Acts 9
Homilies of Chrysostom
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
"And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight."

What may be the reason that He neither drew any one of high authority and importance, nor caused such to be forthcoming for the purpose of instructing Paul? [473] It was, because it was not meet that he should be induced by men, but only by Christ Himself: as in fact this man taught him nothing, but merely baptized him; for, as soon as baptized (photistheis), he was to draw upon himself the grace of the Spirit, by his zeal and exceeding earnestness. And that Ananias was no very distinguished person, is plain. For, "the Lord," it says, "spake unto him in a vision, and Ananias answered and said, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem." (v. 13.) For if he spoke in objection to Him, much more would he have done so, had He sent an Angel. And this is why, in the former instance, neither is Philip told what the matter is; but he sees the Angel, and then the Spirit bids him go near to the chariot. But observe here how the Lord relieves him of his fear: "He is blind," saith He, "and prayeth, and art thou afraid?" In the same way Moses also is afraid: so that the words betokened that he was afraid, and shrunk from the task, not that he did not believe. He said," have heard from many concerning this man." What sayest thou? God speaketh, and thou hesitatest? They did not yet well know the power of Christ. "And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name." (v. 14.) How was that known? It is likely that they, being in fear, made minute enquiries. He does not say this, as thinking that Christ does not know the fact, but, "such being the case, how," says he, "can these things be?" As in fact those (in the Gospel) say, "Who can be saved?"--(Mark 10:26.) This is done, in order that Paul may believe him that shall come to him: "he hath seen in a vision:" it hath showed him beforehand: "he prayeth," saith (the Lord): fear not. And observe, He speaks not to him of the success achieved: teaching us not to speak of our achievements. And, [474] though He saw him afraid, for all this He said it not. "Thou shalt not be disbelieved:" "he hath seen," saith He, "in a vision a man (named) Ananias:" for this is why it was "in a vision," namely, because he was blind. And not even the exceeding wonderfulness of the thing took possession of the disciple's mind, so greatly was he afraid. But observe: Paul being blind, in this way He restored to sight. "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." (v. 15, 16.) "Not only," saith He, "shall he be a believer, but even a teacher, and great boldness shall he show: before Gentiles and kings'--such shall be the spread of the doctrine!--that just as He astonished (him) by the former, so He may (startle him even more) by the latter. [475] "And Ananias went, and entered into the house, and laid his hands upon him, and said, Brother Saul"--he straightway addresses him as a friend by that name--"Jesus, Who appeared unto thee in the way in which thou camest"--and yet Christ had not told him this, but he learnt it from the Spirit--"hath sent me unto thee, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." (v. 17.) As he said this, he laid his hands upon him. "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales." (v. 18.) Some say this was a sign of his blindness. Why did he not blind his eyes (entirely)? This was more wonderful, that, with his eyes open, he did not see: (v. 8) which was just his case in respect of the Law, until [476] the Name of Jesus was put on him. "And he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And having taken food, he recovered strength." (v. 19.) He was faint, therefore, both from his journey and from his fear; both from hunger, and from dejection of mind. Wishing therefore to deepen his dejection, He made the man blind until the coming of Ananias: and, that he might not imagine the blindness to be (only) fancy, this is the reason of the scales. He needed no other teaching: that which had befallen was made teaching (to him). "And he was with the disciples which were at Damascus certain days. And straightway in the synagogues he preached Jesus, [477] that He is the Son of God." (v. 20.) See, straightway he was a teacher in the synagogues. He was not ashamed of the change, was not afraid while the very things in which he was glorious afore-time, the same he destroyed. Even [478] from his first appearance on the stage here was a man, death-dealing, ready for deeds of blood: seest thou what a manifest sign (was here)? And with this very thing, he put all in fear: for, said they, Hither also is he come for this very thing. "But all that heard him were amazed, and said: Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." (v. 21, 22.) As one learned in the Law, he stopped their mouths, and suffered them not to speak. They thought they were rid of disputation in such matters, in getting rid of Stephen, and they found another, more vehement than Stephen. [479]

(Recapitulation.) But let us look at what relates to Ananias. [480] The Lord said not to him, Converse with him, and catechize him. For if, when He said, "He prayeth, and hath seen a man laying his hands upon him," (v. 11, 12.) He did not persuade him, much less had He said this. So that he shall not disbelieve thee, "he hath seen in a vision." Observe how in the former instance neither is Philip told all immediately. Fear not, He saith: "for this man is a chosen vessel for Me. (v. 15.) He more than sufficiently released him of his fear, if the case be so that this man shall be so zealous in our cause, as even to suffer many things. And justly he is called "a vessel" (or, instrument)--for reason shows that evil is not a physical quality: "a vessel of election" (or, chosen instrument), He saith; for we choose that which is approved. And let not any imagine, that (Ananias) speaks in unbelief of what was told him, as imagining that Christ was deceived: far from it! but affrighted and trembling, he did not even attend to what was said, at hearing the name of Paul. Moreover, the Lord does not tell that He has blinded him: at the mention of his name fear had prepossessed his soul: "see," he says, "to whom Thou art betraying me: and hither for this very purpose is he come, to bind all that call upon Thy Name.' I fear, lest he take me to Jerusalem: why dost Thou cast me into the mouth of the lion?" He is terrified, even while he speaks these words; that from every quarter we may learn the energetic character (areten) of the man. For that these things should be spoken by Jews, were nothing wonderful: but that these (the believers) are so terrified, it is a most mighty proof of the power of God. Both the fear is shown, and the obedience greater after the fear. For there was indeed need of strength. Since He says, "a vessel of election," that thou mayest not imagine that God is to do all, He adds, "to bear My Name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel. Ananias has heard what he most desired--that against the Jews also he will take his stand: this above all gave him courage. "For I," saith He, "will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name's sake." At the same time also this is said by way of putting Ananias to the blush: If he, that was so frantic, shall suffer all things, and thou not willing even to baptize him! "It is well," saith he: "let him continue blind" (this [481] is why he says these words): "he is blind: why dost Thou at all bid me open his eyes, that he may bind (men) again?" Fear not the future: for that opening of his eyes he will use not against you, but for you (with reference to that saying, "That he may receive his sight" (v. 12), these words are spoken): for not only will he do you no harm, but he "will suffer many things." And what is wonderful indeed is, [482] that he shall first know "how great things he shall suffer," and then shall take the field against the perils.--"Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus"--he saith not, "Who made thee blind," but, "Who appeared with thee in the way, hath sent me unto thee that thou mayest receive thy sight" (v. 17): observe this man also, how he utters nothing boastful, but just as Peter said in the case of the lame man, "Why look ye on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made him to walk," (ch. iii. 12) so here also he saith, "Jesus, Who appeared unto thee." (b) Or, [483] (he saith it) that the other may believe: and he saith not, He that was crucified, the Son of God, He that doeth wonders: but what? "He that appeared unto thee:" (speaking) from what the other knew: as Christ also added no more, neither said, I am Jesus, the Crucified, the Risen: but what? "Whom thou persecutest." Ananias said not, "The persecuted," that he may not seem as it were to rave over him (epenthousi& 139;n), to deride him, "Who appeared unto thee in the way:" and yet He did not (visibly) appear, but was seen by the things done. And immediately he added, wishing to draw a veil over the accusation: "That thou mayest receive thy sight." I came not to reprove the past, but to bestow the gift: "that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." (a) With hands laid on, he spake these words. "And immediately there fell from his eyes," etc. (v. 18): a double blindness is removed.--And why saith it, "Having taken food, he was strengthened?" (v. 19.) Because they that are in such case become relaxed: he had no heart to partake of food before, until he obtained the mighty gifts. (c) It seems to me, that both Paul and Cornelius, at the very instant when the words were spoken, received the Spirit. And yet (in this case) the giver was no great one. So true is it, that there was naught of man's in the things done, nor aught was done by man, but God was present, the Doer of these things. And at the same time (the Lord) both teaches him to think modestly of himself, in that He does not bring him to the Apostles who were so admired, and shows that there is nothing of man here. He was not filled, however, with the Spirit which works signs: that in this way also his faith might be shown; for he wrought no miracles. "And straightway," it says, "in the synagogues he preached Jesus"--(v. 20) not that He is risen--not this: no, nor that He liveth: but what? immediately he strictly expounded the doctrine--"that this is the Son of God. And all that heard him were amazed," etc. (v. 21.) They were reduced to utter incredulity. And yet they ought not to have wondered only, but to worship and reverence. "Is not this he," etc. He had not merely been a persecutor, but "destroyed them which called on this Name"--they did not say, "on Jesus;" for hatred, they could not bear even to hear His name--and what is more marvellous still, "and came hither for this purpose," etc. "We cannot say, that he associated with the Apostles before." See by how many (witnesses) he is confessed to have been of the number of the enemies! But Paul not only was not confounded by these things, nor hid his face for shame, but "increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews" (v. 22), i. e. put them to silence, left them nothing to say for themselves, "proving, that this is very Christ." "Teaching," it says: for this man was a teacher.

"And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him." [484] (v. 23.) The Jews again resort to that valid argument (ischuron sullogismon) of theirs, not now seeking false-accusers and false-witnesses; they cannot wait for these now: but what do they? They set about it by themselves. For as they see the affair on the increase, they do not even use the form of a trial. "But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him." (v. 24.) For this was more intolerable to them than the miracles which had taken place--than the five thousand, the three thousand, than everything, in short. And observe him, how he is delivered, not by (miraculous) grace, but by man's wisdom--not as the apostles were--(ekeinoi, ch. v. 19) that thou mayest learn the energetic (areten) character of the man, how he shines even without miracles. "Then the disciples took him by night," that the affair might not be suspected, "and let him down by the wall in a basket." [485] (v. 25.) What then? having escaped such a danger, does he flee? By no means, but goes where he kindled them to greater rage.

(Recapitulation, v. 20, 21.) "And straightway in the synagogues he preached Jesus"--for he was accurate in the faith--"that this is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed," etc., for indeed it was incredible. "But Saul increased," etc. Therefore "after many days" this happens: viz. the Jews "took counsel to kill him. And their laying await was known of Saul." (v. 22-24.) What does this mean? It is likely that for awhile he did not choose to depart thence, though many, perhaps, besought him; but when he learnt it, then he permitted his disciples: for he had disciples immediately.

"Then the disciples," etc. (v. 25.) Of this occurrence he says: "The ethnarch of Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to apprehend me." (2 Corinthians 11:32.) But observe the Writer here, [486] that he does not tell the story ambitiously, and so as to show what an important person Paul was, saying, "For they stirred up the king," and so forth: but only, "Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall--in a basket:" for they sent him out alone, and none with him. And it was well they did this: the consequence being, that he showed himself to the Apostles in Jerusalem. Now they sent him out, as bound to provide for his safety by flight: but he did just the contrary--he leaped into the midst of those who were mad against him. This it is to be on fire, this to be fervent indeed! From that day forth he knew all the commands which the Apostles had heard: "Except a man take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 10:38.) The very fact that he had been slower to come than the rest made him more zealous: for "to whom much is forgiven" (Luke 7:47) the same will love more, so that the later he came, the more he loved: * * * [487] and having done ten thousand wrongs, he thought he could never do enough to cast the former deeds into the shade. "Proving" (v. 22), it says: i. e. with mildness teaching. And observe, they did not say to him, Thou art he that destroyed: why art thou changed? for they were ashamed: but they said it to themselves. For he would have said to them, This very thing ought to teach you, as in fact he does thus plead in his speech before Agrippa. Let us imitate this, man: let us bear our souls in our hands ready to confront all dangers.--(That he fled from Damascus) this was no cowardice: [488] he preserved himself for the preaching. Had he been a coward, he would not have gone to Jerusalem, would not immediately have commenced teaching: he would have abated somewhat of his vehemence: for he had been taught by the fate of Stephen. He was no coward, but he was also prudent (oikonomikos) (in husbanding himself). Wherefore he thought it no great thing to die for the Gospel's sake, unless he should do this to great advantage: willing not even to see Christ, Whom most of all he longed to see, while the work of his stewardship among men was not yet complete. (Philippians 1:23, 24). Such ought to be the soul of a Christian. From [489] his first appearance from the very outset, the character of Paul declared itself: nay even before this, even in the things which he did "not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2), it was not by man's reasoning that he was moved to act as he did. [490] For if, so long afterwards, he was content not to depart, much more at the beginning of his trading voyage, when he had but just left the harbor! Many things Christ leaves to be done by (ordinary) human wisdom, that we may learn that (his disciples) were men, that it was not all everywhere to be done by grace: for otherwise they would have been mere motionless logs: but in many things they managed matters themselves.--This is not less than martyrdom,--to shrink from no suffering for the sake of the salvation of the many. Nothing so delights God. Again will I repeat what I have often said: and I repeat it, because I do exceedingly desire it: as Christ also did the same, when discoursing concerning forgiveness: "When ye pray, forgive if ye have aught against any man:" (Mark 11:25.) and again to Peter He said, "I say not unto thee, Forgive until seven times, but until seventy-times seven." (Matthew 18:22.) And Himself in fact forgives the transgressions against Him. So do we also, because we know that this is the very goal of Christianity, continually discourse thereof. Nothing is more frigid than a Christian, who cares not for the salvation of others. Thou canst not here plead poverty: for she that cast down the two mites, shall be thine accuser. (Luke 21:1.) And Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none." (Acts 3:6.) And Paul was so poor, that he was often hungered, and wanted necessary food. Thou canst not plead lowness of birth: for they too were ignoble men, and of ignoble parents. Thou canst not allege want of education: for they too were "unlearned men." (Acts 4:13.) Even if thou be a slave therefore and a runaway slave, thou canst perform thy part: for such was Onesimus: yet see to what Paul calls him, and to how great honor he advances him: "that he may communicate with me," he says, "in my bonds." (Philemon 5:13.) Thou canst not plead infirmity: for such was Timothy, having often infirmities; for, says the apostle, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities." (1 Timothy 5:23.) Every one can profit his neighbor, if he will fulfil his part. See ye not the unfruitful trees, how strong they are, how fair, how large also, and smooth, and of great height? But if we had a garden; we should much rather have pomegranates, or fruitful olive trees: for the others are for delight to the eye, not for profit, which in them is but small. Such are those men who only consider their own interest: nay, not such even since these persons are fit only for burning: whereas those trees are useful both for building and for the safety of those within. Such too were those Virgins, chaste indeed, and decent, and modest, but profitable to none (Matthew 25:1) wherefore they are burned. Such are they who have not nourished Christ. For observe that none of those are charged with particular sins of their own, with fornication, for instance, or with perjury; in short, with no sin but the having been of no use to another. Such was he who buried his talent, showing indeed a blameless life, but not being useful to another. (ib. 25.) How can such an one be a Christian? Say, if the leaven being mixed up with the flour did not change the whole into its own nature, would such a thing be leaven? Again, if a perfume shed no sweet odor on those who approach it, could we call it a perfume? Say not, "It is impossible for me to induce others (to become Christians)"--for if thou art a Christian, it is impossible but that it should be so. For as the natural properties of things cannot be gainsaid, so it is here: the thing is part of the very nature of the Christian. Do not insult God. To say, that the sun cannot shine, would be to insult Him: to say that a Christian cannot do good, is to insult God, and call Him a liar. For it is easier for the sun not to give heat, nor to shine, than for the Christian not to send forth light: it is easier for the light to be darkness, than for this to be so. Tell me not that it is impossible: the contrary is the impossible. Do not insult God. If we once get our own affairs in a right state, the other will certainly follow as a natural and necessary consequence. It is not possible for the light of a Christian to be hid; not possible for a lamp so conspicuous as that to be concealed. Let us not be careless. For, as the profit from virtue reaches both to ourselves, and to those who are benefited by it: so from vice there is a two-fold loss, reaching both to ourselves, and to those who are injured by it. Let there be (if you will) some private man, who has suffered numberless ills from some one, and let no one take his part, yet let that man still return good offices; what teaching so mighty as this? What words, or what exhortations could equal it? What wrath were it not enough to extinguish and soften? Knowing therefore these things, let us hold fast to virtue, as knowing that it is not possible to be saved otherwise, than by passing through this present life in doing these good works, that we may also obtain the good things which are to come, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


[473] OEcumen. adds from some other source, "but Ananias who was one of the Seventy:" and afterwards, "And this Ananias was a deacon, as Paul himself testifies in the Canons:" the latter from Ammonius the Presbyter, in the Catena.--Below, Kai hoti (Cat., Oti gar) ou ton sphodra episemon en, delon, C. comp. p. 279. But Edd. "But that Ananias also was one of the very distinguished persons, is plain both from what (the Lord) reveals and says to him, and from what he himself says in answer: Lord, I have heard," etc.

[474] Kai phoboumenon idon, oude houtos eipen. Ouk apistethese. The mod, t. prefixes Mallon d, and adds, alla ti; 'Anastas poreutheti. "Nay, even seeing him afraid, even then He said not, Thou shalt not be disbelieved: (Erasm. negligently, Be not unbelieving:) but what? Arise," etc. So Morel. Sav. but Ben. puts a full stop at idon: as if the meaning were, "because He would teach us," etc.: or rather, "because He also saw him to be afraid. Nor did He speak thus. Thou shalt not," etc. But the full stop should be placed at eipen: "nay, though he saw him afraid, He did not tell him what had happened to Paul--the victory He had won over this adversary. But only, Fear not to be disbelieved for he hath seen," etc.

[475] hina hosper exepletten touto, houto kakeino. (Sav. marg. touto, kakeino.) "That as He (Christ) astonished (Ananias) by the one, so He may by the other." touto, by the announcement of Saul as a believer; ekeino, by that of his becoming a preacher, and before Gentiles and kings. (Chrys. is negligent in his use of the pronouns houtos and ekeinos.) Or it may be, "that as he (Saul) astonished (men) by his conversion, so by his wonderful boldness as a preacher."--E. Edd. omit this, and substitute, "as to prevail over all nations and kings."

[476] "But when was the name of Jesus put upon Paul, that he should recover his sight? Here is either something wrong in the text, or we must say that Ananias put the name of Jesus on Paul, when, having laid his hands on him, he told him that it was Jesus from whom he should receive his sight." Ben.,--who surely must have overlooked the clause hoper epathen epi tou nomou, to which these words belong.--Above, Tines phasi tes peroseos einai touto semeion, the meaning is, that this falling off the scales, etc., is an emblem of his mental blindness, and of his recovery therefrom. The innovator, not understanding this, alters it to, tautas tines phasi tes p. autou einai aitias. "Some say that these were the cause of his blindness:" which is accepted by Edd.--And below, "lest any should imagine," etc., where tis, E. bracketted by Sav. , adopted by the other Edd. is due to the same hand.

[477] For Iesoun (the reading accredited by the leading authorities in v. 20) here and in the second exposition, E. alone has Christon (with text recept.) adopted by Edd.

[478] Kai eutheos ek trooimion, thanaton ho anthropos en viz. ch. vii. 58. C. has thanaton, for which A. conjecturally substitutes thaumastos.

[479] The narratives given by Paul himself of his conversion in Acts 22.and Acts well as allusion to the subjects in his epistles, present some harmonistic difficulties, which have, however, been greatly exaggerated by a criticism which is unfavorable to the historical character of the Acts. The constant factors in all the accounts are: the light from heaven, the voice of Jesus and Saul's answer, and the solemn charge commissioning Saul to bear the name of Christ to the Gentiles. In Acts 26.the interview with Ananias is omitted; in chap. xxii. it is narrated, but the occasion of Ananias' going to Saul is not given; in chap. ix. the Lord is represented as speaking to him and bidding him go, and it is affirmed that at the same time Saul has a vision of his coming. In xxii. the address of Ananias is considerably more extended than in ix. Some minor points of difference have been noted, as: in ix. 7 it is said that Saul's companions heard the voice but saw no one, while in xxii. 9, it is said that they saw the light but heard not the voice of Him who spoke. The discrepancy is resolved by many by translating ekousan(xxii. 9) "understood"--an admissable sense (so, Lechler, Hackett, Lange). It is certainly an unwarranted criticism which rejects the common matter of the various narratives upon the ground of such incidental variations in the traditions in which a great and mysterious experience has been preserved.--G.B.S.

[480] Skeuos de kaleitai dikaios; deiknuntos tou logou hoti ouk esti phusike he kakia; skeuos, phesin, ekloges; to dokimon gar eklegometha. A. B. C. N. i. e. "Justly is he called a skeuos, for he is well-fitted for the work of Christ by his energy and earnestness. These need but to be turned to the right objects. It is contrary to right reason to say, that evil is a physical quality or essence, and therefore unchangeable. (See this argued Hom. lix. in Matt. p. 596.) A fit implement, therefore, and of no common kind: a skeuos ekloges, of all others to be chosen, because of its approved suitableness for the purpose." Thus St. Chrysostom constantly interprets this expression. Hom. xviii. in Rom. ?6 t. ix. 638. "When the stars were created, the Angels admired: but this man Christ Himself admired, saying, A chosen vessel is this man to Me!" Comm. in c. 1. Gal. ?9, t. x. 674 "Called me by His grace. Yet God saith, that He called Him, because of his virtue, (dia ten areten,) saying, A chosen vessel, etc.: i. e. fit to do service, and do a great work...But Paul himself everywhere ascribes it all to grace." Hom. iii. in 1 Tim. 1, t. xi. 562. "God, foreknowing what he would be before he began to preach, saith, A chosen vessel etc. For as they who in war bear the royal standard, the labarum as we call it, have need of much skill and bravery not to deliver it into the enemy's hands, so they that bear the name of Christ," etc. And de Compunct. ad Demetr. lib. i. ?9, t. i. 138. "Since grace will have our part, (ta par' hemon zetei,) therefore some it follows and abides with, from some it departs, and to the rest it never even reaches. And to show that God first examined well the bent of the will (proairesis,) and thereupon gave the grace before this blessed man had done aught wonderful, hear what the Lord saith of him: A chosen vessel," etc.--The modern text: "And having said Skeuos, so as to show that the evil in him (he kakia autou) is not physical, He adds, ekloges, to declare that he is also approved; for," etc.--OEcumen. deiknusin hoti ouk esti phusike he kakia auto, "The Lord shows that vice is not natural to him."

[481] dia touto tauta legei: i. e. Ananias' objection, (v. 13) in fact comes to this: this was the feeling which prompted his words. The innovator substitutes, dia touto nun hemeros, hoti. .."therefore is he now gentle, because he is blind:" E. Edd.--The meaning is; "In saying, I will show him how much he shall suffer,' etc. the Lord rebukes Ananias' reluctance to baptize him, and restore his sight: his answer, Lord, I have heard,' etc. was in fact as good as saying, Let him remain blind, it is better so." The parenthetic, pros to, Ina anablepse, tauta eiretai, looks like a marginal note of one who did not perceive the connection.--E. makes it, "To that saying, That he may receive his sight,' let this be added."

[482] Kai to de thaumaston hoti proteron peisetai, kai tote. So all our mss. (Cat. to pr.) We conjecture the true reading to be, hoti proteron eisetai: "he shall first know," viz. "how many things he must suffer," etc. v. 16.

[483] In the mss. and Edd. the portions here marked b, a, c, occur in the order a, b, c. The clause e hoste pisteusai ekeinon being thus thrown out of its connection, perplexed the scribes: Cat. omits he, "until he obtained the mighty gifts, so that he (ekeinon, Ananias?) believed." A. E. F. D. reject the clause altogether. N. hoste kai p. e.

[484] It is noticeable that in chap. xxii. 17, Paul is reported as connecting his going to Jerusalem directly with the narrative of his conversion, while in Galatians 1:16, 17 he states that it was not until three years after his conversion that he went up to Jerusalem. The various notices can only be matched together on the view that the coming to Jerusalem mentioned in ix. 26 was the same as that of Galatians 1:18, and that this occurred about three years after his conversion. The hemerai hikanai of v. 23 must therefore include the time spent in Arabia (Galatians 1:17)., after which Paul must have returned to Damascus, before going up to Jerusalem. In this way the narratives can be harmonized without admitting a contradiction (as Baur, Zeller, De Wette); it is probable, however, that Luke did not know of the visit to Arabia, but connected Paul's going to Jerusalem closely with his conversion.--G.B.S.

[485] The best textual authorities (A. B. C. ',) and critics (Tisch. W. and H., Lechler, Meyer, Gloag) here read: "his (Saul's) disciples," So R.V....The reference is to the band of converts whom he had been successful in winning at Damascus. In Paul's own narrative of his escape from Damascus (2 Corinthians 11.33) he states more specifically that he was let down "through a window, through the wall." This may have been either through the window of a house overhanging the wall, or through a window in the face of some portion of the wall (Cf. Joshua 2:15; 1 Samuel 19.12).--G.B.S.

[486] touton: Edd. ton euangelisten: and below from E. alone, "alla monon hoti epegeiran ton basilea, not speaking ambitiously, and making Paul illustrious, but only (saying) that they stirred up the king." But he does not say it, and his not saying it is the very thing which Chrys. commends: all' hora touton ou philotimos legonta, oude lampron deiknunta ton P., "'Epegeiran gar," phesin, "ton basilea." The phesin here is put hypothetically, "as if he had said," or "when he might have said." The sentence, however, requires something to complete it, such as we have added in the translation.

[487] 'All' enedra (N. henedra) epoiei ton proton chronon, kai muria edikekos, ouden hegeito hikanon, k. t. l. So all our mss. except E. If enedra be not corrupt, it seems to be used in a sense unknown to the Lexicons.--Edd. from E. "Therefore it is that he so pillories (steliteuon) his former life, and brands (stizon) himself repeatedly, and thinks nothing enough," etc.

[488] Hom.xxv. in 2 Cor. . 615. Hom. v. de Laud. S. Pauli, t. ii. 501.

[489] Hom.xxvi. in 2 Cor. . 617, B.

[490] Mallon de kai pro toutou, kai en hois ou kata gnosin epoiei, ouk (B. oude, A. om. anthropino kinoumenos logismo diepratteto. i. e. "Even as a persecutor, he was not swayed by common worldly considerations." The mod. t. (Edd.) perverts the Author's meaning:"--nay even before this. For in the things, etc. he was moved by man's reasoning to act as he did."

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
"And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way."

One may well be much at a loss here to understand how it is that, whereas in the Epistle to the Galatians Paul says, "I went not to Jerusalem," but "into Arabia" and "to Damascus," and, "After three years I went up to Jerusalem," and "to see Peter" (Galatians 1:17), (historhesai Cat.) here the writer says the contrary. (There, Paul says,) "And none of the Apostles saw I; but here, it is said (Barnabas), brought him to the Apostles."--Well, then, either (Paul) means, "I went not up with intent to refer or attach myself to them (anathesthai)--for what saith he? "I referred not myself, neither went I to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me:" [491] or else, that the laying await for him in Damascus was after his return from Arabia; [492] or else, again, that the visit to Jerusalem was after he came from Arabia. Certainly of his own accord he went not to the Apostles, but "assayed to join himself unto the disciples"--as being [493] a teacher, not a disciple--"I went not," he says, "for this purpose, that I should go to those who were Apostles before me: certainly, I learnt nothing from them." Or, [494] he does not speak of this visit, but passes it by, so that the order is, "I went into Arabia, then I came to Damascus, then to Jerusalem, then to Syria:" or else, again, that he went up to Jerusalem, then was sent to Damascus, then to Arabia, then again to Damascus, then to C?sarea. Also, the visit "after fourteen years," probably, was when he brought up the [alms to the] brethren together with Barnabas: (Galatians 2:1) or else he means a different occasion. (Acts 11:30.) [495] For the Historian for conciseness, often omits incidents, and condenses the times. Observe how unambitious the writer is, and how he does not even relate (related in ch. xxii. 17-21) that vision, but passes it by. "He assayed," it says, "to join himself to the disciples. And they were afraid of him." By this again is shown the ardor of Paul's character: not (only) from the mouth of Ananias, and of those who wondered at him there, but also of those in Jerusalem: "they believed not that he was a disciple:" for truly that was beyond all human expectation. [496] He [497] was no longer a wild beast, but a man mild and gentle! And observe how he does not go to the Apostles, such is his forbearance, but to the disciples, as being a disciple. He was not thought worthy of credit. "But Barnabas"--"Son of Consolation" is his appellation, whence also he makes himself easy of access to the man: for "he was a kind man" (ch. xi. 24), exceedingly, and this is proved both by the present instance, and in the affair of John (Mark)--"having taken him, brought him to the Apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord in the way." [498] (xv. 39.) It is likely that at Damascus also he had heard all about him: whence he was not afraid but the others were, for he was a man whose glance inspired fear. "How," it says, "he had seen the Lord in the way, and that He had spoken unto him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem, and speaking boldly in the name of Jesus" (v. 28): these things were demonstrative of the former, and by his acts he made good what was spoken of him. "And he spake, and disputed with the Hellenists." (v. 29.) So then the disciples were afraid of him, and the Apostles did not trust him; by this therefore he relieves them of their fear. "With the Hellenists:" he means those who used the Greek tongue: and this he did, very wisely; for those others, those profound Hebrews had no mind even to see him. "But they," it says, "went about to slay him:" a token, this, of his energy, and triumphant victory, and of their exceeding annoyance at what had happened. Thereupon, fearing lest the issue should be the same as in the case of Stephen, they sent him to C?sarea. For it says, "When the brethren were aware of this, they brought him down to C?sarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus" (v. 30), at the same time to preach, and likely to be more in safety, as being in his own country. But observe, I pray you, how far it is from being the case that everything is done by (miraculous) grace; how, on the contrary, God does in many things leave them to manage for themselves by their own wisdom and in a human way; so [499] to cut off the excuse of idle people: for if it was so in the case of Paul, much more in theirs. [500] "Then, it says, "the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace (they), being edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and abounded in the comfort of the Holy Ghost." [501] (v. 31.) He is about to relate that Peter goes down (from Jerusalem), therefore that you may not impute this to fear, he first says this. For while there was persecution, he was in Jerusalem, but when the affairs of the Church are everywhere in security, then it is that he leaves Jerusalem. See how fervent and energetic he is! For he did not think, because there was peace, therefore there was no need of his presence. Paul [502] departed, and there was peace: there is no war nor disturbance. Them, they respected most, as having often stood by them, and as being held in admiration by the multitude: but him, they despised, and were more savage against him. See, how great a war, and immediately, peace! See what that war effected. It dispersed the peace-makers. In Samaria, Simon was put to shame: in Judea, the affair of Sapphira took place. Not that, because there was peace, therefore matters became relaxed, but such was the peace as also to need exhortation. "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda." (v. 32.) Like the commander of an army, he went about, inspecting the ranks, what part was compact, what in good order, what needed his presence. See how on all occasions he goes about, foremost. When an Apostle was to be chosen, he was the foremost: when the Jews were to be told, that these were "not drunken," when the lame man was to be healed, when harangues to be made, he is before the rest: when the rulers were to be spoken to, he was the man; when Ananias, he (ch. i. 15; ii. 15; iii. 4-12; iv. 8; v. 3-15.): when healings were wrought by the shadow, still it was he. And look: where there was danger, he was the man, and where good [503] management (was needed); but where all is calm, there they act all in common, and he demands no greater honor (than the others). When need was to work miracles, he starts forward, and here again he is the man to labor and toil. "And there he found a certain man named ?neas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, ?neas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately." (v. 33, 34.) And why did he not wait for the man's faith, and ask if he wished to be healed? In the first place, the miracle served for exhortation to many: hear then how great the gain. "And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord." (v. 35.) For the man was notable. "Arise, and make thy bed:" he does well to give a proof of the miracle: for they not only released men of their diseases, but in giving the health they gave the strength also. Moreover, at that time they had given no proofs of their power, so that the man could not reasonably have been required to show his faith, as neither in the case of the lame man did they demand it. (ch. iii. 6.) As therefore Christ in the beginning of His miracles did not demand faith, so neither did these. For in Jerusalem indeed, as was but reasonable, the faith of the parties was first shown; "they brought out their sick into the streets, but as Peter passed by, his shadow at least might fall upon some of them" (ch. v. 15); for many miracles had been wrought there; but here this is the first that occurs. For of the miracles, some were wrought for the purpose of drawing others (to faith); some for the comfort of them that believed. "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them." (v. 36-38). Why did they wait till she was dead? Why was not Peter solicited (eskule) before this? So right-minded (philosophhountes) were they, they did not think it proper to trouble (skullein) the Disciples about such matters, and to take them away from the preaching: as indeed this is why it mentions that the place was near, seeing [504] they asked this as a thing beside his mark, and not now in the regular course. "Not to delay to come unto them:" for she was a disciple. And Peter arose, and went with them. And when he was come, they led him into the upper chamber." (v. 39.) They do not beseech, but leave it to him to give her life (soterian.) See [505] what a cheering inducement to alms is here! "And all the widows," it says, "stood round him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them." Peter went into the apartment, as one who took it calmly, but see what an accession came of it! It is not without a meaning that the Writer has informed us of the woman's name, but to show that the name she bore (pheronumos en) matched her character; as active and wakeful was she as an antelope. For in many instances there is a Providence in the giving of names, as we have often told you. "She was full," it says, "of good works:" not only of alms, but "of good works," first, and then of this good work in particular. "Which," it says, "Dorcas made while she was with them." Great humility! Not as we do; but they were all together in common, and in company with them she made these things and worked. "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up." (v. 40.) Why does he put them all out? That he may not be confused nor disturbed by their weeping. "And having knelt down, he prayed." Observe the intentness of his prayer. "And [506] he gave her his hand." (v. 41.) So did Christ to the daughter of Jairus: "And (says the Evangelist) having taken her by the hand." Mark severally, first the life, then the strength brought into her, the one by the word, the other by his hand--"And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive:" to some for comfort, because they received back their sister, and because they saw the miracle, and for kindly support (prostasian) to others. "And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner." (v. 42-43.) Mark the unassuming conduct, mark the moderation of Peter, how he does not make his abode with this lady, or some other person of distinction, but with a tanner: by all his acts leading men to humility, neither suffering the mean to be ashamed, nor the great to be elated! "Many days;" [507] for they needed his instruction, who had believed through the miracles.--Let us look then again at what has been said.

"Assayed," it says, "to join himself to the disciples." (Recapitulation, v. 26.) He did not come up to them unabashed, but with a subdued manner. "Disciples" [508] they were all called at that time by reason of their great virtue, for there was the likeness of the disciples plainly to be seen. "But they were all afraid of him." See how they feared the dangers, how the alarm was yet at its height in them. "But Barnabas," etc. (v. 27.)--it seems to me that Barnabas was of old a friend of his--"and related," etc.: observe how Paul says nothing of all this himself: nor would he have brought it forward to the others, had he not been compelled to do so. "And he was with them, coming in and going out at Jerusalem, and speaking boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus." (v. 28, 29.) This gave them all confidence. "But they went about to slay him: which when the brethren knew" etc. (v. 30.) Do you observe how both there (at Damascus), and here, the rest take care for him, and provide for him the means of departure, and that we nowhere find him thus far receiving (direct supernatural) aid from God? So the energy of his character is betokened. "To C?sarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus:" so that, I suppose, he did not continue his journey by land, but sailed the rest of it. And this (departure) is Providentially ordered, that he might preach there also: and so likewise were the plots against him ordered by God's Providence, and his coming to Jerusalem, that the story about him might no longer be disbelieved. For there he was "speaking boldly," it says, "in the name of the Lord Jesus; and he spake and disputed against the Hellenists;" and again, "he was with them coming in and going out.--So [509] the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace"--i. e. it increased: and peace with itself, that peace which is peace indeed: for the war from without would have done them no harm --"they being edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and abounded in the consolation of the Holy Ghost." And the spirit consoled them both by the miracles and by the works, and independently of these in the person of each individual. "And it came to pass, etc. And Peter said unto him, Eneas," etc. (v. 32-34.) [510] But before discourse, before exhortations, he says to the lame man himself, "Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." This word he believed in any wise, and was made whole. Observe how unassuming he is: for he said not, "In the Name," but [511] rather as a sign he narrates the miracle itself, and speaks as its Evangelist. "And having seen him," it says, "all that dwelt in Lydda, and Saron, turned unto the Lord.--Now there was at Joppa," etc. (v. 35, 36.) Observe everywhere the signs taking place. But let us so believe them, as if we were now beholding them. It is not simply said, that Tabitha died, but that she died, having been in a state of weakness. And (yet) they did not call Peter until she died; then "they sent and told him not to delay to come unto them." Observe, they send and call him by others. And he comes: he did not think it a piece of disrespect, to be summoned by two men: for, it says, "they sent two men unto him."--Affliction, my beloved, is a great thing, and rivets our souls together. Not a word of wailing there, nor of mourning. See [512] how thoroughly matters are cleansed! "Having washed her," it says, "they laid her in an upper chamber:" that is, they did all (that was right) for the dead body. Then Peter having come, "knelt down, and prayed; and turning him to the body, said, Tabitha, arise." (v. 40.) They did not perform all their miracles with the same ease. But this was profitable for them: for truly God took thought not only for the salvation of others, but for their own. He that healed so many by his very shadow, how is it that he now has to do so much first? There are cases also in which the faith of the applicants co?perated. This is the first dead person that he raises. Observe how he, as it were, awakes her out of sleep: first she opened her eyes: then upon seeing (Peter) she sat up: then from his hand she received strength. "And it was known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord." (v. 42.) Mark the gain, mark the fruit, that it was not for display. Indeed, this is why he puts them all out, imitating his Master in this also.

[513] For where tears are--or rather, where miracles are, there tears ought not to be; not where such a mystery is celebrating. Hear, I beseech you: although somewhat of the like kind does not take place now, yet in the case of our dead likewise, a great mystery is celebrating. Say, [514] if as we sit together, the Emperor were to send and invite some one of us to the palace, would it be right, I ask, to weep and mourn? Angels are present, commissioned from heaven and come from thence, sent from the King Himself to call their fellow servant, and say, dost thou weep? Knowest thou not what a mystery it is that is taking place, how awful, how dread, and worthy indeed of hymns and lauds? Wouldest thou learn, that thou mayest know, that this is no time for tears? For it is a very great mystery of the Wisdom of God. As if leaving her dwelling, the soul goes forth, speeding on her way to her own Lord, and dost thou mourn? Why then, thou shouldst do this on the birth of a child: for this in fact is also a birth, and a better than that. For here she goes forth to a very different light, is loosed as from a prison-house, comes off as from a contest. "Yes," say you, "it is all very well to say this, [515] in the case of those of whose salvation we are assured." Then, what ails thee, O man, that even in the case of such, thou dost not take it in this way? Say, what canst thou have to condemn in the little child? Why dost thou mourn for it? What in the newly baptized? for he too is brought into the same condition: why dost thou mourn for him? For as the sun arises clear and bright, so the soul, leaving the body with a pure conscience, shines joyously. Not such the spectacle of Emperor as he comes in state to take possession of the city (epibainonta poleos), not such the hush of awe, as when the soul having quitted the body is departing in company with Angels. Think what the soul must then be! in what amazement, what wonder, what delight! Why mournest thou? Answer me.--But it is only in the case of sinners thou doest this? Would that it were so, and I would not forbid your mournings, would that this were the object! This lamentation were Apostolic, this were after the pattern of the Lord; for even Jesus wept over Jerusalem. I would that your mournings were discriminated by this rule. But when thou speakest the words of one [516] that would call back (the dead), and speakest of thy long intimacy and his beneficence, it is but for this thou mournest (not because he was a sinner), thou dost but pretend to say it. Mourn, bewail the sinner, and I too will give a loose to tears; I, more than thou, the greater the punishment to which he is liable as such: I too will lament, with such an object. But not thou alone must lament him that is such; the whole city must do the same, and all that meet you on the way, as men bewail them that are led to be put to death. For this is a death indeed, an evil death, the death of sinners. But (with you) all is clean reversed. Such lamentation marks a lofty mind, and conveys much instruction; the other marks a littleness of soul. If we all lamented with this sort of lamentation, we should amend the persons themselves while yet living. For as, if it rested with thee to apply medicines which would prevent that bodily death, thou wouldest use them, just so now, if this death were the death thou lamentest, thou wouldest prevent its taking place, both in thyself and in him. Whereas now our behavior is a perfect riddle; that having it in our power to hinder its coming, we let it take place, and mourn over it when it has come. Worthy indeed of lamentations are they (when we consider), what time as they shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ, what words they shall then hear, what they shall suffer! To no purpose have these men lived: nay, not to no purpose, but to evil purpose! Of them too it may be fitly said, "It were good for them had they never been born." (Mark 14:21.) For what profit is it, I ask, to have spent so much time to the hurt of his own person? Had it been spent only to no purpose, were not that, I ask you, punishment enough! If one who has been an hired servant twenty years were to find that he has had all his labor in vain, would he not weep and lament, and think himself the most miserable of men? Why, here is a man who has lost all the labor of a whole life: not one day has he lived for himself, but to luxury, to debauchery, to covetousness, to sin, to the devil. Then, say, shall we not bewail this man? shall we not try to snatch him from his perils? For it is, yes, it is possible, if we will, to mitigate his punishment, if we make continual prayers for him, if for him we give alms. However unworthy he may be, God will yield to our importunity. For if [517] Paul showed mercy on one (who had no claims on his mercy), and for the sake of others spared one (whom he would not have spared), much more is it right for us to do this. By means of his substance, by means of thine own, by what means thou wilt, aid him: pour in oil, nay rather, water. Has he no alms-deeds of his own to exhibit? Let him have at least those of his kindred. Has he none done by himself? At least let him have those which are done for him, that his wife may with confidence beg him off in that day, having paid down the ransom for him. The more sins he has to answer for, the greater need has he of alms, not only for this reason, but because the alms has not the same virtue now, but far less: for it is not all one to have done it himself, and to have another do it for him; therefore, the virtue being less, let us by quantity make it the greatest. Let us not busy ourselves about monuments, not about memorials. This is the greatest memorial: set widows to stand around him. Tell them his name: bid them all make for him their prayers, their supplications: this will overcome God: though it have not been done by the man himself, yet because of him another is the author of the almsgiving. Even this pertains to the mercy of God: "widows standing around and weeping" know how to rescue, not indeed from the present death, but from that which is to come. Many have profited even by the alms done by others on their behalf: for even if they have not got perfect (deliverance), at least they have found some comfort thence. If it be not so, how are children saved? And yet there, the children themselves contribute nothing, but their parents do all: and often have women had their children given them, though the children themselves contributed nothing. Many are the ways God gives us to be saved, only let us not be negligent.

How then if one be poor? say you. Again I say, the greatness of the alms is not estimated by the quantity given, but by the purpose. Only give not less than thine ability, and thou hast paid all. How then, say you, if he be desolate and a stranger, and have none to care for him? And why is it that he has none, I ask you? In this very thing thou sufferest thy desert, that thou hast none to be thus thy friend, thus virtuous. This is so ordered on purpose that, though we be not ourselves virtuous, we may study to have virtuous companions and friends--both wife, and son, and friend--as reaping some good even through them, a slight gain indeed, but yet a gain. If thou make it thy chief object not to marry a rich wife, [518] but to have a devout wife, and a religious daughter, thou shalt gain this consolation; if thou study to have thy son not rich but devout, thou shalt also gain this consolation. If thou make these thine objects then wilt thyself be such as they. This also is part of virtue, to choose such friends, and such a wife and children. Not in vain are the oblations made for the departed, not in vain the prayers, not in vain the almsdeeds: all those things hath the Spirit ordered, [519] wishing us to be benefited one by the other. See: he is benefited, thou art benefited: because of him, thou hast despised wealth, being set on to do some generous act: both thou art the means of salvation to him, and he to thee the occasion of thine almsgiving. Doubt not that he shall get some good thereby. It is not for nothing that the Deacon cries, "For them that are fallen asleep in Christ, and for them that make the memorials for them." It is not the Deacon that utters this voice, but the Holy Ghost: I speak of the Gift. What sayest thou? There is the Sacrifice in hand, and all things laid out duly ordered: Angels are there present, Archangels, the Son of God is there: all stand with such awe, and in the general silence those stand by, crying aloud: and thinkest thou that what is done, is done in vain? Then is not the rest also all in vain, both the oblations made for the Church, and those for the priests, and for the whole body? God forbid! but all is done with faith. What thinkest thou of the oblation made for the martyrs, of the calling made in that hour, martyrs though they be, yet even "for martyrs?" [520] It is a great honor to be named in the presence of the Lord, when that memorial is celebrating, the dread Sacrifice, the unutterable mysteries. For just as, so long as the Emperor is seated, is the time for the petitioner to effect what he wishes to effect, but when he is risen, say what he will, it is all in vain, so at that time, while the celebration of the mysteries is going on, it is for all men the greatest honor to be held worthy of mention. For look: then is declared the dread mystery, that God gave Himself for the world: along with that mystery he seasonably puts Him in mind of them that have sinned. For as when the celebration of Emperors' victories is in progress, then, as many as had their part in the victory receive their meed of praise, while at the same time as many as are in bonds are set at liberty in honor of the occasion; but when the occasion is past, he that did not obtain this favor then, no longer gets any: so is it here likewise: this is the time of celebration of a victory. For, saith it, "so often as ye eat this bread, ye do show forth the Lord's death." Then let us not approach indifferently, nor imagine that these things are done in any ordinary sort. But it is in another sense [521] that we make mention of martyrs, and this, for assurance that the Lord is not dead: and this, for a sign that death has received its death's blow, that death itself is dead. Knowing these things, let us devise what consolations we can for the departed, instead of tears, instead of laments, instead of tombs, our alms, our prayers, our oblations, that both they and we may attain unto the promised blessings, by the grace and loving-kindness of His only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


[491] St. Chrysostom's exposition cannot be correctly reported here. Perhaps what he did say, was in substance as follows: "but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus: whence we learn, that the plot against him at Damascus was after his return from Arabia, and then the visit (to Jerusalem), after the escape from Damascus. Certainly of his own accord he went not to the Apostles," etc.--(So far, the first hypothesis, viz. that the visit, Acts 9.and the visit in Gal. are one and the same. Then) "or else, Paul does not mean this visit (viz. after the flight from Damascus), but passes it by, so that the order (in his narration) is as follows: I went to Arabia, then to Damascus, then viz., at some time during the residence in Damascus, to Jerusalem (to see Peter), then to Syria, i. e. back to Damascus: whereas, had he related matters fully, it should have been, that he went into Arabia, thence to Damascus, then to Jerusalem to see Peter, thence to Damascus again, then again to Jerusalem after the escape from D., thence to C?sarea."

[492] For e ei me touto, E. gives (as emendation) eita palin, and ekeithen, for apo 'Arabias, but retains the e ei me touto of the preceding clause, which equally needs correction.

[493] E. F. D. Edd. "As not being a teacher, but a disciple:" the reading of A. B. C. N. is attested by Cat. OEc. but below it is said that he joined himself to the disciples, hate matheten onta, Infra, note 1, p. 135.

[494] Here should begin the alternative to the former hypothesis (beginning e toinun touto phesin) perhaps, with e, ei me touto. Cat, has apelthon, elthon, which we adopt, as the mention of Syria shows that the narrative in Galatians 1:17-21, is referred to; the subject therefore of legei, aphiesin is Paul, and tauten means the visit in Acts 9.The next sentence, for e ei me touto palin k. t. l. requires to be remodelled as above, e. g. deon legein hoti ex 'Arabias eis Dam. hupostrepsas, anelthen eis Ierosoluma, eita eis Dam. apelthe palin, eita palin eis Ieros., eita exepemphthe eis Kaisareian. The reporter, or redactor, seems to have intended a recital of St. Paul's movements before as well as after his conversion; viz. (from Tarsus) he went up to Jerusalem, then was sent (by the high-priest) to Damascus: then (after his conversion) went into Arabia (the mod. substitutes, Syria): then returned to Damascus: then (omitting all the rest) to C?sarea.--In the Comment. on Galatians 1.t. x. 675, D. Chrys. expounds thus: "Whereas he says, I went not up,' this also may be said, that he went not up at the outset of his preaching, and, when he did, it was not for the purpose of learning."

[495] Chrys. here confuses the visits of Paul to Jerusalem. That mentioned in Acts 11:30, was the second visit, when he went to carry the gift of alms to the poor. The visit mentioned in Galatians 2:1, synchronizes with Acts 15:1, sq., when Paul went to attend the Apostolic council.--G.B.S.

[496] The incredulity of the Christians at Jerusalem concerning the genuineness of Saul's conversion is difficult to understand, especially since they must have heard of the miraculous manner of it. It can, however, more readily be conceived of if, as we suppose, the three years absence from the city had intervened, and during this period, Saul had been unheard of. The impression might have gone abroad that he had fallen back into his old Jewish life. Certainly the persecution which the Christians at Jerusalem had suffered at his hands would incline them to be incredulous concerning his conversion, unless there were positive proof of it. When it is said (27) that Barnabas brought Paul "to the apostles" in Jerusalem, we must hold this statement subject to the modification made in Paul's own statement (Galatians 1:18) that during this visit he saw, of the apostles, only Peter and James, the Lord's brother. These may have been the only apostles then in the city, for Paul's stay was but for fifteen days. The purpose of this visit was to see Peter (Galatians 1:18).--G.B.S.

[497] A. B. C. ekeino. Barnabas de anthropos epieikes kai hemeros hen; kai hora k. t. l. Cat. ekei. Barnabas anthropos epieikes en; kai hora. The epithet hemeros, "tamed," was felt to be unsuitable to Barnabas, hence Cat. omits it, OEc. substitutes (from below) kai chrestos sphodra. The mod. t. transposes the clause to the comment on v. 27. The fact seems to be, that Barnabas de is out of its place, and that anthr. ep. kai hem. is a description of Saul's present bearing contrasted with his former character: and that the sentence should begin with ekeino, somewhat in this way: ou gar en ontos prosdokias anthropines. 'Ekeino e.g. to therion, that raging wild-beast, now was a man, mild and gentle.--Below, all the mss. have hate matheten onta, which is not easily reconciled with the former passage (note c). There it is represented, that he assayed to join himself to the disciples as being a teacher, and not a disciple; here, that he did this as being a disciple, and dia to metriazein. OEc, combines this with the former statement: "he went not to the Apostles, but assayed," etc., metriazon, hate did. on, kai ou math., where Henten. renders modeste de se sentiens "quum tamen" pr?ceptor esset et non discipulus: rather, forbearing to put himself forward as he might have done, seeing he was himself a teacher, etc. The Catena has the dia to metriazein after apionta, and again after onta. Hence the true reading may be, kai hora auton ou pros t. ap. apionta, alla pros tous mathetas; ouch hate matheten onta, alla dia to metriazein.

[498] A. B. C. (and Cat.) give the text, "But Barnabas--in the way," continuously, and then the comments all strung together. Also the clause "it is likely--about him" is placed last, after gorgos en ho aner. This expression (Cat. adds gar) may denote either the quick, keen glance of Paul's eye, or the terror with which he was regarded--"to them the man had a terrible look with him."--The modern text: "But Barnabas--in the way.' This Barnabas was a mild and gentle sort of man. Son of Consolation' is the meaning of his name: whence also he became a friend to Paul. And that he was exceedingly kind and accessible, is proved both from the matter in hand, and from the affair of John. Whence he is not afraid, but relates how he had seen,' etc.--in the name of the Lord Jesus.' For it is likely, etc. Wherefore also tauta ekeinon kataskeuastika poion, dia ton ergon ebebaiose ta lechthenta." In the original text it is simply Tauta ekeinon kataskeuastika, kai dia ton ergon ebebaiose ta lechthenta, which being put before v. 28, would mean, that the conduct of Paul "in Damascus," the pos eparres., evidenced the truth of what he said, about the Lord's appearing to him in the way. Hence in the mod. text: "wherefore Barnabas making the latter prove the former, confirmed by (Paul's) deeds the things told of him." (But Ben., Ideo h?c ad illa pr?parant, dum ille operibus dicta confirmat. Erasm., Ideo et h?c pr?paratoria facit operibus confirmans ea qu? dicta erant.) We have transposed the clause, as comment on v. 28.

[499] This and the next clause are transposed in the mss. so that ep' auton would mean "in the case of the brethren."

[500] The reason given in v. 30 for Paul's leaving Jerusalem is, that he was in danger of being slain by his opponents; that assigned by himself in xxii. 17, 18 is a revelation of the Lord given to him when in a trance in the temple, warning him that Jerusalem would not receive his message, and charging him to go unto the Gentiles. The two explanations have a common element in the opposition of the Jews and Hellenists at Jerusalem to Paul and their rejection of his message. "Paul, notwithstanding the opposition and machinations of the Jews, may have felt desirous to remain: he had a warm heart toward his brethren according to the flesh; he was eager for their conversion; and it required a revelation from Christ himself to cause him to comply with the importunity of his friends and to depart. Luke mentions the external reason; Paul the internal motive." (Gloag.)--G.B.S.

[501] A. B. C. of N.T. and vulg. Hieron. have the singular throughout; and so Cat. in 1. Edd. from E. the plural throughout: our other mss.; oikodomouenoi and poreuomenoi (F. D. perisseuomenoi), "they being edified" etc., in apposition with 'Ekklesia.

[502] i. e. If Paul had remained there would not have been peace and quiet.' It is doubtful, as the text stands, whether the subject to edounto is, the Jewish believers, or, the adversaries: and katephronoun, egriainon seem inconsistent as predicated of the same persons. Perhaps what Chrys. said is not fully reported, and the text may be completed thus: (comp. p. 304,) "there is no war from without, nor disturbance within. For the Jewish believers respected the Apostles, as having often stood by them, and the unbelievers durst not attack them as being had in admiration by the people: but as for Paul, the one party--viz. the zealous Jewish believers, the profound Hebrews,' despised him, while the others--viz. the unbelievers were more savage against him." Edd. (from E. alone). "And why, you may ask, does he this, and passes through' when there is peace, and after Paul's departure, i. e. why does Peter delay his journey until Paul is gone, and all is quiet? Because them they most respected, as having," etc.

[503] Kai entha oikonomia; entha de, k. t. l. It does not appear what oikonomia can be intended, unless it be the order taken for the appointment of the deacons, but this was the act of all the Apostles, vi. 2. Hence perhaps the reading should be: entha de oikonomia, kai entha...."But where management (or regulation) only is concerned, and where all is peace," etc.

[504] eipou (epou, B) en taxei parergou touto etoun (en, C.), proegoumenos de ouk eti, mathetria gar en. A. B. C. Cat. But Edd. hoste deixai hoti en k. t. l. and mathetria gar en before proeg. OEcum, en taxei gar par. touto etoun, math. gar en, omitting. proeg. de ouketi. --"If the place had not been near, they would not have made the request: for it was asking him to put himself out of his way, to do this over and above, and not in the regular course."--This is a hint to the hearers that they should show the like forbearance and discretion, in not giving their Bishop unnecessary trouble.

[505] Oras eleemosunes pose ginetai protrope. Edd. from E, "Thus is here fulfilled the saying, Alms delivereth from death. And all the widows,'" etc. Below, for Eis ten oikian eiseei ho Petros hos philosophon; hora de pose he epidosis gegonen: the same have, "Where she was laid out dead, they take Peter, tacha oi& 231;menoi pros philosophian auto ti charizesthai, perhaps thinking to give him a subject for elevated thought. Seest thou," etc.--The meaning seems to be, "Peter went to see the dead body, expecting no miracle, but only as one who could bear such sights, and would teach others to do so: but see what a mighty additional boon came of it!"

[506] In the mss. Kai kratesas, phesi, tes cheiros. & 169;Ora (E. Edd. 'Entautha deiknusi) kata meros k. t. l. But the passage cited is from Luke 8.52, kai kratesas tes cheiros autes, ephonese k. t. l. to which, and probably to the ekbalon exo pantas there preceding, St. Chrys. here referred.

[507] Edd. from E. hos kai dia touto ekrine dielthein, epeide tes autou didaskalias edeonto hoi pisteusantes. "Who also for this reason judged it right to make this circuit, because those who had believed needed his instruction."

[508] The modern text: "He calls by the name of disciples' even those who were not included in the company of the twelve (Apostles), because they were all called disciples," etc.

[509] Here the modern text has: "And the Churches had peace, being edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord:" i. e. they increased, and (had peace), peace as it is in itself, the true peace, eirenen auten depou pros heauten, ten ontos eirenen." (The singular he 'Ekkl. being altered to the plural, the reference in pros heauten was not perceived.) "With good reason. For the war from without exceedingly afflicted them. And were filled with the consolation of the Holy Ghost.'" See p. 136, note 3.

[510] Something must be supplied: e.g. "He did not wait for Eneas to ask, or to show his faith," as above, p. 301.--Edd. from E. "And it came to pass--maketh thee whole.' It is not the word of one making a display, but of confidence that the thing shall be. And it does very much seem to me, that the sick man believed this word, and was made whole. That Peter is unassuming, is clear from what follows. For he said not, In the Name of Jesus, but rather as a miracle he narrates it. And they that dwelt at Lydda saw, and turned unto the Lord.' It was not for nothing that I said, that the miracles were wrought in order to persuade and comfort. But in Joppa--and died.' Do you mark the miracles everywhere taking place? It is not merely said, etc. Wherefore also they do not call Peter until she was dead. And having heard, (that Peter was there) the disciples sent,'" etc.

[511] 'All' hos semeion mallon auto (autos B.) diegeitai kai euangelizetai: "he speaks not in the form of command or promise, but of narration: he relates it, Evangelist-like, as a fact."

[512] Ora pos diakathairetai ta pragmata (omitted in E. D. F. Edd.): i. e. how the Gospel has purged away all excess of mourning, and all noisy demonstrations of grief. St. Chrys. frequently inveighs against the heathenish customs of mourning for the dead, which were still practised--such as the hiring of heathen mourning-women: Hom. in Matthew 31.p. 207. A. "I confess to you, I am ashamed when I see the troops of women tearing their hair, gashing their flesh, as they move through the market--and this under the very eyes of the heathen." Conc. in Laz. v. t. i. p. 765 D. where the Christian mode of interment is described; viz. the procession of clergy with psalms and hymns of praise, lighted tapers, etc. comp. Hom. iv. in Heb. (ii. 15.)

[513] Entha gar dakrua, mallon de entha thaumata, ou dei dakrua pareinai; entha toiouton musterion teleitai. It seems, he was going to say, "Where tears are, it is no fit time for miracles," but corrects himself, for put in that way the proposition was not true. The innovator weakly substitutes, "For where tears are, such a mystery ought not to be performed: or rather, where miracles are, there tears ought not to be."

[514] The rest of the Hom. is given in the Florilegium or Eclog?, in t. xii. Ecclesiastes 45.-the only instance in which these Homilies have been employed in that compilation. Its author used the old text: it does not appear that any of his various readings were derived from the modern text.

[515] epi ton eudokimon: i. e. those who are certainly not reprobates (ouk adokimon). In the next sentence, E. Edd. kai ti pros se, anthrope; su gar oude epi ton eudok. touto poieis. Ben. Et quid hoc ad te, o homo? tu enim erga probos hoc non agis. Erasm. tu enim neque apud probatissimos hoc agis. The other mss. and Ecl. ti[oun...hoti.

[516] Otan de anakaloumenos rh& 208;mata leges kai sunetheian kai prostasian, so mss. and Edd. but Ecl. anakaloumenou, which we adopt. To the same purport, but more fully, Hom. xii. in 1 Cor. . 392. (and Ecclesiastes 45. "If when some (friend) were taken into the palace and crowned, thou shouldest bewail and lament, I should not call thee the friend of him that is crowned, but very much his hater and enemy. But now, say you, I do not bewail him, but myself.' But neither is this the part of a friend, that for thine own sake thou wouldest have him still in the contest, etc. But I know not where he is gone.' How knowest thou not, answer me? For whether he lived rightly or otherwise, it is plain where he will go. Why, this is the very reason why I do bewail--because he departed a sinner.' This is mere pretence. If this were the reason of thy lamenting him that is gone, thou oughtest while he was alive to have amended him, and formed his manners," etc.

[517] Ei gar Paulos heteron ele& 219;se, kai di allous allon (Ecl. allon) epheisato, pollo mallon hemas touto dei poiein. But E. Edd. Ei dia Paulon heterous diesose, kai di allous allon pheidetai, pos ouchi kai di hemas to auto touto ergasetai; "If (God) for Paul's sake saved others, and for some men's sake spares other men, how shall He not for our sakes do this same thing?" In Hom. xli. in 1 Cor. . 393. B. Chrys. uses for illustration Job's sacrifice for his sons, and adds, "For God is wont to grant favors to others in behalf of others, heterois huper heteron charizesthai. And this Paul showed, saying, Ina en pollo prosopo, k. t. l. 2 Corinthians 1:11." But here the reference seems to be to 2 Corinthians 2:10, "To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also; for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes' forgave I it the person of Christ."--St. Chrysostom constantly teaches, as here, that the souls of the departed are aided by the prayers, alms, and Eucharistic oblations of the living, Hom. xli. in 1 Cor. . s. "Even if he did depart a sinner,...we ought to succor him, in such sort as may be (hos an hoi& 231;n te e), not by tears, but by prayers and supplications, and alms and oblations. For not idly have these things been devised, nor to no purpose do we make mention of the departed in the Divine Mysteries, and for them draw near, beseeching the Lamb Which lieth there, Which taketh away the sins of the world, but in order that some consolation may thence come to them. Nor in vain does he that stands beside the altar, while the dread Mysteries are celebrating, cry out, For all that sleep in Christ, and for them that make the memorials for them.'" See also Hom. iii. ad Phil. p. 217, 218. Comp. St. Cyrill. Hier. Catech. Mystag. v. ?9, St. Augustin, Serm. 172.

[518] eulabe gunaika kai thugatrion agagesthai semnon. A. B. C. In the Edd. kai thug. semnon, is transposed after me ploutounta hui& 232;n katalipein all' eulabe: and so in the Ecl. which however retains ag, between thug. and semnon. In the old text, wife and daughter are mentioned first, as the persons most apt to perform these offices of religion: in agagesthai there is a zeugma; "to take to wife, and to have wife and daughter, etc."

[519] Hom.iii. in Phil. ad fin. Ouk eike tauta enomothetethe huto ton apostolon k. t. l. "Not idly were these things enacted by the Apostles, that in the dread mysteries there is mention made of the departed: they know that to them great is the gain which accrues, great the benefit. For when the whole congregation stands there, all lifting up their hands, the sacerdotal body (pleroma hieratikon), and the dread sacrifice is laid out, how shall we fail to prevail with God, in supplicating for these?"

[520] Ti oiei to huper marturon prospheresthai, to klethenai en ekeine te hora kan martures osi, kan (kai A. huper marturon; There is no reason to suppose (as Neander, Der Heilige Johannes Chrysostomus, t. ii. p. 162) that the words kan martures k. t. l. are part of the Liturgy: the meaning is, Think what a great thing it is to be mentioned in that Prayer of Oblation; to be mentioned as the martyrs are mentioned, for of them also, martyrs though they be, the same form of expression is used, huper marturon.--In the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom the words are, Eti prospheromen soi ten logiken tauten latreian huper ton en pistei anapauomenon propatoron, pateron, patriarchon, propheton, apostolon, kerukon, euangeliston, marturon k. t. l. See St. Augustin, Hom. on St John, p. 842, note a.

[521] i. e. not to intercede on their behalf, but for commemoration of Christ's victory over death, achieved in Himself and in them. The Eucharist is, so to say, Christ's epinikia, in which the Martyrs are eulogized as sharers of His triumph (and this is our commemoration of truth), and the prisoners are set at liberty (and in this sense we name our dead).

But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
And there he found a certain man named AEneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
And Peter said unto him, AEneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
Text Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

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