“And Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, 2018 saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”
But Mark saith, that “He could not be hid,” 2019 though He had entered into the house. And why did He go at all into these parts? When He had set them free from the observance of meats, then to the Gentiles also He goes on to open a door, proceeding in due course; even as Peter, having been first directed to annul this law, is sent to Cornelius. 2020
But if any one should say, “How then, while saying to His disciples, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles,” 2021 doth He Himself admit her?” first, this would be our reply, that what He enjoined upon His disciples, He was not Himself also tied to; secondly, that not in order to preach did He depart; which indeed Mark likewise intimating said, He even hid Himself, yet was not concealed.
For as His not hastening to them first was a part of the regular course of His proceedings, so to drive them away when coming to Him was unworthy of His love to man. For if the flying ought to be pursued, much more ought the pursuing not to be avoided.
See at any rate how worthy this woman is of every benefit. For she durst not even come to Jerusalem, fearing, and accounting herself unworthy. For were it not for this, she would have come there, as is evident both from her present earnestness, and from her coming out of her own coasts.
And some also taking it as an allegory say, that when Christ came out of Judea, then the church ventured to approach Him, coming out herself also from her own coasts. For it is said, “Forget thine own people and thy fathers house.” 2022 For both Christ went out of His borders, and the woman out of her borders, and so it became possible for them to fall in with each other: thus He saith, “Behold a woman of Canaan coming out of her own coasts.”
The evangelist speaks against the woman, that he may show forth her marvellous act, and celebrate her praise the more. For when thou hearest of a Canaanitish woman, thou shouldest call to mind those wicked nations, who overset from their foundations the very laws of nature. And being reminded of these, consider also the power of Christs advent. For they who were cast out, that they might not pervert any Jews, these appeared so much better disposed than the Jews, as even to come out of their coasts, and approach Christ; while those were driving Him away, even on His coming unto them.
2. Having then come unto Him, she saith nothing else, but “Have mercy on me,” and by her cry brings about them many spectators. For indeed it was a pitiful spectacle to see a woman crying aloud in so great affliction, and that woman a mother, and entreating for a daughter, and for a daughter in such evil case: she not even venturing to bring into the Masters sight her that was possessed, but leaving her to lie at home, and herself making the entreaty.
And she tells her affliction only, and adds nothing more; neither doth she drag the physician to her house, like that nobleman, saying, “Come and lay thy hand upon her,” and, “Come down ere my child die.” 2023
But having described both her calamity, and the intensity of the disease, she pleads the Lords mercy, and cries aloud; and she saith not, “Have mercy on my daughter,” but, “Have mercy on me.” For she indeed is insensible of her disease, but it is I that suffer her innumerable woes; my disease is with consciousness, my madness with perception of itself.
2. “But He answered her not a word.” 2024
What is this new and strange thing? the Jews in their perverseness He leads on, and p. 312 blaspheming He entreats them, and tempting Him He dismisses them not; but to her, running unto Him, and entreating, and beseeching Him, to her who had been educated neither in the law, nor in the prophets, and was exhibiting so great reverence; to her He doth not vouchsafe so much as an answer.
Whom would not this have offended, seeing the facts so opposite to the report? For whereas they had heard, that He went about the villages healing, her, when she had come to Him, He utterly repels. And who would not have been moved by her affliction, and by the supplication she made for her daughter in such evil case? For not as one worthy, nor as demanding a due, not so did she approach Him, but she entreated that she might find mercy, and merely gave a lamentable account of her own affliction; yet is she not counted worthy of so much as an answer.
Perhaps many of the hearers were offended, but she was not offended. And why say I, of the hearers? For I suppose that even the very disciples must have been in some degree affected at the womans affliction, and have been greatly troubled, and out of heart.
Nevertheless not even in this trouble did they venture to say, “Grant her this favor,” but, “His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us.” For we too, when we wish to persuade any one, oftentimes say the contrary.
But Christ saith, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 2025
What then did the woman, after she heard this? Was she silent, and did she desist? or did she relax her earnestness? By no means, but she was the more instant. But it is not so with us; rather, when we fail to obtain, we desist; whereas it ought to make us the more urgent.
And yet, who would not have been driven to perplexity by the word which was then spoken? Why His silence were enough to drive her to despair, but His answer did so very much more. For together with herself, to see them also in utter perplexity that were pleading with her, and to hear that the thing is even impossible to be done, was enough to cast her into unspeakable perplexity.
For whereas before this she had not ventured so much as to come in sight (for “she crieth,” it is said, “after us”), when one might expect that she should rather depart further off in utter despair, at that very time she comes nearer, and worships, saying, “Lord, help me.” 2026
What is this, O woman? Hast thou then greater confidence than the apostles? more abundant strength? “Confidence and strength,” saith she, “by no means; nay, I am even full of shame. Yet nevertheless my very shamelessness do I put forward for entreaty; He will respect my confidence.” And what is this? Heardest thou not Him saying, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” “I heard,” saith she, “but He Himself is Lord.” Wherefore neither did she say, “Entreat and beseech,” but, “Help me.”
“It is not meet to take the childrens bread and to cast it to the dogs.” 2027
And when He vouchsafed her a word, then He smote her more sharply than by His silence. And no longer doth He refer the cause to another, nor say, “I am not sent,” but the more urgent she makes her entreaty, so much the more doth He also urge His denial. And He calls them no longer “sheep,” but “children,” and her “a dog.”
Justly did Christ say, “For judgment am I come.” 2028 The woman practises high self-command, and shows forth all endurance and faith, and this, receiving insult; but they, courted and honored, requite it with the contrary.
For, “that food is necessary for the children,” saith she, “I also know; yet neither am I forbidden, being a dog. For were it unlawful to receive, neither would it be lawful to partake of the crumbs; but if, though in scanty measure, they ought to be partakers, neither am I forbidden, though I be a dog; nay, rather on this ground am I most surely a partaker, if I am a dog.”
For if He had not meant to give, neither would He have given afterwards, nor would He have stopped her mouth again. But as He doth in the case of the centurion, saying, “I will come and heal him,” 2029 that we might learn the godly fear of that man, and might p. 313 hear him say, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof;” 2030 and as He doth in the case of her that had the issue of blood, saying, “I perceive that virtue hath gone out of me,” 2031 that He might make her faith manifest; and as in the case of the Samaritan woman, that He might show how not even upon reproof she desists: 2032 so also here, He would not that so great virtue in the woman should be hid. Not in insult then were His words spoken, but calling her forth, and revealing the treasure laid up in her.
But do thou, I pray thee, together with her faith see also her humility. For He had called the Jews “children,” but she was not satisfied with this, but even called them “masters;” so far was she from grieving at the praises of others.
Seest thou the womans wisdom, how she did not venture so much as to say a word against it, nor was stung by other mens praises, nor was indignant at the reproach? Seest thou her constancy? He said, “It is not meet,” and she said, “Truth, Lord;” He called them “children,” but she “masters;” He used the name of a dog, but she added also the dogs act. Seest thou this womans humility?
Hear the proud language of the Jews. “We be Abrahams seed, and were never in bondage to any man;” 2035 and, “We be born of God.” 2036 But not so this woman, rather she calls herself a dog, and them masters; so for this she became a child. What then saith Christ? “O woman, great is thy faith.” 2037
This was akin to that voice that said, “Let the Heaven be, and it was.” 2038
Seest thou how this woman too contributed not a little to the healing of her daughter? For to this purpose neither did Christ say, “Let thy little daughter be made whole,” but, “Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt;” to teach thee that the words were not used at random, nor were they flattering words, but great was the power of her faith.
But mark thou, I pray thee, how when the apostles had failed, and had not succeeded, this woman had success. So great a thing is assiduity in prayer. Yea, He had even rather be solicited by us, guilty as we are, for those who belong to us, than by others in our behalf. And yet they had more liberty to speak; but she exhibited much endurance.
4. “And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into the mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, maimed, dumb; and cast them 2039 at His feet; and He healed them, insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.” 2040
Now He goes about Himself, now sits awaiting the diseased, and hath the lame brought up unto the mountain. And no longer do they touch so much as His garment, but advance a higher step, being cast at His feet: and they showed their faith doubly, first, by going up into the mountain though lame, then by wanting nothing else but to be cast at His feet only.
And great was the marvel and strange, to see them that were carried walking, the blind needing not any to lead them by the hand. Yea, both the multitude of the healed, and the facility of their cure amazed them.
Seest thou, how the woman indeed He healed with so much delay, but these immediately? not because these are better than she is, but because she is more faithful than they. Therefore, while in her case He defers and delays, to manifest her constancy; on these He bestows the gift immediately, stopping the mouths of the unbelieving Jews, and cutting away from them every plea. For the greater favors one hath received, so much the more is he liable to punishment, if he be insensible, and the very honor make him no p. 314 better. Therefore you see the rich also proving wicked, are more punished than the poor, for not being softened even by their prosperity. For tell me not that they gave alms. Since if they gave not in proportion to their substance, not even so shall they escape; our alms being judged not by the measure of our gifts, but by the largeness 2041 of our mind. But if these suffer punishment, much more they that are eager about unnecessary things; who build houses of two and three stories, but despise the hungry; who give heed to covetousness, but neglect alms-giving.
5. But since the discourse hath fallen on almsgiving, come then, let us resume again to-day that argument, which I was making three days ago concerning benevolence, and left unfinished. Ye remember, when lately I was speaking of vanity about your shoes, and of that empty trouble, and the luxury of the young, that it was from almsgiving that our discourse passed on to those charges against you. What were the matters then at that time brought forward? That almsgiving is a kind of art, having its workshop in Heaven, and for its teacher, not man, but God. Then inquiring what is an art, and what not an art, we came upon fruitless labors, and evil devices, amongst which we made mention also of this art concerning mens shoes.
Have ye then recalled it to mind? Come now, let us to-day also resume what we then said, and let us show how almsgiving is an art, and better than all arts. For if the peculiarity of art is to issue in something useful, and nothing is more useful than almsgiving, very evidently this is both an art, and better than all arts. For it makes for us not shoes, nor doth it weave garments, nor build houses that are of clay; but it procures life everlasting, and snatches us from the hands of death, and in either life shows us glorious, and builds the mansions that are in Heaven, and those eternal tabernacles.
This suffers not our lamps to go out, nor that we should appear at the marriage having filthy garments, but washes them, and renders them purer than snow. “For though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.” 2042 not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”
But why might it be, that then His disciples said, “Send away the multitude,” but now they said not so; and this, though three days had past? Either being themselves improved by this time, or seeing that the people had no great sense of hunger; for they were glorifying God for the things that were done.
But see how in this instance too He doth not proceed at once to the miracle, but calls them forth thereunto. For the multitudes indeed who had come out for healing durst not ask for the loaves; but He, the benevolent and provident one, gives even to them that ask not, and saith unto His disciples, “I have compassion, and will not send them away fasting.”
For lest they should say that they came p. 315 having provisions for the way, He saith, “They continue with me now three days;” so that even if they came having any, it is all spent. For therefore He Himself did not this on the first and second day, but when all had been consumed by them, in order that having first been in want, they might more eagerly accept His work.
“Then, if thou art not willing to send them away fasting, wherefore dost thou not work the miracle?” That by this question and by their answer He might make the disciples more heedful, and that they might show forth their faith, coming unto Him, and saying, “Make loaves.”
But not even so did they understand the motive of His question; wherefore afterwards He saith to them, as Mark relates, “Are your hearts so hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?” 2043
But Matthew saith, that after this He also rebuked them, saying, “O ye of little faith, do ye not yet understand, nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” 2044 So completely do the evangelists harmonize one with another.
What then say the disciples? Still they creep on the ground, although He had done so very many things in order that that miracle might be kept in memory; as by His question, and by the answer, and by making them minister herein, and by distributing the baskets; but their state of mind was yet rather imperfect.
Wherefore also they say to Him, “Whence should we have so many loaves in the wilderness?” 2045
Both before this, and now, they make mention of the wilderness; themselves in a weak way of argument so speaking, yet even hereby putting the miracle above suspicion. That is, lest any should affirm (as I have indeed already said), that they obtained it from some neighboring village, the place is acknowledged, that the miracle may be believed. With this view, both the former miracle and this He works in a wilderness, at a great distance from the villages.
The disciples, considering none of all this, said, “Whence should we have so many loaves in a wilderness?” For they thought verily He had said it as purposing next to enjoin them to feed the people; most foolishly; since with this intent He had said, and that lately, “Give ye them to eat,” 2046 that He might bring them to an urgent need of entreating Him.
But now He saith not this, “Give ye them to eat,” but what? “I have compassion on them, and will not send them away fasting;” bringing the disciples nearer, and provoking them more, and granting them clearer sight, to ask these things of Him. For in truth they were the words of one signifying that He hath power not to send them away fasting; of one manifesting His authority. For the expression, “I will not,” implies such a purpose in Him.
2. Since however they still spake of the multitude merely, and the place, and the wilderness (for “whence,” it is said, “should we have in a wilderness so many loaves, as to fill so great a multitude”?); and not even so understood what He said, He proceeds to contribute His own part, and saith unto them,
“How many loaves have ye? And they say, Seven, and a few little fishes.” 2047
And they no more say, “But what are these among so many?” 2048 as they had said before. So that although they reached not His whole meaning, yet nevertheless they became higher by degrees. For so He too, arousing their mind hereby, puts the question much as He had done before, that by the very form of the inquiry He might remind them of the works already done.
But as thou hast seen their imperfection hereby, so do thou observe the severity of their spirit, and admire their love of truth, how, writing themselves, they conceal not their own defects, great as they were. For it was no small blame to have presently forgotten this miracle, which had so recently taken place; wherefore they are also rebuked.
And herewith consider also their strictness in another matter, how they were conquerors of their appetite; how disciplined to make little account of their diet. For being in the wilderness and abiding there three days, they had seven loaves.
For, “He commanded,” it is said, “the p. 316 multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves, and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” 2049
For, “they did all eat,” so it is said, “and were filled, and they took up of the broken meat that was left, 2050 seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children.” 2051
But why at the former time, when there were five thousand, did twelve baskets full remain over and above, whereas here, when there were four thousand, it was seven baskets full? For what purpose, I say, and by what cause, were the remnants less, the guests not being so many?
Either then one may say this, that the baskets on this last occasion 2052 were greater than those used before, 2053 or if this were not so, lest the equality of the miracle should again cast them into forgetfulness, He rouses their recollection by the difference, that by the variation they might be reminded of both one and the other. Accordingly, in that case, He makes the baskets full of fragments equal in number to His disciples, in this, the other baskets equal to the loaves; indicating even hereby His unspeakable power, and the ease wherewith He exercised His authority, in that it was possible for Him to work such miracles, both in this way and in the other. For neither was it of small power, to maintain the exact number, both then and now; then when there were five thousand, now when there were four thousand; and not suffer the remnants to be more than the baskets used on the one occasion or on the other, although the number of the guests was different.
And the end again was like the former. For as then He left the multitude and withdrew in a ship, so also now; and John also saith this. 2054 For since no sign did so work upon them to follow Him, as the miracle of the loaves; and they were minded not only to follow Him, but also to make Him a king; 2055 avoiding all suspicion of usurping royalty, He hastens away after this work of wonder: and He doth not even go away afoot, lest they should follow Him, but by entering into a ship.
“And He sent away the multitudes,” so it saith, “and went on board the ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.” 2056
3. “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came and 2057 desired Him to show them a sign from Heaven. But He saith, When it is evening, ye say, Fair weather, for the sky is red; and in the morning, Foul weather today, for the sky is red and lowering. Ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not the signs of the times? 2058 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And He left them, and departed.” 2059
But Mark saith, that when they were come unto Him, and were questioning with Him, “He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?” 2060
And yet surely their inquiry was deserving of anger and great displeasure; yet nevertheless the benevolent and provident One is not angry, but pities and bewails them as incurably diseased, and after so full a demonstration of His power, tempting Him.
For not in order to believe did they seek, but to lay hold of Him. Since had they come unto Him as ready to believe, He would have given it. For He who said to the woman, “It is not meet,” 2061 and afterwards gave, much more would He have shown His bounty to these.
But since they did not seek to believe, therefore He also calls them hypocrites, because in another place they said one thing, and meant another. Yea, had they believed, they would not even have asked. And from another thing too it is evident that they believed not; that when reproved and exposed, they abode not with Him, nor said, “We are ignorant and seek to learn.”
What then saith He to all this? “Ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” 2062 See His meekness and moderation. For p. 317 not even as before did He refuse merely, and say, “There shall none be given them,” but He states also the cause why He gives it not, even though they were not asking for information.
What then was the cause? “Much as in the sky,” saith He, “one thing is a sign of a storm, another of fair weather, and no one when he saw the sign of foul weather would seek for a calm, neither in calm and fair weather for a storm; so should you reckon with regard to me also. For this present time of my coming, is different from that which is to come. Now there is need of these signs which are on the earth, but those in Heaven are stored up against that time. Now as a physician am I come, then I shall be here as a judge; now to seek that which is gone astray, then to demand an account. Therefore in a hidden manner am I come, but then with much publicity, folding up the heaven, hiding the sun, not suffering the moon to give her light. Then the very powers of the heavens shall be shaken, 2063 and the manifestation of my coming shall imitate lightning that appears at once to all. 2064 But not now is the time for these signs; for I am come to die, and to suffer all extremities.”
And if men speak of the signs in Pharaohs time, there was an enemy then from whom deliverance was needed, and it all took place in due course. But to Him that came among friends there was no need of those signs.
“And besides, how shall I give the great signs, when the little are not believed?” Little, I mean, as regards display, since in power these latter were much greater than the former. For what could be equal to remitting sins, and raising the dead, and driving away devils, and creating a body, and ordering all other things aright?
But do thou see their hardened heart, how on being told, that “no sign should be given them but the sign of the prophet Jonas,” they do not ask. And yet, knowing both the prophet, and all that befell him, and having been told this a second time, they ought to have inquired and learnt what the saying could mean; but, as I said, there is no desire of information in these their doings. For this cause “He also left them, and departed.”
4. “And when His disciples,” so it is said, “were come to the other side, they forgot to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” 2067
And why said He not plainly, Beware of their teaching? His will is to remind them of what had been done, for He knew they had forgotten. But for accusing them at once there seemed to be no reasonable ground, but to take the occasion from themselves, and so to reprove them, would make the charge admissible. “And why did He not then reprove them, when they said, Whence should we have so many loaves in the wilderness? for it seemed a good time then to say what He says here.” That He might not seem to rush hastily on the miracle. And besides, He would not blame them before the multitude, nor seek honor in their presence. And now too the accusation had greater reason, for that after repetition of the miracle they were so minded.
Wherefore also He works another miracle, and then and not till then He reproves; I mean, He brings forward what they were reasoning in their hearts. But what were their reasonings? “Because,” so it is said, “we have taken no bread.” 2068 For as yet they were full of trepidation about the purifications of the Jews, and the observances of meats.
Wherefore on all accounts He attacks them even with severity, saying, “Why reason ye in yourselves, O ye of little faith, because ye have brought no bread? 2069 Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? Having ears, hear ye not? 2070 Do ye not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” 2071
Seest thou intense displeasure? For nowhere else doth He appear to have so rebuked them. Wherefore then doth He so? In order again to cast out their prejudice about the meats. I mean that with this view, whereas then He had only said, “Perceive ye not, neither understand?” in this place, and with a strong rebuke, He saith, “O ye of little faith.” 2072
For not everywhere is lenity a good thing. And as He used to allow them freedom of p. 318 speech, so doth He also reprove, by this variety providing for their salvation. And mark thou at once His reproof, how strong, and His mildness. For all but excusing Himself to them for His severe reproofs to them, He saith, “Do ye not yet consider the five loaves, and how many baskets ye took up; and the seven loaves, and how many baskets ye took up?” And to this end He sets down also the numbers, as well of the persons fed as of the fragments, at once both bringing them to recollection of the past, and making them more attentive to the future.
And to teach thee how great the power of His reproof, and how it roused up their slumbering mind, hear what saith the evangelist. For Jesus having said no more, but having reproved them, and added this only, “How is it that ye do not understand, that I spake it not to you concerning bread that ye should beware, but of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;” 2073 He subjoined, saying, “Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” 2074 although He had not uttered that interpretation.
See how much good His reproof wrought. For it both led them away from the Jewish observances, and when they were remiss, made them more heedful, and delivered them from want of faith; 2075
Wherefore hath he mentioned the founder of the city? Because there was another besides, Cæsarea Stratonis. But not in that, but in this doth He ask them, leading them far away from the Jews, so that being freed from all alarm, they might speak with boldness all that was in their mind.
And wherefore did He not ask them at once their own opinion, but that of the people? In order that when they had told the peoples opinion, and then were asked, “But whom 2076 say ye that I am?” by the manner of His inquiry they might be led up to a sublimer notion, and not fall into the same low view as the multitude. Accordingly He asks them not at all in the beginning of His preaching, but when He had done many miracles, and had discoursed with them of many and high doctrines, and had afforded so many clear proofs of His Godhead, and of His unanimity with the Father, then He puts this question to them.
And He said not, “Whom say the Scribes and Pharisees that I am?” often as these had come unto Him, and discoursed with Him; but, “Whom do men say that I am?” inquiring after the judgment of the people, as unbiassed. For though it was far meaner than it should be, yet was it free from malice, but the other was teeming with much wickedness.
And signifying how earnestly He desires His Economy 2077 to be confessed, He saith, “The Son of Man;” thereby denoting His Godhead, which He doth also in many other places. For He saith, “No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but the Son of Man, which is in Heaven.” 2078 And again, “But when ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up, where He was before.” 2079
Then, since they said, “Some John the Baptist, some Elias, some Jeremias, or one of the prophets,” 2080 and set forth their mistaken opinion, He next added, “But whom say ye that I am?” 2081 calling them on by His second inquiry to entertain some higher imagination concerning Him, and indicating that their former judgment falls exceedingly short of His dignity. Wherefore He seeks for another judgment from themselves, and puts a second question, that they might not fall in with the multitude, who, because they saw His miracles greater than human, accounted Him a man indeed, but one that had appeared after a resurrection, as Herod also said. 2082 But He, to lead them away from this notion, saith, “But whom say ye that I am?” that is, “ye that are with me always, and see me working miracles, and have yourselves done many mighty works by me.”
2. What then saith the mouth of the apos p. 319 tles, Peter, the ever fervent, the leader of the apostolic choir? 2083 When all are asked, he answers. And whereas when He asked the opinion of the people, all replied to the question; when He asked their own, Peter springs forward, and anticipates them, and saith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 2084
What then saith Christ? “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.” 2085
Yet surely unless he had rightly confessed Him, as begotten of the very Father Himself, this were no work of revelation; had he accounted our Lord to be one of the many, his saying was not worthy of a blessing. Since before this also they said, “Truly He is Son of God,” 2086 those, I mean, who were in the vessel after the tempest, which they saw, and were not blessed, although of course they spake truly. For they confessed not such a Sonship as Peter, but accounted Him to be truly Son as one of the many, and though peculiarly so beyond the many, yet not of the same substance.
And Nathanael too said, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel;” 2087 and so far from being blessed, he is even reproved by Him, as having said what was far short of the truth. He replied at least, “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.” 2088
Why then is this man blessed? Because he acknowledged Him very Son. Wherefore you see, that while in those former instances He had said no such thing, in this case He also signifies who had revealed it. That is, lest his words might seem to the many (because he was an earnest lover of Christ) to be words of friendship and flattery, and of a disposition to show favor to Him, he brings forward the person who had made them ring 2089 in his soul; to inform thee that Peter indeed spake, but the Father suggested, and that thou mightest believe the saying to be no longer a human opinion, but a divine doctrine.
And wherefore doth He not Himself declare it, nor say, “I am the Christ,” but by His question establish this, bringing them in to confess it? Because so to do was both more suitable to Him, yea necessary at that time, and it drew them on the more to the belief of the things that were said.
Seest thou how the Father reveals the Son, how the Son the Father? For “neither knoweth any man the Father,” saith He, “save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” 2090 It cannot therefore be that one should learn the Son of any other than of the Father; neither that one should learn the Father of any other than of the Son. So that even hereby, their sameness of honor and of substance is manifest.
3. What then saith Christ? “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas.” 2091 “Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;” all but saying, “As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father.” Else it were superfluous to say, “Thou art Son of Jonas;” but since he had said, “Son of God,” to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” 2092 that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. “And the gates of hell 2093 shall not prevail against it.” “And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified.”
Then He mentions also another honor. “And I also 2094 will give thee the keys of the heavens.” 2095 But what is this, “And I also will give thee?” “As the Father hath given thee to know me, so will I also give thee.”
And He said not, “I will entreat the Father” (although the manifestation of His authority was great, and the largeness of the gift unspeakable), but, “I will give thee.” What dost Thou give? tell me. “The keys of the heavens, that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, 2096 and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.” How then is it not “His to give to sit on His right hand, and on His left,” 2097 when He saith, “I will give thee”?
Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church in p. 320 capable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as “a brazen pillar, and as a wall;” 2098 but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.
I would fain inquire then of those who desire to lessen the dignity of the Son, which manner of gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave him? For the Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son; but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and that of Himself in every part of the world; and to a mortal man He entrusted the authority over all things in Heaven, giving him the keys; who extended the church to every part of the world, and declared it to be stronger than heaven. “For heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” 2099 How then is He less, who hath given such gifts, hath effected such things?
And these things I say, not dividing the works of Father and Son (“for all things are made by Him, and without Him was nothing made which was made”): 2100 but bridling the shameless tongue of them that dare so to speak.
But see, throughout all, His authority: “I say unto thee, Thou art Peter; I will build the Church; I will give thee the keys of Heaven.” 2101
4. And then, when He had so said, “He charged them that they should tell no man that He was the Christ.” 2102
And why did He charge them? That when the things which offend are taken out of the way, and the cross is accomplished, and the rest of His sufferings fulfilled, and when there is nothing any more to interrupt and disturb the faith of the people in Him, the right opinion concerning Him may be engraven pure and immovable in the mind of the hearers. For, in truth, His power had not yet clearly shone forth. Accordingly it was His will then to be preached by them, when both the plain truth of the facts, and the power of His deeds were pleading in support of the assertions of the apostles. For it was by no means the same thing to see Him in Palestine, now working miracles, and now insulted and persecuted (and especially when the very cross was presently to follow the miracles that were happening); and to behold him everywhere in the world, adored and believed, and no more suffering anything, such as He had suffered.
Therefore He bids them “tell no man.” For that which hath been once rooted and then plucked up, would hardly, if planted, again be retained among the many; but that which, once fixed, hath remained immovable, and hath suffered injury from no quarter, easily mounts up, and advances to a greater growth.
And if they who had enjoyed the benefit of many miracles, and had had part in so many unutterable mysteries, were offended by the mere hearing of it; or rather not these only, but even the leader 2103 of them all, Peter; consider what it was likely the common sort should feel, being first told that He is the Son of God, then seeing Him even crucified and spit upon, and that without knowledge of the secret of those mysteries, or participation in the gift of the Holy Ghost. For if to His disciples He said, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;” 2104 much more would the rest of the people have utterly failed, had the chiefest of these mysteries been revealed to them before the proper time. Accordingly He forbids them to tell.
And to instruct thee how great a thing it was, their afterwards learning His doctrine complete, when the things that offend had passed by; learn it from this same leader of theirs. For this very Peter, he who after so many miracles proved so weak as even to deny Him, and to be in fear of a mean damsel; after the cross had come forth, and he had received the certain proofs of the resurrection, and there was nothing more to offend and trouble him, retained the teaching of the Spirit so immovable, that more vehemently than a lion he sprang upon the people of the Jews, for all the dangers and innumerable deaths which were threatened.
With reason then did He bid them not tell the many before the crucifixion, since not even to them that were to teach did He venture to commit all before the crucifixion. “For I have many things to say unto you,” saith He, “but ye cannot bear them now.”
And of the things too that He did say, they do not understand many, which He did not make plain before the crucifixion. At least when He was risen from the dead, then and not before they knew some of His sayings.
5. “From that time forth began He to show unto them that He must suffer. 2105 From p. 321 that time.” What time? When He had fixed the doctrine in them; when He had brought in the beginning of the Gentiles. 2106
But not even so did they understand what He said. “For the saying,” it is said, “was hid from them;” 2107 and they were as in a kind of perplexity, not knowing that He must rise again. Therefore He rather dwells on the difficulties, and enlarges His discourse, that He may open their mind, and they may understand what it can be that He speaks of.
“But they understood not, but the saying was hid from them, and they feared to ask this;” 2108 not whether He should die, but how, and in what manner, and what this mystery could be. For they did not even know what was this same rising again, and supposed it much better not to die. Therefore, the rest being troubled and in perplexity, Peter again, in his ardor, alone ventures to discourse of these things; and not even he openly, but when he had taken Him apart; that is, having separated himself from the rest of the disciples; and he saith, “Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee.” 2109 What ever is this? He that obtained a revelation, he that was blessed, hath he so soon fallen away, and suffered overthrow, so as to fear His passion? And what marvel, that one who had not on these points received any revelation, should have that feeling? Yea, to inform thee that not of himself did he speak those other things either, see in these matters that were not revealed to him how he is confounded and overthrown, and being told ten thousand times, knows not what the saying can mean.
Let them hear, as many as are ashamed of the suffering of the cross of Christ. For if the chief apostle, even before he had learnt all distinctly, was called Satan for feeling this, what excuse can they have, who after so abundant proof deny His economy? I say, when he who had been so blessed, who made such a confession, has such words addressed to him; consider what they will suffer, who after all this deny the mystery of the cross.
And He said not, “Satan spake by thee,” but, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” 2110 For indeed it was a desire of the adversary that Christ should not suffer. Therefore with such great severity did He rebuke him, as knowing that both he and the rest are especially afraid of this, and will not easily receive it.
Therefore He also reveals the thoughts of his mind, saying, “Thou savorest 2111 not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
But what means, “Thou savorest 2112 not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”? Peter examining the matter by human and earthly reasoning, accounted it disgraceful to Him and an unmeet thing. Touching him therefore sharply, 2113 He saith, “My passion is not an unmeet thing, but thou givest this sentence with a carnal mind; whereas if thou hadst hearkened to my sayings in a godly manner, disengaging thyself from thy carnal understanding, thou wouldest know that this of all things most becometh me. For thou indeed supposest that to suffer is unworthy of me; but I say unto thee, that for me not to suffer is of the devils mind;” by the contrary statements repressing his alarm.
Thus as John, accounting it unworthy of Christ to be baptized by him, was persuaded of Christ to baptize Him, He saying, “Thus it becometh us,” 2114 and this same Peter too, forbidding Him to wash his feet, by the words, “Thou hast no part with me, unless I wash thy feet;” 2115 even so here too He restrained him by the mention of the opposite, and by the severity of the reproof repressed his fear of suffering.
7. Let no man therefore be ashamed of the honored symbols of our salvation, and of the chiefest of all good things, whereby we even live, and whereby we are; but as a crown, so let us bear about the cross of Christ. Yea, for by it all things are wrought, that are wrought among us. Whether one is to be new-born, the cross is there; or to be nourished with that mystical food, or to be ordained, or to do anything else, everywhere our symbol of victory is present. Therefore both on house, and walls, and windows, and upon our forehead, and upon our mind, we inscribe it with much care.
For of the salvation wrought for us, and of our common freedom, and of the goodness of our Lord, this is the sign. “For as a p. 322 sheep was He led to the slaughter.” 2116 When therefore thou signest thyself, think of the purpose of the cross, and quench anger, and all the other passions. When thou signest thyself, fill thy forehead with all courage, make thy soul free. And ye know assuredly what are the things that give freedom. Wherefore also Paul leading us there, I mean unto the freedom that beseems us, did on this wise lead us unto it, having reminded us of the cross and blood of our Lord. “For ye are bought,” saith he, “with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 2117 Consider, saith he, the price that hath been paid for thee, and thou wilt be a slave to no man; by the price meaning the cross.
Since not merely by the fingers ought one to engrave it, but before this by the purpose of the heart with much faith. And if in this way thou hast marked it on thy face, none of the unclean spirits will be able to stand near thee, seeing the blade whereby he received his wound, seeing the sword which gave him his mortal stroke. For if we, on seeing the places in which the criminals are beheaded, shudder; think what the devil must endure, seeing the weapon, whereby Christ put an end to all his power, and cut off the head of the dragon.
Be not ashamed then of so great a blessing, lest Christ be ashamed of thee, when He comes with His glory, and the sign appears before Him, shining beyond the very sunbeam. 2118 For indeed the cross cometh then, uttering a voice by its appearance, and pleading with the whole world for our Lord, and signifying that no part hath failed of what pertained to Him.
This sign, both in the days of our forefathers and now, hath opened doors that were shut up; 2119 this hath quenched poisonous drugs; 2120 this hath taken away the power of hemlock; this hath healed bites of venomous beasts. For if it opened the gates of hell, and threw wide the archways of Heaven, and made a new entrance into Paradise, and cut away the nerves of the devil; what marvel, if it prevailed over poisonous drugs, and venomous beasts, and all other such things.
This therefore do thou engrave upon thy mind, and embrace the salvation of our souls. For this cross saved and converted the world, drove away error, brought back truth, made earth Heaven, fashioned men into angels. Because of this, the devils are no longer terrible, but contemptible; neither is death, death, but a sleep; because of this, all that warreth against us is cast to the ground, and trodden under foot.
If any one therefore say to thee, Dost thou worship the crucified? say, with your voice all joy, and your countenance gladdened, “I do both worship Him, and will never cease to worship.” And if he laugh, weep for him, because he is mad. Thank the Lord, that He hath bestowed on us such benefits, as one cannot so much as learn without His revelation from above. Why, this is the very reason of his laughing, that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit.” 2121 Since our children too feel this, when they see any of the great and marvellous things; and if thou bring a child into the mysteries, he will laugh. Now the heathen are like these children; or rather they are more imperfect even than these; wherefore also they are more wretched, in that not in an immature age, but when full grown, they have the feelings of babes; wherefore neither are they worthy of indulgence.
But let us with a clear voice, shouting both loud and high, cry out and say (and should all the heathen be present, so much the more confidently), that the cross is our glory, and the sum of all our blessings, and our confidence, and all our crown. I would that also with Paul I were able to say, “By which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world;” 2122 but I cannot, restrained as I am by various passions.
8. Wherefore I admonish both you, and surely before you myself, to be crucified to the world, and to have nothing in common with the earth, but to set your love on your country above, and the glory and the good things that come from it. For indeed we are soldiers of a heavenly King, and are clad with spiritual arms. Why then take we upon ourselves the life of traders, and mountebanks, nay rather of worms? For where the King is, there should also the soldier be. Yea, we are become soldiers, not of them that are far off, but of them that are near. For the earthly king indeed would not endure that all should be in the royal courts, and at his own side, but the King of the Heavens willeth all to be near His royal throne.
And how, one may say, is it possible for us, being here, to stand by that throne? Because Paul too being on earth was where the seraphim, where the cherubim are; and nearer to Christ, than these the body guards to the king. For these turn about their faces in many directions, but him nothing beguiled p. 323 nor distracted, but he kept his whole mind intent upon the king. So that if we would, this is possible to us also.
For were He distant from us in place, thou mightest well doubt, but if He is present everywhere, to him that strives and is in earnest He is near. Wherefore also the prophet said, “I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; 2123 ” and God Himself again, “I am a God nigh at hand, and not a God afar off.” 2124 Then as our sins separate us from Him, so do our righteousnesses draw us nigh unto Him. “For while thou art yet speaking,” it is said, “I will say, Here I am.” 2125 What father would ever be thus obedient to his offspring? What mother is there, so ready, and continually standing, if haply her children call her? There is not one, no father, no mother: but God stands continually waiting, if any of his servants should perchance call Him; and never, when we have called as we ought, hath He refused to hear. Therefore He saith, “While thou art yet speaking,” I do not wait for thee to finish, and I straightway hearken.
9. Let us call Him therefore, as it is His will to be called. But what is this His will? “Loose,” saith He, “every band of iniquity, unloose the twisted knots of oppressive covenants, tear in pieces every unjust contract. Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring in the poor that are cast out to thy house. If thou seest one naked, cover him, and them that belong to thy seed thou shalt not overlook. Then shall thy light break forth in the morning, and thine healings shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall cover thee. Then thou shalt call upon me, and I will give ear unto thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, I will say, Lo! here I am.” 2126
Why, so entirely are they not possible only, but even easy, that many have actually overshot the measure of those sayings, not only tearing in pieces unjust contracts, but even stripping themselves of all their goods; making the poor welcome not to roof and table, but even to the sweat of their body, and laboring in order to maintain them; doing good not to kinsmen only, but even to enemies.
But what is there at all even hard in these sayings? For neither did He say, “Pass over the mountain, go across the sea, dig through so many acres of land, abide without food, wrap thyself in sackcloth;” but, “Impart to the poor, 2127 impart of thy bread, cancel the contracts unjustly made.”
For much as our emperors at the horse races heap together before the combatants crowns, and prizes, and garments, even so Christ also sets His rewards in the midst of His course, holding them out by the prophets words, as it were by many hands. And the emperors, although they be ten thousand times emperors, yet as being men, and the wealth which they have in a course of spending, and their munificence of exhaustion, are ambitious of making the little appear much; wherefore also they commit each thing severally into the hand of the several attendants, and so bring it forward. But our King contrariwise, having heaped all together (because He is very rich, and doeth nothing for display), He so brings it forward, and what He so reaches out is indefinitely great, and will need many hands to hold it. And to make thee aware of this, examine each particular of it carefully.
“Then,” saith He, “shall thy light break forth in the morning.” 2128 Doth not this gift appear to thee as some one thing? But it is not one; nay, for it hath many things in it, both prizes, and crowns, and other rewards. And, if ye are minded, let us take it to pieces and show all its wealth, as it shall be possible for us to show it; only do not ye grow weary.
And first, let us learn the meaning of “It shall break forth.” For He said not at all, “shall appear,” but “shall break forth;” declaring to us its quickness and plentifulness, and how exceedingly He desires our salvation, and how the good things themselves travail to come forth, and press on; and that which would check their unspeakable force shall be nought; by all which He indicates their plentifulness, and the infinity of His abundance. But what is “the morning.” It means, “not after being in lifes temptations, neither after our evils have come upon us;” nay, it is quite beforehand with them. For as in our fruits, we call that early, which has shown itself before its season; so also here again, declaring its rapidity, he has spoken p. 324 in this way, much as above He said, “Whilst thou art yet speaking, I will say, Lo! here I am.”
But of what manner of light is He speaking, and what can this light be? Not this, that is sensible; but another far better, which shows us Heaven, the angels, the archangels, the cherubim, the seraphim, the thrones, the dominions, the principalities, the powers, the whole host, the royal palaces, the tabernacles. For shouldest thou be counted worthy of this light, thou shalt both see these, and be delivered from hell, and from the venomous worm, and from the gnashing of teeth, and from the bonds that cannot be broken, and from the anguish and the affliction, from the darkness that hath no light, and from being cut asunder, and from the river of fire, and from the curse, and from the abodes of sorrow; and thou shalt depart, “where sorrow and woe are fled away,” 2129 where great is the joy, and the peace, and the love, and the pleasure, and the mirth; where is life eternal, and unspeakable glory, and inexpressible beauty; where are eternal tabernacles, and the untold glory of the King, and those good things, “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man;” 2130 where is the spiritual bridechamber, and the apartments of the heavens, and the virgins that bear the bright lamps, and they who have the marriage garment; where many are the possessions of our Lord, and the storehouses of the King.
So also by unfolding each of the expressions that follow, we shall find our abundance great, and the ocean immense. Shall we then still delay, I beg you; and be backward to show mercy on them that are in need? Nay, I entreat, but though we must throw away all, be cast into the fire, venture against the sword, leap upon daggers, suffer what you will; let us bear all easily, that we may obtain the garment of the kingdom of Heaven, and that untold glory; which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might, world without end. Amen.
[R.V., “And Jesus went out thence and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders, and cried.” But Chrysostom agrees with the rec. text, in adding “unto Him.” There is some doubt as to the correct form of the Greek verb rendered “cried,” both in the New Testament and in Chrysostoms text.—R.]311:2019 311:2020 311:2021
Matt. x. 5. [R.T. “any way.”]311:2022 311:2023 311:2024 312:2025 312:2026 312:2027 312:2028 312:2029 313:2030 313:2031 313:2032 313:2033 313:2034 313:2035 313:2036 313:2037 313:2038 313:2039 313:2040
Matt. xv. 29-31. [Comp. the more exact rendering of the R.V., “the dumb speaking,” etc.]314:2041 314:2042 315:2043 315:2044 315:2045
Matt. xv. 33. [R.V., “in a desert place.”]315:2046 315:2047 315:2048 316:2049 316:2050 316:2051 316:2052
σπυρδε. That the σπυρς was of large size would appear from Acts ix. 25, where this word is again used. Κφινο is the word commonly used by the LXX. for basket; that it was in common use among the Jews seems proved by the well-known line in Juvenal, Sat. iii. 14. “Judæis, quorum cophinus fænumque suppellex.” See also Sat. vi. 541, 542. Tr.316:2053 316:2054 316:2055 316:2056
Matt. xv. 39. [R.V., “Magadan,” following a better supported reading; so Jerome, Augustin, and others.—R.]316:2057 316:2058 316:2059 316:2060 316:2061 316:2062 317:2063 317:2064 317:2065 317:2066
Ps. lxxii. 6. [LXX.]317:2067 317:2068
Matt. xvi. 7. [R.V., “We took no bread;” ὅτι being recitantis.]317:2069
Matt. xiv. 8. [R.V., “because ye have no bread ?” Chrysostom agrees with the rec. text.—R.]317:2070 317:2071 317:2072 318:2073
Matt. xvi. 11. [See R.V., for a different reading.]318:2074 318:2075 318:2076 318:2077 318:2078 318:2079 318:2080 318:2081 318:2082 319:2083 319:2084 319:2085 319:2086 319:2087 319:2088 319:2089 319:2090 319:2091 319:2092 319:2093 319:2094
[Chrysostom reads κα γ δ, probably from Matt. 16.18, as none of our authorities have this fuller form.—R.]319:2095
Matt. xvi. 19. [The text is peculiar in omitting τ βασιλεα. The translator has here rendered τν ορανν, “the heavens;” but not in all similar instances. The English versions generally disregard the plural form.—R.]319:2096 319:2097 320:2098 320:2099 320:2100
John i. 3. [The Greek text omits ὃ γγονεν “which was made.”]320:2101 320:2102 320:2103 320:2104 320:2105 321:2106 321:2107 321:2108 321:2109
Matt. xvi. 22. [R.V., “this shall never be unto thee.”]321:2110 321:2111 321:2112 321:2113 321:2114 321:2115 322:2116 322:2117
1 Cor. vii. 23. [R.V., “become not bondservants of men.”]322:2118
See S. Cyril, Catech. xiii. 41. Oxf. Trans. and the note there: see also especially hereafter on S. Matth. xxiv. 30, Hom. LXXVI.322:2119 322:2120 322:2121 322:2122 323:2123 323:2124 323:2125 323:2126
Is. lviii. 6-9. [LXX., see note above.]323:2127
[το οκεοι, “thy kinsmen,” taken from Isa. lviii. 7., LXX., last clause (see above.)—R.]323:2128 324:2129 324:2130
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