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His persevering love. We should prefer His love to Heaven. 69
to examination, and deigning to condescend to a conference, RoM. and drawing them that were deaf to every appeal into a disputation with Himself. For He saith, O my people, what Mic. 6, have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me. After all this we killed the Prophets, we stoned them, we did them other cruel wrongs' without number. 15 Mss. What then? In their place He sent no longer Prophets, no S, xaxà longer Angels, no longer Patriarchs, but the Son Himself, in text. The Son too was killed when He had come, and yet not even 2 5 Mss. then did He quench His love, but kindled it even more, and keepeth on beseeching us, after that His own Son was killed, and entreating us, and doing all things to turn us unto Himself. And Paul crieth aloud, saying, Now then we 2 Cor. are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you 5, 20. by us: be ye reconciled to God. None of these things however reconciled us. Yet not even then did He leave us, but keeps on both threatening hell, and promising the kingdom, that so at least He may get us drawn unto Him. But we be still in an insensible mood. What could be worse than this brutishness? For had a man done these things, should we not many times over have let ourselves become slaves to him? But God when doing so we turn 36 Mss. us away from! O what listlessness! O what unfeelingness! αὐτῷ We that live continually in sins and wickednesses, if we happen to do any little good, like unfeeling domestics, with what a niggardly spirit do we exact it, and how particular are we about the recompense made, if what we have done has any recompense to come of it. And yet the recompense is the greater if you do it without any hope of reward. Why saying all this, and making exact reckoning, is language fitter for an hireling than a domestic of willing mind. For we ought to do every thing for Christ's sake, not for the reward, but for Him. For this also was why He threatened 6 Mss. hell and promised the kingdom, that He might be loved of mar. add us. Let us then so love Him as we ought to love Him. but for For this is the great reward, this is royalty and pleasure, this is enjoyment, and glory, and honour, this is light, this is the great happiness, which language cannot set before us, nor mind conceive. Yet indeed I do not know how I was led so far in this way of speaking, and came to be exhorting
70 Some have loved Him above His gifts, and we may learn to do so.
HOMIL. men who do not even think slightly of power and glory here for Christ's sake, to think slightly of the kingdom. Yet still those great and noble men even attained to this measure of love. Hear, for instance, how Peter burns with love towards Him, setting Him before his soul, and his life, and all things. And when he had denied Him, it was not the punishment he was grieved for, but that he had denied Him whom he longed for, which was more bitter to him than any punishment. And all this did he shew before the grace of the Spirit was given *. And he perseveringly pressed John 6, the question, Whither goest thou? and before this: To Mat. 8, whom shail we go? and again; I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. Thus He was all things to them, and neither heaven nor the kingdom of heaven did they count of, in comparison of Him they longed for. For Thou art all these things unto me, he means. And why doest thou marvel that Peter was so minded. Hear now what the
Ps. 73, Prophet says: What have I in heaven, and what is there
upon earth, that I should desire in comparison of Thee? Now what he means is nearly this. Neither of things above nor of things below desire I any, save Thee only. This is desire; this is love. Can we so love, it will not be things present only, but even things to come, which we shall reckon as nothing compared with that charm, and even here shall we enjoy the Kingdom, delighting ourselves in the love of Him. And how is this to be? one may say. If we will reflect how oft we insult Him after His numberless goodnesses, yet He standeth and calleth us to Him, and so often as we run by Him, He still doth not overlook us, but runneth to us, and draweth us to Him, and catcheth us in unto Himself. For if we consider these things, and such as these, we shall be enabled to kindle this longing. For if it were a common man that so loved, but a king who was thus beloved, would he not feel a respect for the greatness of the love? Most assuredly he would. But when the case is reversed, and His Beauty is unspeakable, and the glory and the riches too of Him that loveth us, and our vileness so beauty great, surely we deserve the utmost punishment, vile as we
* Origen on Matt. xxvi. 69. notices the same. Ed. Ben. p. 913. D.
Claims of His love despised. Exhortation.
are and outcasts, who are treated with so exceeding great Roм. love by One so great and wonderful, and yet wax wanton against His love? He needeth not any thing of ours, and yet He doth not even now cease loving us. We need much what is His, and for all that we cleave not unto His love, but money we value above Him, and man's friendship, and ease of body, and power, and fame, before Him who valueth nothing more than us. For He had One Son, Very and Onlybegotten, and He spared not even Him for us. But we value many things above Him. Were there not then good reason for a hell, even were it twofold or threefold or manifold what it is? For what can we have to say for ourselves, if even Satan's injunctions we value more than the Laws of Christ, and are reckless of our own salvation that we may choose the works of wickedness, before Him who suffered all things for us? And what pardon do these things deserve? what excuse have they? Not one even. Let us stand then 15 Mss. henceforward, not rushing headlong down precipices, and let us grow again sober; and reckoning up all these things, let us send up glory unto Him by our works, (for words alone suffice not thereto,) that we too may enjoy the glory that cometh of Him, which may we all attain unto by the grace and love toward man, of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, to the Father be glory, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
ROM. ii. 17, 18.
11 Ms. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law, and
makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law.
AFTER saying that the Gentile wanteth nothing appertaining to salvation if he be a doer of the Law, and after making that wonderful comparison, he goes on to set down the glories of the Jews, owing to which they thought scorn of 26 Mss. the Gentiles: and first the very name itself, which was of S. m., great majesty, as Christianity is now. For even then the distinction which the appellation made was great. he begins from this, and see how he takes it down. does not say, Behold3, thou art a Jew, but art called so, and 5 Mss. makest thy boast in God; that is, as being loved by Him,
૩ મે M83.
and honoured above other men. And here he seems to me to be greatly mocking their unreasonableness, and great madness after glory, because they misused this gift not to their own salvation, but to set themselves up against the rest of mankind, and to despise them. And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent. And this too is a disadvantage, if without working: yet still it seemed to be an advantage, and so he states with accuracy. For he does not say thou doest, but knowest; and approvest, not followest up and doest.
Ver. 19. And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind.
The Jews' preeminence not in actions but in God's gifts. 73
So 2, 21.
Here again he does not say that thou art a guide of the Rom. blind, but thou art confident, so thou boastest, he says. great was the unreasonableness of the Jews. Wherefore he also repeats nearly the very words, which they used in their boastings. See then what they say in the Gospels. Thou John 9, wert altogether1 born in sin, and dost thou teach us? they were haughty-minded towards all, to convince them of 4 Mss. which, Paul keeps extolling them and lowering the others, that so he may get more hold on them, and make his accusation the weightier. And so he goes on adding the like things, and making more of them by different ways of relating them. For thou art confident that thou thyself art a leader of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness.
Ver. 20. An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and truth, which is in the law.
Here again he says not, in the conscience and in actions. and in well-doings, but in the Law; and after saying so, he does here also what he did with regard to the Gentiles. For as there he says, wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, so saith he here also,
Ver. 21. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
But there he treats the point with more of sharpness, here with more of gentleness. For he does not say, However on this score thou deservest greater punishment, because though entrusted with so great things thou hast not made a good use of any of them, but he carries his discourse on by way of question, turning them on themselves, and saying, Thou 2 irgi that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself. And here I would have you look at the discretion of Paul in another case. For he sets down such advantages of the Jews, as came not of their own earnestness, but by a gift from above, and he shews not only that they are worthless to them. if neglectful, but that they even bring with them increase of punishment. For the being called a Jew is no well doing of theirs, nor yet is the receiving of the Law, nor the other things he has just enumerated, but of grace from above. And towards the beginning he had said, that the hearing of the Law is valueless unless the doing be thereto added, (for