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Vainglory a hindrance to seeing things in true light.

LXXIII.

2.

HOMIL. great, and after that these last were neglected, and labour was spent on those alone, nothing was gained even then by this. For the greater followed not the lesser, but the lesser were sure to follow these greater.

But these things He saith to shew, that even before grace was come, these were not among the principal things, or amongst those upon which men should spend their labour, but the matters required were different. But if before the grace they were so, much more when high commandments had come, were these things unprofitable, and it was not meet to practise them at all.

In every case then is vice a grievous thing, but especially when it does not so much as think it needs amendment; and it is yet more grievous, when it thinks itself sufficient even to amend others; to express which Christ calls them blind guides. For if for a blind man not to think he needs a guide be extreme misery and wretchedness; when he wishes himself to guide others, see to what a gulf it leads.

But these things He said, by all intimating their mad desire of glory, and their exceeding frenzy concerning this pest. For this became a cause to them of all their evils, namely, that they did all things for display. This both led them away from the faith, and caused them to neglect what really is virtue, and induced them to busy themselves about bodily purifyings only, neglecting the purifications of the soul. So therefore to lead them into what really is virtue, and to the purifyings of the soul, He makes mention of mercy, and judgment, and faith. For these are the things that comprise our life, these are what purify the soul, justice, love to man, truth; the one inclining us to candour, and not suffering us to be excessively severe and unforgiving to them that sin, (for then shall we gain doubly, both becoming kind to man, and hence meeting also ourselves with much kindness from the God of all.) and causing us both to sympathise with them that are despitefully entreated, and to assist them; the other not suffering them to be deceitful, and crafty.

But neither when He saith, These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone, doth He say it as introducing a legal observance; away with the thought; neither

Inward purity, by various examples, preferred to outward. 975

XXIII.

with regard to the platter and the cup, when He said, MATT. Cleanse that which is within the cup and platter, that the 27. outside of them may be clean also, doth He bring us unto the old regard for little things, but on the contrary indeed, He doth all things to shew it to be superfluous. For He said not, Cleanse the outside of them also, but that which is within, and the outside is sure to follow.

And besides, neither is it concerning a cup and platter he is speaking, but of soul and body, by the outside meaning the body, by the inside the soul. But if with regard to the platter there be need of that which is within, much more with regard to thee.

But ye do the contrary, saith He, observing things trifling and external, ye neglect what are great and inward; whence very great mischief arises, for that thinking ye have duly performed all, ye despise the other things; and despising them, ye do not so much as strive or attempt to perform them

After this, He again derides them for vainglory, calling them whited sepulchres, and unto all adding, ye hypocrites; v. 27. which thing is the cause of all their evils, and the origin of their ruin. And He did not merely call them whited sepulchres, but said, that they were full of uncleanness and hypocrisy. And these things He spake, indicating the cause wherefore they did not believe, because they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

But these things not Christ only, but the Prophets also constantly lay to their charge, that they spoil, that their rulers judge not according to the rule of justice, and every where you may find the sacrifices indeed refused, but these things required. So that there is nothing strange, nothing new, neither in the lawgiving, nor in the accusation, nay not even in the comparison of the sepulchre. For the Prophet makes mention thereof, neither did he call them merely a sepulchre, but their throat an open sepulchre1.

Such are many men now also, decking themselves indeed outwardly, but full of iniquity within. For now too there is many a mode, and many a care for outward purifications, but of those in the soul not so much as one. But if indeed any one should tear open each man's conscience, many

1 Ps.5,9.

976 Sin under the Gospel worse than under the Law.

LXXIII.

HOMII. Worms and much corruption would he find, and an ill savour 3. beyond utterance; unreasonable and wicked lusts I mean,

which are more unclean than worms.

[3.] But that they should be such persons is not so dreadful a thing, (although it be dreadful,) but that you, that have been counted worthy to become temples of God, should of a sudden have become sepulchres, having as much ill savour, this is extreme wretchedness. He in whom Christ dwells, and the Holy Spirit hath worked, and such great mysteries, that this man should be a sepulchre, what wretchedness is this? What mournings and lamentations doth this call for, when the members of Christ have become a tomb of uncleanness? Consider how thou wast born, of what things thou has been counted worthy, what manner of garment thou hast received, how thou wast built a temple without a breach! how fair! not adorned with gold, neither with pearls, but with the Spirit That is more precious than these.

Consider that no sepulchre is made in a city, so then neither shalt thou be able to appear in the City above. For if here this is forbidden, much more there. Or rather even here thou art an object of scorn to all, bearing about a dead soul, and not to be scorned only, but also to be shunned. For tell me, if any one were to go round, bearing about a dead body, would not all have rushed away? would not all have fled? Think this now likewise. For thou goest about, bearing a spectacle far more grievous than this, a soul deadened by sins, a soul paralyzed.

Who now will pity such a one? For when thou dost not pity thine own soul, how shall another pity him that is so cruel, such an enemy to himself? If any one, where thou didst sleep and eat, had buried a dead body, what wouldest thou not have done? but thou art burying a dead soul, not where thou dinest, nor where thou sleepest, but in the members of Christ: and art thou not afraid lest a thousand lightnings and thunderbolts be hurled from above upon thine head?

And how dost thou even dare to set foot in the churches of God, and in holy temples, having within thee the savour of so much abomination? For if one bearing a dead body into the king's courts and burying it would have suffered the

Stench of foul sins brought into God's presence. 977

utmost punishment, thou setting thy foot in the sacred MATT. courts, and filling the house with so much ill savour, consider what a punishment thou wilt undergo.

XXIII. 26.

Imitate that harlot who anointed with ointment the feet of Christ, and filled the whole house with the odour, the opposite to which thou doest to His house! For what though thou be not sensible of the ill savour? For this most of all is the grievous part of the disease; wherefore also thou art incurably diseased, and more grievously than they that are maimed in their bodies, and become fetid. For that disease indeed is both felt by the sick and is without any blame, nay even is deserving of pity; but this of hatred and punishment.

Since then both in this respect it is more grievous, and from the sick not being sensible of it as he ought to be; come, give thyself to my words, that I may teach thee plainly the mischief of it.

But first listen to what thou sayest in the Psalm, Let my prayer be set forth in Thy sight as incense'. When then 1Ps.141, not incense, but a stinking smoke arises from thee, and from 2. thy deeds, what punishment dost thou not deserve to undergo?

What then is the stinking smoke? Many come in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, dost thou not marvel, how bolts are not launched, and all things are not plucked up from their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but God, Who is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile His wrath, calling thee to repentance and amendment.

What doest thou, O man? Art thou curiously looking after women's beauty, and dost thou not shudder at thus doing despite unto the temple of God? Doth the church seem to thee a brothel, and less honourable than the marketplace. For in a market-place indeed thou art afraid and ashamed to appear to be looking after any woman, but in God's temple, when God Himself is discoursing unto thee, and threatening about these things, thou art committing whoredom and adultery at the very time, in which thou art being told not to do this. And dost thou not shudder, nor stand amazed?

978 Christian women of old fenced with modesty.

HOMIL.

These things do the spectacles of wantonness teach you, LXXIII. the pest that is so hard to put down, the deleterious sorceries, the grievous snares of the thoughtless, the pleasurable destruction of the unchaste.

4.

Therefore the Prophet also blaming thee, said, Thine eyes 1 Jer. 22, are not good, neither is thine heart'.

17.

LXX.

It were better for such men to be blind; it were better to be diseased, than to abuse thine eyes for these purposes.

It were meet indeed that ye had within you the wall to part you from the women; but since ye are not so minded, 2σávio. our fathers thought it necessary by these boards to wall you off; since I hear from the elder ones, that of old there were not so much as these partitions; For in Christ Jesus there 3 Gal. 3, is neither male nor female. And in the Apostle's time also both men and women were together. Because the men were men, and the women women, but now altogether the contrary; the women have urged themselves into the manners of courtezans, but the men are in no better state than frantic horses.

28.

Heard ye not, that the men and women were gathered together in the upper room, and that congregation was worthy of the heavens? And very reasonably. For even women then practised much self-denial, and the men gravity and chastity. Hear, for instance, the seller of purple saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come in, Acts and abide with me. Hear the women, who went about with 16, 15. the Apostles, having taken unto themselves manly courage, Priscilla, Persis, and the rest; from whom our present women are as far removed, as our men from their men.

[4.] For then indeed even travelling into far countries. women brought not on themselves evil report; but now even though brought up in a chamber, they hardly escape this suspicion. But these things arise from their decking of themselves, and their luxury. Then the business of those women was to spread the word; but now to appear beauteous, and fair, and comely in countenance. This is glory to them, this salvation; but of lofty and great works they do not even dream.

What woman exerts herself to make her husband better? what man hath taken to himself this care to amend his wife?

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