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Virtue preserved, better than outward success.
HOMIL. this man that mocked thee, O wretched and unhappy woman, LXXXIV. but the devil that told thee that thou couldest break down the adamant. This [thy husband] brought not in unto thee an Hebrew servant to plot against thee, but the wicked spirit that unclean lasciviousness; he it was that mocked thee.
What then did Joseph? He held his peace, and thus is condemned, even as Christ is also. For all those things are types of these. And he indeed was in bonds, and she in royal courts. Yet what is this? For he was more glorious than any crowned victor, even while continuing in his bonds, but she was in a more wretched condition than any prisoner, while abiding in royal chambers.
But not hence alone may one see the victory, and the defeat, but by the end itself. For which accomplished his desired object? The prisoner, not the high born lady? For he strove to keep his chastity, but she to destroy it. Which then accomplished what he desired? he who suffered wrong, or she who did the wrong. It is quite plain, that it is he who suffered. Surely then this is the one who hath conquered.
Knowing then these things, let us follow after this victory, which is obtained by suffering wrong, let us flee from that which is got by doing wrong. For so shall we both live this present life in all tranquillity, and great quietness, and shall attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and might world without end. Amen.
MATT. xxvi. 67, 68.
Then did they spit in His Face, and buffeted Him, and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee?
WHEREFORE did they these things, when they were to put Him to death? What need of this mockery? That thou mightest learn their intemperate spirit by all things, and that having taken Him like a prey, they thus shewed forth their intoxication, and gave full swing to their madness; making this a festival, and assaulting Him with pleasure, and shewing forth their murderous disposition.
But admire, I pray thee, the self-command of the disciples, with what exactness they relate these things. Hereby is clearly shewn their disposition to love the truth, because they relate with all truthfulness the things that seem to be opprobrious, disguising nothing, nor being ashamed thereof, but rather accounting it very great glory, as indeed it was, that the Lord of the universe should endure to suffer such things for us. This shews both His unutterable tenderness, and the inexcusable wickedness of those men, who had the heart to do such things to Him that was so mild and meek, and was charming them with such words, as were enough to change a lion into a lamb. For neither did He fail in any thing of gentleness, nor they of insolence and cruelty, in what they did, in what they said. All which things the prophet Isaiah foretold, thus proclaiming beforehand, and by one word intimating all this insolence. For Is. 52,
Our Lord glorious in bearing insults.
HOMIL. like as many were astonished at Thee, he saith, so shall Thy form be held inglorious of men, and Thy glory of the sons of men.
Luke 22, 64.
But another' saith, that they covered His face with His own garment, and did these things, as though they had got in the midst of them some vile and worthless fellow. And Mark not freemen only, but slaves 2 also were intemperate with this 14, 65. intemperance towards Him at that time.
These things let us read continually, these things let us hear aright, these things let us write in our mind; for these are our honours. In these things do I take a pride, not only in the thousands of dead which He raised, but also in the sufferings which He endured. These things Paul puts forward in every way, the cross, the death, the sufferings,
3 Heb. the revilings, the insults, the scoffs. And now he saith, Let3
Heb. us go forth unto Him bearing His reproach; and now, Who' 12, 2. for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.
Now Peter sat in the court without; and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and saith, This man also was there with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath. And after a while cume unto him they that stood by, and said unto Peter, Surely thou also art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, I know not the man. And immediately the cock
For what could be equal to this insolence? On that Face which the sea, when it saw it, had reverenced, from which the sun, when it beheld it on the cross, turned away his rays, they did spit, and struck it with the palms of their hands, and smote upon the Head; giving full swing in every way to their own madness. For indeed they inflicted the blows that are most insulting of all, buffeting, smiting with the palms of their hands, and to these blows adding the insult of spitting at Him. And words again teeming with much derision did they speak, saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee? because the multitude called Him a Prophet.
The different accounts of St. Peter's denial. 1117
crew. And Feter remembered the words of Jesus, which MATT. said, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And 69-75. he went out, and wept bitterly.
Oh strange and wonderful acts! When indeed he saw his Master seized only, he was so fervent as both to draw his sword, and to cut off the man's ear; but when it was natural for him to be more indignant, and to be inflamed and to burn, hearing such revilings, then he becomes a denier. For who would not have been inflamed to madness by the things that were then done? yet the disciple, overcome by fears, so far from shewing indignation, even denies, and endures not the threat of a miserable and mean girl, and not once only, but a second and third time doth he deny Him; and in a short period, and not so much as before judges, for it was without; for when he had gone out into the porch, they asked him, and he did not even readily come to a sense of his fall. And this Luke saith', namely, that' Luke Christ looked on him, shewing that he not only denied Him, but was not even brought to remembrance from within, and this though the cock had crowed; but he needed a further remembrance from his Master, and His look was to him instead of a voice; so exceedingly was he full of fear.
But Mark saith, that when he had once denied, then 2 Mark first the cock crew, but when thrice, then for the second 14, 68. time; for he declares more particularly the weakness of the disciple, and that he was utterly dead with fear; having learnt these things of his master3 himself, for he was a follower 3 1 Pet. of Peter. In which respect one would most marvel at him, that so far from hiding his teacher's faults, he declared it more distinctly than the rest, on this very account, that he was his disciple.
[2.] How then is what is said true, when Matthew affirms that Christ said, Verily I say unto thee, that before the cock Matt. 26, 34. crow thou shalt deny Me thrice; and Mark declares after the third denial, that The cock crew the second time? Nay, Mark 14, 72. most certainly is it both true and in harmony. For because at each crowing the cock is wont to crow both a third and a fourth time, Mark, to shew that not even the sound checked him, and brought him to recollection, saith this. So that both things are true. For before the cock had
Sin blinds men till it is accomplished.
HOMIL. finished the one crowing, he had denied a third time. And not even when reminded of his sin by Christ did he dare to weep openly, lest he should be betrayed by his tears, but he went out, and wept bitterly.
And when it was day, they led away Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate. For because they were desirous to put Him to death, but were not able themselves because of the feast, they lead Him to the governor.
But mark, I pray thee, how the act was forced on, so as to take place at the feast. For so was it typified from the first.
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver.
This was a charge both against him, and against these men; against him, not because he repented, but because he did so, late, and slowly, and became self-condemned; (for that he delivered Him up, he himself confessed;) and against them, for that having the power to reverse it, they repented not.
But mark, when it is that he feels remorse. When his sin was completed, and had received an accomplishment. For the devil is like this; he suffers not those that are not watchful to see the evil before this, lest he whom he has taken, should repent. At least, when Jesus was saying so many things, he was not influenced, but when his offence. was completed, then repentance came upon him; and not then profitably. For to condemn it, and to throw down the pieces of silver, and not to regard the Jewish people, were all acceptable things; but to hang himself, this again was unpardonable, and a work of an evil spirit. For the devil led him out of his repentance too soon, so that he should reap no fruit from thence; and carries him off, by a most disgraceful death, and one manifest to all, having persuaded him to destroy himself.
But mark, I pray thee, the truth shining forth on every side, even by what the adversaries both do and suffer. For indeed even the very end of the traitor stops the mouths of them that had condemned Him, and suffers them not to have so much as any shadow of an excuse, that is surely shame