Colossians i. 15–18
“Who is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation: for in Him were all things created, in the heavens, and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church.”
To-day it is necessary for me to pay the debt, which yesterday43 See Hom. ii. § 3 fin. I deferred, in order that I might address it to your minds when in full force. Paul, discoursing as we showed of the dignity of the Son, says these words: “Who is the Image of the invisible God.” Whose image then wilt thou have Him be? God’s? Then he is exactly like the one to whom you assign Him. For if as a man’s image, say so, and I will have done with you as a madman. But if as God and God’s Son, God’s image, he shows the exact likeness. Wherefore hath no Angel anywhere been called either “image” or “son,” but man both? Wherefore? Because in the former case indeed the exaltedness of their nature might presently have thrust the many into this impiety44 Viz. Arianism.; but in the other case the mean and low nature is a pledge of security against this, and will not allow any, even should they desire it, to suspect anything of the kind, nor to bring down the Word so low. For this cause, where the meanness is great, the Scripture boldly asserts the honor, but where the nature is higher, it forbears. “The Image of the Invisible” is itself also invisible, and invisible in like manner, for otherwise it would not be an image. For an image, so far as it is an image, even amongst us, ought to be exactly similar, as, for example, in respect of the features and the likeness.45 χαρακτήρων καὶ ὁμοιώσεως. The argument is, that invisibleness being mentioned, the image must have it, as if one should say, “the picture of a venerable man,” one would understand a venerable expression in the features. Compare St. Athanasius against Arianism, Disc. 1, c. vi. § 20, Tr. and note d. [The argument is fine spun, and not convincing. The image must be of the same essence, or substance in this case; but an image cannot be invisible, otherwise it were not an image. Compare Meyer, and especially Lightfoot.—J.A.B.] But here indeed amongst us, this is by no means possible; for human art fails in many respects, or rather fails in all, if you examine with accuracy. But where God is, there is no error, no failure.
But if a creature: how is He the Image of the Creator? For neither is a horse the image of a man. If “the Image” mean not exact likeness to the Invisible, what hinders the Angels also from being His Image? for they too are invisible; but not to one another: but the soul is invisible: but because it is invisible, it is simply on that account an image, and not in such sort as he and angels are images.46 [The words, “and angels are images” are omitted by the common text, with several mss., but manifestly to escape an apparent difficulty, because it has been noticed above that angels are never called images.—J.A.B.]
“The Firstborn of all creation.” “What then,” saith one, “Lo, He is a creature.” Whence? tell me. “Because he said ‘Firstborn.’” However, he said not “first created,” but “firstborn.” Then it is reasonable that he should be called many things. For he must also be called a brother “in all things.” (Heb. ii. 17.) And we must take from Him His being Creator; and insist that neither in dignity nor in any other thing is He superior to us? And who that hath understanding would say this? For the word “firstborn” is not expressive of dignity and honor, nor of anything else, but of time only. What does “the firstborn” signify? That he is created, is the answer. Well. If then this be so, it has also kindred expressions. But otherwise the firstborn is of the same essence with those of whom he is firstborn. Therefore he will be the firstborn son of all things—for it said “of every creature”; therefore of stones also, and of me, is God the Word firstborn. But again, of what, tell me, are the words “firstborn from the dead” (Col. i. 18; Rom. viii. 29.) declaratory? Not that He first rose; for he said not simply, “of the dead,” but “firstborn from the dead,” nor yet, “that He died first,” but that He rose the firstborn from the dead. So that they declare nothing else than this, that He is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection. Surely then neither in the place before us.47 i.e. is anything else meant by the word πρωτότοκος, than that He is the Firstfruits of the Creation. This may be his meaning, or “that he, the Only-begotten, is the Beginning of the Creation.” See note on St. Athanasius against Arianism, Disc. 1, Oxf. Tr. Next he proceeds to the doctrine itself. For that they may not think Him to be of more recent existence, because that in former times the approach was through Angels, but now through Him; he shows first, that they had no power (for else it had not been “out of darkness” (ver. 13.) that he brought), next, that He is also before them. And he uses as a proof of His being before them, this; that they were created by him. “For in Him,” he saith, “were all things created.” What say here the followers of Paul of Samosata?48 P. of Samosata held the Divine Word, or Reason, to be a mere Attribute, and not a Person. The Person of our Lord would thus be simply Human, only with a Divine influence. See St. Ath. Def. of Nic. Def. c. v. § 11, Tr. This text of St. Paul is quoted against P. of Samosata, Conc. Ant. i. Labbe, t. i, p. 846, by the orthodox Bishops. See also Epiph. Hær. 45. The heretics might allow what is said here of the Word as an Attribute; the refutation follows presently. “The things in the heavens.” What was in question, he has placed first;49 One ms. has, “first the things in heaven,” &c., which agrees with the sense. “and the things upon the earth.” Then he says, “the visible and the invisible things”; invisible, such as soul, and all that has come to exist in heaven; visible, such as men, sun, sky. “Whether thrones.” And what is granted, he lets alone, but what is doubted he asserts. “Whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.” The words “whether,” “or,” comprehend the whole of things; but by means of the greater things show it of the less also. But the Spirit is not amongst the “powers.” “All things,” he saith, “have been created through Him, and unto Him.” Lo, “in Him,” is50 i.e. “In Him,” in the beginning of the verse, is said in such a sense as to agree with “through Him.” “through Him,” for having said “in Him,” he added, “through Him.” But what “unto Him”? It is this; the subsistence of all things depends on Him. Not only did He Himself bring them out of nothing into being, but Himself sustains them now, so that were they dissevered from His Providence, they were at once undone and destroyed. But He said not, “He continues them,” which had been a grosser way of speaking, but what is more subtle, that “on” Him they depend. To have only a bearing on Him is enough to continue anything and bind it fast. So also the word “firstborn,” in the sense of a foundation. But this doth not show the creatures to be consubstantial with Him; but that all things are through Him, and in Him are upheld. Since Paul also when he says elsewhere, “I have laid a foundation” (1 Cor. iii. 10.), is speaking not concerning substance, but operation. For, that thou mayest not think Him to be a minister, he says that He continues them, which is not less than making them. Certainly, with us it is greater even: for to the former, art conducts us; but to the latter, not so, it does not even stay a thing in decay.
“And He is before all things,” he saith. This is befitting God. Where is Paul of Samosata? “And in Him all things consist,” that is, they are created into51 [Chrys. here seems to insist on the local sense of εἰς, “into,” which above, and in Rev. Ver., is translated “unto.” All things in Him consist, being created into Him. But the fancy is of doubtful value.—J.A.B.] Him. He repeats these expressions in close sequence; with their close succession, as it were with rapid strokes, tearing up the deadly doctrine by the roots. For, if even when such great things had been declared, still after so long a time Paul of Samosata sprung up, how much more [would such have been the case], had not these things been said before? “And in Him,” he saith, “all things consist.” How “consist” in one who was not? So that the things also done through Angels are of Him.
“And He is the head of the body, the Church.”
Then having spoken of His dignity, he afterwards speaks of His love to man also. “He is,” saith he, “the Head of the body, the Church.” And he said not “of the fullness,”52 τοῦ πληρώματος. Here used of the universe, somewhat as 1 Cor. x. 26, only in a more extended sense. (although this too is signified,) out of a wish to show His great friendliness to us, in that He who is thus above, and above all, connected Himself with those below. For everywhere He is first; above first; in the Church first, for He is the Head; in the Resurrection first. That is,
Ver. 18. “That He might have the preëminence.” So that in generation also He is first. And this is what Paul is chiefly endeavoring to show. For if this be made good, that He was before all the Angels; then there is brought in along with it this also as a consequence, that He did their works by commanding them. And what is indeed wonderful, he makes a point to show that He is first in the later generation. Although elsewhere he calls Adam first (1 Cor. xv. 45.), as in truth he is; but here he takes the Church for the whole race of mankind. For He is first of the Church; and first of men after the flesh, like as of the Creation.53 Cat. “and first of men even as he that was first of Creation after the flesh,” then one Par. and Br. M. read, “For this cause both here and there the word ‘Firstborn’ is used. But what is ‘Firstborn of all creation’? It is for ‘First Created,’ as ‘Firstborn from the dead’ is for ‘Who rose again before all.’ And as there he puts ‘Who is before all,’ so here also he has put ‘Firstfruits.’” [A Paris ms. has the same reading, except that for “First Created” it has “First Creator.”—J.A.B.] And therefore he here uses the word “firstborn.”
What is in this place the meaning of “the Firstborn”? Who was created first, or rose before all; as in the former place it means, Who was before all things. And here indeed he uses the word “firstfruits,” saying, “Who is the54 Rec. text ἀρχὴ, St. Chrys. has ἀπαρχὴ [and so six cursives. But this reading is clearly wrong, and vitiates the following statements of Chrys. For the meaning of “beginning” here, see Lightfoot.—J.A.B.]Firstfruits, the Firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preëminence,” showing that the rest also are such as He; but in the former place it is not the “Firstfruits” of creation.55 The same mss. add, “but only the Firstborn, and not even this in the first place, but after saying, ‘Who is the Image,’” &c. And it is there, “The Image of the invisible God,” and then, “Firstborn.”
Ver. 19, 20. “For it was the good pleasure of the Father, that in Him should all the fullness dwell. And having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.”
Whatsoever things are of the Father, these he saith are of the Son also, and that with more of intensity, because that He both became “dead”56 νεκρὸς γέγονε, alluding to the expression, πρωτότοκος ἐκ νεκρῶν. for, and united Himself to us. He said, “Firstfruits,” as of fruits. He said not “Resurrection,” but “Firstfruits,” showing that He hath sanctified us all, and offered us, as it were, a sacrifice. The term “fullness” some use of the Godhead, like as John said, “Of His fullness have all we received.” That is, whatever was the Son, the whole Son dwelt there, not a sort of energy, but a Substance.
He hath no cause to assign but the will of God: for this is the import of, “it was the good pleasure…in Him. And…through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself.” Lest thou shouldest think that He undertook the office of a minister only, he saith, “unto Himself.”57 [“The reconciliation is always represented as made to the Father. The reconciler is sometimes the Father Himself, sometimes the Son.”—Lightfoot.—J.A.B.] (2 Cor. v. 18.) And yet he elsewhere says, that He reconciled us to God, as in the Epistle he wrote to the Corinthians. And he well said, “Through Him to make an end of reconciling”;58 ἀποκαταλλάξαι as ἀπολύτρωσις, above? [The compound verb may mean to reconcile completely or finally.—J.A.B.] for they were already reconciled; but completely, he says, and in such sort, as no more to be at enmity with Him. How? For not only the reconciliation was set forth, but also the manner of the reconciliation. “Having made peace through the Blood of His Cross.” The word “reconcile,” shows the enmity; the words “having made peace,” the war. “Through the Blood of His Cross, through Himself, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.” A great thing indeed it is to reconcile; but that this should be through Himself too, is a greater thing; and a greater still,—how through Himself? Through His Blood. Through His Blood; and he said not simply His Blood, but what is yet greater, through the Cross. So that the marvels are five: He reconciled us; to God; through Himself; through Death; through the Cross. Admirable again! How he has mixed them up! For lest thou shouldest think that it is one thing merely, or that the Cross is anything of itself,59 Or “by itself” (ἑαυτὸ), i.e. separate from the Divine Person, as it would be if there had been a several Human Personality. (Cat. and Bodl. ἑαυτὸν.) he saith “through Himself.” How well he knows that this was a great thing. Because not by speaking words, but by giving Himself up for the reconciliation, He so wrought everything.
But what is “things in the heavens”? For with reason indeed is it said, “the things upon the earth,” for those were filled with enmity, and manifoldly divided, and each one of us was utterly at variance with himself, and with the many; but how made He peace amongst “the things in the heavens”? Was war and battle there also? How then do we pray, saying, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth”? (Matt. vi. 10.) What is it then? The earth was divided from heaven, the Angels were become enemies to men, through seeing the Lord insulted. “To sum up,” he saith, “all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth.” (Eph. i. 10.) How? The things in heaven indeed in this way: He translated Man thither, He brought up to them the enemy, the hated one. Not only made He the things on earth60 Bodl. Extr. [Catena], “He made not him staying on earth,” &c. to be at peace, but He brought up to them him that was their enemy and foe. Here was peace profound. Angels again appeared on the earth thereafter, because that Man too had appeared in heaven. And it seems to me that Paul was caught up on this account (2 Cor. xii. 2.), and to show that the Son also had been received up thither. For in the earth indeed, the peace was twofold; with the things of heaven, and with themselves; but in heaven it was simple. For if the Angels rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, much more will they over so many.
All this God’s power hath wrought. Why then place ye confidence in Angels?61 [Chrys. shows no suspicion of that combination of the Jewish (Essene) doctrine of angels with the Gnostic doctrine of æons, which we now know to have prevailed at Colossæ (see Lightfoot on Col., Int. II.).—J.A.B.] saith he. For so far are they from bringing you near, that they were ever your enemies, except God Himself had reconciled you with them. Why then run ye to them? Wouldest thou know the hatred which the Angels had against us, how great it was; and how averse to us they always were? They were sent to take vengeance in the cases of the Israelites, of David, of the Sodomites, of the Valley of weeping.62 Judg. ii. 5; see Ps. lxxxiv. 6 (2 Sam. v. seems hardly applicable). (Ex. xxiii. 20.) Not so however now, but, on the contrary, they sang upon the earth63 Downes conjectures, “Peace on earth.” Luke ii. 13. (2 Sam. xxiv. 16.) with exceeding joy. And He led these down to men64 Gr. αὐτοὺς, one suspects ἄνους (ἀνθρώπους), which has been conjectured. (Gen. xix. 13.), and led men up to them.
And observe, I pray you, the marvel in this: He brought these first down hither, and then he took up man to them; earth became heaven, because that heaven was about to receive the things of earth. Therefore when we give thanks, we say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.” Behold, he saith, even men appeared well-pleasing to Him thereafter. What is “good will”? (Eph. ii. 14; Deut. xxxii. 8, Sept.) Reconciliation. No longer is the heaven a wall of partition. At first the Angels were according to the number of the nations; but now, not to the number of the nations, but that of the believers. Whence is this evident? Hear Christ saying, “See that ye despise not one of these little ones, for their Angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. xviii. 10.) For each believer hath an Angel; since even from the beginning, every one of those that were approved had his Angel, as Jacob says, “The Angel that feedeth me, and delivereth me from my youth.”65 “Feedeth” is said of God in the text. On the passage, St. Chrys. does not notice the mention of the Angel. He quotes it, however, in his first Homily de laudibus B. Pauli. He also infers the doctrine from Acts xii. 15; Hom. xxvi. St. Jerome, on Isa. lxvi. 20, quotes all these passages. Bp. Bull, Ser. xii. adds, Eccl. v. 6. (Gen. xlviii. 15, 16, nearly.) If then we have Angels, let us be sober, as though we were in the presence of tutors; for there is a demon present also.66 See St. Hermas, Past. 1, ii. pr. 6, § 1, and Cotelerius, note 14, t. i., p. 93, who cites Origen, Hom. xii. in Luc. S. Greg. Nyss. de Vita Mosis, p. 194; Petavius, Theol. Dog. de Ang. l. ii. c. 8, cites St. Basil, contr. Eunom. p. 70, and on Ps. xxxiii. p. 220, &c. Therefore we pray, asking67 [There was among the forms of prayer in Chrys.’s day this, “Ask for the angel of peace.” See Field’s Annotations.—J.A.B.] for the Angel of peace, and everywhere we ask for peace68 In Hom. xxxii. on St. Matt. he mentions a prayer for Peace. See also Const. Ap. 1. viii. c. 37 fin. (for there is nothing equal to this); peace, in the Churches, in the prayers, in the supplications, in the salutations; and once, and twice, and thrice, and many times, does he that is over the Church give it, “Peace be unto you.” Wherefore? Because this is the Mother of all good things; this is the foundation of joy. Therefore Christ also commanded the Apostles on entering into the houses straightway to say this, as being a sort of symbol of the good things; for He saith, “When ye come into the houses, say, Peace be unto you;”69 St. Matt. x. 12, St. Luke x. 5, but neither accurately. [That is, neither Gospel is here accurately quoted. Chrys. often makes slight mistakes in quoting, as we do.—J.A.B.] for where this is wanting, everything is useless. And to His disciples Christ said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.” (John xiv. 27.) This prepareth the way for love. And he that is over the Church, says not, “Peace be unto you,” simply, but “Peace be unto all.” For what if with this man we have peace, but with another, war and fighting? what is the gain? For neither in the body, should some of its elements be at rest and others in a state of variance, is it possible that health should ever be upheld; but only when the whole of them are in good order, and harmony, and peace, and except the whole are at rest, and continue within their proper limits, all will be overturned. And, further, in our minds, except all our thoughts are at rest, peace will not exist. So great a good is peace, as that the makers and producers of it are called the sons of God (Matt. v. 9, 45.), with reason; because the Son of God for this cause came upon the earth, to set at peace the things in the earth, and those in the heavens. But if the peacemakers are the sons of God, the makers of disturbance are sons of the devil.
What sayest thou? Dost thou excite contentions and fightings? And doth any ask who is so unhappy? Many there are who rejoice at evil, and who do rather rend in pieces the Body of Christ, than did the soldiers pierce it with the spear, or the Jews who struck it through with the nails. A less evil was that than this; those Members, so cut through, again united, but these when torn off, if they be not united here, will never be united, but remain apart from the Fullness. When thou art minded to war against thy brother, bethink thee that thou warrest against the members of Christ, and cease from thy madness. For what if he be an outcast? What if he be vile? What if he be open to contempt? So saith He, “It is not the will of My Father that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matt. xviii. 14.) And again, “Their Angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” (Ib. ver. 10.) God for his sake and thine even became a servant, and was slain; and dost thou consider him to be nothing? Surely in this respect also thou fightest against God, in that thou deliverest a judgment contrary to His. When he that is over the Church cometh in, he straightway says, “Peace unto all”; when he preacheth, “Peace unto all”; when he blesseth, “Peace unto all”; when he biddeth to salute, “Peace unto all”; when the Sacrifice is finished, “Peace unto all”: and again, in the middle, “Grace to you and peace.” How then is it not monstrous, if, while hearing so many times that we are to have peace, we are in a state of feud with each other; and receiving peace, and giving it back, are at war with him70 i.e. the Bishop. [This is the person several times above called “he that is over,” ὁπροεστὼς, the same word that is employed by Justin Martyr, I. Apol. c. 65, for the person presiding in an assembly for worship.—J.A.B.] that giveth it to us? Thou sayest, “And to thy spirit.” And dost thou traduce him abroad? Woe is me! that the majestic usages71 τὰ σεμνὰ. of the Church are become forms of things merely, not a truth. Woe is me! that the watchwords of this army proceed no farther than to be only words. Whence also ye are ignorant wherefore is said, “Peace unto all.” But hear what follows, what Christ saith; “And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter…as ye enter into the house, salute it; and if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.” (Matt. x. 11, 13.) We are therefore ignorant; because we look upon this merely as a figure of words; and we assent not to them in our minds. For do I72 This implies that he was Bishop, and consequently that these Homilies were delivered at Constantinople. [Below he distinctly declares himself to be the Bishop.—J.A.B.] give the Peace? It is Christ who deigneth to speak by us. Even if at all other times we are void of grace, yet are we not now, for your sakes. For if the Grace of God wrought in an ass and a diviner, for the sake of an economy, and the advantage of the Israelites (Num. 22.), it is quite clear that it will not refuse to operate even in us, but for your73 So Sav. Ben. “our.” sakes will endure even this.
Let none say then that I am mean, and low, and worthy of no consideration, and in such a frame of mind attend to me.74 Or “even so, let him attend to me.” For such I am; but God’s way always is, to be present even with such for the sake of the many. And, that ye may know this, with Cain He vouchsafed to talk for Abel’s sake (Gen. iv.), with the devil for Job’s (Job i.), with Pharaoh for Joseph’s (Gen. xli.), with Nebuchadnezzar for Daniel’s (Dan. ii; iv.), with Belshazzar, for the same (Dan. v.). And Magi moreover obtained a revelation (Matt. ii.); and Caiaphas prophesied, though a slayer of Christ, and an unworthy man, because of the worthiness of the priesthood. (John xi. 49.) And it is said to have been for this reason that Aaron was not smitten with leprosy. For why, tell me, when both had spoken against Moses did she75 Miriam. alone suffer the punishment? (Num. xii.) Marvel not: for if in worldly dignities, even though ten thousand charges be laid against a man, yet is he not brought to trial before he has laid down his office, in order that it may not be dishonored along with him; much more in the case of spiritual office, be he whosoever he may, the grace of God works in him, for otherwise everything is lost: but when he hath laid it down, either after he is departed or even here, then indeed, then he will suffer a sorer punishment.
Do not, I pray you, think that these things are spoken from us; it is the Grace of God which worketh in the unworthy, not for our sakes, but for yours. Hear ye then what Christ saith. “If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it.” (Matt. x. 13–15.) And how becometh it worthy? If “they receive you” (Luke x. 8.), He saith. “But if they receive you not, nor hear your words,…verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” What boots it then, that ye receive us, and hear not the things we say? What gain is it that ye wait upon76 θεραπεύετε. us, and give no heed to the things which are spoken to you? This will be honor to us, this the admirable service, which is profitable both to you and to us, if ye hear us. Hear also Paul saying, “I wist not, brethren, that he was High Priest.” (Acts xxiii. 5.) Hear also Christ saying, “All whatsoever they bid you observe” (Matt. xxiii. 3.), that “observe and do.” Thou despisest not me, but the Priesthood; when thou seest me stripped of this, then despise me; then no more will I endure to impose commands. But so long as we sit upon this throne,77 [This would seem clearly to indicate that these homilies were delivered at Constantinople. The passage below, on ch. iii. 2–4, does not necessarily show the contrary.—J.A.B.] so long as we have the first place, we have both the dignity and the power, even though we are unworthy. If the throne of Moses was of such reverence, that for its sake they were to be heard, much more the throne of Christ. It, we have received by succession; from it we speak; since the time that Christ hath vested in us the ministry of reconciliation.
Ambassadors, whatever be their sort, because of the dignity of an embassy, enjoy much honor. For observe; they go alone into the heart of the land of barbarians, through the midst of so many enemies; and because the law of embassy is of mighty power, all honor them; all look towards them with respect, all send them forth with safety. And we now have received a word of embassy, and we are come from God, for this is the dignity of the Episcopate. We are come to you on an embassy, requesting you to put an end to the war, and we say on what terms; not promising to give cities, nor so and so many measures of corn, nor slaves, nor gold; but the kingdom of heaven, eternal life, society with Christ, the other good things, which neither are we able to tell you, so long as we are in this flesh, and the present life. Ambassadors then we are, and we wish to enjoy honor, not for our own sakes, far be it, for we know its worthlessness, but for yours; that ye may hear with earnestness the things we say; that ye may be profited, that not with listlessness or indifference ye may attend to what is spoken. See ye not ambassadors, how all pay court to them? We are God’s ambassadors to men; but, if this offend you,78 πρόσαντες. “Up hill,” “against the grain.” not we, but the Episcopate itself, not this man or that, but the Bishop. Let no one hear me, but the dignity. Let us then do everything according to the will of God, that we may live to the glory of God, and be counted worthy of the good things promised to those that love Him, through the grace and lovingkindness, &c. &c.
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ Γʹ. Ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως. Ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα, τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα, εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες, εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι: τὰ πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται. Καὶ αὐτός ἐστι πρὸ πάντων, καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκε. Καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. αʹ. Τήμερον ἀποδοῦναι ἀναγκαῖον τὸ ὄφλημα, ὅπερ χθὲς ἀνεβαλόμην, ὥστε ἀκμαζούσαις ὑμῶν προσβαλεῖν ταῖς διανοίαις. Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Υἱοῦ ἀξίας διαλεγόμενος ὁ Παῦλος ταῦτά φησιν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἀπεδείξαμεν: Ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου. Τίνος οὖν αὐτὸν οἴει λέγειν εἰκόνα εἶναι; Εἰ μὲν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καλῶς: Θεὸς γὰρ καὶ Θεοῦ Υἱός: Θεοῦ δὲ εἰκὼν τὸ ἀπαράλλακτον δείκνυσιν: οὐκοῦν ἀπαράλλακτος κατὰ τοῦτο: εἰ δὲ ἀνθρώπου, εἰπὲ, καὶ ὡς μαινομένου λοιπὸν ἀποστήσομαι. Διὰ τί δὲ μηδαμοῦ μήτε εἰκὼν, μήτε υἱὸς, ἄγγελος κέκληται, ἀλλ' ἄνθρωπος ἀμφότερα; Διὰ τί; Ὅτι ἐκεῖ μὲν τὸ τῆς φύσεως ἀνηρμένον ταχέως ἂν τοὺς πολλοὺς εἰς ταύτην τὴν ἀσέβειαν ἐνέβαλεν: ἐνταῦθα δὲ τὸ εὐτελὲς καὶ ταπεινὸν ἐγγυᾶται τὴν ἀσφάλειαν, καὶ οὐδὲ βουλομένους ἀφίησιν ὑποπτεῦσαί τι τοιοῦτον, καὶ καταγαγεῖν τὸν λόγον κάτω. Διὰ τοῦτο ἔνθα μὲν ἦν πολλὴ ταπεινότης, θαῤῥούντως ἡ Γραφὴ τίθησι τὴν τιμήν: ἔνθα δὲ μείζων ἡ φύσις, οὐκέτι. Ἀλλ', Εἰκὼν τοῦ ἀοράτου, φησίν. Οὐκοῦν εἰ ἐκεῖνος ἀόρατος, καὶ αὕτη ὁμοίως ἀόρατος, ἐπεὶ οὐδ' ἂν εἰκὼν εἴη. Τὴν γὰρ εἰκόνα, καθό ἐστιν εἰκὼν, καὶ παρ' ἡμῖν ἀπαράλλακτον δεῖ εἶναι, οἷον τῶν χαρακτήρων καὶ τῆς ὁμοιώσεως. Ἀλλ' ἐνταῦθα μὲν οὐδαμῶς τοῦτο δυνατόν: τέχνη γάρ ἐστιν ἀνθρωπίνη ἡ πολλαχοῦ διαπίπτουσα, μᾶλλον δὲ πανταχοῦ, ἐὰν τὰ τῆς ἀκριβείας ζητῇς: ἔνθα δὲ ὁ Θεὸς, οὐδαμοῦ σφάλλεται, οὐδὲ διάπτωσίς τις γίνεται. Εἰ δὲ κτίσμα, πῶς εἰκὼν τοῦ κτίσαντος; οὐδὲ γὰρ ἵππος ἀνθρώπου εἰκών. Εἰ μὴ τὸ ἀπαράλλακτον τοῦ ἀοράτου δηλοῖ ἡ εἰκὼν, τί κωλύει καὶ ἀγγέλους εἰκόνα εἶναι; καὶ γὰρ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀόρατοι, ἀλλ' οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς: καὶ ψυχὴ ἀόρατος: ἀλλ' ἐπειδὴ ἀόρατος, ἁπλῶς διὰ τοῦτο εἰκὼν, εἰ καὶ μὴ οὕτως ὥσπερ αὐτός. Πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως. βʹ. Τί οὖν, φησίν; ἰδοὺ ἔκτισται; Πόθεν, εἰπέ μοι; Ἐπειδὴ, Πρωτότοκος, εἶπε. Καὶ μὴν οὐ, πρωτόκτιστος, εἶπεν, ἀλλὰ, Πρωτότοκος. Ἔπειτα εἰ διὰ τὸ πρωτότοκον λέγεσθαι, ἐκτίσθαι αὐτὸν φὴς, τί εἴπῃς, ὅταν ἀδελφὸν αὐτὸν ἀκούσητε λεγόμενον; Καὶ γὰρ ἀδελφὸν αὐτὸν καλεῖ ἡ Γραφὴ κατὰ πάντα ἡμῖν ὁμοιωθέντα. Ἆρα οὖν διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δημιουργὸν ἀφαιρήσομεν, καὶ οὔτε ἀξιώματι, οὔτε ἄλλῳ τινὶ προέχειν ἡμῶν ἀξιώσομεν; καὶ τίς ἂν τοῦτο τῶν νοῦν ἐχόντων εἴποι; Τὸ γὰρ Πρωτότοκος, οὐχὶ ἀξίας καὶ τιμῆς, ἀλλὰ χρόνου μόνον ἐστὶ σημαντικόν. Ἂν τοίνυν πλέον ἡμῶν οὐδὲν ἔχῃ, τάχα κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον πάντων ἐστὶ πρωτότοκος, καὶ ὁμοούσιος ἔσται ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος καὶ λίθων καὶ ξύλων καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν: Πρωτότοκος γὰρ, φησὶ, πάσης κτίσεως. Ἀλλὰ πρωτότοκος εἴρηται, φησίν: οὐκοῦν ἔκτισται. Καλῶς, ἐὰν τοῦτο ᾖ, καὶ μὴ ἀδελφά τινα ἔχῃ καὶ ἄλλα, οἷον τὸ, Πρωτότοκος ἐκ νεκρῶν, πρωτότοκος ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς. Τὸ, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, τίνος ἐστὶ δηλωτικὸν, εἰπέ μοι; Οὐ γὰρ τοῦ, ὅτι πρῶτος ἀνέστη, ἐρεῖς: οὐ γὰρ εἶπεν ἁπλῶς νεκρῶν, ἀλλὰ πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν: οὐδὲ ὅτι ἀπέθανε πρῶτος, ἀλλ' ὅτι πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν ἀνέστη. Ὥστε οὐδὲν ἕτερον δηλοῖ, ἢ τοῦτο, ὅτι τῆς ἀναστάσεως ἀπαρχὴ γέγονεν. Οὐκοῦν οὐδὲ ἐνταῦθα. Εἶτα λοιπὸν ἐμβαίνει εἰς τὸ δόγμα αὐτό. Ἵνα γὰρ μὴ νομίσωσι νεώτερον αὐτὸν εἶναι, διὰ τὸ πάλαι μὲν δι' ἀγγέλων προσάγεσθαι, νῦν δὲ δι' αὐτοῦ, δείκνυσι πρῶτον, ὅτι οὐδὲν ἴσχυσαν ἐκεῖνοι: οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἀπὸ σκότους οὗτος ἤγαγε: δεύτερον, ὅτι καὶ πρὸ αὐτῶν ἐστι. Καὶ σημεῖον ποιεῖται τοῦ πρὸ αὐτῶν εἶναι, τὸ δι' αὐτοῦ αὐτοὺς ἐκτίσθαι: Ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ, φησὶν, ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα. Τί λέγουσιν ἐνταῦθα οἱ τὰ Παύλου τοῦ Σαμοσατέως φρονοῦντες; Ὅτι τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν. Ἰδοὺ γὰρ εἴρηται, Ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα. Ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς εἶπεν. Ὅπερ ἀμφισβητούμενον ἦν, πρῶτον τέθεικεν. Εἶτα ἐπάγει, Τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα, ἀόρατα τὴν ψυχὴν λέγων, ὁρατὰ πάντας ἀνθρώπους. Καὶ τὸ μὲν ὁμολογούμενον ἀφίησι, τὸ δὲ ἀμφιβαλλόμενον τίθησιν. Εἶτά φησιν, Εἴτε θρόνοι, εἴτε κυριότητες, εἴτε ἀρχαὶ, εἴτε ἐξουσίαι. Τὸ, Εἴτε, τοῦ παντὸς περιληπτικόν ἐστι. Τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα οὐ μετὰ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν ἀριθμοῦντος, ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ τῶν μειζόνων καὶ τὰ ἐλάττω δεικνύντος ἐστί. Τὰ πάντα, φησὶ, δι' αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται. Ἰδοὺ τὸ, Ἐν αὐτῷ, δι' αὐτοῦ ἐστιν. Εἰπὼν γὰρ, Ἐν αὐτῷ, ἐπήγαγε, Δι' αὐτοῦ. Τὸ δὲ, Εἰς αὐτὸν, τί ἐστι; Τουτέστιν, εἰς αὐτὸν κρέμαται ἡ πάντων ὑπόστασις. Οὐ μόνον αὐτὸς αὐτὰ ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος εἰς τὸ εἶναι παρήγαγεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸς αὐτὰ συγκρατεῖ νῦν: ὥστε ἂν ἀποσπασθῇ τῆς αὐτοῦ προνοίας, ἀπόλωλε καὶ διέφθαρται. Ἀλλ' οὐκ εἶπε, διακρατεῖ, ὅπερ ἦν παχύτερον, ἀλλὰ τὸ λεπτότερον, ὅτι εἰς αὐτὸν κρέμαται. Μόνον γὰρ τὸ πρὸς αὐτὸν νεύειν, ἱκανὸν διακρατῆσαι καὶ συσφίγξαι. Οὕτω καὶ τὸ, Πρωτότοκος, ὡς θεμέλιος λέγεται. Τοῦτο δὲ οὐ τὸ ὁμοούσιον τῶν κτισμάτων, ἀλλὰ τὸ δι' αὐτοῦ πάντα εἶναι, καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ δηλοῖ. Οὕτω καὶ ἀλλαχοῦ ὅταν λέγῃ, Θεμέλιον τέθεικα, οὐ περὶ τῆς οὐσίας φησὶν, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐνεργείας. Ἵνα γὰρ μὴ νομίσῃς ὑπηρέτην εἶναι αὐτὸν, φησὶν, αὐτὸν αὐτὰ διακρατεῖν, ὅπερ οὐχ ἧττον τοῦ ποιῆσαί ἐστι. Καίτοι ἐφ' ἡμῶν καὶ μεῖζον: ἐκεῖνο μὲν γὰρ ἡ τέχνη εἰσάγει, τοῦτο δὲ οὐκέτι: οὐδὲ γὰρ φθειρόμενον κατέχει. Καὶ αὐτός ἐστι πρὸ πάντων, φησί. Τοῦτο Θεῷ ἁρμόζον. Ποῦ Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεύς; Καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκε: τουτέστιν, εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται. Συνεχῶς αὐτὰ στρέφει, τῇ συνεχείᾳ τῶν ῥημάτων καθάπερ πυκναῖς τισι πληγαῖς πρόῤῥιζον ἀνασπῶν τὸ δόγμα τὸ ὀλέθριον. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ τοσαῦτα εἴρηται, καὶ μετὰ τοσοῦτον χρόνον ἀνέφυ Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεὺς, πόσῳ μᾶλλον, εἰ μὴ ταῦτα προείρητο; Καὶ τὰ πάντα, φησὶν, ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκε. Πῶς συνέστηκεν ἐν τῷ οὐκ ὄντι; Ὥστε καὶ τὰ δι' ἀγγέλων αὐτοῦ ἐστι. Καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Εἰπὼν περὶ τῆς ἀξίας, λέγει λοιπὸν καὶ περὶ τῆς φιλανθρωπίας. Αὐτός ἐστι, φησὶν, ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Οὐκ εἶπε, τοῦ πληρώματος, αὐτὸ μὲν τοῦτο καὶ οὕτω δηλῶν, θέλων δὲ ἡμῖν οἰκειότερον δεῖξαι αὐτὸν, ὅτι ὁ οὕτως ἄνω καὶ πάντων ἀνώτερος, τοῖς κάτω ἑαυτὸν συνῆψε. Πανταχοῦ γάρ ἐστι πρῶτος: ἄνω πρῶτος, ἐν τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτος: κεφαλὴ γάρ ἐστιν: ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει πρῶτος. Τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν, Ἵνα γένηται αὐτὸς πρωτεύων. γʹ. Ὥστε καὶ ἐν γενέσει πρῶτος. Καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι μάλιστα τὸ σπουδαζόμενον τῷ Παύλῳ δεῖξαι. Ἂν γὰρ τοῦτο κατασκευασθῇ, ὅτι πρὸ πάντων ἦν τῶν ἀγγέλων, κἀκεῖνο συνεισάγεται, ὅτι τὰ ἐκείνων αὐτὸς ἐποίει ἐπιτάττων. Καὶ τὸ δὴ θαυμαστὸν, ἐν τῇ ὑστέρᾳ γενέσει ἐφιλονείκησε πρῶτον αὐτὸν δεῖξαι. Καίτοι γε ἀλλαχοῦ πρῶτόν φησι τὸν Ἀδὰμ, ὥσπερ οὖν καὶ ἔστιν: ἀλλὰ τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν ἔλαβεν ἀντὶ τοῦ παντὸς ἀνθρώπων γένους. Τῆς γὰρ Ἐκκλησίας πρῶτός ἐστι, καὶ τῶν μὲν ἀνθρώπων, καθάπερ τῆς κτίσεως, πρῶτος κατὰ σάρκα: καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐνταῦθα τὸν πρωτότοκον τίθησι. Τί ἐστιν ἐνταῦθα ὁ πρωτότοκος; Ὁ πρῶτος κτισθεὶς, ἢ πρὸ πάντων ἀναστὰς, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐκεῖ, ὁ πρὸ πάντων ὤν. Καὶ ἐνταῦθα μὲν ἀπαρχὴν τέθεικεν εἰπών: Ὅς ἐστιν ἀπαρχὴ, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων: δεικνὺς ὅτι καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι τοιοῦτοι: ἐκεῖ δὲ οὐκ ἀπαρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως. Καὶ ἐκεῖ μὲν, Εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, καὶ τότε τὸ, Πρωτότοκος. Ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ηὐδόκησε πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι, καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς αὐτὸν, εἰρηνοποιήσας διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ, εἴτε τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, εἴτε τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. Ὅσα τοῦ Πατρὸς, φησὶ, ταῦτα καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ, καὶ μετὰ πλείονος σπουδῆς, ὅτι καὶ νεκρὸς γέγονε, καὶ ἥνωσεν ἑαυτὸν ἡμῖν. Ἀπαρχὴν δὲ εἶπε, καθάπερ ἐπὶ καρποῦ τινος. Οὐκ εἶπεν, ἀνάστασις, ἀλλὰ, ἀπαρχὴ, δεικνὺς ὅτι πάντας ἡμᾶς ἡγίασε, καὶ ὥσπερ θυσίαν προσήνεγκε. Τὸ πλήρωμα περὶ τῆς θεότητος εἴρηκε, καθάπερ ὁ Ἰωάννης ἔλεγεν: Ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν. Τουτέστιν, εἴτε ἦν ὁ Υἱὸς, εἴτε ὁ Λόγος, ἐκεῖ ᾤκησεν οὐχὶ ἐνέργειά τις, ἀλλ' οὐσία. Οὐκ ἔχει αἰτίαν εἰπεῖν οὐδεμίαν, ἀλλὰ τὴν θέλησιν τοῦ Θεοῦ: τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν, ὅτι Ἐν αὐτῷ ηὐδόκησε, καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς αὐτόν. Ἵνα μὴ νομίσῃς, ὅτι ὑπηρέτου τάξιν ἀνέλαβεν, εἰς ἑαυτὸν, φησί. Καὶ μὴν ἀλλαχοῦ φησιν, ὅτι τῷ Θεῷ καταλλάττει, καθάπερ ἐν τῇ πρὸς Κορινθίους Ἐπιστολῇ γράφων ἔλεγε. Καὶ καλῶς εἶπε, Δι' αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι. Ἤδη γὰρ ἦσαν κατηλλαγμένοι, ἀλλὰ τελείως ἔδει, καὶ ὥστε μηκέτι ἐχθραίνειν αὐτῷ. Πῶς δὲ γίνεται τοῦτο, διασαφεῖ λοιπὸν, οὐ μόνον τὴν καταλλαγὴν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῆς καταλλαγῆς ἀναγγέλλων: Εἰρηνοποιήσας διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ. Τὸ μὲν τὴν ἔχθραν δείκνυσι τὸ καταλλάξαι: τὸ δὲ τὸν πόλεμον, τὸ Εἰρηνοποιήσας. Διὰ τοῦ αἵματος, φησὶ, τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ δι' αὐτοῦ, εἴτε τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, εἴτε τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. Μέγα μὲν τὸ καταλλάξαι, τὸ δὲ καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ, μεῖζον: καὶ τὸ τούτου μεῖζον, τὸ διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ: καὶ οὐχ ἁπλῶς αἵματος, ἀλλὰ τὸ τούτου μεῖζον, διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ. Ὥστε πέντε ἐστὶ τὰ θαυμαστὰ, τῷ Θεῷ κατήλλαξε, δι' αὐτοῦ, διὰ θανάτου, διὰ σταυροῦ. Βαβαὶ, πῶς ἀνέμιξε πάλιν; Ἵνα γὰρ μὴ νομίσῃς ἓν εἶναι, μηδὲ τὸν σταυρὸν εἶναί τι καθ' ἑαυτὸ, λέγει, Δι' ἑαυτοῦ. Πῶς οἶδε μέγα τοῦτο ὄν; Ὅτι οὐ ῥήματα εἰπὼν, ἀλλ' ἑαυτὸν ἐκδοὺς ὑπὲρ τῆς καταλλαγῆς, οὕτως ἅπαντα εἰργάσατο. Τί δέ ἐστι, Τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς; τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, εἰκότως: ἔχθρας γὰρ ἐμπέπληστο, καὶ εἰς πολλὰ διῄρητο: καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἕκαστος ἡμῶν διεστασίαζε, καὶ πρὸς τοὺς πολλούς: τὰ δὲ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς πῶς εἰρηνοποίησε; καὶ ἐκεῖ πόλεμος ἦν καὶ μάχη; καὶ πῶς εὐχόμεθα λέγοντες, Γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς; τί οὖν ἔστιν εἰπεῖν; Ἀπέσχιστο ἡ γῆ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ἐκπεπολεμωμένοι ἦσαν οἱ ἄγγελοι πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, τὸν Δεσπότην ὁρῶντες τὸν αὐτῶν ὑβριζόμενον. Ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαί φησι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Πῶς; Τὰ μὲν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς οὕτω: μετέστησεν ἐκεῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ἀνήγαγεν αὐτοῖς τὸν ἐχθρὸν, τὸν μισούμενον. Οὐ μόνον τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐποίησεν εἰρηνεύειν, ἀλλ' ἀνήγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς αὐτοὺς, τὸν ἐχθρὸν καὶ πολέμιον. Τοῦτο εἰρήνη βαθεῖα. Ἄγγελοι πάλιν ἐπὶ γῆς ἐφαίνοντο λοιπὸν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ ἄνθρωπος ἐν οὐρανῷ ἐφάνη. Δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ ἡ ἁρπαγὴ τοῦ Παύλου τούτου τε ἕνεκεν γεγενῆσθαι, καὶ τοῦ δεῖξαι ὅτι καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς ἐκεῖ ἀνελήφθη. Ἐν μὲν γὰρ τῇ γῇ διπλῆ ἡ εἰρήνη, καὶ πρὸς τὰ ἐπουράνια, καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτά: ἐν δὲ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἁπλῆ. Εἰ γὰρ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι χαίρουσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τοσούτοις. Ταῦτα πάντα ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἰσχὺς κατώρθωσε. Τί οὖν ἀγγέλοις θαῤῥεῖτε, φησί; Τοσοῦτον γὰρ ἀπέχουσιν ἐκεῖνοι προσάγειν ὑμᾶς, ὅτι καὶ ἐκπεπολεμωμένοι ἦσαν ποτὲ, καὶ, εἰ μὴ ὁ Θεὸς αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς ἐκείνοις κατήλλαξεν, οὐκ ἂν εἰρηνεύσατε. Τί τοίνυν ἐκείνοις προστρέχετε; Βούλει μαθεῖν τῶν ἀγγέλων τὸ μῖσος ὅσον εἶχον πρὸς ἡμᾶς, καὶ πῶς ἀπεστρέφοντο ἀεί; Εἰς τιμωρίαν ἐπέμποντο ἐπὶ τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν, ἐπὶ τοῦ Δαυῒδ, ἐπὶ τῶν Σοδομιτῶν, ἐπὶ τῆς κοιλάδος τοῦ κλαυθμῶνος. Ἀλλ' οὐ νῦν: ἀλλ' ἐξ ἐναντίας, ἐπὶ γῆς ᾖδον σφόδρα χαίροντες: καὶ τούτους κατήγαγε πρὸς αὐτοὺς, καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀνήγαγεν ἐκεῖ. δʹ. Καὶ θέα μοι τὸ παράδοξον. Τούτους πρώτους κατήγαγεν ὧδε, καὶ τότε τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀνήγαγε πρὸς αὐτούς: οὐρανὸς ἡ γῆ γέγονεν, ἐπειδὴ τὰ τῆς γῆς ἔμελλεν οὐρανὸς δέχεσθαι. Διὰ τοῦτο εὐχαριστοῦντες λέγομεν, Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη, ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία. Ἰδοὺ, φησὶ, καὶ ἄνθρωποι ἐφάνησαν εὐαρεστοῦντες λοιπόν. Τί ἐστιν, Εὐδοκία; Καταλλαγή: οὐκέτι μεσότοιχόν ἐστιν ὁ οὐρανός. Τὸ πρῶτον κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἐθνῶν ἦσαν οἱ ἄγγελοι: νῦν δὲ οὐ κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἐθνῶν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἀριθμὸν πιστῶν. Πόθεν δῆλον; Ἄκουε τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγοντος: Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων. Οἱ γὰρ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν διαπαντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. Ἕκαστος γὰρ πιστὸς ἄγγελον ἔχει, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἕκαστος ἀνὴρ τῶν εὐδοκίμων ἄγγελον εἶχε: καθώς φησιν ὁ Ἰακώβ, Ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ τρέφων με, καὶ ὁ ῥυόμενός με ἐκ νεότητός μου. Εἰ τοίνυν ἀγγέλους ἔχομεν, νήφωμεν, καθάπερ παιδαγωγῶν τινων ἡμῖν παρόντων: πάρεστι γὰρ καὶ δαίμων. Διὰ τοῦτο εὐχόμεθα, καὶ λέγομεν αἰτοῦντες τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς εἰρήνης, καὶ πανταχοῦ εἰρήνην αἰτοῦμεν. Οὐδὲν γὰρ ταύτης ἴσον: ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις εἰρήνην, ἐν ταῖς εὐχαῖς, ἐν ταῖς λιταῖς, ἐν ταῖς προσρήσεσι: καὶ ἅπαξ, καὶ δὶς, καὶ τρὶς, καὶ πολλάκις αὐτὴν δίδωσιν ὁ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας προεστὼς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν, ἐπιλέγων. Διὰ τί; Ὅτι αὕτη μήτηρ πάντων τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐστιν, αὕτη τῆς χαρᾶς ὑπόθεσις. Διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς εἰσιοῦσιν εἰς τὰς οἰκίας τοῖς ἀποστόλοις τοῦτο λέγειν προσέταξεν εὐθέως, καθάπερ τι σύμβολον τῶν ἀγαθῶν: Εἰσερχόμενοι γὰρ, φησὶν, εἰς τὰς οἰκίας, λέγετε, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. Ταύτης γὰρ οὐκ οὔσης, πάντα περιττά. Καὶ πάλιν τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἔλεγεν, Εἰρήνην ἀφίημι ὑμῖν, εἰρήνην τὴν ἐμὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν. Αὕτη τῇ ἀγάπῃ προοδοποιεῖ. Καὶ οὐ λέγει ὁ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας προεστὼς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν ἁπλῶς, ἀλλ', Εἰρήνη πᾶσι. Τί γὰρ ὄφελος, ἂν μετὰ τοῦδε μὲν εἰρήνην ἔχωμεν, μεθ' ἑτέρου δὲ πόλεμον καὶ μάχην; τί τὸ κέρδος; Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐν τῷ σώματι, ἂν τὰ μὲν ἡσυχάζῃ τῶν στοιχείων, τὰ δὲ διαστασιάζῃ, δυνατὸν ὑγίειαν συνεστάναι ποτὲ, ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς ἁπάντων εὐταξίας καὶ συμφωνίας καὶ εἰρήνης: κἂν μὴ πάντα ἡσυχάζῃ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν οἰκείων ὅρων μένῃ, πάντα ἀνατραπήσεται. Καὶ ἐν τῇ διανοίᾳ δὲ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ, ἐὰν μὴ πάντες ἡσυχάζωσιν οἱ λογισμοὶ, εἰρήνη οὐκ ἔσται. Τοσοῦτόν ἐστιν ἀγαθὸν ἡ εἰρήνη, ὡς υἱοὺς Θεοῦ καλεῖσθαι τοὺς αὐτῆς ποιητὰς καὶ δημιουργούς: εἰκότως: ἐπεὶ καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ τούτῳ ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν γῆν, εἰρηνοποιήσων τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ, καὶ τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. Εἰ δὲ οἱ εἰρηνοποιοὶ υἱοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, οἱ νεωτεροποιοὶ υἱοὶ διαβόλου. Τί λέγεις; ἔρεις καὶ μάχας ἐμβάλλεις; Καὶ τίς οὕτως ἄθλιος, φησίν; Εἰσὶ γὰρ πολλοὶ χαίροντες ἐπὶ τοῖς κακοῖς, καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ διασπῶντες μᾶλλον, ἢ οἱ στρατιῶται τῇ λόγχῃ διέτεμνον, ἢ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι τοῖς ἥλοις διέκοψαν. Ἐκεῖνο τούτου ἔλαττον τὸ κακόν: ἐκεῖνα διατμηθέντα τὰ μέλη πάλιν συνήφθη: ταῦτα δὲ ἀποσπασθέντα, ἂν ἐνθάδε μὴ συναφθῇ, οὐκέτι συναφθήσεται, ἀλλὰ μένει τοῦ πληρώματος ἔξω. Ὅταν βούλῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ πολεμῆσαι, ἐννόησον ὅτι τοῖς μέλεσι τοῦ Χριστοῦ πολεμεῖς, καὶ παῦσαι τῆς μανίας. Τί γὰρ, εἰ ἀπεῤῥιμμένος ἐστὶν, εἰ εὐτελής; τί γὰρ, εἰ εὐκαταφρόνητος; Οὕτως οὐκ ἔστι θέλημα, φησὶν, ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρός μου, ἵνα ἀπόληται εἷς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων: καὶ πάλιν: Οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν διαπαντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. Ὁ Θεὸς δι' αὐτὸν καὶ δοῦλος ἐγένετο, καὶ ἐσφάγη: σὺ δὲ οὐδὲν αὐτὸν εἶναι νομίζεις; Οὐκοῦν μάχῃ καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο τῷ Θεῷ, τὰς ἐναντίας αὐτῷ φέρων ψήφους. Ὅταν εἰσέλθῃ ὁ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας προεστὼς, εὐθέως λέγει: Εἰρήνη πᾶσιν: ὅταν ὁμιλῇ, Εἰρήνη πᾶσιν: ὅταν εὐλογῇ, Εἰρήνη πᾶσιν: ὅταν ἀσπάζεσθαι κελεύῃ, Εἰρήνη πᾶσιν: ὅταν ἡ θυσία τελεσθῇ, Εἰρήνη πᾶσι. Καὶ μεταξὺ πάλιν, Χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη. Πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἄτοπον, εἰ τοσαυτάκις ἀκούοντες εἰρήνην ἔχειν, ἐκπεπολεμώμεθα πρὸς ἀλλήλους, καὶ λαμβάνοντες, καὶ ἀντιδιδόντες, τῷ διδόντι τὴν εἰρήνην πολεμοῦμεν; Λέγεις, Καὶ τῷ πνεύματί σου, καὶ διαβάλλεις αὐτὸν ἔξω; Οἴμοι, ὅτι τὰ σεμνὰ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, σχήματα γέγονε πραγμάτων μόνον, ἀλλ' οὐκ ἀλήθειά τις: οἴμοι, ὅτι μέχρι ῥημάτων τὰ σύμβολα μένει τοῦ στρατοπέδου τούτου. Ὅθεν καὶ ἀγνοεῖτε διὰ τί λέγεται, Εἰρήνη πᾶσιν. Ἀλλ' ἀκούετε τῶν ἑξῆς, τί φησιν ὁ Χριστός: εἰς ἣν δ' ἂν πόλιν ἢ κώμην εἰσέλθητε, Εἰσερχόμενοι εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν, ἀσπάσασθε αὐτήν: καὶ ἐὰν μὲν ᾖ ἡ οἰκία ἀξία, ἐλθέτω ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν ἐπ' αὐτήν: ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ ἀξία, ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀποστραφήτω. Διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἴσμεν, ὅτι τύπον ῥημάτων νομίζομεν ταῦτα εἶναι, καὶ οὐ συντιθέμεθα τῷ νῷ. Μὴ γὰρ ἐγὼ δίδωμι τὴν εἰρήνην; Ὁ Χριστὸς δι' ἡμῶν φθέγγεσθαι καταξιῶν. Εἰ καὶ τὸν ἄλλον ἅπαντα χρόνον κενοὶ τῆς χάριτός ἐσμεν, ἀλλ' οὐ νῦν δι' ὑμᾶς. Εἰ γὰρ εἰς ὄνον ἐνήργησε καὶ εἰς μάντιν ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ χάρις, δι' οἰκονομίαν καὶ τὴν τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν ὠφέλειαν, εὔδηλον ὅτι οὐδὲ εἰς ἡμᾶς παραιτήσεται ἐνεργεῖν, ἀλλ' ἀνέξεται καὶ τοῦτο δι' ἡμᾶς. εʹ. Μηδεὶς τοίνυν εἴποι, ὅτι εὐτελὴς ἐγὼ καὶ ταπεινὸς καὶ οὐδενὸς ἄξιος λόγου, καὶ οὕτω μοι προσεχέτω. Εἰμὶ γὰρ τοιοῦτος: ἀλλ' ἀεὶ ἔθος τῷ Θεῷ διὰ τοὺς πολλοὺς καὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις ἐφίστασθαι. Καὶ ἵνα μάθητε, τῷ Κάϊν κατηξίωσε λαλῆσαι διὰ τὸν Ἄβελ, τῷ διαβόλῳ διὰ τὸν Ἰὼβ, τῷ Φαραὼ διὰ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ, τῷ Ναβουχοδονόσορ διὰ τὸν Δανιὴλ, τῷ Βαλτάσαρ διὰ τὸν αὐτόν. Καὶ μάγοι δὲ ἀποκαλύψεως ἔτυχον, καὶ Καϊάφας προεφήτευσε χριστοκτόνος ὢν καὶ ἀνάξιος, διὰ τὸ τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἀξίωμα. Λέγεται καὶ Ἀαρὼν διὰ τοῦτο μὴ λεπρωθῆναι. Διὰ τί γὰρ, εἰπέ μοι, ἀμφοτέρων καταλαλησάντων, ἐκείνη μόνη τὴν δίκην ἔδωκε; Μὴ θαυμάσῃς: εἰ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἔξωθεν ἀξιώμασι, κἂν μυρία τις κατηγορῆται, οὐ πρότερον εἰς δικαστήριον ἄγεται, ἕως ἂν ἀπόθηται τὴν ἀρχὴν, ἵνα μὴ καὶ ἐκείνη μετ' αὐτοῦ ὑβρίζηται: πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς τῆς πνευματικῆς κἂν ὁστισοῦν ᾖ, ἐνεργεῖ ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ χάρις: ἐπεὶ πάντα ἂν ἀπόλωλεν: ὅταν δὲ αὐτὴν ἀπόθηται, εἴτε ἀπελθὼν, εἴτε καὶ ἐνταῦθα, τότε δὴ, τότε χαλεπωτέραν δώσει τὴν δίκην. Μὴ δὴ νομίζετε παρ' ἡμῶν ταῦτα λέγεσθαι: ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ χάρις ἐστὶν ἡ καὶ εἰς ἀνάξιον ἐνεργοῦσα, οὐ δι' ἡμᾶς, ἀλλὰ δι' ὑμᾶς. Ἀκούσατε οὖν τί φησιν ὁ Χριστός: Ἐὰν ᾖ ἡ οἰκία ἀξία, ἐλθέτω ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν ἐπ' αὐτήν. Πῶς δὲ ἀξία γίνεται; Ἐὰν δέξωνται ὑμᾶς, φησίν. Ἐὰν δὲ μὴ δέξωνται ὑμᾶς, μηδὲ ἀκούσωσι τὸν λόγον ὑμῶν, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόῤῥας ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως, ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ. Τί οὖν ὄφελος, ὅτι δέχεσθε ἡμᾶς, καὶ οὐκ ἀκούετε τῶν παρ' ἡμῶν λεγομένων; τί τὸ κέρδος, ὅτι θεραπεύετε, καὶ οὐ προσέχετε τοῖς λεγομένοις ὑμῖν; Ἐκείνη ἐστὶ τιμὴ ἡμῖν, ἐκείνη θεραπεία θαυμαστὴ, ἡ καὶ ὑμᾶς ὠφελοῦσα καὶ ἡμᾶς, ἐὰν ἡμῶν ἀκούητε. Ἀκούετε καὶ τοῦ Παύλου λέγοντος, Οὐκ ᾔδειν, ἀδελφοὶ, ὅτι ἀρχιερεύς ἐστιν. Ἄκουε καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγοντος, Πάντα ὅσα ἂν λέγωσιν ὑμῖν τηρεῖν, τηρεῖτε καὶ ποιεῖτε. Οὐκ ἐμοῦ καταφρονεῖς, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἱερωσύνης: ἂν ἴδῃς ταύτης γυμνὸν, τότε καταφρόνει, τότε οὐδὲ ἐγὼ ἀνέχομαι ἐπιτάττειν. Ἕως δ' ἂν ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου τούτου καθήμεθα, ἕως ἂν τὴν προεδρίαν ἔχωμεν, ἔχομεν καὶ τὴν ἀξίαν καὶ τὴν ἰσχὺν, εἰ καὶ ἀνάξιοί ἐσμεν. Εἰ ὁ Μωϋσέως θρόνος οὕτως ἦν αἰδέσιμος, ὡς δι' ἐκεῖνον ἀκούεσθαι, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὁ τοῦ Χριστοῦ θρόνος. Ἐκεῖνον ἡμεῖς διεδεξάμεθα: ἀπὸ τούτου φθεγγόμεθα, ἀφ' οὗ καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἔθετο ἐν ἡμῖν τὴν διακονίαν τῆς καταλλαγῆς. Οἱ πρέσβεις, οἷοίπερ ἂν ὦσι, διὰ τὸ τῆς πρεσβείας ἀξίωμα πολλῆς ἀπολαύουσι τῆς τιμῆς. Ὅρα γάρ: εἰς μέσην βαρβάρων ἔρχονται τὴν γῆν μόνοι, μεταξὺ τοσούτων πολεμίων: καὶ ἐπειδὴ μεγάλα ὁ τῆς πρεσβείας ἰσχύει νόμος, πάντες αὐτοὺς τιμῶσι, πάντες εἰς αὐτοὺς ἀποβλέπουσι, πάντες μετὰ ἀσφαλείας ἐκπέμπουσι. Καὶ ἡμεῖς τοίνυν πρεσβείας ἀνεδεξάμεθα λόγον, καὶ ἥκομεν παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ: τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ἀξίωμα. Ἥκομεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς πρεσβεύοντες, ἀξιοῦντες καταλῦσαι τὸν πόλεμον, καὶ λέγομεν ἐπὶ τίσιν: οὐ πόλεις ἐπαγγελλόμενοι δώσειν, οὐδὲ σίτου μέτρα τόσα καὶ τόσα, οὐδὲ ἀνδράποδα, οὐδὲ χρυσίον, ἀλλὰ βασιλείαν οὐρανῶν, ζωὴν αἰώνιον, συνουσίαν τὴν μετὰ Χριστοῦ, τὰ ἄλλα ἀγαθὰ, ἃ μήτε εἰπεῖν δυνατὸν ἡμῖν, μήτε ὑμῖν ἀκοῦσαι, ἕως ἂν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ ταύτῃ ὦμεν καὶ τῷ παρόντι βίῳ. Πρεσβεύομεν τοίνυν: ἀπολαύειν δὲ βουλόμεθα τιμῆς: οὐ δι' ἡμᾶς, μὴ γένοιτο: ἴσμεν γὰρ αὐτῆς τὸ εὐτελές: ἀλλὰ δι' ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ὑμεῖς μετὰ σπουδῆς τὰ παρ' ἡμῶν ἀκούητε, ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὠφελῆσθε, ἵνα μὴ μετὰ ῥᾳθυμίας ἢ ἀπροσεξίας προσέχητε τοῖς λεγομένοις. Οὐχ ὁρᾶτε τοὺς πρέσβεις πῶς πάντες αὐτοὺς περιέπουσιν; Ἡμεῖς Θεοῦ πρέσβεις ἐσμὲν πρὸς ἀνθρώπους. Εἰ δὲ πρόσαντες ὑμῖν τοῦτο, οὐχ ἡμεῖς, ἀλλ' αὕτη ἡ ἐπισκοπή: οὐχὶ ὁ δεῖνα, ἀλλ' ὁ ἐπίσκοπος. Μηδεὶς ἐμοῦ ἀκουέτω, ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἀξιώματος. Πάντα τοίνυν ποιῶμεν κατὰ τὸ τῷ Θεῷ δοκοῦν, ἵνα εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ ζήσωμεν, καὶ καταξιωθῶμεν τῶν ἐπηγγελμένων ἀγαθῶν τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτὸν, χάριτι καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς.