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Meanness of worldly aims in Marriage.
There is not one; but the woman's whole study is upon MATT. the care of ornaments of gold, and raiment, and the other adornments of the person, and how to increase their substance; but the man's both this, and others more than this, all however worldly.
Who, when about to marry, enquires about the disposition and nurture of the damsel? No one; but straightway about money, and possessions, and measures of property of various and different kinds; like as if he were about to buy something, or to settle some common contract.
Therefore they do even so call marriage. For I have heard many say, such a man has contracted with such a woman, that is, has married. And they offer insult to the gifts of God, and as though buying and selling, so do they marry, and are given in marriage.
And writings there are, requiring greater security than those about buying and selling. Learn how those of old married, and imitate them. How then did they marry? They inquired about ways of life, and morals, and virtue of the soul. Therefore they had no need of writings, nor of security by parchment and ink; for the bride's disposition sufficed them in the place of all.
I therefore intreat you likewise not to seek after wealth and affluence, but a good disposition, and gentleness. Seek for a pious and self-denying damsel, and these will be to thee better than countless treasures. If thou seek the things of God, these others will come also; but if thou pass by those, and hasten unto these, neither will these follow.
But such a man, one will say, became rich by his wife! Art thou not ashamed of bringing forward such examples? I had ten thousand times sooner become a poor man, as I have heard many say, than gain wealth from a wife. For what can be more unpleasing than that wealth? What more painful than the abundance? What more shameful than to be notorious from thence, and for it to be said by all, such a man became rich by a wife? For the domestic discomforts I pass by, all that must needs result from hence, the wife's pride, the servility, the strifes, the reproaches of the servants. "The beggar," "the ragged one," "the base one, and sprung of base." "Why, what had he when he
The world's proverbs in favour of pleasure.
"Do not all things belong to our mistress ?" But thou dost not care at all about these sayings, for neither art thou a freeman. Since the parasites likewise hear worse things than these, and are not pained, wherefore neither are these, but rather pride themselves in their disgrace; and when we tell them of these things, "Let me have," saith one of them, "something pleasant and sweet, and let it choke me." Alas! the devil, what proverbs hath he brought into the world, of power to overturn the whole life of such persons. See at least this self-same devilish and pernicious saying; of how much ruin it is full. For it means nothing else than these words, Have thou no regard to what is honourable; have thou no regard to what is just; let all those things be cast aside, scek one thing alone, pleasure. Though the thing stifle thee, let it be thy choice; though all that meet thee spurn thee, though they smear thy face with mire, though they drive thee away as a dog, bear all. And what else would swine say, if they had a voice? What else would filthy dogs? But perhaps not even they would have said such things, as the devil hath persuaded men to rave.
Wherefore I entreat you, being conscious of the senselessness of such words as these, to flee such proverbs, and to choose out those in the Scripture that are contrary to them. But what are these? Go not, it is said, after thy lusts, Ecclus. and refrain thyself from thine appetites'. And, touching an harlot again, it is said in opposition to this proverb, Give not heed to a bad woman, for honey droppeth from the lips of a woman that is an harlot, which, for a season, is luscious unto thy throat, but afterwards thou shalt find it more bitter 2Prov. 5, than gall, and sharper than a two-edged sword. Unto these 24 last then let us listen, not unto those. For hence indeed spring our mean, hence our slavish thoughts, hence men become brutes, because in every thing they will follow after pleasure according to this proverb, which, even without arguments of ours, is of itself ridiculous. For after one is choked, what is the gain of sweetness?
Cease, therefore, to set up such great absurdity, and to kindle hell and unquenchable fire; and let us look stedfastly (at length though late) as we ought, unto the things to come, having put away the film on our eyes, that we may both pass
HOмII. came in ?"
Exhortation to live according to the Truth.
the present life honestly, and with much reverence and godly MATT. XXIII. fear, and attain unto the good things to come, by the grace 28. and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory world without end. Amen.
MATT. xxiii. 29, 30.
Woe unto you, because ye build the tombs of the Prophets, and garnish their sepulchres, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.
NOT because they build, nor because they blame the others, doth He say, Woe, but because, while both thus, and by what they say, they are pretending to condemn their fathers, they do worse. For in proof that the condemnation was a pretence, Luke saith, ye do allow because ye build; for, Woe unto you, saith He, for ye build the sepulchres of the Prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness, and ye allow the deeds of your fathers, for they Luke indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres1. For here He reproves their purpose, wherewith they built, that it was not for the honouring of them that were slain, but as making a show of the murders, and afraid, lest, when the tombs had perished by time, the proof and memory of such daring should fade away, setting up these glorious buildings, as a kind of trophy, and priding themselves in the daring deeds of those men, and displaying them.
11, 47. 48.
For the things that ye now dare to do, shew that ye do these things also in this spirit. For, though ye speak the contrary, saith He, as condemning them, as, for instance, We should not, if we had been in their days, have been partakers with them; yet the disposition is evident wherewith
How the Jews consented to the murders of the Prophets. 983
ye say these things. Wherefore also unfolding it, though MATT. XXIII. darkly, still He hath expressed it. For when He had said, 33. 34. ye say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets; He added, Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them that slew the Prophets. And what blame is it to be a murderer's son, if one partake not in the mind of one's father? None. Whence it is evident, that for this same thing He brings it forward against them, hinting at their affinity in wickedness.
And this is manifest too by what comes after; He adds at least, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers. For as those v. 33. beasts are like their parents, in the destructiveness of their venom, so also are ye like your fathers in murderousness.
Then, because He was searching their temper of mind, which is to the more part obscure, He doth, from those things also which they were about to perpetrate, which would be manifest to all, establish His words. For, because He had said, Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves that ye are the children of them which killed the Prophets, making it evident, that of their affinity in wickedness He is speaking, and that it was a pretence to say, We should not have been partakers with them, He added, Fill ye up therefore the v. 32. measure of your fathers, not commanding, but declaring beforehand, what was to be, that is, His own murder.
Therefore, having brought in their refutation, and having shewn that they were pretences which they said in their own defence, as, for instance, We would not have been partakers with them, (for they who refrain not from the Lord, how should they have refrained from the servants,) He makes after this His language more condemnatory', calling them 1 KATAserpents, and generation of vipers, and saying, How shall ye φορικῷτέρῳ. escape the damnation of hell, at once perpetrating such v. 33. things, and denying them, and dissembling your purpose?
Then rebuking them more exceedingly from another cause also, He saith, I will send unto you Prophets, and wise men, v. 34. and scribes, and some of them shall ye kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues. For that they should not say, "Though we crucified the Lord, yet from the servants we should have refrained, if we had been