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Their edification his comfort. Unquestioning obedience.
HOMIL. Solation. But if any one here should say, the increase of their faith was the comfort and gladness, and that Paul needed this, he would not be mistaking his meaning in this way either. If then thou desire, one might say, and pray, and wilt gain comfort and give comfort by it, what is there to hinder thy coming? By way of dissipating this suspicion then, he proceeds.
Ver. 13. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, 15 Mss. that oftentimes I desired to come unto you (but was let
Here is a compliance great as that of slaves, and a plain proof of his excellent temper! That he was let', he says, 2 sigra. but why, he does not go on to say. For he does not pry porns into the command of his Master, but only obeys. And yet
one might expect a person to start questions, as to why God hindered a city so conspicuous and great, and towards which the whole world was looking, from enjoying such 32 Mss. a teacher, and that for so long a time. For he that had overcome the governing city, could easily go on to the subjects of it. But he that let alone the more royal one, and lay in wait about the dependents, had the main point left neglected. But none of these things does he busy himself with, but yields to the incomprehensibleness of Providence, thereby both shewing the right tone of his soul, and instructing us never to call God to account for what happens, even though what is done seem to be the confusion of many. For the Master's part it is alone to enjoin, the servants' to obey. And this is why he says, that he was let', but not for what cause; for he means, even
5 Mss. Sav. He
I do not know; ask not then of me the counsel or mind of
let him God. For neither shall the thing formed say to him that
Rom. 9, 20.
formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? For why, tell me, do you even seek to learn it? do you not know that all things are under His care, that He is wise, that He doeth nothing at a mere hazard, that He loveth thee more than they who begat thee, and goes exceeding far beyond a father's yearnings of affection to thee, and a mother's anxiousSeek then no more, and go not a step further; for
5 Mss. that the comfort was gladness at the increase.
His persevering affection, no preference on worldly grounds. 25
this is sufficient consolation for thee: since even then it was Roм. well ordered for the Romans. And if thou knowest not the 1, 13. manner, take it not to heart: for this is a main feature of faith, even when in ignorance of the manner of the dispensation, to receive what is told us of His Providence.
Paul then having succeeded in what he was earnest about, (and what was this? to shew that it was not as slighting them that he did not come to them, but because, though greatly desiring it, he was hindered,) and having divested himself of the accusation of remissness, and having persuaded them that he was not less desirous to see them himself', further shews his love to them by other things' 4 Mss. also. For even when I was hindered, he means, I did not themstand aloof from the attempt, but I kept attempting always selves yet was always hindered, yet never did I stand aloof, thus, without falling out with the will of God, still keeping my love. For by his purposing it to himself and not standing aloof from it, he shewed the affection; but through his being hindered and yet not struggling against it, he manifested his entire love to God. That I might have some fruit among you also. Yet he had told them the cause of his longing before, and shewn that it was becoming him; but still here also, he states it earnestly, clearing away all their suspicion. For since the city was conspicuous, and in the whole extent of sea and land had no equal, to many even the mere desire of becoming acquainted with it, became a reason for a rópajourney to it; that they might not think any thing of the' sort about Paul, or suspect that, merely with a view to glory in claiming them to himself he desired to be present there, he repeatedly lays down the ground of his desire, and before he says, it was that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, that I desired to see you; but here more clearly, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. The rulers he puts with the subjects, and after the countless triumphs and victories and the glory of the consuls, he puts them with the barbarians, and with good reason too. For where the nobility of faith is, there is none barbarian, none Grecian, none stranger, none citizen, but all mount up to one height of dignity. And see him here also unassuming, for he does not say, that I may teach
26 Plato could not convert men, the Gospel suited to all.
HOMIL. and instruct, but what? that I might have some fruit. And not fruit simply, but some fruit. Again depreciating his own share therein just as he had said above, that I may impart some gift. And then to repress them too, as I said also before, he says, eren as among other gentiles. For, I do not, because you are rich, and have the advantage of other, shew less concern about the others. For it is not the rich that we are seeking, but the faithful. Where now are the wise of the Greeks, they that wear long beards 1- and that are clad in open dress", and puff' forth great words? γάλα All Greece and all barbarian lands has the tentmaker converted. But Plato, who is so cried up and carried about among them, coming a third time to Sicily with the bombast 2 brań of those words of his, with his brilliant reputation', did not even get the better of a single king, but came off so 3 Life D. wretchedly, as even to have lost his liberty. But this tentmaker ran over not Sicily alone or Italy, but the whole world; and while preaching too he desisted not from his art, but even then sewed skins, and superintended the workshop. And even this did not give offence to those who were born of consuls, and with very good reason, for it is not their trades and occupations, but falsehood and forged doctrines, which usually render teachers easy subjects of contempt. And for this reason, even Athenians still laugh at the former. But this man even barbarians attend to, and even foolish and ignorant men. For his preaching is set forth to all alike, it knows no distinction of rank, no preeminence of nation, no other thing of the sort; for faith alone does it require, and not reasonings. Wherefore it is most worthy of admiration, not only because it is profitable Sav. in and saving, but that it is readily admissible and easy, and comprehensible to all which is a main object in the Providence of God, who setteth forth His blessings to all in common.
For what He did in respect of the sun and the moon and the earth and the sea and other things, not giving the rich
hauídas, a short tunic leaving the arms and shoulders bare, which had with it a kind of mantle. It was used
by slaves, and adopted perhaps by
terity. See Ælian. Var. Hist. 1. ix. c. 34. Ed. Varior. note of Perizonius.
1 Gr. ἀγόμενος (4 Mss. ἀδόμενος) καὶ περιφερόμενος, ἀγόμενος may mean alleged.
So are God's chief Gifts. St. Paul's zeal to suffer. The Cross Glory. 27
and the wise a greater share of the benefits of these, and ROM. a less to the poor, but setting forth the enjoyment of them to all alike, this also did He with regard to the preaching, and even in a much greater degree, by how much this is more indispensable than they. Wherefore Paul repeatedly says, to' all the Gentiles, to shew them that he in no respect favours them, but is fulfilling his Master's command, and sending them away to thanksgiving to the God of all, he
15 Mss. among
Ver. 14. I am debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.
Which also he said when writing to the Corinthians. Cor. 9, And he says it, to ascribe the whole to God.
Ver. 15. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Oh noble soul! having taken on him a task laden of so great dangers, a voyage across the sea, temptations, plottings, risings for it was likely, that one who was going to address so great a city which was under the tyrannic sway of impiety, should undergo temptations thick as snow flakes; and it was in this way that he lost his life in this city, being cut off by the tyrant of it-yet still expecting to undergo so great troubles, for none of these did he become less energetic, but was in haste and was in travail and was ready-minded. Wherefore he says, So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Ver. 16. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
What sayest thou, O Paul? When it were fitting to say, that I boast, and am proud, and luxuriate in it; thou sayest not this, but what is less than this, that thou art not ashamed, which is not what we usually say of things very glorious. What then is this which he says, and why does he thus speak? while yet he exults over it more than over heaven. At least, in writing to the Galatians, he said, God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Gal. 6, Jesus Christ. How then comes he here to say, not that I even glory, but that I am not ashamed. The Romans were most anxiously eager about the things of the world, owing to their riches, their empire, their victories, their
28 Not to be ashamed a first lesson, and rational. The Power of God.
HOMIL. kings, for these they reckoned to be equal to the gods, II.. and so they even called them. And for this cause too,
they worshipped them with temples and with altars and with sacrifices. Since then they were thus puffed up, but Paul was going to preach Jesus, who was thought to be the carpenter's son, who was brought up in Judæa, and that in the house of a mean woman, who had no body guards, who was not encircled in wealth, but even died as a culprit with robbers, and endured many other inglorious things; and it was likely that they were concealing themselves as not as yet knowing any of the unspeakable and great things: for this reason he says, I am not ashamed, having still to teach them not to be ashamed. For he knew that if they succeeded in this, they would speedily go on and come to glorying also: and do you then, if you hear any one saying, Dost thou worship the Crucified? be not ashamed, and do not look down, but luxuriate in it, be bright-faced at it, and with the eyes of a free man, and with uplifted look, take up your confession: and if he say again, dost thou worship the Crucified? say in reply to him, Yes! and not the adulterer, not the insulter of his father, not the murderer of his children, (for such be all the gods they have*,) but Him who by the Cross stopped the mouths of devils, and did away with countless of their juggleries. For the Cross is for our sakes, being the work of unspeakable Love towards man, the sign of His great concern for us. And in addition to what has been said, since they were puffed up with great pomposity of speech and with their cloak of external wisdom. I, he means to say, bidding an entire farewell to these reasonings, come to preach the Cross, and am not ashamed because of it: for it is the power of God to salvation. For since there is a power of God to chastisement also, (for when He chastised the Egyptians, He said, This is my great Mat. 10, power',) and a power to destruction, (for, fear Him, He
says, that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell,) for this cause he says, it is not these that I come to bring, the powers of chastisement and punishment, but those of
k And this the wiser heathen urge, as Plato, Rep. 11. and Euthyph. and Aristoph. Nub.
1 Joel ii, 25. St. Ephrem considers that passage to allude to the plagues of Egypt; and so others,