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Reasons for overcoming revengeful thoughts.
HOMIL. to them, whom that He might reconcile He refused not even LXXIX. to be slain; unless this too be some expense, and outlay of
money, which ye object in almsgiving.
[4.] Consider of how many things thou art guilty; and so far from being backward to forgive them that have injured thee, thou wilt even run unto them that have grieved thee, in order that thou mayest have a ground for pardon, that thou mayest find a remedy for thine own evil deeds.
The sons of the Greeks, who look for nothing great, have often shewn self-command toward these: and thou who art to depart hence with such hopes, shrinkest, and art slow to act; and that which time effects, this thou endurest not to do before the time for God's Law, but willest this passion to be quenched without reward, rather than for a reward? For neither, if this should have arisen from the time, wilt thou have any advantage, but rather great will be the punishment, because, what time hath effected, this the law of God persuaded thee not to do.
But if thou sayest that thou burnest with the memory of the insult; call to mind if any good hath been done thee by him that hath offended thee, and how many ills thou hast occasioned to others.
Hath he spoken ill of thee, and disgraced thee? Consider also that thou hast spoken thus of others. How then wilt thou obtain pardon, which thou bestowest not on others? But hast thou spoken ill of no one? But thou hast heard men so speaking, and allowed it. Neither is this guiltless.
6, 6. 2 Micah 11, 1.
Wilt thou learn how good a thing it is not to remember injuries, and how this more than any thing pleases God? Them that exult over persons, justly chastised by Himself, He punishes. And yet they are justly chastised; but thou shouldest not rejoice over them. So the Prophet having 1 Amos brought many accusations, added this also, saying, ' They felt nothing for the affliction of Joseph; and again, 'She that inhabiteth Enan, came not forth to lament for the place near LXX. her. And yet both Joseph, (that is, the tribes that were sprung from him,) and the neighbours of these others, were punished according to the purpose of God; nevertheless, it is His will that we sympathise even with these. For if we, being evil, when we are punishing a servant, if we should see
The offender, by submitting first, has the advantage. 1055
one of his fellow slaves laughing, we at the same time are MATT. provoked the more, and turn our anger against him; much more will God punish them that exult over those whom He chastises. But if upon them that are chastised by God it is not right to trample, but to grieve with them, much more with them that have sinned against us. For this is love's sign; love God prefers to all things. For as in the royal purple, those are precious amongst the flowers and dyes, which make up this robing; so here too, these virtues are the precious ones, which preserve love. But nothing maintains love so much as the not remembering them that have sinned against
"Why? did not God guard the other side also? Why? did He not drive him that hath done the wrong to him that is wronged? Doth He not send him from the Altar to the other, and so after the reconciliation invite him to the Table ?" But do not therefore wait for the other to come, since thus thou hast lost all. For to this intent most especially doth He appoint unto thee an unspeakable reward, that thou mayest prevent the other, since, if thou art reconciled by his entreaties, the amity is no longer the result of the Divine command, but of the other party's diligence. Wherefore also thou goest away uncrowned, while he receives the rewards.
What sayest thou? Hast thou an enemy, and art thou not ashamed? Why is not the devil enough for us, that we bring upon ourselves those of our own race also? Would that not even he had been minded to war against us; would that not even he were a devil!
Knowest thou not how great the pleasure after reconciliation? For what, though in our enmity it appear not great? For that it is sweeter to love him that doth us wrong than to hate him, after the enmity is done away thou shalt be able to learn full well. Why then do we imitate the mad, devour- [5.] ing one another, warring against our own flesh?
Hear even under the Old Testament, how great regard there was for this, The1 ways of revengeful men are unto death. Prov. One man keepeth anger against another, and doth he seek LXX. healing of God? "And yet He allowed, eye for eye, and Ecclus. tooth for tooth, how then doth He find fault?" Because He allowed even those things, not that we should do them one
1056 A good man cannot be harmed by any injuries.
HOMIL. to another, but that through the fear of suffering, we might abstain from the commission of crime. And besides, those acts are the fruits of a short-lived anger, but to remember injuries is the part of a soul that practises itself in evil.
But hast thou suffered evil? yet nothing so great, as thou wilt do to thyself by remembering injuries. And besides, it is not so much as possible for a good man to suffer any evil. For suppose there to be any man, having both children and a wife, and let him practise virtue, and let him have moreover many occasions of being injured, as well abundance of possessions, as sovereign power, and many friends, and let him enjoy honour; only let him practise virtue, for this must be added, and let us in supposition lay plagues. upon him. And let some wicked man come unto him, and involve him in losses. What then is that to him who accounts money nothing? Let him kill his children. What this to him, who learns to be wise touching the Resurrection? Let him slay his wife; what is this to him who is instructed not to sorrow for them that are fallen asleep? let him cast him into dishonour. What this to him who accounts the things present, the flower of the grass? If thou wilt, let him also torture his body, and cast him into prison, what this 12 Cor. to him that hath learnt, Though our outward man perish, Rom. yet the inward man is renewed; and that
Now I had undertaken that he should receive no harm; but the account as it proceeded hath shewn that he is even advantaged, being renewed, and becoming approved.
Let us not then vex ourselves with others, injuring ourselves, and rendering our soul weak. For the vexation is not so much from our neighbours' wickedness, as from our weakness. Because of this, should any one insult us, we weep, and frown; should any one rob us, we suffer the same like those little children, which the more clever of their companions provoke for nothing, grieving them for small causes; but nevertheless these too, if they should see them vexed, continue to tease them, but if laughing, they on the contrary leave off. But we are more foolish even than these, lamenting for these things, about which we ought to laugh.
Childish anger becomes not men in Christ.
Wherefore I entreat, let us let go this childish mind, and MATT. lay hold of Heaven. For indeed, Christ willeth us to be 5. men, perfect men. On this wise did Paul also command, 'Brethren, be not children in understanding, he saith, howbeit11 Cor. 14, 20. in malice be ye children.
Let us therefore be children in malice, and flee wickedness, and lay hold on virtue, that we may attain also to the good things eternal, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and might, world without end. Amen.
MATT. xxvi. 6, 7.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His Head, as He sat at meat.
THIS Woman seems indeed to be one and the same with all the Evangelists, yet she is not so; but though with the three she doth seem to me to be one and the same, yet not so with John, but another person, one much to be admired, the sister of Lazarus.
But not without purpose did the Evangelist mention the leprosy of Simon, but in order that He might shew whence the woman took confidence, and came unto Him. For inasmuch as the leprosy seemed a most unclean disease, and to be abhorred, and yet she saw Jesus had both healed the man, (for else He would not have chosen to have tarried with a leper,) and had gone in to his house; she grew confident, that He would also easily wipe off the uncleanness of her soul. And not for nought doth He name the city also, Bethany, but that thou mightest learn, that of His own will He cometh to His Passion. For He who before this was fleeing
a St. Augustine, on St. John, Hom. xlix. §. 3. speaks of the identity as doubtful. See also Greswell, vol. ii. Diss. xvii. and vol. iii. Diss. iii. It seems that the occasion recorded in St. Luke vii. 37. must have been different, whe
ther the person were the same or not. St. Chrysostom supposes two unctions at Bethany. See note at the end of 'Sermons preached at St. Saviour's Church, Leeds.'