1 Thessalonians 2
Homilies of Chrysostom
For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
Ver. 3, 4. "For our exhortation is not of error nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God which proveth our hearts."

Do you see that, as I said, from their perseverance he makes a proof that the Preaching is divine? For, if it were not so, if it were a deceit, we should not have endured so many dangers, which allowed us not even to take breath. You were in tribulation, we were in tribulation. What then was it? Unless somewhat of things future had excited us, unless we had been persuaded that there is a good hope, we should not have been filled with the more alacrity by suffering. For who would have chosen for the sake of what we have here to endure so many sufferings, and to live a life of anxiety, and full of dangers? For whom would they persuade? For are not these things of themselves enough to trouble the disciples, when they see their teachers in dangers? But this was not your case.

"For our exhortation," that is, our teaching, "is not of error." The matter, he says, is not guile nor deceit, that we should give it up. It is not for things abominable, as the tricks of jugglers and sorcerers. "And of uncleanness," says he, "nor in guile," nor for any insurrection, like what Theudas did. "But even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God." Do you see, that it is not vainglory? "But God," he says, "which proveth our hearts." We do nothing for the sake of pleasing men, he says. For on whose account should we do these things? Then having praised them, he says, Not as wishing to please men, nor seeking the honors that are from men, he adds, "But as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel." Unless He had seen that we were free from every worldly consideration, He would not have chosen us. As therefore He approved us, such we remain, as having been "approved of God." Whence did he approve us, and entrust us with the Gospel? We appeared to God approved, so we remain. It is a proof of our virtue, that we are entrusted with the Gospel; if there had been anything bad in us, God would not have approved us. But the expression that He approved us, does not here imply search. But what we do upon proving, that he does without proving. That is, as he found us proof, and trusted us, so we speak; as it is reasonable that those should, who are approved and entrusted to be worthy of the Gospel, so we speak, "not as pleasing men," that is, not on your account do we do all these things. [951] Because previously he had praised them, that he might not bring his speech under suspicion, he says,

Ver. 5, 6. "For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness; nor seeking glory of men, neither from you, nor from others, when we might have been burdensome, as Apostles of Christ."

For "neither at any time," he says, "were we found using words of flattery"; that is, we did not flatter, which is the part of deceivers, who wish to get possession and to domineer. No one can say that we flattered in order to rule, nor that we had recourse to it for the sake of wealth. Of this, which was manifest, he afterwards calls them to be witnesses. "Whether we flattered," he says, "ye know." But as to what was uncertain, namely, whether it were in the way of covetousness, he calls God to witness. "Nor seeking glory of men, neither from you, nor from others, when we might have been burdensome, as Apostles of Christ;" that is, not seeking after honors either, nor boasting ourselves, nor requiring attendance of guards. And yet even if we had done this, we should have done nothing out of character. For if persons sent forth by kings are nevertheless [952] in honor, much more might we be. And he has not said, that "we were dishonored," nor that "we did not enjoy honors," which would have been to reproach them, but "we did not seek them." We therefore, who, when we might have sought them, sought them not, even when the preaching required it, how should we do anything for the sake of glory? And yet even if we had sought them, not even in that case would there have been any blame. For it is fit that those men who are sent forth from God, as ambassadors now coming from heaven, should enjoy great honor.

But with an excess of forbearance we do none of these things, that we may stop the mouths of the adversaries. And it cannot be said, that to you we act thus, but not so others. For thus also he said in his Epistle to the Corinthians: "For ye bear with a man if he bringeth you into bondage, if he devoureth you, if he taketh you captive, if he exalteth himself, if he smiteth you on the face." (2 Corinthians 11:20.) And again, "His bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account." (2 Corinthians 10:10.) And again, "Forgive me this wrong." (2 Corinthians 12:13.) He shows there also that he was exceeding humble from his suffering so many things. But here he also says concerning money, "when we might have been burdensome, as Apostles of Christ."

Ver. 7, 8. "But we were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children: even so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us."

"But we were gentle," he says; we exhibited nothing that was offensive or troublesome, nothing displeasing, or boastful. And the expression "in the midst of you," is as if one should say, we were as one of you, not taking the higher lot. "As when a nurse cherisheth her own children." So ought the teacher to be. Does the nurse flatter that she may obtain glory? Does she ask money of her little children? Is she offensive or burdensome to them? Are they not more indulgent to them than mothers? Here he shows his affection. "Even so, being affectionately desirous of you," he says, we are so bound to you, he says, and we not only take nothing of you, but if it be necessary even to impart to you our souls, we should not have refused. Tell me, then, is this of a human view? and who is so foolish as to say this? "We were well pleased to impart to you," he says, "not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls." So that this is greater than the other. And what is the gain? For from the Gospel is gain, but to give our souls, is with respect to difficulty a greater thing than that. For merely to preach is not the same thing as to give the soul. For that indeed is more precious, but the latter is a matter of more difficulty. We were willing, he says, if it were possible, even to spend our souls upon you. And this we should have been willing to do; for if we had not been willing, we should not have endured the necessity. Since then he praised, and does praise, on this account he says, that, not seeking money, nor flattering you, nor desiring glory, do we do this. For observe; they had contended much, and so ought to be praised and admired even extraordinarily, that they might be more firm; the praise was suspicious. On this account he says all these things, by way of repelling the suspicion. And he also mentions the dangers. And again, that he may not be thought to speak of the dangers on this account, as if laboring for them, and claiming to be honored by them, therefore again, as he had to mention the dangers, he added, "Because ye were become very dear to us"; we would willingly have given our souls for you, because we were vehemently attached to you. The Gospel indeed we proclaim, because God commanded it; but so much do we love you, that, if it were possible, we would have given even our souls.

He who loves, ought so to love, that if he were asked even for his soul, [953] and it were possible, he would not refuse it. I do not say "if he were asked," but so that he would even run to present him with the gift. For nothing, nothing can be sweeter than such love; nothing will fall out there that is grievous. Truly "a faithful friend is the medicine of life." (Ecclus. vi. 16.) Truly "a faithful friend is a strong defense." (Ib. 14.) For what will not a genuine friend perform? What pleasure will he not afford? what benefit? what security? Though you should name infinite treasures, none of them is comparable to a genuine friend. And first let us speak of the great delight of friendship itself. A friend rejoices at seeing his friend, and expands with joy. He is knit to him with an union of soul that affords unspeakable pleasure. And if he only calls him to remembrance, he is roused in mind, and transported.

I speak of genuine friends, men of one soul, who would even die for each other, who love fervently. Do not, thinking of those who barely love, who are table-companions, mere nominal friends, suppose that my discourse is refuted. If any one has a friend such as I speak of, he will acknowledge the truth of my words. He, though he sees his friend every day, is not satiated. For him he prays for the same things as for himself. I know one, who calling upon holy men in behalf of his friend, besought them to pray first for him, and then for himself. So dear a thing is a good friend, that times and places are loved on his account. For as bodies that are luminous spread their radiance to the neighboring places, so also friends leave a grace of their own in the places to which they have come. And oftentimes in the absence of friends, as we have stood on those places, we have wept, and remembering the days which we passed together, have sighed. It is not possible to represent by speech, how great a pleasure the intercourse with friends affords. But those only know, who have experience. From a friend we may both ask a favor, and receive one without suspicion. When they enjoin anything upon us, then we feel indebted to them; but when they are slow to do this, then we are sorrowful. We have nothing which is not theirs. Often despising all things here, on their account we are not willing to depart hence; and they are more longed for by us than the light.

For, in good truth, a friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends; better to live in darkness, than to be without friends. And I will tell you why. Because many who see the sun are in darkness, but they can never be even in tribulation, who abound in friends. I speak of spiritual friends, who prefer nothing to friendship. Such was Paul, who would willingly have given his own soul, even though not asked, nay would have plunged into hell [954] for them. With so ardent a disposition ought we to love.

I wish to give you an example of friendship. Friends, that is, friends according to Christ, surpass fathers and sons. For tell me not of friends of the present day, since this good thing also has past away with others. But consider, in the time of the Apostles, I speak not of the chief men, but of the believers themselves generally; "all," he says, "were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own...and distribution was made unto each, according as any one had need." (Acts 4:32, 35.) There were then no such words as "mine" and "thine." This is friendship, that a man should not consider his goods his own, but his neighbor's, that his possessions belong to another; that he should be as careful of his friend's soul, [955] as of his own; and the friend likewise.

And where is it possible, somebody says, that such an one should be found? Because we have not the will; for it is possible. If it were not possible, neither would Christ have commanded it; he would not have discoursed so much concerning love. A great thing is friendship, and how great, no one can learn, and no discourse represent, but experience itself. It is this [956] that has caused the heresies. This makes the Greeks to be Greeks. He who loves does not wish to command, nor to rule, but is rather obliged when he is ruled and commanded. He wishes rather to bestow a favor than to receive one, for he loves, and is so affected, as not having satisfied his desire. He is not so much gratified when good is done to him, as when he is doing good. For he wishes to oblige, rather than to be indebted to him; or rather he wishes both to be beholden to him, and to have him his debtor. And he wishes both to bestow favors, and not to seem to bestow them, but himself to be the debtor. I think that perhaps many of you do not understand what has been said. He wishes to be the first in bestowing benefits, and not to seem to be the first, but to be returning a kindness. Which God also has done in the case of men. He purposed to give His own Son for us; but that He might not seem to bestow a favor, but to be indebted to us, He commanded Abraham to offer his son, [957] that whilst doing a great kindness, He might seem to do nothing great.

For when indeed there is no love, we both upbraid men with our kindnesses and we exaggerate little ones; but when there is love, we both conceal them and wish to make the great appear small, that we may not seem to have our friend for a debtor, but ourselves to be debtors to him, in having him our debtor. I know that the greater part do not understand what is said, and the cause is, that I am speaking of a thing which now dwells in heaven. As therefore if I were speaking of any plant growing in India, of which no one had ever had any experience, no speech would avail to represent it, though I should utter ten thousand words: so also now whatever things I say, I say in vain, for no one will be able to understand me. This is a plant that is planted in heaven, having for its branches not heavy-clustered pearls, but a virtuous life, much more acceptable than they. What pleasure would you speak of, the foul and the honorable? But that of friendship excelleth them all, though you should speak of the sweetness of honey. For that satiates, but a friend never does, so long as he is a friend; nay, the desire of him rather increases, and such pleasure never admits of satiety. And a friend is sweeter than the present life. Many therefore after the death of their friends have not wished to live any longer. With a friend one would bear even banishment; but without a friend would not choose to inhabit even his own country. With a friend even poverty is tolerable, but without him both health and riches are intolerable. He has another self: I am straitened, because I cannot instance by an example. For I should in that case make it appear that what has been said is much less than it ought to be.

And these things indeed are so here. But from God the reward of friendship is so great, that it cannot be expressed. He gives a reward, that we may love one another, the thing for which we owe a reward. "Pray," He says, "and receive a reward," for that for which we owe a reward, because we ask for good things. "For that which you ask," He says, "receive a reward. Fast, and receive a reward. Be virtuous, and receive a reward," though you rather owe a reward. But as fathers, when they have made their children virtuous, then further give them a reward; for they are debtors, because they have afforded them a pleasure; so also God acts. "Receive a reward," He says, "if thou be virtuous, for thou delightest thy Father, and for this I owe thee a reward. But if thou be evil, not so: for thou provokest Him that begot thee." Let us not then provoke God, but let us delight Him, that we may obtain the kingdom of Heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the strength, world without end. Amen.


[948] [This par' hemon, "from us" (see below), was easily changed into peri humon, "concerning us," the text of most editions.--J.A.B.]

[949] This is not quite clear from Acts 17. though "those that conducted Paul," ver. 15, may have been Thessalonians. The ill-treatment presently mentioned by St. Paul was at Philippi previously.

[950] agoni.

[951] [This sentence, after Field's text, is awkward; but the manifest alterations introduced into the text followed in most editions do not really mend matters.--J.A.B.]

[952] i. e. though sent by mere earthly kings. The Catena omits the word.

[953] psuchen, both "soul" and "life."

[954] [The reference is to Chrys.'s (erroneous) interpretation of Romans 9:3. See his Homily on that passage, and above, on Colossians 4:18.--J.A.B.]

[955] Or "life." The double meaning of the word should be kept in sight throughout.

[956] i. e. the want of love.

[957] See Genesis 22:16, 18.

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
"For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and righteously and unblamably we behaved ourselves toward you that believe: as ye know how we dealt with each one of you, as a father with his own children, exhorting you, and encouraging you, and testifying, to the end that ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into His own kingdom and glory."

The teacher ought to do nothing with a feeling of being burdened, that tends to the salvation of his disciples. For if the blessed Jacob was buffeted night and day in keeping his flocks, much more ought he, to whom the care of souls is entrusted, to endure all toils, though the work be laborious and mean, looking only to one thing, the salvation of his disciples, and the glory thence arising to God. See then, Paul, a man that was a Preacher, an Apostle of the world, and raised to so great honor, worked with his hands that he might not be burdensome to his disciples.

"For ye remember," he says, "my brethren, our labor and travail." He had said previously, "we might have been burdensome as the Apostles of Christ," as he also says in the Epistle to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that they which minister about sacred things eat of the things of the Temple? Even so also did Christ ordain that they which proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:13, 14.) But I, he says, would not, but I labored; and he did not merely work, but with much diligence. Observe then what he says; "For ye remember," he has not said, the benefits received from me, but, "our labor and travail: for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God." And to the Corinthians he said a different thing, "I robbed other Churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto you." (2 Corinthians 11:8.) And yet even there he worked, but of this he made no mention, but urged what was more striking, [958] as if he had said, I was maintained by others when ministering to you. But here it is not so. But what? "Working night and day." And there indeed he says, "And when I was present with you, and was in want, I was not a burden on any man," and, "I took wages that I might minister unto you." (2 Corinthians 11:8, 9.) And here he shows that the men were in poverty, but there it was not so.

On this account he frequently addresses them as witnesses. For "ye are witnesses," he says, "and God also"; God was worthy to be believed, but this other was that which most fully assured them. For that indeed was uncertain to those who were ignorant of it; but this was without doubt to all. For do not enquire whether it was Paul who said these things. Much beyond what was necessary he gives them assurance. Wherefore he says, "Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and righteously and unblamably we behaved ourselves toward you that believe." It was proper to praise them again. On this account he sets these things before them, which were sufficient to persuade them. For he that stood there in want, and did not receive anything, would much more not receive anything now. "How holily," says he, "and righteously and unblamably we behaved ourselves toward you that believe."

"As ye know how we exhorted and comforted each one of you, as a father doth his own children." Above having spoken of his behavior here he speaks of his love, which was more than what belonged to his rule over them. And what is said marks his freedom from pride. "As a father his own children, exhorting you, and encouraging you, and testifying, to the end that ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into His own kingdom and glory." When he says, "and testifying," then he makes mention of "fathers"; although we testified, it was not violently, but like fathers. "Each one of you." Strange! in so great a multitude to omit no one, neither small nor great, neither rich nor poor. "Exhorting" you, he says; to bear. "And comforting and testifying." "Exhorting," [959] therefore they did not seek glory; and "testifying," therefore they did not flatter. "That ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into His own kingdom and glory." Observe again, how, in relating, he both teaches and comforts. For if He hath called them unto His kingdom, if He called them unto glory, they ought to endure all things. We "entreat" [960] you, not that you should grant us any favor, but that you should gain the kingdom of heaven.

Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Ver. 13. "And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe."

It cannot be said, he says, that we indeed do all things unblamably, but you on the other hand have done things unworthy of our course of life. For in hearing us, you gave such heed as if not hearing men, but as if God Himself were exhorting you. Whence is this manifest? Because as he shows from his own temptations and their testimony, and the way in which he acted, that he did not preach with flattery or vainglory; so from their trials, he shows also that they rightly received the word. For whence, he says, unless ye had heard as if God were speaking, did ye endure such perils? And observe his dignity.

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Ver. 14, 15, 16. "For ye, brethren, became imitators of the Churches of God, which are in Jud?a in Christ Jesus: for ye also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and drave out us, and please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins alway: but the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."

"For ye," he says, "became imitators of the Churches of God which are in Jud?a." This is a great consolation. It is no wonder, he says, that they should do these things to you, inasmuch as they have done it also to their own countrymen. And this too is no little proof that the Preaching is true, that even Jews were able to endure all things. "For ye also," he says, "have suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews." There is something more in his saying, "as they also did in Jud?a"; it shows that everywhere they rejoiced, as having nobly contended. He says therefore, "that ye also suffered the same things." And again, what wonder is it, if to you also, when even to the Lord they dared do such things?

Do you see how he introduces this as containing great consolation? And constantly he adverts to it; and upon a close examination one may find it in nearly all his Epistles, how variously, [961] upon all occasions of temptation, he brings forward Christ. Observe accordingly, that here also, when accusing the Jews, he puts them in mind of the Lord, and of the sufferings of the Lord; so well does he know that this is a matter of the greatest consolation.

"Who both killed the Lord," he says--but, perhaps, they did not know Him,--assuredly they did know Him. What then? Did they not slay and stone their own prophets, whose books even they carry about with them? And they did not do this for the sake of truth. There is therefore not only a consolation under the temptations, but they are reminded not to think that (the Jews) did it for the truth's sake, and be troubled on that account. "And drave out us," [962] he says. And we also, he says, have suffered numberless evils. "And please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved." "Contrary to all men," he says. How? Because if we ought to speak to the world, and they forbid us, they are the common enemies of the world. They have slain Christ and the prophets, they insult God, they are the common enemies of the world, they banish us, when coming for their salvation. What wonder if they have done such things also to you, when they have done them even in Jud?a? "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved." It is a mark of envy therefore to hinder the salvation of all. "To fill up their sins alway. But the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." What is "to the uttermost"? These things are no longer like the former. There is here no return back, no limit. But the wrath is nigh at hand. Whence is this manifest? From that which Christ foretold. For not only is it a consolation to have partakers in our afflictions, but to hear also that our persecutors are to be punished. And if the delay is a grievance, let it be a consolation that they will never lift up their heads again; or rather he hath cut short the delay, by saying, "THE wrath," showing that it was long ago due, and predetermined, and predicted.

Ver. 17. "But we, being taken from you [963] for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire."

He has not said "separated," but what was much more. [964] He had spoken above of flattery, showing that he did not flatter, that he did not seek glory. He speaks here concerning love. Because he had said above, "as a father his children," "as a nurse," here he uses another expression, "being made orphans," which is said of children who have lost their fathers. And yet they [965] were made orphans. "No"--he says--"but we. For if any one should examine our longing, even as little children without a protector, having sustained an untimely bereavement, long for their parents, not only from the feelings of nature itself, but also on account of their deserted state, so truly do we too feel." From this also he shows his own despondency on account of their separation. And this we cannot say, he says, that we have waited a long period, but "for a short time," and that "in presence, not in heart." For we always have you in our mind. See how great is his love! Although having them always in his heart, he sought also their presence face to face. Tell me not of your superlative [966] philosophy! This is truly fervent love; both to see, and to hear, and speak; and this may be of much advantage. "We endeavored the more exceedingly." What is "more exceedingly"? He either means to say, "we are vehemently attached to you," or, "as was likely, being bereaved for a season, we endeavored to see your face." Observe the blessed Paul. When of himself he cannot satisfy his longing, he does it through others, as when he sends Timothy to the Philippians, and the same person again to the Corinthians, holding intercourse with them through others, when he cannot of himself. For in loving them, he was like some mad person, not to be restrained, nor to command himself in his affection.

Ver. 18. "Wherefore we would fain have come unto you."

Which is the part of love; yet here he mentions no other necessity but "that we might see you." "I Paul once and again, and Satan hindered us."

What sayest thou? does Satan hinder? Yes, truly, for this was not the work of God. For in the Epistle to the Romans, he says this, that God hindered him (from Romans 15:22.); and elsewhere Luke says, that "the Spirit" hindered them from going into Asia. (Acts 16:7.) And in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says, that it is the work of the Spirit, but here only of Satan. But what hindrance of Satan is he speaking of? Some unexpected and violent temptations: [967] for a plot, it says, being formed against him by the Jews, he was detained three months in Greece. But it is another thing to remain for the sake of the dispensation, and willingly. For there he says, "Wherefore having no more place in these parts" (Romans 15:23.), and, "To spare you I forbare to come unto Corinth." (2 Corinthians 1:23.) But here nothing of this sort. But what? That "Satan hindered" him. "Even I Paul," he says, "both once and again." Observe, how ambitious he is, and what a display he makes, in his willingness to show that he loved them most of all. "I Paul," he says, instead of Although no others. For they indeed were only willing, but I even attempted it.

Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Ver. 19. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying? Are not even ye before our Lord Jesus at His coming?"

Are the Macedonians, tell me, thy hope, O blessed Paul? Not these alone, he says. Therefore he has added, "Are not ye also?" For "what," he says, "is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying"? Observe then the words, which are those of women, inflamed with tenderness, talking to their little children. "And crown of glorying," he says. For the name of "crown" was not sufficient to express the splendor, but also "of glorying." Of what fiery warmth is this! Never could either mother, or father, yea if they even met together, and commingled their love, have shown their own affection to be equivalent to that of Paul. "My joy and crown," he says, that is, I rejoice in you more than in a crown. For consider how great a thing it is, that an entire Church should be present, planted and rooted by Paul. Who would not rejoice in such a multitude of children, and in the goodness of those children? So that this also is not flattery. For he has not said "ye," but "ye also" [968] together with the others.

Ver. 20. "For ye are our glory and our joy."

Chap. iii. 1, 2. "Wherefore, when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone." Instead of saying, "we chose." "And sent Timothy, our brother and God's minister and our fellow-worker in the Gospel of Christ."

And this he says, not as extolling Timothy, but honoring them, that he sent them the fellow-worker, and minister of the Gospel. As if he had said, Having withdrawn him from his labors we have sent to you the minister of God, and our fellow-laborer in the Gospel of Christ.

"To establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith."

Ver. 3. "That no man be moved by these afflictions."

What then does he say here? Because the temptations of the teachers trouble their disciples, and he had then fallen into many temptations, as also he himself says, that "Satan hindered us," always saying this; "both once," he says, "and again I would have come to you," and was not able, which was a proof of great violence. And it was reasonable that this should trouble them, for they are not so much troubled at their own temptations, as at those of their teachers; as neither is the soldier so much troubled at his own trials, [969] as when he sees his general wounded. "To establish you," he says; not that they were at all deficient in faith, nor that they required to learn anything.

"And to comfort you concerning your faith; that no man be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed."

Ver. 4. "For verily, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction; even as it came to pass, and ye know."

Ye ought not, he says, to be troubled, for nothing strange, nothing contrary to expectation is happening; which was sufficient to raise them up. For do you see that on this account also Christ foretold to His disciples? For hear Him saying, "Now I have told you before it came to pass, that when it is come to pass ye may believe." (John 14:29.) For greatly indeed, greatly does it tend to the comfort of others, to have heard from their teachers what is to happen. For as he that is sick, if he hear from his physician that this or that is taking place, is not much troubled; but if anything happen unexpectedly, as if he too were at a loss, and the disorder was beyond his art, he is afflicted and troubled; so also is it here. Which Paul foreknowing, foretold to them, "we are about to be afflicted," "as it came to pass, and ye know." He not only says that this came to pass, but that he foretold many things, and they happened. "Hereunto we are appointed." So that not only ye ought not to be troubled and disturbed about the past, but not even about the future, if any such thing should happen, "for hereunto we are appointed."

Moral. Let us hear, who have ears to hear. The Christian is appointed hereunto. For concerning all the faithful is this said, "Hereunto we are appointed." And we, as if we were appointed [970] for ease, think it strange if we suffer anything; and yet what reason have we for thinking anything strange? For no season of affliction or temptation has overtaken us, but what is common to man. It is a fit season for us to say to you, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Hebrews 12:4.). Or rather, this is not seasonable for us to say to you--but what? Ye have not yet despised riches. For to them indeed these words were said with reason, when they had lost all their own possessions, [971] but this is said to those who retain theirs. Who has been robbed of his riches for Christ's sake? Who has been beaten? Who has been insulted? even in words, I mean. What have you to boast of? What confidence have you to say anything? So many things Christ suffered for us when we were enemies. What can we show that we have suffered for Him? Nothing that we have suffered indeed, but infinite good things that we have received from Him. Whence shall we have confidence in that Day? Know ye not, that the soldier too, when he can show numberless wounds and scars, will then be able to shine in the presence of the king? But if he has no good action to show, though he may have done no harm, he will take rank among the least.

But, you say, it is not the season of war. But if it was, tell me, who would contend? Who would attack? Who would break through [972] the phalanx? Perhaps no one. For when I see that you do not despise riches for the sake of Christ, how shall I believe that you will despise blows? Tell me, do you bear manfully those who insult you, and do you bless them? You do not--but you disobey. What is attended with no danger, you do not; and will you endure blows, in which there is much pain and suffering? Know ye not that it is proper in peace to keep up the exercises of war? [973] Do you not see these [974] soldiers, who though no war disturbs them, but it is profound peace, brightening up their arms, and going forth with the teachers who teach them tactics, into the broad and level plains, I may say, every day, keep up with the greatest strictness the exercises of war? Of our spiritual soldiers, who has done this? No one. For this reason we become in war weak and ignoble, and easily led captive by any.

But what stupidity is this, not to think the present a season of war, when Paul is crying out, "Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12.); and Christ says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." (John 16:33.) And again the blessed Paul with a loud voice cries out, saying, "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood," and again, "Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth." (Ephesians 6:12 and 14.) Why dost thou arm us, tell me, when it is not war? Why dost thou give us trouble to no purpose? Thou puttest breastplates on the soldiers, when it is allowed them to rest and revive. But he would have said, Certainly, however, though it were not war, it would be right to attend to the concerns of war. For he who in peace considers the business of battle, will be formidable in the season of battle; but he who is without experience in the things of war, will be more troubled even in peace. Why so? Because he will weep for the things which he possesses, and not being able to fight for them, will be in anguish. For the possessions of the cowardly and inexperienced and ignoble in war, are the property of all who are brave and warlike. So that on this account first I arm you. But then also the whole time of our life is the season of war. How and in what respect? The devil is ever at hand. Hear what it says, "As a roaring lion, he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Pet. v. 8.) Numberless bodily affections assail us, which it is necessary to enumerate, that we may not vainly deceive ourselves. For tell me, what does not war against us? Riches, beauty, pleasure, power, authority, envy, glory, pride? For not only does our own glory war against us, forbidding us to descend to humility; but the glory of others also, leading us to envy and ill-nature. But what do their opposites, poverty, dishonor, the being despised, rejected, the having no power? These things indeed are in us. But from men proceed wickedness, plots, deceits, slanders, assaults innumerable. In like manner on the part of the demons, "principalities, powers, the world-rulers of this darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness." Some of us are rejoicing, others grieving, both are deviations from the right course. But health and sickness (war against us). From what quarter will not man be falling into sin? Would you that I should tell you from the beginning, commencing even immediately from Adam? What took captive the first created? Pleasure, and eating, and the love of dominion. What the son who came next after him? Grudging and envy. What those in the time of Noah? Fleshly pleasures, and the evils issuing from them. What his son? Insolence and irreverence. What the Sodomites? Insolence, wantonness; and fullness of bread. But often even poverty has this effect. On this account a certain wise man said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches." (Proverbs 30:8.) However it is neither poverty nor riches, but the will that cannot use either of them. "Acknowledge," he says, "that thou passest through the midst of snares." (Ecclus. ix. 13.)

The blessed Paul has admirably said, "Hereunto we are appointed." He has not said merely, that we are tempted, but that "hereunto we are appointed," as if he had said, For this were we born. This is our business, this our life, and dost thou seek rest? The executioner does not stand over us, lacerating our sides, and compelling us to sacrifice; but the desire of riches, and of possessing more, is instant, tearing out our eyes. No soldier has kindled a pile, nor placed us on a gridiron, [975] but more than this, the flames of the flesh set fire on our souls. No king is present promising numberless bounties, and putting us out of countenance. But there is present a rage for glory, tickling us worse than he. A great war, truly, exceedingly great, if we would watch.

And the present season too has its crowns. Hear Paul saying, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge shall give me...and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8.) When thou hast lost a beloved and only son, whom thou wert bringing up in much wealth, displaying good hopes, himself being the only one to succeed to thine inheritance; do not complain, but give thanks to God, and glorify Him who has taken him, and in this respect thou wilt not be worse than Abraham. For as he gave him to God, when he commanded it, so thou hast not complained, when He has taken him. Hast thou fallen into a severe sickness, and do many come, constraining thee, some with charms, some with amulets, and others with other things, to remedy the evil? and hast thou borne it firmly and unflinchingly from the fear of God, and wouldst thou have chosen to suffer all things rather than submit to do any of those idolatrous practices? This brings to thee the crown of martyrdom. Doubt it not. And how and by what means, I will tell thee. For as such an one bears firmly the pains of torture, so as not to worship the image, so thou also bearest the sufferings of thy disease, so as to want nothing of those remedies which the other offers, nor to do the things which he prescribes. "But those pains are more violent"--yes, but these are of longer duration, so that it is the same in the end; nay often these are more violent too. For tell me, when fever is raging and burning within, and thou rejectest the charm that others recommend to thee, hast thou not bound on thee the crown of martyrdom?

Again, has any one lost money? many advise thee to have recourse to diviners; but thou, from fear of God, because it is forbidden, choosest rather not to receive thy money than to disobey God--thou hast a reward equal to him who has given it to the poor, if having lost, thou givest thanks, and when able to have recourse to diviners, thou bearest not to receive, rather than so to receive it. For as he from the fear of God has given all to the needy, so thou also from fear of God, when they have plundered thee, hast not recovered it.

We are the masters of injuring or not injuring ourselves. And if you will, let us make the whole matter plain in the case of theft itself. The thief has cut through the wall, he has rushed into the chamber, he has carried off costly golden vessels, and precious stones, in short, he has cleared thy whole treasure, and has not been taken. The fact is grievous, and it seems to be a loss; still as yet it is not so but it depends on thee to make it either a loss or a gain. And how, sayest thou, can this be a gain? I will endeavor to show thee how, if thou art willing, it will be a great gain, but if unwilling, the loss will be severer than that which has taken place. For as in the case of artificers, when material is before them, he who is skilled in his art uses it to good purpose, but he that is unskillful spoils it, and makes it a loss to him, so also in these matters. How then will it be a gain? If thou givest thanks to God, if thou dost not wail bitterly, if thou utterest the words of Job, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Naked came I out of my mother's womb, naked shall I also go away." (Job 1:21, Sept.)

"What?" sayest thou, "the Lord hath taken away? The thief hath taken away, and how canst thou say, the Lord hath taken away?" Wonder not, for even Job, of things which the devil took away, said, These the Lord hath taken away? And shalt not thou say of what the thief took, The Lord hath taken away? Tell me, whom dost thou admire? him who has bestowed all his goods upon the poor, or Job for these words? Is he, who did not then give, inferior to him, who has given alms? For say not, "I feel no thankfulness. The matter was not done with my consent, or knowledge, or will. The robber took it. What will be my reward?" Neither did these things happen with Job's knowledge or will. For how could it be? Nevertheless, he wrestled. [976]

And it is in thy power to receive as great a reward, as if thou hadst cast it away willingly. And perhaps we admire this man more, who thankfully suffers wrongs, than him who gives spontaneously. And why? Because the latter indeed is fed with praises, and supported by conscience, and has good hopes; and having before [977] borne manfully the privation of his goods, he then cast them away; but the former, whilst yet bound to them, was forcibly deprived of them. And it is not the same thing, having first been induced to part with riches, in that way to bestow them, as it is while yet longing to be deprived of them. If thou wilt say these words, thou wilt receive many times as much, and even more than Job. For he received twice as much here, but to thee Christ has promised a hundred fold. From the fear of God, thou hast not blasphemed? thou hast not had recourse to diviners? suffering wrong, thou hast been thankful? Thou art like one who despises wealth, for thou couldest not do this, hadst thou not first despised it. And it is not the same thing in a long time to practice the contempt of riches, and all at once to bear a loss that has happened. Thus the loss becomes gain, and thou wilt not be injured, but even benefited by the devil.

But how does the loss also become grievous? When thou losest thy soul! Tell me, the thief has deprived thee of thy possessions: wilt thou deprive thyself of salvation? Wherefore, grieving at the evils which thou hast suffered from others, dost thou plunge thyself into more evils? He perhaps has involved thee in poverty: but thou perversely injurest thyself in things that are fatal. He hath deprived thee of things that are without thee, and that hereafter would spring away from thee even against thy will. But thou deprivest thyself of the eternal riches. The devil hath grieved thee by taking away thy wealth; do thou also grieve him, and do not delight him. If thou hast recourse to diviners, thou delightest him. If thou renderest thanks to God, thou givest him his death-blow.

And see what happens. Thou wilt not still find it, if thou goest to the diviners, for it is not in their power to know; and even if by any chance they have told thee, thou both losest thy own soul besides, and thou wilt be derided by thy brethren, and again wilt lose it wretchedly. For the demon, knowing that thou canst not bear thy loss, but for the sake of these things deniest even thy God, again gives thee wealth, that he may have an opportunity of deceiving thee again, and making thee fall away. And if the diviners should tell thee, wonder not. The demon is without body: he is everywhere going about. It is he who arms the robbers themselves. For these things do not take place without the demon. If therefore he arms them, he knows also where it is deposited. He is not ignorant of his own ministers. And this is not wonderful. If he sees thee grieving at the loss, he adds yet another to it. If he sees thee laughing at it, and despising it, he will desist from this course. For as we deal to our enemies those things by which we grieve them, but if we see that they do not grieve, we henceforth desist, as being unable to plague them; so does the devil also.

What sayest thou? Dost thou not see those who sail on the sea, how, when a storm arises, they regard not their wealth, but even throw overboard their substance? "O man, what dost thou say? Art thou co?perating with the storm and the shipwreck? Before the wave has taken away thy wealth, dost thou do it with thine own hands? Why, before the shipwreck, dost thou wreck thyself?" But indeed a rustic inexperienced in the trials of the sea might say this. But the naval man, and one who truly knows what are the causes of calm, and what of storm, will even laugh at him who talks thus. For I throw it overboard, he says, that there may be no whelming sea. [978] So he who is experienced in the events and trials of life, when he sees the storm impending, and the spirits of evil wishing to cause shipwreck, throws overboard even the remainder of his wealth. Hast thou been plundered? Do alms, and thou lightenest the ship. Have robbers ravaged thee? Give what remains to Christ. So thou wilt console thy poverty from thy former loss. Lighten the ship, do not hold fast what remains, lest the vessel fill with water. They, to preserve their bodies, throw their goods overboard, and wait not for the assailing wave to overturn the vessel. And wilt thou not stay the shipwreck, that thou mayest save souls?

Make the trial, I beseech you--if you disbelieve, make the trial, and you will see the glory of God. When anything grievous has happened, immediately give alms; render thanks that it has happened, and thou wilt see how much joy will come upon thee. For spiritual gain, though it be small, is so great as to throw into the shade all bodily loss. As long as thou hast to give to Christ, thou art rich. Tell me, if when thou wast robbed, the king coming to thee held out his hand, begging to receive something from thee, wouldest thou not then think thyself richer than all, if the king not even after so great poverty was ashamed of thee? Be not carried away with thy wealth, only overcome thyself, and thou wilt overcome the assault of the devil. It is in thy power to acquire great gain.

Let us despise wealth, that we may not despise the soul. But how can any one despise it? Dost thou not see in the case of beautiful bodies, and the lovers of them, how as long as they are in their sight the fire is kindled, the flame rises bright; but when any one has removed them afar off, all is extinguished, all is lulled to sleep; so also in the case of wealth, let no one provide gold, nor precious stones, nor necklaces; when seen, they ensnare the eyes. But if thou wouldest be rich like the ancients, be rich not in gold, but in necessary things, that thou mayest bestow on others from that which thou hast ready. Be not fond of ornament. Such wealth is both easy to be plotted against by robbers, and a thing that brings us cares. Not vessels of gold and silver, but let there be stores of bread and wine and oil, not that being sold again they may procure money, but that they may be supplied to those who need. If we withdraw ourselves from those superfluities, we shall obtain the heavenly goods; which God grant that we may all obtain, in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.


[958] Or "wounding"; plektikoteron.

[959] Or "entreating," and so he takes it below.

[960] E.V. "exhorting."

[961] Or "especially"; diaphoros.

[962] ekdioxanton, "drove us out," see Acts 17:5, 14; or "persecuted us to the utmost."

[963] aporphanisthentes, "bereaved," "made orphans."

[964] [This last clause is interpolated by some documents, but may be retained because it makes the meaning clearer to the English reader.--J.A.B.]

[965] The Thessalonians.

[966] Gr. superfluous. He means such as would make friendship quite independent of such helps.

[967] [We are not told how Satan hindered, though we have distinctly brought before us the personal devil as acting. It is not necessary to confine his agency to temptation to sin; he may have hindered by the continuance of that spirit of persecution which he prompted at Thessalonica. Acts 17:5.--J.A.B.]

[968] [kai humeis signifies "ye also," or "even ye," according to the connection. Ellicott thinks Chrys. here displays his "accurate observation of language,"--"ye, as well as my other converts."--J.A.B.]

[969] [The Greek word is equivalent to both "temptations" and "trials." "Temptations" formerly had a like breadth of meaning, but has been restricted to the bad sense.--J.A.B.]

[970] keimenoi. He alludes to the sense "laid," as if it were "laid down to repose."

[971] See Hebrews 10:34.

[972] diexose, "push through"; thus we read of othismos, Angl. "shoving" in hard-fought battles.

[973] In pace, ut sapiens, apt?rit idonea bello.--Hor.

[974] i. e. earthly.

[975] epi kratikles. From the Latin "Craticula." Such was the "Catasta" in the martyrdom of St. Laurence. Prud. Peristeph. H. ii. 399. An iron seat is mentioned as thus used at Vienne. Euseb. v. 1.

[976] i. e., with the temptation. See on Stat. Hom. i.

[977] i. e. in preparation.

[978] Calm, storm, &c., seem to be used here in a relative sense; what is a storm to a deep-laden vessel being less to a light one.

For ye are our glory and joy.
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
Text Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

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