Home‎ > ‎Gospel of Matthew Commentary‎ > ‎St. John Chrysostom on Matthew‎ > ‎Chapter 1‎ > ‎Chapter 2‎ > ‎Chapter 3‎ > ‎Chapter 4‎ > ‎Chapter 5‎ > ‎Chapter 6‎ > ‎Chapter 7‎ > ‎Chapter 8‎ > ‎

Chapter 9

> ‎Chapter 10‎ > ‎Chapter 11‎ > ‎Chapter 12‎ > ‎Chapter 13‎ > ‎Chapter 14‎ > ‎Chapter 15‎ > ‎Chapter 16‎ > ‎Chapter 17‎ > ‎Chapter 18‎ > ‎Chapter 19‎ > ‎Chapter 20‎ > ‎Chapter 21‎ > ‎Chapter 22‎ > ‎Chapter 23‎ > ‎Chapter 24‎ > ‎Chapter 25‎ > ‎Chapter 26‎ > ‎Chapter 27‎ > ‎Chapter 28‎ > ‎  

Matthew 9:1-2.

And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; your sins be forgiven you.

By His own city here he means Capernaum. For that which gave Him birth was Bethlehem; that which brought Him up, Nazareth; that which had Him continually inhabiting it, Capernaum.

This paralytic, however, was different from that one who is set forth in John. John 5:1 For he lay at the pool, but this at Capernaum; and that man had his infirmity thirty and eight years, but concerning this, no such thing is mentioned; and the other was in a state destitute of protectors, but this had some to take care of him, who also took him up, and carried him. And to this He says, Son, your sins be forgiven you, but to that He says, Will you be made whole? John 5:6 And the other He healed on a sabbath day, but this not on a sabbath, for else the Jews would have laid this also to His charge; and in the case of this man they were silent, but in that of the other they were instant in persecuting him.

And this I have said, not without purpose, lest any one should think there is a discrepancy from suspecting it to be one and the same paralytic.

But do thou, I pray you, mark the humility and meekness of our Lord. For He had also before this put away the multitudes from Him, and moreover when sent away by them at Gadara, He withstood not, but retired, not however to any great distance.

And again He entered into the ship and passed over, when He might have gone over afoot. For it was His will not to be always doing miracles, that He might not injure the doctrine of His humanity.

Now Matthew indeed says, that they brought him, but the others, that they also broke up the roof, and let him down. And they put the sick man before Christ, saying nothing, but committing the whole to Him. For though in the beginning He Himself went about, and did not require so much faith of them that came unto Him; yet in this case they both approached Him, and had faith required on their part. For, Seeing, it is said, their faith; that is, the faith of them that had let the man down. For He does not on all occasions require faith on the part of the sick only: as for instance, when they are insane, or in any other way, through their disease, are out of their own control. Or rather, in this case the sick man too had part in the faith; for he would not have suffered himself to be let down, unless he had believed.

Forasmuch then as they had evinced so great faith, He also evinces His own power, with all authority absolving his sins, and signifying in all ways that He is equal in honor with Him that begot Him. And mark; He implied it from the beginning, by His teaching, when He taught them as one having authority; by the leper, when He said, I will, be thou clean, Matthew 8:3 by the centurion, when upon his saying, Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed, He marvelled at him, Matthew 8:8 and celebrated him above all men; by the sea, when He curbed it with a mere word; by the devils, when they acknowledged Him as their judge, and He cast them out with great authority.

Here again in another and a greater way He constrains His very enemies to confess His equality in honor, and by their own mouth He makes it manifest. For He, to signify His indifference to honor (for there stood a great company of spectators shutting up the entrance, wherefore also they let him down from above), did not straightway hasten to heal the visible body, but He takes His occasion from them; and He healed first that which is invisible, the soul, by forgiving his sins; which indeed saved the other, but brought no great glory to Himself. They themselves rather, troubled by their malice, and wishing to assail Him, caused even against their will what was done to be conspicuous. He, in fact, in His abundance of counsel, made use of their envy for the manifestation of the miracle.

Upon their murmuring, then, and saying, This man blasphemes; who can forgive sins but God only? let us see what He says. Did He indeed take away the suspicion? And yet if He were not equal, He should have said, Why fix upon me a notion which is not convenient? I am far from this power. But now has He said none of these things, but quite the contrary He has both affirmed and ratified, as well by His own voice, as by the performance of the miracle. Thus, it appearing that His saying certain things of Himself gave disgust to his hearers, He affirms what He had to say concerning Himself by the others; and what is truly marvellous, not by His friends only, but also by His enemies; for this is the excellency of His wisdom. By His friends on the one hand, when He said, I will, be thou clean, Matthew 8:3 and when He said, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel; Matthew 8:10 but by His enemies, now. For because they had said, No man can forgive sins but God only, He subjoined,

But that you may know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins upon the earth (then says He to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up your bed, and go unto your house.

And not here only, but also in another case again, when they were saying, For a good work we stone you not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest yourself God, John 10:33 neither in that instance did He put down this opinion, but again confirmed it, saying, If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works. John 10:37-38

2. In this case indeed He discloses also another sign, and that no small one, of His own Godhead, and of His equality in honor with the Father. For whereas they said, To unbind sins pertains to God only, He not only unbinds sins, but also before this He makes another kind of display in a thing which pertained to God only; the publishing the secrets in the heart. For neither had they uttered what they were thinking.

For behold, certain of the scribes, it says, said within themselves, This man blasphemes. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?


 Matthew 9:3-4

But that it belongs to God only to know men's secrets, hear what says the prophet, Thou most entirely alone know the hearts; 2 Chronicles 6:30 and again, God tries the hearts and reins; and Jeremiah too says, The heart is deep above all things, and it is man, and who shall know him? and, Man shall look on the face, but God on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 And by many things one may see, that to know what is in the mind belongs to God alone.

Implying therefore that He is God, equal to Him that begot Him; what things they were reasoning in themselves (for through fear of the multitude, they dared not utter their mind), this their opinion He unveils and makes manifest, evincing herein also His great gentleness.

For wherefore, says He, think ye evil in your hearts?


 Matthew 9:4

And yet if there were cause for displeasure, it was the sick man who should have been displeased, as being altogether deceived, and should have said One thing I came to have healed, and amendest Thou another? Why, whence is it manifest that my sins are forgiven?

But now he for his part utters no such word, but gives himself up to the power of the healer; but these being curious and envious, plot against the good deeds of others. Wherefore He rebukes them indeed, but with all gentleness. Why, if you disbelieve, says He, what went before, and account my saying a boast; behold I add to it also another, the uncovering of your secrets; and after that again another. What then is this? The giving tone to the body of the paralyzed.

And whereas, when He spoke unto the sick of the palsy, He spoke without clearly manifesting His own authority: for He said not, I forgive you your sins, but, your sins be forgiven you: upon their constraining, He discloses His authority more clearly, saying, But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.

Do you see, how far He was from unwillingness to be thought equal to the Father? For He said not at all, The Son of Man has need of another; or, He has given Him authority, but, He has authority. Neither does He say it for love of honor, but to convince you, so He speaks, that I do not blaspheme in making myself equal with God.

Thus everywhere His will is to offer proofs clear and indisputable; as when He says, Go your way, show yourself to the priest; Matthew 8:4 and when He points to Peter's wife's mother ministering, and permits the swine to cast themselves down headlong. And in the same manner here also; first, for a certain token of the forgiveness of his sins, He provides the giving tone to his body: and of that again, his carrying his bed; to hinder the fact from being thought a mere fancy. And He does not this, before He had asked them a question. For whether is easier, says He, to say, Your sins be forgiven you? Or to say, Take up your bed, and go unto your house?


 Matthew 9:5-6 Now what He says is like this, Which seems to you easier, to bind up a disorganized body, or to undo the sins of a soul? It is quite manifest; to bind up a body. For by how much a soul is better than a body, by so much is the doing away sins a greater work than this; but because the one is unseen, the other in sight, I throw in that, which although an inferior thing, is yet more open to sense; that the greater also and the unseen may thereby receive its proof; thus by His works anticipating even now the revelation of what had been said by John, that He takes away the sins of the world.

Well then, having raised him up, He sends him to his house; here again signifying His unboastfulness, and that the event was not a mere imagination; for He makes the same persons witnesses of his infirmity, and also of his health. For I indeed had desired, says He, through your calamity to heal those also, that seem to be in health, but are diseased in mind; but since they will not, depart thou home, to heal them that are there.

Do you see how He indicates Him to be Creator both of souls and bodies? He heals therefore the palsy in each of the two substances, and makes the invisible evident by that which is in sight. But nevertheless they still creep upon the earth.

For when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which (it is said) had given such power unto men: for the flesh was an offense unto them. But He did not rebuke them, but proceeds by His works to arouse them, and exalt their thoughts. Since for the time it was no small thing for Him to be thought greater than all men, as having come from God. For had they well established these things in their own minds, going on orderly they would have known, that He was even the Son of God. But they did not retain these things clearly, wherefore neither were they able to approach Him. For they said again, This man is not of God; John 9:16 how is this man of God? And they were continually harping on these things, putting them forward as cloaks for their own passions.

3. Which thing many now also do; and thinking to avenge God, fulfill their own passions, when they ought to go about all with moderation. For even the God of all, having power to launch His thunderbolt against them that blaspheme Him, makes the sun to rise, and sends forth the showers, and affords them all other things in abundance; whom we ought to imitate, and so to entreat, advise, admonish, with meekness, not angry, not making ourselves wild beasts.

For no harm at all ensues unto God by their blasphemy, that you should be angered, but he who blasphemed has himself also received the wound. Wherefore groan, bewail, for the calamity indeed deserves tears. And the wounded man, again—noth ing can so heal him as gentleness: gentleness, I say, which is mightier than any force.

See, for example, how He Himself, the insulted one, discourses with us, both in the Old Testament, and in the New; in the one saying, O my people, what have I done unto you? Micah 6:3 in the other, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. Acts 9:4 And Paul too bids, In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves. 2 Timothy 2:25 And Christ again, when His disciples had come to Him, requiring fire to come down from heaven, strongly rebuked them, saying, You know not what manner of spirit you are of.

And here again He said not, O accursed, and sorcerers as you are; O you envious, and enemies of men's salvation; but, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

We must, you see, use gentleness to eradicate the disease. Since he who has become better through the fear of man, will quickly return to wickedness again. For this cause He commanded also the tares to be left, giving an appointed day of repentance. Yea, and many of them in fact repented, and became good, who before were bad; as for instance, Paul, the Publican, the Thief; for these being really tares turned into kindly wheat. Because, although in the seeds this cannot be, yet in the human will it is both manageable and easy; for our will is bound by no limits of nature, but has freedom of choice for its privilege.

Accordingly, when you see an enemy of the truth, wait on him, take care of him, lead him back into virtue, by showing forth an excellent life, by applying speech that cannot be condemned, Titus 2:8 by bestowing attention and tender care, by trying every means of amendment, in imitation of the best physicians. For neither do they cure in one manner only, but when they see the wound not yield to the first remedy, they add another, and after that again another; and now they use the knife, and now bind up. And do thou accordingly, having become a physician of souls, put in practice every mode of cure according to Christ's laws; that you may receive the reward both of saving yourself and of profiting others, doing all to the glory of God, and so being glorified also yourself. For them that glorify me, says He, I will glorify; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed.

Let us, I say, do all things unto His glory; that we may attain unto that blessed portion, unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.


Matt. IX. 9.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man sitting at the receipt of custom, named Matthew; and He says unto him, Follow me.

For when He had performed the miracle, He did not remain, lest, being in sight, He should kindle their jealousy the more; but He indulges them by retiring, and soothing their passion. This then let us also do, not encountering them that are plotting against us; let us rather soothe their wound, giving way and relaxing their vehemence.

But wherefore did He not call him together with Peter and John and the rest? As in their case He had come at that time, when He knew the men would obey Him; so Matthew also He then called when He was assured he would yield himself. And therefore Paul again He took, as a fisher his prey, after the resurrection. Because He who is acquainted with the hearts, and knows the secrets of each man's mind, knew also when each of these would obey. Therefore not at the beginning did He call him, when he was yet in rather a hardened state, but after His countless miracles, and the great fame concerning Him, when He knew him to have actually become more prepared for obedience.

And we have cause also to admire the self-denial of the evangelist, how he disguises not his own former life, but adds even his name, when the others had concealed him under another appellation.

But why did he say he was sitting at the receipt of custom? To indicate the power of Him that called him, that it was not when he had left off or forsaken this wicked trade, but from the midst of the evils He drew him up; much as He converted the blessed Paul also when frantic and raging, and darting fire; which thing he himself makes a proof of the power of Him that called him, saying to the Galatians, You have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God. Galatians 1:13 And the fishermen too He called when they were in the midst of their business. But that was a craft not indeed in bad report, but of men rather rudely bred, not mingling with others, and endowed with great simplicity; whereas the pursuit now in question was one full of all insolence and boldness, and a mode of gain whereof no fair account could be given, a shameless traffic, a robbery under cloak of law: yet nevertheless He who uttered the call was ashamed of none of these things.

And why talk I of His not being ashamed of a publican? Since even with regard to a harlot woman, so far from being ashamed to call her, He actually permitted her to kiss His feet, and to moisten them with her tears. Luke 7:38 Yea, for to this end He came, not to cure bodies only, but to heal likewise the wickedness of the soul. Which He did also in the case of the paralytic; and having shown clearly that He is able to forgive sins, then, not before, He comes to him whom we are now speaking of; that they might no more be troubled at seeing a publican chosen into the choir of the disciples. For He that has power to undo all our offenses, why marvel if He even make this man an apostle?

But as you have seen the power of Him that called, so consider also the obedience of him that was called: how he neither resisted, nor disputing said, What is this? Is it not indeed a deceitful calling, wherewith He calls me, being such as I am? nay; for this humility again had been out of season: but he obeyed straightway, and did not even request to go home, and to communicate with his relations concerning this matter; as neither indeed did the fishermen; but as they left their net and their ship and their father, so did he his receipt of custom and his gain, and followed, exhibiting a mind prepared for all things; and breaking himself at once away from all worldly things, by his complete obedience he bore witness that He who called him had chosen a good time.

And wherefore can it be, one may say, that he has not told us of the others also, how and in what manner they were called; but only of Peter and James, and John and Philip, and nowhere of the others?

Because these more than others were in so strange and mean ways of life. For there is nothing either worse than the publican's business, or more ordinary than fishing. And that Philip also was among the very ignoble, is manifest from his country. Therefore these especially they proclaim to us, with their ways of life, to show that we ought to believe them in the glorious parts of their histories also. For they who choose not to pass by any of the things which are accounted reproachful, but are exact in publishing these more than the rest, whether they relate to the Teacher or to the disciples; how can they be suspected in the parts which claim reverence? More especially since many signs and miracles are passed over by them, while the events of the cross, accounted to be reproaches, they utter with exact care and loudly; and the disciples' pursuits too, and their faults, and those of their Master's ancestry who were notorious for sins, Matthew 3:6 they discover with a clear voice. Whence it is manifest that they made much account of truth, and wrote nothing for favor, nor for display.

2. Having therefore called him, He also honored him with a very great honor by partaking straightway of his table; for in this way He would both give him good hope for the future, and lead him on to a greater confidence. For not in a long time, but at once, He healed his vice. And not with him only does He sit down to meat, but with many others also; although this very thing was accounted a charge against Him, that He chased not away the sinners. But neither do they conceal this point, what sort of blame is endeavored to be fixed on His proceedings.

Now the publicans come together as to one of the same trade; for he, exulting in the entrance of Christ, had called them all together. The fact is, Christ used to try every kind of treatment; and not when discoursing only, nor when healing, nor when reproving His enemies, but even at His morning meal, He would often correct such as were in a bad way; hereby teaching us, that every season and every work may by possibility afford us profit. And yet surely what was then set before them came of injustice and covetousness; but Christ refused not to partake of it, because the ensuing gain was to be great: yea rather He becomes partaker of the same roof and table with them that have committed such offenses. For such is the quality of a physician; unless he endure the corruption of the sick, he frees them not from their infirmity.

And yet undoubtedly He incurred hence an evil report: first by eating with him, then in Matthew's house, and thirdly, in company with many publicans. See at least how they reproach Him with this. Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. Matthew 11:19

Let them hear, as many as are striving to deck themselves with great honor for fasting, and let them consider that our Lord was called a man gluttonous and a winebibber, and He was not ashamed, but overlooked all these things, that he might accomplish what He had set before him; which indeed was accordingly done. For the publican was actually converted, and thus became a better man.

And to teach you that this great thing was wrought by his partaking of the table with Him, hear what Zacchæus says, another publican. I mean, when he heard Christ saying, Today, I must abide in your house, the delight gave him wings, and he says, The half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And to him Jesus says, This day is salvation come to this house. So possible is it by all ways to give instruction.

But how is it, one may say, that Paul commands, If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator or covetous, with such an one no, not to eat? 1 Corinthians 5:11 In the first place, it is not as yet manifest, whether to teachers also he gives this charge, and not rather to brethren only. Next, these were not yet of the number of the perfect, nor of those who had become brethren. And besides, Paul commands, even with respect to them that had become brethren, then to shrink from them, when they continue as they were, but these had now ceased, and were converted.

3. But none of these things shamed the Pharisees, but they accuse Him to His disciples, saying,

Why eats your Master with publicans and sinners?


 Matthew 9:11

And when the disciples seem to be doing wrong, they intercede with Him, saying, Behold your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath-day; Matthew 12:2 but here to them they discredit Him. All which was the part of men dealing craftily, and wishing to separate from the Master the choir of the disciples. What then says Infinite Wisdom?

They that be whole need not a physician, says He, but they that are sick.

See how He turned their reasoning to the opposite conclusion. That is, while they made it a charge against Him that He was in company with these men: He on the contrary says, that His not being with them would be unworthy of Him, and of His love of man; and that to amend such persons is not only blameless, but excellent, and necessary, and deserving of all sorts of praise.

After this, that He might not seem to put them that were bidden to shame, by saying, they that are sick; see how He makes up for it again, by reproving the others, and saying,

Go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.


 Matthew 9:13

Now this He said, to upbraid them with their ignorance of the Scriptures. Wherefore also He orders His discourse more sharply, not Himself in anger, far from it; but so as that the publicans might not be in utter perplexity.

And yet of course He might say, Did ye not mark, how I remitted the sins of the sick of the palsy, how I braced up his body? But He says no such thing, but argues with them first from men's common reasonings, and then from the Scriptures. For having said, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; and having covertly indicated that He Himself was the Physician; after that He said, Go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Thus does Paul also: when he had first established his reasoning by illustrations from common things, and had said, Who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk thereof? 1 Corinthians 9:7 then he brings in the Scriptures also, saying, It is written in the law of Moses, You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain; and again, Even so has the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

But to His disciples not so, but He puts them in mind of His signs, saying on this wise, Do ye not yet remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Matthew 16:9 Not so however with these, but He reminds them of our common infirmity, and signifies them at any rate to be of the number of the infirm; who did not so much as know the Scriptures, but making light of the rest of virtue, laid all the stress on their sacrifices; which thing He is also earnestly intimating unto them, when He sets down in brief what had been affirmed by all the prophets, saying, Learn ye what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.

The fact is, He is signifying hereby that not He was transgressing the law, but they; as if He had said, Wherefore accuse me? Because I bring sinners to amendment? Why then ye must accuse the Father also for this. Much as He said also elsewhere, establishing this point: My Father works hitherto, and I work: John 5:17 so here again, Go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. For as this is His will, says Christ, so also mine. Do you see how the one is superfluous, the other necessary? For neither did He say, I will have mercy, and sacrifice, but, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. That is, the one thing He allowed, the other He cast out; and proved that what they blamed, so far from being forbidden, was even ordained by the law, and more so than sacrifice; and He brings in the Old Testament, speaking words and ordaining laws in harmony with Himself.

Having then reproved them, both by common illustrations and by the Scriptures, He adds again,

I am not come to call righteous men, but sinners to repentance.

And this He says unto them in irony; as when He said, Behold, Adam has become as one of us; and again, If I were hungry, I would not tell you. For that no man on earth was righteous, Paul declared, saying, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 And by this too the others were comforted, I mean, the guests. Why, I am so far, says He, from loathing sinners, that even for their sakes only am I come. Then, lest He should make them more careless, He staid not at the word sinners, but added, unto repentance. For I am not come that they should continue sinners, but that they should alter, and amend.

4. He then having stopped their mouths every way, as well from the Scriptures as from the natural consequence of things; and they having nothing to say, proved as they were obnoxious to the charges which they had brought against Him, and adversaries of the law and the Old Testament; they leave Him, and again transfer their accusation to the disciples.

And Luke indeed affirms that the Pharisees said it, but this evangelist, that it was the disciples of John; but it is likely that both said it. That is, they being, as might be expected, in utter perplexity, take the other sort with them; as they did afterwards with the Herodians likewise. Since in truth John's disciples were always disposed to be jealous of Him, and reasoned against Him: being then only humbled, when first John abode in the prison. They came at least then, and told Jesus; but afterwards they returned to their former envy.

Now what say they? Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but your disciples fast not?


 Matthew 9:14

This is the disease, which Christ long before was eradicating, in the words, When you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; Matthew 6:17 foreknowing the evils that spring therefrom. But yet He does not rebuke even these, nor say, O you vainglorious and over-busy; but He discourses to them with all gentleness, saying, The children of the bride-chamber cannot fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them. Thus, when others were to be spoken for, the publicans I mean, to soothe their wounded soul, He was more severe in His reproof of their revilers; but when they were deriding Himself and His disciples, He makes His reply with all gentleness.

Now their meaning is like this; Granted, say they, You do this as a physician; why do Your disciples also leave fasting, and cleave to such tables? Then, to make the accusation heavier, they put themselves first, and then the Pharisees; wishing by the comparison to aggravate the charge. For indeed both we, it is said, and the Pharisees, fast oft. And in truth they did fast, the one having learned it from John, the other from the law; even as also the Pharisee said, I fast twice in the week. Luke 18:12

What then says Jesus? Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them. Before, He called Himself a physician, but here a bridegroom; by these names revealing His unspeakable mysteries. Yet of course He might have told them, more sharply, These things depend not on you, that you should make such laws. For of what use is fasting, when the mind is full of wickedness; when you blame others, when you condemn them, bearing about beams in your eyes, and do all for display? Nay, before all this ye ought to have cast out vainglory, to be proficients in all the other duties, in charity, meekness, brotherly love. However, nothing of this kind does He say, but with all gentleness, The children of the bridechamber cannot fast, so long as the bridegroom is with them; recalling to their mind John's words, when he said, He that has the bride, is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. John 3:29

Now His meaning is like this: The present time is of joy and gladness, therefore do not bring in the things which are melancholy. For fasting is a melancholy thing, not in its own nature, but to them that are yet in rather a feeble state; for to those at least that are willing to practise self-command, the observance is exceedingly pleasant and desirable. For as when the body is in health, the spirits are high, so when the soul is well conditioned, the pleasure is greater. But according to their previous impression He says this. So also Isaiah, discoursing of it, calls it an affliction of the soul; and Moses too in like manner.

Not however by this only does He stop their mouths, but by another topic also, saying,

Days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.


 Matthew 9:15

For hereby He signifies, that what they did was not of gluttony, but pertained to some marvellous dispensation. And at the same time He lays beforehand the foundation of what He was to say touching His passion, in His controversies with others instructing His disciples, and training them now to be versed in the things which are deemed sorrowful. Because for themselves already to have this said to them, would have been grievous and galling, since we know that afterwards, being uttered, it troubled them; but spoken to others, it would become rather less intolerable to them.

It being also natural for them to pride themselves on John's calamity, He from this topic represses likewise such their elation: the doctrine however of His resurrection He adds not yet, it not being yet time. For so much indeed was natural, that one supposed to be a man should die, but that other was beyond nature.

5. Then what He had done before, this He does here again. I mean, that as He, when they were attempting to prove Him blameable for eating with sinners, proved to them on the contrary, that His proceeding was not only no blame, but an absolute praise to Him: so here too, when they wanted to show of Him, that He knows not how to manage His disciples, He signifies that such language was the part of men not knowing how to manage their inferences, but finding fault at random.

For no man, says He, puts a piece of new cloth unto an old garment.

He is again establishing His argument by illustrations from common life. And what He says is like this, The disciples have not yet become strong, but still need much condescension. They have not yet been renewed by the Spirit, and on persons in that state one ought not to lay any burden of injunctions.

And these things He said, setting laws and rules for His own disciples, that when they should have to receive as disciples those of all sorts that should come from the whole world, they might deal with them very gently.

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles.

Do you see His illustrations, how like the Old Testament? The garment? The wine skins? For Jeremiah too calls the people a girdle, and makes mention again of bottles and of wine. Jeremiah 13:10-12 Thus, the discourse being about gluttony and a table, He takes His illustrations from the same.

But Luke the same words, a second and a third time and often; not however in a wearisome kind of way, but sport ively, and do thou now turn from her, now flatter and court her.

Do you see not the painters, how much they rub out, how much they insert, when they are making a beautiful portrait? Well then, do not thou prove inferior to these. For if these, in drawing the likeness of a body, used such great diligence, how much more were it meet for us, in fashioning a soul, to use every contrivance. For if you should fashion well the form of this soul, you will not see the countenance of the body looking unseemly, nor lips stained, nor a mouth like a bear's mouth dyed with blood, nor eyebrows blackened as with the smut of some kitchen vessel, nor cheeks whitened with dust like the walls of the tombs. For all these things are smut, and cinders, and dust, and signals of extreme deformity.

But stay: I have been led on unobserving, I know not how, into these expressions; and while admonishing another to teach with gentleness, I have been myself hurried away into wrath. Let us return therefore again unto the more gentle way of admonition, and let us bear with all the faults of our wives, that we may succeed in doing what we would. Do you see not how we bear with the cries of children, when we would wean them from the breast, how we endure all for this object only, that we may persuade them to despise their former food? Thus let us do in this case also, let us bear with all the rest, that we may accomplish this. For when this has been amended, you will see the other too proceeding in due order, and you will come again unto the ornaments of gold, and in the same way wilt reason concerning them likewise, and thus little by little bringing your wife unto the right rule, you will be a beautiful painter, a faithful servant, an excellent husbandman.

Together with these things remind her also of the women of old, of Sarah, of Rebecca, both of the fair and of them that were not so, and point out how all equally practised modesty. For even Leah, the wife of the patriarch, not being fair, was not constrained to devise any such thing, but although she were uncomely, and not very much beloved by her husband, she neither devised any such thing, nor marred her countenance, but continued to preserve the lineaments thereof undisfigured, and this though brought up by Gentiles.

But thou that art a believing woman, you that hast Christ for your head, are you bringing in upon us a satanic art? And do you not call to mind the water that dashed over your countenance, the sacrifice that adorns your lips, the blood that has reddened your tongue? For if you would consider all these things, though thou were fond of dress to the ten thousandth degree, you will not venture nor endure to put upon you that dust and those cinders. Learn that you have been joined unto Christ, and refrain from this unseemliness. For neither is He delighted with these colorings, but He seeks after another beauty, of which He is in an exceeding degree a lover, I mean, that in the soul. This the prophet likewise has charged you to cherish, and has said, So shall the King have pleasure in your beauty.

Let us not therefore be curious in making ourselves unseemly. For neither is any one of God's works imperfect, nor does it need to be set right by you. For not even if to an image of the emperor, after it was set up, any one were to seek to add his own work, would the attempt be safe, but he will incur extreme danger. Well then, man works and you add not; but does God work, and do you amend it? And do you not consider the fire of hell? Do you not consider the destitution of your soul? For on this account it is neglected, because all your care is wasted on the flesh.

But why do I speak of the soul? For to the very flesh everything falls out contrary to what you have sought. Consider it. Do you wish to appear beautiful? This shows you uncomely. Do you wish to please your husband? This rather grieves him; and causes not him only, but strangers also, to become your accusers. Would you appear young? This will quickly bring you to old age. Would you wish to array yourself honorably? This makes you to be ashamed. For such an one is ashamed not only before those of her own rank, but even those of her maids who are in her secret, and those of her servants who know; and, above all, before herself.

But why need I say these things? For that which is more grievous than all I have now omitted, namely, that you dost offend God; you undermine modesty, kindlest the flame of jealousy, emulatest the harlot women at their brothel.

All these things then consider, you women, and laugh to scorn the pomp of Satan and the craft of the devil; and letting go this adorning, or rather disfiguring, cultivate that beauty in your own souls which is lovely even to angels and desired of God, and delightful to your husbands; that you may attain both unto present glory, and unto that which is to come. To which God grant that we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.


Matt. IX. 18.

While He spoke these things unto them, behold, there came in a ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Your hand upon her, and she shall live.

The deed overtook the words; so that the mouths of the Pharisees were the more stopped. For both he that came was a ruler of the synagogue, and his affliction terrible. For the young damsel was both his only child, and twelve years old, the very flower of her age; on which account especially He raised her up again, and that immediately.

And if Luke say that men came, saying, Trouble not the Master, for she is dead; Luke 8:49 we will say this, that the expression, she is even now dead, was that of one conjecturing from the time of his journeying, or exaggerating his affliction. For it is an usual thing with persons in need to heighten their own evils by their report, and to say something more than is really true, the more to attract those whom they are beseeching.

But see his dullness: how he requires of Christ two things, both His actual presence, and the laying on of His hand: and this by the way is a sign that he had left her still breathing. This Naaman also, that Syrian, required of the prophet. For I thought, says he, he will surely come out, and will lay on his hand. For in truth they who are more or less dull of temper, require sight and sensible things.

And whereas Mark Mark 5:37 says, He took the three disciples, and so does Luke; Luke 8:51 our evangelist merely says, the disciples. Wherefore then did He not take with Him Matthew, though he had but just come unto Him? To bring him to a more earnest longing, and because he was yet rather in an imperfect state. For to this intent does He honor those, that these may grow such as those are. But for him it sufficed for the present, to see what befell the woman with the issue of blood, and to be honored by His table, and by His partaking of his salt.

And when He had risen up many followed Him, as for a great miracle, both on account of the person who had come, and because the more part being of a grosser disposition were seeking not so much the care of the soul, as the healing of the body; and they flowed together, some urged by their own afflictions, some hastening to behold how other men's were cured: however, there were as yet but few in the habit of coming principally for the sake of His words and doctrine. Nevertheless, He did not suffer them to enter into the house, but His disciples only; and not even all of these, everywhere instructing us to repel the applause of the multitude.

2. And, behold, it is said, a woman that had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.

Wherefore did she not approach Him boldly? She was ashamed on account of her affliction, accounting herself to be unclean. For if the menstruous woman was judged not to be clean, much more would she have the same thought, who was afflicted with such a disease; since in fact that complaint was under the law accounted a great uncleanness. Leviticus 15:25 Therefore she lies hidden, and conceals herself. For neither had she as yet the proper and correct opinion concerning Him: else she would not have thought to be concealed. And this is the first woman that came unto Him in public, having heard of course that He heals women also, and that He is on His way to the little daughter that was dead.

And she dared not invite Him to her house, although she was wealthy; nay, neither did she approach publicly, but secretly with faith she touched His garments. For she did not doubt, nor say in herself, Shall I indeed be delivered from the disease? Shall I indeed fail of deliverance? But confident of her health, she so approached Him. For she said, we read, in herself, If I may only touch His garment, I shall be whole. Yea, for she saw out of what manner of house He had come, that of the publicans, and who they were that followed Him, sinners and publicans; and all these things made her to be of good hope.

What then does Christ? He suffers her not to be hid, but brings her into the midst, and makes her manifest for many purposes.

It is true indeed that some of the senseless ones say, He does this for love of glory. For why, say they, did He not suffer her to be hid? What do you say, unholy, yea, all unholy one? He that enjoins silence, He that passes by miracles innumerable, is He in love with glory?

For what intent then does He bring her forward? In the first place He puts an end to the woman's fear, lest being pricked by her conscience, as having stolen the gift, she should abide in agony. In the second place, He sets her right, in respect of her thinking to be hid. Thirdly, He exhibits her faith to all, so as to provoke the rest also to emulation; and His staying of the fountains of her blood was no greater sign than He affords in signifying His knowledge of all things. Moreover the ruler of the synagogue, who was on the point of thorough unbelief, and so of utter ruin, He corrects by the woman. Since both they that came said, Trouble not the Master, for the damsel is dead; and those in the house laughed Him to scorn, when He said, She sleeps; and it was likely that the father too should have experienced some such feeling. Therefore to correct this weakness beforehand, He brings forward the simple woman. For as to that ruler being quite of the grosser sort, hear what He says unto him: Fear not, do thou believe only, and she shall be made whole. Luke 8:50

Thus He waited also on purpose for death to come on, and that then He should arrive; in order that the proof of the resurrection might be distinct. With this view He both walks more leisurely, and discourses more with the woman; that He might give time for the damsel to die, and for those to come, who told of it, and said, Trouble not the Master. This again surely the evangelist obscurely signifies, when he says, While He yet spoke, there came from the house certain which said, Your daughter is dead, trouble not the Master. For His will was that her death should be believed, that her resurrection might not be suspected. And this He does in every instance. So also in the case of Lazarus, He waited a first and a second and a third day. John 11:6, 39

On account then of all these things He brings her forward, and says, Daughter, be of good cheer, even as He had said also to the paralyzed person, Son, be of good cheer. Because in truth the woman was exceedingly alarmed; therefore He says, be of good cheer, and He calls her daughter; for her faith had made her a daughter. After that comes also her praise: Your faith has made you whole.

But Luke tells us also other things more than these concerning the woman. Thus, when she had approached Him, says he, and had received her health, Christ did not immediately call her, but first He says, Which is he that touched me? Then when Peter and they that were with Him said, Master, the multitude throng You, and press You, and sayest Thou, who touched me? Luke 8:45 (which was a very sure sign both that He was encompassed with real flesh, and that He trampled on all vainglory, for they did not follow Him at all afar off, but thronged Him on every side); He for His part continued to say, Somebody has touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me; answering after a grosser manner according to the impression of His hearers. But these things He said, that He might also induce her of herself to make confession. For on this account neither did He immediately convict her, in order that having signified that He knows all things clearly, He might induce her of her own accord to publish all, and work upon her to proclaim herself what had been done, and that He might not incur suspicion by saying it.

Do you see the woman superior to the ruler of the synagogue? She detained Him not, she took no hold of Him, but touched Him only with the end of her fingers, and though she came later, she first went away healed. And he indeed was bringing the Physician altogether to his house, but for her a mere touch suffered. For though she was bound by her affliction, yet her faith had given her wings. And mark how He comforts her, saying, Your faith has saved you. Now surely, had He drawn her forward for display, He would not have added this; but He says this, partly teaching the ruler of the synagogue to believe, partly proclaiming the woman's praise, and affording her by these words delight and advantage equal to her bodily health.

For that He did this as minded to glorify her, and to amend others, and not to show Himself glorious, is manifest from hence; that He indeed would have been equally an object of admiration even without this (for the miracles were pouring around Him faster than the snow-flakes, and He both had done and was to do far greater things than these): but the woman, had this not happened, would have gone away hid, deprived of those great praises. For this cause He brought her forward, and proclaimed her praise, and cast out her fear, (for she came, it is said, trembling ); and He caused her to be of good courage, and together with health of body, He gave her also other provisions for her journey, in that He said, Go in peace. Luke 8:48

3. And when He came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He says unto them, Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleeps. And they laughed Him to scorn.

Noble tokens, surely, these, of the rulers of synagogues; in the moment of her death pipes and cymbals raising a dirge! What then does Christ? All the rest He cast out, but the parents He brought in; to leave no room for saying that He healed her in any other way. And before her resurrection too, He raises her in His word; saying, The maid is not dead, but sleeps. And in many instances besides He does this. As then on the sea He expels tumult from the mind of the by-standers, at the same time both signifying that it is easy for Him to raise the dead (which same thing He did with respect to Lazarus also, saying, Our friend Lazarus sleeps John 11:11; and also teaching us not to fear death; for that it is not death, but is henceforth become a sleep. Thus, since He Himself was to die, He does in the persons of others prepare His disciples beforehand to be of good courage, and to bear the end meekly. Since in truth, when He had come, death was from that time forward a sleep.

But yet they laughed Him to scorn: He however was not indignant at being disbelieved by those for whom He was a little afterwards to work miracles; neither did He rebuke their laughter, in order that both it and the pipes, and the cymbals, and all the other things, might be a sure proof of her death. For since for the most part, after the miracles are done, men disbelieve, He takes them beforehand by their own answers; which was done in the case both of Lazarus and of Moses. For to Moses first He says, What is that in your hand? Exodus 4:2 in order that when he saw it become a serpent, He should not forget that it was a rod before, but being reminded of his own saying, might be amazed at what was done. And with regard to Lazarus He says, Where have ye laid him? John 11:34, 39 that they who had said, Come and see, and he stinks, for he has been dead four days, might no longer be able to disbelieve His having raised a dead man.

Seeing then the cymbals and the multitude, He put them all out, and in the presence of the parents works the miracle; not introducing another soul, but recalling the same that had gone out, and awakening her as it were out of a sleep.

And He holds her by the hand, assuring the beholders; so as by that sight to make a way for the belief of her resurrection. For whereas the father said, Lay your hand upon her;


 Matthew 9:18 He on His part does somewhat more, for He lays no hand on her, but rather takes hold of her, and raises her, implying that to Him all things are ready. And He not only raises her up, but also commands to give her meat, that the event might not seem to be an illusion. And He does not give it Himself, but commands them; as also with regard to Lazarus He said, Loose him, and let him go, John 11:44 and afterwards makes him partaker of His table. John 12:2 For so is He wont always to establish both points, making out with all completeness the demonstration alike of the death and of the resurrection.

But do thou mark, I pray you, not her resurrection only, but also His commanding to tell no man; and by all learn thou this especially, His freedom from haughtiness and vainglory. And withal learn this other thing also, that He cast them that were beating themselves out of the house, and declared them unworthy of such a sight; and do not thou go out with the minstrels, but remain with Peter, and John, and James.

For if He cast them out then, much more now. For then it was not yet manifest that death was become a sleep, but now this is clearer than the very sun itself. But is it that He has not raised your daughter now? But surely He will raise her, and with more abundant glory. For that damsel, when she had risen, died again; but your child, if she rise again, abides thenceforth in immortal being.

4. Let no man therefore beat himself any more, nor wail, neither disparage Christ's achievement. For indeed He overcame death. Why then do you wail for nought? The thing has become a sleep. Why lament and weep? Why, even if Greeks did this, they should be laughed to scorn; but when the believer behaves himself unseemly in these things, what plea has he? What excuse will there be for them that are guilty of such folly, and this, after so long a time, and so clear proof of the resurrection?

But you, as though laboring to add to the charge against you, dost also bring us in heathen women singing dirges, to kindle your feelings, and to stir up the furnace thoroughly: and you hearken not to Paul, saying, What concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel?

And while the children of heathens, who know nothing of resurrection, do yet find words of consolation, saying, Bear it manfully, for it is not possible to undo what has taken place, nor to amend it by lamentations; art not thou, who hear sayings wiser and better than these, ashamed to behave yourself more unseemly than they? For we say not at all, Bear it manfully, because it is not possible to undo what has taken place, but, bear it manfully, because he will surely rise again; the child sleeps and is not dead; he is at rest and has not perished. For resurrection will be his final lot, and eternal life, and immortality, and an angel's portion. Do you not hear the Psalm that says, Return unto your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you? God calls it bountiful dealing, and do you make lamentation?

And what more couldest thou have done, if you were a foe and an enemy of the dead? Why, if there must be mourning, it is the devil that ought to mourn. He may beat himself, he may wail, at our journeying to greater blessings. This lamentation becomes his wickedness, not you, who art going to be crowned and to rest. Yea, for death is a fair haven. Consider, at any rate, with how many evils our present life is filled; reflect how often you yourself hast cursed our present life. For indeed things go on to worse, and from the very beginning thou were involved in no small condemnation. For, says He, In sorrow you shall bring forth children; and, In the sweat of your face shall you eat your bread; and, In the world you shall have tribulation. John 16:33

But of our state there, no such word at all is spoken, but all the contrary; that grief and sorrow and sighing have fled away. Isaiah 35:10 And that men shall come from the east and from the west, and shall recline in the bosoms of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Matthew 8:11 And that the region there is a spiritual bride-chamber, and bright lamps, and a translation to Heaven.

5. Why then disgrace the departed? Why dispose the rest to fear and tremble at death? Why cause many to accuse God, as though He had done very dreadful things? Or rather, why after this invite poor persons, and entreat priests to pray? In order, says he, that the dead may depart into rest; that he may find the Judge propitious. For these things then are you mourning and wailing? You are therefore fighting and warring with yourself: exciting a storm against yourself on account of his having entered into harbor.

But what can I do? says he: such a thing is nature. The blame is not nature's, neither does it belong to the necessary consequence of the thing; but it is we that are turning all things upside down, are overcome with softness, are giving up our proper nobility, and are making the unbelievers worse. For how shall we reason with another concerning immortality? How shall we persuade the heathen, when we fear death, and shudder at it more than he? Many, for instance, among the Greeks although they knew nothing of course about immortality, have crowned themselves at the decrease of their children, and appeared in white garments, that they might reap the present glory; but thou not even for the future glory's sake ceasest your woman's behavior and wailing.

But have you no heirs, nor any to succeed to your goods? And which would you rather, that he should be heir of your possessions, or of Heaven? And which did you desire, that he should succeed to the things that perish, which he must have let go soon after, or to things that remain, and are immoveable? You had him not for heir, but God had him instead of you; he became not joint-heir with his own brethren, but he became joint-heir with Christ.

But to whom, says he, are we to leave our garments, to whom our houses, to whom our slaves and our lands? To him again, and more securely than if he lived; for there is nothing to hinder. For if barbarians burn the goods of the departed together with them, much more were it a righteous thing for you to send away with the dead what things he has: not to be turned to ashes, like those, but to invest him with more glory; and that if he departed a sinner, it may do away his sins; but if righteous, that it may become an increase of reward and recompense.

But do you long to see him? Then live the same life with him, and you will soon obtain that sacred vision.

And herewith consider this also, that though you should not hearken to us, you will certainly yield to time. But no reward then for you; for the consolation comes of the number of the days. Whereas if you are willing now to command yourself, you will gain two very great points: first, you will deliver yourself from the intervening ills, next, you will be crowned with the brighter crown from God. For indeed neither almsgiving nor anything else is nearly so great as bearing affliction meekly.

Bear in mind, that even the Son of God died: and He indeed for you, but thou for yourself. And when He said, If it be possible, let the cup pass from me, Matthew 26:39 and suffered pain, and was in agony, nevertheless He shunned not the end, but underwent it, and that with its whole course of exceeding woe. That is, He did by no means simply endure death, but the most shameful death; and before His death, stripes; and before His stripes, upbraidings, and jeers, and revilings; instructing you to bear all manfully. And though He died, and put off His body, He resumed it again in greater glory, herein also holding out to you good hopes. If these things be not a fable, lament not. If you account these things to be sure, weep not; but if you dost weep, how will you be able to persuade the Greek that you believe?

6. But even so does the event still appear intolerable to you? Well then, for this very cause it is not meet to lament for him, for he is delivered from many such calamities. Grudge not therefore against him, neither envy him: for to ask death for yourself because of his premature end, and to lament for him that he did not live to endure many such things, is rather the part of one grudging and envying.

And think not of this, that he will no more return home: but that yourself also art a little while after to go to him. Regard not this, that he returns here no more, but that neither do these things that are seen remain such as they are, but these too are being transformed. Yea, for heaven, and earth, and sea, and all, are being put together afresh, and then shall you recover your child in greater glory.

And if indeed he departed a sinner, his wickedness is stayed; for certainly, had God known that he was being converted, He would not have snatched him away before his repentance: but if he ended his life righteous, he now possesses all good in safety. Whence it is manifest that your tears are not of kindly affection, but of unreasoning passion. For if you loved the departed, you should rejoice and be glad that he is delivered from the present waves.

For what is there more, I pray you? What is there fresh and new? Do we not see the same things daily revolving? Day and night, night and day, winter and summer, summer and winter, and nothing more. And these indeed are ever the same; but our evils are fresh, and newer. Would you then have him every day drawing up more of these things, and abiding here, and sickening, and mourning, and in fear and trembling, and enduring some of the ills of life, dreading others lest he some time endure them? Since assuredly you can not say this, that one sailing over this great sea might possibly be free from despondency and cares, and from all other such things.

And withal take this also into account, that you did not bring him forth immortal; and that if he had not died now, he must have endured it soon after. But is it that you had not your fill of him? But you will of a certainty enjoy him there. But do you long to see him here also? And what is there to hinder you? For you are permitted even here, if you be watchful; for the hope of the things to come is clearer than sight.

But you, if he were in some king's court wouldest not ever seek to see him, so long as you heard of his good report: and seeing him departed to the things that are far better, are you faint-hearted about a little time; and that, when you have in his place one to dwell with you?

But have you no husband? Yet have you a consolation, even the Father of the orphans, and Judge of the widows. Hear even Paul pronouncing this widowhood blessed, and saying, Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusts in the Lord. Because such an one will appear more approved, evincing as she does greater patience. Mourn not therefore for that which is your crown, that for which you demand a reward.

Since you have also restored His deposit, if you have exhibited the very thing entrusted to you. Be not in care any more, having laid up the possession in an inviolable treasure-house.

But if you would really learn, both what is our present being, and what our life to come; and that the one is a spider's web and a shadow, but the things there, all of them, immoveable and immortal; you would not after that want other arguments. For whereas now your child is delivered from all change; if he were here, perhaps he might continue good, perhaps not so. Do you see not how many openly cast off their own children? How many are constrained to keep them at home, although worse than the open outcasts?

Let us make account of all these things and practise self-command; for so shall we at once show regard to the deceased, and enjoy much praise from men, and receive from God the great rewards of patience, and attain unto the good things eternal; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.


Matt. IX. 27-30.

And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus says unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened.

Wherefore can it be that He puts them off, and they crying out? Here again teaching us utterly to repel the glory that comes from the multitude. For because the house was near, He leads them there to heal them in private. And this is evident from the fact, that He charged them moreover to tell no man.

But this is no light charge against the Jews; when these men, though their eyes were struck out, receive the faith by hearing alone, but they beholding the miracles, and having their sight to witness what was happening, do all just contrary. And see their earnestness also, both by their cry, and by their prayer itself. For they did not merely approach Him, but with loud cries, and alleging nought else but mercy.

And they called Him Son of David, because the name was thought to be honorable. In many passages, for instance, did the prophets likewise so call the kings, whom they wished to honor, and to declare great.

And having brought them into the house, He puts to them a further question. For in many cases He made a point of healing on entreaty, lest any should suppose Him to be rushing upon these miracles through vainglory: and not on this account alone, but to indicate also that they deserve healing, and that no one should say, If it was of mere mercy that He saved, all men ought to be saved. For even His love to man has a kind of proportion; depending on the faith of them that are healed. But not for these causes only does He require faith of them, but forasmuch as they called Him Son of David, He to lead them up to what is higher, and to teach them to entertain the imaginations they ought of Himself, says, Believe ye that I am able to do this? He did not say, Believe ye that I am able to entreat my Father, that I am able to pray but, that I am able to do this?

What then is their word? Yea, Lord. They call Him no more Son of David, but soar higher, and acknowledge His dominion.

And then at last He for His part lays His hand upon them, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And this He does to confirm their faith, and to show that they are participators in the good work, and to witness that their words were not words of flattery. For neither did He say, Let your eyes be opened, but, According to your faith be it unto you; which He says to many of them that came unto Him; before the healing of their bodies, hastening to proclaim the faith in their soul; so as both to make them more approved, and to render others more serious.

Thus with respect to the sick of the palsy also; for there too before giving nerve to the body, He raises up the fallen soul, saying, Son, be of good cheer, your sins be forgiven you. And the young damsel too, when He had raised her up, He detained, and by the food taught her her Benefactor; and in the case of the centurion also He did in like manner, leaving the whole to his faith; and as to His disciples again, when delivering them from the storm on the sea, He delivered them first from their want of faith. Just so likewise in this case: He knew indeed, even before their cry, the secrets of their mind; but that He might lead on others also to the same earnestness, He makes them known to the rest as well, by the result of their cure proclaiming their hidden faith.

Then after their cure He commands them to tell no man; neither does He merely command them, but with much strictness.

For Jesus, it is said, strictly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country.


 Matthew 9:30-31

They however did not endure this, but became preachers, and evangelists; and when bidden to hide what had been done, they endured it not.

And if in another place we find Him saying, Go your way, and declare the glory of God, that is not contrary to this, but even highly in agreement herewith. For He instructs us to say nothing ourselves, concerning ourselves, but even to forbid them that would eulogise us: but if the glory be referred to God, then not only not to forbid, but to command men to do this.

2. And as they went out, it is said, behold, they brought unto Him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

For the affliction was not natural, but the device of the evil spirit; wherefore also he needs others to bring him. For he could neither make entreaty himself, being speechless, nor supplicate others, when the evil spirit had bound his tongue, and together with his tongue had fettered his soul.

For this cause neither does He require faith of him, but straightway heals the disease.

For when the devil was cast out, it says, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.


 Matthew 9:33

Now this especially vexed the Pharisees, that they preferred Him to all, not only that then were, but that had ever been. And they preferred Him, not for His healing, but for His doing it easily and quickly, and to diseases innumerable and incurable.

And thus the multitude; but the Pharisees quite contrariwise; not only disparaging the works, but saying things contradictory to themselves, and not ashamed. Such a thing is wickedness. For what say they?

He casts out devils through the prince of the devils.

What can be more foolish than this? For in the first place, as He also says further on, it is impossible that a devil should cast out a devil, for that being is wont to repair what belongs to himself, not to pull it down. But He did not cast out devils only, but also cleansed lepers, and raised the dead, and curbed the sea, and remitted sins, and preached the kingdom, and brought men unto the Father; things which a demon would never either choose, or at any time be able to effect. For the devils bring men to idols, and withdraw them from God, and persuade them to disbelieve the life to come. The devil does not bestow kindness when he is insulted; forasmuch as even when not insulted, he harms those that court and honor him.

But He does the contrary. For after these their insults and revilings,

3. He went about, it is said, all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease.

And so far from punishing them for their insensibility, He did not even simply rebuke them; at once both evincing His meekness, and so refuting the calumny; and at the same time minded also by the signs which followed to exhibit His proof more completely: and then to adduce also the refutation by words. He went about therefore both in cities, and in countries, and in their synagogues; instructing us to requite our calumniators, not with fresh calumnies, but with greater benefits. Since, if not for man's sake, but God's, you do good to your fellow-servants; whatsoever they may do, leave not thou off doing them good, that your reward may be greater; since he surely, who upon their calumny leaves off his doing good, signifies that for their praise' sake, not for God's sake, he applies himself to that kind of virtue.

For this cause Christ, to teach us that of mere goodness He had entered on this, so far from waiting for the sick to come to Him, of Himself hastened unto them, bearing them two of the greatest blessings; one, the gospel of the kingdom; another, the perfect cure of all their diseases. And not a city did He overlook, not a village did He hasten by, but visited every place.

4. And not even at this does He stop, but He exhibits also another instance of His forethought. That is,

When He saw, it is said, the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were troubled, and scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then says He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.

See again His freedom from vainglory. That He may not draw all men unto Himself, He sends out His disciples.

And not with this view only, but that He might also teach them, after practising in Palestine, as in a sort of training-school, to strip themselves for their conflicts with the world. For this purpose then He makes the exercises even more serious than the actual conflicts, so far as pertained to their own virtue; that they might more easily engage in the struggles that were to ensue; as it were a sort of tender nestlings whom He was at length leading out to fly. And for the present He makes them physicians of bodies, dispensing to them afterwards the cure of the soul, which is the principal thing.

And mark how He points out the facility and necessity of the thing. For what says He? The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. That is, not to the sowing, says He, but to the reaping do I send you. Which in John He expressed by, Other men labored, and you are entered into their labors. John 4:38

And these things he said, at once repressing their pride, and preparing them to be of good courage, and signifying that the greater part of the labor came first.

And contemplate Him here too beginning from love to man, not with any requital. For He had compassion, because they were troubled and scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. This is His charge against the rulers of the Jews, that being shepherds they acted the part of wolves. For so far from amending the multitude, they even marred their progress. For instance, when they were marvelling and saying, It was never so seen in Israel: these were affirming the contrary, He casts out devils through the prince of the devils.

But of what laborers does He speak here? Of the twelve disciples. What then? Whereas He had said, But the laborers are few, did He add to their number? By no means, but He sent them out alone. Wherefore then did He say, Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest; and made no addition to their number? Because though they were but twelve, He made them many from that time forward, not by adding to their number, but by giving them power.

Then to signify how great the gift is, He says, Pray ye the Lord of the harvest; and indirectly declares it to be His own prerogative. For after having said, Pray ye the Lord of the harvest; when they had not made any entreaty nor prayer, He Himself at once ordains them, reminding them also of the sayings of John, Matthew 3:12 of the threshing floor, and of the Person winnowing, and of the chaff, and of the wheat. Whence it is evident that Himself is the husbandman, Himself the Lord of the harvest, Himself the master and owner of the prophets. For if He sent them to reap, clearly it was not to reap what belongs to another, but what Himself had sown by the prophets.

But not in this way only was He indirectly encouraging them, in calling their ministry a harvest; but also by making them able for the ministry.

And when He had called unto Him, it says, His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.

Still the Spirit was not yet given. For there was not yet, it says, a Spirit, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. How then did they cast out the spirits? By His command, by His authority.

And mark, I pray you, also, how well timed was the mission. For not at the beginning did He send them; but when they had enjoyed sufficiently the advantage of following Him, and had seen a dead person raised, and the sea rebuked, and devils expelled, and a paralytic new-strung, and sins remitted, and a leper cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of His power, both by deeds and words, then He sends them forth: and not to dangerous acts, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine, but they had only to stand against evil speakings. However, even of this He forewarns them, I mean of their perils; preparing them even before the time, and making them feel as in conflict by His continual predictions of that sort.

5. Then, since He had mentioned to us two pairs of apostles, that of Peter, and that of John, and after those had pointed out the calling of Matthew, but had said nothing to us either of the calling or of the name of the other apostles; here of necessity He sets down the list of them, and their number, and makes known their names, saying thus:

Subpages (1): Chapter 10