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Royalty as nothing, when we think of Christ's coming. 259 cushions', and the spangles that flutter about the chariot, Rom. and the dragons shaped out in the silken hangings, and the shields with their gold bosses, and the straps that reach up Poll. from these to the rims of them through so many gems, and X. 41. the horses with the gilded trappings and the gold bits. But when we see the king we immediately lose sight of all these. For he alone turns our eyes to him, and to the purple robe, and the diadem, and the throne, and the clasp, and the shoes, all that splendour of his appearance. After gathering all these things together then with accuracy, then again remove your thought from these things to things above, and to that awful day in which Christ is coming. For then you will not see any pairs of mules, nor golden chariots, nor dragons and shields, but things that are big with a mighty awe, and strike such amazement that the very incorporeal Powers are astonied. For the powers of the Heavens, He says, shall be shaken. Mat. 24, Then is the whole Heaven thrown open, and the gates of 29. those concaves unfold themselves, and the Only-begotten Son of God cometh down, not with twenty, not with a hundred men for His body guard, but with thousands and ten thousands of Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and other Powers, and with fear and trembling shall every thing be filled, whiles the earth is bursting itself up, and the men that ever were born, from Adam's birth up to that day, are rising from the earth, and all are caught up: when 1 Thess.
4, 17. Himself appears with such great glory as that the moon, and the sun, and all light whatever, is cast into the shade, being outshone by that radiance. What language is to set before us that blessedness, brightness, glory? Alas! my soul. For weeping comes upon me and great groaning, as I reflect what good things we have fallen from, what blessedness we are estranged from. For estranged we are, (I am now speaking of my own case still,) unless we do some great and astonishing work; speak not then of hell to me now, for more grievous than any hell is the fall from this' glory, worse than punishments unnumbered the estrangement from that lot. But still we are gaping after this present world, and we take not thought of the devil's cunning, who by little
So 5 Mas. Sav. ' so great,' the other brings the thought more home.
260 Deceit of the Devil. True riches in the soul. Homil. things bereaves us of those great ones, and gives us clay that
he may snatch from us gold, or rather that he may snatch
What defence then shall we have to set up for pursuing things so subject to hazards, and laden with shame, with so much eagerness, and leaving things unfailing, which will make us glorious and bright, and giving our whole selves up to the thraldom of money. For the slavery to these things is worse than any bondage. And this they know who have been counted worthy to obtain their freedom from it. That ye then may also feel this goodly liberty, burst the bonds asunder, spring out of the snare. And let there be no gold lying by in your houses, but that which is more precious than millions of money, alms and love to man, for your treasure. For this gives us boldness toward God, but
the other covers us with deep shame, and causes the devil to apodçdo bear hard' upon us. Why then arm thy enemy, and make him
stronger? Arm thy right hand against him, and transfer all the splendor of thy house into thy soul, and stow away all thy fortune in thy mind, and instead of a chest and a house, let heaven keep thy gold. And let us put all our property about our own selves; for we are much better than the walls,
and more dignified than the pavement. Why then do we, to “ κινούμεν the neglect of our own selves, bestow all our attention upon 6 Mss. those things, which when we are gone we can no longer zsvoüper reach, and often even while we stay here we cannot keep
hold of, when we might have such riches as to be found not in this life only, but also in that, in the easiest circumstances. For he who carries about his farms and house and gold upon
& Night being put for the time of our sojourn here. cf. Rom. 13, 12.
To relieve Christ's Poor an office of high honour. 261 his soul, wherever he appears, appears with all this wealth. Rom.
8, 27. And how is this possible to be effected ? one may ask. It is possible, and that with the utmost ease. For if you transfer them to Heaven by the poor man's hand, you will transfer them entire into your own soul. And if death should afterwards come upon thee, no one will take them from thee, but thou wilt depart to be rich in the next world too. This was the kind of treasure Tabitha had. Hence it was not her house that proclaimed her wealth, nor the walls, nor the stones, nor the pillars, but the bodies of widows furnished with dress, and their tears that were shed, and death that played the runaway, and life that came back again. Let us also make unto ourselves such-like treasures, let us build up for ourselves such-like houses. In this way we shall have God for our Fellow-worker, and we ourselves shall be workers together with Him. For Himself brought the poor from not being into being, and you will prevent them, after they have been brought into life and being, from perishing with hunger and other distress, by tending them and setting them upright, and staying up the Temple of God in every quarter. And what can be equal to this in respect of utility and creditableness? Or if as yet you have not gained any clear notion of the great adornment He bestowed upon thee when He bade thee relieve poverty, consider this point with thyself. If He had given thee so great power, that thou wert able to mend the breaches even of Heaven if it were falling, wouldest thou not think the thing an honour far too great for thee? See now He hath held thee worthy of a greater honour. For that which in His esteem is more precious than the Heaven, He hath trusted thee to repair. For of all things visible there is nothing in God's esteem equal to man. For Heaven and earth and sea did He make for Him, and finds more pleasure in dwelling with him than in the Heaven. though with a knowledge of this, bestow no attention nor forethought upon the temples of God; but leaving them in a neglected state, we provide houses splendid and large for ourselves. This is why we are devoid of all good things, and greater beggars than the poorest poor, because we pride ourselves in these houses which we cannot take away
with us when we go hence, and leave those alone which we
And yet we,
262 The bodies of the Poor will rise again. Cure for our souls. Homil. might move away along with our own selves. For the bodies
of the poor after dissolution must needs rise again; and! 14 Mss. om. for God, Who hath given this change, will bring them forth, and
praise those who have taken care of them, and treat such ? Bawé- with regard', because when they were on the point of falling
to ruin at one time by starvation, at another by nakedness and cold, these repaired them by all means in their power. But still, even with all these praises set before us, we loiter yet, and decline undertaking this honourable charge. And Christ indeed hath not where to lodge, but goeth about a stranger, and naked, and hungry, and you set up houses out of town, and baths, and terraces, and chambers without number, in thoughtless vanity; and to Christ you give not even a share of a little hut, while for daws and vultures you deck out upper chambers. What can be worse than such insanity as this? What more grievous than such madness? for madness it is in the last stage of it, or rather one has no name to suit it, use whatever one may, Yet still if we be so minded, it is possible to beat off the disorder, tenacious as it is; and not possible only, but even easy; and not easy merely, but even easier is it to get rid of this pest than of the sufferings of the body, since the Physician is so much greater. Let us then draw Him to ourselves, and invite Him to aid us in the attempt, and let us contribute our share, good will, I mean, and energy. For He will not require any thing further, but if He can meet with this only, He will confer all that is His part. Let us then contribute our share, that in this world we may enjoy a genuine health, and may attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love towards
Rom. viii. 28.
that love God.
HERE he seems to me to have mooted this whole topic Rom. with a view to those who were in danger; or, rather, not this 8, 28. only, but also what was said a little before this. For the words, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us; and those, that the whole creation groaneth; and the saying, that we are saved by hope; and the phrase, we with patience wait for; and that, that we know not what we should pray for as we ought; are all of them said to these. For he instructs them not to choose just what they may think, themselves, to be useful, but what the Spirit may suggest; for many things that seem to one's self profitable, do sometimes even cause much harm. Quiet, for instance, and freedom from dangers, and living out of fear, seemed to be advantageous for them. And what wonder if they did to them, since to the blessed Paul himself this seemed to be so: still he came afterwards to know that the opposite to all these are the things advantageous, and when he came to know it, he was content. So he that besought the Lord thrice to be freed from hazards', when once he heard Him say, My grace 1 Cor.
8. 9. is sufficient for thee, for My Power is perfected in weakness, was afterwards delighted at being persecuted, and insulted,
* See p. 261. and on 2 Cor. 12, 7. Hom. 26.