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Divers instances of change. Call to earnestness. 909 man who lives in virtue slumber. Let neither this last be Matt.

XXI. confident, for often the harlot will pass him by; nor let the

32. other despair, for it is possible for him to pass by even the first. Hear what God saith unto Jerusalem,' said, after she had Jer. 3,

7. committed all these whoredoms, Turn thou unto Me, and she returned not. When we have come back unto the earnest love of God, He remembers not the former things. God is not as man, for He reproaches us not with the past, neither doth He say, Why wast thou absent so long a time when we repent; only let us approach Him as we ought. Let us cleave to Him earnestly, and rivet our hearts to His fear.

Such things have been done not under the New Covenant only, but even under the Old. For what was worse than Manasseh? but he was able to appease God. What more blessed than Solomon ? but when he slumbered, he fell. Or rather I can shew even both things to have taken place in one, in the father of this man, for he the same person became at different times both good and bad. What more blessed than Judas ? but he became a traitor. What more wretched than Matthew ? but he became an Evangelist. What worse than Paul ? but he became an Apostle. What more to be envied than Simon ? but he became even himself the most wretched of all.

How many other such changes wouldest thou see, both to have taken place of old, and now taking place every day? For this reason then I say, Neither let him on the stage despair, nor let him in the Church be confident. For to this last it is said, Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall; and to the other, Shall not he that falleth : 1 Cor. arise 3 ? and, Lift up the hands which hang down, and the

10, 12. feeble knees. Again, to these He saith, Watch; but to those, 4.

+ Heb. Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the deads. For 12, 12. these need to preserve what they have, and those to become "Eph. 5,

14. what they are not; these to preserve their health, those to be delivered from their infirmity, for they are sick; but many even of the sick become healthy, and of the healthy many by remissness grow infirm. To the one then He saith, Behold, thou art made whole, 6 Johu),

14, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee; but to

3 Jer. 8,

6-8.

2

910 The Fountain of healing Grace always ready. Homil. these, Wilt thou be made whole ? Arise, take up thy bed, LXVII.

4.5.' and go unto thine house'. For a dreadful, dreadful palsy is 1John 5, sin, or rather it is not palsy only, but also somewhat else cf.Matt.

more grievous. For such a one is not only in inactivity as 9, 6. to good works, but also in the active doing of evil works.

But nevertheless, though thou be so disposed, and be willing to rouse thyself a little, all the terrors are at an end.

Though thou hast been so thirly and eight years, and art earnest to become whole, there is no one to hinder thee. Christ is present now also, and saith, Take up thy bed, only be willing to rouse thyself, despair not. Hast thou no man? but thou hast God. Hast thou no one to put thee into the pool? but thou hast Him Who suffers thee not to need the pool. Hast thou had no one to cast thee in there? but thou hast Him That commands thee to take up thy bed.

Thou mayest not say, While I am coming, another John, steppeth down before me? For if it be thy will to go down 7.

into the Fountain, there is none to hinder thee. Grace is not consumed, is not spent, it is a kind of fountain springing up constantly; by His fulness are we all healed both soul and body. Let us come unto it then even now. For Rabab also was a barlot, yet was she sared; and the thief was a murderer, yet he became a citizen of Paradise ; and while Judas being with his Master perished, the thief being on a cross became a disciple. Such are the wonderful works of God. Thus the Magi approved themselves, thus the publican

became an Evangelist, thus the blasphemer an Apostle. [5.] Look at these things, and never despair, but be ever

confident, and rouse thyself. Lay hold only on the way that leads thither, and thou wilt advance quickly. Shut not up the doors, close not up the entrance. Short is the present life, small the labour. But though it were great, not even so ought one to decline it. For if thou toil not at this most glorious toil that is spent upon repentance and virtue, in the world thou wilt assuredly toil and weary thyself in other ways. But if both in the one and the other there be labour, why do we not choose that which hath its fruit abundant, and its recompense greater.

Yet neither is this labour and that the same. For in worldly pursuits are continual perils, and losses one upon

32.

Labour of repentance small compared with the gain. 911 another, and the hope uncertain ; great is the servility, and Matt.

XXI. the expenditure alike of wealth, and of bodies, and of souls; and then the return of the fruits is far below our expectation, if perchance it should grow up.

For neither doth toil upon worldly matters every where bear fruit; nay but even, when it hath not failed, but has brought forth its produce even abundantly, short is the time wherein it continues.

For when thou art grown old, and hast no longer after that the feeling of enjoyment in perfection, then and not till then doth the labour bear thee its recompense. And whereas the labour was with the body in its vigour, the fruit, and the enjoyment is with one grown old and languid, when time has dulled even the feeling, although if it had not dulled it, the expectation of the end suffers us not to find pleasure.

But in the other case not so, but the labour is in corruption and a dying body, but the crown in one incorruptible, and immortal, and having no end. And the labour is both first and short-lived; but the reward both subsequent and endless, that with security thou mayest take thy rest after that, looking for nothing unpleasant.

For neither mayest thou fear change any more or loss as here. What sort of good things, then, are these, which are both insecure, and short-lived, and earthy, and vanishing before they have appeared, and acquired with many toils ? And what good things are equal to those, that are immoreable, that grow not old, that have no toil, that even at the time of the conflicts bring thee crowns ?

For he that despises money even here already receives his reward, being freed from anxiety, from rivalry, from false accusation, from plotting, from envy. He that is temperate, and lives orderly, even before his departure is crowned and lives in pleasure, being delivered from unseemliness, ridicule, dangers, accusation, and the other things that are to be feared. All the remaining parts of virtue likewise make us a return here already.

In order therefore that we may attain unto both the present and the future blessings, let us flee from vice and choose virtue. For thus shall we both enjoy delight, and

912 Reward of the labours of well doing. Homil. obtain the crowns to come, unto which God grant we may LXVII. 5. all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord

Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and might for ever and ever.
Amen.

HOMILY LXVIII.

MATT. xxi. 33-44.

Hear another parable. There was a certain householder,

which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to receive the fruits. And the husbandmen took the servants, and beat some, and killed

some, and stoned some. Again he sent other servants more than the first : and they did unto them likewise. But last he sent unto them his son, saying, It may be they will reverence my son.

But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do to those husbandmen? They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which shall

, render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The Stone Which the builders rejected, the Same is become the Head of the corner; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes ?" - Therefore I say unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on This Stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will grind him to powder.

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