Portion of Homily X
Ver. 3, 4. "Know ye not," he says, "my brethren, that so many of
us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? therefore
we are buried with Him by baptism into death."
What does being "baptized into His Death" mean? That it is with a view
to our dying as He did. For Baptism is the Cross. What the Cross then,
and Burial, is to Christ, that Baptism hath been to us, even if not in
the same respects. For He died Himself and was buried in the Flesh, but
we have done both to sin. Wherefore he does not say, planted together in
His Death, but in the likeness of His Death. For both the one and the other
is a death, but not of the same subject; since the one is of the Flesh,
that of Christ; the other of sin, which is our own. As then that is real,
so is this. But if it be real, then11 what is of our part again must be
contributed. And so he proceeds,
"That as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Here he hints, along with the duty of a careful walk, at the subject
of the resurrection. In what way? Do you believe, he means, that Christ
died, and that He was raised again? Believe then the same of thyself. For
this is like to the other, since both Cross and Burial is thine. For if
thou hast shared in Death and Burial, much more wilt thou in Resurrection
and Life. For now the greater is done away with, the sin I mean, it is
not right to doubt any longer about the lesser, the doing away of death.
But this he leaves for the present to the conscience of his hearers
to reason out, but himself, after the resurrection to come had been set
before us, demands of us another, even the new conversation, which is brought
about in the present life by a change of habits.12 When then the fornicator
becomes chaste, the covetous man merciful, the harsh subdued, even here
a resurrection has taken place, the prelude to the other. And how is it
a resurrection? Why, because sin is mortified, and righteousness hath risen
again, and the old life hath been made to vanish, and this new and angelic
one is being lived in. But when you hear of a new life, look for a great
alteration, a wide change. But tears come into my eyes, and I groan deeply
to think how great religiousness (filosofian) Paul requires of us, and
what listlessness we have yielded ourselves up to, going back after our
baptism to the oldness we before had, and returning to Egypt, and remembering
the garlic after the manna. (Num. xi. 5.) For ten or twenty days at the
very time of our Illumination, we undergo a change, but then take up our
former doings again. But it is not for a set number of days, but for our
whole life, that Paul requires of us such a conversation. But we go back
to our former vomit, thus after the youth of grace building up the old
age of sins. For either the love of money, or the slavery to desires not
convenient, or any other sin whatsoever, useth to make the worker thereof
old. "Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
(Heb. viii. 13.) For there is no body, there surely is none, to be seen
as palsied by length of time, as a soul is decayed and tottering with many
sins. Such an one gets carried on to the last degree of doting, yielding
indistinct sounds, like men that are very old and crazed, being surcharged
with rheum, and great distortion of mind, and forgetfulness, and with scales
upon its eyes, and13 disgustful to men, and an easy prey to the devil.
Such then are the souls of sinners; not so those of the righteous, for
they are youthful and well-favored, and are in the very prime of life throughout,
ever ready for any fight or struggle. But those of sinners, if they receive
even a small shock, straightway fall and are undone. And it was this the
Prophet made appear, when he said, that like as the chaff which the wind
scattereth from the face of the earth (Ps. i. 4), thus are they that live
in sin whirled to and fro, and exposed to every sort of harm. For they
neither see like a healthy person, nor hear with simplicity, they speak
not articulately, but are oppressed with great shortness of breath. They
have their mouth overflowing with spittle. And would it were but spittle,
and nothing offensive! But now they send forth words more fetid than any
mire, and what is worst, they have not power even to spit this saliva of
words away from them, but taking it in their hand with much lewdness, they
smear it on again, so as to be coagulating, and hard to perspire through.14
Perhaps ye are sickened with this description. Ought ye not, then to be
more so at the reality? For if these things when happening in the body
are disgustful, much more when in the soul. Such was that son who wasted
out all his share, and was reduced to the greatest wretchedness, and was
in a feebler state than any imbecile or disordered person. But when he
was willing, he became suddenly young by his decision alone and his change.
For as soon as he had said, "I will return to my Father," this one word
conveyed to him all blessings; or rather not the bare word, but the deed
which he added to the word. For he did not say, "Let me go back," and then
stay there; but said, Let me go back, and went back, and returned the whole
of that way. Thus let us also do; and even if we have gotten carried beyond
the boundary, let us go up to our Father's house, and not stay lingering
over the length of the journey. For if we be willing, the way back again
is easy and very speedy. Only let us leave the strange and foreign land;
for this is what sin is, drawing us far away from our Father's house; let
us leave her then, that we may speedily return to the house of our Father.
For our Father hath a natural yearning towards us, and will honor us if
we be changed, no less than those that are unattainted, if we change, but
even more, just as the father showed that son the greater honor. For he
had greater pleasure himself at receiving back his son. And how am I to
go back again? one may say. Do but put a beginning upon the business, and
the whole is done. Stay from vice, and go no farther into it, and thou
hast laid hold of the whole already. For as in the case of the sick, being
no worse may be a beginning of getting better, so is the case with vice
also. Go no further, and then your deeds of wickedness will have an end.
And if you do so for two days, you will keep off on the third day more
easily; and after three days you will add ten, then twenty, then an hundred,
then your whole life. (Cf. Hom. xvii. on St. Matt. p. 267, O. T.) For the
further thou goest on, the easier wilt thou see the way to be, and thou
wilt stand on the summit itself, and wilt at once enjoy many goods. For
so it was when the prodigal came back, there were flutes, and harps, and
dancings, and feasts, and assemblings: and he who might have called his
son to account for his ill-timed extravagance, and flight to such a distance,
did nothing of the sort, but looked upon him as unattainted, and could
not find it in him even to use the language of reproach, or rather, even
to mention barely to him the former things, but threw himself upon him,
and kissed him, and killed the calf, and put a robe upon him, and placed
on him abundant honors. Let us then, as we have such examples before us,
be of good cheer and keep from despair. For He is not so well pleased with
being called Master, as Father, nor with having a slave as with having
a son. And this is what He liketh rather than that. This then is why He
did all that He has done; and "spared not even His Only-begotten Son" (Rom.
viii. 32), that we might receive the adoption of sons, that we might love
Him, not as a Master only, but as a Father. And if He obtained this of
us He taketh delight therein as one that has glory given him, and proclaimeth
it to all though He needeth nothing of ours. This is what, in Abraham's
case for instance, He everywhere does, using these words, "I am the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And yet it was the), of His household who
should have found an honor in this; but now it is the Lord evidently who
does this; for this is why He says to Peter, "Lovest thou Me more than
these?" (John xxi. 17) to show that He seeketh nothing so much as this
from us. For this too He bade Abraham offer his son to Him, that He might
make it known to all that He was greatly beloved15 by the patriarch. Now
this desire to be loved exceedingly comes from loving exceedingly. For
this cause too He said to the Apostles, "He that loveth father or mother
more than Me, is not worthy of Me." (Matt. x. 37.) For this cause He bids
us esteem that even which is in the most close connection with us, our
soul (or, life, v. 39, and John xii. 25), as second to the love of him,
since He wisheth to be beloved by us with exceeding entireness. For we
too, if we have no strong feelings about a person, have no strong desire
for his friendship either, though he be great and noble; whereas when we
love any one warmly and really, though the person loved be of low rank
and humble, yet we esteem love from him as a very great honor. And for
this reason He Himself also called it glory not to be loved by us only,
but even to suffer those shameful things in our behalf. (ib. 23.) However,
those things were a glory owing to love only. But whatever we suffer for
Him, it is not for love alone; but even for the sake of the greatness and
dignity of Him we long for, that it would with good reason both be called
glory, and be so indeed. Let us then incur dangers for Him as if running
for the greatest crowns, and let us esteem neither poverty, nor disease,
nor affront, nor calumny, nor death itself, to be heavy and burdensome,
when it is for Him that we suffer these things. For if we be right-minded,
we are the greatest possible gainers by these things, as neither from the
contrary to these shall we if not right-minded gain any advantage. But
consider; does any one affront thee and war against thee? Doth he not thereby
set thee upon thy guard, and give thee an opportunity of growing like unto
God? For if thou lovest him that plots against thee, thou wilt be like
Him that "maketh His Sun to rise upon the evil and good." (Matt. v. 45.)
Does another take thy money away? If thou bearest it nobly, thou shalt
receive the same reward as they who have spent all they have upon the poor.
For it says, "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing that
ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." (Heb. x. 34.) Has
any one reviled thee and abused thee, whether truly or falsely, he weaves
for thee a very great crown if thou bearest meekly his contumely; since
he too, who calumniates, provides for us an abundant reward. For "rejoice,"
it says, "and be exceeding glad, when men say all manner of evil against
you falsely, because great is your reward in Heaven." (Matt. v. 12, 11.)
And he too that speaketh truth against us is of the greatest service, if
we do but bear meekly what is said. For the Pharisee spake evil of the
Publican, and with truth, still instead of a Publican he made him a righteous
man. (Luke xviii. 11.) And what need to go into particular instances. For
any one that will go to the conflicts of Job may learn all these points
accurately. And this is why Paul said, "God for us, who against us?" (Rom.
viii. 31.) As then by being earnest, we gain even from things that vex
us, so by being listless, we do not even improve from things that favor
us. For what did Judas profit, tell me, by being with Christ? or what profit
was the Law to the Jew? or Paradise to Adam? or what did Moses profit those
in the wilderness? And so we should leave all, and look to one point only,
how we may husband aright our own resources. And if we do this, not even
the devil himself will ever get the better of us, but will make our profiting
the greater, by putting us upon being watchful. Now in this way it is that
Paul rouses the Ephesians, by describing his fierceness. Yet we sleep and
snore, though we have to do with so crafty an enemy. And if we were aware
of a serpent16 nestling by our bed, we should make much ado to kill him.
But when the devil nestleth in our souls, we fancy that we take no harm,
but lie at our ease; and the reason is, that we see him not with the eyes
of our body. And yet this is why we should rouse us the more and be sober.
For against an enemy whom one can perceive, one may easily be on guard;
but one that cannot be seen, if we be not continually in arms, we shall
not easily escape. And the more so, because he hath no notion of open combat
(for he would surely be soon defeated), but often under the appearance
of friendship he insinuates the venom of his cruel malice. In this way
it was that he suborned Job's wife, by putting on the mask of natural affectionateness,
to give that wretchless advice. And so when conversing with Adam, he puts
on the air of one concerned and watching over his interests, and saith,
that "your eyes shall be opened in the day that ye eat of the tree." (Gen.
iii. 5.) Thus Jephtha too he persuaded, under the pretext of religion,
to slay his daughter, and to offer the sacrifice the Law forbade. Do you
see what his wiles are, what his varying warfare? Be then on thy guard,
and arm thyself at all points with the weapons of the Spirit, get exactly
acquainted with his plans, that thou mayest both keep from being caught,
and easily catch him. For it was thus that Paul got the better of him,
by getting exactly acquainted with these. And so he says, "for we are not
ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. ii. 11.) Let us then also be earnest
in learning and avoiding his stratagems, that after obtaining a victory
over him, we may, whether in this present life or in that which is to come,
be proclaimed conquerors, and obtain those unalloyed blessings, by the
grace and love toward man, etc.
11 Or "still," ei kai alhqhj.
12 St. Gr. Naz. Jamb. xx; 271, p. 228 (in Ed. Ben. xxiv.
277, p. 508). B. What? have I not the cleansing laver yet? A. You have,
but mind! B. Mind what? A. Not for your habits, but for past transgressions.
B. Nay, but for habits! What? A. Only if thou be first at work to cleanse
them. See Tert. de Paen. §6, 7, and the beginning of the next Homily.
13 Mar. faneitai, 4 mss. fainomenh.
14 diatmew. ap. Hipp. p. 505. 10. Liddell & Scott,
sub. v. or to cut through, from diatemnw.
15 This passage is one among many which show how the fides
formata was that which the Fathers contemplated.
16 See Macarius on the Keeping of the Heart, c. 1. translated
in Penn's Institutes of Christian Perfection, p. 2.
Portion of Homily XI.
ROM. VI. 5.-"For if we have been planted together1 in the likeness
of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection."
What I had before occasion to remark, that I mention here too, that
he continually digresseth into exhortation, without making any twofold
division as he does in the other Epistles, and setting apart the former
portion for doctrines, and the latter for the care of moral instruction.
Here then he does not do so, but blends the latter with the subject throughout,
so as to gain it an easy admission. Here then he says there are two mortifyings,
and two deaths, and that one is done by Christ in Baptism, and the other
it is our duty to effect by earnestness afterwards. For that our former
sins were buried, came of His gift. But the remaining dead to sin after
baptism must be the work of our own earnestness, however much we find God
here also giving us large help. For this is not the only thing Baptism
has the power to do, to obliterate our former transgressions; for it also
secures against subsequent ones. As then in the case of the former, thy
contribution was faith that they might be obliterated, so also in those
subsequent to this, show thou forth the change in thine aims, that thou
mayest not defile thyself again. For it is this and the like that he is
counselling thee when he says, "for if we have been planted together in
the likeness of His Death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection."
Do you observe, how he rouses the hearer by leading him straightway up
to his Master, and taking great pains to show the strong likeness? This
is why he does not say "in death," lest you should gainsay it, but, "in
the likeness of His Death." For our essence itself hath not died, but the
man of sins, that is, wickedness. And he does not say, "for if we have
been" partakers of "the likeness of His Death;" but what? "If we have.
been planted together," so, by the mention of planting, giving a hint of
the fruit resulting to us from it. For as His Body, by being buried in
the earth, brought forth as the fruit of it the salvation of the world;
thus ours also, being buried in baptism, bore as fruit righteousness, sanctification,
adoption, countless blessings. And it will bear also hereafter the gift
of the resurrection. Since then we were buried in water, He in earth, and
we in regard to sin, He in regard to His Body, this is why he did not say,
"we were planted together in His Death," but "in the likeness of His Death."
For both the one and the other is death, but not that of the same subject.
If then he says, "we have been planted together in His Death,2 we shall
be in that of His Resurrection," speaking here of the Resurrection which
(Gr. be of His Resurrection) is to come. For since when he was upon the
subject of the Death before, and said, "Know ye not, brethren, that so
many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His Death?"
he had not made any clear statement about the Resurrection, but only about
the way of life after baptism, bidding men walk in newness of life; therefore
he here resumes the same subject, and proceeds to foretell to us clearly
that Resurrection. And that you may know that he is not speaking of that
resulting from baptism, but about the other, after saying, "for if we were
planted together in the likeness of His Death," he does not say that we
shall be in the likeness of His Resurrection,3 but we shall belong to the
Resurrection.4 For to prevent thy saying, and how, if we did not die as
He died, are we to rise as He rose? when he mentioned the Death, he did
not say, "planted together in the Death," but, "in the likeness of His
Death." But when he mentioned the Resurrection, he did not say, "in the
likeness of the Resurrection," but we shall be "of the Resurrection" itself.
And he does not say, We have been made, but we shall be, by this word again
plainly meaning that Resurrection which has not yet taken place, but will
hereafter. Then with a view to give credibility to what he says, he points
out another Resurrection which is brought about here before that one, that
from that which is present thou mayest believe also that which is to come.
For after saying, "we shall be planted together in the Resurrection," he
Ver. 6. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed."
So putting together both the cause and the demonstration of the Resurrection
which is to come. And he does not say is crucified, but is crucified with
Him, so bringing baptism near to the Cross. And on this score also it was
that he said above, "We have been planted together in the likeness of His
Death that the body of sin might be destroyed," not giving that name to
this body of ours, but to all iniquity. For as he calls the whole sum of
wickedness the old man, thus again the wickedness which is made up of the
different parts of iniquity he calls the body of that man. And that what
I am saying is not mere guesswork, hearken to Paul's own interpretation
of this very thing in what comes next. For after saying, "that the body
of sin might be destroyed," he adds, "that henceforth we should not serve
sin."5 For the way in which I would have it dead is not so that ye should
be destroyed and die, but so that ye sin not. And as he goes on he makes
this still clearer.
Ver. 7. "For he that is dead," he says, "is freed (Gr. justified)
This he says of every man, that as he that is dead is henceforth freed
from sinning, lying as a dead body, so must6 he that has come up from baptism,
since he has died there once for all, remain ever dead to sin. If then
thou hast died in baptism, remain dead, for any one that dies can sin no
more; but if thou sinnest, thou marrest God's gift. After requiring of
us then heroism (Gr. philosophy) of this degree, he presently brings in
the crown also, in these words.
Ver. 8. "Now if we be dead with Christ."
And indeed even before the crown, this is in itself the greater crown,
the partaking with our Master. But he says, I give even another reward.
Of what kind is it? It is life eternal. For "we believe," he says, "that
we shall also live with Him." And whence is this clear?
Ver. 9. "That Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more."
And notice again his undauntedness,7 and how he makes the thing good
from opposite grounds. Since then it was likely that some would feel perplexed
at the Cross and the Death, he shows that this very thing is a ground for
feeling confident henceforward.
For suppose not, he says, because He once died, that He is mortal, for
this is the very reason of His being immortal. For His death hath been
the death of death, and because He did die, He therefore doth not die.
For even that death
Ver. 10. "He died unto sin."
"What does "unto sin"8 mean? It means that He was not subject even to
that one, but for our sin, that He might destroy it, and cut away its sinews
and all its power, therefore He died. Do you see how he affrighteth them?
For if He does not die again, then there is no second laver, then do thou
keep from all inclinableness to sin. For all this he says to make a stand
against the "let us do evil that good may come. Let us remain in sin that
grace may abound." To take away this conception then, root and branch,
it is, that he sets down all this. But in that "He liveth, He liveth unto
God," he says,-that is, unchangeably, so that death hath no more any dominion
over Him. For if it was not through any liability to it that He died the
former death, save only for the sin of others, much less will He die again
now that He hath done that sin away. And this he says in the Epistle to
the Hebrews also, "But now once," he says, "in the end of the world hath
He appeared to put away sin by the Sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed
unto men once to die, and after that the judgment; so Christ was once offered
to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for Him shall He appear
the second time without sin unto salvation." (Heb. ix. 26-28.) And he both
points out the power of the life that is according to God, and also the
strength of sin.For with regard to the life according to God, he showeth
that Christ shall die no more. With regard to sin, that if it brought about
the death even of the Sinless, how can it do otherwise than be the ruin
of those that are subject to it? And then as he had discoursed about His
life; that none might say, What hath that which you have been saying to
do with us? he adds,
Ver. 11. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto
sin, but alive unto God."
He well says, "reckon," because there is no setting that, which he is
speaking of, before the eyes as yet. And what are we to reckon? one may
ask. That we "are dead unto sin, but alive unto God. In Jesus Christ our
Lord." For he that so liveth will lay hold of every virtue, as having Jesus
Himself for his ally. For that is what, "in Christ," means, for if He raised
them when dead, much more when alive will He be able to keep them so.
1 Better: "United with him by the likeness" or "united
with the likeness." See, note *, p. 409.-G.B.S.
2 The construction here is harsh, and seems to require
"in the likeness of."
3 The word likeness in our version is in italics as an
addition, and unless it is understood, the construction is scarcely grammatical;
but this interpretation favors the reading questioned in the last note.
Perhaps also St. Chrysostom may have taken the words thus, "If we have
been in likeness planted together with His Death," which would be a parallel
4 The word sumfeutoi should be rendered "united with"
(as in R V.)-literally "grown together," from sun-fuw, not "planted together"
(A. V.) as if from sun-feuteuw. The Dat. tw omoiwmati may be taken as instrumental
after sum. gegon. (R. V., Weiss), or (I think better), after sun in composition
(Thayer's Lex., Meyer), because there is no indirect object expressed and
on the former view one must be supplied (as autw, or xristw). We must supply
in the apodosis, sumfeutoi tw omoiwmati. The omoiwma here means that which
corresponds to the death and resurrection of Christ, i. e. our moral death
to sin and resurrection to a holy life (vid. vv. 2, 4), or (dropping the
figure) the cessation of the old life and the beginning of the new. If
the former occurs, the latter also must take place and thus the objection
that if sin makes grace abound we should continue in sin, contradicts the
very idea of the Christian life which is that of freedom from sin and continuance
in holiness. The interp. of Chrys. is somewhat confused, apparently by
not clearly apprehending the fact that Paul is dealing with an analogy
to the death and resurrection of Christ.-G. B. S.
5 Verse 6 urges the same thought under the specific figure
of the crucifixion of the body. The use of this figure almost necessitates
the use of the word body to carry it out. As the one is figurative, so
is the other. By swma thj amartiaj is not meant "the body which is sin-or
sinful," but the body which is under the sway of sin. In the moral process
of the new life the body so far 'as ruled by sin-as being the seat of evil
passions and desires-is destroyed in this character. Paul could hardly
have employed this figure had he not regarded the body as the special manifestation-point
of sin.-G. B. S.
6 The necessity spoken of is clearly, from the context,
that of obligation.
7 filoneikian, his determination to take the highest ground,
and give up no single point.
8 Or "by sin."