Ver.6. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace of God
that is given unto us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the
proportion of faith."
Since then he had sufficiently comforted them, he wishes also to make
them vie with each other, and labor more in earnest, by showing that it
is themselves that give the grounds for their receiving more or less. For
he says indeed that it is given by God (as when he says, "according as
God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith;" and again, "according
to the grace given unto us") (Rom. xii. 3), that he may subdue the haughty.
But he says also that the beginnings lie with themselves, to rouse the
listless. And this he does in the Epistle to the Corinthians also, to produce
both these emotions. For when he saith, "covet earnestly the gifts," (1
Cor. xii. 31), he shows that they were themselves the cause of the differences
in what was given. But when he says, "Now all these things worketh one
and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (ib.
11), he is proving that those who have received it ought not to be elated,
so using every way open to him to allay their disorder. And this he does
here also. And again, to rouse those who have fallen drowsy, he says, "Whether
prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith." For though
it is a grace, yet it is not poured forth at random, but framing its measure
according to the recipients, it letteth as much flow as it may find the
vessel of faith that is brought to be capable of.
Ver. 7. "Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering."
Here he names a comprehensive thing. For the Apostleship even is called
a ministry, and every spiritual work is a ministry. This is indeed a name
of a peculiar office (viz. the diaconate); however, it is used in a general
sense. "Or he that teacheth, on teaching." See with what indifference he
places them, the little first and the great afterwards, again giving us
the same lesson, not to be puffed up or elated.
Ver.8. "Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation."
And this is a species of teaching too. For "if ye have any word of exhortation,"
it says, "speak unto the people." (Acts xiii. 15.) Then to show that it
is no great good to follow after virtue unless this is done with the proper
rule, he proceeds, "He that giveth" (metadidoij, imparteth), "let him do
it with simplicity." For it is not enough to give, but we must do it with
munificence also, for this constantly answereth to the name of simplicity.
Since even the virgins had oil, still, since they had not enough, they
were cast out from everything. "He that defendeth" (A. V. ruleth, proistamenoj,)
"with diligence;" for it is not enough to do undertake the defence. "He
that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." For it is not enough to show mercy,
but it behooves us to do it with a largeness and an ungrudging spirit,
or rather not with an ungrudging, but even with a cheerful and rejoicing
one, for not grudging does not amount to rejoicing. And this same point,
when he is writing to the Corinthians also, he insisted very strongly upon.
For to rouse them to such largeness he said, "He that soweth sparingly
shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also
bountifully. (2 Cor. ix. 6.) But to correct their temper he added, "Not
grudgingly or of necessity." (ib. 7.) For both the shower of mercy ought
to have, both ungrudgingness and pleasure. And why dost thou bemoan thyself
of giving alms? (Aristot. Eth. N. ii. 3 and iv. 1,) Why dost thou grieve
at showing mercy, and lose the advantage of the good deed? For if thou
grievest thou dost not do mercy, but art cruel and inhuman. For if thou
grievest, how shalt thou be able to raise up him that is in sorrow? For
it is much if he suspects no ill, even, when thou art giving with joyfulness.
For since nothing seems to men such a disgrace as to be receiving from
others, unless by an exceedingly cheerful look thou removest the suspicion,
and showest that thou art receiving rather than giving, thou wilt even
cast down the receiver rather than raise him up. This is why he says, "He
that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." For who that is receiving a kingdom,
is of sad countenance? Who that is receiving pardon for his sins continueth
of dejected look? Mind not then the expenditure of the money; but the increase
that comes of that expenditure. For if he that soweth rejoiceth though
sowing with uncertainty of return, much more should he do so that farms
the Heaven. For in this way, even though thou give but little, thou wilt
be giving much; even as how much soever thou givest with a sad countenance,
thou wilt have made thy much a little. Thus the widow outweighed many talents
by the two mites, for her spirit was large. And how is it possible, it
may be said, for one that dwells with poverty in the extreme, and empties
forth his all, to do this with a ready mind? Ask the widow, and thou wilt
hear the way, and wilt know that it is not poverty that makes narrow circumstances,
but the temper of a man that effects both this and its opposite. For it
is possible even in poverty to be munificent (megaloyuxon), and in riches
to be niggardly. Hence in giving he looks for simplicity, and in showing
mercy for cheerfulness, and in patronizing for diligence. For it is not
with money only that he wishes us to render every assistance to those in
want, but both with words, and deeds, and in person, and in every other
way. And after mentioning the chief kind of aiding (prostasian), that which
lies in teaching, namely, and that of exhorting (for this is a more necessary
kind, in that it nurtures the soul), he proceeds to that by way of money,
and all other means; then to show how these may be practised aright, he
bringeth in the mother of them, love.
Ver. 9. For, "Let love be without dissimulation," he says,
If thou hast this, thou wilt not perceive the loss of thy money, the
labor of thy person, the toil of thy words, thy trouble, and thy ministering,
but thou wilt bear all courageously, whether it be with person, or money,
or word, or any other thing whatsover, that thou art to assist thy neighbor.
As then he doth not ask for giving only, but that with simplicity, nor
aiding, but that with diligence, nor alms, but that with cheerfulness;
so even love too he requires not alone, but that without dissimulation.
Since this is what love is. And if a man have this, everything else follows.
For he that showeth mercy does so with cheerfulness (for he is giving to
himself): and he that aideth, aideth with diligence; for it is for himself
he is aiding: and he that imparteth doth this with largeness; for he is
bestowing it on himself, Then since there is a love even for ill things,
such as is that of the intemperate, that of those who are of one mind for
money, and for plunder's sake, and for revels and drinking clubs, he clears
it of all these, by saying, "Abhor (apostugountej) that which is evil."
And he does not speak of refraining from it, but of hating it, and not
merely hating it, but hating it exceedingly. For this word apo is often
of intensive force with him, as where he speaks of "earnest expectation,
looking out for," (complete) "redemption." For since many who do not evil
things still have a desire after them, therefore he says, "Abhor." For
what he wants is to purify the thought, and that we should have a mighty
enmity, hatred and war against vice. For do not fancy, he means, because
I said, "Love one another," that I mean you to go so far as to coöperate
even in bad actions with one another; for the law that I am laying down
is just the reverse. Since it would have you an alien not from the action
only, but even from the inclination towards vice; and not merely an alien
from this same inclination, but to have an excessive aversion and hatred
of it too. And he is not content with only this, but he also brings in
the practice of virtue. "Cleave to that which is good."
He does not speak of doing only, but of being disposed too. For this
the command to "cleave to" it indicates. So God, when He knit the man to
the woman, said, "For he shall cleave to his wife." (Gen. ii. 24.) Then
he mentions reasons why we ought to love one another.
Ver.10. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love."
Ye are brethren, he means, and have come of the same pangs. Hence even
on this head you ought to love one another. And this Moses said to those
who were quarrelling in Egypt, "Ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to
another?" (Exod. ii. 13.) When then he is speaking of those without, he
says, "If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with
all men." (Rom. xii. 18.) But when he is speaking of his own, he says,
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love." For in the
other case he requires abstinence from quarrelling, and hatred, and aversion:
but here loving too, and not merely loving, but the loving of relatives.
For not only must one's "love be without dissimulation," but intense also,
and warm, and glowing. Because, to what purpose would you love without
fraud, and not love with warmth? Whence he says, "kindly affectioned one
towards another, that is, be friends, and warm ones too. Do not wait to
be loved by another, but leap at it thyself, and be the first to begin
it. For so wilt thou reap the wages of his love also. Having mentioned
the reason then why we ought to love one another, he tells us also the
way in which the affection may grow unchangeable. Whence he proceeds, "In
honor preferring one another." For this is the way that affection is produced,
and also when produced abideth. And there is nothing which makes friends
so much, as the earnest endeavor to overcome one's neighbor in honoring
him. For what he had mentioned before comes of love, and love of honor,
as honor does too of love. Then that we may not honor only, he looks for
something besides, when he says,
Ver.11. "Not backward in zeal."
For this also gendereth love when with honor we also show a readiness
to protect: as there is nothing that makes men beloved so much as honor
and forethought. For to love is not enough, but there must be this also:
or rather this also comes of loving, as also loving has its warmth from
this, and they are confirmative one of another. For there are many that
love in mind, yet reach not forth the hand. And this is why he uses every
means to build up love. And how are we to become "not backward in zeal?"
"Fervent in spirit." See how in every instance he aims after higher
degrees; for he does not say "give" only, but "with largeness;" nor "rule,"
but do it "with diligence;" nor "show mercy," but do it "with cheerfulness;"
nor "honor," but "prefer one another;" nor "love," but do it "without dissimulation;"
nor refrain from "evil" things, but "hate" them; nor hold to "what is good,"
but "cleave" to it; nor "love," but to do it "with brotherly affection;"
nor be zealous, but be so without backwardness; nor have the "Spirit,"
but have it "fervent," that is, that ye may be warm and awakened. For if
thou hast those things aforesaid, thou wilt draw the Spirit to thee. And
if This abide with thee, It will likewise make thee good for those purposes,
and all things will be easy from the Spirit and the love, while thou art
made to glow from both sides. Dost thou not see the bulls (Hannibal. ap.
Liv. xxii. 16) that carry a flame upon their back, how nobody is able to
withstand them? So thou also wilt be more than the devil can sustain, if
thou takest both these flames. "Serving the Lord." For it is possible to
serve God in all these ways; in that whatever thou doest to thy brother
passes on to thy Master, and as having been Himself benefited, He will
reckon thy reward accordingly. See to what height he has raised the spirit
of the man that worketh these things! Then to show how the flame of the
Spirit might be kindled, he says,
Ver.12. "Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant
For all these things are fuel for that fire. For when he had required
the expenditure of money and the labor of the person, and ruling, and zeal,
and teaching, and other laborious occupations, he again supplies the wrestler
with love, with the Spirit, through hope. For there is nothing which makes
the soul so courageous and venturesome for anything as a good hope. Then
even before the good things hoped for, he gives another reward again. For
since hope is of things to come, he says, "patient in tribulation." And
before the things to come, in this life present thou wilt gain a great
good (see on Rom. v. 4, p. 397) from tribulation, that of becoming hardy
and tried. And after this he affords them another help, when he says, "continuing
instant in prayer." When therefore love maketh things easy, and the Spirit
assisteth, and hope lighteneth, and tribulation maketh thee tried and apt
for bearing everything nobly, and thou hast along with these another very
great weapon, to wit, "prayer" and the aidances that come of prayer, what
further grievousness can there be in what he is enjoining? Surely none.
You see how in every way he gives the wrestler firm footing and shows that
the injunctions are perfectly easy. Consider again how he vindicates almsgiving,
or rather not almsgiving absolutely, but that to the saints. For above
when he says, "he that showeth mercy with cheerfulness," he makes us open-handed
to everybody. Here, however, it is in behalf of the faithful that he is
speaking. And so he proceeds to say,"
Ver. 13. "Sharing with the necessity (xreiaij,al. mneiaij,memories)
of the saints."
He does not say, Bestow upon, but "share with the necessity of the saints,"
to show that they receive more than they give, that it is a matter of merchandise,
because it is a community. Do you bring in money? They bring you in boldness
toward God. "Given to (Gr. pursuing) hospitality." He does not say doing
it, but "given" to it, so to instruct us not to wait for those that shall
ask it, and see when they will come to us, but to run to them, and be given
to finding them.
Thus did Lot, thus Abraham. For he spent the whole day upon it, waiting
for this goodly prey, and when he saw it, leaped upon it, and ran to meet
them, and worshipped upon the ground, and said, "My Lord, if now I have
found favor in Thy sight, pass not away from Thy servant." (Gen. xviii.
3.) Not as we do, if we happen to see a stranger or a poor man, knitting
our brows, and not deigning even to speak to them. And if after thousands
of entreaties we are softened, and bid the servant give them a trifle,
we think we have quite done our duty. But he did not so, but assumed the
fashion of a suppliant and a servant, though he did not know who he was
going to take under his roof. But we, who have clear information that it
is Christ Whom we take in, do not grow gentle even for this. But he both
beseeches, and entreats, and falls on his knees to them, yet we insult
those that come to us. And he indeed did all by himself and his wife, whereas
we do it not even by our attendants. But if you have a mind to see the
table that he set before them, there too you will see great bounteousness,
but the bounteousness came not from excess of wealth, but of the riches
of a ready will. Yet how many rich persons were there not then? Still none
did anything of the kind. How many widows were there in Israel? Yet none
showed hospitality to Elijah. How many wealthy persons again were there
not in Elisha's day? But the Shunamite alone gathered in the fruits of
hospitality; as did Abraham also, whom beside his largeness and ready mind
it is just especially to admire, on this ground, that when he had no knowledge
who they were that had come, yet he so acted. Do not thou then be curious
either: since for Christ thou dost receive him. And if thou art always
so scrupulous, many a time wilt thou pass by a man of esteem, and lose
thy reward from him. And yet he that receiveth one that is not of esteem,
hath no fault found with him, but is even rewarded. For "he that receiveth
a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward."
(Matt. x. 41.) But he who out of this ill-timed scrupulousness passeth
one that should be admired, shall even suffer punishment. Do not then busy
thyself with men's lives and doings. For this is the very extreme of niggardliness,
for one loaf to be exact about a man's entire life. For if this person
be a murderer, if a robber, or what not, does he therefore seem to thee
not to deserve a loaf and a few pence? And yet thy Master causeth even
the sun to rise upon him! And dost thou judge him unworthy of food even
for a day? I will put another case to you besides. Now even if you were
positively certain that he were laden with countless iniquities, not even
then wouldest thou have an excuse for depriving him of this day's sustenance.
For thou art the servant of Him Who said, "Ye know not what spirit ye are
of." (Luke ix. 55.) Thou art servant to Him Who healed those that stoned
Him, or rather Who was crucified for them. And do not tell me that he killed
another, for even if he were going to kill thee thyself, even then thou
shouldest not neglect him when starving. For thou art a disciple of Him
Who desired the salvation even of them that crucified Him Who said upon
the Cross itself, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
(Luke xxiii. 34.) Thou art the servant of Him Who healed him that smote
Him, Who upon the Cross itself crowned the man who had scorned Him. And
what can equal this? For both the robbers at first scorned Him. Still to
one of these He opened Paradise. And He bewails those who were upon the
point of killing Him, and is troubled and confounded at seeing the traitor,
not because He was going to be crucified, but because he was lost. He was
troubled then as having foreknowledge of the hanging, and the punishment
after the hanging. And though He knelt his wickedness, He bore with him
to the last hour, and thrust not away the traitor, but even kissed him.
Thy Master kisseth, and with His lips receiveth him who was on the very
point of shedding His precious Blood. And dost thou count the poor not
worthy even of a loaf, and reverencest not the Law which Christ laid down?
Now by this He shows that we ought not to turn aside, not only from the
poor, but not even from those that would lead us away to death. Do not
tell me then, that so and so hath done me grievous mischief, but just consider
what Christ did near the Cross itself, wishing to amend by His kiss the
traitor by whom He was on the point of being betrayed. And see with how
much power to shame him. For He says, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of
Man with a kiss?" (ib. 48.) Who is there He would not have softened? who
is there that this address would not have made yielding? What beast? what
adamant? yet not that wretched man. Do not then say, that such an one murdered
such an one, and that is why I turn aside from him. For even if he were
upon the point of thrusting a sword down into thee, and to plunge his hand
into thy neck itself, kiss this very right hand! since even Christ kissed
that mouth which wrought His death! And therefore do not thou either hate,
but bewail and pity him that plotteth against thee. For such an one deserveth
pity at our hands, and tears For we are the servants of Him Who kissed
even the traitor (I will not leave off dwelling over that continually),
and spoke words unto him more gentle than the kiss. For He did not even
say, O thou foul and villanous traitor, is this the sort of recompense
thou returnest us for so great a benefit? But in what words? "Judas;" using
his own name, which is more like a person bemoaning, and recalling him,
than one wroth at him. And he does not say, thy Teacher, thy Master, and
Benefactor, but, "the Son of Man." For though He were neither Teacher nor
Master, yet is it with One Who is so gently, so unfeignedly affected towards
thee, as even to kiss thee at the time of betrayal, and that when a kiss
too was the signal for the betrayal; is it with Him that thou playest the
traitor's part? Blessed art Thou, O Lord! What lowliness of mind, what
forbearance hast Thou given us ensamples of! And to him He so behaved.
But to those who came with staves and swords to Him, was it not so too?
What can be more gentle than the words spoken to them? For when He had
power to demolish them all in an instant, He did nothing of the kind, but
as expostulating (entreptikwj), addressed them in the words, "Why, are
ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves?" (Matt. xxvi. 55.)
And having east them down backwards (John xviii. 6), as they continued
insensible, He of His own accord gave Himself up next, and forbore while
He saw them putting manacles upon His holy hands, while He had the power
at once to confound all things, and overthrow them. But dost thou even
after this deal fiercely with the poor? And even were he guilty of ten
thousand sins, want and famine were enough to soften down a soul ever so
blunted. But thou standest brutalized, and imitating the rage of lions.
Yet they never taste of dead bodies. But thou, while thou seest him a very
corpse (tetarikeumenon lit. salter, or, a mummy) for distresses, yet leapest
upon him now that he is down, and tearest his body by thine insults, and
gatherest storm after storm, and makest him as he is fleeing to the haven
for refuge to split upon a rock, and bringest a shipwreck about more distressing
than those in the sea. And how wilt thou say to God, Have mercy upon me,
and ask of Him remission of sins, when thou art insolent to one who hath
done no sin, and callest him to account for this hunger and great necessity,
and throwest all the brute beasts into the shade by thy cruelty. For they
indeed by the compulsion of their belly lay hold of the food needful for
them. But thou, when nothing either thrusts thee on or compels thee, devourest
thy brother, bitest, and tearest him, if not with thy teeth, yet with words
that bite more cuttingly. How then wilt thou receive the sacred Host (prosforan),
when thou hast empurpled thy tongue in human gore? how give the kiss of
peace, with mouth gorged with war? Nay, how enjoy every common nourishment,
when thou art gathering so much venom? Thou dost not relieve the poverty,
why make it even more grinding? thou dost not lift up him that is fallen,
why throw him down also? thou dost not remove despondency, why even increase
it? thou givest no money, why use insulting words besides? Hast thou not
heard what punishment they suffer that feed not the poor? to what vengeance
they are condemned? For He says, "Depart to the fire prepared for the devil
and his angels." (Matt. xxv. 41.) If then they that feed not are so condemned,
what punishment are they to suffer, who besides not feeding, even insult?
What punishment shall they undergo? what hell? That we kindle not so great
evils against ourselves, whiles we have it in our power, let us correct
this evil complaint also, and put a bridle on the tongue. And let us be
so far from insulting, as even to invite them, both by words and actions,
that by laying up much mercy for ourselves, we may obtain the blessings
promised us. Which God grant that we may all attain unto by the grace and
love towards man, etc.
ROM. XII. 14.-" Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse
After teaching them how they ought to be minded towards one another,
and after joining the members closely into one, he next proceeds to lead
them forth to the battle without, which he makes easier as from this point.
For as he who hath not managed things well with those of his own side,
will find more difficulty in arranging affairs with strangers, so he, that
has practised himself duly among these, will with the more ease have the
advantage of those without also. Hence then Paul also as he goes on in
his journey, after the one places the other, and says, "Bless them that
persecute you." He did not say, be not spiteful or revengeful, but required
something far better. For that a man that was wise might do, but this is
quite an angel's part. And after saying "bless," he proceeds, "and curse
not," lest we should do both the one and the ether, and not the former
only. For they that persecute us are purveyors of a reward to us. But if
thou art sober-minded, there will be another reward after that one, which
thou wilt gain thyself. For he will yield thee that for persecution, but
thou wilt yield thyself the one from the blessing of another, in that thou
bringest forth a very great sign of love to Christ. For as he that curseth
his persecutor, showeth that he is not much pleased at suffering this for
Christ, thus he that blesseth showeth the greatness of his love. Do not
then abuse him, that thou thyself mayest gain the greater reward, and mayest
teach him that the thing is matter of inclination, not of necessity, of
holiday and feast, not of calamity or dejection. For this cause Christ
Himself said, "Rejoice when men speak all manner of evil against you falsely."
(Matt. v. 11.) Hence too it was that the Apostles returned with joy not
from having been evil spoken of only, but also at having been scourged.
(Acts v. 40, Acts v. 41.) For besides what I have mentioned, there will
be another gain, and that no small one, that you will make, both the abashing
of your adversaries hereby, and instructing of them by your actions that
you are travelling to another life; for if he see thee joyous, and elevated,
(pteroumenon) from suffering ill, he will see clearly from the actions
that thou hast other hopes greater than those of this life. So that if
thou dost not so, but weepest and lamentest, how is he to be able to learn
from that thou art tarrying for any other life? And besides this, thou
wilt compass yet another thing. For provided he see thee not vexed at the
affronts done thee, but even blessing him, he will leave harassing thee.
See then how much that is good comes from this, both a greater reward for
thyself and a less temptation, and he will forbear persecuting thee, and
God too will be glorified: and to him that is in error thy endurance will
be instruction in godliness. For this reason it was not those that insult
us only, but even those that persecute us and deal despitefully with us,
that he bade us requite with the contrary. And now he orders them to bless,
but as he goes on, he exhorts them to do them good in deeds also.
Ver.15. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that
Since it is possible to bless and not to curse, and yet not to do this
out of love, he wishes us to be penetrated with the warmth of friendship
throughout. And this is why he goes on in these words, that we are not
only to bless, but even feel compassion for their pains and sufferings,
whenever we happen to see them fallen into trouble. Yes, it will be said,
but to join in the sorrows of mourners one can see why he ordered them,
but why ever did he command them the other thing, when it is no such great
matter? Aye, but that requires more of a high Christian temper, to rejoice
with them that do rejoice, than to weep with them that weep. For this nature
itself fulfils perfectly: and there is none so hard-hearted as not to weep
over him that is in calamity: but the other requires a very noble soul,
so as not only to keep from envying, but even to feel pleasure with the
person who is in esteem. And this is why he placed it first. For there
is nothing that ties love so firmly as sharing both joy and pain one with
another. Do not then, because thou art far from difficulties thyself, remain
aloof from sympathizing too. For when thy neighbor is ill-treated, thou
oughtest to make the calamity thine own. Take share then in his tears,
that thou mayest lighten his low spirits. Take share in his joy, that thou
mayest make the joy strike deep root. and fix the love firmly, and be of
service to thyself rather than to him in so doing, by thy weeping rendering
thyself merciful, and by thy feeling his pleasure, purging thyself of envy
and grudging. And let me draw your attention to Paul's considerateness.
For he does not say, Put an end to the calamity, lest thou shouldest say
in many cases (or perchance pollakij) that it is impossible: but he has
enjoined the easier task, and that which thou hast in thy power. For even
if thou art not able to remove the evil, yet contribute tears, and thou
wilt take the worst half away. And if thou be not able to increase a man's
prosperity, contribute joy, and thou wilt have made a great addition to
it. Therefore it is not abstaining from envy only, but what is a much greater
thing that he exhorts us to, namely, joining in the pleasure. For this
is a much greater thing than not envying.
Ver. 16. "Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high
things, but condescend to men of low estate."
Here again he insists much upon lowliness of mind, the subject he had
started this exhortation with. For there was a probability of their being
full of high-mindedness, both on account of their city (see p. 343), and
from sundry other causes; he therefore keeps drawing off (uposurei, 2 mss.
uporuttei) the morbid matter, and lowers the inflammation. For there is
nothing that makes such schisms in the Churches as vanity does. And what
does he mean by. "Be of the same mind one towards another?" Has a poor
man come into thy house? Be like him in thy bearing, do not put on any
unusual pompous air on account of thy riches. There is no rich and poor
in Christ. Be not then ashamed of him because of his external dress, but
receive him because of his inward faith. And if thou seest him in sorrow,
do not disdain to comfort him, nor if thou see him in prosperity, feel
abashed at sharing his pleasure, and being gladdened with him, but be of
the same mind in his case, that thou wouldest be of in thine own. For it
says, "Be of the same mind one towards another." For instance, if thou
thinkest thyself a great man, therefore think him so likewise. Dost thou
suspect that he is mean and little? Well then, pass this same sentence
upon thyself, and cast aside all unevenness. And how is this to be? By
thy casting aside that reckless temper. Wherefore he proceeds: "Mind not
high things, but condescend to men of low estate." That is, bring thyself
down to their humble condition, associate with them, walk with them, do
not be humbled in mind only, but help them also, and reach forth thy hand
to them, not by means of others, but in thine own person, as a father taking
care of a child, as the head taking care of the body. As he says in another
place, "being bound with them that are in bonds." (Heb xiii. 3. But here
he means by those of low estate not merely the lowly-minded, but those
of a low rank, and which one is apt to think scorn of.