1 Timothy 5
Homilies of Chrysostom
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
Honour widows that are widows indeed.
But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
Ver. 7. "These things give in charge, that they may be blameless."

He does not leave it to their choice. Command them, he says, not to be luxurious, assuming it to be confessedly an evil, as not holding it lawful or admissible for the luxurious to partake of the Holy Mysteries. "These things command," he says, "that they may be blameless." Thus you see it is reckoned among sins. For if it were a matter of choice, though it were left undone, we might still be blameless. Therefore in obedience to Paul, let us command the luxurious widow not to have place in the list of widows. [1238] For if a soldier, who frequents the bath, the theater, the busy scenes of life, is judged to desert his duty, much more the widows. Let us then not seek our rest here, that we may find it hereafter. Let us not live in pleasure here, that we may hereafter enjoy true pleasure, true delight, which brings no evil with it, but infinite good. Of which God grant that we may all be partakers, in Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.


[1229] He means that it was a gift of Prophecy, which the Greek dia may bear.

[1230] autou seems unintelligible, read autous. B. has ekeinou, which would be, "in his (her husband's) grandchildren." It is not easy to see why St. Chrys. takes this as a direction to the widow herself, except it be from a grateful remembrance of his own mother's devoting herself to him as she did. Theodoret follows him, but says more of the corresponding duty of the children.

[1231] 2 mss. "renounce."

[1232] ergasterion, probably cellars.

[1233] thalpetai.

[1234] thaptetai, buried.

[1235] It was commonly thought that a certain effluence from the eye was required to meet the light.

[1236] meden eusebes, perhaps an euphemism for loose and profane talking.

[1237] The English proverb is, "Fat paunches make lean pates."

[1238] Of the "list of widows" relieved by the Church, see St. Chrys. on the Priesthood, book iii. c. 16, Ben. p. 396, A.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
"But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

Many consider that their own virtue is sufficient for their salvation, and if they duly regulate their own life, that nothing further is wanting to save them. But in this they greatly err, which is proved by the example of him who buried his one talent, for he brought it back not diminished but entire, and just as it had been delivered to him. It is shown also by the blessed Paul, who says here, "If any one provide not for his own." The provision of which he speaks is universal, and relates to the soul as well as the body, since both are to be provided for.

"If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house," that is, those who are nearly related to him, "he is worse than an infidel." And so says Isaiah, the chief of the Prophets, "Thou shalt not overlook thy kinsmen of thy own seed." (Isaiah 58:7, Sept.) For if a man deserts those who are united by ties of kindred and affinity, how shall he be affectionate towards others? Will it not have the appearance of vainglory, when benefiting others he slights his own relations, and does not provide for them? And what will be said, if instructing others, he neglects his own, though he has greater facilities; and a higher obligation to benefit them? Will it not be said, These Christians are affectionate indeed, who neglect their own relatives? [1239] "He is worse than an infidel." Wherefore? Because the latter, if he benefits not aliens, does not neglect his near kindred. What is meant is this: The law of God and of nature is violated by him who provides not for his own family. But if he who provides not for them has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel, where shall he be ranked who has injured his relatives? With whom shall he be placed? But how has he denied the faith? Even as it is said, "They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." (Titus 1:16.) What has God, in whom they believe, commanded? "Hide not thyself from thine own flesh." (Isaiah 58:7.) How does he then believe who thus denies God? Let those consider this, who to spare their wealth neglect their kindred. It was the design of God, in uniting us by the ties of kindred, to afford us many opportunities of doing good to one another. When therefore thou neglectest a duty which infidels perform, hast thou not denied the faith? For it is not faith merely to profess belief, but to do works worthy of faith. And it is possible in each particular to believe and not to believe. [1240] For since he had spoken of luxury and self-indulgence, he says that it is not for this only that such a woman is punished, because she is luxurious, but because her luxury compels her to neglect her household. This he says with reason; for she that liveth to the belly, perishes hereby also, as "having denied the faith." But how is she worse than an infidel? Because it is not the same thing to neglect our kindred, as to neglect a stranger. How should it be? But the fault is greater here, to desert one known than one who is unknown to us, a friend than one who is not a friend.

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
Ver. 9, 10. "Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works."

He had said, "Let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents." He had also said, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead whilst she liveth." He had said, "If she [1241] provides not for her own she is worse than an infidel." Having mentioned the qualities which not to have would render a woman unworthy to be reckoned among the widows, he now mentions what she ought to have besides. What then? are we to receive her for her years? What merit is there in that? It is not her own doing that she is threescore years old. Therefore he does not speak of her age merely, as, if she has even reached those years, she may not yet, he says, without good works, be reckoned among the number. But why then is he particular about the age? He afterwards assigns a cause not originating with himself, but with the widows themselves. Meanwhile let us hear what follows. "Well reported of for good works, if she have brought up children." Truly, it is no unimportant work to bring up children; but bringing them up is not merely taking care of them; they must be brought up well; as he said before, "If they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:15.) Observe how constantly he sets kindnesses to our own relatives before those to strangers. First he says, "If she have brought up children," then, "If she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the Saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." But what if she be poor? Not even in that case is she debarred from bringing up children, lodging strangers, relieving the afflicted. She is not more destitute than the widow who gave the two mites. Poor though she be, she has an house, she does not lodge in the open air. "If," he says, "she have washed the Saints' feet." This is not a costly work. "If she have diligently followed every good work." What precept does he give here? He exhorts them to contribute bodily service, for women are peculiarly fitted for such attendance, for making the bed of the sick, and composing them to rest.

Strange! what strictness does he require of widows; almost as much as of the Bishop himself. For he says, "If she have diligently followed every good work." This is as though he meant that, if she could not of herself perform it, she shared and cooperated in it. When he cuts off luxury, he would have her provident, a good economist, and at the same time continually persevering in prayer. Such was Anna. Such strictness does he require of widows. Greater even than of virgins, from whom he yet requires much strictness, and eminent virtue. For when he speaks of "that which is comely," and "that she may attend upon the Lord without distraction" (1 Corinthians 7:35.), he gives, in a manner, a summary of all virtue. You see that it is not merely the not contracting a second marriage that is enough to make a widow, many other things are necessary. But why does he discourage second marriages? Is the thing condemned? By no means. That is heretical. Only he would have her henceforth occupied in spiritual things, transferring all her care to virtue. For marriage is not an impure state, but one of much occupation. He speaks of their having leisure, not of their being more pure by remaining unmarried. For marriage certainly implies much secular engagement. If you abstain from marriage that you may have leisure for the service of God, and yet do not so employ that leisure, it is of no advantage to you, (if you do not use your leisure,) to perform all services to strangers, and to the Saints. [1242] If you do not thus, you abstain from marriage not for any good end, but as though you condemned the state. So the virgin, who is not truly crucified to the world, by declining marriage, appears to condemn it as accursed and impure.

Observe, the hospitality here spoken of is not merely a friendly reception, but one given with zeal and alacrity, with readiness, and going about it as if one were receiving Christ Himself. The widows should perform these services themselves, not commit them to their handmaids. For Christ said, "If I your Master and Lord have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet." (John 13:14.) And though a woman may be very rich, and of the highest rank, vain of her birth and noble family, there is not the same distance between her and others, as between God and the disciples. If thou receivest the stranger as Christ, be not ashamed, but rather glory: but if you receive him not as Christ, receive him not at all. "He that receiveth you," He said, "receiveth Me." (Matthew 10:40.) If you do not so receive him, you have no reward. Abraham was receiving men that passed as travelers, as he thought, and he did not leave to his servants to make the preparations for their entertainment, but took the greater part of the service upon himself, and commanded his wife to mix the flour, though he had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house, of whom there must have been many [1243] maidservants; but he wished that himself and his wife should have the reward, not of the cost only, but of the service. Thus ought we ever to exercise hospitality by our own personal exertions, that we may be sanctified, and our hands be blessed. And if thou givest to the poor, disdain not thyself to give it, for it is not to the poor that it is given, but to Christ; and who is so wretched, as to disdain to stretch out his own hand to Christ?

This is hospitality, this is truly to do it for God's sake. But if you give orders with pride, though you bid him take the first place, it is not hospitality, it is not done for God's sake. The stranger requires much attendance, much encouragement, and with all this it is difficult for him not to feel abashed; for so delicate is his position, that whilst he receives the favor, he is ashamed. That shame we ought to remove by the most attentive service, and to show by words and actions, that we do not think we are conferring a favor, but receiving one, that we are obliging less than we are obliged. So much does good will multiply the kindness. For as he who considers himself a loser, and thinks that he is doing a favor, destroys all the merit of it; so he who looks upon himself as receiving a kindness, increases the reward. "For God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7.) So that you are rather indebted to the poor man for receiving your kindness. For if there were no poor, the greater part of your sins would not be removed. They are the healers of your wounds, their hands are medicinal to you. The physician, extending his hand to apply a remedy, does not exercise the healing art more than the poor man, who stretches out his hand to receive your alms, and thus becomes a cure [1244] for your ills. You give your money, and with it your sins pass away. Such were the Priests of old, of whom it was said, "They eat up the sin of My people." (Hosea 4:8.) Thus thou receivest more than thou givest, thou art benefited more than thou benefitest. Thou lendest to God, not to men. Thou increasest thy wealth, rather than diminishest it. But if thou dost not lessen it by giving, then it is indeed diminished!

"If she have received strangers, if she have washed the Saints' feet." But who are these? The distressed saints, not any saints whatever. For there may be saints, who are much waited on by every one. Do not visit these, who are in the enjoyment of plenty, but those who are in tribulation, who are unknown, or known to few. He who hath "done it unto the least of these," He saith, "hath done it unto Me." (Matthew 25:40.)

Moral. Give not thy alms to those who preside in the Church to distribute. Bestow it thyself, that thou mayest have the reward not of giving merely, but of kind service. Give with thine own hands. Cast into the furrow thyself. Here it is not required to handle the plow, to yoke the ox, to wait the season, nor to break up the earth, or to contend with the frost. No such trouble is required here, where thou sowest for heaven, where there is no frost nor winter nor any such thing. Thou sowest in souls, where no one taketh away what is sown, but it is firmly retained with all care and diligence. Cast the seed thyself, why deprive thyself of thy reward. There is great reward in dispensing [1245] even what belongs to others. There is a reward not only for giving, but for dispensing well the things that are given. Why wilt thou not have this reward? For that there is a reward for this, hear how we read that the Apostles appointed Stephen to the ministry of the widows. (Acts 6:5-7.)

Be thou the dispenser of thine own gifts. Thine own benevolence and the fear of God appoint thee to that ministry. Thus vainglory is excluded. This refreshes the soul, this sanctifies the hands, this pulls down pride. This teaches thee philosophy, this inflames thy zeal, this makes thee to receive blessings. Thy head, as thou departest, receives all the blessings of the widows.

Be more earnest in thy prayers. Inquire diligently for holy men, men that are truly such, who, in the retirement of the desert, cannot beg, but are wholly devoted to God. Take a long journey to visit them, and give with thine own hand. For thou mayest profit much in thine own person, if thou givest. Dost thou see their tents, their lodging? dost thou see the desert? dost thou see the solitude? Often when thou hast gone to bestow money, thou givest thine whole soul. Thou art detained, and hast become his fellow-captive, and hast been alike estranged from the world.

It is of great benefit even to see the poor. "It is better," he saith, "to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting." (Ecclesiastes 7:2.) By the latter the soul is inflamed. For if thou canst imitate the luxury, then thou art encouraged to self-indulgence, and if thou canst not, thou art grieved. In the house of mourning there is nothing of this kind. If thou canst not afford to be luxurious, thou art not pained; and if thou canst, thou art restrained. Monasteries are indeed houses of mourning. There is sackcloth and ashes, there is solitude, there is no laughter, no pressure of worldly business. There is fasting, and lying upon the ground; there is no impure savor of rich food, no blood shed, [1246] no tumult, no disturbance, or crowding. There is a serene harbor. They are as lights shining from a lofty place to mariners afar off. They are stationed at the port, drawing all men to their own calm, and preserving from shipwreck those who gaze on them, and not letting those walk in darkness who look thither. Go to them, and make friends with them, embrace their holy feet, more honorable to touch than the heads of others. If some clasp the feet of statues, because they bear but a likeness of the king, wilt thou not clasp his feet who has Christ within him, and be saved? The Saints' feet are holy, though they are poor men, but not even the head of the profane is honorable. Such efficacy is there in the feet of the Saints, that when they shake off the dust of their feet, they inflict punishment. When a saint is among us, let us not be ashamed of anything that belongs to him. [1247] And all are saints, who unite a holy life with a right faith and though they do not work miracles nor cast out devils, still they are saints.

Go then to their tabernacles. To go to the monastery of a holy man [1248] is to pass, as it were, from earth to heaven. Thou seest not there what is seen in a private house. That company is free from all impurity. There is silence and profound quiet. The words "mine and thine" are not in use among them. And if thou remainest there a whole day or even two, the more pleasure thou wilt enjoy. There, as soon as it is day, or rather before day, the cock crows, and you see it not as you may see it [1249] in a house, the servants snoring, the doors shut, all sleeping like the dead, whilst the muleteer without is ringing his bells. There is nothing of all this. All, immediately shaking off sleep, reverently rise when their President calls them, and forming themselves into a holy choir, they stand, and lifting up their hands all at once sing the sacred hymns. For they are not like us, who require many hours to shake off sleep from our heavy heads. We indeed, as soon as we are waked, sit some time stretching our limbs, go as nature calls, then proceed to wash our face and our hands; afterwards we take our shoes and clothes, and a deal of time is spent.

It is not so there. No one calls for his servant, for each waits upon himself: neither does he require many clothes, nor need to shake off sleep. For as soon as he opens his eyes, he is like one who has been long awake in collectedness. [1250] For when the heart is not stifled within by excess of food, it soon recovers itself, and is immediately wakeful. The hands are always pure; for his sleep is composed and regular. No one among them is found snoring or breathing hard, or tossing about in sleep, or with his body exposed; but they lie in sleep as decently as those who are awake, and all this is the effect of the orderly state of their souls. These are truly saints and angels among men. And marvel not when you hear these things. For their great fear of God suffers them not to go down into the depths of sleep, and to drown their minds, but it falls lightly upon them, merely affording them rest. And as their sleep is, such are their dreams, not full of wild fancies and monstrous visions.

But, as I said, at the crowing of the cock their President comes, and gently touching the [1251] sleeper with his foot, rouses them all. For there are none sleeping naked. Then as soon as they have arisen they stand up, and sing the prophetic hymns with much harmony, and well composed tunes. And neither harp nor pipe nor other musical instrument utters such sweet melodies, as you hear from the singing of these saints in their deep and quiet solitudes. And the songs themselves too are suitable, and full of the love of God. "In the night," they say, "lift up your hands unto God. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night, yea with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early," (Isaiah 26:9.) And the Psalms of David, that cause fountains of tears to flow. For when he sings, "I am weary with my groaning, all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears" (Psalm 6:6.): and, again, "I have eaten ashes like bread." (Psalm 102:9.) "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4.) "Man is like to vanity, his days are as a shadow that passeth away." (Psalm 144:4.) "Be not afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased" (Psalm 49:16.); and, "Who maketh men to be of one mind in a house" (Psalm 68:6.): and, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:164.): and, "At midnight will I rise to give thanks unto Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:62.): and, "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave" (Psalm 49:15.): and, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4.): and, "I will not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday" (Psalm 91:5, 6.): and, "We are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Psalm 44:22.): he expresses their ardent love to God. And again, when they sing with the Angels, (for Angels too are singing then,) "Praise ye the Lord from the Heavens." (Psalm 148:1.) And we meanwhile are snoring, or scratching our heads, or lying supine meditating endless deceits. [1252] Think what it was for them to spend the whole night in this employment.

And when the day is coming on, they take rest again; for when we begin our works, they have a season of rest. [1253] But each of us, when it is day, calls upon his neighbor, takes account of his outgoings, then [1254] goes into the forum; trembling he appears before the magistrate, and dreads a reckoning. Another visits the stage, another goes about his own business. But these holy men, having performed their morning prayers and hymns, proceed to the reading of the Scriptures. There are some too that have learned to write out books, each having his own apartment assigned to him, where he lives in perpetual quiet; no one is trifling, not one speaks a word. Then at the third, sixth, and ninth hours, and in the evening, they perform their devotions, having divided the day into four parts, and at the conclusion of each they honor God with psalms and hymns, and whilst others are dining, laughing, and sporting, and bursting with gluttony, they are occupied with their hymns. For they have no time for the table nor for these things of sense. After their meal [1255] they again pursue the same course, having previously given themselves a while to sleep. The men of the world sleep during the day: but these watch during the night. Truly children of light are they! And while the former, having slept away the greater part of the day, go forth oppressed with heaviness, these are still collected, [1256] remaining without food [1257] till the evening, and occupied in hymns. Other men, when evening overtakes them, hasten to the baths, and different recreations, but these, being relieved from their labors, then betake themselves to their table, not calling up a multitude of servants, nor throwing the house into bustle and confusion, nor setting before them high-seasoned dishes, and rich-steaming viands, but some only partaking of bread and salt, to which others add oil, whilst the weakly have also herbs and pulse. Then after sitting a short time, or rather after concluding all with hymns, they each go to rest upon a bed made for repose only and not for luxury. There is no dread of magistrates, no lordly arrogance, no terror of slaves, no disturbance of women or children, no multitudes of chests, or superfluous laying by of garments, no gold or silver, no guards and sentinels, no storehouse. Nothing of all these, but all there is full of prayer, of hymns, and of a spiritual savor. Nothing carnal is there. They fear no attacks of robbers, having nothing of which they can be deprived, no wealth, but a soul and body, of which if they are robbed, it is not a loss but a gain. For it is said, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philip. i. 21.) They have freed themselves from all bonds. Truly, "The voice of gladness is in the tabernacles of the righteous." (Psalm 118:15.)

There is no such thing to be heard there as wailing and lamentation. Their roof is free from that melancholy and those cries. Deaths happen there indeed, for their bodies are not immortal, but they know not death, as death. The departed are accompanied to the grave with hymns. This they call a procession, [1258] not a burial; [1259] and when it is reported that any one is dead, great is their cheerfulness, great their pleasure; or rather not one of them can bear to say that one is dead, but that he is perfected. Then there is thanksgiving, and great glory, and joy, every one praying that such may be his own end, that so his own combat may terminate, and he may rest from his labor and struggles, and may see Christ. And if any is sick, instead of tears and lamentations they have recourse to prayers. Often not the care of physicians, but faith alone relieves the sick. And if a physician be necessary, then too there is the greatest firmness and philosophy. There is no wife tearing her hair, nor children bewailing their orphan state before the time, nor slaves entreating the dying man to give them an assurance that they shall be committed to good hands. Escaping from all these, the soul looks but to one thing at its last breath, that it may depart in favor with God. And if disease occurs, the causes of it are matter of glory rather than of reproach, as in other cases. For it proceeds not from gluttony nor fullness of the head, but from intense watchfulness and fasting, or the like causes; and hence it is easily removed, for it is sufficient for its removal to abate the severity of these exercises.

Tell me then, you will say, whether any one could wash the Saints' feet in the Church? Whether such are to be found among us? Yes: undoubtedly they are such. Let us not, however, when the life of these saints is described despise those that are in the Churches. There are many such often among us, though they are in secret. Nor let us despise them, because they go from house to house, or go into the forum, or stand forth in public. [1260] God hath even commanded such services, saying, "Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17.) Many are the ways of being virtuous, as there are many varieties of jewels, [1261] though all are called jewels; one is bright and round on all sides, another has some different beauty. And how is this? As coral has, by a kind of art, its line extended, and its angles shaped off, and another color more delicious than white, and the prasius above every green, another has the rich color of blood, another an azure surpassing the sea, another is more brilliant than the purple, and thus rivaling in their varieties all the colors of flowers or of the sun. Yet all are called jewels. So it is with the Saints. Some discipline [1262] themselves, some the Churches. Paul therefore has well said, "If she have washed the Saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted." For he speaks thus, that he may excite us all to imitation. Let us hasten then to perform such actions, that we may be able hereafter to boast that we have washed the Saints' feet. For if we ought to wash their feet, much more ought we to give them our money with our own hands, and at the same time study to be concealed. "Let not thy left hand know," He says, "what thy right hand doeth." (Matthew 6:3.)

Why takest thou so many witnesses? Let not thy servant know it, nor, if possible, thy wife. Many are the impediments of the deceitful one. Often she who never before interfered, will impede such works, either from vainglory, or some other motive. Even Abraham, who had an admirable wife, when he was about to offer up his son, concealed it from her, though he knew not what was to happen, but was fully persuaded that he must slaughter his son. What then, would any one that was but an ordinary man have said? Would it not be, "Who is this that perpetrates such acts?" Would he not have accused him of cruelty and brutality? His wife was not even allowed to see her son, to receive his last words, to witness his dying struggles. But he led him away like a captive. That just man though not of any such thing, inebriated as he was with zeal, [1263] so that he looked only how to fulfill that which was commanded. No servant, no wife was present, nay, he himself knew not what would be the issue. But intent upon offering up a pure victim, he would not defile it with tears, or with any opposition. Mark too with what gentleness Isaac asks, "Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?": and what was the father's answer? "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering." (Genesis 22:7, 8.) In this he uttered a prophecy that God would provide Himself a burnt offering in His Son, and it also came true at the time. But why did he conceal it from him who was to be sacrificed? Because he feared lest he should be astounded, [1264] lest he should prove unworthy. With such care and prudence did he act throughout this affair! Well then hath the Scripture said, "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." If we have one dear to us as one of our own members, let us not be anxious to show to him our charitable works, unless it be necessary. For many evils may arise from it. A man is excited to vainglory, and impediments are often raised. For this reason let us conceal it, if possible, from our own selves, that we may attain the blessings promised, through the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.


[1239] Colb., "For the heathen will presently say, Well! these Christians are affectionate indeed, to neglect their own relatives! And he well said," &c.

[1240] Colb. omits this sentence.

[1241] The feminine is not marked, but implied by his comment; see p. 450.

[1242] The sense is clear, but the Greek admits of no grammatical construction. Downes, as usual, alters it boldly. This translation supposes an abrupt construction, reading epideiknu& 219;.

[1243] Old Lat., "Many wives that were." "Of whom" may also be taken collectively of the household.

[1244] ekmageion, as if wiping a sore clean.

[1245] Gr. "being able to dispense."

[1246] They commonly abstained from all animal food; see p. 457.

[1247] Sav. mar. ton autou. The other reading is scarcely intelligible.

[1248] monasterion. The monasteries of that date were formed by those who gathered round some holy man. For instances, see Theodoret, Hist. Relig.

[1249] Some words added from Colb.

[1250] tes nepseos heneken.

[1251] al. each.

[1252] He means not self-deceits, but actual frauds, for he is now as it were on a sally, among the enemy's works.

[1253] Not their principal rest, but an interval.

[1254] So Old Lat. (prob. from eita eis) Ed. ei eis, "if he goes." Colb. om ei.

[1255] ariston. See on Stat. Hom. ix. 1, note e, and x. 1, note a.

[1256] nephousin.

[1257] This seems to contradict what was said just before, but it need not be taken quite strictly, as the former meal was not at table, and extremely light.

[1258] propompen.

[1259] ekphoran.

[1260] proistantai. "Stand forth in behalf of another."

[1261] margariton, pearls.

[1262] askousin.

[1263] potho. Love of God, or desire to do His will.

[1264] narkese.

Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
"But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having condemnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan."

Paul having discoursed much concerning widows, and having settled the age at which they were to be admitted, saying, "Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old," and having described the qualifications of a widow, "If she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the Saints' feet," proceeds now to say, "But the younger widows refuse." But concerning virgins, though the case of their falling is a much more gross one, he has said nothing of this kind, and rightly. For they had enrolled themselves on higher views, and the work with them proceeded from a greater elevation of mind. Therefore the receiving of strangers, and the washing of the Saints' feet, he has represented by "attending upon the Lord without distraction" [1265] (1 Corinthians 7:34, 35.), and by saying, "The unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:34, 35.) And if he has not limited a particular age for them, it is most likely because that point is settled by what he has said in this case. But indeed, as I said, the choice of virginity proceeded from a higher purpose. Besides, in this case there had been falls, and thus they had given occasion for his rule, but nothing of that kind had occurred among the virgins. For that some had already fallen away is plain, in that he says, "When they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will [1266] marry"; and again, "For some have already turned aside after Satan."

"The younger widows refuse, for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry"; that is, when they have become scornful [1267] and luxurious. For as in the case of a just man, we might say, "Let her depart, for she has become another's." [1268] He shows therefore that though they chose widowhood, it was not the choice of their judgment. So then a widow, by the state of widowhood, is espoused to Christ. For He has said, "I am the defender of the widows and the father of the orphans." (Psalm 68:5.) He shows that they do not choose widowhood as they ought, but wax wanton: however he bears with them. Elsewhere indeed he says, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2.) After having given their names to Him, [1269] "they will marry," he says, "having condemnation, because they have cast off their first faith." By faith he means, fidelity to their covenant. As if he had said, They have been false to Christ, they have dishonored Him, and transgressed His covenant. "And withal they learn to be idle."

Thus he commands not only men, but women also, to work. For idleness is the teacher of every sin. And not only are they exposed to this condemnation, but to other sins. If therefore it is unbecoming for a married woman "to go from house to house," much more is it for a virgin. "And not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, guide the house."

What then happens, when the care for the husband is withdrawn, and the care to please God does not constrain them? They naturally become idlers, tattlers, and busybodies. For he who does not attend to his own concerns will be meddling with those of others, even as he who minds his own business will take no account of and have no care about the affairs of another. And nothing is so unbecoming to a woman, as to busy herself in the concerns of others, and it is no less unbecoming to a man. This is a great sign of impudence and forwardness.

"I will therefore," he says, (since they themselves wish it,) "that the younger widows marry, bear children, guide the house."

This course is at least preferable to the other. They ought indeed to be concerned for the things of God, they ought to preserve their faith. But since they do not this, it is better to avoid a worse course. God is not dishonored by their marrying again, and they do not fall into those practices, which have been censured. From such a widowhood, no good could arise, but good may come out of this marriage. Hence the women will be able to correct that indolence and vanity of mind.

But why, since some have fallen away, does he not say that much care is to be taken of them, that they may not fall into the error he has mentioned? Why has he commanded them to marry? Because marriage is not forbidden, and it is a safeguard to them. Wherefore he adds, that they "give none occasion," or handle, "to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan." Such widows as these then he would have refused, not meaning that there should be no younger widows, but that there should be no adulteresses, that none should be idle, busy-bodies, speaking things that they ought not, that no occasion should be given to the adversary. Had nothing of this kind taken place, he would not have forbidden them.

Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
For some are already turned aside after Satan.
If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
Ver. 16. "If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the Church be charged, that it may relieve them that are widows indeed."

Observe how again he speaks of those as "widows indeed," who are left destitute, and have no resource from any other quarter. It was better to have it so. For thus two great objects were attained. Those [1270] had an opportunity of doing good, whilst these were honorably maintained, and the Church not burdened. And he has well said, "If any believer." For it is not fit that believing women should be maintained by unbelievers, lest they should seem to stand in need of them. And observe how persuasively he speaks; he has not said, "let them maintain them expensively," but "let them relieve them." "That the Church," he says, "may relieve them that are widows indeed." She therefore has the reward of this help also, for she that helps the Church, helps not her only, but those widows too whom the Church is thus enabled to maintain more bountifully. "I will therefore that the younger widows"--do what? live in luxury and pleasure? By no means; but--"marry, bear children, guide the house." That he may not be supposed to encourage them to live luxuriously, he adds, that they give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. They ought indeed to have been superior to the things of this world, but since they are not, let them abide in them at least upright.

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Ver. 17, 18. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward."

The "honor" of which he here speaks is attention to them, and the supply of their necessities, as is shown by his adding, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn" (Deuteronomy 25:4.); and, "The laborer is worthy of his reward." (Luke 10:7.) So when he says, "Honor widows," he means, "support" them in all that is necessary. Thus he says, "That it may relieve those that are widows indeed"; and again, "Honor widows that are widows indeed," that is, who are in poverty, for the greater their poverty, the more truly are they widows. He alleges the Law, he alleges the words of Christ, both agreeing herein. For the Law says, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." See how he would have the teacher labor! For there is not, indeed there is not, any other labor such as his. But this is from the Law. But how does he quote from Christ? "The laborer is worthy of his reward." Let us not then look only to the reward, but to the terms of the commandment. "The laborer," he says, "is worthy of his reward." So that if any one lives in sloth and luxury, he is unworthy of it. Unless he is as the ox treading out the corn, and bearing the yoke, in spite of heat and thorns, and ceases not till he has carried the corn into the granary, he is not worthy. Therefore to teachers should be granted a supply of their necessities without grudging, that they may not faint nor be discouraged, nor by attention to inferior things deprive themselves of greater; that they may labor for spiritual things, paying no regard to worldly things. It was thus with the Levites; they had no worldly concerns, because the laity took care to provide for them, and their revenues were appointed by the law, as tythes, offerings of gold, [1271] first-fruits, vows, and many other things. And the law properly assigned these things to them, as seeking things present. But I shall say no more than that those who preside ought to have food and raiment, that they may not be distracted by care for these things. But what is double support? Double that of the widows, or of the deacons, or simply, liberal support. Let us not then think only of the double maintenance granted them, but of what is added, "Those who rule well." And what is it to rule well? Let us hear Christ, Who says, "The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep." (John 10:11.) Thus to rule well is, from our concern for them, never to spare ourselves.

"Especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." Where then are those who say that there is no occasion for the word and doctrine? Whereas he says to Timothy, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them"; and, "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Timothy 4:15, 16.) These are the men whom he wishes to be honored most of all, and he adds the reason, for they sustain great labor. For when one is neither watchful, nor diligent, but merely sits in his stall easy and unconcerned, [1272] whilst another wears himself out with anxiety and exertion, [1273] especially if he is ignorant of profane literature, ought not the latter to be honored above all others, who more than others gives himself up to such labors? For he is exposed to numberless tongues. One censures him, another praises him, a third mocks him, another finds fault with his memory and his composition, and it requires great strength of mind to endure all this. It is an important point, and contributes much to the edification of the Church, that the rulers of it should be apt to teach. If this be wanting, many things in the Church go to ruin. Therefore in addition to the qualifications of hospitality, moderation, and a blameless life, he enumerates this also, saying, "Apt to teach." For why else indeed is he called a teacher? Some say that he may teach philosophy by the example of his life, so that all else is superfluous, and there is no need of verbal instruction in order to proficiency. But why then does Paul say, "especially they who labor in the word and doctrine"? For when doctrines are concerned, what life will answer the purpose? And of what word is he speaking? Not of pompous language, nor of discourse set off with external [1274] decorations, but that which possesses the mighty power of the Spirit, and abounds with wisdom and understanding. It needs not set phrases, but thoughts to give it utterance, not skill in composition, but power of mind.

Ver. 19. "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."

May we then receive an accusation against a younger man, or against any one at all without witnesses? Ought we not in all cases to come to our judgments with the greatest exactness? What then does he mean? Do not so, he means, with any, but especially in the case of an elder. For he speaks of an elder not with respect to office, but to age, since the young more easily fall into sin than their elders. And it is manifest from hence that the Church, and even the whole people of Asia, had been now intrusted to Timothy, which is the reason why he discourses with him concerning elders.

For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Ver. 20. "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

Do not, he says, hastily cut them off, but carefully enquire into all the circumstances, and when thou hast thoroughly informed thyself, then proceed against the offender with rigor, that others may take warning. For as it is wrong to condemn hastily and rashly, so not to punish manifest offenses is to open the way to others, and embolden them to offend.

"Rebuke," he says, to show that it is not to be done lightly, but with severity. For thus others will be deterred. How is it then that Christ says, "Go and tell him his fault between him and thee alone, if one sin against thee." (Matthew 18:15.) But Christ Himself permits him to be censured in the Church. What then? is it not a greater scandal, that one should be rebuked before all? How so? For it is a much greater scandal, that the offense should be known, and not the punishment. For as when sinners go unpunished, many commit crimes; so when they are punished, many are made better. God Himself acted in this manner. He brought forth Pharaoh, and punished him openly. And Nebuchadnezzar too, and many others, both cities and individuals, we see visited with punishment. Paul therefore would have all stand in awe of their Bishop, and sets him over all.

And because many judgments are formed upon suspicion, there ought, he says, to be witnesses, and men to convict the offender according to the ancient law. "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be established. Against an elder receive not an accusation." (Deuteronomy 19:15.) He does not say, "do not condemn," but "receive not an accusation," bring him not to judgment at all. But what if the two witnesses are false? This rarely happens, and it may be discovered upon examination on the trial. For since offenses are committed in secret, we ought to be satisfied with two witnesses, and this is sufficient proof of investigation.

But what if the offenses be notorious, and yet there are no witnesses, only a strong suspicion? It has been said above that he ought "to have a good report of them which are without." (1 Timothy 3:7.)

Let us therefore love God with fear. The law indeed is not made for a righteous man; but since the greater part are virtuous from constraint rather than from choice, the principle of fear is of great advantage to them in eradicating their desires. Let us therefore listen to the threatenings of hell fire, that we may be benefited by the wholesome fear of it. For if God, intending to cast sinners into it, had not previously threatened them with it, many would have plunged into it. For, if with this terror agitating our souls, some sin as readily as if there were no such thing in existence, what enormities should we not have committed, if it had not been declared and threatened? So that, as I have ever said, the threatenings of hell show the care of God for us no less than the promises of heaven. For the threat co?perates with the promise, and drives men into the kingdom by means of terror. Let us not think it a matter of cruelty, but of pity and mercy; of God's concern and love for us. If in the days of Jonah the destruction of Nineveh had not been threatened, that destruction had not been averted. Nineveh would not have stood but for the threat, "Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah 3:4.) And if hell had not been threatened, we should all have fallen into hell. If the fire had not been denounced, no one would have escaped the fire. God declares that He will do that which He desires not to do, that He may do that which He desires to do. He willeth not the death of a sinner, and therefore He threatens the sinner with death, that He may not have to inflict death. And not only has He spoken the word, but He has exhibited the thing itself, that we may escape it. And lest it should be supposed to be a mere threat, He has manifested the reality of it by what He has already done on earth. Dost thou not see in the flood a symbol of hell, in that rain of all-destroying water an image of the all-devouring fire? [1275] "For as it was in the days of Noah," He says, "they were marrying and giving in marriage" (Matthew 24:38.), so is it even now. It was then predicted [1276] long before it took place, and it is now predicted four hundred years or more beforehand: [1277] but no one heeds it. It is looked upon as a mere fable, as a matter of derision; no one fears it, no one weeps or beats his breast at the thought of it. The stream of fire is boiling up, the flame is kindled, and we are laughing, taking our pleasure, and sinning without fear. No one even bears in mind That Day. No one considers that present things are passing away, and that they are but temporal, though events are every day crying out and uttering a fearful voice. The untimely deaths, the changes that take place in our lives, our own infirmities and diseases, fail to instruct us. And not only in our own bodies are these changes visible, but in the elements themselves. Every day in our different ages we experience a kind of death, and in every case instability is the characteristic of things we see. Neither winter, nor summer, nor spring, nor autumn, is permanent; all are running, flying, and flowing past. Why should I speak of fading flowers, of dignities, of kings that are to-day, and to-morrow cease to be, of rich men, of magnificent houses, of night and day, of the sun and the moon? for the moon wanes, and the sun is sometimes eclipsed, and often darkened with clouds? Of things visible, in short, is there anything that endures for ever? Nothing! No, nor anything in us but the soul, and that we neglect. Of things subject to change we take abundant care, as if they were permanent: but that which is to endure for ever we neglect, as if it were soon to pass away. Some one is enabled to perform mighty actions, but they shall last till to-morrow, and then he perishes, as we see in the instances of those who have had yet greater power, and are now to be seen no more. Life is a dream, and a scene; and as on the stage when the scene is shifted the various pageants disappear, and as dreams flit away when the sunbeams rise, so here when the end comes, whether the universal or that of each one, all is dissolved and vanishes away. The tree that you have planted remains, and the house that you have built, it too stands on. But the planter and the builder go away, and perish. Yet these things happen without our regarding it, and we live on in luxury and pleasure, and are ever furnishing ourselves with such things, as if we were immortal.

Hear what Solomon says, who knew the present world by actual experience. "I builded me houses, I planted me vineyards, I made me gardens, and orchards and pools of water. I gathered me also silver and gold. I gat myself men-singers, and women-singers, and flocks, and herds." (Ecclesiastes 2:4, 5.) There was no one who lived in greater luxury, or higher glory. There was no one so wise or so powerful, no one who saw all things so succeeding to his heart's desire. What then? He had no enjoyment from all these things. What after all does he say of it himself? "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 12:8.) Vanity not simply but superlatively. Let us believe him, and lay hold on that in which there is no vanity, in which there is truth; and what is based upon a solid rock, where there is no old age, nor decline, but all things bloom and flourish, without decay, or waxing old, or approaching dissolution. Let us, I beseech you, love God with genuine affection, not from fear of hell, but from desire of the kingdom. For what is comparable to seeing Christ? Surely nothing! What to the enjoyment of those good things? Surely nothing! Well may there be nothing; for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9.) Let us be anxious to obtain those things, and let us despise all these. Are we not continually complaining that human life is nothing? Why art thou solicitous for what is nothing? Why dost thou sustain such toils, for what is nothing? Thou seest splendid houses, does the sight of them delude thee? Look up to heaven. Raise thy view from pillars of stone to that beautiful fabric, compared with which the others are as the works of ants and pismires. Learn philosophy from that spectacle, ascend to heavenly things, and look thence upon our splendid buildings, and see that they are nothing, the mere toys of little children. Seest thou not how much finer, how much lighter, how much purer, how much more translucent, is the air the higher thou ascendest? There have they that do alms their mansions and their tabernacles. These that are here are dissolved at the resurrection, or rather before the resurrection destroyed by the stroke of time. Nay often in their most flourishing state and period an earthquake overthrows, or fire entirely ruins them. For not only the bodies of men, but their very buildings are liable to untimely deaths. Nay, sometimes things decayed by time stand firm under the shock of an earthquake, whilst glittering edifices, firmly fixed, and newly constructed, are struck but by lightning and perish. And this, I believe, is the interposition of God, that we may not take pride in our buildings.

Would you again have another ground for cheerfulness? Go to the public buildings, in which you share equally with others. For the most magnificent private houses, after all, are less splendid than the public edifices. There you may remain, as long as you please. They belong to you as much as to others, since they are common to you with others; they are common, and not private. But those, you say, delight you not. They delight you not, partly because you are familiar with them, and partly from your covetousness. So the pleasantness is not in the beauty, but in the appropriating! So the pleasure is in greediness, and in the wish to make every man's goods your own! How long are we to be nailed to these things? How long are we to be fastened to the earth, and grovel, like worms, in the dirt? God hath given us a body of earth, that we might carry it with us up to heaven, not that we should draw our soul down with it to earth. Earthy it is, but if we please, it may be heavenly. See how highly God has honored us, in committing to us so excellent a frame. I made heaven and earth, He says, and to you I give the power of creation. Make your earth heaven. For it is in thy power. "I am He that maketh and transformeth all things" (Amos 5:8, Sept.), saith God of Himself. And He hath given to men a similar power; as a painter, being an affectionate father, teaches his own art to his son. I formed thy body beautiful, he says, but I give thee the power of forming something better. Make thy soul beautiful. I said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, and every fruitful tree." (Genesis 1:11.) Do thou also say, Let this earth [1278] bring forth its proper fruit, and what thou willest to produce will be produced. "I make the summer and the cloud. I create the lightning and the wind." (Amos 4:13; Psalm 74:17.) I formed the dragon, that is, the devil, [1279] to make sport with him. (Psalm 104:26.) Nor have I grudged thee the like power. Thou, if thou wilt, canst sport with him, and bind him as thou wouldest a sparrow. I make the sun to rise upon the evil and the good: do thou imitate Me, by imparting of that is thine to the good and the evil. When mocked I bear with it, and do good to those who mock Me: do thou imitate Me, as thou canst. I do good, not to be requited; do thou imitate Me, and do good, not to be repaid. I have lighted luminaries in the heavens. Do thou light others brighter than these, for thou canst, by enlightening those that are in error. For to know Me is a greater benefit than to behold the sun. Thou canst not create a man, but thou canst make him just and acceptable to God. I formed his substance, do thou beautify his will. See how I love thee, and have given thee the power in the greater things.

Beloved, see how we are honored! yet some are so unreasonable and so ungrateful as to say, "Why are we endowed with free will?" But how in all the particulars which we have mentioned could we have imitated God, if there had been no free will? I rule Angels, He says, and so dost thou, through Him who is the First-fruits. (1 Corinthians 15:23.) I sit on a royal throne, and thou art seated with Me in Him who is the First-fruits. As it is said, "He hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6.) Through Him who is the First-fruits, Cherubim and Seraphim adore thee, with all the heavenly host, principalities and powers, thrones and dominions. Disparage not thy body, to which such high honors appertain, that the unbodied Powers tremble at it.

But what shall I say? It is not in this way only that I have shown My love to thee, but by what I have suffered. For thee I was spit upon, I was scourged. I emptied myself of glory, I left My Father and came to thee, who dost hate Me, and turn from Me, and art loath to hear My Name. I pursued thee, I ran after thee, that I might overtake thee. I united and joined thee to myself, "eat Me, drink Me," I said. Above I hold thee, and below I embrace thee. Is it not enough for thee that I have thy First-fruits above? Doth not this satisfy thy affection? I descended below: I not only am mingled with thee, I am entwined in thee. I am masticated, [1280] broken into minute particles, that the interspersion, [1281] and commixture, and union may be more complete. Things united remain yet in their own limits, but I am interwoven with thee. I would have no more any division between us. I will that we both be one.

Therefore knowing these things and remembering His abundant care for us, let us do all things which may prove us not unworthy of His great gift, which God grant that we may all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom, &c.


[1265] euprosedron.

[1266] thelousi.

[1267] akkisthosin.

[1268] He seems to mean that a professed widow, giving up her profession, is like woman betrothed to a man, and then disliking him, and giving her affections to another.

[1269] i. e. by the profession of a devout widowhood.

[1270] Gr. fem. referring to the widows kept by their relations, see Hom. xiii. and xiv. , or perhaps to women relieving them. See below, l. 9 of this page. Downes, missing the sense, guesses it should be ekeinoi.

[1271] Colb. omits this clause; it is perhaps too bold to guess ta apo ton thusion, for chrusion, making it, "the share of the sacrifices."

[1272] sunedreu& 219;.

[1273] meleton. He seems to mean in preparing his discourses.

[1274] Or perhaps, "heathenish."

[1275] The construction is too involved for such a passage; a slight change would refer the whole clause to the Judgment, or to the destruction of the cities of the plain.

[1276] i. e. the deluge.

[1277] See Hom. xx. on St. Matt. fin., where he says the end of the world might now come at any time.

[1278] i. e. the body.

[1279] So St. Aug. on Ps. 103.. Vulg. taking "formed" of his degradation.

[1280] trogomai.

[1281] anakrasis.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
"I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands hastily on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

Having spoken of Bishops and Deacons, of men, and women, of widows and elders, and of all others, and having shown how great was the authority of a Bishop, now he was speaking of judgment, he has added, "I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality." Thus fearfully he charges him. For though Timothy was his beloved son, he did not therefore stand in awe of him. For as he was not ashamed to say of himself, "Lest by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away" (1 Corinthians 9:27.); much less would he be afraid or ashamed in the case of Timothy. He called the Father and the Son to witness. But wherefore the elect Angels? From great moderation, as Moses said, "I call heaven and earth to witness" (Deuteronomy 4:26.); and again, "Hear ye, O mountains, and strong foundations of the earth." (Micah 6:2.) He calls the Father and the Son to witness what he has said, making his appeal to Them against that future Day, that if anything should be done that ought not to be done, he was clear from the guilt of it.

"That thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality." That is, that thou deal impartially and equally between those who are upon trial and are to be judged by thee, that no one may pre-occupy thy mind, or gain thee over to his side beforehand.

But who are the elect Angels? It is because there are some not elect. As Jacob calls to witness God and the heap (Genesis 31:45.), so we often take at once superior and inferior persons to witness; so great a thing is testimony. As if he had said, I call to witness God and His Son and His servants, that I have charged thee: so before them I charge thee. He impresses Timothy with fear; after which he adds, what was most vital, [1282] and bears most on the maintenance of the Church, the matter of Ordinations. "Lay hands," he says, "suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins." What is "suddenly"? Not upon a first, nor a second, nor a third trial, but after frequent and strict examination and circumspection. For it is an affair of no common peril. For thou wilt be responsible for the sins committed by him, as well his past as his future sins, because thou hast delegated to him this power. For if thou overlook the past unduly, thou art answerable for the future also, as being the cause of them, by placing him in that station, and of the past too, for not leaving him to mourn over them, and to be in compunction. For as thou art a partaker of his good actions, so art thou of his sins.

"Keep thyself pure." This he says with reference to chastity.

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thy often infirmities." If one who had practiced fasting to such an extent, and used only water, so long that he had brought on "infirmities" and "frequent infirmities," is thus commanded to be chaste, and does not refuse the admonition, much less ought we to be offended when we receive an admonition from any one. But why did not Paul restore strength to his stomach? Not because he could not--for he whose garment had raised the dead was clearly able to do this too,--but because he had a design of importance in withholding such aid. What then was his purpose? [1283] That even now, if we see great and virtuous men afflicted with infirmities, we may not be offended, for this was a profitable visitation. If indeed to Paul himself a "messenger of Satan" was sent that he should not be "exalted above measure" (2 Corinthians 12:11.), much more might it be so with Timothy. For the miracles he wrought were enough to have rendered him arrogant. For this reason he is left to be subject to the rules of medicine, that he may be humbled, and others may not be offended, but may learn that they who performed such excellent actions were men of the same nature as themselves. In other respects also Timothy seems to have been subject to disease, which is implied by that expression, "Thy often infirmities," as well of other parts as of the stomach. He does not however allow him to indulge freely in wine, but as much as was for health and not for luxury. [1284]

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
Ver. 24. "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some they follow after."

In speaking of ordination, he had said, "Be not partaker of other men's sins." But what, he might say, if I be ignorant of them? Why, "some men's sins are open beforehand, going before them to judgment, and some they follow after." Some men's, he means, are manifest, because they, go before, whilst others' are unknown, because they follow after.

Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
Ver. 25. "Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand, and they that are otherwise cannot be hid."

Chap. vi. ver. 1. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor, that the Name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed."

Let them count them "worthy of all honor," he says; for do not suppose, because thou art a believer, that thou art therefore a free man: since thy freedom is to serve the more faithfully. For if the unbeliever sees slaves conducting themselves insolently on account of their faith, he will blaspheme, as if the Doctrine produced insubordination. But when he sees them obedient, he will be more inclined to believe, and will the rather attend to our words. But God, and the Gospel we preach, will be blasphemed, if they are disobedient. But what if their own master be an unbeliever? Even in that case they ought to submit, for God's Name's sake.

Ver. 2. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved partakers of the benefit."

As though he had said, If ye are thought worthy of so great a benefit, as to have your masters for your brethren, on this account ye ought more especially to submit.

"Going before to judgment." This he had said, implying that of evil actions here some are concealed, and some are not; but there neither the good nor the bad can be concealed. And what is that going before to judgment? When one commits offenses that already condemn him, or when he is incorrigible, and when one thinks to set him right and cannot succeed. What then? What is the use of mentioning this? Because if here any escape detection, they will not hereafter. There all things are laid open; and this is the greatest consolation to those who do well.

Then because he had said, "Do nothing by partiality," as if under the necessity of interpreting it, he adds, "As many servants as are under the yoke." But you will say, What has a Bishop to do with this? Much surely, for it is his office to exhort and to teach these too. And here he makes excellent regulations with respect to them. For we see him everywhere commanding the servants rather than their masters, showing them the ways of submission, and treating them with great regard. [1285] He exhorts them therefore to submit with great meekness. But the masters he recommends to forbear the use of terror. "Forbearing threatening" (Ephesians 6:9.), he says. And why does he thus command? In the case of unbelievers, naturally, because it would have been unreasonable to address those who would pay no heed to him; but where believers were concerned, what was his reason? Because masters contribute greater benefits to their servants, than servants to their masters. For the former furnish the money to purchase for them sufficient food and clothing; and bestow much care upon them in other respects, so that the masters pay them the larger service, which is here intimated, when he says, "they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit." [1286] They suffer much toil and trouble for your repose, ought they not in return to receive much honor from their servants?

Moral. But if he exhorts servants to render such implicit obedience, consider what ought to be our disposition towards our Master, who brought us into existence out of nothing, and who feeds and clothes us. If in no other way then, let us render Him service at least as our servants render it to us. Do not they order their whole lives to afford rest to their masters, and is it not their work and their life to take care of their concerns? Are they not all day long engaged in their masters' work, and only a small portion of the evening in their own? But we, on the contrary, are ever engaged in our own affairs, in our Master's hardly at all, and that too, though He needs not our services, as masters need those of their servants, but those very acts redound to our own benefit. In their case the master is benefited by the ministry of the servant, but in ours the ministry of the servant profits not the Master, but is beneficial on the other hand to the servant. As the Psalmist says, "My goods are nothing unto Thee." (Psalm 16:2.) For say, what advantage is it to God, that I am just, or what injury, that I am unjust? Is not His nature incorruptible, incapable of injury, superior to all suffering? Servants having nothing of their own, all is their masters', however rich they may be. But we have many things of our own.

And it is not merely so great honor, [1287] that we enjoy from the King of the universe. What master ever gave his own son for his servant? No one, but all would rather choose to give their servants for their sons. Here on the contrary, "He spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all," for His enemies who hated Him. Servants, though very hard service is exacted of them, are not impatient; at least, not the well-disposed. But how many times do we utter discontent? [1288] The master promises to his servants nothing like what God promises to us; but what? Freedom here, which is often worse than bondage; for it is often embittered by famine beyond slavery itself. [1289] Yet this is their greatest boon. But with God there is nothing temporal, nothing mortal; but what? wouldest thou learn? Listen then, He says, "Henceforth I call you not servants. Ye are my friends." (John 15:13, 14.)

Beloved, let us be ashamed, let us fear. Let us only serve our Master, as our servants serve us. Rather not even [1290] the smallest portion of service do we render! Necessity makes them philosophers. They have only food and lodging; but we, possessing much and expecting more, insult our Benefactor with our luxury. If from nothing else, from them at least let us learn the rules of philosophy. The Scripture is wont to send men not even to servants, but to irrational creatures, as when it bids us imitate the bee and the ant. But I advise you but to imitate servants: only so much as they do from fear of their masters, let us do from the fear of God; for I cannot find that you do even this. They receive many insults from fear of us, and endure them in silence with the patience of philosophers. Justly or unjustly they are exposed to our violence, and they do not resist, but entreat us, though often they have done nothing wrong. They are contented to receive no more and often less than they need; with straw [1291] for their bed, and only bread for their food, they do not complain or murmur at their hard living, but through fear of us are restrained from impatience. When they are intrusted with money, they restore it all. For I am not speaking of the worthless, but of the moderately good. If we threaten them, they are at once awed.

Is not this philosophy? For say not they are under necessity, when thou too art under a necessity in the fear of hell. And yet dost thou not learn wisdom, nor render to God as much honor, as thou receivest from thy servants. Of thy servants each has the apartment assigned to him by thy rules, and he does not invade that of his neighbor, nor do any injury from a desire of more than he has. This forbearance the fear of their master enforces among domestics, and seldom will you see a servant robbing or injuring a fellow-servant. But among free men it is quite the reverse. We bite and devour one another. We fear not our Master: we rob and plunder our fellow-servants, we strike them in His very sight. This the servant will not do; if he strikes, it is not when his master sees him; if he reviles, it is not when his master hears him. But we dare do anything, though God sees and hears it all.

The fear of their master is ever before their eyes, the fear of our Master never before ours. Hence the subversion of all order, hence all is confusion and destruction. And we never take into consideration the offenses we have committed, but if our servants do amiss, we call them to a rigorous account for everything, even to the least misdemeanor. I say not this to make servants remiss, but to chide our supineness, to rouse us from our sloth, that we may serve our God with as much zeal as servants do their master; our Maker, as faithfully as our fellow-creatures [1292] serve us, from whom they have received no such gift. For they too are free by nature. To them also it was said, "Let them have dominion over the fishes." (Genesis 1:26.) For this slavery is not from nature: it is the result of some particular cause, or circumstances. Yet, notwithstanding, they pay us great honor; and we with great strictness exact services from them, whilst to God we hardly render the smallest portion, though the advantage of it would redound to ourselves. For the more zealously we serve God, the greater gainers we shall be. Let us not then deprive ourselves of such important benefits. For God is self-sufficient, and wants nothing; the recompense and the advantage reverts altogether to us. Let us therefore, I beseech you, be so affected, as serving not God but ourselves, and with fear and trembling let us serve Him, that we may obtain the promised blessings, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.


[1282] Or "seasonable."

[1283] A Paris ms. adds, "in not curing him," and is stated to vary much in this passage, but its readings are not given.

[1284] This whole passage is treated more at length in the first Homily on the Statues, where most of these remarks are expanded and illustrated.

[1285] Or making a great point of them, i. e. of the ways of submission.

[1286] The words hoi tes euergesias antilambanomenoi may mean, "such as set themselves to confer benefits."

[1287] Or, "and it is not without reason that we enjoy so great honor": and so Old Lat. and Ben. that in the text seems more intelligible. The other might be explained by the sequel. See Romans 8:32.

[1288] apoduspetoumen.

[1289] The slaves, as he had said before, were wholly provided for by their masters, and so suffer less in a scarcity than if they had been independent.

[1290] The negative is added in Colb. and B. The sense requires it.

[1291] stibados.

[1292] homoousioi.

The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
Text Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

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