"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


St. John Chrysostom

 I indeed was hoping, that from the continuance of my discourse, you 
would have had a surfeit of my words: but I see that the contrary is 
happening: that no surfeit is taking place from this continuance, but that 
your desire is increased, that an addition is made not to your satiety but 
to your pleasure, that the same thing is happening which the winebibbers at 
heathen drinking-bouts experience; for they, the more they pour down 
unmixed wine, so much the rather they kindle their thirst, and in your case 
the more teaching we inculcate, so much the rather do we kindle your 
desire, we make your longing greater, your love for it the stronger. On 
this account, although I am conscious of extreme poverty, I do not cease to 
imitate the ostentatious among entertainers, both setting before you my 
table continuously, and placing on it the cup of my teaching, filled full: 
for I see that after having drunk it all, you retire again thirsting. And 
this indeed has become evident during the whole time, but especially since 
the last Lord's Day: For that ye partake of the divine oracles insatiably, 
that day particularly shewed: whereon I discoursed about the unlawfulness 
of speaking ill one of another, when I furnished you with a sure subject 
for self accusation, suggesting that you should speak ill of your own sins, 
but should not busy yourselves about those of other people: when I brought 
forward the Saints as accusing themselves indeed, but sparing others: Paul 
saying I am the chief of sinners, and that God had compassion on him who 
was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious,(1) and calling himself 
one born out of due time, and not even thinking himself worthy of the title 
of Apostle:(2) Peter saying "Depart from me because I am a sinful man:"(3) 
Matthew styling himself a publican even in the days of his Apostleship:(4) 
David crying out and saying "My iniquities have gone over my head, and as a 
heavy burden have been burdensome to me:"(5) and Isaiah lamenting and 
bewailing "I am unclean, and have unclean lips:"(6) The three children in 
the furnace of fire, confessing and saying that they have sinned and 
transgressed, and have not kept the commandments of God. Daniel again makes 
the same lamentation. When after the enumeration of these Saints, I called 
their accusers flies, and introduced the right reason for the comparison, 
saying, that just as they fasten themselves upon the wounds of others, so 
also the accusers bite at other people's sins, collecting disease therefrom 
for their acquaintance, and those who do the opposite, I designated bees, 
not gathering together diseases, but building honeycombs with the greatest 
devotion, and so flying to the meadow of the virtue of the Saint: Then 
accordingly--then ye shewed your insatiable longing. For when my discourse 
was extended to some length, yea to an interminable length, such as never 
was, many indeed expected that your eagerness would be quenched by the 
abundance of what was said. But the contrary happened. For your heart was 
the rather warmed, your desire was the rather kindled: and whence was this 
evident? The acclamations at least which took place at the end were 
greater, and the shouts more clear, and the same thing took place as at the 
forge. For as there at the beginning indeed the light of the fire is not 
very clear, but when the flame has caught the whole of the wood that is 
laid upon it, it is raised to a great height; so also accordingly this 
happened on the occasion of that day. At the beginning indeed, this 
assembly was not vehemently stirred by me. But when the discourse was 
extended to some length, and gradually took hold of all the subjects and 
the teaching spread more widely, then accordingly, then the desire of 
listening was kindled in you, and the applause broke forth, more 
vehemently. On this account, although I had been prepared to say less than 
was spoken, I then exceeded the measure, nay rather I never exceeded the 
measure. For I am wont to measure the amount of the teaching not by the 
multitude of the words spoken, but by the disposition of the audience. For 
he who meets with a disgusted audience, even if he abridge his teaching, 
seems to be vexatious, but he who meets with eager, and wide- awake, and 
attentive hearers, though he extend his discourse to some length, not even 
thus fulfils their desire. 

    But since it happens that there are in so great a congregation, certain 
weak ones, unable to follow the length of the discourse, I wish to suggest 
this to them, that they should hear and receive, as much as they can, and 
having received enough should retire: There is no one who forbids, or 
compels them to remain beyond their natural strength. Let them not however 
necessitate the abridgement of the discourse before the time and the proper 
hours. Thou art replete, but thy brother still hungers. Thou art drunk with 
the multitude of the things spoken, but thy brother is still thirsty. Let 
him then not distress thy weakness, compelling thee to receive more than 
thine own power allows: nor do thou vex his zeal by preventing him from 
receiving all that he can take in. 

    2. This also happens at secular feasts. Some indeed are more quickly 
satisfied, some more tardily, and neither do these blame those, nor do they 
condemn these. But there indeed to withdraw more quickly is praiseworthy, 
but here to withdraw more quickly is not praiseworthy, but excusable. There 
to leave off more slowly, is culpable and faulty, here to withdraw more 
tardily, brings the greatest commendation, and good report. Pray why is 
this? Because there indeed the tardiness arises from greediness, but here 
the endurance, and patience are made up of spiritual desire and divine 

    But enough of preamble. And we will proceed hereupon to that business 
which remained over to us from that day. What then was that which was then 
spoken? that all men had one speech, just as also they had one nature, and 
no one was different in speech, or in tongue. Whence then comes so great a 
distinction in speech? From the carelessness of those who received the 
gift--of both of which matters we then spoke, shewing both the 
lovingkindness of the Master through this unity of speech, and the 
senselessness of the servants through their distinction of speech. For he 
indeed foreseeing that we should waste the gift nevertheless gave it: and 
they to whom it was entrusted, waxed evil over their charge This is then 
one way of explanation, not that God wrested the gift from us but that we 
wasted what had been given. Then next after that, that we received 
afterwards gifts greater than those lost. In place of temporal toil he 
honoured us with eternal life. In place of thorns and thistles he prepared 
the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our souls. Nothing was more 
insignificant than man, and nothing became more honoured than man. He was 
the last item of the reasonable creation. But the feet became the head, and 
by means of the first-fruits, were raised to the royal throne. For just as 
some generous and opulent man who has seen some one escape from shipwreck 
and only able to save his bare body from the waves, cradles him in his 
hands, and casts about him a bright garment, and conducts him to the 
highest honours; so also God has done in the case of our nature. Man cast 
aside all that he had, his fight to speak freely, his communion with God, 
his sojourn in Paradise, his unclouded life, and as from a shipwreck, went 
forth bare. But God received him and straightway clothed him, and taking 
him by the hand gradually conducted him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck 
was quite unpardonable. For this tempest was due entirely not to the force 
of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor. 

    And yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for the magnitude 
of the calamity, and him who had suffered shipwreck in harbour, he received 
as lovingly as if he had undergone this in the midst of the open sea. For 
to fall in Paradise is to undergo shipwreck in harbour. Why so? Because 
when no sadness, or care, or labours, or toil, or countless waves of desire 
assaulted our nature, it was upset and it fell. And as the miscreants who 
sail the sea, often bore through the ship with a small iron tool, and let 
in the whole sea to the ship from below; so accordingly then, when the 
Devil saw the ship of Adam, that is his soul, full of many good things, he 
came and bored it through with his mere voice, as with some small iron 
tool, and emptied him of all his wealth and sank the ship itself. But God 
made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal 
throne. Wherefore Paul cries out and says, "He raised us up with him, and 
made us to sit with him, on his right hand in the heavenly places, that in 
the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in 
kindness towards us."(1) What dost thou say? the thing has already happened 
and has an end, and dost thou say "in order that he might shew to the ages 
to come?" Has he not shewn? He has already shewn, but not to all men, but 
to me who am faithful, but the unbelieving has not yet seen the wonder. But 
then, in that day the whole nature of man will come forward, and will 
wonder at that which has been done, but especially will it be more manifest 
to us. For we believe even now; but hearing and sight do not put a wonder 
before us in the same way, but just as in the case of kings when we hear of 
the purple robe, and the diadem, and the golden raiment, and the royal 
throne, we wonder indeed, but experience this in greater degree when the 
curtains are drawn aside and we see him seated on the lofty judgment seat. 
So also in the case of the Only-Begotten, when we see the curtains of 
heaven drawn aside, and the King of angels descending thence, and with his 
bodyguard of the heavenly hosts, then we perceive the wonder to be greater 
from our sight of it. For consider with me what it is to see our nature 
borne upon the Cherubim, and the whole angelic force surrounding it. 

    3. But look, with me, too, at the wisdom of Paul, how many expressions 
he seeks for, so as to present to us the lovingkindness of God. For he did 
not speak merely the word grace, nor riches, but what did he say? "The 
exceeding riches of his grace in kindness."(1) But notwithstanding even so, 
he is below the mark; and even as the slippery bodies when grasped by 
countless hands, escape our hold, and slip through easily; so also are we 
unable to get hold of the lovingkindness of God in whatever expressions we 
may try to grasp it, but the exceeding magnitude of it baffles the 
feebleness of our utterances. And Paul there--fore experiencing this, and 
seeing the force of words defeated by its magnitude, desists after saying 
one word: and what is this? "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift."(2) 
For neither speech, nor any mind is able to set forth the tender care of 
God. On this account he then says that it is past finding out, and 
elsewhere "The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your 

    But, as I was saying, these two ways of explanation are found in the 
meantime: one indeed that God has not wrested the gift that we have lost; 
and next, that the good things which have been given to us are even greater 
than those which we have lost. And I wish also to mention a third too. What 
then is the third? That even if he had not given the things after these, 
which were greater than those we had lost, but had only taken away what had 
been given to us, as we furnished the reason why, (for let this be added); 
even this is enough of itself to shew his tender care towards us. For not 
only to give, but also to take away what was given, is a mark of the 
greatest loving-kindness, and, if you will, let us lay bare the matter, in 
the case of Paradise. He gave Paradise. This of his own tender care. We 
were seen to be unworthy of the gift. This of our own senselessness. He 
took away the gift from those who became unworthy of it. This came of his 
own goodness. And what kind of goodness is it, says one, to take away the 
gift? Wait, and thou shalt fully hear. For think, what Cain would have 
been, dwelling in Paradise after his bloodguiltiness. For if, when he was 
expelled from that abode, if when condemned to toil and labour, and 
beholding the threat of death hanging over his head, if seeing the calamity 
of his father before his eyes, and holding the traces of the wrath of God 
still in his hands, and encompassed with so great horrors, he lashed out 
into such great wickedness, as to ignore nature, and to forget one born 
from the same birth pangs, and to slay him who had done him no wrong, to 
lay hold on his brother's person, and to dye his right hand with blood, and 
when God wanted him to be still, to refuse submission and to affront his 
maker, to dishonour his parents; if this man had continued to dwell in 
Paradise--look, into how great evil he would have rushed. For if when so 
many restraints were laid upon him, he leapt with fatal leaps; and if these 
walls were set at nought, whither would he not have precipitated himself? 

    Wouldest thou learn too from the mother of this man, what a good result 
the expulsion from the life of Paradise had, compare what Eve was before 
this, and what she became afterwards. Before this indeed, she considered 
that deceiving Devil, that wicked Demon to be more worth believing than the 
commandments of God, and at the mere sight of the tree, she trampled under 
foot the law which had been laid down by Him. But when the expulsion from 
Paradise came, consider how much better and wiser she grew. For when she 
bare a son, she says "I have gotten a man through the Lord."(4) She 
straightway flew to the master. who before this had despised the master, 
and she neither ascribes the matter to nature, nor puts the birth down to 
the laws of marriage, but she recognizes the Lord of Nature, and 
acknowledges thanks to Him for the birth of the little child. And she who 
before this deceived her husband, afterwards even trained the little child, 
and gave him a name which of itself was able to bring the gift of God to 
her remembrance: and again when she bare another, she says "God hath raised 
up seed to me in place of Abel whom Cain slew."(1) The woman remembers her 
calamity, and does not become impatient but she gives thanks to God, and 
calls the little child after his gift, furnishing it with constant material 
for instruction. Thus even in his very deprivation God conferred greater 
benefit. The woman suffered expulsion from Paradise, but by means of her 
ejection she was led to a knowledge of God, so that she found a greater 
thing than she lost. And if it were profitable, says one, to suffer 
expulsion from Paradise, for what cause did God give Paradise at the 
beginning? This turned out profitably to man, on account of our 
carelessness, since, if at least, they had taken heed to themselves, and 
had acknowledged their master, and had known how to be self-restrained, and 
to keep within bounds, they would have remained in honour. But when they 
treated the gifts which had been given them with insolence, then it became 
profitable, that they should be ejected. For what cause then did God give 
at first? In order that he might shew forth his own lovingkindness, and 
because He himself was prepared to bring us even to greater honour. But we 
were the cause of chastisement and punishment on all sides, ejecting 
ourselves through our indifference to goods which were given to us. Just as 
therefore an affectionate father, at first indeed, suffers his own son to 
dwell in his home, and to enjoy all his father's goods, but when he sees 
that he has become worthless of the honour, he leads him away from his 
table, and puts him far from his own sight, and often casts him forth from 
his paternal home, in order that he, suffering expulsion, and becoming 
better by this slight and this dishonour, may again shew himself worthy of 
restoration, and may succeed to his father's inheritance: So has God done. 
He gave Paradise to man. He cast him out when he appeared unworthy, in 
order that by his dwelling outside, and through his dishonour, he might 
become better, and more self-restrained, and might appear worthy again of 
restoration. Since after those things he did become better, he brings him 
back again and says "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."(2) Dost 
thou see that not the gift of Paradise but even the ejection from Paradise 
was a token of the greatest tender care? For had he not suffered expulsion 
from Paradise, he would not again have appeared worthy of Paradise. 

    4. This argument therefore let us maintain throughout, and let us apply 
it to the case of the subject lying before us. God gave a speech common to 
all. This is part of his loving kindness to men. They did not use the gift 
rightly, but they lapsed to utter folly. He took away again that which had 
been given. For if when they had one speech, they fell into so great folly, 
as to wish to build a tower to heaven: had they not immediately been 
chastised would they not have desired to lay hold on the height of heaven 
itself? For why? If indeed that were impossible for them, yet 
notwithstanding their impious thoughts are made out from their plan. All 
which things God foresaw, and since they did not use their oneness of 
speech rightly, he rightly divided them by difference of speech. And see 
with me, his lovingkindness. "Behold," saith he "they all have one speech, 
and this they have begun to do."(3) 

    For what reason did he not at once proceed to the division of tongues, 
but first of all defend himself, as if about to be judged in a lawcourt? 
And yet at least no one can say to him why hast thou thus done? yea he is 
at liberty to do all things as he wills. But still as one about to give 
account, he thus sets up a defence, teaching us to be gentle and loving. 
For if the master defends himself to his servants, even when they have done 
him this wrong; much more ought we to defend ourselves to one another, even 
if we are wronged to the highest degree. See at least how he defends 
himself. "Behold they have all one mouth and one speech" saith he, "and 
this they have begun to do," as if he said let no one accuse me of this 
when he sees the division of tongues. Let no one consider that this 
difference of speech was made over to men from the beginning. "Behold they 
all have one mouth, and one speech." But they did not use the gift aright. 
And in order that thou mayest understand that he does not chastise for what 
has taken place so much as he provides for improvement in the future, hear 
the sequel "and now none of all the things will fail them, which they set 
on foot to do."(4) Now what he says, is of such a kind as this. If they do 
not pay the penalty now, and be restrained from the very root of their 
sins, they will never cease from wickedness. For this is what "none of the 
things will fail them which they set on foot to do means, as if he said, 
and they will add other deeds yet more monstrous. For such a thing is 
wickedness; if when it has taken a start it be not hindered, as fire 
catching wood, so it rises to an unspeakable height. Dost thou see that the 
deprivation of oneness of speech was a work of much lovingkindness? He 
inflicted difference of speech upon them, in order that they might not fall 
into greater wickedness. Hold fast this argument then with me, and let it 
ever be fixed and immoveable in your minds, that not only when he confers 
benefits but even when he chastises God is good and loving. For even his 
chastisements and his punishments are the greatest part of his beneficence, 
the greatest form of his providence. Whenever therefore thou seest that 
famines have taken place, and pestilences, and drought and immoderate 
rains, and irregularities in the atmosphere, or any other of the things 
which chasten human nature, be not distressed, nor be despondent, but 
worship Him who caused them, marvel at Him for His tender care. For He who 
does these things is such that He even chastens the body that the soul may 
become sound. Then does God these things saith one? God does these things, 
and even if the whole city, nay even if the whole universe were here I will 
not shrink from saying this. Would that my voice were clearer than a 
trumpet, and that it were possible to stand in a lofty place, and to cry 
aloud to all men, and to testify that God does these things. I do not say 
these things in arrogance but I have the prophet standing at my side, 
crying and saying, "There is no evil in the city which the Lord hath not 
done"(1)--now evil is an ambiguous term; and I wish that you shall learn 
the exact meaning of each expression, in order that on account of ambiguity 
you may not confound the nature of the things, and fall into blasphemy. 

    5. There is then evil, which is really evil; fornication, adultery, 
covetousness, and the countless dreadful things, which are worthy of the 
utmost reproach and punishment. Again there is evil, which rather is not 
evil, but is called so, famine, pestilence, death, disease, and others of a 
like kind. For these would not be evils. On this account I said they are 
called so only. Why then? Because, were they evils, they would not have 
become the sources of good to us, chastening our pride, goading our sloth, 
and leading us on to zeal, making us more attentive. "For when," saith one, 
"he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned, and came early to 
God."(2) He calls this evil therefore which chastens them, which makes them 
purer, which renders them more zealous, which leads them on to love of 
wisdom; not that which comes under suspicion and is worthy of reproach; for 
that is not a work of God, but an invention of our own will, but this is 
for the destruction of the other. He calls then by the name of evil the 
affliction, which arises from our punishment; thus naming it not in regard 
to its own nature, but according to that view which men take of it. For 
since we are accustomed to call by the name of evil, not only thefts and 
adulteries, but also calamities; so he has called the matter, according to 
the estimate of mankind. This then is that which the prophet saith "There 
is no evil in the city which the Lord hath not done." This too by means of 
Isaiah God has made clear saying "I am God who maketh peace and createth 
evil,"(3) again naming calamities evils. This evil also Christ hints at, 
thus saying to the disciples, "sufficient for the day is the evil 
thereof,"(4) that is to say the affliction, the misery. It is manifest then 
on all sides, that he here calls punishment evil; and himself brings these 
upon us, affording us the greatest view of his providence. For the 
physician is not only to be commended when he leads forth the patient into 
gardens and meadows, nor even into baths and pools of water, nor yet when 
he sets before him a well furnished table, but when he orders him to remain 
without food, when he oppresses him with hunger and lays him low with 
thirst, confines him to his bed, both making his house a prison, and 
depriving him of the very light, and shadowing his room on all sides with 
curtains, and when he cuts, and when he cauterizes, and when he brings his 
bitter medicines, he is equally a physician. How is it not then 
preposterous to call him a physician who does so many evil things, but to 
blaspheme God, if at any time He doeth one of these things, if He bring on 
either famine or death, and to reject his providence over all? And yet He 
is the only true physician both of souls and bodies. On this account He 
often seizes this nature of ours wantoning in prosperity, and travailing 
with a fever of sins, and by want, and hunger, and death and other 
calamities and the rest of the medicines of which He knows, frees us from 
diseases. But the poor alone feel hunger, says one. But He does not chasten 
with hunger alone, but with countless other things. Him who is in poverty 
He has often corrected with hunger, but the rich and him who enjoys 
prosperity, with dangers, diseases, untimely deaths. For He is full of 
resources, and the medicines which He has for our salvation are manifold. 

    Thus too the judges do. They do not honour, or crown those only who 
dwell in cities, nor do they provide gifts alone, but they also often 
correct. On this account both the sword is sharpened by them, and tortures 
are prepared; both the wheel and the stocks, and the executioners, and 
countless other forms of chastisement. That which the executioner is to the 
judges, famine is to God--as an executioner correcting us and leading us 
away from vice. This too, it is possible to see in the case of the 
husbandmen: They do not then, only protect the root of the vine, nor hedge 
it round but prune it, and lop off many of the branches; on this account 
not only have they a hoe, but a sickle too, suitable for cutting: yet 
notwithstanding we do not find fault with them, but then above all we 
admire them, when we see them cutting off much that is unserviceable, so as 
through the rejection of what is superfluous to afford great security to 
that which remains. How is it not then preposterous, that we should thus 
approve of a father indeed and a physician and a judge, and a husbandman, 
and should neither blame nor censure him who casts his son out of his house 
nor the physician who puts his patient to torture nor the judge who 
corrects, nor the husbandman who prunes: but that we should blame and smite 
with countless accusations God, if he would at any time raise us up, when 
we are as it were, besotted through the great drunkenness which comes of 
wickedness? How great madness would it not be, not even to allow God a 
share of the same self-justification, of which we allow our fellow servants 
a share? 

    6. Fearing these things for them who reproach God, I speak now, in 
order that they may not kick against the pricks, and cover their own feet 
with blood, that they may not throw stones to heaven; and receive wounds on 
their own head. But I have somewhat else far beyond this to say. For 
omitting to ask (I say this by way of concession) if God took from us to 
our profit, I only say this; that if He took what had been given, not even 
thus, could anyone be able to reproach Him. For He was Lord of his own. 
Among men indeed, when they entrust us with money, and lend us silver, we 
give them our thanks for the time during which they lent it, we are not 
indignant at the time at which they take back their own. And shall we 
reproach God who wishes to take back his own? Indeed now is this not the 
extreme of folly? yea the great and noble Job did not act thus. For not 
only when he received, but even when he was deprived, he gives the greatest 
thanks to God saying." The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; may the 
name of the Lord be blessed for ever."[1] But if it is right to give thanks 
for both these even separately, and deprivation is not the less serviceable 
than bestowal; what excusableness should we have, tell me, in recompensing 
in a contrary spirit, and being impatient with Him when we ought to 
worship, who is so gentle, and loving and careful, who is wiser than every 
Physician, and more full of affection than any father, juster than any 
judge, and more anxious than any husbandman, in healing these souls of 
ours? What then could be more insane and senseless than they who in the 
midst of so great good order, say that we are deprived of the providence of 
God? For just as if some one were to contend that the soul was murky and 
cold, he would produce an example of extreme insanity, by his opinion; so 
if any one doubts about the providence of God, much rather is he liable to 
charges of madness. 

    Not so manifest is the Sun, as the providence of God is clear. But 
nevertheless some dare to say that Demons administer our affairs. What can 
I do? Thou hast a loving Master. He chooses rather to be blasphemed by thee 
through these words, than to commit thine affairs to the Demons and 
persuade thee by the reality how Demons administer. For then thou wouldest 
know their wickedness well by the experience of it. But rather indeed now 
it is possible to set it before you as it were by a certain small example. 
Certain men possessed of Demons coming forth out of the tombs met Christ, 
and the Demons kept beseeching him to suffer them to enter the herd of 
swine. And he suffered them, and they went away, and straightway 
precipitated them all headlong.(2) Thus do Demons govern; and yet to them 
the swine were of no particular account, but with thee there is ever a 
warfare without a truce, and an implacable fight, and undying hatred. And 
if in the case of those with whom they had nothing in common they did not 
even endure that they should be allowed a brief breathing space of time: if 
they had gotten unto their power us their enemies who are perpetually 
stinging them what would they not have done? and what incurable mischief 
would they not have accomplished? For for this reason God let them fall 
upon the herd of swine, in order that in the case of the bodies of 
irrational animals thou mayest learn their wickedness, and that they would 
have done to the possessed the things which they did to the swine, had not 
the demoniacs in their very madness experienced the providence of God, is 
evident to all: and now therefore when thou seest a man excited by a Demon, 
worship the Master. Learn the wickedness of the Demons. For it is possible 
to see both things in the case of these Demons, the lovingkindness of God, 
and the evil of the Demons. The evil of the Demons when they harass and 
disturb the soul of the demented: and the lovingkindness of God whenever he 
restrains and hinders so savage a Demon, who has taken up his abode within, 
and desires to hurl the man headlong, and does not allow him to use his own 
power to the full, but suffers him to exhibit just so much strength, as 
both to bring the man to his senses, and make his own wickedness apparent. 
Dost thou wish to form another example to see once more how a Demon 
arranges matters when God allows him to use his own power? Consider the 
herds, the flocks of Job, how in one instant of time he annihilated all, 
consider the pitiable death of the children, the blow that was dealt to his 
body: and thou shalt see the savage and inhuman and unsparing character of 
the wickedness of the Demons, and from these things thou shall know clearly 
that if God had. entrusted the whole of this world to their authority, they 
would have confused and disturbed everything, and would have assigned to us 
their treatment of the swine, and of those herds, since not even for a 
little breathing space of time could they have endured to spare us our 
salvation. If Demons were to arrange affairs, we should be in no better 
condition than possessed men, yea rather we should be worse than they. For 
God did not give them over entirely to the tyranny of the Demons, otherwise 
they would suffer far worse things than these which they now suffer. And I 
would ask this of those who say these things, what kind of disorder they 
behold in the present, that they set down all our affairs to the 
arrangement of Demons? And yet we behold the sun for so many years 
proceeding day by day in regular order, a manifold band of stars keeping 
their own order, the courses of the moon unimpeded, an invariable 
succession of night and day, all things, both above and below, as it were 
in a certain fitting harmony, yea rather even far more, and more accurately 
each keeping his own place, and not departing from the order which God who 
made them ordained from the beginning. 

    7. And what is the use of all this, says one, when the heaven indeed, 
and sun, and moon, and the band of stars, and all the rest keep much good 
order, but our affairs are full of confusion and disorder. What kind of 
confusion, O man, and disorder? A certain one, says he, is rich, and 
overbearing, He is rapacious and covetous, he drains the substance of the 
poor day by day, and suffers no terrible affliction. Another lives in 
forbearance, self-restraint, and uprightness, and is adorned with all other 
good qualities, and is chastened with poverty and disease, and extremely 
terrible afflictions. Are these then the matters which offend thee? Yes, 
these, says he. If then thou seest both of the rapacious, many chastened, 
and of those living virtuously, yea some even enjoying countless goods, why 
dost thou not abandon thine opinion, and be content with the Almighty? 
Because it is this very thing which offends me more. For why when there are 
two evil men, is one chastened, and another gets off, and escapes; and when 
there are two good men, one is honoured, and the other continues under 
punishment? And this very thing is a very great work of God's providence. 
For if he were to chasten all the evil men, here; and were to honour here 
all the good men, a day of judgment were superfluous. Again if he were to 
chasten no wicked man, nor were to honour any of the good, then the base 
would become baser and worse, as being more careless than the excellent, 
and they who were minded to blaspheme would accuse God all the more, and 
say that our affairs were altogether deprived of his providence. For if 
when certain evil men are chastened, and certain good men punished, they 
likewise say that human affairs are subject to no providence; if even this 
did not happen what would they not say? and what words would they not send 
forth? On this account some of the wicked he chastens, and some he does not 
chasten and some of the good he honours and some he does not honour. He 
does not chasten all, in order that he may persuade thee, that there is a 
Resurrection. But he chastens some in order that he may make the more 
careless, through fear by means of the punishment of the others, more in 
earnest. Again he honours certain of the good, in order that he may lead on 
others by his honours to emulate their virtue. But he does not honour all, 
in order that thou mayest learn that there is another season for rendering 
to all their recompense. For if indeed all were to receive their deserts 
here, they would disbelieve the account of the Resurrection. But if no one 
were to receive his desert here, the majority would become more careless. 
On this account some he chastens, and others he does not chasten, profiling 
both those who are chastened, and those who are not chastened. For he 
separates their wickedness from those, and he makes the others by their 
punishment, more self-restrained. And this is manifest from what Christ 
himself said. For when they announced to him that a tower had been brought 
to the ground, and had buried certain men, he saith to them "What think ye? 
that these men were sinners only? I say to you nay, but if ye do not repent 
ye also shall suffer the same thing."(1) 

    Dost thou see how those perished on account of their sin, and the rest 
did not escape on account of their righteousness, but in order that they 
might become better by the punishment of the others? Were not then the 
chastened unjustly dealt with says one? For they could without being 
chastened themselves become better by the punishment of others. But if He 
had known that they would become better from penitence God would not have 
chastened them. For if when he foresaw that many would profit nothing from 
his longsuffering, he nevertheless bears with them, with much tolerance, 
fulfilling his own part, and affording them an opportunity of coming out of 
their own senselessness to their sober senses one day; how could he deprive 
those who were about to become better from the punishment of others, of the 
benefit of repentance? So that they are in no way unjustly treated, both 
their evil being cut off by their punishment, and their chastening is to be 
lighter there, because they suffered here beforehand. Again, they who were 
not chastened are in no way unjustly treated; for it was possible for them, 
had they wished, to have used the longsuffering of God, to accomplish a 
most excellent change, and wondering at his tolerance, to have become 
ashamed at his exceeding forbearance, and one day to have gone over to 
virtue, and to have gained their own salvation by the punishment of others. 
But if they remain in wickedness, God is not to blame, who on this account 
was longsuffering, that he might recover them, but they are unworthy of 
pardon, who did not rightly use the longsuffering of God: and it is not 
only possible to use this argument as a reason why all the wicked are not 
chastened here, but another also not less than this. Of what kind then is 
this? That if God brought upon all, the chastenings which their sins 
deserved, our race would have been carried off, and would have failed to 
come down to posterity. And in order that thou mayest learn that this is 
true, hear the prophet saying "If Thou observedst iniquity  O Lord, who 
shall stand?"(2) And if it seems good to thee to investigate this saying, 
leaving the accurate enquiry into the life of each, alone: (For it is not 
possible even to know all that has been accomplished by each man) let us 
bring forward those sins which all, without contradiction, commit: and from 
these it will be plain and manifest to us, that if we were chastened for 
each of our sins, we should long ago have perished. He who has called his 
brother fool, "is liable to the hell of fire" saith Heft Is there then any 
one of us who has never sinned this sin? What then? ought he to be 
straightway carried off? Therefore we should have been all carried off and 
would have disappeared, long ago, indeed very long ago. Again he who 
swears, saith he, even if he fulfil his oath, doeth the works of the wicked 
one.(4) Who is there then, who has not sworn? Yea rather who is there who 
has never sworn falsely? He who looketh on a woman, saith he, with unchaste 
eyes,(5) is wholly an adulterer, and of this sin any one would find many 
guilty. When then these acknowledged sins are such and so insufferable, and 
each of these of itself brings upon us inevitable chastisement, if we were 
to reckon up the secret sins committed by us, then we shall see especially 
that the providence of God does not bring upon us punishment for each sin. 
So that when thou seest anyone rapacious, covetous, and not chastened, then 
do thou unfold thine own conscience; reckon up thine own life, go over the 
sins which have been committed and thou shalt learn rightly that in thine 
own case first, it is not expedient to be chastened for each of thy sins: 
for on this account the majority make reckless utterances, since they do 
not look on their own case before that of others, but we all leaving our 
own alone, examine that of the rest. But let us no longer do this, but the 
reverse, and if thou seest any righteous man chastened, remember Job: for 
if any one be righteous, he will not be more righteous than that man, nor 
within a small distance of approaching him. And if he suffer countless 
ills, he has not yet suffered so much, as that man. 

    8. Taking this then into thy mind, cease charging the master; learning 
that it is not by way of deserting him does God let such an one suffer ill, 
but through desire to crown him, and make him more distinguished. And if 
thou seest a sinner punished, remember the paralytic who passed thirty 
eight years on his bed. For that that man was delivered over then to that 
disease through sin, hear Christ saying "Behold thou art made whole; sin no 
more lest a worse thing happen to thee."(6) For either when we are 
chastened, we pay the penalty of our sins, or else we receive the occasion 
of crowning if, when we live in rectitude, we suffer ill. So that whether 
we live in righteousness, or in sins, chastening is a useful thing for us, 
sometimes making us more distinguished, sometimes rendering us more self-
controlled, and lightening our punishment to come for us. For that it is 
possible that one chastened here, and bearing it thankfully should 
experience milder punishment there hear St. Paul saying "For this reason 
many are weak and sickly, and some sleep. For if we judged ourselves, we 
should not be judged. But when we are judged we are corrected by the Lord, 
that we should not be condemned with the world."(1) Knowing all these 
things therefore, Let us both moralize in this way on the providence of 
God, and stop the mouths of the gainsayers. And if any of the events which 
happen pass our understanding, let us not from this consider that our 
affairs are not governed by providence, but perceiving His providence in 
part, in things incomprehensible let us yield to the unsearchableness of 
His wisdom. For if it is not possible for one not conversant with it to 
understand a man's art, much rather is it impossible for the human 
understanding to comprehend the infinity of the providence of God. "For his 
judgments are unsearchable and his ways past finding out"(2) But 
nevertheless from small portions we gain a clear and manifest faith about 
the whole, we give thanks to him for all that happens. For there is even 
another consideration that cannot be contradicted, for those who wish to 
moralize about the providence of God For we would ask the gainsayers, is 
there then a God? and if they should say there is not, let us not answer 
them. For just as it is worthless to answer madmen, so too those who say 
there is no God. For if a ship having few sailors, and passengers, would 
not be conducted safely for one mile even, without the hand which guides 
it, much more, such a world as this, having so many persons in it, composed 
of different elements, would not have continued so long a time, were there 
not a certain providence presiding over it, both governing, and continually 
maintaining this whole fabric, and if in shame, through the common opinion 
of all men, and the experience of affairs, they confess that there is a 
God, let us say this to them. If there is a God, as indeed there is, it 
follows that He is just, for if He is not just neither is He God, and if He 
is just He recompenses to each according to their desert. But we do not see 
all here receiving according to their desert. Therefore it is necessary to 
hope for some other requital awaiting us, in order that by each one 
receiving according to his desert, the justice of God may be made manifest. 
For this consideration does not only contribute to our wisdom about 
providence alone, but about the Resurrection; and let us teach others, and 
let us do all diligence to shut the mouths of them who rave against the 
master, and let us ourselves glorify him in all things. For thus shall we 
win more of his care, and enjoy much of his influence, and thus shall we be 
able to escape from real evil, and obtain future good, through the grace 
and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, By whom and with whom be glory 
to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, now and always, for ever and ever. 



    1. When Isaac, in old time, was desirous to eat a meal at the hands of 
his son, he sent his son forth from the house to the chace. But when this 
Isaac was desirous to accept a meal at my hands he did not send me forth 
from the house, but himself ran to our table. What could be more tenderly 
affectionate than he? What more humble? who thought fit to shew his warm 
love thus, and deigned to descend so far. On this account surely, we also 
having spent the tones of our voice, and the strength of our feet over the 
morning discourse, when we saw his fatherly face, forgot our weakness, lay 
aside our fatigue, were uplifted with pleasure; we saw his illustrious 
hoary head, and our soul was filled with light. On this account too, we set 
out our table with readiness, in order that he should eat and bless us. 
There is no fraud and guile, here, as there was then, there. One indeed was 
commanded to bring the meal--but another brought it. But I was commanded to 
bring it, and brought it too. Bless me then, O my father, with spiritual 
blessing, which we all also pray ever to receive, and which is profitable 
not only to thee, but also to me, and to all these. Entreat the common 
master of us all, to prolong thy life to the old age of Isaac. For this is 
both for me, and for these, more valuable, and more needful than the dew of 
heaven, and the fatness of the earth. 

    But it is time to proceed to set out our table; what then is this? The 
remains of what was lately said with a view to our love of you. For still--
still--we renew our discourse concerning the Devil, which we started two 
days ago, which we also addressed to the initiated, this morning when we 
discoursed to them about renunciation, and covenant. And we do this, not 
because our discourse about the Devil is sweet to us, but because the 
doctrine about him is full of security for you. For he is an enemy and a 
foe, and it is a great security to know clearly, the tactics of your 
enemies. We have said lately, that he does not overcome by force, nor by 
tyranny, nor through compulsion, nor through violence. Since were this so, 
he would have destroyed all men. And in testimony of this we brought 
forward the swine, against which the Demons were unable to venture 
anything, before the permission of the Master.(1) The herds and flocks of 
Job. For not even did the Devil venture to destroy these, until he received 
power from above. We learned therefore this one thing first, that he does 
not overcome us by force, or by compulsion; next after that, we added that 
even when he overcomes by deceitfulness, not thus does he get the better of 
all men, Then again we brought that athlete Job, himself into the midst, 
against whom he set countless schemes going, and not even thus got the 
better of him, but withdrew defeated. One question still remains. What then 
is this matter? That if he does not overcome says one, by force, yet by 
deceitfulness. And on this account it were better that he should be 
destroyed. For if Job got the better of him, yet Adam was deceived and 
overthrown. Now if once for all he had been removed from the world, Adam 
would never have been overthrown. But now he remains, and is defeated 
indeed by one, but gets the better of many. Ten overcame him, but he 
himself overcomes and wrestles down ten thousand and if God took him away 
from the world, these ten thousand would not have perished. What then shall 
we say to this? That first of all they who overcame are more valuable far 
than they who are defeated, even if the latter be more, and the former 
less. "For better is one," saith he "that doeth the will of God than ten 
thousand transgressors."(2) And next, that if the antagonist were taken 
away he who overcomes is thereby injured. For if thou lettest the adversary 
remain, the more slothful are injured, not on account of the more diligent, 
but by their own slothfulness; whereas it thou takest away the antagonist, 
the more diligent are betrayed on account of the slothful, and neither 
exhibit their own power, nor win crowns. 

    2. Perhaps ye have not yet understood what has been said. Therefore it 
is necessary that I should say it again more clearly. Let there be one 
antagonist. But let there be also two athletes about to wrestle gainst him, 
and of these two athletes let one be consumed with gluttony, unprepared, 
void of strength, nerveless; but the other diligent, of good habit, passing 
his time in the wrestling school, in many gymnastic exercises, and 
exhibiting all the practice which bears upon the contest. If then thou 
takest away the antagonist, which of these two hast thou injured? The 
slothful, pray, and unprepared, or the earnest one who has toiled so much? 
It is quite dear that it is the earnest one: For the one indeed is wronged 
by the slothful, after the antagonist has been taken away. But the 
slothful, while he remains, is no longer injured on account of the earnest. 
For he has fallen, owing to his own slothfulness. 

    I will state another solution of this question, in order that thou 
mayest learn, that the Devil does not injure, but their own slothfulness 
everywhere overthrows those who do not take heed. Let the Devil be allowed 
to be exceeding wicked, not by nature, but by choice and conviction. For 
that the Devil is not by nature wicked, learn from his very names. For the 
Devil, the slanderer that is, is called so from slandering; for he 
slandered man to God saying "Doth Job reverence thee for nought? but put 
out thine hand, and touch what he hath, see if he will not blaspheme thee 
to thy face."(4) He slandered God again to man saying "Fire fell from 
heaven and burnt up the sheep." For he was anxious to persuade him, that 
this warfare was stirred up from above, out of the heavens, and he set the 
servant at variance with the master, and the master with his servant; 
rather he did not set them at variance, but attempted to indeed, but was 
not able, in order that whenever thou mayest set another servant at 
variance with his master, Adam with God, and believing the Devil's slander, 
thou mayest learn that he gained strength, not owing to his own power but 
from that man's slothfulness and carelessness. He is called the Devil 
therefore on that account. But to slander, and to refrain from slander is 
not natural, but an action which takes place and which ceases to take 
place, occurring and ceasing to occur. Now such things do not reach the 
rank of the nature or of the essence of a thing. I know that this 
consideration about essence and accident is hard to be grasped by many. But 
there are they who are able to lend a finer ear, wherefore also we have 
spoken these things. Do you wish that I should come to another name? You 
shall see that that also is not a name which belongs to his essence or 
nature. He is called wicked. But his wickedness is not from his nature, but 
from his choice. For even this at one time is present, at another time is 
absent. Do not thou then say this to me that it always remains with him. 
For it was not indeed with him at the beginning, but afterwards came upon 
him; wherefore he is called apostate. Although many men are wicked, he 
alone is called wicked by pre-eminence. Why then is he thus called? Because 
though in no way wronged by us, having no grudge whether small or great, 
when he saw mankind had in honour, he straightway envied him his good. What 
therefore could be worse than this wickedness, except when hatred and war 
exist, without having any reasonable cause. Let the Devil then be let 
alone, and let us bring forward the creation, in order that thou mayest 
learn that the Devil is not the cause of ills to us, if we would only, take 
heed: in order that thou mayest learn that the weak in choice, and the 
unprepared, and slothful, even were there no Devil, falls, and casts 
himself into many a depth of evil. The Devil is evil. I know it myself and 
it is acknowedged by all, yet give heed strictly to the things which are 
now about to be said. For they are not ordinary matters, but those about 
which many words, many times, and in many places arise, about which there 
is many a fight and battle not only on the part of the faithful against 
unbelievers but also on the part of the faithful against the faithful. For 
this is that which is full of pain. 

    3. The Devil then is acknowledged, as I said, to be evil by all. What 
shall we say about this beautiful and wondrous creation? Pray is the 
creation too, wicked? and who is so corrupt, who so drill, and demented as 
to accuse the creation? what then shall we say about this? For it is not 
wicked, but is both beautiful and token of the wisdom and power and 
lovingkindness of God. Hear at least how the prophet marvels at it, saying, 
"How are thy works magnified O Lord! in wisdom Thou hast made them all."(1) 
He did go through them one by one, but withdrew before the incomprehensible 
wisdom of God. And that he has made it thus beautiful and vast hear a 
certain one saying, "From the vastness and beauty of the creatures, the 
originator of them is proportionably seen."(2) Hear too Paul saying, "For 
the invisible things of Him, since the creation of the world, are clearly 
seen, being perceived through the things that are made."(3) For each of 
these by which he spake declared that the creation leads us to the 
knowledge of God, because it causes us to know the Master fully. What then? 
If we see this beautiful and wondrous creation itself becoming a cause of 
impiety to many, shall we blame it? In no wise, but them who were unable to 
use the medicine rightly. Whence then is this which leads us to the 
knowledge of God, a cause of impiety? "The wise" saith he "were darkened in 
their understandings, and worshipped and served the creature more than the 
creator"(4) The Devil is nowhere here, a Demon is nowhere here, but the 
creation alone is set before us, as the teacher of the knowledge of God. 
How then has it become the cause of impiety? Not owing to its own nature, 
but owing to the carelessness of those who do not take heed. What then? 
Shall we take away even the creation? tell me. 

    And why do I speak about the creation? Let us come to our own members. 
For even these we shall find to be a cause of destruction if we do not take 
heed, not because of their own nature, but because of our sloth. And look; 
an eye was given, in order that thou mayest behold the creation and glorify 
the Master. But if thou dost not use the eye well, it becomes to thee the 
minister of adultery. A tongue has been given, in order that thou mayest 
speak well, in order that thou mayest praise the Creator. But if thou 
givest not excellent heed, it becomes a cause of blasphemy to thee. And 
hands were given thee that thou mayest stretch them forth unto prayer. But 
if thou are not wary, thou stretchest them out unto covetousness. Feet were 
given in order that thou mayest run unto good works, but if thou art 
careless thou wilt cause wicked works by means of them: Dost thou see that 
all things hurt the weak man? Dost thou see that even the medicines of 
salvation inflict death upon the weak, not because of their own nature but 
because of his weakness? God made the heaven in order that thou mayest 
wonder at the work, and worship the master. But others leaving the creator 
alone, have worshipped the heaven; and this from their own carelessness and 
senselessness. But why do I speak of the creation? assuredly what could be 
more conducive to salvation than the Cross? But this Cross has become an 
offence to the weak. "For the word of the Cross is to them that are 
perishing, foolishness: but to those which are being saved, it is the power 
of God."(1)And again, "we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-
block and unto Gentiles foolishness."(2) What could be more fit for 
teaching than Paul, and the apostles? But the Apostles became a savour of 
death to many. He says at least "to one a savour from death unto death: to 
the other a savour from life unto life."(3) Dost thou see that the weak is 
hurt even by Paul, but the strong is injured not even by the Devil? 

    4. Dost thou wish that we should exercise the argument in the case of 
Jesus Christ? What is equal to that salvation? what more profitable than 
that presence? But this very saving presence, so profitable, became an 
additional means of chastening to many. "For for judgment" saith he "came I 
into this world, that they which see not may see, and that they which see 
may become blind."(4) What dost thou say? The light became a cause of 
blindness? The light did not become a cause of blindness, but the weakness 
of the eyes of the soul was not able to entertain the light. Thou hast seen 
that a weak man is hurt on all sides, but the strong is benefited on all 
sides For in every case, the purpose is the cause, in every case the 
disposition is master. Since the Devil, if thou wouldest understand it, is 
even profitable to us, if we use him aright, and benefits us greatly, and 
we gain no ordinary advantages; and this, we shewed in a small degree from 
the case of Job. And it is possible also to learn this from Paul: for 
writing about the fornicator he thus speaks "Deliver such an one unto Satan 
for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved."(5) Behold 
even the Devil has become a cause of salvation, but not because of his own 
disposition, but because of the skill of the Apostle. For as the physicians 
taking serpents and cutting off their destructive members, prepare 
medicines for antidotes; so also did Paul. He took whatever was profitable 
of the chastening that proceeds from the Devil, and left the rest alone; in 
order that thou mayest learn that the Devil is not the cause of salvation, 
but that he hasted to destroy and devour mankind. But that the Apostle 
through his own wisdom cut his throat: hear in the second epistle to the 
Corinthians, what he saith about this very fornicator, "confirm your love 
towards him," "lest by any means such an one should be swallowed up by over 
much sorrow." And, "we be taken advantage of by Satan."(6) We have snatched 
beforehand the man from the gullet of the wild beast, he saith. For the 
Apostle often used the Devil as an executioner. For the executioners punish 
those who have done wrong, not as they choose, but as the judges allow. For 
this is the rule for the executioner, to take vengeance, giving heed to the 
command of the judge. Dost thou see to what a dignity the Apostle mounted? 
He who was invested with a body, used the bodiless as an executioner; and 
that which their common master saith to the Devil, concerning Job: charging 
him thus, "Touch his flesh, but thou shall not touch his life;"(7) giving 
him a limit, and measure of vengeance, in order that the wild beast might 
not be impetuous and leap upon him too shamelessly; this too the Apostle 
does. For delivering the fornicator over to him he says "For the 
destruction of the flesh,"(8) that is "thou shall not touch his life." Dost 
thou see the authority of the servant? Fear not therefore the Devil, even 
if he be bodiless: for he has come in contact with him. And nothing is 
weaker than he who has come into such contact even though he be not 
invested with a body, as then nothing is stronger than he who has boldness 
even though he bear about a mortal body. 

    5. All these things have been now said by me, not in order that I may 
discharge the Devil from blame, but that I may free you from slothfulness. 
For he wishes extremely to attribute the cause of our sins to himself, in 
order that we being nourished by these hopes, and entering on all kinds of 
evil, may increase the chastening in our own case, and may meet with no 
pardon from having transferred the cause to him. Just as Eve met with none. 
But let us not do this. But let us know ourselves. Let us know our wounds. 
For thus shall we be able to apply the medicines. For he who does not know 
his disease, will give no care to his weakness. We have sinned much: I know 
this well. For we are all liable for penalties. But we are not deprived of 
pardon; nor shall we fall away from repentance for we still stand in the 
arena, and are in the struggles of repentance. Art thou old, and hast thou 
come to the last outlet of life? Do not consider even thus that thou hast 
fallen from repentance, nor despair of thine own salvation, but consider 
the robber who was freed on the cross. For what was briefer than that hour 
in which he was crowned? Yet notwithstanding even this was enough for him, 
for salvation. Art thou young? Do not be confident in thy youth, nor think 
that thou hast a very fixed term of life, "For the day of the Lord so 
cometh as a thief in the night."(1) On this account he has made our end 
invisible, in order that we might make our diligence and our forethought 
plain. Dost thou not see men taken away prematurely day after day? On this 
account a certain one admonishes "make no tarrying to turn to the Lord and 
put not off from day to day,"(2) lest at any time, as thou delayest, thou 
art destroyed. Let the old man keep this admonition, let the young man take 
this advice. Yea, art thou in security, and art thou rich, and dost thou 
abound in wealth, and does no affliction happen to thee? Still hear what 
Paul says "when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh 
upon them."(3) Affairs are full of much change. We are not masters of our 
end. Let us be masters of virtue. Our Master Christ is loving. 

    6. Do you wish that I shall speak of the ways of repentance? They are 
many, and various, and different, and all lead to heaven. The first way of 
repentance is condemnation of sins. "Declare thou first thy sins that thou 
mayest be justified."(4) Wherefore also the prophet said "I said, I will 
speak out, my transgression to the Lord, and thou remittedst the iniquity 
of my heart."(5) Condemn thyself therefore for thy sins. This is enough for 
the Master by way of self-defence. For he who condemns his sins, is slower 
to fall into them again. Awake thy conscience, that inward accuser, in 
order that thou mayest have no accuser at the judgment seat of the Lord. 
This is one way of repentance, the best; and there is another not less than 
this, not to bear a grudge against thine enemies to overcome anger, to 
forgive the sins of our fellow-servants. For so will those which have been 
done against the master be forgiven us. See the second expiation of sins: 
"For if ye forgive" saith he, "your debtors, your Heavenly Father will also 
forgive you."(6) Dost thou wish to learn a third way of repentance? Fervent 
and diligent prayer, and to do this from the bottom of the heart. Hast thou 
not seen that widow, how she persuaded the shameless judge?(7) But thou 
hast a gentle Master, both tender, and kind. She asked, against her 
adversaries, but thou dost not ask against thine adversaries, but on behalf 
of thine own salvation. And if thou wouldest learn a fourth way, I will say 
almsgiving. For this has a great power and unspeakable. For Daniel saith to 
Nebuchadnezzar when he had come to all kinds of evil, and had entered upon 
all impiety, "O King let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, redeem thy 
sins by almsgiving and thine iniquities by compassion on the poor."(8) What 
could be compared with this lovingkindness? After countless sins, after so 
many transgressions, he is promised that he will be reconciled with him he 
has come into conflict with if he will show kindness to his own fellow-
servants. And modesty, and humility, not less than all words spoken, 
exhaust the nature of sins. And the publican is proof, being unable to 
declare his good deeds, in sight of all, bringing forward his humility, and 
laying aside the heavy burden of his sins.(9) See we have shewn five ways 
of repentance: first the condemnation of sins, next the forgiveness of our 
neighbours' sins, thirdly that which comes of prayer, fourth that which 
comes of almsgiving, fifth that which comes of humility. Do not thou then 
be lazy; but walk in all these day by day. For the ways are easy, nor canst 
thou plead poverty. And even if thou livest poorer than all, thou art able 
to leave thine anger, and be humble, and to pray fervently, and to condemn 
sins, and thy poverty is in no way a hindrance. And why do I speak thus, 
when not even in that way of repentance in which it is possible to spend 
money (I speak of almsgiving), not even there is poverty any hindrance to 
us from obeying the command? The widow who spent the two mites is a 
proof.(10) Having learned then the healing of our wounds, let us constantly 
apply these medicines, in order that we may return to health and enjoy the 
sacred table with assurance; and with much glory, reach Christ the king of 
glory, and attain to everlasting good by the grace, and compassion, and 
lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom be glory, 
power, honour, to the Father, together with the all holy, and good and 
quickening Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever. Amen. 



    1. The day before yesterday we set on foot our sermon concerning the 
Devil, out of our love for you. But others, the day before yesterday while 
these matters were being set on foot here, took their places in the 
theatre, and were looking on at the Devil's show. They were taking part in 
lascivious songs; ye were having a share in spiritual music. They were 
eating of the Devil's garbage: ye were feeding on spiritual unguents. Who 
pray decoyed them? Who pray separated them from the sacred flock? Did the 
Devil pray deceive them? How did he not deceive you? you and they are men 
alike; I mean as regards your nature. You and they have the same soul, you 
have the same desires, so far as nature is concerned. How is it then that 
you and they were not in the same place? Because you and they have not the 
same purpose. On this account they indeed are under deception, but you 
beyond deception. I do not say these things again as discharging the Devil 
from accusation, but as desiring earnestly to free you from sins. The Devil 
is wicked; I grant this indeed, but he is wicked for himself not towards us 
if we are wary. For the nature of wickedness is of this kind. It is 
destructive to those alone who hold to it. Virtue is the contrary. It is 
not only able to profit those who hold to it, but those nearest at hand 
too. And in order that thou mayest learn that evil is evil in itself, but 
good is also good to others, I provide thee with proverbial evidence: "My 
son" saith he "if thou art become evil, thou shall bear thine evils alone, 
but if wise, for thyself and thy neighbour."(1) 

    They were deceived in the theatre, but ye were not deceived. This is 
the greatest proof of things, a clear testimony, and unquestionable 
reasoning, that in every case, the purpose is master. Do thou accordingly 
use this method of proof, and if thou seest a man living in wickedness, and 
exhibiting all kinds of evil; then blaming the providence of God, and 
saying that by the necessity of fortune and fate and through tyranny of 
Demons He gave us our nature, and on all sides shifting the cause from 
himself indeed, and transferring it to the creator who provides for all; 
silence his speech not by word, but by deed, shewing him mother fellow 
servant living in virtue and forbearance. There is no need of long 
speeches, no need of a complex plan, nor even of syllogisms. By means of 
deeds the proof is brought about. He said to him: thou art a servant, and 
he is a servant; thou art a man and he is a man. Thou livest in the same 
world: thou art nourished with the same nourishment under the same heaven: 
How is it that thou art living in wickedness, he in virtue? on this account 
God allowed the wicked to be mingled with the good; and did not give one 
law to the wicked indeed, and appointed another world as a colony for the 
good, but mixed these and those; conferring great benefit. For the good 
appear more thoroughly approved when they are in the midst of those who try 
to hinder them from living rightly, and who entice them to evil, and yet 
keep hold of virtue. "For there must" he saith "be also heresies among you 
that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."(2) 

    Therefore also on this account he has left the wicked to be in the 
world, in order that the good may shine the brighter. Dost thou see how 
great is the gain? But the gain is not owing to the wicked, but owing to 
the courage of the good. On this account also we admire Noe, not because he 
was righteous nor yet because he was perfect alone, but because in that 
perverse and wicked generation he preserved his virtue, when he had no 
pattern of virtue, when all men invited him to wickedness; and he went his 
whole way contrary to them, like some traveller, pursuing his way while the 
great multitude is being borne along vehemently. On this account he did not 
simply say "Noe was just, perfect," but added "in his generation"(3) in 
that perverse, that desperate generation, when there was no acquisition of 
virtue. To the good indeed then this was the gain from the wicked. Thus at 
all events; also trees tossed about by contrary winds, become stronger. And 
there is a gain to the wicked from their mixing with the good. They feel 
confusion, they are ashamed, they blush in their presence; and even if they 
do not abstain from evil, yet nevertheless they dare what they dare with 
secrecy. And this is no small thing not to have transgression publicly 
committed. For the life of the others becomes the accuser of the wickedness 
of these. Hear at least what they say about the righteous man. "He is 
grievous to us, even when beheld,"(1) and it is no small beginning of 
amendment to be tormented at his presence. For if the sight of the 
righteous man did not torment them, this word would not have been uttered. 
But to be stung, and pinched in conscience at his presence, would be no 
little hindrance to indulging in wickedness with pleasure, Dost thou see 
how great is the gain both to the good from the wicked, and to the wicked 
from the good? On this account God has not set them apart, but allowed them 
to be mingled together. 

    2. Let our argument also about the Devil be the same. For on this 
account He hath left him also to be here, in order that he might render 
thee the stronger, in order that he may make the athlete more illustrious, 
in order that the contests may be greater. When therefore any one says, why 
has God left the Devil here? say these words to him, because he not only 
does no harm to the war and the heedful, but even profits them, not owing 
to his own purpose (for that is wicked), but owing to their courage who 
have used that wickedness aright. Since he even fixed upon Job not on this 
account that he might make him more illustrious, but in order that he might 
upset him. On this account he is wicked both because of such an opinion and 
such a purpose. But notwithstanding he did no harm to the righteous man, 
but he rather rejoiced in the conflict as we accordingly shewed. Both the 
Demon shewed his wickedness and the righteous man his courage. But he does 
upset many says one: owing to their weakness, not owing to his own 
strength: for this too has been already proved by many examples. Direct 
thine own intention aright then, and thou shalt never receive harm from 
any, but shall get the greatest gain, not only from the good but even from 
the wicked. For on this account, as I have before said, God has suffered 
men to be with one another, and especially the wicked with the good, in 
order that they may bring them over to their own virtue. Hear at least what 
Christ saith to his disciples, "The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a woman 
who took leaven and hid it in three measures of meal."(2) So that the 
righteous have the power of leaven, in order that they may transfer the 
wicked to their own manner of conduct. But the righteous are few, for the 
leaven is small. But the smallness in no way injures the lump, but that 
little quantity converts the whole of the meal to itself by means of the 
power inherent in it. So accordingly the power also of the righteous has 
its force not m the magnitude of their number, but in the grace of the 
Spirit. There were twelve Apostles. Dost thou see how little is the leaven? 
The whole world was in unbelief. Dost thou see how great is the lump? But 
those twelve turned the whole world to themselves. The leaven and the lump 
had the same nature but not the same manner of conduct. On this account he 
left the wicked in the midst of the good, that since they are of the same 
nature as the righteous they may also become of the same purpose. 

    Remember these things. With these stop the mouths of the indolent, the 
dissolute, the slothful, the indisposed towards the labours of virtue, 
those who accuse their common Master. "Thou hast sinned" he saith "be 
still."(3) "Do not add a second more grievous sin? It is not so grievous to 
sin, as after the sin to accuse the Master. Take knowledge of the cause of 
the sin, and thou wilt find that it is none other than thyself who hast 
sinned. Everywhere there is a need of a good intention. I have shewn you 
this not from simple reasoning only, but from the case of fellow-servants 
living in the world itself. Do thou also use this proof. Thus too our 
common master will judge us. Learn this method of proof, and no one will be 
able to reason with you. Is any a fornicator? Shew him another who is self-
restrained. Is any covetous and rapacious? Shew him one who gives alms. 
Does he live in jealousy and envy? Shew him one clean from passion. Is he 
overcome by anger? Bring into the midst one who is living in wisdom, for we 
must not only have recourse to ancient example, but take our models from 
present times. For even to-day by the grace of God, good deeds are done not 
less than of old. Is a man incredulous? and does he think that the 
scriptures are false? Does he not believe that Job was such as he was? Shew 
him another man, emulating the life of that righteous person. Thus will the 
Master also judge us: He places fellow servants with fellow- servants, nor 
does he give sentence according to his own judgment, in order that no one 
may begin to say again, as that servant said, who was entrusted with the 
talent, and who instead of a talent brought the accusation. "Thou art an 
austere man."(5) For he ought to mourn, because he did not double the 
talent, but rendered his sin the more grievous, by adding to his own 
idleness, his accusation against the Master. For what saith he? "I knew 
thee that thou art an austere man." O miserable, and wretched, ungrateful 
and lazy man! Thou oughtest to have accused thine own idleness, and to have 
taken away somewhat from thy former sin. But thou in bringing an account 
against the master hast doubled thy sin instead of doubling thy talent. 

    3. On this account God places together servants and servants in order 
that the one set may judge the other, and that some being judged by the 
others may not be able for the future to accuse the master. On this 
account, he saith "The Son of Man cometh in the glory of his Father."(1) 
See the equality of the glory: he does not say in glory like to the glory 
of the Father, but in the glory of the Father, and will gather together all 
the nations. Terrible is the tribunal: terrible to the sinful, and the 
accountable. Since to those who are conscious to themselves of good works, 
it is desirable and mild. "And he will place the sheep on his right hand, 
and the kids on his left."(2) Both these and those are men. For what reason 
then are those indeed sheep but these kids? Not that thou mayest learn a 
difference in their nature, but the difference in their purpose. But for 
what reason are the who did not show compassion kids? Because that animal 
is unfruitful and is not able to contribute services, either by its milk, 
or by progeny, or by its hair, to those who possess it, being on all sides 
destitute of such a contribution as this, on account of the immaturity of 
its age. On this account he has called those who bear no fruit, by 
comparison, kids, but those on the right hand sheep. For from these the 
offering is great, both of their natural wool, their progeny, and their 
milk. What then does he say to them? "Ye saw me hungering and ye fed me, 
naked and ye clothed me, a stranger and ye took me in." Again to those he 
says the contrary. And yet both these and those were alike men, both these 
and those received the same promises, the same rewards were assigned to 
both on doing right. The same person came both to these and to those, with 
the same nakedness: and to these and to those with the same hunger, and in 
the same way and a stranger. All things were alike to those and to these. 

    How then was the end not the same? Because the purpose did not permit 
it. For this alone made the difference. On this account the one set went to 
Gehenna, but the other to the Kingdom. But if the Devil were the cause to 
them of their sins, these would not be destined to be chastened, when 
another sinned and drove them on. Dost thou see here both those who sin, 
and those who do good works? Dost thou see how on seeing their fellow-
servants they were silenced? Come and let us bring our discourse to another 
example for thy benefit. There were ten virgins he says.(3) Here again 
there are purposes which are upright, and purposes which are sinful, in 
order thou mayest see side by side, both the sins of the one and the good 
works of the others. For the comparison makes these things the plainer. And 
these and those were virgins; and these were five, and also those. All 
awaited the bridegroom. How then did some enter in, and others did not 
enter in? Because some indeed were churlish, and others were gentle and 
loving. Dost thou see again that the purpose determined the nature of the 
end, not the Devil? Dost thou see that the judgments were parallel, and 
that the verdict given proceeds from those who are like each other? Fellow-
servants will judge fellow- servants. Dost thou wish that I should shew 
thee a comparison arising from contrasts? for there is one also from 
contrasts so that the condemnation may become the greater. "The men of 
Nineveh" he saith "shall rise up, and shall condemn this generation."(4) 
The judged are no longer alike, for the one are barbarians, the others are 
Jews. The one enjoyed prophetic teaching, the others were never partakers 
of a divine instruction. And this is not the only difference, but the fact 
that in that case a servant went to them, in this the master; and that man 
came and proclaimed an overthrow; but this man declared the glad tidings of 
a kingdom of heaven. Which of these was it the more likely, would believe? 
The barbarians, and ignorant, and they who had never partaken of divine 
teaching, or they who had from their earliest age been trained in prophetic 
books? To every one, it is plain, that the Jews would be more likely to 
believe. But the contrary took place. And these disbelieved the Master when 
he preached a kingdom of heaven, but those believed their fellow-servant 
when he threatened an overthrow: in order that their goodness, and these 
men's folly might be manifested to a greater degree. Is there a Demon? a 
Devil? chance? or Fate? has not each become the cause to himself both of 
evil, and of virtue? For if they themselves were not to be liable to 
account, he would not have said that they shall judge this generation. Nor 
would he have said that the Queen of the South would condemn the Jews. For 
then indeed not only will one people condemn another people, but one man 
will often judge a whole people, when they who, it is allowed, might 
readily have been deceived, are found to remain undeceived, and they who 
ought in every way to have the advantage, turn out to be worsted. On this 
account, we made mention of Adam and of Job, for there is necessity to 
revert to that subject, so as to put the finish to our discourse. He 
attacked Adam indeed by means of mere words, but Job by means of deeds. For 
the one he denuded of all his wealth, and deprived of his children. But 
from this man he took not away anything, great or little of his 
possessions. But let us rather examine the very words and the method of the 
plot. "The serpent came" saith he "and said to the woman, What is it that 
God hath said, ye shall not eat of every tree which is in the garden"(1) 
Here it is a serpent; there a woman, in the case of Job: mean while great 
is the difference between the counsellors. The one(2) is a servant, the 
other(3) a partner of the man's life. She is a helpmate, but the other is 
under subjection. Dost thou see how unpardonable this is? Eve indeed, the 
servant in subjection deceived: but him(4) not even his partner, and 
helpmate could overthrow. But let us see what he saith. "What is this that 
God hath said, thou shalt not eat of every tree?" Assuredly indeed God did 
not say this but the opposite. See the villany of the Devil. He said that 
which was not spoken, in order that he might learn what was spoken. What 
then did the woman? She ought to have silenced him, she ought not to have 
exchanged a word with him. In foolishness she declared the judgment of the 
Master. Thereby she afforded the Devil a powerful handle. 

    4. See what an evil it is to commit ourselves rashly to our enemies, 
and to conspirators against us. On this account Christ used to say, "Give 
not holy things to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, 
lest they turn and rend you."(5) And this happened in the case of Eve. She 
gave the holy things to the dog, to the swine. He trod under foot the 
words: and turned and rent the woman. And see how he works evil. "Ye shall 
not die the death" saith he.(6)

    Give me your attention on this point, that the woman was able to 
understand the deceit. For he immediately announced his enmity, and his 
warfare against God, he immediately contradicted Him. Let it be so. Before 
this thou declaredst the judgment to one who wished to learn it. After this 
why didst thou follow one who said the opposite? God said ye shall die the 
death." The Devil made answer to this and said "ye shall not die the 
death." What could be clearer than this warfare? From what other quarter 
ought one to learn the enemy and the foe, than from his answer returned to 
God? She ought then immediately to have fled from the bait, she ought to 
have started back from the snare. "Ye shall not die the death," saith he 
"for God knoweth, that on the day on which ye eat, your eyes shall be 
opened, and ye shall be as Gods. In hope of a greater promise she cast away 
the goods in her hand. He promised that he would make them Gods, and cast 
them down into the tyranny of death. Whence then O woman didst thou believe 
the Devil? What good didst thou discern? Was not the trustworthiness of the 
lawgiver sufficient to prove that the one was God, both creator and framer 
of the world, and the other the Devil and an enemy? And I do not say the 
Devil. Thou thoughtest that he was a mere serpent. Ought a serpent to claim 
such equality that thou shouldest tell him the Master's judgment? Thou 
seest that it was possible to perceive the deceit, but she would not, and 
yet God gave many proofs of his own beneficence and shewed forth his care 
of his works. For he formed man, who had not existed before; and breathed a 
soul into him, and made him according to his image, making him ruler of all 
things upon the earth, and granted him a helpmate, planted Paradise, and 
having committed to him the use of the rest of the trees, refused him the 
taste of one only: and this very prohibition he made for man's advantage. 
But the Devil manifested no good things by his deed, whether little, or 
great: but exciting the woman with mere words and puffing her up with vain 
hopes, thus he deceived her. But nevertheless she considered the Devil to 
be more worthy of credit than God, although God shewed forth his good will 
by his works. The woman believed in one who professed mere words, and 
nothing else. Dost thou see how, from folly alone and sloth, and not from 
force, the deceit happened? and in order that thou mayest learn it more 
clearly hear how the scripture accuses the woman: For it does not say, 
being deceived, but "seeing the tree that it was fair, she ate." So that 
the blame belongs to her uncontrolled vision, not to the deceit alone which 
comes from the Devil. For she was defeated by yielding to her own desire, 
not by the wickedness. of the Demon. On this count she did not have the 
benefit of pardon, but though she said, "the serpent deceived me," she paid 
the uttermost penalty. For it was in her power not to have fallen. And in 
order that thou mayest understand this more clearly, come, let us conduct 
our discourse to the case of Job; from the defeated to the vanquisher, from 
the conquered to the conqueror. For this man will give us greater zeal, so 
that we may raise our hands against the Devil. There he who deceived and 
conquered was a serpent; here the tempter was a woman, and she did not 
prevail: and yet at least she was far more persuasive than he. For to Job 
after the destruction of his wealth, after the loss of his children, after 
being stripped bare of all his goods, her wiles were added. But in the 
other case there was nothing of this kind. Adam did not suffer the 
destruction! of his children, nor did he lose his wealth: he did not sit 
upon a dunghill, but inhabited a Paradise of luxury and enjoyed all manner 
of fruits, and fountains and rivers, and every other kind of security. 
Nowhere was there labour or pain, or despair and cares, or reproaches, and 
insults, or the countless ills which assailed Job: but nevertheless, when 
nothing of this kind existed, he fell and was overthrown. Is it not evident 
that it was on account of sloth? Even so therefore as the other, when all 
these things beset him, and weighed upon him, stood nobly and did not fall, 
is it not evident that his steadfastness was owing to his vigilance of 

    5. On both sides, beloved, reap the utmost gain, and avoid the 
imitation of Adam knowing how many ills are begotten of indolence: and 
imitate the piety of Job, learning how many glorious things spring from 
earnestness. Consider him, the conqueror throughout, and thou shall have 
much consolation in all pain: and peril. For as it were in the common 
theatre of the world that blessed and noble man stands forth, and by means 
of the sufferings which happened to him discourses to all to bear all 
things which befal them nobly, and never give in to. the troubles which 
come upon them. For verily, there is no human suffering which cannot 
receive consolation from thence. For the sufferings which are scattered 
over the whole world, these came together, and bore down upon one body, 
even his. What pardon then shall there be for him who is unable to bear 
with thankfulness his share of the troubles which are brought upon him? 
Since he appears not bearing a part only, but the entire ills of all men, 
and in order that thou mayest not condemn the extravagance of my words, 
come, and let us take in hand severally the ills that came upon him, and 
bring forward this fulfilment of them. And if thou wishest, let us first 
bring forward that which seems to be the most unendurable of all, I mean 
poverty, and the pain which arises from it. For everywhere all men bewail 
this. What was poorer then than Job, who was poorer than the outcasts at 
the baths, and those who sleep in the ashes of the furnace, poorer in fact 
than all men? For these indeed have one ragged garment, but he sat naked, 
and had only the garment which nature supplies, the clothing of the flesh, 
and this the Devil destroyed on all sides, with a distressing kind of 
decay. Again these poor folk are at least under the roof of the porches at 
the baths, and are covered with a shelter. But he continued always to pass 
his nights in the open air, not having even the consolation of a bare roof. 
And, what is still greater, the fact that these are conscious of many 
terrible evils within themselves, but he was conscious of nothing against 
himself. For this is to be noticed in each of the things which happened to 
him, a thing which caused him greater pain, and produced more perplexity; 
the ignorance of the reason of what took place. These persons then, as I 
said, would have many things with which to reproach themselves. And this 
contributes no little to consolation in calamity; to be conscious in 
oneself of being punished justly. But he was deprived of this consolation, 
and while exhibiting a conversation full of virtue, endured the fate of 
those who had dared to do extreme wickedness. And these folk who are with 
us, are poor from the outset, and from the beginning are versed in 
calamity. But he endured calamity in which he was unversed, experiencing 
the immense change from wealth. As then the knowledge of the cause of what 
takes place, is the greatest consolation; so it is not less than this, to 
have been versed in poverty from the beginning, and so to continue in it. 
Of both these consolations that man was deprived, and not even then, did he 
fall away. Dost thou see him indeed come to extreme poverty, even in 
comparison with which it is impossible to find a fellow? For what could be 
poorer than the naked who has not even a roof over him? Yea rather not even 
was it in his power to enjoy the bare ground, but he sat upon the dunghill. 
Therefore whenever thou seest thyself come to poverty, consider the 
suffering of the just one, and straightway thou shalt rise up, and shake 
off every thought of despondency. This one calamity therefore seems to men 
to be the groundwork of all sufferings together. And the second after it, 
yea rather before it, is the affliction of the body. Who then was even so 
disabled? Who endured such disease? Who received or saw any one else 
receive so great an affliction? No one. Little by little his body was 
wasted, and a stream of worms on every side issued from his limbs, the 
running was constant, and the evil smell which surrounded him was strong, 
and the body being destroyed little by little, and decaying with such 
putrefaction, used to make food distasteful and hunger was to him strange 
and unusual. For not even was he able to enjoy the nourishment which was 
given to him. For saith he "I see my food to be loathsome."(1) Whenever 
then thou fallest into weakness, O man, remember that body and that saintly 
flesh. For it was saintly and pure, even when it had so many wounds. And if 
any one belong to the army, and then unjustly and without any reasonable 
pretext, be hanged upon the pillory, and has his sides rasped to pieces, 
let him not think the matter to be a reproach, nor let him give way to the 
pain when he thinks upon this saint. But this man, says one, has much 
comfort and consolation in knowing that God was bringing these sufferings 
upon him. This indeed especially troubled and disturbed him, to think that 
the just God who had in every way been served By him, was at war with him. 
And he was not able to find any reasonable pretext for what took place, 
since, when at least he afterwards learned the cause, see what piety he 
shewed, for when God said to him "Dost thou think that I have had dealings 
with thee in order that thou mightest appear righteous?"(2) conscious-
stricken he says "I will lay my hand upon my mouth, once have I spoken but 
to a second word I will not proceed,"(3) and again "as far as the hearing 
of the ear I have heard thee before, but now mine eye hath seen thee, 
wherefore I have held myself to be vile, and am wasted away, and I consider 
myself to be earth and ashes.(4) 

    6. But if thou thinkest that this is sufficient for consolation, thou 
wilt thyself also be able to experience this comfort. And even if thou dost 
not suffer any of these misfortunes at the hands of God but owing to the 
insolence of men; and yet givest thanks and dost not blaspheme him who is 
able to prevent them indeed, but who permits them for the sake of testing 
thee: just as they who suffer at the hands of God are crowned, so also thou 
shalt obtain the same reward, because thou hast borne nobly the calamities 
which were brought upon thee from men, and didst give thanks to him who was 
able indeed to hinder them, but not willing. 

    Behold then! thou hast seen poverty and disease, and both in the 
extremest degree brought upon this just man. Dost thou wish that I should 
shew thee the warfare at nature's hands, in such excessive degree waged 
then against this noble man? He lost ten children, the ten at one fell 
swoop, the ten in the very bloom of youth, ten who displayed much virtue, 
and that not by the common law of nature, but by a violent and pitiable 
death. Who could be able to recount so great a calamity? No one. Whenever 
therefore thou losest son and daughter together, have recourse to this just 
man, and thou shalt find altogether much comfort for thyself. Were these 
then the only misfortunes which happened to him? The desertion and 
treachery of his friends, and the gibes, and raillery, and the mockery and 
derision, and the tearing in pieces by all, was something intolerable. For 
the character of calamities is not of such a kind, that they who reproach 
us about our calamities are wont to vex our soul. Not only was there no one 
to soothe him but many even on many sides beset him with taunts. And thou 
seest him lamenting this bitterly, and saying "but even you too fell upon 
me."(5) And he calls them pitiless, and says "My neighbours have rejected 
me, and my servants spake against me, and I called the sons of my 
concubines, and they turned away from me."(6) "And others" saith he "sport 
upon me, and I became the common talk of all.(7) And my very raiment" saith 
he "abhorred me"(8) These things at least are unbearable to hear, still 
more to endure in their reality, extreme poverty, and intolerable disease 
new and strange, the loss of children so many and so good, and in such a 
manner, reproaches and gibes, and insults from men. Some indeed mocked and 
some reproached and others despised; not only enemies, but even friends; 
not only friends, but even servants, and they not only mock and reproach, 
but even abhorred him, and this not for two or three, or ten days, but for 
many months; and (a circumstance which happened in that man's case alone) 
not even had he comfort by night, but the delusions of terrors by night 
were a greater aggravation of his misfortunes by day. For that he endured 
more grievous things in his sleep, hear what he says "why dost thou 
frighten me in sleep, and terrify me in visions?"[9] What man of iron what 
heart of steel could have endured so many misfortunes? For if each of these 
was unbearable in itself, consider what a tumult their simultaneous 
approach excited. But nevertheless he bore all these, and in all that 
happened to him he sinned not, nor was there guile in his lips. 

    7. Let the sufferings of that man then be the medicines for our ills, 
and his grievous surging sea the harbour of our sufferings, and in each of 
the accidents which befal us, let us consider this saint, and seeing one 
person exhausting the misfortunes of the universe, we shall conduct 
ourselves bravely in those which fall to our share, and as to some 
affectionate mother, stretching forth her hands on all sides, and receiving 
and reviving her terrified children, so let us always flee to this book, 
and even if the pitiable troubles of all men assail us, let us take 
sufficient comfort for all and so depart. And if thou sayest, he was Job, 
and for this reason bore all this, but I am not like him; thou suppliest me 
with a greater accusation against thyself and fresh praise of him. For it 
is more likely that thou shouldest be able to bear all this than he. Why 
pray? Because he indeed was before the day of grace and of the law, when 
there was not much strictness of life, when the grace of the Spirit was not 
so great, when sin was hard to fight against, when the curse prevailed and 
when death was terrible. But now our wrestlings have become easier, all 
these things being removed after the coming of Christ; so that we have no 
excuse, when we are unable to reach the same standard as he, after so long 
a time, and such advantage, and so many gifts given to us by God. 
Considering therefore all these things, that misfortunes were greater for 
him, and that when the conflict was more grievous, then he stripped for the 
contest; let us bear all that comes upon us nobly, and with much 
thankfulness, in order that we may be able to obtain the same crown as he, 
by the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom be 
glory to the Father together with the Holy Spirit, now and always and for 
ever and ever. Amen.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published 
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in