Homilies of Chrysostom
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory,  [for] I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
What is this? Doth he who has spoken such great things say, [It is not expedient] "doubtless to glory?" as if he had said nothing? No; not as if he had said nothing: but because he is going to pass to another species of boasting, which is not intended indeed by so great a reward, but which to the many (though not to careful examiners) seems to set him off in brighter colors  , he says, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory." For truly the great grounds of boasting were those which he had recounted, those of his trials; he has however other things also to tell of, such as concern the revelations, the unspeakable mysteries. And wherefore, says he, "It is not expedient for me?" he means, lest it lift me up to pride.' What sayest thou? For if thou speak not of them, yet dost thou not know of them? But our knowing of them ourselves doth not lift us up so much as our publishing them to others. For it is not the nature of good deeds that useth to lift a man up, but their being witnessed to, and known of, by the many. For this cause therefore he saith, "It is not expedient for me;" and, that I may not implant too great an idea of me in those who hear.' For those men indeed, the false apostles, said even what was not true about themselves; but this man hides even what is true, and that too although so great necessity lies upon him, and says, "It is not expedient for me;" teaching one and all even to superfluity  to avoid any thing of the sort. For this thing  is attended with no advantage, but even with harm, except there be some necessary and useful reason which induceth us thereto. Having then spoken of his perils, trials, snares, dejections, shipwrecks, he passeth to another species of boasting, saying,
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
Ver. 2, 3. "I knew a man, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth;) such an one caught up even to the third heaven. And I know how that he was caught up into Paradise, (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not;) and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful  for a man to utter. On behalf of such an one will I:glory: but on mine own behalf I will not glory."
Great indeed was this revelation. But this was not the only one: there were many others besides, but he mentions one out of many. For that there were many, hear what he says: "Lest I should be exalted overmuch through the exceeding greatness of the revelations." And yet,' a man may say, if he wished to conceal them, he ought not to have given any intimation  whatever or said any thing of the sort; but if he wished to speak of them, to speak plainly.' Wherefore then is it that he neither spoke plainly nor kept silence? To show by this  also that he resorts to the thing unwillingly. And therefore also he has stated the time, "fourteen years." For he does not mention it without an object, but to show that he who had refrained for so long a time would not now have spoken out, except the necessity for doing so had been great. But he would have still kept silence, had he not seen the brethren perishing. Now if Paul from the very beginning was such an one as to be counted worthy of such a revelation, when as yet he had not wrought such good works; consider what he must have grown to in fourteen years. And observe how even in this very matter he shows modesty, by his saying some things, but confessing that of others he is ignorant. For that he was caught up indeed, he declared, but whether "in the body" or "out of the body" he says he does not know. And yet it would have been quite enough, if he had told of his being caught up and had been silent [about the other]; but as it is, in his modesty he adds this also. What then? Was it the mind that was caught up and the soul, whilst the body remained dead? or was the body caught up? It is impossible to tell. For if Paul who was caught up and whom things unspeakable, so many and so great, had befallen was in ignorance, much more we. For, indeed, that he was in Paradise he knew, and that he was in the third heaven he was not ignorant, but the manner he knew not clearly. And see from yet another consideration how free he is from pride. For in his narrative about "the city of the Damascenes" (2 Corinthians 11:32.) he confirms what he says, but here not; for it was not his aim to establish this fact strongly, but to mention and intimate it only. Wherefore also he goes on to say, "Of such an one will I glory;" not meaning that he who was caught up was some other person, but he so frames his language in the best manner he possibly could, so as at once to mention the fact, and to avoid speaking of himself openly. For what sequence would there be in bringing some one else forward, when discoursing about himself? Wherefore then did he so put it? It was not all one to say, I was caught up,' and, "I knew one that was caught up;" and I will glory of myself,' and, "I will glory of such an one." Now if any should say, And how is it possible to be caught up without a body?' I will ask him, How is it possible to be caught up with a body?' for this is even more inexplicable than the other, if you examine by reasonings and do not give place to faith.
[2.] But wherefore was he also caught up? As I think, that he might not seem to be inferior to the rest of the Apostles. For since they had companied with Christ, but Paul had not: He therefore caught up unto glory him also. "Into Paradise." For great was the name of this place, and it was everywhere celebrated. Wherefore also Christ said, "To-day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43.)
"On behalf of such an one will I glory?" wherefore? For if another were caught up, wherefore dost thou glory? Whence it is evident that he said these things of himself. And if he added, "but of myself I will not glory," he says nothing else than this, that, when there is no necessity, I will say nothing of that kind fruitlessly and at random;' or else he is again throwing obscurity over  what he had said, as best he might. For that the whole discourse was about himself, what follows also clearly shows; for he went on to say,
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
Ver. 6. "But if I should even desire to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I shall speak the truth."
How then saidst thou before, "Would that ye could bear with me a little in my foolishness;" (Chap. xi. 1.) and, "That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly;" (Chap. xi. 17.) but here, "Though I should even desire to glory, I shall not be foolish?" Not in regard of glorying, but of lying; for if glorying be foolishness, how much more lying?
It is then with regard to this that he says, "I shall not be foolish." Wherefore also he added,
"For I shall speak the truth; but I forbear, lest any man should account of me above that which he seeth  , or that he heareth from me." Here you have the acknowledged reason; for they even deemed them to be gods, on account of the greatness of their miracles. As then in the case of the elements, God hath done both things, creating them at once weak and glorious; the one, to proclaim His own power; the other, to prevent the error of mankind  : so truly here also were they both wonderful and weak, so that by the facts themselves were the unbelievers instructed. For if whilst continuing to be wonderful only and giving no proof of weakness, they had by words tried to draw away the many from conceiving of them more than the truth; not only would they have nothing succeeded, but they would even have brought about the contrary. For those dissuasions in words would have seemed rather to spring of lowliness of mind, and would have caused them to be the more admired. Therefore in act and by deeds was their weakness disclosed. And one may see this exemplified in the men who lived under the old dispensation. For Elias was wonderful, but on one occasion he stood convicted of faint-heartedness; and Moses was great, but he also fled  under the influence of the same passion. Now such things befel them, because God stood aloof and permitted their human nature to stand confessed. For if because he led them out they said, Where is Moses?' what would they not have said, if he had also led them in? Wherefore also [Paul] himself says, "I forbear, lest any should account of me." He said not, say of me,' but, "lest any should even account of me" beyond my desert.' Whence it is evident from this also that the whole discourse relates to himself. Wherefore even when he began, he said, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory," which he would not have said, had he been going to speak the things which he said of another man. For wherefore is it "not expedient to glory" about another? But it was himself that was counted worthy of these things; and therefore it is that he goes on to say,
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Ver. 7. "And that I should not be exalted overmuch, through the exceeding greatness of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me."
What sayest thou? He that counted not the kingdom to be any thing; no, nor yet hell in respect of his longing after Christ; did he deem honor from the many to be any thing, so as both to be lifted up and to need that curb continually? for he did not say, that he "might" buffet  me,' but "that he" may "buffet  me." Yet who is there would say this? What then is the meaning of what is said? When we have explained what is meant at all by the "thorn," and who is this "messenger of Satan," then will we declare this also. There are some then who have said that he means a kind of pain in the head which was inflicted of the devil; but God forbid! For the body of Paul never could have been given over to the hands of the devil, seeing that the devil himself submitted to the same Paul at his mere bidding; and he set him laws and bounds, when he delivered over the fornicator for the destruction of the flesh, and he dared not to transgress them. What then is the meaning of what is said? An adversary is called, in the Hebrew, Satan; and in the third Book of Kings the Scripture has so termed such as were adversaries; and speaking of Solomon, says, In his days there was no Satan,' that is, no adversary, enemy, or opponent. (1 Kings 5:4.) What he says then is this: God would not permit the Preaching to progress, in order to check our high thoughts; but permitted the adversaries to set upon us. For this indeed was enough to pluck down his high thoughts; not so that, pains in the head. And so by the "messenger of Satan," he means Alexander the coppersmith, the party of Hymen?us and Philetus, all the adversaries of the word; those who contended with and fought against him, those that cast him into a prison, those that beat him, that led him away to death  ; for they did Satan's business. As then he calls those Jews children of the devil, who were imitating his deeds, so also he calls a "messenger of Satan" every one that opposeth. He says therefore, "There was given to me a thorn to buffet me;" not as if God putteth arms into such men's hands, God forbid! not that He doth chastise or punish, but for the time alloweth and permitteth them. 
[3.] Ver. 8. "Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice."
That is, oftentimes. This also is a mark of great lowliness of mind, his not concealing that he could not bear those insidious plottings, that he fainted under them and was reduced to pray for deliverance.
Ver. 9. "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my power is made perfect in weakness."
That is to say, It is sufficient for thee that thou raisest the dead, that thou curest the blind, that thou cleansest lepers, that thou workest those other miracles; seek not also exemption from danger and fear and to preach without annoyances. But art thou pained and dejected lest it should seem to be owing to My weakness, that there are many who plot against and beat thee and harass and scourge thee? Why this very thing doth show My power. "For My power," He saith, "is made perfect in weakness," when being persecuted ye overcome your persecutors; when being harassed ye get the better of them that harass you; when being put in bonds ye convert them that put you in bonds. Seek not then more than is needed.' Seest thou how he himself assigns one reason, and God another? For he himself says, "Lest I should be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn;" but he says that God said He permitted it in order to show His power. Thou seekest therefore a thing which is not only not needed, but which also obscureth the glory of My power.' For by the words, "is sufficient for thee," He would signify this, that nothing else need be added, but the whole was complete. So that from this also it is plain that he does not intend pains in the head; for in truth they did not preach when they were sick, for they could not preach when ill; but that harassed and persecuted, they overcame all. After having heard this then,' he says,
"Most gladly therefore will I glory in my weaknesses." For that they may not sink down, when those false Apostles are glorying over their contrary lot  and these are suffering persecution, he shows that he shineth all the brighter for this, and that thus the power of God shines forth the rather, and what happens is just matter for glorying. Wherefore he says, "Most gladly therefore will I glory." Not as therefore sorrowing did I speak of the things which I enumerated, or of that which I have just now said, "there was given to me a thorn;" but as priding myself upon them and drawing to myself greater power.' Wherefore also he adds,
"That the strength of Christ may rest upon me." Here he hints at another thing also, namely, that in proportion as the trials waxed in intensity, in the same proportion the grace was increased and continued.
Ver. 10. "Wherefore I take pleasure in many weaknesses."  Of what sort? tell me. "In injuries, in persecutions, in necessities, in distresses."
Seest thou how he has now revealed it in the clearest manner? For in mentioning the species of the infirmity he spake not of fevers, nor any return  of that sort, nor any other bodily ailment, but of "injuries, persecutions, distresses." Seest thou a single-minded soul? He longs to be delivered from those dangers; but when he heard God's answer that this befitteth not, he was not only not sorry that he was disappointed of his prayer, but was even glad. Wherefore he said, "I take pleasure," I rejoice, I long, to be injured, persecuted, distressed for Christ's sake.' And he said these things both to check those, and to raise the spirits of these that they might not be ashamed at Paul's sufferings. For that ground  was enough to make them shine brighter than all men. Then he mentions another reason also.
"For when I am weak, then am I strong." Why marvellest thou that the power of God is then conspicuous? I too am strong "then;"' for then most of all did grace come upon him. "For as His sufferings abound, so doth our consolation abound also." (Chap. i. 5.)
[4.] Where affliction is, there is also consolation; where consolation, there is grace also. For instance when he was thrown into the prison, then it was he wrought those marvellous things; when he was shipwrecked and cast away upon that barbarous country, then more than ever was he glorified. When he went bound into the judgment-hall, then he overcame even the judge. And so it was too in the Old Testament; by  their trials the righteous flourished. So it was with the three children, so with Daniel, with Moses, and Joseph; thence did they all shine and were counted worthy of great crowns. For then the soul also is purified, when it is afflicted for God's sake: it then enjoys greater assistance as needing more help and worthy of more grace. And truly, before the reward which is proposed to it by God, it reaps a rich harvest of good things by becoming philosophic. For affliction rends pride away and prunes out all listlessness and exerciseth  unto patience: it revealeth the meanness of human things and leads unto much philosophy. For all the passions give way before it, envy, emulation, lust, rule,  desire of riches, of beauty  , boastfulness, pride, anger; and the whole remaining swarm of these distempers. And if thou desirest to see this in actual working, I shall be able to show thee both a single individual and a whole people, as well under affliction as at ease; and so to teach thee how great advantage cometh of the one, and how great listlessness from the other.
For the people of the Hebrews, when they were vexed and persecuted, groaned and besought God, and drew down upon themselves great influences  from above: but when they waxed fat, they kicked. The Ninevities again, when they were in the enjoyment of security, so exasperated God that He threatened to pluck up the entire city from its foundations: but after they had been humbled by that preaching, they displayed all virtue  . But if thou wouldest see also a single individual, consider Solomon. For he, when deliberating with anxiety and trouble concerning the government of that nation, was vouchsafed that vision: but when he was in the enjoyment of luxury, he slid into the very pit of iniquity. And what did his father? When was he admirable and passing belief? Was it not when he was in trials? And Absalom, was he not sober-minded, whilst still an exile; but after his return, became both tyrannical and a parricide? And what did Job? He indeed shone even in prosperity, but showed yet brighter after his affliction. And why must one speak of the old and ancient things? for if one do but examine our own state at present, he will see how great is the advantage of affliction. For now indeed that we are in the enjoyment of peace, we are become supine, and lax  and have filled the Church with countless evils; but when we were persecuted, we were more sober-minded, and kinder, and more earnest, and more ready as to these assemblies and as to hearing. For what fire is to gold, that is affliction unto souls; wiping away filth, rendering men clean, making them bright and shining. It leadeth unto the kingdom, that unto hell. And therefore the one way is broad, the other narrow. Wherefore also, He Himself said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," (John 16:33.) as though he were leaving some great good behind unto us. If then thou art a disciple, travel thou the straight and narrow way, and be not disgusted nor discouraged.  For even if thou be not afflicted in that way; thou must inevitably be afflicted on other grounds, of no advantage to thee. For the envious man also, and the lover of money, and he that burneth for an harlot, and the vainglorious, and each one of the rest that follow whatsoever is evil, endureth many disheartenings and afflictions, and is not less afflicted than they who mourn. And if he doth not weep nor mourn, it is for shame and insensibility: since if thou shouldest look into his soul, thou wilt see it filled with countless waves. Since then whether we follow this way of life or that, we must needs be afflicted: wherefore choose we not this way which along with affliction bringeth crowns innumerable? For thus hath God led all the saints through affliction and distress, at once doing them service, and securing the rest of men against entertaining a higher opinion of them than they deserve. For thus it was that idolatries gained ground at first; men being held in admiration beyond their desert. Thus the Roman senate decreed Alexander  to be the thirteenth God, for it possessed the privilege of electing and enrolling Gods. For instance, when all about Christ had been reported, the ruler of the nation  sent to inquire, whether they would be pleased to elect Him also a God. They however refused their consent, being angry and indignant that previous to their vote and decree, the Power of the Crucified flashing abroad had won over the whole world to its own worship. But thus it was ordered even against their will that the Divinity of Christ was not proclaimed by man's decree, nor was He counted one of the many that were by them elected. For they counted even boxers to be Gods, and the favorite of Hadrian; after whom the city Antinous is named. For since death testifies against their moral nature, the devil invented another way, that of the soul's immortality; and mingling therewith that excessive flattery, he seduced many into impiety. And observe what wicked artifice. When we advance that doctrine for a good purpose, he overthrows our words; but when he himself is desirous of framing an argument for mischief, he is very zealous in setting it up. And if any one ask, How is Alexander a God? Is he not dead? and miserably too?' Yes, but the soul is immortal?' he replies. Now thou arguest and philosophizest for immortality, to detach men from the God Who is over all: but when we declare that this is God's greatest gift, thou persuadest thy dupes that men are low and grovelling, and in no better case than the brutes. And if we say, the Crucified lives,' laughter follows immediately: although the whole world proclaims it, both in old time and now; in old time by miracles, now by converts; for truly these successes are not those of a dead man: but if one say, Alexander lives,' thou believest, although thou hast no miracle to allege.
[5.] Yes,' one replies; I have; for when he lived he wrought many and great achievements; for he subdued both nations and cities, and in many wars and battles he conquered, and erected trophies.'
If then I shall show [somewhat] which he when alive never dreamed of, neither he, nor any other man that ever lived, what other proof of the resurrection wilt thou require? For that whilst alive one should win battles and victories, being a king and having armies at his disposal, is nothing marvelous, no, nor startling or novel; but that after a Cross and Tomb one should perform such great things throughout every land and sea, this it is which is most especially replete with such amazement, and proclaims His divine and unutterable Power. And Alexander indeed after his decease never restored again his kingdom which had been rent in pieces and quite abolished: indeed how was it likely he, dead, should do so? but Christ then most of all set up His after He was dead. And why speak I of Christ? seeing that He granted to His disciples also, after their deaths, to shine? For, tell me, where is the tomb of Alexander? show it me and tell me the day on which he died. But of the servants of Christ the very tombs are glorious, seeing they have taken possession of the most loyal city; and their days are well known, making festivals for the world. And his tomb even his own people know not, but this man's  the very barbarians know. And the tombs of the servants of the Crucified are more splendid than the palaces of kings; not for the size and beauty of the buildings, (yet even in this they surpass them,) but, what is far more, in the zeal of those who frequent them. For he that wears the purple himself goes to embrace those tombs, and, laying aside his pride, stands begging the saints  to be his advocates with God, and he that hath the diadem implores the tent-maker and the fisherman, though dead, to be his patrons. Wilt thou dare then, tell me, to call the Lord of these dead; whose servants even after their decease are the patrons of the kings of the world? And this one may see take place not in Rome only, but in Constantinople also. For there also Constantine the Great, his son considered he should be honoring with great honor, if he buried him in the porch of the fisherman; and what porters are to kings in their palaces, that kings are at the tomb to fisherman. And these indeed as lords of the place occupy the inside, whilst the others as though but sojourners and neighbors were glad to have the gate of the porch assigned them; showing by what is done in this world, even to the unbelievers, that in the Resurrection the fisherman will be yet more their superiors. For if here it is so in the burial [of each], much more will it in the resurrection. And their rank is interchanged; kings assume that of servants and ministers, and subjects the dignity of kings, yea rather a brighter still. And that this is no piece of flattery, the truth itself demonstrates; for by those these have become more illustrious. For far greater reverence is paid to these tombs than to the other royal sepulchres; for there indeed is profound solitude, whilst here there is an immense concourse. But if thou wilt compare these tombs with the royal palaces, here again the palm remains with them. For there indeed there are many who keep off, but here many who invite and draw to them rich, poor, men, women, bond, free; there, is much fear; here, pleasure unutterable. But,' saith one, it is a sweet sight to look on a king covered with gold and crowned, and standing by his side, generals, commanders, captains of horse and foot, lieutenants.' Well, but this of ours is so much grander and more awful that that must be judged, compared with it, to be stage scenery  and child's play. For the instant thou hast stepped across the threshhold, at once the place sends up thy thoughts to heaven, to the King above, to the army of the Angels, to the lofty throne, to the unapproachable glory. And here indeed He hath put in the ruler's power, of his subjects to loose one, and bind another; but the bones of the saints possess no such pitiful and mean authority, but that which is far greater. For they summon demons and put them to the torture, and loose from those bitterest of all bonds, them that are bound. What is more fearful than this tribunal? Though no one is seen, though no one piles the sides of the demon, yet are there cries, and tearings  , lashes, tortures, burning tongues, because the demon cannot endure that marvellous power. And they that once wore bodies, are victorious over bodiless powers; [their] dust and bones and ashes rack those invisible natures. And therefore in truth it is that none would ever travel abroad to see the palaces of kings, but many kings and have often traveled to see this spectacle. For the Martyries  of the saints exhibit outlines and symbols of the judgment to come; in that demons are scourged, men chastened and delivered. Seest thou the power of saints, even dead? seest thou the weakness of sinners, even living? Flee then wickedness, that thou mayest have power over such; and pursue virtue with all thy might. For if the case be thus here, consider what it will be in the world to come. And as being evermore possessed with this love, lay hold on the life eternal; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
 [A better text of this verse is given in the Revised Version--"I must needs glory, though it is not expedient." C.]
 ek polles periousias.
 i. e. boasting.
 Or, possible.'
 Or, in this instance.'
 Rec. text, seeth me.'
 i. e., in worshiping them.
 [Chrysostom's view of this peculiar trial of the Apostle, although held by most of the Greek fathers and by some eminent scholars of later ages (Erasmus, Calvin, Fritzsche, Reiche, etc.) does not seem satisfactory. There was nothing peculiar to Paul in the trials and temptations incident to the Apostolic office, for they were shared by all his companions, nor do they seem to be properly expressed by "a stake in the flesh," or as some prefer to render "for the flesh," which naturally suggests that the affliction was a bodily ailment, something that caused pain and made the discharge of his duties burdensome. Bp. Lightfoot (Com. on Galatians, pp. 186, 187) suggests that the circumstances imply that the malady was acute and severe; that it was in some way humiliating as intended to check spiritual pride; that as a grievous hindrance to the Gospel it was a trial to his constancy and resolution; that it was of such a nature that it could not be concealed from others; and that it was continuous or recurrent. All attempts to define it more closely--Chrysostom on this page mentions one, "pains in the head"--fail as being purely conjectural. But the fullest knowledge on the subject however it might gratify curiosity could add nothing to the instructiveness of the case as it stands. That the most honored of all philanthropists, the chiefest of the twelve, the most distinguished of Christ's followers should require to be buffeted with such a chronic bodily ailment; that the most earnest prayers could not succeed in securing its removal; and yet that grace was bestowed on him to bear it, and bestowed in such measure that he could even rejoice in what was painful and glory in infirmities, is a lesson of Christian experience that has been full of comfort and edification in all ages of the church. To this we owe the noble Christian paradox which to myriads of burdened souls has been a well-spring of comfort and peace, When I am weak, then am I strong. C.]
 epi tois enantiois.
 Rec. text in weaknesses.'
 he hupothesis.
 Or, amidst.
 That Alexander the Great had at any rate a temple dedicated to him, is mentioned by Lampridius.
 See Tertull. Apol. Oxf. Trans. p. 13. and note. Justin Martyr mentions Pilate's Report. Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:2. gives the same account as from Tertullian, which Chrysostom here gives.
 St. Paul's as Mr. Field supposes.
 This passage should have been mentioned in the note at the end of Hom. vi. on the Statues. Tr. p. 134. See also on Statues, Hom. i. Tr. p. 4. and on Romans 16:5. Hom. xxxi. Tr. p. 486. Compare also St. Augustine, On Care for the Dead,' where he discusses the question, whether burial at a Martyr's Memorial is preferable.
 marturia. See Bingham's Antiquit. book viii. ch. 1. p. 8. [The name given to a church erected over the grave of a Martyr.]
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
I am become foolish in glorying; ye compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you.
Having fully completed what he had to say about his own praises, he did not stay at this; but again excuses himself and asks pardon for what he said, declaring that his doing so was of necessity and not of choice. Still nevertheless, although there was necessity, he calls himself "a fool." And when he began indeed, he said, "As foolish receive me," and "as in foolishness;" but now, leaving out the as,' he calls himself "foolish." For after he had established the point he wished by saying what he did, he afterwards boldly and unsparingly grapples with all failing of the sort, teaching all persons that none should ever praise himself where there is no necessity, seeing that even where a reason for it existed, Paul termed himself a fool [for so doing]. Then he turns the blame also of his so speaking not upon the false Apostles, but wholly upon the disciples. For "ye," he saith, "compelled me." For if they gloried, but were not by doing so leading you astray nor causing your destruction, I should not have been thus led on to descend unto this discussion: but because they were corrupting the whole Church, with a view to your advantage I was compelled to become foolish.' And he did not say, For I feared lest if they obtained the highest estimation with you, they should sow their doctrines,' yet this indeed he set down above when he said, "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve, so your minds should be corrupted." (Chap. xi. 3.) Here however he does not so express himself, but in a more commanding manner and with more authority, having gained boldness from what he had said, "For I ought to have been commended of you." Then he also assigns the reason; and again he mentions not his revelations nor his miracles only, but his temptations also.
"For in nothing was I behind the chiefest Apostles." See how he here too again speaks out with greater authoritativeness. For, before indeed he said, "I reckon I am not a whit behind," but here, after those proofs, he now boldly speaks out asserting the fact, as I said, thus absolutely. Not that even thus he departs from the mean, nor from his proper character. For as though he had uttered something great and exceeding his deserts, in that he numbered himself with the Apostles, he thus again speaks modestly, and adds,
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
Ver. 12. "Although I be nothing, the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you."
Look not thou at this,' he says, whether I be mean and little, but whether thou hast not enjoyed those things which from an Apostle it was meet thou shouldest enjoy.' Yet he did not say mean,' but what was lower, "nothing." For where is the good of being great, and of use to nobody? even as there is no advantage in a skilful physician if he heals none of those that be sick. Do not then,' he says, scrutinize this that I am nothing, but consider that, that wherein ye ought to have been benefitted, I have failed in nothing, but have given proof of mine Apostleship. There ought then to have been no need for me to say aught.' Now he thus spoke, not as wanting to be commended, (for how should he, he who counted heaven itself to be a small thing in comparison with his longing after Christ?) but as desiring their salvation. Then lest they should say, And what is it to us, even though thou wast not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles?' he therefore added,
"The signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, and by signs and wonders." Amazing! what a sea of good works hath he traversed in a few words! And observe what it is he puts first, "patience." For this is the note of an Apostle, bearing all things nobly. This then he expressed shortly by a single word; but upon the miracles, which were not of his own achieving, he employs more. For consider how many prisons, how many stripes, how many dangers, how many conspiracies, how many sleet-showers of temptations, how many civil, how many foreign wars, how many pains, how many attacks he has implied here in that word, "patience!" And by "signs" again, how many dead raised, how many blind healed, how many lepers cleansed, how many devils cast out! Hearing these things, let us learn if we happen upon a necessity for such recitals to cut our good deeds short, as he too did.
[2.] Then lest any should say, Well! if thou be both great, and have wrought many things, still thou hast not wrought such great things, as the Apostles have in the other Churches, he added,
For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
Ver. 13. "For what is there wherein ye were made inferior to the rest of the Churches?"
Ye were partakers,' he says, of no less grace than the others.' But perhaps some one will say, What can be the reason that he turns the discourse upon the Apostles, abandoning the contest against the false Apostles?' Because he is desirous to erect their spirits yet further, and to show that he is not only superior to them, but not even inferior to the great Apostles. Therefore, surely, when he is speaking of those he says, "I am more;" but when he compares himself with the Apostles, he considers it a great thing  not to be "behind," although he labored more than they. And thence he shows that they insult the Apostles, in holding him who is their equal second to these men.
"Except it be that I myself was not a burden to you?" Again he has pronounced their rebuke with great severity. And what follows is of yet more odious import.
"Forgive me this wrong." Still, nevertheless, this severity contains both words of love and a commendation of themselves; if, that is, they consider it a wrong done to them, that the Apostle did not consent to receive aught from them, nor relied on them enough to be supported by them. If,' says he, ye blame me for this:' he did not say, Ye blame me wrongly,' but with great sweetness, I ask your pardon, forgive me this fault.' And observe his prudence. For because the mooting this continually tended to bring disgrace upon them, he continually softens it down; saying above, for instance, "As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting shall not be stopped in me;" (Chap. xi. 10.) then again, "Because I love you not? God knoweth.....But that I may cut off occasion from them that desire occasion, and that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we." (Chap. xi. 11, 12.) And in the former Epistle "What is my reward then?" Verily, "that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel without charge." (1 Corinthians 9:18.) And here; "Forgive me this wrong." For every where he avoids showing that it is on account of their weakness he taketh not [from them]; and here not to wound them. And therefore here he thus expresses himself; If ye think this to be an offense, I ask forgiveness.' Now he spoke thus, at once to wound and to heal. For do not say this, I pray thee; If thou meanest to wound, why excuse it? but if thou excusest it, why wound?' For this is wisdom's part, at once to lance, and to bind up the sore. Then that he may not seem, as he also said before, to be continually harping upon this for the sake of receiving from them, he remedies this [suspicion], even in his former Epistle, saying, "But I write not these things that it may be so done in my case; for it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void;" (1 Corinthians 9:15.) but here with more sweetness and gentleness. How, and in what manner?
Ver. 14. "Behold this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children."
What he says is this; It is not because I do not receive of you that I do not come to you; nay, I have already come twice; and I am prepared to come this third time, "and I will not be a burden to you."' And the reason is a noble one. For he did not say, because ye are mean,' because ye are hurt at it,' because, ye are weak:' but what? "For I seek not yours, but you." I seek greater things; souls instead of goods; instead of gold, salvation.' Then because there still hung about the matter some suspicion, as if he were displeased at them; he therefore even states an argument. For since it was likely they would say, Can you not have both us and ours?' he adds with much grace this excuse for them, saying, "For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children;" instead of teachers and disciples, employing the term parents and children, and showing that he does as a matter of duty what was not of duty. For Christ did not so command, but he says this to spare them; and therefore he adds also something further. For he did not only say that "the children ought not to lay up," but also that the parents ought to. Therefore since it is meet to give,
Ver. 15. "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls."
For the law of nature indeed has commanded the parents to lay up for the children; but I do not do this only, but I give myself also besides.' And this lavishness of his, the not only not receiving, but giving also besides, is not in common sort but accompanied with great liberality, and out of his own want; for the words, "I will be spent," are of one who would imply this. For should it be necessary to spend my very flesh, I will not spare it for your salvation.' And that which follows contains at once accusation and love, "though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." And I do this,' he says, for the sake of those who are beloved by me, yet love me not equally.' Observe then, now, how many steps there are in this matter  . He had a right to receive, but he did not receive; here is good work the first: and this, though in want; [good work] the second; and though preaching to them, the third; he gives besides, the fourth; and not merely gives, but lavishly  too, the fifth; not money only, but himself, the sixth; for those who loved him not greatly, the seventh; and for those whom he greatly loved, the eighth.
[3.] Let us then also emulate this man! For it is a serious charge, the not loving even; but becomes more serious, when although one is loved he loveth not. For if he that loveth one that loveth him be no better than the publicans; (Matthew 5:46.) he that doth not so much as this ranks with the beasts; yea rather, is even below them. What sayest thou, O man? Lovest thou not him that loveth thee? What then dost thou live for? Wherein wilt thou be of use hereafter  ? in what sort of matters? in public? in private? By no means; for nothing is more useless than a man that knows not to love. This law even robbers have oftentimes respected, and murderers, and housebreakers; and having only taken salt with one, have been made his friends  , letting the board change their disposition, and thou that sharest not salt only, but words and deeds, and comings in and goings out, with him, dost thou not love? Nay: those that live impurely lavish even whole estates on their strumpets; and thou who hast a worthy love, art thou so cold, and weak, and unmanly, as not to be willing to love, even when it costs thee nothing? And who,' one asks, would be so vile, who such a wild beast, as to turn away from and to hate him that loves him?' Thou dost well indeed to disbelieve it, because of the unnaturalness of the thing; but if I shall show that there are many such persons, how shall we then bear the shame? For when thou speakest ill of him whom thou lovest, when thou hearest another speak ill of him and thou defendest him not, when thou grudgest that he should be well accounted of, what sort of affection is this? And yet it is not sufficient proof of love, not grudging, nor yet again not being at enmity or war with, but only supporting  and advancing him that loves thee: but when a man does and says everything to pull down his neighbor even, what can be more wretched than such a spirit? Yesterday and the day before his friend, thou didst both converse and eat with him: then because all at once thou sawest thine own member highly thought of, casting off the mask of friendship, thou didst put on that of enmity, or rather of madness. For glaring madness it is, to be annoyed at the goodness of neighbors; for this is the act of mad and rabid dogs. For like them, these also fly at all men's faces, exasperated with envy. Better to have a serpent twining about one's entrails than envy crawling in us. For that it is often possible to vomit up by means of medicines, or by food to quiet: but envy twineth not in entrails but harboreth in the bosom of the soul, and is a passion hard to be effaced. And indeed if such a serpent were within one, it would not touch men's bodies so long as it had a supply of food; but envy, even though thou spread for it ever so endless a banquet, devoureth the soul itself, gnawing on every side, tearing, tugging, and it is not possible to find any palliative whereby to make it quit its madness, save one only, the adversity of the prosperous; so is it appeased, nay rather, not so even. For even should this man suffer adversity, yet still he sees some other prosperous, and is possessed by the same pangs, and everywhere are wounds, everywhere blows. For it is not possible to live in the world and not see persons well reputed of. And such is the extravagance of this distemper, that even if one should shut its victim up at home, he envies the men of old who are dead.
Now, that men of the world should feel in this way, is indeed a grievous thing, yet it is not so very dreadful; but that those who are freed from the turmoils of busy life should be possessed by this distemper,--this is most grievous of all. And I could have wished indeed to be silent: and if silence took away too the disgrace of those doings, it were a gain to say nothing: if however, though I should hold my peace the doings will cry out more loudly than my tongue, no harm will accrue from my words, because of their parading  these evils before us, but possibly some gain and advantage. For this distemper has infected even the Church, it has turned everything topsy-turvy, and dissevered the connection of the body, and we stand opposed to each other, and envy supplies us arms. Therefore great is the disruption. For if when all build up, it is a great thing if our disciples stand; when all at once are pulling down, what will the end be?
[4.] What doest thou, O man? Thou thinkest to pull down thy neighbor's; but before his thou pullest down thine own. Seest thou not them that are gardeners, that are husbandmen, how they all concur in one object? One hath dug the soil, another planted, a third carefully covered the roots, another watereth what is planted, another hedges it round and fortifies it, another drives off the cattle; and all look to one end, the safety of the plant. Here, however, it is not so: but I plant indeed myself, and another shakes and disturbs [the plant.] At least, allow it to get nicely fixed, that it may be strong enough to resist the assault. Thou destroyest not my work, but abandonest thine own. I planted, thou oughtest to have watered. If then thou shake it, thou hast torn it up by the roots, and hast not wherein to display thy watering. But thou seest the planter highly esteemed. Fear not: neither am I anything, nor thou. "For neither is he that planteth nor he that watereth any thing;" (1 Corinthians 3:7.) one's is the work, God's. So it is with Him thou fightest and warrest, in plucking up what is planted.
Let us then at length come to our sober senses again, let us watch. For I fear not so much the battle without, as the fight within; for the root also, when it is well fitted into the ground, will suffer no damage from the winds; but if it be itself shaken, a worm gnawing through it from within, the tree will fall, even though none molest it. How long gnaw we the root of the Church like worms? For of earth such imaginings are begotten also, or rather not of earth, but of dung, having corruption for their mother; and they cease not from the detestable flattery that is from women  . Let us at length be generous men, let us be champions of philosophy, let us drive back the violent career of these evils. For I behold the mass of the Church prostrate now, as though it were a corpse. And as in a body newly dead, one may see eyes and hands and feet and neck and head, and yet no one limb performing its proper office; so, truly, here also, all who are here are of the faithful, but their faith is not active; for we have quenched its warmth and made the body of Christ a corpse. Now if this sounds awful when said, it is much more awful when it appears in actions. For we have indeed the name of brothers, but do the deeds of foes; and whilst all are called members, we are divided against each other like wild beasts. I have said this not from a desire to parade our condition, but to shame you and make you desist. Such and such a man goes into a house; honor is paid to him; thou oughtest to give God thanks because thy member is honored and God is glorified; but thou doest the contrary: thou speakest evil of him to the man that honored him, so that thou trippest up the heels of both, and, besides, disgracest thyself. And wherefore, wretched and miserable one? Hast thou heard thy brother praised, either amongst men or women?  Add to his praises, for so thou shalt praise thyself also. But if thou overthrow the praise, first, thou hast spoken evil of thyself, having so acquired an ill character, and thou hast raised him the higher. When thou hearest one praised, become thou a partner in what is said; if not in thy life and virtue, yet still in rejoicing over his excellencies. Hath such an one praised? Do thou too admire: so shall he praise thee also as good and candid. Fear not, as though thou wast ruining thine own interest by thy praises of another: for this is [rather] the result of accusation of him. For mankind is of a contentious spirit; and when it sees thee speaking ill of any, it heaps on its praises, wishing to mortify by so doing; and reprobates those that are accusers, both in its own mind and to others. Seest thou what disgrace we are the causes of to ourselves? how we destroy and rend the flock? Let us at length be members (of one another), let us become one body. And let him that is praised repudiate the praises, and transfer the encomium to his brother; and let him that hears another praised, feel pleasure to himself. If we thus come together ourselves, we shall also draw unto ourselves the Head; but if we live parted  from each other, we shall also put from us the aid which comes from thence; and when that is put aside, the body will receive great damage, not being bound together  from above. That this then may not happen, let us, banishing ill will and envy, and despising what the many may think of us, embrace love and concord. For thus we shall obtain both the present good things and those to come; whereunto may we all attain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever, and world without end. Amen.
 Or, his conduct.
 meta epitaseos.
 Old Lat. we cease not;' in either case he means, preachers cease not to court such flattery.'
 Bened. inserts, and hast been grieved,' but the insertion is not countenanced by the mss.
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
But be it so, I myself did not burden you: but being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I take advantage of you by any one of them whom I have sent unto you? I exhorted Titus, and with him I sent the brother. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Walked we not by the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
Paul has spoken these words very obscurely, but not without a meaning or purpose. For seeing he was speaking about money, and his defence on that score, it is reasonable that what he says must be wrapt in obscureness. What then is the meaning of what he says? He had said, I received not, nay I am ready even to give besides, and to spend;' and much discourse is made on this subject both in the former Epistle and in this. Now he says something else, introducing the subject in the form of an objection and meeting it by anticipation.  What he says is something like this; I indeed have not made a gain of you: but perhaps some one has it to say that I did not receive [of you] indeed myself, but, being crafty, I procured those who were sent by me to ask for something of you as for themselves  , and through them I myself received, yet keeping myself clear of seeming to receive, by receiving through others. But none can have this to say either; and you are witnesses.' Wherefore also he proceeds by question, saying, "I exhorted Titus, and with him I sent the brother. Did Titus make a gain of you?" walked he not just as I walked.' That is to say, neither did he receive. Seest thou how intense a strictness [is here], in that he not only keeps himself clear of that receiving, but so modulates those also who are sent by him that he may not give so much as a slight pretence to those who were desirous of attacking him. For this is far greater than that which the Patriarch did. (Genesis 14:24.) For he indeed, when he had returned from his victory, and the king would have given him the spoil, refused to accept aught save what the men had eaten; but this man neither himself enjoyed [from them] his necessary food, nor allowed his partners to partake of such: thus abundantly stopping the mouths of the shameless. Wherefore he makes no assertion, nor does he say that they did not receive either; but what was far more than this, he cites the Corinthians themselves as witnesses that they had received nothing, that he may not seem to be witnessing in his own person, but by their verdict; which course we are accustomed to take in matters fully admitted and about which we are confident. For tell me,' he says, Did any one of those who were sent by us make unfair gain  of you?' He did not say, Did any one receive aught from you?' but he calls the things unfair gain;' attacking them and shaming them exceedingly, and showing that to receive of an unwilling [giver] is unfair gain.' And he said not did Titus?' but, "did any?" For ye cannot say this either,' he says, that such an one certainly did not receive, but another did. No single one of those who came did so.' "I exhorted Titus." This too is severely  said. For he did not say, I sent Titus,' but, I exhorted' him; showing that if he had received even, he would have done so justly; but, nevertheless, even so he remained pure. Wherefore he asks them again, saying, "Did Titus take any advantage of you? Walked we not by the same spirit?" What means, "by the same spirit?" He ascribes the whole to grace and shows that the whole of this praise is the good result not of our labors, but of the gift of the Spirit and of Grace. For it was a very great instance of grace that although both in want and hunger they would receive nothing for the edification of the disciples. "Walked we not in the same steps?" That is to say, they did not depart the least from this strictness, but preserved the same rule entire.
[2.] Ver. 19. "Again, think ye that we are excusing ourselves unto you?" 
Seest thou how he is continually in fear, lest he should incur the suspicion of flattery? Seest thou an Apostle's prudence, how constantly he mentions this? For he said before, "We commend not ourselves again, but give you occasion to glory;" (2 Corinthians 5:12.) and in the commencement of the Epistle, "Do we need letters of commendation?" (ib. iii. 1.)
"But all things are for your edifying." Again he is soothing them. And he does not here either say clearly, on this account we receive not, because of your weakness;' but, in order that we may edify you;' speaking out indeed more clearly than he did before, and revealing that wherewith he travailed; but yet without severity. For he did not say, because of your weakness;' but, that ye may be edified.'
Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
Ver. 20. "For I fear, lest by any means when I come, I should not find you such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not."
He is going to say something great and offensive. And therefore he also inserts this excuse [for it], both by saying, "All things are for your edifying," and by adding, "I fear," softening the harshness of what was presently going to be said. For it was not here out of arrogance nor the authority of a teacher, but out of a father's tender concern, when he is more fearful and trembling than the sinners themselves at that which is likely to reform them. And not even so does he run them down or make an absolute assertion; but says doubtingly, "lest by any means when I come, I should not find you such as I would." He did not say, not virtuous,' but "not such as I would," everywhere employing the terms of affection. And the words, "I should find," are of one who would express what is out of natural expectation, as are also those, "I shall be found by you." For the thing is not of deliberate choice, but of a necessity originating with you. Wherefore he says, "I should be found such as ye would not." He said not here, "such as I would not," but, with more severity, "such as ye wish not." For it would in that case become his own will, not indeed what he would first have willed, but his will nevertheless. For he might indeed have said again, such as I would not,' and so have showed his love: but he wishes not to relax  his hearer. Yea rather, his words would in that case have been even harsher; but now he has at once dealt them a smarter blow and showed himself more gentle. For this is the characteristic of his wisdom; cutting more deeply, to strike more gently. Then, because he had spoken obscurely, he unveils his meaning, saying,
"Lest there be strife, jealousy, wraths, backbitings, whisperings, swellings." 
And what he might well put first, that he puts last: for they were very proud  against him. Therefore, that he may not seem principally to be seeking his own, he first mentions what was common. For all these things were gendered of envy, their slanderings, accusations, dissensions. For just like some evil root, envy produced wrath, accusation, pride, and all those other evils, and by them was increased further,
And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
Ver. 21. And "lest when I come again, my God should humble me among you."
And the word "again," too, is as smiting them. For he means, What happened before is enough;' as he said also in the beginning [of the Epistle], "to spare you, I came not as yet to Corinth." (Chap. i. 18, 23.) Seest thou how he shows both indignation and tender affection? But what means, "will humble me?" And yet this is glorious rather, to accuse, to take vengeance, to call to account, to be seated in the place of judge; howbeit he calls it a humbling. So far was he from being ashamed of that [cause of] humbling, because, "his bodily presence was weak, and his speech of no account," that he wished to be even for ever in that case, and deprecated the contrary. And he says this more clearly as he proceeds; and he counts this to be especially humbling, to be involved in such a necessity as the present, of punishing and taking vengeance. And wherefore did he not say, lest when I come I shall be humbled,' but, "lest when I come my God will humble me." Because had it not been for His sake, I should have paid no attention nor been anxious. For it is not as possessing authority and for my own pleasure, that I demand satisfaction,  but because of His commandment.' Now above, indeed, he expressed himself thus, "I shall be found;" here, however, he relaxes and adopts milder and gentler language, saying,
"I shall mourn for many of them who have sinned." Not simply, "who have sinned," but,
"Who have not repented." And he said not, all,' but "many;" nor made it clear who these were either, thereby making the return unto repentance easy to them; and to make it plain that a repentance is able to right transgressions, he bewails those that repent not, those who are incurably diseased, those who continue in their wounds. Observe then Apostolic virtue, in that, conscious of no evil in himself, he laments over the evils of others and is humbled for other men's transgressions. For this is the especial mark of a teacher, so to sympathize with the calamities of his disciples, and to mourn over the wounds of those who are under him. Then he mentions also the specific sin.
"Of the lasciviousness and uncleanness which they committed." Now in these words he alludes indeed to fornication; but if one carefully examine the subject, every kind of sin can be called by this name. For although the fornicator and adulterer is preeminently styled unclean, yet still the other sins also produce uncleanness in the soul. And therefore it is that Christ also calls the Jews unclean, not charging them with fornication only, but with wickedness of other kinds as well. Wherefore also He says that they made the outside clean, and that "not the things which enter in defile the man, but those which come out from him;" (Matthew 15:11.) and it is said in another place, "Every one that is proud in heart is unclean before the Lord." (Proverbs 16:5. LXX.)
[3.] For nothing is purer than virtue, nothing uncleaner than vice; for the one is brighter than the sun, the other more stinking than mire. And to this they will themselves bear witness, who are wallowing in that mire and living in that darkness; at any rate, when one prepares them a little to see clearly. For as long as they are by themselves, and inebriate with the passion, just as if living in darkness they lie in unseemly wise to their much infamy, conscious even then where they are, although not fully; but after they have seen any of those who live in virtue reproving them or even showing himself, then they understand their own wretchedness more clearly; and as if a sunbeam had darted upon them, they cover up their own unseemliness and blush before those who know of their doings, yea, though the one be a slave and the other free, though the one be a king and the other a subject. Thus when Ahab saw Elijah, he was ashamed, even when he  had as yet said nothing; standing convicted by the mere sight of him; and when his accuser was silent, he pronounced a judgment condemnatory of himself; uttering the language of such as are caught, and saying, "Thou hast found me, O mine enemy!" (1 Kings 21:20.) Thus Elijah himself conversed with that tyrant then with great boldness. Thus Herod, unable to bear the shame of those reproofs, (which [shame] the sound of the prophet's tongue with mighty and transparent clearness exposed more evidently,) cast John into the prison: like one who was naked and attempting to put out the light, that he might be in the dark again; or rather he himself dared not put it out, but, as it were, placed it in the house under a bushel; and that wretched and miserable woman compelled it to be done. But not even so could they cover the reproof, nay, they lit it up the more. For both they that asked, Wherefore doth John dwell in prison? learnt the reason, and all they that since have dwelt on land or sea, who then lived, or now live, and who shall be hereafter, both have known and shall know clearly these wicked tragedies, both that of their lewdness and that of their bloodguiltiness, and no time shall be able to wipe out the remembrance of them.
So great a thing is virtue: so immortal is its memory, so completely even by words only doth it strike down its adversaries. For wherefore did he cast him into the prison? Wherefore did he not despise him? Was he going to drag him before the judgment-seat? Did he demand vengeance upon him for his adultery? Was not what he said then simply a reproof? Why then doth he fear and tremble? Was it not words and talk merely? But they stung him more than deeds. He led him not to any judgment-seat, but he dragged him before that other tribunal of conscience; and he sets as judges upon him all who freely gave their verdicts in their thought. Therefore the tyrant trembled, unable to endure the lustre of virtue. Seest thou how great a thing is philosophy? It made a prisoner more lustrous than a king, and the latter is afraid and trembles before him. He indeed only put him in bonds; but that polluted woman rushed on to his slaughter also, although the rebuke was leveled rather against him, [than herself.] For he did not then meet "her" and say, Why cohabitest thou with the king? not that she was guiltless, (how should she be so?) but he wished by that other means to put all to rights. Wherefore he blamed the king, and yet not him with violence of manner. For he did not say, O polluted and all-polluted and lawless and profane one, thou hast trodden under foot the law of God, thou hast despised the commandments, thou hast made thy might law. None of these things; but even in his rebukings great was the gentleness of the man, great his meekness. For, "It is not lawful for thee," he says, "to have thy brother Philip's wife." The words are those of one who teacheth rather than reproveth, instructeth rather than chasteneth, who composeth to order rather than exposeth, who amendeth rather than trampleth on him. But, as I said, the light is hateful to the thief, and the mere sight of the just man is odious to sinners; "for he is grievous unto us even to behold." (Wisdom of Solomon ii. 15.) For they cannot bear his radiance, even as diseased eyes cannot bear the sun's. But to many of the wicked he is grievous not to behold only, but even to hear of. And therefore that polluted and all-polluted woman, the procuress of her girl, yea rather her murderess, although she had never seen him nor heard his voice, rushed on to his slaughter; and prepareth her whom she brought up in lasciviousnss to proceed also to murder, so extravagantly did she fear him.
[4.] And what says she? "Give me here in a charger the head of John the Baptist." (Matthew 14:8.) Whither rushest thou over precipices, wretched and miserable one? What? is the accuser before thee? is he in sight and troubleth thee? Others said, "He is grievous unto us even to behold;" but to her, as I said, he was grievous to even hear of. Wherefore she saith, "Give me here in a charger the head of John." And yet because of thee he inhabits a prison, and is laden with chains, and thou art free to wanton over thy love and to say, So completely have I subdued the king, that though publicly reproached he yielded not, nor desisted from his passion, nor tore asunder his adulterous connection with me, but even put him that reproached him in bonds.' Why art thou mad and rabid, when even after that reproof of his sin thou retainest thy paramour? Why seekest thou a table of furies, and preparest a banquet of avenging demons? Seest thou how nothing-worth,  how cowardly, how unmanly, is vice; how when it shall most succeed, it then becomes more feeble? For this woman was not so much disturbed before she had cast John into prison, as she is troubled after he is bound, and she is urgent, saying, "Give me here in a charger the head of John." And wherefore so? I fear,' she says, lest there be any  hushing up of his murder, lest any should rescue him from his peril.' And wherefore requirest thou not the whole corpse, but the head? The tongue,' she says, that pained me, that I long to see silent.' But the contrary will happen, as indeed it also hath done, thou wretched and miserable one! it will cry louder afterwards, when it is cut out. For then indeed it cried in Jud?a only, but now it will reach to the ends of the world; and wheresoever thou enterest into a church, whether it be among the Moors, or among the Persians, or even unto the British isles themselves, thou hearest John crying, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother Phillip's wife." But she, unknowing to reason in any such way, urges and presses,  and thrusts on the senseless tyrant to the murder, fearing lest he change his mind. But from this too learn thou again the power of virtue. Not even when he was shut up and bound and silent, does she bear the righteous man. Seest thou how weak a thing vice is? how unclean? For in the place of meats it bringeth in a human head upon a charger. What is more polluted, what more accursed, what more immodest, than that damsel? what a voice she uttered in that theatre of the devil, in that banquet of demons! Seest thou this tongue and that; the one bringing healthful medicines, the other one with poison on it, and made the purveyor to a devilish banquet. But wherefore did she not command him to be murdered within there, at the feast, when her pleasure would have been greater? She feared lest if he should come thither and be seen, he should change them all by his look, by his boldness. Therefore surely it is that she demandeth his head, wishing to set up a bright trophy of fornication; and give it to her mother. Seest thou the wages of dancing, seest thou the spoils of that devilish plot? I mean not the head of John, but her paramour himself. For if one examine it carefully, against the king that trophy was set up, and the victress was vanquished, and the beheaded was crowned, and proclaimed victor, even after his death shaking more vehemently the hearts of the offenders. And that what I have said is no [mere] boast, ask of Herod himself; who, when he heard of the miracles of Christ, said, "This is John, he is risen from the dead: and therefore do these powers work in him." (Matthew 14:2.) So lively  was the fear, so abiding the agony he retained; and none had power to cast down the terror of his conscience, but that incorruptible Judge continued to take him by the throat, and day by day to demand of him satisfaction for the murder. Knowing, then, these things, let us not fear to suffer evil, but to do evil; for that indeed is victory, but this defeat.
Wherefore also Paul said, "Why not rather take wrong, why not rather be defrauded. Nay, ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." For by the suffering evil [come] those crowns, those prizes, that proclamation [of victory]. And this may be seen in all the saints. Since then they all were thus crowned, thus proclaimed, let us too travel this road, and let us pray indeed that we enter not into temptation; but if it should come, let us make stand with much manliness and display the proper readiness of mind, that we may obtain the good things to come, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
 eis oikeion prosopon.
 The words in the Rec. Text here omitted, We speak before God in Christ,' are found above, where this text is quoted. Hom. vi. p. 311. [They are undoubtedly genuine. C.]
 The Received Text has factions' after wraths,' and tumults' after swellings,' which Chrysostom omits.
 suskiasthe ho phonos.