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1074

Judas a willing slave of Satan.

LXXXI.

HOMIL. Should they fail to be deserving of punishment, seeing they have so many teachers of virtue, and gain nothing therefrom. For like as the noble and good are worthy of double honour, because they both became good, and took no hurt from the wicked; so also the worthless deserve twofold punishment, both because they became wicked, when they might have become good, (they shew it who have become such,) and because they gained nothing from the good.

But let us see what saith this wretched man, when convicted by his Master. What then saith he? Rabbi, is it I? And why did he not ask this from the beginning? He thought to escape knowledge by its being said, one of you ; but when He had made him manifest, he ventured again to ask, confiding in the clemency of his Master, that He' [3.] would not convict him. O blindness! Whereunto hath it led him? Such is covetousness, it renders men fools and senseless, yea reckless, and dogs instead of men, or rather even more fierce than dogs, and devils after being dogs. This man at least received unto him the devil even when plotting against him, but Jesus, even when doing him good, he betrayed, having already become a devil in will. For such doth the insatiable desire of gain make men, out of their mind, frenzy-smitten, altogether given up to gain, as was the case even with Judas.

v. 25.

1 John 13, 27.

2 John 13, 2.

But how do Matthew and the other Evangelists say, that, when he made the agreement touching the treason, then the devil seized him; but John, that after the sop Satan entered into him. And John himself knew this, for further back he saith, The devil having now put into the heart of Judas, that he should betray Him. How then doth he say, After the sop Satan entered into him? Because he enters not in suddenly, nor at once, but makes much trial first, which accordingly was done here also. For after having tried him in the beginning, and assailed him quietly, after that he saw him prepared to receive him, he thenceforth wholly breathed himself into him, and completely got the better of him.

But how, if they were eating the Passover, did they eat it contrary to the law? For they should not have eaten it,

Judas worse than mad through covetousness.

1075 sitting down to their meat'. What then can be said? That MATT. after eating it, they then sat down to the banquet.

XXVI. 24. 25.

12,

But another Evangelist saith, that on that evening He1 Exod. not only ate the Passover, but also said, With desire I have 2 Luke desired to eat this Passover with you, that is, on that year. 22, 15. For what reason? Because then the salvation of the world was to be brought about, and the mysteries to be delivered, and the subjects of sorrow to be done away with by His death; so welcome was the Cross to Him. But nothing softened the savage monster, nor moved, nor shamed him. He pronounced him wretched, saying, Woe to that man. He alarmed him again, saying, It were good for him if he had not been born. He put him to shame, saying, To whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And none of these things checked him, but he was seized by covetousness, as by some madness, or rather by a more grievous disease. For indeed this is the more grievous madness.

For what would the madman do like this? He poured not forth foam out of his mouth, but he poured forth the murder of his Lord. He distorted not his hands, but stretched them out for the price of precious Blood. Wherefore his madness was greater, because he was mad being in health.

But he doth not utter, [sayest thou,] sounds without meaning. And what is more without meaning than this language. What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him v. 15. unto you? I will deliver, the devil spake by that mouth. But he did not smite the ground with his feet struggling? Nay, how much better so to struggle, than thus to stand upright. But sayest thou, he did not cut himself with stones? Yet how much better, than to do such things as these!

Will ye, that we bring forward the possessed and the covetous, and make a comparison between the two. But let no one account what is done a reproach to himself. For we do not reproach the nature, but we lament the act. The possessed was never clad with garments, cutting himself with stones, and running, he rushes over rough paths, driven headlong of the devil. Do not these things seem to be dreadful? What then, if I shall shew the covetous doing

1076

The covetous are the worst of madmen.

LXXXI.

HOMIL. more grievous things than these to their own soul, and to such a degree more grievous, that these are considered child's play compared with those? Will you indeed shun the pest? Come then, let us see if they are in any respect in a more tolerable state than they. In noue, but even in a more grievous condition; for indeed they are more objects of shame than ten thousand naked persons. For it were far better to be naked as to clothing, than being clad with the fruits of covetousness, to go about like them that celebrate the orgies for Bacchus. For like as they have on madmen's masks and clothes, so have these also. And much as the nakedness of the possessed is caused by madness, so doth madness produce this clothing, and the clothing is more miserable than the nakedness.

And this I will hereby endeavour to prove. For whom should we say was more mad, amongst madmen themselves ; one who should cut himself, or one who together with himself should hurt those who met him? It is quite clear that it is this last. The madmen then strip themselves of their clothing, but these all that meet them. "But these tear their clothes to pieces." And how readily would every one of those that are injured consent that his garment should be torn, rather than be stripped of all his substance?

"But those do not aim blows at the face." In the first place, the covetous do even this, and if not all, yet do all inflict by famine and penury more grievous pains on the belly.

4.

"But those bite not with the teeth." Would that it were with teeth, and not with the darts of covetousness fiercer 1 Ps. 57, than teeth. For their teeth are weapons and darts. For who will feel most pained, he that was bitten once, and straightway healed, or he that is for ever eaten up by the teeth of penury? For penury when involuntary is more grievous than furnace or wild beast.

"But those rush not into the deserts like the possessed of devils." Would it were the deserts, and not the cities, that they overran, and so all in the cities enjoyed security. For now in this respect again, they are more intolerable than all the insane, because they do in the cities these things which the others do in the deserts, making the cities deserts, and

The covetous go naked, as not clothed with virtue. 1077

like as in a desert, where there is none to hinder, so plunder- MATT. ing the goods of all men.

XXVI.

24. 25.

"But they do not pelt with stones them that meet them." And what is this? Of stones it were easy to beware; but of the wounds which by paper and ink they work to the wretched poor, (framing writings full of blows without number,) who, out of those that fall in with them, can ever easily beware?

[4.] And let us see also what they do to themselves. They walk naked up and down the city, for they have no garment of virtue. But if this doth not seem to them to be a disgrace, this again is of their exceeding madness, for that they have no feeling of the unseemliness, but while they are ashamed of having their body naked, they bear about the soul naked, and glory in it. And if you wish, I will tell you also the cause of their insensibility. What then is the cause? They are naked amongst many that are thus naked, wherefore neither are they ashamed, like as neither are we in the baths. So that if indeed there were many clothed with virtue, then would their shame appear more. But now this above all is a worthy subject for many tears, that because the bad are many, bad things are not even esteemed as a disgrace. For besides the rest, the devil hath brought about this too, not to allow them to obtain even a sense of their evil deeds, but by the multitude of them that practise wickedness, to throw a shade over their disgrace; since if it came to pass that he was in the midst of a multitude of persons practising self-restraint, such a one would see his nakedness more.

That they are more naked than the possessed is evident from these things; and that they go into the deserts, neither this again could any one gainsay. For the wide and broad way is more desert than any desert. For though it have many that journey on it, yet none from amongst men, but serpents, scorpions, wolves, adders, and asps. Such are they that practise wickedness. And this way is not only desert, but much more rugged than that [of the mad]. And this is hereby evident. For stones and ravines and crags do not so wound those that mount them, as robbery and covetousness the souls that practise them.

1078 The covetous are sepulchres.

They cut themselves.

And that they live by the tombs, like the possessed, or rather that they themselves are tombs, is plain by this. What is a tomb? A stone having a dead body lying in it. Wherein then do these men's bodies differ from those stones? or rather, they are more miserable even than they. For it is not a stone containing a dead body, but a body more insensible than stones, bearing about a dead soul. Wherefore one would not be wrong in calling them tombs. For so did our Lord too call the Jews, for this reason most especially; He went Matt. on at least to say, Their1 inward parts are full of ravening and covetousness.

23, 25. and comp. v. 27.

HOMIL.
LXXXI.

Would ye that I shew next, how they also cut their heads with stones? Whence then first, I pray thee, wilt thou learn this? From the things here, or from the things to come? But of the things to come they have not much regard; we must speak then of the things here. For are not anxieties more grievous than many stones, not wounding heads, but consuming a soul. For they are afraid, lest those things should justly go forth out of their house, which have come unto them unjustly; they tremble in fear of the utmost ills, are angry, are provoked, against those of their own house, against strangers; and now despondency, now fear, now wrath, comes upon them in succession, and they are as if they were crossing precipice after precipice, and they are earnestly looking day by day for what they have not yet acquired. Wherefore neither do they feel pleasure in the things they have, both by reason of not feeling confidence about the security of them, and because with their whole mind they are intent upon what they have not yet seized. And like as one continually thirsting, though he should drink up ten thousand fountains, feeleth not the pleasure, because he is not satisfied; so also these, so far from feeling pleasure, are even tormented, the more they heap around themselves; from their not feeling any limit to such desire.

And things here are like this; but let us speak also of the Day to come. For though they give not heed, yet it is necessary for us to speak. In the Day to come then, one will see every where such men as these undergoing punish2 Matt. ment. For when He saith, 12 was an hungred, and ye gave 25, 42. Me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; He

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