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Abel even the more honoured for his death.
HOMIL. the more.
Thou hast not lessened his honour by slaying VIII. him, but hast made it the more ample. Yet before this so4 Mss. I had even made him subject to thee, whereas since thou Sav.God hast slain him, even when dead, he will take vengeance
upon thee. So great was My love towards him. Who then was the condemned person, the punisher or the punished? He that enjoyed so great honour from God, or he that was given up to a certain novel and unexpected punishment? Thou didst not fear him (he would say) while alive, fear him therefore when dead. Thou didst not tremble when on the point of thrusting with the sword. Thou shalt be seized, now the blood is shed, with a continual trembling. While alive he was thy servant, and thou shewedst no forbearance to him. For this reason, now he is dead, he hath become a master thou shalt be afraid of. Thinking then upon these things, beloved, let us flee from envy, let us extinguish malice, let us recompense one another with charity, that we may reap the blessings rising from it, both in the present life and the life which is to come, by the grace and love toward man, &c. Amen.
ROM. iv. 23.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.
AFTER saying many great things of Abraham, and his ROM. faith, and righteousness, and honour before God, lest the 4, 23. hearer should say, What is this to us, for it is he that was justified? he places us close to the Patriarch again. So great is the power of spiritual words. For of one of the
nations, one who was a recent proselyte, one who had done
no work, he not only says that he is in nothing inferior to
the Jew who believes', but not even to the Patriarch, 1i. e. as but rather, if one must give utterance to the wondrous truth, even much greater. For so noble is our birth, that his faith is but the type of ours. And he does not say if it was reckoned unto him, it is probable it will be also to us, that he might not make it matter of syllogism. But he speaks in authentic words of the divine law, and makes the whole a declaration of the Scripture. For why does he say, It is written, save to make us see that we also were justified in this way. For it is the same God whom we have believed, and upon the same matters, if it be not in the case of the same persons. And after speaking of our faith, he also mentions God's unspeakable love towards
136 Christ rose again because without sin. Peace with God, what.
HOMIL. man, which he ever presents on all sides, bringing the Cross before us. And this he now makes plain by saying,
Ver. 25. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
See how after mentioning the cause of His death, he makes the same cause likewise a demonstration of the resurrection. For why, he means, was He crucified? Not for any sin of His own. And this is plain from the Resurrection. For if He were a sinner, how should He have risen? But if He rose, it is quite plain that He was not a sinner. But if He was not a sinner, how came He to be crucified?-For others, and if for others, then surely He rose again. Now to prevent your saying, How, when liable for so great sins, came we to be justified? he points out One that blotteth out all sins, that both from Abraham's faith, whereby he was justified, and from the Saviour's Passion, whereby we were freed from our sins, he might confirm what he had said. And after mentioning His Death, he speaks also of His Resurrection. For the purpose of His dying was not that He might hold us liable to punishment and in condemnation, but that He might do good unto us. For for this cause He both died and rose again, that He might make us righteous.
Chap. v. ver. 1. Therefore being justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What does Let us have peace mean? Some say,' Let us not be at variance, through a peevish obstinacy for bringing in the Law.' But to me he seems to be speaking now of our conversation. For after having said much on the subject of faith, he had set it before righteousness which is by works, to prevent any one from supposing what he said was a ground for listlessness, he says, let us have peace, that is, let us sin no more, nor go back to our former estate. For this is making war with God. And how is it possible,'
a If a fresh argument commences here, there is no vicious circle. For there was independent proof of each proposition, and so, when shewn to involve one another, they were mutually confirmed.
So Sav. and all Mss. of St. Chrysostom, some good Mss. of the text, and versions, and Fathers. Scholz adopts the reading, Griesbach rejects it. Most Mss. and Edd. read we have.'
How to sin no more. God, who has given such grace, will help us. 137 saith one, to sin no more?' How was the former thing ROM. possible? For if when liable for so many sins we were freed from all by Christ, much more shall we be able through Him to abide in the estate wherein we are. For it is not the same thing to receive peace when there had been none, and to keep it when it has been given, since to acquire surely is harder than to keep. Yet nevertheless the more difficult hath been made easy, and carried out into effect. That which is the easier thing then will be what we shall easily succeed in, if we cling to Him who hath wrought even the other for us. But here it is not the easiness only which he seems to me to hint at, but the reasonableness. For if He reconciled us when we were in open war with Him, it is reasonable that we should abide in a state of reconciliation, and give unto Him this reward for that He may not seem to have reconciled untoward and unfeeling creatures to the Father.
Ver. 2. By Whom also we have access, he says, by faith unto this grace'.
If then He hath brought us near to Himself when we to, &c. were far off, much more will He keep us now that we are near. And let me beg you to consider how he every where sets down these two points; His part, and our part. On His part, however, there be things varied and numerous and diverse. For He died for us, and farther reconciled us, and brought us to Himself, and gave us grace unspeakable. But we brought faith only as our contribution. And so he says, by faith, unto this grace wherein we stand'. What25 Mss. grace is this? tell me. It is the being counted worthy of wherein the knowledge of God, the being forced from error, the coming to a knowledge of the Truth, the obtaining of all the blessings that come through Baptism. For the end of His bringing us near was that we might receive these gifts. For it was not simply that we might have remission of sins, and freedom only, but that we might receive also countless benefits. Nor did He even pause at these, but
c 3 Mss. If thou wilt consider how, margin, rois narudλayño, seems also to bear the same sense.
Or perhaps by the terms of reconciliation,' for so the text may be understood. The reading in Savile's
e 4 Mss. for and freedom only' read only that we were reconciled,' xarnλ · λάγημεν μόνον, one καταλλάγη μόνον.
Present Grace a pledge of the things to come.
HOMIL. promised others, namely, those unutterable blessings that IX. pass understanding alike and language. And this is why he has set them both down also. For by mentioning grace he clearly points at what we have at present received, but by saying, And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God,
He unveils the whole of things to come. And he had well said, wherein we stand. For this is the nature of God's grace. It hath no end, it knows no bound, but evermore is on the advance to greater things, which in human things is not the case. Take an instance of what I mean. A person has acquired rule and glory and authority, yet he does not stand therein continuously, but is speedily cast out of it. Or if man take it not from him, death comes, and is sure to take it from him. But God's gifts are not of this kind; for neither man, nor occasion, nor crises of affairs, nor even the Devil, nor death, can come and cast us out of them. But when we are dead, we then more strictly speaking have possession of them, and keep going on enjoying more and more. And so if thou feel in doubt about those to come; from those now present, and what thou hast already received, believe in the other 1xaux also. For this is why he says, And we rejoice' in hope of μιλα the glory of God, that you may learn, what kind of soul the faithful ought to have. For it is not only for what hath been given, but for what is to be given, that we ought to be filled with confidingness, as though it were already given. For one rejoices in what is already given. Since then the hope of things to come is even as sure and clear as that of what is given, he says that in that too we in like manner rejoice. For this cause also he called them glory. For if it contributeth unto God's glory, come to pass it certainly will, though it do not for our sakes, yet for Him it will. And why am I saying (he means) that the blessings to come
2 xaux-are worthy of being gloried' in? Why even the very evils
of this time present are able to brighten up our countenances, and make us find in them our repose. Wherefore also he added,
Ver. 3. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also.
Now, consider how great the things to come are, when even at what seems to be distressful we can be elated.