those winged warblers,--how is not this far better? For not the body is fanned by the soft breeze of speech; no, it refreshes our souls  heated and glowing. A physician, by ever so great attention, could not so speedily rid a man of the fever, as a patient man would cool, by the breath of his own words, a person who was passionate and burning with wrath. And why do I speak of a physician? Not even iron, made red-hot and dipped into water, so quickly parts with its heat, as does the passionate man when he comes in contact with the soul of the long-suffering. But as, if it chance that singing birds find their way into the market, they go for nothing there, just so is it with our precepts when they light upon souls addicted to wrathful passions. Assuredly, sweeter is gentleness than bitterness and frowardness.--Well, but the one was God's bidding, the other the devil's. Do you see that it was not for nothing that I said, even if there were no devil or God in the case, the things enjoined would be enough in themselves to (aposthesai) revolt us? For the one is both agreeable to himself, and serviceable to others, the other displeasing to himself, and hurtful to others. Nothing is more unpleasant than a man in a passion, nothing more noisome, more odious, more shocking, as also nothing more pleasing than one who knows not what it is to be in a passion. Better dwell with a wild beast than with a passionate man. For the beast, when once tamed, abides by its law; but the man, no matter how often you have tamed him, again turns wild, unless  however he should of himself settle down into some such habit (of gentleness).
For as a bright sunny day and winter with all its gloom, so are the soul of the angry and that of the gentle. However, let us at present look not to the mischievous consequences resulting to others, but to those which affect the persons themselves: though indeed it is also no slight mischief (to one's self) to cause ill to another, for the present, however, let that be the consideration. What executioner with his lash can so lacerate the ribs, what red-hot lancets (obeliskoi) ever so pierced the body, what madness can so dispossess a man of his natural reason, as anger and rage do? I know many instances of persons engendering diseases by giving loose to anger: and the worst of fevers are precisely these. But if they so injure the body, think of the soul. For do not argue that you do not see the mischief, but rather consider, if that which is the recipient of the malignant passion is so hurt, what must be the hurt sustained by that which engenders it! Many have lost their eyes, many have fallen into most grievous disease. Yet he that bears bravely, shall endure all things easily. But, however, both such are the troublesome tasks the devil enjoins, and the wages he assigns us for these is hell. He is both devil and foe to our salvation, and we rather do his bidding than Christ's, Saviour as He is, and Benefactor and Defender, and speaking as He does such words, which are both sweeter, and more reverend, and more profitable and beneficial, and are both to ourselves and to those who live in our company the greatest of blessings. Nothing worse than anger, my beloved, nothing worse than unseasonable wrath. It will not have any long delay; it is a quick, sharp passion. Many a time has a mere word been blurted out in anger, which needs for its curing a whole lifetime, and a deed been done which was the ruin of the man for life. For the worst of it is this, that in a little moment, and by one act, and by a single word, full oft has it cast us out from the possession of eternal good, and brought to nought a world of pains. Wherefore I beseech you to do all you can to curb this savage beast. Thus far, however, I have spoken concerning meekness and wrath; if one should take in hand to treat of other opposites, as covetousness and the mad passion for glory, contrasted with contempt of wealth and of glory; intemperance with sobriety; envy with benevolence; and to marshal them each against its opposite, then one would know how great the difference. Behold how from the very things enjoined it is plainly shown, that the one master is God, the other the devil! Why then, let us do God's bidding, and not cast ourselves into bottomless pits; but while there is time, let us wash off all that defiles the soul, that we may attain unto the eternal blessings, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
"Now when they heard these words (E.V. `this,') they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Do you see what a great thing gentleness is? More than any vehemence, it pricks our hearts, inflicts a keener wound. For as in the case of bodies which have become callous, the man that strikes upon them does not affect the sense so powerfully, but if he first mollify them and make them tender, then he pierces them effectually; so in this instance also, it is necessary first to mollify. But that which softens, is not wrath, not vehement accusation, not personal abuse; it is gentleness. The former indeed rather aggravate the callousness, this last alone removes it. If then you are desirous to reprove any delinquent, approach him with all possible mildness. For see here; he gently reminds them of the outrages they have committed, adding no comment; he declares the gift of God, he goes on to speak of the grace which bore testimony to the event, and so draws out his discourse to a still greater length. So they stood in awe of the gentleness of Peter, in that he, speaking to men who had crucified his Master, and breathed murder against himself and his companions, discoursed to them in the character of an affectionate father and teacher. Not merely were they persuaded; they even condemned themselves, they came to a sense of their past behavior. For he gave no room for their anger to be roused, and darken their judgment, but by means of humility he dispersed, as it were, the mist and darkness of their indignation, and then pointed out to them the daring outrage they had committed. For so it is; when we say of ourselves that we are injured, the opposite party endeavor to prove that they have not done the injury; but when we say, we have not been injured, but have rather done the wrong, the others take the contrary line. If, therefore, you wish to place your enemy (eis agona) in the wrong, beware of accusing him; nay (agonisai), plead for him, he will be sure to find himself guilty. There is a natural spirit of opposition in man. Such was the conduct of Peter. He did not accuse them harshly; on the contrary, he almost endeavored to plead for them, as far as was possible. And this was the very reason that he penetrated into their souls. You will ask, where is the proof that they were pricked? In their own words; for what say they? "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Whom they had called deceivers, they call "brethren:" not that hereby they put themselves on an equality with them, but rather by way of attracting their brotherly affection and kindness: and besides,  because the Apostles had deigned to call them by this title. And, say they, "What shall we do?" They did not straightway say, Well then, we repent; but they surrendered themselves to the disciples. Just as a person on the point of shipwreck, upon seeing the pilot, or in sickness the physician, would put all into his hands, and do his bidding in everything; so have these also confessed that they are in extreme peril, and destitute of all hope of salvation. They did not say, How shall we be saved? but, "What shall we do?" Here again Peter, though the question is put to all, is the man to answer. "Repent," says he, "and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ." (v. 38.) He does not yet say, Believe, but, "Be baptized every one of you." For  this they received in baptism. Then he speaks of the gain; "For the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." If you are to receive a gift, if baptism conveys remission, why delay? He next gives a persuasive turn to his address, adding, "For the promise is unto you" (v. 39): for he had spoken of a promise above. "And to your children," he says: the gift is greater, when these are to be heirs of the blessings. "And to all," he continues, "that are afar off:" if to those that are afar off, much more to you that are near: "even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Observe the time he takes for saying, "To those that are afar off." It is when he finds them conciliated and self-accusing. For when the soul pronounces sentence against itself, no longer can it feel envy. "And with many other words did he testify, and exhort, saying." (v. 40.) Observe how, throughout, the writer studies brevity, and how free he is from ambition and display. "He testified and exhorted, saying." This is the perfection of teaching, comprising something of fear and something of love. "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." He says nothing of the future, all is about the present, by which indeed men are chiefly swayed; he shows that the Gospel releases from present  evils as well. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." (v. 41.) Think you not this cheered the Apostles more than the miracle? "And they continued steadfastly and with one accord in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship."  (v. 42.) Here are two virtues, perseverance and concord. "In the Apostles' doctrine," he says: for they again taught them; "and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer." All in common, all with perseverance. "And fear came upon every soul" (v. 43): of those that believed. For they did not despise the Apostles, like common men, nor did they fix their regard on that which was visible merely. Verily, their thoughts were kindled into a glow.  And as Peter had before spoken much, and declared the promises, and the things to come, well might they be beside themselves with fear. The wonders also bore witness to the words: "Many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles." As was the case with Christ; first there were signs, then teaching, then wonders; so was it now. "And all that believed were together, and had all things common." (v. 44.) Consider what an advance was here immediately! For the fellowship was not only in prayers, nor in doctrine alone, but also in (politeia) social relations. "And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." See what fear was wrought in them! "And they parted them," he says, showing the (to oikonomikon) wise management: "As every man had need." Not recklessly, like some philosophers among the Greeks, of whom some gave up their land, others cast into the sea great quantities of money; but this was no contempt of riches, but only folly and madness. For universally the devil has made it his endeavor to disparage the creatures of God, as if it were impossible to make good use of riches. "And continuing daily with one accord in the temple" (v. 46), they enjoyed the benefit of teaching. Consider how these Jews did nothing else great or small, than assiduously attend at the temple. For, as having become more earnest, they had increased devotion also to the place. For the Apostles did not for the present pluck them away from this object, for fear of injuring them. "And breaking bread from house to house, did take their portion of food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people." (v. 47.) It seems to me that in mentioning "bread," he here signifies fasting and hard life; for they "took their portion of food," not of dainty fare. "With gladness," he says. Seest thou that not the dainty fare, but the (trophhes ou truphhes) food made the enjoyment. For they that fare daintily are under punishment and pain; but not so these. Do you see that the words of Peter contain this also, namely, the regulation of life? ["And singleness of heart."] For no gladness can exist where there is no simplicity. How had they "favor with all the people?" On account of their alms deeds. For do not look to the fact, that the chief priests for envy and spite rose up against them, but rather consider that "they had favor with the people."--"And the Lord added to the Church daily (epi to auto) [together] such as should be saved.--And  all that believed were together." Once more, the unanimity, the charity, which is the cause of all good things! 
["Now when they heard this," etc. "Then Peter said unto them," etc.] (Recapitulation, v. 37.) What had been said was not enough. For those sayings indeed were sufficient to bring them to faith; but these are to show what things the believer behooves to do. And he said not, In the Cross, but, "In the name of Jesus Christ let every one of you be baptized." (v. 38.) And he does not put them continually in mind of the Cross, that he may not seem to reproach them, but he says simply, "Repent:" and why? That we may be punished? No: "And let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." And yet quite other is the law; of this world's tribunals: but in the case of the Gospel proclamation (kerugmatos); when the delinquent has confessed, then is he saved! Observe how Peter does not instantly hurry over this, but he specifies also the conditions, and adds, "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;" an assertion accredited by the fact, that the Apostles themselves had received that gift. ["For the promise," etc.] (v. 39.) "The promise," i.e. the gift of the Holy Ghost.  So far, he speaks of the easy part, and that which has with it a great gift; and then he leads them to practice: for it will be to them a ground of earnestness, to have tasted already of those so great blessings ["and with many other words did he testify," etc.] (v. 40). Since, however, the hearer would desire to learn what was the sum and, substance of these further words, he tells us this: ["Saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation."] ["They then, that gladly received his words," etc.] (v. 41) they approved of what had been said, although fraught with terror, and after their assent given, proceed at once to baptism.  "And they continued" it is written, "steadfastly in the doctrine" (or, "teaching") "of the Apostles" (v. 42): for it was not for one day, no nor for two or three days that they were under teaching as being persons who had gone over to a different course of life.  ["And they continued with one accord in the Apostles' doctrine," etc.] The expression is not, homhou "together," but homothumadon, "with one accord;" ("and daily," he says [afterwards], "they were continuing with one accord in the temple,") i.e. with one soul.  And here again in his conciseness, he does not relate the teaching given; for as young children, the Apostles nourished them with spiritual food. "And fear came upon every soul" (v. 43): clearly, of those, as well, who did not believe; namely, upon seeing so great a change all at once effected, and besides in consequence of the miracles. ["And all that believed were together, and had all things in common," etc.] (v. 44.) They are all become angels on a sudden; all of them continuing in prayer and hearing, they saw that spiritual things are common, and no one there has more than other, and they speedily came together (epi to auto), to the same thing in common, even to the imparting to all.  "And all the believing" (v. 44), it says, were epi to auto: and to see that this does not mean that they were together in place, observe what follows ["And had all things common"]. "All," it says: not one with the exception of another. This was an angelic commonwealth, not to call anything of theirs their own. Forthwith the root of evils was cut out. By what they did, they showed what they had heard: this was that which he said, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."--"And daily continuing with one accord in the temple." (v. 46.) Since they are become three thousand, they take them abroad now: and  withal, the boldness imparted by the Spirit being great: and daily they went up as to a sacred place, as frequently we find Peter and John doing this: for at present they disturbed none of the Jewish observances. And this honor too passed over to the place; the eating in the house. In what house? In the Temple.  Observe the increase of piety. They cast away their riches, and rejoiced, and had great gladness, for greater were the riches they received without labor (apona Cat. al. agatha). None reproached, none envied, none grudged; no pride, no contempt was there. As children they did indeed account themselves to be under teaching: as new born babes, such was their disposition. Yet why use this faint image? If you remember how it was when God shook our city with an earthquake, how subdued all men were. (Infra, Hom. xli. §2.) Such was the case then with those converts. No knavery, no villany then: such is the effect of fear, of affliction! No  talk of "mine" and "thine" then. Hence gladness waited at their table; no one seemed to eat of his own, or of another's;--I grant this may seem a riddle. Neither did they consider their brethren's property foreign to themselves; it was  the property of a Master; nor again deemed they aught their own, all was the brethren's. The poor man knew no shame, the rich no haughtiness. This is gladness. The latter deemed himself the obliged and fortunate party; the others felt themselves as honored herein, and closely were they bound together. For indeed, because when people make doles of money, there are apt to be insults, pride, grudging; therefore says the Apostle, "Not grudgingly, or of necessity."--( 2 Cor. ix. 7.) ["With gladness and simplicity of heart," etc.] See of how many things he bears witness to them! Genuine faith, upright conduct, perseverance in hearing, in prayers, in singleness, in cheerfulness. ["Praising God."] (v. 47.) Two things there were which might deject them; their abstemious living, and the loss of their property. Yet on both these accounts did they rejoice. ["And having favor with all the people."] For who but must love men of this character, as common fathers? They conceived no malice toward each other; they committed all to the grace of God. ["With all the people."] Fear there was none; yea, though they had taken their position in the midst of dangers.  By singleness, however, he denotes their entire virtue, far surpassing their contempt of riches, their abstinence, and their preseverance in prayer. For thus also they offered pure praise to God: this is to praise God. But observe also here how they immediately obtain their reward. "Having favor with all the people." They were engaging, and highly beloved. For who would not prize and admire their simplicity of character; who would not be linked to one in whom was nothing underhand? To whom too does salvation belong, but to these? To whom those great marvels? Was it not to shepherds that the Gospel was first preached? and to Joseph,  being a man of simple mind, insomuch that he did not let a suspicion of adultery frighten him into doing wrong? Did not God elect rustics, those artless men? For it is written, "Blessed is every simple soul." (Prov. xi. 25.) And again, "He that walketh simply, walketh surely." (Prov. x. 9.) "True," you will say, "but prudence also is needed." Why, what is simplicity, I pray you, but prudence? For when you suspect no evil, neither can you fabricate any: when you have no annoyances, neither can you remember injuries. Has any one insulted you? You were not pained. Has any one reviled you? You were nothing hurt. Has he envied you? Still you had no hurt. Simplicity is a high road to true philosophy. None so beautiful in soul as the simple. For as in regard of personal appearance, he that is sullen, and downcast, and reserved (sunnous), even if he be good-looking, loses much of his beauty; while he that relaxes his countenance, and gently smiles, enhances his good looks; so in respect of the soul, he that is reserved, if he have ten thousand good points, disfigures them; but the frank and simple, just the reverse. A man of this last description may be safely made a friend, and when at variance easily reconciled. No need of guards and outposts, no need of chains and fetters with such an one; but great is his own freedom, and that of those who associate with him. But what, you will say, will such a man do if he fall among wicked people? God, Who has commanded us to be simple-minded, will stretch out His hand. What was more guileless than David? What more wicked than Saul? Yet who triumphed? Again, in Joseph's case; did not he in simplicity approach his master's wife, she him with wicked art? Yet what, I pray, was he the worse? Furthermore, what more simple than was Abel? what more malicious than Cain? And Joseph again, had he not dealt artlessly with his brethren? Was not this the cause of his eminence, that he spoke out unsuspiciously, while they received his words in malice? He declared once and again his dreams unreservedly; and then again he set off to them carrying provisions; he used no caution; he committed all to God: nay, the more they held him in the light of an enemy, the more did he treat them as brothers. God had power not to have suffered him to fall into their hands; but that the wonder might be made manifest, how, though they do their worst, he shall be higher than they: though the blow do come upon him, it comes from another, not from himself. On the contrary, the wicked man strikes himself first, and none other than himself. "For  alone," it is said, "shall he bear his troubles." (Prov. ix. 12.) Ever in him the soul is full of dejection, his thoughts being ever entangled: whether he must hear aught or say aught, he does all with complaints, with accusation. Far, very far from such do friendship and harmony make their abode: but fightings are there, and enmities, and all unpleasantness. They that are such suspect even themselves. To these not even sleep is sweet, nor anything else. And have they a wife also, lo, they are enemies and at war with all: what endless jealousies, what unceasing fear! Aye, the wicked, poneros has his name from ponhein, "to have trouble." And, indeed, thus the Scripture is ever calling "wickedness" by the name of labor; as, for instance, "Under his tongue is toil and labor;" and again, "In the midst of them is toil and labor." (Ps. x. 7; xc. 10; and lv. 11.)
Now if any one should wonder, whence those who had at first been of this last class, now are so different, let him learn that affliction was the cause, affliction, that school-mistress of heavenly wisdom, that mother of piety. When riches were done away with, wickedness also disappeared. True, say you, for this is the very thing I am asking about; but whence comes all the wickedness there is now? How is it that it came into the minds of those three thousand and five thousand straightway, to choose virtue, and that they simultaneously became Christian philosophers, whereas now hardly one is to be found? how was it that they then were in such harmony? What was it, that made them resolute and active? What was it that so suddenly inflamed them? The reason is, that they drew near with much piety; that honors were not so sought after as they are now; that they transferred their thoughts to things future, and looked for nothing of things present. This is the sign of an ardent mind, to encounter perils; this was their idea of Christianity. We take a different view, we seek our comfort here. The result is, that we shall not even obtain this, when the time is come. "What are we to do?" asked those men. We, just the contrary--"What shall we do?" What behooved to be done, they did. We, quite the reverse.  Those men condemned themselves, despaired of saving themselves. This is what made them such as they were. They knew what a gift they had received. But how can you become like them, when you do everything in an opposite spirit? They heard, and were forthwith baptized. They did not speak those cold words which we do now, nor did they contrive delays (p. 47, note 3); and yet they had heard all the requirements: but that word, "Save yourselves from this generation," made them to be not sluggish; rather they welcomed the exhortation; and that they did welcome it, they proved by their deeds, they showed what manner of men they were. They entered at once the lists, and took off the coat; whereas we do enter, but we intend to fight with our coat on. This is the cause that our antagonist has so little trouble, for we get entangled in our own movements, and are continually thrown down. We do precisely the same thing as he who, having  to cope with a man frantic, breathing fire; and seeing him, a professed wrestler, covered with dust, tawny, stripped, clotted with dirt from the sand and sun, and running down with sweat and oil and dirt; himself, smelling of perfumes, should put on his silken garments, and his gold shoes, and his robe hanging down to his heels, and his golden trinkets on the head, and so descend into the arena, and grapple with him. Such a one will not only be impeded, but being taken up with the sole idea of not staining or rending his fine clothes, will tumble at the very first onset, and withal will suffer that which he chiefly dreaded, the damage of those his fond delights. The time for the contest is come, and say, are you putting on your silks? It is the time of exercise, the hour of the race, and are you adorning yourself as for a procession? Look not to outward things, but to the inward. For by the thoughts about these things the soul is hampered on all sides, as if by strong cords, so that she cannot let you raise a hand, or contend against the adversary; and makes you soft and effeminate. One may think himself, even when released from all these ties, well off, to be enabled to conquer that impure power. And on this account Christ too did not allow the parting with riches alone to suffice, but what saith He? "Sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and come and follow Me." (Mark x. 21.) Now if, even when we cast away our riches, we are not yet in a safe position, but stand still in need of some further art and close practice; much more, if we retain them, shall we fail to achieve great things, and, instead thereof, become a laughing-stock to the spectators, and to the evil one himself. For even though there were no devil, though there were none to wrestle with us, yet ten thousand roads on all sides lead the lover of money to hell. Where now are they who ask why the devil was made (diati ho d. gegonen;)? Behold here the devil has no hand in the work, we do it all ourselves. Of a truth they of the hills might have a right to speak thus, who after they had given proof of their temperance, their contempt of wealth and disregard of all such things, have infinitely preferred to abandon father, and houses, and lands, and wife, and children. Yet, they are the last to speak so: but the men who at no time ought to say it, these do say it. Those are indeed wrestlings with the devil; these he does not think worth entering into. You will say, But it is the devil who instils this same covetousness. Well, flee from it, do not harbor it, O man. Suppose now, you see one flinging out filth from some upper story, and at the same time a person seeing it thrown out, yet standing there and receiving it all on his head: you not only do not pity him, but you are angry, and tell him it serves him right; and, "Do not be a fool," everyone cries out to him, and lays the blame not so much on the other for shooting out the filth, as on him for letting it come on him. But now, you know that covetousness is of the devil; you know that it is the cause of ten thousand evils; you see him flinging out, like filth, his noisome imaginations; and do you not see that you are receiving on your bare head his nastiness, when it needed but to turn aside a little to escape it altogether? Just as our man by shifting his position would have escaped; so, do you refuse to admit such imaginations, ward off the lust. And how am I to do this? you will ask. Were you a Gentile, and had eyes for things present alone, the matter perhaps might be one of considerable difficulty, and yet even the Gentiles have achieved as much; but you--a man in expectation of heaven and heavenly bliss--and you to ask, "How am I to repel bad thoughts?" Were I saying the contrary, then you might doubt: did I say, covet riches, "How shall I covet riches," you might answer, "seeing such things as I do?" Tell me, if gold and precious stones were set before you, and I were to say, Desire lead, would there not be reason for hesitation? For you would say, How can I? But if I said, Do not desire it; this had been plainer to understand. I do not marvel at those who despise, but at those who despise not riches. This is the character of a soul exceeding full of stupidity, no better than flies and gnats, a soul crawling upon the earth, wallowing in filth, destitute of all high ideas. What is it you say? Are you destined to inherit eternal life; and do you say, how shall I despise the present life for the future? What, can the things be put in competition?  You are to receive a royal vest; and say you, How shall I despise these rags? You are going to be led into the king's palace; and do you say, How shall I despise this present hovel? Of a truth, we ourselves are to blame in every point, we who do not choose to let ourselves be stirred up ever so little. For the willing have succeeded, and that with great zeal and facility. Would that you might be persuaded by our exhortation, and succeed too, and become imitators of those who have been successful, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, and power, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour."
Everywhere we find these two Apostles in great harmony together. "To him Simon Peter beckoned." (John xiii. 24.) These two also "came together to the sepulchre. (Ib. xx. 3 et seq.) And concerning John, Peter said unto Christ, "And what shall this man do?" (Ib. xxi. 21.) Now as for the other miracles, the writer of this book omits them; but he mentions the miracle by which they were all  put in commotion. Observe again that they do not come to them purposely; so clear were they of ambition, so closely did they imitate their Master. Why now did they go up to the temple? Did they still live as Jews? No, but for expediency (chresimos).  A miraculous sign again takes place, which both confirms the converts, and draws over the rest; and such, as they were a sign for having wrought.  The disease was in the nature of the man, and baffled the art of medicine. He had been forty years lame (ch. iv. 20), as the writer says afterwards, and no one during all that time had cured him. And the most obstinate diseases are those which are born with men. It was a great calamity, insomuch that even to provide for himself his necessary sustenance was impossible for him. The man was conspicuous both from the place, and from his malady. Hear how the matter is related. "And a certain man, lame from his mother's womb, was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple." (v. 2.) He sought to receive alms, and he did not know who the men were. "Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said, Look on us." (v. 3, 4.) Yet, not even so were the man's thoughts elevated, but he persisted in his importunity. For such is poverty; upon a refusal, it compels people still to persist. Let this put us to shame who fall back in our prayers. But observe, I pray you, Peter's gentleness: for he said, "Look on us." So truly did their very bearing, of itself, betoken their character. "And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give thee." (v. 5, 6.) He did not say, I give thee something much better than silver or gold: but what? "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up." (v. 7.) Such was also the way of Christ. Often He healed by word, often by an act, often also He stretched forth the hand, where men were somewhat weak in faith, that the cure might not appear to be spontaneous. "And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up." This act made manifest the Resurrection, for it was an image of the Resurrection. "And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked." (v. 8.) Perhaps it was by way of trying himself that he put it thus to further proof, whether perchance the thing done might not be to no purpose. His feet were weak; it was not that he had lost them. Some say that he did not even know how to walk.  "And entered with them into the temple." Of a truth it was marvellous. The Apostles do not urge him; but of his own accord he follows, by the act of following pointing out his benefactors. "And leaping and praising God;" not admiring them, but God that wrought by them. The man was grateful.
["Now  Peter and John went up together into the temple," etc.] You observe how they continued in prayer. "The ninth hour:" there they prayed together. ["And a certain man," etc.] The man was in the act of being carried at that instant. ["Whom they laid daily:"] (his bearers carried him away:) ["at the gate," etc.] just when people went into the temple. And that you may not suppose that they carried him for some other purpose, but that it was in order that he might receive alms, hear what the writer says: "so that he might receive alms of those entering into the temple." (Recapitulation of vv. 1-8.) And this is the reason why he also makes mention of the places, to give evidence of what he relates. "And how was it," you may ask, "that they did not present him to Christ?" Perhaps they were certain unbelieving men, that haunted the temple, as in fact neither did they present him to the Apostles, when they saw them entering, after having done such great miracles. "He asked," it is written, "to receive an alms." (v. 3.) Their bearing marked them as certain devout and righteous men. ["And Peter fastening his eyes upon him, with John, said," etc.] (v. 4, 5.) And observe how John is everywhere silent, while Peter makes excuse for him also; "Silver and gold," he says, "have I none." (v. 6.) He does not say, I have none here, as we are wont to speak, but absolutely, I have none. "What then?" he might say, "do you take no notice of me, your suppliant?" Not so, but of what I have, receive thou. Do you remark how unassuming Peter is, how he makes no display even to the object of his beneficence? ["In the name," etc. "And he took him by the hand," etc.] (v. 7.) And the mouth and the hand did all. Such  sort of persons were the Jews; lame, and the right thing being to ask for health, these same ask for money, grovelling on the ground: for this it was that they beset the temple--to get money. What then does Peter? He did not despise him; he did not look about for some rich subject; he did not say, If the miracle is not done to some great one (eis ekheinon), nothing great is done: he did not look for some honor from him, no, nor heal him in the presence of people; for the man was at the entrance, not where the multitude were, that is, within. But Peter sought no such object; nor upon entering did he proclaim the matter: no, it was by his bearing that he attracted the lame man to ask. And the wonder is, that he believed so readily. For those who are set free from diseases of long standing, hardly believe their very eyesight. Once healed, he remains with the Apostles, giving thanks to God. "And he entered," it is said, "with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." (v. 8.) Observe how restless he is, in the eagerness of his delight, at the same time shutting the mouths of the Jews. Also, that he leaped, was to prevent the suspicion of hypocrisy; for after all, this was beyond the possibility of deception. For if previously he was totally unable to walk, even when hunger pressed hard (and indeed he would not have chosen to share with his bearers the proceeds of his begging, if he had been able to manage for himself), this holds still more in the present case. And how should he have feigned in behalf of those who had given him no alms? But the man was grateful, even after his recovery. And thus on either side his faith is shown, both by his thankfulness, and by the recent event.
He was so  well known to all, that "they recognized him. And all the people," it says, "saw him walking and praising God; and they recognized (epeginoskon) that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple." (v. 9.) It is well said, "they recognized," inasmuch as he was one unknown now by reason of what had happened: for we use this term with regard to objects, which we find a difficulty in recognizing. ["And they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him."] Needs must it be believed that  the name of Christ remits sins, seeing it produces even such effects as this. ("And as he held Peter and John, all the people came together at the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering." (v. 11.) From his good feelings and love towards the Apostles, the lame man would not leave them; perhaps he was thanking them openly, and praising them. "And all the people," it is said, "ran together unto them. And when Peter saw them, he answered." (v. 12.) Again it is he who acts, and addresses the people.
And in the former instance, it was the circumstance of the tongues that aroused them to hearing, now it was this miracle; then, he took occasion to speak from their accusations now, from their supposition. Let us then consider, in what this address differs from the former, and in what it agrees with that. The former was held in a house, before any one has come over, and before they themselves have wrought anything; this, when all are wondering, and the healed man is standing by; when none doubt, as in the other case where some said "These men are full of new wine." (Acts xii. 13.) At the one, he was surrounded by all the Apostles as he spoke; but at this, he has John alone; for by this time he is bold, and become more energetic. Such is the nature of virtue; once started, it advances, and never stops. Observe also how it was divinely ordered, that the miracle should take place in the temple, that others also might wax bold, while the Apostles work not in holes (eis kataduseis) and corners, and in secret: though not in the interior of the temple either, where the greater number were. How then, I pray you, was it believed? The man himself who was healed proclaimed the benefit. For there was no reason why he should lie, nor why he should have joined a different set of people.  Either then it was because of the spaciousness of the place, that he there wrought the miracle, or because the spot was retired. And observe the event. They went up for one object, and they accomplished another. Thus also did Cornelius: he prayed and fasted  * * *. But hitherto they always call Him, "of Nazareth." "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," said Peter, walk. For in the first instance, the thing required was, that He should be believed in.
Let us not, I pray you, give over at the beginning of the story:  and if one has named some particular achievement of virtue, and then has dropped it for awhile, let us begin over again. If we get into the right mood (en hexei), we shall soon arrive at the end, soon reach the summit. For earnestness, it is said, begets earnestness, and dulness begets dulness. He who has effected some little reformation, thereby receives encouragement to approach greater things, and thence again to go on something more than that; and just as it is with fire, the more wood it lays hold on, the more vehement it becomes, so likewise zeal, the more pious reflections it kindles, the more effectually is it armed against their opposites. As, for example: There are set in us, like so many thorns, perjury, falsehood hypocrisy, deceit, dishonesty, abusiveness, scoffing, buffoonery, indecency, scurrility; again under another head, covetousness, rapacity, injustice, calumny, insidiousness; again, wicked lust, uncleanness, lewdness, fornication, adultery; again, envy, emulation, anger, wrath, rancor, revenge, blasphemy, and numberless others. If we effect a reformation in the first instances, not only in them will the success have been achieved, but through them in the following cases also. For reason has then gained more strength to overthrow those other vices. For instance, if he, who has frequently sworn, once extirpates that satanic habit, he has not only gained this point, but a habit of piety in other respects will have been brought in. For no one, I suppose, averse to swearing would easily consent to do any other wicked act; he will feel a reverence for the virtue already acquired. Just as the man who wears a beautiful robe, will blush to roll himself in the mire; so is it also here. From this beginning he will come to learn not to be angry, not to strike, not to insult. For if once he has come right in little matters, the whole affair is done. Often, however, something of this sort takes place, that a person has once reformed, and then again through carelessness falls back into the old sins but too readily, so that the case becomes irremediable. For instance, we have made it a law to ourselves not to swear; we have got on well, for some three, or even four days; after that being hard put to it, we scattered away the whole of our collected gain; we then fall into indolence and recklessness. Still it is not right to give over; one must set to work zealously again. For it is said, he that has built up a house, and then sees his building pulled down, will have less spirit for building again. Yes, but for all this, one must not be dispirited, but must once more set to work zealously.
Let us then lay down daily laws for ourselves. For a time let us begin with the easier. Let us retrench all that superfluity of paths, and put a bridle on our tongues; let no one swear by God. Here is no outlay, here is no fatigue, here is no cost of time. It is sufficient to will, and all is done. It is a matter of habit. I beseech and entreat you, let us contribute thus much of zeal. Tell me, if I had bid you contribute your money, would not each one of you readily cast in according to his ability? If you saw me in extreme danger, would you not, if it had been possible, have cut off your own flesh to give me? Well, I am in danger now, and in great danger, such indeed that, were I withal confined to a dungeon, or had I received ten thousand stripes, or were a convict in the mines, I could not suffer more. Reach me then the hand. Consider how great is the danger, that I should not have been able to reform this which is least: I say "least" in regard to the labor required. What shall I have to say hereafter, when thus called to account? "Why did you not remonstrate? why did you not enjoin? why did you not lay the law before them? why did you not check the disobedient?" It will not be enough for me to say, that I did admonish. It will be answered, "You ought to have used more vehement rebuke; since Eli also admonished." (1 Sam. ii. 24.) But God forbid I should compare you with Eli's sons. Indeed, he did admonish them and say, "Nay, my sons, do not so; evil is the report that I hear of you." (1 Sam. iii. 13.) But subsequently the Scripture saith, that he did not admonish his sons: since he did not admonish them severely, or with threats. For is it not strange indeed, that in the synagogues of the Jews the laws are in such force, and whatever the teacher enjoins is performed; while here we are thus despised and rejected? It is not my own glory that I care for (my glory is your good report), but it is for your salvation. Every day we lift up our voice, and shout in your ears. But there is none to hear. Still we take no strong measures. I fear we shall have to give an account at the coming Day of this excessive and unseasonable leniency.
Wherefore, with a loud and clear voice, I proclaim to all and testify, that those who are notorious for this transgression, who utter words which come "of the evil one," (Matt. v. 37.) (for such is swearing,) shall not step over the threshold of the Church. Let this present month be the time allowed you for reforming in this matter. Talk not to me, "Necessity of business compels me to use oaths, else people do not believe me." To begin with this, retrench those oaths which come merely of habit. I know many will laugh, but it is better to be laughed at now, than wept for hereafter. They will laugh, who are mad. For who, I ask, in his right mind would laugh at the keeping of the commandment? But suppose they do; why, it will not be at us, but at Christ, that such men will laugh. You shudder at the word! I knew you would. Now if this law were of my making, at me would be the laughing; but if Another be the Lawgiver, the jeering passes over to Him. Yes, and Christ was once spit upon, and smitten with the palm, smitten upon the face. Now also He bears with this, and it is no wonder (ouden apeikos)! For this, hell is prepared; for this, the worm that dieth not. Behold, again I say and testify; let him laugh that will, let him scoff that listeth. Hereunto are we set, to be laughed at and mocked, to suffer all things. We are "the offscouring" (1 Cor. iv. 13) or the world, as blessed Paul says. If any man refuse to conform to this order, that man I, by my word, as with a trumpet's blast, do prohibit to set foot over the Church's threshold, be he prince, be he even the crowned head. Either depose me from this station, or if I am to remain, expose me not to danger. I cannot bear to ascend this throne, without effecting some great reformation. For if this be impossible, it is better to stand below. Nothing more wretched than a ruler who does his people no good. Do exert yourselves, and attend to this, I entreat you; and let us strive, and of a surety more will come of it. Fast, entreat God (and we will do the same with you) that this pernicious habit may be eradicated. It is no great matter,  to become teachers to the world; no small honor to have it said everywhere, that really in this city there is not a man that swears. If this come to pass, you will receive the reward not only of your own good works; indeed what I am to you, this you will become to the world. Assuredly others also will emulate you; assuredly you will be a candle set upon a candlestick.
And is this, you will say, the whole matter? No, this is not all, but this is a beginning of other virtues. He who swears not, will certainly attain unto piety in other respects, whether he will or not, by dint of self-respect and awe. But you will urge that most men do not keep to it, but fall away. Well, better one man that doeth the will of the Lord, than ten thousand transgressors. In fact, hereby is everything subverted, everything turned upside down, I mean, because after the fashion of the Theatre we desire numbers not a select number. For what indeed will a multitude be able to profit? Would you learn that it is the saints, not the numbers, which make the multitude? Lead out to war ten hundred thousand men, and one saint, and let us see who achieves the most? Joshua the son of Nun went out to war, and alone achieved all; the rest were of no use.  Wouldest thou see, beloved, that the great multitude, when it does not the will of God, is no better than a thing of naught? I wish indeed, and desire, and with pleasure would be torn in pieces, to adorn the Church with a multitude, yea, but a select multitude; yet if this be impossible, that the few should be select, is my desire. Do you not see, that it is better to possess one precious stone, than ten thousand farthing pieces? Do you not see that it is better to have the eye sound, than to be loaded with flesh, and yet deprived of sight? Do you not see that it is better to have one healthy sheep, than ten thousand with the murrain; that fine children, though few, are better than many children diseased withal; that in the Kingdom there will be few, but in hell many? What have I to do with a multitude? what profit therein? None. Rather they are a plague to the rest. It is as if one who had the option of ten healthy persons or ten thousand sick folks, should take to himself the latter in addition to the ten. The many who do nothing well, will avail us only for punishment hereafter, and disgrace for the time being. For no one will urge it as a point in our favor that we are many; we shall be blamed for being unprofitable. In fact, this is what men always tell us, when we say, We are many; "aye, but bad," they answer.
Behold again: I give warning, and proclaim with a loud voice, let no one think it a laughing matter: I will exclude and prohibit the disobedient; and as long as I sit on this throne, I will give up not one of its rights. If any one depose me from it, then I am no longer responsible; as long as I am responsible, I cannot disregard them; on account not of my own punishment, but of your salvation. For I do exceedingly long for your salvation. To advance it, I endure pain and vexation. But yield your obedience, that both here and hereafter you may receive a plentiful reward, and that we may in common reap eternal blessings; through the grace and mercy of the only-begotten Son of God; to Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, and honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this, or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we have made this man to walk?"
There is greater freedom of speech in this harangue, than in the former. Not that he was afraid on the former occasion, but the persons whom he addressed there, being jesters and scoffers, would not have borne it. Hence in the beginning of that address he also bespeaks their attention by his preamble; "Be this known unto you, and hearken to my words." (ch. ii. 14.) But here there is no need of this management. (kataskeuhes.) For his hearers were not in a state of indifference. The miracle had aroused them all; they were even full of fear and amazement. Wherefore also there was no need of beginning at that point, but rather with a different topic; by which, in fact, he powerfully conciliated them, namely, by rejecting the glory which was to be had from them. For nothing is so advantageous, and so likely to pacify the hearers, as to say nothing about one's self of an honorable nature, but, on the contrary, to obviate all surmise of wishing to do so. And, in truth, much more did they increase their glory by despising glory, and showing that what had just taken place was no human act, but a Divine work; and that it was their part to join with the beholders in admiration, rather than to receive it from them. Do you see how clear of all ambition he is, and how he repels the honor paid to him? In the same manner also did the ancient fathers; for instance, Daniel said, "Not for any wisdom that is in me." (Dan. ii. 30.) And again Joseph, "Do not interpretations belong to God?" (Gen. xi. 8.) And David, "When the lion and the bear came, in the name of the Lord I rent them with my hands." (1 Sam. xvii. 34.) And so likewise here the Apostles, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (v. 13.) Nay, not even this;  for not by our own merit did we draw down the Divine influence. "The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers." See how assiduously he thrusts himself (eisothei) upon the fathers of old, lest he should appear to be introducing a new doctrine. In the former address he appealed to the patriarch David, here he appeals to Abraham and the rest. "Hath glorified His Servant  Jesus." Again a lowly expression, like as in the opening address.
But at this point he proceeds to enlarge upon the outrage, and exalts the heinousness of the deed, no longer, as before, throwing a veil over it. This he does, wishing to work upon them more powerfully. For the more he proved them accountable, the better his purpose were effected. "Hath glorified," he says, "His Servant Jesus, Whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go." The charge is twofold: Pilate was desirous to let Him go; you would not, when he was willing. "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince (or Author) of Life: Whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses." (v. 14, 15.) Ye desired a robber instead of Him. He shows the great aggravation of the act. As he has them under his hand, he now strikes hard. "The Prince of Life," he says. In these words he establishes the doctrine of the Resurrection. "Whom God hath raised from the dead." (ch. ii. 26.) "Whence doth this appear?" He no longer refers to the Prophets, but to himself, inasmuch as now he has a right to be believed. Before, when he affirmed that He was risen, he adduced the testimony of David; now, having said it, he alleges the College of Apostles. "Whereof we are witnesses," he says.
"And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." Seeking to declare the matter (zethon to prhagma eiphein), he straightway brings forward the sign: "In the presence," he says, "of you all." As he had borne hard upon them, and had shown that He Whom they crucified had risen, again he relaxes, by giving them the power of repentance; "And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." (v. 17.) This is one ground of excuse. The second  is of a different kind. As Joseph speaks to his brethren, "God did send me before you (Gen. xlv. 5); what in the former speech he had briefly said, in the words, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken,"--this he here enlarges upon: "But what God before had showed by the mouth of all His Prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled." (v. 18.) At the same time showing, that it was not of their doing, if this be proved, that it took place after God's counsel. He alludes to those words with which they had reviled Him on the Cross, namely "Let Him deliver Him, if He will have Him; for He said, I am the Son of God. If  He trust in God, let Him now come down from the cross." (Matt. xxvii. 42, 43.) O foolish men, were these idle words? It must needs so come to pass, and the prophets bear witness thereunto. Therefore if He descended not, it was for no weakness of His own that He did not come down, but for very power. And Peter puts this by way of apology for the Jews, hoping that they may also close with what he says. "He hath so fulfilled," he says. Do you see now how he refers everything to that source? "Repent ye therefore," he says, "and be converted." He does not add, "from your sins;" but, "that your sins, may be blotted out," means the same thing. And then he adds the gain: "So shall the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." (v. 19.) This betokens them in a sad state, brought low by many wars.  For it is to the case of one on fire, and craving comfort, that the expression applies. And see now how he advances. In his first sermon, he but slightly hinted at the resurrection, and Christ's sitting in heaven; but here he also speaks of His visible advent. "And He shall send Jesus the Christ ordained  (for you), "Whom the heaven must (i.e. must of necessity) receive, until the times of the restitution of all things." The reason why He does not now come is clear. "Which God hath spoken," he continues, "by the mouth  of His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." Before, he had spoken of David, here he speaks of Moses. "Of all things," he says, "which He hath spoken." But he does not say, "which Christ," but, "which God hath spoken  by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (v. 20, 21.) Then he betakes him to the ground of credibility, saying, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things." And then the greatness of the punishment: "And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those that follow, after, as many as have spoken have likewise foretold of these days." (v. 23, 24.) He has done well to set the distinction here. For whenever he says anything great, he appeals to them of old. And he found a text which contained both truths; just as in the other discourse he said, "Until He put His foes under His feet." (ch. ii. 35.) The remarkable circumstance is, that the two things stand together; that is, subjection and disobedience, and the punishment. "Like unto me," he says. Then why are ye alarmed? "Ye are the children of the prophets" (v. 25): so that to you they spake, and for your sakes have all these things come to pass. For as they deemed that through their outrage they had become alienated (and indeed there is no parity of reason, that He Who now is crucified, should now cherish them as His own), he proves to them that both the one and the other are in accordance with prophecy. "Ye are the children," he says, "of the Prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, `And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.' Unto you first," he continues, "God having raised up His Son (ton Phaida) sent Him." "To others indeed also, but to you first who crucified Him." "To bless you," he adds, "in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." (v. 26.)
Now let us consider again more minutely what has been read out. (Recapitulation.) In the first place, he establishes the point that the miracle was performed by them  ; saying, "Why marvel ye?" And he will not let the assertion be disbelieved: and to give it more weight, he anticipates their judgment. "Why look ye," he says, "so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (v. 12.) If this troubles and confounds you, learn Who was the Doer, and be not amazed. And observe how on all occasions when he refers to God, and says that all things are from Him, then he fearlessly chides them: as above where he said, "A man approved of God among you." (ch. ii. 22.) And on all occasions he reminds them of the outrage they had committed, in order that the fact of the Resurrection may be established. But here he also subjoins something else; for he no more says, "of Nazareth," but what? "The God of our fathers hath glorified His Servant Jesus." (v. 13.) Observe also the modesty. He reproached them not, neither did he say at once, "Believe then now: behold, a man that has been forty years lame, has been raised up through the name of Jesus Christ." This he did not say, for it would have excited opposition. On the contrary, he begins by commending them for admiring the deed, and again calls them after their ancestor: "Ye men of Israel." Moreover, he does not say, It was Jesus that healed him: but, "The God of our fathers hath glorified," etc. But then, lest they should say, How can this stand to reason--that God should glorify the transgressor? therefore he reminds them of the judgment before Pilate, showing that, would they but consider, He was no transgressor; else Pilate had not wished to release Him. And he does not say, "when Pilate was desirous," but, "was determined to let Him go." "But ye denied the Holy One," etc. (v. 13, 14.) Him who had killed others, ye asked to be released; Him Who quickeneth them that are killed, ye did not wish to have! And that they might not ask again, How should it be that God now glorifies Him, when before He gave no assistance? he brings forward the prophets, testifying that so it behooved to be. "But those things which God before had showed," etc., (infra v. 18.) Then, lest they should suppose that God's dispensation was their own apology, first he reproves them. Moreover, that the denying Him "to Pilate's face," was no ordinary thing; seeing that he wished to release Him. And that ye cannot deny this, the man who was asked in preference to Him is witness against you. This also is part of a deep dispensation. Here it shows their shamelessness and effrontery; that a Gentile, one who saw Him for the first time, should have discharged Him, though he had heard nothing striking; while they who had been brought up among His miracles, have done the very opposite! For, as he has said, "When he (Pilate) had determined to let Him go," that it may not be imagined that he did this of favor, we read, "And he said, It is a custom with you to release one prisoner: will ye therefore that I release unto you this man? (Matt. xxvii. 15.) "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just." (Mark xv. 6.) He does not say, "Ye delivered up;" but everywhere, "Ye denied." For, said they, "We have no king but Cæsar." (John xix. 15.) And he does not say only, Ye did not beg off the innocent, and, "Ye denied" Him but, "Ye slew" Him. While they were hardened, he refrained from such language; but when their minds are most moved, then he strikes home, now that they are in a condition to feel it. For just as when men are drunk we say nothing to them, but when they are sober, and are recovered from their intoxication then we chide them; thus did Peter: when they were able to understand his words, then he also sharpened his tongue, alleging against them many charges; that, Whom God had glorified, they had delivered up; Whom Pilate would have acquitted they denied to his face; that they preferred the robber before Him.
Observe again how he speaks covertly concerning Christ's power, showing that He raised Himself: just as in his first discourse he had said, "Because it was not possible that He should be holden of it" (ch. ii. 24), so here he says, "And killed the Prince of Life." (v. 15.) It follows that the Life He had was not from another. The prince (or author) of evil would be he that first brought forth evil; the prince or author of murder, he who first originated murder; so also the Prince (or Author) of Life must be He Who has Life from Himself.  "Whom God raised up," he continues: and now that he has uttered this, he adds, "And his name, upon faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given Him this perfect soundness. [The faith which is by Him he di' authou pistis.] And  yet it was he eis auton pistis, "the faith which is in Him" (as its object) that did all. For the Apostles did not say, "By the name," but, "In the name," and it was in Him (eis auton) that the man believed. But they did not yet make bold to use the expression, "The faith which is in Him." For, that the phrase "By Him" should not be too low, observe that after saying, "Upon the faith of His name," he adds, "His name hath made him strong," and then it is that he says, "Yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness." Observe how he implies, that in the kai ekheino former expression also "Whom God raised up," he did but condescend to their low attainments. For that Person needed not Another's help for His rising again, Whose Name raised up a lame man, being all one as dead. Mark how on all occasions he adduces their own testimony. Thus above, he said, "As ye yourselves also know;" and, "In the midst of you:" and here again, "Whom ye see and know: in the presence of you all." (ch. ii. 22.) And yet that it was, "In His name," they knew not: but they did know that the man was lame, that he stands there whole.  They that had wrought the deed themselves confessed, that it was not by their own power, but by that of Christ. And had this assertion been unfounded, had they not been truly persuaded themselves that Christ had risen again, they would not have sought to establish the honor of a dead man instead of their own, especially while the eyes of the multitude were upon them. Then, when their minds were alarmed, immediately he encourages them, by the appellation of Brethren, "And now, brethren, I wot, etc." For in the former discourse he foretold  nothing, but only says concerning Christ, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly:" here he adds an admonition. There he waited till the people spoke: here, he knew how much they had already effected, and that the present assembly was better disposed toward them. "That through ignorance ye did it." And yet the circumstances mentioned above were not to be put to the score of ignorance. To choose the robber, to reject Him Who had been adjudged to be acquitted, to desire even to destroy Him--how should this be referred to ignorance? Nevertheless, he gives them liberty to deny it, and to change their mind about what had happened. "Now this indeed, that you put to death the innocent, ye knew: but that you were killing "the Prince of Life," this, belike, ye did not know." And he exculpated not them alone, but also the chief contrivers of the evil, "ye and your rulers:" for doubtless it would have roused their opposition, had he gone off into accusation. For the evil-doer, when you accuse him of some wickedness that he has done, in his endeavor to exonerate himself, grows more vehement. And he no longer says, "Ye crucified," "Ye killed," but, "Ye did it;" leading them to seek for pardon. If those rulers did it through ignorance, much more did these present.  "But these things which God before had showed," etc. (v. 18.) But it is remarkable, that both in the first and in the second discourse, speaking to the same effect, that is, in the former, "By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God;" and in this, "God before had showed that Christ should suffer;" in neither does he adduce any particular text in proof. The fact is, that each one of such passages is accompanied with many accusations, and with mention of the punishment in store for them [as]; "I will deliver up," says one, "the wicked in requital for His grave, and the rich in return for His death." (Is. liii. 9.) And again, * * * "Those things," he says, "which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled." It shows the greatness of that "counsel,"  in that all spoke of it, and not one only. It does not follow, because the event was through ignorance, that it took place irrespectively of God's ordinance. See how great is the Wisdom of God, when it uses the wickedness of others to bring about that which must be. "He hath fulfilled," he says: that they may not imagine that anything at all is wanting; for whatsoever Christ must needs suffer, has been fulfilled. But do not think, that, because the Prophets said this, and because ye did it through ignorance, this sufficeth to your exculpation. However, he does not express himself thus, but in milder terms says, "Repent ye therefore." (v. 19.) "Why? For  either it was through ignorance, or by the dispensation of God." "That your sins may be blotted out." I do not mean the crimes committed at the Crucifixion; perhaps they were through ignorance; but so that your other sins may be blotted out: this  only. "So shall the times of refreshing come unto you." Here he speaks of the Resurrection, obscurely.  For those are indeed times of refreshing, which Paul also looked for, when he said, "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened." (2 Cor. v. 4.) Then to prove that Christ is the cause of the days of refreshing, he says, "And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was for you ordained." (v. 20.) He said not, "That your sin may be blotted out," but, "your sins;" for he hints at that sin also. "He shall send." And whence?  "Whom the heaven must receive." (v. 21.) Still ["must"] "receive?" And why not simply, Whom the heaven hath received? This, as if discoursing of old times: so, he says, it is divinely ordered, so it is settled: not a word yet of His eternal subsistence.--"For Moses indeed said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord raise up for you:" "Him shall ye hear in all things that He shall speak unto you:" and having said, "All things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets," (v. 22) now indeed he brings in Christ Himself. For, if He predicted many things and it is necessary to hear Him, one would not be wrong in saying that the Prophets have spoken these things. But, besides, he wishes to show that the Prophets did predict the same things. And, if any one will look closely into the matter, he will find these things spoken in the Old Testament, obscurely indeed, but nevertheless spoken. "Who was purposely designed," says he: in Whom  there is nothing novel. Here he also alarms them, by the thought that much remains to be fulfilled. But if so, how says he, "Hath fulfilled?" (v. 18.) The things which it was necessary "that Christ should suffer," are fulfilled: the things which must come to pass, not yet. "A prophet shall the Lord God raise up for you from among your brethren, like unto me." This would most conciliate them. Do you observe the sprinkling of low matters and high, side by side,--that He Who was to go up into the heavens should be like unto Moses? And yet it was a great thing too. For in fact He was not simply like unto Moses,  if so be that "every soul which will not hear shall be destroyed." And one might mention numberless other things which show that He was not like unto Moses; so that it is a mighty text that he has handled. "God shall raise Him up unto you," says Moses, "from among your brethren," etc.: consequently Moses himself threatens those that should not hear. "Yea, and all the prophets," etc.: all this  is calculated to attract "Yea, and all the prophets," says the Apostle, "from Samuel." He refrains from enumerating them singly, not to make his discourse too long; but having alleged that decisive testimony of Moses, he passes by the rest. "Ye," he says, "are the children of the Prophets, and of the covenant which God made." (v. 25) "Children of the covenant;" that is, heirs. For lest they should think that they received this offer from the favor of Peter, he shows, that of old it was due to them, in order that they may the rather believe that such also is the will of God. "Unto you first," he continues, "God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him." (v. 26.) He does not say simply, "Unto you He sent His Son," but also, after the resurrection, and when He had been crucified. For that they may not suppose that he himself granted them this favor, and not the Father, he says, "To bless you." For if He is your Brother, and blesses you, the affair is a promise. "Unto you first." That is, so far are you from having no share in these blessings, that He would have you become moreover promoters and authors of them to others. For  you are not to feel like castaways. "Having raised up": again, the Resurrection. "In turning away," he says, "every one of you from his iniquities." In this way He blesses you: not in a general way. And what kind of blessing is this? A great one. For of course not the turning a man away from his iniquities is itself sufficient to remit them also. And if it is not sufficient to remit, how should it be to confer a blessing? For it is not to be supposed that the transgressor becomes forthwith also blessed; he is simply released from his sins. But this,  "Like unto me," would no wise apply. "Hear ye Him," he says; and not this alone, but he adds, "And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." When he has shown them that they had sinned, and has imparted forgiveness to them, and promised good things, then indeed, then he says, "Moses also says the same thing." What sort of connection is this: "Until the times of the restitution;" and then to introduce Moses, saying, that  all that Christ said shall come to pass? Then also, on the other hand, he says, as matter of encomium (so that for this reason also ye ought to obey): "Ye are the children of the prophets and of the covenant:" i.e. heirs. Then why do you stand affected towards that which is your own, as if it were another's? True, you have done deeds worthy of condemnation; still you may yet obtain pardon. Having said this, with reason he is now able to say, "Unto you God sent his Son Jesus to bless you." He says not, To save you, but what is greater; that the crucified Jesus blessed His crucifiers.
Let us then also imitate Him. Let us cast out that spirit of murder and enmity. It is not enough not to retaliate (for even in the Old Dispensation this was exemplified); but let us do all as we would for bosom-friends, as we would for ourselves so for those who have injured us. We are followers of Him, we are His disciples, who after being crucified, sets everything in action in behalf of his murderers, and sends out His Apostles to this end. And yet we have often suffered justly; but those acted not only unjustly, but impiously; for He was their Benefactor, He had done no evil, and they crucified Him. And for what reason? For the sake of their reputation. But He Himself made them objects of reverence. "The scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat; all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that do ye, but after their works do ye not." (Matt. xxiii. 2.) And again in another place, "Go thy way, show thyself to the priest." (ib. viii. 4.) Besides, when He might have destroyed them, He saves them. Let us then imitate Him, and let no one be an enemy, no one a foe, except to the devil.
Not a little does the habit of not swearing contribute to this end: I mean to the not giving way to wrath:  and by not giving way to wrath, we shall not have an enemy either. Lop off the oaths of a man, and you have clipt the wings of his anger, you have smothered all his passion. Swearing, it is said, is as the wind to wrath. Lower the sails; no need of sails, when there is no wind. If then we do not clamor, and do not swear, we have cut the sinews of passion. And if you doubt this, just put it to experiment. Impose it as a law upon the passionate man that he shall never swear, and you will have no necessity of preaching moderation to him. So the whole business is finished. For  even though you do not forswear yourselves [yet], by swearing at all, do you not know in what absurd consequences you involve yourselves--binding yourselves to an absolute necessity and as with a cord, and putting yourselves to all manner of shifts, as men studying how to rescue their soul from an evil which there is no escaping, or, failing of that, obliged [by that self-imposed necessity] to spend your life thenceforth in vexation, in quarrels, and to curse your wrath? But all is in vain, and to no purpose. Threaten, be peremptory (diorisai), do all, whatever it be, without swearing; [so]: it is in your power to reverse (analhusai) both what you have said and what you have done if you have the mind. Thus on the present day I must needs speak more gently to you. For since ye have heard me, and the greater part of the reformation is achieved by you, now then let us see for what purpose the taking of oaths was introduced, and why allowed to be. In relating to you their first origin, and when they were conceived, and how, and by whom we shall give you this account in requital for your obedience. For it is fit that he who has made his practice right, should be taught the philosophy of the matter, but he who is not yet doing the right, is not worthy to be told the history.
They made many covenants in Abraham's time, and slew victims, and offered sacrifices, and as yet oaths were not. Whence then did they come in? When evil increased, when all was confusion, upside down, when men had turned aside to idolatry: then it was, then, when men appeared no longer worthy to be believed, that they called God as witness, as if thereby giving an adequate surety for what they said. Such in fact is the Oath: it is a security where men's principles cannot be trusted.  So that in the indictment of the swearer the first charge is this,--that he is not to be trusted without a surety, and a great surety too: for such is the exceeding faithlessness, that they ask not man as surety, but will needs have God! Secondly, the same charge lies against him who receives the oath: that, in a question of compact, he must drag in God for warranty, and refuse to be satisfied unless he get Him. O the excessive stupidity, the insolence of such conduct! Thou, a worm, earth and dust, and ashes, and vapor, to drag in thy Lord as the surety, and to compel the other to drag Him in likewise! Tell me, if your servants were disputing with each other, and exchanging  assurances with each other, and the fellow-servant should declare that for his part he would not be satisfied till he had their common master given him for surety, would he not have stripes given him without number, and be made to know that the master is for other purposes, and not to be put to any such use as this? Why do I speak of a fellow-servant?  For should he choose any respectable person, would not that person consider it an affront? But I do not wish to do this, say you.  Well: then do not compel the other to do so either: since where men only are in question, this is done--if your party says, "I give such an one as my surety," you do not allow him. "What then," say you, "am I to lose what I have given?" I am not speaking of this; but that you allow him to insult God. For which reason greater shall be the inevitable punishment to him who forces the oath upon another, than to him who takes it: the same holds with regard to him who gives an oath when no one asks him. And what makes it worse, is, that every one is ready to swear, for one farthing, for some petty item, for his own injustice. All this may be said, when there is no perjury; but if perjury follow in the train, both he that imposes and he that takes the oath have turned everything upside down. "But there are some things," you will say, "which are unknown." Well take these into account, and do nothing negligently; but, if you do act negligently, take the loss to yourself as your punishment. It is better to be the loser thus, than in a very different way. For tell me--you force a man to take an oath, with what expectation? That he will forswear himself? But this is utter insanity; and the judgment will fall upon your own head; better you should lose your money, than he be lost. Why act thus to your own detriment, and to the insulting of God? This is the spirit of a wild beast, and of an impious man. But you do this in the expectation that he will not forswear himself? Then trust him without the oath. "Nay, there are many," you reply, "who in the absence of an oath would presume to defraud; but, once the oath taken, would refrain." You deceive yourself, man. A man having once learnt to steal, and to wrong his neighbor, will presume full oft to trample upon his oath; if on the contrary he shrinks from swearing, he will much more shrink from injustice. "But he is influenced against his will." Well then, he deserves pardon.
But why am I speaking of this kind of oaths, while I pass over those in the market-place? For as regards these last, you can urge none of these pleas. For ten farthings you there have swearing and forswearing. In fact, because the thunderbolt does not actually fall from heaven, because all things are not overthrown, you stand holding God in your bonds: to get a few vegetables, a pair of shoes, for a little matter of money, calling Him to witness. What is the meaning of this? Do not let us imagine, that because we are not punished, therefore we do not sin; this comes of God's mercy; not of our merit. Let your oath be an imprecation upon your own child, upon your own self: say, "Else let the hangman lash my ribs." But you dare not. Is God less valuable than thy ribs? is He less precious than thy pate? Say "Else let me be struck blind." But no. Christ so spares us, that He will not let us swear even by our own head; and yet we so little spare the honor of God, that on all occasions we must drag Him in! Ye know not what God is, and with what sort of lips he behooves to be invoked. Why, when we speak of any man of eminent worth, we say, "First wash your mouth, and then make mention of him:" and yet, that precious Name which is above every name, the Name which is marvellous in all the earth, the Name which devils hear and tremble, we haul about as we list! Oh! the force of habit! thereby has that Name become cheap. No doubt, if you impose on any one the necessity of coming into the sacred edifice to take his oath there, you feel that you have made the oath an awful one. And yet how is it that it seems awful in this way, but because we have been in the habit of using that at random, but not this? For ought not a shudder of awe to be felt when God is but named? But now, whereas among the Jews His Name was held to be so reverend, that it was written upon plates, and none was allowed to wear the characters except the high-priest alone: we bandy about His Name like any ordinary word. If simply to name God was not allowed to all; to call Him to witness, what audacity is it! nay, what madness! For if need were (rather than this) to fling away all that you have, ought you not readily to part with all? Behold, I solemnly declare and testify; reform these oaths of the forum, these superfluous oaths,  and bring to me all those who wish to take them. Behold, in the presence of this assembly, I charge those who are set apart for the tending of the Houses of Prayer, I exhort and issue this order to them, that no person be allowed to take such oaths at his own discretion: or rather, that none be allowed to swear in any other way, but that the person be brought to me, whosoever he be, since even for these matters less will not serve but they must needs come before us, just as if one had to do with little children. May there be no occasion! It is a shame in some things still to need to be taught. Do you dare to touch the Holy Table, being a person unbaptized? No, but what is still worse, you the baptized dare to lay your hand upon the Holy Table, which not even all ordained persons are allowed to touch, and so to take your oath. Now you would not go and lay your hand upon the head of your child,  and yet do you touch the Table, and not shudder, not feel afraid? Bring these men to me; I will judge, and send them away rejoicing, both the one and the other.  Do what you choose; I lay it down as a law that there be no swearing at all. What hope of salvation, while we thus make all to have been done in vain? Is this the end of your bills, and your bonds, that you should sacrifice your own soul? What gain do you get so great as the loss? Has he forsworn himself? You have undone both him and yourself. But has he not? even so still you have undone (both), by forcing him to transgress the commandment.  Let us cast out this disease from the soul: at any rate let us drive it out of the forum, out of our shops, out of our other work-places; our profits will but be the greater. Do not imagine that the success of your worldly plans is to be ensured by transgressions of the Divine laws. "But he refuses to trust me," say you; and in fact I have sometimes heard this said by some: "Unless I swear oaths without number, the man will not trust me." Yes, and for this you may thank yourself, because you are so off-hand with your oaths. For were it not so, but on the contrary were it clear to all men that you do not swear, take my word for it, you would be more readily believed upon your mere nod, than those are who swallow oaths by thousands. For look now: which do you more readily believe? me who do not swear, or those that do swear? "Yes," say you, "but then you are ruler and bishop." Then suppose I prove to you that it is not only for that reason? Answer me with truth, I beseech you; were I in the habit of perpetually swearing, would my office stand me in that stead? Not a whit. Do you see that it is not for this reason? And what do you gain at all? Answer me that. Paul endured hunger; do you then also choose to hunger rather than to transgress one of the commandments of God. Why are you so unbelieving? Here are you, ready to do and suffer all things for the sake of not swearing: and shall not He reward you? Shall He, Who sustains day by day both takers and breakers of oaths, give you over to hunger, when you have obeyed Him? Let all men see, that of those who assemble in this Church not one is a swearer. By this also let us become manifest, and not by our creed alone; let us have this mark also to distinguish us both from the Gentiles and from all men. Let us receive it as a seal from heaven, that we may everywhere be seen to be the King's own flock. By our mouth and tongue let us be known, in the first place, just as the barbarians are by theirs: even as those who speak Greek are distinguished from barbarians, so let us be known. Answer me: the birds which are said to be parrots, how are they known to be parrots? is it not by speaking like men? Let us then be known by speaking like the Apostles; by speaking like the Angels. If any one bid you swear tell him, "Christ has spoken, and I do not swear." This is enough to make a way for all virtue to come in. It is a gate to religion, a high road leading to the philosophy of piety;  a kind of training-school. These things let us observe, that we may obtain also the future blessings, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, power and honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
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