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We are freed by Grace, yet our will must act.
HOMIL. like the former, but far worse. For if Christ is to die no more, who is to do away that death? No one! We must then be punished, and have vengeance taken upon us for ever. For a death perceptible to the senses is not still to come in this case, as in the former, which gives the body rest, and separates it from the soul. For the last 15, 16. enemy, death, is destroyed, whence the punishment will be deathless. But not to them that obey God, for righteousness, and the blessings springing from it, will be their rewards.
Ver. 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you.
After shaming them by the slavery, after alarming them by the rewards, and so exhorting them, he again rights them by calling the benefits to mind. For by these he shews that they were great evils from which they were freed, and that not by any labours of their own, and that things henceforth would be more manageable. Just as any one who has rescued a captive from a cruel tyrant, and advises him not to run away back to him, reminds him of his grievous thraldom; so does Paul set the evils passed away most emphatically before us, by giving thanks to God. For it was no human power that could set us free from all those evils, but, thanks be to God, who was willing and able to do such great things. And he well says, Ye have obeyed from the heart. Ye were neither forced nor pressed, but ye came over of your own accord, with willing mind. Now this is like one that praises and rebukes at once. For after having willingly come, and not having had any necessity to undergo, what allowance can you claim, or what excuse can you make, if you run away back to your former estate? Next that you may learn that it came not of their own willing temper only, but the whole of it of God's grace also, after saying, Ye have obeyed from the heart, he adds, that form of doctrine which was delivered you. For the obedience from the heart shews the free will. But its being delivered, hints the assistance from God. But what is the
The new Life. Death of the body, and of the soul. 175
form of doctrine'? It is living aright, and in conformity Roм. with the best conversation.
Ver. 18. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
There are two gifts of God which he here points out. The freeing from sin, and also the making them servants to righteousness, which is better than any freedom. For God hath done the same as if a person were to take an orphan, who had been carried away by savages into their own country, and were not only to free him from captivity, but were to set himself as a kind father over him, and 1 5 Mss. om. himbring him to very great dignity. And this has been done in self as our case. For it was not our old evils alone that he freed us from, since he even led us to the life of angels, and paved the way for us to the best conversation, handing us over to the safe keeping of righteousness, and killing our former evils, and deadening the old man, and leading us to an immortal life.
Let us then continue living this life; for many of those who seem to breathe and to walk about are in a more wretched plight than the dead. For there are different kinds of deadness; and one there is of the body, according to which Abraham was dead, and still was not dead. For God, He Mat. 22, says, is not a God of the dead, but of the living. Another 25. is of the soul, which Christ alludes to when He says, Let the dead bury their dead. Another, which is even the subject of praise, which is brought about by religion', of preφιλοσοφίας. which Paul saith, Mortify your members which are upon the earth. Another, which is the cause even of this, the one which takes place in Baptism. in Baptism. For our old man, he says, has been crucified, that is, has been deadened. Since then we know this, let us flee from that deadness by which, even though alive, we die. And let us not be afraid of that with which common death comes on. But the other two, whereof one is blissful, having been given by God, the other praiseworthy, which is accomplished by ourselves together
Tit. ii 12. 1 Tim. i. 10. are instances of a similar use of the term "doctrine." Compare Eph. iv. 19—– 24. from which context the phrase
The Truth as it is in Jesus," appears to be used nearly in the same
Death unto sin by Remission, and by abstinence.
HOMIL. with God, let us both choose and be emulous of. And of XI. these two, one doth David pronounce blessed, when he says, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven; and the other, Paul holds in admiration, saying, and writing to the Gal. 5, Galatians, They that be Christ's have crucified the flesh. But of the other couple, one Christ declares to be easy Mat. 10, to hold in contempt, when He says, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: and the other fearful, for, Fear (He says) Him that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. And therefore let us flee from this, and choose that deadness which is held blessed and admirable; that of the other two, we may escape the one, and not fear the other: for it is not the least good to us to see the sun, and to eat and drink, unless the life of good works be with us. For what would be the advantage, pray, of a king possessed of a purple robe indeed, and arms, but without a single subject, and exposed to all that had a mind to attack and insult him. In like manner it will be no advantage to a Christian to have faith, and the gift of Baptism, and yet be open to all the passions. In that way the disgrace will be greater, and the shame more. For as such an one having the diadem and purple is so far from gaining by this dress any honour to himself, that he even does disgrace to that by his own shame: so the believer also, who leadeth a corrupt life, is so far from becoming, as such, an object of respect, that he is only the more one Rom. 2, of scorn. For as many, it says, as sinned without Law, shall also perish without Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law. And in the Heb.10, Epistle to the Hebrews, he says, He that despised Moses' Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God. And with reason. For I placed (He might say) all the passions in subjection to thee by Baptism. How then comes it that thou hast disgraced so great a gift, and hast become one thing instead of another. I had killed and buried thy former transgressions, like worms-how is it that thou hast
k So 4 Mss. Sav. saying, but there seems to be no force in the repetition.
1 So 4 Mss. Sav. and 3 Mss. omit "not," but the sense requires it.
Sin makes us blind to itself. Effects of the love of Money. 177
bred others?-for sins are worse than worms, since these ROM. do harm to the body, those to the soul; and those make the more offensive stench. Yet we perceive it not, and so we are at no pains to purge them out. Thus the drunkard knows not how disgustful the stale wine is, but he that is not drunken has a distinct perception of it. So with sins also, he that lives soberly knows thoroughly the mire thereof, and the stain. But he that gives himself up to wickedness, like a man made drowsy with drunkenness, does not even know the very fact that he is ill. And this is the most grievous part of vice, that it does not allow those who fall into it even to see the greatness of their own bane, but as they lie in the mire, they think they are enjoying perfumes. And so they have not even the power of getting free, but when full of worms, like men that pride themselves in precious stones, so do they exult in these. And for this reason they have not so much as the will to kill them, but they even nourish these up, and multiply them in themselves, until they send them on to the worms of the world to come. For these are the providers for those, and are not only providers, but even the fathers of those that never die; as it says, their worm shall not die. Mark 9, These kindle the hell which never extinguishes. To prevent this from happening then, let us do away with this fountain. of evil, and extinguish the furnace, and let us draw up the root of wickedness from beneath, since you will do no good by cutting the tree off from above, if the root remains below, and sends up fresh shoots of the same kind again. What then is the root of the evils? Learn from the good husbandman1, who has an accurate knowledge of such things, and1 i. e. tends the spiritual vine, and cultivates the whole world. St. Paul Now what does he say is the cause of all the evils? The 6-9. love of money. For the love of money is the root of all evils. 1 Tim. Hence come fightings, and enmities, and wars; hence emu- 6, 10. lations, and railings, and suspicions, and insults; hence murders, and thefts, and violations of sepulchres. Through this, not cities and villages only, but roads and habitable and inhabitable parts, and mountains, and groves, and hills, and, in a word, all places are filled with blood and murder. And not even from the sea has this evil withdrawn, but even
1 Cor. 3,
178 Oppressors of the poor worse than robbers and murderers.
HOMIL. there also with great fury hath it revelled, since pirates beset XI. it on all sides, thus devising a new mode of robbery.
Through this have the laws of nature been subverted, and
the claims of relationship set aside, and the laws of our very Lucías being broken through. For the thraldom of money hath armed, not against the living only, but even against the dead too, the right hands of such men. And at death even, they make no truce with them, but bursting open the sepulchres, they put forth their impious hands even against dead bodies, and not even him that hath let go of life will they suffer to be let go from their plotting. And all the evils that you may find, whether in the house or in the market-place, or in the courts of law, or in the senate, or in the king's palace, or in any other place whatsoever, it is from this that you will find they all spring. For this evil it is, this assuredly, which fills all places with blood and murder, this lights up the flame of hell, this makes cities as wretchedly off as a wilderness, yea, even much worse. For those that beset the high roads, one can easily be on one's guard against, as not being always upon attack. But they who in the midst of cities imitate them are so much the worse than them, in that these are harder to guard against, and dare to do openly what the others do with secrecy. For those laws, which have been made with a view to stopping their iniquity, they draw even into alliance for murders of this kind, and so fill the cities with pollutions. Is it not murder, pray, and worse than murder, to hand the poor man over to famine, and to cast him into prison, and to expose him not to famine only, but to tortures too, and to countless acts of insolence. For even if you do not do these things yourself to him, yet are the occasion of their being done, you do them more than the ministers who execute them. The murderer plunges his sword into a man at once, and after giving him pain for a short time, he does not carry the torture any farther. But do you who by your calumnies, by your harassings, by your plottings, make light darkness to him, and set him upon desiring death ten thousand times over, consider how many deaths you perpetrate instead of one only. And what is worse than all, you plunder and are grasping, not impelled to it by poverty, without any hunger to necessitate you, but