Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

pearlsofstjohnchrysostom

6 Entries

3. Hearing these things, arise, and surmise nothing low: but even because of this very thing most of all shouldest thou marvel, that being Son of the Unoriginate God, and His true Son, He suffered Himself to be called also Son of David, that He might make 10 thee Son of God. He suffered a slave to be father to Him, that He might make the Lord Father to thee a slave. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.html - NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew - Homily II



For, tell me, who of you that stand here, if he were required, could repeat one Psalm, or any other portion of the divine Scriptures? There is not one.

And it is not this only that is the grievous thing, but that while ye are become so backward with respect to things spiritual, yet in regard of what belongs to Satan ye are more vehement than fire. Thus should any one be minded to ask of you songs of devils and impure effeminate melodies, he will find many that know these perfectly, and repeat them with much pleasure.

10. But what is the answer to these charges? “I am not,” you will say, “one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.” Why, this is what hath ruined all, your supposing that the reading of the divine Scriptures appertains to those only, when ye need it much more than they. For they that dwell in the world, and each day receive wounds, these have most need of medicines. So that it is far worse than not reading, to account the thing even “superfluous:” for these are the words of diabolical invention. Hear ye not Paul saying, “that all these things are written for our admonition”. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.html - NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew - Homily II



7. Wherefore it is necessary to forget our good actions. “Yet how is it possible,” one may say, “not to know these things with which we are well acquainted?” How sayest thou? Offending thy Lord perpetually, thou livest delicately, and laughest, and dost not so much as know that thou hast sinned, but hast consigned all to oblivion; and of thy good actions canst thou not put away the memory? And yet fear is a stronger kind of thing. But we do the very contrary; on the one hand, whilst each day we are offending, we do not so much as put it before our mind; on the other, if we give a little money to a poor person, this we are ever revolving. This kind of conduct comes of utter madness, and it is a very great loss to him who so makes his reckoning. For the secure storehouse of good works is to forget our good works. And as with regard to raiment and gold, when we expose them in a market-place, we attract many ill-meaning persons; but if we put them by at home and hide them, we shall deposit them all in security: even so with respect to our good deeds; if we are continually keeping them in memory, we provoke the Lord, we arm the enemy, we invite him to steal them away; but if no one know of them, besides Him who alone ought to know, they will lie in safety. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.vi.html NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 3

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)

8. Let us beware therefore of saying anything about ourselves, for this renders us both odious with men and abominable to God. For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves; this being the way to reap the greatest glory both with men and with God. Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense.

Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward.

19 Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind. For when we do good works, we have Him debtor for our good works only; but when we do not so much as think we have done any good work, then also for this disposition itself; and more for this, than for the other things: so that this is equivalent to our good works. For should this be absent, neither will they appear great.

For in the same way, we too, when we have servants, do then most approve them when, after having performed all their service with good will, they do not think they have done anything great.

Wherefore, if thou wouldest make thy good deeds great, do not think them to be great, and then they will be great.

It was in this way that the centurion also said, “I am not fit that thou shouldest enter under my roof;” because of this, he became worthy, and was “marvelled at” (Matt. viii. 8) above all Jews.

On this wise again Paul saith, “I am not meet to be called an apostle;”(1 Cor. xv. 9) because of this he became even first of all.

So likewise John: “I am not meet to loose the latchet of His shoe;”(Mark i. 7; Luke iii. 16; John i. 27, iii). 29. because of this he was the “friend of the Bridegroom,” and the hand which he affirmed to be unworthy to touch His shoes, this did Christ draw unto His own head.

So Peter too said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man;”(Luke v. 8) because of this he became a foundation of the Church.

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one’s self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom.

For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart,
will not be vainglorious,
will not be wrathful,
will not envy his neighbor,
will not harbor any other passion.

For neither when a hand is bruised, though we strive ten thousand times, shall we be able to lift it up on high. If therefore we were thus to bruise our heart likewise, though it were stirred by ten thousand swelling passions, it could not be lifted up, no, not ever so little. For if a man, by mourning for things pertaining to this life, drives out all the diseases of his soul, much more will he, who mourns for sins, enjoy the blessing of self-restraint. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.vi.html NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 3



Nor think that thou hast learnt all, by hearing “of the Spirit;” nay, for we are ignorant of many things, even when we have learnt this; as, for instance, how the Infinite is in a womb, how He that contains all things is carried, as unborn, by a woman; how the Virgin bears, and continues a virgin. NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily IV, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.IV_1.html (commenting on Mat 1:18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.")

For if a man nourishing worms in his entrails, shall not be able so much as to breathe, his inward parts all wasting away; how shall we, having so large a serpent eating up all within us (it is wrath I mean), how, I say, shall we be able to produce anything noble?

17. How then are we to be freed from this pest? If we can drink a potion that is able to kill the worms within us and the serpents. “And of what nature,” it will be asked, “may this potion be, that hath such power?” The precious Blood of Christ, if it be received with full assurance, (for this will have power to extinguish every disease); and together with this the divine Scriptures carefully heard, and almsgiving added to our hearing; for by means of all these things we shall be enabled to mortify the affections that mar our soul.

And then only shall we live; for now surely we are in no better state than the dead: forasmuch as it cannot be, that while those passions live, we should live too, but we must necessarily perish. And unless we first kill them here, they will be sure to kill us in the other life; or rather before that death they will exact of us, even here, the utmost penalty. Yes, for every such passion is both cruel and tyrannical and insatiable, and never ceases to devour us every day. NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily IV, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.IV_1.html ("worms" = our passions and sins)







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