Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans.
The Argument.1 Field counts this as the first Homily: but it seemed needless to disturb the usual numeration.
As I keep hearing the Epistles of the blessed Paul read, and that twice every week, and often three or four times, whenever we are celebrating the memorials of the holy martyrs, gladly do I enjoy the spiritual trumpet, and get roused and warmed with desire at recognizing the voice so dear to me, and seem to fancy him all but present to my sight, and behold him conversing with me. But I grieve and am pained, that all people do not know this man, as much as they ought to know him; but some are so far ignorant of him, as not even to know for certainty the number of his Epistles. And this comes not of incapacity, but of their not having the wish to be continually conversing with this blessed man. For it is not through any natural readiness and sharpness of wit that even I am acquainted with as much as I do know, if I do know anything, but owing to a continual cleaving to the man, and an earnest affection towards him. For, what belongs to men beloved, they who love them know above all others; because they are interested in them. And this also this blessed Apostle shows in what he said to the Philippians; “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel.” (Phil. i. 7.) And so ye also, if ye be willing to apply to the reading of him with a ready mind, will need no other aid. For the word of Christ is true which saith, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. vii. 7.) But since the greater part of those who here gather themselves to us, have taken upon themselves the bringing up of children, and the care of a wife, and the charge of a family, and for this cause cannot afford to all events aroused to receive those things which have been brought together by others, and bestow as much attention upon the hearing of what is said as ye give to the gathering together of goods. For although it is unseemly to demand only so much of you, yet still one must be content if ye give as much. For from this it is that our countless evils have arisen—from ignorance of the Scriptures; from this it is that the plague of heresies has broken out; from this that there are negligent lives; from this labors without advantage. For as men deprived of this daylight would not walk aright, so they that look not to the gleaming of the Holy Scriptures must needs be frequently and constantly sinning, in that they are walking in the worst darkness. And that this fall not out, let us hold our eyes open to the bright shining of the Apostle’s words; for this man’s tongue shone forth above the sun, and he abounded more than all the rest in the word of doctrine; for since he labored more abundantly than they, he also drew upon himself a large measure of the Spirit’s grace. (1 Cor. xv. 10.) And this I constantly affirm, not only from his Epistles, but also from the Acts. For if there were anywhere a season for oratory, to him men everywhere gave place. Wherefore also he was thought by the unbelievers to be Mercurius, because he took the lead in speech. (Acts xiv. 12.) And as we are going to enter fully into this Epistle, it is necessary to give the date also at which it was written. For it is not, as most think, before all the others, but before all that were written from Rome, yet subsequent to the rest, though not to all of them. For both those to the Corinthians were sent before this: and this is plain from what he wrote at the end of this, saying as follows: “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints: for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” (Rom. xv. 25, 26.) For in writing to the Corinthians he says: “If it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me” (1 Cor. xvi. 4); meaning this about those who were to carry the money from thence. Whence it is plain, that when he wrote to the Corinthians, the matter of this journey of his was in doubt, but when to the Romans, it stood now a decided thing. And this being allowed, the other point is plain, that this Epistle was after those. But that to the Thessalonians also seems to me to be before the Epistle to the Corinthians: for having written to them before, and having moved the question of alms to them, when he said, “But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren” (1 Thess. iv. 9, 10): then he wrote to the Corinthians. And this very point he makes plain in the words, “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Cor. ix. 2): whence he shows that they were the first he had spoken to about this. This Epistle then is later than those, but prior (πρώτη) to those from Rome; for he had not as yet set foot in the city of the Romans when he wrote this Epistle, and this he shows by saying, “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” (Rom. i. 11.) But it was from Rome he wrote to the Philippians; wherefore he says, “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar’s household” (Phil. iv. 22): and to the Hebrews from thence likewise, wherefore also he says, “all they of Italy salute them.” (Heb. xiii. 24.) And the Epistle to Timothy he sent also from Rome, when in prison; which also seems to me to be the last of all the Epistles; and this is plain from the end: “For I am now ready to be offered,” he says, “and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Tim. iv. 6.) But that he ended his life there, is clear, I may say, to every one. And that to Philemon is also very late, (for he wrote it in extreme old age, wherefore also he said, “as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner in Christ Jesus”) (Philem. 9), yet previous to that to the Colossians. And this again is plain from the end. For in writing to the Colossians, he says, “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, whom I have sent with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother.” (Col. iv. 7.) For this was that Onesimus in whose behalf he composed the Epistle to Philemon. And that this was no other of the same name with him, is plain from the mention of Archippus. For it is he whom he had taken as worker together with himself in the Epistle to Philemon, when he besought him for Onesimus, whom when writing to the Colossians he stirreth up, saying, “Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received, that thou fulfil it.” (Col. iv. 17.) And that to the Galatians seems to me to be before that to the Romans.2 It is remarkable that the conclusions of Chrys. should harmonize so well with the results of modern scholarship in regard to the order of the Pauline epistles. Except in assigning the Epistle to the Hebrews to Paul and in apparently interposing a considerable period between Philemon and Colossians, his statements may be taken as giving the best conclusions of criticism.—G.B.S. But if they have a different order in the Bibles, that is nothing wonderful, since the twelve Prophets, though not exceeding one another in order of time, but standing at great intervals from one another, are in the arrangement of the Bible placed in succession. Thus Haggai and Zachariah and the Messenger3 “Or ‘Angel,’ i.e. Malachi; who was so called from the expression Mal. i. 1 (LXX. διὰ χειρὸς ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ cf. E.V. in margin ‘by the hand of Malachi’), cf. 2 Esdr. i. 40.” prophesied after Ezekiel and Daniel, and long after Jonah and Zephaniah and all the rest. Yet they are nevertheless joined with all those from whom they stand so far off in time.
But let no one consider this an undertaking beside the purpose, nor a search of this kind a piece of superfluous curiosity; for the date of the Epistles contributes no little to what we are looking after.4 Our author rightly attaches much importance to the time and occasion of writing as bearing upon the meaning of the epistles. The earliest epistles—those to the Thessalonians—relate to Paul’s missionary labors and are but a continuation of the apostle’s preaching. They might almost be called samples of his sermons. The group which falls next in order (Gal., 1 and 2 Cor., and Rom.) comprehends the great doctrinal discussions of the problems of law and grace, and reflects the conflict of the Apostle to the Gentiles with the Judaizing tendency in all its phases. This group is most important for the study of the Pauline theology. The third group—the epistles of the (first) imprisonment—Col., Philem., Eph. and Phil.—besides containing a wonderful fulness and richness of Christian thought, exhibits to us the rise and spread of Gnostic heresies,—the introduction of heathen philosophical ideas which were destined to exert a mighty influence upon the theology, religion and life of the church for centuries. The last group—the Pastoral epistles—has a peculiar private and personal character from being addressed to individuals. They have a special value, for all who hold their genuineness, from being the latest Christian counsels of “Paul the aged.”—G.B.S. For when I see him writing to the Romans and to the Colossians about the same subjects, and yet not in a like way about the same subjects; but to the former with much condescension, as when he says, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations; for one believeth that he may eat all things, another, herbs” (Rom. xiv. 1, 2): who is weak, eateth weak, but to the Colossians he does not write in this way, though about the same things, but with greater boldness of speech: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ,” he says, “why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not, taste not, handle not), which all are to perish with the using, not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh” (Col. ii. 20–23);—I find no other reason for this difference than the time of the transaction. For at the first it was needful to be condescending, but afterwards it became no more so. And in many other places one may find him doing this. Thus both the physician and the teacher are used to do. For neither does the physician treat alike his patients in the first stage of their disorder, and when they have come to the point of having health thenceforth, nor the teacher those children who are beginning to learn and those who want more advanced subjects of instruction. Now to the rest he was moved to write by some particular cause and subject, and this he shows, as when he says to the Corinthians, “Touching those things whereof ye wrote unto me” (1 Cor. vii. 1): and to the Galatians too from the very commencement of the whole Epistle writes so as to indicate the same thing; but to these for what purpose and wherefore does he write? For one finds him bearing testimony to them that they are “full of goodness, being filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish others.” (Rom. xv. 14.) Why then does he write to them? “Because of the grace of God,” he says, “which is given unto me, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ” (ib. 15 , 16): wherefore also he says in the beginning: “I am a debtor; as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also;” for what is said—as that they are “able to exhort others also” (Rom. i. 14, 15),—and the like, rather belongs to encomium and encouragement: and the correction afforded by means of a letter, was needful even for these; for since he had not yet been present, he bringeth the men to good order in two ways, both by the profitableness of his letter and by the expectation of his presence. For such was that holy soul, it comprised the whole world and carried about all men in itself thinking the nearest relationship to be that in God. And he loved them so, as if he had begotten them all, or rather showed (so 4 mss.) a greater instinctive affection than any father (so Field: all mss. give “a father’s toward all”); for such is the grace of the Spirit, it exceedeth the pangs of the flesh, and displays a more ardent longing than theirs. And this one may see specially in the soul of Paul, who having as it were become winged through love, went continually round to all, abiding nowhere nor standing still. For since he had heard Christ saying, “Peter, lovest thou Me? feed My sheep” (John xxi. 15); and setting forth this as the greatest test of love, he displayed it in a very high degree. Let us too then, in imitation of him, each one bring into order, if not the world, or not entire cities and nations, yet at all events his own house, his wife, his children, his friends, his neighbors. And let no one say to me, “I am unskilled and unlearned:” nothing were less instructed than Peter, nothing more rude than Paul, and this himself confessed, and was not ashamed to say, “though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge.” (2 Cor. xi. 6.) Yet nevertheless this rude one, and that unlearned man,5 The “learning” of the Apostle Paul has been greatly exaggerated on both sides. It has been customary to overestimate it. He has been described as learned in Greek literature. The quotation of a few words from Aratus (Acts xvii. 28) and the use of two (probably) proverbial sayings which have been traced to Menander and Epimenides (1 Cor. xv. 33; Titus i. 12) furnish too slender support for this opinion. (vid. Meyer in locis). It is said that Paul had abundant opportunity to become acquainted with the Greek literature in Tarsus. But he left Tarsus at an early age and all the prejudices of his family would disincline him to the study of Heathen literature. His connection with Gamaliel and the style of his epistles alike show that his education was predominantly Jewish and Rabbinic. He was learned after the manner of the strictest Pharisees and from his residence in Tarsus and extended travel had acquired a good writing and speaking knowledge of the Greek language. Chrys. is uniformly inclined, however, to depreciate the culture of Paul. This springs from a desire to emphasize the greatness of his influence and power as compared with his attainments. The apostle’s confession that he is an ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ (2 Cor. xi. 6), means only that he was unskilled in eloquence and is to be taken as his own modest estimate of himself in that particular. Moreover it is immediately qualified by ἀλλ᾽ οὐ τῇ γνώσει which is entirely inconsistent with the idea that he was rude or illiterate in general, or that he considered himself to be so.—G.B.S. overcame countless philosophers, stopped the mouths of countless orators, and did all by their own ready mind and the grace of God. What excuse then shall we have, if we are not equal to twenty names, and are not even of service to them that live with us? This is but a pretence and an excuse—for it is not want of learning or of instruction which hindereth our teaching, but drowsiness and sleep. (Acts i. 15; ii. 41.) Let us then having shaken off this sleep with all diligence cleave to our own members, that we may even here enjoy much calm, by ordering in the fear of God them that are akin to us, and hereafter may partake of countless blessings through the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ towards man, through Whom, and with Whom, be glory to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, now, and evermore, and to all ages. Amen.
ΤΟΥ ΕΝ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ, ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΟΥΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗΝ. ΥΠΟΘΕΣΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΟΥΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗΣ. αʹ. Συνεχῶς ἀκούων ἀναγινωσκομένων τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν τοῦ μακαρίου Παύλου, καὶ καθ' ἑκάστην ἑβδομάδαδὶς, πολλάκις δὲ καὶ τρὶς καὶ τετράκις, ἡνίκα ἂν μαρτύρων ἁγίων μνήμας ἐπιτελῶμεν, χαίρω μὲν τῆς σάλπιγγος ἀπολαύων τῆς πνευματικῆς, καὶ διανίσταμαι, καὶ θερμαίνομαι τῷ πόθῳ, τὴν ἐμοὶ φίλην ἐπιγινώσκων φωνὴν, καὶ μονονουχὶ παρόντα αὐτὸν δοκῶ φαντάζεσθαι, καὶ διαλεγόμενον ὁρᾷν: ἀλγῶ δὲ καὶ ὀδυνῶμαι, ὅτι τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον οὐχ ἅπαντες ἴσασιν, ὥσπερ εἰδέναι χρὴ, ἀλλ' οὕτω τινὲς αὐτὸν ἀγνοοῦσιν, ὡς μηδὲ τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν τὸν ἀριθμὸν εἰδέναι σαφῶς. Τοῦτο δὲ γίνεται οὐ παρὰ ἀμαθίαν, ἀλλὰ παρὰ τὸ μὴ βούλεσθαι συνεχῶς ὁμιλεῖν τῷ μακαρίῳ τούτῳ. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἡμεῖς ὅσαπερ ἴσμεν, εἴπερ τινὰ ἴσμεν, δι' εὐφυΐαν καὶ ὀξύτητα διανοίας ἐπιστάμεθα, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ συνεχῶς ἔχεσθαι τοῦ ἀνδρὸς, καὶ σφόδρα διακεῖσθαι περὶ αὐτόν. Τὰ γὰρ τῶν φιλουμένων πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων οἱ φιλοῦντες ἴσασιν, ἅτε δὴ μεριμνῶντες αὐτούς: ὅπερ καὶ ὁ μακάριος οὗτος ἐνδεικνύμενος, ἔλεγε Φιλιππησίοις: Καθὼς ἐμοὶ δίκαιόν ἐστι τοῦτο φρονεῖν περὶ ὑμῶν, διὰ τὸ ἔχειν με ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμᾶς ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀπολογίᾳ καὶ βεβαιώσει τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὥστε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰ θέλετε μετὰ προθυμίας προσέχειν τῇ ἀναγνώσει, οὐδενὸς ἑτέρου δεηθήσεσθε: ἀψευδὴς γὰρ ὁ τοῦ Χριστοῦ λόγος, εἰπών: Ζητεῖτε, καὶ εὑρήσετε: κρούετε, καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν. Ἀλλ' ἐπειδὴ τὸ πλέον ἡμῖν τῶν ἐνταῦθα συλλεγομένων καὶ παιδοτροφίαν καὶ γυναικὸς ἐπιμέλειαν καὶ οἰκίας πρόνοιαν ἀνεδέξαντο, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἂν ἀνάσχοιντο ὅλους ἑαυτοὺς δοῦναι τῷ πόνῳ τούτῳ: πρὸς γοῦν τὸ λαβεῖν τὰ παρ' ἑτέρων συλλεγέντα διανάστητε, καὶ τοσαύτην ἀπονείματε σπουδὴν τῇ τῶν λεγομένων ἀκροάσει, ὅσην τῇ τῶν χρημάτων συλλογῇ. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ αἰσχρὸν τοσαύτην ἀπαιτῆσαι παρ' ὑμῶν μόνην, πλὴν ἀλλ' ἀγαπητὸν, ἂν τοσαύτην γοῦν δῶτε. Καὶ γὰρ ἐντεῦθεν τὰ μυρία ἐφύη κακὰ, ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν Γραφῶν ἀγνοίας: ἐντεῦθεν ἡ πολλὴ τῶν αἱρέσεων ἐβλάστησε λύμη, ἐντεῦθεν οἱ ἠμελημένοι βίοι, ἐντεῦθεν οἱ ἀκερδεῖς πόνοι. Ὥσπερ γὰρ οἱ τοῦ φωτὸς ἀπεστερημένοι τούτου οὐκ ἂν ὀρθὰ βαδίσαιεν: οὕτως οἱ πρὸς τὴν ἀκτῖνα τῶν θείων μὴ βλέποντες Γραφῶν, πολλὰ ἀναγκάζονται καὶ συνεχῶς ἁμαρτάνειν, ἅτε δὴ ἐν σκότῳ χαλεπωτάτῳ βαδίζοντες. Ὅπερ ἵνα μὴ γένηται, διανοίξωμεν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς πρὸς τὴν λαμπηδόνα τῶν ἀποστολικῶν ῥημάτων: καὶ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τὸν ἥλιον ἔλαμψεν ἡ τούτου γλῶττα, καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων ἐπλεονέκτησε τῷ τῆς διδασκαλίας λόγῳ: ἐπειδὴ γὰρ περισσότερον αὐτῶν ἐκοπίασε, πολλὴν καὶ τὴν τοῦ Πνεύματος ἐπεσπάσατο χάριν. Καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν διισχυρίζομαι μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν πράξεων. Εἰ γάρ που δημηγορίας ἦν καιρὸς, αὐτῷ πανταχοῦ παρεχώρουν: διὸ καὶ Ἑρμῆς εἶναι ἐνομίζετο παρὰ τοῖς ἀπίστοις, διὰ τὸ τοῦ λόγου κατάρχειν. Μέλλοντας δὲ εἰς τὴν Ἐπιστολὴν κατιέναι ταύτην, ἀναγκαῖον καὶ τὸν χρόνον εἰπεῖν, καθ' ὃν ἐγράφη. Οὐδὲ γὰρ, ὡς πολλοὶ νομίζουσι, πρὸ πασῶν τῶν ἄλλων ἐστὶν, ἀλλὰ τῶν μὲν ἀπὸ Ῥώμης γραφεισῶν προτέρα πασῶν, τῶν δὲ ἄλλων ὑστέρα, εἰ καὶ μὴ πασῶν: καὶ γὰρ αἱ πρὸς Κορινθίους ἀμφότεραι πρὸ ταύτης εἰσὶν ἀπεσταλμέναι. Καὶ τοῦτο δῆλον ἀφ' ὧν ἐν τῷ τέλει ταύτης ἔγραφεν, οὕτω λέγων: Νυνὶ δὲ πορεύομαι εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγίοις. Εὐδόκησαν γὰρ Μακεδονία καὶ Ἀχαΐα κοινωνίαν τινὰ ποιήσασθαι εἰς τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῶν ἁγίων τῶν ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ. Κορινθίοις δὲ ἐπιστέλλων ἔλεγεν: Ἐὰν ᾖ ἄξιον τοῦ καὶ ἐμὲ πορεύεσθαι, σὺν ἐμοὶ πορεύσονται, περὶ τῶν ἀποκομιζόντων ἐκεῖσε τὰ χρήματα ταῦτα λέγων. Ὅθεν δῆλον, ὅτι ἡνίκα μὲν ἐπέστελλε Κορινθίοις, ἀμφίβολον ἦν τὸ τῆς τοιαύτης ἀποδημίας αὐτοῦ: ὅτε δὲ Ῥωμαίοις, ἦν κεκυρωμένον λοιπόν. Τούτου δὲ ὁμολογουμένου, κἀκεῖνο δῆλον, ὅτι αὕτη μετ' ἐκείνας ἡ Ἐπιστολή. Καὶ ἡ πρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς δὲ ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ προτέρα τῆς πρὸς Κορινθίους Ἐπιστολῆς εἶναι. Καὶ γὰρ ἐκείνοις πρότερον ἐπιστείλας, καὶ τὸν τῆς ἐλεημοσύνης πρὸς αὐτοὺς κινήσας λόγον, ὅτε ἔλεγε: Περὶ δὲ τῆς φιλαδελφίας οὐ χρείαν ἔχομεν γράφειν ὑμῖν: αὐτοὶ γὰρ ὑμεῖς θεοδίδακτοί ἐστε εἰς τὸ ἀγαπᾷν ἀλλήλους: καὶ γὰρ ποιεῖτε αὐτὸ πρὸς πάντας τοὺς ἀδελφούς: τότε Κορινθίοις ἐπέστελλε. Καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸ δηλοῖ λέγων: Οἶδα γὰρ ἐγὼ τὴν προθυμίαν ὑμῶν, ἣν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καυχῶμαι Μακεδόσιν, ὅτι Ἀχαΐα παρεσκεύασται ἀπὸ πέρυσι: καὶ ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν ζῆλος ἠρέθισε τοὺς πλείονας. Ἐξ ὧν ἔδειξεν, ὅτι πρώτοις ἐκείνοις περὶ τούτου διελέχθη. Τούτων μὲν οὖν ὑστέρα τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν αὕτη, τῶν δὲ ἀπὸ Ῥώμης πρώτη: οὐδέπω γὰρ ἦν τῆς Ῥωμαίων πόλεως ἐπιβὰς, ἡνίκα ταύτην ἔγραφε τὴν Ἐπιστολήν: καὶ τοῦτο δηλοῖ λέγων: Ἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἵνα τι μεταδῶ χάρισμα ὑμῖν πνευματικόν. Ἀπὸ Ῥώμης δὲ Φιλιππησίοις ἐπέστελλε: διό φησιν, Ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἅγιοι πάντες, μάλιστα οἱ ἐκ τῆς Καίσαρος οἰκίας. Καὶ Ἑβραίοις δὲ ἐκεῖθεν ὁμοίως: διό φησι, τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰταλίας ἀσπάζεσθαι πάντας αὐτούς. Καὶ τὴν πρὸς Τιμόθεον δὲ Ἐπιστολὴν καὶ αὐτὴν ἀπὸ Ῥώμης δεδεμένος ἔπεμψεν: ἢ καὶ ἐσχάτη μοι δοκεῖ πασῶν εἶναι τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν: καὶ δῆλον ἀπὸ τοῦ τέλους: Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι, φησὶ, καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἐμῆς ἀναλύσεως ἐφέστηκεν. Ὅτι δὲ τὸν βίον ἐκεῖ κατέλυσε, παντί που δῆλόν ἐστιν. Ἡ δὲ πρὸς Φιλήμονα ἐσχάτη μὲν καὶ αὕτη: πρὸς γὰρ ἐσχάτῳ γήρᾳ αὐτὴν ἔγραψε: διὸ καὶ ἔλεγεν: Ὡς Παῦλος πρεσβύτης, νυνὶ δὲ καὶ δέσμιος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: τῆς μέντοι πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς προτέρα: καὶ τοῦτο ἀπὸ τοῦ τέλους δῆλον πάλιν. Κολοσσαεῦσι γὰρ γράφων φησὶν, ὅτι Τυχικὸς πάντα γνωρίσει ὑμῖν, ὃν ἔπεμψα σὺν Ὀνησίμῳ τῷ πιστῷ καὶ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ. Ὀνήσιμος δὲ οὗτος ἦν, ὑπὲρ οὗ τὴν πρὸς Φιλήμονα Ἐπιστολὴν συνέθηκε. Καὶ ὅτι οὐκ ἦν ἄλλος οὗτος ὁμώνυμος ἐκείνῳ, δῆλον καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἀρχίππου: ὃν γὰρ ἔλαβε συνεργὸν ἐν τῇ πρὸς Φιλήμονα Ἐπιστολῇ τῆς παρακλήσεως τῆς ὑπὲρ Ὀνησίμου, τοῦτον Κολοσσαεῦσιν ἐπιστέλλων διεγείρει, λέγων: Εἴπατε Ἀρχίππῳ: Βλέπε τὴν διακονίαν, ἣν παρέλαβες, ἵνα αὐτὴν πληροῖς. Δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ ἡ πρὸς Γαλάτας προτέρα εἶναι τῆς πρὸς Ῥωμαίους. Εἰ δὲ ἐν ταῖς βίβλοις ἑτέραν ἔχουσι τάξιν, θαυμαστὸν οὐδέν: ἐπεὶ καὶ οἱ προφῆται οἱ δώδεκα οὐκ ἐφεξῆς ἀλλήλοις ὄντες κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους, ἀλλὰ πολὺ διεστηκότες ἀλλήλων, ἐν τῇ τῶν βιβλίων τάξει ἐφεξῆς εἰσι κείμενοι. Ὁ γοῦν Ἀγγαῖος καὶ Ζαχαρίας καὶ ἄλλοι μετὰ τὸν Ἰεζεκιὴλ καὶ Δανιὴλ προεφήτευσαν, καὶ πολλοὶ μετὰ τὸν Ἰωνᾶν καὶ τὸν Σοφονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους δὲ πάντας: ἀλλ' ὅμως συνημμένοι πᾶσίν εἰσιν ἐκείνοις, ὧν τοσοῦτον τῷ χρόνῳ διεστήκασι. βʹ. Μηδεὶς δὲ πάρεργον τοῦτον ἡγείσθω τὸν πόνον, μηδὲ περιεργίας περιττῆς τὴν τοιαύτην ἔρευναν: συντελεῖ γὰρ ἡμῖν πρὸς τὰ ζητούμενα οὐ μικρὸν ὁ τῶν Ἐπιστολῶν χρόνος. Ὅταν γὰρ ἴδω Ῥωμαίοις καὶ Κολοσσαεῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν αὐτῶν μὲν ἐπιστέλλοντα, οὐχ ὁμοίως δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν αὐτῶν, ἀλλ' ἐκείνοις μὲν μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς συγκαταβάσεως, ὡς ὅταν λέγῃ: Τὸν δὲ ἀσθενοῦντα τῇ πίστει προσλαμβάνεσθε, μὴ εἰς διακρίσεις διαλογισμῶν: ὃς μὲν πιστεύει φαγεῖν πάντα: ὁ δὲ ἀσθενῶν λάχανα ἐσθίει: Κολοσσαεῦσι δὲ οὐχ οὕτω περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν, ἀλλὰ μετὰ πλείονος παῤῥησίας: Εἰ γὰρ ἀπεθάνετε, φησὶ, σὺν Χριστῷ ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων τοῦ κόσμου, τί ὡς ζῶντες ἐν κόσμῳ; δογματίζεσθε, Μὴ ἅψῃ, μηδὲ γεύσῃ, μηδὲ θίγῃς; ἅτινά ἐστι πάντα εἰς φθορὰν τῇ ἀποχρήσει, οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός: οὐδὲν ἄλλο αἴτιον εὑρίσκω τῆς διαφορᾶς ταύτης, ἢ τὸν τῶν πραγμάτων χρόνον. Ἐν ἀρχῇ μὲν γὰρ συγκαταβαίνειν ἔδει, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα οὐκέτι. Καὶ πολλαχοῦ δὲ ἀλλαχοῦ τοῦτο ἄν τις εὕροι ποιοῦντα αὐτόν. Οὕτω καὶ ἰατρὸς καὶ διδάσκαλος ποιεῖν εἰώθασιν: οὔτε γὰρ τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς νοσοῦσιν ὁ ἰατρὸς, καὶ τοῖς πρὸς τὸ τέλος λοιπὸν τῆς ὑγείας ἐλθοῦσιν, οὔτε τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς μανθάνουσι παιδίοις ὁ διδάσκαλος, καὶ τοῖς τῶν τελεωτέρων δεομένοις διδαγμάτων, ὁμοίως χρήσονται. Τοῖς μὲν οὖν ἄλλοις ἐξ αἰτίας τινὸς καὶ ὑποθέσεως κινούμενος ἐπέστελλε (καὶ δηλοῖ τοῦτο Κορινθίοις μὲν λέγων: Περὶ δὲ ὧν ἐγράψατέ μοι: καὶ Γαλάταις δὲ, εὐθέως ἐκ τοῦ προοιμίου καὶ τῆς Ἐπιστολῆς ἁπάσης τὸ αὐτὸ ἐμφαίνων): τούτοις δὲ τίνος ἕνεκεν, καὶ διὰ τί; καὶ γὰρ φαίνεται μαρτυρῶν αὐτοῖς, ὅτι μεστοὶ μὲν εἰσὶν ἀγαθωσύνης, πεπληρωμένοι πάσης γνώσεως, δυνάμενοι καὶ ἄλλους νουθετεῖν. Τίνος οὖν ἕνεκεν ἐπέστελλε; Διὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ, φησὶ, τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι εἰς τὸ εἶναί με λειτουργὸν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Διὸ καὶ ἐν ἀρχῇ ἔλεγεν: Ὀφειλέτης εἰμὶ, τὸ κατ' ἐμὲ πρόθυμον, καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς ἐν Ῥώμῃ εὐαγγελίσασθαι. Καὶ γὰρ τὰ εἰρημένα, οἷον ὅτι δύνανται καὶ ἄλλοις νουθετεῖν, καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα, ἐγκωμίου μᾶλλόν ἐστι καὶ προτροπῆς: καὶ ἀναγκαία καὶ ἡ διὰ τῶν γραμμάτων διόρθωσις καὶ τούτοις ἦν. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ οὔπω παραγεγονὼς ἦν, διπλῇ ῥυθμίζει τοὺς ἄνδρας, καὶ τῇ τῶν γραμμάτων ὠφελείᾳ, καὶ τῇ τῆς παρουσίας προσδοκίᾳ. Τοιαύτη γὰρ ἡ ἁγία ἐκείνη ψυχή: πᾶσαν περιελάμβανε τὴν οἰκουμένην, καὶ ἐν ἑαυτῷ περιέφερεν ἅπαντας, συγγένειαν μεγίστην τὴν κατὰ Θεὸν εἶναι νομίζων: καὶ ὥσπερ πάντας αὐτοὺς ἀποτεκὼν, οὕτως ἐφίλει, μᾶλλον δὲ πατρὸς παντὸς μείζονα ἐπεδείκνυτο φιλοστοργίαν. Τοιαύτη γὰρ ἡ τοῦ Πνεύματος χάρις: νικᾷ τὰς σαρκικὰς ὠδῖνας, καὶ θερμότερον ἐπιδείκνυται τὸν πόθον. Καὶ τοῦτο μάλιστα ἔστιν ἰδεῖν ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ Παύλου ψυχῆς, ὃς καθάπερ πτηνός τις ὑπὸ τῆς ἀγάπης γενόμενος, ἅπαντας περιῄει συνεχῶς, οὐδαμοῦ μένων οὐδὲ ἱστάμενος. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἤκουσε τοῦ Χριστοῦ λέγοντος, Πέτρε, φιλεῖς με; ποίμαινέ μου τὰ πρόβατα, καὶ τοῦτον μέγιστον ὅρον ἐκφέροντος ἀγάπης, μεθ' ὑπερβολῆς αὐτὸν ἐπεδείκνυτο. Τοῦτον οὖν καὶ ἡμεῖς ζηλώσαντες, εἰ καὶ μὴ τὴν οἰκουμένην, μηδὲ πόλεις ὁλοκλήρους καὶ ἔθνη, ἀλλὰ τὴν οἰκίαν ἕκαστος ῥυθμιζέτω τὴν ἑαυτοῦ, τὴν γυναῖκα, τὰ παιδία, τοὺς φίλους, τοὺς γείτονας. Καὶ μή μοι λεγέτω τις, ὅτι Ἄπειρός εἰμι καὶ ἰδιώτης. Οὐδὲν ἀμαθέστερον Πέτρου, οὐδὲν ἰδιωτικώτερον Παύλου. Καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸς ὡμολόγει, καὶ οὐκ ᾐσχύνετο λέγων: Εἰ δὲ καὶ ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ, ἀλλ' οὐ τῇ γνώσει. Ἀλλ' ὅμως ὁ ἰδιώτης οὗτος καὶ ὁ ἀμαθὴς ἐκεῖνος μυρίους ἐνίκησαν φιλοσόφους, μυρίους ἐπεστόμισαν ῥήτορας, ἀπὸ τῆς αὐτῶν προθυμίας καὶ τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ χάριτος τὸ πᾶν ἐργασάμενοι. Τίνα οὖν ἕξομεν ἀπολογίαν ἡμεῖς, οὐδὲ εἴκοσιν ἀρκοῦντες ὀνόμασιν, οὐδὲ τοῖς συνοικοῦσιν ὄντες χρήσιμοι; Σκῆψις ταῦτα καὶ πρόφασις: οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀμαθία οὐδὲ ἀπαιδευσία κωλύει τὴν διδασκαλίαν, ἀλλὰ νωθεία καὶ ὕπνος. Τοῦτον οὖν ἀποτιναξάμενοι τὸν ὕπνον, μετὰ πάσης σπουδῆς ἀντεχώμεθα τῶν οἰκείων μελῶν, ἵνα καὶ ἐνταῦθα πολλῆς ἀπολαύσωμεν τῆς γαλήνης, κατὰ τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ φόβον τοὺς ἡμῖν ἐπιτηδείους ῥυθμίζοντες, καὶ ἐκεῖ μυρίων μετάσχωμεν ἀγαθῶν, χάριτι καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, δι' οὗ καὶ μεθ' οὗ τῷ Πατρὶ ἡ δόξα, ἅμα τῷ ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι, νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ, καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.