Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles: Homily XLI on Acts xix. 8, 9.
Acts 19:8, 9
“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.”
(a) See him in every place forcing his way into the synagogue, and in this manner departing thence. For in every place, he wished to have the occasion given him by them. 950 (c) He wished to separate the disciples thence, and to have the beginning for ceasing to assemble with them, given by (the Jews) themselves. And it was not for nothing that he did this (b) which I have said. He was henceforth “provoking them to jealousy.” For both the Gentiles readily received him, and the Jews, upon the Gentiles receiving him, repented. (a) This is why he continually made a stir among them, 951 “for three months arguing and persuading concerning the kingdom of God:” for you must not suppose because you hear of his “speaking boldly,” that there was any harshness: it was of good things that he discoursed, of a kingdom: who would not have heard him? “But when divers were hardened, speaking evil of the way.” They might well call it “the way;” this was indeed the way, that led into the kingdom of heaven. “He departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this was done for the space of two years, so that all that were in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19.10.) (a) Do you mark how much was effected by his persisting? 952 “Both Jews and Greeks heard: (c) all that dwelt in Asia:” it was for this also that the Lord suffered him not to go into Asia (Acts 16.6) (on a former occasion); waiting, as it seems to me, for this same conjuncture. (Hom. xl. p. 245.) (b) “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11, 12.) Not touched the wearer only (and so were healed), but also receiving them, they laid them upon the sick (and so healed them). 953 (g) “He that believeth on Me,” saith Christ, “doeth greater works than those which I do.” (John xiv. 12.) This, and the miracle of the shadows is what He meant (in those words). (d) “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” (Acts 19.13.) So entirely did they do all by way of trade! Observe: vagabond, or, itinerant, Jewish exorcists. And to believe indeed, they had no mind; but by that Name they wished to cast out the demons. “By Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.” Only see what a name Paul had got! “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19.14-16.) They did it in secret: then their impotence is publicly exposed. (f) Then not the Name does anything, unless it be spoken with faith. (h) See how they used their weapons against themselves! (j) So far were they from thinking Jesus to be anything great: no, they must needs add Paul, as thinking him to be something great. Here one may marvel how it was that the demon did not cooperate with the imposture of the exorcists, but on the contrary exposed them, and laid open their stage-play. He seems to me (to have done this) in exceeding wrath: just as it might be, if a person being in uttermost peril, should be exposed by some pitiful creature, and wish to vent all his rage upon him. “Jesus I know, and Paul I know.” For, that there may not seem to be any slight put upon the Name of Jesus, (the demon) first confesses (Him), and then has permission given him. For, to show that it was not any weakness of the Name, but all owing to the imposture of those men, why did not the same take place in the case of Paul? “They fled out of that house naked and wounded:” he sorely battered their heads, perhaps rent their garments. (e) “And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus, and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many of them that had believed came confessing and making known their practices.” (Acts 19:17, 18.) For since they had got to possess such power as, by means of the demons, to do such things, well might this be the consequence. “And many of them that practised curious arts, brought their books together, and burnt them in the presence of all men;”—having seen that there was no more use of them now that the demons themselves do these things—“and reckoned up the price of them, and found the amount fifty thousand pieces of silver. 954 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:19, 20.) (i) “And” 955 (so) “he disputed,” in the school of one Tyrannus for two years:” where were believers, and believers exceedingly (advanced in the faith). Moreover (Paul) writes (to them) as to great men.
(Recapitulation.) (b) “And having entered in to the synagogue,” etc. (Acts 19.8.) But 956 why ἐπαρρησιάζετο? It means, he was ready to confront dangers, and disputed more openly, not veiling the doctrines. (a) “But when some were hardened, and spake evil of the way, having departed from them, he separated the disciples.” (Acts 19.9.) He put a stop, it means, to their evil-speaking: he did not wish to kindle their envy, nor to bring them into more contention. (c) Hence let us also learn not to put ourselves in the way of evil-speaking men, but to depart from them: he did not speak evil, when himself evil spoken of. “He disputed daily,” and by this gained the many, that, being evil intreated and (evil) spoken of, he did not (utterly) break away from them, and keep aloof. (e) The evil-speakers are defeated. They calumniated the doctrine itself; (therefore) so as neither to rouse the disciples to wrath, nor * * them, he withdrew, 957 showing that everywhere alike they repel salvation from them. Here now he does not even apologize, seeing that the Gentiles everywhere have believed. “In the school of one Tyrannus:” it was not that he sought the place, but without more ado where there was a school (there he discoursed). 958 (d) And look, no sooner is the trial from those without over, than this from the demons begins. Mark the infatuated Jewish hardness. Having seen his garments working miracles, they paid no heed to it. What could be greater than this? But, on the contrary, it resulted in just the opposite effect. If any of the heathens believe not, having seen the (very) dust working these effects, let him believe. 959 (f) Wonderful, how great the power of them that have believed! Both Simon for the sake of merchandise sought the grace of the Spirit, and these for this object did this. What hardness (of heart)! Why does not Paul rebuke them? It would have looked like envy, therefore it is so ordered. This same took place in the case of Christ (Mark ix. 36): but then the person is not hindered, for it was the beginning of the new state of things: since Judas also is not hindered, whereas Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead: and many Jews even for opposing (Christ) suffered nothing, while Elymas was blinded. “For I am not come,” saith Christ, “to judge the world, but that the world might be saved.” (John iii. 17.) “And seven sons,” etc. (Acts 19.14.) See the villany of the men! They still continued to be Jews, while wishing to make a gain of that Name. All that they did was for glory and profit. (g) Look, 960 in every case, how men are converted not so much in consequence of good things as of things fearful. In the case of Sapphira, fear fell upon the Church, and men dared not join themselves to them: here they received handkerchiefs and aprons, and were healed: and after this, then they came confessing their sins. (Hereby) the power of the demons is shown to be a great one, when it is against unbelievers. For why did he not say, “Who is Jesus?” He was afraid, lest he also should suffer punishment; but, that it might be permitted him to take revenge upon those who mocked him, he did this; “Jesus,” says he, “I know,” etc. He was in dread of Paul. For why did not those wretched men say to him, We believe? How much more splendid an appearance they would have made had they said this, that is, if they had claimed Him as their Master? But instead of that, they spoke even those senseless words, “By Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.” Do you mark the forbearance (of the writer), how he writes history and does not call names? This makes the Apostles admirable. “And the evil spirit,” etc. (Acts 19.15), for what had happened at Philippi (Acts 16.16) had given a lesson to these also. He mentions the name, and the number, thereby giving to the persons then living a credible proof of what he wrote. And why were they itinerant? For the sake of merchandise: not assuredly to bear tidings of the word; how should that be their object? And 961 how ran they anon, preaching by the things they suffered? “Insomuch,” it says, “that all that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord.” Ought not this to have converted all? And marvel not, for nothing convinces malice. But come now, let us look at the affair of the exorcists, with what an evil disposition (they acted). Why the same was not done in the case of Christ, is an inquiry for another time, and not for the present, save that this also was well and usefully ordered. It seems to me that they did this also in mockery, and that in consequence of this (punishment), none dared even at random to name that Name. Why did this put them upon confession? Because this was a most mighty argument of Gods omniscience (therefore), before they should be exposed by the demons, they accused themselves, fearing lest they should suffer the same things. For when the demons their helpers are their accusers, what hope is there thenceforth, save the confession by deeds?
But see, I pray you, after such signs had been wrought, what evils within a short space ensue. Such is human nature: it soon forgets. Or, do ye not remember what has been the case among ourselves? Did not God last year shake our whole city? 962 Did not all run to baptism? Did not whoremongers and effeminate and corrupt persons leave their dwellings, and the places where they spent their time, and change and become religious? But three days passed, and they returned again to their own proper wickedness. And whence is this? From the excessive laziness. And what marvel if, when the things have passed away (this be the case), seeing that, the images lasting perpetually, the result is such? The fate of Sodom—say, does it not still last (in its effects)? 963 Well, did the dwellers beside it become any the better? And what say you to the son of Noah? Was he not such (as he is represented), did he not see with his eyes so vast a desolation, and yet was wicked? Then let us not marvel how, when such things had been done, these Jews (at Ephesus) believe not, when we see that belief itself often comes round for them into its opposite, 964 into malignity; as, for instance, when they say that He hath a devil, He, the Son of God! Do you not see these things even now, and how men are many of them like serpents, both faithless and thankless, men who, viper-like, when they have enjoyed benefits and have been warmed by some, then they sting their benefactors? This we have said, lest any should marvel, how, such signs having been wrought, they were not all converted. For behold, in our own times happened those (miracles) relating to the martyr Babylas, 965 those relating to Jerusalem, those relating to the destruction of the temples, and not all were converted. Why need I speak of ancient things? I have told you what happened last year; and none gave heed to it, but again little by little they fell off and sunk back. The heaven stands perpetually crying aloud that it has a Master, and that it is the work of an Artificer, all this that we see—I mean the world—and yet some say that it is not so. What happened to that Theodorus last year—whom did it not startle? And yet nothing came of it, but having for a season become religious, they returned to the point from which they had started in their attempt to be religious. So it was with the Jews. This is what the Prophet said of them: “When He slew them, then they sought Him, and turned early unto God.” (Ps. lxxviii. 34.) And what need to speak of those things that are common to all? How many have fallen into diseases, how many have promised, if raised up, to work so great a change, and yet they have again become the same as ever! This, if nothing else, shows that we have natural free-will—our changing all at once. Were evil natural, this would not be: things that are natural and necessary, we cannot change from. “And yet,” you will say, “we do change from them. For do we not see some, who have the natural faculty to see, but are blinded by fear?” (True—) because this also is natural: * * if a different (necessity of) nature come not also into operation: 966 (thus) it is natural to us, that being terrified we do not see; it is natural to us that when a greater fear supervenes, the other gives way. “What then,” you will say, “if right-mindedness 967 be indeed according to nature, but fear having overpowered it cast it out?” What then if I shall show that some even then are not brought to a right mind, but even in these fears are reckless? Is this natural? Shall I speak of ancient things? Well then, of recent? How many in the midst of those fears continued laughing, mocking, and experienced nothing of the sort? Did not Pharaoh change immediately, and (as quickly) run back to his former wickedness? But here, as if (the demons) knew Him not, they (the exorcists) added, “Whom Paul preacheth,” whereas they ought to have said, “the Saviour of the world.” “Him that rose again.” By this they show that they do know, but they did not choose to confess His glory. Wherefore the demon exposes them, leaping upon them, and saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” So that not ye are believers, but ye abuse that Name when ye say this. Therefore the Temple is desolate, 968 the implement easy to be overcome. So that ye are not preachers; mine, says he, ye are. Great was the wrath of the demon. The Apostles had power to do this to them, but they did it not as yet. For they that had power over the demons that did these things to them, much more had power over the men themselves. Mark how their forbearance is shown, in that they whom they repulsed do these things, while the demons whom they courted do the contrary. “Jesus,” says he, “I know.” Be ashamed, ye that are ignorant (of Him). “And Paul I know.” Well said, “Think not that it is because I despise them, that I do these things.” Great was the fear of the demon. And why without these words did he not rend their garments? For so he would both have sated his wrath, and established the delusion. He feared as I said, the unapproachable force, and would not have had such power had he not said this. But observe how we find the demons everywhere more right minded (than the Jews), not daring to contradict nor accuse the Apostles, or Christ. There they say, “We know Thee who Thou art” (Matt. viii. 29); and, “Why art Thou come hither before the time to torment us” (Mark i. 24): and again, “I know Thee who Thou art, the Son of God.” And here, “These men are servants of the most high God” (Acts 16.17): and again, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know.” For they exceedingly feared and trembled before those holy persons. Perhaps some one of you, hearing of these things, wishes he were possessed of this power, so that the demons should not be able to look him in the face, and accounts those saints happy for this, that they had such power. But let him hear Christ saying, “Rejoice not because the demons are subject unto you” (Luke x. 20), because He knew that all men rejoice most in this, through vainglory. For if thou seekest that which pleaseth God, and that which is for the common good, there is another, a greater way. It is not so great to free from a demon as it is to rescue from sin. A demon hinders not to attain unto the kingdom of Heaven, nay, even cooperates, unwillingly indeed, but nevertheless cooperates by making him that has the demon more sober-minded; but sin casts a man out.
But it is likely some man will say, “God forbid it should ever befall me to be sobered in this way!” Nor do I wish it for you, but a very different way, that you should do all from love of Christ: if however, which God forbid, it should so befall you, then even on this behalf I would comfort you. If then the demon does not cast out (from the kingdom of heaven), but sin does cast out, to free a man from sin is greater beneficence.
From this let us study to free our neighbors, and before our neighbors, our own selves. Let us see to it, lest we have a demon: let us examine ourselves strictly. More grievous than a demon is sin, for the demon makes men humble. See ye not those possessed with a demon, when they have recovered from the attack, how downcast they are, of how sad a countenance, how fraught with shame their faces are, how they have not even courage to look one in the face? See the strange inconsistency! While those are ashamed on account of the things they suffer, we are not ashamed on account of the things we do; while they are abashed being wronged, we are not abashed when doing wrong: and yet their condition is not a subject for shame, but for pity and tenderness and indulgence: nay, great is the admiration it calls for, and many the praises, when struggling against such a spirit, they bear all thankfully: whereas our condition in very deed is a subject for ridicule, for shame, for accusation, for correction, for punishment, for the worst of evils, for hell-fire; calling for no compassion whatever. Seest thou, that worse than a demon is sin? And those indeed, from the ills they suffer, reap a double profit: first, their being sobered and brought to more self-control; then, that having suffered here the chastisement of their own sins, they depart hence to their Master, purified. For indeed upon this we have often discoursed to you, that those who are punished here, if they bear it thankfully, may naturally be supposed to put away thereby many of their sins. Whereas from sins the mischief resulting is twofold; first, that we offend; secondly, that we become worse. Attend to what I say. Not this is the only injury we get from sin, that we commit a sin: but another and a worse is this, that our soul receives a habit. Just as it is in the case of the body—for it will be more plain when put in the form of an example—as he who has taken a fever has got harm not only in this respect, that he is sick, but also that after the sickness he is become weaker, even though he may return to health after a long disease: just so in the case of sin, though we may regain health, yet we are far from having the strength we need. For 969 take the case of one who has been insolently abusive: does he not suffer his deserts for his abusive conduct? Aye, but there is another and a worse thing to rue (which is), that his soul is become more insensible to shame. For from each several sin that is committed, even after the sin has been done and has ceased, there remains a kind of venom instilled into our souls. Do you not hear people saying, when they are recovered from sickness, “I dare not drink water now?” And yet the man has regained his health: aye, but the disease has done him this harm also. And whereas those (possessed) persons, albeit suffering ill, are thankful, we, when faring well, blaspheme God, and think ourselves very ill used: for you will find more persons behaving thus in health and wealth than in poverty and sickness. For there stands the demon over (the possessed), like a very hangman, fierce, uttering many (menaces), even as a schoolmaster brandishing the lash, and not suffering them to give way to any laxity. And suppose that some are not at all brought to a sober mind, neither are these liable to punishment; 970 no small thing this: even as fools, even as madmen and children, are not called to account, so neither are these: since for things that are done in a state of unconsciousness, none can be so merciless as to call the doers to account. Why then, in a far worse condition than those who are possessed of evil sprits are we that sin. We do not, indeed, foam at the mouth, nor distort our eyes, or throw about our hands convulsively; but as for this, would that we did it in our body and not in our soul! Will you that I show you a soul, foaming, filthy, and a distortion of the minds eyes? Think of those who are in a passion and drunken with rage; can any form be filthier than the words they discharge? In very deed it is like a sputtering of noisome slaver. And just as the possessed know none of those who are present, so neither do these. Their understanding darkened, their eyes distorted, they see not who is friend, who foe, who worthy of respect, who contemptible, but they see all alike without a difference. And then, do you not see them, how they tremble, just like those others? But they do not fall to the ground, say you? True, but their soul lies on the ground and falls there in convulsions: since had it stood upright, it would not have come into the condition it is in. Or think you not that it betokens a soul abjectly sprawling and lost to all self-possession, the things men can do and say when drunken with rage? There is also another form of madness worse than this. What may this be? When men cannot so much as suffer themselves to vent their anger, but instead of that nourish within their own bosoms, to their own proper hurt, 971 as it were a very hangman with his lash, the rancorous remembrance of wrongs. For it is a bane to themselves first, the malice that they bear. To say nothing of the things to come, what torture, think you, must that man undergo in the scourging of his soul, as day by day he looks how he may avenge himself on his enemy? He chastises himself first, and suffers punishment, swelling (with suppressed passion), fighting against himself, setting himself on fire. For needs must the fire be always burning within thee: while raising the fever to such a height, and not suffering it to wane, thou thinkest thou art inflicting some evil on the other, whereas thou art wasting thyself, ever bearing about with thee a flame which is always at its height, and not letting thy soul have rest, but evermore being in a state of fury, and having thy thoughts in a turmoil and tempest. What is more grievous than this madness, to be always smarting with pain, and ever swelling and inflamed? For such are the souls of the resentful: when they see him on whom they wish to be revenged, straightway it is as if a blow were struck them: if they hear his voice, they cower and tremble: if they be on their bed, they picture to themselves numberless revenges, hanging, torturing that enemy of theirs: and if, beside all this, they see him also to be in renown, O! the misery they suffer! Forgive him the offence, and free thyself from the torment. Why continue always in a state of punishment, that thou mayest once punish him, and take thy revenge? Why establish for thyself a hectic disease? 972 Why, when thy wrath would fain depart from thee, dost thou keep it back? Let it not remain until the evening, says Paul. (Eph. iv. 26.) For like some eating rot or moth, even so does it gnaw through the very root of our understanding. Why shut up a beast within thy bowels? Better a serpent or an adder to lie within thy heart, than anger and resentment: for those indeed would soon have done with us, but this remains forever fixing in us its fangs, instilling its poison, letting loose upon us an invading host of bitter thoughts. “That he should laugh me to scorn,” say you, “that he should despise me!” 973 O wretched, miserable man, wouldest thou not be ridiculed by thy fellow-servant, and wouldest thou be hated by thy Master? Wouldest thou not be despised by thy fellow-servant, and despisest thou thy Master?
To be despised by him, is it more than thou canst bear, but thinkest thou not that God is indignant, because thou ridiculest Him, because thou despisest Him, when thou wilt not do as He bids thee? But that thine enemy will not even ridicule thee, is manifest from hence (that), whereas if thou follow up the revenge, great is the ridicule, great the contempt, for this is a mark of a little mind; on the contrary, if thou forgive him, great is the admiration, for this is a mark of greatness of soul. But you will say, he knows not this. Let God know it, that thou mayest have the greater reward. For He says, “Lend to those of whom ye hope not to receive.” (Luke vi. 34.) So let us also do good to those who do not even perceive that one is doing them good, that they may not, by returning to us praise or any other thing, lessen our reward. For when we receive nothing from men, then we shall receive greater things from God. But what is more worthy of ridicule, what more paltry, than a soul which is always in anger, and wishing to take revenge? It is womanly, this disposition, it is babyish. For as the babes are angry even with lifeless things, and unless the mother beats the ground, they will not let go their anger: 974 so do these persons wish to revenge themselves on those who have aggrieved them. Why then, it is they who are worthy of ridicule: for to be overcome by passion, is the mark of a childish understanding, but to overcome it, is a sign of manliness. Why then, not we are the objects of ridicule, when we keep our temper, but they. It is not this that makes men contemptible—not to be conquered by passion: what makes them contemptible is this—to be so afraid of ridicule from without, as on this account to choose to subject ones self to ones besetting passion, and to offend God, and take revenge upon ones self. These things are indeed worthy of ridicule. Let us flee them. Let a man say, that having done us numberless ills, he has suffered nothing in return: let him say that he might again frantically assault us, and have nothing to fear. Why, in no other (better) way could he have proclaimed our virtue; no other words would he have sought, if he had wished to praise us, than those which he seems to say in abuse. Would that all men said these things of me: “he is a poor tame creature; all men heap insults on him, but he bears it: all men trample upon him, but he does not avenge himself.” Would that they added, “neither, if he should wish to do so, can he:” that so I might have praise from God, and not from men. Let him say, that it is for want of spirit that we do not avenge ourselves. This does us no hurt, when God knows (all): it does but cause our treasure to be in greater safety. If we are to have regard to them, we shall fall away from everything. Let us not look to what they say, but to what becomes us. But, says he, “Let no man ridicule me,” and some make a boast of this. O! what folly! “No man,” says he, “having injured me, has ridiculed me:” that is, “I had my revenge.” And yet for this thou deservest to be ridiculed, that thou didst take revenge. Whence came these words among us—being, as they are, a disgrace to us and a pest, an overthrow of our own proper life and of our discipline? It is in downright opposition to God that thou (so) speakest. The very thing which makes thee equal to God—the not avenging thyself—this thou thinkest a subject for ridicule! Are not we for these things worthy to be laughed at, both by ourselves, and by the heathen, when we thus speak against God? I wish to tell you a story of a thing that happened in the old times (which they tell) not on the subject of anger, but of money. A man had an estate in which there was a hidden treasure, unknown to the owner: this piece of ground he sold. The buyer, when digging it for the purpose of planting and cultivation, found the treasure therein deposited, and came 975 and wanted to oblige the seller to receive the treasure, urging that he had bought a piece of ground, not a treasure. The seller on his part repudiated the gift, saying, “The piece of ground (is not mine), I have sold it, and I have no concern whatever with this (treasure).” So they fell to altercation about it, the one wishing to give it, the other standing out against receiving it. So chancing upon some third person, they argued the matter before him, and said to him, “To whom ought the treasure to be assigned?” The man could not settle that question; he said, however, that he would put an end to their dispute—he would (if they pleased) be master of it himself. So he received the treasure, which they willingly gave up to him; and in the sequel got into troubles without end, and learnt by actual experience that they had done well to have nothing to do with it. So ought it be done likewise with regard to anger; both ourselves ought to be emulous 976 not to take revenge, and those who have aggrieved us, emulous to give satisfaction. But perhaps these things also seem to be matter of ridicule: for when that madness is widely prevalent among men, those who keep their temper are laughed at, and among many madmen he who is not a madman seems to be mad. Wherefore I beseech you that we may recover (from this malady), and come to our senses, that becoming pure from this pernicious passion, we may be enabled to attain unto the kingdom of heaven, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
mss. and Edd. Πανταχοῦ γὰρ παῤ αὐτῶν ἐβούλετο λαβεῖν ἀφορμὴν, ὅπερ ἔφην. Τά τε γὰρ ἔθνη παρεζήλου λοιπὸν καὶ ῥαδίως κ. τ. λ. In παρεζήλου there is an allusion to Rom. xi. 14, “if by any means I may provoke them to jealousy:” its subject therefore should be “the Apostle” (nam et gentes exstimulabat jam, Erasm.) “he was henceforth provoking to jealousy, being what he said to the Romans, “If by any means I may provoke,” etc., not “the Gentiles,” as Ben. makes it, nam gentes jam zelo fervebant. Besides transposing the parts b, c, we read, Παρεζήλου λοιπόν. Τά τε γὰρ ἔθυη ῥαδίως.…But perhaps it should be Παρεζήλου λοιπὸν, ὅπερ ἔφη “Εἰ πῶς παραζηλώσω κ. τ. λ.”i:951
Διὰ τοῦτο ἐνοχλεῖ (ἠνώχλει Sav.) αὐτοῖς συνεχῶς μεταπείθων, old text, retained by Saville. He is explaining why St. Paul still resorted to the synagogues, though an unwelcome visitant. He wished to separate the Church from the Synagogue: but he would not himself take the first step towards this. It must be the act of the Jews. Therefore until they by their outrageous conduct obliged him to depart, he kept on troubling them with his presence (εἰσωθοῦντα, ἠνώχλει). Not that his discourse was harsh: that word, ἐπαρρησ., does not mean this, but that he spoke freely and without reserve. (Recapitulation)—The unusual word μεταπείθων is probably a corruption of the abbreviation of the text-words, ἐπὶ μῆνας τρεῖς διαλεγ. καὶ πείθων, which the reporter may have written thus, μ. τ. πείθων.—Mod. text substitutes Διὰ τοῦτο διελέγετο αὐτοῖς συνεχῶς ὅτι ἔπειθε.i:952
πόσον ἤνυσεν ἡ ἐπιστασία. Cat., ἀποστασία, with reference to ἀποστὰς in Acts 19.9.—The letters marking the order in which the parts are given in the mss. will show the extreme confusion into which the notes of this Homily have fallen.i:953
Οὐχὶ φοροῦντες ἥπτοντο μόνον. Edd. i.e., “The process was not only this, that persons bearing these things, by touching the sick healed them, but the things themselves simply laid upon the sick were effectual for their healing.” But A. C. Cat. φοροῦντος, which is much better: “It was not only that they touched him (the Apostle) wearing these things”—viz. as the woman was healed by touching the hem of Christs garment—“but receiving them, they laid them upon the sick,” etc.—In the next sentence (g), for τοῦτο καὶ τὸ τῶν σκιῶν ἐστιν ὅπερ ἔλεγεν, (which Sav. gives in marg.), Edd. have τοῦτο τὸ τῶν σκιῶν αἰνιττόμενος, which Ben. renders has umbras insinuans. St. Chrys. elsewhere alleges the miraculous efficacy of St. Pauls garments and of St. Peters shadow, in illustration of our Lords saying, t. i. 537. A. t. ii. 53. C.i:954
Ephesus was famous for its sorcerers and magicians. Plutarch and Eustathius speak of Ephesian letters (᾽Εφέσια γράμματα) which, written on slips, were carried about as charms and had power to assure success and avert disaster. The περίεργα were arts connected with this sorcery and the books burned contained, no doubt, mysterious sentences and symbols which gave to them an extravagant worth in the eyes of the superstitious. In this way the large price set upon them may be accounted for.—G.B.S.i:955
The meaning seems to be, Such was the effect of his two years preaching at Ephesus: and his Epistle shows what high attainments in the faith were made by the Ephesians.i:956
The partial restoration which is here attempted implies this scheme of the derangement: 2, 1.: 1, 3, 2, 4: see note 3, p. 252.i:957
ὡς μήτε τοὺς μαθητὰς εἰς θυμὸν ἐγεῖραι, μήτε ἐκείνους ἀναχωρῆσαι. Mod. text. transposes εἰς θ. ἐγεῖραι ανδ ἀναχωρ. We read ἀνεχώρησε. The verb either to ἐκείνους or to τοὺς μαθητάς is probably lost.i:958
Some have supposed Tyrannus to have been a Jewish teacher, who conducted a school in a private synagogue—a Beth Midrash (so Meyer). In this view, Paul and his companions, on account of the opposition which they encountered, separated themselves from the public synagogue, and betook them to this private Jewish school. But Tyrannus is a Greek name and the more common and preferable opinion is that he was a teacher of philosophy or rhetoric who had become a Christian and in whose apartments both Jews and Gentiles could meet without molestation.—G.B.S.i:959
τὴν κόνιν ταῦτα ἐργαζομένην, πιστευέτω, B. C. Cat. But A. substitutes κόρην, Mod. text σκίαν. He seems to allude here to the miracles effected by the very ashes of the martyrs: see e.g. t. ii. 494, A.: and perhaps with reference to these he says, Βαβαὶ, πόση τῶν πιστευσάντων ἡ δύναμις: unless this be meant as an exclamation of the persons who “took upon them,” etc. i.e. Like Simon, they saw the wonders wrought in the name of Jesus; “Wonderful (said they)! Why, what power is exercised by these men who have believed!” namely, by those who by laying the handkerchiefs, etc., upon the sick restored them to health.—Mod. text adds, “that to others also there comes (the power) of doing the same things: and how great the hardness of those who even after the demonstrations of power yet continue in unbelief.”i:960
From this point to the end of the Exposition, having in vain attempted to restore the true order, we take it as it lies in the mss. and Edd.—Below, “and after this;” i.e. “yet after this,” then these itinerant Jewish exorcists took upon them, etc. and not until after their punishment, when “fear fell upon them all,” did those of the professed believers (πῶν πεπιστευκότων) who still practiced magic come forward confessing their sins.i:961
Πῶς δὲ ἔτρεχος λοιπὸν κηρύττοντες δἰ ὧν ἔπασχον. The subject to ἔπασχον seems to be “these exorcists” the sons of Sceva: but to ἔτρεχονit seems to be “the Apostles.” “This made the Apostles wonderful in mens eyes:” they had wrought miracles, and preached two years, “so that all in Asia heard the word of the Lord,” yet still these practices continued: but (see) how they ran (what success they had) now, preaching by the things these men were suffering: “and this became known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling in Asia, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”—Mod. text, seemingly referring ἔτρεχονto the exorcists, reads καλῶς δὲ ἔτρ. And in place of Acts 19.10, gives, “Whence, showing this, it saith, And this became known to all,” etc. Acts 19.17.i:962
Ben. assigns this to the year 399, and cites the first of the “Eleven Homilies” t. xii. as having been delivered according to St. Chrys. thirty days after that great earthquake, viz., in the year of the fall of Eutropius, therefore a.d. 399. But Ed. Par. justly corrects this mistake: in fact, the σεισμὸς of which St. Chrys. there speaks (t. xii. p. 324. A.) is only a metaphor, meaning the catastrophe of Eutropius.i:963
Perhaps with an allusion to Jude 7, “Sodom and Gomorrah—set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”i:964
Meaning, perhaps, Even when they believe the miracles to be real, that which should have brought them to faith becomes to them an occasion of greater wickedness.i:965
The miracles at Antioch, when at the instigation of the demon (Apollo) the remains of the martyr Babylas were removed by order of Julian. See the Hom. de S. Babyla, t. ii. p. 567.—The Theodorus mentioned below cannot be the lapsed person of that name to whom St. Chrys. addressed the first of the two Paræneses, t. i. init. But probably πέρυσι is corrupt, and the allusion may be to the troubles at Antioch in connection with Theodorus the Sicilian; see p. 238, note 4.i:966
ἂν μὴ φύσις ἑτέρα προσέλθῃ. To complete the sense we must supply, “because this also (the being blinded by fear) is a natural affection: but what I have said is true, viz. that τῶν κατὰ φύσιν καὶ ἀνάγκην οὐ δυνάμεθα μεθίστασθαι, ἂν μὴ κ. τ. λ.i:967
τὶ οὖν ἂν καὶ ἡ σωφροσύνη. This is corrupt or mutilated. The sense requires, “What if in some cases an evil mind be a natural necessity—as much as seeing or any other natural property or affection, but when there seems to be a change, it is only that fear casts out the evil mind for a while?”i:968
Meaning perhaps, That which should be the Temple of Christ, the body of the believer.i:969
Mod. text, “For look now at some one who has been abusive and has not been punished: not for this only is it a subject for weeping, that he does not suffer the punishment for his abusiveness, but also for another reason it is a subject for mourning. What may this be? That his soul is now become more shameless.” But Chrys. is speaking of the immediate evil—here the act of ὕβρις for which the man suffers, or will have to give account hereafter—and the permanent effect, the ἕξις which every evil act fixes on the soul.—῞Ετερονhere and above we render in its pregnant sense, “other and worse,” or, “what is quite another and a more serious thing.”i:970
Old text. Εἰ δέ τινες μηδ᾽ ὅλως νήφοιεν, οὐδὲ έκεῖνοι διδόασι δίκην. Sav. and Ben. οὕτω and δώσουσι. But Par. has resumed the unintelligible reading of mod. text, εἰ δέ τινες μηδ᾽ οὕτω ν., ἀλλ᾽ οὖν ἐκεῖνοι διδόασι δίκην.i:971
ἀλλὰ τρίφωσι παῤ ἑαυτοις οἰκεῖον κακὸν, κἀθάπερ τινὰ δήμιον τὴν μνησικακίαν. Mod. text οἰκειακὸν καθ. τ. δ.i:972
For τί κατασκευάζεις ἕκτικον σαυτῷ νόσημα; B. has, τί κ. ἐκτήκον σαυτὸν ·τῷ νοσήματι, quæ lectio non spernanda, te morbo tabefaciens, Ben. The reading ἐκτήκον is explained by the etacism; the τι in νοσήματι is derived from the following τί βουλόμενον; hence it was necessary to alter σαυτῷ into σαυτὸν τῷ. In the following sentence, B. has τί βουλόμενος, “Why when thou wouldest be quit of it, dost thou keep thine anger?”i:973
Mod. text weakly, “But this I do that he may not laugh me to scorn, that he may not despise me.”i:974
Καθάπερ γὰρ ἐκεῖνα (meaning τὰ βρέφη) καὶ πρὸς (om. B. C.) τὰ ἄψυχα ὀργίζεται, κἂν μὴ πλήξῃ τὸ ἔδαφος ἡ μητὴρ, οὐκ ἀφίησι τὴν ὀργήν.—Mod. text and Edd. except Sav. omit ἡ μητήρ.i:975
Mod. text followed by Edd. perverts the whole story, making the parties contend, not for the relinquishing of the treasure, but for the possession of it, so making the conclusion (the willing cession of it by both to the third party) unintelligible, and the application irrelevant. The innovator was perhaps induced to make this alteration, by an unseasonable recollection of the Parable of the Treasure hid in a field.—“The seller having learnt this, came and wanted to compel the purchaser ἀπολαβεῖν τὸν θησαυρὸν,” (retaining ἀπολ., in the unsuitable sense “that he, the seller, should receive back the treasure.”) “On the other hand, the other (the purchaser) repulsed him, saying, that he had bought the piece of ground along with the treasure, and that he made no account of this (καὶ οὐδένα λόγον ποιεῖν ὑπὲρ τούτου.) So they fell to contention, both of them, the one wishing to receive, the other not to give,” etc.i:976
καὶ ἡμᾶς φιλονεικεῖν μὴ ἀμύνασθαι, καὶ τοὺς λελυπηκότας φιλονεικεῖν δοῦναι δίκην: as in the story, the parties ἐφιλονείκουν, the one μὴ λαβεῖν τὸν θ., the other δοῦναι.
Next: Homily XLII on Acts xix. 21, 23.
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