Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.
The Philippians are of a city in Macedonia, a city that is a colony, as Luke saith. Here that seller of purple was converted, a woman of uncommon piety and heedfulness. Here the ruler of the synagogue1 [This reading contains an obvious error, and would be readily altered by students or copyists; and one manuscript gives “keeper of the prison.” Chrysostom not unfrequently makes slips in quoting from memory, as do most preachers. He is here doubtless thinking of Crispus. (Acts xviii. 8.) Below, in paragraph 3, he has it right.—J.A.B.] believed. Here was Paul scourged with Silas. Here the magistrates requested them to depart, and were afraid of them, and the preaching had an illustrious commencement. And he bears them many and high testimonies himself, calling them his own crown, and saying they had suffered much. For, “To you,” he saith, “it hath been granted of God,2 [All documents for New Testament give “in behalf of Christ.” Chrysostom was quoting from memory.—J.A.B.] not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf.” (Philip. i. 29.) But when he wrote to them, it happened that he was in bonds. Therefore he says, “So that my bonds became manifest in Christ in the whole prætorium,” calling the palace of Nero the prætorium.3 [Scholars now generally understand the prætorian camp or the prætorian guard. See Lightfoot here.—J.A.B.] But he was bound and let go again,4 His statement amounts to this, that the present epistle was written in St. Paul’s first imprisonment, when Timothy was with him, for that the second to Timothy was written in a second imprisonment, from which he was only released by martyrdom. The “first defence” belongs to the second imprisonment. Between the two, it is probable that he visited the Philippians, according to his intention. and this he showed to Timothy by saying, “At my first defence no one took my part, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their account. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me.” (2 Tim. iv. 16.) He speaks of the bonds then in which he was before that defence. For that Timothy was not present then, is evident: for, “At my first defence,” he says, “no man took my part”; and this, by writing, he was making known to him. He would not then, had he already known it, have written thus to him. But when he wrote this epistle, Timothy was with him. And he shows it by what he says: “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you.” (Philip. ii. 19.) And again, “Him I hope to send forthwith so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.” For he was loosed from his bonds and again bound after he had been to them. But if he saith, “Yea, and I am5 The if is omitted, perhaps in order to put the objection in a strong light. offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,” it is not as though this were now come to pass, but as much as to say, “and whenever this takes place I am glad,” raising them from their dejection at his bonds. For that he was not about to die at that time is plain from what he saith: “But I hope6 [Correct New Testament text, “trust.”—J.A.B.] in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly unto you.” (Philip. ii. 24.) And again, “And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all.”
2. But the Philippians had sent to him Epaphroditus, to carry him money, and to know the things concerning him, for they were most lovingly disposed toward him. For that they sent, hear himself, saying, “I have all things, and abound; I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you.” At the same time they sent to know this. For that they sent also to know this he shows at once in the beginning of the epistle, writing of his own matters, and saying, “But I would have you know that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the Gospel.” (Philip. i. 12.) And again, “I hope to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort when I know your state.” This, “that I also,” is as if he meant “as you for full assurance sent to know the things concerning me, so ‘I also,’ that I may be of good comfort when I know the things concerning you.” Since then they had also been a long time without sending7 [The altered text and most editions add “but had then done it,” through misunderstanding of the rather obscure connection.—J.A.B.] (for this he proves by saying, “Now at length you have revived your thought for me”) (Philip. iv. 10.), and then they heard that he was in bonds (Philip. ii. 26.); for if they heard about Epaphroditus, that he was sick, he being no such very remarkable person as Paul was, much more did they hear about Paul, and it was reasonable that they should be disturbed; therefore, in the opening of the epistle he offers them much consolation about his bonds, showing that they should not merely not be disturbed, but even rejoice. Then he gives them counsel about unanimity and humility, teaching them that this was their greatest safety, and that so they could easily overcome their enemies. For it is not being in bonds that is painful to your teachers, but their disciples not being of one mind. For the former brings even furtherance to the Gospel, but the latter distracts.
3. So then after admonishing them to be of one mind, and showing that unanimity comes of humility, and then aiming a shaft at those Jews who were everywhere corrupting the doctrine under a show of Christianity, and calling them “dogs” and “evil workers” (Philip. iii. 2.), and giving admonition to keep away from them, and teaching to whom it is right to attend, and discoursing at length on moral points, and bringing them to order, and recalling them to themselves, by saying, “The Lord is at hand” (Philip. iv. 5.), he makes mention also, with his usual wisdom, of what had been sent, and then offers them abundant consolation. But he appears in writing to be doing them special honor, and never in any place writes any thing of reproof, which is a proof of their virtue, in that they gave no occasion to their teacher, and that he has written to them not in the way of rebuke, but throughout in the way of encouragement. And as I said also at first, this city showed great readiness for the faith; inasmuch as the very jailor, (and you know it is a business full of all wickedness,) at once, upon one miracle, both ran to them, and was baptized with all his house. For the miracle that took place he saw alone, but the gain he reaped not alone, but jointly with his wife and all his house. Nay, even the magistrates who scourged him seem to have done this rather of sudden impulse than out of wickedness, both from their sending at once to let him go, and from their being afterwards afraid. And he bears testimony to them not only in faith, or in perils, but also in well-doing, where he says, “That even in the beginning of the Gospel, ye sent once and again unto my need” (Philip. iv. 15, 16.), when no one else did so; for he says, “no Church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving”; and that their intermission had been rather from lack of opportunity than from choice, saying, “Not that ye took no thought for me, but ye lacked opportunity.” (Philip. iv. 10.) Let us also, knowing these things, and having so many patterns, and the love that he bore them—for that he loved them greatly appears in his saying, “For I have no man like minded, who will care truly for your state” (Philip. ii. 20.); and again, “Because I have you in my heart, and in my bonds,”—
4. let us also, knowing these things, show ourselves worthy of such examples, by being ready to suffer for Christ.8 [Such a digressive and awkward sentence is of course smoothed out in the altered text, but is perfectly natural in a freely spoken discourse.—J.A.B.] But now the persecution is no more. So then, if there is nothing else, let us imitate their earnestness in well doing, and not think, if we have given once or twice, that we have fulfilled all. For we must do this through our whole life. For it is not once that we have to please God, but constantly. The racer, if, after running even ten heats, he leave the remaining one undone, has lost all; and we, if we begin with good works, and afterward faint, have lost all, have spoiled all. Listen to that profitable admonition that saith, “Let not mercy9 The same word is here used for “mercy” and “alms.” [And it is quoted from the Sept. in the plural, “mercies,” or “almsgivings.”—J.A.B.] and truth forsake thee.” (Prov. iii. 3.) He saith not do so once, nor the second time, nor the third, nor the tenth, nor the hundredth, but continually: “let them not forsake thee.” And he did not say, Do not forsake them, but, “Let them not forsake thee,” showing that we are in need of them, and not they of us; and teaching us that we ought to make every effort to keep them with us. And “bind them,” saith he, “about thy neck.” For as the children of the wealthy have an ornament of gold about their neck, and never put it off, because it exhibits a token of their high birth, so should we too wear mercy ever about us, showing that we are children of the compassionate one, “who makes the sun to rise upon the evil and the good” (Matt. v. 45.). “But the unbelievers,” you say, “do not believe it.” I say then, hereby shall they believe, if we do these works. If they see that we take pity on all, and are enrolled under Him for our Teacher, they will know that it is in imitation of Him that we so act. For “mercy,” it says, “and true faith.”10 The LXX. have “faith,” probably in the sense of “truth,” which Aquila has, and the Hebrew requires; “true” is added by St. Chrys. to mark this. He well said “true.” For He willeth it not to be of rapine or fraud. For this were not “faith”; this were not “truth.” For he that plundereth must lie and forswear himself. So do not thou, saith he, but have faith with thy mercy.
Let us put on this ornament. Let us make a golden chain for our soul, of mercy I mean, while we are here. For if this age11 ἡλικία, which carries on the simile. [He means the age of childhood, when ornaments are a pleasure.—J.A.B.] pass, we can use it no longer. And why? There there are no poor, There there are no riches, no more want There. While we are children, let us not rob ourselves of this ornament. For as with children, if they become men, these are taken away, and they are advanced to other adornment; so too is it with us. There will be no more alms by money, but other and far nobler.12 He probably refers to the benefits conferred by the Saints on those on earth. Let us not then deprive ourselves of this! Let us make our soul appear beautiful! Great is alms, beautiful, and honorable, great is that gift, but greater is goodness. If we learn to despise riches, we shall learn other things besides. For behold how many good things spring from hence! He that giveth alms, as he ought to give, learns to despise wealth. He that has learned to despise wealth has cut up the root of evils. So that he does not do a greater good than he receives, not merely in that there is a due recompense and a requital for alms, but also in that his soul becomes philosophic, and elevated, and rich. He that gives alms is instructed not to admire riches or gold. And this lesson once fixed in his mind, he has gotten a great step toward mounting to Heaven, and has cut away ten thousand occasions of strife, and contention, and envy, and dejection. For ye know, ye too know, that all things are done for riches, and unnumbered wars are made for riches. But he that has learned to despise them, has placed himself in a quiet harbor, he no longer fears damage. For this hath alms taught him. He no longer desires what is his neighbor’s; for how should he, that parts with his own, and gives? He no longer envies the rich man; for how should he, that is willing to become poor? He clears the eye of his soul. And these are but here. But hereafter it is not to be told what blessings he shall win. He shall not abide without with the foolish virgins, but shall enter in with those that were wise, together with the Bridegroom, having his lamps bright. And though they have endured hardship in virginity, he that hath not so much as tasted these hardships shall be better than they. Such is the power of Mercy.13 [The same Greek word that above is translated “alms.”—J.A.B.] She brings in her nurslings with much boldness. For she is known to the porters in Heaven, that keep the gates of the Bride-Chamber, and not known only, but reverenced; and those whom she knows to have honored her, she will bring in with much boldness, and none will gainsay, but all make room. For if she brought God down to earth, and persuaded him to become man, much more shall she be able to raise a man to Heaven; for great is her might. If then14 Such a repetition is common with Chrysostom, sometimes perhaps from his own excitement. Here it seems rather meant to temper the warmth of his eloquence, and fix a sober thought. from mercy and loving-kindness God became man, and He persuaded Himself to become a servant, much rather will He bring His servants into His own house. Her let us love, on her let us set our affection, not one day, nor two, but all our life long, that she may acknowledge us. If she acknowledge us, the Lord will acknowledge us too. If she disown us, the Lord too will disown us, and will say, “I know you not.” But may it not be ours to hear this voice, but that happy one instead, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. xxv. 34.) Which may we all obtain, by His grace and lovingkindness, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
ΤΟΥ ΕΝ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ ΥΠΟΜΝΗΜΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΗΣΙΟΥΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗΝ. ΥΠΟΘΕΣΙΣ. αʹ. Οἱ Φιλιππήσιοι ἀπὸ πόλεώς εἰσι τῆς Μακεδονίας Φιλίππων, οὕτω καλουμένης ἀπὸ τοῦ οἰκιστοῦ πόλεως κολωνίας, καθὼς ὁ Λουκᾶς φησιν: Ἐνταῦθα ἡ πορφυρόπωλις ἐπέστρεψεν, εὐλαβὴς γυνὴ σφόδρα, καὶ προσεκτική: ἐνταῦθα ὁ ἀρχισυνάγωγος ἐπίστευσεν: ἐνταῦθα ἐμαστίχθη ὁ Παῦλος μετὰ τοῦ Σίλα: ἐνταῦθα οἱ στρατηγοὶ ἠξίωσαν αὐτοὺς ἐξελθεῖν, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν αὐτούς: καὶ λαμπρὰν ἔσχε τὸ κήρυγμα τὴν ἀρχήν. Μαρτυρεῖ δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτὸς πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα, στέφανον αὐτοῦ καλῶν αὐτοὺς, καὶ πολλὰ πεπονθέναι λέγων: Ὑμῖν γὰρ ἐχαρίσθη, φησὶν, ἀπὸ Θεοῦ οὐ μόνον τὸ εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πάσχειν. Ὅτε δὲ ἔγραφε πρὸς αὐτοὺς, συνέβη αὐτὸν δεδέσθαι. Διὰ τοῦτό φησιν, Ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς, ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ: πραιτώριον τὰ βασίλεια τοῦ Νέρωνος καλῶν. Ἀλλ' ἐδέθη καὶ ἀφείθη, καὶ τοῦτο πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἐδήλωσε, λέγων: Ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ οὐδείς μοι συμπαρεγένετο, ἀλλὰ πάντες με ἐγκατέλιπον: μὴ αὐτοῖς λογισθείη: ἀλλ' ὁ Κύριός μοι παρέστη, καὶ ἐνεδυνάμωσέ με. Τὰ οὖν δεσμὰ, ἐν οἷς ἦν πρὸ τῆς ἀπολογίας ἐκείνης δείκνυσιν ὄντα. Ὅτι γὰρ οὐ παρῆν Τιμόθεος τότε, δῆλον: Ἐν γὰρ τῇ πρώτῃ μου, φησὶν, ἀπολογίᾳ οὐδείς μοι συμπαρεγένετο. Καὶ τοῦτο, οὕτω γράφων, ἐδήλου. Οὐκ ἂν οὖν, εἰ ᾔδει τοῦτο, ἔγραψεν αὐτῷ. Ὅτε δὲ τὴν Ἐπιστολὴν ἔγραφε ταύτην μετ' αὐτοῦ Τιμόθεος ἦν: καὶ δηλοῖ ἐξ ὧν φησιν: Ἐλπίζω δὲ ἐν Κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Τιμόθεον ταχέως πέμψαι ὑμῖν: καὶ πάλιν, Τοῦτον μὲν ἐλπίζω εὐθέως πέμψαι ὑμῖν, ὅταν ἀπίδω τὰ περὶ ἐμὲ, ἐξ αὐτῆς. Ἀφείθη γὰρ ἀπὸ τῶν δεσμῶν, καὶ πάλιν ἐδέθη μετὰ τὸ πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐλθεῖν. Ὃ δὲ λέγει, Ὅτι καὶ σπένδομαι ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ, καὶ λειτουργίᾳ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν: οὐχ ὡς ἤδη τούτου γενομένου: ἀλλ', ὅτι Καὶ ὅταν τοῦτο συμβῇ, χαίρω, φησὶ, διανιστῶν αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς ἀθυμίας τῆς ἐπὶ τοῖς δεσμοῖς: ὅτι γὰρ οὐκ ἔμελλε τότε ἀποθανεῖσθαι, δῆλον ἐξ ὧν φησιν, ὅτι Ἐλπίζω δὲ ἐν Κυρίῳ, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸς ταχέως ἐλεύσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς: καὶ πάλιν, Καὶ τοῦτο πεποιθὼς οἶδα, ὅτι μένω, καὶ συμπαραμενῶ πᾶσιν ὑμῖν. Ἦσαν δὲ πέμψαντες πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Φιλιππήσιοι τὸν Ἐπαφρόδιτον, χρήματα ἀποίσοντα αὐτῷ, καὶ εἰσόμενον τὰ κατ' αὐτόν: διέκειντο γὰρ σφόδρα περὶ αὐτὸν ἀγαπητικῶς. Ὅτι γὰρ ἔπεμψαν, ἄκουε αὐτοῦ λέγοντος: Ἀπέχω πάντα, καὶ περισσεύω, πεπλήρωμαι, δεξάμενος παρὰ Ἐπαφροδίτου τὰ παρ' ὑμῶν. Ἐν ταυτῷ γοῦν ἔπεμψαν καὶ παρακαλέσοντες, καὶ εἰσόμενοι. Ὅτι γὰρ καὶ ἔπεμψαν εἰσόμενοι τὰ κατ' αὐτὸν, δηλοῖ εὐθέως ἐν τῇ ἀρχῇ τῆς Ἐπιστολῆς κατ' αὐτὸν γράφων, καὶ λέγων: Γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, ὅτι τὰ κατ' ἐμὲ μᾶλλον εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου ἐλήλυθε: καὶ πάλιν, Ἐλπίζω Τιμόθεον ταχέως πέμψαι ὑμῖν, ἵνα κἀγὼ εὐψυχῶ γνοὺς τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν. Τὸ, Ἵνα κἀγὼ, δηλοῦντός ἐστιν, ὅτι Ὥσπερ ὑμεῖς ὑπὲρ πολλῆς πληροφορίας ἐπέμψατε εἰσόμενοι τὰ κατ' ἐμὲ, οὕτω καὶ ἐγὼ, Ἵνα εὐψυχῶ γνοὺς τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν. Ἐπεὶ οὖν καὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἦσαν μὴ πέμψαντες, ἀλλὰ τότε (τοῦτο γὰρ δηλοῖ διὰ τοῦ εἰπεῖν: Ἤδη ποτὲ ἀνεθάλετε τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν): καὶ τότε ἤκουον αὐτὸν ἐν δεσμοῖς εἶναι (εἰ γὰρ περὶ Ἐπαφροδίτου ἤκουσαν, ὅτι ἠσθένησεν, οὐκ ὄντος σφόδρα ἐπισήμου, ὡς Παῦλος, πολλῷ μᾶλλον περὶ Παύλου): καὶ εἰκὸς ἦν αὐτοὺς θορυβεῖσθαι: διὰ τοῦτο ἐν τοῖς προοιμίοις τῆς Ἐπιστολῆς πολλὴν προσάγει παράκλησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν δεσμῶν, δεικνὺς ὅτι οὐ μόνον οὐ χρὴ θορυβεῖσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ χαίρειν. Εἶτα καὶ περὶ ὁμονοίας συμβουλεύει καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνης, ταύτην εἶναι ἀσφάλειαν αὐτοῖς διδάσκων μεγίστην, καὶ οὕτω τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοὺς εὐκόλως δύνασθαι περιγενέσθαι. Οὐ γὰρ τὸ δεσμεῖσθαι λυπηρὸν τοῖς διδασκάλοις ὑμῶν, ἀλλὰ τὸ μὴ ὁμονοεῖν τοὺς μαθητάς. Τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ καὶ ἐπίδοσιν τῷ Εὐαγγελίῳ δίδωσιν, ἐκεῖνο δὲ διασπᾷ. βʹ. Παραινέσας τοίνυν αὐτοῖς ὁμονοεῖν, καὶ δείξας ὅτι ἀπὸ ταπεινοφροσύνης ἡ ὁμόνοια γίνεται, καὶ διατεινάμενος πρὸς τοὺς πανταχοῦ τῷ δόγματι λυμαινομένους Ἰουδαίους προσχήματι Χριστιανισμοῦ, κύνας τε αὐτοὺς καλέσας καὶ κακοὺς ἐργάτας, καὶ παραινέσας ἐπέχεσθαι αὐτῶν, καὶ πείσας τίσι δεῖ προσέχειν, καὶ περὶ ἠθικῶν πολλὰ διαλεχθεὶς, καὶ ῥυθμίσας αὐτοὺς, καὶ ἀνακτησάμενος διὰ τοῦ εἰπεῖν, Ὁ Κύριος ἐγγὺς, μέμνηται μετὰ τῆς προσηκούσης αὐτῷ συνέσεως καὶ τῶν πεμφθέντων, καὶ οὕτω πολλὴν τὴν παράκλησιν προσάγει. Φαίνεται δὲ μετὰ πολλῆς αὐτοῖς μάλιστα γράφων τιμῆς, καὶ οὐδὲν προτίθησιν ἐπιπληκτικὸν οὐδαμοῦ, ὅπερ ἦν τεκμήριον τῆς ἀρετῆς αὐτῶν, τὸ μηδεμίαν δοῦναι τῷ διδασκάλῳ λαβὴν, μηδὲ ἐν τάξει ἐπιτιμήσεως, ἀλλ' ἐν τάξει παραινέσεως πάντα πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐπεσταλκέναι. Ὅπερ δὲ ἔφην καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς, τοῦτο καὶ νῦν ἐρῶ, ὅτι ἡ πόλις αὕτη πολλὴν ἐπεδείξατο εἰς τὴν πίστιν ἐπιτηδειότητα, εἴ γε ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ (ἴστε δὲ, ὅτι πάσης τὸ πρᾶγμα κακίας μεστὸν) εὐθέως ὑπὸ ἑνὸς σημείου καὶ προσέδραμε, καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη μετὰ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ παντός. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ γεγονὸς σημεῖον εἶδε μόνος αὐτός: τὸ δὲ κέρδος οὐ μόνος ἐκαρπώσατο, ἀλλὰ καὶ μετὰ τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ τοῦ οἴκου παντός. Ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοὶ οἱ στρατηγοὶ οἱ μαστίξαντες αὐτὸν εὑρίσκονται ἀπὸ συναρπαγῆς μᾶλλον, καὶ οὐ πονηρίαν τοῦτο πεποιηκότες, τῷ τε εὐθέως πέμψαι καὶ ἀφεῖναι αὐτὸν, καὶ τῷ φοβηθῆναι ὕστερον. Μαρτυρεῖ δὲ αὐτοῖς οὐκ ἐν πίστει μόνον, οὐδὲ ἐν κινδύνοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν εὐποιίᾳ, δι' ὧν φησιν. ὅτι Καὶ ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δὶς εἰς τὴν χρείαν μου ἐπέμψατε, οὐδενὸς ἑτέρου τοῦτο πεποιηκότος. Οὐδεμία γάρ μοι, φησὶν, Ἐκκλησία ἐκοινώνησεν εἰς λόγον δόσεως καὶ λήψεως: τὴν ἔλλειψιν δὲ ἀκαιρίας εἶναι μᾶλλον, ἢ προαιρέσεως δείκνυσι λέγων: Οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἐφρονεῖτε, φησὶν, ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἠκαιρεῖσθε δέ. Τοῦτο δὲ πολὺ πρὸς αὐτοὺς φίλτρον ἔχειν ἐμφαίνει. Ὅτι γὰρ ἐφίλει σφόδρα αὐτοὺς, δῆλον: Οὐδένα γὰρ ἔχω, φησὶν, ἰσόψυχον, ὅστις γνησίως τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν μεριμνήσει: καὶ πάλιν, Διὰ τὸ ἔχειν με ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμᾶς, ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου. γʹ. Ταῦτα οὖν εἰδότες καὶ ἡμεῖς, καὶ τοσούτους ἔχοντες τύπους ἀγάπης, ἑαυτοὺς παρέχωμεν ἀξίους τῶν τοιούτων ὑποδειγμάτων, περὶ τὸ πάσχειν ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ ἕτοιμοι γινόμενοι. Ἀλλὰ νῦν οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ διωγμός. Οὐκοῦν κἂν μηδὲν ἕτερον, μιμώμεθα αὐτῶν τὴν εὐποιίαν τὴν μετὰ σφοδρότητος, μηδὲ, ἐὰν ἅπαξ δῶμεν καὶ δεύτερον, τὸ πᾶν ἡγώμεθα πεπληρωκέναι: διὰ παντὸς γὰρ τοῦ βίου τοῦτο χρὴ ποιεῖν: οὐ γὰρ ἅπαξ εὐαρεστεῖν δεῖ, ἀλλὰ διηνεκῶς. Καὶ γὰρ ὁ τρέχων, ἐὰν δέκα διαύλους δραμὼν, τὸν ὕστερον ἀφῇ, τὸ πᾶν ἀπώλεσε: καὶ ἡμεῖς, ἐὰν ἀρξάμενοι τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἔργων, ὕστερον ἐκλυθῶμεν, τὸ πᾶν ἀπωλέσαμεν, τὸ πᾶν διεφθείραμεν. Ἄκουε τῆς ἐπωφελοῦς παραινέσεως λεγούσης: Ἐλεημοσύναι, φησὶ, καὶ πίστεις μὴ ἐκλειπέτωσάν σε. Οὐκ εἶπεν, Ἅπαξ ποίησον, οὐδὲ δεύτερον, οὐδὲ τρίτον, οὐδὲ δέκατον, οὐδὲ ἑκατοστὸν, ἀλλὰ διαπαντὸς, Μὴ ἐκλειπέτωσάν σε, φησί. Καὶ οὐκ εἶπε, Μὴ αὐτὸς ἐγκαταλείπῃς, ἀλλὰ, Αὗταί σε μὴ ἐγκαταλείπωσι: δεικνὺς ὅτι ἡμεῖς αὐτῶν δεόμεθα, οὐχ αὗται ἡμῶν, καὶ διδάσκων ὅτι πάντα πράττειν ὀφείλομεν, ὥστε αὐτὰς κατέχειν παρ' ἑαυτοῖς. Ἔφαψαι δὲ αὐτὰς, φησὶν, ἐπὶ σῷ τραχήλῳ. Ὥσπερ γὰρ τὰ τῶν εὐπόρων παιδία κόσμον ἔχει χρυσοῦν περὶ τὸν τράχηλον, καὶ οὐδέποτε αὐτὸν ἀποτίθεται, ὡς τῆς εὐγενείας δεῖγμα φέροντα: οὕτω καὶ τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην ἀεὶ δεῖ ἑαυτοῖς περιτιθέναι, δεικνύντας ὅτι τοῦ οἰκτίρμονός ἐσμεν παῖδες, τοῦ τὸν ἥλιον ἀνατέλλοντος ἐπὶ πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθούς. Ἀλλ' οὐ πιστεύουσιν οἱ ἄπιστοι; Οὐκοῦν διὰ τούτων πιστεύσουσιν, ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἐργαζώμεθα ταῦτα. Ἐὰν γὰρ ἴδωσιν, ὅτι πάντας ἐλεοῦμεν, καὶ ἐκεῖνον ἐπιγραφόμεθα διδάσκαλον, εἴσονται ὅτι αὐτὸν μιμούμενοι τοῦτο πράττομεν. Καὶ τοῦτο οὐχ ἁπλῶς ποιεῖν δεῖ, ἀλλὰ μετὰ προσοχῆς καὶ ἀσφαλείας. Ἐλεημοσύνη γὰρ, φησὶ, καὶ πίστις ἔστω σοι ἀληθής. Καλῶς εἶπεν, ἀληθής: οὐ γὰρ ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς βούλεται, οὐδὲ ἀπὸ κλοπῆς: τοῦτο γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι πίστις, οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθὴς ἐλεημοσύνη. Καὶ γὰρ τὸν κλέπτοντα ψεύδεσθαι ἀνάγκη, καὶ ἐπιορκεῖν δεῖ: σὺ δὲ μὴ οὕτως, ἀλλὰ μετὰ τῆς ἐλεημοσύνης πίστιν ἔχε, φησί. Περιθώμεθα τοῦτον τὸν κόσμον: μανιάκην ἐργασώμεθα τῇ ψυχῇ χρυσοῦν, τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην λέγω, ἕως ἂν ἐνθάδε ὦμεν. Ἐὰν γὰρ παρέλθῃ ἡ ἡλικία αὕτη, οὐκέτι αὐτῇ χρησόμεθα. Πῶς; Οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐκεῖ πένητες, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκεῖ χρήματα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκεῖ πτωχεία: ἕως ἐσμὲν παῖδες, μὴ ἀποστερήσωμεν ἑαυτοὺς τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Καθάπερ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν παίδων, ἐὰν ἄνδρες γένωνται, περιαιρεῖται ταῦτα, καὶ ἐφ' ἕτερον ἄγονται κόσμον: οὕτω καὶ ἐφ' ἡμῶν: οὐκέτι ἡ διὰ χρημάτων ἐλεημοσύνη ἐκεῖ ἔσται, ἀλλ' ἑτέρα τις πολὺ μείζων. Ὥστε ταύτης ἑαυτοὺς μὴ ἀποστερήσωμεν, ποιήσωμεν καλὴν φαίνεσθαι τὴν ψυχήν. Μέγα ἐλεημοσύνη καλὸν καὶ τίμιον, δῶρόν ἐστι μέγα, μᾶλλον δὲ μέγα ἀγαθότης: ἐὰν μάθωμεν χρημάτων καταφρονεῖν, καὶ ἕτερα μαθησόμεθα. Ὅρα γὰρ ἐντεῦθεν πόσα τίκτεται ἀγαθά: ὁ διδοὺς ἐλεημοσύνην, ὡς χρὴ διδόναι, μανθάνει τῶν χρημάτων καταφρονεῖν: ὁ μαθὼν χρημάτων καταφρονεῖν, τὴν ῥίζαν ἐξέκοψε τῶν κακῶν. Ὥστε οὐκ εὖ ποιεῖ μᾶλλον, ἢ εὖ πάσχει, οὐ τῷ ὀφειλὴν καὶ ἀμοιβὴν κεῖσθαι μόνον τῇ ἐλεημοσύνῃ, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ τὴν ψυχὴν φιλόσοφον γίνεσθαι, καὶ ὑψηλὴν καὶ πλουσίαν. Ὁ διδοὺς ἐλεημοσύνην παιδεύεται μὴ θαυμάζειν χρήματα, μηδὲ χρυσόν: τοῦτο δὲ παιδευθεὶς τὴν διάνοιαν, ἀρχὴν ἔλαβε μεγίστην ἀνιέναι πρὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν, καὶ μάχης καὶ ἔριδος καὶ φθόνου καὶ ἀθυμίας μυρίας ἐξέκοψε προφάσεις. Ἴστε γὰρ, ἴστε καὶ ὑμεῖς, ὅτι πάντα τὰ κακὰ διὰ τὰ χρήματα, καὶ μυρίοι πόλεμοι διὰ τὰ χρήματα. Ὁ δὲ τούτων μαθὼν καταφρονεῖν, ἐν γαλήνῃ κατέστησεν ἑαυτὸν, οὐκέτι ζημίαν δέδοικε. Τοῦτο γὰρ ἐπαίδευσεν αὐτὸν ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη: οὐκέτι ἐπιθυμεῖ τῶν τοῦ πλησίον: πῶς γὰρ, ὁ τὰ αὑτοῦ ἀποκτώμενος, καὶ διδούς; οὐκέτι βασκαίνει τῷ πλουτοῦντι: πῶς γὰρ, ὁ βουλόμενος γενέσθαι πένης; διακαθαίρει αὑτοῦ τὸ ὄμμα τῆς ψυχῆς. Καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ἐνταῦθα: τὰ δὲ ἐκεῖ οὐδὲ ἔστιν εἰπεῖν, ὅσων ἐπιτεύξεται ἀγαθῶν. Οὐ μενεῖ ἔξω μετὰ τῶν μωρῶν παρθένων, ἀλλὰ μετὰ τῶν φρονίμων εἰσελεύσεται, μετὰ τοῦ νυμφίου, τὰς λαμπάδας ἔχων λαμπράς: καὶ τῶν ἐν παρθενίᾳ ταλαιπωρηθεισῶν, ὁ μηδὲ γευσάμενος τῶν πόνων ἐκείνων, ἀπὸ ταύτης ἔσται βελτίων. Τοσαύτη ἡ τῆς ἐλεημοσύνης ἰσχύς: μετὰ πολλῆς εἰσάγει τῆς παῤῥησίας τοὺς αὑτῆς τροφίμους. Γνωρίμη γάρ ἐστι τοῖς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ πυλωροῖς, τοῖς τὰς θύρας κατέχουσι τοῦ νυμφῶνος: οὐ μόνον δὲ γνωρίμη, ἀλλὰ καὶ αἰδέσιμος: καὶ οὓς ἂν ἐπιγνῷ τετιμηκότας αὐτὴν, μετὰ πολλῆς εἰσάξει τῆς παῤῥησίας, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀντερεῖ, ἀλλὰ πάντες ὑποχωροῦσιν. Εἰ γὰρ τὸν Θεὸν εἰς τὴν γῆν κατήγαγε καὶ ἔπεισεν ἄνθρωπον γενέσθαι, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἄνθρωπον εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀναγαγεῖν δυνήσεται. Μεγάλη γὰρ αὐτῆς ἡ ἰσχύς. Εἰ οὖν ἀπὸ ἐλέους καὶ φιλανθρωπίας ὁ Θεὸς ἄνθρωπος ἐγένετο, καὶ ἔπεισεν αὐτὸν δοῦλον γενέσθαι, πολλῷ μᾶλλον τοὺς δούλους εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν εἰσάξει τὴν αὑτοῦ. Ταύτην ἀγαπήσωμεν, ταύτην στέρξωμεν, μὴ μίαν ἡμέραν μηδὲ δευτέραν, ἀλλὰ διὰ παντὸς τοῦ χρόνου, ἵνα ἡμᾶς ἐπιγνῷ: ἂν αὐτὴ ἡμᾶς ἐπιγνῷ, καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἐπιγνώσεται: ἂν αὐτὴ ἀγνοήσῃ, καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἀγνοήσει, καὶ ἐρεῖ: Οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς. Ἀλλὰ μὴ γένοιτο ταύτης ἀκοῦσαι ἡμᾶς τῆς φωνῆς, ἀλλὰ τῆς μακαρίας ἐκείνης: Δεῦτε, οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου: ἧς γένοιτο πάντας ἡμᾶς ἐπιτυχεῖν, χάριτι καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ, ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, μεθ' οὗ τῷ Πατρὶ, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς.