Acts 10
Homilies of Chrysostom
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
"There was a certain man in C?sarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."

This man is not a Jew, nor of those under the Law, but he had already forestalled our manner of life. [522] Observe, thus far, two persons, both of high rank, receiving the faith, the eunuch at Gaza and this man; and the pains taken on behalf of these men. But do not imagine that this was because of their high rank: God forbid! it was because of their piety. For that the Scripture mentions their dignified stations, is to show the greatness of their piety; since it is more wonderful when a person being in a position of wealth and power is such as these were. What makes the praise of the former is, his undertaking so long a journey, and this when there was no (festival) season to require it, [523] and his reading on his road, and while riding in his chariot, and his beseeching Philip, and numberless other points: and the great praise of the latter is, that he makes alms and prayers, and is a just man, holding such a command. The reason why the writer describes the man so fully, is, that none may say that the Scripture history relates falsehoods: "Cornelius," he says, "a centurion of the band called the Italian band." (v. 1.) A "band," spheira, is what we now call a "numerous." [524] "A devout man," he says, "and one that feared God with all his house" (v. 2): that you may not imagine that it is because of his high station that these things are done.--When Paul was to be brought over, there is no angel, but the Lord Himself: and He does not send him to some great one, but to a very ordinary person: [525] but here, on the contrary, He brings the chief Apostle (to these Gentiles), not sends them to him: herein condescending to their weakness, and knowing how such persons need to be treated. As indeed on many occasions we find Christ Himself hasting (to such), as being more infirm. Or (it may be) because (Cornelius) was not able himself to leave his home. But here again is a high commendation of alms, just as was there given by means of Tabitha. "A devout man," it says, "and one that feared God with all his house." Let us hear this, whoever of us neglect them of our own house, whereas this man was careful of his soldiers also. "And that gave alms," it says, "to all the people." Both his doctrines and his life were right. "He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius." (v. 3.) Why does he see the angel? This also was in order to the full assurance of Peter, or rather, not of him, but of the others, the weaker ones. "At the ninth hour," when he was released from his cares and was at quiet, when he was engaged in prayers and compunction. "And when he looked on him, he was afraid." (v. 4.) Observe how what the angel speaks he does not speak immediately, but first rouses and elevates his mind. At the sight, there was fear, but a fear in moderation, just so far as served to fix his attention. Then also the words relieved him of his fear. The fear roused him: the praise mitigated what was unpleasant in the fear. "Thy prayers," saith he, "and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter." (v. 5.) Lest they should come to a different person, he designates the man not only by his surname, but by the place. "And the same," saith he, "is lodging with one Simon a tanner, who hath his house by the seaside." (v. 6.) Do you mark how the Apostles, for love of solitude and quiet, affected the retired quarters of the cities? "With one Simon a tanner:" how then if it chanced that there was another? Behold, there is another token, his dwelling by the seaside. All three tokens could not possibly coincide (elsewhere). He does not tell him for what purpose, that he may not take off the intense desire, but he leaves him to an eager and longing expectation of what he shall hear. "And [526] when the Angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa." (v. 7, 8.) Do you see, that it is not without purpose that the writer says this? (it shows) that those also "who waited on him continually" were such as he. "And when he had declared the whole matter unto them:" observe the unassuming character of the man: for he does not say, Call Peter to me: but, in order also to induce him to come, he declared the whole matter:--this was so ordered by Providence;--for he did not choose to use the authority of his rank to fetch Peter to him; therefore "he declared the matter;" such was the moderation of the man: and yet no great notion was to be formed of one lodging with a tanner. "And on the morrow, as they journeyed, and drew nigh to the city" (v. 9.)--observe how the Spirit connects the times: no sooner than this, and no later, He Causes this to take place--"Peter about the sixth hour went up upon the housetop to pray:" that is, privately and quietly, as in an upper chamber. "And he became very hungry, and would have eaten; but while they made ready, there fell upon him a trance." (v. 10.) What means this expression, [527] ekstasis, "trance?" Rather, there was presented to him a kind of spiritual view (theoria): the soul, so to say, was caused to be out of the body (exeste). "And saw heaven opened, and, knit at the four corners, a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven." (v. 11-16.) What is this? It is a symbol of the whole world. The [528] man was uncircumcised: and --for he had nothing in common with the Jews--they would all accuse him as a transgressor: "thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them: (ch. xi. 3)" this [529] was a thing altogether offensive to them: observe then what is providentially managed. He himself also says, "I have never eaten:" not being himself afraid--far be the thought from us--but it is so contrived by the Spirit, in order that he may have it to say in answer to those accusing him, that he did object: for it was altogether necessary for them to observe the Law. He was in the act of being sent to the Gentiles: therefore that these also may not accuse him, see how many things are contrived (by the Providence of God). For, that it may not seem to be a mere fancy, "this was done thrice. I[[530] said," saith he, "Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten aught common or unclean.--And the voice came unto him, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (ch. xi. 8, with x. 14.) It seems indeed to be spoken to him, but the whole is meant for the Jews. For if the teacher is rebuked, much more these. [531] The earth then, this is what the linen sheet denotes, and the wild beasts in it, are they of the Gentiles, and the command, "Kill and eat," denotes that he must go to them also; and that this thing is thrice done, denotes baptism. "What God hath cleansed," saith it, "call not thou common." Great daring! Wherefore [532] did he object? That none may say that God was proving him, as in the case of Abraham, this is why he says, "Not so, Lord," etc. not gainsaying--just as to Philip also He said, "How many loaves have ye?" Not to learn, but tempting, or "proving him." [533] And yet it was the same (Lord) that had discoursed above (in the Law) concerning things clean and unclean. But in that sheet were also "all the four-footed beasts of the earth:" the clean with the unclean. And [534] for all this, he knew not what it meant. "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, and called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. But while Peter," it says, "doubted in himself" (v. 17, 18), the men come at the right moment to solve his doubt: just as (the Lord) suffered Joseph first to be perturbed in mind, and then sends the Angel: for the soul with ease accepts the solution, when it has first been in perplexity. His perplexity neither lasts long (when it did occur), nor (did it occur) before this, but just at the moment when they "asked whether he were lodging there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them." (supra, p. 142, and 145, note 7; v. 19, 20.) And this again is a plea for Peter in answer to the disciples, that he did doubt, and was instructed to doubt nothing. "For I," saith He, "have sent them." Great is the authority of the Spirit! What God doth, this the Spirit is said to do. Not so the Angel, but having first said, "Thy prayers and thine alms have ascended, for a memorial before God," to show that he is sent from thence, then he adds, "And now send men," etc.: the Spirit not so, but, "For I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee." (v. 21, 22.) They speak his praises, so as to persuade him that an Angel has in fact appeared unto him. "Then called he them in," [535] (b) that they may suffer no harm, "and lodged them:" thenceforth he without scruple takes his meals with them. "And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from C?sarea accompanied him. And the morrow after, they entered into C?sarea." (v. 23, 24.) The man was a person of note, and it was in a city of note that he then was.

(a) But let us look over again what has been said. "There was a certain man in C?sarea," etc. (Recapitulation, v. 1, 2.) Observe with whom the beginning of the Gentiles is made--with "a devout man," and one proved to be worthy by his works. For if, though the case be so, they are still offended, if this had not been the case, what would not have been the consequence! But [536] mark the greatness of the assurance. (c) To this end [537] all is done (in the way it is done), and the affair takes its beginning from Judea. (d) "He saw in a vision, evidently," etc. (v. 3). It was not in his sleep that the Angel appeared to him, but while he was awake, in the daytime, "about the ninth hour. He [538] saw an Angel of God coming in unto him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid." So occupied was he with himself. Implying, that it was in consequence of the Angel's calling him by a voice that he saw him; as, had he not called him, he would not have seen him: so taken up was he with the act in which he was engaged. [539] But the Angel says to him, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God, and now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, who is called Peter." (v. 5.) So far, he signified that the sending for him would be for good consequences, but in what way good, he did not intimate. [540] So, neither does Peter relate the whole matter, but everywhere, the narratives are in part only, for the purpose of making the hearers apply their minds to what is said. "Send and call for Simon:" in like manner the Angel only calls Philip. "And [541] as they went on their journey, and drew nigh to the city" (v. 9): in order that Peter should not be in perplexity too long. "Peter went up upon the housetop," etc. Observe, that not even his hunger forced him to have recourse to the sheet. "Rise, Peter," saith the Voice, "kill and eat." (v. 13.) Probably he was on his knees when he saw the vision.--To me [542] it seems that this also denotes the Gospel (or, "the Preaching"). That the thing taking place was of God (the circumstances made evident, namely), both that he sees it (descending) from above, and that he is in a trance; and, that the voice comes from thence, and the thrice confessing that the creatures there were unclean, and its coming from thence, and being drawn back thither (all this), is a mighty token of the cleanness (imparted to them).--But why is this done? For [543] the sake of those thereafter, to whom he is about to relate it. For to himself it had been said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles." (Matthew 10:5.) * * For if Paul needed both (to give) circumcision, and (to offer) sacrifice, much more (was some assurance needed) then, in the beginning of the Preaching, while they were as yet weaker. (Acts 16:3; xxi. 16.)--Observe [544] too how he did not at once receive them. For, it says, they "called, and asked, whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodging there." (v. 18.) As it was a mean looking house, they asked below, they inquired [545] of the neighbors. "And while Peter thought, the Spirit said unto him, Arise, get thee down, and go, nothing doubting, for I have sent them." (v. 19, 20.) And he does not say, For to this end did the vision appear unto thee; but, "I have sent them. Then Peter went down" (v. 21)--this is the way the Spirit must be obeyed, without demanding reasons. For it is sufficient for all assurance to be told by Him, This do, this believe: nothing more (is needed)--"Then Peter went down, and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: [546] what is the cause wherefore ye are come?" He saw a soldier, saw a man: [547] it was not that he was afraid, on the contrary, having first confessed that he was the person whom they sought, then he asks for the cause (of their coming); that it may not be supposed that the reason of his asking the cause, was, that he wished to hide himself: (he asks it) in order, that if it be immediately urgent, he may also go forth with them, but if not, may receive them as guests. "And [548] they said, etc. into his house." (v. 22.) This he had ordered them. Do not think he has done this out of contempt: not as of contempt has he sent, but so he was ordered. "And Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends." (v. 24.) It was right that his kinsmen and friends should be gathered to him. But being there present, [549] they would have heard from him (what had happened).

See how great the virtue of alms, both in the former discourse, and here! There, it delivered from death temporal; here, from death eternal; and opened the gates of heaven. Such are the pains taken for the bringing of Cornelius to the faith, that both an angel is sent, and the Spirit works, and the chief of the Apostles is fetched to him, and such a vision is shown, and, in short, nothing is left undone. How many centurions were there not besides, and tribunes, and kings, and none of them obtained what this man did! Hear, all ye that are in military commands, all ye that stand beside kings. "A just man," it says, "fearing God; devout" (v. 2, and 22); and what is more [550] than all, with all his house. Not as we (who): that our servants may be afraid of us, do everything. but not that they may be devout. And [551] over the domestics too, so * *. Not so this man; but he was "one that feared God with all his house" (v. 2), for he was as the common father of those with him, and of all the others (under his command.) But observe what (the soldier) says himself. For, fearing * *, he adds this also: "well reported of by all the nation." For what if he was uncircumcised? Nay, but those give him a good report. Nothing like alms: great is the virtue of this practice, when the alms is poured forth from pure stores; for it is like a fountain discharging mud, when it issues from unjust stores, but when from just gains, it is as a limpid and pure stream in a paradise, sweet to the sight, sweet to the touch, both light and cool, when given in the noon-day heat. Such is alms. Beside this fountain, not poplars and pines, nor cypresses, but other plants than these, and far better, of goodly stature: friendship with God, praise with men, glory to Godward, good-will from all; blotting out of sins, great boldness, contempt of wealth. This is the fountain by which the plant of love is nourished: for nothing is so wont to nourish love, as the being merciful: it makes its branches to lift themselves on high. This fountain is better than that in Paradise (Genesis 2:10); a fountain, not dividing into four heads, but reaching unto Heaven itself: this gives birth to that river "which springeth up into eternal life" (John 4:14): on this let Death light, and like a spark it is extinguished by the fountain: such, wherever it drops, are the mighty blessings it causes. This quenches, even as a spark, the river of fire: this so strangles that worm, as naught else can do. (Mark 9:44.) He that has this, shall not gnash his teeth. Of the water of this, let there be dropped upon the chains, and it dissolves them: let it but touch the firebrands, [552] it quenches all.--A fountain does not give out streams for a while and anon run dry,--else must it be no more a fountain,--but ever gushes: so let our fountain give out more copiously of the streams of mercy (in alms). This cheers him that receives: this is alms, to give out not only a copious, but a perennial, stream. If thou wouldest that God rain down His mercy upon thee as from fountains, have thou also a fountain. And [553] yet there is no comparison (between God's fountain and thine): for if thou open the mouths of this fountain, such are the mouths of God's Fountain as to surpass every abyss. God does but seek to get an opportunity on our part, and pours forth from His storehouses His blessings. When He expends, when He lavishes, then is He rich, then is He affluent. Large is the mouth of that fountain: pure and limpid its water. If thou stop not up the fountain here, neither wilt thou stop up that fountain.--Let no unfruitful tree stand beside it, that it may not waste its spray. Hast thou wealth? Plant not poplars there: for such is luxury: it consumes much, and shows nothing for it in itself, but spoils the fruit. Plant not a pine-tree--such is wantonness in apparel, beautiful only to the sight, and useful for nothing--nor yet a fir-tree, nor any other of such trees as consume indeed, but are in no sort useful. Set it thick with young shoots: plant all that is fruitful, in the hands of the poor, all that thou wilt. Nothing richer than this ground. Though small the reach of the hand, yet the tree it plants starts up to heaven and stands firm. This it is to plant. For that which is planted on the earth will perish, though not now, at any rate a hundred years hence. Thou plantest many trees, of which thou shalt not enjoy the fruit, but ere thou canst enjoy it, death comes upon thee. This tree will give thee its fruit then, when thou art dead.--If thou plant, plant not in the maw of gluttony, that the fruit end not in the draught-house: but plant thou in the pinched belly, that the fruit may start up to heaven. Refresh the straightened soul of the poor, lest thou pinch thine own roomy soul.--See you not, that the plants which are over-much watered at the root decay, but grow when watered in moderation? Thus also drench not thou thine own belly, that the root of the tree decay not: water that which is thirsty, that it may bear fruit. If thou water in moderation, the sun will not wither them, but if in excess, then it withers them: such is the nature of the sun. In all things, excess is bad; wherefore let us cut it off, that we also may obtain the things we ask for.--Fountains, it is said, rise on the most elevated spots. Let us be elevated in soul, and our alms will flow with a rapid stream: the elevated soul cannot but be merciful, and the merciful cannot but be elevated. For he that despises wealth, is higher than the root of evils.--Fountains are oftenest found in solitary places: let us withdraw our soul from the crowd, and alms will gush out with us. Fountains, the more they are cleaned, the more copiously they flow: so with us, the more we spend, the more all good grows.--He that has a fountain, has nothing to fear: then neither let us be afraid. For indeed this fountain is serviceable to us for drink, for irrigation, for building, for everything. Nothing better than this draught: it is not possible for this to inebriate. Better to possess such a fountain, than to have fountains running with gold. Better than all gold-bearing soil is the soul which bears this gold. For it advances us, not into these earthly palaces, but into those above. The gold becomes an ornament to the Church of God. Of this gold is wrought "the sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17), the sword by which the dragon is beheaded. From this fountain come the precious stones which are on the King's head. Then let us not neglect so great wealth, but contribute our alms with largeness, that we may be found worthy of the mercy of God, by the grace and tender compassion of His only begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.


[522] The conversion of Cornelius marks an important step in the progress of the gospel. Hitherto Christianity had been confined to Jews, Hellenists, and that mixed people--the Samaritans (unless, as is improbable, the Ethiopian chamberlain formed an exception). Now a beginning was made of receiving the Gentiles, and in connection with that apostle to whom Christ had committed a certain leadership and privilege of opening the doors to the Kingdom (ch. Acts 15:7). The narrative is one of the important notices in the N.T. concerning the gradual realization of Christ's command to make disciples of all nations, and shows, so far as it relates to Peter, with how great difficulty the most enlightened of the early Christians conceived of Christianity becoming free from the forms of Judaism. Cornelius was doubtless a Roman who had become dissatisfied with the idolatrous religion of his people and who had been attracted by the influences of the Jewish religion to the worship of the true God. There is no evidence, however, that he was a proselyte to the Jewish religion. He could not have failed to hear of Jesus and his disciples. Probably Philip, the deacon, was at this time residing in C?sarea and Peter had been preaching and working miracles in the neighboring towns. It is not unlikely that the vision which he had, appealed to thoughts and convictions concerning the gospel which had been growing stronger in his own mind. To the vision of Cornelius, that of Peter forms the complement. They symbolize the great facts that while God in his providence was preparing his apostles for the larger truth of Christianity for the world, he was also preparing the Gentile world for the reception of the gospel. It is noticeable that the three centurions who appear in the N.T. are favorably mentioned. (Matthew 8:10; xxviii. 54, and this passage).--G.B.S.

[523] kai to, mede kairou kalountos. As above xix. p. 120, note 2, Chrys. remarks, that there was no festival which required the presence of the eunuch at Jerusalem. Probably he was led to this by the circumstance, that the incident of the eunuch occurs after the Martyrdom of St. Stephen and the Conversion of St. Paul, i. e. according to the Church Calendar, between the 26th of December and the 25th of January.

[524] "Speira and cohors in Polyb. differ. The Greeks call the cohort lochos, it contained about five hundred men. Polyb. vi. kai men meros hekaston ekalese kai tagma kai speiran kai semeion. Casaubon: Ac singulas partes appellant ordinem, manipulum, signum." Downe ap. Sav.

[525] alla pros eutele. The innovator (E. Edd.) having made Chrys. say above, Hom. xx. ?1, that Ananias was a man of note, here alters the text to: "But the Lord Himself appears: neither does He send him to some one of the Twelve, but to Ananias." Below kai ouk autous pempei pros auton: meaning, it seems, Cornelius and his hour. The same hand substitutes (for explanation of the plural, auton te asthenei& 139;), "as He did Philip to the eunuch, condescending to their infirmity." And in the following sentence; "Since Christ Himself is often seen going to them that are ill, and in their own persons unable to come to Him."

[526] The clause houtos lalesei soi ti se dei poiein is not recognized by Chrys., nor by the leading authorities. See infra, p. 145, note 6.

[527] ti estin ekstasis. Because the word also, and more commonly, means the being beside one's self, amazed, or stupefied by excess of grief, Chrys. explains that it denotes the being rapt out of the bodily consciousness: it was not that Peter was out of his mind, but his soul out of the body. (St. Augustin, Serm. 266, ?6, "orantis mens alienata est; sed ab infimis ad superua; non ut deviaret, sed ut videret.") Comp. Exp. in Psa. 115.. t. v. p. 312, D. "In Genesis 2:21. the ekstasis which fell upon Adam denotes a kind of insensibility, for ekst. means to exo heautou genesthai: and in Acts 10:10 it denotes karon tina kai to exo aistheseos genesthai: and everywhere ekstasis implies this. It comes, either by the act of God: or because the excess of calamity causes a kind of stupor, karos. For calamity likewise is wont to occasion ekst. and karos." Didymus (or some other author) in the Catena: "They that have chosen to be disciples of frantic women, I mean, they of Phrygia (the Montanists), affirm that the Prophets, when possessed by the Holy Ghost, were not in a condition to be strictly cognizant of their own thoughts, being borne away from themselves at the instant of prophesying. And they think to confirm their error by this Scripture, which says, that Peter exestakenai. But let these silly ones, these indeed frantic persons, know that this is a word of many significations. It denotes the amazement of wonder: and the being wrapt above sensible objects, led on to spiritual things: and the being beside one's self (parakoptein)--which is not be said either of Peter, or of the Prophets. Nay Peter, in his trance, was strictly cognizant, so as to report what he had seen and heard, and to be sensible of what the things shown were symbolical. The same is to be said of all the Prophets--that their consciousness kept pace with the things presented to their view." Comp. on this subject, S. Epiphan. adv. H?res. Montan. 2. hosa gar oi prophetai eirekasi meta suneseos parakolouthountes ephthengonto. Euseb. H. E. v. 17. relates that Miltiades wrote a treatise peri tou me dein propheten en ekstasei lalein. See also S. Heironym, Pr?f, in Esai. "Neque vero ut Montanus cum insanis foeminis somniat, prophet? in ecstasi locuti sunt, ut nescirent quid loquerentur, et cum alios erudirent, ipsi ignorarent quid dicerent." Id. Proem. in Nahum. Pr?f. in Abac. and, on the difference between the heathen mantis and the divinely inspired Prophet, St. Chrysost. Hom. xxix. in 1 Cor. . 259, C. touto gar manteos idion, to exestekenai k. t. l. and Expos. in Psalm 44.p. 161. C.--The clause tessarsin archais dedemenon, before skeuos ti, (A. B. C) agrees with the Lat. of S. Hilar. p. 750, "exquatuor principiis ligatum vas quoddam," etc.

[528] St. Chrysostom's exposition, as we gather it from this and the following Homily, seems to be in substance as follows: St. Peter was not ignorant of nor averse to, the counsel of God in respect of the free admission of the Gentiles. He did not need instruction on this point for himself, and the vision was not so much intended for his instruction or assurance, as for reproof to the Jewish believers who were not yet enlightened in this mystery. (Even the token which was given in the descent of the Holy Ghost on Cornelius before baptism, was for them, not for him.) He needed but a command to act upon it without hesitation. But because this would certainly be regarded as a flagrant offence by the weaker brethren, for their sakes this symbolical lesson is given: and the circumstances are so contrived (oikonomeitai) as to silence their objections. It is so ordered, that the matter of accusation is put by them in this form, "Thou didst go in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Had they said, "Thou didst baptize such," St. Peter could not have alleged that he did it reluctantly: but to the charge of unclean eating he had his answer: "I did object; I said, not so, Lord, for nothing common or unclean," etc. This carried with it his exculpation from the whole matter of offence: for they would apply it thus--"he baptized these Gentiles, but not without objecting to the command; not until his reluctance was overruled," though in fact St. Peter had no such reluctance.

[529] Touto panu autois prosistato (B. and Sav. marg. paristato) Erasm. Et hoc illis valde frequens erat. Ben. Et illis admodum cordi erat. But Hom. xxiv. 2. hina me proste (prosste) autois, Ben. remarks that prosistasthai in the sense "offendere" is frequent in St. Chrysostom. It properly applies to food against which the stomach rises: "to raise the gorge, to be nauseous, disgusting, offensive." See Field Annotat. in Hom. ad Matt. p. 319. B.--Touto, i. e. the going in to men uncircumcised, and eating with them. Comp. Hom. li. in Matt. p. 317. (Am. ed.) "Such was the strict observance in respect of meats, that, even after the Resurrection, Peter said, Not so, Lord,' etc. For though he said this for the sake of others, and so as to leave himself a justification against those who should accuse him, and that he may show that he did object,' (hoti kai anteipon), and for all this, the point was not conceded to him, still it shows how much was made of this matter."

[530] Here besides the clause, "this was done thrice," something is wanting: e.g. "And observe how Peter relates the matter, and justifies himself," viz. in xi. 8, "I said," saith he, "Not so, Lord, for nothing common or unclean hath ever entered my mouth." Here for eipon, B. has eipen, which is adopted by the modern text, in which the whole passage is refashioned thus: "Since then they would all accuse him as a transgressor, and this was altogether offensive to them, of necessity it is managed (oikon.) that he says, "I never ate:" not being himself afraid, God forbid! but, as I said, being managed (oikonomoumenos) by the Spirit, that he may have a justification to those accusing him, namely, that he did object: for they made a great point of keeping the Law. He was sent to the Gentiles: therefore, that these also may not have to accuse him, as I said before, these things are contrived, or also, that it may not seem to be a fancy, he said, Not so, Lord,'" etc.

[531] Peter's vision fitly represents the divine lesson concerning the destination of the gospel and the manner of its progress. None of the apostles doubted that Christianity was for the Gentiles: the great question was, whether it was to be preached to them through the medium of Judaism. Should it still be held within Jewish forms? Should circumcision and observance of the Mosaic law be required? This was a great practical question in the days of transition from Judaism to Christianity. Later Paul became the champion of the idea that it was to be cut loose from the Jewish system. Peter and James came but slowly to this idea. The destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of the Jewish state brought the question to a decisive settlement. Apart from this, however, the Pauline type of teaching on this point constantly gained ground and influence. The vision of Peter takes its place in the gradual development of the idea that Christianity was free from the law--an idea on which he seems after this to have held a somewhat uncertain and vacillating position, so that Paul "resisted him to the face" for his declining to eat with the Gentiles at Antioch on account of the presence of certain delegates from Jerusalem--a practice in which he had, before their coming, engaged (Galatians 2:11, 12). It is not strange that perplexing questions arose concerning the relations of the new system to the old at this time. The general line of procedure was settled by the apostolic conference at Jerusalem (Acts 15. Galatians 1. ii.) and was substantially determined by the apostle Paul. While as matter of fact, the Church has always followed the lead of Paul in this matter, the most diverse views still prevail among Christians as to the relation, theoretically considered, of Christianity to Judaism and the Old Testament Scriptures.--G.B.S.

[532] St. Chrys. seems here to be controverting a different exposition. He will not allow that the vision was meant for instruction to St. Peter, as if he were in ignorance up to this time of the counsel of God concerning the Gentiles. Let it not be said, that like as God did tempt Abraham, so He was putting Peter to the proof whether he would obey the call to the Gentiles, as if Peter understood the vision in that sense. Had he so understood the command, "Kill and eat," he would not have objected; for he could not be either ignorant or unwilling. But he did not so understand it, and his objection was solely to the matter of eating. And as he needed not the lesson (it was intended for others): so neither did God need to learn his willingness. When God tempts, or proves, it is not to learn something that He did not know before; as, when Christ said to Philip, "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? this He said tempting, or, proving him, for He Himself knew what He would do." He put that question to Philip that he might the more admire the greatness of the miracle which he was about to work. (see note 2.) But nothing of the kind can be said here: the case is not parallel: the command to baptize the Gentiles would not surprise Peter: he expected no less from the beginning.--His objection, then, was to the thing itself, the command, "kill and eat." And no wonder, for the same Lord had in the Law strictly commanded to distinguish between clean and unclean, while there in the sheet were animals of all sorts indiscriminately.

[533] Hom.xlii. in Ev. Joann. ?2. "What meaneth, Tempting, or, proving him? was He ignorant what would be said by him? This cannot be said, ...We may learn the meaning from the Old Testament. For there also it is said, After these things God did tempt Abraham, etc. He did not say this in order to learn by the proof whether he would obey or not--how should it be so? for He knoweth all things before they come into existence: but on both occasions it is spoken after the manner of men. As, when it is said, He searcheth the hearts of men, it indicates the search, not of ignorance, but of perfect knowledge; so when it is said, He tempted, tried, or proved, it means no other than that He perfectly knew.--Or, it may mean, that He made the person more approved: as Abraham there, so Philip by this question, leading him into the sure knowledge of the sign:" i. e. bringing more home to his mind the greatness of the miracle, by leading him in the first place to estimate the utter inadequacy of the means.

[534] Either this refers to the clause, "This was done thrice," etc., which should be inserted; or, the connection may be--This very circumstance of the clean and unclean being together in the sheet (as in the Ark), might have led him to an apprehension of the thing symbolized, viz., that he was not commanded to "kill and eat" the unclean with the clean (by the same Lord who of old had commanded a distinction of meats), but that the time was come to baptize all nations without respect of persons. But, obvious as it may seem, St. Peter was still ignorant what it meant: as the Writer adds, And while Peter was at a loss to know what the vision should mean, etc.--In E. (Edd.) the whole passage from "that this is thrice done, denotes baptism," is refashioned thus: "Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten aught common or unclean.' And why, it may be asked, did he object? That none may say that God was tempting him, as in the case of Abraham, when he was ordered to offer up his son as a sacrifice: as in the case of Philip, when he was asked by Christ, How many loaves have ye? not that he may learn, did He so ask, but proving him. And yet in the Law Moses had distinctly enjoined concerning clean and unclean, both of land and sea; and yet for all this he knew not."

[535] The letters a, b, c, d, denote the order of the parts in the old text. But C. has the formula of recapitulation, both in the beginning of (a), and again in (d), before the verse, "And the Angel said," etc.: E. D. F. Edd. retain it only in the latter place.

[536] 'All' hora pose asphaleia, i. e. how it is made infallibly certain, that it was the purpose of God to admit the Gentiles without circumcision. It might indeed be inserted in (b), after sundiaitatai: "he has no scruples--but mark the greatness of the assurance he has received." In the modern text, the connection is, "He called them in, and lodged them. See what security: (Thea pose asphaleia) in order that they should take no harm, he calls them in, and thenceforth without scruple," etc. i. e. "how sure he feels that he is doing right in receiving them: with what assuredness of mind he does this." But Sav. "See what security for them, in order that they should take no harm."

[537] Dia touto panta ginetai, A. B. C. N. Cat. But Edd. Dio kai ep' auto panta homou oikonomeitai: "wherefore both in his person at once all the circumstances are providentially ordered, and" etc.

[538] Here after the clause, houtos heauto proseichen (meaning, as afterwards explained, that he did not notice the Angel until he spoke), A. B. C. have, Legei de ho angelos k. t. l. Edd. 'All' idomen anothen ta eiremena. Kai eipen ho angelos k. t. l.

[539] The old text: "And thy prayers, saith he. So far," etc. Edd. "And send for Simon, who is called Peter. So far, etc."

[540] The text is defective here. He seems to be commenting upon the variations of the different narratives: viz. the writer himself v. 6. mentions only the command to send for Peter. (p. 142, note 4.) The messengers v. 22 add, "And to hear words of thee." Cornelius, v. 32, "who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee." St. Peter 11, 14, "who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." "On the other hand," he says, "neither does Peter, though he is more full on this point, relate all that the Angel said, but gives only the substance." See the comment on 11, 14.

[541] The modern text, omitting this clause, and the comment, inserts the rest of the verse, "Peter went up," etc.: and has below, But that Peter may not be in perplexity too long, he hears a voice saying, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." But the meaning is, The Spirit caused the vision to take place when they were near the city, that Peter might not be too long in doubt: as above, on the same clause, "Observe how the Spirit connects the times," etc.

[542] 'Emoi dokei kai (om. A. B.) to (om. Cat.) kerugma touto heinai (om. Cat.) Oti theion en to ginomenon to te anothen idein, to te en ekstasei genesthai. (Here deloi, deiknusin, or the like, must be supplied. OEcumen. Deiknutai de hoti theion k. t. l. In the modern text the wording is slightly altered, but the sense is the same. In the latter part, for hoti akatharta en ekei, OEcumen. has ekeina: the modern text substitutes kai to tris touto genesthai, kai to ouranon aneochthenai, kai to ekeithen k. t. l. and at the end, tou theion einai to pragma for katharotetos.--Above, he had said that the sheet was a symbol of the world; now he adds, that the command "Kill and eat" denotes the Gospel, to be preached universally: that the descent of the sheet from heaven, and the circumstance of Peter's being in a spiritual trance, shows that the thing was of God--not a phantasia. Again: that it is all done thrice, denotes baptism: thrice the Voice says, Kill and eat: thrice Peter confesses that the creatures are unclean: thrice it is declared that God hath cleansed them: nay, thrice these unclean creatures are let down from heaven, and drawn up thither again: a mighty proof that they are now clean, and of the Kingdom of Heaven.

[543] It was remarked above, that St. Chrysostom's exposition proceeds upon the assumption, that St. Peter did not need the instruction for himself. Here the reporter has not fully expressed his meaning: which should be to this effect. "Since it had been said at the outset to Peter and the other Apostles, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,' though after the Resurrection they were commanded to baptize all nations,' it is no marvel that the less enlightened brethren needed some strong assurance on this behalf. And if at a later time, we find Paul, to conciliate the Jewish believers, causing Timothy to be circumcised and himself offering sacrifice, much more was some condescension to their infirmity needed now."--Didymus in the Catena puts the question, "How was it that Peter needed a revelation in the matter of Cornelius, when the Lord after his Resurrection had expressly ordered to baptize all the nations?' or how came it that the Apostles in Jerusalem, having heard of the affair of Cornelius, disputed with Peter?" To which he answers: "Peter did undoubtedly need the revelation; for he knew not that the distinction of circumcision and uncircumcision was to cease: knew not for certain that the Lord meant the Gentiles to be baptized apart from the visible worship under the Law, until the Lord manifested this mystery to him, convincing him both by the emblem of the sheet, and by the faith and grace of the Holy Spirit given to the Gentiles, that in Christ Jesus there is no distinction of Jew and Greek: of which thing because the Apostles at Jerusalem were ignorant, therefore they contended with Peter, until they also learnt the hidden riches of God's mercy over all mankind." St. Cyril, Alex. , also, c. Julian. (ibid.) explains, that "Peter was fain to dwell in the Jewish customs, and, in a manner, was loath to go on to the better, because he was overawed by the types: therefore he is corrected by this vision."

[544] E. D. F. Edd. omit this clause, see note x: and A. B. for oude...edexato have ouden...edeixato, which is evidently corrupt. "Neither did he at once receive these Gentiles: not until the Spirit expressly commanded him."

[545] So Cat. and the mss. except E., which has ou tous geitonas eroton, and so OEcumen. But the meaning seems to be, that not expecting to find so mean a house, and thinking they might have come wrong, they asked below, in the street, i. e. inquired of the neighbors.

[546] Here Edd. from E. have, "Wherefore did he not receive them immediately, but asks this question?" but D. F. insert it as above, Ora pos ouk eutheos autous edexato, with the addition, alla punthanetai. In the next sentence: A. B. C. Cat. eiden stratioten, eiden anthropon; i. e. Saw a soldier, saw him, as he would have seen any common man, without fear. For this, D. F. have eide stratiotas anthropous. E. Edd. eide stratiotas ontas tous epistantas.--Below, for kai zetesas A. B. C. Cat. which the other mss. omit, we correct, hon ezetesan.

[547] In the old text, the last words of the citation, v. 22. eis ton oikon autou. the rest being lost, are joined on to hina xenise: Cat. eis ton oikon autous. Edd. from E. D. F. "But why do they say, Sends for thee into his house?' Because he had given them this order. And perhaps also, by way of apology, they as good as say, Do not find fault (meden katagnos;) not as of contempt has he sent, etc." In A. B. C. Cat. me kataphroneses, for which Sav. marg. has hos an eipoien, me kataphr., is corrupt: perhaps it should be me nomises, hoti katephronese se; ouch hos k. t. l.

[548] 'all' (A. kai) ekei parontos autou ekousan an (A. tauta akouein). We read, parontes, and conjecture the meaning to be, But they being there present, would have heard from Cornelius an account of all that had happened to him. Edd. from E. D. F. Allos de kai ekei parontes mallon autou ekousan an. "And besides by being there present they would the more hear him (Peter)," what he had to say.

[549] Here Edd. from E. have, "Wherefore did he not receive them immediately, but asks this question?" but D. F. insert it as above, Ora pos ouk eutheos autous edexato, with the addition, alla punthanetai. In the next sentence: A. B. C. Cat. eiden stratioten, eiden anthropon; i. e. Saw a soldier, saw him, as he would have seen any common man, without fear. For this, D. F. have eide stratiotas anthropous. E. Edd. eide stratiotas ontas tous epistantas.--Below, for kai zetesas A. B. C. Cat. which the other mss. omit, we correct, hon ezetesan.

[550] The modern text: "and what is greater, that he was such with all his house. So intent was he, and so set upon this, that he not only well ordered his own affairs, but also over his household (epi tes oiketeias) he did the same. For not as we, who," etc.

[551] A. B. kai epi tes oiketeias de houtos. 'All' houtos ouch houtos, alla meta tes oikias hapases. & 244;sper gar k. t. l. C., kai epi t. oik. de ouketi kakos, alla dikaios; hosper gar k. t. l. Below, the modern text has, "he feared God with all his house, as being the common father, not only of all who were with him, but also of the soldiers under him." In the next sentence, Ora de ti phesin kai autos, the meaning seems to be, "Observe what is said of him by the soldier whom Cornelius sent: A just man, and one that feareth God:' and then--for fearing (lest Peter should refuse to come to him, as being a Gentile) he adds this--and well reported of by all the nation of the Jews." Edd. from E. alone: "But hear also what they say besides: for of necessity that is added, Well reported of by all the nation,' that none may say, What, if he was uncircumcised? Even those, saith he, give him a good report. Why then, there is nothing like alms; or rather great is the virtue of this thing, when," etc.

[552] kan eis tas lampadas (E. Edd., kaminous) hapsetai(empese, E. D. F. Edd.) In the next sentence, Haute he pege k. t. l. the pronoun must be omitted.--E. D. F., Edd., "As therefore the fountain in Paradise (or, in a garden) does not give out streams," etc.

[553] Kaitoige ouden ison. & 174;An gar su tautes k. t. l.--Edd., Ouden tautes ison. & 174;An su tautes k. t. l. "Nothing like this fountain. If then," etc.--Below, Otan analiske, hotan dapana, k. t. l. in itself, may perhaps be better referred to the giver of alms: "when (one) expends, when one lavishes (alms)," etc. but in that case the connection is obscure.

A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
"Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into C?sarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends."

"He" called them in, and lodged them." Good, that first he gives the men friendly treatment, after the fatigue of their journey, and makes them at home with him; "and on the morrow," sets out with them." And certain accompany him: this too as Providence ordered it, that they should be witnesses afterwards when Peter would need to justify himself. "And Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends." This is the part of a friend, this the part of a devout man, that where such blessings are concerned, he takes care that his near friends shall be made partakers of all. Of course (his "near" friends), those in whom he had ever full confidence; fearing, with such an interest at stake, to entrust the matter to others. In my opinion, it was by Cornelius himself that both friends and kinsmen had been brought to a better mind. "And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him." (v. 25.) This, both to teach the others, and by way of giving thanks to God, and showing his own humility: thereby making it plain, that though he had been commanded, yet in himself he had great piety. What then did Peter? "But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man." (v. 26.) Do you mark how, before all else (the Apostles) teach them this lesson, not to think great things of them? "And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." (v. 27, 28.) Observe, he straightway speaks of the mercy of God, and points out to them that it is a great grace that God has shown them. Observe also how while he utters great things, at the same time he speaks modestly. For he does not say, We, being men who do not deign to keep company with any (such), have come to you: but what says he? "Ye know"--God commanded this [554] --"that it is against law to keep company with, or come unto, one of another nation." Then he goes on to say, "And to me God has shown"--this he says, that none may account the thanks due to him--"that I should call no man"--that it may not look like obsequiousness to him, "no human being," says he--"common or unclean." [555] (v. 29.) "Wherefore also"--that they may not think the affair a breach of the law on his part, nor (Cornelius) suppose that because he was in a station of command therfore he had complied, but that they may ascribe all to God,--"wherefore also I came without gainsaying as soon as I was sent for:" (though) not only to keep company, but even to come unto (him) was not permitted. "I ask therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me." Already Peter had heard the whole matter from the soldiers also, but he wishes them first to confess, and to make them amenable to the Faith. What then does Cornelius? He does not say, Why, did not the soldiers tell thee? but observe again, how humbly he speaks. For he says, "From the fourth day I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And at the ninth hour," he says, "I was praying." (v. 30, 31.) It seems to me, that this man had also fixed for himself set times of a life under stricter rule, and on certain days. [556] For this is why he he says, "From the fourth day." [557] See how great a thing prayer is! When he advanced in piety, then the Angel appears to him. "From the fourth day:" i. e. of the week; not "four days ago." For, "on the morrow Peter went away with them, and on the morrow after they entered into C?sarea:" this is one day: and the day on which the persons sent came (to Joppa) one day: and on the third (the Angel) appeared: so that there are two days after that on which (Cornelius) had been praying. "And, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing:" he does not say, an Angel, so unassuming is he: "and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter: he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the seaside: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God." (v. 31-33.) (b) See [558] what faith, what piety! He knew that it was no word of man that Peter spake, when he said, "God hath shown me." Then says the man, "We are present to hear all things that are commanded thee of the Lord. (a) Therefore it was that Peter asked, "For what intent have ye sent for me?" on purpose that he might so speak these very words. (d) "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him." (v. 34, 35.) That is, be he uncircumcised or circumcised. (c) This also Paul declaring, saith, "For there is no respect of persons with God." [559] (Romans 2:11.) (e) What then? (it may be asked) is the man yonder in Persia acceptable to Him? If he be worthy, in this regard he is acceptable, that it should be granted him to be brought unto faith (tho kataxiothhenai tes pisteos). The Eunuch from Ethiopia He overlooked not. "What shall one say then of the religious men who have been overlooked?" It is not the case, that any (such) ever was overlooked. But what he says is to this effect, that God rejects no man. [560] "In every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness:" (by righteousness) he means, all virtue. Mark, how he subdues all elation of mind in him. That (the Jews) may not seem to be in the condition of persons cast off (he adds), "The word which He sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all (v. 36): this he says also for the sake of those present (of the Jews), that He may persuade them also: this is why he forces Cornelius to speak. "He," saith he, "is Lord of all." But observe at the very outset, "The word," says he, "which He sent unto the children of Israel;" he gives them the pre?minence. Then he adduces (these Gentiles) themselves as witnesses: "ye know," says he, "the matter which came to pass throughout all Judea, beginning at Galilee"--then he confirms it from this also--"after the baptism which John preached" (v. 37)--"even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and with power." (v. 38.) He does not mean, Ye know Jesus, for they did not know Him, but he speaks of the things done by Him: [561] "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: by this [562] he shows that many cases of lost senses or paralyzed limbs are the devil's work, and a wrench given to the body by him: as also Christ said. "For God was with Him." Again, lowly terms. "And we are witnesses of all things which He did, both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem" (v. 39): both "we," saith he, and ye. Then the Passion, and the reason why they do not believe: "Whom also they slew, and hanged on a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead." (v. 40, 41.) This is a proof of the Resurrection. "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead." (v. 42.) This is great. Then he adduces the testimony from the Prophets: "To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." (v. 43.) This is a proof of that which was about to be: this is the reason why he here cites the Prophets.

But let us look over again what relates to Cornelius. (Recapitulation.) He sent, it says, to Joppa to fetch Peter. "He was waiting for him," etc; see how fully he believed that Peter would certainly come: (b) "and [563] fell down at his feet, and worshipped him." (v. 24, 25.) (a) Mark how on every side it is shown how worthy he is! (So) the Eunuch there desired Philip to come up and sit in the chariot (ch. viii. 31), although not knowing who he was, upon no other introduction (epangelias) than that given by the Prophet. But here Cornelius fell at his feet. (c) "Stand up, I myself also am a man." (v. 26.) Observe how free from adulation his speech is on all occasions, and how full of humility. "And conversing with him, he came in." (a) (v. 27.) Conversing about what? I suppose saying these words: "I myself also am a man." (e) Do you mark (Peter's) unassuming temper? He himself also shows that his coming is God's doing: "Ye know that it is unlawful for a man that is a Jew," etc. (v. 28.) And why did he not speak of the linen sheet? Observe Peter's freedom from all vainglory: but, that he is sent of God, this indeed he mentions; of the manner in which he was sent, he speaks not at present; when the need has arisen, seeing he had said, "Ye know that it is unlawful for a man that is a Jew to keep company with, or to come unto, one of another nation," he simply adds, "but to me God hath shown," etc. There is nothing of vainglory here. "All ye," he says, "know." He makes their knowledge stand surety for him. But Cornelius says, "We are present before God to hear all things that are commanded thee of the Lord" (v. 33): not, Before man, but, "Before God." This is the way one ought to attend to God's servants. Do you see his awakened mind? do you see how worthy he was of all these things? "And Peter," it says, "opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." (v. 34.) This he said also by way of justifying himself with the Jews then present. For, being at the point to commit the Word to these (Gentiles), he first puts this by way of apology. What then? Was He "a respecter of persons" beforetime? God forbid! For beforetime likewise it was just the same: "Every one," as he saith, "that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, would be acceptable to Him." As when Paul saith, "For when the Gentiles which have not the Law, do by nature the things of the Law." (Romans 2:14.) "That feareth God and worketh righteousness:" he assumes [564] both doctrine and manner of life: is "accepted with Him;" for, if He did not overlook the Magi, nor the Ethiopian, nor the thief, nor the harlot, much more them that work righteousness, and are willing, shall He in anywise not overlook. "What say you then to this, that there are likely persons (epieikheis), men of mild disposition, and yet they will not believe?" (Above, p. 149, note 2.) Lo, you have yourself named the cause: they will not. But besides the likely person he here speaks of is not this sort of man, but the man "that worketh righteousness:" that is, the man who in all points is virtuous and irreproachable, when he has the fear of God as he ought to have it. But whether a person be such, God only knows. See how this man was acceptable: see how, as soon as he heard, he was persuaded. "Yes, and now too," say you, "every one would be persuaded, be who he may." But the signs that are now, are much greater than those, and more wonderful.--Then Peter commences his teaching, and reserves for the Jews the privilege of their birth. "The [565] word," he says, "which He sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace (v. 36), not bringing judgment. He is sent to the Jews also: yet for all this He did not spare them. "Preaching peace through Jesus Christ. He is Lord of all." First he discourses of His being Lord and in exceeding elevated terms, seeing he had to deal with a soul more than commonly elevated, and that took all in with ardor. Then he proves how He was Lord of all, from the things which He achieved "throughout all Judea. For ye know," saith he, "the matter which came to pass throughout all Judea:" and, what is the wonderful part of it, "beginning at Galilee: after the baptism which John preached." (v. 37.) First he speaks of His success, and then again he says concerning Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Why, what a stumbling-block, this birthplace! "How [566] God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and with power." (v. 38.) Then again the proof--how does that appear?--from the good that He did. "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil:" and the greatness of the power shown when He overcomes the devil; and the cause, "Because God was with Him." Therefore also the Jews spake thus: "We know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for none can do these miracles except God be with him." (John 3:2.) Then, when he has shown that He was sent from God, he next speaks of this, that He was slain: that thou mayest not imagine [567] aught absurd. Seest thou how far they are from hiding the Cross out of view, nay, that together with the other circumstances they put also the manner? "Whom also," it says, "they slew by hanging on a tree. And gave Him," it is added, "to be made manifest not to all the people, but to witnesses before ordained of God, even unto us:" and yet it was (Christ) Himself that elected them; but this also he refers to God. "To the before-ordained," he says, "even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after that He was risen from the dead." (v. 39, 41.) See whence he fetches his assurance of the resurrection. What is the reason that being risen he did no sign, but only ate and drank? Because the Resurrection itself was a great sign, and of this nothing was so much [568] a sign as the eating and drinking. "To testify," saith he--in a manner calculated to alarm--that they may not have it in their power to fall back upon the excuse of ignorance: and he does not say, "that He is the Son of God," but, what would most alarm them, "that it is He which is ordained of God, to be the Judge of quick and dead." (v. 42.) "To him give all the Prophets witness," etc. (v. 43.) When by the terror he has agitated them, then he brings in the pardon, not spoken from himself but from the Prophets. And what is terrifying is from him, what is mild from the Prophets.

All ye that have received this forgiveness, all ye to whom it has been vouchsafed to attain unto faith, learn, I beseech you, the greatness of the Gift, and study not to be insolent to your Benefactor. For we obtained forgiveness, not that we should become worse, but to make us far better and more excellent. Let none say that God is the cause of our evil doings, in that He did not punish, nor take vengeance. If (as it is said) a ruler having taken a murderer, lets him go, say, is he (not) [569] judged to be the cause of the murders afterwards committed? See then, how we expose God to the tongues of the wicked. For what do they not say, what leave unuttered? "(God) Himself," say they, "allowed them; for he ought to have punished them as they deserved, not to honor them, nor crown them, nor admit them to the foremost privileges, but to punish and take vengeance upon them: but he that, instead of this, honors them, has made them to be such as they are." Do not, I beseech and implore you, do not let any man utter such speech as far as we are concerned. Better to be buried ten thousand times over, than that God through us should be so spoken of! The Jews, we read, said to (Christ) Himself, "Thou that destroyest the Temple, and in three days buildest it up, come down from the Cross" (Matthew 27:40): and again, "If Thou be the Son of God:" but the reproaches here are more grievous than those, that [570] through us He should be called a teacher of wickedness! Let us cause the very opposite to be said, by having our conversation worthy of Him that calleth us, and (worthily) approaching to the baptism of adoption. For great indeed is the might of baptism (photismatou): it makes them quite other men than they were, that partake of the gift; it does not let the men be men (and nothing more). Make thou the Gentile (ton Ellena), to believe that great is the might of the Spirit, that it has new-moulded, that it has fashioned thee anew. Why waitest thou for the last gasp, like a runaway slave, like a malefactor, as though it were not thy duty to live unto God? Why dost thou stand affected to Him, as if thou hadst in Him a ruthless, cruel Master? What can be more heartless (psuchroteron), what more miserable, than those who make that the time to receive baptism? God made thee a friend, and vouchsafed thee all His good things, that thou mayest act the part of a friend. Suppose you had done some man the greatest of wrongs, had insulted him, and brought upon him disgraces without end, suppose you had fallen into the hands of the person wronged, and he, in return for all this, had honored you, made you partaker of all that he had, and in the assembly of his friends, of those in whose presence he was insulted, had crowned you, and declared that he would hold you as his own begotten son, and then straightway had died: say, would you not have bewailed him? would you not have deemed his death a calamity? would you not have said, Would that he were alive, that I might have it in my power to make the fit return, that I might requite him, that I might show myself not base to my benefactor? So then, where it is but man, this is how you would act; and where it is God, are you eager to be gone, that you may not requite your benefactor for so great gifts? Nay rather, choose the time for coming to Him so that you shall have it in your power to requite Him like for like. True, [571] say you, but I cannot keep (the gift). Has God commanded impossibilities? Hence it is that all is clean reversed, hence that, all the world over, every thing is marred--because nobody makes it his mark to live after God. Thus those who are yet Catechumens, because they make this their object, (how they may defer baptism to the last,) give themselves no concern about leading an upright life: and those who have been baptized (photisthentes), whether it be because they received it as children, or whether it be that having received it in sickness, and afterwards recovered (anenenkontes), they had no hearty desire to live on (to the glory of God), so it is, that neither do these make an earnest business of it: nay, even such as received it in health, have little enough to show of any good impression, and warmly affected for the time, these also presently let the fire go out. Why do you flee? why do you tremble? what is it you are afraid of? You do not mean to say that you are not permitted to follow your business? I do not part you from your wife! No, it is from fornication that I bar you. I do not debar you from the enjoyment of your wealth? No, but from covetousness and rapacity. I do not oblige you to empty out all your coffers? No, but to give some small matter according to your means to them that lack, your superfluities to their need, and not even this unrewarded. We do not urge you to fast? We do but forbid you to besot yourselves with drunkenness and gormandizing. The things we would retrench are but the very things which bring you disgrace; things which even here, on this side of hell-fire, you yourselves confess to be things to be shunned and hated. We do not forbid you to be glad and to rejoice? Nay, only rejoice not with a disgraceful and unbecoming merriment. What is it you dread, why are you afraid, why do you tremble? Where marriage is, where enjoyment of wealth, where food in moderation, what matter of sin is there in these things? And yet, they that are without enjoin the opposites to these, and are obeyed. For they demand not according to thy means, but they say, Thou must give thus much: and if thou allege poverty, they will [572] make no account of that. Not so Christ: Give, saith He, of what thou hast, and I inscribe thee in the first rank. Again those say, If thou wilt distinguish thyself, forsake father, mother, kindred, friends, and keep close attendance on the Palace, laboring, toiling, slaving, distracted, suffering miseries without number. Not so Christ; but keep thou, saith He, at home with thy wife, with thy children, and as for thy daily occupations reform and regulate them on the plan of leading a peaceable life, free from cares and from perils. True, say you, but the other promises wealth. Aye, but Christ a kingdom, and more, He promises wealth also with it. For, "Seek ye," saith He, "the kingdom of Heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33): throwing in, [573] by way of additional boon, what the other holds out as the main thing: and the Psalmist says, he has "never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread." (Psalm 37:25.) Let us set about practising virtue, let us make a beginning; let us only lay hold on it, and you shall see what the good will be. For surely in these (worldly) objects you do not succeed so without labor, that you should be so faint-hearted for these (higher) objects--that [574] you should say, Those are to be had without labor, these only with toil. Nay,--what need to tell you what is the true state of the case?--those are had only with greater labor. Let us not recoil from the Divine Mysteries, I beseech you. Look not at this, that one who was baptized before thee, has turned out ill, and has fallen from his hope: since among soldiers also we see some not doing their duty by the service, while we see others distinguishing themselves, and we do not look only at the idle ones, but we emulate these, the men who are successful. But besides, consider how many, after their baptism, have of men become angels!

Fear the uncertainty of the future. "As a thief in the night," so death comes: and not merely as a thief, but while we sleep it sets upon us, and carries us off while we are idling. To this end has God made the future uncertain, that we may spend our time in the practice of virtue, because of the uncertainty of expectation. But He is merciful, say you. How long shall we hear this senseless, ridiculous talk? I affirm not only that God is merciful, but that nothing can be more merciful than He, and that He orders all things concerning us for our good. How many all their life do you see afflicted with the worst form of leprosy! (en elephanti diagontas, "Elephantiasis,") how many blind from their earliest youth even to old age! others who have lost their eyesight, others in poverty, others in bonds, others again in the mines, others entombed (katachosthentas) together, others (slaughtered) in wars! These things say you, do not look like mercy. Say, could He not have prevented these things had He wished, yet He permits them? True, say you. Say, those who are blind from their infancy, why are they so? I will not tell you, until you promise me to receive baptism, and, being baptized, to live aright. It is not right to give you the solution of these questions. The preaching is not meant just for amusement. For even if I solve this, on the back of this follows another question: of such questions there is a bottomless deep. Therefore [575] do not get into a habit of looking to have them solved for you: else we shall never stop questioning. For look, if I solve this, I do but lead the way to question upon question, numberless as the snowflakes. So that this is what we learn, rather to raise questions, not to solve the questions that are raised. For even if we do solve them, we have not solved them altogether, but (only) as far as man's reasoning goes. The proper solution of such questions is faith: the knowing that God does all things justly and mercifully and for the best: that to comprehend the reason of them is impossible. This is the one solution, and another better than this exists not. For say, what is the use of having a question solved? This, that one needs no longer to make a question of the thing which is solved. And if thou get thyself to believe this, that all things are ordered by the Providence of God, Who, for reasons known to Himself, permits some things and actively works others, thou art rid of the need of questioning, and hast gotten the gain of the solution. But let us come back to our subject. Do you not see such numbers of men suffering chastisements? God (say you) permits these things to be. Make the right use of the health of the body, in order to the health of the soul. But you will say, What is the use to me of labors and toil, when it is in my power to get quit of all (my sins) without labor? In the first place, this is not certain. It may happen, that a person not only does not get quit of his sins without labor, but that he departs hence with all his sins upon him. However, even if this were certain, still your argument is not to be tolerated. He has drawn thee to the contests: the golden arms lie there. When you ought to take them, and to handle them, you wish to be ingloriously saved, and to do no good work! Say, if war broke out, and the Emperor were here, and you saw some charging into the midst of the phalanxes of the enemy, hewing them down, dealing wounds by thousands, others thrusting (with the sword's point), others bounding (now here, now there), others dashing on horseback, and these praised by the Emperor, admired, applauded, crowned: others on the contrary thinking themselves well off if they take no harm, and keeping in the hindmost ranks, and sitting idly there; then after the close of the war, the former sort summoned, honored with the greatest gifts, their names proclaimed by the heralds: while of the latter, not even the name becomes known, and their reward of the good obtained is only that they are safe: which sort would you wish to belong to? Why, if you were made of stone, if you were more stupid even than senseless and lifeless things, would you not ten thousand times rather belong to the former? Yea, I beseech and implore you. For if need were to fall fighting, ought you not eagerly to choose this? See you not how it is with them that have fallen in the wars, how illustrious they are, how glorious? And yet they die a death, after which there is no getting honor from the emperor. But in that other war, there is nothing of the kind, but thou shalt in any wise be presented with thy scars. Which scars, even without persecutions, may it be granted all us to have to exhibit, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


[554] So mss. and Edd. but the clause ho Theos touto ekeleuse might be better transferred, in the sense, "It is only in obedience to God's command that I come to you." Below, Eita hina medeis auto ten charin eche (A. B. C. D. F. Cat.) epagei (om. C.) ti phesin; (A. B. C. but Cat. for epagei ti phesin; has, tauta phesin;) Kai emoi k. t. l. We read, Eita epagei, Kai emoi edeixen ho Theos (hina medeis auto ten charin eche tauta phesin) medena k. t. l.

[555] By saying "it is not lawful," Peter does not refer to any specific command in the Mosaic law forbidding intercourse with Gentiles. The separateness of the Jewish people from the heathen world had, indeed, its basis in the Levitical system, especially in the regulations concerning ceremonial cleanness. Still the Jews had constant commercial relations with other nations. Peter here refers, no doubt, to the customary and traditional exclusiveness of his nation which had become a social as well as a religious trait, and which had been extended far beyond the purport of the Mosaic requirements, which had for their end the preservation of the truth and purity of the religion of the nation. This exclusive and jealous spirit is frequently reflected in the N.T. and contemporaneous literature. The Jewish Christians accuse Peter (Acts 11:3) of eating with the uncircumcised. On another occasion, the prejudices of his kinsmen and friends intimidated him and constrained him to break off his custom of associating with the Gentile Christians at meals (Galatians 2:11 sq.). "Moses," says Josephus, "does not allow those who come to us without living according to our laws to be admitted into communion with us" (Contra Apion. ii. 29). Tacitus accuses the Jews of harboring "the bitterest animosity against all other nations" (Hist. v. 5) and Juvenal says that they will not point out the way except to those of their own religion, and that they will "conduct those only to the fountain inquired after who are circumcised" (Sat. xiv. 103). How great was the lesson then, which Peter had been taught in the vision! It is not strange that it was only gradually learned and practised.--G.B.S.

[556] Kai en tisin hemerais; so all the mss. with Cat. (en tisin hem.) and OEcum. If the text be not corrupt, Chrys. must be understood to interpret apo tetartes hem. of the "fourth day of the week:" i. e. Cornelius had anticipated, among other pious observances, this practice also, viz. of the Wednesday fast. Otherwise, there is no intelligible connection for the following words, Dia gar touto eipen, 'Apo tetartes hemeras. This, he says, was an advance in piety: and then it was that the Angel appeared to him. Then he proceeds to argue, that it is not "four days ago," for the time does not amount to that number of days: the day on which Peter arrived was not the fourth, but between that and the day on which Cornelius prayed, there are but two entire days. It seems that this must be St. Chrysostom's meaning, though it is obscured by mistakes of the scribes. B. C. haute mia hemera; kai hen elthon mia; kai te trite ephane; hos einai deuteran meth' hen proseuxato. (A. omits the passage.) E. D. F. Edd. haute mia hemera; kai hen apelthon hoi pemphthentes, mia; kai hen elthon, mia; kai te tetarte ephane; hos einai deuteran meth' hen proseuxato. Cat. and OEc. agree with E. D. F. in supplying the clause omitted in B. C , to which however they add para Korneliou: they have also tetarte ephane, but for the last clause they read, hosei triten horan meth' hen proseuxato. But the sense intended by Chrys. should be: "This, the day (on which they left Joppa), is one day (before the day on which Cornelius is speaking): and the day on which the messengers from Cornelius came, one day; (therefore the second day before that on which Cornelius is speaking:) and on the third day (previous) the Angel appeared: so that, exclusively of the day on which Cornelius is speaking, and that on which Cornelius prayed, there are two days." This sense will be satisfied by reading, haute mia hemera; kai hen elthon hoi pemphthentes para Korneliou, mia; kai te trite ephane; & 244;ste einai duo hemeras meth' hen proseuxato. The scribes, mistaking both the drift and the method of the calculation, supposed haute hem. to mean "the day of Peter's arrival:" but the day before that was the day on which they came away (apelthon) from Joppa, and on the previous day the messengers arrived (elthon), and on the day before that, which is therefore the fourth, the Angel appeared: hence they insert the words kai hen apelqon...mia, in order to make out the calculation, i. e. to verify the day of the Vision as the fourth day before that on which Cornelius is speaking. So Cat. OEc. and. E.D.F. But B. C. retain the original reading, and only mistake the abbreviated form hoste einai b'hem., i. e. duo hemeras, as if it meant "the second day," deuteran hemeran: which reading, though unintelligible, was retained by the later Editors. But what Chrys. means to say, is, that, not reckoning the day of the vision and the day of the meeting, there are two whole days: therefore the day of the vision was not "the fourth day hence;" consequently, that it means "the fourth day of the week." This hasty and ill considered interpretation of the expression apo tetartes hemeras, was suggested by the circumstance that the rule was to fast on the dies stationum, tetras and prosabbaton, to "the ninth hour:" so that the practical scope of the interpretation may be of this kind: "See how this man, Gentile as he was, had forestalled our rule of discipline: he fasted on the fourth day of the week, and to the ninth hour of the day: and see how God was pleased to approve of his piety, by sending the Angel to him on that day, and at that hour. But you who know the rule, and why it is prescribed, do not obey it," etc.--On the Dies Stationum, see Tertull. de Jejun. 1. where in defence of the Montanists, who extended the fast beyond the ninth hour, (or 3 p.m.) he says: Arguunt nos quod stationes plerumque in vesperam producamus: ib. 10. ?que stationes nostras ut indignas, quasdam vero et in serum constitutas, novitatis nomine incusant, hoc quoque munus et ex arbitrio obeundum esse dicentes, et non ultra nonam detinendum, suo scilicet more: i. e. the Catholics maintained, that the fast on these days ought not to be compulsory, nor to be prolonged beyond the ninth hour. Epiphan. Expos. Fid. ?. 22. di holou men tou etous he nesteia phulattetai en te aute hagi& 139; katholike ekklesi& 139;, phemi de tetradi kai prosabbato heos horas ennates.

[557] It is wholly improbable that apo tetrates hemeras refers to the fourth day of the week, as Chrys. supposes. The meaning is that, four days ago (reckoning from the time when he was speaking) he was praying ("observing the ninth hour of prayer") until the time of day at which he was now saying these words to Peter. There is still less ground for Chrysostom's interpretation if with Lechler, Tischendorf, and Westcott and Hort nestheuon be omitted from the text.--G.B.S.

[558] The letters a, b, c, d, mark the order of these portions in B. C. At the end of (a) the clause, "We are present," etc. is repeated. In A the order is, a, d, the rest being omitted: in the modern text, a, d, c, b: and the text, "Now therefore are we all present," etc. between (c) and (b).--With the interpretation of dektos comp. Severianus of Gabala in the Catena on x. 4, ouk eipen en panti ethnei ho poion dikaiosunen sozetai, alla dektos estin. toutestin, axios ginetai tou dechthenai. And St. Chrys. Hom. viii. in 1 Corinthians 100.dektos auto esti; toutesti, kalei kai epispatai auton pros ten aletheian. Paul is cited as an instance: persecutor as he was, "yet, because he led a blameless life, and did not these things of human passion, he was both accepted and far outwent all. But if some one should say, How is it that such an one, the Greek, kind as he is and good and humane, continues in error?' I answer, that he has a fault of a different kind, vainglory or sluggishness of mind, or not being in earnest about his salvation, but thinking that all the circumstances of his life are mere chance-medley and haphazard. But by him that worketh righteousness,' Peter means, him that is blameless in all things (comp. infra p. 151.)......How is it then,' you will say, that impure persons have been accounted worthy to have the Gospel preached to them (katexiothesan tou kerugmatos)?' Because they were willing and desirous. For some, even which are in error, He draws, when they become cleansed from their vices; and others coming of their own accord, He repulses not: many also have inherited their piety from their ancestors."

[559] The word prosopolemptes--"respector of persons"--(personarum acceptor Vulg.) is a term founded upon the phrase, lambanein prhosopon, an imitation of the Hebrew ns' phnym, to accept the person, the presence; to have a favorable or partial regard to the outward appearance,--as opposed to hsyv phnym, to turn away the face (of the petitioner) i. e. to deny him favor or acceptance (1 Kings 2:16, 17, 20; 2 Chronicles 6.42; cf. Genesis 32:21; 1 Kings 5.i. )--G.B.S.

[560] The pertinent comments of Dr. Gloag may here be fitly introduced (v. 35): "Peter is here speaking of the admissibility of the Gentiles into the Church of Christ; and he here asserts that there is no natural obstacle in the way of any one who fears God and works righteousness; that there is now no barrier such as circumcision, no external hindrance, but that all are equally acceptable to God. As Meyer well puts it, dektos auto estin indicates the capability in relation to God to become a Christian, but not the capability to be saved without Christ; or, as Bengel observes, non indifferentissimus religionum, sed indifferenta nationum hic asseritur." (Gloag, Com. in loco).--G.B.S.

[561] There is no sufficient reason for the statement of Chrys. that those to whom Peter spoke did not know Jesus. It is meant that they were acquainted with the chief facts of his life. Grammatically Iesoun (38) must be construed as the object (resumed in another form) of humeis oidate (37). Residents in C?sarea must have heard of Jesus' teaching and miracles, during his lifetime on earth. Moreover, the apostles had taught in the neighboring cities and wrought miracles, and probably Philip had been for some little time residing and laboring in C?sarea itself (Acts 8.40).--G.B.S.

[562] 'Enteuthen deiknusi pollas peroseis diabolikas kai diastrophen (B., diastrophas) somatos (Cat., somaton) hup' ekeinou genomenas. The term perosis here includes loss of sight, speech, hearing, palsied or withered limbs. "He shows that these are diabolical, and that they are a violent wrenching, or distortion, of the body from its proper condition, caused by him." The sense requires either diastrophas or genomenen. The next sentence, hosper kai ho Christos elegen, omitted by Edd., though, except E., all the mss. and Cat. have it, may refer to such expressions as that in Luke 13:16. Or, it may be in its proper place after the following clause, "For God was with Him:" again, a lowly expression: just as Christ spake: "for My Father is with Me."

[563] The letters denote the order of the parts in the mss. and Edd.

[564] kai dogma tithesi (E. Edd. eisagei) kai politeian. i. e. "it is assumed, or the case is put, that the person has the right doctrine, of the One True God (that feareth God), and that he is of a right conversation (that worketh righteousness.)"

[565] In the mss. and Edd. the order is confused. In the old text: "The word--Lord of all. First he discourses--with ardor. Yet for all this He did not spare them. Then he proves how He is Lord of all. Which He sent, preaching good tidings, not bringing judgment. [3.] He is sent from God to the Jews. Then He shows this withal from the things which He achieved," etc. So, with verbal alterations, the modern text, except that it omits the clause, ou men oude houtos epheisato.

[566] Here also the order in the mss. is confused. "Again proof. How God--with power. Whence does this appear? who went about--of the devil. Then from the good that He did, and the greatness," etc. The modern text has the same order, and the alterations do not affect the sense.

[567] Perhaps it should be phantasthe, "that he (Cornelius) may not imagine," etc., therefore he mentions first the Divine Mission, then the Crucifixion.

[568] tautes de ouden houto semeion meizon en, hos to phagein kai piein. Cat. rightly omits meizon en. E. Edd. houtos eis apodeixin meizon, hos.

[569] The original reporter seems to have misunderstood what was said. If eipe moi be retained, we must read ouchi autos. The sense is, "Take heed lest any lay the blame of your evil doings upon God. For you know what would be said of a magistrate who should let a murderer go unpunished; that he would be held responsible for all the murders that may be afterwards done by that man, or in consequence of his impunity. Dread lest through your misconduct God be thus blasphemed." But--as if Chrysostom's meaning had been, Since God's purpose in forgiving us our sins was, that we should lead more virtuous and holy lives, therefore let none presume to say that God, by forgiving us, is the cause of the evil doings of which we are afterwards guilty"--the modern text (E. D. F. Edd.) goes on thus: "For say, if a magistrate, etc. is he judged to be the cause of the murders thereafter committed? By no means. And how is it that we ourselves, while, by the things we dare to do, we expose God to be insulted by godless tongues, do not fear and shudder? For what," etc.

[570] E. D. F. Edd. "Therefore, that it may not be possible for Him through us to be called, etc., and lest by the very fact of His being thus blasphemed; we ourselves become liable to the punishment thereof (For through you,' it is written, My Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles,') let us cause the very opposite to be said, by having our conversation worthy of Him that calleth us, and (worthily) approaching to the baptism of adoption. For great indeed," etc. In C. it is: "teacher of wickedness. Let us cause the very opposite to be said. For great indeed." etc. B. "teacher of wickedness. For great indeed," etc. But the genuineness of the latter clauses, axios tou kalountos politeuomenoi kai to tes huiothesias prosiontes baptismati, which are also needed by the following context, is attested by A. which retains them; for this ms. abridges much, but never borrows from the modern text.

[571] Here all the mss. have Ti pheugeis; ti tremeis; ti dedoikas; (Edd. omit the two latter clauses,) which, being out of place here, and required below, we have transposed to the beginning of the set of questions Me gar ouk eni k. t. l.--Below, he laments that the Catechumens, while delaying their baptism, if possible, to their dying hour, think themselves no way concerned to lead a virtuous life: of the baptism he distinguishes three classes: 1. those who received the sacrament in infancy; 2. those who were baptized in sickness and fear of death, but afterwards recovered: both which sorts, he says, are alike careless (the former because baptized in unconscious infancy), the latter because they did not think to survive, and had no hearty desire to live to the glory of God; 3. those baptized in mature age, and in health; and these also, if at the time their affections were kindled, soon let the flame go out.

[572] ouden prospoiesontai, meaning perhaps, "they will pretend to make no account of that: they will say that that makes no difference." Edd. from E. only, oude houtos aphistantai, "they do not desist for all that."--Below: kai auta tauta diaplattekai rh& 192;thmize: i. e. Christ does not require you to abandon your calling in life, but these same occupations and duties of your station He bids you to mould and bring into entire conformity with His commandments:--ton apragmona bion zen kai akindunon: something is wanting, the sense being, "making it your object (not to obtain distinction, wealth, etc. but) to lead a quiet life in godliness and honesty." Savile reads zethi.

[573] Kai epi prosthekes mesei, ha proegoumenos ekeinos; kai ouk eiden, phesi, dikaion k. t. l. The modern text (E. D. F. Edd.) inverts the meaning: Kai ekeinos men oude en prosthekes merei, houtos de kai proegoumenos. "And the former does not even by way of additional boon (hold out this), the latter (Christ) as the main thing." Adding, "I have been young, saith (the Psalmist), for indeed I am become old: and I never saw," etc.

[574] E. D. F. Edd. "Yes,' say you, those (are to be had) without labor, these with labor.' Away with (such talk): it is not, no it is not so, but if one must say the truth, those (objects) are more yoked with toils, and are achieved with greater toil: but these, if we choose, easily."

[575] Oste me pros touto ethizete heautous, pros to lusin zetein. A. B. C. Sav. But the modern text has monon for pros touto, and adds alla kai pros to me zetein: "therefore accustom yourselves not only to seek the solution (of the questions), but also not to raise the questions."--Below: hoste touto manthanomen (so A. D. F. Sav. the rest, manthanomen) mallon zetein, ouchi (Edd. e) ta zetethenta luein.

And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

Observe God's providential management. He does not suffer the speech to be finished, nor the baptism to take place upon a command of Peter, but, when He has made it evident how admirable their state of mind is, and a beginning is made of the work of teaching, and they have believed that assuredly baptism is the remission of sins, then forthwith comes the Spirit upon them. Now this is done by God's so disposing it as to provide for Peter a mighty ground of justification. [576] And it is not simply that the Spirit came upon them, but, "they spake with tongues:" which was the thing that astonished those who had come together. They altogether disliked the matter, wherefore it is that the whole is of God; and as for Peter, it may almost be said, that he is present only to be taught [577] (with them) the lesson, that they must take the Gentiles in hand, and that they themselves are the persons by whom this must be done. For whereas after all these great events, still both in C?sarea and in Jerusalem a questioning is made about it, how would it have been if these (tokens) had not gone step by step with the progress of the affair? Therefore it is that this is carried to a sort of excess. [578] Peter seizes his advantage, and see the plea he makes of it. "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (v. 47.) Mark the issue to which he brings it; how he has been travailing to bring this forth. So (entirely) was he of this mind! "Can any one, he asks, "forbid water?" It is the language, we may almost say, of one triumphantly pressing his advantage (epembainontos) against such as would forbid, such as should say that this ought not to be. The whole thing, he says, is complete, the most essential part of the business, the baptism with which we were baptized. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (v. 48.) After he has cleared himself, then, and not before, he commands them to be baptized: teaching them by the facts themselves. Such was the dislike the Jews had to it! Therefore it is that he first clears himself, although the very facts cry aloud, and then gives the command. "Then prayed they him"--well might they do so--"to tarry certain days:" and with a good courage thenceforth he does tarry.

"And the Apostles and brethren that were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." (ch. xi. 1-3.) After such great things, "they of the circumcision contended:" not the Apostles; God forbid! It means, they took no small offence. [579] And see what they allege. They do not say, Why didst thou preach? but, Why didst thou eat with them? But Peter, not stopping to notice this frigid objection--for frigid indeed it is--takes his stand (histatai) on that great argument, If they had the Spirit Itself given them, how could one refuse to give them the baptism? But how came it that in the case of the Samaritans this did not happen, but, on the contrary, neither before their baptism nor after it was there any controversy, and there they did not take it amiss, nay, as soon as they heard of it, sent the Apostles for this very purpose? (ch. viii. 14.) True, but neither in the present case is this the thing they complain of; for they knew that it was of Divine Grace: what they say is, Why didst thou eat with them? Besides, the difference [580] is not so great for Samaritans as it is for Gentiles. Moreover, it is so managed (as part of the Divine plan) that he is accused in this way: on purpose that they may learn: for Peter, without some cause given, would not have related the vision. But observe his freedom from all elation and vainglory. For it says, "But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, I was in the city of Joppa, praying:" he does not say why, nor on what occasion: "and in a trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me (v. 4, 5): upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat." (v. 6, 7.) As much as to say, This of itself was enough to have persuaded me--my having seen the linen sheet: but moreover a Voice was added. "But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth." (v. 8.) Do you mark? "I did my part," says he: "I said, that I have never eaten aught common or unclean:" with reference to this that they said, "Thou wentest in, and didst eat with them." But this he does not say to Cornelius: for there was no need to mention it to him. "But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven." (v. 9, 10.) The essential points were those [581] (that ensued at C?sarea); but by these he prepares the way for them. Observe how he justifies himself (by reasons), and forbears to use his authority as teacher. For the more mildly he expresses himself, the more tractable he makes them. "At no time," says he, "has aught common or unclean entered into my mouth.--And, behold--this too was part of his defence--three men stood at the house in which I was, sent to me from C?sarea. And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting." (v. 11, 12.) Do you mark that it is to the Spirit the enacting of laws belongs! "And these also accompanied me"--nothing can be more lowly, when he alleges the brethren for witnesses!--"these six men, and we entered into the man's house: and he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." (v. 13, 14.) And he does not mention the words spoken by the Angel to Cornelius, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God, that he may not disgust them; but what says he? "He shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved:" with good reason this is added. [582] Also he says nothing of the man's fitness (epieikes). "The Spirit," he might say, "having sent (me), God having commanded, on the one part having summoned (me) through the Angel, on the other urging (me) on, and solving my doubt about the things, what was I to do?" He says none of these things, however: but makes his strong point of what happened last, which even in itself was an incontrovertible argument. "And as I began to speak," etc. (v. 15.) Then why did not this happen alone? Of superabundance (ek periousias) this is wrought by God, that it might be shown that the beginning too was not from the Apostle. But had he set out of his own motion, without any of these things having taken place, they would have been very much hurt: so [583] that from the beginning he disposes their minds in his favor**: saying to them, "Who have received the Holy Ghost even as we." And not content with this, he reminds them also of the words of the Lord: "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." (v. 16.) He means, that no new thing has happened, but just what the Lord foretold. "But [584] there was no need to baptize?" (Comp. p. 158.) But the baptism was completed already. And he does not say, I ordered them to be baptized: but what says he? "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (v. 17.) He shows that he had himself done nothing: for the very thing which we have obtained, he says, that same did those men receive. That he may more effectually stop their mouths, therefore he says, "The like gift." Do you perceive how he does not allow them to have less: when they believed, says he, the same gift did God give unto them, as He did to us who believed on the Lord, and Himself cleanses them. And he does not say, To you, but to us. Why do you feel aggrieved, when we [585] call them partakers (with us?) "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (v. 18.) Do you mark that it all came of Peter's discourse, by his admirably skilful way of relating the facts? They glorified God that He had given repentance to themselves (kai autois) also: they were humbled by these words. Hence was the door of faith opened thenceforth to the Gentiles. But, if you please, let us look over again what has been said.

"While Peter yet spake," etc. (Recapitulation.) He does not say that Peter was astonished, but, "They of the circumcision:" since he knew what was in preparation. And yet they ought to have marvelled at this, how they themselves had believed. When they heard that they had believed, they were not astonished, but when God gave them the Spirit. Then [586] "answered Peter and said," etc. (v. 47.) And therefore it is that he says, "God hath shown that I should not call common or unclean any human being." (v. 28.) He knew this from the first, and plans his discourse beforehand (with a view to it). Gentiles? What Gentiles henceforth? They were no longer Gentiles, the Truth being come. It is nothing wonderful, he says, if before the act of baptism they received the Spirit: in our own case this same happened. Peter shows that not as the rest either were they baptized, but in a much better way. This is the reason why the thing takes place in this manner, that they may have nothing to say, but even in this way may account them equal with themselves. "And they besought him," it says, "to tarry certain days." (v. 48.) "And the Apostles and brethren, etc. And they of the circumcision contended with him." (ch. xi. 1, 2.) Do you remark how they were not kindly disposed towards him? Saying "Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." (v. 3.) Do you note what zeal they had for the Law? Not Peter's authority abashed them, not the signs which had taken place, not the success achieved, what a thing it was, the Gentiles having "received the word:" but they contended about those petty things. For if none of those (signs) had taken place, was not the success (itself) enough? [587] But not so does Peter frame his defence: for he was wise, or rather it was not his wisdom, but the Spirit that spake the words. And by the matter of his defence, he shows that in no one point was he the author, but in every point God, and upon Him he casts the whole. "The trance," he says--"it was He that caused me to fall into it, for "I was in Joppa," etc.: the vessel--it was He that showed it; I:objected: again, He spake, and even then I did not hear: the Spirit commanded me to go, and even then though I went, I did not run: I told that God had sent me, and after these things, even then I did not baptize, but again God did the whole. God baptized them, not I. " And he does not say, Was it not right then to add the water? but, implying that nothing was lacking, "What was I, that I should withstand God?" What a defence is here! For he does not say, Then knowing these things, hold your peace; but what? He stands their attack, and to their impeachment he pleads--"What was I, to be able to hinder God?" It was not possible for me to hinder--a forcible plea indeed, and such as might well put them to shame. Whence being at last afraid, "they held their peace and glorified God."

In like manner ought we also to glorify God for the good things which befall our neighbors, only [588] not in the way that the rest of the newly-baptized are insulted, when they see others receiving baptism, and immediately departing this life. It, is right to glorify God, even though all be saved: and as for thee, if thou be willing, thou hast received a greater gift (than they): I do not mean in respect of the baptism, for the gift there is the same for him as for thee, but in regard that thou hast received a set time for winning distinction. The other put on the robe, and was not suffered to exhibit himself therewith in the procession, whereas to thee, God hath given full opportunity to use thine arms for the right purpose, thereby to make proof of them. The other goes his way, having only the reward of his faith: thou standest in the course, both able to obtain an abundant recompense for thy works, and to show thyself as much more glorious than he, as the sun is than the smallest star, as the general, nay rather as the Emperor himself, than the lowest soldier. Then blame thyself, or rather not blame, but correct: for it is not enough to blame thyself; it is in thy power to contend afresh. Hast thou been thrown? hast thou taken grievous hurt? Stand up, recover thyself: thou art still in the course, the meeting (theatron) is not yet broken up. Do you not see how many that have been thrown in the wrestling have afterwards resumed the combat? Only do not willingly come by thy fall. Dost thou count him a happy man for departing this life? Much rather count thyself happy. Was he released of his sins? But thou, if thou wilt, shalt not only wash away thy sins, but shalt also have achievements (of good works), which in his case is not possible. It is in our power to recover ourselves. Great are the medicinal virtues (pharmaka) of repentance: let none despair of himself. That man truly deserves to be despaired of, who despairs of himself; that man has no more salvation, nor any hopes. It is not the having fallen into a depth of evils, it is the lying there when fallen, that is dreadful, it is not the having come into such a condition, it is the making light of it that is impious. The very thing that ought to make thee earnest, say, is it this that makes thee reckless? Having received so many wounds, hast thou fallen back? Of the soul, there can be no incurable wound; for the body, there are many such, but none for the soul: and yet for those we cease not in our endeavors to cure them, while for these we are supine. Seest thou not the thief (on the cross), in how short a time he achieved (his salvation)? Seest thou not the Martyrs, in how short a time they accomplished the whole work? "But martyrdom is not to be had nowadays." True, but there are contests to be had, as I have often told you, if we had the mind. "For they that wish," says the Apostle, "to live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12.) They that live godly are always undergoing persecution, if not from men, at any rate from evil spirits, which is a more grievous persecution. Yes, and it is in consequence, first and foremost, of ease and comfort, that those who are not vigilant undergo this. Or thinkest thou it is a trifling persecution to be living at ease? This is more grievous than all, this is worse than persecution. For, like a running flux, ease makes the soul languid (chaunhoi): and as summer and winter, so persecution and ease. But to show you that this is the worse persecution, listen: it induces sleep in the soul, an excessive yawning and drowsiness, it stirs up the passions on every side, it arms pride, it arms pleasure, it arms anger, envy, vainglory, jealousy. But in time of persecution none of these is able to make a disturbance; but fear, entering in, and plying the lash vigorously, as one does to a barking dog, will not let any of these passions so much as attempt to give tongue. Who shall be able in time of persecution to indulge in vainglory? Who to live in pleasure? Not one: but there is much trembling and fear, making a great calm, composing the harbor into stillness, filling the soul with awe. I have heard from our fathers (for in our own time God grant it may not happen, since we are bidden not to ask for temptation), that in the persecution of old time one might see men that were indeed Christian. None of them cared for money, none for wife, none for children, nor home, nor country: the one great concern with all was to save their lives (or, souls). There were they hiding, some in tombs and sepulchres, some in deserts: yes tender and dainty women too, fighting all the while with constant hunger.

Then think whether any longing for sumptuous and dainty living at all came into the mind of a woman, while in hiding beside a coffin (para larnaki), and waiting for her maid-servant to bring her meal, and trembling lest she should be taken, and lying in her terror as in a furnace: was she even aware that there ever was such a thing as dainty living, that such things as dress and ornaments exist at all (hoti kosmos holos estin)? Seest thou that now is the persecution, with our passions, like wild beasts, setting upon us on every side? Now is the trying persecution, both in this regard, and especially if it is not even thought to be persecution at all. For this (persecution) has also this evil in it, that being war, it is thought to be peace, so that we do not even arm ourselves against it, so that we do not even rise: no one fears, no one trembles. But if ye do not believe me, ask the heathen, the persecutors, at what time was the conduct of the Christians more strict, at what time were they all more proved? Few indeed had they then become in number, but rich in virtue. For say, what profit is it, that there should be hay in plenty, when there might be precious stones? The amount consists not in the sum of numbers, but in the proved worth. Elias was one: yet the whole world was not worth so much as he. And yet the world consists of myriads: but they are no myriads, when they do not even come up to that one. "Better [589] is one that doeth the will of God, than ten thousand who are transgressors:" for the ten thousands have not yet reached to the one. "Desire not a multitude of unprofitable children." (Ecclus. xvi. 1.) Such bring more blasphemy against God, than if they were not Christians. What need have I of a multitude? It is (only) more food for the fire. This one might see even in the body, that better is moderate food with health, than a (fatted) calf with damage. This is more food than the other: this is food, but that is disease. This too one may see in war: that better are ten expert and brave men, than ten thousand of no experience. These latter, besides that they do no work, hinder also those that do work. The same too one may see to be the case in a ship, viz. that better are two experienced mariners, than ever so great a number of unskilful ones: for these will sink the ship. These things I say, not as looking with an evil eye upon your numbers, but wishing that all of you should be approved men, and not trust in your numbers. Many more in number are they who go down into hell: but greater than it is the Kingdom, however few it contain. As the sand of the sea was the multitude of the people (Israel) yet one man saved them. Moses was but one, and yet he availed more than they all: Joshua was one and he was enabled to do more than the six hundred thousand. Let us not make this our study merely, that (the people) may be many, but rather, that they may be excellent; when this shall have been effected, then will that other follow also. No one wishes at the outset to make a spacious house, but he first makes it strong and sure, then spacious: no one lays the foundations so that he may be laughed at. Let us first aim at this, and then at the other. Where this is, that also will be easy: but where this is not, the other, though it be, is to no profit. For if there be those who are able to shine in the Church, there will soon be also numbers: but where these are not, the numbers will never be good for anything. How many, suppose you, may there be in our city who are likely to be saved (tous sozomenous)? It is disagreeable, what I am going to say, but I will say it nevertheless. Among all these myriads, there are not to be found one hundred likely to be saved: nay, even as to these, I question it. For think, what wickedness there is in the young, what supineness in the aged! None [590] makes it his duty to look after his own boy, none is moved by anything to be seen in his elder, to be emulous of imitating such an one. The patterns are defaced, and therefore it is that neither do the young become admirable in conduct. Tell not me, "We are a goodly multitude:" this is the speech of men who talk without thought or feeling (psuchrhon.) In the concerns of men indeed, this might be said with some show of reason: but where God is concerned, (to say this with regard to Him) as having need of us, [591] can never be allowed. Nay, let me tell you, even in the former case, this is a senseless speech (psuchron). Listen. A person that has a great number of domestics, if they be a corrupt set what a wretched time will he have of it! For him who has none, the hardship, it seems, amounts to this, that he is not waited on: but where a person has bad servants, the evil is, that he is ruining himself withal, and the damage is greater (the more there are of them.) For it is far worse than having to be one's own servant, to have to fight with others, and take up a (continual) warfare. These things I say, that none may admire the Church because of its numbers, but that we may study to make the multitude proof-worthy; that each may be earnest for his own share of the duty--not for his friends only, nor his kindred as I am always saying, nor for his neighbors, but that he may attract the strangers also. For example, Prayer is going on; there they lie (on bended knees), all the young, stupidly unconcerned (psuchroi), (yes,) and old too: [592] filthy nuisances rather than young men; giggling, laughing outright, talking--for I have heard even this going on--and jeering one another as they lie along on their knees: and there stand you, young man or elder: rebuke them, if you see them (behaving thus): if any will not refrain, chide him more severely: call the deacon, threaten, do what is in your power to do: and if he dare do anything to you, assuredly you shall have all to help you. For who is so irrational, as, when he sees you chiding for such conduct, and them chidden not to take your part? Depart, having received your reward from the Prayer.--In a master's house, we count those his best-disposed servants, who cannot bear to see any part of his furniture in disorder. Answer me; if at home you should see the silver plate lie tossed out of doors, though it is not your business, you will pick it up and bring it into the house: if you see a garment flung out of its place, though you have not the care of it, though you be at enmity with him whose business it is, yet, out of good-will to the master, will you not put it right? So in the present case. These are part of the furniture: if you see them lying about in disorder, put them to rights: apply to me, I do not refuse the trouble: inform me, make the offender known to me: it is not possible for me to see all: excuse me (in this). See, what wickedness overspreads the whole world! Said I without reason that we are (no better than) so much hay (disorderly as) a troubled sea? I am not talking of those (young people), that they behave thus; (what I complain of, is) that such a sleepy indifference possesses those who come in here, that they do not even correct this misbehavior.

Again I see others stand talking while Prayer is going on; while the more consistent [593] of them (do this) not only during the Prayer, but even when the Priest is giving the Benediction. O, horror! When shall there be salvation? when shall it be possible for us to propitiate God?--Soldiers [594] go to their diversion, and you shall see them, all keeping time in the dance, and nothing done negligently, but, just as in embroidery and painting, from the well-ordered arrangement in each individual part of the composition, there results at once an exceeding harmony and good keeping, so it is here: we have one shield, one head, all of us (in common): and if but some casual point be deranged by negligence, the whole is deranged and is spoilt, and the good order of the many is defeated by the disorder of the one part. And, fearful indeed to think of, here you come, not to a diversion, not to act in a dance, and yet you stand disorderly. Know you not that you are standing in company with angels? with them you chant, with them sing hymns, and do you stand laughing? Is it not wonderful that a thunderbolt is not launched not only at those (who behave thus), but at us? For such behavior might well be visited with the thunderbolt. The Emperor is present, is reviewing the army: and do you, even with His eyes upon you, stand laughing, and endure to see another laughing? How long are we to go on chiding, how long complaining? Ought not such to be treated as very pests and nuisances; as abandoned, worthless reprobates, fraught with innumerable mischiefs, to be driven away from the Church? When will these forebear laughing, who laugh in the hour of the dread Mystery (hen hora phrikes)? when refrain from their trifling, who talk at the instant of the Benediction? Have they no sense of shame before those who are present? have they no fear of God? Are our own idle thoughts not enough for us, is it not enough that in our prayers we rove hither and thither, but laughter also must needs intrude, and bursts of merriment? Is it a theatrical amusement, what is done here? Aye, but, methinks, it is the theatres that do this: to the theatres we owe it that the most of you so refuse to be curbed by us, and to be reformed. What we build up here, is thrown down there: and not only so, but the hearers themselves cannot help being filled with other filthinesses besides: so that the case is just the same as if one should want to clean out a place with a fountain above it discharging mire; for however much you may clean out, more runs in. So it is here. For when we clean people out, as they come here from the theatres with their filthiness, thither they go again, and take in a larger stock of filthiness, as if they lived for the purpose of only giving us trouble, and then come back to us, laden with ordure, in their manners, in their movements, in their words, in their laughter, in their idleness. Then once more we begin shovelling it out afresh, as if we had to do this only on purpose that, having sent them away clean, we may again see them clogging themselves with filth. Therefore I solemnly protest to you, the sound members, that this will be to you judgment and condemnation, and I give you over to God from this time forth, if any having seen a person behaving disorderly, if any having seen any person talking, especially in that part (of the Service), shall not inform against him, not bring him round (to a better behavior). To do this is better than prayer. Leave thy prayer and rebuke him, that thou mayst both do him good, and thyself get profit, and so we may be enabled all to be saved and to attain unto the Kingdom of Heaven, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


[576] This is the only instance in the Acts in which the Holy Spirit is said to be given anterior to baptism (cf. xix. 5, 6) which was generally accompanied by the laying on of hands by the apostles. A special reason is observable here which greatly diminishes the force of Baur's objections to the historicity of the narrative drawn from this exceptional order of events, viz: the marked receptivity of Cornelius and his company. Perhaps it was intended by divine providence to signalize this bringing in of the first fruits of the Gentiles by showing how little the gifts of grace are conditioned upon outward rites. Some critics suppose that this gift of the Spirit before baptism was granted to impress Peter with the idea of the admissibility of the Gentiles, but this seems unnecessary, as he had been taught this lesson already by the vision and had distinctly avowed his conviction (v. 35). Chrysostom's exposition is in the line of the latter interpretation; he forcibly calls this gift of the Spirit an apologiamegale for Peter. The principle which Bengel lays down in his comments--liberum gratia habet ordinem--together with the special significance of the occasion is a sufficient explanation of the apparently exceptional manner of the bestowment of the Spirit here.--G.B.S.

[577] kai ho Petros schedon haplos paresti paideuomenos. Erasm. fere simpliciter adest ut discat. Not meaning that St. Peter needed to be taught (see above p. 146, note 1), but that--such is the oikonomia for his exculpation--it is made to appear as if he needed the lesson and was now taught it, and had his misapprehensions rectified in common with them. Ben., entirely mistaking the meaning, has quasi fortuito adest docens.

[578] Kai dia touto meth' huperboles ginetai. Erasm. Idcirco h?c cum excellentia quadam fiebant. Ben. Ideo h?c modo singulari fiunt. But the meaning is, "There is a lavish array of Divine interpositions. The mission of the Angel to Cornelius, Peter's vision, the command given by the Spirit, above all, the gift of the Holy Ghost and the speaking with tongues before the baptism. This last was in itself an unanswerable declaration of the will of God, and sufficed for the Apostle's justification. The others are ek periousias, arguments ex abundanti. "

[579] Some critics (as Meyer, Olshausen) have affirmed the opposite of what Chrys. states, in regard to the hoi ek peritomes. He excludes the apostles from this category; they would include them. The hoi ek peritomes, however, seem to have been a special class of Christians in the mind of the writer. In expressing the fact that the Church learned of the reception of the Gentiles, the "apostles and brethren" are named, but when the narrative advances to the thought of the contention against Peter on account of it, a new term is chosen; the writer could not allow the same subject to stand for the verb diekrinonto, but chooses another term--hoi ek peritomes. The two subjects, then, can hardly be identical. The phrase more probably denotes judaizing Christians, i. e. those who gave special prominence to the Law and the necessity of circumcision (So Lechler, Gloag, Alford).--G.B.S.

[580] Allos de ou tosouton to diaphoron Samareiton kai ethnon. Edd. (from E. alone,) for ou tosouton have polu kai apeiron, "great and infinite the difference between Samaritans and Gentiles."

[581] A. B. C. (after v. 11. which we have removed), 'Ekeina anankaia en (read ta an.) alla dia touton auta kataskeuazei. By ekeina he means, what we have heard above, what happened at C?sarea. The modern text (Edd.): "What points were essential, he relates, but of the rest he is silent: or rather by these he confirms them also, kai auta kataskeuazei. "

[582] touto eikotos proskeitai. i. e. though this was not mentioned before (see above, p, 145. note 6) with good reason it is added here: viz. for Peter's justification. Edd. from E. "that he may not disgust them: but what had nothing great in it. He shall speak,' etc. Do you mark how for this reason I mentioned before, he hastens on?" But the saying, "He shall speak," etc. was great, even greater than that which he omits: but this was not necessary, the other (Chrys. means) made a strong point for Peter's defence, and therefore is added.

[583] anothen auton ten dianoian oikeioi, viz. by letting them see how all along it was not his doing. Then before legon pros autous, something is wanting: e.g. "Which done, he urges most effectively, Who have received,'" etc.

[584] E. D. F. Edd. "But there was no need to baptize, it may be said, for the baptism was complete, when the Spirit fell upon them.' Therefore he does not say, I first ordered them to be baptized but what? Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized?' By this showing that he did nothing himself. What therefore we have obtained, those received."

[585] hotan hemeis autous koinonous legomen; "when we put them on a level with us the Apostles and first disciples, in regard that they received the Spirit in the same manner as we received, and as the rest of you did not?"

[586] tote ho P. husteron existatai; kai dia touto phesin. "But when God gave them the Spirit, then Peter afterwards is astonished," etc. This is evidently corrupt. Tote ho P. seems to be part of the text v. 46. tote apekrithe ho P. For husteron existatai we may perhaps restore, kai pros touto ho P. husteron histatai. "On this Peter afterwards insists (as above, p. 156), and with a view to this he says (before), God hath shown me,'" etc. The innovator substitutes: "When Peter expounded to them his trance, saying, God hath shown me,'" etc. So Edd.

[587] Ei gar meden touton en, ouk erkei to katorthoma; Of the Edd. only Savile puts this, as it ought to be, interrogatively: Ben. renders, non sat fuisset pr?stium.

[588] monon me kathaper hoi loipoi ton neophotiston epereazontai, hotan allous horosi photisthentas, kai euthus apiontas. Doxazein dei ton Theon, kan pantes sothosin; kai su e& 129;n theles k. t. l. Above Hom. i. p. 20, it is said, "the sick man" having received baptism in the prospect of death, "if he recovers, is as vexed" because of his baptism "as if some great harm had happened to him." And so it might have been said here, "not (to feel) as some of the newly-baptized (are apt to do, who) are annoyed (or aggrieved, etereazontai), when they see others" etc.: i. e. who, seeing such cases, think themselves ill used that they were not allowed to defer their baptism to the last moment, but were forced upon the alternative either of leading a strict life, or of forfeiting the grace of baptism. But the assertion hoi loipoi ton neoph. is too sweeping, and the word epereazontai is scarcely suitable to this sense: it should rather have been deinopathousin or anaxiopathousin. The meaning, not fully expressed, is: "only not, like as the rest of the newly-baptized are insulted, taunted or jeered (by some), when they see others," etc.: i. e. it is right to glorify God, only not to imagine that God is glorified by those who, exulting in the safety of their friends who received baptism at the point of death, taunt the rest of the newly baptized, saying, "See, these men are safe: they are baptized to some purpose; while you have received the gift, only to be in danger of losing it."--He adds, "It is right to glorify God, though all be saved"--though that were the case with all except yourself, that they passed at once from baptism to that world, with the gift unimpaired, and no more in danger to be lost. "And as for you, if you will, you have received a greater gift," than they: etc.--For epereazontai, A. has epereazousin: and this is adopted by the innovator, who alters the passage thus (E. Edd.): "to glorify God, all' ouk epereazein (adopted by F. D.) kathaper oi polloi ton neophot. etereazousin, when they see, etc. It is right to glorify God, kai hoti menein ou sunchorei; & 169;Oste kai su e& 129;n theles k. t. l.(Erasm. et non insultare: Ben. non autem insultare illis.)

[589] kreisson heis poion to thelema Kuriou, e murioi paranomoi. St. Chrys. repeatedly cites this, and almost in the same words, as a text of Scripture, and the Edd. refer it to Ecclus. xvi. 3, but there it is, kreisson gar heis e chilioi (with no various reading), and here the following words, hoi (B. ei) gar murioi pros ton (to, B. F. hena oudepo ephthasan, seem to be meant as part of the citation. For these E. Edd. substitute, Touto kai tis sophos ainittomenos houto tos phesi. Savile adopts both, but reads ou gar murioi.

[590] Oudeis ten epimeleian echei tou paidos tou heautou; oudeis echei zelon pros presbuten idon mimesasthai. i. e. "The young are neglected by their own parents and masters, and elsewhere they see no good example of the old to move them to virtue."

[591] 'Epi de tou Theou tou deomenou hemon, ouk eti. So A. B. C. The modern text, tou oud.

[592] pantes neoi psuchroi kai gerontes. The last word must be corrupt, for he is speaking only of the young: perhaps it should be gemontes with some genitive, e.g. "full of folly," or "evil thoughts." Then, katharmata mallon e neoi, more fit to be swept away from the floor as filthy litter than to be regarded as young men. But katharma, in the sense derived from the heathen ritual, has no equivalent in our language: it means, what remains of the sacrifice used for lustration or atonement, which as having taken into itself the uncleanness or the guilt which was to be removed, was regarded with the utmost abhorrence.

[593] hoi de epieikesteroi auton. Erasm., Et quidam ex illis, adhuc meliores scilicet. Ben. alios modestiores scilicet. But the irony is not of this kind, and the word here has its proper sense: "men whose conduct is more of a piece, the more consistent of them." Some stand and talk during the prayers, yet kneel and are silent for the Benediction: but these make no such inconsistent pretence: they do not commit this absurdity at least.--Comp. Hom. i. in. Oziam, ?4, t. vi. p. 101. "A grievous disease prevails in the Church: when we have purposed to hold converse with God, and are in the act of sending up the doxology to Him, we interrupt our business, and each takes his neighbor aside to talk with him about his domestic concerns, about the goings on in the agora, the public, the theatre, the army: how this was well managed, that neglected: what is the strong point, and what the weak point in this or that business: in short, about all sorts of public and private matters they talk here with one another. Is this pardonable? When a man speaks with the earthly sovereign, he speaks only on the subjects the sovereign chooses to speak and put questions about, and if against the will of the sovereign he should presume to start any other subject, he would bring upon himself the severest punishment. And you, who are speaking with the King of kings, to Whom the angels minister with dread reverence, do you leave your converse with Him to talk about mire, and dust, and spiders--for that is what earthly things are? But you say, the public affairs are in such a bad way, and there is much to talk of and much to be anxious about. And whose fault is that? They say, The blunders of our rulers are the cause. No, not the blunders of our rulers, but our sins: the punishment of our faults. It is these have ruined all, have brought upon us all our sufferings, wars, and defeats. Therefore if we had an Abraham, a Moses, a David, a Solomon, for our ruler, yea, the most righteous of men, it would signify nothing as far as the cause of all our evils is concerned...And if we have one of the most iniquitous of men, a blundering ill-managing person for our ruler, it is our own folly and wickedness that has brought this upon us, it is the punishment of our sins. Therefore let each when he comes here think of his own sins, and not complain of others." Hom. ix. in 1 Tim. e complains of the women talking in Church.

[594] The illustration is taken from some kind of shield dance, which formed one of the amusements of the camp, skilfully executed by a large body of soldiers. The innovator, (E. D. F. Edd.) not understanding the allusion, substitutes: "If you go to a diversion, you will see all keeping time in the dance, and nothing done negligently. As therefore in a well-harmonized and curiously wrought lyre, one well sounding symphony results from the orderly arrangement severally of the component parts, so here there ought to result from all one symphonious harmony. For we are become one Church, we count as members, fitly joined together' of one Head, we all make one Body: if any carnal point be done negligently, the whole, etc. Thus the good order," etc.

And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
Text Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

Bible Hub
Acts 9
Top of Page
Top of Page