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Timely care for the soul enforced by examples.



man gainsays it. As then all these things came to pass, so MATT. shall those also come to pass, and most surely they shall 39. submit then.

But they shall derive thence no advantage in the way of defence, as neither will they who repent of their course of life then.

Wherefore let us, while it is time, practise what is good. For like as they henceforth derived no advantage from their knowledge, even so neither shall we ourselves from our repentance for our wickedness. For neither to the pilot, when the bark is sunk in the sea from his remissness, will there remain any thing more; nor to the physician, when the sick man is gone; but each of these must before the end devise, and execute all things, so as to be involved in no danger, nor shame; but after this, all is unprofitable.

Let us also then, while in sickness, send for physicians, and lay out money, and exert unceasing diligence, that having risen up from our affliction, we may depart hence in health.

And as much care as we exert about our servants, when their bodies are sick, so much let us shew forth upon ourselves, when our soul is diseased. And indeed we are nearer to ourselves than our servants, and our souls are more necessary than those bodies, but nevertheless it were well if we exert at least an equal diligence. For if we do not this now, when gone, thenceforth we may obtain nothing more in the way of plea.

[4.] Who is so wretched, one may say, as not to shew even as much thought as this? Why this is the marvellous thing, that we are held in so little esteem with our own selves, that we despise ourselves more than our servants. For when our servants are sick of a fever, we send for physicians, and make a separation in the house, and compel them to obey the laws of that art; and if these are neglected, we are displeased with them, and set persons to watch them, who will not, even should they wish them, suffer them to satiate their desire; and if they who have the care of these persons should say, that medicines must be procured at great cost, we yield; and whatsoever they may enjoin, we obey, and we pay them hire for these injunctions.

990 The Apostles and Prophets our best Physicians.



1 lit.
' execu-

But when we are sick, (or rather there is no time when we LXXIV. are not sick,) we do not so much as call in the physician, we do not lay out money, but as though some ruffian1, and tione enemy, and foe, were concerned, so do we disregard our soul. And these things I say, not finding fault with our attention towards our servants, but thinking it meet to take at least as much care of our souls. And how should we do? one may say. Shew it to Paul when ill; call in Matthew; let John sit by it. Hear from them, what he ought to do that is thus ill, they will surely tell, and will not conceal. For they are not dead, but live and speak. But doth the soul take no heed to them, being weighed down by the fever? Do thou compel it, and awaken its reasoning power. Call in the Prophets. There is no need to pay money to these physicians, for neither do they themselves demand hire for themselves, nor for the medicines which they prepare do they drive thee to the necessity of expense, except for almsgiving; but in every thing else they even add to thy possessions; as, for instance, when they require thee to be temperate, they deliver thee from unseasonable and wrong expenses; when they tell thee to abstain from drunkenness, they make thee wealthier. Seest thou the skill of physicians, who besides health, are supplying thee also with riches? Sit down therefore by them, and learn of them the nature of thy disease. For instance, dost thou love wealth, and greedy gain, like as the fevered love water? Listen at any rate to their admonitions. For like as the physician saith to thee, If thou wilt gratify thy desire, thou wilt perish, and undergo this or that; even so also Paul: They that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare of the devil, and into foolish and hurtful lusts,

• 1 Tim, which drown men in destruction and perdition'. 6, 9.

10, 37. 4 Phil. 4,

But art thou impatient? Hear him saying, Yet a little 3 Heb. while, and He that cometh will come, and will not tarry'. The Lord is at hand, be careful for nothing'; and again, The fashion of this world passeth away3.

5. 6.

5 1 Cor. 7, 31.

For neither doth he command only, but also soothes, as a physician should. And like as they devise some other things in the place of cold things, so doth this man draw METO- off the desire another way. Dost thou wish to be rich, saith he; let it be "in good works." Dost thou desire to



Scripture remedies against covetousness.


lay up treasure? I forbid it not at all; only let it be in MATT. Heaven.

XXIII. 39.

And like as the physician saith; that what is cold is hurtful to teeth, to nerves, to bones; so he too, more briefly indeed, as heedful of brevity, yet far more clearly and more powerfully, saith, For the love of money is the root of all evils1.

Of what then should one make use? He tells this also: of contentedness instead of covetousness. For contentment, he saith, with godliness is great gain. But if thou art 2 Ibid. dissatisfied, and desirest more, and art not yet equal to cast away all superfluous things, he tells also him that is thus diseased, how he ought to handle these things too. That they that rejoice in wealth, be as though they rejoiced not; and they that have, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it3.

v. 6.

Seest thou what manner of things he enjoins? Wilt thou call in also another physician besides? To me at least it seems well. For neither are these physicians like those of the body, who often, while vying one with another, overwhelm the sick man. But not so these, for they have regard to the health of the sick, not to their own vainglory. Be not then afraid of the number of them; One Master speaks in all, that is, Christ.

1 1 Tim.

6, 10.

Seest thou how by the place, by the things that waste there, He draws men off from this desire that is here, and rivets them to Heaven, where all things are impregnable? For if wealth there where neither rust nor transfer ye your moth corrupts, nor thieves break through and steal, ye will both expel this disease, and establish your soul in the greatest abundance.

31 Cor.


St. Mat


[5.] See, for instance, another again entering in, and saying severe things concerning this disease, or rather it is the Master by him'; For ye cannot serve God and mammon3. 1i. e. hy Yea, saith he, and how will these things be? how shall we thew. cease from the desire? Hence may we learn this also. And Matt. 6, 24. how shall we know? Hear him saying this too; Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steals.

6 Matt. 6, 19.

How the rich may still be saved.




And together with what we have said, He brings forward 6. an example also to teach thee moderation. And like as the physician, to alarm the sick man, saith, that such a one died from the use of cold water; so doth He also bring in Matt. the rich man', labouring indeed, and longing for life and health, but not able to attain thereto, because of having set his heart on covetousness, but going away empty. And besides this man, another is shewn to thee again by another Luke Evangelist, he that was in torment, and was not master so much as of a drop of water. Then shewing that His injunc3 Mat. 6, tions are easy, He saith, Behold the fouls of the air3. But being compassionate, He suffers not even the rich to despair. For the things which are impossible with men, are pos*Luke sible with God', saith He. For though thou be rich, the 18, 27. physician is able to cure thee. For neither was it wealth that He took away, but to be slave of riches, and a lover of greedy gain.






How then is it possible for the rich man to be saved? By possessing his goods in common with them that are in need, being such as Job was, and exterminating out of his soul the desire of more, and in no points going beyond real need.

He shews thee together with these this self-same publican also, that was grievously oppressed by the fever of covetousness, quickly set free from it. For what more sordid than a publican? Nevertheless, the man became indifferent to wealth from obeying the laws of the Physician. For indeed He hath for His disciples such persons as these, that were sick of the same diseases as we are, and have recovered their health quickly. And He shews us each, in order we may not despair. See at least this publican. Mark again another, a chief of the publicans, who promised fourfold indeed for all that he had extorted, and the half of all that he possessed, that he might receive Jesus.

But art thou on fire with exceeding desire for riches. Have the possessions of all men instead of thine own. For indeed I give thee, He saith, more than thou seekest, in opening to thee the houses of the wealthy throughout the world. For whosoever hath forsaken father or mother, or 5 Matt. lands, or house, shall receive an hundred folds. Thus wilt



thou not enjoy more abundant possessions only, but thou

A taste of true good makes men long for it.


993 wilt even remove this grievous thirst altogether, and wilt MATT. endure all things easily, so far from desiring more, not 39. [seeking] often even necessary things. Thus doth Paul suffer hunger, and is held in honour more than when he ate. Forasmuch as a wrestler also, when striving, and winning crowns, would not choose to give up and to be in repose; and a merchant who hath entered on sea voyages would not desire to be afterwards in idleness.

And we therefore, if we should taste as we ought of spiritual fruits, shall thenceforth not even account the things present to be any thing, being seized by the desire of the things to come as with some most noble intoxication.

Let us taste of them, therefore, that we may both be delivered from the turmoil of the things present, and may attain the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory and the might, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

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