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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
"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.
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
"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
"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.
"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
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
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.