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Follies for which Christ, in His Poor, is slighted. 179
that your horse's bridle may be spattered over with gold Rom. 6, 18. enough, or the ceiling of your house, or the capitals of your pillars. And what hell is there that this conduct would not deserve, when it is a brother, and one that has shared with yourself in blessings unutterable, and has been so highly honoured by the Lord, whom you, in order that you may deck out stones, and floors, and the bodies of animals with neither reason, nor perception of these ornaments, are casting into countless calamities? And your dog is well attended too, while man, or rather Christ, for the sake of the hound, and all these things I have named, is straitened with extreme hunger. What can be worse than such confusion? What more grievous than such lawlessness as this? What streams of fire will be enough for such a soul? He that was made in the Image of God stands in unseemly plight, through thy inhumanity; but the faces of the mules that draw thy wife glisten with gold in abundance, as do the skins and woods which compose that canopy. And if it is a seat that is to be made, or a footstool, they are all made of gold and silver. But the member of Christ, for whom also He came hither from Heaven, and shed His precious Blood, does not even enjoy the food that is necessary for him, owing to thy rapaciousness. But the couches. are mantled with silver on every side, while the bodies of the saints are deprived even of necessary clothing. And to thee Christ is less precious than any thing else, servants, or mules, or couch, or chair, or footstool; for I pass over furniture of still meaner use than these, leaving it to you to know of it. But if thou art shocked at hearing this, stand aloof from doing it, and then the words spoken will not harm thee. Stand aloof, and cease from this madness. For plain madness it is, such eagerness about these things. Wherefore letting go of these things, let us look up, late as it is, toward Heaven, and let us call to mind the Day which is coming, let us bethink ourselves of that awful tribunal, and the exact accounts, and the sentence incorruptible. Let us consider that God, who sees all these things, sends no lightnings from Heaven; and yet what is done deserves not thunderbolts merely. Yet He neither doth this, nor doth He let the sea loose upon us, nor doth He burst the
180 Unreasonableness of preferring trifles to our Brethren.
HOMIL. earth in twain, He quencheth not the sun, nor doth He XI. hurl the heaven with its stars upon us. He doth not move
aught from its place, but suffereth them to hold their course, and the whole creation to minister to us. Pondering all this then, let us be awestruck with the greatness of His love toward man, and let us return to that noble origin which belongs to us, since at present certainly we are in no better plight than the creatures without reason, but even in a much worse one. For they do love their kin, and need but the community of nature to cause affection towards each other. But thou who besides nature hast countless causes to draw thee together and attach thee to the members of thyself; the being honoured with the Word, the partaking in one religion, the sharing in countless blessings; art become of wilder nature than they, by displaying so much carefulness about profitless things, and leaving the Temples of God to perish in hunger and nakedness, and often surrounding them also with a thousand evils. For if it is from love of glory that you do these things, it is much more binding on you to shew your brother attention, than your horse. For the better the creature that enjoys the act of kindness, the brighter the crown that is woven for such carefulness. Since now while thou fallest into the contrary of all this, thou pullest upon thyself accusers without number, yet perceivest it not. For who is there that will not speak ill of thee? who that will not indite thee as guilty of the greatest atrocity and misanthropy, when he sees that thou disregardest the human race, and settest that of senseless. creatures above men, and besides senseless creatures, even thy house and furniture? Hast thou not heard the Apostle's saying, that they who first received the word sold both houses and lands, that they might support the brethren? but you plunder both houses and lands, that you may adorn a horse, or wood-work, or skins, or walls, or a pavement. And what is worse is, that it is not men only, but women too are afflicted with this madness, and urge their husbands to this empty sort of pains, by forcing them to lay out their money upon any thing rather than the necessary things. And if any one accuse them for this, they are practised with a defence, itself loaded with much to be accused. For
Our debt as enjoying the creation. Vain-glory rebuked. 181 both the one and the other are done at once, says one. ROM. What say you? are you not afraid to utter such a thing, and 6, 18. to set the same store by horses and mules and couches and footstools, as by Christ an hungred? Or rather not even comparing them at all, but giving the larger share to these, and to Him meting out with difficulty a scant share? Dost thou not know that all belongs to Him, both thou and thine? Dost thou not know that He fashioned thy body, as well as gave thee a soul, and apportioned thee the whole world? but thou art not for giving even a little recompense to Him. But if thou lettest a little hut, thou requirest the rent with the utmost rigor, and though reaping the whole of His creation, and dwelling in so wide a world, thou hast not courage to lay down even a little rent, but hast given up to vain-glory thyself and all thou hast. For this is that whereof all these things come. The horse is none the better above his natural excellence for having this ornament, neither yet is the person mounted upon him, for sometimes he is only in the less esteem for it; since many neglect the rider, and turn their eyes to the horse's ornaments, and to the attendants behind and before, and to the fan-bearers. But the man, who is lackeyed by these, they hate and turn their heads from, as a common enemy. But this does not happen when thou adornest thy soul, for then men, and angels, and the Lord of angels, all weave thee a crown. And so, if thou art in love with glory, stand aloof from the things which thou art now doing, and shew thy taste not in thy house, but in thy soul, that thou mayest become brilliant and conspicuous. For now nothing can be more cheap than thou art, with thy soul unfurnished, and but the handsomeness of thy house for a screen. But if thou art impatient of hearing me speak in this way, listen to what one of those that are without did, and at all events be shamed by their philosophy. For it is said that a certain one of them, who went into a palace that shone with gold in abundance, and glistened with the great beauty of the marbles and the columns, when he saw the floor strewed with carpets in all directions, spat in the face of the master of the house, and when found fault with for it said, that since there was no other part of the house where he could
The soul's adornment best and most lasting.
HOMIL. do this, he was obliged to do this affront to his face. See how ridiculous a man is, who displays his taste in exteriors, and how little he is in the eyes of all reasonable men. And with good reason. For if a person were to leave thy wife to be clad in rags, and to be neglected, and clothed thy maidservants with brilliant dresses, thou wouldest not bear it meekly, but wouldest be exasperated, and say that it was insulting in the extreme. Reason then in this way about your soul. When you display your taste in walls then, and pavement, and furniture, and other things of the kind, and do not give liberally in alms, or practise the other parts of a - religious life'; you do nothing less than this, or rather what is worse than this by far. For the difference between servant and mistress is nothing, but between soul and flesh there is a great disparity. But if it be so with the flesh, much more is it with the soul and a house, or the soul and a couch or footstool. What kind of excuse then dost thou deserve, who puttest so much silver on all these, but for it hast no regard, though it be covered with filthy rags, squalid, hungry, and full of wounds, torn by hounds unnumbered; and after all this fanciest that thou shalt get thee glory by displaying thy taste in externals wound about thee? And this is the very height of phrenzy, while ridiculed, reproached, disgraced, dishonoured, and falling into the severest punishment, still to be vain of these things! Wherefore, I beseech you, laying all this to heart, let us become sober-minded, late as is, and become our own masters, and transfer this adorning from outward things to our souls. For so it 23 Mss. abideth safe from spoiling, and maketh us equal to the
Angels, and will entertain us with unaltering good, which may we all attain by the grace and love toward man, &c.
ROM. vi. 19.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh for as ye have yielded your members s04 Mss. servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; m.of your even so now yield your members servants to righteousness flesh. unto holiness.
SINCE he had required great strictness of life, charging us Rom. to be dead to the world, and to have died unto wickedness, 6, 19. and to abide with no motion towards the working of sin, and seemed to be saying something great and burdensome, and too much for human nature; through a desire to shew that he is not making any exorbitant demand, nor even as much as might be expected of one who enjoyed so great a gift, but one quite moderate and light, he proves it from contraries, and says, I speak after the manner of men, as much as to say, Going by human reasonings; by such as one usually meets with. For he signifies the moderateness 4 Mss. of it by the term applied, after the manner of men. For elsewhere he uses the same word. There hath no temptation the taken you but such as is common to man, that is, moderate 10, 13. and small. For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. And truly the masters are very different ones, but still it is an equal amount of servitude that I ask. For men ought to give a much larger one, and so much the larger as this is a greater and better mastership than the other. Neverthe