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A Sermon of St John Chrysostom on the Epistle 
(a portion of Homily XVII, and Homilies XVIII and XIX in Vol XIV, NPNF (1st))
Portion of Homily XVII.

(Chap. x. 1.) "For" (he says) "the Law having a shadow of the good things to come not the very image of the things"; i.e. not the very reality. For as in painting, so long as one [only] draws the outlines, it is a sort of "shadow" but when one has added the bright paints and laid in the colors, then it becomes "an image." Something of this kind also was the Law.

"For" (he says) "the Law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things," i.e. of the sacrifice, of the remission: "can never by those sacrifices with which they offered continually make the comers thereunto perfect." (Ver. 2-9) "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me. In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo! I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God. Above when He said, Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offerings, and [offering] for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered by the Law, then He said, Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God! He taketh away the first that He may establish the second."

Thou seest again the superabundance [of his proofs]? This sacrifice (he says) is one; whereas the others were many: therefore they had no strength, because they were many. For, tell me, what need of many, if one had been sufficient? so that their being many, and offered "continually," proves that they [the worshipers] were never made clean. For as a medicine, when it is powerful and productive of health, and able to remove the disease entirely, effects all after one application; as, therefore, if being once applied it accomplishes the whole, it proves its own strength in being no more applied, and this is its business, to be no more applied; whereas if it is applied continually, this is a plain proof of its not having strength. For it is the excellence of a medicine to be applied once, and not often. So is it in this case also. Why forsooth are they continually cured with the "same sacrifices"? For if they were set free from all their sins, the sacrifices would not have gone on being offered every day. For they had been appointed to be continually offered in behalf of the whole people, both in the evening and in the day. So that there was an arraignment of sins, and not a release from sins; an arraignment of weakness, not an exhibition of strength. For because the first had no strength, another also was offered: and since this effected nothing, again another; so that it was an evidence of sins. The "offering" indeed then, was an evidence of sins, the "continually," an evidence of weakness. But with regard to Christ, it was the contrary: He was "once offered." The types therefore contain the figure only, not the power; just as in images, the image has the figure of the man, not the power. So that the reality and the type have [somewhat] in common with one another. For the figure exists equally in both, but not the power. So too also is it in respect of Heaven and of the tabernacle, for the figure was equal: for there was the Holy of Holies, but the power and the other things were not the same.

What is, "He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"? What is this "putting away"? it is making contemptible. For sin has no longer any boldness; for it is made of no effect in that when it ought to have demanded punishment, it did not demand it: that is, it suffered violence: when it expected to destroy all men, then it was itself destroyed.

"He hath appeared by the sacrifice of Himself" (he says), that is, "He hath appeared," unto God, and drawn near [unto Him]. For do not [think] because the High Priest was wont to do this oftentimes in the year. ... So that henceforward this is done in vain, although it is done; for what need is there of medicines where there are no wounds? On this account He ordained offerings "continually," because of their want of power, and that a remembrance of sins might be made.

[6.] What then? do not we offer every day? We offer indeed, but making a remembrance of His death, and this [remembrance] is one and not many. How is it one, and not many? Inasmuch as that [Sacrifice] was once for all offered, [and] carried into the Holy of Holies. This is a figure of that [sacrifice] and this remembrance of that. For we always offer the same, not one sheep now and to-morrow another, but always the same thing: so that the sacrifice is one. And yet by this reasoning, since the offering is made in many places, are there many Christs? but Christ is one everywhere, being complete here and complete there also, one Body. As then while offered in many places, He is one body and not many bodies; so also [He is] one sacrifice. He is our High Priest, who offered the sacrifice that cleanses us. That we offer now also, which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done in remembrance of what was then done. For (saith He) "do this in remembrance of Me." (Luke xxii. 19.) It is not another sacrifice, as the High Priest, but we offer always the same, or rather we perform a remembrance of a Sacrifice.

[7.] But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year, others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years.

What then? which shall we approve? those [who receive] once [in the year]? those who [receive] many times? those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Dost thou feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute thy mouth with mire? Dost thou anoint thyself with sweet ointment, and again fill thyself with ill savors?

Tell me, I beseech thee, when after a year thou partakest of the Communion, dost thou think that the Forty Days are sufficient for thee for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, dost thou give thyself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when thou hast been well for forty days after a long illness, thou shouldest again give thyself up to the food which caused the sickness, hast thou not lost thy former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and dost thou expect to propitiate God? Tell me, art thou in sport?

These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.

[8.] These things have been given to the holy. This the Deacon also proclaims when he calls on the holy; even by this call searching the faults of all. For as in a flock, where many sheep indeed are in good health, but many are full of the scab, it is needful that these should be separated from the healthy; so also in the Church: since some sheep are healthy, and some diseased, by this voice he separates the one from the other, the priest [I mean] going round on all sides by this most awful cry, and calling and drawing on the holy. For it is not possible that a man should know the things of his neighbor, (for "what man," he says, "knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?"-1 Cor. ii. 11): he utters this voice after the whole sacrifice has been completed, that no person should come to the spiritual fountain carelessly and in a chance way. For in the case of the flock also (for nothing prevents us from again using the same example), the sickly ones we shut up within, and keep them in the dark, and give them different food, not permitting them to partake either of pure air, or of simple grass, or of the fountain without [the fold]. In this case then also this voice is instead of fetters. 

Thou canst not say, `I did not know, I was not aware that danger attends the matter.' Nay surely Paul too especially testified this. But wilt thou say, `I never read it'? This is not an apology, but even an accusation. Dost thou come into the Church every day and yet art ignorant of this?

However, that thou mayest not have even this excuse to offer, for this cause, with a loud voice, with an awful cry, like some herald lifting up his hand on high, standing aloft, conspicuous to all, and after that awful silence crying out aloud, he invites some, and some he forbids, not doing this with his hand, but with his tongue more distinctly than with his hand. For that voice, falling on our ears, just like a hand, thrusts away and casts out some, and introduces and presents others.

Tell me then, I beseech [you], in the Olympic games does not the herald stand, calling out with loud and uplifted voice, saying, "Does any one accuse this man? Is he a slave? Is he a thief? Is he one of wicked manners?" And yet, those contests for prizes are not of the soul nor yet of good morals, but of strength and the body. If then where there is exercise of bodies, much examination is made about character, how much rather here, where the soul is alone the combatant. Our herald then even now stands, not holding each person by the head, and drawing him forward, but holding all together by the head within; he does not set against them other accusers, but themselves against themselves. For he says not, "Does any one accuse this man?" but what? "If any man accuse himself." For when he says, The Holy things for the holy, he means this: "If any is not holy, let him not draw near."

He does not simply say, "free from sins," but, "holy." For it is not merely freedom from sins which makes a man holy, but also the presence of the Spirit, and the wealth of good works. I do not merely wish (he says) that you should be delivered from the mire, but also that you should be bright and beautiful. For if the Babylonian King, when he made choice of the youths from the captives, chose out those who were beautiful in form, and of fair countenance: much more is it needful that we, when we stand by the royal table, should be beautiful in form, [I mean] that of the soul, having adornment of gold, our robe pure, our shoes royal, the face of our soul well-formed, the golden ornament put around it, even the girdle of truth. Let such an one as this draw near, and touch the royal cups.

But if any man clothed in rags, filthy, squalid, wish to enter in to the royal table, consider how much he will suffer, the forty days not being sufficient to wash away the offenses which have been committed in all the time. For if hell is not sufficient, although it be eternal (for therefore also it is eternal), much more this short time. For we have not shown a strong repentance, but a weak.

[9.] Eunuchs especially ought to stand by the King: by eunuchs, I mean those who are clear in their mind, having no wrinkle nor spot, lofty in mind, having the eye of the soul gentle and quick-sighted, active and sharp, not sleepy nor supine; full of much freedom, and yet far from impudence and overboldness, wakeful, healthful, neither very gloomy and downcast, nor yet dissolute and soft.

This eye we have it in our own power to create, and to make it quick sighted and beautiful. For when we direct it, not to the smoke nor to the dust (for such are all human things), but to the delicate breeze, to the light air, to things heavenly and high, and full of much calmness and purity, and of much delight, we shall speedily restore it, and shall invigorate it, as it luxuriates in such contemplation. Hast thou seen covetousness and great wealth? do not thou lift up thine eye thereto. The thing is mire, it is smoke, an evil vapor, darkness, and great distress and suffocating cares. Hast thou seen a man cultivating righteousness, content with his own, and having abundant space for recreation, having anxieties, not fixing his thoughts on things here? Set [thine eye] there, and lift [it] up on high; and thou wilt make it far the most beautiful, and more splendid, feasting it not with the flowers of the earth, but with those of virtue, with temperance, moderation, and all the rest. For nothing so troubles the eye as an evil conscience ("Mine eye," it is said, "was troubled by reason of anger"-Ps. vi. 7); nothing so darkens it. Set it free from this injury, and thou wilt make it vigorous and strong, ever nourished with good hopes.

And may we all make both it and also the other energies of the soul, such as Christ desires, that being made worthy of the Head who is set over us, we may depart thither where He wishes. For He saith, "I will that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may behold My glory." (John xvii. 24.) Which may we all enjoy in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen. 

Homily XVIII.

Hebrews x. 8-13.-"Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering, and burnt-offerings, and [offering] for sin, Thou wouldest not neither hadst pleasure [therein], which are offered by the Law, they. said He, Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified, by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. And every Priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this [man] after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." 

[1.] In what has gone before he had shown that the sacrifices were unavailing for perfect purification, and were a type, and greatly defective. Since then there was this objection to his argument, If they are types, how is it that, after the truth is come, they have not ceased, nor given place, but are still performed? he here accordingly labors at this very point, showing that they are no longer performed, even as a figure, for God does not accept them. And this again he shows not from the New [Testament], but from the prophets, bringing forward from times of old the strongest testimony, that it [the old system] comes to an end, and ceases, and that they do all in vain, "alway resisting the Holy Ghost." (Acts vii. 51.)

And he shows over and above that they cease not now [only], but at the very coming of the Messiah, nay rather, even before His coming: and how it was that Christ did not abolish them at the last, but they were abolished first, and then He came; first they were made to cease, and then He appeared. That they might not say, Even without this sacrifice, and by means of those, we could have been well pleasing unto God, He waited for these sacrifices to be convicted [of weakness], and then He appeared; for (He says) "sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not." Hereby He took all away; and having spoken generally, He says also particularly, "In burnt-offerings and [sacrifice] for sin Thou hadst no pleasure." But "the offering" was everything except the sacrifice. "Then said I, Lo! I come." Of whom was this spoken? of none other than the Christ.

Here he does not blame those who offer, showing that it is not because of their wickednesses that He does not accept them, as He says elsewhere, but because the thing itself has been convicted for the future and shown to have no strength, nor any suitableness to the times. What then has this to do with the "sacrifices" being offered "oftentimes"? Not only from their being "oftentimes" [offered] (he means) is it manifest that they are weak, and that they effected nothing; but also from God's not accepting them, as being unprofitable and useless. And in another place it is said, "If Thou hadst desired sacrifice I would have given it." (Ps. li. 16.) Therefore by this also he makes it plain that He does not desire it. Therefore sacrifices are not God's will, but the abolition of sacrifices. Wherefore they sacrifice contrary to His will.

What is "To do Thy will"? To give up, Myself, He means: This is the will of God. "By which Will we are sanctified." Or he even means something still further, that the sacrifices do not make men clean, but the Will of God. Therefore to offer sacrifice is not the will of God.

[2.] And why dost thou wonder that it is not the will of God now, when it was not His will even from the beginning? For "who," saith He, "hath required this at your hands?" (Isa. i. 12.)

How then did He Himself enjoin it? In condescension. For as Paul says, "I would that all men were even as I myself" (1 Cor. vii. 7), in respect of continence, and again says, "I will that the younger women marry, bear children" (1 Tim. v. 14); and lays down two wills, yet the two are not his own, although he commands; but the one indeed is his own, and therefore he lays it down without reasons; while the other is not his own, though he wishes it, and therefore it is added with a reason. For having previously accused them, because "they had waxed wanton against Christ" (1 Tim. v. 11), he then says, "I will that the younger women marry, bear children." (1 Tim. v. 14.) So in this place also it was not His leading will that the sacrifices should be offered. For, as He says, "I wish not the death of the sinner, as that he should turn unto [Me] and live" (Ezek. xxxiii. 11): and in another place He says that He not only wished, but even desired this: and yet these are contrary to each other: for intense wishing is desire. How then dost Thou "not wish"? how dost Thou in another place "desire," which is a sign of vehement wishing? So is it in this case also.

"By the which will we are sanctified," he says. How sanctified? "by the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all."

[3.] "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifice." (To stand therefore is a sign of ministering; accordingly to sit, is a sign of being ministered unto.) "But this [man] after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." (Ver. 14, 15) "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us." He had said that those [sacrifices] are not offered; he reasoned from what is written, [and] from what is not written; moreover also he put forward the prophetic word which says, "sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not." He had said that He had forgiven their sins. Again this also He proves from the testimony of what is written, for "the Holy Ghost" (he says) "is a witness to us: for after that He had said," (ver. 16-18) "This is the covenant, that I will make with them, after those days, saith the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is there is no more offering for sin." So then He forgave their sins, when He gave the Covenant, and He gave the Covenant by sacrifice. If therefore He forgave the sins through the one sacrifice, there is no longer need of a second.

"He sat down on the right band of God, from henceforth expecting." Why the delay? "that His enemies be put under His feet. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." But perhaps some one might say; Wherefore did He not put them under at once? For the sake of the faithful who should afterwards be brought forth and born. Whence then [does it appear] that they shall be put under? By the saying "He sat down." He called to mind again that testimony which saith, "until I put the enemies under His feet." (See above, i. 13.) But His enemies are the Jews. Then since he had said, "Till His enemies be put under His feet," and they [these enemies ] were vehemently urgent, therefore he introduces all his discourse concerning faith after this. But who are the enemies? All unbelievers: the daemons. And intimating the greatness of their subjection, he said not "are subjected," but "are put under His feet."

[4.] Let us not therefore be of [the number of] His enemies. For not they alone are enemies, the unbelievers and Jews, but those also who are full of unclean living. "For the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither can it be." (Rom. viii. 7.) What then (you say)? this is not a ground of blame. Nay rather, it is very much a ground of blame. For the wicked man as long as he is wicked, cannot be subject [to God's law]; he can however change and become good.

Let us then cast out carnal minds. But what are carnal? Whatever makes the body flourish and do well, but injures the soul: as for instance, wealth, luxury, glory (all these things are of the flesh), carnal love. Let us not then love gain, but ever follow after poverty: for this is a great good.

But (you say) it makes one humble and of little account. [True:] for we have need of this, for it benefits us much. "Poverty" (it is said) "humbles a man." (Prov. x. 4 LXX.) And again Christ [says], "Blessed are the poor in spirit." (Matt. v. 3.) Dost thou then grieve because thou art upon a path leading to virtue? Dost thou not know that this gives us great confidence?

But, one says, "the wisdom of the poor man is despised." (Eccles. ix. 16.) And again another says, "Give me neither riches nor poverty" (Prov. xxx. 8), and, "Deliver me from the furnace of poverty." (See Isa. xlviii. 10.) And again, if riches and poverty are from the Lord, how can either poverty or riches be an evil? Why then were these things said? They were said under the Old [Covenant], where there was much account made of wealth, where there was great contempt of poverty, where the one was a curse and the other a blessing. But now it is no longer so.

But wilt thou hear the praises of poverty? Christ sought after it, and saith, "But the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." (Matt. viii. 20.) And again He said to His disciples, "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor two coats." (Matt. x. 9, Matt. x. 10.) And Paul in writing said, "As having nothing and yet possessing all things." (2 Cor. vi. 10.) And Peter said to him who was lame from his birth, "Silver and gold have I none." (Acts iii. 6.) Yea and under the Old [Covenant] itself, where wealth was held in admiration, who were the admired? Was not Elijah, who had nothing save the sheepskin? Was not Elisha? Was not John?

Let no man then be humiliated on account of his poverty: It is not poverty which humiliates, but wealth, which compels us to have need of many, and forces us to be under obligations to many?

And what could be poorer than Jacob (tell me), who said, "If the Lord give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on"? (Gen. xxviii. 20.) Were Elijah and John then wanting in boldness? Did not the one reprove Ahab, and the other Herod? The latter said, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother Philip's wife." (Mark vi. 18.) And Elias said to Ahab with boldness "It is not I that trouble Israel, but thou and thy father's house." (1 Kings xviii. 18.) Thou seest that this especially produces boldness; poverty [I mean]? For while the rich man is a slave, being subject to loss, and in the power of every one wishing to do him hurt, he who has nothing, fears not confiscation, nor fine. So, if poverty had made men wanting in boldness Christ would not have sent His disciples with poverty to a work requiring great boldness. For the poor man is very strong, and has nothing wherefrom he may be wronged or evil entreated. But the rich man is assailable on every side: just in the same way as one would easily catch a man who was dragging many long ropes after him, whereas one could not readily lay hold on a naked man. So here also it fails out in the case of the rich man: slaves, gold, lands, affairs innumerable, innumerable cares, difficult circumstances, necessities, make him an easy prey to all.

[5.] Let no man then henceforth esteem poverty a cause of disgrace. For if virtue be there, all the wealth of the world is neither clay, nor even a mote in comparison of it. This then let us follow after, if we would enter into the kingdom of heaven. For, He saith, "Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven." (Matt. xix. 21.) And again, "It is hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt. xix. 23.) Dost thou see that even if we have it not, we ought to draw it to us? So great a good is Poverty; For it guides us by the hand, as it were, on the path which leads to Heaven, it is an anointing for the combat, an exercise great and admirable, a tranquil haven.

But (you say) I have need of many [things], and am unwilling to receive a favor from any. Nevertheless, even in this respect the rich man is inferior to thee; for thou perhaps askest the favor for thy support, but he shamelessly [asks] for ten thousand things for covetousness' sake. So that it is the rich that are in need of many [persons], yea oftentimes those who are unworthy of them. For instance, they often stand in need of those who are in the rank of soldiers, or of slaves: but the poor man has no need even of the Emperor himself, and if he should need him, he is admired because he has brought himself down to this, when he might have been rich.

Let no man then accuse poverty as being the cause of innumerable evils, nor let him contradict Christ, who declared it to be the perfection of virtue, saying, "If thou wilt be perfect." (Matt. xix. 21.) For this He both uttered in His words, and showed by His acts, and taught by His disciples. Let us therefore follow after poverty, it is the greatest good to the sober-minded.

Perhaps some of those who hear me, avoid it as a thing of ill omen. I do not doubt it. For this disease is great among most men, and such is the tyranny of wealth, that they cannot even as far as words endure the renunciation of it, lint avoid it as of ill omen. Far be this from the Christian's soul: for nothing is richer than he who chooses poverty of his own accord, and with a ready mind.

[6.] How? I will tell you, and if you please, I will prove that he who chooses poverty of his own accord is richer even than the king himself. For he indeed needs many [things], and is in anxiety, and fears lest the supplies for the army should fail him; but the other has enough of everything, and fears about nothing, and if he fears, it is not about so great matters. Who then, tell me, is the rich man? he who is daily asking, and earnestly laboring to gather much together, and fears lest at any time he should fall short, or he who gathers nothing together, and is in great abundance and hath need of no one? For it is virtue and the fear of God, and not possessions which give confidence. For these even enslave. For it is said, "Gifts and presents blind the eyes of the wise, and like a muzzle on the mouth turn away reproofs." (Ecclus. xx. 29.)

Consider how the poor man Peter chastised the rich Ananias. Was not the one rich and the other poor? But behold the one speaking with authority and saying, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much" (Acts v. 8), and the other saying with submission, "Yea, for so much." And who (you say) will grant to me to be as Peter? It is open to thee to be as Peter if thou wilt; cast away what thou hast. "Disperse, give to the poor" (Ps. cxii. 9), follow Christ, and thou shalt be such as he. How? he (you say) wrought miracles. Is it this then, tell me, which made Peter an object of admiration, or the boldness which arose from his manner of life? Dost thou not hear Christ saying, "Rejoice not because the devils are subject unto you; If thou wilt be perfect [&c]." (Luke x. 20.) Hear what Peter says: "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give thee." (Acts iii. 6.) If any man have silver and gold, he hath not those other gifts.

Why is it then, you say, that many have neither the one nor the other? Because they are not voluntarily poor: since they who are voluntarily poor have all good things. For although they do not raise up the dead nor the lame, yet, what is greater than all; they have confidence towards God. They will hear in that day that blessed voice, "Come, ye blessed of My Father," (what can be better than this?) "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger and ye took Me in: I was naked and ye clothed Me: I was sick and in prison and ye visited Me. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matt. xxv. 34-36.) Let us then flee from covetousness, that we may attain to the kingdom [of Heaven]. Let us feed the poor, that we may feed Christ: that we may become fellow-heirs with Him in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily XIX.

Hebrews x. 19-23.-"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us, through the Veil, that is to say, His flesh, and having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our 'hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering."

[1.] "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us." Having shown the difference of the High Priest, and of the sacrifices, and of the tabernacle, and of the Covenant, and of the promise, and that the difference is great, since those are temporal, but these eternal, those "near to vanishing away," these permanent, those powerless, these perfect, those figures, these reality. for (he says) "not according to the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an endless life." (c. vii. 16.) And "Thou art a Priest for ever." (c. v. 6.) Behold the continuance of the Priest. And concerning the Covenant, That (he says) is old (for "that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away"-c. viii. 13), but this is new; and has remission of sins, while that [has] nothing of the kind: for (he says) "the Law made nothing perfect." (c. vii. 19.) And again, "sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not." (c. x. 5.) That is made with hands, while this is "not made with hands" (c. ix. 11): that "has the blood of goats" (c. ix. 12), this of the Lord; that has the Priest "standing," this "sitting." Since therefore all those are inferior and these greater, therefore he says, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness."

[2.] "Boldness": from whence? As sins (he means) produce shame, so the having all things forgiven us, and being made fellow-heirs, and enjoying so great Love, [produces] boldness.

"For the entrance into the holiest." What does he mean here by "entrance"? Heaven, and the access to spiritual things.

"Which he hath inaugurated," that is, which He prepared, and which He began; for the beginning of using is thenceforth called the inaugurating; which He prepared (he means) and by which He Himself passed.

"A new and living way." Here He expresses "the full assurance of hope." "New," he says. He is anxious to show that we have all things greater; since now the gates of Heaven have been opened, which was not done even for Abraham. "A new and living way," he says, for the first was a way of death, leading to Hades, but this of life. And yet he did not say, "of life," but called it "living," (the ordinances, that is,) that which abideth. 

"Through the veil" (he says) "of His flesh." For this flesh first cut that way, by this He inaugurated it [the way] by which He walked. And with good reason did he call [the flesh] "a veil." For when it was lifted up on high, then the things in heaven appeared.

"Let us draw near" (he says) "with a true heart." To what should we "draw near"? To the holy things, the faith, the spiritual service. "With a true heart, in full assurance of faith," since nothing is seen; neither the priest hence-forward, nor the sacrifice, nor the altar. And yet neither was that priest visible, but stood within, and they all without, the whole people. But here not only has this taken place, that the priest has entered into the holy of holies, but that we also enter in. Therefore he says,"in full assurance of faith." For it is possible for the doubter to believe in one way, as there are even now many who say, that of some there is a resurrection and of others not. But this is not faith. "In full assurance of faith" (he says); for we ought to believe as concerning things that we see, nay, even much more; for "here" it is possible to be deceived in the things that are seen, but there not: "here" we trust to the senses, but there to the Spirit.

"Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." He shows that not faith only, but a virtuous life also is required, and the consciousness to ourselves of nothing evil. Since the holy of holies does not receive "with full assurance" those who are not thus disposed. For they are holy, and the holy of holies; but here no profane person enters. They were sprinkled as to the body, we as to the conscience, so that we may even now be sprinkled over with virtue itself. "And having our body washed with pure water." Here he speaks of the Washing, which no longer cleanses the bodies, but the soul.

"For He is faithful that promised." "That promised" what? That we are to depart thither and enter into the kingdom. Be then in nothing over-curious, nor demand reasonings. Our [religion] needs faith.

[3.] (Ver. 24, 25) "And" (he says) "let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." And again in other places, "The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing." (Phil. iv. 5, Phil. iv. 6.) "For now is our salvation nearer: Henceforth the time is short." (Rom. xiii. 11.)

What is, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together"? (1 Cor. vii. 29.) He knew that much strength arises from being together and assembling together. "For where two or three" (it is said) "are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. xviii. 20); and again, "That they may be One, as we" also are (John xvii. 11); and, "They had all one heart and [one] soul." (Acts iv. 32.) And not this only, but also because love is increased by the gathering [of ourselves] together; and love being increased, of necessity the things of God must follow also. "And earnest prayer" (it is said) was "made by" the people. (Acts xii. 5.) "As the manner of some is." Here he not only exhorted, but also blamed [them].

"And let us consider one another," he says, "to provoke unto love and to good works." He knew that this also arises from "gathering together." For as "iron sharpeneth iron" (Prov. xvii.17), so also association increases love. For if a stone rubbed against a stone sends forth fire, how much more soul mingled with soul! But not unto emulation (he says) but "unto the sharpening of love." What is "unto the sharpening of love"? Unto the loving and being loved more. "And of good works"; that so they might acquire zeal. For if doing has greater force for instruction than speaking, ye also have in your number many teachers, who effect this by their deeds.

What is "let us draw near with a true heart"? That is, without hypocrisy; for "woe be to a fearful heart, and faint hands" (Ecclus. ii. 12): let there be (he means) no falsehood among us; let us not say one thing and think another; forthis is falsehood; neither let us be fainthearted, for this is not [a mark] of a "true heart." Faintheartedness comes from not believing. But how shall this be? If we fully assure ourselves through faith.

"Having our hearts sprinkled": why did he not say "having been purified"? [Because] he wished to point out the difference of the sprinklings: the one he says is of God, the other our own. For the washing and sprinkling the conscience is of God; but "the drawing near with" truth and "in full assurance of faith" is our own. Then he also gives strength to their faith from the truth of Him that promised.

What is "and having our bodies washed with pure water"? With water which makes pure; or which has no blood.

Then he adds the perfect thing, love. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," which some (he says) do, and divide the assemblies. For "a brother helped by a brother is as a strong city." (Prov. xviii. 19 LXX.)

"But let us consider one another to provoke unto love." What is, "let us consider one another"? For instance if any be virtuous, let us imitate him, let us look on him so as to love and to be loved. For from Love good works proceed. For the assembling is a great good: since it makes love more warm; and out of love all good things arise. For nothing is good which is not done through love.

[4.] This then let us "confirm" towards each other. "For love is the fulfilling of the law." (Rom. xiii. 10.) We have no need of labors or of sweatings if we love one another. It is a pathway leading of itself towards virtue. For as on the highway, if any man find the beginning, he is guided by it, and has no need of one to take him by the hand; so is it also in regard to Love: only lay hold on the beginning, and at once thou art guided and directed by it. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor" (Rom. xiii. 10); "thinketh no evil." (1 Cor. xiii. 5.) Let each man consider with himself, how he is disposed toward himself. He does not envy himself; he wishes all good things for himself; he prefers himself before all; he is willing to do all things for himself. If then we were so disposed towards others also, all grievous things are brought to an end; there is no enmity; there is no covetousness: for who would choose to overreach himself? No man; but on the contrary we shall possess all things in common, and shall not cease assembling ourselves together. And if we do this, the remembrance of injuries would have no place: for who would choose to remember injuries against himself? Who would choose to be angry with himself? Do we not make allowances for ourselves most of all? If we were tires disposed towards our neighbors also, there will never be any remembrance of injuries.

And how is it possible (you say) that one should so love his neighbor as himself? If others had not done this, you might well think it impossible: but if they have done it, it is plain that from indolence it is not done by ourselves.

And besides, Christ enjoins nothing impossible, seeing that many have even gone beyond His commands. Who has done this? Paul, Peter, all the company of the Saints. Nay, indeed if I say that they loved their neighbors, I say no great matter: they so loved their enemies as no man would love those who were likeminded with himself. For who would choose for the sake of those likeminded, to go away into Hell. when he was about to depart unto a kingdom? No man. But Paul chose this for the sake of his enemies, for those who stoned him, those who scourged him. What pardon then will there be for us, what excuse, if we shall not show towards our friends even the very smallest portion of that love which Paul showed towards his enemies?

And before him too, the blessed Moses was willing to be blotted out of God's book for the sake of his enemies who had stoned him. David also when he saw those who had stood up against him slain, saith, "I, the shepherd, have sinned, but these, what have they done?" (See 2 Sam. xxiv. 17.) And when he had Saul in his hands, he would not slay him, but saved him; and this when he himself would be in danger. But if these things were done under the Old [Covenant] what excuse shall we have who live under the New, and do not attain even to the same measure with them? For if, "unless our righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. v. 20), how shall we enter in when we have even less than they?

[5.] "Love your enemies," He says. (Matt. v. 44.) Love thou therefore thy enemy: for thou art doing good not to him, but to thyself. How? Thou art becoming like God. He, if he be beloved of thee, hath no great gain, for he is beloved by a fellow-slave; but thou, if thou love thy fellow-slave, hast gained much, for thou art becoming like God. Seest thou that thou art doing a kindness not to him but to thyself? For He appoints the prize not for him, but for thee.

What then if he be evil (you say)? So much the greater is the reward. Even for his wickedness thou oughtest to feel grateful to him: even should he be evil after receiving ten thousand kindnesses. For if he were not exceedingly evil, thy reward would not have been exceedingly increased; so that the reason [thou assignest] for not loving him. the saying that he is evil, is the very reason for loving him. Take away the contestant and thou takest away the opportunity for the crowns. Seest thou not the athletes, how they exercise when they have filled the bags with sand? But there is no need for thee to practice this. Life is full of things that exercise thee, and make thee strong. Seest thou not the trees too, the more they are shaken by the winds, so much the more do they become stronger and firmer? We then. if we be long-suffering, shall also become strong. For it is said, "a man who is long-suffering abounds in wisdom, but he that is of a little soul is strongly foolish." (Prov. xiv. 29.) Seest thou how great is his commendation of the one, seest thou how great his censure of the other? "Strongly foolish," i.e. very [foolish]. Let us not then be faint-hearted one towards another: for this does not rise from enmity, but from having a small soul. As if the soul be strong, it will endure all things easily, and nothing will be able to sink it, but will lead it into tranquil havens. To which may we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.