Philemon i. 17–19
“If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee at all, or oweth thee aught, put that to mine account; I Paul write it with mine own hand, I will repay it: that I say not to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.”
No procedure is so apt to gain a hearing,40 παραινεῖν. as not to ask for everything at once. For see after how many praises, after how much preparation he hath introduced this great matter. After having said that he is “my son,” that he is a partaker of the Gospel, that he is “my bowels,” that thou receivest him back “as a brother,” and “hold him as a brother,” then he has added “as myself.” And Paul was not ashamed to do this. For he who was not ashamed to be called the servant of the faithful, but confesses that he was such, much more would he not refuse this. But what he says is to this effect. If thou art of the same mind with me, if thou runnest upon the same terms,41 ἐπὶ τοῖς αὐτοῖς, perhaps “for the same prize.” if thou considerest me a friend, receive him as myself.
“If he hath wronged thee at all.” See where and when he has introduced the mention of the injury; last, after having said so many things in his behalf. For since the loss of money is particularly apt to annoy men, that he might not accuse him of this, (for it was most likely that it was spent,) then he brings in this, and says, “If he hath wronged thee.” He does not say, If he has stolen anything; but what? “If he hath wronged thee.” At the same time he both confessed the offense, and not as if it were the offense of a servant, but of a friend against a friend, making use of the expression of “wrong” rather than of theft.
“Put that to mine account,” he says, that is, reckon the debt to me, “I will repay it.” Then also with that spiritual pleasantry,
“I Paul write42 [ἔγραψα, the epistolary aorist.—P.S.] it with mine own hand.” At once movingly and pleasantly; if when Paul did not refuse to execute a bond for him, he should refuse to receive him! This would both shame Philemon into compliance, and bring Onesimus out of trouble. “I write it,” he says, “with mine own hand.” Nothing is more affectionate than these “bowels,” nothing more earnest, nothing more zealous. See what43 Colb. “what entreaty he makes.” great concern he bestows in behalf of one man. “Albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.” Then that it might not appear insulting to him, whom he requests, if he had not the confidence to ask and obtain in behalf of a theft, he in some measure relieves this, saying, “That I say not unto thee how thou owest to me even thine own self besides.” Not only thine own things, but thyself also. And this proceeded from love, and was according to the rule of friendship, and was a proof of his great confidence. See how he everywhere provides for both, that he may ask with great security, and that this may not seem a sign of too little44 The Editor has ventured to insert μὴ from Raphelius’ conjecture. Old Lat. omits the former negative. If the common text (“too much confidence”) is right, “security” means confidence in Philemon, but that is indifferent Greek. confidence in him.
Ver. 20. “Yea, brother.”
What is, “Yea, brother”? Receive him, he says. For this we must understand though unexpressed. For dismissing all pleasantry, he again pursues his former considerations, that is, serious ones. And yet even these are serious. For the things that proceed from Saints are of themselves serious, even when they are pleasantry.
“Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord, refresh my heart in Christ.”45 So the best mss. and most Fathers for ἐνκυρί& 251·. Hemsterhusius quoted in New Par. defends the Vulgate Ego te fruar in Domino for the former clause, giving it a general sense; Beza has hunc fructum. [A.V. “my bowels in the Lord”; R.V. “my heart in Christ.”—P.S.]
That is, thou grantest the favor to the Lord, not to me. “My heart,” that is, toward thyself.
Ver. 21. “Having confidence in thy obedience, I write unto thee.”
What stone would not these things have softened? What wild beast would not these things have rendered mild, and prepared to receive him heartily? After having borne witness to him by so many great testimonies of his goodness, he is not ashamed again to excuse himself. He says, Not barely requesting it, nor as commanding it, nor arbitrarily, but “having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee.” What he had said at the beginning, “having confidence,” that he also says here in the sealing up of his letter.
“Knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.”
At the same time in saying this he excited him. For he would have been ashamed, though for nothing else, if having such credit with him as this, that he would do more than he said,—he should not do so much.
Ver. 22. “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.”
This also was the part of one who was exceedingly confident—or rather this too was in behalf of Onesimus, that not being indifferent, but knowing that he upon his return would know the things relating to him, they might lay aside all remembrance of the wrong, and might the rather grant the favor. For great was the influence and the honor of Paul residing among them, of Paul in his age, of Paul after imprisonment. Again, it is a proof of their love that he says that they pray; and to attribute to them so much as that they pray for “him.” For although I be now in danger, yet nevertheless you will see me if ye pray for it.
Ver. 23. “Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus, saluteth thee.”
He was sent by the Colossians, so that from this it appears that Philemon was also at Colossæ. And he calls him his “fellow-prisoner,” showing that he also was in much tribulation, so that if not on his own account, yet on account of the other, it was right that he should be heard. For he that is in tribulation, and overlooks himself, and is concerned for others, deserves to be heard.
And he puts him to shame from another consideration, if his countryman is a fellow-prisoner with Paul and suffers affliction with him, and he himself does not grant him a favor in behalf of his own servant. And he has added, “my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus,” instead of on account of Christ.
Ver. 24. “Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow-workers.”
Why then does he put Luke last? And yet he elsewhere says, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. iv. 11.), and “Demas,” he says, was one of those who “forsook him, having loved the present world.” (2 Tim. iv. 10.) All these things, although they are mentioned elsewhere, yet nevertheless ought not to be passed over here without enquiry, nor ought we merely to hear them as things of course. But how comes he to say that he who forsook him salutes them? For “Erastus,” he says, “abode at Corinth.” (2 Tim. iv. 20.) He adds Epaphras, both as known to them, and being of their country. And Mark, as being himself also an admirable man. Why then does he number Demas with these? Perhaps it was after this that he became more remiss, when he saw the dangers multiplied. But Luke being last became first. And from these indeed he salutes him, urging him the more to obedience, and calls them his fellow-laborers, and in this way shames him into granting the request.
Ver. 25. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”
Moral. He hath closed his Epistle with a prayer. And indeed prayer is a great good, salutary, and preservative of our souls. But it is great when we do things worthy of it, and do not render ourselves unworthy. And thou too, therefore, when thou goest to the priest, and he shall say to thee, “The Lord will have mercy on thee, my son,” do not confide in the word only, but add also works. Do acts worthy of mercy, God will bless thee, my son, if indeed thou doest things worthy of blessing. He will bless thee, if thou showest mercy to thy neighbor. For the things which we wish to obtain from God, of those we ought first to impart to our neighbors. But if we deprive our neighbors of them, how can we wish to obtain them? “Blessed,” He says, “are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. v. 7.) For if men show mercy to such, much more will God, but to the unmerciful by no means. “For he shall have judgment without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy.” (Jas. ii. 13.)
An excellent thing is mercy! Why then hast thou not done it to another? Dost thou wish to be pardoned, when thou offendest? why then dost thou not thyself pardon him who has offended thee? But thou comest to God, asking of Him the kingdom of heaven, and thou thyself dost not give money when it is begged of thee. For this cause we do not obtain mercy, because we do not show mercy. But why? you say. Is not this also a part of mercy, to show mercy to the unmerciful? Nay!46 The negative is understood in “for.” For he that treated with the greatest kindness the hard-hearted cruel man, that had done numberless ills to his neighbor, how should he be merciful? What then, say you? Hath not the Laver saved us, who had committed infinite evils? It hath delivered us from them, not that we should commit them again, but that we may not commit them. For “how shall we,” it is said, “that are dead to sin, live any longer therein”? (Rom. vi. 2.)
“What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law? God forbid.” (v. 15.) For this cause God hath delivered thee from those sins that thou mightest no more run back to that dishonor. Since even physicians relieve their feverish patients from their heat, not that they may abuse their health to their injury and disorder, (since it would be better to be sick, if one was about to use his health only that he might confine himself again to his bed,) but having learnt the evils that arise from sickness, they may no longer fall into the same, that they may the more securely preserve their health, that they may do everything that conduces to its preservation.
How then? you say: what is the lovingkindness of God, if He is not about to save the bad? For oftentimes I hear many talking in this way, that He is the Friend of man, and will by all means save all. That we may not therefore vainly deceive ourselves, (for I remember that I made a promise of this kind to you,) come let us to-day move this argument. I lately discoursed with you about Hell, and I deferred my argument upon the lovingkindness of God. It is proper therefore to-day to resume it. That there will, then, be a hell, we have, as I think, sufficiently proved, bringing forward the deluge, and former evils, and arguing that it is not possible that He who performed these things should leave the men of the present age unpunished. For if thus He chastised those who sinned before the Law, He will not let those go unpunished who after grace have committed greater wickedness. It has been questioned therefore how is He good? how merciful to man, if at least He punishes? and we have deferred the argument, that we might not overwhelm your ears with a multitude of words.
Come, to-day let us discharge the debt, and show how good is God, even in punishing. For this discourse would be suitable for us in opposition to the heretics. Let us therefore pay earnest heed to it. God, standing in no need of anything from us, yet created us. For that He stood in need of us, is manifest from His having made us after a long time. For He might have made us long ago, if He had needed us. For if He Himself was, even without us, and we were made in later times, He made us, not needing us.
He made the Heaven, the earth, the sea, all things that exist, for our sake. Tell me, are not these marks of goodness? And many things one might mention. But to cut short the matter, “He maketh the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. v. 45.) Is not this a mark of goodness? No, you say. For I said once in conversing with a Marcionite, Are not these things a mark of goodness? and he answered, If He did not call men to account for their sins, it were a mark of goodness. But if He calls them to account, it is not goodness. That man, however, is not now present. But come, let us repeat what was then said, and more beside. For I, out of my superfluity, show that if He did not call men to account, He would not be good; but because He does call them to account, therefore He is good.
For, say, if He did not call us to account, would human life then have endured? Should we not then have fallen into the state of beasts? For if when there is this fear impending over us, and the giving account, and judgments, we have gone beyond fishes in devouring one another, we have thrown wolves and lions into the shade in ravaging one another’s possessions; if He did not call us to account, and we were persuaded of this, with how great tumult and confusion would life be filled? What would be the fabled labyrinth after this, compared with the perplexities of the world? Would you not see numberless indecencies and disorders? For who then would have respected his father any more? Or who would have spared his mother? Who would have left unattempted any pleasure, any wickedness? And that the matter is so, I will endeavor to show you from one house only. How? You who raise these questions and who have servants; if I could make it manifest to these, that if they should destroy the family of their masters,47 δεσποτείαν. if they should insult their persons, if they should plunder everything, if they should turn things upside down, if they should treat them as enemies, they would not threaten them, nor correct them, nor punish them, nor even grieve them with a word, would this be any proof of goodness? I maintain that this is the extreme of cruelty, not only because the wife and children are betrayed by this unreasonable kindness, but because the slaves themselves are destroyed before them. For they will be drunkards, wanton, dissolute, and more irrational than any beasts. Is this, tell me, a proof of goodness, to trample upon the noble nature of the soul, and to destroy both themselves and others beside? Seest thou that to call men to account is a proof of great goodness? But why do I speak of slaves, who more readily fall into these sins? But let a man have sons, and let him permit them to do everything they will, and let him not punish them; will they not be worse than anything? tell me. In the case of men then, it is a mark of goodness to punish, and of cruelty not to punish, and is it not so in the case of God? So that because He is good, therefore He has prepared a hell.
And do you wish that I should speak of another instance of God’s goodness? It is not only this, but that He does not suffer the good to become bad. For if they were destined to meet with the same things, they would all be bad. But now this also does not a little console the good. For hear the Prophet, saying, “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance upon the ungodly, he shall wash his hands in the blood of the sinner.” (Ps. lviii. 10.) Not rejoicing on account of it, God forbid! but fearing lest he should suffer the same things, he will render his own life more pure. This then is a mark of His great care. Yes, you say, but He ought only to threaten, and not to punish also. But if He does punish, and still you say it is a matter of threat, and on that account become more slothful, if it were really but a threat, would you not become more supine? If the Ninevites had known it was a matter of threat, they would not have repented. But because they repented, they cause the threat to stop at words only. Dost thou wish it to be a threat only? Thou hast the disposal of that matter. Become a better man, and it stops only at the threat. But if, which be far from thee! thou despiseth the threat, thou wilt come to the experience of it. The men before48 So Sav. al. “of.” the flood, if they had feared the threat, would not have experienced the execution of it. And we, if we fear the threat, shall not expose ourselves to experience the reality. God forbid we should. And may the merciful God grant that we all henceforth, having been brought to sound mind, may obtain those unspeakable blessings. Of which may we all be thought worthy, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, and honor, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ Γʹ. Εἰ οὖν ἐμὲ ἔχεις κοινωνὸν, προσλαβοῦ αὐτὸν ὡς ἐμέ. Εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησέ σε, ἢ ὀφείλει, ἐμοὶ τοῦτο ἐλλόγει. Ἐγὼ Παῦλος ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ, ἐγὼ ἀποτίσω, ἵνα μὴ λέγω σοι, ὅτι καὶ σαυτόν μοι προσοφείλεις. αʹ. Οὐδὲν οὕτω πρᾶγμα παραινεῖν οἶδεν, ὡς τὸ μὴ πάντα ἀθρόον αἰτεῖν. Ὅρα γὰρ μετὰ πόσα ἐγκώμια, μετὰ πόσην κατασκευὴν τὸ μέγα τοῦτο ἔθηκε. Μετὰ τὸ εἰπεῖν, ὅτι Τέκνον μου, ὅτι κοινωνὸς τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ὅτι σπλάγχνα, ὅτι ἀδελφὸν αὐτὸν ἀπέχεις, ὅτι ὡς ἀδελφὸν ἔχε, τότε ἐπήγαγεν, Ὡς ἐμέ. Καὶ οὐκ ᾐσχύνθη τοῦτο Παῦλος. Ὁ γὰρ μὴ αἰσχυνόμενος δοῦλος κληθῆναι τῶν πιστῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁμολογῶν τοῦτο, πολλῷ μᾶλλον τοῦτο οὐκ ἂν παρῃτήσατο. Ὃ δὲ λέγει, τοῦτό ἐστιν: Εἰ τὰ αὐτά μοι φρονεῖς, ἐπὶ τοῖς αὐτοῖς τρέχεις, εἰ φίλον ἡγῇ, προσλαβοῦ αὐτὸν, ὡς ἐμέ. Εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησεν. Ὅρα, ποῦ τέθεικε καὶ πότε τὸ ἀδίκημα: ὕστερον, μετὰ τὸ πολλὰ ὑπὲρ τούτου προειπεῖν. Ἐπεὶ γὰρ μάλιστα ἡ τῶν χρημάτων ζημία δάκνειν εἴωθε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ἵνα μηδὲ ὑπὲρ τούτων ἐγκαλέσῃ (εἰκὸς γὰρ αὐτὰ καὶ κατηναλῶσθαι): τότε τοῦτο τίθησι καί φησιν: Εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησεν. Οὐκ εἶπεν: Εἴ τι ἔκλεψεν, ἀλλὰ τί; Εἴ τι ἠδίκησεν. Ἅμα καὶ τὸ ἁμάρτημα ὡμολόγησε, καὶ οὐχ ὡς δούλου ἁμάρτημα, ἀλλ' ὡς φίλου πρὸς φίλον, τῷ τῆς ἀδικίας μᾶλλον, ἢ τῷ τῆς κλοπῆς ὀνόματι χρησάμενος. Τοῦτο ἐμοὶ ἐλλόγει, φησί: τουτέστι, Πρὸς ἐμὲ ἔχε τὴν ὀφειλὴν, ἐγὼ ἀποτίσω. Εἶτα καὶ μετὰ χάριτος τῆς πνευματικῆς: Ἐγὼ Παῦλος ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί: καὶ ἐντρεπτικῶς ἅμα καὶ χαριέντως, εἴ γε ὑπὲρ τούτου καὶ γραμματεῖον ἐκτελέσαι Παύλου μὴ παραιτησαμένου, τοῦτον αὐτὸς παραιτήσεται προσλαβεῖν. Τοῦτο σφόδρα καὶ αὐτὸν ἐδυσώπησε, καὶ τῆς ἐνοχλήσεως ἀπήλλαξε τὸν Ὀνήσιμον. Καὶ τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ, φησὶν, ἔγραψα. Οὐδὲν τῶν σπλάγχνων θερμότερον τούτων, οὐδὲν σπουδαιότερον, οὐδὲν προθυμότερον. Ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς ὅρα πόσην ποιεῖται πρόνοιαν. Ἵνα μὴ λέγω, φησὶ, σοὶ, ὅτι καὶ σεαυτόν μοι προσοφείλεις. Εἶτα ἵνα μὴ δόξῃ εἶναι ὕβρις εἰς τὸν ἀξιούμενον, εἴ γε μὴ ἐθάῤῥησεν ὑπὲρ κλοπῆς ἀξιῶσαι καὶ τυχεῖν, καὶ τοῦτό πως παραμυθεῖται: Ἵνα μὴ λέγω, φησὶν, ὅτι καὶ σεαυτόν μοι προσοφείλεις: οὐ τὰ σαυτοῦ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ σαυτόν. Καὶ τοῦτο ἀπὸ ἀγάπης καὶ κατὰ τὸν τῆς φιλίας λόγον, καὶ τοῦ σφόδρα θαῤῥεῖν ἦν. Ὅρα πῶς πανταχοῦ ἀμφοτέρων ἐπιμελεῖται, καὶ τοῦ μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς ἀσφαλείας ἀξιοῦν, καὶ τοῦ μὴ τοῦτο γενέσθαι τεκμήριον τοῦ σφόδρα θαῤῥεῖν αὐτῷ. Ναὶ, ἀδελφέ. Τί ἐστι, Ναὶ, ἀδελφέ; Προσλαβοῦ, φησὶν, αὐτόν: τοῦτο γὰρ ἔξωθεν δεῖ προσυπακούειν. Ἀφεὶς γὰρ τὸν χαριεντισμὸν, πάλιν ἔχεται τῶν προτέρων, τῶν σπουδαίων. Καίτοι καὶ ταῦτα σπουδαῖα: τὰ γὰρ παρὰ τῶν ἁγίων καὶ αὐτὰ σπουδαῖα, κἂν χαριεντίζωνταί τι. Ναὶ, ἀδελφὲ, ἐγώ σου ὀναίμην ἐν Κυρίῳ: ἀνάπαυσόν μου τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐν Χριστῷ. Τουτέστι, τῷ Κυρίῳ δίδως τὴν χάριν, οὐκ ἐμοί. Τὰ σπλάγχνα, τὰ περὶ σέ. Πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου ἔγραψά σοι. Ποῖον λίθον ταῦτα οὐκ ἂν ἐμάλαξε; ποῖον θηρίον ταῦτα οὐκ ἂν κατεπράϋνε, καὶ παρεσκεύασε γνησίως προσδέξασθαι; Μετὰ τὸ ἐν κατορθώμασι τηλικούτοις αὐτῷ μαρτυρῆσαι, οὐ παραιτεῖται καὶ πάλιν ἀπολογεῖσθαι. Οὐχ ἁπλῶς φησιν, οὐδὲ ἐπιτάττων, οὐδὲ αὐθαδιαζόμενος, ἀλλὰ, Πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου ἔγραψά σοι. Ὅπερ καὶ ἀρχόμενος εἶπε: Παῤῥησίαν ἔχων, τοῦτο καὶ ἐνταῦθα λέγει εἰς τὸ ἐπισφραγίσαι τὴν ἐπιστολήν. Εἰδὼς, ὅτι καὶ ὑπὲρ ὃ λέγω ποιήσεις. Ἅμα καὶ διήγειρεν εἰπὼν τοῦτο: ᾐσχύνθη γὰρ ἂν, εἰ καὶ μηδὲν ἕτερον, τοιαύτην δόξαν ἔχων παρ' αὐτῷ, ὅτι καὶ ὑπὲρ ὃ λέγει ποιεῖ, μὴ ποιῆσαι τοσοῦτον. Ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἑτοίμασόν μοι ξενίαν: ἐλπίζω γὰρ, ὅτι διὰ τῶν προσευχῶν ὑμῶν χαρισθήσομαι ὑμῖν. Καὶ τοῦτο σφόδρα θαῤῥοῦντος ἦν, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ τοῦτο ὑπὲρ Ὀνησίμου, ἵνα μὴ ῥᾳθυμήσαντες, ἀλλ' εἰδότες, ὅτι πάντως ἐπανελθὼν ἀκούσεται τὰ κατ' αὐτὸν, πᾶσαν μνησικακίαν ἐξέλωσι, καὶ χάριν μᾶλλον δῶσι. Πολλὴ γὰρ ἦν ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ τιμὴ Παύλου ἐνδημοῦντος, Παύλου μετὰ ἡλικίαν, Παύλου μετὰ δεσμούς. Πάλιν τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτῶν τεκμήριον τὸ εὔχεσθαι αὐτοὺς εἰπεῖν, καὶ τοσοῦτον αὐτοῖς δοῦναι, ὡς εὔχεσθαι ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἐν κινδύνοις εἰμὶ νῦν, ἀλλ' ὅμως ὄψεσθέ με, ἐὰν εὔχησθε: Ἀσπάζεταί σε Ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Οὗτος παρὰ Κολοσσαέων ἦν ἀποσταλείς: ὥστε καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου δῆλον, ὅτι [καὶ] ἐν Κολοσσαῖς ἦν ὁ Φιλήμων. Συναιχμάλωτον δὲ αὐτὸν καλεῖ, δεικνὺς καὶ αὐτὸν ἐν πολλῇ θλίψει. Ὥστε εἰ καὶ μὴ δι' αὐτὸν ἐκεῖνον, διὰ τοῦτον εἰκὸς ἀκουσθῆναι. Ὁ γὰρ ἐν θλίψει ὢν, καὶ τὰ αὐτοῦ ἀφεὶς, καὶ τὰ τῶν ἄλλων μεριμνῶν, ὀφείλει ἀκούεσθαι. Καὶ ἄλλως δὲ ἐντρέπει αὐτὸν, εἴ γε ὁ πολίτης ὁ ἐκείνου καὶ συναιχμάλωτος γέγονεν αὐτῷ καὶ συγκακουχεῖται, οὗτος δὲ οὐδὲ χάριν δίδωσιν ὑπὲρ ἰδίου οἰκέτου. Καὶ προσέθηκε: Συναιχμάλωτός μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἀντὶ τοῦ, διὰ Χριστόν. Μάρκος, Ἀρίσταρχος, Δημᾶς, Λουκᾶς, οἱ συνεργοί μου. Τί δὴ τὸν Λουκᾶν τελευταῖον τίθησι; καίτοι γέ φησιν ἀλλαχοῦ: Λουκᾶς ἐστι μόνος μετ' ἐμοῦ. Καὶ Δημᾶς, φησὶν, εἷς τῶν ἐγκαταλιπόντων αὐτὸν ἦν, καὶ ἀγαπησάντων τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα. Ταῦτα δὲ εἰ καὶ ἑτέρωθι εἴρηται, ἀλλ' ὅμως οὐκ ἀνεξέταστα δεῖ ἀφεῖναι, οὐδὲ ἁπλῶς ἀκούειν οὐδὲ ὡς ἔτυχε. Πῶς δὲ λέγει ἀσπάσασθαι αὐτοὺς τὸν ἐγκαταλιπόντα αὐτόν; Ἔραστος γὰρ, φησὶν, ἔμεινεν ἐν Κορίνθῳ. Τὸν μὲν οὖν Ἐπαφρᾶν, καὶ ὡς γνώριμον αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ὄντα προστίθησι, καὶ Μάρκον ὡς καὶ αὐτὸν θαυμαστόν: τί δαὶ τούτοις συναριθμεῖ τὸν Δημᾶν; Ἴσως μετὰ ταῦτα γέγονε ῥᾳθυμότερος, ὅτε τοὺς κινδύνους εἶδε τοὺς πολλούς. Ὁ μέντοι Λουκᾶς ἔσχατος ὢν, ἐγένετο πρῶτος. Καὶ ἀπὸ τούτων δὲ αὐτὸν προσαγορεύει προτρέπων αὐτὸν πλέον εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν, καὶ συνεργοὺς καλεῖ, καὶ ταύτῃ δυσωπῶν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὴν αἴτησιν. Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν. Ἀμήν. βʹ. Εὐχῇ τὴν ἐπιστολὴν κατέκλεισεν. Ἡ δὲ εὐχὴ, μέγα μὲν ἀγαθὸν καὶ σωτήριον, καὶ τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν ἡμετέρων φυλακτήριον: μέγα δὲ, ὅταν ἄξια αὐτῆς πράττωμεν, καὶ μὴ ἀναξίους ἑαυτοὺς κατασκευάζωμεν. Καὶ σὺ τοίνυν ὅταν προσέλθῃς τῷ ἱερεῖ, κἀκεῖνος εἴπῃ: Ἐλεήσει σε ὁ Θεὸς, τέκνον, μὴ τῷ ῥήματι θάῤῥει μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ ἔργα προστίθει: ποίει τὰ ἐλέου ἄξια. Εὐλογήσει σε ὁ Θεὸς, τέκνον, εἰ μὲν ποιεῖς τὰ τῆς εὐλογίας εὐλογήσει, εἰ ἐλεεῖς τὸν πλησίον: ὧν γὰρ βουλόμεθα τυχεῖν παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, τούτων πρότερον μεταδιδόναι τοῖς πλησίον ὀφείλομεν: ἂν δὲ τοὺς πλησίον αὐτῶν ἀποστερῶμεν, πῶς τυχεῖν αὐτῶν βουλόμεθα; Μακάριοι, φησὶν, οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται. Εἰ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι τοὺς τοιούτους ἐλεοῦσι, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὁ Θεός: τοὺς δὲ μὴ ἐλεοῦντας, οὐκέτι: Ἀνίλεως γὰρ ἡ κρίσις τῷ μὴ ποιήσαντι ἔλεον. Καλὸν τὸ πρᾶγμα ἔλεος: τί οὖν ἐποίησας ἑτέρῳ; Βούλει συγγνωσθῆναι πλημμελῶν, τί οὖν αὐτὸς οὐ συνέγνως τῷ πεπλημμεληκότι; ἀλλὰ προσέρχῃ μὲν τῷ Θεῷ βασιλείαν οὐρανῶν αἰτῶν, αὐτὸς δὲ ἀργύριον αἰτηθεὶς οὐκ ἔδωκας Διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐλεούμεθα, ἐπειδὴ οὐκ ἐλεοῦμεν. Διὰ τί, φησί; καὶ μὴν τοῦτο ἐλέους ἐστὶ, τὸ τοὺς ἀνελεήμονας ἐλεεῖν. Ὁ γὰρ, τὸν ὠμὸν καὶ ἀπηνῆ, καὶ μυρία τῷ πλησίον ἐνδεικνύμενον κακὰ φιλανθρωπευσάμενος, πῶς ἂν ἐλεήμων εἴη; Τί οὖν, φησί; τὸ λουτρὸν οὐχὶ μυρία ἡμᾶς ἐργασαμένους κακὰ ἔσωσεν; Ἀπήλλαξεν ἐκείνων, οὐχ ἵνα πάλιν αὐτὰ πράττωμεν, ἀλλ' ἵνα μὴ πράττωμεν. Εἰ γὰρ ἀπεθάνομεν, φησὶ, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ πῶς ἔτι ζήσομεν ἐν αὐτῇ; Τί οὖν; ἁμαρτησόμεθα ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον; Μὴ γένοιτο. Διὰ τοῦτό σε ἐκείνων ἀπήλλαξεν, ἵνα μηκέτι παλινδρομήσῃς πρὸς τὴν ἀτιμίαν ἐκείνην. Ἐπεὶ καὶ ἰατροὶ τοὺς πυρέττοντας ἀπαλλάττουσι τῆς φλογὸς, οὐχ ἵνα τῇ ὑγείᾳ πρὸς κάκωσιν ἀποχρήσωνται καὶ ἀταξίαν (ἐπεὶ βέλτιον νοσεῖν, εἴ γε μέλλοι τις διὰ τοῦτο ὑγιαίνειν, ἵνα πάλιν τῇ κλίνῃ προσηλώσῃ ἑαυτὸν), ἀλλ' ἵνα μαθόντες τὰ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀῤῥωστίας κακὰ, μηκέτι τοῖς αὐτοῖς περιπέσωσιν, ἵνα ἀσφαλέστερον τῆς ὑγείας ἔχωνται, ἵνα πάντα πράττωσι τὰ πρὸς ταύτην συντελοῦντα. Πῶς οὖν ἡ φιλανθρωπία τοῦ Θεοῦ, φησὶν, εἴ γε μὴ μέλλοι σώζειν τοὺς κακούς; πολλαχοῦ γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο πολλοὺς ἀκούω λέγοντας, ὅτι φιλάνθρωπός ἐστι, καὶ πάντως σώσει πάντας. Ἵν' οὖν μὴ μάτην ἑαυτοὺς ἀπατῶμεν (καὶ γὰρ μέμνημαι τοιαύτην τινὰ ὑπόσχεσιν), φέρε τήμερον τὸν λόγον τοῦτον κινήσωμεν. Διελέχθην περὶ γεέννης πρὸς ὑμᾶς πρώην, καὶ ἀνεβαλόμην τὸν περὶ τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ φιλανθρωπίας λόγον: σήμερον οὖν αὐτὸν ἀποδοῦναι καλόν. Ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἔσται γέεννα, ἱκανῶς, ὡς ἐμαυτῷ δοκῶ, τάχα ἀπεδείξαμεν, τὸν κατακλυσμὸν εἰς μέσον ἐνεγκόντες, καὶ τὰ πρότερα κακὰ, καὶ εἰπόντες, ὅτι οὐχ οἷόν τε τὸν ἐκεῖνα ποιήσαντα ἀτιμωρήτους ἐᾶσαι τοὺς νῦν. Εἰ γὰρ τοὺς πρὸ τοῦ νόμου ἁμαρτόντας οὕτως ἐκόλασε, τοὺς μείζονα κακὰ ἐργασαμένους μετὰ τὴν χάριν ἀτιμωρήτους οὐκ ἀφήσει. Ἐζητεῖτο τοίνυν, Πῶς οὖν ἀγαθὸς, πῶς δὲ φιλάνθρωπος, εἴ γε κολάζει; καὶ ἀνεβαλόμεθα τὸν λόγον, ὥστε μὴ τῷ πλήθει καταχῶσαι τὰς ἀκοὰς τὰς ὑμετέρας. Φέρε, τήμερον ἀποδῶμεν τὸ χρέος, καὶ δείξωμεν, πῶς ἀγαθὸς ὁ Θεὸς καὶ κολάζων. Καὶ γὰρ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς αἱρετικοὺς ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος οὗτος ἁρμόσειεν ἄν: ὥστε μετὰ σπουδῆς προσέχωμεν: Οὐδενὸς δεόμενος ὁ Θεὸς τῶν παρ' ἡμῶν, ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς. Ὅτι δὲ οὐδενὸς ἐδεῖτο, ἐδήλωσεν ἐκ τοῦ μετὰ ταῦτα ποιῆσαι. Εἰ γὰρ ἐδεῖτο, πάλαι ἂν ἐποίησεν: εἰ δὲ καὶ χωρὶς ἡμῶν ἦν αὐτὸς, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐν ὑστέροις χρόνοις γεγόναμεν, οὐ δεόμενος ἡμῶν ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς. Ἐποίησεν οὐρανὸν, γῆν, θάλατταν, πάντα τὰ ὄντα δι' ἡμᾶς. Ταῦτα οὐκ ἀγαθότητος, εἰπέ μοι; Καὶ πολλὰ ἄν τις ἔχοι λέγειν: ἀλλ' ἵνα συντέμωμεν τὸν λόγον, Ἀνατέλλει τὸν ἥλιον ἐπὶ πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς, βρέχει ἐπὶ δικαίους καὶ ἀδίκους. Τοῦτο οὐκ ἀγαθότητος; Οὒ, φησί. Καὶ γάρ ποτε πρός τινα Μαρκιωνιστὴν ἔλεγον, Ἆρα οὐκ ἀγαθότητος ταῦτα; καὶ ἔφησεν, Εἰ μὴ τὸν λόγον ἀπῄτει τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων, ἀγαθότητος ἦν: εἰ δὲ ἀπαιτεῖ, οὐκ ἀγαθότητος. Ἀλλ' ἐκεῖνος μὲν οὐ πάρεστι νῦν. Φέρε δὲ τὰ τότε λεχθέντα εἴπωμεν, καὶ πλείονα τούτων. Ἐγὼ γὰρ δείκνυμι ἐκ περιουσίας, ὅτι εἰ μὴ ἀπῄτει λόγον, οὐκ ἀγαθός: ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἀπαιτεῖ διὰ τοῦτο ἀγαθός. Εἰπὲ γάρ μοι, εἰ μὴ ἀπήτει λόγον ἡμᾶς, ἆρα ἂν ἔστη ὁ βίος ὁ ἀνθρώπινος; ἆρα οὐκ ἂν εἰς θηρία ἐξεπέσομεν; Εἰ γὰρ, ἐπικειμένου φόβου καὶ εὐθυνῶν καὶ δικαστηρίων, τοὺς ἰχθῦς παρηλάσαμεν ἀλλήλους κατεσθίοντες, τοὺς λέοντας καὶ τοὺς λύκους ἀπεκρύψαμεν τὰ ἀλλήλων ἁρπάζοντες: εἰ μὴ λόγον ἡμᾶς ἀπῄτει, καὶ τοῦτο πεπείσμεθα, πόσης ἂν συγχύσεως καὶ τύρβης ἐπληρώθη ὁ βίος; τίς ἦν ὁ μυθευόμενος λαβύρινθος λοιπὸν πρὸς τὴν ἀταξίαν τὴν κοσμικήν; οὐκ ἂν εἶδες μυρίας ἀτοπίας καὶ ἀταξίας; τίς γὰρ ἂν ᾐδέσθη πατέρα λοιπόν; τίς δὲ ἂν ἐφείσατο μητρός; τίς δ' ἂν πᾶσαν ἡδονὴν, πᾶσαν κακίαν παρέλιπε; Καὶ ὅτι ταῦτα οὕτως ἔχει, ἀπὸ μιᾶς οἰκίας μόνης ἐγώ σε πεῖσαι πειράσομαι. Πῶς; Ἐὰν ὑμῶν τῶν ταῦτα ἐρωτώντων, καὶ οἰκέτας ἐχόντων, δῆλον ποιήσω τούτοις, ὅτι, κἂν διαφθείρωσι τὴν δεσποτείαν, καὶ εἰς τὸ σῶμα ἐκείνων ἐνυβρίσωσι, κἂν πάντα ἐκφέρωσι, κἂν τὰ ἄνω κάτω ἐργάσωνται, καὶ τὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοὺς διαθῶσιν, οὐκ ἀπειλοῦσιν, οὐ κολάζουσιν, οὐ τιμωρήσονται, οὐδὲ μέχρι ῥημάτων λυπήσουσιν: ἆρα δοκεῖ ταῦτα ἀγαθότητος εἶναι; Ἀλλ' ἐγὼ δείκνυμι, ὅτι ὠμότητός ἐστι τῆς ἐσχάτης, οὐ μόνον τῷ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ παιδία προδίδοσθαι διὰ ταύτης τῆς ἀκαίρου χρηστότητος, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ αὐτοὺς ἐκείνους πρὸ τούτων ἀπόλλυσθαι. Καὶ γὰρ μέθυσοι καὶ ἀσελγεῖς καὶ ἀκόλαστοι καὶ ὑβρισταὶ καὶ πάντων θηρίων ἔσονται ἀλογώτεροι. Τοῦτο οὖν ἀγαθότητος, εἰπέ μοι, εὐγένειαν τῆς ψυχῆς καταπατῆσαι, καὶ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀλλήλους προσαπολέσαι; Ὁρᾷς, ὅτι τὸ εὐθύνας ἀπαιτεῖν τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ πολλῆς χρηστότητος ὄν; Καὶ τί λέγω οἰκέτας τοὺς προχειρότερον ἐπὶ τὰ ἁμαρτήματα ταῦτα ἐρχομένους; Ἀλλ' ἐχέτω τις υἱοὺς, καὶ πάντα ἐπιτρεπέτω τολμᾷν ἐκείνοις, καὶ μὴ κολαζέτω, τίνος οὖν οὐκ ἔσονται χείρους, εἰπέ μοι; Εἶτα ἐπὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπων τὸ κολάζειν ἀγαθότητος, τὸ δὲ μὴ κολάζειν ὠμότητος, ἐπὶ δὲ Θεοῦ οὐκέτι; Ὥστε ἐπειδὴ ἀγαθός ἐστι, διὰ τοῦτο γέενναν προητοίμασε. Βούλεσθε καὶ ἄλλην εἴπω ἀγαθότητα τοῦ Θεοῦ; Οὐ τοῦτο μόνον, ἀλλ' ὅτι καὶ τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς οὐκ ἀφίησι γενέσθαι κακούς. Εἰ γὰρ ἔμελλον τῶν αὐτῶν τυγχάνειν, πάντες ἂν ἦσαν κακοί: νῦν δὲ οὐ μικρῶς καὶ τοῦτο παραμυθεῖται τοὺς ἀγαθούς. Ἄκουε γὰρ τοῦ Προφήτου λέγοντος: Εὐφρανθήσεται δίκαιος, ὅταν ἴδῃ ἐκδίκησιν ἀσεβοῦς, τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ νίψεται ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ. Οὐχ ὑπερηδόμενος, μὴ γένοιτο, ἀλλὰ δεδοικὼς μὴ τὰ αὐτὰ πάθῃ, καθαρώτερον τὸν ἑαυτοῦ βίον ἐργάσεται. Πολλῆς ἄρα τοῦτο κηδεμονίας ἐστί. Ναὶ, φησίν: ἀλλ' ἀπειλῆσαι μόνον ἐχρῆν, μὴ μέντοι καὶ κολάσαι. Εἰ κολάζει, καὶ λέγεις, ὅτι ἀπειλὴ τὸ πρᾶγμά ἐστι, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ῥᾳθυμότερος γίνῃ: εἰ ὄντως ἀπειλὴ μόνον ἦν, οὐκ ἂν ὑπτιώτερος γέγονας; Οἱ Νινευῖται εἰ ᾔδεσαν ὅτι ἀπειλὴ μόνον τὸ πρᾶγμα ἦν, οὐκ ἂν μετενόησαν: ἐπειδὴ δὲ μετενόησαν, μέχρι ῥημάτων τὴν ἀπειλὴν ἔστησαν. Βούλει αὐτὸ ἀπειλὴν εἶναι; σὺ κύριος εἶ τοῦ πράγματος: γενοῦ βελτίων, καὶ ἵσταται μέχρι τῆς ἀπειλῆς: ἂν δὲ, ὅπερ ἀπείη, καταφρονήσῃς τῆς ἀπειλῆς, ἥξεις ἐπὶ τὴν πεῖραν: οἱ πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ, εἰ τὴν ἀπειλὴν ἔδεισαν, οὐκ ἂν τὴν πεῖραν ὑπέμειναν. Καὶ ἡμεῖς, ἐὰν φοβηθῶμεν τὴν ἀπειλὴν, οὐχ ὑποστησόμεθα τὴν πεῖραν: μηδὲ γένοιτο: ἀλλὰ παράσχοι ὁ φιλάνθρωπος Θεὸς πάντας ἡμᾶς ἐντεῦθεν ἤδη σωφρονισθέντας, τῶν ἀποῤῥήτων ἐκείνων ἐπιτυχεῖν ἀγαθῶν: ὧν γένοιτο πάντας ἡμᾶς ἀξιωθῆναι, χάριτι καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, μεθ' οὗ τῷ Πατρὶ ἅμα τῷ ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι δόξα, κράτος, τιμὴ, νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ, καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.