Homilies Of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop Of Constantinople, On The Second Epistle Of St. Paul The Apostle To Timothy.
2 Timothy i. 1, 2
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Jesus Christ, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What is the reason of his writing this second Epistle to Timothy? He had said, “I hope to come unto thee shortly” (1 Tim. iii. 14.), and as this had not taken place, instead of coming to him, he consoles him by a letter, when he was grieving perhaps for his absence, and oppressed by the cares of the government, which he had now taken in hand. For even great men, when they are placed at the helm, and are charged with the direction of the Church, feel the strangeness of their position, and are overwhelmed, as it were, by the waves of business. This was particularly the case when the Gospel was first preached, when the ground was everywhere unturned, and all was opposition and hostility. There were, besides, heresies commencing from the Jewish teachers, as he has shown in his former Epistle. Nor does he only comfort him by letters, he invites him to come to him: “Do thy diligence,” he says, “to come shortly unto me,” and, “when thou comest, bring with thee the books, but especially the parchments.” (2 Tim. iv. 9, 13.) And he seems to have written this Epistle when his end was approaching. For he says, “I am now ready to be offered up”; and again, “At my first answer no man stood with me.” (2 Tim. iv. 6, 16.) To set all this right, he both offers consolation from his own trials, and also says,
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.”
Thus at the very commencement he raises up his mind. Tell me not, he says, of the dangers here. These obtain for us eternal life, where there is no peril, where grief and mourning flee away. For He hath not made us Apostles only that we might encounter dangers, but that we might even suffer and die.1 If the reading is correct, πάσχωμεν must be emphatic, meaning “actually” suffer, for it is harsh to render it of the good things to come. And as it would not be a consolation to recount to him his own troubles, but rather an increase of his grief, he begins immediately with offering comfort, saying, “According to the promise of life which is in Jesus Christ.” But if it is a “promise,” seek it not here. For, “hope that is seen is not hope.” (Rom. viii. 24.)
Ver. 2. “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son.”
Not merely his “son,” but, “dearly beloved”; since it is possible for sons not to be beloved. Not such, he means, art thou; I call thee not merely a son, but a “dearly beloved son.” As he calls the Galatians his children, but at the same time complains of them; “My little children,” he says, “of whom I travail in birth again.” (Gal. iv. 19.) And he bears particular testimony to his virtue by calling him “beloved.” For where love does not arise from nature, it must arise from the merit of the object. Those who are born of us, are loved not only on account of their virtue, but from the force of nature; but when those who are of the faith are beloved, it is on account of nothing but their merit, for what else can it be? And this especially in the case of Paul, who never acted from partiality. And further, he shows by calling him his “beloved son,” that it was not because he was offended with him, or despised him, or condemned him; that he did not come to him.
Ver. 2. “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These things which he before prayed for, he again invokes upon him. And observe how, at the very beginning, he excuses himself for not having come to him, nor seen him. For his words, “Till I come,” and, “Hoping to come to thee shortly,” had led Timothy to expect his coming soon. For this he excuses himself, but he does not immediately mention the cause of his not coming, lest he should grieve him mightily. For he was detained in prison by the emperor. But when at the end of the Epistle he invited him to come to him, then he informed him of it. He does not at the outset plunge him into sorrow, but encourages the hope that he shall see him. “Greatly desiring to see thee,” and “Do thy diligence to come unto me shortly.” (2 Tim. i. 4, and iv. 9.) Immediately therefore he raises him up, and proceeds to praise him.
Ver. 3, 4. “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I might be filled with joy.”
“‘I thank God,’ he says, ‘that I remember thee,’ so much do I love thee.” This is a mark of excessive love, when a man glories in his affection from loving so much. “I thank God,” he says, “Whom I serve”: and how? “With a pure conscience,” for he had not violated his conscience. And here he speaks of his blameless life, for he everywhere calls his life his conscience. Or because I never gave up any good that I purposed, for any human cause, not even when I was a persecutor. Wherefore he says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim. i. 13.); all but saying, “Do not suspect that it was done of wickedness.” He properly commends his own disposition, that his love may appear sincere. For what he says is in fact, “I am not false, I do not think one thing and profess another.” So in the book of Acts we read he was compelled to praise himself. For when they slandered him as a seditious man and an innovator, he said in his own defense, “Ananias said to me, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” (Acts xxii. 14, 15.) In the same manner here, that he may not, as if he had been forgetful, have the character of one void of friendship and conscience, he justly praises himself, saying, that “without ceasing I have remembrance of thee,” and not simply that, but “in my prayers.” That is, it is the business of my prayers, that which I constantly continue to perform. For this he shows by saying, “For this I besought God day and night, desiring to see thee.” Mark his fervent desire, the intensity2 μανίαν. Lit. “madness.” of his love. And again, his humility, how he apologizes to his disciples, and then he shows that it was not on light or vain grounds; and this he had shown us before, but again gives proof of it. “Being mindful of thy tears.” It was natural for Timothy, when parting from him,3 The present tense implies that it was at the time of parting. Mr. Greswell supposes that St. Paul had been recently apprehended in the presence of Timothy; see his work on the Harmony of the Gospels, Vol. 2, Diss. 1, pp. 97, 98. to mourn and weep, more than a child torn away from the milk and from the breast of its mother. “That I may be filled with joy; greatly desiring to see thee.” I would not willingly have deprived myself of so great a pleasure, though I had been of an unfeeling and brutal nature, for those tears coming to my remembrance would have been enough to soften me. But such is not my character. I am one of those who serve God purely; so that many strong motives urged me to come to thee. So then he wept. And he mentions another cause, and that of a consolatory kind.
Ver. 5. “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee.”
This is another commendation, that Timothy came not of Gentiles, nor of unbelievers, but of a family that served Christ from the first. (Acts xvi. 1, 3.)
“Which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.”
For Timothy, it says, “was the son of a certain woman which was a Jewess, and believed.” How a Jewess? how believing? Because she was not of the Gentiles, “but on account of his father, who was a Greek, and of the Jews that were in those quarters, he took and circumcised him.” Thus, as these mixtures of Jews and Gentiles took place, the Law began gradually to be dissolved. And mark in how many ways he shows that he did not despise him. “I serve God,” he says, “I have a true conscience” for my part, and thou hast thy “tears,” and not thy tears only, but for “thy faith,” because thou art a laborer for the Truth, because there is no deceit in thee. As therefore thou showest thyself worthy of love, being so affectionate, so genuine a disciple of Christ; and as I am not one of those who are devoid of affection, but of those who earnestly pursue the Truth; what hindered me from coming to thee?
“And I am persuaded that in thee also.”
From the beginning, he means, thou hast had this excellency. Thou receivedst from thy forefathers the faith unfeigned. For the praises of our ancestors, when we share in them, redound also to us. Otherwise they avail nothing, but rather condemn us; wherefore he has said, “I am persuaded that in thee also.” It is not a conjecture, he means, it is my persuasion; I am fully assured of it. If therefore from no human motive thou hast embraced it, nothing will be able to shake thy faith.
Ver. 6. “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
You see how greatly dispirited and dejected he considers him to be. He almost says, “Think not that I despise thee, but be assured that I do not condemn thee, nor have I forgotten thee. Consider, at any rate, thy mother and thy grandmother. It is because I know that thou hast unfeigned faith that I put thee in remembrance.” For it requires much zeal to stir up the gift of God. As fire requires fuel, so grace requires our alacrity, that it may be ever fervent. “I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, that is in thee by the putting on of my hands,” that is, the grace of the Spirit, which thou hast received, for presiding over the Church, for the working of miracles, and for every service. For this grace it is in our power to kindle or to extinguish; wherefore he elsewhere says, “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thess. v. 19.) For by sloth and carelessness it is quenched, and by watchfulness and diligence it is kept alive. For it is in thee indeed, but do thou render it more vehement, that is, fill it with confidence, with joy and delight. Stand manfully.
Ver. 7. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
That is, we did not receive the Spirit, that we should shrink from exertion, but that we may speak with boldness. For to many He gives a spirit of fear, as we read in the wars of the Kings. “A spirit of fear fell upon them.” (Ex. xv. 16?) That is, he infused terror into them. But to thee He has given, on the contrary, a spirit of power, and of love toward Himself. This, then, is of grace, and yet not merely of grace, but when we have first performed our own parts. For the Spirit that maketh us cry, “Abba, Father,” inspires us with love both towards Him, and towards our neighbor, that we may love one another. For love arises from power, and from not fearing. For nothing is so apt to dissolve love as fear, and a suspicion of treachery.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”:4 σωφρονισμοῦ. he calls a healthy state of the soul a sound mind, or it may mean sobriety of mind, or else a sobering of the mind, that we may be sober-minded, and that if any evil befall us, it may sober us, and cut off superfluities.
Moral. Let us then not be distressed at the evils that happen to us. This is sobriety of mind. “In the season of temptation,” he says, “make not haste.” (Ecclus. ii. 2.) Many have their several griefs at home, and we share in each other’s sorrows, though not in their sources. For one is unhappy on account of his wife, another on account of his child, or his domestic, another of his friend, another of his enemy, another of his neighbor, another from some loss. And various are the causes of sorrow, so that we can find no one free from trouble and unhappiness of some kind or other, but some have greater sorrows and some less. Let us not therefore be impatient, nor think ourselves only to be unhappy.
For there is no such thing in this mortal life as being exempt from sorrow. If not to-day, yet to-morrow; if not to-morrow, yet some later day trouble comes. For as one cannot sail, I mean, over a long sea, and not feel disquietude, so it is not possible to pass through this life, without experience of sorrow, yea though you name a rich man; for in that he is rich, he hath many occasions of inordinate desires,5 B. and Sav. Mar. ἀθυμιῶν, “of dejections.” Edd. ἐπιθυμιῶν. yea, though the king himself, since he too is ruled by many, and cannot do all that he would. Many favors he grants contrary to his wishes, and more than all men is obliged to do what he would not. How so? Because he has many about him who wish to receive his gifts. And just think how6 Sav. Tr. “and how great.” great is his chagrin, when he is desirous to effect something, but is unable, either from fear or suspicion, or hindered by enemies or by friends. Often when he has succeeded in achieving some end, he loses all the pleasure of it, from many becoming at enmity with him. Again, do you think that they are free from grief, who live a life of ease? It is impossible. As a man cannot escape death, so neither can he escape sorrow. How many troubles must they endure, which we cannot express in words, and which they only can know by experience! How many have prayed a thousand times to die, in the midst of their wealth and luxury! For luxury by no means puts men out of the reach of grief: it is rather the very thing to produce sorrows, diseases, and uneasiness, often when there is no real ground for it. For when such is the habit of the soul, it is apt to grieve even without a cause. Physicians say that from a weak state of the stomach arise sorrows7 Or, “pains.” without any occasion; and does not the like happen to ourselves, to feel uneasy, without knowing any cause for it? In short, we can find no one who is exempted from sorrow. And if he has less occasion for grief than ourselves, yet he thinks otherwise, for he feels his own sorrows, more than those of other men. As they who suffer pain in any part of their bodies, think that their sufferings exceed their neighbor’s. He that has a disease of the eye, thinks there is nothing so painful, and he that has a disorder in the stomach, considers that the sorest of diseases, and each thinks that the heaviest of sufferings, with which he is himself afflicted. So it is with sorrow, each thinks his own present grief the most severe. For of this he judges by his own experience. He that is childless considers nothing so sad as to be without children; he that is poor, and has many children, complains of the extreme evils of a large family. He who has but one, looks upon this as the greatest misery, because that one, being set too much store by, and never corrected, becomes willful, and brings grief upon his father. He who has a beautiful wife, thinks nothing so bad as having a beautiful wife, because it is the occasion of jealousy and intrigue. He who has an ugly one, thinks nothing worse than having a plain wife, because it is constantly disagreeable. The private man thinks nothing more mean, more useless, than his mode of life. The soldier declares that nothing is more toilsome, more perilous, than warfare; that it would he better to live on bread and water than endure such hardships. He that is in power thinks there can be no greater burden than to attend to the necessities of others. He that is subject to that power, thinks nothing more servile than living at the beck of others. The married man considers nothing worse than a wife, and the cares of marriage. The unmarried declares there is nothing so wretched as being unmarried, and wanting the repose of a home. The merchant thinks the husbandman happy in his security. The husbandman thinks the merchant so in his wealth. In short, all mankind are somehow hard to please, and discontented and impatient. When condemning the whole race, he saith, “Man is a thing of nought” (Ps. cxliv. 4.), implying that the whole kind is a wretched unhappy creature. How many long for old age! How many think youth a happy time! Thus each different period has its unhappiness. When we find ourselves censured on account of our youth, we say, why are we not old? and when our heads are hoary, we ask whither has our youth flown? Numberless, in short, are the occasions of sorrow. There is one path only by which this unevenness can be escaped. It is the path of virtue. Yet that too has its sorrows, only they are sorrows not unprofitable, but productive of gain and advantage. For if any one has sinned, he washes away his sin by the compunction that comes of his sorrow. Or, if he has grieved in sympathizing with a fallen brother, this is not without its recompense. For sympathy with those that are in misery gives us great confidence towards God.
Hear therefore what philosophy is taught by the example of Job in holy Scripture! Hear also what Paul saith: “Weep with them that weep”; and again, “Condescend to men of low estate.” (Rom. xii. 15, 16.) For, by the communication of sorrow, the extreme burden of it is lightened. For as in the case of a heavy load, he that bears part of the weight relieves him who was bearing it alone, so it is in all other things.
But now, when any one of our relatives dies, there are many who sit by and console us. Nay, we often raise up even an ass that has fallen; but when the souls of our brethren are falling, we overlook them and pass by, as if they were of less value than an ass. And if we see any one entering into a tavern indecently; nay, if we see him drunk, or guilty of any other unseemly action, we do not restrain him, we rather join him in it. Whence Paul has said: “They not only do these things, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom. i. 32.) The greater part even form associations8 συμμορίας. See on Stat. Hom. xi. fin. See also St. Chrysostom’s advice to Clubs, on Rom. xiii. 14, Hom. xxiv. 14. for the purposes of drunkenness. But do thou, O man, form associations to restrain the madness of inebriety. Such friendly doings are beneficial to those who are in bonds or in affliction. Something of this kind Paul enjoined to the Corinthians, alluding to which he says, “That there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Cor. xvi. 2.) But now everything is done with a view to luxury, reveling, and pleasure. We have a common seat, a common table, we have wine in common, and common expenses, but we have no community of alms. Such were the friendly doings in the time of the Apostles; they brought all their goods into the common stock. Now I do not require you to bestow all, but some part. “Let each lay by him in store on the first day of the week, as God has prospered him,” and lay it down as a tribute for the seven days. In this way give alms, whether more or less. “For thou shalt not appear before the Lord empty.” (Ex. xxiii. 15.) This was said to the Jews, how much more then to us. For this cause the poor stand before the doors, that no one may enter empty, but each may do alms at his entrance. Thou enterest to implore mercy. First show mercy. He that comes later owes the more. For when we have been first, he that is second pays down more.9 He means in human transactions, where money advanced always has a certain value beyond a deferred payment. Make God thy debtor, and then offer thy prayers. Lend to Him, and then ask a return, and thou shalt receive it with usury. God wills this, and does not retract. If thou ask with alms, He holds himself obliged. If thou ask with alms, thou lendest and receivest interest. Yes, I beseech you! It is not for stretching out thy hands thou shalt be heard! stretch forth thy hands, not to heaven, but to the poor. If thou stretch forth thy hand to the hands of the poor, thou hast reached the very summit of heaven. For He who sits there receives thine alms. But if thou liftest them up without a gift, thou gainest nothing. If the king, arrayed in purple, should come to thee and ask an alms, wouldest thou not readily give all that thou hast? But now when thou art entreated through the poor, not by an earthly but a heavenly King, dost thou stand regardless, and defer thy gift? What punishment then dost thou not deserve? For the being heard depends not upon the lifting up of thy hands, nor on the multitude of thy words, but upon thy works. For hear the prophet, “When ye” spread “forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear.” (Isa. i. 15.) For he ought to be silent, who needs mercy, and not even to look up to heaven; he that hath confidence may say10 Gr. “says,” but he means “with propriety,” for παρρησίαν ἔχων is the usual expression for one who has real claims. B. reads ὁδὲ ὡς παρ., “but this man, as if he had claims.” much. But what says the Scripture, “Judge for the fatherless, plead for the widow, learn to do good.” (Isa. i. 17.) In this way we shall be heard, though we lift not up our hands, nor utter a word, nor make request. In these things then let us be zealous, that we may obtain the promised blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness, &c.
ΤΟΥ ΕΝ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΥ ΥΠΟΜΝΗΜΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΜΟΘΕΟΝ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗΝ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑΝ. ΟΜΙΛΙΑ Αʹ. Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ θε λήματος Θεοῦ, κατ' ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, Τιμοθέῳ ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ χά ρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη ἀπὸ Θεοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Χρι στοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν. Τί δήποτε καὶ δευτέραν ἐπιστέλλει τῷ Τιμοθέῳ ἐπιστολήν; Εἶπεν, Ἐλπίζω ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ τάχιον: οὐκ ἐξεγένετο τοῦτο: παραμυθεῖται αὐτὸν διὰ γραμμάτων ἀντὶ τῆς παρουσίας, ἴσως τεθλιμμένον καὶ διὰ τοῦτο, καὶ διὰ τὸ ἀρχῆς ἤδη ἧφθαι τότε. Κἂν γὰρ μεγάλοι τινὲς ἄνδρες ὦσιν, ὅταν ἀναδέξωνται τοὺς οἴακας καὶ τὴν κυβέρνησιν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, ξενοπαθοῦσι, πολλοῖς πολλαχόθεν βαπτιζόμενοι πραγμάτων κύμασι, καὶ μάλιστα τότε, ὅτε ἡ ἀρχὴ τοῦ κηρύγματος ἦν, ὅτε πάντα ἀνήροτα, ὅτε πάντα ἐχθρὰ, ὅτε πάντα προσίστατο. Καὶ οὐ τοῦτο μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱρέσεις ἦσαν ἐξ Ἰουδαϊκῶν διδασκάλων ἀρχόμεναι, ἅπερ καὶ ἐν τῇ προτέρᾳ ἐνέφηνεν ἐπιστολῇ. Οὐ διὰ γραμμάτων δὲ αὐτὸν παραμυθεῖται μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ καλεῖ πρὸς ἑαυτόν: Σπούδασον γὰρ ἐλθεῖν πρός με ταχέως, φησί: καὶ, Ἐρχόμενος φέρε τὰ βιβλία, μάλιστα τὰς μεμβράνας. Δοκεῖ δέ μοι πρὸς τῷ τέλει εἶναι αὕτη ἡ ἐπιστολή: Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη, φησὶ, σπένδομαι: καὶ πάλιν, Ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ οὐδείς μοι συμπαρεγένετο. Ταῦτα δὴ πάντα διορθούμενος, καὶ τὴν παράκλησιν ποιεῖται ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκείων πειρασμῶν, καί φησι: Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ, κατ' ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Εὐθέως ἀνέστησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ προοιμίου. Μή μοι τοὺς ἐνταῦθα κινδύνους εἴπῃς, φησίν: οὗτοι τίκτουσιν ἡμῖν τὴν αἰώνιον ζωὴν, ἔνθα τοιοῦτον οὐδέν ἐστιν, ἔνθα ἀπέδρα ὀδύνη, λύπη καὶ στεναγμός. Οὐ γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο ἀποστόλους ἡμᾶς ἐποίησεν, ἵνα κινδυνεύσωμεν μόνον, φησὶν, ἀλλ' ἵνα καὶ ἀποθνήσκωμεν, ἵνα τοιαῦτα πάσχωμεν. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὸ τὰ οἰκεῖα διελθεῖν κακὰ οὐχὶ παράκλησις μόνον οὐκ ἦν, ἀλλὰ καὶ προσθήκη λύπης, εὐθέως ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ποιεῖται τὴν παραμυθίαν. Κατ' ἐπαγγελίαν, λέγων, ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησῷ. Εἰ δὲ ἐπαγγελία ἐστὶ, μὴ ζήτει αὐτὴν ἐνταῦθα: Ἐλπὶς γὰρ βλεπομένη, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐλπίς. Τιμοθέῳ ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ. Οὐχὶ ἁπλῶς, Τέκνῳ, ἀλλὰ, Ἀγαπητῷ. Ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι καὶ τέκνα μὴ ἀγαπώμενα: ἀλλ' οὐ σὺ τοιοῦτος, φησὶν, οὐδὲ τέκνον σε καλῶ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλὰ τέκνον ἀγαπητόν. Ἐπειδὴ καὶ Γαλάτας τέκνα καλεῖ, ἀλλ' ὅμως καὶ ἀλγεῖ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν, Τεκνία μου, λέγων, οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω. Μάλιστα δὲ πολλὴν αὐτῷ μαρτυρεῖ τὴν ἀρετὴν, ἀγαπητὸν καλῶν. Πῶς; Ὅταν γὰρ μὴ ἐκ φύσεως ᾖ ἡ ἀγάπη, ἀπὸ ἀρετῆς ἐστιν. Οἱ γοῦν ἐξ ἡμῶν τεχθέντες, οὐ δι' ἀρετὴν μόνον ἡμῖν εἰσιν ἀγαπητοὶ, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν τῆς φύσεως ἀνάγκην: οἱ δὲ κατὰ πίστιν ὅταν ὦσιν ἀγαπητοὶ, δι' οὐδὲν ἕτερόν εἰσιν, ἀλλ' ἢ δι' ἀρετήν: ἐπεὶ πόθεν ἄλλοθεν; καὶ μάλιστα παρὰ Παύλῳ τῷ οὐδὲν ποιοῦντι κατὰ πρόσκλισιν. Ἄλλως δὲ δείκνυσι διὰ τοῦ εἰπεῖν, Τέκνῳ ἀγαπητῷ, ὅτι οὐκ ὀργιζόμενος πρὸς αὐτὸν, οὐχὶ καταφρονῶν αὐτοῦ, οὐχὶ κατεγνωκὼς αὐτοῦ, οὐ παρεγένετο. Χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη ἀπὸ Θεοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν. Ἅπερ καὶ πρότερον, ταῦτα αὐτῷ καὶ νῦν ἐπεύχεται. Καὶ ὅρα πῶς εὐθέως ἐν τῷ προοιμίῳ πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ἀπολογεῖται, ὅτι οὐκ ἦλθε πρὸς αὐτὸν, οὐδὲ εἶδεν αὐτόν. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ, Ἕως ἔρχομαι, καὶ τὸ, Σπουδάζω ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ τάχιον, ταχεῖαν ἐποίει προσδοκᾷν τὴν παρουσίαν. Πρὸς τοῦτο οὖν εὐθέως ἀπολογεῖται. Καὶ τὴν μὲν αἰτίαν εὐθέως οὐ λέγει, δι' ἢν οὐκ ἦλθεν, ἵνα μὴ σφόδρα λυπήσῃ: αὕτη δὲ ἦν τὸ κατέχεσθαι αὐτὸν παρὰ τοῦ Καίσαρος: ὅτε δὲ αὐτὸν ἐκάλεσε πρὸς ἑαυτὸν πρὸς τῷ τέλει, τότε αὐτὴν ἐνέφηνεν. Εὐθέως δὲ αὐτὸν ἐκ προοιμίων οὐκ ἐμβάλλει εἰς λύπην, ἀλλ' ἐλπίδας ὑποφαίνει τοῦ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθαι: Ἐπιποθῶ σε ἰδεῖν, καὶ, Σπούδασον ἐλθεῖν πρός με ταχέως. Εὐθέως οὖν ἐκ τοῦ προοιμίου ἀνίστησιν αὐτὸν, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς λέγει μετ' ἐγκωμίου. Χάριν ἔχω τῷ Θεῷ, ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει, ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν ἐν ταῖς δεήσεσί μου νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, ἐπιποθῶν σε ἰδεῖν, μεμνημένος σου τῶν δακρύων, ἵνα χαρᾶς πληρωθῶ. Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ Θεῷ, ὅτι μέμνημαί σου, φησίν: οὕτω σε φιλῶ. Τοῦτο ὑπερβαλλούσης ἀγάπης, ὅταν καὶ κοσμῆταί τις τῇ φιλίᾳ ἐκ τοῦ σφόδρα φιλεῖν. Χάριν ἔχω, φησὶ, τῷ Θεῷ, ᾧ λατρεύω. Πῶς; Ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει ἀπὸ προγόνων: ὅτι τὸ συνειδὸς αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἦν βλαβέν. Ἄλλως δὲ ἐνταῦθα περὶ βίου φησὶ, καὶ πανταχοῦ τὴν συνείδησιν τὸν βίον λέγει. Ἢ ὅτι οὐδὲν ὧν προεθυμούμην καλῶν δι' ἀνθρωπίνην αἰτίαν προὔδωκα, οὐδὲ τότε ὅτε ἐδίωκον. Διό φησιν, Ἀλλ' ἠλεήθην, ὅτι ἀγνοῶν ἐποίησα ἐν ἀπιστίᾳ: μονονουχὶ λέγων, μὴ ὑποπτεύσῃς τὸ πρᾶγμα κακίαν εἶναι. Καλῶς συνίστησιν αὑτοῦ τὸ ἦθος, ἵνα ἀξιόπιστον δειχθῇ τὸ περὶ τὴν ἀγάπην. Ὃ δὲ λέγει, τοῦτό ἐστιν: Οὐδὲν ψεύδομαι, οὐδὲ ἄλλα ἔχω, καὶ ἄλλα λέγω. Ὥστε καὶ τότε ἀναγκασθεὶς ἑαυτὸν ἐνεκωμίασεν, ὥς που τὸ τῶν Πράξεων βιβλίον δηλοῖ. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ὡς στασιαστὴν αὐτὸν διέβαλλον καὶ νεωτεροποιὸν, διὰ τοῦτο ἔλεγε: Καὶ εἶπεν Ἀνανίας πρός με: Ὁ Θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν προεχειρίσατό σε γνῶναι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἰδεῖν τὸν δίκαιον, καὶ ἀκοῦσαι φωνὴν ἐκ στόματος αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἔσῃ μάρτυς αὐτοῦ πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, ὧν ἑώρακας καὶ ἤκουσας. Οὕτω καὶ ἐνταῦθα, ἵνα μὴ λάβῃ ἀφίλου καὶ ἀσυνειδήτου δόξαν ὡς ἐπιλελησμένος, εἰκότως ἑαυτὸν ἐγκωμιάζει λέγων, Ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν, καὶ οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλ' Ἐν ταῖς δεήσεσί μου. Τουτέστιν, εὐχῆς μοι ἔργον ἐστὶ, τὸν πάντα χρόνον διατελῶ τοῦτο ποιῶν διηνεκῶς. Τοῦτο γὰρ ἐμφαίνει τῷ εἰπεῖν, Νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ὑπὲρ τούτου τὸν Θεὸν παρεκάλουν, ἐπιποθῶν σε ἰδεῖν. Ὁρᾷς ζέοντα πόθον; ὁρᾷς μανίαν ἀγάπης; ὁρᾷς ταπεινοφροσύνην; πῶς ἀπολογεῖται τῷ μαθητῇ; Εἶτα δείκνυσιν ὅτι οὐχ ἁπλῶς οὐδὲ εἰκῆ. Ἔδειξε μὲν οὖν καὶ ἤδη, δείκνυσι δὲ καὶ ἐνταῦθα: φησὶ γὰρ, Μεμνημένος σου τῶν δακρύων. Εἰκὸς ἦν αὐτὸν ἀποσχιζόμενον κλαίειν καὶ ὀδύρεσθαι μᾶλλον, ἢ παιδίον τοῦ μαστοῦ καὶ τῆς τίτθης ἀποσπώμενον καὶ γάλακτος. Ἵνα χαρᾶς, φησὶ, πληρωθῶ, ἐπιποθῶ σε ἰδεῖν. Οὐκ ἂν οὖν ἐμαυτὸν τοσαύτης ἀπεστέρησα ἡδονῆς, εἰ καὶ σφόδρα ἀναίσθητος ἤμην καὶ ὠμὸς καὶ θηριώδης: ἱκανὰ γὰρ ἦν τὰ δάκρυα ἐκεῖνα εἰς μνήμην ἐλθόντα κάμψαι. Νυνὶ δὲ οὐχ εἷς τῶν τοιούτων εἰμὶ, ἀλλὰ τῶν καθαρῶς λατρευόντων τῷ Θεῷ. Ὥστε πολλαί με ἦγον ἀνάγκαι πρὸς σέ. Ἄρα οὖν ἔκλαιε. Καὶ ἑτέραν τίθησιν αἰτίαν ἅμα καὶ παρακλητικήν: Ὑπόμνησιν, φησὶ, λαμβάνων τῆς ἐν σοὶ ἀνυποκρίτου πίστεως. βʹ. Εἶτα καὶ ἄλλο ἐγκώμιον, ὅτι οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνῶν, οὐδὲ ἐξ ἀπίστων, ἀλλ' ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ οἰκίας ἦν τῷ Χριστῷ δουλευούσης. Ἥτις ἐνῴκησε, φησὶν, ἐν τῇ μάμμῃ σου Λωΐδι, καὶ ἐν τῇ μητρί σου Εὐνίκῃ. Ἦν γὰρ, φησὶν, υἱὸς γυναικὸς Ἰουδαίας πιστῆς. Πῶς Ἰουδαίας; πῶς πιστῆς; Οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνικῶν. Διὰ δὲ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ, ὅτι Ἕλλην ὑπῆρχε, καὶ διὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους τοὺς ὄντας ἐν τοῖς τόποις ἐκείνοις, ἔλαβε καὶ περιέτεμεν αὐτόν. Ὁρᾷς πῶς ἤρχετο ὁ νόμος καταλύεσθαι, τῶν ἐπιμιξιῶν τούτων γινομένων; Καὶ ὅρα πόσα ἔθηκε πληροφορῶν ὅτι οὐ κατεφρόνησεν. Ἐγὼ λατρεύω τῷ Θεῷ, φησί: συνείδησιν ἔχω ἀληθῆ: σὺ δὲ τὰ δάκρυα. Οὐ διὰ τὰ δάκρυα μόνον (ἐπιποθῶ σε ἰδεῖν), ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν πίστιν, ὅτι ἀληθείας εἶ ἐργάτης, ὅτι οὐδὲν δολερὸν παρὰ σοί. Ὅταν οὖν καὶ σαυτὸν ἄξιον τοῦ φιλεῖσθαι παρέχῃς, οὕτω μὲν ὢν φιλόστοργος, οὕτω δὲ γνήσιος μαθητὴς τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅταν μηδὲ ἐγὼ τῶν ἀστόργων ὦ, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἀληθεύειν σπουδαζόντων, τί τὸ κωλύον ἦν ἐμὲ ἐλθεῖν; Πέπεισμαι δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί. Ἄνωθεν ἔχεις τοῦτο, φησὶ, τὸ καλὸν, ἐκ προγόνων διεδέξω τὴν πίστιν τὴν ἀνυπόκριτον. Τὰ γὰρ τῶν προγόνων ἐγκώμια, ὅταν μὲν αὐτοῖς κοινωνῶμεν, καὶ ἡμῶν ἐστιν: ὅταν δὲ μὴ, οὐδὲν ἰσχύει, ἀλλὰ καὶ μᾶλλον κατακρίνει. Διὸ καὶ ἐπήγαγε, Πέπεισμαι δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί. Οὐ στοχάζομαι, φησὶν, ἀλλὰ πέπεισμαι καὶ πεπληροφόρημαι. Εἰ τοίνυν δι' οὐδὲν ἀνθρώπινον ἦλθες ἐπὶ τοῦτο, οὐδέν σε παρασαλεῦσαι δυνήσεται. Δι' ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναμιμνήσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου. Ὅρα πῶς δείκνυσιν αὐτὸν ἐν ἀθυμίᾳ ὄντα πολλῇ, πῶς ἐν κατηφείᾳ. Μονονουχὶ γὰρ τοῦτό φησι: Μὴ νομίσῃς ὅτι κατεφρόνησά σου: ἀλλ' εἰδὼς ἔσο, ὅτι οὔτε κατέγνων, οὐδὲ ἐπελήσθην: καὶ εἰ μηδένα ἕτερον, τὴν μάμμην καὶ τὴν μητέρα ἐννόει. Διὸ ἐπειδὴ οἶδα, ὅτι ἀνυπόκριτον ἔχεις πίστιν, ἀναμιμνήσκω: δεῖ γάρ σοι προθυμίας πρὸς τὸ ἀναζωπυρῆσαι τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ. Καθάπερ τὸ πῦρ δεῖται ξύλων, οὕτω καὶ ἡ χάρις τῆς προθυμίας τῆς ἡμετέρας, ἵνα ἀεὶ ἀναζέῃ. Ἀναμιμνήσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου: τουτέστι, τὴν χάριν τοῦ Πνεύματος, ἣν ἔλαβες εἰς προστασίαν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, εἰς σημεῖα, εἰς τὴν λατρείαν ἅπασαν. Ἐν ἡμῖν γάρ ἐστι καὶ σβέσαι καὶ ἀνάψαι τοῦτο: διὸ ἀλλαχοῦ λέγει, Τὸ Πνεῦμα μὴ σβέννυτε. Ὑπὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀκηδίας καὶ ῥᾳθυμίας σβέννυται, ὑπὸ δὲ νήψεως καὶ προσοχῆς διεγείρεται. Ἔνεστι μὲν γὰρ ἐν σοὶ, πλὴν ἀλλὰ σφοδρότερον ἐργάζου αὐτὸ, τουτέστι, παῤῥησίας ἔμπλησον αὐτὸ, χαρᾶς, εὐφροσύνης: στῆθι γενναίως. Οὐ γὰρ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς πνεῦμα δειλίας, ἀλλὰ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀγάπης καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ. Τουτέστιν, οὐ διὰ τοῦτο τὸ πνεῦμα ἐλάβομεν, ἵνα ὑποστελλώμεθα, ἀλλ' ἵνα παῤῥησιαζώμεθα. Πολλοῖς γὰρ δίδωσι πνεῦμα δειλίας, οἷον ἐπὶ τῶν πολέμων ἐν ταῖς Βασιλείαις γέγονε. Καὶ ἔπεσε, φησὶ, πνεῦμα δειλίας ἐπ' αὐτούς: τουτέστι, φόβον αὐτοῖς ἐνέθηκεν. Ἀλλὰ σοὶ ἔδωκε τοὐναντίον πνεῦμα δυνάμεως καὶ ἀγάπης τῆς εἰς αὐτόν. Ἄρα καὶ τοῦτο ἀπὸ χάριτός ἐστιν, ἀλλ' οὐχ ἁπλῶς ἀπὸ χάριτος, ἀλλ' ὅταν καὶ ἡμεῖς πρότεροι ἐπιδειξώμεθα τὰ παρ' ἑαυτῶν. Τὸ γὰρ ποιοῦν ἡμᾶς κράζειν, Ἀββᾶ, ὁ Πατὴρ, καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τίθησι τὴν πρὸς αὐτὸν, καὶ τὴν πρὸς τὸν πλησίον: ἵνα ἀλλήλους, φησὶν, ἀγαπῶμεν: ἀπὸ γὰρ τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ τοῦ μὴ δειλιᾷν ἡ ἀγάπη γίνεται. Οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτω φιλίαν διαλύειν εἴωθεν, ὡς δειλία καὶ προδοσίας φήμη. Οὐ γὰρ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς, φησὶ, πνεῦμα δειλίας, ἀλλὰ ἀγάπης καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ. Ἤτοι σωφρονισμὸν τὴν ὑγείαν λέγει τῆς διανοίας καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς, ἢ Σωφρονισμοῦ, ὥστε σωφρονίζεσθαι ἡμᾶς, κἄν τι δεινὸν γένηται, ἵνα σωφρονίζῃ ἡμᾶς, καὶ τὰ περιττὰ κόπτῃ. Μὴ τοίνυν ἀλγῶμεν ἐπὶ τοῖς δεινοῖς τοῖς συμπίπτουσι: σωφρονισμὸς τοῦτό ἐστι. Μὴ σπεύσῃς, φησὶν, ἐν καιρῷ ἐπαγωγῆς. Πολλοὶ πολλὰ κατ' οἶκον ἔχουσι λυπηρὰ, καὶ τῇ μὲν λύπῃ κοινωνοῦμεν ἀλλήλοις, τῇ δὲ ὑποθέσει οὐκέτι: ἀλλ' ὁ μὲν ἀπὸ γυναικὸς, ὁ δὲ ἀπὸ παιδὸς, ἕτερος ἀπὸ οἰκέτου, ἄλλος ἀπὸ φίλου, ἄλλος ἀπὸ ἐχθροῦ, ἄλλος ἀπὸ γείτονος, ἄλλος ἀπὸ ζημίας, καὶ πολλαὶ καὶ διάφοροί εἰσιν αἱ αἰτίαι τῆς λύπης: καὶ ὅλως οὐκ ἔστιν εὑρεῖν τινα λύπης καθαρὸν καὶ ἀθυμίας, ἀλλὰ ὁ μὲν μικρὰ, ὁ δὲ μείζονα ἔχει τὰ λυποῦντα. Μὴ τοίνυν ἀσχάλλωμεν, μηδὲ αὐτοὶ μόνοι νομίζωμεν εἶναι ἐν λύπῃ. γʹ. Οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἄνθρωπον ὄντα καὶ τὸν ἐπίκηρον τοῦτον ζῶντα βίον, λύπης εἶναι χωρίς: ἀλλ' ἂν μὴ σήμερον, αὔριον: ἂν μὴ αὔριον, μετὰ ταῦτα συμβαίνει τὸ λυπηρόν. Ὥσπερ γὰρ οὐκ ἔνι τινὰ πλέοντα μὴ εἶναι ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ, πλέοντα λέγω πέλαγος μέγα: οὕτως οὐδὲ τὸν τοῦτον τὸν βίον ζῶντα οὐχ οἷόν τε μὴ εἶναι ἐν ἀθυμίᾳ, κἂν πλούσιον εἴπῃς: ἐπειδὴ γὰρ πλούσιός ἐστι, πολλὰς ἀφορμὰς ἐπιθυμιῶν ἔχει: κἂν αὐτὸν τὸν βασιλέα: καὶ γὰρ καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ πολλῶν κρατεῖται, καὶ οὐ πάντα κατὰ γνώμην πράττει, ἀλλὰ πολλὰ παρὰ τὸ δοκοῦν αὐτῷ χαρίζεται, καὶ μάλιστα πάντων ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν ὁ πάντα πράττων ἃ μὴ θέλει. Τί δήποτε; Ὅτι πολλοὺς ἔχει τοὺς ἐκ τῶν ἐκείνου λαμβάνειν βουλομένους. Ἐννόησον δὲ, ἐν ὅσῃ ἐστὶν ἀθυμίᾳ, ὅταν βούληται μέν τι πράττειν, μὴ δύνηται δὲ ἢ διὰ δέος, ἢ δι' ὑποψίαν, ἢ διὰ πολεμίους, ἢ διὰ φίλους; Πολλάκις δὲ, ὅταν καὶ φιλονεικήσῃ τι πρᾶξαι τῶν αὐτῷ δοκούντων, τὸ πᾶν αὐτῷ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἠφάνισε τῆς ἐκ τῆς πράξεως ἐκείνης, πολλῶν ὄντων τῶν ἀπεχθανομένων αὐτῷ. Ἀλλὰ τί; νομίζεις τοὺς ἀπράγμονα βίον ζῶντας εἶναι ἐν βίῳ λύπης καθαρούς; Οὐκ ἔστιν. Ὥσπερ γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν εἶναι ἀθάνατον ἄνθρωπον ὄντα, οὕτως οὐδὲ λύπης χωρίς. Πόσα εἰκὸς ὑπομένειν αὐτοὺς πράγματα, ἃ λόγῳ μὲν παραστῆσαι οὐκ ἔστιν, ἔργῳ δὲ ἐκείνους μόνους δυνατὸν εἰδέναι; πόσοι μυριάκις ηὔξαντο ἀποθανεῖν ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ πλούτῳ, καὶ τῇ τρυφῇ; Τὸ γὰρ τρυφᾷν οὐ πάντως καὶ ἐκτὸς εἶναι λύπης ποιεῖ: μᾶλλον δὲ αὐτὸ τὸ τρυφᾷν μυρίας τίκτει λύπας, νόσους, ἀηδίας: καὶ χωρὶς τούτων, αἰτίας πολλάκις μὴ ὑποκειμένης. Ὅταν γὰρ ἡ ψυχὴ ἐν ἕξει τοιαύτῃ καταστῇ, καὶ ἁπλῶς οἶδεν ἀλγεῖν. Καὶ γὰρ ἰατρῶν λέγουσι παῖδες ὅτι καὶ παρὰ στομάχου κατασκευὴν ἀσθενῆ ἄκαιροι γίνονται λύπαι. Ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ παρ' ἡμῖν τοῦτο συμπίπτει, ὅταν ἀλγῶμεν, καὶ μὴ εἰδῶμεν τῆς λύπης τὴν ὑπόθεσιν; Καὶ ὅλως οὐκ ἔστιν εὑρεῖν τινα λύπης χωρίς: εἰ δὲ οὐ τοσαύτην ἔχουσιν ἀφορμὴν λύπης, ὅσην ἡμεῖς, ὅμως οὕτως ἔχειν ἕκαστος νομίζει: τὸ γὰρ οἰκεῖον μᾶλλον αὐτὸν λυπεῖ τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου. Ὥσπερ γὰρ οἱ τὰ μέρη τῶν σωμάτων ἀλγοῦντες, νομίζουσι τοὺς πλησίον πλεονεκτεῖν ταῖς ἀλγηδόσι, καὶ ὁ τὸν ὀφθαλμὸν νοσῶν, οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἡγεῖται τοιοῦτον εἶναι πάθος, οἷον τὸ ἑαυτοῦ: πάλιν ὁ τὸν στόμαχον νοσῶν, τοῦτο πάντων χαλεπώτερον εἶναί φησι, καὶ ἕκαστος ἐν ᾧ κατέχεται, τοῦτο πάντων ἀνιαρότερον εἶναι ἡγεῖται: οὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀθυμίας, ἕκαστος ὑπὸ τῆς λύπης ἧς κατέχεται, ταύτην φησὶν εἶναι ἀλγεινοτέραν: μετὰ γὰρ τῆς πείρας τῆς οἰκείας τοῦτο κρίνει. Οἷον, ὁ παῖδας οὐκ ἔχων, οὐδὲν οὕτω δεινὸν νομίζει, ὡς ἀπαιδίαν: ὁ πολλοὺς ἔχων πάλιν μετὰ πενίας, οὐδὲν οὕτως ὡς πολυπαιδίαν αἰτιᾶται: ὁ ἕνα ἔχων, οὐδὲν χεῖρον τοῦ ἕνα ἔχειν νομίζει. Ἐντεῦθεν γὰρ, φησὶ, καὶ ῥᾳθυμίας γίνεται, καὶ ἐν λύπῃ τὸν πατέρα καθίστησιν, ἀεὶ περιπόθητος αὐτῷ τυγχάνων, καὶ οὐδεμίαν ἐπιστροφὴν δεχόμενος. Ὁ καλὴν ἔχων γυναῖκα, οὐδὲν χεῖρόν φησι τοῦ καλὴν ἔχειν γυναῖκα: ὑποψίας γὰρ τὸ πρᾶγμα γέμει καὶ ἐπιβουλῆς: ὁ δυσειδῆ, οὐδὲν χεῖρόν φησι τοῦ ἄμορφον ἔχειν γυναῖκα: ἀηδίας γὰρ τὸ πρᾶγμα ἐμπέπλησται. Ὁ ἰδιώτης οὐδὲν ἀχρηστότερον τοῦ βίου τούτου φησὶν οὐδὲ εὐτελέστερον: ὁ στρατιώτης οὐδὲν μοχθηρότερόν φησιν, οὐδὲ ἐπισφαλέστερον τῆς στρατείας: βέλτιον γὰρ ἄρτῳ κεχρῆσθαι μόνῳ καὶ ὕδατι, ἢ τοσαύτας φέρειν ἐπαχθείας. Ὁ ἐν ἀρχῇ ὢν οὐδὲν ἐπιπονώτερόν φησι τοῦ τῶν ἄλλων τὰς ἀνάγκας θεραπεύειν: ὁ ἀρχόμενος οὐδὲν δουλικώτερόν φησιν ἑτέρων ἐξουσίᾳ ὑποκεῖσθαι. Ὁ γεγαμηκὼς οὐδὲν χεῖρόν φησι γυναικὸς καὶ φροντίδος: ὁ μὴ γεγαμηκὼς οὐδὲν ἀνελευθεριώτερόν φησι τοῦ μὴ γαμεῖν, καὶ οἰκίας ἀπεστερῆσθαι καὶ ἀναπαύσεως. Ὁ ἔμπορος τὸν γεωργὸν μακαρίζει τῆς ἀσφαλείας: ὁ γεωργὸς τὸν ἔμπορον τοῦ πλούτου. Καὶ ὅλως δυσάρεστόν πως τὸ γένος τὸ ἀνθρώπινον, μεμψίμοιρον καὶ βαρύθυμόν ἐστιν. Ὅτε πάντων τῶν ἀνθρώπων καταγινώσκει, τότε φησὶν, Οὐδὲν ἄνθρωπος, τὴν πᾶσαν λέγοντες φύσιν ἐπίμοχθον ζῶον καὶ ταλαίπωρον. Πόσοι τὸ γῆρας θαυμάζουσι; πόσοι τὴν νεότητα μακαρίζουσιν; Οὕτω καὶ ταῖς ἡλικίαις πολλὴ ἡ ἀθυμία. Ὅταν ἴδωμεν κατηγορουμένους ἡμᾶς διὰ ἡλικίαν, φαμὲν, Διὰ τί μὴ ἦμεν γέροντες; ὅταν λευκαίνηται ἡ κεφαλὴ, πάλιν, Ποῦ ἡ νεότης; Καὶ ὅλως μυρίας ἔχομεν ἀφορμὰς τοῦ λυπεῖσθαι. Μία μόνη ἐστὶν ὁδὸς ταύτης ἀπηλλαγμένη τῆς ἀνωμαλίας, ἡ κατὰ ἀρετήν: μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ αὐτὴ λύπην ἔχει, ἀλλὰ λύπην οὐκ ἀνόνητον, ἀλλὰ κέρδος καὶ ὠφέλειαν ἔχουσαν. Ἢ γὰρ ἥμαρτέ τις, καὶ διὰ τῆς λύπης κατανυγεὶς, ἀπενίψατο τὰ ἁμαρτήματα: ἢ ἀδελφῷ πεπτωκότι συνήλγησε, καὶ ἐνταῦθα πάλιν ἔχει τὸν μισθὸν οὐ μικρόν: τὸ γὰρ συναλγεῖν τοῖς ἐν συμφοραῖς οὖσι, πολλὴν ἡμῖν πρὸς Θεὸν δίδωσι τὴν παῤῥησίαν. δʹ. Ἄκουσον ὅσα περὶ τοῦ Ἰὼβ φιλοσοφεῖ ἡ θεία Γραφή: ἄκουσον καὶ Παῦλος τί φησι: Κλαίειν μετὰ κλαιόντων: καὶ πάλιν, Τοῖς ταπεινοῖς συναπαγόμενοι. Ἡ γὰρ κοινωνία τῶν λυπουμένων τὸ σφόδρα φορτικὸν τῆς λύπης ἀφαιρεῖν εἴωθεν. Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐπὶ φορτίου, ἂν τοῦ βάρους τις κοινωνήσῃ, ἐπελάφρυνε τὸν μόνον τὸ ἄχθος φέροντα, οὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων. Νῦν δὲ τῶν μὲν οἰκείων ἡμῖν τινος τετελευτηκότος, πολλοὶ οἱ παρακαθήμενοι, πολλοὶ οἱ παραμυθούμενοι: καὶ ὄνον πεσόντα πολλάκις διεγείρομεν, τῶν δὲ ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν τὰς ψυχὰς πιπτούσας ὄνου μᾶλλον παραβλέπομεν καὶ παρατρέχομεν. Καὶ ἐὰν εἰς καπηλεῖον αὐτὸν ἴδωμεν ἀσέμνως εἰσιόντα, οὐκ ἀνακόπτομεν: κἂν μεθύοντα, οὐ κωλύομεν, κἂν ὅ τι δήποτε ἕτερον ποιοῦντα τῶν ἀτόπων: ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον καὶ συμπράττομεν. Διὰ τοῦτο Παῦλος ἔλεγεν, Οὐ μόνον αὐτοὶ ποιοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσι τοῖς πράττουσι: καὶ συμμορίας πότου καὶ μέθης ποιοῦσιν οἱ πολλοί. Ποίησον, ἄνθρωπε, συμμορίας, ὥστε ἀποθέσθαι τὴν μανίαν τῆς μέθης: τοῖς δεδεμένοις καλὰ ταῦτα τὰ φιλικὰ, τοῖς ἐν θλίψει οὖσι. Τοιοῦτόν τι καὶ Κορινθίοις ἐπέταξεν ὁ Παῦλος, Ἵνα μὴ, ὅταν ἔλθω φησὶ, τότε λογίαι γίνωνται. Νῦν δὲ μέθης μὲν καὶ τρυφῆς καὶ σπατάλης ἕνεκεν πάντα πράττομεν, καὶ κλίνην κοινὴν, καὶ τράπεζαν κοινὴν, καὶ οἶνον κοινὸν, καὶ ἀνάλωμα κοινὸν ποιοῦμεν: ἐλεημοσύνην δὲ οὐδεὶς ἐποιήσατο κοινήν. Τοιαῦτα ἦν ἐπὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων τὰ φιλικὰ, πάντα εἰς μέσον κατετίθεντο τὰ ὑπάρχοντα. Ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ πάντα κελεύω, ἀλλὰ μέρος τι. Ὃ ἄν τις εὐοδῶται, φησὶν, ὁρισάτω ἕκαστος κατὰ μίαν τῶν σαββάτων, ὥσπερ τινὰ φόρον φέρειν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἡμερῶν, καὶ κατατίθεσθαι, καὶ οὕτω διδόναι ἐλεημοσύνην, κἂν μικρὸν, κἂν μέγα. Οὐκ ὀφθήσῃ γὰρ, φησὶ, κενὸς ἐνώπιον Κυρίου. Ἰουδαίοις ταῦτα ἐλέγετο, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ἡμῖν; Διὰ τοῦτο ἑστήκασιν οἱ πένητες πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν, ἵνα μηδεὶς εἰσίῃ κενὸς, ἵνα μετὰ ἐλεημοσύνης εἰσίῃ. Εἰσέρχῃ ἐλεηθῆναι: ἐλέησον πρότερον. Ὁ δὲ ὕστερον ἐρχόμενος, πλέον ὀφείλει: ὅταν γὰρ ἀρξώμεθα ἡμεῖς, ὁ δεύτερος πλέον κατατίθησι. Ποίησόν σοι ὀφειλέτην τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ τότε αὐτὸν αἴτησαι: δάνεισον, καὶ τότε ἀπαίτει, ἵνα μετὰ τόκου λάβῃς: βούλεται τοῦτο ὁ Θεὸς, οὐκ ἀποφεύγει. Ἂν μετὰ ἐλεημοσύνης αἰτῇς, χάριν ἔχει: ἂν μετὰ ἐλεημοσύνης ἀπαιτῇς, δανείζεις καὶ τόκους λαμβάνεις. Ναὶ, παρακαλῶ. Οὐκ ἐν τῇ ἐκτάσει τῶν χειρῶν τὸ ἀκούεσθαί ἐστιν: ἔκτεινόν σου τὰς χεῖρας, μὴ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν, ἀλλ' εἰς τὰς τῶν πενήτων χεῖρας. Ἂν εἰς τὰς τῶν πενήτων χεῖρας ἐκτείνῃς τὴν χεῖρα, αὐτῆς ἥψω τῆς κορυφῆς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ: ὁ γὰρ ἐκεῖ καθήμενος λαμβάνει τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην: ἂν δὲ ἀκάρπους ἀνατείνῃς, οὐδὲν ὤνησας. Εἰπὲ γάρ μοι, εἴ σε προσελθὼν ὁ βασιλεὺς ᾔτησε μετὰ τῆς ἁλουργίδος, οὐκ ἂν προθύμως ἅπαντα τὰ ὄντα δέδωκας; νῦν δὲ οὐχ ὑπὸ ἐπιγείου βασιλέως, ἀλλὰ τοῦ οὐρανίου διὰ τῶν πενήτων αἰτούμενος ἕστηκας παρορῶν καὶ τὴν δόσιν ὑπερτιθέμενος; καὶ πόσης οὐκ ἂν εἴης κολάσεως ἄξιος; Οὐ γὰρ ἐν τῇ ἐκτάσει τῶν χειρῶν, οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ πλήθει τῶν ῥημάτων, ἀλλ' ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τὸ ἐπακούεσθαί ἐστιν. Ἄκουε γὰρ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος: Ὅταν τὰς χεῖρας ὑμῶν ἐκτείνητε, ἀποστρέψω τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου ἀφ' ὑμῶν, καὶ ἐὰν πληθύνητε τὴν δέησιν, οὐκ εἰσακούσομαι ὑμῶν. Δέον γὰρ σιγᾷν, καὶ μηδὲ ἀνανεύειν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν τὸν ἐλέου δεόμενον, ὁ παῤῥησίαν ἔχων καὶ πολλὰ φθέγγεται. Ἀλλὰ τί φησι; Κρίνατε ὀρφανῷ καὶ ταπεινῷ, καὶ δικαιώσατε χήραν, καὶ μάθετε καλὸν ποιεῖν. Οὕτω δυνησόμεθα ἀκούεσθαι, κἂν κάτω τὰς χεῖρας ἔχωμεν, κἂν μὴ φθεγγώμεθα, μηδὲ ζητῶμεν. Ταῦτα τοίνυν ζηλώσωμεν, ἵνα τύχωμεν τῶν ἐπηγγελμένων ἡμῖν ἀγαθῶν.