« ElőzőTovább »
Its enormity shewn by comparisons.
evil than this insolent dealing. For if when discoursing ROM. about fornication Paul said, that Every sin which a man 1,26.27. doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication 6, 11. sinneth against his own body; what shall we say of this madness, which is so much worse than fornication as cannot even be expressed. For I should not only say that thou hast become a woman, but that thou hast lost thy manhood, and hast neither changed into that nature nor kept that which thou haddest, but thou hast been a traitor to either of them, and deserving both of men and women to be driven out and stoned, as having wronged either sex. And that thou mayest learn what the real force of this is, if any one were to come and assure you that he would make you a dog instead of being a man, would you not flee from him as a plague? But, lo! thou hast not made thyself a dog out of a man, but an animal more disgraceful than this. For this is useful unto service, but he that hath thus given himself up is serviceable for nothing. Or again, if any one threatened to make men travail and be brought to bed, should we not be filled with indignation? But, lo! now they that have run into this fury have done more grievously by themselves. For it is not the same thing to change into the nature of women, as to continue a man and yet to have become a woman; or rather neither this nor that. But if you would know the enormity of the evil from other grounds, ask on what account the law givers punish them that make men eunuchs, and you will see that it is absolutely for no other reason than because they mutilate nature. And yet the injustice they do is nothing to this. For there have been those that were mutilated and were in many cases useful after their mutilation. But nothing can there be more worthless than a man who has pandered himself. For not the soul only, but the body also of one who hath been so treated, is disgraced, and deserves to be driven out every where. How many hells shall be enough for such? But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and art unbelieving, remember that fire of Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For since many would utterly
See St. Jude 7. 5 Mss. and believest not that fire, remember Sodom.
50 Sodom a type of Hell. Fear of God safety against Satan. HOMIL. disbelieve the things to come after the resurrection, hearing now of an eternal fire, God brings them to a right mind by things present. Such then is the burning of Sodom, and that conflagration! And they know it well that have been at the place, and have seen with their eyes that scourge divinely sent, and the effect of the lightnings from above. Consider Jude 7. how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time! For whereas many thought scorn of words, by deeds did God shew them the image thereof in a certain novel way. For that rain was unwonted, for that the intercourse was contrary to nature, and it deluged the land, since lust had done so with their souls. Wherefore also the rain was the opposite of the customary rain. Now not only did it fail to stir up the womb of the earth to the production of fruits, but has made it even useless for the reception of seed. For such was the intercourse of the men, making a body of this sort more worthless than the very land of Sodom. And what is there more detestable than a man who hath pandered himself, or what more execrable? Oh, what madness! Oh, what distraction! Whence came this lust lewdly revelling and making man's nature all that enemies could, or even worse than that, inasmuch as the soul is better than the body. Oh, ye that were more senseless than irrational creatures, and more shameless than dogs! for in no case does such intercourse take place with them, but nature acknowledgeth her own limits. But ye have even made your race dishonoured below things irrational, by such 14 Mss. indignities' toward yourselves and one another. Whence another then were these evils born? Of luxury; of not knowing God. For so soon as any have cast out the fear of Him, all that is good straightway goes to ruin.
Now, that this may not happen, let us keep clear before our eyes the fear of God. For nothing, surely nothing, so ruins a man as to slip from this anchor, as nothing saves so much as continually looking thereto. For if by having a man before our eyes we feel more backward at doing sins, and often even through feeling abashed at servants of a better stamp we keep from doing any thing amiss, consider what safety we shall enjoy by having God before our eyes! For in no case will the Devil attack us when so conditioned,
Man's true business, folly of minding riches and display. 51
in that he would be labouring without profit. But should ROM. he see us wandering abroad, and going about without a bridle, by getting a beginning in ourselves he will be able to drive us off afterwards any whither. And as it happens. with thoughtless servants at market, who leave the needful services which their masters have entrusted to them, and rivet themselves at a mere haphazard to those who fall in their way, and waste out their leisure there; this also we undergo when we depart from the commandments of God. For we presently get standing on, admiring riches, and beauty of person, and the other things which we have no business with, just as those servants attend to the beggars that do jugglers' feats, and then, arriving too late, have to be grievously beaten at home. And many pass the road set before them through following others, who are behaving in the same unseemly way. But let not us so do. For we have been sent to dispatch many affairs that are urgent. And if we leave those, and stand gaping at these useless things, all our time will be wasted in vain and to no profit, and we shall suffer the extreme of punishment. For if you wish yourself to be busy, you have whereat you ought to wonder, and to gape all your days, things which are no13 Mss. subject for laughter, but for wondering and manifold praises. fitting As he that admires things ridiculous, will himself be such, often and even worse than he that occasioneth the laughter. And and S. that you may not fall into this, spring away from it forth- in m. with. For why is it, pray, that you stand gaping and fluttering at sight of riches? What do you see so wonderful, and able to fix your eyes upon them? these gold-harnessed horses, these lackeys, partly savages, and partly eunuchs, and costly raiment, and the soul that is getting soft in all this, and the haughty brow, and the bustlings, and the noise? And wherein do these things deserve wonder? what are they better than the beggars that dance and pipe in the market-place? For these too being taken with a sore famine of virtue, dance a dance more ridiculous than theirs, led and carried round at one time to costly tables, at another to the lodgings of prostitute women, and at another to swarms of flatterers and the host of hangers-on. But if they do wear gold, this is why they are the most pitiable,
52 State of a bad rich man's soul. The true riches.
HOMIL. because the things which are nothing to them, are most1 IV. the subject of their eager desire. Do not now, I pray, look S. rather at their raiment, but open their soul, and consider if it is not
1 5 Mss.
full of countless wounds, and clad with rags, and destitute, and defenceless! What then is the use of this madness of show? for it were much better to be poor and living in virtue, than to be a king with wickedness; since the poor 25 Mss. man in himself enjoys all the delights of the soul, and doth himself not even perceive his outward poverty for his inward riches. But the king, luxurious in those things which do not at all belong to him, is punished in those things which are his most real concern, even the soul, the thoughts, and the conscience, which are to go away with him to the other world. Since then we know these things, let us lay aside the gilded raiment, let us take up virtue and the pleasure which comes thereof. For so, both here and hereafter, shall we come to enjoy great delights, and shall attain the pro35 Mss mised blessings through the grace and goodness towards mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, be glory to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
omit this clause
ROM. i. 28.
Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.
LEST he should seem to be hinting at them by delaying Rom. in his discourse so long over the unnatural sin, he next passes on to other kinds of sins, and for this cause he carries on the whole of his discourse as of other persons. And as he always does when discoursing with believers about sins, and wishing to shew that they are to be avoided, he brings the Gentiles in, and says, Not in the lust of Thess. concupiscence, even as the other Gentiles which know not 4, 5.
God. And again; sorrow not, even as others which have no ibid. 13. hope. And so here too he shews that it was to them the sins belonged, and deprives them of all excuse. For he says, that their daring deeds came not of ignorance, but of practice. And this is why he did not say, and as they knew not;' but, and as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge; as much as to say, that the sin was one of a perverted determination of obstinacy, more than of a sudden ravishment, and shews that it was not the flesh (as some heretics say) but the mind', to which the sins of wicked lust belonged, and that it was thence the fount of the evils flowed. For since the mind is become undistinguishing, all else is then dragged out of course and overturned, when he is confounded that held the reins!
3 Mss. the evil mind and negligence (or self-will, palupius) to which the sins belonged. See S. Aug. Conf.
b. 3. c. 16. b. 5. c. 18. b. 7. c. 4. Oxf. tr.