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The Jews strove to resist conviction.
less. For what could they have to say, when the traitor is MATT. shewn to pass such a sentence on himself.
But let us see also the words, what is said; He brought v. 3—5. again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests, and saith, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
For neither could he bear his conscience scourging him. But mark, I pray thee, the Jews too suffering the same things. For these men also, when they ought to have been amended by what they suffered, do not stop, until they have completed their sin. For his sin had been completed, for it was a betrayal; but theirs not yet. But when they too had accomplished theirs, and had nailed Him to the Cross; then they also are troubled; at one time saying, Write1 not,1 John 19, 21. This is the King of the Jews; (and yet why are ye afraid? why are ye troubled at a dead body that is nailed upon the Cross?) at another time they guard over Him, saying, Lest 22 Matt. 27, 64. His disciples steal Him away, and say that He is risen again; so the last error shall be worse than the first. And yet if they do it, the thing is refuted, if it be not true. But how should they say so, which did not dare so much as to stand their ground, when He was seized; and the chief3 of3 3 KOPUφαῖος. them even thrice denied Him, not bearing a damsel's threat. But, as I said, the chief priests were now troubled; for that they knew the act was a transgression of the law is manifest, from their saying, See thou to that.
Hear, ye covetous, consider what befel him; how he at the same time lost the money, and committed the sin, and destroyed his own soul. Such is the tyranny of covetousHe enjoyed not the money, neither the present life, nor that to come, but lost all at once, and having got a bad character even with those very men, so hanged himself.
But, as I said, after the act, then some see clearly. See at any rate these men too for a time not willing to have a clear perception of the fact, but saying, See thou to that: which thing of itself is a most heavy charge against them. For this is the language of men bearing witness to their daring and their transgression, but intoxicated by their
1120 Judas's warning given in vain to the Priests.
HOMIL. passion, and not willing to forbear their satanical attempts, but senselessly wrapping themselves up in a veil of feigned ignorance.
For if indeed these things had been said after the crucifixion, and His being slain, of a truth even then the saying would have had no reasonable meaning, nevertheless it would not have condemned them so much; but now having Him yet in your own hands, and having power to release Him, how could ye be able to say these things? For this defence would be a most heavy accusation against you. How? and in what way? Because while throwing the whole blame upon the traitor, (for they say, See thou to that,) being able to have set themselves free from this murder of Christ, they left the traitor, and even pressed the crime further, adding the cross to the betrayal. For what hindered them, when they said to him, See thou to that, themselves to forbear the criminal act? But now they even do the contrary, adding to it the murder, and in every thing, both by what they do, and by what they say, entangling themselves in inevitable ills. For indeed after these things, when Pilate left it to them, they chose the robber to be released rather than Jesus; but Him that had done no wrong, but had even conferred on them so many benefits, they slew.
[3.] What then did that man? When he saw that he was labouring to no profit, and that they would not consent v.5-10. to receive the pieces of silver, he cast them down in the temple, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
Seest thou them again self-condemned by their conscience? For because they knew that they had been buying the murder, they put them not into the treasury,
The land bought, a witness against the Jews. 1121
but bought a field to bury strangers in. And this also MATT. became a witness against them, and a proof of their treason. 10. For the name of the place more clearly than a trumpet proclaimed their bloodguiltiness. Neither did they it at random, but having taken counsel, and in every case in like manner, so that no one should be clear of the deed, but all guilty. But these things the prophecy foretold from of old. Seest thou not the Apostles only, but the Prophets also declaring exactly those things which were matters of reproach, and every way proclaiming the Passion, and indicating it beforehand?
This was the case with the Jews without their being conscious of it. For if they had cast it into the treasury, the thing would not have been so clearly discovered; but now having bought a piece of ground, they made it all manifest. even to subsequent generations.
Hear ye as many as think to do good works out of murders, and take a reward for the lives of men. These almsgivings are Judaical, or rather they are Satanical. For there are, there are now also they, that take by violence countless things belonging to others, and think that an excuse is made for all, if they cast in some ten or a hundred gold pieces.
Touching whom also the Prophet saith, Ye covered My1 Mal. altar with tears. Christ is not willing to be fed by covet-2, 13. ousness, He accepts not this food. Why dost thou insult thy Lord, offering Him unclean things? It is better to leave men to pine with hunger, than to feed them from these sources. That was the conduct of a cruel man, this of one both cruel and insolent. It is better to give nothing, than to give the things of one set of persons to others. For tell if you saw any two persons, one naked, one having a garment, and then having stripped the one that had the garment, thou wert to clothe the naked, wouldest thou not have committed an injustice? It is surely plain to every one. But if when thou hast given all that thou hast taken to another, thou hast committed an injustice, and not shewn mercy; when thou givest not even a small portion of what thou robbest, and callest the deed alms, what manner of punishment wilt thou not undergo? For if men offering
Alms cannot sanctify unjust gains.
HOMIL. lame brutes were blamed, what favour wilt thou obtain doing LXXXV. things more grievous? For if the thief, making restitution
to the owner himself, still doeth an injustice, and so doeth an injustice, as by adding fourfold scarcely to do away the Exodus charge against himself, and this under the old covenant1; he that is not stealing, but taking by violence, and not even giving to him that is robbed, but instead of him to another; nor yet giving fourfold, but not so much as the half; and moreover not living under the old dispensation, but under the new; consider how much fire he is heaping together upon his own head. And if he do not as yet suffer his punishment, for this selfsame thing I say bewail him, for he is treasuring up against himself a greater wrath, unless he 2 Luke repent. For what? Think ye2, saith He, that they alone were sinners upon whom the tower fell down? Nay, I say unto you, but except ye repent, ye also shall suffer the same things.
Let us repent then, and give alms pure from covetousness, and in great abundance. Consider that the Jews used to feed eight thousand Levites, and together with the Levites, widows also and orphans, and they bore many other public charges, and together with these things also served as soldiers; but now there are fields, and houses, and hirings of lodgings, and carriages, and muleteers, and mules, and a great array of this kind in the church on account of you, and your hardness of heart. For this store of the Church ought to be with you, and your readiness of mind ought to be a revenue to her; but now two wrong things come to pass, both you continue unfruitful, and God's priests do not practise their proper duties.
Was it not possible for the houses and the lands to have remained in the time of the Apostles? Wherefore then did they sell them and give away? Because this was a better thing.
[4.] But now a fear seized our fathers, (when you were so mad after worldly things, and because of your gathering, and not dispersing abroad,) lest the companies of the widows and orphans, and of the virgins, should perish of famine; therefore were they constrained to provide these things. For it was not their wish to thrust themselves unto what was
The Church cumbered with business for lack of alms. 1123
so unbecoming; but their desire was that your good will MATT. should have been a supply for them, and that they should 10. gather their fruits from thence, and that they themselves should give heed to prayers only.
But now ye have constrained them to imitate the houses of them that manage public affairs; whereby all things are turned upside down. For when both you and we are entangled in the same things, who is there to propitiate God? Therefore it is not possible for us to open our mouths, when the state of the Church is no better than that of worldly men. Have ye not heard, that the Apostles would not consent so much as to distribute the money that was collected without any trouble? But now our Bishops have gone beyond agents, and stewards, and hucksters in their care about these things; and when they ought to be careful and thoughtful about your souls, they are vexing themselves every day about these things, for which the innkeepers, and tax-gatherers, and accountants, and stewards are careful.
These things I do not mention for nought in the way of complaint, but in order that there may be some amendment and change, in order that we may be pitied for serving a grievous servitude, in order that you may become a revenue and store for the Church.
But if ye are not willing, behold the poor before your eyes; as many as it is possible for us to suffice, we will not cease to feed; but those, whom it is not possible, we will leave to you, that ye may not hear those words on the awful Day, which shall be spoken to the unmerciful and cruel. Ye1 saw Me an hungered, and fed Me not.
For together with you this inhumanity makes us laughing- 25, 42. stocks, because leaving our prayers, and our teaching, and the other parts of holiness, we are fighting all our time, some with wine merchants, some with corn factors, others with them that retail other provisions.
Hence come battles, and strifes, and daily revilings, and reproaches, and jeers, and on each of the priests names are imposed more suitable for houses of secular men; when it would have been fit to take other names in the place of