A true estimate of things tends to amendment.



Homil. that follow after power, they that are gaping after outward

glory, they that think themselves great men when they raise 1 Ms. fine houses, and buy' costly sepulchres, and keep herds of build. slaves, and carry a great swarm of eunuchs about with them;

these know not what is expedient for them, or what the will of God is. For both of these are but one thing. For God willeth what things are expedient for us, and what God willeth, that is also expedient for us. What then are the things which God willeth? to live in poverty, in lowliness of mind, in contempt of glory; in continency, not in selfindulgence; in tribulation, not in ease; in sorrow, not in dissipation, and laughter; in all the other points whereon He hath given us laws. But the generality do even think

these things of ill omen; so far are they from thinking · Ms. them expedient, and the will of God. This then is why

they ever can come near even to the labours for virtue's sake. For they that do not know so much even as what virtue may be, but reverence vice in its place, and take in unto them the harlot instead of the modest wife, how are they to be able to stand aloof from the present world. Wherefore we ought above all to have a correct estimate of things, and even if we do not follow after virtue, to praise virtue, and even if we do not avoid vice, to stigmatize vice, that so far we may have our judgments uncorrupted. For so as we advance on our road, we shall be able to lay hold on the realities. This then is why he also bids you be renewed, that ye may prove what is the perfect will of God. But here he seems to me to be attacking the Jews too, who cling to the Law. For the old dispensation was a will of God, yet not the ultimate purpose, but allowed owing to their feebleness. But that which is a perfect one, and well-pleasing, is the new

conversation. So too when he called it a reasonable service, v. note it was to set it in contrast with that other that he gave it

such a name.

Ver. 3. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more


p. 360.

8 siwrigorras, v. Jung. ad J. Poll. v. meeting any thing counted unlucky. 163. Dem. adv. Aristog. 1. (794. 5.) it h ruyxararātionis, 1 Ms. ap. Ben. means to make a sign of detestation on rugnataxaívoross, taking to their bed.

St. Paul makes humility the groundwork of virtue. 365

highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, accord. Rom. ing as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

12, 3. After saying above, I beseech you by the mercies of God, here he says again, by the grace. Observe the teacher's lowliness of mind, observe a spirit quite subdued! He means to say that he is in no respect worthy to be trusted in such an exhortation and counsel. But at one time he takes the mercies of God along with him, at another His grace. It is not my word, he would say, that I am speaking, but one from God. And he does not say, For I say unto you by the wisdom of God, or, for I say unto you by the Law given of God, but, by the grace, so reminding them continually of the benefits done them, so as to make them more submissive, and to shew that even on this account, they were under an obligation to obey what is here said. To every man that is among you. Not to this person and to that merely, but to the governor and to the governed, to the slave and to the free, to the unlearned and to the wise, to the woman and to the man, to the young and to the old.

and to the old. For the Law is common to all as being the Lord's. And by this he likewise makes his language inoffensive, setting the lessons he gives to all, even to such as do not come under them, that those who do come under them may with more willingness accept such a reproof and correction. And what dost thou say? Let me hear. Not to think more highly than he ought to think. Here he is bringing before us the mother of good deeds, which is lowliness of mind, in imitation of his own Master. For as He, when He went up into the mountain, and was going to give a tissue of moral precepts, took this for His first beginning, and made this the foundation, in the words, Blessed are the poor Mat. 5, in spirit; so Paul too, as he has now passed from the doctrinal parts to those of a more practical kind, has taught us virtue in general terms, by requiring of us the admirable" sacrifice; and being on the point of giving a more particular portrait of it, he begins from lowliness of mind as from the head, and tells us, not to think more highly of one's self than one ought to think, (for this is the will of God')) but to think soberly. "Ms.om.

for, &c. Mar. to make them out to be more mirable by requiring of us sacrifice,' but happy:

this does not suit the context. k Mar.' taught us that virtue is ad


[ocr errors]



366 Measure of God's gifts no ground for pride or despair. Homil. But what he means is about this. We have received wisdom XX.

not that we should use it to make us haughty, but to make us

soberminded. And he does not say in order to be lowly in owpgo- mind, but in order to sobriety, meaning by sobriety' here not

that virtue which contrasts with lewdness, nor the being free from intemperance, but being sober and healthful in mind.

And the Greek name of it means keeping the mind safe'. To Mesogoo shew then that he who is not thus modest?, cannot be sober άζοντα

either, that is, cannot be staid and healthful minded, (because such an one is bewildered, and out of his wits, and is more crazed than any madman,) he calls lowliness of mind, soberness of mind.

According as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For since having gifts given them had made many unreasonably elated, both with these and with the Corinthians, see how he lays open the cause of the disease, and gradually removes it. For after saying that we should think soberly, he proceeds, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, meaning here the gift by faith : and by using the word dealt, he solaces him who had the less, and humbles him who had the greater share. For if God dealt it, and it is no achievement of thine, why think highly of thyself? But if any one says that faith here does not mean the gift, this

would only the more shew that he was humbling the vain 3 Mar. boasters. For if that faith which is the cause of the gift, by and Ms.

which faith miracles are wrought, be itself from God, on what ground dost thou think highly of thyself? If He had not come, or been incarnate, then the things of faith would not have fared well either. And it is from hence that all the good things take their rise. But if it is He that giveth it, He knoweth how He dealeth it. For He made all, and taketh like care of all. And as His giving came of His love towards man, so doth the quantity which He giveth. For was He who had shewn His goodness in regard to the main point, which is the giving of the gifts, likely to neglect thee in regard to the measure? For had He wished to do thee dishonour, then He had not given them at all. But if to save thee and to honour thee was what He had in view, (and for this He came and distributed such great blessings,) why art thou confounded and disturbed, and

Τ σώζουσαν την φρόνησιν, Aristot. Eth. vi.




Folly of a proud and reckless temper. 367 abusest thy wisdom to foolishness, making thyself more dis- Rom. graceful than one who is by nature so.

12, 3.

For being foolish by nature is no ground of complaint. But being foolish through wisdom, is at once bereaving one's self of excuse, and running into greater punishment.

Such then are those, who pride themselves upon their wisdom, and fall into the excess of recklessness. For recklessness of all things makes a person a fool. Wherefore the Prophet calls the barbarian by this name. But the fool, he says, shall speak folly. But that you may see Is. 32,6. the folly of him from his own words, hear what he says. Above the stars of heaven will I place my throne, and I will Is. 14, be like the Most High. I will take hold of the world as a nest, and as eggs that are left will I take them away. Now what can be more foolish than these words. And to each instance of haughty language he directly applies this reproach. And if I were to set before you every expression of them that are reckless, you would not be able to distinguish whether the words are those of a reckless man fool. So entirely the same is this failing and that. And another of a strange nation says again, I am God and not Ezech. man; and another again, Can God save you, or deliver you Dan 3, out of my hand? And the Egyptian too, I know not the Lord, 15.

Ex.5,2. neither will I let Israel go. And the foolish body in the Psalmist is of this character, who hath said in his heart, There Ps.14,1. is no God. And Cain, Am I my brother's keeper? Can you Gen. 4, now distinguish whether the words are those of the reckless or those of the fool ? For recklessness going out of due bounds, and being a departure from reason, (whence its name recklessness',) maketh men both fools and vain-' é cóvouse glorious. And, if the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, the beginning of folly is surely not knowing the Lord. If then knowing be wisdom, and not knowing Him folly, and not knowing come of haughtiness?, (for the beginning of rignhaughtiness is the not knowing of the Lord,) then is haughti- Pavia ness the extreme of folly. Such was Nabal, if not to Godward, at least toward man, having become senseless from his recklessness. But he afterwards died of fear. For 3 Agusu

δειλοι, * This word bas been sometimes thing more; usually the recklessness Ar. Éth. translated haughtiness, but means some- of despair, but sometimes that of pride. iii.


368 Conceited persons, how ridiculous and worthless. Homil. when any falleth from the measure of wisdom, he becomes at XX.

once a coward and bold, his soul having been made feeble. For as the body when it loseth its proper tone, having become out of condition, is a prey to any disease, thus too

the soul when it hath lost its greatness of nature and lowlylity

mindedness, having gotten a particular habit', becomes feeble and fearful, as well as bold and unreasonable, and loses its powers of self-consciousness. And he that has lost these, how is he to know things above himself? For as he that is seized with a frenzy, when he has so lost them, knoweth not even what is right before him; and the eye, when it is dimmed, darkeneth all the other members; so doth it happen with this recklessness. Wherefore these are more miserable than the mad, or than those silly by nature. For like them they stir laughter, and like them they are illtempered. And they are out of their wits as the others are, but they are not pitied as they are. And they are beside themselves, as are these, but they are not excused, as are these, but are hated only. And while they have the failings of either, they are bereaved of the excuse of either, being ridiculous not owing to their words only, but to their whole appearance also. For why, pray, dost thou stiffen up thy neck? or why walk on tiptoe? why knit up thy brows? why stick thy breast out? Thou canst not make one hair white or black, and thou goest with as lofty gait as if thou couldest command every thing. No doubt thou wouldest like to have wings, and not go upon the earth at all! No doubt thou wouldest wish to be a prodigy! For hast thou not made thyself prodigious now, when thou art a man and triest to fly? or rather flying from within, and bloated in every limb? What shall I call thee to quit thee of thy recklessness? If I call thee ashes, and dust, and smoke, and pother, I should have described thy worthlessness to be sure, but still I should not have laid hold of the exact image I wanted. For I want to put their bloatedness before me, and all its emptiness. What image am I to find then which will suit with all this? To me it seems to be like tow in a blaze. For it seems to swell when lighted, and to lift itself up; but when it is submitted to a slight touch of the hand, it all tumbles down, and turns out to be more worthless than the veriest

« ElőzőTovább »