274 Christ to be esteemed above His own best gifts. Homil. wishing to shew quite to the utmost the love he had toward XV.

Christ. For Christ he loved not for the things of Christ, but for His sake the things that were His, and to Him alone he looked, and one thing he feared, and that was falling from that love. For this thing was in itself more dreadful than hell, as to abide in it was more desirable than the Kingdom.

What then should we now deserve, when he is found not to esteem even the things in Heaven as compared with the desire for Christ, and we set more store by things of mire and clay than by Christ. And he out of desire of Him would take up with falling into hell, and being banished from the Kingdom, if the choice between the two were put to him? but we are not even above the present life. Are we worthy then to touch his very shoes, when we have come to be so far short of his largeness of mind ? For he for Christ's sake does not think any thing even of a kingdom; but we think slightingly of Himself, and things of His we make great account of.

And would it were of things of His. But now it is not even 15 Mss.this; but with a Kingdom set before us, we let that alone, and offered

keep pursuing shadows and dreams all our days. And yet God in His love toward man and exceeding gentleness, hath done the same as if an affectionate father should, on his son's becoming disinclined to a continual stay with him, manage to bring this about in another way. For since we have not the right feeling of desire after Him, He keeps putting divers other things before us, so as to hold us to Himself. Yet not even for this do we abide with Him, but we keep springing off to childish playthings. Not so Paul, but like a noble spirited child, who is open and attached to his father, he seeks only after the Father's presence, and other things he sets not so much store by; or rather, it is much more than a child. For he does not value the Father and things that are His at the same rate, but when he looks to the Father, he counts them nothing, but would choose rather to be chastised and beaten, so he was with Him, than to be apart from Him

and indulge his ease. Let us then shudder, all of us that do 25 Mss, not even feel above money for the sake of God, or rather Christ

such of us as do not feel above it for our own sakes. For it was Paul alone who suffered in good earnest all things for Christ's sake, not for the sake of the kingdom, or his own Christ pleads to be requited in His Poor. 275 honour, but owing to his affection to Him. But as for us, Rom. neither Christ nor the things of Christ draw us from the

8,38.39. things of this life; but as serpents, or snakes, or swine, or even as all of them at once, so do we keep dragging on in the mire. For wherein are we better than those brutes, when with so many and such great examples before us we still keep looking down, and have not the heart to look up to Heaven for ever so little a time? Yet did God give up even His Son. But thou wilt not so much as share thy bread with Him, who was given up for thee, who was slain for thee. The Father for thy sake spared not Him, and this too when He was indeed His Son, but thou doest not look upon Him even when pining with starvation, and this too when thou shouldest but spend of His own, and spend it too for thy own good! What can be worse than such a breach of law as this ? He was given up for thee, He was slain for thee, He goeth about in hunger for thee, it is of His own thou shouldest give, that thou mayest thyself get the gain, and still thou dost not give! What sort of stone is there than which these are not more senseless, who in despite of such great inducements, continue in this diabolical cruel-heartedness? For He was not satisfied even with death and the Cross only, but He took up with becoming poor also, and a stranger, and a beggar, and naked, and with being thrown into prison, and undergoing sickness, that so at least He might call thee off. If thou wilt not requite Me, He says, as having suffered for thee, shew mercy on Me for my poverty. And if thou art not minded to pity Me for My poverty, do for My disease be moved, and for My imprisonment be softened. And if even these things make thee not charitable, for the easiness of the request comply with Me. For it is no costly gift I ask, but bread and lodging, and words of comfort; but if even after this thou still continuest unsubdued, still for the Kingdom's sake be improved for the rewards which I have promised. Hast thou then no regard even for these? yet still for very nature's sake be softened at seeing Me naked, and remember that nakedness wherewith I was naked on the Cross for thee; or, if not this, yet that wherewith I am now naked through the poor.

I was then bound 1180 mar. for thee, nay, still am so for thee, that whether moved by the 4 Mse.


276 Christ asks charity of us for our own good. Homil. former ground or the latter, thou mightest be minded to shew XV.

some pity. I fasted for thee, again I am hungry for thee. I was athirst when hanging on the Cross, I am athirst also through the poor, that by the former as also by the latter I may draw thee to Myself, and make thee charitable to thine own salvation. Hence also of thee that owest Me the requital of benefits without number, I make not request as of one that oweth, but crown thee as one that favoureth Me, and a kingdom do I give thee for these small things. For I do not say so much as put an end to my poverty, or give me riches, and yet I did become poor for thee; yet still I ask for bread and clothing, and a small solace for My hunger. And if I be thrown into prison, I do not insist upon

thy loosing my bonds and setting me free, but one thing only 1 or am do I seek after, that thou wouldest visit Me, who was bound

for thee, and I shall have received favour enough, and for this only will I give thee Heaven. And yet I delivered thee from most galling bonds, but for Me it is quite enough, if thou wilt but visit Me when in prison. For I am able indeed to crown thee even without all this; yet I would feign be a debtor to thee, that the crown may give thee some feeling of

confidence. And this is why, though I am able to support ? or, at Myself, I come about begging, and stand before thy door,

and stretch out Mine hand, since My wish is to be supported παριστά- .

by thee. For I love thee exceedingly, and so desire to eat

at thy table, which is the way with those that love a person. 3 John And I glory in this. And when the whole world are spec15, 8.

tators, then am I to herald thee forth, and in the hearing of all men to display thee as My supporter. Yet we, when we are supported by any one, feel ashamed, and cover our faces; but He, as loving us exceedingly, even if we hold our peace, will then tell out what we did with much praise, and is not ashamed to say, that when Himself was naked we clothed Him, and fed Him when hungry. Let us then lay all these things to heart, and not be contented with passing mere praises upon them, but let us even accomplish what I have been speaking of. For what is the good of these applauses and clamours. I demand one thing only of you, and that is the display of them in real action, the obedience of deeds. This is my praise, this your gain, this gives me more lustre

5 Mss.

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Obedience of the people the Preacher's crown. 277 than a diadem. When you have left the Church then, this is Rom. the crown that you will make for me and for you, through the 8,38.39. . hand of the poor; that both in the present life we may be nourished with a goodly hope, and after we have departed to the life to come, we may attain to those good things without number, to which may all of us attain by the grace and love toward man, &c.


Rom. xi, 1.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also

bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.

HOMIL. Did I not seem yesterday to you to have spoken some XVI.

great and exorbitant things of Paul's love toward Christ? And great indeed they were, too great for any words to express. Yet, what you have heard to-day are as far above those things, as those things were above ours. And yet I did not think they could be exceeded, still what has been read to-day as it reached my ears did appear far more glorious

than the whole of the former. And that he was aware of 15 Mss. this himself he shews by his exordium. For' as on the äro yae and om.

point of entering upon greater things than those, and theredi fore liable to be disbelieved by the generality, he first uses

a strong asseveration about the matter he is going to speak of; which men are in the habit of doing when they are going to say somewhat which is not believed by the generality, and about which they feel the utmost certainty in their own minds.

Hence he says, I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, and my conscience beareth me witness,

Ver. 2, 3. That I have a great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ.

What sayest thou, O Paul? from Christ, thy beloved One, from whom neither kingdom nor hell, nor things visible nor intelligible, nor aught else of the kind, would separate thee, is it from Him that thou wouldest now again be accursed? What has happened? Hast thou changed, hast thou given over that love ? No, he replies, fear not. Rather I have

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