Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle to the Hebrews
Published after his Falling Asleep, from Notes by Constantine, Presbyter of Antioch.
and Summary of the Epistle.
[1.] The blessed Paul, writing to the Romans, says, “Inasmuch then as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: if by any means I may provoke to emulation them that are my flesh”:1 Rom. xi. 13, 14 and again, in another place, “For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.”2 Gal. ii. 8 If therefore he were the Apostle of the Gentiles, (for also in the Acts, God said to him, “Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles,”3 Acts xxii. 21) what had he to do with the Hebrews? and why did he also write an Epistle to them?
And especially as besides, they were ill-disposed towards him, and this is to be seen from many places. For hear what James says to him, “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe…and these all have been informed of thee that thou teachest men to forsake the law.”4 Acts xxi. 20, 21 And oftentimes he had many disputings concerning this.
Why therefore, one might ask, as he was so learned in the law (for he was instructed in the law at the feet of Gamaliel,5 Acts xxii. 3 and had great zeal in the matter, and was especially able to confound them in this respect)—why did not God send him to the Jews? Because on this very account they were more vehement in their enmity against him. “For they will not endure thee,”6 “Wherefore God foreseeing this, that they would not receive Him,” Ben. K. Sav. God says unto him; “But depart far hence to the Gentiles, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.”7 Acts xxii. 21, 18 Whereupon he says, “Yea, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee; and when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”8 Acts xxii. 19, 20
And this he says9 “they show,” K. Ben. is a sign and proof of their not believing him. For thus it is: when a man goes away from any people,10 ἔ θνους if he be one of the least and of those who are nothing worth, he does not much vex those from whom he went; but if he be among the distinguished and earnest partisans and those who care for these things, he exceedingly grieves and vexes them beyond measure, in that11 “Departing from them, going to others,” K. Ben. Sav. he especially overthrows their system with the multitude.
And besides this, there was something else.12 Add: “Which should make them incredulous,” Bened. K. Sav. What now might this be? That they who were about Peter were also with Christ, and saw signs and wonders; but he [Paul] having had the benefit of none of these, but being with Jews, suddenly deserted and became one of them. This especially promoted our cause. For while they indeed, seemed to testify even from gratitude, and one might have said that they bore witness to those things in love for their Master; he, on the other hand, who testifies to the resurrection, this man was rather one who heard a voice only. For this cause thou seest them waging war passionately with him, and doing all things for this purpose, that they might slay him, and raising seditions.13 “For this purpose, and raising seditions that they might slay him,” Bened. A. K.
The unbelievers, then, were hostile to him for this reason; but why were the believers? Because in preaching to the Gentiles he was constrained to preach Christianity purely; and if haply even in Judæa he were found [doing so], he cared not. For Peter and they that were with him, because they preached in Jerusalem, when there was great fierceness, of necessity enjoined the observance of the law; but this man was quite at liberty. The [converts] too from the Gentiles were more than the Jews because they were without.14 “The chosen people being fewer than all people, encircled on all sides by the heathen” ; see Mic. v. 7, 8 And this15 “By this he enfeebled,” Ben. enfeebled the law, and they had no such great reverence for it, although16 “Because,” Ben. Sav. K. Q. R. he preached all things purely. Doubtless in this matter they think to shame him by numbers, saying, “Thou seest, brother, how many ten thousands of Jews there are which17 Acts xxi. 20 are come together.”18 “which believe,” Ben. Sav. K. Q. On this account they hated him and turned away from him, because “They are informed of thee, he says, that thou teachest men to forsake the law.”19 Acts xxi. 21
[2.] Why, then, not being a teacher of the Jews, does he send an Epistle to them? And where were those to whom he sent it? It seems to me in Jerusalem and Palestine. How then does he send them an Epistle? Just as he baptized, though he was not commanded to baptize. For, he says, “I was not sent to baptize”:20 1 Cor. i. 17 not, however, that he was forbidden, but he does it as a subordinate matter. And how could he fail to write to those, for whom he was willing even to become accursed?21 Rom. ix. 3 Accordingly he said,22 St. Chrys. introduces this as an instance of St. Paul’s interest in the Hebrews: that he not only wrote to them, but also intended to visit them; and on that digresses to the events of his history and the relative date of his Epistles. “Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.”23 Heb. xiii. 23
For as yet he was not arrested. Two years then he passed bound, in Rome; then he was set free; then, having gone into Spain, he saw Jews24 [The text might perhaps leave it uncertain whether St. Chrys. meant to state that St. Paul saw Jews in Spain, or that, after visiting Spain, he went into Judæa. Ben. Sav. K. Q. are express, “Spain; then he went into Judæa, where also he saw the Jews.” εἰς τὰς Σπανίας ἦλθεν· εἶτα εἰς ̓Ιουδαίαν ἔβη ὅτε καὶ ̓Ιουδαίους εἶδε.—F.G.] also in like manner; and then he returned to Rome, where also he was slain by Nero. The Epistle to Timothy then was later25 πρεσβυτέρα. The word is elsewhere used in this sense by St. Chrys. See Mr. Field’s notes. St. Chrys. often points out that the Ep. ii. to Timothy is the last of all St. Paul’s Epistles. than this Epistle. For there he says, “For I am now ready to be offered”26 2 Tim. iv. 6 ; there also he says, “In my first answer no man stood with me.”27 2 Tim. iv. 16 In many places they [the Hebrew Christians] had to contend28 ἤ θλησαν, see ἤ θλησιν, Heb. x. 32 with persecution, as also he says, writing to the Thessalonians, “Ye became followers of the churches of Judæa”:29 1 Thess. ii. 14 and writing to these very persons he says, “Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods.”30 Heb. x. 34 Dost thou see them contending? And if men had thus treated the Apostles, not only in Judæa, but also wherever they were among the Gentiles, what would they not have done to the believers? On this account, thou seest, he was very careful for them. For when he says, “I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints”;31 Rom. xv. 25 and again, when he exhorts the Corinthians to beneficence, and says that the Macedonians had already made their contribution,32 2 Cor. viii. 1–3 and says, “If it be meet that I go also,”33 1 Cor. xvi. 4 —he means this. And when he says, “Only that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do,”34 Gal. ii. 10 —he declares this. And when he says, “They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision,”35 Gal. ii. 9 —he declares this.
But this was36 “But these things he does not say merely for,” &c., Ben. Sav. K. Q. not for the sake of the poor who were there, but that by this we might be partakers in the beneficence. For not as the preaching did we apportion the care for the poor to each other (we indeed to the Gentiles, but they to the circumcision). And everywhere thou seest him using great care for them: as was reasonable.
Among the other nations indeed, when there were both Jews and Greeks, such was not the case; but then, while they still seemed to have authority and independence and to order many things by their own laws, the government not being yet established nor brought perfectly under the Romans, they naturally exercised great tyranny. For if in other cities, as in Corinth, they beat the Ruler of the synagogue before the Deputy’s judgment seat, and Gallio “cared for none of these things,”37 Acts xviii. 17 but it was not so in Judæa.38 i.e. in Judæa, they beat and scourged, not through the indifference of the judge, but by their own authority. Thou seest indeed, that while in other cities they bring them to the magistrates, and need help from them and from the Gentiles, here they took no thought of this, but assemble a Sanhedrim themselves and slay whom they please. Thus in fact they put Stephen to death, thus they beat the Apostles, not taking them before rulers. Thus also they were about to put Paul to death, had not the chief captain thrown himself39 Acts xxi. 31–33 [upon them]. For this took place while the priests, while the temple, while the ritual, the sacrifices were yet standing. Look indeed at Paul himself being tried before the High Priest, and saying,“I wist not that he was the High Priest,”40 Acts xxiii. 5 and this in the presence of the Ruler.41 i.e. before Lysias. For they had then great power. Consider then what things they were likely to suffer who dwelt in Jerusalem and Judæa.
[3.] He then who prays to become accursed for those who were not yet believers, and who so ministers to the faithful, as to journey himself, if need be, and who everywhere took great care of them;—let us not wonder if he encourage and comfort them by letters also, and if he set them upright when tottering and fallen. For in a word, they were worn down42 “having lost their freshness and vigor like salted fish.” See many instances of its use in this sense in Mr. Field’s note on St. Chrys. on 1 Cor. Hom. xxviii. (p. 255, A). [See p. 390, O.T.] and despairing on account of their manifold afflictions. And this he shows near the end, saying, “Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees”;43 Heb. xii. 12 and again, “Yet a little while, he that shall come will come, and will not tarry”;44 Heb. x. 37 and again, “If ye be without chastisement,…then are ye bastards and not sons.”45 Heb. xii. 8
For since they were Jews and learned from the fathers that they must expect both their good and their evil immediately and must live accordingly, but then [when the Gospel came] the opposite was [taught]—their good things being in hope and after death, their evils in hand, though they had patiently endured much, it was likely that many would be fainthearted;—hereon he discourses.
But we will unfold these things at a fit opportunity. At present: he of necessity wrote to those for whom he cared so greatly. For while the reason why he was not sent to them is plain, yet he was not forbidden to write. And that they were becoming fainthearted he shows when he says, “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths”46 Heb. xii. 12, 13 and again, “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and love.”47 Heb. vi. 10 [St. Chrys. here follows the better reading, omitting τοῦ κόπου.—F.G.]. For the soul overtaken by many trials, was turned aside even from the faith.48 Heb. ii. 1 Therefore he exhorts them to “Give heed to the things which they have heard, and that there should not be an evil heart of unbelief.”49 Heb. iii. 12 On this account also, in this Epistle, especially, he argues at length concerning faith, and after much [reasoning] shows at the end that to them [of old] also He promised good things in hand, and yet gave nothing.
And besides these things, he establishes two points that they might not think themselves forsaken: the one, that they should bear nobly whatever befalls them; the other, that they should look assuredly for their recompense. For truly He will not overlook those with Abel and the line of unrewarded righteous following him.
And he draws comfort in three ways: first, from the things which Christ suffered: as He Himself says, “The servant is not greater than his Lord.”50 John xiii. 16 Next, from the good things laid up for the believers. Thirdly, from the evils; and this point he enforces not only from the things to come (which would be less persuasive), but also from the past and from what had befallen their fathers. Christ also does the same, at one time saying, “The servant is not greater than his Lord”;51 John xiii. 16 and again, “There are many mansions with the Father”;52 John xiv. 2 and He denounces innumerable woes on the unbelievers.
But he speaks much of both the New and the Old Covenant; for this was useful to him for the proof of the Resurrection. Lest they should disbelieve that [Christ] rose on account of the things which He suffered, he confirms it from the Prophets, and shows that not the Jewish, but ours are the sacred [institutions]. For the temple yet stood and the sacrificial rites; therefore he says, “Let us go forth therefore without, bearing His reproach.” 53 Heb. xiii. 13 But this also was made an argument against him: “If these things are a shadow, if these things are an image, how is it that they have not passed away or given place when the truth was manifested, but these things still flourish?” This also he quietly intimates shall happen, and that at a time close at hand.
Moreover, he makes it plain that they had been a long time in the faith and in afflictions, saying, “When for the time ye ought to be teachers,”54 Heb. v. 12 and, “Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief,”55 Heb. iii. 12 and ye became “Followers of them who through patience inherit the promises.”56 Heb. vi. 12
ΤΟΥ ΕΝ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ, ΤΑ ΕΥΡΙΣΚΟΜΕΝΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ. ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑ Εἰς τὴν πρὸς Ἑβραίους Ἐπιστολὴν, ἐκτεθεῖσα ἀπὸ σημείων μετὰ τὴν κοίμησιν αὐτοῦ, παρὰ Κωνσταντίνου πρεσβυτέρου Ἀντιοχείας. ΥΠΟΘΕΣΙΣ. αʹ. Ῥωμαίοις γράφων ὁ μακάριος Παῦλός φησιν: Ἐφ' ὅσον μὲν οὖν εἰμι ἐγὼ ἐθνῶν ἀπόστολος, τὴν διακονίαν μου δοξάζω, εἴ πως παραζηλώσω μου τὴν σάρκα: καὶ πάλιν ἀλλαχοῦ, Ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς, ἐνήργησε κἀμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη. Εἰ τοίνυν ἐθνῶν ἀπόστολος ἦν (καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν ταῖς Πράξεσί φησι πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Θεὸς, Πορεύου, ὅτι εἰς ἔθνη μακρὰν ἀποστελῶ σε): τί κοινὸν πρὸς Ἑβραίους εἶχε; τί δὲ αὐτοῖς ἐπέστελλεν; Οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀπεχθῶς διέκειντο: καὶ τοῦτο πολλαχόθεν ἔστιν ἰδεῖν. Ἄκουσον γὰρ τί φησιν ὁ Ἰάκωβος πρὸς αὐτόν: Θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφὲ, πόσαι μυριάδες εἰσὶν Ἰουδαίων τῶν πεπιστευκότων; καὶ οὗτοι πάντες κατήχηνται περὶ σοῦ, ὅτι ἀποστασίαν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου διδάσκεις: καὶ πολλαὶ ζητήσεις αὐτῷ πολλάκις ἐγένοντο περὶ τούτου. Τίνος οὖν ἕνεκεν, ζητήσειεν ἄν τις, τὸν νομομαθῆ (παρὰ γὰρ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιήλου τὸν νόμον ἐξεπαιδεύετο, καὶ πολὺς ἦν αὐτῷ ζῆλος τοῦ πράγματος), καὶ ταύτῃ μάλιστα δυνάμενον ἐντρέψαι, οὐχὶ πρὸς Ἰουδαίους ἔπεμπεν ὁ Θεός; Ὅτι ταύτῃ μάλιστα πλέον ἂν αὐτῷ ἐξεπολεμώθησαν. Τοῦτο τοίνυν προειδὼς ὁ Θεὸς, καὶ ὅτι οὐκ ἀνέξονται αὐτοῦ, Πορεύου εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, φησὶ πρὸς αὐτόν: διότι οὐ παραδέξονταί σου τὴν μαρτυρίαν περὶ ἐμοῦ. Εἶτα αὐτός φησι: Ναὶ, Κύριε, αὐτοὶ ἐπίστανται, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἤμην φυλακίζων καὶ δέρων κατὰ τὰς συναγωγὰς τοὺς πιστεύοντας ἐπὶ σέ: καὶ ὅτε ἐξεχεῖτο τὸ αἷμα Στεφάνου τοῦ μάρτυρός σου, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤμην ἑστὼς καὶ συνευδοκῶν τῇ ἀναιρέσει αὐτοῦ, φυλάττων τὰ ἱμάτια τῶν ἀναιρούντων αὐτόν. Καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸ δείκνυσι σημεῖον εἶναι καὶ ὑπόθεσιν τοῦ μὴ πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ. Καὶ γὰρ οὕτως ἔχει: ὅταν τις ἐξ ἔθνους ἀποπηδήσῃ τινὸς, ἂν μὲν τῶν ἐλαχίστων ᾖ καὶ οὐδενὸς ἀξίων λόγου, οὐ πάνυ δάκνει τοὺς ἀφ' ὧν ἀνεχώρησεν: ἂν δὲ τῶν θαυμαστῶν καὶ σφόδρα ζηλωτῶν καὶ τὰ ἐκείνων φρονούντων, μάλιστα αὐτοὺς ἀλγύνει, καὶ μεθ' ὑπερβολῆς λυπεῖ, ἅτε μάλιστα αὐτῶν καθαιρῶν τὸ δόγμα, τῷ προσελθεῖν ἄλλοις ἐκείνων ἀποπηδήσαντα. Καὶ ἄλλο δὲ τούτῳ προσῆν τὸ τὴν ἀπιστίαν ἐργαζόμενον. Ποῖον δὴ τοῦτο; Ὅτι οἱ μὲν περὶ Πέτρον καὶ συνεγένοντο τῷ Χριστῷ, καὶ σημεῖα εἶδον καὶ θαύματα: οὗτος δὲ οὐδενὸς τούτων ἀπολελαυκὼς, ἀλλὰ μετὰ Ἰουδαίων ὢν, ἐξαίφνης ηὐτομόλησε καὶ γέγονεν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν: ὃ μάλιστα ἤρκει τὰ ἡμέτερα ἐπᾶραι. Ἐκεῖνοι μὲν γὰρ καὶ χάριτι ἐδόκουν μαρτυρεῖν, καὶ εἶπεν ἄν τις, ὅτι τὸν διδάσκαλον ποθοῦντες ταῦτα μαρτυροῦσιν: ὁ δὲ τῇ ἀναστάσει μαρτυρῶν, οὗτος μάλιστα ἦν ὁ φωνῆς μόνης ἀκούσας. Διὰ τοῦτο ὁρᾷς αὐτοὺς ἐκθύμως πολεμοῦντας αὐτῷ, καὶ πάντα ὑπὲρ τούτου πράττοντας καὶ στασιάζοντας, ὥστε ἀνελεῖν αὐτόν. Ἀλλ' οἱ μὲν ἄπιστοι διὰ τοῦτο αὐτῷ ἀπεχθῶς εἶχον: οἱ δὲ πιστεύσαντες, τίνος ἕνεκεν; Ὅτι ἠναγκάζετο τοῖς ἔθνεσι κηρύττων καθαρῶς κηρύττειν τὸν Χριστιανισμόν: καὶ εἴ που καὶ ἐν Ἰουδαίᾳ ἀπελήφθη, οὐκ ἐφρόντιζε. Πέτρος μὲν γὰρ καὶ οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν, ἅτε ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις κηρύττοντες, ἔνθα πολὺς ἦν ὁ ζῆλος, ἀνάγκην εἶχον τὸν νόμον κελεύειν τηρεῖν: οὗτος δὲ ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ πολλῇ ἦν. Καὶ πλείους ἦσαν οἱ ἐξ ἐθνῶν, ἢ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, ἅτε ἐκτὸς ὄντες: καὶ τούτῳ παρέλυε τὸν νόμον, καὶ οὐ τοσαύτην εἶχον περὶ αὐτὸν εὐλάβειαν, ὅτι πάντα καθαρῶς ἐκήρυττεν. Ἀμέλει ἐν τούτῳ αὐτὸν δοκοῦσι καταιδεῖν τῷ πλήθει, λέγοντες, Θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφὲ, πόσαι μυριάδες εἰσὶν Ἰουδαίων τῶν πεπιστευκότων; Διὰ τοῦτο αὐτὸν ἐμίσουν καὶ ἀπεστρέφοντο, ὅτι κατηχήθησαν, φησὶ, περὶ σοῦ, ὅτι ἀποστασίαν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου διδάσκεις. Τίνος οὖν ἕνεκεν οὐκ ὢν τῶν Ἰουδαίων διδάσκαλος ἐπιστέλλει αὐτοῖς; ποῦ δὲ οὖσιν ἐπέστελλεν; Ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις καὶ Παλαιστίνῃ. Πῶς οὖν ἐπιστέλλει; Ὥσπερ καὶ βαπτίσαι οὐκ ἐπετράπη, καὶ ἐβάπτιζεν: οὐ γὰρ ἀπεστάλην, φησὶ, βαπτίζειν: οὐ μὴν ἐκωλύθη: ἀλλ' ἐκ παρέργου τοῦτο ποιεῖ. Πῶς δὲ οὐκ ἂν ἐπέστελλε τούτοις, ὑπὲρ ὧν καὶ ἀνάθεμα γενέσθαι ἤθελε; Διὰ τοῦτο ἔλεγε: Γινώσκετε τὸν ἀδελφὸν Τιμόθεον ἀπολελυμένον: μεθ' οὗ, ἐὰν τάχιον ἔρχηται, ὄψομαι ὑμᾶς. Οὔπω γὰρ συνειλημμένος ἦν. Δύο μὲν οὖν ἔτη ἐποίησεν ἐν Ῥώμῃ δεδεμένος: εἶτα ἀφείθη: εἶτα εἰς τὰς Σπανίας ἦλθεν: εἶτα εἰς Ἰουδαίαν ἔβη, ὅτε καὶ Ἰουδαίους εἶδε. Καὶ τότε πάλιν ἦλθεν εἰς Ῥώμην, ὅτε καὶ ὑπὸ Νέρωνος ἀνῃρέθη. Ταύτης μὲν οὖν τῆς ἐπιστολῆς πρεσβυτέρα ἡ πρὸς Τιμόθεον. Ἐκεῖ γάρ φησιν: Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι: καὶ ἐκεῖ πάλιν φησίν: Ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ οὐδείς μοι συμπαρεγένετο. Πολλαχοῦ γὰρ ἤθλησε, καθὼς καὶ Θεσσαλονικεῦσιν ἐπιστέλλων λέγει: Μιμηταὶ ἐγένεσθε τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν τῆς Ἰουδαίας. Καὶ αὐτοῖς δὲ τούτοις γράφων φησί: Μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν ἁρπαγὴν τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ὑμῶν προσεδέξασθε. Ὁρᾷς ἀθλοῦντας αὐτούς; Εἰ δὲ τοῖς ἀποστόλοις οὕτως ἐκέχρηντο οὐκ ἐν Ἰουδαίᾳ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅπου μεταξὺ ἐθνῶν ἦσαν, τί οὐκ ἂν ἐποίησαν τοῖς πιστοῖς; Διὰ τοῦτο αὐτῶν μάλιστα ὁρᾷς αὐτὸν φροντίζοντα. Ὅταν γὰρ λέγῃ: Πορεύομαι διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις: καὶ πάλιν, ὅταν Κορινθίους παρακαλῇ πρὸς τὴν εὐποιίαν, καὶ Μακεδόνας λέγῃ εἰσενηνοχέναι, καί φησιν: Ἐὰν ᾖ ἄξιον κἀμὲ πορεύεσθαι, τοῦτο λέγει. Καὶ ὅταν λέγῃ: Μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν, ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, τοῦτο λέγει. Καὶ ὅταν λέγῃ: Δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρνάβᾳ κοινωνίας, ἵνα ἡμεῖς μὲν εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομὴν, τοῦτο λέγει. Ταῦτα δὲ οὐχ ἁπλῶς φησι περὶ τῶν πτωχῶν τῶν ἐκεῖ, ἀλλ' ὥστε ἐν ἐκείνῳ κοινωνεῖν ἡμᾶς τῆς εὐποιίας. Οὐ γὰρ ὥσπερ τὸ κήρυγμα ἑαυτοῖς ἀπενείμαμεν, καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομὴν, οὕτω καὶ τὴν πρόνοιαν τῶν πτωχῶν, φησὶν, ἐνειμάμεθα. Καὶ πανταχοῦ ὁρᾷς αὐτῶν πολλὴν πρόνοιαν τὸν Παῦλον ποιούμενον: καὶ εἰκότως. Ἐν μὲν οὖν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἔθνεσιν, ἔνθα καὶ Ἰουδαῖοι ἦσαν καὶ Ἕλληνες, οὐδὲν τοιοῦτον ἐγίνετο: ἐκεῖ δὲ ἐπειδὴ τέως ἐδόκουν κρατεῖν καὶ αὐτονομεῖσθαι, καὶ πολλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἰδίοις νόμοις διοικεῖν, οὔπω τῆς ἀρχῆς κατάστασιν ἐχούσης, οὐδὲ τέλεον ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίοις κειμένης, εἰκότως πολλῇ τυραννίδι ἐκέχρηντο. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἐν ἄλλαις πόλεσιν, ὥσπερ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, ἔτυπτον τὸν ἀρχισυνάγωγον ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος τοῦ ἀνθυπάτου, καὶ οὐδὲν τούτων τῷ Γαλλίωνι ἔμελεν: ἀλλ' οὐκ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ; βʹ. Ὁρᾷς γοῦν ὅτι ἐν μὲν ταῖς ἄλλαις πόλεσι τοῖς ἄρχουσιν αὐτοὺς προσάγουσι, καὶ αὐτῶν δέονται εἰς βοήθειαν καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν: ἐνταῦθα δὲ οὐδεμίαν ἐποιοῦντο φροντίδα τούτου, ἀλλ' αὐτοὶ συνέδριον καθίζουσι, καὶ ἀναιροῦσιν οὓς ἂν ἐθέλωσιν. Οὕτω γοῦν τὸν Στέφανον ἀνεῖλον, οὕτω τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἐμάστιξαν, οὐκ ἐπὶ ἄρχοντας ἀγαγόντες: οὕτω καὶ τὸν Παῦλον ἔμελλον ἀναιρεῖν, εἰ μὴ ὁ χιλίαρχος ἐπέῤῥιψεν ἑαυτόν. Ἔτι γὰρ τῶν ἱερέων ἑστώτων, ἔτι τοῦ ναοῦ, τῆς λατρείας, τῶν θυσιῶν, τοῦτο ἐγίνετο. Ὅρα γοῦν αὐτὸν τὸν Παῦλον ἐπὶ τοῦ ἱερέως κρινόμενον, καὶ λέγοντα: Οὐκ ᾔδειν ὅτι ἀρχιερεύς ἐστι, καὶ ταῦτα ἐπὶ τοῦ ἄρχοντος. Πολλὴν γὰρ εἶχον τότε ἐξουσίαν. Ἐννόησον οὖν οἷα πάσχειν εἰκὸς ἦν τοὺς οἰκοῦντας τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ τὴν Ἰουδαίαν. Ὁ τοίνυν ἀνάθεμα ὑπὲρ τῶν μήπω πιστευσάντων εὐχόμενος γενέσθαι, καὶ τοῖς πιστοῖς οὕτω διακονῶν, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς πορεύεσθαι, εἰ δέοι, καὶ πολλὴν πανταχοῦ πρόνοιαν αὐτῶν ποιησάμενος, τί θαυμαστὸν, εἰ καὶ διὰ γραμμάτων αὐτοὺς παρακαλεῖ καὶ παραμυθεῖται, καὶ ἀναπίπτοντας αὐτοὺς καὶ κειμένους ἀνορθοῖ; καὶ γὰρ τεταριχευμένοι λοιπὸν ἦσαν, καὶ ἀπεγνωκότες ταῖς πολλαῖς θλίψεσι. Καὶ τοῦτο πρὸς τῷ τέλει ἐμφαίνει λέγων: Διὸ τὰς παρειμένας χεῖρας καὶ τὰ παραλελυμένα γόνατα ἀνορθώσατε: καὶ πάλιν: Ἔτι μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον, καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἥξει, καὶ οὐ χρονιεῖ: καὶ πάλιν, Εἰ ἐκτός ἐστε παιδείας: ἄρα νόθοι ἐστὲ, καὶ οὐχ υἱοί. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ καὶ Ἰουδαῖοι ἦσαν, καὶ αὐτοὶ παρὰ τῶν πατέρων ἐμάνθανον, ὅτι καὶ τὰ ἀγαθὰ καὶ τὰ κακὰ παρὰ πόδας ἐχρῆν προσδοκᾷν, καὶ οὕτω βιῶναι, τότε δὲ τὸ ἐναντίον ἦν, τὰ μὲν ἀγαθὰ ἐν ἐλπίσι καὶ μετὰ θάνατον, τὰ δὲ κακὰ ἐν χερσὶ, καὶ πολλὰ καρτερησάντων αὐτῶν, εἰκὸς ἦν ὀλιγοψυχεῖν πολλοὺς, πολὺν ὑπὲρ τούτου ποιεῖται τὸν λόγον. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν ἐν καιρῷ τῷ προσήκοντι ἐπιλύσομεν: τέως δὲ, ὅτι ἀναγκαίως αὐτοῖς ἔγραφεν, ὧν τοσαύτην ἐποιεῖτο πρόνοιαν: καὶ γὰρ ἡ αἰτία, δι' ἢν οὐκ ἀπεστάλη πρὸς αὐτοὺς, δήλη ἦν: οὐ τοίνυν ἐκωλύετο γράφειν. Ὅτι δὲ ὠλιγοψύχουν, δείκνυσιν εἰπών: Τὰς παρειμένας χεῖρας καὶ τὰ παραλελυμένα γόνατα ἀνορθώσατε, καὶ τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς ποιήσατε: καὶ πάλιν: Οὐ γὰρ ἄδικος ὁ Θεὸς ἐπιλαθέσθαι τοῦ ἔργου ὑμῶν καὶ τῆς ἀγάπης. Ἡ ψυχὴ γὰρ ὑπὸ πειρασμῶν πολλῶν καταληφθεῖσα, πολλάκις καὶ τῆς πίστεως ἐκτρέπεται. Διὸ παραινεῖ προσέχειν τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι, καὶ μὴ εἶναι καρδίαν πονηρὰν ἀπιστίας. Διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ μάλιστα τῇ ἐπιστολῇ πολλὰ περὶ πίστεως διαλέγεται, καὶ παραδείγματα πολλὰ ἐν τῷ τέλει δείκνυσιν, ὅτι κἀκείνοις παρὰ πόδας τὰ ἀγαθὰ ἐπηγγέλλετο, καὶ οὐδὲν ἔδωκε. Καὶ χωρὶς τούτων, ἵνα μὴ ἐγκαταλελεῖφθαι νομίσαιεν, δύο ταῦτα κατασκευάζει: ἓν μὲν πρὸς τὸ φέρειν πάντα γενναίως τὰ συμπίπτοντα, ἕτερον δὲ πρὸς τὸ πάντως προσδοκᾷν τὴν ἀμοιβήν: οὐ γὰρ δὴ περιόψεται τοὺς περὶ Ἄβελ καὶ τοὺς καθεξῆς δικαίους ἀγεράστους. Καὶ ποιεῖται τὴν παράκλησιν ἀπὸ τριῶν τρόπων: ἑνὸς μὲν, ἐξ ὧν ἔπαθεν ὁ Χριστός: καθὼς καὶ αὐτὸς λέγει: Οὐκ ἔστι δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ: ἑτέρου δὲ, ἐξ ὧν ἀπόκειται τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ἀγαθῶν: καὶ τρίτου, ἐκ τῶν κακῶν. Καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν μελλόντων ἰσχυρίζεται μόνον, ὅπερ ἧττον ἦν πιθανὸν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν παρελθόντων, καὶ γεγονότων εἰς τοὺς πατέρας αὐτῶν. Τοῦτο καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ποιεῖ, λέγων ποτὲ μέν: Οὐκ ἔστι δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ: καὶ πάλιν: Πολλαὶ μοναί εἰσι παρὰ τῷ Πατρί: καὶ μυρία ταλανίζει τοὺς μὴ πεπιστευκότας. Ποιεῖται δὲ πολὺν λόγον καὶ περὶ τῆς Καινῆς καὶ Παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης: καὶ γὰρ πρὸς τὴν τῆς ἀναστάσεως πίστιν σφόδρα αὐτῷ τοῦτο ἐχρησίμευεν. Ἵνα γὰρ μὴ ἐξ ὧν ἔπαθε διαπιστῶσιν ὅτι ἀνέστη, ἀπὸ προφητῶν αὐτὸ ἰσχυροποιεῖ: καὶ δείκνυσιν οὐκ ὄντα σεμνὰ τὰ Ἰουδαϊκὰ, ἀλλὰ τὰ ἡμέτερα: ἔτι γὰρ καὶ ὁ ναὸς εἱστήκει, καὶ τὰ τῶν θυσιῶν: διὸ καὶ ἔλεγε, Τοίνυν ἐξερχώμεθα ἔξω, τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν αὐτοῦ φέροντες. Ἠναντιοῦτο δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ τοῦτο: εἰκὸς γὰρ ἦν εἰπεῖν τινας, ὅτι Εἰ ταῦτα σκιὰ, εἰ ταῦτα εἰκὼν, πῶς οὐ παρεχώρησεν, οὐδὲ ὑπεξέστη τῆς ἀληθείας φανείσης, ἀλλ' ἔτι ταῦτα ἀνθεῖ; Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ἠρέμα ᾐνίξατο ἐσόμενον καὶ αὐτὸ εἰς καιρὸν τὸν προσήκοντα. Ὅτι δὲ πολὺν χρόνον εἶχον ἐν τῇ πίστει καὶ ταῖς θλίψεσιν, ἐδήλωσε λέγων: Ὀφείλοντες γὰρ εἶναι διδάσκαλοι διὰ τὸν χρόνον: καὶ, Μήποτε ἔσται ἔν τινι ὑμῶν καρδία πονηρὰ ἀπιστίας: καὶ, Μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε τῶν διὰ μακροθυμίας κληρονομούντων τὰς ἐπαγγελίας.