Select Orations: 33-4, 37-41

Author: Gregory of Nazianzus (Gregory Nazianzen)

(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors. If you find errors or omissions in the text, please notify

Transliteration of Greek words: All phonetical except: w = omega; h serves three puposes: 1. = Eta; 2. = rough breathing, when appearing initially before a vowel; 3. = in the aspirated letters theta = th, phi = ph, chi = ch. Accents are given immediately after their corresponding vowels: acute = ' , grave = `, circumflex = ^. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe, when necessary.


ORATIONS 33-4, 37-41

[Translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., Rector of Lympstone, Devon; and James Edward Swallow, M.A., Chaplain of the House of Mercy, Horbury.]



Delivered at Constantinople about the middle of the year 380.

I. WHERE are they who reproach us with our poverty, and boast themselves of their own riches; who define the Church by numbers,(a) and scorn the little flock; and who measure Godhead,(b) and weigh the people in the balance, who honour the sand, and despise the luminaries of heaven; who treasure pebbles and overlook pearls; for they know not that sand is not in a greater degree more abundant than stars, and pebbles than lustrous stones-that the former are purer and more precious than the latter? Are you again indignant? Do you again arm yourselves? Do you again insult us?(a) Is this a new faith? Restrain your threats a little while that I may speak. We will not insult you, but we will convict you; we will not threaten, but we will reproach you; we will not strike, but we will heal. This too appears an insult! What pride! Do you here also regard your equal as your slave? If not, permit me to speak openly; for even a brother chides his brother if he has been defrauded by him.

II. Would you like me to utter to you the words of God to Israel, stiff-necked and hardened? "O my people what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I injured thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?"(b) This language indeed is fitter from me to you who insult me. It is a sad thing that we watch for opportunities against each other, and having destroyed our fellowship of spirit by diversities of opinion have become almost more inhuman and savage to one another than even the barbarians who are now engaged in war against us, banded together against us by the Trinity whom we have separated; with this difference that we are not foreigners making forays and raids upon foreigners, nor nations of different language, which is some little consolation in the calamity, but are making war upon one another, and almost upon those of the same household; or if you will, we the members of the same body are consuming and being consumed by one another. Nor is this, bad though it be, the extent of our calamity, for we even regard our diminution as a gain. But since we are in such a condition, and regulate our faith by the times, let us compare the times with one another; you your Emperor,(g) and I my Sovereigns;(d) you Ahab and I Josias. Tell me of your moderation, and I will proclaim my violence. But indeed yours is proclaimed by many books and tongues, which I think future ages will accept as an immortal pillory for your actions and I will declare my own.

III. What tumultuous mob have I led against you? What soldiers have I armed? What general boiling with rage, and more savage than his employers, and not even a Christian, but one who offers his impiety against us as his private worship to his own gods?(e) Whom have I besieged while engaged in prayer and lifting up their hands to God? When have I put a stop to psalmody with trumpets? or mingled the Sacramental Blood with blood of massacre? What spiritual sighs have I put an end to by cries of death, or tears of penitence by tears of tragedy? What House of prayer have I made a burial place? What liturgical vessels which the multitude may not touch have I given over to the hands of the wicked, of a Nebuzaradan,(a) chief of the cooks, or of a Belshazzar, who wickedly used the sacred vessels for his revels,(b) and then paid a worthy penalty for his madness? "Altars beloved" as Holy Scripture saith, but ''now defiled."(g) And what licentious youth has insulted you for our sake with shameful writhings and contortions? O precious Throne, seat and rest of precious men, which hast been occupied by a succession of pious Priests, who from ancient times have taught the divine Mysteries, what heathen popular speaker and evil tongue hath mounted thee to inveigh against the Christian's faith? O modesty and majesty of Virgins, that cannot endure the looks of even virtuous men, which of us hath shamed thee, and outraged thee by the exposure of what may not be seen, and showed to the eyes of the impious a pitiable sight, worthy of the fires of Sodom? I say nothing of deaths, which were more endurable than this shame.

IV. What wild beasts have we let loose upon the bodies of Saints,--like some who have prostituted human nature,--on one single accusation, that of not consenting to their impiety; or defiled ourselves by communion with them, which we avoid like the poison of a snake, not because it injures the body, but because it blackens the depths of the soul? Against whom have we made it a matter of criminal accusation that they buried the dead, whom the very beasts reverenced? And what a charge, worthy of another theatre and of other beasts! What Bishop's aged flesh have we carded with hooks in the presence of their disciples, impotent to help them save by tears, hung up with Christ, conquering by suffering, and sprinkling the people with their precious blood, and at last carried away to death, to be both crucified and buried and glorified with Christ; with Christ Who conquered the world by such victims and sacrifices? What priests have those contrary elements fire and water divided, raising a strange beacon over the sea, and set on fire together with the ship in which they put to sea?(a) Who (to cover the more numerous part of our woes with a veil of silence) have been accused of inhumanity by the very magistrates who conferred such favour on them? For even if they did obey the lusts of those men, yet at any rate they hated the cruelty of their purpose. The one was opportunism, the other calculation; the one came of the lawlessness of the Emperor, the other of a consciousness of the laws by which they had to judge.

V. And to speak of older things, for they too belong to the same fraternity; whose hands living or dead have I cut off--to bring a lying accusation against Saints,(b) and to triumph over the faith by bluster? Whose exiles have I numbered as benefits, and failed to reverence even the sacred colleges of sacred philosophers, whence I sought their suppliants? Nay the very contrary is the case; I have reckoned as Martyrs those who incurred anger for the truth. Upon whom have I, whom you accuse of licentiousness of language, brought harlots when they were almost fleshless and bloodless? Which of the faithful have I exiled from their country and given over to the hands of lawless men, that they might be kept like wild beasts in rooms without light, and (for this is the saddest part of the tragedy) left separated from each other to endure the hardships of hunger and thirst, with food measured out to them, which they had to receive through narrow openings, so that they might not be permitted even to see their companions in misery. And what were they who suffered thus? Men of whom the world was not worthy.(g) Is it thus that you honour faith? Is this your kind treatment of it? Ye know not the greater part of these things, and that reasonably, because of the number of these facts and the pleasure of the action. But he who suffers has a better memory. There have been even some more cruel than the times themselves, like wild boars hurled against a fence. I demand your victim of yesterday(a) the old man, the Abraham-like Father, whom on his return from exile you greeted with stones in the middle of the day and in the middle of the city. But we, if it is not invidious to say so, begged off even our murderers from their danger. God says somewhere in Scripture, How shall I pardon thee for this?(b) Which of these things shall I praise; or rather for which shall I bind a wreath upon you?

VI. Now since your antecedents are such, I should be glad if you too will tell me of my crimes, that I may either amend my life or be put to shame. My greatest wish is that I may be found free from wrong altogether; but if this may not be, at least to be converted from my crime; for this is the second best portion of the prudent. For if like the just man I do not become my own accuser in the first instance,(g) yet at any rate I gladly receive healing from another. "Your City, you say to me, is a little one, or rather is no city at all, but only a village, arid, without beauty, and with few inhabitants." But, my good friend, this is my misfortune, rather than my fault;--if indeed it be a misfortune; and if it is against my will, I am to be pitied for my bad luck, if I may put it so; but if it be willingly, I am a philosopher. Which of these is a crime? Would anyone abuse a dolphin for not being a land animal, or an ox because it is not aquatic, or a lamprey because it is amphibious? But we, you go on, have walls and theatres and racecourses and palaces, and beautiful great Porticoes, and that marvellous work the underground and overhead river,(d) and the splendid and admired column,(e) and the crowded marketplace and a restless people, and a famous senate of highborn men.

VII. Why do you not also mention the convenience of the site, and what I may call the contest between land and sea as to which owns the City, and which adorns our Royal City with all their good things? This then is our crime, that while you are great and splendid, we are small and come from a small place? Many others do you this wrong, indeed all those whom you excel; and must we die because we have not reared a city, nor built walls around it, nor can boast of our racecourse, or our stadia, and pack of hounds, and all the follies that are connected with these things; nor have to boast of the beauty and splendour of our baths, and the costliness of their marbles and pictures and golden embroideries of all sorts of species, almost rivalling nature? Nor have we yet rounded off the sea for ourselves, or mingled the seasons, as of course you, the new Creators, have done, that we may live in what is at once the pleasantest and the safest way. Add if you like other charges, you who say, The silver is mine and the gold is mine,(a) those words of God. We neither think much of riches, on which, if they increase, our Law forbids us to set our hearts, nor do we count up yearly and daily revenues; nor do we rival one another in loading our tables with enchantments for our senseless belly. For neither do we highly esteem those things which after we have swallowed them are all of the same worth, or rather I should say worthlessness, and are rejected. But we live so simply and from hand to mouth, as to differ but little from beasts whose sustenance is without apparatus and inartificial.

VIII. Do you also find fault with the raggedness of my dress, and the want of elegance in the disposition of my face? for these are the points upon which I see that some persons who are very insignificant pride themselves. Will you leave my head alone, and not jeer at it, as the children did at Elissaeus? What followed I will not mention. And will you leave out of your allegations my want of education, and what seems to you the roughness and rusticity of my elocution? And where will you put the fact that I am not full of small talk, nor a jester popular with company, nor great hunter of the marketplace, nor given to chatter and gossip with any chance people upon all sorts of subjects, so as to make even conversation grievous; nor a frequenter of Zeuxippus, that new Jerusalem;(b) nor one who strolls from house to house flattering and stuffing himself; but for the most part staying at home, of low spirits and with a melancholy cast of countenance, quietly associating with myself, the genuine critic of my actions; and perhaps worthy of imprisonment for my uselessness? How is it that you pardon me for all this, and do not blame me for it? How sweet and kind you are.

IX. But I am so old fashioned and such a philosopher as to believe that one heaven is common to all; and that so is the revolution of the sun and the moon, and the order and arrangement of the stars; and that all have in Common an equal share and profit in day and night, and also change of seasons, rains, fruits, and quickening power of the air; and that the flowing rivers are a common and abundant wealth to all; and that one and the same is the Earth, the mother and the tomb, from which we were taken, and to which we shall return, none having a greater share than another. And further, above this, we have in common reason, the Law, the Prophets, the very Sufferings of Christ, by which we were all without exception created anew, who partake of the same Adam, and were led astray by the serpent and slain by sin, and are saved by the heavenly Adam and brought back by the tree of shame to the tree of life from whence we had fallen.

X. I was deceived too by the Ramah of Samuel, that little fatherland of the great man; which was no dishonour to the Prophet, for it drew its honour not so much from itself as from him; nor was he hindered on its account from being given to God before his birth, or from uttering oracles, and foreseeing the future; nor only so, but also anointing Kings and Priests, and judging the men of illustrious cities. I heard also of Saul, how while seeking his father's asses he found a kingdom. And even David himself was taken from the sheepfolds to be the shepherd of Israel. What of Amos? Was he not, while a goatherd and scraper of sycamore fruit entrusted with the gifts of prophecy? How is it that I have passed over Joseph, who was both a slave and the giver of corn to Egypt, and the father of many myriads who were promised before to Abraham? Aye and I was deceived by the Carmel of Elias, who received the car of fire; and by the sheepskin of Elissaeus that had more power than a silken web or than gold forced into garments. I was deceived by the desert of John, which held the greatest among them that are born of women, with that clothing, that food, that girdle, which we know. And I ventured even beyond these, and found God Himself the Patron of my rusticity. I will range myself with Bethlehem, and will share the ignominy of the Manger; for since you refuse on this account honour to God, it is no wonder that on the same account you despise His herald also. And I will bring up to you the Fishermen, and the poor to whom the Gospel is preached, as preferred before many rich. Will you ever leave off priding yourselves upon your cities?

Will you ever revere that wilderness which you abominate and despise? I do not yet say that gold has its birthplace in sand; nor that translucent stones are the product and gifts of rocks; for if to these I should oppose all that is dishonourable in cities perhaps it would be to no good end that I should use my freedom of speech.

XI. But perhaps some one who is very circumscribed and carnally minded will say, "But our herald is a stranger and a foreigner." What of the Apostles? Were not they strangers to the many nations and cities among whom they were divided, that the Gospel might have free course everywhere, that nothing might miss the illumination of the Threefold Light, or be unenlightened by the Truth; but that the night of ignorance might be dissolved for those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death? You have heard the words of Paul, "that we might go the Gentiles, and they to the Circumcision."(a) Be it that Judaea is Peter's home; what has Paul in common with the Gentiles, Luke with Achaia, Andrew with Epirus, John with Ephesus, Thomas with India, Marc with Italy, or the rest, not to go into particulars, with those to whom they went? So that you must either blame them or excuse me, or else prove that you, the ambassadors of the true Gospel, are being insulted by trifling. But since I have argued with you in a petty way about these matters, I will now proceed to take a larger and more philosophic view of them.

XII. My friend, every one that is of high mind has one Country, the Heavenly Jerusalem, in which we store up our Citizenship. All have one family--if you look at what is here below the dust--or if you look higher, that In-breathing of which we are partakers, and which we were bidden to keep, and with which I must stand before my Judge to give an account of my heavenly nobility, and of the Divine Image. Everyone then is noble who has guarded this through virtue and consent to his Archetype. On the other hand, everyone is ignoble who has mingled with evil, and put upon himself another form, that of the serpent. And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene. For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names. And the family is accounted noble which is either rich from old days, or is recently raised; and of ignoble birth that which is of poor parents, either owing to misfortune or to want of ambition. For how can a nobility be given from above which is at one time beginning and at another coming to an end; and which is not given to some, but is bestowed on others by letters patent? Such is my mind on this matter. Therefore I leave it to you to pride yourself on tombs or in myths, and I endeavour as far as I can, to purify myself from deceits, that I may keep if possible my nobility, or else may recover it.

XIII. It is thus then and for these reasons that I, who am small and of a country without repute, have come upon you, and that not of my own accord, nor self-sent, like many of those who now seize upon the chief places; but because I was invited, and compelled, and have followed the scruples of my conscience and the Call of the Spirit. If it be otherwise, may I continue to fight here to no purpose, and deliver no one from his error, but may they obtain their desire who seek the barrenness of my soul, if I lie. But since I am come, and perchance with no contemptible power (if I may boast myself a little of my folly), which of those who are insatiable have I copied, what have I emulated of opportunism, although I have such examples, even apart from which it is hard and rare not to be bad? Concerning what churches or property have I disputed with you; though you have more than enough of both, and the others too little? What imperial edict have we rejected and emulated? What rulers have we fawned upon against you? Whose boldness have we denounced? And what has been done on the other side against me? "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," even then I said, for I remembered in season the words of Stephen,(a) and so I pray now. Being reviled, we bless: being blasphemed we retreat.(b)

XIV. And if I am doing wrong in this, that when tyrannized over I endure it, forgive me this wrong; I have borne to be tyrannized over by others too; and I am thankful that my moderation has brought upon me the charge of folly. For I reckon thus, using considerations altogether higher than any of yours; what a mere fraction are these trials of the spittings and blows which Christ, for Whom and by Whose aid we encounter these dangers, endured. I do not count them, taken altogether, worth the one crown of thorns which robbed our conqueror of his crown, for whose sake also I learn that I am crowned for the hardness of life. I do not reckon them worth the one reed by which the rotten empire was destroyed; of the gall alone, the vinegar alone, by which we were cured of the bitter taste; of the gentleness alone which He shewed in His Passion. Was He betrayed with a kiss? He reproves with a kiss, but smites not. Is he suddenly arrested? He reproaches indeed, but follows; and if through zeal thou cuttest off the ear of Malchus with the sword, He will be angry, and will restore it. And if one flee in a linen sheet,(a) he will defend him. And if you ask for the fire of Sodom upon his captors, he will not pour it forth; and if he take a thief hanging upon the cross for his crime he will bring him into Paradise through His Goodness. Let all the acts of one that loves men be loving, as were all the sufferings of Christ, to which we could add nothing greater than, when God even died for us, to refuse on our part to forgive even the smallest wrongs of our fellowmen.

XV. Moreover this also I reckoned and still reckon with myself; and do you see if it is not quite correct. I have often discussed it with you before. These men have the houses, but we the Dweller in the house; they the Temples, we the God; and besides it is ours to be living temples of the Living God, lively sacrifices, reasonable burnt-offerings, perfect sacrifices, yea, gods through the adoration of the Trinity. They have the people, we the Angels; they rash boldness, we faith; they threatenings, we prayer; they smiting, we endurance; they gold and silver, we the pure word. "Thou hast built for thyself a wide house and large chambers (recognize the words of Scripture), a house celled and pierced with windows."(b) But not yet is this loftier than my faith, and than the heavens to which I am being borne onwards. Is mine a little flock? But it is not being carried over a precipice. Is mine a narrow fold? But it is unapproachable by wolves; it cannot be entered by a robber, nor climbed by thieves and strangers. I shall yet see it, I know well, wider. And many of those who are now wolves, I must reckon among my sheep, and perhaps even amongst the shepherds. This is the glad tidings brought me by the Good Shepherd, for Whose sake I lay down my life for the sheep. I fear not for the little flock; for it is seen at a glance. I know my sheep and am known of mine. Such are they that know God and are known of God. My sheep hear my voice, which I have heard from the oracles of God, which I have been taught by the Holy Fathers, which I have taught alike on all occasions, not conforming myself to the fortune, and which I will never cease to teach; in which I was born, and in which I will depart.

XVI. These I call by name (for they are not nameless like the stars which are numbered and have names),(a) and they follow me, for I rear them up beside the waters of rest; and they follow every such shepherd, whose voice they love to hear, as you see; but a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they have a habit of distinguishing the voice of their own from that of strangers. They will flee from Valentinus(b) with his division of one into two, refusing to believe that the Creator is other than the Good. They will flee from Depth and Silence, and the mythical Aeons, that are verily worthy of Depth and Silence. They will flee from Marcion's(g) god, compounded of elements and numbers; from Montanus'(d) evil and feminine spirit; from the matter and darkness of Manes;(e) from Novatus'(z) boasting and wordy assumption of purity; from the analysis and confusion of Sabellius,(h) and if I may use the expression, his absorption, contracting the Three into One, instead of defining the One in Three Personalities; from the difference of natures taught by Arius(a) and his followers, and their new Judaism, confining the Godhead to the Unbegotten; from Photinus(b) earthly Christ, who took his beginning from Mary. But they worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, One Godhead; God the Father, God the Son and (do not be angry) God the Holy Ghost, One Nature in Three Personalities, intellectual, perfect, Self-existent, numerically separate, but not separate in Godhead.

XVII. These words let everyone who threatens me to-day concede to me; the rest let whoever will claim. The Father will not endure to be deprived of the Son, nor the Son of the Holy Ghost. Yet that must happen if They are confined to time, and are created Beings ... for that which is created is not God. Neither will I bear to be deprived of my consecration; One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. If this be cancelled, from whom shall I get a second? What say you, you who destroy Baptism or repeat it? Can a man be spiritual without the Spirit? Has he a share in the Spirit who does not honour the Spirit? Can he honour Him who is baptized into a creature and a fellow-servant? It is not so; it is not so; for all your talk. I will not play Thee false, O Unoriginate Father, or Thee O Only-begotten Word, or Thee O Holy Ghost. I know Whom I have confessed, and whom I have renounced, and to Whom I have joined myself. I will not allow myself, after having been taught the words of the faithful, to learn also those of the unfaithful; to confess the truth, and then range myself with falsehood; to come down for consecration and to go back even less hallowed; having been baptised that I might live, to be killed by the water, like infants who die in the very birthpangs, and receive death simultaneously with birth. Why make me at once blessed and wretched, newly enlightened and unenlightened, Divine and godless, that I may make shipwreck even of the hope of regeneration? A few words will suffice. Remember your confession. Into what were you baptised? The Father? Good but Jewish still. The Son? ... good ... but not yet perfect. The Holy Ghost? ... Very good ... this is perfect. Now was it into these simply, or some common name of Them? The latter. And what was the common Name? Why, God. In this common Name believe, and ride on prosperously and reign,(a) and pass on from hence into the Bliss of Heaven. And that is, as I think, the more distinct apprehension of These; to which may we all come, in the same Christ our God, to Whom be the glory and the might, with the Unoriginate Father, and the Lifegiving Spirit, now and for ever and to ages of ages. Amen.



THIS Oration was preached at Constantinople in 380, under the following circumstances:

Peter, Patriarch of Alexandria, had sent a mission of five of his Suffragans to consecrate the impostor Maximus to the Throne occupied by Gregory. This had led to much trouble, but in the end the intruder had been expelled and banished. Shortly afterwards an Egyptian fleet, probably the regular corn ships, had arrived at Constantinople, apparently on the day before a Festival. The crews of the ships, landing next day to go to Church, passed by the numerous Churches held by the Arians, and betook themselves to the little Anastasia. S. Gregory felt himself moved to congratulate them specially on such an act, after what had recently passed, and accordingly pronounced the following discourse.

I. I WILL address myself as is right to those who have come from Egypt; for they have come here eagerly, having overcome ill will by zeal, from that Egypt which is enriched by the River, raining out of the earth, and like the sea in its season,--if I too may follow in my small measure those who have so eloquently spoken of these matters; and which is also enriched by Christ my Lord, Who once was a fugitive into Egypt, and now is supplied by Egypt; the first, when He fled from Herod's massacre of the children;(b) and now by the love of the fathers for their children, by Christ the new Food of those who hunger after good;(g) the greatest alms of corn of which history speaks and men believe; the Bread which came down from heaven and giveth life to the world, that life which is indestructible and indissoluble, concerning Whom I now seem to hear the Father saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son.(d)

II. For from you hath sounded forth the Word to all men; healthfully believed and preached; and you are the best bringers of fruit of all men, specially of those who now hold the right faith, as far as I know, who am not only a lover of such food, but also its distributor, and not at home only but also abroad. For you indeed supply bodily food to peoples and cities so far as your loving kindness reaches; and you supply spiritual food also, not to a particular people, nor to this or that city, circumscribed by narrow boundaries, though its people may think it very illustrious, but to almost the whole world. And you bring the remedy not for famine of bread or thirst of water,(a) which is no very terrible famine--and to avoid it is easy; but to a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord, which it is most miserable to suffer, and a most laborious matter to cure at the present time, because iniquity hath abounded,(b) and scarce anywhere do I find its genuine healers.

III. Such was Joseph your Superintendent of corn measures, whom I may call ours also; who by his surpassing wisdom was able both to foresee the famine and to cure it by decrees of government, healing the ill-favoured and starving kine by means of the fair and fat.(g) And indeed you may understand by Joseph which you will, either the great lover and creator and namesake of immortality or his successor in throne and word and hoary hair, our new Peter,(d) not inferior in virtue or fame to him by whom the middle course was destroyed and crushed, though it still wriggles a little weakly, like the tail of a snake after it is cut off; the one of whom, after having departed this life in a good old age after many conflicts and wrestlings, looks upon us from above, I well know, and reaches a hand to those who are labouring for the right: and this the more, in proportion as he is freed from his bonds; and the other is hastening to the same end or dissolution of life, and is already drawing near the dwellers in heaven, but is still so far in the flesh as is needed to give the last aids to the Word, and to take his journey with richer provision.

IV. Of these great men and doctors and soldiers of the truth and victors, you are the nurslings and offspring; of these neither times nor tyrants, reason nor envy, nor fear, nor accuser, nor slanderer, whether waging open war against them, or plotting secretly; nor any who appeared to be of our side, nor any stranger, nor gold--that hidden tyrant, through which now almost everything is turned upside down and made to depend on the hazard of a die; nor flatteries nor threats, nor long and distant exiles (for they only could not be affected by confiscation, because of their great riches, which were--to possess nothing) nor anything else, whether absent or present or expected, could induce to take the worse part, and to be anywise traitor to the Trinity, or to suffer loss of the Godhead. On the contrary indeed, they grew strong by dangers, and became more zealous for true religion. For to suffer thus for Christ adds to one's love, and is as it were an earnest to high-souled men of further conflicts. These, O Egypt, are thy present tales and wonders.

V. Once thou didst praise me thy Mendesian Goats, and thy Memphite Apis, a fatted and fleshy calf, and the rites of Isis, and the mutilations of Osiris, and thy venerable Serapis, a log that was honoured by myths and ages and the madness of its worshippers, as some unknown and heavenly matter, however it may have been aided by falsehood; and things yet more shameful than these, multiform images of monstrous beasts and creeping things, all of which Christ and the heralds of Christ have conquered, both the others who have been illustrious in their own times, and also the Fathers whom I have named just now; by whom, O admirable country, thou art more famous today than all others put together, whether in ancient or modern history.

VI. Wherefore I embrace and salute thee, O noblest of peoples and most Christian, and of warmest piety, and worthy of thy leaders; for I can find nothing greater to say of thee than this, nor anything by which better to welcome thee. And I greet thee, to a small extent with my tongue, but very heartily with the movements of my affections.(a) O my people, for I call you mine, as of one mind and one faith, instructed by the same Fathers, and adoring the same Trinity. My people, for mine thou art, though it seem not so to those who envy me. And that they who are in this case may be the deeper wounded, see, I give the right hand of fellowship before so many witnesses, seen and unseen. And I put away the old calumny by this new act of kindness. O my people, for mine thou art, though in saying so I, who am least of all men, am claiming for myself that which is greatest. For such is the grace of the Spirit that it makes of equal honour those who are of one mind. O my people, for mine thou art, though it be afar, because we are divinely joined together,(b) and in a manner wholly different to the unions of carnal people; for bodies are united in place, but souls are fitted together by the Spirit. O my people, who didst formerly study how to suffer for Christ, but now if thou wilt hearken unto me, wilt study not to do aught, but to consider the power of doing to be a sufficient gain, and to deem that thou art offering a sacrifice to Christ, as in those days of thy endurance so in these of meekness. O people to whom the Lord hath prepared Himself to do good, as to do evil to thine enemies.(a) O people, whom the Lord hath chosen to Himself out of all peoples; O people who art graven upon the hands of the Lord, to whom saith the Lord, Thou art My Will; and, Thy gates are carved work, and all the rest that is said to them that are being saved. O people;--nay, marvel not at my insatiability that I repeat your name so often; for I delight in this continual naming of you, like those who can never have enough of their enjoyment of certain spectacles or sounds.

VII. But, O people of God and mine, beautiful also was your yesterday's assembly, which you held upon the sea, and pleasant, if any sight ever was, to the eyes, when I saw the sea like a forest, and hidden by a cloud made with hands, and the beauty and speed of your ships, as though ordered for a procession, and the slight breeze astern, as though purposely escorting you, and wafting to the City your city of the Sea. Yet the present assembly which we now behold is more beautiful and more magnificent. For you have not hastened to mingle with the larger number, nor have you reckoned religion by numbers, nor endured to be a mere unorganized rabble, rather than a people purified by the Word of God; but having, as is right, rendered to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, ye have offered besides to God the things that are God's; to the former Custom, to the latter Fear; and after feeding the people with your cargoes, you yourselves have come to be fed by us. For we also distribute corn, and our distribution is perhaps not worth less than yours. Come eat of my Bread and drink of the Wine which I have mingled for you.(b) I join with Wisdom in bidding you to my table. For I commend your good feeling, and I hasten to meet your ready mind, because ye came to us as to your own harbour, running to your like; and ye valued the kindred Faith, and thought it monstrous that, while they who insult higher things are in harmony with each other and think alike, and think to make good each man's individual falsehood by their common conspiracy, like ropes which get strength from being twisted together; yet you should not meet nor combine with those who are of the same mind, with whom it is more reasonable that you should associate, for we gather in the Godhead also. And that you may see that not in vain have you come to us, and that you have not brought up in a port among strangers and foreigners, but amongst your own people, and have been well guided by the Holy Ghost; we will discourse to you briefly concerning God; and do you recognize your own, like those who distinguish their kindred by the ensigns of their arms.

VIII. I find two highest differences in things that exist, viz.:--Rule, and Service; not such as among us either tyranny has cut or poverty has severed, but which nature has distinguished, if any like to use this word. For That which is First is also above nature. Of these the former is creative, and originating, and unchangeable; but the other is created, and subject and changing; or to speak yet more plainly, the one is above time, and the other subject to time. The Former is called God, and subsists in Three Greatest, namely, the Cause, the Creator, and the Perfecter; I mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are neither so separated from one another as to be divided in nature, nor so contracted as to be circumscribed by a single person; the one alternative being that of the Arian madness, the other that of the Sabellian heresy; but they are on the one hand more single than what is altogether divided, and on the other more abundant than what is altogether singular. The other division is with us, and is called Creation, though one may be exalted above another according to the proportion of their nearness to God.

IX. This being so, if any be on the Lord's side let him come with us,(a) and let us adore the One Godhead in the Three; not ascribing any name of humiliation to the unapproachable Glory, but having the exaltations of the Triune God continually in our mouth.(b) For since we cannot properly describe even the greatness of Its Nature, on account of Its infinity and undefinableness, how can we assert of It humiliation? But if any one be estranged from God, and therefore divideth the One Supreme Substance into an inequality of Natures, it were marvellous if such an one were not Cut in sunder by the sword, and his portion appointed with the unbelievers,(g) reaping any evil fruit of his evil thought both now and hereafter.

X. What must we say of the Father, Whom by common consent all who have been preoccupied with natural conceptions share, although He hath endured the beginnings of dishonour, having been first divided by ancient innovation into the Good and the Creator. And of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, see how simply and concisely we shall discourse. If any one could say of Either that He was mutable or subject to change; or that either in time, or place, or power, or energy He could be measured; or that He was not naturally good, or not Self-moved, or not a free agent, or a Minister, or a Hymnsinger; or that He feared, or was a recipient of freedom, or was not counted with God; let him prove this and we will acquiesce, and will be glorified by the Majesty of our Fellow Servants, though we lose our God. But if all that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality; and all that is the Son's belongs also to the Spirit, except His Sonship, and whatsoever is spoken of Him as to Incarnation for me a man, and for my salvation, that, taking of mine, He may impart His own by this new commingling; then cease your babbling, though so late, O ye sophists of vain talk that falls at once to the ground; for why will ye die O House of Israel?(a)--if I may mourn for you in the words of Scripture.

XI. For my part I revere also the Titles of the Word, which are so many, and so high and great, which even the demons respect. And I revere also the Equal Rank of the Holy Ghost; and I fear the threat pronounced against those who blaspheme Him. And blasphemy is not the reckoning Him God, but the severing Him from the Godhead. And here you must remark that That which is blasphemed is Lord, and That which is avenged is the Holy Ghost, evidently as Lord. I cannot bear to be unenlightened after my Enlightenment, by marking with a different stamp any of the Three into Whom I was baptized; and thus to be indeed buried in the water, and initiated not into Regeneration, but into death.

XII. I dare to utter something, O Trinity; and may pardon be granted to my folly, for the risk is to my soul. I too am an Image of God, of the Heavenly Glory, though I be placed on earth. I cannot believe that I am saved by one who is my equal. If the Holy Ghost is not God, let Him first be made God, and then let Him deify me His equal. But now what deceit this is on the part of grace, or rather of the givers of grace, to believe in God and to come away godless; by one set of questions and confessions leading to another set of conclusions. Alas for this fair fame, if after the Layer I am blackened, if I am to see those who are not yet cleansed brighter than myself; if I am cheated by the heresy of my Baptizer; if I seek for the stronger Spirit and find Him not. Give me a second Font before you think evil of the first. Why do you grudge me a complete regeneration? Why do you make me, who am the Temple of the Holy Ghost as of God, the habitation of a creature? Why do you honour part of what belongs to me, and dishonour part, judging falsely of the Godhead, to cut me off from the Gift, or rather to cut me in two by the gift? Either honour the Whole, or dishonour the Whole, O new Theologian, that, if you are wicked, you may at any rate be consistent with yourself, and not judge unequally of an equal nature.

XIII. To sum up my discourse:--Glorify Him with the Cherubim, who unite the Three Holies into One Lord,(a) and so far indicate the Primal Substance as their wings open to the diligent. With David be enlightened, who said to the Light, In Thy Light shall we see Light,(b) that is, in the Spirit we shall see the Son; and what can be of further reaching ray? With John thunder, sounding forth nothing that is low or earthly concerning God, but what is high and heavenly, Who is in the beginning, and is with God, and is God the Word,(g) and true God of the true Father, and not a good fellow- servant honoured only with the title of Son; and the Other Comforter (other, that is, from the Speaker, Who was the Word of God). And when you read, I and the Father are One,(d) keep before your eyes the Unity of Substance; but when you see, "We will come to him, and make Our abode with him,"(e) remember the distinction of Persons; and when you see the Names, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, think of the Three Personalities.

XIV. With Luke be inspired as you study the Acts of the Apostles. Why do you range yourself with Ananias and Sapphira, those vain embezzlers (if indeed the theft of one's own property be a vain thing) and that by appropriating, not silver nor any other cheap and worthless thing, like a wedge of gold,(z) or a didrachma, as did of old a rapacious soldier; but stealing the Godhead Itself, and lying, not to men but to God, as you have heard. What? Will you not reverence even the authority of the Spirit Who breathes upon whom, and when, and as He wills? He comes upon Cornelius and his companions before Baptism, to others after Baptism, by the hands of the Apostles; so that from both sides, both from the fact that He comes in the guise of a Master and not of a Servant, and from the fact of His being sought to make perfect, the Godhead of the Spirit is testified.

XV. Speak of God with Paul, who was caught up to the third Heaven,(a) and who sometimes counts up the Three Persons, and that in varied order, not keeping the same order, but reckoning one and the same Person now first, now second, now third; and for what purpose? Why, to shew the equality of the Nature. And sometimes he mentions Three, sometimes Two or One, became That which is not mentioned is included. And sometimes he attributes the operation of God to the Spirit, as in no respect different from Him, and sometimes instead of the Spirit he brings in Christ; and at times he separates the Persons saying, "One God, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him;"(b) at other times he brings together the one Godhead, "For of Him and through Him and in Him are all things;"(g) that is, through the Holy Ghost, as is shown by many places in Scripture. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.



1. Jesus Who Chose The Fishermen, Himself also useth a net, and changeth place for place. Why? Not only that He may gain more of those who love God by His visitation; but also, as it seems to me, that He may hallow more places. To the Jews He becomes as a Jew that He may gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law as under the Law, that He may redeem them that are under the Law; to the weak as weak, that He may save the weak. He is made all things to all men that He may gain all. Why do I say, All things to all men? For even that which Paul could not endure to say of himself I find that the Saviour suffered. For He is made not only a Jew, and not only doth He take to Himself all monstrous and vile names, but even that which is most monstrous of all, even very sin and very curse; not that He it such, but He is called so. For how can He be sin, Who setteth us free from sin; and how can He be a curse, Who redeemeth us from the curse of the Law?(d) But it is in order that He may carry His display of humility even to this extent, and form us to that humility which is the producer of exaltation. As I said then, He is made a Fisherman; He condescendeth to all; He casteth the net; He endureth all things, that He may draw up the fish from the depths, that is, Man who is swimming in the unsettled and bitter waves of life.

II. Therefore now also, when He had finished these sayings He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; He dwelleth well in Galilee, in order that the people which sat in darkness may see great Light.(a) He removeth to Judea in order that He may persuade people to rise up from the Letter and to follow the Spirit. He teacheth, now on a mountain; now He discourseth on a plain; now He passeth over into a ship; now He rebuketh the surges. And perhaps He goes to sleep, in order that He may bless sleep also; perhaps He is tired that He may hallow weariness also; perhaps He weeps that He may make tears blessed. He removeth from place to place, Who is not contained in any place; the timeless, the bodiless, the uncircumscript, the same Who was and is; Who was both above time, and came under time, and was invisible and is seen. He was in the beginning and was with God, and was God.(b) The word Was occurs the third time to be confirmed by number. What He was He laid aside; what He was not He assumed; not that He became two, but He deigned to be One made out of the two. For both are God, that which assumed, and that which was assumed; two Natures meeting in One, not two Sons (let us not give a false account of the blending). He who is such and so great--but what has befallen me? I have fallen into human language. For how can So Great be said of the Absolute, and how can That which is without quantity be called Such? But pardon the word, for I am speaking of the greatest things with a limited instrument. And That great and long-suffering and formless and bodiless Nature will endure this, namely, my words as if of a body, and weaker than the truth. For if He condescended to Flesh, He will also endure such language.

III. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there, where the multitude was greater. If He had abode upon His own eminence, if He had not condescended to infirmity, if He had remained what He was, keeping Himself unapproachable and incomprehensible, a few perhaps would have followed Him--perhaps not even a few, possibly only Moses--and He only so far as to see with difficulty the Back Parts of God.(a) For He penetrated the cloud, either being placed outside the weight of the body or being withdrawn from his senses; for how could he have gazed upon the subtlety, or the in-corporeity, or I know not how one should call it, of God, being incorporate and using material eyes? But inasmuch as He strips Himself for us, inasmuch as He comes down (and speak of an exinanition, as it were, a laying aside and a diminution of His glory), He becomes by this comprehensible,

IV. And pardon me meanwhile that I again suffer a human affection. I am filled with indignation and grief for my Christ (and would that you might sympathize with me) when I see my Christ dishonoured on this account on which He most merited honour. He on this account to be dishonoured, tell me, that for you He was humble? Is He therefore a Creature, because He careth for the creature? Is He therefore subject to time, because He watches over those who are subject to time Nay, He beareth all things, He endureth all things.(b) And what marvel? He put up with blows, He bore spittings, He tasted gall for my taste. And even now He bears to be stoned, not only by those who deal despite-fully with Him, but also by ourselves who seem to reverence Him. For to use corporeal names when discoursing of the incorporeal is perhaps the part of those who deal despitefully and stone Him; but pardon, I say again to our infirmity, for I do not willingly stone Him; but having no other words to use, we use what we have. Thou art called the Word, and Thou art above Word; Thou art above Light, yet art named Light; Thou art called Fire not as perceptible to sense, but because Thou purgest light and worthless matter; a Sword, because Thou severest the worse from the better; a Fan, because Thou purgest the threshing-floor, and blowest away all that is light and windy, and layest up in the garner above all that is weighty and full; an Axe, because Thou cuttest down the worthless fig-tree, after long patience, because Thou cuttest away the roots of wickedness; the Door, because Thou bringest in; the Way, because we go straight; the Sheep, because Thou art the Sacrifice; the High Priest, because Thou offerest the Body the Son, because Thou art of the Father. Again I stir men's tongues; again some men rave against Christ, or rather against me, who have been deemed worthy to be a herald of the Word. I am like John, The Voice of one crying in the wilderness(a)--a wilderness that once was dry, but now is only too populous.

V. But, as I was saying, to return to my argument; for this reason great multitudes followed Him, because He condescended to our infirmities. What next? The Pharisees also, it says, came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Again the Pharisees tempt Him; again they who read the Law do not know the Law; again they who are expounders of the Law need others to teach them. It was not enough that Sadducees should tempt Him concerning the Resurrection, and Lawyers question Him about perfection, and the Herodians about the poll-tax, and others about authority; but some one must also ask about Marriage at Him who cannot be tempted, the Creator of wedlock, Him who from the First Cause made this whole race of mankind. And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female? He knoweth how to solve some of their questions and to bridle others. When He is asked, By what authority doest thou these things? He Himself, because of the utter ignorance of those who asked Him, replies with another question; The baptism of John, was it from Heaven or of men? He on both sides entangles His questioners, so that we also are able, following the example of Christ, sometimes to check those who argue with us over-officiously, and with still more absurd questions to solve the absurdity of their questions. For we too are wise in vanity at times, if I may boast of the things of folly. But when He sees a question that calls for reasoning, then He does not deem His questioners unworthy of prudent answers.

VI. The question which you have put seems to me to do honour to chastity, and to demand a kind reply. Chastity, in respect of which I see that the majority of men are ill-disposed, and that their laws are unequal and irregular. For what was the reason why they restrained the woman, but indulged the man, and that a woman who practises evil against her husband's bed is an adulteress, and the penalties of the law for this are very severe; but if the husband commits fornication against his wife, he has no account to give? I do not accept this legislation; I do not approve this custom. They who made the Law were men, and therefore their legislation is hard on women, since they have placed children also under the authority of their fathers, while leaving the weaker sex uncared for. God doth not so; but saith Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Similarly He gave honour to good and punishment to evil. And, The blessing of a father strengtheneth the houses of children, but the curse of a mother uprooteth the foundations.(a) See the equality of the legislation. There is one Maker of man and woman; one debt is owed by children to both their parents.

VII. How then dost thou demand Chastity, while thou dost not thyself observe it? How dost thou demand that which thou dost not give? How, though thou art equally a body, dost thou legislate unequally? If thou enquire into the worse--The Woman Sinned, and so did Adam.(b) The serpent deceived them both; and one was not found to be the stronger and the other the weaker. But dost thou consider the better? Christ saves both by His Passion. Was He made flesh for the Man? So He was also for the woman. Did He die for the Man? The Woman also is saved by His death. He is called of the seed of David;(g) and so perhaps you think the Man is honoured; but He is born of a Virgin, and this is on the Woman's side. They two, He says, shall be one Flesh; so let the one flesh have equal honour." And Paul legislates for chastity by His example. How, and in what way? This Sacrament is great, he says, But I speak concerning Christ and the Church.(d) It is well for the wife to reverence Christ through her husband: and it is well for the husband not to dishonor the Church through his wife. Let the wife, he says, see that she reverence her husband, for so she does Christ; but also he bids the husband cherish his wife, for so Christ does the Church.(e) Let us, then, give further consideration to this saying.

VIII. Churn milk and it will be butter;(z) examine this and perhaps you may find something more nourishing in it. For I think that the Word here seems to deprecate second marriage. For, if there were two Christs, there may be two husbands or two wives; but if Christ is One, one Head of the Church, let there be also one flesh, and let a second be rejected; and if it hinder the second what is to be said for a third? The first is law, the second is indulgence, the third is transgression, and anything beyond this is swinish, such as has not even many examples of its wickedness. Now the Law grants divorce for every cause; but Christ not for every cause; but He allows only separation from the whore; and in all other things He commands patience. He allows to put away the fornicatress, because she corrupts the offspring; but in all other matters let us be patient and endure; or rather be ye(a) enduring and patient, as many as have received the yoke of matrimony. If you see lines or marks upon her, take away her ornaments; if a hasty tongue, restrain it; if a meretricious laugh, make it modest; if immoderate expenditure or drink, reduce it; if unseasonable going out, shackle it; if a lofty eye, chastise it. It is uncertain which is in danger, the separator or the separated. Let thy fountain of water, it says, be only thine own, and let no stranger share it with thee;(b) and, let the colt of thy favours and the stag of thy love company with thee; do thou then take care not to be a strange river, nor to please others better than thine own wife. But if thou be carried elsewhere, then thou makest a law of lewdness for thy partner also. Thus saith the Saviour.

IX. But what of the Pharisees? To them this word seems harsh. Yes, for they are also displeased at other noble words--both the older Pharisees, and the Pharisees of the present day. For it is not only race, but disposition also that makes a Pharisee. Thus also I reckon as an Assyrian or an Egyptian him who is ranged among these by his character. What then say the Pharisees? If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. Is it only now, O Pharisee, that thou understandest this, It is not good to marry?(g) Didst thou not know it before when thou sawest widowhoods, and orphanhoods, and untimely deaths, and mourning succeeding to shouting, and funerals coming upon weddings, and childlessness, and all the comedy or tragedy that is connected with this? Either is most appropriate language. It is good to marry; I too admit it, for marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.(d) It is good for the temperate, not for those who are insatiable, and who desire to give more than due honour to the flesh. When marriage is only marriage and conjunction and the desire for a succession of children, marriage is honourable, for it brings into the world more to please God. But when it kindles matter, and surrounds us with thorns, and as it were discovers the way of vice, then I too say, It is not good to marry.

X. Marriage is honourable; but I cannot say that it is more lofty than virginity; for virginity were no great thing if it were not better than a good thing. Do not however be angry, ye women that are subject to the yoke. We must obey God rather than man. But be ye bound together, both virgins and wives, and be one in the Lord, and each others' adornment. There would be no celibate if there were no marriage. For whence would the virgin have passed into this life? Marriage would not have been venerable unless it had borne virgin fruit to God and to life. Honour thou also thy mother, of whom thou wast born. Honour thou also her who is of a mother and is a mother.(a) A mother she is not, but a Bride of Christ she is. The visible beauty is not hidden, but that which is unseen is visible to God. All the glory of the King's Daughter is within,(b) clothed with golden fringes, embroidered whether by actions or by contemplation. And she who is under the yoke, let her also in some degree be Christ's; and the virgin altogether Christ's. Let the one be not entirely chained to the world,(g) and let the other not belong to the world at all. For that which is a part to the yoked, is to the virgin all in all. Hast thou chosen the life of Angels? Art thou ranked among the unyoked? Sink not down to the flesh; sink not down to matter; be not wedded to matter, while otherwise thou remainest unwedded. A lascivious eye guardeth not virginity; a meretricious tongue mingles with the Evil One; feet that walk disorderly accuse of disease or danger. Let the mind also be virgin; let it not rove about; let it not wander; let it not carry in itself forms of evil things (for the form is a part of harlotry); let it not make idols in its soul of hateful things.

XI. But He said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. Do you see the sublimity of the matter? It is found to be nearly incomprehensible. For surely it is more than carnal that that which is born of flesh should not beget to the flesh. Surely it is Angelic that she who is bound to flesh should live not according to flesh, but be loftier than her nature. The flesh bound her to the world, but reason led her up to God. The flesh weighed her down, but reason gave her wings; the flesh bound her, but desire loosed her. With thy whole soul, O Virgin, be intent upon God (I give this same injunction to men and to women); and do not take the same view in other respects of what is honourable as the mass of men do; of family, of wealth, of throne, of dynasty, of that beauty which shews itself in complexion and composition of members, the plaything of time and disease. If thou hast poured out upon God the whole of thy love; if thou hast not two objects of desire, both the passing and the abiding, both the visible and the invisible, then thou hast been so pierced by the arrow of election, and hast so learned the beauty of the Bridegroom, that thou too canst say with the bridal drama and song, thou art sweetness and altogether loveliness.

XII. You see how streams confined in lead pipes, through being much compressed and carried to one point, often so far depart from the nature of water that that which is pushed from behind will often flow constantly upwards. So if thou confine thy desire, and be wholly joined to God, thou wilt not fall downward; thou wilt not be dissipated; thou wilt remain entirely Christ's, until thou see Christ thy Bridegroom. Keep thyself unapproachable, both in word and work and life, and thought and action. From all sides the Evil One interferes with thee; he spies thee everywhere, where he may strike, where wound thee; let him not find anything bared and ready to his stroke. The purer he sees thee, the more he strives to stain thee, for the stains on a shining garment are more conspicuous. Let not eye draw eye, nor laughter, nor familiarity night, lest night bring destruction. For that which is gradually drawn away and stolen, works a mischief which is unperceived at the time, but yet attains to the consummation of wickedness.

XIII. All men, He saith, cannot receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. When you hear this, It is given, do not understand it in a heretical fashion, and bring in differences of nature, the earthly and the spiritual and the mixed. For there are people so evilly disposed as to think that some men are of an utterly ruined nature, and some of a nature which is saved, and that others are of such a disposition as their will may lead them to, either to the better, or to the worse. For that men may have a certain aptitude, one more, another less, I too admit; but not that this aptitude alone suffices for perfection, but that it is reason which calls this out, that nature may proceed to action, just as fire is produced when a flint is struck with iron. When you hear To whom it is given, add, And it is given to those who are called and to those who incline that way. For when you hear, Not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,(a) I counsel you to think the same. For since there are some who are so proud of their successes that they attribute all to themselves and nothing to Him that made them and gave them wisdom and supplied them with good; such are taught by this word that even to wish well needs help from God; or rather that even to choose what is right is divine and a gift of the mercy of God. For it is necessary both that we should be our own masters and also that our salvation should be of God. This is why He saith not of him that willeth; that is, not of him that willeth only, nor of him that runneth only, but also of God. That sheweth mercy. Next; since to will also is from God, he has attributed the whole to God with reason. However much you may run, however much you may wrestle, yet you need one to give the crown. Except the Lord build the house, they laboured in vain that built it: Except the Lord keep the city, in vain they watched that keep it.(b) I know, He says, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,(g) nor the victory to the fighters, nor the harbours to the good sailors; but to God it belongs both to work victory, and to bring the barque safe to port.

XIV. In another place it is also said and understood, and perhaps it is necessary that I should add it as follows to what has already been said, in order that I may impart to you also my wealth. The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee, in an impulse of parental affection, asked a thing in ignorance of the measure of what she was asking,(d) but pardonably, through the excess of her love and of the kindness due to her children. For there is nothing more affectionate than a Mother,--and I speak of this that I may lay down a law for honouring Mothers. Their mother, then, asked Jesus that they might sit, the one on His right hand, the other on his left. But what saith the Saviour? He first asks if they can drink the Cup Which He Himself was about to drink; and when this was professed, and the Saviour accepted the profession (for He knew that they were being perfected by the same, or rather that they would be perfected thereby); what saith He? "They shall drink the cup; but to sit on My right hand and on My left--it is not Mine, He saith, to give this, but to whom it hath been given." Is then the ruling mind nothing? Nothing the labour? Nothing the reasoning? Nothing the philosophy? Nothing the fasting? Nothing the vigils, the sleeping on the ground, the shedding floods of tears? Is it for nothing of these, but in accordance with some election by lot, that a Jeremias is sanctified, and others are estranged from the womb?

XV. I fear lest some monstrous reasoning may come in, as of the soul having lived elsewhere, and then having been bound to this body, and that it is from that other life that some receive the gift of prophecy, and others are condemned, namely, those who lived badly. But since such a conception is too absurd, and contrary to the traditions of the Church (others if they like may play with such doctrines, but it is unsafe for us to play with them); we must in this place too add to the words "To whom it hath been given," this, "who are worthy;" who have not only received this character from the Father, but have given it to themselves.

XVI. For there are eunuchs which were made eunuchs from their mother's womb, etc. I should very much like to be able to say something bold about eunuchs. Be not proud, ye who are eunuchs by nature. For, in point of self- restraint, this is perhaps unwilling. For it has not come to the test, nor has your self-restraint been proved by trial. For the good which is by nature is not a subject of merit; that which is the result of purpose is laudable. What merit has fire for burning, for it is its nature to burn? What merit has water for falling, a property given to it by its Maker? What thanks does the snow get for its coldness, or the sun for its shining?--It shines even if it does not wish. Claim merit if you please by willing the better things. You will claim it if, being carnal, you make yourself spiritual; if, while drawn down by the leaden flesh, you receive wings from reason; if though lowly born, you are found to be heavenly; if while chained down to the flesh, you shew yourself superior to the flesh.

XVII. Since then, natural chastity is not meritorious, I demand something else from the eunuchs. Do not go a whoring in respect of the Godhead. Having been wedded to Christ, do not dishonour Christ. Being perfected by the spirit, do not make the Spirit your own equal. If I yet pleased men, says Paul, I should not be the servant of Christ.(a) If I worshipped a creature, I should not be called a Christian. For why is Christianity precious? Is it not that Christ is God, unless my mingling with Him in love is a mere human passion? And yet I honour Peter, but I am not called a Petrine; and Paul, but have never been called a Pauline. I cannot allow myself to be named after a man, who am born of God. So then, if it is because you believe Him to be God that you are called a Christian, may you ever be so called, and may you remain in both the name and the thing; but if you are called from Christ only because you have an affection for Him, you attribute no more to him than other names which are given from some practice or fact.

XVIII. Consider those men who are devoted to horse racing. They are named after the colours and the sides on which they have placed themselves. You know the names without my mentioning them. If it is thus that you have got the name of Christian, the mere title is a very small thing even though you pride yourself upon it. But if it is because you believe Him to be God, shew your faith by your works. If the Son is a creature, even now also you are worshipping the creature instead of the Creator. If the Holy Ghost is a creature, you are baptized in vain, and are only sound on two sides, or rather not even on them; but on one you are altogether in danger. Imagine the Trinity to be a single pearl, alike on all sides and equally glistening. If any part of the pearl be injured; the whole beauty of the stone is gone. So when you dishonour the Son in order to honour the Father, He does not accept your hon-our. The Father doth not glory in the dishonour of the Son. If a wise Son maketh a glad Father,(b) how much more doth the honour of the Son become that of the Father! And if you also accept this saying, My Son, glory not in the dishonour of thy Father,(g) similarly the Father doth not glory in the Son's dishonour. If you dishonour the Holy Ghost, the Son receiveth not your honour. For though He be not of the Father in the same way as the Son, yet He is of the same Father. Either honour the whole or dishonour the whole, so as to have a consistent mind. I cannot accept your half piety. I would have you altogether pious, but in the way that I desire. Pardon my affection: I am grieved even for those who hate me. You were one of my members, even though you are now cut off: perhaps you will again become a member; and therefore I speak kindly. Thus much for the sake of the Eunuchs, that they may be chaste in respect of the Godhead.

XIX. For it is not only bodily sin which is called fornication and adultery, but any sin you have committed, and especially transgression against that which is divine. Perhaps you ask how we can prove this :--They went a whoring, it says, with their own inventions.(a) Do you see an impudent act of fornication? And again, They committed adultery in the wood.(b) See you a kind of adulterous religion? Do not then commit spiritual adultery, while keeping your bodies chaste. Do not shew that it is unwillingly you are chaste in body, by not being chaste where you can commit fornication. Why have you done your impiety? Why are you hurried to vice, so that it is all one to call a man a Eunuch or a villain? Place yourselves on the side of men, and, even though so late, have some manly thoughts. Avoid the women's apartments; do not let the disgrace of proclamation be added to the disgrace of the name. Would you have us persevere a little longer in this discourse, or are you tired with what we have said? Nay, by what follows let even the eunuchs be honoured. For the word is one of praise.

XX. There are, He says, some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. I think that the discourse would sever itself from the body, and represent higher things by bodily figures; for to stop the meaning at bodily eunuchs would be small and very weak, and unworthy of the Word; and we must understand in addition something worthy of the Spirit. Some, then, seem by nature to incline to good. And when I speak of nature, I am not slighting free will, but supposing both--an aptitude for good, and that which brings the natural aptitude to effect. And there are others whom reason cleanses, by cutting them off from the passions. These I imagine to be meant by those whom men have made Eunuchs, when the word of teaching distinguishing the better from the worse and rejecting the one and commanding the other (like the verse, Depart from evil and do good),(g) works spiritual chastity. This sort of making eunuchs I approve; and I highly praise both teachers and taught, that the one have nobly effected, and the other still more nobly endured, the cutting off.

XXI. And there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. Others, too, who have not met with teachers, have been laudable teachers to themselves. No father nor mother, no Priest or Bishop, nor any of those commissioned to teach, taught you your duty; but by moving reason in yourself and by kindling the spark of good by your free will, you made yourself a eunuch, and acquired such a habit of virtue that impulse to vice became almost an impossibility to you. Therefore I praise this kind of Eunuch-making also, and perhaps even above the others. He that is able to receive it let him receive it. Choose which part you will; either follow the Teacher or be your own teacher. One thing alone is shameful--that the passions be not extirpated. It matters not how they are extirpated. The teacher is God's creature; and you also have the same origin; and whether the teacher grasp this grace, or the good be your own-- it is equally good.

XXII. Only let us cut ourselves off from passion, test any root of bitterness springing up trouble us;(a) only let us follow the image; only let us reverence our Archetype. Cut off the bodily passions; cut off also the spiritual. For by how much the soul is more precious than the body, by so much more precious is it to cleanse the soul than the body. And if cleansing of the body be a praiseworthy act, see, I pray you, how much greater and higher is that of the soul. Cut away the Arian impiety; cut away the false opinion of Sabellius; do not join more than is right, or wrongly sever; do not either confuse the Three Persons into One, or make Three diversities of Nature. The One is praiseworthy if rightly understood; and the Three when rightly divided, when the division is of Persons, not of Godhead.

XXIII. I enact this for Laymen too, and I enjoin it also upon all Priests, and upon those commissioned to rule. Come to the aid of the Word, all of you to whom God has given power to aid. It is a great thing to check murder, to punish adultery, to chastise theft; much more to establish piety by law, and to bestow sound doctrine. My word will not be able to do as much in fighting for the Holy Trinity as your Edict, if you will bridle the ill disposed, if you will help the persecuted, if you will check the slayers, and prevent people from being slain. I am speaking not merely of bodily but of spiritual slaughter. For all sin is the death of the soul. Here let my discourse end.

XXIV. But it remains that I speak a prayer for those who are assembled. Husbands alike and wives, rulers and ruled, old men, and young men, and maidens, every sort of age, bear ye every loss whether of money or of body, but one thing alone do not endure--to lose the Godhead. I adore the Father, I adore the Son, I adore the Holy Ghost; or rather We adore them; I, who am speaking, before all and after all and with all, in the same Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory and the might for ever. Amen.


THE Title of this Oration has given rise to a doubt whether it was preached on Dec. 25, 380, or on Jan. 6, 381. The word Theophania is well known as a name for the Epiphany; which, however, according to Schaff,(a) was originally a celebration both of the Nativity and the Baptism of our Lord. The two words seem both to have been used in the simplest sense of the Manifestation of God, and certainly were applied to Christmas Day.



I. CHRIST IS BORN, glorify ye Him. Christ from heaven, go ye out to meet Him. Christ on earth; be ye exalted. Sing unto the Lord all the whole earth;(a) and that I may join both in one word, Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him Who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope. Christ of a Virgin; O ye Matrons live as Virgins, that ye may be Mothers of Christ. Who doth not worship Him That is from the beginning? Who doth not glorify Him That is the Last?

II. Again the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar.(a) The people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, let it see the Great Light of full knowledge.(b) Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.(g) The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the Truth comes in upon them. Melchisedec is concluded.(d) He that was without Mother becomes without Father (without Mother of His former state, without Father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all ye people,(e) because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, Whose Government is upon His shoulder (for with the Cross it is raised up), and His Name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father.(z) Let John cry, Prepare ye the way of the Lord:(h) I too will cry the power of this Day. He Who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the Same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.(th) Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride;(k) let heretics talk till their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending up into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

III. Of these on a future occasion; for the present the Festival is the Theophany or Birth-day, for it is called both, two titles being given to the one thing. For God was manifested to man by birth. On the one hand Being, and eternally Being, of the Eternal Being, above cause and word, for there was no word before The Word; and on the other hand for our sakes also Becoming, that He Who gives us our being might also give us our Well-being, or rather might restore us by His Incarnation, when we had by wickedness fallen from wellbeing. The name Theophany is given to it in reference to the Manifestation, and that of Birthday in respect of His Birth.

IV. This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating to-day, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth,(l) or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God--that putting off the old man, we might put on the New; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ,(a) being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him.(b) For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful. For where sin abounded Grace did much more abound;(g) and if a taste condemned us, how much more doth the Passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to Him Who is ours, or rather as our Master's; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.

V. And how shall this be? Let us not adorn our porches, nor arrange dances, nor decorate the streets; let us not feast the eye, nor enchant the ear with music, nor enervate the nostrils with perfume, nor prostitute the taste, nor indulge the touch, those roads that are so prone to evil and entrances for sin; let us not be effeminate in clothing soft and flowing, whose beauty consists in its uselessness, nor with the glittering of gems or the sheen of gold(d) or the tricks of colour, belying the beauty of nature, and invented to do despite unto the image of God; Not in rioting and drunkenness, with which are mingled, I know well, chambering and wantonness, since the lessons which evil teachers give are evil; or rather the harvests of worthless seeds are worthless. Let us not set up high beds of leaves, making tabernacles for the belly of what belongs to debauchery. Let us not appraise the bouquet of wines, the kickshaws of cooks, the great expense of unguents. Let not sea and land bring us as a gift their precious dung, for it is thus that I have learnt to estimate luxury; and let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance (for to my mind every superfluity is intemperance, and all which is beyond absolute need),--and this while others are hungry and in want, who are made of the same clay and in the same manner.

VI. Let us leave all these to the Greeks and to the pomps and festivals of the Greeks, who call by the name of gods beings who rejoice in the reek of sacrifices, and who consistently worship with their belly; evil inventors and worshippers of evil demons. But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word, if we must in some way have luxury, let us seek it in word, and in the Divine Law, and in histories; especially such as are the origin of this Feast; that our luxury may be akin to and not far removed from Him Who hath called us together. Or do you desire (for to-day I am your entertainer) that I should set before you, my good Guests, the story of these things as abundantly and as nobly as I can, that ye may know how a foreigner can feed(a) the natives of the land, and a rustic the people of the town, and one who cares not for luxury those who delight in it, and one who is poor and homeless those who are eminent for wealth?

We will begin from this point; and let me ask of you who delight in such matters to cleanse you mind and your ears and your thoughts, since our discourse is to be of God and Divine; that when you depart, you may have had the enjoyment of delights that really fade not away. And this same discourse shall be at once both very full and very concise, that you may neither be displeased at its deficiencies, nor find it unpleasant through satiety.

VII. God always was,(b) and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily ... not by His Essentials, but by His Environment; one image being got from one source and another from another, and combined into some sort of presentation of the truth, which escapes us before we have caught it, and takes to flight before we have conceived it, blazing forth upon our Master-part, even when that is cleansed, as the lightning flash which will not stay its course, does upon our sight … in order as I conceive by that part of it which we can comprehend to draw us to itself (for that which is altogether incomprehensible is outside the bounds of hope, and not within the compass of endeavour), and by that part of It which we cannot comprehend to move our wonder, and as an object of wonder to become more an object of desire, and being desired to purify, and by purifying to make us like God;(a) so that when we have thus become like Himself, God may, to use a bold expression, hold converse with us as Gods, being united to us, and that perhaps to the same extent as He already knows those who are known to Him. The Divine Nature then is boundless and hard to understand; and all that we can comprehend of Him is His boundlessness; even though one may conceive that because He is of a simple nature He is therefore either wholly incomprehensible, or perfectly comprehensible. For let us further enquire what is implied by "is of a simple nature." For it is quite certain that this simplicity is not itself its nature, just as composition is not by itself the essence of compound beings.

VIII. And when Infinity is considered from two points of view, beginning and end (for that which is beyond these and not limited by them is Infinity), when the mind looks to the depth above, not having where to stand, and leans upon phenomena to form an idea of God, it calls the Infinite and Unapproachable which it finds there by the name of Unoriginate. And when it looks into the depths below, and at the future, it calls Him Undying and Imperishable. And when it draws a conclusion from the whole it calls Him Eternal(ai'wnios). For Eternity (ai'wn) is neither time nor part of time; for it cannot be measured. But what time, measured by the course of the sun, is to us, that Eternity is to the Everlasting, namely, a sort of time-like movement and interval co-extensive with their existence. This, however, is all I must now say about God; for the present is not a suitable time, as my present subject is not the doctrine of God, but that of the Incarnation. But when I say God, I mean Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For Godhead is neither diffused beyond these, so as to bring in a mob of gods; nor yet is it bounded by a smaller compass than these, so as to condemn us for a poverty-stricken conception of Deity; either Judaizing to save the Monarchia, or failing into heathenism by the multitude of our gods. For the evil on either side is the same, though found in contrary directions. This then is the Holy of Holies,(b) which is hidden even from the Seraphim, and is glorified with a thrice repeated Holy,(a) meeting in one ascription of the Title Lord and God, as one of our predecessors has most beautifully and loftily pointed out.

IX. But since this movement of self-contemplation alone could not satisfy Goodness, but Good must be poured out and go forth beyond Itself to multiply the objects of Its beneficence, for this was essential to the highest Goodness, He first conceived the Heavenly and Angelic Powers. And this conception was a work fulfilled by His Word, and perfected by His Spirit. And so the secondary Splendours came into being, as the Ministers of the Primary Splendour; whether we are to conceive of them as intelligent Spirits, or as Fire of an immaterial and incorruptible kind, or as some other nature approaching this as near as may be. I should like to say that they were incapable of movement in the direction of evil, and susceptible only of the movement of good, as being about God, and illumined with the first rays from God--for earthly beings have but the second illumination; but I am obliged to stop short of saying that, and to conceive and speak of them only as difficult to move because of him,(b) who for his splendour was called Lucifer, but became and is called Darkness through his pride; and the apostate hosts who are subject to him, creators of evil(g) by their revolt against good and our inciters.

X. Thus, then, and for these reasons, He gave being to the world of thought, as far as I can reason upon these matters, and estimate great things in my own poor language. Then when His first creation was in good order, He conceives a second world, material and visible; and this a system and compound of earth and sky, and all that is in the midst of them--an admirable creation indeed, when we look at the fair form of every part, but yet more worthy of admiration when we consider the harmony and the unison of the whole, and how each part fits in with every other, in fair order, and all with the whole, tending to the perfect completion of the world as a Unit. This was to shew that He could call into being, not only a Nature akin to Himself, but also one altogether alien to Himself. For akin to Deity are those natures which are intellectual, and only to be comprehended by mind; but all of which sense can take cognisance are utterly alien to It; and of these the furthest removed are all those which are entirely destitute of soul and of power of motion. But perhaps some one of those who are too festive and impetuous may say, What has all this to do with us? Spur your horse to the goal. Talk to us about the Festival, and the reasons for our being here to-day. Yes, this is what I am about to do, although I have begun at a somewhat previous point, being compelled to do so by love, and by the needs of my argument.

XI. Mind, then, and sense, thus distinguished from each other, had remained within their own boundaries, and bore in themselves the magnificence of the Creator-Word, silent praisers(a) and thrilling heralds of His mighty work. Not yet was there any mingling of both, nor any mixtures of these opposites, tokens of a greater Wisdom and Generosity in the creation of natures; nor as yet were the whole riches of Goodness made known. Now the Creator-Word, determining to exhibit this, and to produce a single living being out of both--the visible and the invisible creations, I mean--fashions Man; and taking a body from already existing matter, and placing in it a Breath taken from Himself(b) which the Word knew to be an intelligent soul and the Image of God, as a sort of second world. He placed him, great in littleness(g) on the earth; a new Angel, a mingled worshipper, fully initiated into the visible creation, but only partially into the intellectual; King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above; earthly and heavenly; temporal and yet immortal; visible and yet intellectual; half-way between greatness and lowliness; in one person combining spirit and flesh; spirit, because of the favour bestowed on him; flesh, because of the height to which he had been raised; the one that he might continue to live and praise his Benefactor, the other that he might suffer, and by suffering be put in remembrance, and corrected if he became proud of his greatness. A living creature trained here, and then moved elsewhere; and, to complete the mystery, deified by its inclination to God. For to this, I think, tends that Light of Truth which we here possess but in measure, that we should both see and experience the Splendour of God, which is worthy of Him Who made us, and will remake us again after a loftier fashion.

XII. This being He placed in Paradise, whatever the Paradise may have been, having honoured him with the gift of Free Will (in order that God might belong to him as the result of his choice, no less than to Him who had implanted the seeds of it), to till the immortal plants, by which is meant perhaps the Divine Conceptions, both the simpler and the more perfect; naked in his simplicity and in-artificial life, and without any covering or screen; for it was fitting that he who was from the beginning should be such. Also He gave him a Law, as a material for his Free Will to act upon. This Law was a Commandment as to what plants he might partake of, and which one he might not touch. This latter was the Tree of Knowledge; not, however, because it was evil from the beginning when planted; nor was it forbidden because God grudged it to us ... Let not the enemies of God wag their tongues in that direction, or imitate the Serpent ... But it would have been good if partaken of at the proper time, for the tree was, according to my theory, Contemplation, upon which it is only safe for those who have reached maturity of habit to enter; but which is not good for those who are still somewhat simple and greedy in their habit; just as solid food is not good for those who are yet tender, and have need of milk.(a) But when through the Devil's malice and the woman's caprice, to which she succumbed as the more tender, and which she brought to bear upon the man, as she was the more apt to persuade, alas for my weakness! (for that of my first father was mine), he forgot the Commandment which had been given to him;(b) he yielded to the baleful fruit; and for his sin he was banished, at once from the Tree of Life, and from Paradise, and from God; and put on the coats of skins ... that is, perhaps, the coarser flesh, both mortal and contradictory. This was the first thing that he learnt--his own shame;(g) and he hid himself from God. Yet here too he makes a gain, namely death, and the cutting off of sin, in order that evil may not be immortal. Thus his punishment is changed into a mercy; for it is in mercy, I am persuaded, that God inflicts punishment.

XIII. And having been first chastened by many means (because his sins were many, whose root of evil sprang up through divers causes and at sundry tithes), by word, by law, by prophets, by benefits, by threats, by plagues, by waters, by fires, by wars, by victories, by defeats, by signs in heaven and signs in the air and in the earth and in the sea, by unexpected changes of men, of cities, of nations (the object of which was the destruction of wickedness), at last he needed a stronger remedy, for his diseases were growing worse; mutual slaughters, adulteries, perjuries, unnatural crimes, and that first and last of all evils, idolatry and the transfer of worship from the Creator to the Creatures. As these required a greater aid, so also they obtained a greater. And that was that the Word of God Himself--Who is before all worlds, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible, the Bodiless, Beginning of Beginning,(a) the Light of Light, the Source of Life and Immortality, the Image of the Archetypal Beauty, the immovable Seal, the unchangeable Image, the Father's Definition(b) and Word, came to His own Image, and took on Him flesh for the sake of our flesh, and mingled Himself with an intelligent soul for my soul's sake, purifying like by like; and in all points except sin was made man. Conceived by the Virgin,(g) who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost(d) (for it was needful both that Childbearing should be honoured, and that Virginity should receive a higher honour), He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One Person in two Natures, Flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.(e) O new commingling; O strange conjunction; the Self-Existent comes into being, the Uncreate is created, That which cannot be contained is contained, by the intervention of an intellectual soul, mediating between the Deity and the corporeity of the flesh. And He Who gives riches becomes poor, for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the richness of His Godhead. He that is full empties Himself, for He empties Himself of His glory for a short while, that I may have a share in His Fulness. What is the riches of His Goodness? What is this mystery that is around me? I had a share in the image; I did not keep it; He partakes of my flesh that He may both save the image and make the flesh immortal. He communicates a second Communion far more marvellous than the first, inasmuch as then He imparted the better Nature, whereas now Himself partakes of the worse. This is more godlike than the former action, this is loftier in the eyes of all men of understanding.

XIV. To this what have those cavillers to say, those bitter reasoners about Godhead, those detractors of all that is praiseworthy, those darkeners of light, uncultured in respect of wisdom, for whom Christ died in vain, those unthankful creatures, the work of the Evil One? Do you turn this benefit into a reproach to God? Wilt thou deem Him little on this account, that He humbled Himself for thee; because the Good Shepherd,(a) He who lays down His life for His sheep, came to seek for that which had strayed upon the mountains and the hills, on which thou wast then sacrificing, and found the wanderer; and having found it,(b) took it upon His shoulders--on which He also took the Wood of the Cross; and having taken it, brought it back to the higher life; and having carried it back, numbered it amongst those who had never strayed. Because He lighted a candle--His own Flesh--and swept the house, cleansing the world from sin; and sought the piece of money, the Royal Image that was covered up by passions. And He calls together His Angel friends on the finding of the coin, and makes them sharers in His joy,(g) whom He had made to share also the secret of the Incarnation? Because on the candle of the Forerunner there follows the light that exceeds in brightness; and to the Voice the Word succeeds; and to the Bridegroom's friend the Bridegroom; to him that prepared for the Lord a peculiar people, cleansing them by water in preparation for the Spirit? Dost thou reproach God with all this? Dost thou on this account deem Him lessened, because He girds Himself with a towel and washes His disciples' feet, and shows that humiliation is the best road to exaltation? Because for the soul that was bent to the ground He humbles Himself, that He may raise up with Himself the soul that was tottering to a fall under a weight of sin? Why dost thou not also charge upon Him as a crime the fact that He eats with Publicans and at Publicans' tables,(a) and that He makes disciples of Publicans, that He too may gain somewhat ... and what? ... the salvation of sinners. If so, we must blame the physician for stooping over sufferings, and enduring evil odours that he may give health to the sick; or one who as the Law commands bent down into a ditch to save a beast that had fallen into it.(b) XV. He was sent, but as man, for He was of a twofold Nature; for He was wearied, and hungered, and was thirsty, and was in an agony, and shed tears, according to the nature of a corporeal being. And if the expression be also used of Him as God, the meaning is that the Father's good pleasure is to be considered a Mission, for to this He refers all that concerns Himself; both that He may honour the Eternal Principle, and because He will not be taken to be an antagonistic God. And whereas it is written both that He was betrayed, and also that He gave Himself up(g) and that He was raised up by the Father, and taken up into heaven; and on the other hand, that He raised Himself and went up; the former statement of each pair refers to the good pleasure of the Father, the latter to His own Power. Are you then to be allowed to dwell upon all that humiliates Him, while passing over all that exalts Him, and to count on your side the fact that He suffered, but to leave out of the account the fact that it was of His own will? See what even now the Word has to suffer. By one set He is honoured as God, but is confused with the Father,(d) by another He is dishonoured as mere flesh(a) and severed from the Godhead. With which of them will He be most angry, or rather, which shall He forgive, those who injuriously confound Him or those who divide Him? For the former ought to have distinguished, and the latter to have united Him; the one in number, the other in Godhead. Stumblest Thou at His flesh? So did the Jews. Or dost thou call Him a Samaritan, and ... I will not say the rest. Dost thou disbelieve in His Godhead? This did not even the demons, O thou who art less believing than demons and more stupid than Jews. Those did perceive that the name of Son implies equality of rank; these did know that He who drove them out was God, for they were convinced of it by their own experience. But you will admit neither the equality nor the Godhead. It would have been better for you to have been either a Jew or a demoniac (if I may utter an absurdity), than in uncircumcision and in sound health to be so wicked and ungodly in your attitude of mind.

XVI. A little later on you will see Jesus submitting to be purified in the River Jordan for my Purification, or rather, sanctifying the waters by His Purification (for indeed He had no need of purification Who taketh away the sin of the world) and the heavens cleft asunder, and witness borne to him by the Spirit That is of one nature with Him;(a) you shall see Him tempted and conquering and served by Angels,(b) and healing every sickness(g) and every disease,(d) and giving life to the dead (O that He would give life to you who are dead because of your heresy), and driving out demons,(e) sometimes Himself, sometimes by his disciples; and feeding vast multitudes with a few loaves;(z) and walking dryshod upon seas;(h) and being betrayed and crucified, and crucifying with Himself my sin; offered as a Lamb, and offering as a Priest; as a Man buried in the grave, and as God rising again; and then ascending, and to come again in His own glory. Why what a multitude of high festivals there are in each of the mysteries of the Christ; all of which have one completion, namely, my perfection and return to the first condition of Adam.

XVII. Now then I pray you accept His Conception, and leap before Him; if not like John from the womb,(th) yet like David, because of the resting of the Ark.(i) Revere the enrolment on account of which thou wast written in heaven, and adore the Birth by which thou wast loosed from the chains of thy birth,(k) and honour little Bethlehem, which hath led thee back to Paradise; and worship the manger through which thou, being without sense, wast fed by the Word. Know as Isaiah bids thee, thine Owner, like the ox, and like the ass thy Master's crib;(l) if thou be one of those who are pure and lawful food, and who chew the cud of the word and are fit for sacrifice. Or if thou art one of those who are as yet unclean and uneatable and unfit for sacrifice, and of the gentile portion, run with the Star, and bear thy Gifts with the Magi, gold and frankincense and myrrh,(m) as to a King, and to God, and to One Who is dead for thee. With Shepherds glorify Him;(n) with Angels join in chorus; with Archangels sing hymns. Let this Festival be common to the powers in heaven and to the powers upon earth.(x) For I am persuaded that the Heavenly Hosts join in our exultation and keep high Festival with us to-day(o) ... because they love men, and they love God just like those whom David introduces after the Passion ascending with Christ(p) and coming to meet Him, and bidding one another to lift up the gates.

XVIII. One thing connected with the Birth of Christ I would have you hate ... the murder of the infants by Herod.(a) Or rather you must venerate this too, the Sacrifice of the same age as Christ, slain before the Offering of the New Victim. If He flees into Egypt,(b) joyfully become a companion of His exile. It is a grand thing to share the exile of the persecuted Christ. If He tarry long in Egypt, call Him out of Egypt by a reverent worship of Him there. Travel without fault through every stage and faculty of the Life of Christ. Be purified; be circumcised; strip off the veil which has covered thee from thy birth. After this teach in the Temple, and drive out the sacrilegious traders.(g) Submit to be stoned if need be, for well I wot thou shalt be hidden from those who cast the stones; thou shalt escape even through the midst of them, like God.(d) If thou be brought before Herod, answer not for the most part.(e) He will respect thy silence more than most people's long speeches. If thou be scourged,(z) ask for what they leave out. Taste gall for the taste's sake;(h) drink vinegar;(th) seek for spittings; accept blows, be crowned with thorns,(i) that is, with the hardness of the godly life; put on the purple robe, take the reed in hand, and receive mock worship from those who mock at the truth; lastly, be crucified with Him, and share His Death and Burial gladly, that thou mayest rise with Him, and be glorified with Him and reign with Him. Look at and be looked at by the Great God, Who in Trinity is worshipped and glorified, and Whom we declare to be now set forth as clearly before you as the chains of our flesh allow, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom be the glory for ever. Amen.


THE Oration on the Holy Lights was preached on the Festival of the Epiphany 381, and was followed the next day by that on Baptism. In the Eastern Church this Festival is regarded as more particularly the commemoration of our Lord's Baptism, and is accordingly one of the great days for the solemn ministration of the Sacrament. It is generally called Theophania, and the Gospel in the Liturgy is S. Matthew iii. 13-17. The Sunday in the Octave is called meta` ta` phw^ta (After The Lights), pointing to a time when the Feast was known as the "Holy Lights," as seems to have been the case in S. Gregory's day. This name is derived from Baptism, which was often in ancient days called Illumination, in reference to which name (derived from the spiritual grace of the Sacrament) lighted torches or candles were carried by the neophytes. It would appear that the solemnites of the Festival lasted two days, of which the second was devoted to the solemn conferring of the Sacrament. Accordingly we find two Orations belonging to the Festival.



I. Again My Jesus, and again a mystery; not deceitful nor disorderly, nor belonging to Greek error or drunkenness (for so I call their solemnities, and so I think will every man of sound sense); but a mystery lofty and divine, and allied to the Glory above. For the Holy Day of the Lights, to which we have come, and which we are celebrating to-day, has for its origin the Baptism of my Christ, the True Light That lighteneth every man that cometh into the world,(a) and effecteth my purification, and assists that light which we received from the beginning from Him from above, but which we darkened and confused by sin.

II. Therefore listen to the Voice of God, which sounds so exceeding clearly to me, who am both disciple and master of these mysteries, as would to God it may sound to you; I Am The Light Of The World.(b) Therefore approach ye to Him and be enlightened, and let not your faces be ashamed,(g) being signed with the true Light. It is a season of new birth,(d) let us be born again. It is a time of reformation, let us receive again the first Adam.(e) Let us not remain what we are, but let us become what we once were. The Light Shineth In Darkness,(z) in this life and in the flesh, and is chased by the darkness, but is not overtaken by it:--I mean the adverse power leaping up in its shamelessness against the visible Adam, but encountering God and being defeated;--in order that we, putting away the darkness, may draw near to the Light, and may then become perfect Light, the children of perfect Light. See the grace of this Day; see the power of this mystery. Are you not lifted up from the earth? Are you not clearly placed on high, being exalted by our voice and meditation? and you will be placed much higher when the Word shall have prospered the course of my words.

III. Is there any such among the shadowy purifications of the Law, aiding as it did with temporary sprinklings, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean;(h) or do the gentiles celebrate any such thing in their mysteries, every ceremony and mystery of which to me is nonsense, and a dark invention of demons, and a figment of an unhappy mind, aided by time, and hidden by fable? For what they worship as true, they veil as mythical. But if these things are true, they ought not to be called myths, but to be proved not to be shameful;(th) and if they are false, they ought not to be objects of wonder; nor ought people so inconsiderately to hold the most contrary opinions about the same thing, as if they were playing in the market-place with boys or really ill-disposed men, not engaged in discussion with men of sense, and worshippers of the Word, though despisers of this artificial plausibility.

IV. We are not concerned in these mysteries with birth of Zeus and thefts of the Cretan Tyrant(a) (though the Greeks may be displeased at such a title for him), nor with the name of Curetes, and the armed dances, which were to hide the wailings of a weeping god, that he might escape from his father's hate. For indeed it would be a strange thing that he who was swallowed as a stone should be made to weep as a child.(b) Nor are we concerned with Phrygian mutilations and flutes and Corybantes,(g) and all the ravings of men concerning Rhea, consecrating people to the mother of the gods, and being initiated into such ceremonies as befit the mother of such gods as these. Nor have we any carrying away of the Maiden,(d) nor wandering of Demeter, nor her intimacy with Celei and Triptolemi and Dragons; nor her doings and sufferings ... for I am ashamed to bring into daylight that ceremony of the night, and to make a sacred mystery of obscenity. Eleusis knows these things, and so do those who are eyewitnesses of what is there guarded by silence, and well worthy of it. Nor is our commemoration one of Dionysus, and the thigh that travailed with an incomplete birth, as before a head had travailed with another;(e) nor of the hermaphrodite god, nor a chorus of the drunken and enervated host; nor of the folly of the Thebans which honours him; nor the thunderbolt of Semele which they adore. Nor is it the harlot mysteries of Aphrodite, who, as they themselves admit, was basely born and basely honoured; nor have we here Phalli and Ithyphalli,(z) shameful both in form and action; nor Taurian massacres of strangers;(a) nor blood of Laconian youths shed upon the altars, as they scourged themselves with the whips;(b) and in this case alone use their courage badly, who honour a goddess, and her a virgin. For these same people both honour effeminacy, and worship boldness.

V. And where will you place the butchery of Pelops,(g) which feasted hungry gods, that bitter and inhuman hospitality? Where the horrible and dark spectres of Hecate, and the underground puerilities and sorceries of Trophonius, or the babblings of the Dodonaean Oak, or the trickeries of the Delphian tripod, or the prophetic draught of Castalia, which could prophesy anything, except their own being brought to silence?(d) Nor is it the sacrificial art of Magi, and their entrail forebodings, nor the Chaldaean astronomy and horoscopes, comparing our lives with the movements of the heavenly bodies, which cannot know even what they are themselves, or shall be. Nor are these Thracian orgies, from which the word Worship (thrhskei'a) is said to be derived; nor rites and mysteries of Orpheus, whom the Greeks admired so much for his wisdom that they devised for him a lyre which draws all things by its music. Nor the tortures of Mithras(e) which it is just that those who can endure to be initiated into such things should suffer; nor the manglings of Osiris,(z) another calamity honoured by the Egyptians; nor the ill-fortunes of Isis(h) and the goats more venerable than the Mendesians, and the stall of Apis,(th) the calf that luxuriated in the folly of the Memphites, nor all those honours with which they outrage the Nile, while themselves proclaiming it in song to be the Giver of fruits and corn, and the measurer of happiness by its cubits.(i)

VI. I pass over the honours they pay to reptiles, and their worship of vile things, each of which has its peculiar cultus and festival, and all share in a common devilishness; so that, if they were absolutely bound to be ungodly, and to fall away from honouring God, and to be led astray to idols and works of art and things made with hands, men of sense could not imprecate anything worse upon themselves than that they might worship just such things, and honour them in just such a way; that, as Paul says, they might receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet,(a) in the very objects of their worship; not so much honouring them as suffering dishonour by them; abominable because of their error, and yet more abominable from the vileness of the objects of their adoration and worship; so that they should be even more without understanding than the objects of their worship; being as excessively foolish as the latter are vile.

VII. Well, let these things be the amusement of the children of the Greeks and of the demons to whom their folly is due, who turn aside the honour of God to themselves, and divide men in various ways in pursuit of shameful thoughts and fancies, ever since they drove us away from the Tree of Life, by means of the Tree of Knowledge unseasonably(b) and improperly imparted to us, and then assailed us as now weaker than before; carrying clean away the mind, which is the ruling power in us, and opening a door to the passions. For, being of a nature envious and man-hating, or rather having become so by their own wickedness, they could neither endure that we who were below should attain to that which is above, having themselves fallen from above upon the earth; nor that such a change in their glory and their first natures should have taken place. This is the meaning of their persecution of the creature. For this God's Image was outraged; and as we did not like to keep the Commandments,(g) we were given over to the independence of our error. And as we erred we were disgraced by the objects of our worship. For there was not only this calamity, that we who were made for good works(d) to the glory and praise of our Maker, and to imitate God as far as might be, were turned into a den of all sorts of passions, which cruelly devour and consume the inner man; but there was this further evil, that man actually made gods the advocates of his passions, so that sin might be reckoned not only irresponsible, but even divine, taking refuge in the objects of his worship as his apology.

VIII. But since to us grace has been given to flee from superstitious error and to be joined to the truth and to serve the living and true God, and to rise above creation, passing by all that is subject to time and to first motion; let us look at and reason upon God and things divine in a manner corresponding to this Grace given us. But let us begin our discussion of them from the most fitting point. And the most fitting is, as Solomon laid down for us; us; The beginning of wisdom, he says, is to get wisdom.(a) And what this is he tells us; the beginning of wisdom is fear.(b) For we must not begin with contemplation and leave off with fear (for an unbridled contemplation would perhaps push us over a precipice), but we must be grounded and purified and so to say made light by fear, and thus be raised to the height. For where fear is there is keeping of commandments; and where there is keeping of commandments there is purifying of the flesh, that cloud which covers the soul and suffers it not to see the Divine Ray. And where them is purifying there is Illumination; and Illumination is the satisfying of desire to those who long for the greatest things, or the Greatest Thing, or That Which surpasses all greatness.

IX. Wherefore we must purify ourselves first, and then approach this converse with the Pure; unless we would have the same experience as Israel,(g) who could not endure the glory of the face of Moses, and therefore asked for a veil;(d) or else would feel and say with Manoah "We are undone O wife, we have seen God,"(e) although it was God only in his fancy; or like Peter would send Jesus out of the boat,(z) as being ourselves unworthy of such a visit; and when I say Peter, I am speaking of the man who walked upon the waves;(h) or like Paul would be stricken in eyes,(th) as he was before he was cleansed from the guilt of his persecution, when he conversed with Him Whom he was persecuting--or rather with a short flash of That great Light; or like the Centurion(i) would seek for healing, but would not, through a praiseworthy fear, receive the Healer into his house. Let each one of us also speak so, as long as he is still uncleansed, and is a Centurion still, commanding many in wickedness, and serving in the army of Caesar, the World-ruler of those who are being dragged down; "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof." But when he shall have looked upon Jesus, though he be little of stature like Zaccheus(a) of old, and climb up on the top of the sycamore tree by mortifying his members which are upon the earth,(b) and having risen above the body of humiliation, then he shall receive the Word, and it shall be said to him, This day is salvation come to this house.(g) Then let him lay hold on the salvation, and bring forth fruit more perfectly, scattering and pouring forth rightly that which as a publican he wrongly gathered.

X. For the same Word is on the one hand terrible through its nature to those who are unworthy, and on the other through its loving kindness can be received by those who are thus prepared, who have driven out the unclean and worldly spirit from their souls, and have swept and adorned their own souls by self-examination, and have not left them idle or without employment, so as again to be occupied with greater armament by the seven spirits of wickedness ... the same number as are reckoned of virtue (for that which is hardest to fight against calls for the sternest efforts) ... but besides fleeing from evil, practise virtue, making Christ entirely, or at any rate to the greatest extent possible, to dwell within them, so that the power of evil cannot meet with any empty place to fill it again with himself, and make the last state of that man worse than the first, by the greater energy of his assault, and the greater strength and impregnability of the fortress. But when, having guarded our soul with every care, and having appointed goings up in our heart,(d) and broken up our fallow ground,(e) and sown unto righteousness,(z) as David and Solomon and Jeremiah bid us, let us enlighten ourselves with the light of knowledge, and then let us speak of the Wisdom of God that hath been hid in a mystery,(h) and enlighten others. Meanwhile let us purify ourselves, and receive the elementary initiation of the Word, that we may do ourselves the utmost good, making ourselves godlike, and receiving the Word at His coming; and not only so, but holding Him fast and shewing Him to others.

XI. And now, having purified the theatre by what has been said, let us discourse a little about the Festival, and join in celebrating this Feast with festal and pious souls. And, since the chief point of the Festival is the remembrance of God, let us call God to mind. For I think that the sound of those who keep Festival There, where is the dwelling of all the Blissful, is nothing else than this, the hymns and praises of God, sung by all who are counted worthy of that City. Let none be astonished if what I have to say contains some things that I have said before; for not only will I utter the same words, but I shall speak of the same subjects, trembling both in tongue and mind and thought when I speak of God for you too, that you may share this laudable and blessed feeling. And when I speak of God you must be illumined at once by one flash of light and by three. Three in Individualities or Hypostases, if any prefer so to call them, or persons,(a) for we will not quarrel about names so long as the syllables amount to the same meaning; but One in respect of the Substance--that is, the Godhead. For they are divided without division, if I may so say; and they are united in division. For the Godhead is one in three, and the three are one, in whom the Godhead is, or to speak more accurately, Who are the Godhead. Excesses and defects we will omit, neither making the Unity a confusion, nor the division a separation. We would keep equally far from the confusion of Sabellius and from the division of Arius, which are evils diametrically opposed, yet equal in their wickedness. For what need is there heretically to fuse God together, or to cut Him up into inequality?

XII. For to us there is but One God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and One Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things; and One Holy Ghost, in Whom are all things;(a) yet these words, of, by, in, whom, do not denote a difference of nature (for if this were the case, the three prepositions, or the order of the three names would never be altered), but they characterize the personalities of a nature which is one and unconfused. And this is proved by the fact that They are again collected into one, if you will read--not carelessly--this other passage of the same Apostle, "Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be glory forever, Amen."(b) The Father is Father, and is Unoriginate, for He is of no one; the Son is Son, and is not unoriginate, for He is of the Father. But if you take the word Origin in a temporal sense, He too is Unoriginate, for He is the Maker of Time, and is not subject to Time. The Holy Ghost is truly Spirit, coming forth from the Father indeed, but not after the manner of the Son, for it is not by Generation but by Procession (since I must coin a word for the sake of clearness(g)); for neither did the Father cease to be Unbegotten because of His begetting something, nor the Son to be begotten because He is of the Unbegotten (how could that be?), nor is the Spirit changed into Father or Son because He proceeds, or because He is God--though the ungodly do not believe it. For Personality is unchangeable; else how could Personality remain, if it were changeable, and could be removed from one to another? But they who make "Unbegotten" and "Begotten" natures of equivocal gods would perhaps make Adam and Seth differ in nature, since the former was not born of flesh (for he was created), but the latter was born of Adam and Eve. There is then One God in Three, and These Three are One, as we have said.

XIII. Since then these things are so, or rather since This is so; and His Adoration ought not to be rendered only by Beings above, but there ought to be also worshippers on earth, that all things may be filled with the glory of God (forasmuch as they are filled with God Himself); therefore man was created and honored with the hand(a) and Image of God. But to despise man, when by the envy of the Devil and the bitter taste of sin he was pitiably severed from God his Maker--this was not in the Nature of God. What then was done, and what is the great Mystery that concerns us? An innovation is made upon nature, and God is made Man. "He that rideth upon the Heaven of Heavens in the East"(b) of His own glory and Majesty, is glorified in the West of our meanness and lowliness. And the Son of God deigns to become and to be called Son of Man; not changing what He was (for It is unchangeable); but assuming what He was not (for He is full of love to man), that the Incomprehensible(g) might be comprehended, conversing with us through the mediation of the Flesh as through a veil; since it was not possible for that nature which is subject to birth and decay to endure His unveiled Godhead. Therefore the Unmingled is mingled; and not only is God mingled with birth and Spirit(d) with flesh, and the Eternal with time, and the Uncircumscribed with measure; but also Generation with Virginity, and dishonour with Him who is higher than all honour; He who is impassible with Suffering,(a) and the Immortal with the corruptible. For since that Deceiver thought that he was unconquerable in his malice, after he had cheated us with the hope of becoming gods, he was himself cheated by God's assumption of our nature; so that in attacking Adam as he thought, he should really meet with God, and thus the new Adam should save the old, and the condemnation of the flesh should be abolished, death being slain by flesh.

XIV. At His birth we duly kept Festival, both I, the leader of the Feast, and you, and all that is in the world and above the world. With the Star we ran, and with the Magi we worshipped, and with the Shepherds we were illuminated, and with the Angels we glorified Him, and with Simeon we took Him up in our arms, and with Anna the aged and chaste we made our responsive confession. And thanks be to Him who came to His own in the guise of a stranger, because He glorified the stranger.(b) Now, we come to another action of Christ, and another mystery. I cannot restrain my pleasure; I am rapt into God. Almost like John I proclaim good tidings; for though I be not a Forerunner, yet am I from the desert.(g) Christ is illumined, let us shine forth with Him. Christ is baptized, let us descend with Him that we may also ascend with Him. Jesus is baptized; but we must attentively consider not only this but also some other points. Who is He, and by whom is He baptized, and at what time? He is the All-pure; and He is baptized by John; and the time is the beginning of His miracles. What are we to learn and to be taught by this? To purify ourselves first; to be lowly minded; and to preach only in maturity both of spiritual and bodily stature. The first(d) has a word especially for those who rush to Baptism off hand, and without due preparation, or providing for the stability of the Baptismal Grace by the disposition of their minds to good. For since Grace contains remission of the past (for it is a grace), it is on that account more worthy of reverence, that we return not to the same vomit again. The second speaks to those who rebel against the Stewards of this Mystery, if they are their superiors in rank. The third is for those who are confident in their youth, and think that any time is the right one to teach or to preside. Jesus is purified, and dost thou despise purification? ... and by John, and dost thou rise up against thy herald? ... and at thirty years of age, and dost thou before thy beard has grown presume to teach the aged, or believe that thou teachest them, though thou be not reverend on account of thine age, or even perhaps for thy character? But here it may be said, Daniel, and this or that other, were judges in their youth, and examples are on your tongues; for every wrongdoer is prepared to defend himself. But I reply that that which is rare is not the law of the Church. For one swallow does not make a summer, nor one line a geometrician, nor one voyage a sailor.

XV. But John baptizes, Jesus comes to Him(a) ... perhaps to sanctify the Baptist himself, but certainly to bury the whole of the old Adam in the water; and before this and for the sake of this, to sanctify Jordan; for as He is Spirit and Flesh, so He consecrates us by Spirit and water.(b) John will not receive Him; Jesus contends. "I have need to be baptized of Thee"(g) says the Voice to the Word, the Friend to the Bridegroom;(d) he that is above all among them that are born of women,(e) to Him Who is the Firstborn of every creature;(z) he that leaped in the womb,(h) to Him Who was adored in the womb; he who was and is to be the Forerunner(th) to Him Who was and is to be manifested. "I have need to be baptized of Thee;" add to this "and for Thee;" for he knew that he would be baptized by Martyrdom, or, like Peter, that he would be cleansed not only as to his feet.(i) "And comest Thou to me?" This also was prophetic; for he knew that after Herod would come the madness of Pilate, and so that when he had gone before Christ would follow him. But what saith Jesus? "Suffer it to be so now," for this is the time of His Incarnation; for He knew that yet a little while and He should baptize the Baptist. And what is the "Fan?" The Purification. And what is the "Fire?" The consuming of the chaff, and the heat of the Spirit. And what the "Axe?" The excision of the soul which is incurable even after the dung.(a) And what the Sword? The cutting of the Word, which separates the worse from the better,(b) and makes a division between the faithful and the unbeliever;(g) and stirs up the son and the daughter and the bride against the father and the mother and the mother in law,(d) the young and fresh against the old and shadowy. And what is the Latchet of the shoe, which thou John who baptizest Jesus mayest not loose?(e) thou who art of the desert, and hast no food, the new Elias,(z) the more than Prophet, inasmuch as thou sawest Him of Whom thou didst prophesy, thou Mediator of the Old and New Testaments. What is this? Perhaps the Message of the Advent, and the Incarnation, of which not the least point may be loosed, I say not by those(h) who are yet carnal and babes in Christ, but not even by those who are like John in spirit.

XVI. But further--Jesus goeth up out of the water … for with Himself He carries up the world … and sees the heaven opened which Adam had shut against himself and all his posterity,(th) as the gates of Paradise by the flaming sword. And the Spirit bears witness to His Godhead, for he descends upon One that is like Him, as does the Voice from Heaven (for He to Whom the witness is borne came from thence), and like a Dove, for He honours the Body (for this also was God, through its union with God) by being seen in a bodily form; and moreover, the Dove has from distant ages been wont to proclaim the end of the Deluge.(i) But if you are to judge of Godhead by bulk and weight, and the Spirit seems to you a small thing because He came in the form of a Dove, O man of contemptible littleness of thought concerning the greatest of things, you must also to be consistent despise the Kingdom of Heaven, because it is compared to a grain of mustard seed;(k) and you must exalt the adversary above the Majesty of Jesus, because he is called a great Mountain,(l) and Leviathan(m) and King of that which lives in the water, whereas Christ is called the Lamb,(n) and the Pearl,(x) and the Drop(o) and similar names.

XVII. Now, since our Festival is of Baptism, and we must endure a little hardness with Him Who for our sake took form, and was baptized, and was crucified; let us speak about the different kinds of Baptism, that we may come out thence purified. Moses baptized(a) but it was in water, and before that in the cloud and in the sea.(b) This was typical as Paul saith; the Sea of the water, and the Cloud of the Spirit; the Manna, of the Bread of Life; the Drink, of the Divine Drink. John also baptized; but this was not like the baptism of the Jews, for it was not only in water, but also "unto repentance." Still it was not wholly spiritual, for he does not add "And in the Spirit." Jesus also baptized, but in the Spirit. This is the perfect Baptism. And how is He not God, if I may digress a little, by whom you too are made God? I know also a Fourth Baptism--that by Martyrdom and blood, which also Christ himself underwent:--and this one is far more august than all the others, inasmuch as it cannot be defiled by after- stains. Yes, and I know of a Fifth also, which is that of tears, and is much more laborious, received by him who washes his bed every night and his couch with tears;(g) whose bruises stink through his wickedness;(d) and who goeth mourning and of a sad countenance; who imitates the repentance of Manasseh(e) and the humiliation of the Ninerites(z) upon which God had mercy; who utters the words of the Publican in the Temple, and is justified rather than the stiff-necked Pharisee;(h) who like the Canaanite woman bends down and asks for mercy and crumbs, the food of a dog that is very hungry.(th)

XVIII. I, however, for I confess myself to be a man,--that is to say, an animal shifty and of a changeable nature,--both eagerly receive this Baptism, and worship Him Who has given it me, and impart it to others; and by shewing mercy make provision for mercy. For I know that I too am compassed with infirmity,(i) and that with what measure I mete it shall be measured to me again.(k) But what sayest thou, O new Pharisee pure(l) in title but not in intention, who dischargest upon us the sentiments of Novatus,(m) though thou sharest the same infirmities? Wilt thou not give any place to weeping? Wilt thou shed no tear? Mayest thou not meet with a Judge like thyself? Art thou not ashamed by the mercy of Jesus, Who took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses;(a) Who came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance;(b) Who will have mercy rather than sacrifice; who forgiveth sins till seventy times seven.(g) How blessed would your exaltation be if it really were purity, not pride, making laws above the reach of men, and destroying improvement by despair. For both are alike evil, indulgence not regulated by prudence, and condemnation that will never forgive; the one because it relaxes all reins, the other because it strangles by its severity. Shew me your purity, and I will approve your boldness. But as it is, I fear that being full of sores you will render them incurable. Will you not admit even David's repentance, to whom his penitence preserved even the gift of prophecy? nor the great Peter himself, who fell into human weakness at the Passion of our Saviour? Yet Jesus received him, and by the threefold question and confession healed the threefold denial.(d) Or will you even refuse to admit that he was made perfect by blood (for your folly goes even as far as that)? Or the transgressor at Corinth? But Paul confirmed love towards him when he saw his amendment, and gives the reason, "that such an one be not swallowed up by overmuch sorrow,"(e) being overwhelmed by the excess of the punishment.(z) And will you refuse to grant liberty of marriage to young widows on account of the liability of their age to fall? Paul ventured to do so; but of course you can teach him; for you have been caught up to the Fourth heaven, and to another Paradise, and have heard words more unspeakable, and comprehend a larger circle in your Gospel.

XIX. But these sins were not after Baptism, you will say. Where is your proof? Either prove it--or refrain from condemning; and if there be any doubt, let charity prevail. But Novatus, you say, would not receive those who lapsed in the persecution. What do you mean by this? If they were unrepentant he was right; I too would refuse to receive those who either would not stoop at all or not sufficiently, and who would refuse to make their amendment counterbalance their sin; and when I do receive them, I will assign them their proper place;(a) but if he refused those who wore themselves away with weeping, I will not imitate him. And why should Novatus's want of charity be a rule for me? He never punished covetousness, which is a second idolatry; but he condemned fornication as though he himself were not flesh and body. What say you? Are we convincing you by these words? Come and stand here on our side, that is, on the side of humanity. Let us magnify the Lord together. Let none of you, even though he has much confidence in himself, dare to say, Touch me not for I am pure, and who is so pure as I? Give us too a share in your brightness. But perhaps we are not convincing you? Then we will weep for you. Let these men then if they will, follow our way, which is Christ's way; but if they will not, let them go their own. Perhaps in it they will be baptized with Fire, in that last Baptism which is more painful and longer, which devours wood like grass,(b) and consumes the stubble of every evil.

XX. But let us venerate to-day the Baptism of Christ; and let us keep the feast well, not in pampering the belly, but rejoicing in spirit. And how shall we luxuriate? "Wash you, make you clean."(g) If ye be scarlet with sin and less bloody, be made white as snow; if ye be red, and men bathed in blood, yet be ye brought to the whiteness of wool. Anyhow be purified, and you shall be clean (for God rejoices in nothing so much as in the amendment and salvation of man, on whose behalf is every discourse and every Sacrament), that you may be like lights in the world, a quickening force to all other men; that you may stand as perfect lights beside That great Light, and may learn the mystery of the illumination of Heaven, enlightened by the Trinity more purely and clearly, of Which even now you are receiving in a measure the One Ray from the One Godhead in Christ Jesus our Lord; to Whom be the glory and the might for ever and ever. Amen.



Preached at Constantinople Jan. 6, 381, being the day following the delivery of that on the Holy Lights.

I. YESTERDAY we kept high Festival on the illustrious Day of the Holy Lights; for it was fitting that rejoicings should be kept for our Salvation, and that far more than for weddings and birthdays, and namedays, and house-warmings, and registrations of children, and anniversaries, and all the other festivities that men observe for their earthly friends. And now to-day let us discourse briefly con-concerning Baptism, and the benefits which accrue to us therefrom, even though our discourse yesterday spoke of it cursorily; partly because the time pressed us hard, and partly because the sermon had to avoid tediousness. For too great length in a sermon is as much an enemy to people's ears, as too much food is to their bodies.It will be worth your while to apply your minds to what we say, and to receive our discourse on so important a subject not perfunctorily, but with ready mind, since to know the power of this Sacrament is itself Enlightenment.(a)

II. The Word recognizes three Births for us; namely, the natural birth, that of Baptism, and that of the Resurrection. Of these the first is by night, and is servile, and involves passion; but the second is by day, and is destructive of passion, cutting off all the veil(b) that is derived from birth, and leading on to the higher life; and the third is more terrible and shorter, bringing together in a moment all mankind,(g) to stand before its Creator, and to give an account of its service and conversation here; whether it has followed the flesh, or whether it has mounted up with the spirit, and worshipped the grace of its new creation My Lord Jesus Christ has showed that He honoured all these births in His own Person; the first, by that first and quickening Inbreathing;(d) the second by His Incarnation and the Baptism wherewith He Himself was baptized; and the third by the Resurrection of which He was the Firstfruits; condescending, as He became the Firstborn(a) among many brethren, so also to become the Firstborn from the dead.(b)

III. Concerning two of these births, the first and the last, we have not to speak on the present occasion. Let us discourse upon the second, which is now necessary for us, and which gives its name to the Feast of the Lights. Illumination is the splendour of souls, the conversion of the life, the question put to the Godward conscience.(g) It is the aid to our weakness, the renunciation of the flesh, the following of the Spirit, the fellowship of the Word, the improvement of the creature, the overwhelming of sin, the participation of light, the dissolution of darkness. It is the carriage to God, the dying with Christ, the perfecting of the mind, the bulwark of Faith, the key of the Kingdom of heaven, the change of life, the removal of slavery, the loosing of chains, the remodelling of the whole man. Why should I go into further detail? Illumination is the greatest and most magnificent of the Gifts of God. For just as we speak of the Holy of Holies, and the Song of Songs, as more comprehensive and more excellent than others, so is this called Illumination, as being more holy than any other illumination which we possess.

IV. And as Christ the Giver of it is called by many various names, so too is this Gift, whether it is from the exceeding gladness of its nature (as those who are very fond of a thing take pleasure in using its name), or that the great variety of its benefits has reacted for us upon its names. We call it, the Gift, the Grace, Baptism, Unction, Illumination, the Clothing of Immortality, the Laver of Regeneration, the Seal, and everything that is honourable. We call it the Gift, because it is given to us in return for nothing on our part; Grace, because it is conferred even on debtors; Baptism, because sin is buried with it in the water; Unction, as Priestly and Royal, for such were they who were anointed; Illumination, because of its splendour; Clothing, because it hides our shame; the Laver, because it washes us; the Seal because it preserves us, and is moreover the indication of Dominion. In it the heavens rejoice; it is glorified by Angels, because of its kindred splendour. It is the image of the heavenly bliss. We long indeed to sing out its praises, but we cannot worthily do so.

V. God is Light:(a) the highest, the unapproachable, the ineffable, That can neither be conceived in the mind nor uttered with the lips,(b) That giveth life to every reasoning creature.(g) He is in the world of thought, what the sun is in the world of sense; presenting Himself to our minds in proportion as we are cleansed; and loved in proportion as He is presented to our mind; and again, conceived in proportion as we love Him; Himself contemplating and comprehending Himself, and pouring Himself out upon what is external to Him. That Light, I mean, which is contemplated in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, Whose riches is Their unity of nature, and the one outleaping of Their brightness. A second Light is the Angel, a kind of outflow or communication of that first Light, drawing its illumination from its inclination and obedience thereto; anti I know not whether its illumination is distributed according to the order of its state, or whether its order is due to the respective measures of its illumination.(d) A third Light is man; a light which is visible to external objects. For they call man light, because of the faculty of speech in us. And the name is applied again to those of us who are more like God, and who approach God more nearly than others. I also acknowledge another Light, by which the primeval darkness was driven away or pierced. It was the first of all the visible creation to be called into existence; and it irradiates the whole universe, the circling orbit of the stars, and all the heavenly beacon fires.

VI. Light was also the firstborn commandment given to the firstborn man (for the commandment of the Law is a lamp and a light;(e) and again, Because Thy judgments are a light upon the earth);(z) although the envious darkness crept in and wrought wickedness. And a Light typical and proportionate to those who were its subjects was the written law, adumbrating the truth and the sacrament of the great Light, for Moses' face was made glorious by it.(h) And, to mention more Lights--it was Light that appeared out of Fire to Moses, when it burned the bush indeed, but did not consume it.(th) to shew its nature and to declare the power that was in it. And it was Light that was in the pillar of fire that led Israel and tamed the wilderness.(a) It was Light that carried up Elias in the car of fire,(b) and yet did not burn him as it carried him. It was Light that shone round the Shepherds(g) when the Eternal Light was mingled with the temporal. It was Light that was the beauty of the Star that went before to Bethlehem to guide the Wise Men's way,(d) and to be the escort of the Light That is above us, when He came amongst us. Light was That Godhead Which was shewn upon the Mount to the disciples--and a little too strong for their eyes.(e) Light was That Vision which blazed out upon Paul,(z) and by wounding his eyes healed the darkness of his soul. Light is also the brilliancy of heaven to those who have been purified here, when the righteous shall shine forth as the Sun,(h) and God shall stand in the midst of them,(th) gods and kings, deciding and distinguishing the ranks of the Blessedness of heaven. Light beside these in a special sense is the illumination of Baptism of which we are now speaking; for it contains a great and marvellous sacrament of our salvation.

VII. For since to be utterly sinless belongs to God, and to the first and uncompounded nature (for simplicity is peaceful, and not subject to dissension), and I venture to say also that it belongs to the Angelic nature too; or at least, I would affirm that nature to be very nearly sinless, because of its nearness to God; but to sin is human and belongs to the Compound on earth (for composition is the beginning of separation); therefore the master did not think it right to leave His creature unaided, or to neglect its danger of separation from Himself; but on the contrary, just as He gave existence to that which did not exist, so He gave new creation to that which did exist, a diviner creation and a loftier than the first, which is to those who are beginning life a Seal, and to those who are more mature in age both a gift and a restoration of the image which had fallen through sin, that we may not, by becoming worse through despair, and ever being borne downward to that which is more evil, fall altogether from good and from virtue, through despondency; and having fallen into a depth of evil (as it is said) despise Him;(i) but that like those who in the course of a long journey make a brief rest from labour at an inn, we should be enabled to accomplish the rest of the road fresh and full of courage. Such is the grace and power of baptism; not an overwhelming of the world as of old, but a purification of the sins of each individual, and a complete cleansing from all the bruises and stains of sin.

VIII. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths. And this which comes to the aid of our first birth, makes us new instead of old, and like God instead of what we now are; recasting us without fire, and creating us anew without breaking us up, For, to say it all in one word, the virtue of Baptism is to be understood as a covenant with God for a second life and a purer conversation. And indeed all need to fear this very much, and to watch our own souls, each one of us, with all care, that we do not become liars in respect of this profession. For if God is called upon as a Mediator to ratify human professions, how great is the danger if we be found transgressors of the covenant which we have made with God Himself; and if we be found guilty before the Truth Himself of that lie, besides our other transgressions ... and that when there is no second regeneration, or recreation, or restoration to our former state, even though we seek it with all our might, and with many sighs and tears, by which it is cicatrized over (with great difficulty in my opinion, though we all believe that it may be cicatrized). Yet if we might wipe away even the scars I should be glad, since I too have need of mercy. But it is better not to stand in need of a second cleansing, but to stop at the first, which is, I know, common to all, and involves no labour, and is of equal price to slaves, to masters, to poor, to rich, to humble, to exalted, to gentle, to simple, to debtors, to those who are free from debt; like the breathing of the air, and the pouring forth of the light, and the changes of the seasons, and the sight of creation, that great delight which we all share alike, and the equal distribution of the faith.

IX. For it is a strange thing to substitute for a painless remedy one which is more painful; to cast away the grace of mercy, and owe a debt of punishment; and to measure our amendment against sin. For how many tears must we contribute before they can equal the fount of baptism; and who will be surety for us that death shall wait for our cure, and that the judgment seat shall not summon us while still debtors, and needing the fire of the other world? You perhaps, as a good and pitiful husbandman, will entreat the Master still to spare the figtree,(a) and not yet to cut it down, though accused of unfruitfulness; but to allow you to put dung about it in the shape of tears, sighs, invocations, sleepings on the ground, vigils, mortifications of soul and body, and correction by confession and a life of humiliation. But it is uncertain if the Master will spare it, inasmuch as it cumbers the ground of another asking for mercy, and becoming deteriorated by the longsuffering shewn to this one. Let us then be buried with Christ by Baptism,(b) that we may also rise with Him; let us descend with Him, that we may also be exalted with Him; let us ascend with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

X. If after baptism the persecutor and tempter of the light assail you (for he assailed even the Word my God through the veil,(g) the hidden Light through that which was manifested), you have the means to conquer him. Fear not the conflict; defend yourself with the Water; defend yourself with the Spirit, by Which all the fiery darts of the wicked shall be quenched.(d) It is Spirit, but That Spirit which rent the Mountains.(e) It is Water, but that which quenches fire. If he assail you by your want (as he dared to assail Christ), and asks that stones should be made bread, do not be ignorant of his devices.(z) Teach him what he has not learnt. Defend yourself with the Word of life, Who is the Bread sent down from heaven, and giving life to the world.(h) If he plot against you with vain glory (as he did against Christ when he led Him up to the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, Cast Thyself down(th) as a proof of Thy Godhead), be not overborne by elation. If you be taken by this he will not stop here. For he is insatiable, he grasps at every thing. He fawns upon you with fair pretences, but he ends in evil; this is the manner of his fighting. Yes, and the robber is skilled in Scripture. On the one side was that It is written about the Bread, and on the other that it Is written about the Angels. It is written, quoth he, He shall give His Angels charge concerning thee, and they shall bear thee in their hands.(i) O vile sophist! how was it that thou didst suppress the words that follow, for I know it well, even if thou passest it by in silence? I will make thee to go upon the asp and basilisk, and I will tread upon serpents and scorpions, being fenced by the Trinity. If he wrestle against thee to a fall through avarice, shewing thee all the Kingdoms at one instant and in the twinkling of an eye, as belonging to himself, and demand thy worship, despise him as a beggar. Say to him relying on the Seal, "I am myself the Image of God; I have not yet been east down from the heavenly Glory, as thou wast through thy pride; I have put on Christ; I have been transformed into Christ by Baptism; worship thou me." Well do I know that he will depart, defeated and put to shame by this; as he did from Christ the first Light, so he will from those who are illumined by Christ. Such blessings does the layer bestow on those who apprehend it; such is the rich feast which it provides for those who hunger aright.

XI. Let us then be baptized that we may win the victory; let us partake of the cleansing waters, more purifying than hyssop, purer than the legal blood, more sacred than the ashes of the heifer sprinkling the unclean,(a) and providing a temporary cleansing of the body, but not a complete taking away of sin; for if once purged, why should they need further purification? Let us be baptized today, that we suffer not violence(b) to-morrow; and let us not put off the blessing as if it were an injury, nor wait till we get more wicked that more may be forgiven us; and let us not become sellers and traffickers of Christ, lest we become more heavily burdened than we are able to bear, that we be not sunk with all hands(g) and make shipwreck of the Gift, and lose all because we expected too much. While thou art still master of thy thoughts run to the Gift. While thou art not yet sick in body or in mind, nor seemest so to those who are with thee (though thou art really of sound mind); while thy good is not yet in the power of others, but thou thyself art still master of it; while thy tongue is not stammering or parched, or (to say no more) deprived of the power of pronouncing the sacramental words; while thou canst still be made one of the faithful, not conjecturally but confessedly; and canst still receive not pity but congratulation; while the Gift is still clear to thee, and there is no doubt about it; while the grace can reach the depth of thy soul, and it is not merely thy body that is washed for burial; and before tears surround thee announcing thy decease--and even these restrained perhaps for thy sake--and thy wife and children would delay thy departure, and are listening for thy dying words; before the physician is powerless to help thee, and is giving thee but hours to live--hours which are not his to give--and is balancing thy salvation with the nod of his head, and discoursing learnedly on thy disease after thou art dead, or making his charges heavier by withdrawals, or hinting at despair; before there is a struggle between the man who would baptize thee and the man who seeks thy money, the one striving that thou mayest receive thy Viaticum, the other that he may be inscribed in thy Will as heir--and there is no time for both.

XII. Why wait for a fever to bring you this blessing, and refuse it from God? Why will you have it through lapse of time, and not through reason? Why will you owe it to a plotting friend, and not to a saving desire? Why will you receive it of force and not of free will; of necessity rather than of liberty? Why must you hear of your death from another, rather than think of it as even now present? Why do you seek for drugs which will do no good, or the sweat of the crisis, when the sweat of death is perhaps upon you? Heal yourself before your extremity; have pity upon yourself the only true healer of your disease; apply to yourself the really saving medicine; while you are still sailing with a favouring breeze fear shipwreck, and you will be in less danger of it, if you make use of your terror as a helper. Give yourself occasion to celebrate the Gift with feasting, not with mourning; let the talent be cultivated, not buried in the ground; let some time intervene between the grace and death, that not only may the account of sins be wiped out, but something better may be written in its place; that you may have not only the Gift, but also the Reward; that you may not only escape the fire, but may also inherit the glory, which is bestowed by cultivation of the Gift. For to men of little soul it is a great thing to escape torment; but men of great soul aim also at attaining reward.

XIII. I know of three classes among the saved; the slaves, the hired servants, the sons. If you are a slave, be afraid of the whip; if you are a hired servant, look only to receive your hire; if you are more than this, a son, revere Him as a Father, and work that which is good, because it is good to obey a Father; and even though no reward should come of it for you, this is itself a reward, that you please your Father. Let us then take care not to despise these things. How absurd it would be to grasp at money and throw away health; and to be lavish of the cleansing of the body, but economical over the cleansing of the soul; and to seek for freedom from earthly slavery, but not to care about heavenly freedom; and to make every effort to be splendidly housed and dressed, but to have never a thought how you yourself may become really very precious; and to be zealous to do good to others, without any desire to do good to yourself. And if good could be bought, you would spare no money; but if mercy is freely at your feet, you despise it for its cheapness. Every time is suitable for your ablution, since any time may be your death. With Paul I shout to you with that loud voice, "Behold now is the accepted time; behold Now is the day of salvation;"(a) and that Now does not point to any one time, but is every present moment. And again "Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light,"(b) dispelling the darkness of sin. For as Isaiah says,(g) In the night hope is evil, and it is more profitable to be received in the morning.

XIV. Sow in good season, and gather together, and open thy barns when it is the time to do so; and plant in season, and let the clusters be cut when they are ripe, and launch boldly in spring, and draw thy ship on shore again at the beginning of winter, when the sea begins to rage. And let there be to thee also a time for war and a time for peace; a time to marry, and a time to abstain from marrying; a time for friendship, and a time for discord, if this be needed; and in short a time for everything, if you will follow Solomon's advice.(d) And it is best to do so, for the advice is profitable. But the work of your salvation is one upon which you should be engaged at all times; and let every time be to you the definite one for Baptism. If you are always passing over to-day and waiting for to-morrow, by your little procrastinations you will be cheated without knowing it by the Evil One, as his manner is. Give to me, he says, the present, and to God the future; to me your youth, and to God old age; to me your pleasures, and to Him your uselessness. How great is the danger that surrounds you. How many the unexpected mischances. War has expended you; or an earthquake overwhelmed you; or the sea swallowed you up; or a wild beast carried you off; or a sickness killed you; or a crumb going the wrong way (a most insignificant thing, but what is easier than for a man to die, though you are so proud of the divine image); or a too freely indulged drinking bout;(a) or a wind knocked you down; or a horse ran away with you; or a drug maliciously scheming against you, or perhaps found to be deleterious when meant to be wholesome; or an inhuman judge; or an inexorable executioner; or any of the things which make the change swiftest and beyond the power of human aid.

XV. But if you would fortify yourself beforehand with the Seal, and secure yourself for the future with the best and strongest of all aids, being signed both in body and in soul with the unction, as Israel was of old with that blood and unction of the firstborn at night that guarded him,(b) what then can happen to you, and what has been wrought out for you? Listen to the Proverbs. "If thou sittest, he says, thou shalt be without fear; and if thou sleepest, thy sleep shall be sweet."(g) And listen to David giving thee the good news, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, for mischance or noonday demon."(d) This, even while you live, will greatly contribute to your sense of safety (for a sheep that is sealed is not easily snared, but that which is unmarked is an easy prey to thieves), and at your death a fortunate shroud, more precious than gold, more magnificent than a sepulchre, more reverent than fruitless libations,(e) more seasonable than ripe firstfruits, which the dead bestow on the dead, making a law out of custom. Nay, if all things forsake thee,(z) or be taken violently away from thee; money, possessions, thrones, distinctions, and everything that belongs to this early turmoil, yet you will be able to lay down your life in safety, having suffered no loss of the helps which God gave you unto salvation.

XVI. But are you afraid lest you should destroy the Gift, and do you therefore put off your cleansing, because you cannot have it a second time? What? Would you not be afraid of danger in time of persecution, and of losing the most precious Thing you have--Christ? Would you then on this account avoid becoming a Christian? Perish the thought. Such a fear is not for a sane man; such an argument argues insanity. O incautious caution, if I may so. O trick of the Evil One! Truly he is darkness and pretends to be light; and when he can no longer prevail in open war, he lays snares in secret, and gives advice, apparently good, really evil, if by some trick at least he may prevail, and we find no escape from his plotting. And this is clearly what he is aiming at in this instance. For, being unable to persuade you to despise Baptism, he inflicts loss upon you through a fictitious security; that in consequence of your fear you may suffer unconsciously the very thing you are afraid of; and because you fear to destroy the Gift, you may for this very reason fail of the Gift altogether. This is his character; and he will never cease his duplicity as long as he sees us pressing onwards towards heaven from which he has fallen. Wherefore, O man of God, do thou recognize the plots of thine adversary; for the battle is against him that hath, and it is concerned with the most important interests. Take not thine enemy to be thy counsellor; despise not to be and to be called Faithful. As long as you are a Catechumen you are but in the porch of Religion; you must come inside, and cross the court, and observe the Holy Things, and look into the Holy of Holies, and be in company with the Trinity. Great are the interests for which you are fighting, great too the stability which you need. Protect yourself with the shield of faith. He fears you, if you fight armed with this weapon, and therefore he would strip you of the Gift, that he may the more easily overcome you unarmed and defenceless. He assails every age, and every form of life; he must be repelled by all.

XVII. Art thou young? stand against thy passions; be numbered with the alliance in the army of God:(a) do valiantly against Goliath.(b) Take your thousands or your myriads;(g) thus enjoy your manhood; but do not allow your youth to be withered, being killed by the imperfection of your faith. Are you old and near the predestined necessity? Aid your few remaining days. Entrust the purification to your old age. Why do you fear youthful passion in deep old age and at your last breath? Or will you wait to be washed till you are dead, and not so much the object of pity as of dislike? Are you regretting the dregs of pleasure, being yourself in the dregs of life? It is a shameful thing to be past indeed the flower of your age, but not past your wickedness; but either to be involved in it still, or at least to seem so by delaying your purification. Have you an infant child? Do not let sin get any opportunity, but let him be sanctified from his childhood; from his very tenderest age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Fearest thou the Seal on account of the weakness of nature? O what a small-souled mother, and of how little faith! Why, Anna even before Samuel was born(a) promised him to God, and after his birth consecrated him at once, and brought him up in the priestly habit, not fearing anything in human nature, but trusting in God. You have no need of amulets or incantations, with which the Devil also comes in, stealing worship from God for himself in the minds of vainer men. Give your child the Trinity, that great and noble Guard.

XVIII. What more? Are you living in Virginity? Be sealed by this purification; make this the sharer and companion of your life. Let this direct your life, your words, every member, every movement, every sense. Honour it, that it may honour you; that it may give to your head a crown of graces, and with a crown of delights may shield you.(b) Art thou bound by wedlock? Be bound also by the Seal; make it dwell with you as a guardian of your continence, safer than any number of eunuchs or of doorkeepers. Art thou not yet wedded to flesh? Fear not this consecration; thou art pure even after marriage. I will take the risk of that. I will join you in wedlock. I will dress the bride. We do not dishonour marriage because we give a higher honour to virginity. I will imitate Christ, the pure Grooms- man and Bridegroom, as He both wrought a miracle at a wedding, and honours wedlock with His Presence.(g) Only let marriage be pure and unmingled with filthy lusts. This only I ask; receive safety from the Gift, and give to the Gift the oblation of chastity in its due season, when the fixed time of prayer comes round, and that which is more precious than business. And do this by common consent and approval. For we do not command, we exhort; and we would receive something of you for your own profit, and the common security of you both. And in one word, there is no state of life and no occupation to which Baptism is not profitable. You who are a free man,(a) be curbed by it; you who are in slavery, be made of equal rank; you who are in grief, receive comfort; let the gladsome be disciplined; the poor receive riches that cannot be taken away; the rich be made capable of being good stewards of their possessions. Do not play tricks or lay plots against your own salvation. For even if we can delude others we cannot delude ourselves. And so to play against oneself is very dangerous and foolish.

XIX. But you have to live in the midst of public affairs, and are stained by them; and it would be a terrible thing to waste this mercy. The answer is simple. Flee, if you can, even from the forum, along with the good company, making yourself the wings of an eagle, or, to speak more suitably, of a dove ... for what have you to do with Caesar or the things of Caesar? ... until you can rest where there is no sin, and no blackening, and no biting snake in the way to hinder your godly steps. Snatch your soul away from the world; flee from Sodom; flee from the burning; travel on without turning back, lest you should be fixed as a pillar of salt.(b) Escape to the Mountain lest you be destroyed with the plain. But if you are already bound and constrained by the chain of necessity, reason thus with yourself; or rather let me reason thus with you. It is better both to attain the good and to keep the purification. But if it be impossible to do both it is surely better to be a little stained with your public affairs than to fall altogether short of grace; just as I think it better to undergo a slight punishment from father or master than to be put out of doors; and to be a little beamed upon than to be left in total darkness. And it is the part of wise men to choose, as in good things the greater and more perfect, so in evils the lesser and lighter. Wherefore do not overmuch dread the purification. For our success is always judged by comparison with our place in life by our just and merciful Judge; and often one who is in public life and has had small success has had a greater reward than one who in the enjoyment of liberty has not completely succeeded; as I think it more marvellous for a man to advance a little in fetters, than for one to run who is not carrying any weight; or to be only a little spattered in walking through mud, than to be perfectly clean when the road is clean. To give you a proof of what I have said:-- Rahab the harlot was justified by one thing alone, her hospitality,(a) though she receives no praise for the rest of her conduct; and the Publican was exalted by one thing, his humility,(b) though he received no testimony for anything else; so that you may learn not easily to despair concerning yourself.

XX. But some will say, What shall I gain, if, when I am preoccupied by baptism, and have cut off myself by my haste from the pleasures of life, when it was in my power to give the reins to pleasure, and then to obtain grace? For the labourers in the vineyard who had worked the longest time gained nothing thereby, for equal wages were given to the very last.(g) You have delivered me from some trouble, whoever you are who say this, because you have at last with much difficulty told the secret of your delay; and though I cannot applaud your shiftiness, I do applaud your confession. But come hither and listen to the interpretation of the parable, that you may not be injured by Scripture for want of information. First of all, there is no question here of baptism, but of those who believe at different times and enter the good vineyard of the Church. For from the day and hour at which each believed, from that day and hour he is required to work. And then, although they who entered first contributed more to the measure of the labour yet they did not contribute more to the measure of the purpose; nay perhaps even more was due to the last in respect of this, though the statement may seem paradoxical. For the cause of their later entrance was their later call to the work of the vineyard. In all other respects let us see how different they are. The first did not believe or enter till they had agreed on their hire; but the others came forward to do the work without an agreement, which is a proof of greater faith. And the first were found to be of an envious and murmuring nature, but no such charge is brought against the others. And to the first, that which was given was wages, though they were worthless fellows; to the last it was the free gift. So that the first were convicted of folly, and with reason deprived of the greater reward. Let us see what would have happened to them if they had been late. Why, the equal pay, evidently. How then can they blame the employer as unjust because of their equality? For all these things take away the merit of their labour froth the first, although they were at work first; and therefore it turns out that the distribution of equal pay was just, if you measure the good will against the labour.

XXI. But supposing that the Parable does sketch the power of the font according to your interpretation, what would prevent you, if you entered first, and bore the heat, from avoiding envy of the last, that by this very lovingkindness you might obtain more, and receive the reward, not as of grace but as of debt? And next, the workmen who receive the wages are those who have entered, not those who have missed, the vineyard; which last is like to be your case. So that if it were certain that you would obtain the Gift, though you are of such a mind, and maliciously keep back some of the labour, you might be forgiven for taking refuge in such arguments, and desiring to make unlawful gain out of the kindness of the master; though I might assure you that the very fact of being able to labour is a greater reward to any who is not altogether of a huckstering mind. But since there is a risk of your being altogether shut out of the vineyard through your bargaining, and losing the capital through stopping to pick up little gains, do let yourselves be persuaded by my words to forsake the false interpretations and contradictions, and to come forward without arguing to receive the Gift, lest you should be snatched away before you realize your hopes, and should find out that it was to your own loss that you devised these sophistries.

XXII. But then, you say, is not God merciful, and since He knows our thoughts and searches out our desires, will He not take the desire of Baptism instead of Baptism? You are speaking in riddles, if what you mean is that because of God's mercy the unenlightened is enlightened in His sight; and he is within the kingdom of heaven who merely desires to attain to it, but refrains from doing that which pertains to the kingdom. I will, however, speak out boldly my opinion on these matters; and I think that all other sensible men will range themselves on my side. Of those who have received the gift, some were altogether alien from God and from salvation, both addicted to all manner of sin, and desirous to be bad; others were semivicious, and in a kind of mean state between good and bad; others again, while they did that which was evil, yet did not approve their own action, just as men in a fever are not pleased with their own sickness. And others even before they were illuminated were worthy of praise; partly by nature, and partly by the care with which they prepared themselves for Baptism. These after their initiation became evidently better, and less liable to fall; in the one case with a view to procuring good, and in the other in order to preserve it. And amongst these, those who gave in to same evil are better than those who were altogether bad; and better still than those who yielded a little, are those who were more zealous, and broke up their fallow ground before Baptism; they have the advantage over the others of having already laboured; for the font does not do away with good deeds as it does with sins. But better even than these are they who are also cultivating the Gift, and are polishing themselves to the utmost possible beauty.

XXIII. And so also in those who fail to receive the Gift, some are altogether animal or bestial, according as they are either foolish or wicked; and this, I think, has to be added to their other sins, that they have no reverence at all for this Gift, but look upon it as a mere gift--to be acquiesced in if given them, and if not given them, then to be neglected. Others know and honour the Gift, but put it off; some through laziness, some through greediness. Others are not in a position to receive it, perhaps on account of infancy,(a) or some perfectly involuntary circumstance through which they are prevented from receiving it, even if they wish. As then in the former case we found much difference, so too in this. They who altogether despise it are worse than they who neglect it through greed or carelessness. These are worse than they who have lost the Gift through ignorance or tyranny, for tyranny is nothing but an involuntary error.(b) And I think that the first will have to suffer punishment, as for all their sins, so for their contempt of baptism; and that the second will also have to suffer, but less, because it was not so much through wickedness as through folly that they wrought their failure; and that the third will be neither glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as unsealed and yet not wicked, but persons who have suffered rather than done wrong. For not every one who is not bad enough to be punished is good enough to be honoured; just as not every one who is not good enough to be honoured is bad enough to be punished. And I look upon it as well from another point of view. If you judge the murderously disposed man by his will alone, apart from the act of murder, then you may reckon as baptized him who desired baptism apart from the reception of baptism. But if you cannot do the one how can you do the other? I cannot see it. Or, if you like, we will put it thus If desire in your opinion has equal power with actual baptism, then judge in the same way in regard to glory, and you may be content with longing for it, as if that were itself glory. And what harm is done you by your not attaining the actual glory, as long as you have the desire for it?

XXIV. Therefore since you have heard these words, come forward to it, and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed(a) through missing the Grace. Receive then the Enlightenment in due season, that darkness pursue you not, and catch you, and sever you from the Illumining. The night cometh when no man can work(b) after our departure hence. The one is the voice of David, the other of the True Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.(g) And consider how Solomon reproves you who are too idle or lethargic, saying, How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard,(d) and when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? You rely upon this or that, and "pretend pretences in sins;"(e) I am waiting for Epiphany; I prefer Easter; I will wait for Pentecost.(z) It is better to be baptized with Christ, to rise with Christ on the Day of His Resurrection,(h) to honour the Manifestation of the Spirit. And what then? The end will come suddenly in a day for which thou lookest not, and in an hour that thou art not aware of; and then you will have for a companion lack of grace; and you will be famished in the midst of all those riches of goodness, though you ought to reap the opposite fruit from the opposite course, a harvest by diligence, and refreshment from the font, like the thirsty hart(th) that runs in haste to the spring, and quenches the labour of his race by water; and not to be in Ishmael's case, dried up for want of water,(a) or as the fable has it, punished by thirst in the midst of a spring.(b) It is a sad thing to let the market day go by and then to seek for work. It is a sad thing to let the Manna pass and then to long for food. It is a sad thing to take a counsel too late, and to become sensible of the loss only when it is impossible to repair it; that is, after our departure hence, and the bitter closing of the acts of each man's life, and the punishment of sinners, and the glory of the purified. Therefore do not delay in coming to grace, but hasten, lest the robber outstrip you, lest the adulterer pass you by, lest the insatiate be satisfied before you, lest the murderer seize the blessing first, or the publican or the fornicator, or any of these violent ones who take the Kingdom of heaven by force.(g) For it suffers violence willingly, and is tyrannized over through goodness.

XXV. Take my advice, my friend, and be slow to do evil, but swift to your salvation; for readiness to evil and tardiness to good are equally bad. If you are invited to a revel, be not swift to go; if to apostasy, leap away; if a company of evildoers say to you, "Come with us, share our bloodguiltiness, let us hide in the earth a righteous man unjustly,"(d) do not lend them even your ears. Thus you will make two very great gains; you will make known to the other his sin, and you will deliver yourself from evil company. But if David the Great say unto you, Come and let us rejoice in the Lord;(e) or another Prophet, Come and let us ascend into the Mountain of the Lord;(z) or our Saviour Himself, Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;(h) or, Arise, let us go hence, shining brightly, glittering above snow, whiter than milk,(th) shining above the sapphire stone; let us not resist or delay. Let us be like Peter and John, and let us hasten;(k) as they did to the Sepulchre and the Resurrection, so we to the Font; running together, racing against each other, striving to be first to obtain this Blessing. And say not, "Go away, and come again, and tomorrow I will be baptized,''(l) when you may have the blessing today. "I will have with me father, mother, brothers, wife, children, friends, and all whom I value, and then I will be saved; but it is not yet the fitting time for me to be made bright;" for if you say so, there is reason to fear lest you should have as sharers of your sorrow those whom you hoped to have as sharers of your joy. If they will be with you, well;--but do not wait for them. For it is base to say, "But where is my offering for my baptism, and where is my baptismal robe, in which I shall be made bright, and where is what is wanted for the entertainment of my baptizers, that in these too I may become worthy of notice? For, as you see, all these things are necessary, and on account of this the Grace will be lessened." Do not thus trifle with great things, or allow yourself to think so basely. The Sacrament is greater than the visible environment. Offer yourself; clothe yourself with Christ, feast me with your conduct; I rejoice to be thus affectionately treated, and God Who gives these great gifts rejoices thus. Nothing is great in the sight of God, but what the poor may give, so that the poor may not here also be outrun, for they cannot contend with the rich. In other matters there is a distinction between poor and rich, but here the more willing is the richer.

XXVI. Let nothing hinder you from going on, nor draw you away from your readiness. While your desire is still vehement, seize upon that which you desire. While the iron is hot, let it be tempered by the cold water, lest anything should happen in the interval, and put an end to your desire. I am Philip; do you be Candace's Eunuch.(a) Do you also say, "See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Seize the opportunity; rejoice greatly in the blessing; and having spoken be baptized; and having been baptized be saved; and though you be an Ethiopian body, be made white in soul. Do not say, "A Bishop shall baptize me,--and he a Metropolitan,--and he of Jerusalem (for the Grace does not come of a place, but of the Spirit),--and he of noble birth, for it would be a sad thing for my nobility to be insulted by being baptized by a man of no family." Do not say, "I do not mind a mere Priest, if he is a celibate, and a religious, and of angelic life; for it would be a sad thing for me to be defiled even in the moment of my cleansing." Do not ask for credentials of the preacher or the baptizer. For another is his judge,(a) and the examiner of what thou canst not see. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. But to thee let every one be trustworthy for purification, so only he is one of those who have been approved, not of those who are openly condemned, and not a stranger to the Church. Do not judge your judges, you who need healing; and do not make nice distinctions about the rank of those who shall cleanse you, or be critical about your spiritual fathers. One may be higher or lower than another, but all are higher than you. Look at it this way. One may be golden, another iron, but both are rings and have engraved on them the same royal image; and thus when they impress the wax, what difference is there between the seal of the one and that of the other? None. Detect the material in the wax, if you are so very clever. Tell me which is the impression of the iron ring, and which of the golden. And how do they come to be one? The difference is in the material and not in the seal. And so anyone can be your baptizer; for though one may excel another in his life, yet the grace of baptism is the same, and any one may be your consecrator who is formed in the same faith.

XXVII. Do not disdain to be baptized with a poor man, if you are rich; or if you are noble, with one who is lowborn; or if you are a master, with one who is up to the present time your slave. Not even so will you be humbling yourself as Christ, unto Whom you are baptized today, Who for your sake took upon Himself even the form of a slave. From the day of your new birth all the old marks were effaced, and Christ was put upon all in one form. Do not disdain to confess your sins, knowing how John baptized, that by present shame you may escape from future shame (for this too is a part of the future punishment); and prove that you really hate sin by making a shew of it openly, and triumphing over it as worthy of contempt. Do not reject the medicine of exorcism, nor refuse it because of its length. This too is a touchstone of your right disposition for grace. What labour have you to do compared with that of the Queen of Ethiopia,(b) who arose and came from the utmost part of the earth to see the wisdom of Solomon? And behold a Greater than Solomon is here(g) in the judgment of those who reason maturely. Do not hesitate either at length of journey, or distance by sea; or fire, if this too lies before you; or of any other, small or great, of the hindrances that you may attain to the gift. But if without any labour and trouble at all you may obtain that which you desire, what folly it is to put off the gift: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,"(a) Esaias invites you, "and he that hath no money, come buy wine and milk, without money and without price." O swiftness of His mercy: O easiness of the Covenant: This blessing may be bought by you merely for willing it; He accepts the very desire as a great price; He thirsts to be thirsted for; He gives to drink to all who desire to drink; He takes it as a kindness to be asked for the kindness; He is ready and liberal; He gives with more pleasure than others receive.(b) Only let us not be condemned for frivolity by asking for little, and for what is unworthy of the Giver. Blessed is he from whom Jesus asks drink, as He did from that Samaritan woman, and gives a well of water springing up unto eternal life.(g) Blessed is he that soweth beside all waters, and upon every soul, tomorrow to be ploughed and watered, which today the ox and the ass tread, while it is dry and without water,(d) and oppressed with unreason. And blessed is he who, though he be a "valley of rushes,"(e) is watered out of the House of the Lord; for he is made fruitbearing instead of rushbearing, and produces that which is for the food of man, not that which is rough and unprofitable. And for the sake of this we must be very careful not to miss the Grace.

XXVIII. Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children, and conscious neither of the loss nor of the grace? Are we to baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses. For it is better that they should be unconsciously sanctified than that they should depart unsealed and uninitiated.

A proof of this is found in the Circumcision on the eighth day, which was a sort of typical seal, and was conferred on children before they had the use of reason. And so is the anointing of the doorposts,(z) which preserved the firstborn, though applied to things which had no consciousness. But in respect of others(h) I give my advice to wait till the end of the third year, or a little more or less, when they may be able to listen and to answer something about the Sacrament; that, even though they do not perfectly understand it, yet at any rate they may know the outlines; and then to sanctify them in soul and body with the great sacrament of our consecration. For this is how the matter stands; at that time they begin to be responsible for their lives, when reason is matured, and they learn the mystery of life (for of sins of ignorance owing to their tender years they have no account to give), and it is far more profitable on all accounts to be fortified by the Font, because of the sudden assaults of danger that befall us, stronger than our helpers.

XXIX. But, one says, Christ was thirty years old when He was baptized,(a) and that although He was God; and do you bid us hurry our Baptism?--You have solved the difficulty when you say He was God. For He was absolute cleansing; He had no need of cleansing; but it was for you that He was purified, just as it was for you that, though He had not flesh, yet He is clothed with flesh. Nor was there any danger to Him from putting off Baptism, for He had the ordering of His own Passion as of His own Birth. But in your case the danger is to no small interests, if you were to depart after a birth to corruption alone, and without being clothed with incorruption. And there is this further point for me to consider, that that particular time of baptism was a necessity for Him, but your case is not the same. He manifested Himself in the thirtieth year after His birth and not before; first, in order that He might not appear ostentatious, which is a condition belonging to vulgar minds; and next, because that age tests virtue thoroughly, and is the right time to teach. And since it was needful for Him to undergo the passion which saves the world, it was needful also that all things which belong to the passion should fit into the passion; the Manifestation, the Baptism, the Witness from Heaven, the Proclamation, the concourse of the multitude, the Miracles; and that they should be as it were one body, not torn asunder, nor broken apart by intervals. For out of the Baptism and Proclamation arose that earthquake of people coming together,(b) for so Scripture calls that time;(g) and out of the multitude arose the shewing of the signs and the miracles that lead up to the Gospel. And out of these came the jealousy, and from this the hatred, and out of the hatred the circumstance of the plot against Him, and the betrayal; and out of these the Cross, and the other events by which our Salvation has been effected. Such are the reasons in the case of Christ(a) so far as we can attain to them. And perhaps another more secret reason might be found.

XXX. But for you, what necessity is there that by following the examples which are far above you, you should do a thing so ill-advised for yourself? For there are many other details of the Gospel History which are quite different to what happens nowadays, and the seasons of which do not correspond. For instance Christ fasted a little before His temptation, we before Easter. As far as the fasting days are concerned it is the same,(b) but the difference in the seasons is no little one. He armed Himself with them against temptation; but to us this fast is symbolical of dying with Christ, and it is a purification in preparation for the festival. And He fasted absolutely for forty days, for He was God; but we measure our fasting by our power, even though some are led by zeal to rush beyond their strength. Again, He gave the Sacrament of the Passover to His Disciples in an upper chamber, and after supper, and one day before He suffered; but we celebrate it in Houses of Prayer, and before food,(g) and after His resurrection. He rose again the third day; our resurrection is not till after a long time. But matters which have to do with Him are neither abruptly separated from us, nor yet yoked together with those which concern us in point of time; but they were handed down to us just so far as to be patterns of what we should do, and then they carefully avoided an entire and exact resemblance.

XXXI. If then you will listen to me, you will bid a long farewell to all such arguments, and you will jump at this Blessing, and begin to struggle in a twofold conflict; first, to prepare yourself for baptism by purifying yourself; and next, to preserve the baptismal gift; for it is a matter of equal difficulty to obtain a blessing which we have not, and to keep it when we have gained it. For often what zeal has acquired sloth has destroyed; and what hesitation has lost diligence has regained. A great assistance to the attainment of what you desire are vigils, fasts, sleeping on the ground, prayers, tears, pity of and almsgiving to those who are in need. And let these be your thanksgiving for what you have received, and at the same time your safeguard of them. You have the benefit to remind you of many commandments; so do not transgress them. Does a poor man approach you? Remember how poor you once were, and how rich you were made. One in want of bread or of drink, perhaps another Lazarus,(a) is cast at your gate; respect the Sacramental Table to which you have approached, the Bread of Which you have partaken, the Cup in Which you have communicated,(b) being consecrated by the Sufferings of Christ. If a stranger fall at your feet, homeless and a foreigner, welcome in him Him who for your sake was a stranger, and that among His own,(g) and who came to dwell in you by His grace, and who drew you towards the heavenly dwelling place. Be a Zaccheus,(d) who yesterday was a Publican, and is to-day of liberal soul; offer all to the coming in of Christ, that though small in bodily stature you may show yourself great, nobly contemplating Christ. A sick or a wounded man lies before you; respect your own health, and the wounds from which Christ delivered you. If you see one naked clothe him, in honour of your own garment of incorruption, which is Christ, for as many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.(e) If you find a debtor falling at your feet,(z) tear up every document, whether just or unjust. Remember the ten thousand talents which Christ forgave you, and be not a harsh exactor of a smaller debt--and that from whom? From your fellow servant, you who were forgiven so much more by the Master. Otherwise you will have to give satisfaction to His mercy, which you would not imitate and take as your copy.

XXXII. Let the layer be not for your body only, but also for the image of God in you; not merely a washing away of sins in you, but also a correction of your temper; let it not only wash away the old filth, but let it purify the fountainhead. Let it not only move you to honourable acquisition, but let it teach you also honourably to lose possession; or, which is more easy, to make restitution of what you have wrongfully acquired. For what profit is it that your sin should have been forgiven you, but the loss which you have inflicted should not be repaired to him whom you have injured? Two sins are on your conscience, the one that you made a dishonest gain, the other that you retained the gains; you received forgiveness for the one, but in respect of the other you are still in sin, for you have still possession of what belongs to another; and your sin has not been put to an end, but only divided by the time which has elapsed. Part of it was perpetrated before your Baptism, but part remains after your Baptism; for Baptism carries forgiveness of Past, not of Present sins; and its purification must not be played with, but be genuinely impressed upon you; you must be made perfectly bright, and not be merely coloured; you must receive the gift, not of a mere covering of your sins, but of a taking them clean away. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven(a) ... this is done by the complete cleansing ... and whose sins are hidden ... this belongs to those who are not yet healed in their deepest soul. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. . . . This is a third class of sinners, whose actions are not praiseworthy, but who are innocent of intention.

XXXIII. What say I then, and what is my argument? Yesterday you were a Canaanite soul bent together(b) by sin; today you have been made straight by the Word. Do not be bent gain, and condemned to the earth, as if weighed down by the Devil with a wooden collar, nor get an incurable curvature. Yesterday you were being dried up(g) by an abundant haemorrhage, for you were pouring out crimson sin; today stanched and flourishing again, for you have touched the hem of Christ and your issue has been stayed. Guard, I pray you, the cleansing lest you should again have a haemorrhage, and not be able to lay hold of Christ to steal salvation; for Christ does not like to be stolen from often, though He is very merciful. Yesterday you were flung upon a bed, exhausted and paralyzed, and you had no one when the water should be troubled to put you into the pool.(d) Today you have Him Who is in one Person Man and God, or rather God and Man. You were raised up from your bed, or rather you took up your bed, and publicly acknowledged the benefit. Do not again be thrown upon your bed by sinning, in the evil rest of a body paralyzed by its pleasures. But as you now are, so walk, mindful of the command,(e) Behold thou art made whole; sin no more lest a worse thing happen unto thee if thou prove thyself bad after the blessing thou hast received. You have heard the loud voice, Lazarus, come forth,(a) as you lay in the tomb; not, however, after four days, but after many days; and you were loosed from the bonds of your graveclothes. Do not again become dead, nor live with those who dwell in the tombs;(b) nor bind yourself with the bonds of your own sins;(g) for it is uncertain whether you will rise again from the tomb till the last and universal resurrection, which will bring every work into judgment,(d) not to be healed, but to be judged, and to give account of all which for good or evil it has treasured up.

XXXIV. If you were full of leprosy, that shapeless evil, yet you scraped off the evil matter, and received again the Image whole. Shew your cleansing to me your Priest, that I may recognize how much more precious it is than the legal one. Do not range yourself with the nine unthankful men, but imitate the tenth.(e) For although he was a Samaritan, yet he was Of better mind than the others. Make certain that you will not break out again with evil ulcers, and find the indisposition of your body hard to heal. Yesterday meanness and avarice were withering your hand; to-day let liberality and kindness stretch it out.(z) It is a noble cure for a weak hand to disperse abroad, to give to the poor,(h) to pour out the things which we possess abundantly, till we reach the very bottom; and perhaps this will gush forth food for you, as for the woman of Sarepta,(th) and especially if you happen to be feeding an Elias, to recognize that it is a good abundance to be needy for the sake of Christ, Who for our sakes became poor. If you were deaf and dumb, let the Word sound(k) in your ears, or rather keep there Him Who hath sounded. Do not shut your ears to the Instruction of the Lord, and to His Counsel, like the adder to charms.(l) If you are blind and unenlightened, lighten your eyes that you sleep not in death.(m) In God's Light see light,(n) and in the Spirit of God be enlightened by the Son, That Threefold and Undivided Light. If you receive all the Word, you will bring therewith upon your own soul all the healing powers of Christ, with which separately these individuals were healed. Only be not ignorant of the measure of grace; only let not the enemy, while you sleep, maliciously sow tares.(x) Only take care that as by your cleansing you have become an object of enmity to the Evil One, you do not again make yourself an object of pity by sin. Only be careful lest, while rejoicing and lifted up above measure by the blessing, you fall again through pride. Only be diligent as to your cleansing, "setting ascensions in your heart,"(a) and keep with all diligence the remission which you have received as a gift, in order that, while the remission comes from God, the preservation of it may come from yourself also.

XXXV. How shall this be? Remember always the parable,(b) and so will you best and most perfectly help yourself. The unclean and malignant spirit is gone out of you, being chased by baptism. He will not submit to the expulsion, he will not resign himself to be houseless and homeless: He goes through waterless places, dry of the Divine Stream, and there he desires to abide. He wanders, seeking rest; he finds none. He lights on baptized souls, whose sins the font has washed away. He fears the water; he is choked with the cleansing, as the Legion were in the sea.(g) Again he returns to the house whence he came out. He is shameless, he is contentious, he makes a fresh assault upon it, he makes a new attempt. If he finds that Christ has taken up His abode there, and has filled the place which he had vacated, he is driven back again, and goes off without success and is become an object of pity in his wandering state. But if he finds in you a place, swept and garnished indeed, but empty and idle, equally ready to take in this or that which shall first occupy it, he makes a leap into it, he takes up his abode there with a larger train; and the last state is worse than the first, inasmuch as then there was a hope of amendment and safety, but now the evil is rampant, and drags in sin by its flight from good, and therefore the possession is more secure to him who dwells there.

XXXVI. I will remind you again about Illuminations, and that often, and will reckon them up from Holy Scripture. For I myself shall be happier for remembering them (for what is sweeter than light to those who have tasted light?) and I will dazzle you with my words. There is sprung up a light for the righteous, and its partner joyful gladness.(d) And, The light of the righteous is everlasting;(e) and Thou art shining wondrously from the everlasting mountains, is said to God, I think of the Angelic powers which aid our efforts after good. And you have heard David's words; The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom then shall I fear?(a) And now he asks that the Light and the Truth may be sent forth for him,(b) now giving thanks that he has a share in it, in that the Light of God is marked upon him;(g) that is, that the signs of the illumination given are impressed upon him and recognized. One light alone let us shun--that which is the offspring of the baleful fire; let us not walk in the light of our fire,(d) and in the flame which we have kindled. For I know a cleansing fire which Christ came to send upon the earth,(e) and He Himself is anagogically(z) called a Fire. This Fire takes away whatsoever is material and of evil habit; and this He desires to kindle with all speed, for He longs for speed in doing us good, since He gives us even coals of fire to help us.(h) I know also a fire which is not cleansing, but avenging; either that fire of Sodom(th) which He pours down on all sinners,(k) mingled with brimstone and storms, or that which is prepared for the Devil and his Angels(l) or that which proceeds from the face of the Lord, and shall burn up his enemies round about;(m) and one even more fearful still than these, the unquenchable fire(n) which is ranged with the worm that dieth not but is eternal for the wicked. For all these belong to the destroying power; though some may prefer even in this place to take a more merciful view(x) of this fire, worthily of Him That chastises.

XXXVII. And as I know of two kinds of fire, so also do I of light. The one is the light of our ruling power directing our steps according to the will of God; the other is a deceitful and meddling one, quite contrary to the true light, though pretending to be that light, that it may cheat us by its appearance. This really is darkness, yet has the appearance of noonday, the high perfection of light. And so I read that passage of those who continually flee in darkness at noonday;(o) for this is really night, and yet is thought to be bright light by those who have been ruined by luxury. For what saith David? "Night was around me and I knew it not, for I thought that my luxury was enlightenment."(a) But such are they, and in this condition; but let us kindle for ourselves the light of knowledge.(b) This will be done by sowing unto righteousness, and reaping the fruit of life, for action is the patron of contemplation, that amongst other things we may learn also what is the true light, and what the false, and be saved from falling unawares into evil wearing the guise of good. Let us be made light, as it was said to the disciples by the Great Light, ye are the light of the world.(g) Let us be made lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life;(d) that is, let us be made a quickening power to others. Let us lay hold of the Godhead; let us lay hold of the First and Brightest Light. Let us walk towards Him shining, before our feet stumble upon dark and hostile mountains.(e) While it is day let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness,(z) which are the dishonesties of the night.

XXXVIII. Let us cleanse every member, Brethren, let us purify every sense; let nothing in us be imperfect or of our first birth; let us leave nothing unilluminated. Let us enlighten our eyes,(h) that we may look straight on, and not bear in ourselves any harlot idol through curious and busy sight; for even though we might not worship lust, yet our soul would be defiled. If there be beam or mote,(th) let us purge it away, that we may be able to see those of others also. Let us be enlightened in our ears; let us be enlightened in our tongue, that we may hearken what the Lord God will speak,(k) and that He may cause(l) us to hear His lovingkindness in the morning, and that we may be made to hear of joy and gladness,(m) spoken into godly ears, that we may not be a sharpsword, nor a whetted razor,(n) nor turn under our tongue labour and toil,(x) but that we may speak the Wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom,(o) reverencing the fiery tongues.(p) Let us be healed also in the smell, that we be not effeminate; and be sprinkled with dust instead of sweet perfumes,(r) but may smell the Ointment that was poured out for us,(s) spiritually receiving it; and so formed and transformed by it, that from us too a sweet odour may be smelled. Let us cleanse our touch, our taste, our throat, not touching them over gently, nor delighting in smooth things, but handling them as is worthy of Him, the Word That was made flesh for us; and so far following the example of Thomas,(a) not pampering them with dainties and sauces, those brethren of a more baleful pampering,(b) but tasting and learning that the Lord is good,(g) with the better and abiding taste; and not for a short while refreshing that baneful and thankless dust, which lets pass and does not hold that which is given to it; but delighting it with the words which are sweeter than honey.(d)

XXXIX. And in addition to what has been said, it is good with our head cleansed, as the head which is the workshop of the senses is cleansed, to hold fast the Head of Christ,(e) from which the whole body is fitly joined together and compacted; and to cast down our sin that exalted itself, when it would exalt us above our better part. It is good also for the shoulder to be sanctified and purified that it may be able to take up the Cross of Christ, which not everyone can easily do. It is good for the hands to be consecrated, and the feet; the one that they may in every place be lifted up holy;(z) and that they may lay hold of the discipline(h) of Christ, lest the Lord at any time be angered; and that the Word may gain credence by action, as was the case with that which was given in the hand of a prophet;(th) the other, that they be not swift to shed blood, nor to run to evil,(k) but that they be prompt to run to the Gospel and the Prize(l) of the high Calling, and to receive Christ Who washes and cleanses them. And if there be also a cleansing of that belly which receiveth and digesteth the food of the Word, it were good also; not to make it a god by luxury and the meat that perisheth,(m) but rather to give it all possible cleansing, and to make it more spare, that it may receive the Word of God at the very heart, and grieve honourably over the sins of Israel.(n) I find also the heart and inward parts deemed worthy of honour. David convinces me of this, when he prays that a clean heart may be created in him, and a right spirit renewed in his inward parts;(x) meaning, I think, the mind and its movements or thoughts.

XL. And what of the loins, or reins, for we must not pass these over? Let the purification take hold of these also. Let our loins be girded about and kept in check by continence, as the Law bade Israel of old when partaking of the Passover.(a) For none comes out of Egypt purely, or escapes the Destroyer, except he who has disciplined these. And let the reins be changed by that good conversion by which they transfer all the affections to God, so that they can say, Lord, all my desire is before Thee,(b) and the day of man have I not desired;(g) for you must be a man of desires,(d) but they must be those of the spirit. For thus you would destroy the dragon that carries the greater part of his strength upon his navel and his loins,(e) by slaying the power that comes to him from these. Do not be surprised at my giving a more abundant honour to our uncomely parts,(z) mortifying them and making them chaste by my speech, and standing up against the flesh. Let us give to God all our members which are upon the earth;(h) let us consecrate them all; not the lobe of the liver(th) or the kidneys with the fat, nor some part of our bodies now this now that (why should we despise the rest?); but let us bring ourselves entire, let us be reasonable holocausts,(k) perfect sacrifices; and let us not make only the shoulder or the breast a portion for the Priest to take away,(l) for that would be a small thing, but let us give ourselves entire, that we may receive back ourselves entire; for this is to receive entirely, when we give ourselves to God and offer as a sacrifice our own salvation.

XLI. Besides all this and before all, keep I pray you the good deposit, by which I live and work, and which I desire to have as the companion of my departure; with which I endure all that is so distressful, and despise all delights; the confession of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. This I commit unto you to-day; with this I will baptize you and make you grow. This I give you to share, and to defend all your life, the One Godhead and Power, found in the Three in Unity, and comprising the Three separately, not unequal, in substances or natures, neither increased nor diminished by superiorities or inferiorities; in every respect equal, in every respect the same; just as the beauty and the greatness of the heavens is one; the infinite conjunction of Three Infinite Ones, Each God when considered in Himself; as the Father so the Son, as the Son so the Holy Ghost; the Three One God when contemplated together; Each God because Consubstantial; One God because of the Monarchia. No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the Splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Them than I am carried back to the One. When I think of any One of the Three I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me.(a) I cannot grasp the greatness of That One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the Undivided Light.

XLII. Do you fear to speak of Generation lest you should attribute aught of passion to the impassible God? I on the other hand fear to speak of Creation, lest I should destroy God by the insult and the untrue division, either cutting the Son away from the Father, or from the Son the Substance of the Spirit. For this paradox is involved, that not only is a created Life foisted into the Godhead by those who measure Godhead badly; but even this created life is divided against itself. For as these low earthly minds make the Son subject to the Father, so again is the rank of the Spirit made inferior to that of the Son, until both God and created life are insulted by the new Theology. No, my friends, there is nothing servile in the Trinity, nothing created, nothing accidental, as I have heard one of the wise(b) say. If I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ, says the Apostle;(g) and if I yet worshipped a creature, or were baptized into a creature, I should not be made divine, nor have changed my first birth. What shall I say to those who worship Astarte or Chemosh, the abomination of the Sidonians, or the likeness of a star,(d) a god a little above them to these idolaters, but yet a creature and a piece of workmanship, when I myself either do not worship Two of Those into Whose united Name I am baptized, or else worship my fellow-servants, for they are fellow-servants, even if a little higher in the scale; for differences must exist among fellow-servants.

XLIII. I should like to call the Father the greater, because from him flows both the Equality and the Being of the Equals (this will be granted on all hands), but I am afraid to use the word Origin, lest I should make Him the Origin of Inferiors, and thus insult Him by precedencies of honour. For the lowering of those Who are from Him is no glory to the Source. Moreover, I look with suspicion at your insatiate desire, for fear you should take hold of this word Greater, and divide the Nature, using the word Greater in all senses, whereas it does not apply to the Nature, but only to Origination. For in the Consubstantial Persons there is nothing greater or less in point of Substance. I would honour the Son as Son before the Spirit, but Baptism consecrating me through the Spirit does not allow of this. But are you afraid of being reproached with Tritheism? Do you take possession of this good thing, the Unity in the Three, and leave me to fight the battle. Let me be the shipbuilder, and do you use the ship; or if another is the builder of the ship, take me for the architect of the house, and do you live in it with safety, though you spent no labour upon it. You shall not have a less prosperous voyage, or a less safe habitation than I who built them, because you have not laboured upon them. See how great is my indulgence; see the goodness of the Spirit; the war shall be mine, yours the achievement; I will be under fire, and you shall live in peace; but join with your defender in prayer, and give me your hand by the Faith. I have three stones which I will sling at the Philistine;(a) I have three inspirations against the son of the Sareptan,(b) with which I will quicken the slain; I have three floods against the faggots with which I will consecrate the Sacrifice with water, raising the most unexpected fire;(g) and I will throw down the prophets of shame by the power of the Sacrament.

XLIV. What need have I any more of speech? It is the time for teaching, not for controversy. I protest before God and the elect Angels,(d) be thou baptized in this faith. If thy heart is written upon in some other way than as my teaching demands, come and have the writing changed; I am no unskilled caligrapher of these truths. I write that which is written upon my own heart; and I teach that which I have been taught, and have kept from the beginning up to these hoar hairs.(e) Mine is the risk; be mine also the reward of being the Director of your soul, and consecrating you by Baptism. But if you are already rightly disposed, and marked with the good inscription, see that you keep what is written, and remain unchanged in a changing time concerning an unchanging Thing. Follow Pilate's example in the better sense; you who are rightly written on, imitate him who wrote wrongfully. Say to those who would persuade you differently, what I have written, I have written.(a) For indeed I should be ashamed if, while that which was wrong remained inflexible, that which is right should be so easily bent aside; whereas we ought to be easily bent to that which is better from that which is worse, but immovable from the better to the worse. If it be thus, and according to this teaching that you come to Baptism, lo I will not refrain my lips,(b) lo I lend my hands to the Spirit; let us hasten your salvation. The Spirit is eager, the Consecrator is ready, the Gift is prepared. But if you still halt and will not receive the perfectness of the Godhead, go and look for someone else to baptize--or rather to drown you: I have no time to cut the Godhead, and to make you dead in the moment of your regeneration, that you should have neither the Gift nor the Hope of Grace, but should in so short a time make shipwreck of your salvation. For whatever you may subtract from the Deity of the Three, you will have overthrown the whole, and destroyed your own being made perfect.

XLV. But not yet perhaps is there formed upon your soul any writing good or bad; and you want to be written upon today, and formed by us unto perfection. Let us go within the cloud. Give me the tables of your heart; I will be your Moses, though this be a bold thing to say; I will write on them with the finger of God a new Decalogue.(g) I will write on them a shorter method of salvation. And if there be any heretical or unreasoning beast, let him remain below, or he will run the risk of being stoned by the Word of truth. I will baptize you and make you a disciple in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost;(d) and These Three have One common name, the Godhead. And you shall know, both by appearances(e) and by words that you reject all ungodliness, and are united to all the Godhead. Believe that all that is in the world, both all that is seen and all that is unseen, was made out of nothing by God, and is governed by the Providence of its Creator, and will receive a change to a better state. Believe that evil has no substance or kingdom, either unoriginate or self- existent or created by God; but that it is our work, and the evil one's, and came upon us through our heedlessness, but not from our Creator. Believe that the Son of God, the Eternal Word, Who was begotten of the Father before all time and without body, was in these latter days for your sake made also Son of Man, born of the Virgin Mary ineffably and stainlessly (for nothing can be stained where God is, and by which salvation comes), in His own Person at once entire Man and perfect God, for the sake of the entire sufferer, that He may bestow salvation on your whole being, having destroyed the whole condemnation of your sins: impassible in His Godhead, passible in that which He assumed; as much Man for your sake as you are made God for His. Believe that for us sinners He was led to death; was crucified and buried, so far as to taste of death; and that He rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, that He might take you with Him who were lying low; and that He will come again with His glorious Presence to judge the quick and the dead; no longer flesh, nor yet without a body, according to the laws which He alone knows of a more godlike body, that He may be seen by those who pierced Him,(a) and on the other hand may remain as God without carnality. Receive besides this the Resurrection, the Judgment and the Reward according to the righteous scales of God; and believe that this will be Light to those whose mind is purified (that is, God--seen and known) proportionate to their degree of purity, which we call the Kingdom of heaven; but to those who suffer from blindness of their ruling faculty, darkness, that is estrangement from God, proportionate to their blindness here. Then, in the tenth place, work that which is good upon this foundation of dogma; for faith without works is dead,(b) even as are works apart from faith. This is all that may be divulged of the Sacrament, and that is not forbidden to the ear of the many. The rest yon shall learn within the Church by the grace of the Holy Trinity; and those matters you shall conceal within yourself, sealed and secure.

XLVI. But one thing more I preach unto you. The Station in which you shall presently stand after your Baptism before the Great Sanctuary(a) is a foretype of the future glory. The Psalmody with which you will be received is a prelude to the Psalmody of Heaven; the lamps which you will kindle are a Sacrament of the illumination there with which we shall meet the Bridegroom, shining and virgin souls, with the lamps of our faith shining, not sleeping through our carelessness, that we may not miss Him that we look for if He come unexpectedly; nor yet unfed, and without oil, and destitute of good works, that we be not cast out of the Bridechamber. For I see how pitiable is such a case. He will come when the cry demands the meeting, and they who are prudent shall meet Him, with their light shining and its food abundant, but the others seeking for oil too late from those who possess it. And He will come with speed, and the former shall go in with Him, but the latter shall be shut out, having wasted in preparations the time of entrance; and they shall weep sore when all too late they learn the penalty of their slothfulness, when the Bride-chamber can no longer be entered by them for all their entreaties, for they have shut it against themselves by their sin, following in another fashion the example of those who missed the Wedding feast(b) with which the good Father feasts the good Bridegroom; one on account of a newly wedded wife; another of a newly purchased field; another of a yoke of oxen; which he and they acquired to their misfortune, since for the sake of the little they lose the great. For none are there of the disdain fill, nor of the slothful, nor of those who are clothed in filthy rags and not in the Wedding garment even though here they may have thought themselves worthy of wearing the bright robe there, and secretly intruded themselves, deceiving themselves with vain hopes. And then, What? When we have entered, then the Bridegroom knows what He will teach us, and how He will converse with the souls that have come in with Him. He will converse with them, I think in teaching things more perfect and more pure. Of which may we all, both Teachers and Taught, have share, in the Same Christ our Lord, to Whom be the Glory and the Empire, for ever and ever. Amen.


On Pentecost.

I. Let us reason a little about the Festival, that we may keep it spiritually. For different persons have different ways of keeping Festival; but to the worshipper of the Word a discourse seems best; and of discourses, that which is best adapted to the occasion. And of all beautiful things none gives so much joy to the lover of the beautiful, as that the lover of festivals should keep them spiritually. Let us look into the matter thus. The Jew keeps festival as well as we, but only in the letter. For while following after the bodily Law, he has not attained to the spiritual Law. The Greek too keeps festival, but only in the body, and in honour of his own gods and demons, some of whom are creators of passion by their own admission, and others were honoured out of passion. Therefore even their manner of keeping festival is passionate, as though their very sin were an honour to God, in Whom their passion takes refuge as a thing to be proud of.(a) We too keep festival, but we keep it as is pleasing to the Spirit. And it is pleasing to Him that we should keep it by discharging some duty, either of action or speech. This then is our manner of keeping festival, to treasure up in our soul some of those things which are permanent and will cleave 'to it, not of those which will forsake us and be destroyed, and which only tickle our senses for a little while; whereas they are for the most part, m my judgment at least, harmful and ruinous. For sufficient unto the body is the evil thereof. What need has that fire of further fuel, or that beast of more plentiful food, to make it more uncontrollable, and too violent for reason?

II. Wherefore we must keep the feast spiritually. And this is the beginning of our discourse; for we must speak, even if our speech do seem a little too discursive; and we must be diligent for the sake of those who love learning, that we may as it were mix up some seasoning with our solemn festival. The children of the Hebrews do honour to the number Seven, according to the legislation of Moses (as did the Pythagoreans in later days to the number Four, by which indeed they were in the habit of swearing(a) as the Simonians and Marcionites(b) do by the number Eight and the number Thirty, inasmuch as they have given names to and reverence a system of Aeons of these numbers); I cannot say by what rules of analogy, or in consequence of what power of this number; anyhow they do honour to it. One thing indeed is evident, that God, having in six days created matter, and given it form, and having arranged it in all kinds of shapes and mixtures, and having made this present visible world, on the seventh day rested from all His works, as is shewn by the very name of the Sabbath, which in Hebrew means Rest. If there be, however, any more lofty reason than this, let others discuss it. But this honour which they pay to it is not confined to days alone, but also extends to years. That belonging to days the Sabbath proves, because it is continually observed among them; and in accordance with this the removal of leaven is for that number of days.(g) And that belonging to years is shewn by the seventh year, the year of Release;(d) and it consists not only of Hebdomads, but of Hebdomads of Hebdomads, alike in days and years. The Hebdomads of days give birth to Pentecost, a day called holy among them; and those of years to what they call the Jubilee, which also has a release of land, and a manumission of slaves, and a release of possessions bought. For this nation consecrates to God, not only the firstfruits of offspring, or of firstborn, but also those of days and years. Thus the veneration paid to the number Seven gave rise also to the veneration of Pentecost. For seven being multiplied by seven generates fifty all but one day, which we borrow from the world to come, at once the Eighth and the first, or rather one and indestructible. For the present sabbatism of our souls can find its cessation there, that a portion may be given to seven and also to eight(a) (so some of our predecessors have interpreted this passage of Solomon).

III. As to the honour paid to Seven there are many testimonies, but we will be content with a few out of the many. For instance, seven precious spirits are named; for I think Isaiah(b) loves to call the activities of the Spirit spirits; and the Oracles of the Lord are purified seven times according to David,(g) and the just is delivered from six troubles and in the seventh is not smitten.(d) But the sinner is pardoned not seven times, but seventy times seven.(e) And we may see it by the contrary also (for the punishment of wickedness is to be praised), Cain being avenged seven times, that is, punishment being exacted from him for his fratricide, and Lamech seventy times seven,(z) because he was a murderer after the law and the condemnation.(h) And wicked neighbours receive sevenfold into their bosom;(a) and the House of Wisdom rests on seven pillars(b) and the Stone of Zerubbabel is adorned with seven eyes;(g) and God is praised seven times a day.(d) And again the barren beareth seven,(e) the perfect number, she who is contrasted with her who is imperfect in her children."(z)

IV. And if we must also look at ancient history, I perceive that Enoch,(h) the seventh among our ancestors, was honoured by translation. I perceive also that the twenty-first, Abraham,(th) was given the glory of the Patriarchate, by the addition of a greater mystery. For the Hebdomad thrice repeated brings out this number. And one who is very bold might venture even to come to the New Adam, my God and Lord Jesus Christ, Who is counted the Seventy-seventh from the old Adam who fell under sin, in the backward genealogy according to Luke.(k) And I think of the seven trumpets of Jesus, the son of Nave, and the same number of circuits and days and priests, by which the walls of Jericho were shaken down.(l) And so too the seven compassings of the City; in the same way as there is a mystery in the threefold breathings of Elias, the Prophet, by which he breathed life into the son of the Sareptan widow,(m) and the same number of his floodings of the wood,(n) when he consumed the sacrifice with fire sent from God, and condemned the prophets of shame who could not do the like at his challenge. And the sevenfold looking for the cloud imposed upon the young servant; and Elissaaeus stretching himself that number of times upon the child of the Shunammite, by which stretching the breath of life was restored.(x) To the same doctrine belongs, I think (if I may omit the seven-stemmed and seven- lamped candlestick of the Temple(a)) that the ceremony of the Priests' consecration lasted seven days;(b) and seven that of the purifying of a leper,(g) and that of the Dedication of the Temple(d) the same number, and that in the seventieth year the people returned from the Captivity;(e) that whatever is in Units may appear also in Decads, and the mystery of the Hebdomad be reverenced in a more perfect number. But why do I speak of the distant past? Jesus Himself who is pure perfection, could in the desert and with five loaves feed five thousand, and again with seven loaves four thousand. And the leavings after they were satisfied were in the first case twelve baskets full, and in the other seven baskets;(z) neither, I imagine, without a reason or unworthy of the Spirit. And if you read for yourself you may take note of many numbers which contain a meaning deeper than appears on the surface. But to come to an instance which is most useful to us on the present occasion, not that for these reasons or others very similar or yet more divine, the Hebrews honour the Day of Pentecost, and we also honour it; just as there are other rites of the Hebrews which we observe ... they were typically observed by them, and by us they are sacramentally reinstated. And now having said so much by way of preface about the Day, let us proceed to what we have to say further.

V. We are keeping the feast of Pentecost and of the Coming of the Spirit, and the appointed time of the Promise, and the fulfilment of our hope. And how great, how august, is the Mystery. The dispensations of the Body of Christ are ended; or rather, what belongs to His Bodily Advent (for I hesitate to say the Dispensation of His Body, as long as no discourse persuades me that it is better to have put off the body(h)), and that of the Spirit is beginning. And what were the things pertaining to the Christ? The Virgin, the Birth, the Manger, the Swaddling, the Angels glorifying Him, the Shepherds running to Him, the course of the Star, the Magi worshipping Him and bringing Gifts, Herod's murder of the children, the Flight of Jesus into Egypt, the Return from Egypt, the Circumcision, the Baptism, the Witness from Heaven, the Temptation, the Stoning for our sake (because He had to be given as an Example to us of enduring affliction for the Word), the Betrayal, the Nailing, the Burial, the Resurrection, the Ascension; and of these even now He suffers many dishonours at the hands of the enemies of Christ; and He bears them, for He is longsuffering. But from those who love Him He receives all that is honourable. And He defers, as in the former case His wrath, so in ours His kindness; in their case perhaps to give them the grace of repentance, and in ours to test our love; whether we do not faint in our tribulations(a) and conflicts for the true Religion, as was from of old the order of His Divine Economy, and of his unsearchable judgments, with which He orders wisely all that concerns us. Such are the mysteries of Christ. And what follows we shall see to be more glorious; and may we too be seen. As to the things of the Spirit, may the Spirit be with me, and grant me speech as much as I desire; or if not that, yet as is in due proportion to the season. Anyhow He will be with me as my Lord; not in servile guise, nor awaiting a command, as some think.(b) For He bloweth where He wills and on whom He wills, and to what extent He wills.(g) Thus we are inspired both to think and to speak of the Spirit.

VI. They who reduce the Holy Spirit to the rank of a creature are blasphemers and wicked servants, and worst of the wicked. For it is the part of wicked servants to despise Lordship, and to rebel against dominion, and to make That which is free their fellow-servant. But they who deem Him God are inspired by God(d) and are illustrious in their mind; and they who go further and call Him so, if to well disposed hearers are exalted; if to the low, are not reserved enough, for they commit pearls to clay, and the noise of thunder to weak ears, and the sun to feeble eyes, and solid food to those who are still using milk;(a) whereas they ought to lead them little by little up to what lies beyond them, and to bring them up to the higher truth; adding light to light, and supplying truth upon truth. Therefore we will leave the more mature discourse, for which the time has not yet come, and will speak with them as follows.

VII. If, my friends, you will not acknowledge the Holy Spirit to be uncreated, nor yet eternal; clearly such a state of mind is due to the contrary spirit--forgive me, if in my zeal I speak somewhat over boldly. If, however, you are sound enough to escape this evident impiety, and to place outside of slavery Him Who gives freedom to yourselves, then see for yourselves with the help of the Holy Ghost and of us what follows. For I am persuaded that you are to some extent partakers of Him, so that I will go into the question with you as kindred souls. Either shew me some mean between lordship and servitude, that I may there place the rank of the Spirit; or, if you shrink from imputing servitude to Him, there is no doubt of the rank in which you must place the object of your search. But you are dissatisfied with the syllables, and you stumble at the word, and it is to you a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence;(b) for so is Christ to some minds. It is only human after all. Let us meet one another in a spiritual manner; let us be full rather of brotherly than of self love. Grant us the Power of the Godhead, and we will give up to you the use of the Name. Confess the Nature in other words for which you have greater reverence, and we will heal you as infirm people, filching from you some matters in which you delight. For it is shameful, yes, shameful and utterly illogical, when you are sound in soul, to draw petty distinctions about the sound, and to hide the Treasure, as if you envied it to others, or were afraid lest you should sanctify your own tongue too. But it is even more shameful for us to be in the state of which we accuse you, and, while condemning your petty distinctions of words to make petty distinctions of letters.

VIII. Confess, my friends, the Trinity to be of One Godhead; or if you will, of One Nature; and we will pray the Spirit to give you this word God. He will give it to you, I well know, inasmuch as He has already granted you the first portion and the second;(g) and especially if that about which we are contending is some spiritual cowardice, and not the devil's objection. Yet more clearly and concisely, let me say, do not you call us to account for our loftier word (for envy has nothing to do with this ascent), and we will not find fault with what you have been able to attain, until by another road you are brought up to the same resting place. For we are not seeking victory, but to gain brethren, by whose separation from us we are torn. This we concede to you in whom we do find something of vital truth, who are sound as to the Son. We admire your life, but we do not altogether approve your doctrine. Ye who have the things of the Spirit, receive Himself in addition, that ye may not only strive, but strive lawfully,(a) which is the condition of your crown. May this reward of your conversation be granted you, that you may confess the Spirit perfectly and proclaim with us, aye and before us, all that is His due. Yes, and I will venture even more on your behalf; I will even utter the Apostle's wish. So much do I cling to you, and so much do I revere your array, and the colour of your continence, and those sacred assemblies, and the august Virginity, and purification, and the Psalmody that lasts all night(b) and your love of the poor, and of the brethren, and of strangers, that I could consent to be Anathema from Christ, and even to suffer something as one condemned, if only you might stand beside us, and we might glorify the Trinity together. For of the others why should I speak, seeing they are clearly dead (and it is the part of Christ alone to raise them, Who quickeneth the dead by His own Power), and are unhappily separated in place as they are bound together by their doctrine; and who quarrel among themselves as much as a pair of squinting eyes in looking at the same object, and differ with one another, not in sight but in position--if indeed we may charge them only with squinting, and not with utter blindness. And now that I have to some extent laid down your position, come, let us return again to the subject of the Spirit, and I think you will follow me now.

IX. The Holy Ghost, then, always existed, and exists, and always will exist. He neither had a beginning, nor will He have an end; but He was everlastingly ranged with and numbered with the Father and the Son. For it was not ever fitting that either the Son should be wanting to the Father, or the Spirit to the Son. For then Deity would be shorn of Its Glory in its greatest respect, for It would seem to have arrived at the consummation of perfection as if by an afterthought. Therefore He was ever being partaken, but not partaking; perfecting, not being perfected; sanctifying, not being sanctified; deifying, not being deified; Himself ever the same with Himself, and with Those with Whom He is ranged; invisible, eternal, incomprehensible, unchangeable, without quality, without quantity, without form, impalpable, self-moving, eternally moving, with free-will, self- powerful, All-powerful (even though all that is of the Spirit is referable to the First Cause, just as is all that is of the Only-begotten); Life and Lifegiver; Light and Lightgiver; absolute Good, and Spring of Goodness; the Right, the Princely Spirit; the Lord, the Sender, the Separator; Builder of His own Temple; leading, working as He wills; distributing His own Gifts; the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Wisdom, of Understanding, of Knowledge, of Godliness, of Counsel, of Fear (which are ascribed to Him(a)) by Whom the Father is known and the Son is glorified; and by Whom alone He is known; one class, one service, worship, power, perfection, sanctification. Why make a long discourse of it? All that the Father hath the Son hath also, except the being Unbegotten; and all that the Son hath the Spirit hath also, except the Generation. And these two matters do not divide the Substance, as I understand it, but rather are divisions within the Substance.(b)

X. Are you labouring to bring forth objections? Well, so am I to get on with my discourse. Honour the Day of the Spirit; restrain your tongue if you can a little. It is the time to speak of other tongues--reverence them or fear them, when you see that they are of fire. To-day let us teach dogmatically; to-morrow we may discuss. To-day let us keep the feast; to- morrow will be time enough to behave ourselves unseemly--the first mystically, the second theatrically; the one in the Churches, the other in the marketplace; the one among the sober, the other among the drunken; the one as befits those who vehemently desire, the other, as among those who make a joke of the Spirit. Having then put an end to the element that is foreign to us, let us now thoroughly furnish our own friends.

XI. He wrought first in the heavenly and angelic powers, and such as are first after God and around God. For from no other source flows their perfection and their brightness, and the difficulty or impossibility of moving them to sin, but from the Holy Ghost. And next, in the Patriarchs and Prophets, of whom the former saw Visions of God, or knew Him, and the latter also foreknew the future, having their master part moulded by the Spirit, and being associated with events that were yet future as if present, for such is the power of the Spirit. And next in the Disciples of Christ (for I omit to mention Christ Himself, in Whom He dwelt, not as energizing, but as accompanying His Equal), and that in three ways, as they were able to receive Him, and on three occasions; before Christ was glorified by the Passion, and after He was glorified by the Resurrection; and after His Ascension, or Restoration, or whatever we ought to call it, to Heaven. Now the first of these manifests Him--the healing of the sick and casting out of evil spirits, which could not be apart from the Spirit; and so does that breathing upon them after the Resurrection, which was clearly a divine inspiration; and so too the present distribution of the fiery tongues, which we are now commemorating. But the first manifested Him indistinctly, the second more expressly, this present one more perfectly, since He is no longer present only in energy, but as we may say, substantially, associating with us, and dwelling in us. For it was fitting that as the Son had lived with us in bodily form--so the Spirit too should appear in bodily form; and that after Christ had returned to His own place, He should have come down to us--Coming because He is the Lord; Sent, because He is not a rival God. For such words no less manifest the Unanimity than they mark the separate Individuality.

XII. And therefore He came after Christ, that a Comforter should not be lacking unto us; but Another Comforter, that you might acknowledge His co- equality. For this word Another marks an Alter Ego, a name of equal Lordship, not of inequality. For Another is not said, I know, of different kinds, but of things consubstantial. And He came in the form of Tongues because of His close relation to the Word. And they were of Fire, perhaps because of His purifying Power (for our Scripture knows of a purifying fire, as any one who wishes can find out), or else because of His Substance. For our God is a consuming Fire, and a Fire(a) burning up the ungodly;(b) though you may again pick a quarrel over these words, being brought into difficulty by the Consubstantiality. And the tongues were cloven, because of the diversity of Gifts; and they sat to signify His Royalty and Rest among the Saints, and because the Cherubim are the Throne of God. And it took place in an Upper Chamber (I hope I am not seeming to any one over tedious), because those who should receive it were to ascend and be raised above the earth; for also certain upper chambers(g) are covered with Divine Waters,(d) by which the praise of God are sung. And Jesus Himself in an Upper Chamber gave the Communion of the Sacrament to those who were being initiated into the higher Mysteries, that thereby might be shewn on the one hand that God must come down to us, as I know He did of old to Moses; and on the other that we must go up to Him, and that so there should come to pass a Communion of God with men, by a coalescing of the dignity. For as long as either remains on its own footing, the One in His Glory(e) the other in his lowliness, so long the Goodness of God cannot mingle with us, and His lovingkindness is incommunicable, and there is a great gulf between, which cannot be crossed; and which separates not only the Rich Man from Lazarus and Abraham's Bosom which he longs for, but also the created and changing natures from that which is eternal and immutable.

XIII. This was proclaimed by the Prophets in such passages as the following:--The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;(z) and, There shall rest upon Him Seven Spirits; and The Spirit of the Lord descended and led them;(h) and The spirit of Knowledge filling Bezaleel,(th) the Master- builder of the Tabernacle; and, The Spirit provoking to anger;(k) and the Spirit carrying away Elias in a chariot,(l) and sought in double measure by Elissaeus; and David led and strengthened by the Good and Princely Spirit.(m) And He was promised by the mouth of Joel first, who said, And it shall be in the last days that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh (that is, upon all that believe), and upon your sons and upon your daughters,(n) and the rest; and then afterwards by Jesus, being glorified by Him, and giving back glory to Him, as He was glorified by and glorified the Father.(a) And how abundant was this Promise. He shall abide for ever, and shall remain with you, whether now with those who in the sphere of time are worthy, or hereafter with those who are counted worthy of that world, when we have kept Him altogether by our life here, and not rejected Him in so far as we sin.

XIV. This Spirit shares with the Son in working both the Creation and the Resurrection, as you may be shewn by this Scripture; By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the power of them by the breath of His Mouth;(b) and this, The Spirit of God that made me, and the Breath of the Almighty that teacheth me;(g) and again, Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.(d) And He is the Author of spiritual regeneration. Here is your proof:--None can see or enter into the Kingdom, except he be born again of the Spirit,(e) and be cleansed from the first birth, which is a mystery of the night, by a remoulding of the day and of the Light, by which every one singly is created anew. This Spirit, for He is most wise and most loving,(z) if He takes possession of a shepherd makes him a Psalmist, subduing evil spirits by his song,(h) and proclaims him King; if he possess a goatherd and scraper(th) of sycamore fruit,(k) He makes him a Prophet. Call to mind David and Amos. If He possess a goodly youth, He makes him a Judge of Elders,(l) even beyond his years, as Daniel testifies, who conquered the lions in their den.(m) If He takes possession of Fishermen, He makes them catch the whole world in the nets of Christ, taking them up in the meshes of the Word. Look at Peter and Andrew and the Sons of Thunder, thundering the things of the Spirit. If of Publicans, He makes gain of them for discipleship, and makes them merchants of souls; witness Matthew, yesterday a Publican, today an Evangelist. If of zealous persecutors, He changes the current of their zeal, and makes them Pauls instead of Sauls, and as full of piety as He found them of wickedness. And He is the Spirit of Meekness, and yet is provoked by those who sin. Let us therefore make proof of Him as gentle, not as wrathful, by confessing His Dignity; and let us not desire to see Him implacably wrathful. He too it is who has made me today a bold herald to you;--if without rest to myself, God be thanked; but if with risk, thanks to Him nevertheless; in the one case, that He may spare those that hate us; in the other, that He may consecrate us, in receiving this reward of our preaching of the Gospel, to be made perfect by blood.

XV. They spoke with strange tongues, and not those of their native land; and the wonder was great, a language spoken by those who had not learnt it. And the sign is to them that believe not,(a) and not to them that believe, that it may be an accusation of the unbelievers, as it is written, With other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people, and not even so will they listen to Me(b) saith the Lord. But they heard. Here stop a little and raise a question, how you are to divide the words. For the expression has an ambiguity, which is to be determined by the punctuation. Did they each hear in their own dialect(g) so that if I may so say, one sound was uttered, but many were heard; the air being thus beaten and, so to speak, sounds being produced more clear than the original sound; or are we to put the stop after "they Heard," and then to add "them speaking in their own languages" to what follows, so that it would be speaking in languages their own to the hearers, which would be foreign to the speakers? I prefer to put it this latter way; for on the other plan the miracle would be rather of the hearers than of the speakers; whereas in this it would be on the speakers' side; and it was they who were reproached for drunkenness, evidently because they by the Spirit wrought a miracle in the matter of the tongues.

XVI. But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety, even as some now venture to be, were building the Tower;(d) for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention was broken up, and their undertaking destroyed; so much more worthy of praise is the present miraculous one. For being poured from One Spirit upon many men, it brings them again into harmony. And there is a diversity of Gifts, which stands in need of yet another Gift to discern which is the best, where all are praiseworthy. And that division also might be called noble of which David says, Drown O Lord and divide their tongues.(a) Why? Because they loved all words of drowning, the deceitful tongue.(b) Where he all but expressly arraigns the tongues of the present day(g) which sever the Godhead. Thus much upon this point.

XVII. Next, since it was to inhabitants of Jerusalem, most devout Jews, Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, Egyptians, and Libyans, Cretans too, and Arabians, and Mesopotamians, and my own Cappadocians, that the tongues spake, and to Jews (if any one prefer so to understand it), out of every nation under heaven thither collected; it is worth while to see who these were and of what captivity. For the captivity in Egypt and Babylon was circumscribed, and moreover had long since been brought to an end by the Return; and that under the Romans, which was exacted for their audacity against our Saviour, was not yet come to pass, though it was in the near future. It remains then to understand it of the captivity under Antiochus, which happened not so very long before this time. But if any does not accept this explanation, as being too elaborate, seeing that this captivity was neither ancient nor widespread over the world, and is looking for a more reliable--perhaps the best way to take it would be as follows. The nation was removed many times, as Esdras related; and some of the Tribes were recovered, and some were left behind; of whom probably (dispersed as they were among the nations) some would have been present and shared the miracle.

XVIII. These questions have been examined before by the studious, and perhaps not without occasion; and whatever else any one may contribute at the present day, he will be joined with us. But now it is our duty to dissolve this Assembly, for enough has been said. But the Festival is never to be put an end to; but kept now indeed with our bodies; but a little later on altogether spiritually there, where we shall see the reasons of these things more purely and clearly, in the Word Himself, and God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Festival and Rejoicing of the Saved--to Whom be the glory and the worship, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/VII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.