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St. Peter taught not to contradict.



exceedingly deprive him thereof, because there was to an MATT. exceeding degree in him the passion of self-will and contra- 34. 35. diction. In order then that He might pluck it up by the roots, therefore He suffered the terror to overtake him.

For in proof that this passion was grievous in him, he was not content with his former words, gainsaying both prophet and Christ, but also after these things when Christ had said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this night, v.34.35. before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice, he replieth, Though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise. And Luke signifies moreover, that the more Christ warned him, so much the more did Peter exceedingly oppose Him.

What mean these things, O Peter? When He was saying, One of you shall betray Me, thou didst fear lest thou shouldest be the traitor, and didst constrain the Disciple to ask, although conscious to thyself of no such thing; but now, when He is plainly crying out, and saying, All shall be offended, art thou gainsaying it, and not once only, but twice and often? For this is what Luke saith.

Whence then did this come to him? From much love, from much pleasure. I mean, that after that he was delivered from that distressing fear about the betrayal, and knew the traitor, he then spoke confidently, and lifted himself up over the rest, saying, Though all men shall be offended, yet will v. 33. I not be offended. And in some degree too his conduct sprung from jealousy, for at supper they reasoned 1which of1 Luke them is the greater, to such a degree did this passion trouble them. Therefore He checked him, not compelling him to the denial, God forbid! but leaving him destitute of His help, and convicting human nature.

22, 24.



See at any rate after these things how he was subdued. For after the Resurrection, when he had said, 2 And what shall John 21, 21. this man do? and was silenced, he ventured no more to gainsay as here, but held his peace. Again, towards the Assumption3, when he heard, It is not for you to know times i.e. the or seasons, again he holds his peace, and contradicts not. After sion these things, on the house, and by the sheet, when he heard Acts 1, a voice saying to him, What God hath cleansed, call not thou 5 Acts common, even though he knew not for the time what the 10, 15. saying could be, he is quiet, and strives not.



1090 A good will needs God's help, a bad frustrates it.

[4] All these things did that fall effect, and whereas before that he attributes all to himself, saying, Though all men shall be offended, yet will I not be offended; and, If I should die, I will not deny Thee, (when he should have said, If I receive the assistance from Thee;)-yet after these Acts 3, things altogether the contrary, Why do ye give heed to us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made him to walk?




"Luke7, 47.


Hence we learn a great doctrine, that a man's willingness is not sufficient, unless any one receive the succour from above; and that again we shall gain nothing by the succour from above, if there be not a willingness. And both these things do Judas and Peter shew; for the one, though he had received much help, was profited nothing, because he was not willing, neither contributed his part; but this one, though he was ready in mind, because he received no assistance, fell. For indeed of these two things is virtue's web woven.

Wherefore I entreat you neither (when you have cast all upon God) to sleep yourselves, nor, when labouring earnestly, to think to accomplish all by your own toils. For neither is it God's will that we should be supine ourselves, therefore He worketh it not all Himself; nor yet boasters, therefore He did not give all to us; but having removed what was hurtful in either way, left that which is useful for us. Therefore He suffered even the chief Apostle to fall, both rendering him more humbled in mind, and training him thenceforth to greater love. For to whom more is forgiven, it is said, he loveth more.

Let us then in every thing believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His Word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the Mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings.

For His Word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That hath never failed, but this in most things goeth wrong. Since then the Word saith, This is my Body, let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind.

For Christ hath given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in

Sin of unworthily receiving Holy Communion.



Baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, MATT. by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, 34. 35. the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if thou hadst been incorporeal, He would have delivered thee the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul hath been locked up in a body, He delivers thee the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible.

How many now say, I would wish to see His Form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee.

Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one fainthearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. For if Jews standing, and having on their shoes and their staves in their hands, ate with haste, much more oughtest thou to be watchful. For they indeed were to go forth to Palestine, wherefore also they had the garb of pilgrims, but thou art about to remove unto Heaven. Wherefore it is needful in all respects [5.] to be vigilant, for indeed no small punishment is appointed to them that partake unworthily.

Consider how indignant thou art against the traitor, against them that crucified Him. Look therefore, lest thou also thyself become guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. They slaughtered the all-holy Body, but thou receivest It in a filthy soul after such great benefits. For neither was it enough for Him to be made man, to be smitten and slaughtered, but He also commingleth Himself with us, and not by faith only, but also in very deed maketh us His Body. What then ought not he to exceed in purity that hath the benefit of this sacrifice, than what sunbeam should not that hand be more pure which is to sever this Flesh, the mouth that is filled with spiritual fire, the tongue that is reddened by that most awful Blood? Consider with what sort of honour thou wast honoured, of what sort of Table thou art partaking. That which when Angels behold, they tremble, and dare not so much as look up at It without awe on account of the Brightness that cometh thence, with this we are fed, with this we are commingled, and we are made one body and one flesh

1092 We should feed of Christ as infants at the breast.


IPs. 106,


HOMIL. With Christ. Who shall declare the mighty works of the LXXXII. Lord, and cause all His praises to be heard? What shepherd 'feeds his sheep with his own limbs? And why do I say, shepherd? There are often mothers that after the travail of birth send out their children to other women as nurses; but He endureth not to do this, but Himself feeds us with His own Blood, and by all means entwines us with Himself.

Mark it, He was born of our substance. But, you say, this is nothing to all men; though it does concern all. For if He came unto our nature, it is quite plain that it was to all; but if to all, then to each one. And how was it, you say, that all did not reap the profit therefrom. This was not of His doing, Whose choice it was to do this in behalf of all, but the fault of them that were not willing.

With each one of the faithful doth He mingle Himself in the Mysteries, and whom He begat, He nourishes by Himself, and putteth not out to another; by this also persuading thee again, that He had taken thy flesh. Let us not then be remiss, having been counted worthy of so much both of love and honour. See ye not the infants with how much eagerness they lay hold of the breast? with what earnest desire they fix their lips upon the nipple? With the like let us also approach this Table, and the nipple of the spiritual Cup. Or rather, with much more eagerness let us, as infants at the breast, draw out the grace of the Spirit, let it be our one sorrow, not to partake of this Food. The works set before us are not of man's power. He that then did these things at that Supper, this same now also works them. We occupy the place of servants. He who sanctifieth and changeth them is the same. Let then no Judas be present, no covetous man. If any one be not a disciple, let him withdraw, the Table receives not such. For

2 Matt. I keep the passover2, He saith, with My Disciples.

26, 18.

This Table is the same as That, and hath nothing less. For it is not so that Christ wrought that, and man this, but He doth this too. This is that upper chamber, where they were then; and hence they went forth unto the mount of Olives.

Let us also go out unto the hands of the poor, for this spot is the mount of Olives. For the multitude of the poor are

Oil of alms. Sin of admitting unworthy communicants. 1093

34. 35.

olive-trees planted in the house of God, dropping the MATT. oil, which is profitable for us There, which the five virgins XXVI. had, and the others that had not received perished thereby. Having received this, let us enter in, that with bright lamps we may meet the Bridegroom; having received this, let us go forth hence.

Let no inhuman person be present, no one that is cruel and merciless, no one at all that is unclean.

[6.] These things I say to you that receive, and to you that minister. For it is necessary to address myself to you also, that you may with much care distribute the gifts there. There is no small punishment for you, if being conscious of any wickedness in any man, you allow him to partake of this Table. His' blood shall be required at your hands. 1 Ezek. Though any one be a general, though a deputy, though it 33, 8. be he himself who is invested with the diadem, and come unworthily, forbid him, the authority thou hast is greater than his. Thou, if thou wert entrusted to keep a spring of water clean for a flock, and then wert to see a sheep having much mire on its mouth, thou wouldest not suffer it to stoop down unto it and foul the stream: but now being entrusted with a spring not of water, but of Blood and of Spirit, if thou seest any having on them sin, which is more grievous than earth and mire, coming unto it, art thou not displeased? dost thou not drive them off? and what excuse canst thou have?

For this end God hath honoured you with this honour, that ye should discern these things. This is your office, this your safety, this your whole crown, not that ye should go about clothed in a white and shining vestment.

And whence know I, you may say, this person, and that person? I speak not of the unknown, but of the notorious.

2 vexed


3 Heb.

Shall I say something more fearful. It is not so grievous a thing for the Energumens to be within, as for such as i. e. these, whom Paul affirms to trample Christ under foot, and to account' the blood of the covenant unclean, and to do devils. despite to the grace of the Spirit. For he that hath fallen 10, 29. into sin and draws nigh, is worse than one possessed with a devil. For they, because they are possessed are not

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