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ROм. xii. 1.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
AFTER discoursing at large upon the love of God toward Rom. man, and pointing out His unspeakable concern for us, and 12, 1. unutterable goodness, which cannot even be searched into, he next puts it forward with a view of persuading those who have received the benefit to exhibit a conversation worthy of the gift. And though he is so great and good a person, yet he does not decline beseeching them, and that not for any enjoyment he was likely to get himself, but for that they would have to gain. And why wonder that he does not decline beseeching, where he is even putting God's mercies before them? For since, he means, it is from this you have those numberless blessings, from the mercies of God, reverence them, be moved to compassion by them. For they themselves take the attitude of suppliants, that you would shew no conduct unworthy of them. I entreat you then, he means, by the very things through which ye were saved. As if any one who wished to make a person, who had had great kindnesses done him, shew regard, was to bring him the benefactor himself as a suppliant. And what dost thou beseech, let me hear. That ye would present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. For
Ms. shewing that His concern for such as cannot even be searched into. us is unspeakable, and his goodness
How to make the Body a living Sacrifice.
HOMIL. When he had said sacrifice, to prevent any from thinking XX. he bade them kill themselves, he forthwith added1 living. order. Then to distinguish it from the Jewish, he calls it holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service. For theirs was a material one, and not very acceptable either. Since He saith, Isa. 1. Who hath required this at your hands. And in sundry other passages He clearly throws them aside. For it was not this, but this with the other, that He looked to have Ps. 50, presented. Wherefore he saith, The sacrifice of praise, it 23; 69, glorifieth Me. And again, I will praise the name of my God with a song, and this shall please him better than a bullock that putteth forth horns and hoofs. And so in another place Ps. 50, He rejects it, and says, Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink goats' blood? and proceeds with, Offer unto God a sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. So Paul also here bids us do. Present your bodies a living sacrifice. And how is the body, it may be said, to become a sacrifice? Let the eye look upon no evil thing, and it hath become a sacrifice; let thy tongue speak nothing filthy, and it hath become an offering; let thine hand do no lawless deed, and it hath become a whole burnt offering. Or rather this is not enough, but we must have good works also: let the hand do alms, the mouth bless them that cross one, and the hearing find leisure evermore for lections of Scripture. For sacrifice allows of no unclean thing: sacrifice is a first fruit of the other actions. Let us then from our hands, and feet, and mouth, and all other members, yield a first fruit unto God. Such a sacrifice is well pleasing, as that of the Jews Hos. 9, was even unclean, for, their sacrifices, it says, are unto them as the bread of mourning. Not so ours. That presented the thing sacrificed dead: this maketh the thing sacrificed to be living. For when we have mortified our members, then we shall be able to live. For the law of this sacrifice is new, and so the sort of fire is a marvellous one. For it needeth no wood or matter under it; but our fire liveth of itself, and doth not burn up the victim, but rather quickeneth it. This
b Reasonable is here used for what has been termed supersensuous, as in the Syriac, and later Latin. see p. 364.
Oriais angoáoron. See Suicer in axgoáopa. lit. 'divine hearings.' The place
where those stood who were not yet admitted to Communion, but heard the Scriptures read, was called the agian or hearing; here the act of hearing is meant.
Purity required in things presented and sacrificed. 361
12, 1. Ps. 51,
was the sacrifice that God sought of old. Wherefore the ROM. Prophet saith, The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit. And the three Children offered this when they say, At this 19. time there is neither prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt Song of offering, or place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy. 16. Nevertheless, in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. And observe how great the exactness wherewith he useth each word. For he does not say, offer your 1 ποιήbodies as a sacrifice, but present them, as if he had said, 29, 39. never more have any interest in them. Ye have given them LXX. 2 παρα up to another. For even they that furnish the war-horses To have no further interest in them. And thou too hast pre-low. sented thy members for the war against the devil, and for that same dread battle-array. Do not let them down to selfish appliances. 4 StewAnd he shews another thing also from this, that one must ech ad Veget. make them approved, if one means to present them. For it p. 28. is not to any mortal being that we present them, but to God, the King of the universe; not to war only, but to have seated thereon the King Himself. For He doth not refuse even to be seated upon our members, but even greatly desireth it. And what no king who is but our fellow-servant would choose to do, that the Lord of Angels chooseth. Since then it is both to be presented and is a sacrifice, rid it of every spot, since i. e. as if it have a spot, it will no longer be a sacrifice. For neither King's can the eye that looks lecherously be sacrificed, nor the hand use. be presented that is grasping and rapacious, nor the feet that go lame and go to play-houses, nor the belly that is the slave of self-indulgence, and kindleth lusts after pleasures, nor the heart that hath rage in it, and harlots' love, nor the tongue that uttereth filthy things. Hence we must spy out the spots on our body upon every side. For if they that offered the sacrifices of old were bid to look on every side, and were not Lev. 22, permitted to offer an animal that hath any thing superfluous or Greg. lacking, or is scurvy, or scabbed, much more must we, who offer Cur. not senseless animals but ourselves, exhibit more strictness, and p. i. c. be pure in all respects, that we also may be able to say as did 11. Paul, I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my 2 Tim. departure is at hand. For he was purer than any sacrifice, and so he speaks of himself as ready to be offered. But this will be brought about if we kill the old man, if we mortify our
362 Each one how a priest.
Reasonable service' what. HOMIL. members that are upon the earth, if we crucify the world unto ourselves. In this way we shall not need the knife any more, nor altar, nor fire, or rather we shall want all these, but not made with the hands, but all of them will come to us from above, fire from above, and knife also, and our altar will the breadth of Heaven be. For if when Elijah offered the visible sacrifice, a flame that came down from above consumed the whole water, wood, and stones, much more will this be done upon thee. And if thou hast aught in thee relaxed and secular, and yet offerest the sacrifice with a good intention, the fire of the Spirit will come down, and both wear away that worldliness, and and carry up the whole sacrifice. But what is reasonable service? Sav. It means spiritual ministry, conversation according to Christ. perfect. As then he that ministereth in the house of God, and offiλογική 3ría-ciateth, of whatever sort he may be, then collects himself3, Ezech. and becomes more dignified; so we ought to be minded 44, 19. all our whole life as serving and ministering. And this will be so, if every day you bring Him sacrifices', and become the priest of thine own body, and of the virtue of thy soul; as, for example, when you offer soberness, when almsgiving, when goodness and forbearance. For in doing 5 or wor- this thou offerest a reasonable service, that is, one without ship,
Aargía, aught that is bodily, gross, visible.
Having then raised the hearer by the names bestowed, and having shewn that each man is a priest of his own flesh by his conversation, he mentions also the way whereby we may compass all this. What then is the way?
Ver. 2. And be not fashioned after this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.
For the fashion of this world is grovelling and worthless, and but for a time, neither hath ought of loftiness, or lastingness, or straight-forwardness, but is wholly perverted. If then thou wouldest walk upright, figure not thyself after the fashion of this life present. For in it there is nought abiding or stable. And this is why he calls it a xa fashion; and so in another passage, for the fashion of this
1 Cor. 6,
4 Ms. thyself
as a sa
6 Ms. om. dia
C σεμνότερο;, which plies reverence
it is difficult to separate them.
d E. V. conformed to. The translation is altered to express the distinction noticed in the comment.
The world's fashion unreal. Transformation and renewal. 363
world passeth away. For it hath no durability or fixedness, ROM. but all in it is but for a season; and so he calls it this age', hereby to indicate its liableness to misfortune, and by the world,
word fashion its unsubstantialness. For speak of riches, Gr. ain
or of glory, or beauty of person, or of luxury, or of whatever other of its seemingly great things you will, it is a fashion only, not reality, a show and a mask, not any abiding substance. But be not thou fashioned after this, but be i transformed, he says, by the renewing of your mind. He rais says not change the fashion, but be transformed, to shew that 3 μraμεταthe world's ways are a fashion, but virtue's not a fashion, but go a kind of real form, with a natural beauty of its own, lacking not the trickeries and fashions of outward things, which no sooner appear than they go to nought. For all these things, even before they come to light, are dissolving. If then thou throwest the fashion aside, thou wilt speedily come to the form. For nothing is more strengthless than vice, nothing so easily wears old. Then since it is likely that being men they would sin every day, he consoles his hearer by saying, renew thyself from day to day. This is what we do with houses, we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old, and so do thou unto thyself. Hast thou sinned to-day? hast thou made thy soul old? despair not, despond not, but renew it by repentance, and tears, and con- 4 Hilary fession, and by doing of good things. And never fail of ons. doing this. And how are we to do this?
That ye may prove (things more expedient, and know) 5 diapíwhat is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God? çora Either he means by this, be renewed, that ye may learn what is more expedient for you, and what the will of God. Or rather, that ye can get so renewed if ye learn the things expedient, and what God may will. For if thou see this, and know how to distinguish the nature of things, thou art in possession of the whole way of virtue. of virtue. And who, it may be said, is ignorant of what is expedient, and what is the will of God? They that are flurried with the things of this world, they that deem riches an enviable thing, they that make light of poverty, they
egon. See Phil. 2, 6. 7. 8. and St. Chrysostom on the passage, Hom. 6.
See the note of Matthiæ on the
place. His Mss. and Bodl. have and