Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles: Homily V on Acts ii. 14.
Acts II. 14
“Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.”
[“Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem,”] whom the writer above described as strangers. Here he directs his discourse to those others, the mockers, 123 and while he seems to reason with those, he sets these right. For indeed it was divinely ordered that “some mocked,” that he might have a starting-point for his defence, and by means of that defence, might teach. [“And all ye that dwell in Jerusalem.”] It seems they accounted it a high encomium to dwell in Jerusalem too. 124 “Be this,” says he, “known unto you, and hearken unto my words.” In the first instance he made them more disposed to attend to him. “For not as ye 125 suppose,” says he, “are these drunken.” Do you observe the mildness of his defence? (Acts 2.15.) Although having the greater part of the people on his side, he reasons with those others gently; first he removes the evil surmise, and then he establishes his apology. On this account, therefore, he does not say, “as ye mock,” or, “as ye deride,” but, “as ye suppose;” wishing to make it appear that they had not said this in earnest, and for the present taxing them with ignorance rather than with malice. “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” And why this? Is it not possible at the third hour to be drunken? But he did not insist upon this to the letter; for there was nothing of the kind about them; the others said it only in mockery. 126 Hence we learn that on unessential points one must not spend many words. And besides, the sequel is enough to bear him out on this point: so now the discourse is for all in common. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord God. (Acts 2:16, 17, Joel 2:28.) Nowhere as yet the name of Christ, nor His promises but the promise is that of the Father. Observe the wisdom: observe the considerate forbearance: (συγκατάβασιν.) He did not pass on to speak at once of the things relating to Christ; that He had promised this after His Crucifixion; truly that would have been to upset all. And yet, you will say, here was sufficient to prove His divinity. True, it was, if believed (and the very point was that it should be believed); but if not believed, it would have caused them to be stoned. “And I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” He offers even to them excellent hopes, if they would have them. And so far, he does not leave it to be regarded as the exclusive advantage of himself and his company; which would have made them be looked upon with an evil eye; thus cutting off all envious feeling. “And your sons shall prophesy.” And yet, he says, not yours this achievement, this distinction; the gift has passed over to your children. Himself and his company he calls their sons, and those [whom he is addressing] he calls his and their fathers. “And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” So far he shows that he and his have found favor, in that they had received (καταξιωθέντας) [the Spirit]; not so they whom he is addressing; for that they had crucified [the Lord]. So Christ also, willing to mitigate their wrath, said, “By whom do your sons cast out devils?” (Matt. xii. 27.) He did not say, My disciples; for indeed it seemed a flattering mode of expression. And so Peter also did not say, They are not drunk, but speak 127 by the Spirit: but he takes refuge with the prophet, and under shelter of him, so speaks. As for the accusation [of drunkenness], he cleared himself of that by his own assertion; but for the grace, he fetches the prophet as witness. “I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” [“And your sons,” etc.] To some the grace was imparted through dreams, to others it was openly poured forth. For indeed by dreams the prophets saw, and received revelations.
Then he goes on with the prophecy, which has in it also something terrible. “And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs” [“in the earth beneath”]. (Acts 2.19.) In these words he speaks both of the judgment to come, and of the taking of Jerusalem. “Blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.” Observe how he describes the capture. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” (Acts 2.20.) This results from the (διαθέσεως) internal affection of the sufferers. It is said, indeed, that many such phenomena actually did occur in the sky, as Josephus attests. At the same time the Apostle strikes fear into them, by reminding them of the darkness which had lately occurred, and leading them to expect things to come. “Before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” For be not confident, he means to say, because at present you sin with impunity. For these things are the prelude of a certain great and dreadful day. Do you see how he made their souls to quake and melt within them, and turned their laughter into pleading for acquittal? 128 For if these things are the prelude of that day, it follows that the extreme of danger is impending. But what next? He again lets them take breath, adding, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” (Rom. x. 13.) This is said concerning Christ, as Paul affirms, but Peter does not venture as yet to reveal this.
Well, let us look over again what has been said. It is well managed, that as against men laughing and mocking, he starts up and begins with, “Be this known unto you all and hearken unto my words.” But he begins by saying, “Ye men of Judea.” By the expression ᾽Ιουδαἵοι, I take him to mean those that lived in Judea.—And, if you please, let us compare those expressions in the Gospel, that you may learn what a sudden change has taken place in Peter. “A damsel,” it is written, “came out unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.” And, says he, “I know not the Man.” And being again questioned, “he began to curse and to swear.” (Matt. xxvi. 69-72.) But see here his boldness, and his great freedom of speech.—He did not praise those who had said, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God;” but by his severity towards those others, he made these more earnest, and at the same time his address is clear from all appearance of adulation. And it is well to remark, on all occasions, however the Apostles may condescend to the level of their hearers (συγκατάβασις), their language is clear from all appearance both of adulation and of insolence: which is a difficult point to manage.
Now that these things should have occurred at “the third hour,” was not without cause. For 129 the brightness of this fire is shown at the very time when people are not engaged in their works, nor at dinner; when it is bright day, when all are in the market-place. Do you observe also the freedom which fills his speech? “And hearken to my words.” And he added nothing, but, “This,” says he, “is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days.” He shows, in fact, that the consummation is nigh at hand, and the words, “In the last days,” have a kind of emphasis. [“I will pour out,” etc.] And then, that he may not seem to limit the privilege to the sons only, he subjoins, “And your old men shall dream dreams.” Mark the sequence. First sons; just as David said, “Instead of thy fathers, were begotten thy sons.” (Ps. xlv. 17.) And again Malachi; “They shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. And on my handmaidens, and on my servants.” (Mal. iv. 6.) This also is a token of excellence, for we have become His servants, by being freed from sin. And great is the gift, since the grace passes over to the other sex also, not as of old, it was limited to just one or two individuals, as Deborah and Huldah. 130 He did not say that it was the Holy Ghost, neither did he expound the words of the prophet; but he merely brings in the prophecy to fight its own battle. As yet also he has said nothing about Judas; and yet it was known to all what a doom and punishment he had undergone; for nothing was more forcible than to argue with them from prophecy: this was more forcible even than facts. For when Christ performed miracles, they often contradicted Him. But when Christ brought forward the prophet, saying, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand,” they were silent, and “no man,” we read, “was able to answer Him a word.” (Ps. xc. 1.) And on all occasions He Himself also appealed to the Scriptures; for instance, “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came.” (John x. 35.) And in many places one may find this. On this account here also Peter says, “I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh;” that is, upon the Gentiles also. But he does not yet reveal this, nor give interpretations; indeed, 131 it was better not to do so (as also this obscure saying, “I will show wonders in heaven above,” put them the more in fear because it was obscure.) And it would have been more an offence, had it been interpreted from the very first. Then besides, even as plain, he passes over it, wishing to make them regard it as such. But after all, he does interpret to them anon, when he discourses to them upon the resurrection, and after he has paved the way by his discourse. (infra v. 39.) For 132 since the good things were not sufficient to allure them, [it is added, “And I will show wonders, etc.”]. Yet 133 this has never been fulfilled. For none escaped then [in that former judgment], but now the faithful did escape, in Vespasians time. And this it is that the Lord speaks of, “Except those days had been shortened, not all flesh should be saved.”—[“Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.”] (Matt. xxiv. 22.) The worst to come first; 134 namely, the inhabitants to be taken, and then the city to be razed and burnt. Then he dwelt upon the metaphor, bringing before the eyes of the hearers the overthrow and the taking. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” What means, the moon turned into blood? It denotes the excess of the slaughter. The language is fraught with helpless dismay. (supra p. 32.) “And it shall come to pass, every one who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Every one,” he says: though he be priest (but he does not vet reveal the meaning), though bond, though free. For 135 there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus, no bond, no free. (Gal. iii. 28.) Well may it be so, for all these are but shadow. For if in kings palaces there is no high-born nor low-born, but each appears according to his deeds; and in art, each is shown by his works; much more in that school of wisdom (φιλοσοφια). “Every one who shall invoke.” Invoke: not any how, for it is written, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord:” but with (διαθέσεως) inward earnest affection, with a life more than commonly good, with the confidence which is meet. Thus far, however, he makes the discourse light, by introducing that which relates to faith, and that terrible which relates to the punishment. 136 For in the invocation is the salvation.
What, I pray you, is this you say? Do you talk of salvation for them after the Cross? Bear with me a little. Great is the mercy of God. And this very fact does, no less than the resurrection, prove him to be God, yea, no less than His miracles—the fact that He calls these to Him. For surpassing goodness is, above all things, peculiarly Gods own. Therefore also He says, “None is good save one, that is, God.” (Luke xviii. 19.) Only let us not take this goodness for an occasion of negligence. For He also punishes as God. In fact, the very punishments here spoken of, He brought them to pass, even He who said, “Every one who shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” I speak of the fate of Jerusalem; 137 that intolerable punishment: of which I will tell you some few of the particulars, useful to us in our contest, both with the Marcionites and many other heretics. For, since they distinguish between Christ a good God, and that evil God [of the Old Testament], let us see who it was that effected these things. The evil God, taking vengeance for Christ? or not so? How then alien to Him? But was it the good God? Nay, but it is demonstrated that both the Father and the Son did these things. The Father in many places; for instance, when He says in the parable of the vineyard, 138 [“He will miserably destroy those wicked husbandmen” (Matt. xxi. 41); again in the parable of the marriage feast, the King is said] to send His armies (Matt. 22.7): and the Son, when He says, “But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” (Luke xix. 27.) * * *. 139 And they sent, saying, We will not have Thee to reign over us. Would you like then to hear the things which actually came to pass? Moreover, Christ Himself also speaks of the future tribulations, than which never any thing more dreadful came to pass; never any thing more ruthless, my beloved, than the deeds then done! 140 And He Himself declared it. For what could you wish to see more grievous than these? * * *—probed them with their daggers! 141 — * * * But shall I relate to you the shocking case of the woman, that tragic tale? * * * (Joseph. B. J. vi. 3. 4.) Did not the actual events cast all misery into the shade? But shall I tell you of famines and pestilences? One might speak of horrors without number: nature was unknown; law unknown; they outdid wild beasts in ferocity. True, these miseries came by the fate of wars; but because God, because Christ so willed it to be. These facts will apply both against the Marcionites and against those who do not believe that there is a hell: for they are sufficient to silence their impudence. Are not these calamities more severe than the Babylonian? 142 Are not these sufferings more grievous than the famines of that time? Yes, for [“never was the like from the beginning of the world”] “no, nor ever shall be such.” (Matt. xxiv. 21.) And this was Christs own declaration. In what sense then, think ye, is it said that Christ remitted them their sin? 143 Perhaps it seems a commonplace question: but do ye solve it.—It is not possible to show anywhere, even in fiction, any thing like what the reality was here. And had it been a Christian that wrote this history, the matter might be regarded with suspicion: but if he was a Jew, and a Jewish zealot, and after the Gospel, how can the meaning of the facts be otherwise than palpable to all men? For you will see the man, how, everywhere, he always extols the concerns of the Jews.—There is therefore a hell, O man! and God is good.—Aye, did you shudder at hearing these horrors? But these, which take place here, are nothing in comparison with what shall be in that world. Once more I am compelled to seem harsh, disagreeable, stern. But what can I do? I am set to this: just as a severe schoolmaster is set to be hated by his scholars: so are we. For would it not be strange indeed, that, while those who have a certain post assigned them by kings do that which is appointed them, however disagreeable the task may be, we, for fear of your censure, should leave our appointed task undone? Another has a different work. Of you, many have it for their work, to show mercy, to act humanely, to be pleasant and agreeable to the persons to whom you are benefactors. But to those to whom we do good, we seem stern and severe, troublesome and disagreeable. For we do good, not by the pleasure we give, but by the pain we inflict. So it is also with the physician: though he indeed is not excessively disagreeable, for the benefit afforded by his art is had immediately; ours hereafter. So again the magistrate is odious to the disorderly and seditious; so the legislator is vexatious to them for whom he makes laws. But not so he that invites to enjoyment, not so he that prepares public festivities and entertainments, and puts all the people in garlands: no, these are men that win acceptance, feasting, as they do, whole cities with all sorts of spectacles; contributing largely, bearing all the cost. And therefore those whom they have treated, requite them for these enjoyments with words of welcome and benediction, with hanging (παραπετάσματα) of tapestries, and a blaze of lamps, and with wreaths, and boughs, and brilliant garments. Whereas, at the sight of the physician, the sick become sad and downcast: at sight of the magistrate, the rioters become subdued: no running riot then, no gambolling, except when he also goes over into their ranks. 144 Let us see, then, which render the best service to their cities; those who provide these festivities, and banquetings, and expensive entertainments, and manifold rejoicings; or those who restrain all those doings, bearing before them stocks, scourges, executioners, dreaded soldiers, and a voice fraught with much terror: and issuing orders, and making men hang down their heads, and with the rod dispersing the idlers in the market-place. Let us see, I say; these are the disagreeable, those the beloved: let us see where the gain rests. (λήλει.) What comes then of your pleasure-givers? A kind of frigid enjoyment, lasting till the evening, and to-morrow vanished; mirth ungoverned, words unseemly and dissolute. And what of these? Awe, sobriety, subdued thoughts; reasonableness of mind, an end of idleness; a curb on the passions within; a wall of defence, next to God, 145 against assailants from without. It is by means of these we have each our property but by those ruinous festivities we dissipate it. Robbers indeed have not invaded it, but vainglory together with pleasure acts the part of robber. Each sees the robber carrying off everything before his eyes, and is delighted at it! A new fashion of robbery, this, to induce people to be glad when one is plundering them! On the other part, there is nothing of the kind: but God, as the common Father, has secured us as by a wall against all [depredators], both seen and unseen. 146 For, “Take heed,” saith He, “that ye do not your alms before men.” (Matt. vi. 1.) The soul learns from the one, [excess; 147 from the other] to flee injustice. For injustice consists not merely in grasping at more wealth than belongs to us, but in giving to the belly more than its needful sustenance, in carrying mirth beyond its proper bounds, and causing it to run into frantic excesses. From the one, it learns sobriety; from the other, unchastity. For it is unchastity, not merely to have carnal intercourse with women, but even to look upon a woman with unchaste eyes. From the one, it learns modesty; from the other, conceited self-importance. For, “All things,” says the Apostle, “are lawful for me, but not all things expedient.” (1 Cor. vi. 12.) From the one, decent behavior; from the other unseemliness. For, as to the doings in the theatres, I pass these. But to let you see that it is not even a pleasure either, but a grief, show me, but a single day after the festival, both those who spent their money in giving it, and those who were feasted with spectacles: and you shall see them all looking dejected enough, but most of all him, your (ἔκεἵνον) famous man that has spent his money for it. And this is but fair: for, the day before, he delighted the common man, and the common man indeed was in high good humor and enjoyment, and rejoiced indeed in the splendid garment, but then not having the use of it, and seeing himself stripped of it, he was grieved and annoyed; and wanted to be the great man, seeing even his own enjoyment to be small compared with his. 148 Therefore, the day after, they change places, and now he, the great man, gets the larger share in the dejection.
Now if in worldly matters, amusements are attended with such dissatisfaction, while disagreeable things are so beneficial, much more does this hold in things spiritual. Why is it that no one quarrels with the laws, but on the contrary all account that matter a common benefit? For indeed not strangers from some other quarter, nor enemies of those for whom the laws are made, came and made these orders, but the citizens themselves, their patrons, their benefactors: and this very thing, the making of laws, is a token of beneficence and good-will. And yet the laws are full of punishment and restraint, and there is no such thing as law without penalty and coercion. Then is it not unreasonable, that while the expositors of those laws are called deliverers, benefactors, and patrons, we are considered troublesome and vexatious if we speak of the laws of God? When we discourse about hell, then we bring forward those laws: just as in the affairs of the world, people urge the laws of murder, highway robbery, and the like, so do we the penal laws: laws, which not man enacted, but the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself. Let him that hath no mercy, He says, be punished (Matt. xviii. 23); for such is the import of the parable. Let him that remembereth injuries, pay the last penalty. Let him that is angry without cause, be cast into the fire. Let him that reviles, receive his due in hell. If you think these laws which you hear strange, be not amazed. For if Christ was not intended to make new laws, why did He come? Those other laws are manifest to us; we know that the murderer and adulterer ought to be punished. If then we were meant only to be told the same things over again, where was the need of a heavenly Teacher? Therefore He does not say, Let the adulterer be punished, but, whoso looketh on with unchaste eyes. And where, and when, the man will receive punishment, He there tells us. And not in fine public monuments, nor yet somewhere out of sight, 149 did He deposit His laws; not pillars of brass did He raise up, and engrave letters thereon, but twelve souls raised He up for us, the souls of the Apostles, and in their minds has He by the Spirit inscribed this writing. This cite we to you. If this was authorized to Jews, that none might take refuge in the plea of ignorance, much more is it to us. But should any say, “I do not hear, therefore have no guilt,” on this very score he is most liable to punishment. For, were there no teacher, it would be possible to take refuge in this plea; but if there be, it is no longer possible. Thus see how, speaking of Jews, the Lord deprives them of all excuse; “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin:” (John xv. 22): and Paul again, “But I say, have they not heard? Nay, but into all the earth went forth their sound.” (Rom. x. 18.) For then there is excuse, when there is none to tell the man; but when the watchman sits there, having this as the business of his life, there is excuse no longer. Nay, rather, it was the will of Christ, not that we should look only upon these written pillars, but that we should ourselves be such. But since we have made ourselves unworthy of the writing, at least let us look to those. For just as the pillars threaten others, but are not themselves obnoxious to punishment, nor yet the laws, even so the blessed Apostles. And observe; not in one place only stands this pillar, but its writing is carried round about in all the world. Whether you go among the Indians, you shall hear this: whether into Spain, or to the very ends of the earth, there is none without the hearing, except it be of his own neglect. Then be not offended, but give heed to the things spoken, that ye may be able to lay hold upon the works of virtue, and attain unto the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, power, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
The ἐκεῖνοι, if the old text be correct, are the mockers, but these are not “the devout men out of every nation under heaven,” therefore οὕς ξένους εἶπεν ἀνωτέρω can hardly be meant to refer to the following clause, ἐνταῖθα πρὸς ἐκείνους κ. τ. λ. The omission of the text-words, and the seeming antithesis of ἀνωτέρω and ἐνταῦθα, caused a confusion which the modern text attempts to remedy by transposing τοὺς διαχλ. to the place of τούτους. “Whom the writer above called strangers, to those Peter here directs his speech, and he seems indeed to discourse with those, but corrects the mockers.” This just inverts Chrysostoms meaning, which is clear enough from the following context. He says: “The dwellers in Jerusalem are especially the devout men out of every nation mentioned above, and to instruct these (τούτους) is the real aim of the discourse, which however is addressed in the first instance to the others (ἐκείνους), whose mockery gave occasion to it. St. Peter stands up apparently for the purpose of defending himself and his brethren: but this is in fact quite a secondary object, and the apology becomes a sermon of doctrine.”i:124
Καὶ τὸ ἐν ῾Ι. οἰκεῖν. Below he explains ἄνδρες ᾽Ιουδαῖοι to mean, “dwellers in Judea:” therefore the καὶ seems to mean, “to be not only such, but dwellers in Jerusalem also.”i:125
Here our leading ms. after οὐ γαρ ὡς ὑμεῖς, has ἀποπληροῦται, φησὶ, καὶ ὑπολαμβάνεται ὅτι μεθύουσιν. “For not as ye.”—It is fulfilled (he says) and it is supposed that they are drunken!” which may have been said by Chrys., but certainly not in this place.i:126
There is no reason to doubt that the company who witnessed the scenes at Pentecost really supposed the Christians to be intoxicated. To this opinion they were, of course, the more readily inclined because of their prejudice against the new sect. The force of Peters refutation of the charge of drunkenness: “Seeing it is but the third hour, etc.,” lies partly in the fact that 9 a.m. was too early for any such general intoxication, and still more in the fact that the third hour was the first hour of prayer, at which time it would have been sacrilege to drink to excess.—G.B.S.i:127
Here the innovator, again mistaking his authors meaning, as if it were—Peter did not say, “These are not drunk,” but what he did say was, “They speak by the Spirit”—finds it necessary to add, Καὶ οὐχ ἁπλῶς, And not merely so, but, etc.i:128
ἀπολογίαν, as in 2 Cor. vii. 11. “Yea, what clearing of yourselves.”i:129
i.e. The brightness of the miraculous fire appears at a time when there would be many to see it, people not being engaged in their works, nor within their houses at their noontide meal. Œcumenius evidently had the old text before him, for he gives the same sense with the slightest verbal alterations. In the Catena the sense is altered by omission of the negatives. “When people are about their work, when about their dinner,” etc. The innovator (followed by Edd.) makes it “For when the brightness of the light is shown, then men are not occupied in the business of dinner (οὐ περὶ ἔργα…τὰ περὶ ἄριστον), then the day is cheerful (φαιδρὰ, the brisk and stirring time of day), then all are in the market.” By τὸ λαμπρὸν τοῦ φῶτος he seems to mean bright daylight.i:130
Here, after εἰς δευτέραν, C. has ᾽Ολδὰν (marg. γρ. καὶ Λοβνὰν. οἷον Δεβ. καὶ Λοβνάν. B. after Δεβ. καὶ ᾽Ολδὰν adds ἢ Λοβνάν) It does not appear who is meant by this Lobna, unless it originates in some strange misconception of 2 Kings xxiii. 31, “daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah,” LXX. Θ. ῾Ι. ἐκ Λοβνά. Clem. Alex. Str. i. §. 136. has no such name in his list of Old Testament prophetesses.i:131
Edd. “For it was not expedient, because this also was obscure. I will show, etc. For it frightened them more, being obscure. But if he had interpreted, it would even have offended them more.”i:132
What follows in the edited text is obscure and perplexed. The original text seems to labor under some defects, besides the omission of the passages commented upon.i:133
Something seems wanting here: e.g. as above, “There were signs in heaven, as Josephus relates. This however, in the full sense, has never been fulfilled.” And then, a reference to the Babylonian compared with the Roman judgment.i:134
First blood, i.e. the taking and slaughter of the inhabitants: then, fire, etc., i.e. the burning of the city.i:135
As B. has this sentence, which is in fact necessary to the sense, the omission of it in C. A. may be referred to the homœoteleuton, ἐλεύθερος.i:136
καὶ (=καίπερ, or εἰ καὶ?) φοβερὸν τὸ τῆς κολάσεως. i.e. he alleviates the severity of his discourse by speaking of the effects of faith, at the same time that he shows the fearfulness of the punishment. Edd. καὶ οὐ φοβ. κρύπτων τὸ τῆς κολάσεως, i.e. light…and not fearful, by withdrawing out of sight what relates to the punishment: which however Ben. renders as if it were οὐ τὸ φοβ. And not concealing the fearfulness, etc.”i:137
It is extremely doubtful if Peter understood by “the great and terrible day of the Lord” (20) the destruction of Jerusalem. (Chrys.) It probably refers to the Parousia which is thought of as imminent. The “last days” then would be the days preceding the Messianic age which is to begin at the Parousia. This view harmonizes with the Jewish conception and with the Christian expectation that the then existing period (αἴων οὕτος) was soon to pass into a new age (αἰ& 241·ν μέλλων). The scenes of Pentecost were thought to be the harbingers of this consummation and were so significant both of the joys and woes of the impending crisis, that the bold imagery of the prophet Joel is applied to them. Cf. the prophetic terms in which the destruction of Jerusalem is foretold—an event closely associated with the personal return of our Lord in Matt. xxiv.—G.B.S.i:138
ὡς ὅταν λέγῃ ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνι πέμπειν τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ. Chrys. is misreported here, for the sending forth of the armies belongs to the parable of the marriage of the kings son.i:139
Something must have been omitted here: viz. a brief exposition of the parable here referred to. The innovator endeavors to mend the text, by leaving out the following sentence.i:140
῟Ων οὐδὲν ὠμότερον γέγονεν, ἀγαπητοὶ, τῶν τότε πεπραγμένων πραγμάτων. This may be explained as a negligent construction, but perhaps some words are omitted. The next sentence, Καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπεφήνατο (which phrase is repeated below), refers to Matt. xxiv. 21. “There shall be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world to this time.”i:141
᾽Οβεγίσκοις (dagger-blades, or spear-heads, or spits) αὐτοὺς διέπειραν. In Hom. vi. p. 43. infra, we have the phrase τίνες ὀβελίσκοι πεπυρωμένοι διέπειραν σῶμα. It is evident that something is omitted, and no more probable supposition presents itself, than that Chrys. here read out from Josephus or Eusebius the description of the famine among the besieged (which the reporter of the sermon omitted at the time, intending to insert it at his leisure); and that the short sentence in the text is the preachers own parenthetical explanation of some part of the description. Thus, B. J. vi. 3. 3. speaking of the cruelties practised upon dying wretches suspected of having food concealed about their persons, Josephus says: ᾽Αλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἐκπνέοντας οἱ λῄσται διηρεύνων, μήτις ὑπὸ κόλπον ἔχων τροφὴν σκήπτοιτο τὸν θάνατον αὑτῷ. Perhaps ὀβελίσκοις αὐτοὺς διέπειραν is C.s comment upon διηρεύνων.—Or, in like manner, it may refer to the description in B. J. v. 12. 3. how the λῃσταὶ, after ransacking the bodies of the dead, tried the edges of their swords upon them, etc. Τάς τε ἀκμὰς τῶν ξιφῶν ἐδοκιμάζον ἐν τοῖς πτώμασι, καί τινας τῶν ἐρριμμένων ἔτι ζῶντας διήλαυνον ἐπὶ πείρᾳ τοῦ σιδήρου. Perhaps, however, the expression may be taken in a metaphorical sense as in the phrase above cited: “they pierced themselves (ἑαυτοὺς for αὐτοὺς) as with spits or lancets.”i:142
Against the Marcionites, he says: You say that the God of the Old Testament is a cruel God; whereas Christ, the good God, is all mildness. Yet was not the Roman judgment upon the Jews inflicted by Him? And was it not beyond comparison more ruthless (ὠμότερον, above) than the Babylonian or any former judgment, inflicted, as you say, by the God of the Old Testament?i:143
Πῶς οὖν φατὲ φησίν, i.e. as it is said in the text, “Every one that calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The question is the same as was put in the beginning of this section: “What? do you speak of salvation for them after crucifying the Lord? And this, when you have shown us how fearfully that sin was visited?” This question, as a very simple one, he leaves the hearers to answer for themselves, by distinguishing between believers and unbelievers, the penitent and the hardened.—The innovator quite alters the sense; “How then say some that Christ remitted them their sin?” which makes the next sentence idle.i:144
Πλὴν ὅταν κἀκεῖνος εἰς ἐκείνην μεταστῇ τὴν τάξιν The meaning is obscure: for it may be either, that he is displaced from office (μεταστῆναι, μετάστασις are common in this sense), and makes one of the στασιάζοντες; or, that he lays aside the magistrate and demeans himself to take part in their excesses. (Τάξις is the expression for the attendants of any high official, and may perhaps be taken in that sense here). Erasmus goes wide of the text: nec exultant eo quod et ille ad hoc opus ordinatus est: and so Montf. nec exultantes quod ille ad hoc officium sit constitutus.i:145
μετὰ τὸν Θεὸν, omitted in the modern text.i:146
Hom. in Matt. lxxi. p. 699. C. Chrys. describes κενοδοξία (vainglory) in almsgiving, as the thief that runs away with the treasure laid up in heaven. And something of this sort seems to have been in his thoughts here, where however his meaning is evidently very imperfectly expressed. The texts cited show that ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖθεν, refer to something more than, as above, good laws and government in general; for here he speaks of the Gospel discipline of the inner man. “Where this restraint is, no dissipation of our temporal or spiritual wealth has place: for God, as common Father, has raised a wall to keep out all robbers both seen and unseen, from all our possessions: from the former He guards us, by law and good government; from the latter, by the Gospel prohibition of all vainglory: “Take heed that ye do not your alms,” etc.i:147
Μανθάνει ψυχὴ ἐντεῦθεν, opp. to ἐκεῖθεν as in the following sentences: ἐκεῖθεν σωφροσύνην μανθάνει, ἐντεῦθεν ἀκολασίαν—& 157·κ. ἐπιείκειαν, ἐντ. τῦφον—& 157·κ. κοσμίοτητα, ἐντ. ἀσχημοσύνην. Therefore either something is wanting: e.g. πλεονεξίαν· ἐκεῖθεν, or for ἐντ. we must read ἐκεῖθεν.i:148
The old text καὶ ἐβούλετο ἐκεῖνος ὁ ἀναλίσκων καὶ τὴν οἰκείαν εὐπραγίαν μικρὰν ὁρᾷν τρὸς τὴν ἐκεῖνου, evidently requires correction, and the emendation assumed in the translation is, καὶ ἐβ. ἐκεῖνος εἶναι (ὁ ἀναλ. may perhaps be rejected as a gloss) καὶ τὴν οἰκείαν εὐπρ. μ. ὁρῶν π. τ. ἐκείνου. Thus the whole passage, from καὶ ὁ μὲν ἰδιωτὴς, refers to the ἰδ. or person feasted, and ἐκεῖνος throughout is the entertainer. The edited text has: ᾽Εκεῖνος δὲ ὁ ἀναλ. καὶ τὴν οἰκείαν εὐπρ. μικρὰν ὁρᾷν ἐδόκει π. τ. ἐκείνου: of which Erasm. makes, Ille autem qui sumptus impendit et suam felicitatem parvam cum ea quam ex sumptu habebat conspicere putabat. But even if this sense lay in the words, it is not easy to see the connection of the following sentence, Διὰ τοῦτο, etc., Montf. translates, Qui vero sumptus fecit, suam præ illius felicitate parvam putabat, as if ἐκεῖνος and ἐκείνου in the same sentence referred to two different and contrasted persons. The meaning of the passage is, As, on the day before, the entertainer had τὸ πλέον τῆς εὐθυμίας, it is but fair that on the following day τὸ πλέον τῆς ἀθυμίας should be transferred to him. This is expressed by Διὰ τοῦτο τῇ ὑστ. ἀντιδιδόασιν: which however, Erasmus renders, Ideireo sequenti die reddunt sibi vestes iterum: Montf. redduntur vestes. (Perhaps there is an allusion to the legal phrase ἀντίδοσις. v. Isocrat. περὶ ἀντιδ).i:149
Εἰς ἀναθήματα οὐδὲ εἰς κρύβδην. The modern text has εἰς ἄξονας οὐδὲ εἰς, κύρβεις, alluding to the peculiar form of tables on which the laws of Athens were written. On critical grounds we retain the reading of the old text, which, as being the more difficult one, is not likely to have been substituted for the other. Οὐκ εἰς ἀναθήματα; “not on public monuments for display.” Laws of an Emperor, for instance, engraved on handsome monuments, may be called ἀναθήματα Οὐδὲ εἰς κρύβδην, (also an unusual expression), nor yet where no one would see them.
Next: Homily VI on Acts ii. 22.
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