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A The Judgment proved by present inequalities. the others also that have committed such sins. rest have undergone nothing here, you ought to regard this very fact as a sign that there is surely something to follow after our departure here. For the self-same God of all would not take vengeance on some, and leave others unpunished, who have committed the same or more grievous offences, unless He designed to bring some punishments upon them there.

By these arguments then and these examples let us also humble ourselves; and let them who are obstinate unbelievers of the judgment, believe it henceforth, and become better men; that having lived here in a manner worthy of the kingdom, we may attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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And if the MATT. XXIV. 31.

HOMILY LXXVII.

MATT. xxiv. 32, 33.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

FORASMUCH as He had said, Immediately after the tribulation of those days; but they sought of this, after how long a time it should be, and desired to know in particular the very day, therefore He puts also the similitude of the fig tree, indicating that the interval was not great, but that in quick succession would occur His advent also. And this He declared not by the parable alone, but by the words that follow, saying, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Whereby He foretels another thing also, a spiritual summer, and a calm that should be on that day (after the present tempest) for the righteous; but to the sinners the contrary, winter after summer, which He declares in what follows, saying, that the day shall come upon them, when they are living in luxury.

But not for this intent only did He put forward this about the fig tree, in order to declare the interval; for it was possible to have set this before them in other ways as well; but that he might hereby also confirm His saying, as assuredly thus to come to pass. For as this [of the fig tree] is of necessity, so that too. For thus, wherever He is minded to

The generation of the faithful abide till the end. 1021

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speak of that which will assuredly come to pass, He brings MATT. forward the necessary courses of nature, both Himself, and 34. 35. the blessed Paul imitating Him. Therefore also when speaking of His Resurrection, He saith, When' the corn of John wheat hath fallen into the earth, except it die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Whereby also the blessed Paul being instructed uses the same similitude, Thou fool, he saith, that which thou sowest is not 2 1 Cor. quickened, except it die.

12, 24.

15, 36.

After this, that they might not straightway return to it again, and say, 'When?' he brings to their remembrance the things that had been said, saying, Verily I say unto v. 34. you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled! All these things. What things? I pray thee. Those about Jerusalem, those about the wars, about the famines, about the pestilences, about the earthquakes, about the false Christs, about the false prophets, about the sowing of the Gospel every where, the seditions, the tumults, all the other things, which we said were to occur until His coming. How then, one may ask, did He say, This generation? Speaking not of the generation then living, but of that of the believers. For He is wont to distinguish a generation not by times only, but also by the mode of religious service, and practice; as when He saith, This is the genera- Ps. 24, tion of them that seek the Lord.

6.

For what He said above, All these must come to pass, v. 6. and again, the Gospel shall be preached, this He declares v. 14. here also, saying, All these things shall surely come to pass, and the generation of the faithful shall remain, cut off by none of the things that have been mentioned. For both Jerusalem shall perish, and the more part of the Jews shall be destroyed, but over this generation shall nothing prevail, not famine, not pestilence, not earthquake, not the tumults of wars, not false Christs, not false prophets, not deceivers, not traitors, not those that cause to offend, not the false brethren, nor any other such like temptation whatever.

Then to lead them on more in faith, He saith, Heaven v. 35. and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away; that is, it were more easy for these firm, fixed, and immoveable bodies to be blotted out, than for ought of My

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Our Lord forbids curiosity about the time.

HOMIL. Words to fall to the ground. And he who gainsays these LXXVII. things, let him test His sayings, and when he hath found them true (for so he surely will find them) from what is past, let him believe also the things to come, and let him search out all things with diligence, and he will see the actual events bearing witness to the truth of the prophecy. And the elements He hath brought forward, at once to declare, that the Church is of more honour than Heaven and earth, and at the same time to indicate Himself by this also to be Maker of all. For since He was speaking of the End, a thing disbelieved by many, He brought forward Heaven and earth, indicating His unspeakable power, and shewing with great authority, that He is Lord of all, and by these things rendering His sayings deserving of credit, even with those who are much given to doubt.

v. 36.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the compare Angels of Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. By 13, 32. saying, not the Angels, He stopped their mouths, that they should not seek to learn what these Angels know not; and by saying, neither the Son, forbids them not only to learn, but even to enquire. For in proof that therefore He said this, see after His Resurrection, when He saw they were become over curious, how He stopped their mouths more decidedly. For now indeed He hath mentioned infallible signs, many and endless; but then He saith merely, It is not for you to know times or seasons. And then that they might not say, we are driven to perplexity, we are utterly scorned, we are not held worthy so much as of this, He says, Acts 1, which1 the Father hath put in His own power. And this,

7.

because He was exceedingly careful to honour them, and to conceal nothing from them. Therefore He refers it to His Father, both to make the thing awful, and to exclude that of which He had spoken from their enquiry. Since if it be not this, but He is ignorant of it, when will He know it? Will it be together with us? But who would say this? And the Father He knoweth clearly, even as clearly as He knoweth the Son; and of the Day is He ignorant? MoreCor. over, the Spirit' indeed searcheth even the deep things of God, and doth not He know so much as the time of the Judgment? But how He ought to judge He knoweth, and

2, 10.

He did not mean that Himself knew not the Day. 1023

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of the secrets of each He hath a full perception; and MATT. what is far more common than that, of this could He be 38. 39. ignorant? And how, if all things were made by Him, and John 1, without Him was not even one thing made, was He ignorant 3. of the Day? For He Who made the worlds', it is quite al@vas plain that He made the times also; and if the times, even that Day. How then is He ignorant of that which He

1

made?

[2.] And ye2 indeed say that ye know even His Substance, Arians. but that the Son not even the Day, the Son, Who is always in the bosom of the Father; and yet His Substance is much greater than the days, even infinitely greater. How then, while assigning to yourselves the greater things, do you not allow even the less to the Son, in Whom are hid all the Col. 2, treasures of wisdom and knowledge. But neither do you know what God is in His Substance, though ten thousand times ye talk thus madly, neither is the Son ignorant of the Day, but is even in full certainty thereof.

3.

For this cause, I say, when He had told all things, both the times and the seasons, and had brought it to the very doors, (for it is near, He saith, even at the doors,) He was silent as to the Day. For if thou seek after the day and hour, thou shalt not hear them of Me, saith He; but if of times and preludes, without hiding any thing, I will tell thee all exactly.

For that indeed I am not ignorant of it, I have shewn by many things; having mentioned intervals, and all the things that are to occur, and how short from this present time until the Day itself, (for this did the Parable of the fig tree indicate,) and I lead thee to the very vestibule; and if I do not open unto thee the doors, this also I do for your good.

And that thou mayest learn by another thing also, that the silence is not a mark of ignorance on His part, see, together with what we have mentioned, how He sets forth another sign also. But as in the days of Noe they were eating and v.38.39. drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that the flood came, and took all away; so shall also the Coming of the Son of Man be. And these things He spake, shewing that He should come on a sudden, and unexpectedly,

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