Titus 1
Homilies of Chrysostom
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Ver. 1. "Paul, a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect."

You observe how he uses these expressions indifferently, sometimes calling himself the "servant of God," and sometimes the "servant of Christ," thus making no difference between the Father and the Son.

"According to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness. In hope of eternal life."

"According to the faith of God's elect." It is because thou hast believed, or rather because thou wast intrusted? I think he meant, that he was intrusted with God's elect, that is, not for any achievements of mine, nor from my toils and labors, did I receive this dignity. It was wholly the effect of His goodness who intrusted me. Yet that the grace may not seem without reason, (for still the whole was not of Him, for why did He not intrust it to others?) he therefore adds, "And the acknowledging of the truth that is after godliness." For it was for this acknowledgment that I was intrusted, or rather it was of His grace that this too was intrusted to me, for He was the author of this also. Whence Christ Himself said, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." (John 15:16.) And elsewhere this same blessed one writes, "I shall know, even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12.) And again, "If I may apprehend that, for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Philip. iii. 12.) First we are apprehended, and afterwards we know: first we are known, and then we apprehend: [1445] first we were called, and then we obeyed. But in saying, "according to the faith of the elect," all is reckoned to them, because on their account I am an Apostle, not for my worthiness, but "for the elect's sake." As he elsewhere says, "All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos." (1 Corinthians 3:21.)

"And the acknowledging the truth that is after godliness." For there is a truth in other things, that is not according to godliness; for knowledge in matters of agriculture, knowledge of the arts, is true knowledge; but this truth is after godliness. Or this, "according to faith," means that they believed, as the other elect believed, and acknowledged the truth. This acknowledging then is from faith, and not from reasonings.

"In hope of eternal life." He spoke of the present life, which is in the grace of God, and he also speaks of the future, and sets before us the rewards that follow the mercies which God has bestowed upon us. For He is willing to crown us because we have believed, and have been delivered from error. Observe how the introduction is full of the mercies of God, and this whole Epistle is especially of the same character, thus exciting the holy man himself, and his disciples also, to greater exertions. For nothing profits us so much as constantly to remember the mercies of God, whether public or private. And if our hearts are warmed when we receive the favors of our friends, or hear some kind word or deed of theirs, much more shall we be zealous in His service when we see into what dangers we had fallen, and that God has delivered us from them all.

"And the acknowledging of the truth." This he says with reference to the type. For that was an "acknowledging" and a "godliness," yet not of the Truth, [1446] yet neither was it falsehood, it was godliness, but it was in type and figure. And he has well said, "In hope of eternal life." For the former was in hope of the present life. For it is said, "he that doeth these things shall live in them." (Romans 10:5.) You see how at the beginning he sets forth the difference of grace. They are not the elect, but we. For if they were once called the elect, yet are they no longer called so.

Ver. 2. "Which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."

That is, not now upon a change of mind, but from the beginning it was so foreordained. This he often asserts, as when he says, "Separated unto the Gospel of God." (Romans 1:1.) And again, "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate." (Romans 8:29.) Thus showing our high origin, in that He did not love us now first, but from the beginning: and it is no little matter to be loved of old, and from the beginning.

"Which God, that cannot lie, promised." If He "cannot lie," what He has promised will assuredly be fulfilled. If He "cannot lie," we ought not to doubt it, though it be after death. "Which God, that cannot lie," he says, "promised before the world began"; by this also, "before the world began," he shows that it is worthy of our belief. It is not because the Jews have not come in, that these things are promised. It had been so planned from the first. Hear therefore what he says,

"But hath in His own [1447] times manifested."

Wherefore then was the delay? From His concern for men, and that it might be done at a seasonable time. "It is time for Thee, Lord, to work" (Psalm 119:125.), says the Prophet. For by "His own [1448] times" is meant the suitable times, the due, the fitting.

Ver. 3. "But hath in due times manifested His word through preaching, which is committed unto me."

That is, the preaching is committed unto me. For this included everything, the Gospel, and things present, and things future, life, and godliness, and faith, and all things at once. "Through preaching," that is, openly and with all boldness, for this is the meaning of "preaching." For as a herald proclaims [1449] in the theater in the presence of all, so also we preach, adding nothing, but declaring the things which we have heard. For the excellence of a herald consists in proclaiming to all what has really happened, not in adding or taking away anything. If therefore it is necessary to preach, it is necessary to do it with boldness of speech. Otherwise, it is not preaching. On this account Christ did not say, Tell it "upon the housetops," but "preach upon the housetops" (Matthew 10:27.); showing both by the place and by the manner what was to be done.

"Which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour."

The expressions, "committed unto me," and "according to the commandment," show the matter to be worthy of credit, so that no one should think it discreditable, nor be hesitating about it, or discontented. If then it is a commandment, it is not at my disposal. I fulfill what is commanded. For of things to be done, some are in our power, others are not. For what He commands, that is not in our power, what He permits, is left to our choice. For instance, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:22.) This is a commandment. And again, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matthew 5:23, 24.) This also is a command. But when He says, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast" (Matthew 19:21.): and, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19:12.): this is not a command, for He makes His hearer the disposer of the matter, and leaves him the choice, whether he will do it or not. For these things we may either do or not do. But commandments are not left to our choice, we must either perform them, or be punished for not doing so. This is implied when he says, "Necessity is laid upon me; yea woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel." (1 Corinthians 9:16.) This I will state more plainly, that it may be manifest to all. For instance, He that is intrusted with the government of the Church, and honored with the office of a Bishop, if he does not declare to the people what they ought to do, will have to answer for it. But the layman is under no such obligation. On this account Paul also says, "According to the commandment of God our Saviour," I do this. And see how the epithets fit in to what I have said. For having said above, "God who cannot lie," here he says, "According to the commandment of God our Saviour." If then He is our Saviour, and He commanded these things with a view that we should be saved, it is not from a love of command. It is a matter of faith, and the commandment of God our Saviour.

"To Titus mine own [1450] son," that is, my true son. For it is possible for men not to be true sons, as he of whom he says, "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, with such an one no not to eat." (1 Corinthians 5:11.) Here is a son, [1451] but not a true son. A son indeed he is, because he has once received the grace, and has been regenerated: but he is not a true son, because he is unworthy of his Father, and a deserter to the usurped sovereignty of another. For in children by nature, the true and the spurious are determined by the father that begot, and the mother who bore them. But it is not so in this case, but it depends on the disposition. For one who was a true son may become spurious, and a spurious son may become a true one. For it is not the force of nature, but the power of choice, on which it depends, whence it is subject to frequent changes. Onesimus was a true son, but he was again not true, for he became "unprofitable"; then he again became a true son, so as to be called by the Apostle his "own bowels." (Philem. 12..)

Ver. 4. "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith."

What is "after the common faith"? After he had called him his own son, and assumed the dignity of a father, hear how it is that he lessens and lowers that honor. He adds, "After the common faith"; that is, with respect to the faith I have no advantage over thee; for it is common, and both thou and I were born by it. Whence then does he call him his son? Either only wishing to express his affection for him, or his priority in the Gospel, or to show that Titus had been enlightened by him. On this account he calls the faithful both children and brethren; brethren, because they were born by the same faith; children, because it was by his hands. By mentioning the common faith, therefore, he intimates their brotherhood.

Ver. 4. "Grace and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."

Because he had called him his son, he adds, "from God the Father," to elevate his mind by showing whose son he was, and by not only naming the common faith, but by adding "our Father," he implies that he has this honor equally with himself. Moral. Observe also how he offers the same prayers for the Teacher, as for the disciples and the multitude. For indeed he needs such prayers as much, or rather more than they, by how much he has greater enmities to encounter, and is more exposed to the necessity of offending God. For the higher is the dignity, the greater are the dangers of the priestly office. For one good act in his episcopal office is sufficient to raise him to heaven and one error to sink him to hell itself. For, to pass over all other cases of daily occurrence, if he happens, either from friendship or any other cause, to have advanced an unworthy person to a Bishopric, and have committed to him the rule of a great city, see to how great a flame he renders himself obnoxious. For not only will he have to account for the souls that are lost, for they are lost through the man's irreligion, but for all that is done amiss by the other. For he that is irreligious in a private station will be much more so when he is raised to power. It is much indeed, if a pious man continue such after his elevation to rule. For he is then more strongly assailed by vainglory, and the love of wealth, and self-will, when office gives him the power; and by offenses, insults, and reproaches, and numberless other evils. If therefore any one be irreligious, he will become more so when raised to office; and he who appoints such a ruler will be answerable for all the offenses committed by him, and for the whole people. But if it is said of him who gives offense to one soul, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6.); what will he have to suffer who offends so many souls, whole cities and populations, and multitudes of families, [1452] men, women, children, citizens, and husbandmen, the inhabitants of the city itself, and of all places subject to it? To say thrice as much more is to say nothing, so severe is the vengeance and the punishment to which he will be obnoxious. So that a Bishop especially needs the grace and peace of God. For if without these he governs the people, all is ruined and lost, for want of those helms. And though he be skilled in the art of steering, he will sink the vessel and those that sail in it, if he has not these helms, "the grace and peace of God."

Hence I am struck with astonishment at those who desire so great a burden. Wretched and unhappy man, seest thou what it is thou desirest? If thou art by thyself, unknown and undistinguished, though thou committest ten thousand faults, thou hast only one soul for which to give an account, and for it alone wilt thou be answerable. But when thou art raised to this office, consider for how many persons thou art obnoxious to punishment. Hear what Paul says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give account." (Hebrews 13:17.) But dost thou desire honor and power? But what pleasure is there in this honor? I confess, I see not. For to be a ruler indeed is not possible, since it depends upon those under thy rule to obey or not. And to any one who considers the matter closely; it will appear that a Bishop does not so much come to rule, as to serve a multitude of masters, who are of opposite desires and sentiments. For what one commends, another blames; what this man censures, that admires. To whom therefore shall he listen, with whom shall he comply? It is impossible! And the slave that is bought with money complains if his master's commands are contrary to each other. But shouldest thou grieve, when so many masters give the contrary orders, thou art condemned even for this, and all mouths are opened against thee. Tell me then, is this honor, is this rule, is this power?

One who holds the Episcopal office has required a contribution of money. He who is unwilling to contribute not only withholds it, but that he may not seem to withhold it from indifference, he accuses his Bishop. He is a thief, he says, a robber, he engulfs the goods of the poor, he devours the rights of the needy. Cease thy calumnies! How long wilt thou say these things? Wilt thou not contribute? No one compels thee, there is no constraint. Why dost thou revile him who counsels and advises thee? Is any one reduced to need, and he from inability, or some other hindrance, has not lent a hand? No allowance is made for him, the reproaches in this case are worse than in the other. This then is government! And he cannot avenge himself. For they are his own bowels, and as though the bowels be swollen, and though they give pain to the head and the rest of the body, we venture not on revenge, we cannot take a sword and pierce them; so if one of those under our rule be of such sort, and create trouble and disorder by these accusations, we dare not avenge ourselves, for this would be far from the disposition of a father, but we must endure the grief till he becomes sound and well.

The slave bought with money has an appointed work, which when he has performed, he is afterwards his own master. But the Bishop is distracted on every side and is expected to do many things that are beyond his power. If he knows not how to speak, there is great murmuring; and if he can speak, then he is accused of bring vainglorious. If he cannot raise the dead, he is of no worth, they say: such an one is pious, but this man is not. If he eats a moderate meal, for this he is accused, he ought to be strangled, they say. If he is seen at the bath, [1453] he is much censured. In short, he ought not to look upon the sun! If he does the same things that I do, if he bathes, eats and drinks, and wears the same clothing, and has the care of a house and servants, on what account is he set over me? But he has domestics to minister to him, and an ass to ride upon, why then is he set over me? But say, ought he then to have no one to wait upon him? Ought he himself to light his own fire, to draw water, to cleave wood, to go to market? How great a degradation would this be! Even the holy Apostles would not that any ministers of the word should attend upon the tables of the widows, but they considered it a business unworthy of them: and would you degrade them to the offices of your own domestics? Why dost not thou, who commandest these things, come and perform these services? Tell me, does not he minister to thee a better service than thine, which is bodily? Why dost thou not send thy domestic to wait upon him? Christ washed the feet of His disciples; is it a great thing for thee to give this service to thy Teacher? But thou art not willing to render it thyself, and thou grudgest it to him. Ought he then to draw his livelihood from heaven? But God wills not so.

But you say, "Had the Apostles free men to serve them?" Would you then hear how the Acts 54ed? They made long journeys, and free men and honorable women laid down their lives and souls for their relief. But hear this blessed Apostle thus exhorting; "Hold such in reputation" (Philip. ii. 29, 30.): and again, "Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me." See what he says! but thou hast not a word to throw away upon thy spiritual father, much less wilt thou submit to any danger in his behalf. But thou sayest, "He ought not to frequent the bath." And where is this forbidden? there is nothing honorable in being unclean.

These are not the things we find blamed or applauded at all. For the qualities which a Bishop is required to possess are different, as to be blameless, sober, orderly, hospitable, apt to teach. These the Apostle requires, and these we ought to look for in a ruler of the Church, but nothing further. Thou art not more strict than Paul, or rather more strict than the Spirit. If he be a striker, or violent, or cruel, and unmerciful, accuse him. These things are unworthy of a Bishop. If he be luxurious, this also is censurable. But if he takes care of his body that he may minister to thee, if he attends to his health that he may be useful, ought he for this to be accused? Knowest thou not that bodily infirmity no less than infirmity of soul injures both us and the Church? Why, otherwise, does Paul attend to this matter, in writing to Timothy, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thy often infirmities"? (1 Timothy 5:23.) For if we could practice virtue with the soul alone, we need not take care of the body. And why then were we born at all? But if this has contributed a great share, is it not the extreme of folly to neglect it?

For suppose a man honored with the Bishopric, and intrusted with a public charge of the Church, and let him in other respects be virtuous, and have every quality, which a priest ought to possess, yet let him be always confined to his bed by reason of great infirmity, what service will he be able to render? Upon what mission can he go? what visitation can he undertake? whom can he rebuke or admonish? These things I say, that you may learn not causelessly to accuse him, but rather may receive him favorably; as also that if any one desire rule in the Church, seeing the shower of abuse that attends it, he may quench that desire. Great indeed is the danger of such a station, and it requires "the grace and peace of God." Which that we may have abundantly, do you pray for us, and we for you, that practicing virtue aright we may so obtain the blessings promised, through Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.


[1444] In the Vulgate, Acts 18:7, there is mention of "Titus, surnamed Justus," at Corinth, and a few mss. have the name. In the Syriac, which St. Chrysostom might know, "Titus" stands for "Justus." [W. and Hort. read: Titiou 'Ioustou.--P.S.]

[1445] al. "first we are apprehended, and afterwards we apprehend; first we are known, and then we know."

[1446] Thus our Lord, speaking as a Jew, said (John 4:22), "We know what we worship"; and yet v. 23, "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."

[1447] Or, "its own," idiois, E.V. "due."

[1448] Or, "its own," idiois, E.V. "due."

[1449] keruttei, the same word as is used for preaching.

[1450] gnesi& 251;.

[1451] teknon.

[1452] So Sav. mar. Edd. "souls."

[1453] See above, p. 499.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly."

The whole life of men in ancient times was one of action and contention; ours on the contrary is a life of indolence. They knew that they were brought into the world for this purpose, that they might labor according to the will of Him who brought them into it; but we, as if we had been placed here but to eat and drink, and lead a life of pleasure, we pay no regard to spiritual things. I speak not only of the Apostles, but of those that followed them. You see them accordingly traversing all places, and pursuing this as their only business, living altogether as in a foreign land, as those who had no city upon earth. Hear therefore what the blessed Apostle saith,

"For this cause left I thee in Crete."

As if the whole world had been one house, they divided it among themselves, administering its affairs everywhere, each taking care of his several portion of it.

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are [R.V. were] wanting."

He does not command this in an imperious manner; "that thou shouldest set in order," he says. Here we see a soul free from all envy, seeking everywhere the advantage of his disciples, not curiously solicitous, whether the good was done by himself or by another. For where there was a case of danger and great difficulty, he in his own person set it in order. But those things which were rather attended with honor and praise he committed to his disciple, as the ordination of Bishops, and such other things as required some farther arrangement, [1454] or, so to speak, to be brought to greater perfection. What sayest thou? does he farther set in order thy work? and dost thou not think it a disgrace bringing shame upon thee? By no means; for I look only to the common good, and whether it be done by me, or by another, it makes no difference to me. Thus it becomes him to be affected who presides in the Church, not to seek his own honor, but the common good.

"And ordain elders in every city," here he is speaking of Bishops, as we have before said, [1455] "as I had appointed thee. If any is blameless." "In every city," he says, for he did not wish the whole island to be intrusted to one, but that each should have his own charge and care, for thus he would have less labor himself, and those under his rule would receive greater attention, if the Teacher had not to go about to [1456] the presidency of many Churches, but was left to be occupied with one only, and to bring that into order.

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Ver. 6. "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly."

Why does he bring forward such an one? To stop the mouths of those heretics, who condemned marriage, showing that it is not an unholy thing in itself, but so far honorable, that a married man might ascend the holy throne; and at the same reproving the wanton, and not permitting their admission into this high office who contracted a second marriage. For he who retains no kind regard for her who is departed, how shall he be a good president? and what accusation would he not incur? For you all know, that though it is not forbidden by the laws to enter into a second marriage, yet it is a thing liable to many ill constructions. Wishing therefore a ruler to give no handle for reproach to those under his rule, he on this account says, "If any be blameless," [1457] that is, if his life be free from reproach, if he has given occasion to no one to assail his character. Hear what Christ says, "If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23.)

"Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly."

We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others? If he cannot keep in order those whom he has had with him from the beginning, whom he has brought up, and over whom he had power both by the laws, and by nature, how will he be able to benefit those without? For if the incompetency [1458] of the father had not been great, he would not have allowed those to become bad whom from the first he had under his power. For it is not possible, indeed it is not, that one should turn out ill who is brought up with much care, and has received great attention. Sins are not so prevalent by nature, as to overcome so much previous care. But if, occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care upon them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the Episcopal throne, and so great rule? For if he was unable to restrain them it is a great proof of his weakness; and if he was unconcerned, his want of affection is much to be blamed. He then that neglects his own children, how shall he take care of other men's? And he has not only said, "not riotous," but not even "accused of riot." There must not be an ill report, or such an opinion of them.

Ver. 7. "For a Bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker."

For a ruler without, as he rules by law and compulsion, perhaps does not consult the wishes of those under his rule. But he who ought to rule men with their own consent, and who will be thankful for his rule, if he so conduct himself as to do everything of his own will, and share counsels with no one, makes his presidency tyrannical rather than popular. For he must be "blameless, as the steward of God, not self-willed, not soon angry." For how shall he instruct others to rule that passion, who has not taught himself? For power leads on to many temptations, it makes a man more harsh and difficult to please, even him that was very mild, surrounding him with so many occasions of anger. If he have not previously practiced himself in this virtue, he will grow harsh, and will injure and destroy much that is under his rule.

"Not given to wine, [1459] no striker." Here he is speaking of the insolent man. For he should do all things by admonition or rebuke, and not by insolence. What necessity, tell me, for insult? He ought to terrify, to alarm, to penetrate the soul with the threat of hell. But he that is insulted becomes more impudent, and rather despises him that insults him. Nothing produces contempt more than insult; it disgraces the insolent person, and prevents his being respected, as he ought to be. Their discourse ought to be delivered with much caution. In reproving sins they should bear in mind the future judgment, but keep clear of all insolence. Yet if any prevent them from doing their duty, they must prosecute the matter with all authority. "Not a striker," he says. The teacher is the physician of souls. But the physician does not strike, but heals and restores him that has stricken him. "Not given to filthy lucre."

Ver. 8. "But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate."

Ver. 9. "Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught."

You see what intensity of virtue he required. "Not given to filthy lucre," that is, showing great contempt for money. "A lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy"; he means, giving away all his substance to them that need. "Temperate"; he speaks not here of one who fasts, but of one who commands his passions, his tongue, his hands, his eyes. For this is temperance, to be drawn aside by no passion.

"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught." By "faithful" is here meant "true," or that which was delivered through faith, not requiring reasonings, or questionings.

"Holding fast," that is, having care of it, making it his business. What then, if he be ignorant of the learning that is without? For this cause, he says, "the faithful word, according to teaching." [1460]

"That he may be able both to exhort, and to convince the gainsayers."

So that there is need not of pomp of words, but of strong minds, of skill in the Scriptures and of powerful thoughts. Do you not see that Paul put to flight the whole world, that he was more powerful than Plato and all the rest? But it was by miracles, you say. Not by miracles only, for if you peruse the Acts of the Apostles, you will find him often prevailing by his teaching previously to his miracles.

"That he may be able by sound doctrine to exhort," that is, to retain his own people, and to overthrow the adversaries. "And to convince the gainsayers." For if this is not done, all is lost. He who knows not how to combat the adversaries, and to "bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," and to beat down reasonings, he who knows not what he ought to teach with regard to right doctrine, far from him be the Teacher's throne. For the other qualities may be found in those under his rule, such as to be "blameless, to have his children in subjection, to be hospitable, just, holy." But that which characterizes the Teacher is this, to be able to instruct in the word, to which no regard is now paid.

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Ver. 10. "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision;"

Ver. 11. "Whose mouths must be stopped."

Seest thou how he shows that they are such? From their not wishing to be ruled, but to rule. For he has glanced at this. When therefore thou canst not persuade them, do not give them charges, but stop their mouths, for the benefit of others. But of what advantage will this be, if they will not obey, or are unruly? Why then should he stop their mouths? In order that others may be benefited by it.

"Who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake."

For if he has undertaken the office of a Teacher, and is not able to combat these enemies, and to stop their mouths who are so shameless, he will become in each case the cause of their destination who perish. And if some one has thus advised, "Seek not to be a judge, unless thou canst take away iniquity" (Ecclus. vii. 6.); much more may we say here, "Seek not to be a Teacher, if thou art unequal to the dignity of the office; but though dragged to it, decline it." Dost thou see that the love of power, [1461] the love of filthy lucre, is the cause of these evils? "Teaching things which they ought not," he says, "for filthy lucre's sake."

Moral. For there is nothing which is not spoiled by these passions. But as when violent winds, falling on a calm sea, turn it up from its foundation, and mingle the sand with the waves, so these passions assailing the soul turn all upside down, and dim the clearness of the mental sight, but especially does the mad desire of glory. For a contempt for money any one may easily attain, but to despise the honor that proceeds from the multitude, requires a great effort, a philosophic temper, a certain angelic soul that reaches to the very summit of heaven. For there is no passion so tyrannical, so universally prevalent, in a greater or less degree indeed, but still everywhere. How then shall we subdue it, if not wholly, yet in some little part? By looking up to heaven, by setting God before our eyes, by entertaining thoughts superior to earthly things. Imagine, when thou desirest glory, that thou hast already attained it, and mark the end, and thou wilt find it to be nothing. Consider with what loss it is attended, of how many and how great blessings it will deprive thee. For thou wilt undergo the toils and danger, yet be deprived of the fruits and rewards of them. Consider that the majority are bad, and despise their opinion. In the case of each individual, consider what the man is, and thou wilt see how ridiculous a thing is glory, that it is rather to be called shame.

And after this, lift up thy thoughts to the theater [1462] above. When in doing any good thou considerest that it ought to be displayed to men, and thou seekest for some spectators of the action, and art in travail to be seen, reflect that God beholds thee, and all that desire will be extinguished. Retire from the earth, and look to that theater that is in Heaven. If men should praise thee, yet hereafter they will blame thee, will envy thee, will assail thy character; or if they do not, yet their praise will not benefit thee. It is not so with God. He delights in praising our virtuous deeds. Hast thou spoken well, and obtained applause? What hast thou gained? For if those who applauded thee were benefited, changed in their minds, become better men, and had desisted from their evil deeds, then mightest thou indeed rejoice, not at the praises bestowed, but at the wonderful change for the better. But if they continue their praises, and loud plaudits, but gain no good by what they applaud, thou oughtest rather to grieve: for these things turn to their judgment and condemnation. [1463] But thou obtainest glory for thy piety. If thou art truly pious, and conscious of no guilt, thou shouldest rejoice, not because thou are reputed pious, but because thou art so. But if, without being so, thou desirest the good opinion of the multitude, consider that they will not be thy judges at the last day, but He who knoweth perfectly the things that are hid. And if while conscious of guilt, thou art supposed by all to be pure, instead of rejoicing, thou shouldest grieve and mourn bitterly, keeping constantly in view that Day, in which all things will be revealed, in which the hidden things of darkness will be brought to light.

Dost thou enjoy honor? reject it, knowing that it renders thee a debtor. Does no one honor thee? thou oughtest to rejoice at it. For God will not lay [1464] to thy charge this, among other things, that thou hast enjoyed honor. Seest thou not that God upbraids Israel with this among other things, by his prophet, "I took of your sons for Prophets, and of your young men for sanctification"? (Amos 2:11, Sept.) Thou wilt therefore gain this advantage at least, that thou wilt not aggravate thy punishment. For he who is not honored in the present life, who is despised, and held in no consideration, but is insulted and scorned, gains this at least, if nothing else, that he has not to answer for being honored by his fellow-servants. [1465] And on many other accounts he gains [1466] by it. He is brought down and humbled, nor if he would, can he be high-minded, if [1467] he takes the more heed to himself. But he, who enjoys more honor, besides being responsible for great debts, is lifted up into arrogance and vainglory, and becomes the slave of men; and as this tyranny increases, he is compelled to do many things which he would not.

Knowing therefore that it is better to want glory, than to possess it, let us not seek for honors, but evade them when they are offered, let us cast them from us, let us extinguish that desire. This we have said at once to the rulers of the church, and to those under their rule. For a soul desirous of honor, and of being glorified, shall not see the kingdom of heaven. This is not my own saying. I speak not my own words, but those of the Spirit of God. He shall not see it, though he practice virtue. For he saith, "They have their reward." (Matthew 6:5.) He then, who has no reward to receive, how shall he see the kingdom of heaven? I forbid thee not to desire glory, but I would wish it to be the true glory, that which proceeds from God. "Whose praise," it is said, "is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:29.) Let us be pious in secret, not cumbered with parade, and show, and hypocrisy. Let us cast away the sheep's clothing, and rather let us become sheep. Nothing is more worthless than the glory of men. Should thou see a company of little children, mere sucklings, wouldest thou desire glory from them? [1468] Be thus affected towards all men with respect to glory.

It is for this reason called vainglory. Dost thou see the masks worn by stage-players? how beautiful and splendid they are, fashioned to the extreme height of elegance. Canst thou show me any such real countenance? By no means. What then? didst thou ever fall in love with them? No. Wherefore? Because they are empty, imitating beauty, but not being really beautiful. Thus human glory is empty, and an imitation of glory: it is not true glory. That beauty only which is natural, which is within, is lasting: that which is put on externally often conceals deformity, conceals it from men until the evening. But when the theater breaks up, and the masks are taken off, each appears what he really is.

Let us therefore pursue truth, and not be as if we were on the stage and acting a part. For of what advantage is it, tell me, to be gazed at by a multitude? It is vainglory, and nothing else. For return to thy house, and solitude, and immediately all is gone. Thou hast gone to the market-place, thou hast turned upon thee the eyes of all present. What hast thou gained? Nothing. It vanished, and passed away like dissolving smoke. Do we then love things thus unsubstantial? How unreasonable is this! what madness! To one thing only let us look, to the never seek the praise of men; but if it falls to us, we shall despise, deride, and reject it. We shall be affected as those who desire gold, but receive clay. Let not any one praise thee, for it profits nothing; and if he blame thee, it harms thee not. But with God praise and blame are attended with real gain and loss, whilst all is vain that proceeds from men. And herein we are made like unto God, that He needs not glory from men. "I receive not," said Christ, "honor from men." (John 5:41.) Is this then a light thing, tell me? When thou art unwilling to despise glory, say, "By despising it, I shall resemble God," and immediately thou wilt despise it. But it is impossible that the slave of glory should not be a slave to all, more servile than slaves in reality. For we do not impose upon our slaves such tasks, as glory exacts from her captives. Base and shameful are the things she makes them say, and do, [1469] and suffer, and when she sees them obedient, she is the more urgent in her commands.

Let us fly then, I entreat you, let us fly from this slavery. But how shall we be able? If we think seriously [1470] of what is in this world, if we observe that things present are a dream, a shadow, and nothing better; we shall easily overcome this desire, and neither in little nor in great things shall be led captive by it. But if in little things we do not despise it, we shall easily be overcome by it in the most important. Let us therefore remove far from us the sources of it, and these are, folly, and meanness of mind, so that, if we assume a lofty spirit, we shall be able to look beyond honor from the multitude, and to extend our views to heaven, and obtain the good things there. Of which God grant that we may all be partakers, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, &c.


[1454] epidiorthoseos.

[1455] See on 1 Timothy 3:7, Hom. x.

[1456] Sav. mar. "were not to be distracted by."

[1457] anenkletos.

[1458] natheia.

[1459] paroinon, see p. 438, note.

[1460] The Greek does not exclude the sense of teaching others.

[1461] So B. and Sav. mar. Edd. "avarice."

[1462] i. e. spectators.

[1463] B. and Sav. mar. add, "and condemnation."

[1464] One ms. "will lay." The sense is the same, as it refers to the contrary case.

[1465] In this spirit Coleridge prays "to be forgiven for fame."

[1466] B. "will gain." Ben. "has cause to rejoice."

[1467] B. and Sav. mar. "but."

[1468] Sav. mar. "No, thou sayest."

[1469] So Old Lat. and as it seems two mss., but the reading of the mss. is not fully stated.

[1470] philosophesomen.

Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
"One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."

There are several questions here. First, who it was that said this? Secondly, why Paul quoted it? Thirdly, why he brings forward a testimony that is not correct? Let us then offer a seasonable solution of these, having premised some other things. For when Paul was discoursing to the Athenians, in the course of his harangue he quoted these words, "To the Unknown God": and again, "For we also are His offspring, as certain also of your own poets have said." (Acts 17:23, 28.) It was Epimenides [1471] who said this, himself a Cretan, and whence he was move moved to say it is necessary to mention. It is this. The Cretans have a tomb of Jupiter, with this inscription. "Here lieth Zan, whom they call Jove." On account of this inscription, then, the poet ridiculing the Cretans as liars, as he proceeds, introduces, to increase the ridicule, this passage.

For even a tomb, O King, of thee

They made, who never diedst, but aye shalt be.

If then this testimony is true, observe what a difficulty! For if the poet is true who said that they spoke falsely, in asserting that Jupiter could die, as the Apostle says, it is a fearful thing! Attend, beloved, with much exactness. The poet said that the Cretans were liars for saying that Jupiter was dead. The Apostle confirmed his testimony: so, according to the Apostle, Jupiter is immortal: for he says, "this witness is true"! What shall we say then? Or rather how shall we solve this? The Apostle has not said this, but simply and plainly applied this testimony to their habit of falsehood. Else why has he not added, "For even a tomb, O king, of thee, they made"? So that the Apostle has not said this, but only that one had well said, "The Cretians are always liars." But it is not only from hence that we are confident that Jupiter is not a God. From many other arguments we are able to prove this, and not from the testimony of the Cretans. Besides, he has not said, that in this they were liars. Nay and it is more probable that they were deceived as to this point too. [1472] For they believed in other gods, on which account the Apostle calls them liars.

And as to the question, why does he cite the testimonies of the Greeks? It is because we put them most to confusion when we bring our testimonies and accusations from their own writers, when we make those their accusers, who are admired among themselves. For this reason he elsewhere quotes those words, "To the Unknown God." For the Athenians, as they did not receive all their gods from the beginning, but from time to time admitted some other, as those from the Hyperboreans, the worship of Pan, and the greater and the lesser mysteries, so these same, conjecturing that besides these there might be some other God, of whom they were ignorant, that they might be duly devout to him also, erected to him an altar, with this inscription, "To the Unknown God," thereby almost implying, "if there might be some God unknown to them." He therefore said to them, Him whom you have by anticipation acknowledged, I declare to you. But those words, "We also are His offspring," are quoted from Aratus, who having previously said, "Earth's paths are full of Jove, the sea is full"--adds, "For we too are His offspring," in which I conceive he shows that we are sprung from God. How then does Paul wrest what is said of Jupiter to the God of the universe? He has not transferred to God what belongs to Jupiter. But what is applicable to God, and was neither justly nor properly applied to Jupiter, this he restores to God, since the name of God belongs to Him alone, and is not lawfully bestowed upon idols.

And from what writers should he address them? From the Prophets? They would not have believed them. Since with the Jews too he does not argue from the Gospels, but from the Prophets. For this reason he says, "Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, to them that are without law, as without law, to those that are under the Law, as under the Law." (1 Corinthians 9:20, 21.) Thus does God too, as in the case of the wise men, He does not conduct them by an Angel, nor a Prophet, nor an Apostle, nor an Evangelist, but how? By a star. For as their art made them conversant with these, He made use of such means to guide them. So in the case of the oxen, that drew the ark. "If it goeth up by the way of his own coast, then He hath done us this great evil" (1 Samuel 6:9.), as their prophets suggested. Do these prophets then speak the truth? No; but he refutes and confounds them out of their own mouths. Again, in the case of the witch, because Saul believed in her, he caused him to hear through her what was about to befall him. Why then did Paul stop the mouth of the spirit, that said, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation"? (Acts 16:17.) And why did Christ hinder the devils from speaking of Him? In this case there was reason, since the miracles were going on. For here it was not a star that proclaimed Him, but He Himself; and the demons again were not worshiped [1473] ; for it was not an image that spoke, that it should be forbidden. He also suffered Balaam to bless, and did not restrain him. Thus He everywhere condescends.

And what wonder? for He permitted opinions erroneous, and unworthy of Himself, to prevail, as that He was a body formerly, [1474] and that He was visible. In opposition to which He says, "God is a Spirit." (John 4:24.) Again, that He delighted in sacrifices, which is far from His nature. And He utters words at variance with His declarations of Himself, and many such things. For He nowhere considers His own dignity, but always what will be profitable to us. And if a father considers not his own dignity, but talks lispingly with his children, and calls their meat and drink not by their Greek names, but by some childish and barbarous words, much more doth God. Even in reproving He condescends, as when He speaks by the prophet, "Hath a nation changed their gods?" (Jeremiah 2:11.), and in every part of Scripture there are instances of His condescension both in words and actions.

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Ver. 13. "Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith."

This he says, because their disposition was froward, deceitful, and dissolute. They have these numberless bad qualities; and because they are prone to lying, deceiving, gluttonous, and slothful, severe reproof is necessary. For such characters will not be managed by mildness, "therefore rebuke them." He speaks not here of Gentiles, but of his own people. "Sharply." Give them, he says, a stroke that cuts deep. For one method is not to be employed with all, but they are to be differently dealt with, according to their various characters and dispositions. He does not here have recourse to exhortation. For as he who treats with harshness the meek and ingenuous, may destroy them; so he who flatters one that requires severity, causes him to perish, and does not suffer him to be reclaimed.

"That they may be sound in the faith."

This then is soundness, to introduce nothing spurious, nor foreign. But if they who are scrupulous about meats are not sound, but are sick and weak; for, "Them that are weak," he says, "receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations" (Rom xiv. .1.); what can be said of those who observe the same fasts, (with the Jews,) who keep the sabbaths, who frequent the places that are consecrated by them? I speak of that at Daphne, [1475] of that which is called the cave of Matrona, and of that plain in Cilicia, which is called Saturn's. How are these sound? With them a heavier stroke is necessary. Why then does he not do the same with the Romans? Because their dispositions were different, they were of a nobler character.

Ver. 14. "Not giving heed," he says, "to Jewish fables."

The Jewish tenets were fables in two ways, because they were imitations, and because the thing was past its season, for such things become fables at last. For when a thing ought not to be done, and being done, is injurious, it is a fable even as it is useless. As then those [1476] ought not to be regarded, so neither ought these. For this is not being sound. For if thou believest the Faith, why dost thou add other things, as if the faith were not sufficient to justify? Why dost thou enslave thyself by subjection to the Law? Hast thou no confidence in what thou believest? This is a mark of an unsound and unbelieving mind. For one who is faithful does not doubt, but such an one evidently doubts.

Ver. 15. "Unto the pure," he says, "all things are pure."

Thou seest that this is said to a particular purpose.

"But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure."

Things then are not clean or unclean from their own nature, but from the disposition of him who partakes of them.

"But even their mind and conscience is defiled."

Ver. 16. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate."

The swine therefore is clean. Why then was it forbidden as unclean? It was not unclean by nature; for, "all things are pure." Nothing is more unclean than a fish, inasmuch as it even feeds upon human flesh. But it was permitted and considered clean. Nothing is more unclean than a bird, for it eats worms; or than a stag, which is said to have its name [1477] from eating serpents. Yet all these were eaten. Why then was the swine forbidden, and many other things? Not because they were unclean, but to check excessive luxury. But had this been said, they would not have been persuaded; they were restrained therefore by the fear of uncleanness. For tell me, if we enquire nicely into these things, what is more unclean than wine; or than water, with which they mostly purified themselves? They touched not the dead, and yet they were cleansed by the dead, for the victim was dead, and with that they were cleansed. This therefore was a doctrine for children. In the composition of wine, does not dung form a part? For as the vine draws moisture from the earth, so does it from the dung that is thrown upon it. In short, if we wish to be very nice, everything is unclean, otherwise if we please not to be nice, nothing is unclean. Yet all things are pure. God made nothing unclean, for nothing is unclean, except sin only. For that reaches to the soul, and defiles it. Other uncleanness is human prejudice.

"But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

For how can there be anything unclean among the pure? But he that has a weak soul makes everything unclean, and if there be set abroad a scrupulous enquiry into what is clean or unclean, he will touch nothing. For even these things are not clean, I speak of fish, and other things, according to their notions; (for "their mind and conscience," he says, "is defiled,") but all are impure. Yet Paul says not so; he turns the whole matter upon themselves. For nothing is unclean, he says, but themselves, their mind and their conscience; and nothing is more unclean than these; [1478] but an evil will is unclean.

"They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

Chap. ii. ver. 1. "But speak thou the things that become sound doctrine."

This then is uncleanness. They are themselves unclean. But be not thou silent on that account. Do thy part, although they may not receive thee. Advise and counsel them, though they may not be persuaded. Here he censures them more severely. For they who are mad imagine that nothing stands still, yet this arises not from the objects that are seen, but from the eyes that see. Because they are unsteady and giddy, they think that the earth turns round with them, which yet turns not, but stands firm. The derangement [1479] is of their own state, not from any affection of the element. So it is here, when the soul is unclean, it thinks all things unclean. Therefore scrupulous observances are no mark of purity, but it is the part of purity to be bold in all things. For he that is pure by nature ventures upon all things, they that are defiled, upon nothing. This we may say against Marcion. Seest thou that it is a mark of purity to be superior to all defilement, to touch nothing implies impurity. This holds even with respect to God. That He assumed flesh is a proof of purity; if through fear He had not taken it, there would have been defilement. He who eats not things that seem unclean, is himself unclean and weak, he who eats, is neither. Let us not call such pure, they are the unclean. He is pure, who dares to feed upon all things. All this caution we ought to exercise towards the things that defile the soul. For that is uncleanness, that is defilement. None of these things is so. Those who have a vitiated palate think what is set before them is unclean, but this is the effect of their disorder. It becomes us therefore to understand the nature of things pure, and things unclean.

Moral. What then is unclean? Sin, malice, covetousness, wickedness. [1480] As it is written: "Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings." (Isaiah 1:16.) "Create in me a clean heart, O God." (Psalm 51:10.) "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing." (Isaiah 52:52.) These observances were emblems of purifications. [1481] "Touch not a dead body," it is said. For sin is such, it is dead and offensive. "The leper is unclean." For sin is a leprosy, various and multiform. And that they had this meaning, appears from what follows. For if the leprosy is general, and overspreads the whole body, he is clean; if it is partial, he is unclean. Thus you see that what is various and changeable is the unclean thing. He again whose seed passes from him is unclean, consider one that is so in soul, casting away his seed. He who is uncircumcised is unclean. These things are not allegorical [1482] but typical, for he who does not cut off the wickedness of his heart is the unclean person. He who worketh on the Sabbath is to be stoned, that is, he who is not at all times devoted to God, shall perish. [1483] You see how many varieties of uncleanness there are. The woman in child-bed is unclean. Yet God made child-birth, and the seed of copulation. Why then is the woman unclean, unless something further was intimated? And what was this? He intended to produce piety in the soul, and to deter it from fornication. For if she is unclean who has borne a child, much more she who has committed fornication. If to approach his own wife is not altogether pure, much less to have intercourse with the wife of another. He who attends a funeral is unclean, much more he who has mixed in war and slaughter. And many kinds of uncleanness would be found, if it were necessary to recount them all. But these things are not now required of us. But all is transferred to the soul.

For bodily things are nearer to us, from these therefore he introduced instruction. But it is not so now. For we ought not to be confined to figures, and shadows, but to adhere to the truth, and to uphold it: sin is the unclean thing. From that let us flee, from that let us abstain. "If thou comest near it, it will bite [1484] thee." (Ecclus. xxi. 2.) Nothing is more unclean than covetousness. Whence is this manifest? From the facts themselves. For what does it not defile? the hands, the soul, the very house where the ill-gotten treasure is laid up. But the Jews consider this as nothing. And yet Moses carried off the bones of Joseph. Samson drank from the jawbone of an ass, and ate honey from the lion, and Elijah was nourished by ravens, and by a widow woman. And tell me, if we were to be precise about these things, what can be more unclean than our books, which are made of the skins of animals? The fornicator, then, is not the only one that is unclean, but others more than he, as the adulterer. But both the one and the other are unclean, not on account of the intercourse, (for according to that reasoning a man cohabiting with his own wife would be unclean,) but because of the wickedness of the act, and the injury done to his neighbor in his nearest interests. Dost thou see that it is wickedness that is unclean? He who had two wives was not unclean, and David who had many wives was not unclean. But when he had one unlawfully, he became unclean. Why? Because he had injured and defrauded his neighbor. And the fornicator is not unclean on account of the intercourse, but on account of the manner of it, because it injures the woman, and they injure one another, making the woman common, and subverting the laws of nature. For she ought to be the wife of one man, since it is said, "Male and female created He them." (Genesis 1:27.) And, "they twain shall be one flesh." Not "those many," but "they twain shall be one flesh." Here then is injustice, and therefore the act is wicked. Again, when anger exceeds due measure, it makes a man unclean, not in itself, but because of its excess. Since it is not said, "He that is angry," merely, but "angry without a cause." Thus every way to desire overmuch is unclean, for it proceeds from a greedy and irrational disposition. Let us therefore be sober, I beseech you, let us be pure, in that which is real purity, that we may be thought worthy to see God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.


[1471] The words here quoted are found in Callimachus, Hymn ad Jov. v. 8, to whom Theodoret ascribes them. The "evil beasts," &c., is found in Hesiod, Theogon. v. 26, applied to shepherds. Downes suggested that Epimenides may have borrowed from Hesiod, and Callimachus from him.

[1472] He seems to mean in thinking Jupiter a God.

[1473] i. e. by Saul. 1 Samuel 28:8.

[1474] This word seems to refer to the time when the opinions were allowed to prevail.

[1475] See on Stat. Hom. xvii.

[1476] i. e. heathen fables.

[1477] elaphos.

[1478] B. "none of these things is unclean."

[1479] al. "the notion," huponoia, and so B.; it is better than aponoia.

[1480] Sav. "fornication," but poneria is repeated in the next quotation, and has most authority.

[1481] al. "of uncleannesses."

[1482] This hardly makes sense. Read aletheia for allegoria. "These things are not truth, but types," which is his usual way of speaking. Just above, Savile's text is followed.

[1483] See on Stat. Hom. xii. , where it appears that he does not exclude a reference to the Lord's Day.

[1484] Sav. dexetai, which reading Ben. unaccountably neglects, having dexetai, and in Lat. suscipiet.

Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
Text Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

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