Homilies of Chrysostom
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
As a man in forming a body, places the head first, after that the neck, then the feet, so does the blessed Paul proceed in his discourse. He has spoken of the husband, he has spoken of the wife, who is second in authority, he now goes on by gradual advances to the third rank--which is that of children. For the husband has authority over the wife, and the husband and the wife over the children. Now then mark what he is saying.
"Children,  obey your parents in the Lord; for this is the first commandment with promise."
Here he has not a word of discourse concerning Christ, not a word on high subjects, for he is as yet addressing his discourse to tender understandings. And it is for this reason, moreover, that he makes his exhortation short, inasmuch as children cannot follow up a long argument. For this reason also he does not discourse at all about a kingdom, (because it does not belong to the tender age of childhood to understand these subjects,) but what a child's soul most especially longs to hear, that he says, namely, that it shall "live long." For if any one shall enquire why it is that he omitted to discourse concerning a kingdom, but set before them the commandment laid down in the law, he does this because he speaks to them as infantile, and because he is well aware that if the husband and the wife are thus disposed according to the law which he has laid down, there will be but little trouble in securing the submission of the children. For whenever any matter has a good and sound and orderly principle and foundation, everything will thenceforward go on with method and regularity, with much facility: the more difficult thing is to settle the foundation, to lay down a firm basis. "Children," saith he, "obey your parents in the Lord," that is, according to the Lord. This, he means to say, is what God  commands you. But what then if they shall command foolish things? Generally a father, however foolish he may be himself, does not command foolish things. However, even in that case, the Apostle has guarded the matter, by saying, "in the Lord"; that is, wherever you will not be offending against God. So that if the father be a gentile or a heretic, we ought no longer to obey, because the command is not then, "in the Lord." But how is it that he says, "Which is the first commandment"? For the first is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery;--Thou shalt not kill." He does not speak of it then as first in rank,  but in respect of the promise. For upon those others there is no reward annexed, as being enacted with reference to evil things, and to departure from evil things. Whereas in these others, where there is the practice of good, there is further a promise held out. And observe how admirable a foundation he has laid for the path of virtue, that is, honor and reverence towards parents. When he would lead us away from wicked practices, and is just about to enter upon virtuous ones, this is the first thing he enjoins, honor towards parents; inasmuch as they before all others are, after God, the authors of our being, so that it is reasonable they should be the first to reap the fruits of our right actions; and then all the rest of mankind. For if a man have not this honor for parents he will never be gentle toward those unconnected with him.
However, having given the necessary injunctions to children, he passes to the fathers, and says,
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ver. 4. "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but nurture them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord."
He does not say, "love them," because to this nature draws them even against their own will, and it were superfluous to lay down a law on such subjects. But what does he say? "Provoke not your children to wrath," as many do by disinheriting them, and disowning them, and treating them overbearingly, not as free, but as slaves. This is why he says, "Provoke not your children to wrath." Then, which is the chief thing of all, he shows how they will be led to obedience, referring the whole source of it to the head and chief authority. And in the same way as he has shown the husband to be the cause of the wife's obedience, (which is the reason also why he addresses the greater part of his arguments to him, advising him to attach her to himself by the power of love,) so, I say, here also, he refers the efficiency to him, by saying, "But bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." Thou seest that where there are spiritual ties, the natural ties will follow. Do you wish your son to be obedient? From the very first "Bring him up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, "Honor thy father and thy mother"; so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk of him? No. There is no need he should become a monk.  Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian. For it is of all things necessary for laymen  to be acquainted with the lessons derived from this source; but especially for children. For theirs is an age full of folly; and to this folly are superadded the bad examples derived from the heathen tales, where they are made acquainted with those heroes so admired amongst them, slaves of their passions, and cowards with regard to death; as, for example, Achilles, when he relents, when he dies for his concubine, when another gets drunk, and many other things of the sort. He requires therefore the remedies against these things. How is it not absurd to send children out to trades, and to school, and to do all you can for these objects, and yet, not to "bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord"? And for this reason truly we are the first to reap the fruits, because we bring up our children to be insolent and profligate, disobedient, and mere vulgar fellows. Let us not then do this; no, let us listen to this blessed Apostle's admonition. "Let us bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." Let us give them a pattern. Let us make them from the earliest age apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures. Alas, that so constantly as I repeat this, I am looked upon as trifling! Still, I shall not cease to do my duty. Why, tell me, do ye not imitate them of old? Ye women, especially, emulate those admirable women. Has a child been born to any one? Imitate Hannah's example (1 Samuel 1:24.); look at what she did. She brought him up at once to the temple. Who amongst you would not rather that his son should become a Samuel than that he should be king of the whole world ten thousand times over? "And how," you will say, "is it possible he should become such a one?" Why is it not possible? It is because thou dost not choose it thyself, nor committest him to the care of those who are able to make him such a one. "And who," it will be said, "is such a one as this?" God. Since she put him into the hands of God. For not even Eli himself was one of those in any great degree qualified to form him; (how could he be, he who was not able to form even his own children?) No, it was the faith of the mother and her earnest zeal that wrought the whole. He was her first child, and her only one, and she knew not whether she should ever have others besides. Yet she did not say, "I will wait till the child is grown up, that he may have a taste of the things of this life, I will allow him to have his pastime in them a little in his childish years." No, all these thoughts the woman repudiated, she was absorbed in one object, how from the very beginning she might dedicate the spiritual image  to God. Well may we men be put to the blush at the wisdom of this woman. She offered him up to God, and there she left him. And therefore was her married state more glorious, in that she had made spiritual objects her first care, in that she dedicated the first-fruits to God. Therefore was her womb fruitful, and she obtained other children besides.  And therefore she saw him honorable even in the world. For if men when they are honored, render honor in return, will not God much more, He who does this, even without being honored? How long are we to be mere lumps of flesh? How long are we to be stooping to the earth? Let everything be secondary with us to the provident care we should take of our children, and to our "bringing them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." If from the very first he is taught to be a lover of true wisdom, then wealth greater than all wealth has he acquired and a more imposing name. You will effect nothing so great by teaching him an art, and giving him that outward learning by which he will gain riches, as if you teach him the art of despising riches. If you desire to make him rich, do this. For the rich man is not he who desires great riches, and is encircled with great riches; but the man who has need of nothing.  Discipline your son in this, teach him this. This is the greatest riches. Seek not how to give him reputation and high character in outward learning, but consider deeply how you shall teach him to despise the glory that belongs to this present life. By this means would he become more distinguished and more truly glorious. This it is possible for the poor man and the rich man alike to accomplish. These are lessons which a man does not learn from a master, nor by art, but by means of the divine oracles. Seek not how he shall enjoy a long life here, but how he shall enjoy a boundless and endless life hereafter. Give him the great things, not the little things. Hear what Paul saith, "Bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord"; study not to make him an orator, but train him up to be a philosopher. In the want of the one there will be no harm whatever; in the absence of the other, all the rhetoric in the world will be of no advantage. Tempers are wanted, not talking; character, not cleverness; deeds, not words. These gain a man the kingdom. These confer what are benefits indeed. Whet not his tongue, but cleanse his soul. I do not say this to prevent your teaching him these things, but to prevent your attending to them exclusively. Do not imagine that the monk alone stands in need of these lessons from Scripture. Of all others, the children just about to enter into the world specially need them. For just in the same way as the man who is always at anchor in harbor, is not the man who requires his ship to be fitted out and who needs a pilot and a crew, but he who is always out at sea; so is it with the man of the world and the monk. The one is entered as it were into a waveless harbor, and lives an untroubled life, and far removed from every storm; whilst the other is ever on the ocean, and lives out at sea in the very midst of the ocean, battling with billows without number.
And though he may not need it himself, still he ought to be so prepared as to stop the mouths of others.  Thus the more distinguished he is in the present life, so much the more he stands in need of this education. If he passes his life in courts, there are many Heathens, and philosophers, and persons puffed up with the glory of this life. It is like a place full of dropsical people. Such in some sort is the court. All are, as it were, puffed up, and in a state of inflammation. And they who are not so are studying to become so. Now then reflect how vast a benefit it is, that your son on entering there, should enter like an excellent physician, furnished with instruments which may allay every one's peculiar inflammation, and should go up to every one, and converse with him, and restore the diseased body to health, applying the remedies derived from the Scriptures, and pouring forth discourses of the true philosophy. For with whom is the recluse to converse? with his wall and his ceiling? yea, or again with the wilderness and the woods? or with the birds and the trees? He therefore has not so great need of this sort of discipline. Still, however, he makes it his business to perfect this work, not so much with a view of disciplining others as himself. There is then every need of much discipline of this sort to those that are to mix in the present world, because such an one has a stronger temptation to sin than the other. And if you have a mind to understand it, he will further be a more useful person even in the world itself. For all will have a reverence for him from these words, when they see him in the fire without being burnt, and not desirous of power. But power he will then obtain, when he least desires it, and will be a still higher object of respect to the king; for it is not possible that such a character should be hid. Amongst a number of healthy persons, indeed, a healthy man will not be noticed; but when there is one healthy man amongst a number of sick, the report will quickly spread and reach the king's ears, and he will make him ruler over many nations. Knowing then these things, "bring up your children in the chastening and admonition of the Lord."
"But suppose a man is poor." Still he will be in no wise more insignificant than the man who lives in kings' courts, because he is not in kings' courts; no, he will be held in admiration, and will soon gain that authority which is yielded voluntarily, and not by any compulsion. For if a set of Greeks, men worthless as they are, and dogs,  by taking up that worthless philosophy of theirs, (for such the Grecian philosophy is,) or rather not itself but only its mere name, and wearing the threadbare cloak, and letting their hair grow, impress many; how much more will he who is a true philosopher? If a false appearance, if a mere shadow of philosophy at first sight so catches us, what if we should love the true and pure philosophy? Will not all court it, and entrust both houses, and wives, and children, with full confidence to such men? But there is not, no, there is not such a philosopher existing now. And therefore, it is not possible to find an example of the sort. Amongst recluses, indeed, there are such, but amongst people in the world no longer. And that amongst recluses there are such, it would be possible to adduce a number of instances. However, I will mention one out of many. Ye know, doubtless, and have heard of, and some, perhaps, have also seen, the man whom I am now about to mention. I mean, the admirable Julian. This man was a rustic, in humble life, and of humble parentage, and totally uninstructed in all outward accomplishments, but full of unadorned wisdom.  When he came into the cities, (and this was but rarely,) never did such a concourse take place, not when orators, or sophists, or any one else rode in. But what am I saying? Is not his very name more glorious than that of any king's, and celebrated even to this day? And if these things were in this world, in the world in which the Lord promised us no one good thing, in which He hath told us we are strangers, let us consider how great will be the blessings laid up for us in the heavens. If, where they were sojourners they enjoyed so great honor, how great glory shall they enjoy where their own city is! If, where He promised tribulation, they meet with such attentive care, then where He promises true honors, how great shall be their rest!
And now would ye have me exhibit examples of secular men? At present, indeed, we have none; still there are perhaps even secular men who are excellent, though not arrived at the highest philosophy. I shall therefore quote you examples from the saints of the ancient times. How many, who had wives to keep and children to bring up, were inferior in no respect, no, in no respect to those who have been mentioned? Now, however, it is no longer so, "by reason of the present distress" (1 Corinthians 7:26.), as this blessed Apostle saith. Now then whom would ye have me mention? Noah, or Abraham? The son of the one or of the other? Or again, Joseph? Or would ye have me go to the Prophets? Moses I mean, or Isaiah? However, if you will, let us carry our discourse to Abraham, whom all are continually bringing forward to us above all others. Had he not a wife? Had he not children? Yes, for I too use the same language to you, as you do to me. He had a wife, but it was not because he had a wife that he was so remarkable. He had riches, but it was not because he had riches that he pleased God. He begat children, but it was not because he begat children that he was pronounced blessed. He had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house, but it was not on this account that he was accounted wonderful. But would you know why it was? It was for his hospitality, for his contempt of riches, for his chastened conduct. For what, tell me, is the duty of a philosopher? Is it not to despise both riches and glory? Is it not to be above both envy and every other passion? Come now then, let us bring him forward and strip him, and show you what a philosopher he was. First of all, he esteemed his fatherland as nothing. God said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred" (Genesis 12:1.), and immediately he went forth. He was not bound to his house, (or surely he would never have gone forth,) nor to his love of familiar friends, nor to anything else whatever. But what? glory and money he despised above all others. For when he had put an end to war by turning the enemy to flight, and was requested to take the spoil, he rejected it. (Genesis 14:21-23.)
Again, the son of this great man was reverenced, not because of his riches, but for his hospitality: not because of his children, but for his obedience: not because of his wife, but for the barrenness inflicted on his wife. (Genesis 25:21.)
They looked upon the present life as nothing, they followed not after gain, they despised all things. Tell me, which sort of plants are the best? Are not those which have their strength from themselves and are injured neither by rains, nor by hailstorms, nor by gusts of wind, nor by any other vicissitude of the sort, but stand naked in defiance of them all, and needing neither wall nor fence to protect them? Such is the true philosopher, such is that wealth of which we spoke. He has nothing, and has all things: he has all things, and has nothing. For a fence is not within, but only without; a wall is not a thing of nature, but only built round from without. And what again, I ask, what sort of body is a strong one? Is it not that which is in health, and which is overcome neither by hunger nor repletion, nor by cold, nor by heat; or is it that which in view of all these things, needs both caterers, and weavers, and hunters, and physicians, to give it health? He is the rich man, the true philosopher, who needeth none of these things. For this cause it was that this blessed Apostle said, "Bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." Surround them not with outward defenses. For such is wealth, such is glory; for when these fall, and they do fall, the plant stands naked and defenseless, not only having derived no profit from them during the time past, but even injury. For those very shelters that prevented its being inured to the attacks of the winds, will now have prepared it for perishing all at once. And so wealth is injurious rather, because it renders us undisciplined for the vicissitudes of life. Let us therefore train up our children to be such, that they shall be able to bear up against every trial, and not be surprised at what may come upon them; "let us bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." And great will be the reward which will be thus laid up in store for us. For if men for making statues and painting portraits of kings enjoy so great honor, shall not we who adorn the image of the King of kings, (for man is the image of God,) receive ten thousand blessings, if we effect a true likeness? For the likeness is in this, in the virtue of the soul, when we train our children to be good, to be meek, to be forgiving, (because all these are attributes of God,) to be beneficent, to be humane; when we train them to regard the present world as nothing. Let this then be our task, to mold and to direct both ourselves and them according to what is right. Otherwise with what sort of boldness shall we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ? If a man who has unruly children is unworthy to be a Bishop (Titus 1:6.), much more is he unworthy of the kingdom of Heaven. What sayest thou? If we have an unruly wife, or unruly children, shall we have to render account? Yes, we shall, if we do not with exactness bring in that which is due from ourselves; for our own individual virtue is not enough in order to salvation. If the man who laid aside the one talent gained nothing, but was punished even in such a manner, it is plain that one's own individual virtue is not enough in order to salvation, but there is need of that of another also. Let us therefore entertain great solicitude for our wives, and take great care of our children, and of our servants, and of ourselves. And in our government both of ourselves and of them, let us beseech God that He aid us in the work. If He shall see us interested in this work, and solicitous about it, He will aid us; but if He shall see us paying no regard to it, He will not give us His hand. For He does not vouchsafe us His assistance when we sleep, but when we labor also ourselves. For a helper, (as the name implies,) is not a helper of one that is inactive, but of one who works also himself. But the good God is able of Himself to bring the work to perfection, that we may be all counted worthy to attain to the blessings promised us, through the grace and compassions of His only begotten Son, with Whom together with the Holy Ghost be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now and ever, and throughout all ages. Amen.
 ["The address to children in a letter to the Church presupposes that the Apostle regards them as belonging to the Church, present at public worship, understanding the word read to and applicable to them."--Braune in Lange.--G.A.]
 ["en kuri& 251;. Not God, as Chrysostom, and not kata kurion, as Chrysostom, but denoting the sphere to which the action is to be limited."--Ellicott.--G.A.]
 taxei. ["Paul says prote, having before his mind not only the Decalogue, but also the entire series of divine precepts,' which begins with the Decalogue."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 Fathers were very suspicious in St. Chrysostom's day of the influence of Christianity tending to make their children monks. In consequence of this prejudice against the monastic life, he wrote his Adv. Oppugn. Mon. Vit.
 tois kosmikois.
 [On the authority of three mss., Savile and other editors concurring, we have departed here from the text of Field, which reverses the order of this and the following sentence, and leaves the sense less clear. v. 1 Sam. ii. 21.--G.A.]
 [This reminds one of the saying of Socrates: To want nothing belongs to the gods, and to want as little as possible is to make the nearest approach to them.--G.A.]
 [The following part of the paragraph explains this sentence.--G.A.]
 triobolimaioi tines kai kunes.
 St. Julian was a native of Cilicia, perhaps of Tarsus, and was martyred at ?g? in the Dioclesian persecution. One of St. Chrysostom's orations is in his praise.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
"Servants, be obedient unto them that, according to the flesh, are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers: but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free."
Thus then it is not husband only, nor wife, nor children, but virtuous servants also that contribute to the organization and protection of a house. Therefore the blessed Paul has not overlooked this department even. He comes to it, however, in the last place, because it is last in dignity and rank. Still he addresses much discourse also to them, no longer in the same tone as to children, but in a far more advanced way, inasmuch as he does not hold out to these the promise in this world, but in that which is to come. "Knowing," saith he, "that whatsoever good or evil  thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord," and thus at once instructs them to love wisdom. For though they be inferior to the children in dignity, still in mind they are superior to them.
"Servants," saith he, "be obedient to them that, according to the flesh, are your masters."
Thus at once he raises up, at once soothes the wounded soul. Be not grieved, he seems to say, that you are inferior to the wife and the children. Slavery is nothing but a name. The mastership is "according to the flesh," brief and temporary;  for whatever is of the flesh, is transitory.
"With fear," he adds, "and trembling." 
Thou seest that he does not require the same fear from slaves as from wives: for in that case he simply said, "and let the wife see that she fear her husband"; whereas in this case he heightens the expression, "with fear," he saith, "and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." This is what he constantly says. What meanest thou, blessed Paul? He is a brother, or rather he has become a brother, he enjoys the same privileges, he belongs to the same body. Yea, more, he is the brother, not of his own master only, but also of the Son of God, he is partaker of all the same privileges; yet sayest thou, "obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling"? Yes, for this very reason, he would say, I say it. For if I charge free men to submit themselves one to another in the fear of God,--as he said above, "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ";--if I charge moreover the wife to fear and reverence her husband, although she is his equal; much more must I so speak to the servant. It is no sign of low birth, rather it is the truest nobility, to understand how to lower ourselves, to be modest and unassuming, and to give way to our neighbor. And the free have served the free with much fear and trembling.
"In singleness of heart," he says.
And it is well said, since it is possible to serve with fear and trembling, and yet not of good will, but in just any way that may be possible. Many servants in many instances secretly cheat their masters. And this cheating accordingly he does away, by saying, "in singleness of your heart as unto Christ, not in the way of eye-service as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men." Seest thou how many words he requires, in order to implant this good principle, "with goodwill," I mean, and "from the heart"? That other service, "with fear and trembling" I mean, we see many rendering to their masters, and the master's threat goes far to secure that. But show, saith he, that thou servest as "the servant of Christ," not of man. Make the right action your own, not one of compulsion. Just as in the words which follow, he persuades and instructs the man who is ill-treated by another to make the right action his own, and the work of his own free choice. Because inasmuch as the man that smites the cheek, is not supposed to come to that act in consequence of any intention in the person struck, but only of his own individual malice, what saith He? "Turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39.); to show him that in submitting to the first thou wert not unwilling. For he that is lavish in suffering wrong, makes that his own which is not his own act, by suffering himself to be smitten on the other cheek also, and not merely by enduring the first blow. For this latter will have perhaps the appearance even of cowardice; but that of a high philosophy.--Thus thou wilt show that it was for the sake of wisdom that thou didst bear the first blow also. And so in the present case, show here too, that thou bearest this slavery also willingly. The man-pleaser then is no servant of Christ. The servant of Christ is not a man-pleaser. (Galatians 1:10.) For who that is the servant of God, makes it his object to please men? And who that pleases men, can be a servant of God?
"From the heart,"  saith he, "with good-will doing service." For since it is possible to do service even with singleness of heart and not wrongfully, and yet not with all one's might, but only so far as fulfilling one's bounden duty, therefore he says, do it with alacrity, not of necessity, upon principle, not upon constraint. If thus thou do service, thou art no slave; if thou do it upon principle, if with good-will, if from the heart, and if for Christ's sake. For this is the servitude that even Paul, the free man, serves, and exclaims, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." (2 Corinthians 4:5.) Look how he divests thy slavery of its meanness. For just in the same way as the man who has been robbed, if he gives still more to him who has taken, is not ranked among those robbed, but rather amongst liberal givers; not amongst those who suffer evil, but amongst those who do good; and rather clothes the other with disgrace by his liberality, than is clothed with disgrace by being robbed,--so, I say, in this case, by his generosity he will appear at once more high-minded, and by showing that he does not feel the wrong,  will put the other to shame.
Let us then do service to our masters for Christ's sake, "knowing," he continues, "that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." For inasmuch as it was probable that many masters, as being unbelievers, would have no sense of shame, and would make no return to their slaves for their obedience, observe how he has given them encouragement, so that they may have no misgiving about the remuneration, but may have full confidence respecting the recompense. For as they who receive a benefit, when they make no return, make God a debtor to their benefactors; so, I say, do masters also, if, when well-treated by thee, they fail to requite thee, requite thee the more, by rendering God thy debtor.
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Ver. 9. "And ye masters," he continues, "do the same things unto them."
The same things. What are these? "With good-will do service." However he does not actually say, "do service," though by saying, "the same things," he plainly shows this to be his meaning. For the master himself is a servant. "Not as men-pleasers," he means, "and with fear and trembling": that is, toward God, fearing lest He one day accuse you for your negligence toward your slaves.
"And forbear threatening;" be not irritating, he means, nor oppressive.
"Knowing that both their Master and  yours is in Heaven." 
Ah! How mighty a Master does he hint at here! How startling the suggestion! It is this. "With what measure thou metest, it shall be measured unto thee again" (Matthew 7:2.); lest thou hear the sentence, "Thou wicked servant. I forgave thee all that debt." (Matthew 18:32.)
"And there is no respect of persons," he saith, "with Him."
Think not, he would say, that what is done towards a servant, He will therefore forgive, because done to a servant. Heathen laws indeed as being the laws of men, recognize a difference between these kinds of offenses. But the law of the common Lord and Master of all, as doing good to all alike, and dispensing the same rights to all, knows no such difference.
But should any one ask, whence is slavery, and why it has found entrance into human life, (and many I know are both glad to ask such questions, and desirous to be informed of them,) I will tell you. Slavery is the fruit of covetousness, of degradation, of savagery; since Noah, we know, had no servant, nor had Abel, nor Seth, no, nor they who came after them. The thing was the fruit of sin, of rebellion against parents. Let children hearken to this, that whenever they are undutiful to their parents, they deserve to be servants. Such a child strips himself of his nobility of birth; for he who rebels against his father is no longer a son; and if he who rebels against his father is not a son, how shall he be a son who rebels against our true Father? He has departed from his nobility of birth, he has done outrage to nature. Then come also wars, and battles, and take their prisoners.  Well, but Abraham, you will say, had servants. Yes, but he used them not as servants.
Observe how everything depends upon the head; the wife, by telling him "to love her"; the children, by telling him "to bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord"; the servants, by the words, "knowing that both their Master and yours is in Heaven." So, saith he, ye also in like manner, as being yourselves servants, shall be kind and indulgent. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."
But if, before considering this next, ye have a mind to hearken, I shall make the same remarks concerning servants, as I have also made before concerning children. Teach them to be religious, and everything else will follow of necessity. But now, when any one is going to the theater, or going off to the bath, he drags all his servants after him; but when he goes to church, not for a moment; nor does he compel them to attend and hear. Now how shall thy servant listen, when thou his master art attending to other things? Hast thou purchased, hast thou bought thy slave? Before all things enjoin him what God would have him do, to be gentle towards his fellow-servants, and to make much account of virtue.
Every one's house is a city; and every man is a prince in his own house. That the house of the rich is of this character, is plain enough, where there are both lands, and stewards, and rulers over rulers. But I say that the house of the poor also is a city. Because here too there are offices of authority; for instance, the husband has authority over the wife, the wife over the servants, the servants again over their own wives; again the wives and the husbands over the children. Does he not seem to you to be, as it were, a sort of king, having so many authorities under his own authority? and that it were meet that he should be more skilled both in domestic and general government than all the rest? For he who knows how to manage these in their several relations, will know how to select the fittest men for offices, yes, and will choose excellent ones. And thus the wife will be a second king in the house, lacking only the diadem; and he who knows how to choose this king, will excellently regulate all the rest.
Ver. 10. "Finally," saith he, "be strong in the Lord."
Whenever the discourse is about to conclude, he always employs this turn. Said I not well from the first, that every man's house is a camp in itself? For look, having disposed of the several offices, he proceeds to arm them, and to lead them out to war.  If no one usurps the other's office, but every one remains at his post, all will be well ordered.
"Be strong," saith he, "in the Lord, and in the strength of His might."
That is, in the hope which we have in Him, by means of His aid. For as he had enjoined many duties, which were necessary to be done, fear not, he seems to say, cast your hope upon the Lord, and He will make all easy.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ver. 11. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
He saith not, against the fightings, nor against the hostilities, but against the "wiles." For this enemy is at war with us, not simply, nor openly, but by "wiles." What is meant by wiles? To use "wiles," is to deceive and to take by artifice or contrivance; a thing which takes place both in the case of the arts, and by words, and actions, and stratagems, in the case of those who seduce us. I mean something like this. The Devil never proposes to us sins in their proper colors; he does not speak of idolatry, but he sets it off in another dress, using "wiles,"  that is, making his discourse plausible, employing disguises. Now therefore the Apostle is by this means both rousing the soldiers, and making them vigilant, by persuading and instructing them, that our conflict is with one skilled in the arts of war, and with one who wars not simply, nor directly, but with much wiliness. And first then he arouses the disciples from the consideration of the Devil's skill; but in the second place, from his nature, and the number of his forces. It is not from any desire to dispirit the soldiers that stand under him, but to arouse, and to awaken them, that he mentions these stratagems, and prepares them to be vigilant; for had he merely detailed their power, and there stopped his discourse, he must have dispirited them. But now, whereas both before and after this, he shows that it is possible to overcome such an enemy, he rather raises their courage; for the more clearly the strength of our adversaries is stated on our part to our own people, so much the more earnest will it render our soldiers.
Ver. 12. "For our wrestling is not," saith he, "against flesh and blood,  but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness, in the heavenly places."
Having stimulated them by the character of the conflict, he next goes on to arouse them also by the prizes set before them. For what is his argument? Having said that the enemies are fierce, he adds further, that they despoil us of vast blessings. What are these? The conflict lies "in the heavenlies";  the struggle is not about riches, not about glory, but about our being enslaved. And thus is the enmity irreconcilable. The strife and the conflict are fiercer when for vast interests at stake; for the expression "in the heavenlies"  is equivalent to, "for the heavenly things." It is not that they may gain anything by the conquest, but that they may despoil us. As if one were to say, "In what does the contract lie?" In gold. The word "in," means, "in behalf of"; the word "in," also means, "on account  of."  Observe how the power of the enemy startles us; how it makes us all circumspection, to know that the hazard is on behalf of vast interests, and the victory for the sake of great rewards. For he is doing his best to cast us out of Heaven.
He speaks of certain "principalities, and powers, and world-rulers of this darkness." What darkness? Is it that of night? No, but of wickedness. "For ye were," saith he, "once darkness" (Ephesians 5:8.); so naming that wickedness which is in this present life; for beyond it, it will have no place, not in Heaven, nor in the world to come.
"World-rulers"  he calls them, not as having the mastery over the world, but the Scripture is wont to call wicked practices "the world," as, for example, where Christ saith, "They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16.) What then, were they not of the world? Were they not clothed with flesh? Were they not of those who are in the world? And again; "The world hateth Me, but you it cannot hate." (John 7:7.) Where again He calls wicked practices by this name. Thus the Apostle here by the world means wicked men, and the evil spirits have more especial power over them. "Against the spiritual hosts of wickedness," saith he, "in the heavenly places." "Principalities, and powers," he speaks of; just as in the heavenly places there are "thrones and dominions, principalities and powers." (Colossians 1:16.)
Ver. 13. "Wherefore," saith he, "take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand."
By "evil day" he means the present life,  and calls it too "this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4.), from the evils which are done in it. It is as much as to say, Always be armed. And again, "having done all," saith he; that is, both passions, and vile lusts, and all things else that trouble us. He speaks not merely of doing the deed, but of completing it,  so as not only to slay, but to stand also after we have slain. For many who have gained this victory, have fallen again. "Having done," saith he, "all"; not having done one, but not the other. For even after the victory, we must stand. An enemy may be struck, but things that are struck revive again if we do not stand. But if after having fallen they rise up again, so long as we stand, they are fallen. So long as we waver not, the adversary rises not again.
"Let us put on the whole armor of God." Seest thou how he banishes all fear? For if it be possible "to do all, and to stand," his describing in detail the power of the enemy does not create cowardice and fear, but it shakes off indolence. "That ye may be able," he saith, "to withstand in the evil day." And he further gives them encouragement too from the time; the time, he seems to say, is short;  so that ye must needs stand; faint not when the slaughter is achieved.
Moral. If then it is a warfare, if such are the forces arrayed against us, if "the principalities" are incorporeal, if they are "rulers of the world," if they are "the spiritual hosts of wickedness," how, tell me, canst thou live in self-indulgence? How canst thou be dissolute? How if we are unarmed, shall we be able to overcome? These words let every one repeat to himself every day, whenever he is under the influence of anger, or of lust, whenever he is aiming, and all to no profit, after this languid life. Let him hearken to the blessed Paul, saying to him, "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers." A harder warfare this than that which is matter of sense, a fiercer conflict. Think how long time this enemy is wrestling, for what it is that he is fighting, and be more guarded than ever. "Nay," a man will say, "but as he is the devil, he ought to have been removed out of the way, and then all had been saved."  These are the pretenses to which some of your indolent ones in self-defense give utterance. When thou oughtest to be thankful, O man, that, if thou hast a mind, thou hast the victory over such a foe, thou art on the contrary even discontented, and givest utterance to the words of some sluggish and sleepy soldier. Thou knowest the points of attack,  if thou choosest. Reconnoiter on all sides, fortify thyself. Not against the devil alone is the conflict, but also against his powers. How then, you may say, are we to wrestle with the darkness? By becoming light. How with the "spiritual hosts of wickedness"? By becoming good. For wickedness is contrary to good, and light drives away darkness. But if we ourselves too be darkness, we shall inevitably be taken captive. How then shall we overcome them? If, what they are by nature, that we become by choice, free from flesh and blood, thus shall we vanquish them. For once it was probable that the disciples would have many persecutors, "imagine not," he would say, "that it is they who war with you. They that really war with you, are the spirits that work in them. Against them is our conflict." Two things he provides for by these considerations; he renders them in themselves more courageous and he lets loose their wrath against those who war against them. And wherefore is our conflict against these? Since we have also an invincible ally, the grace of the Spirit. We have been taught an art, such as shall enable us to wrestle not against men, but against spirits. Nay, if we have a mind, neither shall we wrestle at all; for it is because we choose it, that there is a struggle, since so great is the power of Him that dwelleth in us, as that He said, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy." (Luke 10:19.) All power hath He given us, both of wrestling and of not wrestling. It is because we are slothful, that we have to wrestle with them; for that Paul wrestled not, hear what he saith himself, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35.) And again hear his words, "God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Romans 16:20.) For he had him under his subjection; whence also he said, "I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." (Acts 16:18.) And this is not the language of one wrestling; for he that wrestles has not yet conquered, and he that has conquered no longer wrestles; he has subdued, has taken his captive. And so Peter again wrestled not with the devil, but he did that which was better than wrestling. In the case of the faithful, the obedient, the catechumens, they prevailed over him to vast advantage and over his powers. Hence too was it that the blessed Paul said, "For we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:11.), which was the way moreover in which he especially overcame him; and again hear his words, "And no marvel--if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness." (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15.) So well knew he every part of the conflict, and nothing escaped him. Again, "For the mystery of lawlessness," saith he, "doth already work." (2 Thessalonians 2:7.)
But against us is the struggle; for hearken again to him, saying, "I am persuaded, that neither angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ." (Romans 8:38.) He saith not simply, "from Christ," but, "from the love of Christ."  For many there are who are united forsooth to Christ, and who yet love Him not. Not only, saith he, shalt thou not persuade me to deny Him, but, not even to love Him less. And if the powers above had not strength to do this, who else should move him? Not, however, that he saith this, as though they were actually attempting it, but upon the supposition; wherefore also he said, "I am persuaded." So then he did not wrestle, yet nevertheless he fears his artifices; for hear what he saith, "I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3.) True, you will say, but he uses this word touching himself also, where he saith, "For I fear  lest, by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected." How then art thou "persuaded that no one shall separate thee"? Perceivest thou that the expression is that of lowliness and of humility? For he already dwelt in Heaven. And hence also it was that he said, "For I know nothing against myself" (1 Corinthians 4:4.); and again, "I have finished the course." (2 Timothy 4:7.) So that it was not with regard to these matters that the devil placed obstacles in his way, but with reference to the interests of the disciples. And why forsooth? Because in these points he was not himself sole master, but also their own will. There the devil prevailed in some cases; nay, neither there was it over him that he prevailed, but over the indolence of persons who took no heed. If indeed, whether from slothfulness, or anything else of the sort, he had failed to fulfill his own duty, then had the devil prevailed over him; but if he himself on his part did all he could, and they obeyed not it was not over him he prevailed, but over their disobedience; and the disease prevailed not over the physician, but over the unruliness of the patient; for, when the physician takes every precaution, and the patient undoes all, the patient is defeated, not the physician. Thus then in no instance did he prevail over Paul. But in our own case, it is matter for contentment that we should be so much as able to wrestle. For the Romans indeed this is not what he asks, but what? "He shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Romans 16:20.) And for these Ephesians he invokes, "Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20.) He that wrestles is still held fast, but it is enough for him that he has not fallen. When we depart hence, then, and not till then, will the glorious victory be achieved. For instance, take the case of some evil lust. The extraordinary thing would be, not even to entertain it, but to stifle it. If, however, this be not possible, then though we may have to wrestle with it, and retain it to the last, yet if we depart still wrestling, we are conquerors. For the case is not the same here as it is with wrestlers; for there if thou throw not thy antagonist, thou hast not conquered; but here if thou be not thrown, thou hast conquered; if thou art not thrown, thou hast thrown him; and with reason, because there both strive for the victory, and when the one is thrown, the other is crowned; here, however, it is not thus, but the devil is striving for our defeat; when then I strip him of that upon which he is bent, I am conqueror. For it is not to overthrow us, but to make us share his overthrow that he is eager. Already then am I conqueror, for he is already cast down, and in a state of ruin; and his victory consists not in being himself crowned, but in effecting my ruin; so that though I overthrow him not, yet if I be not overthrown, I have conquered. What then is a glorious victory? It is, over and above, to trample him underfoot, as Paul did, by regarding the things of this present world as nothing. Let us too imitate him, and strive to become above them, and nowhere to give him a hold upon us. Wealth, possessions, vain-glory, give him a hold. And oftentimes indeed this has roused him, and oftentimes exasperated him. But what need is there of wrestling? What need of engaging with him? He who is engaged in the act of wrestling has the issue in uncertainty, whether he may not be himself defeated and captured. Whereas he that tramples him under foot, has the victory certain.
Oh then, let us trample under foot the power of the devil; let us trample under foot our sins, I mean everything that pertains to this life, wrath, lust, vain-glory, every passion; that when we depart to that world, we may not be convicted of betraying that power which God hath given us; for thus shall we attain also the blessings that are to come. But if in this we are unfaithful, who will entrust us with those things which are greater? If we were not able to trample down one who had fallen, who had been disgraced, who had been despised, who was lying beneath our feet, how shall the Father give us a Father's rewards? If we subdue not one so placed in subjection to us, what confidence shall we have to enter into our Father's house? For, tell me, suppose thou hadst a son, and, that he, disregarding the well-disposed part of thy household, should associate with them that have distressed thee, with them that have been expelled his father's house, with them that spend their time at the gaming table, and that he should go on so doing to the very last; will he not be disinherited? It is plain enough he will. And so too shall we; if, disregarding the Angels who have well pleased our Father and whom He hath set over us, we have our conversation with the devil, inevitably we shall be disinherited, which God forbid; but let us engage in the war we have to wage with him.
If any one hath an enemy, if any one hath been wronged by him, if any one is exasperated, let him collect together all that wrath, all that fierceness, and pour it out upon the head of the devil. Here wrath is a good thing, here anger is profitable, here revenge is praiseworthy, for just as amongst the heathen, revenge is a vice, so truly here is revenge a virtue. So then if thou hast any failings, rid thyself of them here. And if thou art not able thyself to put them away, do it, though with thy members also.  Hath any one struck thee? Bear malice against the devil, and never relinquish thy hatred towards him. Or again, hath no one struck thee? Yet bear him malice still, because he insulted, because he offended thy Lord and Master, because he injures and wars against thy brethren. With him be ever at enmity, ever implacable, ever merciless. Thus shall he be humbled, thus despicable, thus shall he be an easy prey. If we are fierce towards him, he shall never be fierce towards us. If we are compliant, then he will be fierce; it is not with him as it is with our brethren. He is the foe and enemy, both of life and salvation, both ours and his own. If he loves not himself, how shall he be able to love us? Let us then put ourselves in array and wound him, having for our mighty confederate the Lord Jesus Christ, who can both render us impregnable to his snares, and worthy of the good things to come; which God grant that we may all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now and ever, and throughout all ages. Amen.
 [The words, "or evil," ekakon, are not in the text of this passage at all, though Chrysostom has them. Chrysostom and the Patristic writers in general often quote the New Testament without exactness. They quote often from memory, and are seldom critical. Cf. Schaff, Companion to Greek Testament, p. 164.--G.A.]
 ["Wrong. It means those who are your human masters,' in distinction from Christ, the divine' master."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 ["With fear and trembling, i. e. with that zeal which is ever keenly apprehensive of not doing enough."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 ["From the heart" (ek psuches) is joined by Chrysostom with what follows. (So Westcott and Hort.) But as met' eunoias expresses the well-meaning disposition, it already includes the sense of ek psuches. So that ek psuches belongs to what precedes. So Meyer, Ellicott, and Rev. Ver.--G.A.]
 [The second kai (kai auton kai humon) is omitted in Chrysostom's text of this passage, and in the textus receptus, so that it does not appear in the Authorized English Version. The Revised Version has it, however, and correctly so.--G.A.]
 [Meyer quotes Seneca, Thyest. 607:-- Quicquid a vobis minor extimescit Major hoc vobis dominus minatur. Omne sub regno graviore regnum est.--G.A.]
 [He seems to refer slavery to three causes: 1. covetousness; 2. rebellion against parents; 3. war, where prisoners are taken and made slaves.--G.A.]
 [This is very beautiful, but hardly correct exegesis. "The word finally' introduces a general, final exhortation, winding up the whole parenetic portion of the epistle (iv. i-vi. 9.)."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 ["Flesh and blood, i. e. feeble men,' just as in Galatians 1:16, and Matthew 16:17. The word pale, which means nothing else than a wrestling,' is specially chosen by the Apostle (who elsewhere uses agon or mache), in order to bring out the more strongly in connection with pros haima kai sarka the contrast between this less perilous form of contest and that which follows."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 en tois epouraniois.
 en tois epouraniois.
 ["The word en does not mean for' or on account of,' and the phrase is here local (i. 3.)."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 to en huper esti, kai to en, dia estin.
 ["The use of hemera, rather than ai& 242;ni (Galatians 1:4.) is opposed to the interpretation of Chrysostom. Still more untenable is the view of Meyer, that Paul is here specifying the day when the last great Satanic outbreak was to take place. Paul has at heart what he knew was much more present and more constantly impending, namely, the day of violent temptation."--Ellicott.--G.A.]
 Not ergasamenoi, but katergasamenoi.
 i. e. "but a day.'"
 [This entire sentence and the preceding one, though attested by three mss. and read by Savile, are wanting in the text of Field, who has, in their stead, Nun oun elthe, phesin, emoi palaisai, "Now then," says some one, "he has come to wrestle with me," which seems to leave the sense incomplete, and does not suit the following sentence. See note on page 82.--G.A.]
 [This text in Rom. has, "from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."--G.A.]
 [The words, "I fear," phoboumai gar, are not in the text of 1 Corinthians 9:27. See note 1 on page 157.--G.A.]
 [We have here followed the text of Savile (supported by three mss.), as follows: ei de me dunasai autos apothesthai, kan meta ton melon ton son, in preference to the text of Field, which has ei me dunasai auta apthoesthai, e meta ton melon ton son.--G.A.]
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
"Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth."
Having drawn up this army, and roused their zeal,--for both these things were requisite, both that they should be drawn up in array and subject to each other, and that their spirit should be aroused,--and having inspired them with courage, for this was requisite also, he next proceeds also to arm them. For arms had been of no use, had they not been first posted each in his own place, and had not the spirit of the soldier's soul been roused; for we must first arm him within, and then without.
Now if this is the case with soldiers, much more is it with spiritual soldiers. Or rather in their case, there is no such thing as arming them without, but everything is within. He hath roused their ardor, and set it on fire, he hath added confidence. He hath set them in due array. Observe how he also puts on the armor. "Stand therefore,"  saith he. The very first feature in tactics is, to know how to stand well, and many things will depend upon that. Hence he discourses much concerning standing, saying also elsewhere, "Watch ye, stand fast." (1 Corinthians 16:13.) And again, "So stand fast in the Lord." (Philip. iv. 1.) And again, "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12.) And again, "That ye may be able, having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13.) Doubtless then he does not mean merely any way of standing, but a correct way, and as many as have had experience in wars know how great a point it is to know how to stand. For if in the case of boxers and wrestlers, the trainer recommends this before anything else, namely, to stand firm, much more will it be the first thing in warfare, and military matters.
The man who, in a true sense, stands, is upright; he stands not in a lazy attitude, not leaning upon anything. Exact uprightness discovers itself by the way of standing, so that they who are perfectly upright, they stand. But they who do not stand, cannot be upright, but are unstrung and disjointed. The luxurious man does not stand upright, but is bent; so is the lewd man, and the lover of money. He who knows how to stand will from his very standing, as from a sort of foundation, find every part of the conflict easy to him.
"Stand therefore," saith he, "having girded your loins with truth." 
He is not speaking of a literal, physical girdle, for all the language in this passage he employs in a spiritual sense.  And observe how methodically he proceeds. First he girds up his soldier.  What then is the meaning of this? The man that is loose in his life, and is dissolved in his lusts, and that has his thoughts trailing on the ground, him he braces up by means of this girdle, not suffering him to be impeded by the garments entangling his legs, but leaving him to run with his feet well at liberty. "Stand therefore, having girded your loins," saith he. By the "loins" here he means this; just what the keel is in ships, the same are the loins with us, the basis or groundwork of the whole body: for they are, as it were, a foundation, and upon them as the schools of the physicians tell you, the whole frame is built. So then in "girding up the loins" he compacts the foundation of our soul; for he is not of course speaking of these loins of our body, but is discoursing spiritually: and as the loins are the foundation alike of the parts both above and below, so is it also in the case of these spiritual loins. Oftentimes, we know, when persons are fatigued, they put their hands there as if upon a sort of foundation, and in that manner support themselves; and for this reason it is that the girdle is used in war, that it may bind and hold together this foundation, as it were, in our frame; for this reason too it is that when we run we gird ourselves. It is this which guards our strength. Let this then, saith he, be done also with respect to the soul, and then in doing anything whatsoever we shall be strong; and it is a thing most especially becoming to soldiers.
True, you may say, but these our natural loins we gird with a leathern band; but we, spiritual soldiers, with what? I answer, with that which is the head and crown of all our thoughts, I mean, "with truth." "Having girded your loins," saith he, "with truth."  What then is the meaning of "with truth"? Let us love nothing like falsehood, all our duties let us pursue "with truth," let us not lie one to another. Whether it be an opinion, let us seek the truth, or whether it be a line of life, let us seek the true one. If we fortify ourselves with this, if we "gird ourselves with truth," then shall no one overcome us. He who seeks the doctrine of truth, shall never fall down to the earth; for that the things which are not true are of the earth, is evident from this, that all they that are without are enslaved to the passions, following their own reasonings; and therefore if we are sober, we shall need no instruction in the tales of the Greeks. Seest thou how weak and frivolous they are? incapable of entertaining about God one severe thought or anything above human reasoning? Why? Because they are not "girded about with truth"; because their loins, the receptacle of the seed of life, and the main strength of their reasonings, are ungirt; nothing then can be weaker than these. And the Manicheans  again, seest thou, how all the things they have the boldness to utter, are from their own reasonings? "It was impossible," say they, "for God to create the world without matter." Whence is this so evident? These things they say, groveling, and from the earth, and from what happens amongst ourselves; because man, they say, cannot create otherwise. Marcion again, look what he says. "God, if He took upon Him flesh, could not remain pure." Whence is this evident? "Because," says he, "neither can men." But men are able to do this. Valentinus again, with his reasonings all trailing along the ground, speaks the things of the earth; and in like manner Paul of Samosata. And Arius, what does he say? "It was impossible for God when He begat, to beget without passion."  Whence, Arius, hast thou the boldness to allege this; merely from the things which take place amongst ourselves? Seest thou how the reasonings of all these trail along on the ground? All are, as it were, let loose and unconfined, and savoring of the earth? And so much then for doctrines. With regard to life and conduct, again, whoremongers, lovers of money, and of glory, and of everything else, trail on the ground. They have not their loins themselves standing firm, so that when they are weary they may rest upon them; but when they are weary, they do not put their hands upon them and stand upright, but flag. He, however, who "is girt about with the truth," first, never is weary; and secondly, if he should be weary, he will rest himself upon the truth itself. What? Will poverty, tell me, render him weary? No, in nowise; for he will repose on the true riches, and by this poverty will understand what is true poverty. Or again, will slavery make him weary? No, in nowise, for he will know what is the true slavery. Or shall disease? No, nor even that. "Let your loins," saith Christ, "be girded about, and your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35.), with that light which shall never be put out. This is what the Israelites also, when they were departing out of Egypt (Exodus 12:11.), were charged to do. For why did they eat the passover with their loins girded? Art thou desirous to hear the ground of it? According to the historical fact, or according to its mystical sense,  shall I state it? But I will state them both, and do ye retain it in mind, for I am not doing it without an object, merely that I may tell you the solution, but also that my words may become in you reality. They had, we read, their loins girded, and their staff in their hands, and their shoes on their feet, and thus they ate the Passover. Awful and terrible mysteries, and of vast depth; and if so terrible in the type, how much more in the reality? They come forth out of Egypt, they eat the Passover. Attend. "Our Passover hath been sacrificed, even Christ," it is said. Wherefore did they have their loins girded? Their guise is that of wayfarers; for their having shoes, and staves in their hands, and their eating standing, declares nothing else than this. Will ye hear the history first, or the mystery?  Better the history first. What then is the design of the history? The Jews were continually forgetting God's benefits to them. Accordingly then, God tied the sense of these, His benefits, not only to the time, but also to the very habit of them that were to eat. For this is why they were to eat girded and sandalled, that when they were asked the reason, they might say, "we were ready for our journey, we were just about to go forth out of Egypt to the land of promise and we were ready for our exodus." This then is the historical type. But the reality is this; we too eat a Passover, even Christ; "for," saith he, "our Passover hath been sacrificed, even Christ." (1 Corinthians 5:7.) What then? We too ought to eat it, both sandalled and girded. And why? That we too may be ready for our Exodus, for our departure hence.
Moral. Let not any one of them that eat this Passover look towards Egypt, but towards Heaven, towards "Jerusalem that is above." (Galatians 4:26.) On this account thou eatest with thy loins girded, on this account thou eatest with shoes on thy feet, that thou mayest know, that from the moment thou first beginnest to eat the Passover, thou oughtest to set out, and to be upon thy journey. And this implies two things, both that we must depart out of Egypt, and that, whilst we stay, we must stay henceforth as in a strange country; "for our citizenship," saith he, "is in Heaven" (Philip. iii. 20.); and that all our life long we should ever be prepared, so that when we are called we may not put it off, but say, "My heart is fixed." (Psalm 108:1.) "Yes, but this Paul indeed could say, who knew nothing against himself; but I, who require a long time for repentance, I cannot say it." Yet that to be girded is the part of a waking soul, hearken to what God says to that righteous man, "Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me." (Job 38:3.) This He says also to all the prophets, and this He says again to Moses, to be girded. And He Himself also appears to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 9:11, Sept.) girded. Nay more, and the Angels, too, appear to us girded (Revelation 15:6.), as being soldiers. From our being girded about, it comes that we also stand bravely as from our standing our being girded comes.
For we also are going to depart, and many are the difficulties that intervene. When we have crossed this plain, straightway the devil is upon us, doing everything, contriving every artifice, to the end that those who have been saved out of Egypt, those who have passed the Red Sea, those who are delivered at once from the evil demons, and from unnumbered plagues, may be taken and destroyed by him. But, if we be vigilant, we too have a pillar of fire, the grace of the Spirit. The same both enlightens and overshadows us. We have manna; yea rather not manna, but far more than manna. Spiritual drink we have, not water, that springs forth from the Rock. So have we too our encampment (Revelation 20:9.), and we dwell in the desert even now; for a desert indeed without virtue, is the earth even now, even more desolate than that wilderness. Why was that desert so terrible? Was it not because it had scorpions in it, and adders? (Deuteronomy 8:15.) "A land," it is said, "which none passed through." (Jeremiah 2:6.). Yet is not that wilderness, no, it is not so barren of fruits, as is this human nature. At this instant, how many scorpions, how many asps are in this wilderness, how many serpents, how many "offsprings of vipers" (Matthew 3:7.) are these through whom we at this instant pass! Yet let us not be afraid; for the leader of this our Exodus is not Moses, but Jesus.
How then is it that we shall not suffer the same things? Let us not commit the same acts, and then shall we not suffer the same punishment. They murmured, they were ungrateful; let us therefore not cherish these passions. How was it that they fell all of them? "They despised the pleasant land." (Psalm 106:24.) "How despised' it? Surely they prized it highly." By becoming indolent and cowardly, and not choosing to undergo any labors to obtain it. Let not us then "despise" Heaven! This is what is meant by "despising." Again, among us also has fruit been brought, fruit from Heaven, not the cluster of grapes borne upon the staff (Numbers 13:23.), but the "earnest of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 1:22.), "the citizenship which is in Heaven" (Philip. iii. 20.), which Paul and the whole company of the Apostles, those marvelous husbandmen, have taught us. It is not Caleb the son of Jephunneh, nor Jesus the son of Nun, that hath brought these fruits; but Jesus the Son of "the Father of mercies" (2 Corinthians 1:3.), the Son of the Very God, hath brought every virtue, hath brought down from Heaven all the fruits that are from thence, the songs of heaven hath He brought. For the words which the Cherubim above say, these hath He charged us to say also, "Holy, Holy, Holy."  He hath brought to us the virtue of the Angels. "The Angels marry not, neither are given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30.); this fair plant hath He planted here also. They love not money, nor anything like it; and this too hath He sown amongst us. They never die; and this hath He freely given us also, for death is no longer death, but sleep. For hearken to what He saith, "Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep." (John 11:11.)
Seest thou then the fruits of "Jerusalem that is above"? (Galatians 4:26.) And what is indeed more stupendous than all is this, that our warfare is not decided, but all these things are given us before the attainment of the promise! For they indeed toiled even after they had entered into the land of promise;--rather, they toiled not, for had they chosen to obey God, they might have taken all the cities, without either arms or array. Jericho, we know, they overturned, more after the fashion of dancers than of warriors. We however have no warfare after we have entered into the land of promise, that is, into Heaven, but only so long as we are in the wilderness, that is, in the present life. "For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works as God did from His." (Hebrews 4:10.) "Let us not then be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9.) Seest thou how that just as He led them, so also He leads us? In their case, touching the manna and the wilderness, it is said, "He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack." (Exodus 16:18.) And we have this charge given us, "not to lay up treasure upon the earth." (Matthew 6:19.) But if we do lay up treasure, it is no longer the earthly worm that corrupts it, as was the case with the manna, but that which dwelleth eternally with fire.  Let us then "subdue all things," that we furnish not food to this worm. For "he," it is said, "who gathered much had nothing over." For this too happens with ourselves also every day. We all of us have but the same capacity of hunger to satisfy. And that which is more than this, is but an addition of cares. For what He intended in after-times to deliver, saying, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34), this had He thus been teaching even from the very beginning,  and not even thus did they receive it. But as to us, let us not be insatiable, let us not be discontented, let us not be seeking out for splendid houses; for we are on our pilgrimage, not at home; so that if there be any that knows that the present life is a sort of journey, and expedition, and, as one might say, it is what they call an entrenched camp,  he will not be seeking for splendid buildings. For who, tell me, be he ever so rich, would choose to build a splendid house in an encampment? No one; he would be a laughing stock, he would be building for his enemies, and would the more effectually invite them on; and so then, if we be in our senses, neither shall we. The present life is nothing else than a march and an encampment.
Wherefore, I beseech you, let us do all we can, so as to lay up no treasure here; for if the thief should come, we must in a moment arise and depart. "Watch," saith He, "for ye know not at what hour the thief cometh" (Matthew 24:42, 43.), thus naming death. O then, before he cometh, let us send away everything before us to our native country; but here let us be "well girded," that we may be enabled to overcome our enemies, whom God grant that we may overcome, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom together with the Holy Ghost, be unto the Father glory, strength, honor forever and ever. Amen.
 ["Stand,' here, is not, like the preceding stenai (in verse 13), the standing of the victor, but the standing forth of the man ready for the combat."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 Compare Isaiah 11:5.
 ["As for the actual warrior, the whole aptus habitus (prepared state) for the combat would be wanting in the absence of the girdle; so also for the spiritual warrior, if he is not furnished with truth."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 ["It is clear that truth does not mean objectively the gospel,' for that is designated later, ver. 17, by rhema theou (the word of God'), but subjectively,' truth as an inward property, i. e. the harmony of knowledge with the objective truth given in the gospel.'"--Meyer.--G.A.]
 The Manichees considered matter to be uncreate; vid. Note on St. Augustine's Confessions, i. b. The Marcionites considered matter intrinsically evil; vid. Theod. H?r. i. 24. Valentinus denied that our Lord was born of the substance of Mary; vid. St. Cyril, Lect. iv. 9. Paul of Samosata and Arius both denied His Godhead.
 The word anagoge, when used of Scripture exposition, has various senses, but always implies an interpretation not literal, grammatical, or historical. Sometimes it stands for a "moral" interpretation, i. e. one conveying a moral lesson; e.g. Chrys. in Psalm 119.(120) init.; Basil. in Esai. v. ? 152. Sometimes for an interpretation with reference simply to heavenly persons and things; vid. Mosheim, de Reb. ante Const. p. 644; Dionys. Hierarch C?l. i. 2. Origen enumerates three senses of Scripture, literal, moral, and mystical, the last being either allegorical or anagogical; Clement four, literal, moral, mystical, and prophetical; but the more common division has been into literal, tropological, allegorical, and anagogical. [Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom, defines anagoge: Anagoge vero de spiritalibus mysteriis ad sublimiora quaedam et sacratiora coelorum secreta conscendens, "leading up from spiritual mysteries to higher and more sacred secrets of heaven." See also Sophocles' Greek Lex. sub "voce."--G.A.]
 [For the use of these words in the church service, see Bingham, Antiquities, xv. 3, 10, and Hom. III. on Ephesians.--G.A.]
 [The text in this passage is very corrupt. Three mss. have ouketi skolex ho aisthetos lumainetai. ..alla ho tes dikaiosunes. But as Field says, hoskolex tes dikaiosunes ("the worm of righteousness") seems "absurdissimum." Three other mss. give the reading which we have adopted: "No longer the earthly worm," &c., "but that which dwelleth eternally with fire," all' ho to puri sundiaionizon hemas lumainetai. Field, in his text, follows a single ms., and emends even that.--G.A.]
 phossaton, fossatum.
"Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
"Having girded your loins," saith he, "with truth." What can be the meaning of this? I have stated in the preceding discourse, that he ought to be lightly accoutered, in order that there should be no impediment whatever to his running.
"And having on," he continues, "the breastplate of righteousness." As the breastplate is impenetrable, so also is righteousness, and by righteousness here he means a life of universal virtue.  Such a life no one shall ever be able to overthrow; it is true, many wound him, but no one cuts through him, no, not the devil himself. It is as though one were to say, "having righteous deeds fixed in the breast"; of these it is that Christ saith, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6.) Thus is he firm and strong like a breastplate. Such a man will never be put out of temper.
"And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace." It is more uncertain in what sense this was said. What then is its meaning? They are noble greaves, doubtless, with which he invests us. Either then he means this, that we should be prepared for the gospel, and should make use of our feet for this, and should prepare and make ready its way before it;  or if not this, at least that we ourselves should be prepared for our departure. "The preparation," then, "of the gospel of peace," is nothing else than a most virtuous life; according to what the Prophet saith. "Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." (Psalm 10:17.) "Of the gospel," he says, "of peace," and with reason; for inasmuch as he had made mention of warfare and fighting, he shows us that this conflict with the evil spirits we must needs have: for the gospel is "the gospel of peace"; this war which we have against them, puts an end to another war, that, namely, which is between us and God; if we are at war with the devil, we are at peace with God. Fear not therefore, beloved; it is a "gospel," that is, a word of good news; already is the victory won.
"Withal taking up the shield of faith."
By "faith" in this place, he means, not knowledge, (for that he never would have ranged last,) but that gift by which miracles are wrought.  And with reason does he term this "faith' a shield"; for as the shield is put before the whole body, as if it were a sort of rampart, just so is this faith; for all things yield to it.
"Wherewith ye shall be able," saith he, "to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one."
For this shield nothing shall be able to resist; for hearken to what Christ saith to His disciples, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove." (Matthew 17:20.) But how are we to have this faith? When we have rightly performed all those duties.
"By the darts of the evil one," he means, both temptations, and vile desires; and "fiery," he says, for such is the character of these desires. Yet if faith can command the evil spirits, much more can it also the passions of the soul.
"And take the helmet," he continues, "of salvation," that is, of your salvation. For he is casing them in armor.
"And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." He either means the Spirit, or else, "the spiritual sword": for by this  all things are severed, by this all things are cleft asunder, by this we cut off even the serpent's head.
Ver. 18, 19, 20. "With all prayer and supplication," saith he, "praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and on my behalf that utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
As the word of God has power to do all things, so also has he who has the spiritual gift. "For the word of God," saith he, "is living, and active and sharper than any two-edged sword." (Hebrews 4:12.) Now mark the wisdom of this blessed Apostle. He hath armed them with all security. What then is necessary after that? To call upon the King, that He may stretch forth His hand. "With all prayer, and supplication, praying at all seasons in the Spirit"; for it is possible "to pray" not "in the Spirit," when one "uses vain repetitions" (Matthew 6:7.); "and watching thereunto," he adds, that is, keeping sober; for such ought the armed warrior, he that stands at the King's side, to be; wakeful and temperate:--"in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and on my behalf that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth." What sayest thou, blessed Paul? Hast thou, then, need of thy disciples? And well does he say, "in opening my mouth." He did not then study what he used to say, but according to what Christ said, "When they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak" (Matthew 10:19.): so truly did he do everything by faith, everything by grace. "With boldness," he proceeds, "to make known the mystery of the Gospel"; that is, that I may answer for myself in its defense, as I ought. And art thou bound in thy chain, and still needest the aid of others? Yea, saith he, for so was Peter also bound in his chain, and yet nevertheless "was prayer made earnestly for him." (Acts 12:5.) "For which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak"; that is, that I may answer with confidence, with courage, with great prudence.
Ver. 21. "But that ye also  may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things."
As soon as he had mentioned his chains, he leaves something for Tychicus also to relate to them of his own accord. For whatever topics there were of doctrine and of exhortation, all these he explained by his letter: but what were matters of bare recital, these he entrusted to the bearer of the letter. "That ye may know my affairs," that is, may be informed of them. This manifests both the love which he entertained towards them, and their love towards him.
Ver. 22. "Whom I have sent unto you," saith he, "for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts."
This language he employs, not without a purpose, but in consequence of what he had been saying previously; "having girded your loins, having on the breastplate," &c., which are a token of a constant and unceasing advance; for hear what the Prophet saith, "Let it be unto him as the raiment wherewith he covereth himself, and for the girdle wherewith he is girded continually" (Psalm 109:19.); and the Prophet Isaiah again saith, that God hath "put on righteousness as a breastplate" (Isaiah 59:17.); by these expressions instructing us that these are things which we must have, not for a short time only, but continually, inasmuch as there is continual need of warfare. "For it is said the righteous are bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1.) For he that is armed with such a breastplate, it cannot be that he should fear the array that is against him, but he will leap into the midst of the enemy. And again Isaiah saith, "How beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings." (Isaiah 52:7.) Who would not run, who would not serve in such a cause; to publish the good tidings of peace, peace between God and man, peace, where men have toiled not, but where God hath wrought all?
But what is the "preparation of the Gospel"?  Let us hearken to what John saith, "Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." (Matthew 3:3.) But again there is need also of another "preparation" after baptism, so that we may do nothing unworthy of "peace." And then, since the feet are usually a token of the way of life, hence he is constantly exhorting in this language, "Look, therefore, carefully how ye walk." (Ephesians 5:15.) On this account, he would say, let us exhibit a practice and example worthy of the Gospel; that is, make our life and conduct pure. The good tidings of peace have been proclaimed to you, give to these good tidings a ready way; since if ye again become enemies, there is no more "preparation of peace." Be ready, be not backward to embrace this peace. As ye were ready and disposed for peace and faith, so also continue. The shield is that which first receives the assaults of the adversary, and preserves the armor uninjured. So long then as faith be right and the life be right, the armor remains uninjured.
He discourses, however, much concerning faith, but most especially in writing to the Hebrews, as he does also concerning hope. Believe, saith he, in the good things to come, and none of this armor shall be injured. In dangers, in toils, by holding out thy hope and thy faith to protect thee, thou wilt preserve thy armor uninjured. "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him." (Hebrews 11:6.) Faith is a shield; but wherever there are quibbles, and reasonings, and scrutinizings, then is it no longer a shield, but it impedes us. Let this our faith be such as shall cover and screen the whole frame. Let it not then be scanty, so as to leave the feet or any other part exposed, but let the shield be commensurate with the whole body.
"Fiery  darts." For many doubtful reasonings there are, which set the soul, as it were, on fire, many difficulties, many perplexities, but all of them faith sets entirely at rest; many things does the devil dart in, to inflame our soul and bring us into uncertainty; as, for example, when some persons say, "Is there then a resurrection?" "Is there a judgment?" "Is there a retribution?" "But is there faith?" the apostle would say, "thou shalt with it quench the darts of the devil. Has any base lust assaulted thee? Hold before thee thy faith in the good things to come, and it will not even show itself, yea, it will perish." "All the darts"; not some quenched, and others not. Hearken to what Paul saith, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us-ward." (Romans 8:18.) Seest thou how many darts the righteous quenched in those days? Seemeth it not to thee to be "fiery darts," when the patriarch burned with inward fire, as he was offering up his son? Yea, and other righteous men also have quenched "all his darts." Whether then they be reasonings that assault us, let us hold out this; or whether they be base desires, let us use this; or whether again labors and distresses, upon this let us repose. Of all the other armor, this is the safeguard; if we have not this, they will be quickly pierced through. "Withal," saith he, "taking up the shield of faith." What is the meaning of "withal"? It means both "in truth," and "in righteousness," and "in the preparation of the gospel"; that is to say, all these have need of the aid of faith.
And therefore he adds further, "and take the helmet of salvation"; that is to say, finally by this shall ye be able to be in security. To receive the helmet of salvation is to escape the peril. For as the helmet covers the head perfectly in every part, and suffers it not to sustain any injury, but preserves it, so also does faith supply alike the place of a shield, and of a helmet  to preserve us. For if we quench his darts, quickly shall we receive also those saving thoughts that suffer not our governing principle  to sustain any harm; for if these, the thoughts that are adverse to our salvation, are quenched, those which are not so, but which contribute to our salvation, and inspire us with good hopes, will be generated within us, and will rest upon our governing principle, as a helmet does upon the head.
And not only this, but we shall take also "the sword of the Spirit," and thus not only ward off his missiles, but smite the devil himself. For a soul that does not despair of herself, and is proof against those fiery darts, will stand with all intrepidity to face the enemy, and will cleave open his breastplate with this very sword with which Paul also burst through it, and "brought into captivity his devices" (2 Corinthians 10:5.); he will cut off and behead the serpent.
"Which is the word of God."
By the "word of God" in this place, he means on the one hand the ordinance of God, or the word of command; or on the other that it is in the Name of Christ. For if we keep his commandments, by these we shall kill and slay the dragon himself, "the crooked serpent." (Isaiah 27:1.) And as he said, "Ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the evil one"; that he might not puff them up, he shows them, that above all things they stand in need of God; for what does he say?
"With all prayer and supplication," he says, these things shall be done, and ye shall accomplish all by praying. But when thou drawest near, never ask for thyself only: thus shalt thou have God favorable to thee.
"With all prayer and supplication, praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance for all the saints." Limit it not, I say, to certain times of the day, for hear what he is saying; approach at all times; "pray," saith he, "without ceasing." (1 Thess. v. 17.) Hast thou never heard of that widow, how by her importunity she prevailed? (Luke 18:1-7.) Hast thou never heard of that friend, who at midnight shamed his friend into yielding by his perseverance? (Luke 11:5-8.) Hast thou not heard of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-30.), how by the constancy of her entreaty she called forth the Lord's compassion? These all of them gained their object by their importunity.
"Praying at all seasons," saith he, "in the Spirit."
That is to say, let us seek for the things which are according to God, nothing of this world, nothing pertaining to this life.
Therefore, is there need not only that we "pray without ceasing," but also, that we should do so "watching;--and watching," saith he, "thereunto." Whether he is here speaking of vigils;  or of the wakefulness of the soul, I admit both meanings. Seest thou how that Canaanitish woman watched unto prayer? and though the Lord gave her no answer, nay, even shook her off, and called her a dog, she said, "Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table" (Matthew 15:27.), and desisted not until she obtained her request. How, too, did that widow cry, and persist so long, until she was able to shame into yielding that ruler, that neither feared God, nor regarded man (Luke 18:1-7.)? And how, again, did the friend persist, remaining before the door in the dead of night, till he shamed the other into yielding by his importunity, and made him arise. (Luke 11:5-8.) This is to be watchful.
Wouldest thou understand what watchfulness in prayer is? Go to Hannah, hearken to her very words, "Adonai Eloi Sabaoth." (1 Samuel 1:11.) Nay, rather, hear what preceded those words; "they all rose up," says the history, "from the table" (1 Samuel 1:9.), and she, forthwith, did not betake herself to sleep, nor to repose. Whence she appears to me even when she was sitting at the table to have partaken lightly, and not to have been made heavy with viands. Otherwise never could she have shed so many tears; for if we, when we are fasting and foodless, hardly pray thus, or rather never pray thus, much more would not she ever have prayed thus after a meal, unless even at the meal she had been as they that eat not. Let us be ashamed, us that are men, at the example of this woman; let us be ashamed, that are suing and gasping for a kingdom, at her, praying and weeping for a little child. "And she stood," it says, "before the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:10.); and what are her words? "Adonai, Lord, Eloi Sabaoth!" and this is, being interpreted, "O Lord, the God of Hosts." Her tears went before her tongue; by these she hoped to prevail with God to bend to her request. Where tears are, there is always affliction also: where affliction is, there is great wisdom and heedfulness. "If thou wilt indeed," she continues, "look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life." (1 Samuel 1:11.) She said not, "for one year," or, "for two," as we do;--nor said she, "if thou wilt give me a child, I will give thee money"; but, "I give back to Thee the very gift itself entire, my first-born, the son of my prayer." Truly here was a daughter of Abraham. He gave when it was demanded of him. She offers even before it is demanded.
But observe even after this her deep reverence. "Only her lips moved, but her voice," it saith, "was not heard." (1 Samuel 1:13.) And thus does he who would gain his request draw nigh unto God; not consulting his ease, nor gaping, nor lounging, nor scratching his head, nor with utter listlessness. What, was not God able to grant, even without any prayer at all? What, did He not know the woman's desire even before she asked? And yet had He granted it before she asked, then the woman's earnestness would not have been shown, her virtue would not have been made manifest, she would not have gained so great a reward. So that the delay is not the result of envy or of witchcraft, but of providential kindness. When therefore ye hear the Scripture saying, that "the Lord had shut up her womb" (ver. 5, 6.), and that, "her rival provoked her sore"; consider that it is His intention to prove the woman's seriousness.  For, mark, she had a husband devoted to her, for he said (ver. 8.), "Am I not better to thee than ten sons?" "And her rival," it saith, "provoked her sore," that is, reproached her, insulted over her. And yet did she never once retaliate, nor utter imprecation against her, nor say, "Avenge me, for my rival reviles me." The other had children, but this woman had her husband's love to make amends. With this at least he even consoled her, saying, "Am not I better to thee than ten sons?"
But let us look, again, at the deep wisdom of this woman. "And Eli," it says, "thought she had been drunken." (Ver. 13.) Yet observe what she says to him also, "Nay, count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial, for out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto." (Ver. 16.) Here is truly the proof of a contrite heart, when we are not angry with those that revile us, when we are not indignant against them, when we reply but in self-defense. Nothing renders the heart so wise as affliction; nothing is there so sweet as "godly mourning." (2 Corinthians 7:10.) "Out of the abundance," saith she, "of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto." Her let us imitate, one and all. Hearken, ye that are barren, hearken, ye that desire children, hearken, both husbands and wives; yes, for husbands, too, used oftentimes to contribute their part; for hear what the Scripture saith, "And Isaac intreated the Lord for Rebekah his wife, because she was barren." (Genesis 25:21.) For prayer is able to accomplish great things.
"With all prayer and supplication," saith he, "for all the saints, and for me," placing himself last. What doest thou, O blessed Paul, in thus placing thyself last? Yea, saith he, "that utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains." And where art thou an ambassador? "To mankind," saith he. Oh! amazing lovingkindness of God! He sent from Heaven in His own Name ambassadors for peace, and lo, men took them, and bound them, and reverenced not so much as the law of nations, that an ambassador never suffers any hurt. "But, however, I am an ambassador in bonds. The chain lies like a bridle upon me, restraining my boldness, but your prayer shall open my mouth" in order that I may speak all things I was sent to speak.
"But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things." If "faithful," he will tell no falsehood, he will in everything speak the truth:--"whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye might know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts." Amazing, transcendent affection! "that it may not be in the power," he means, "of them that would, to affright you." For it is probable that they were in tribulation; for the expression, "may comfort your hearts," intimates as much; that is, "may not suffer you to sink under it."
Ver. 23. "Peace be to the brethren and love with faith from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."
He invokes upon them, "peace and love with faith." He saith well: for he would not that they should have regard to love by itself, and mingle themselves with those of a different faith. Either he means this, or that above described, namely, that they should have faith also, so as to have a cheerful confidence of the good things to come. The "peace" which is towards God, and the "love." And if there be peace, there will also be love; if love, there will be peace also. "With faith," because without faith, love amounts to nothing; or rather love could not exist at all without it.
Ver. 24. "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness."
Why does he separate the two here, placing "peace" by itself, and "grace" by itself?
"In uncorruptness," he concludes.
What is this, "in uncorruptness"? It either means, "in purity"; or else, "for the sake of those things which are incorruptible," as, for example, not in riches, nor in glory, but in those treasures which are incorruptible. The "in" means, "through." "Through uncorruptness," that is, "through virtue."  Because all sin is corruption. And in the same way as we say a virgin is corrupted, so also do we speak of the soul. Hence Paul says, "Lest by any means your minds should be corrupted." (2 Corinthians 11:3.) And again elsewhere, he says, "In doctrine, showing uncorruptness."  For what, tell me, is corruption of the body? Is it not the dissolution of the whole frame, and of its union? This then is what takes place also in the soul when sin enters. The beauty of the soul is temperance, and righteousness; the health of the soul is courage, and prudence; for the base man is hideous in our eyes, so is the covetous, so is the man who gives himself up to evil practices, and so the coward and unmanly man is sick, and the foolish man is out of health. Now that sins work corruption, is evident from this, that they render men base, and weak, and cause them to be sick and diseased. Nay, and when we say that a virgin is corrupted, we say so, strictly speaking, on this account also, not only because the body is defiled, but because of the transgression. For the mere act is natural; and if in that consisted the "corruption," then were marriage corruption. Hence is it not the act that is corruption, but the sin, for it dishonors and puts her to shame. And again, what would be corruption in the case of a house? Its dissolution. And so, universally, corruption is a change which takes place for the worse, a change into another state, to the utter extinction of the former one. For hear what the Scripture saith, "All flesh had corrupted his way" (Genesis 6:12.); and again, "In intolerable corruption"  (Exodus 18:18.); and again, "Men corrupted in mind." (2 Timothy 3:8.) Our body is corruptible, but our soul is incorruptible. Oh then, let us not make that corruptible also. This, the corruption of the body, was the work of former sin;  but sin which is after the Laver, has the power also to render the soul corruptible, and to make it an easy prey to "the worm that dieth not." For never had that worm touched it, had it not found the soul corruptible. The worm touches not adamant, and even if he touches it, he can do it no harm. Oh then, corrupt not the soul; for that which is corrupted is full of foul stench; for hearken to the Prophet who saith, "My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness." (Psalm 38:5.)
However, "this corruption" of the body "shall put on incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:53.), but the other of the soul, never; for where incorruption is, there is no  corruption. Thus is it a corruption which is incorruptible, which hath no end, a deathless death; which would have been, had the body remained deathless. Now if we shall depart into the next world having not corruption, we have that corruption incorruptible and endless; for to be ever burning, and not burnt up, ever wasted by the worm, is corruption incorruptible; like as was the case with the blessed Job. He was corrupted, and died not, and that through a lengthened period, and "wasted continually, scraping the clods of dust from his sore."  Some such torment as this shall it undergo, when the worms surround and devour it, not for two years nor for three, nor for ten, nor for ten thousand, but for years without end; for "their worm," saith He, "dieth not."
Moral. Let us take the alarm then, I entreat you, let us dread the words, that we meet not with the realities. Covetousness is corruption, corruption more dangerous than any other, and leading on to idolatry. Let us shun the corruption, let us choose the incorruption. Hast thou in covetousness overreached and defrauded some one? The fruits of thy covetousness perish, but the covetousness remains; a corruption which is the foundation of incorruptible corruption. The enjoyment indeed passes away, but the sin remains imperishable. A fearful evil is it for us not to strip ourselves of everything in this present world; a great calamity to depart into the next with loads of sins about us. "For in Sheol," it is said "who shall give Thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5.) There is the place of judgment; then is there no longer season for repentance. How many things did the rich man bewail then? (Luke 16:23.) And yet it availed him nothing. How many things did they say who had neglected to feed Christ? (Matthew 25:41.) Yet were they led away notwithstanding into the everlasting fire. How many things had they then to say: "that had wrought iniquity"; "Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy Name, and by Thy Name cast out devils?" And yet notwithstanding, they were not owned. All these things therefore will take place then; but it will be of no avail, if they be not done now. Let us fear then, lest ever we should have to say then, "Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee not?" (Matthew 25:44.) Let us feed Him now, not one day, nor two, nor three days. "For let not mercy and truth," saith the Wise Man, "forsake thee." (Proverbs 3:3.) He saith not "do it once, nor twice." The Virgins, we know, had oil, but not enough to last out. (Matthew 25:3, 8.) And thus we need much oil, and thus should we be "like a green olive tree in the house of God." (Psalm 52:8.) Let us reflect then how many burdens of sins each of us has about him, and let us make our acts of mercy counterbalance them; nay rather, far exceed them, that not only the sins may be quenched, but that the acts of righteousness may be also accounted unto us for righteousness. For if the good deeds be not so many in number as to put aside the crimes laid against us, and out of the remainder to be counted unto us for righteousness,  then shall no one rescue us from that punishment, from which God grant that we may be all delivered, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father, &c.
 ["Righteousness' here is Christian moral rectitude (Romans 6:13.), inasmuch as, justified by faith, we are dead to sin and live in newness of life (Romans 6:4.). As previously the intellectual' rectitude of the Christian was denoted by aletheia, so here his moral' rectitude by dikaiosune."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 ["This means readiness,' the ready mind; not, however, for the proclamation of the gospel, as Chrysostom and others,--since in fact Paul is addressing fellow-Christians, and not fellow-teachers,--but the readiness for the conflict in question which the gospel bestows. And it is the gospel of peace, for the gospel proclaims peace (Romans 5:1; Philip. i. 20.), and thereby produces consecration of courageous readiness' for the conflict (Romans 8:31, 38, 39.)."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 [This interpretation does not suit the context. "Faith is here saving faith, bringing assurance of forgiveness and future blessedness."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 [It simply means the sword which "is furnished by the Holy Spirit," and this sword, as the apostle himself declares, is the word of God, the gospel, which the Holy Spirit brings vividly to the consciousness of the Christian.--Meyer and Ellicott.--G.A.]
 ["Ye also," as well as the Colossians (Colossians 4:8, 9.). Meyer's Introd. sec. 2. The kai, on supposition of priority of Colossians, admits of an easy and natural explanation.--Ellicott.--G.A.]
 [After having treated this part of the chapter, our author now returns to it, and supplements what he has already said.--G.A.]
 ["The aim of this predicate is to present in strong colors the hostile and destructive character of the Satanic assaults; but more special explanations of its import are inappropriate."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 [Faith is not the helmet. Chrysostom's exegesis of the parts of the armor is not clear. Salvation is the helmet; for tou soteriou is a genitive of apposition. Receive the helmet, which is salvation. "This salvation," says Ellicott, "is not any ideal possession, as Meyer holds. Salvation in Christ forms the subject of faith; in faith it is apprehended, and becomes in a certain sense a present possession."--G.A.]
 to hegemonikon.
 pannuchidas. St. Chrysostom often speaks of vigils, which were Church Services extending past midnight into the morning; vid. Hom. in Esai. i. 1, iv. 1, etc.; vid. Bingham, Antiqu. xiii. 9, ? 4.
 ["en here expresses the manner, and the expression means those who love our Lord in imperishableness,' i. e. so that their love does not pass away.' Comp. Titus 3:15."--Meyer.--G.A.]
 [Titus 2:7, where aphthoria is used, which, according to Meyer, does mean uncorruptedness, while aphtharsia in our passage means imperishableness.--G.A.]
 [phthora kataphtharese anupomoneto for Hebrew lbt lvn, Rev. Ver., "Thou wilt surely wear away."--G.A.]
 [Comp. Romans 5:12: "As through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed unto all men."--G.A.]
 [Field's text has entha gar aphtharsia, phthora estin, which seems a contradiction, whereas Savile's text, with four mss., has ouk estin.--G.A.]
 [Job 7:5, Sept.: phuretai de mou to soma en sapria skolekon, teko de bolakas ges apo ichoros xuon: "My flesh is mingled with the filth of worms, and I pine away, scraping clods (or crusts) of earth from my sore" (discharge, matter, pus). The Rev. Ver. has: "My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust." So nearly Z?ckler in Lange: "My flesh is clothed with worms and crusts of earth."--G.A.]
 [Such passages as this in the Fathers are used by Romanists and Tractarians for establishing their views, and it is no wonder the Tractarians were zealous in giving the Fathers to the English in English. But, as Jacob says (Eccl. Polity of N.T., pp. 28 and 29), "Our appeal is from the Nicene Fathers to the Apostles of Christ; from patristic literature to the New Testament; for it is not being near to the truth that makes men good and wise," but having the truth itself.--G.A.]
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.