John Chrysostom Homilies Acts Chapter 7, Acts 7, Stephen Against Law, Temple and RitualIsrael's musical idolatry at Mount Sinai rejected God's Covenant of Grace. He gave the Law and permitted the Temple as a LIKE THE NATIONS punishment of a self-destructing nation going into captivity and death.
It is a little known fact that the kingdom, the temple, the fixed location in Jerusalem, animal sacrifices and the musical worship during the animal sacrifices were not by God's Grace-oriented commandment. These were all added and walled off or quarantined in Jerusalem because they were of a people who rejected God's grace in order to live and worship like the nations. This would continue until the nation of Israel was almost totally destroyed and Messiah came out of the tiny remnant to save only those willing to walk away from Jerusalem, the temple, animal sacrifices, the God-hiding musical rituals and find God out in the marketplace rather than in the "holy place."
Acts 7 begins:
THEN said the high priest, Are these things so? Acts 7:1
And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, Acts 7: 2
And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Acts 7: 3
Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. Acts 7: 4http://www.piney.com/2.Chronicles.33.html
And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. Acts 7:
Acts 7:41 And they made a calf in those days,
and offered sacrifice unto the idol,
and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
euphrainō , Ep. euphr-, fut. Att.155.12, Pi.I.7(6).3Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein,
Pind. I. 6 Just as we mix the second bowl of wine when the men's symposium is flourishing, here is the second song of the Muses for Lampon's children and their athletic victories: first in Nemea, Zeus, in your honor they received the choicest of garlands, (the Crooked Race)
Pind. I. 7 In which of the local glories of the past, divinely blessed Thebe, did you most delight your spirit? Was it when you raised to eminence the one seated beside Demeter of the clashing bronze cymbals, flowing-haired  Dionysus?
But since ancient grace sleeps, and mortals are forgetful of whatever does not reach the highest bloom of skillful song, joined to glorious streams of words,  then begin the victory procession with a sweet-singing hymn for Strepsiades;
Aristoph. Ach. 5 Just imagine how this blow struck straight at my heart! On the other hand, what joy Dexitheus caused me at the musical competition, when he played a Boeotian melody on the lyre! But this year by contrast!
Hom. Od. 2.309
Then wise Telemachus answered him:  “Antinous, in no wise is it possible for me in your overweening company to sit at meat quietly
and to make merry with an easy mind.
Is it not enough, ye wooers, that in time past
ye wasted many goodly possessions of mine,
while I was still a child?
But now that I am grown,  and gain knowledge by hearing the words of others, yea and my spirit waxes within me,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,
dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands,
as though he needed any thing,
seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;Exodus 32:6
Acts 7:42 Then God turned,hŏlŏcaustum , i, n., = holokauston, Which God had not commanded.
Surgo surrexi and subrexi, surrectum and subrectum, applaude, They rose up AGAINST GOD. ESPECIALLY OF AN ORATOR first on the list of "Hypocrites."
Play is LUDO to play at a game, to sport, dally, wanton play, Amourous play
Esp., to play on an instrument of music, to make or compose music or song: “ludere quae vellem calamo permisit agresti,” Verg. E. 1, 10:
Musa the muses goddessess of poetry, music, mimic, oratory
Canto I. Neutr., to produce melodious sounds (by the voice or an instrument), to sound, sing, play
III. In the lang. of religion, as v. n. or a., to use enchantments, charms, incantations, to enchant, to charm,
Carmen declaim I. . a tune, song; poem, verse; an oracular response, a prophecy; a form of incantation (cf.: cano, cantus, and canto).I. In gen., a tune, song, air, lay, strain, note, sound, both vocal and instrumental
and gave them up to worship the host of heaven;
as it is written in the book of the prophets,
O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts
and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
Acts 7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan,
figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
"The Hebrews became infected with Sabeanism, the oldest form of idolatry, the worship of the Saba or starry hosts, in their stay in the Arabian desert, where Job notices its prevalence (Job 31:26); in opposition, in Am 5:27, Jehovah declares Himself "the God of hosts."
. Acts 7:44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness,
Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
Amos 5:22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings,
I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
Amos 5:23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs;
for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
Amos 5:24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Amos 5:25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
Amos 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
Amos 5:27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should
make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
Acts 7:45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles,
whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
Acts 7:46 Who found favour before God,
and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
But Solomon built him an house. Acts 7:47
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Acts 7:48
Acts 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool:
what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Acts 7:50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears,
ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?
and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One;
of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Acts 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Jer. 7:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;
Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
Jer. 7:22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them
in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt,
concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
But this thing commanded I them, saying,
> Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people:
> and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. Jer 7:23
But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Jer 7:24
Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day, I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Jer 7:25
ACTS VII. 6, 7.-"And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve Me in this place."
See, what a number of years the Promise has been given, and the manner of the Promise, and nowhere sacrifice, nowhere circumcision! He here shows, how God Himself suffered them to be afflicted, not that He had anything to lay to their charge. "And they shall bring them into bondage," etc.
But nevertheless, they did not these things with impunity. "And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage I will judge, said God." For,to show that they are not to go by this, in estimating who are pious (by reason of their saying, "He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him,") (Matt. xxvii. 43).-
He, the Same that promised, He that gave the land, first permits the evils.
So also now, though He has promised a Kingdom, yet He suffers us to be exercised in temptations. If here the freedom was not to be till after four hundred years, what wonder, with regard to the Kingdom? Yet he performed it, and lapse of time availed not to falsify His word. Moreover, it was no ordinary bondage they underwent.
Editor's Note 3: The relation of v. 6 and 7 to v. 5 is, as Chrys. intimates, to show that the apparent incongruity between the promise of God to give the land to Abraham and his seed, and the fact that Abraham never personally possessed the land, was not accidental nor did it involve the failure of the divine promise. Accompanying the promise were divine assurances (Gen. xv. 13, Gen. xv. 14) that a period of bondage and oppression was to precede the occupation of the land which was to be the inheritance of the nation.-G. B. S.
And the matter does not terminate solely in the punishment of those (their oppressors); but they themselves also, He saith, shall enjoy a mighty salvation. Here he reminds them too of the benefit which they enjoyed. "And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so he begat Isaac." Here he lets himself down to lower matters. "And circumcised him on the eighth day: and Isaac (begat) Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs." (v. 8).-Here he seems to hint now at the type.
"And the patriarchs moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt." (v. 9.) Here again, the type of Christ.
Though they had no fault to find with him, and though he came on purpose to bring them their food, they thus ill-treated him. Still here again the promise, though it is a long while first, receives its fulfillment. "And God was with him "-this also is for them-"and delivered him out of all his afflictions." (v. 10). He shows that unknowingly they helped to fulfil the prophecy, and that they were themselves the cause, and that the evils recoiled on their own selves. "And gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, Gave him favor," in the eyes of a barbarian, to him, the slave, the captive: his brethren sold him, this (barbarian) honored him. "Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren." (v. 11-13). They came down to buy, and had to depend upon him for everything. What then did he? ["He made himself known to his brethren:"] not to this point only did he carry his friendliness; he also made them known to Pharaoh, and brought them down into the land. "And Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem. But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. (v. 13-18).
Then again, fresh disappointment (anelpistia): first, famine, but they came through that: secondly, the falling into the hands of their enemy: thirdly, the being destroyed by the king. Then (to show) God's fulness of ways and means (eumhxanon), "In which time," it says, "Moses was born, and was exceeding fair." (v. 20.) If the former circumstance was wonderful, that Joseph was sold by his brethren, here again is another circumstance more wonderful still, that the king "nourished" the very person who was to overthrow his dominion, being himself the person that was to perish. Do you observe all along a figurative enacting, so to say, of the resurrection of the dead? But it is not the same thing for God himself to do a thing, and for a thing to come to pass in connection with man's purpose (proairesij). For these things indeed were in connection with man's purpose but the Resurrection by itself, independently.]-"And he was mighty;," it says, "in word and in deed" (v. 22): he that was to have died. Then again he shows how ungrateful they were to their benefactor. For, just as in the former instance, they were saved by the injured Joseph, so here again they were saved by another injured person, I mean, Moses. "And when he was full forty years old," etc. For
Editor's Note 7: Ti gar ei mh aneilon auton tw pragmati; tw logw aneilon wsper kakeinoi. N. and Catena read aneilen, both times, as if the Compiler understood the passage in the sense of a preceding comment extracted from S. Clem. Alex. Strom. "fasi de oi mustai logw monw anelein ton Aiguption: the initiated say that Moses struck the Egyptian dead by a word, as in the Acts Peter is related to have done in the case of Ananias," etc. But Chrys. nowhere thus interprets the fact, and the context, wsper kakeinoi, is against this view.-Below, di on ezh meta Qeon: i. e. the Hebrew whom Moses saved, v. 24, who is here supposed to be one of the parties in the strife mentioned in v. 26. This however not being clear, A., as usual omits: and the innovator assuming the passage to be corrupt, substitutes, di wn esontai meta Qeou, giving them counsel by means of which they shall be with God." So Edd.: only Sav. notes in the margin the genuine reading of the other mss. and Cat.
what though they killed him not actually? In intention they did kill, as did the others in the former case. There, they sold out of their own into a strange land: here, they drive from one strange land into another strange land: in the former case, one in the act of bringing them food; in this, one in the act of giving them good counsel; one to whom, under God, the man was indebted for his life! Mark how it shows (the truth of) that saying of Gamaliel's, "If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it." (ch. v. 39.) See the plotted-against eventually becoming the authors of salvation to those plotting against them:Editor's Note 8: E. "But do thou, observing this, stand amazed at the riches of God's wisdom and resources: for, had those not been plotted against, these had not been saved." So Edd.
the people, plotting against itself, and itself plotted against by others; and for all this, saved! A famine, and it did not consume them: nor was this all: but they were saved by means of the very person, whom they had expected to be destroyed (by their means). A royal edict, and it did not consume them: nay then most did their number increase, when he was dead "who knew" them. Their own Saviour they wished to kill, but for all that, they had not power to do it. Do you observe, that by the means whereby the devil tried to bring to naught the promise of God, by those very means it was advanced?
"And God spake on this wise," etc. (Recapitulation, v. 6, 7.) This
Editor's Note 9: Touto kai entauqa armottei eipein. Edd. from E. only, touto kai autouj hrmotte tote eipein: "This was also suitable for them to say at that time." It was not perceived that the recapitulation begins here. See note 5 p. 102.
is suitable to be said here also: that God is rich in ways and means to bring us up from hence. For this above all showed the riches of God's resources, that in its very reverses (apostrofh) the nation increased, while enslaved, while evil-entreated, and sought to be exterminated. And this is the greatness of the Promise. For had it increased in its own land, it had not been so wonderful. And besides, it was not for a short time, either, that they were in the strange land: but for four hundred years. Hence we learnEditor's Note 10: Edd. from E. D. F. "how they exhibited a great (example of) philosophy."
a (great lesson) of philosophic endurance (filosofian):-they did not treat them as masters use slaves, but as enemies and tyrants-and he foretold that they should be set in great liberty: for this is the meaning of that expression, "They shall serve (Me): and they shall come up hither again" (entauqa epaneleusontai); and with impunity.Editor's Note 11: (from E. alone) kai ouk atimwrhti, "not unavenged (upon their enemies)." But the meaning is, "Their enemies shall not be able to be avenged of them."
-And observe, how, while he seems to concede something to circumcision, he in fact allows it nothing (v. 8); since the Promise was before it, and it followed after.-"And the patriarchs," he says, "moved with envy. (v. 9.) Where it does no harm, he humors (xarizetai) them:Editor's Note 12: E. D. F. insert for explanation, patriarxaj de fhsi touj progonouj: "he calls their ancestors, patriarchs." This is the "humoring" spoken of above: in C.'s time, "patriarch" had become a title of honor.
for they prided themselves much on these also.Editor's Note 13: from E. "But they not only did not loose (the afflictions), but even cooperated with those afflicting them, when they ought rather to have cut through them (the afflictions)."
And he shows, that the saints were not exempt from tribulation, but that in their very tribulations they obtained help. And that these persons did themselves help to bring about the results, who wished to cut short these same (afflictions): just as these made Joseph the more glorious: lust as the king did Moses, by ordering the children to be killed: since had he not ordered, this would not have been: just as also that (Hebrew) drives Moses into exile, that there he may have the Vision, having become worthy. Thus also him who was sold for a slave, makes He to reign as king there, where he was thought to be a slave. Thus also does Christ in His death give proof of His power: thus also does He there reign as king where they sold Him. "And gave him favor and wisdom," etc. (v. 10.) This
Editor's Note 14: Morel. Ben. with E. D. F. omit this clause: Savile transposes it. "But as this (Joseph) reigns there as king where they sold him, so does Christ in His death," etc.-In the next sentence, touto seems to refer to the description in Gen. xli. 42, Gen. xli. 43, of the distinctions conferred upon Joseph, which perhaps Chrys. cited.-After this sentence, Edd. have (from E. only) the formula of recapitulation, 'All' idwmen k. t. l., which is quite misplaced.-Below, A. and the mod. t. insert #Ora, before dia limon oia kataskeuazei.
was not only by way of honor, but that he should have confidence in his own power. "And he made him governor over Egypt and all his house." "Now there came a dearth," etc. On account of famine-such preparations is he making-"with threescore and fifteen souls," he says, "Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
Editor's Note 15: The reading of tou Suxem (T. R.), doubtless meaning the "father of Sychem" (Gen. xxxiii. 19), is replaced by Tisch., W. and H. (after ) .B.C.) with en Suxem, making Suxem the name of the place just mentioned-not of the person referred to in the O. T. The Vulgate renders filii Sichem thus coming into collision with the O. T. l. c.-G. B. S
(v. 11-16). It shows, that they were not masters even to the extent of a burying-place. "But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, which knew not Joseph" (v. 17, 18).
Observe, that it is not during the four hundred years that He multiplies them, but (only) when the end was about to draw nigh. And yet already four hundred years were passed, nay more, in Egypt. But this is the wonder of it.
"The same dealt subtly with our kindred, and evil-entreated our fathers, that they should cast out their young children, to the end they might not live." (v. 19.) "Dealt subtly:" he hints at their not liking to exterminate them openly: "that they should cast out their young children," it says. "In which time Moses was born and was exceeding fair." (v. 20.)
This is the wonder, that he who is to be their champion, is born, neither after nor before, these things, but in the very midst of the storm (qumw). "And was nourished up in his father's house three months." But when man's help was despaired of, and they cast him forth, then did God's benefit shine forth conspicuous. "And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son." (v. 21.)
Not a word of Temple, not a word of Sacrifice, while all these Providences are taking place. And he was nourished in a barbarian house. "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." (v. 22.) "Was trained," both
Editor's Note 16: kai paideia kai grammasin, as the comment on epaideuqh v. 22, which must be supplied. Cat. has, kai paideia kai grammata. E. omits the clause, and substitutes, as the beginning of the next sentence, 'Emoi qaumazein eperxetai pwj. "To me it occurs to wonder how he could be forty years," etc. So Edd.
in discipline and in letters. "And when he was full forty years old." (v. 23.) Forty years he was there, and was not found out from his being circumcised. Observe, how, being in safety, they overlook their own interests, both he and Joseph, in order that they may save others: "And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not." (v. 23-25.)-See how up to this point he is not yet offensive to them; how they listened to him while he said all this. And "his face," we read, "was as the face of an angel" (ch. vi. 15).-"For he supposed," etc. And yet it was by deeds that his championship was shown; what intelligence was there need of here? but still for all this "they understood not. And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?" (v. 26-28.) Do you mark with what mildness he addresses them? He who had shown his wrath in the case of the other, shows his gentleness
Editor's Note 17: ef eautou, b.c. F. D. N. but A. E. Edd. epi toutou "in the case of this man." So perhaps Oecumen. epieikwj nun tw adikounti prosferetai.-Below, E. Edd. "With the same spirit they appear to say the same with reference to Christ, `We have no king but Caesar. 0' Thus was it ever habitual to the Jews to act, even when receiving benefits. Do you mark their madness? Him who was to save them, they accuse, by saying, `As thou, 0' "etc.
in his own case. "But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday?" Mark; the very words which they said to Christ: "Who made Thee ruler and judge over us?" So habitual a thing was it for Jews to wrong (their benefactors) when in the act of receiving benefits! And again, mark the atrocious baseness: (miarian al. moxqhrian, Sav. marg.) "As thou didst the Egyptian yesterday! Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons." (v. 29.) But neither did flight extinguish the plan of Providence, as neither did death (i.e. the death of Christ).
"And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush." (v. 30.) Do you mark that it is not hindered by lapse of time? For when he was an exile, when a stranger, when he had now passed much time in a foreign land, so as to have two sons, when he no longer expected to return, then does the Angel appear to him. The Son of God he calls an Angel, as also he calls Him man.
(Appears) in the desert, not in a temple.
See how many miracles are taking place, and no word of Temple, no word of Sacrifice. And here also not simply in the desert, but in the bush. "When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him." (v. 31.) Lo! he was deemed worthy of the Voice also. "I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (v. 32, 33.) Lo!Editor's Note 18: So A. B. N. Cat. (in C. the sentence !Idou-'Iakwb is omitted by an oversight caused by the homoeoteleuton 'Iakwb.) Edd. "Not only does he here show that the Angel which appeared unto him was the Angel of the Great Counsel, but he shows also what loving-kindness God exhibits by this manifestation."
how He shows that He is none other than "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"-He, "the Angel of the Great Counsel." (Is. ix. 6. LXX. "Wonderful, Counsellor," E. V.) Here he shows what great loving-kindness God herein exhibits.
"Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet; for the place where thou standest is holy ground."
Not a word of Temple, and the place is holy through the appearance and operation of Christ.
Far more wonderful this than the place which is in the Holy of Holies: for there God is nowhere said to have appeared in this manner, nor Moses to have thus trembled. And then the greatness of His tender care.
"I have seen, I have seen the affliction of My people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt." (v. 34.) See, how he shows, that both by kindnesses, and by chastisements, and by miracles, God was drawing them to Him: but they were still the same. That God is everywhere present, they learned.
Hearing these things, let us in our afflictions flee to Him. "And their groaning," saith He, "I have heard:" not
Editor's Note 19: i. e. "I have heard their groaning:" not simply ("I have come down) because of their calamities." The expression, "I have heard" denotes His ready sympathy.-But the modern text: "He does not simply say, `I have heard; 0' but because of their calamities."
simply, "because of their calamities." But if any should ask, Why then did He suffer them to be evil entreated there? Why, in the first place, to every just man his sufferings are the causes of his rewards. And in the next place, as to why He afflicted them: it was to show His power, that He can (do all), and not only so, but that He may also train them.
Observe in fact; when they were in the desert, then they "waxed fat, they grew thick, they spread out in breadth, they kicked" (Deut. xxxii. 15): and ever and always ease was an evil. Therefore also from the beginning He said to Adam: "In the sweat of thy face thou shall eat thy bread." (Gen. iii. 19.) Also
Editor's Note 19: i. e. "I have heard their groaning:" not simply ("I have come down) because of their calamities." The expression, "I have heard" denotes His ready sympathy.-But the modern text: "He does not simply say, `I have heard; 0' but because of their calamities."
(it was) in order that having come out of much suffering into rest, they might give thanks to God. For affliction is a great good. For hear the Prophet saying, "It is good for me, that Thou hast humbled me." (Ps. cxix. 71.) But if to great and wonderful men affliction be a great (good), much more to us. And, if you will, let us examine into the nature of affliction as it is in itself. Let there be some person rejoicing exceedingly, and gay, and giving a loose to jollity: what more unseemly, what more senseless than this? Let there be one sorrowing and dejected: what more truly philosophic than this? For, "It is better," we read, "to go into the house of mourning, than into the house of laughter." (Eccles. vii. 2.) But, likely enough, youEditor's Note 21: diakroueqe ta legomena. Edd diamwkasfe, "make a mock at."-Below all the mss. agree in oioj hn o Kain pro toutou. Either the text is corrupt, or something is needed for explanation.
do not like the saying, and want to evade it. Let us however see, what sort of man Adam was in Paradise, and what he was afterwards: what sort of man Cain was before, and what he was afterwards.
The soul does not stand fast in its proper place, but, like as by a running tide, (reumatoj, Edd. pneumatoj, "wind") is raised and buoyed up by pleasure, having no steadfastness; facile in making professions, prompt at promising; the thoughts all in restless commotion: laughter ill-timed, causeless hilarity, idle clatter of unmeaning talk. And why speak of others? Let us take in hand some one of the saints, and let us see what he was while in pleasure, what again, when in distress.
Shall we look at David himself? When he was in pleasure and rejoicing, from his many trophies, from his victory, from his crowns, from his luxurious living, froth his confidence, see what sort of things he said and did:
"But I said in my prosperity," says he, "I shall never be moved." (Ps. xxx. 6.)
But when he has come to be in affliction, hear what he says: "And if He say to me, I have no mind for thee; lo! here am I, let Him do that which is pleasing in His sight." (2 Sam. xv. 26.) What can be more truly philosophic than these words? "Whatsoever may be pleasing to God," saith he, "so let it be." And again he said to Saul: "If the Lord stirreth thee up against me, may thy sacrifice be acceptable." (1 Sam. xxvi. 19.) And then too, being in affliction, he spared even his enemies:
but afterwards, not friends even, nor those who had done him no injury. Again, Jacob when he was in affliction, said: "If the Lord will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on." (Gen. xxviii. 20.) As also the son of Noah did nothing of the kind erewhile; but when he was no longer afraid for his safety, you hear how wanton he became. (ib. ix. 22.)
Hezekiah too, when he was in affliction, see what things he did in order to his deliverance; he put on sackcloth, and such like; but when he was in pleasure, he fell through the haughtiness of his heart. (2 Kings ch. xix. 20.)
For, saith the Scripture, "When thou hast eaten, and drunk, and art filled, take heed to thyself." (Deut. vi. 11, 12.) For perilous, as on a precipice's brink, is the post of affluence. "Take heed," saith he, "to thyself." When the Israelites were afflicted, they became all the more increased in number: but when He left them to themselves, then they all went to ruin. And why speak of examples from the ancients? In our own times, let us see, if you please, is it not the case, that when the most are in good case, they become puffed up, hostile to everybody, passionate, while the power is with them: but if it be taken away, they are gentle, lowly (and as) human beings, are brought to a consciousness of their own natural condition. Therefore the Scripture saith,
"Pride hath holden them unto the end: their iniquity shall go forth as from fatness." (Ps. lxxiii. 6. LXX.)
Now these things I have spoken, that we should not make enjoyment every way our object. How then does Paul say, "Rejoice alway?" He does not say simply, "Rejoice," but he adds, "in the Lord." (Phil. iv. 4.) This is the greatest joy, such as the Apostles rejoiced withal; the joy of which prisons, and scourges, and persecutions, and evil report, and all painful things, are the source, and the root, and the occasion; whence also it comes to a happy issue. But that of the world, on the contrary, begins with sweets and ends in bitters. Neither do I forbid to rejoice in the Lord, nay, I earnestly exhort to this. The Apostles were scourged, and they rejoiced: were bound, and they gave thanks: were stoned, and they preached. This is the joy I also would have: from nothing bodily has it its origin, but from spiritual things. It is not possible for him who joys after the fashion of the world, to rejoice also after a godly sort: for every one who joys after the world's fashion, has his joy in riches, in luxury, in honor, in power, in arrogance: but he who rejoices after the mind of God, has his joy in dishonor for God's sake, in poverty, in want, in fasting, in humbleness of mind. Seest thou, how opposite are the grounds (of joy)? To go without joy here, is to be without grief also: and to be without grief here, is to go without pleasure too. And in truth these are the things which produce real joy, since the others have the name only of joy, but they altogether consist of pain. What misery the arrogant man. endures! How is he cut short (diakoptetai) in the midst of his arrogance, bespeaking for himself numberless insults, much hatred, great enmity, exceeding spite, and many an evil eye! Whether it be that he is insulted by greater men, he grieves: or that he cannot make his stand against everybody, he is mortified. Whereas the humble man lives in much enjoyment: expecting honor from none, if he receive honor, he is pleased, but if not, he is not grieved. He takes it contentedly that he is honored; butEditor's Note 22: malista de oudeij auton atimazei. Savile justly retains this sentence from the old text. Montf. rejects it, as superfluous, and disturbing the sense. Downe ap. Sav. proposes oti ouk htimasqn: "non ambit honorem, sed bene secum actum putat si nulla affectus sit ignominia." But in the old text there is no alla before agapa: and the meaning is not, "he thinks himself well off," etc., nor as Ben., "he rejoices that," etc., but, "he is content not to be honored; knowing this at any rate, that nobody can dishonor him."
above all, none dishonors him. Now not to seek honor, and yet to be honored-great must be the enjoyment of this. But in the other, it is just the reverse: he seeks honor, and is not honored. And the pleasure that the honor gives is not the same to him who seeks it, as it is to him who seeks it not. The one, however much he receives, thinks he has received nothing: the other, though you give him ever so little, takes it as though he had received all. Then again, he who lives in affluence and luxury has numberless affairs of business, and let his revenues flow in to him ever so easily, and, as it were, from full fountains, yet he fears the evils arising from luxurious living, and the uncertainty of the future: but the other is always in a state of security and enjoyment, having accustomed himself to scantiness of diet. For he does not so bemoan himself at not partaking of a sumptuous board, as he luxuriates in not fearing the uncertainty of the future. But the evils arising from luxurious living, how many and great they are, none can be ignorant: it is necessary, however, to mention them now. Twofold the war, in the body, and in the soul: twofold the storm: twofold the diseases; not only in this respect, but because they are both incurable, and bring with them great calamities. Not so, frugality: but here is twofold health, twofold the benefits. "Sleep of health," we read, "is in moderate eating." (Ecclus. xxxi. 20.) For everywhere, that which keeps measure is pleasant, that which is beyond measure, ceases to please. For say now: on a little spark put a great pile of fagots, and you will no longer see the fire shining, but much disagreeable smoke. On a very strong and large man lay a burden which exceeds his strength, and you will see him with his burden lying prostrate on the ground. Embark too large a freight in your vessel, and you have ensured a grievous shipwreck. Just so it is here. For just as in overladen ships, great is the tumult of the sailors, the pilot, the man at the prow, and the passengers, while they cast into the sea the things above deck, and things below; so here too, with their vomitings upwards, and their purgings downwards, they mar their constitutions, and destroy themselves. And what is the most shameful of all, the mouth is made to do the office of the nether parts, and that becomes the more shameful member. But if to the mouth the disgrace be such, think what must it be in the soul! For indeed there it is all mist, all storm, all darkness, great the uproar of the thoughts, at being so thronged and crushed, the soul itself crying out at the abuse done to it: all
Editor's Note 23: E. Edd. "Thence also the gormandizers (gastrizomenoi) themselves complain of one another, are in ill humor, haste to be rid of the filth within. Still, even after it is cast out," etc. And below:-"fever and diseases. `Yes, 0' say you, `they are sick and are disgusting; it is waste of words to tell us all this, and make a catalogue of diseases: for it is I that am diseased. etc, ...while these luxurious livers one may see in good plight, sleek, merry, riding on horseback. 0'"
(the parts and faculties) complaining of one another, beseeching, entreating, that the filth may be discharged somewhere. And after it is flung out, still the turmoil is not at an end; but then comes fever and diseases. "And how comes it," say you, "that one may see these luxurious livers, in goodly plight, riding on horseback? What idle talk is this," say you, "to tell us of diseases? It is I that am diseased, I that am racked, I that am disgusting, while I have nothing to eat." Ah me! for one may well lament at such words. But the sufferers with the gout, the men that are carried on litters, the men that are swathed with bandages, from what class of people, I ask you, shall we see these? And indeed, were it not that they would deem it an insult, and think my words opprobrious, I would before now have addressed them even by name. "But there are some of them, who are in good health as well." Because they give themselves not merely to luxurious living, but also to labors. Else show me a man, who does nothing whatever but fatten himself, free from pain as he lies there, without an anxious thought. For though a host of physicians without number came together, they would not be able to rescue him from his diseases. It is not in the nature of things. For I will hold you a medical discourse. Of the matters sent down into the belly, not all becomes nourishment; since even in the food itself, not all is nutritive, but part of it in the process of digestion passes into stool, part is turned into nourishment. If then in the process of digestion the operation is perfect, this is the result, and each finds its proper place; the wholesome and useful part betakes itself to its appropriate place, while that which is superfluous and useless, withdraws itself, and passes off. But if it be in too great quantity, then even the nutritive part of it becomes hurtful. And, to speak by way of example, in order that my meaning may be clearer to you: in wheat part is fine flour, part meal, part bran: now if the mill be able to grind (what is put in), it separates all these: but if you put in too much, all becomes mixed up together. Wine again, if it go through its proper process of formation, and under due influence of the seasons, then, whereas at first all is mixed together, anon part settles into lees, part rises into scum, part remains for enjoyment to those that use it, and this is the good part, and will not. readily undergo any change. But what they call "nourishment," is neither wine, nor lees, while all are mixed up together.-The same may be seen in the river,
Editor's Note 24: Edd. from E. "in the sea, under a violent storm in winter," and below, "the fishes floating at top, dead, which by reason of the cold had not power to sink to the bottom."
when its waters make a whirling flood. As at such time we see the fishes floating at top, dead, their eves first blinded by the muddy slime: so is it with us. For when gormandizing, like a flood of rain, has drenched the inward parts, it puts all in a whirl, and makes that the faculties (loUismoi), healthy till then and living in a pure element, drift lifeless on the surface. Since then by all these examples we have shown how great the mischief is, let us cease to count these men happy for that, for which we ought to think them wretched, and to bemoan ourselves for that, for which we ought to count ourselves happy, and let us welcome sufficiency with a contented mind. Or do you not hear even what physicians tell you, that "want is the mother of health?" But what I say is, that want is mother, not of bodily health, but also of that of the soul. These things Paul also, that physician indeed, cries aloud; when he says, "Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content." (1 Tim. vi. 8.) Let us therefore do as he bids us, that so, being in sound health, we may perform the work that we ought to do, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
ACTS VII. 35.-"This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel which appeared to him in the bush."
This is very suitable to the matter in hand. "This Moses," he says. "This," the man who had been in danger of losing his life; the man who had been set at naught by them; "this" the man whom they had declined: "this" same, God having raised up, sent unto them. "Whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler?" just as they themselves (the hearers) said, "We have no king, but Caesar." (John xix. 15.) He here shows also, that what was then done, was done by Christ. "The same did God send by the hand of the Angel," who said unto him, "I am the God of Abraham." "This" same Moses, he says,-and observe how he points to his renown-"this" same Moses, he says, "brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me" (v. 36, 37): set at naught like me. Him, likewise, Herod wished to kill, and in Egypt He found preservation just as it was with the former, even when He was a babe, He was aimed at for destruction. "This is he, that was in the Church in the wilderness with the Angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us." (v. 38.)
Again no mention of temple, none of sacrifice.
"With the Angel," it says, "he received the lively oracles to give unto the fathers." It shows, that he not only wrought miracles, but also gave a law, as Christ did. Just as Christ first works miracles, and then legislates: so did Moses. But they did not hear him, keeping their disobedience, even after the miracles: "To whom," he says, "our fathers would not obey:" (v. 39) after the wonders done in those forty years. And not only so, but just the contrary: "but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.
Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us; for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the Prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Kemphan, figures which ye made to worship them:
and I will carry you away beyond Babylon." (v. 40, 43.) The expression, "gave them up," means, He suffered. "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion he had seen." (v. 44.)
Even when there was a Tabernacle, yet there were no sacrifices.
"Did ye offer unto Me slain beasts and sacrifices?" (Amos v. 25.) There was "the tabernacle of witness," and yet it profired them nothing, but they were consumed. But neither before, nor afterwards, did the miracles profit them aught. "Which also, our fathers that came after brought in."
Seest thou, how the holy place is there wherever God may be?
For to this end also he says, "in the wilderness," to compare place with place. Then the benefit (conferred upon them):
And our fathers that came after brought it in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; who found favor before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. (v. 45, 46.)
David "desired to find favor:" and he builded not, he, the wonderful, the great; but the castaway, Solomon. "But Solomon," it says,
"built Him an house.
Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in (places) made with hands. (v. 47-50.)
This was shown indeed already by what had been before said: but it is shown also by the voice of a prophet; "What house will ye build for Me? saith the Lord God. As saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build for me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?" (Is. lxvi. 1, 2.)
Marvel not, he says, if they on whom Christ confers His benefits refuse His kingdom, seeing in the case of Moses it was just the same. (Recapitulation).
"He brought them out;" and rescued them not in a general way, but also while they were in the wilderness. "Wonders and signs," etc. (v. 35-50.)
Do you mark that they themselves (Stephen's hearers) are concerned in those old miracles also?
"This is that Moses:" (v. 37) he, that conversed with God; he, that had been saved out of situations so strange and wonderful; he, that wrought so great works, and had so great power. [" Which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet," etc.] He shows, that the prophecy must by all means be fulfilled, and that Moses is not opposed to Him." worship, Stephen, Israel in the wilderness, Law of Moses, Tabernacle, animal sacrifices.Editors Note 1: Here the innovator, not perceiving that the renewed exposition began above, inserts the formula 'All' idwmen anwqen ta eirhmena, and then has: "This, it says, is Moses, which said, A Prophet, etc. To this, I suppose, Christ refers, when He says, `Salvation is of the Jews, 0f hinting at Himself. This is he that was in the wilderness, with the Angel that spake unto him. Lo, again he shows, that it was He," etc.
This is he that was in the Church in the wilderness, and, that said unto the children of Israel." (v. 38.) Do you mark that thence comes the root, and that "salvation is from the Jews?" (John iv. 22.) "With the Angel," it says, "which spake unto him." (Rom. xi. 16.)
Lo, again he affirms that it was He (Christ) that gave the Law, seeing Moses was with "Him" in the Church in the wilderness.Editor's Note 2: The meaning of v. 38 is that Moses became (genomenoj) a mediator between God (represented by the Angel) and the people. Cf. Gal. iii. 19 where the law is said to have been "ordained through angels, by the hand of a mediator" (Moses). No mention is made of angels as revealers of the law in Exodus xix. the first mention of angels in connection with the giving of the law being in a highly poetic passage in Moses' benediction, Deut. xxxiii. 2. (Even here the Heb. text is uncertain. Cf. the lxx. in loco). The function of angels in the giving of the law has a prominent place in later Jewish theology as opposed to the action of mere human ministers. The New Testament notices on the subject reflect this later phase of thought (Cf. Acts vii. 53; Heb. ii. 2). See Lightfoot on Gal. ii. 19.-G. B. S.
And here he puts them in mind of a great marvel, of the things done in the Mount: "Who received living oracles to give unto us." On all occasions Moses is wonderful, and (so) when need was to legislate. What means the expression, "Living oracles" (loUia)? Those, whereof the end was shown by words (dia loUwn): in other words, he means the prophecies.Editor's Note 3: By logia zwnta are meant living oracles in the sense of operative, effectual, as Jesus affirmed his words to be "spirit and life" (John vi. 63). They contain vital truth. The law was indeed "weak" (Rom. viii. 3) but it was so "through the flesh," i.e. human sinfulness. It was not inherently weak but was so relatively to the great power of sin in man which needed to be overcome.-G. B. S.
Then follows the charge, in the first instance, against the patriarchs [after], the "signs and wonders,"after the receiving of the "lively oracles:
To whom," he says, "our fathers would not obey." (v. 39.)
But concerning those, Ezekiel says that they are not "living;" as when he says,
"And I gave you statutes that are not good." (Ezek. xx. 25.)
It is with reference to those that he says, "Living. But thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt"-the place where they groaned, where they cried, whence they called upon God. "And said unto Aaron, Make us gods which shall go before us." (v. 40.) O the folly! "Make," say they; "that they may go before us." Whither? "Into Egypt."
Editor's Note 4: It is not probable that this passage (v. 39, 40) means that the people proposed to return to Egypt (as Chrys.). In the O. T. the constant representation is that the golden calf (or bull) was worshipped as the image of the divinity who had led them out of Egypt (Ex. xxxii. 4; 1 Kings xii. 28). It seems clearly implied in Ezek. xx. 7, Ezek. xx. 8, Ezek. xx. 24, that the Israelites while in Egypt had been much addicted to the idolatry of the country. The meaning here is that, being discouraged and disappointed on account of Moses' continued absence in the mount, they were ready to transfer their allegiance from Jehovah to some of the divinities to whose worship they had previously been accustomed. The worship of cattle was especially common, as of Apis at Memphis and Mnevis at Heliopolis.-G. B. S.
1Kings 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, t
hen shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord,
even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me,
and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
1Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel,
and made two calves of gold, and said unto them,
It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem:
behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
1Kings 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
1Kings 12:30 And this thing became a sin:
for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
1Kings 12:31 And he made an house of high places,
and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
Ezek. 20:5 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, a
nd made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt,
when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God;
Ezek. 20:6 In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them,
to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them,
flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
Ezek. 20:7 Then said I unto them,
Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes,
and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Ezek. 20:8 But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me:
they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes,
neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt:
then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them to accomplish my anger against
them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
Ezek. 20:23 I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness,
that I would scatter them among the heathen,
and disperse them through the countries;
Ezek. 20:24 Because they had not executed my judgments,
but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths,
and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols.
Polluted: h2490 Chalal play the flute, steal people's property, pollute and prostitute.
Also as "Lucifer was cast out as profane from heaven."
See how hard they were to tear away from the customs of Egypt! What sayest thou? What, not wait for him that brought thee out, but flee the benefit, and deny the Benefactor? And mark how insulting they are: "For as for this Moses," they say:-"which brought us out of the land of Egypt" nowhere the name of God: instead of that, they ascribed all to Moses. Where
Editor's Note 5: !Enqa men euxaristein edei, A, B, C. D. F., but N. and Cat. axaristein.-E. Kai enfa men autouj axaristein hn. Edd. eux.
they ought to give thanks (to God), they bring Moses forward: where it was, to do as the Law bade them, they no longer make account of Moses. "We know not what is become of him." And yet he told them that he was going up to receive the Law: and they had not patience to wait forty days. "Make us gods"-theyEditor's Note 6: This clause, omitted by A. b.c., is preserved by N. and the Catena. The calf was one, yet they called it Gods: on which St. Chrys. remarks elsewhere, that they added polytheism to idolatry.-The next sentence may perhaps be completed thus: "that they did not even know that there is One God."-Edd. from E.F.D. "So frantic are they, that they know not what they say."
did not say, "a God."-And yet one may well wonder at this, that they do not even know.-"And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifices unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands" (v. 41): for which they ought to have hid their faces.
What wonder that ye know not Christ, seeing ye knew not Moses, and God Who was manifested by such wonders?
..........But they not only knew Him not:
..........they also insulted in another way, by their idol making.
"Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven" (v. 42.)
Hence these same "customs" date their origin, hence the sacrifices:
..........they were themselves the first that made sacrifices to their idols!
..........For that is why it is marked,Editor's Note 7: dia gar touto epishmainetai. The meaning is: Stephen was accused of speaking against "the customs,"-sacrifices, temple, feasts, etc. Therefore he significantly points to that critical conjuncture. from which these "customs" date their introduction: namely, the Provocation at Horeb.Prior to that, he tells of "living oracles," life-giving precepts:
after it , and as its consequence, sacrifices, etc.,
those statutes which were not good, and ordinances by which a man shall not live, as God says by Ezekiel.
Not a word of sacrifice till then: and the first mention is, of the sacrifices offered to the calf. In like manner, "they rejoiced," "the people ate and drank, and rose up to play:" and in consequence of this, the feasts were prescribed: kai eufrainonto, fhsin: dia touto kai eortai.-'Epishmainetai might be rendered, "he marks," "puts a mark upon it" (so the innovator, who substitutes, touto kai Dauid epishmainomenoj legei): we take it passively, "there is a mark set over it-it is emphatically denoted." In the active, the verb taken intransitively means
"to betoken or announce itself," "make its first appearance."-
In the Treatise adv. Judaeos, iv. §6. tom. i. 624. C. St. Chrysostom gives this account of the legal sacrifices: "To what purpose unto Me is the multitude of your sacrifices? etc. (Isaiah i., 11, ff.)
Do ye hear how it is most plainly declared, that God did not from the first require these at your hands? Had He required them, He would have obliged those famous saints who were before the Law to observe this practice.
`Then wherefore has He permitted it now?
In condescension to your infirmity. As a physician in his treatment of a delirious patient, etc.:
thus did God likewise. For seeing them so frantic in their lust for sacrifices, that they were ready, unless they got them, to desert to idols: nay not only ready,
but that they had already deserted, thereupon He permitted sacrifices. And that this is the reason, is clear from the order of events.
After the feast which they made to the demons, then it was that He permitted sacrifices: all but saying: `Ye are mad, and will needs sacrifice: well then, at any rate sacrifice to Me. 0'"-(What follows may serve to illustrate the brief remark a little further on, Kai h aixmalwsia kathgoria thj kakiaj.)
"But even this, He did not permit to continue to the end, but by a most wise method, withdrew them from it ...
For He did not permit it to be done in any place of the whole world,but in Jerusalem only. Anon, when for a short timeHad He openly said, Desist, they, such was their insane passion for sacrificing, would not readily have complied. But now perforce, the place being taken away, He secretly withdrew them from their frenzy."
they had sacrificed, he destroyed the city.
So here: "Even the captivity impeaches the wickedness (which was the cause of the permission of sacrifice.")
"They made a calf in Horeb, and offered sacrifices to the idol:"
..........seeing that, before this the name of sacrifice is nowhere mentioned,
..........but only lively ordinances, and "lively oracles.
And rejoiced"-that is the reason for the feasts. Exod. xxxii. 5, 6.) "As it is written in the Book of the Prophets"-and observe, he does not cite the text without a purpose,
but shows by it that there is no need of sacrifices; saying: "Did ye offer slain beasts and sacrifice to Me?"-He lays an emphasis on this word (to Me?).
"Ye cannot say that it was from sacrificing to Me,
..........that ye proceeded to sacrifice to them:-"by the space of forty years:"
.......... and this too, "in the wilderness," where He had most signally shown Himself their Protector.
"Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan: images which ye made to worship them.Editor's Note 8: Our passage here follows the lxx. which speaks of Moloch and Remphan. The terms in the original (vid. R. V.: Amos v. 25-27) are "Siccuth" and "Chiun." It is a disputed point whether these are in the prophecy names of divinities or whether they mean respectively "tabernacle" and "shrine" (or image). The difficulty lies in the ambiguity of the Hebrew text. The name Moloch being akin to the Hebrew word for king (rlm), confusion might easily arise. The N. T. text varies from the lxx. only in adding the word proskunein (43) to lay emphasis upon the charge of idolatry, and in replacing Damascus by Babylon (43), an interpretation from the standpoint of subsequent history. The statement of our text that the Israelites fell into the worship of these divinities in the wilderness rests upon extra-Pentateuchal tradition, derived, perhaps, from such prohibitions of Moloch-worship and similar idolatries as are found in Lev. xviii. 21, and Deut. xviii. 10. The charge in the prophecy of Amos is a general one referring to the frequent lapses of the people into image-worship down to his own time.-G. B. S.
The cause of sacrifices! "And I will carry you away beyond Babylon." (v. 43.) Even the captivity, an impeachment of their wickedness! "But a Tabernacle," say you, "there was (the Tabernacle) `of Witness.'" (v. 44.) (Yes,) this is why it was: that they should have God for Witness: this was all. "According to the fashion," it says, "that was shown thee on the mount:" so
Editor's Note 9: wste en tw orei h upografh gegone. In the following sentences, there are numerous variations in Edd. from the old text, but they do not materially affect the sense, and certainly do not improve it.
that on the mount was the Original. And this Tabernacle, moreover, "in the wilderness," was carried about, and not locally fixed. And he calls it, "Tabernacle of witness:" i.e. (for witness) of the miracles, of the statutes.
Editor's Note 10: The expression here used-h skhnh tou marturiou is the constant but inexact lxx. translation of dcwm lh)God commanded the Qahal or assembly or 'church in the wilderness' for instruction only and outlawed the alarm which includes loud rejoicing and instrumental sounds (Num 10). Scholars such as Calvin recognize this as forbidding musical noises. The "civilian" population attended the synagogue even in the wilderness to rest, read and rehearse the Word of God.
"tent of meeting"-i. e. the tent where God met the people. From a misunderstanding of the etymology of dcwm
(it being taken from dwc to witness,
instead of from dcy to assemble)
it was translated by marturion-a rendering which has occasioned frequent misunderstanding. Marturion is rightly used in the lxx. to render hzdc (from dzc) in Exod. xxv. 22; Num. ix. 15.-G. B. S.
This is the reason why both it and those (the fathers) had no Temple. "As He had appointed, that spake unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen."
- Again, it was none other than He (Christ) that gave the fashion itself.
- "Until the days of David" (v. 45): and there was no temple!
And yet the Gentiles also had been driven out: for that is why he mentions this: "Whom God drave out," he says, "before the face of our fathers.
- Whom He drave out," he says:
- ..........and even then, no Temple!
- And so many wonders,
- ..........and no mention of a Temple!
- So that, although first there is a Tabernacle,
- ..........yet nowhere a Temple. "Until the days of David,"
- he says: even David,
- ..........and no Temple!
"And he sought to find favor before God" (v. 46):
..........and built not:- so far was the Temple from being a great matter!
.........."But Solomon built Him an house." (v. 47.)
They thought Solomon was great: but that he was not better than his father, nay not even equal to him, is manifest.
"Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool." (v. 48, 49.)
Nay, not even these are worthy of God, forasmuch as they are made, seeing they are creatures, the works of His hand. See how he leads them on by little and little (showing) that not even these are to be mentioned. And again the prophecy says openly,
"What house will ye build Me?" etc. (v. 50.)
What is the reason that at this point he speaks in the tone of invective (kataforikp)? Great was his boldness of speech, when at the point to die: for in fact I think he knew that this was the case. "Ye stiffnecked," he says, "and uncircumcised in heart and ears." This also is from the prophets: nothing is of himself.
"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." (v. 51.)
- When it was not His will that sacrifices should be,
- ..........ye sacrifice:
- when it is His will,
- ..........then again ye do not sacrifice:
- when He would not give you commandments,
- ..........ye drew them to you:
- when ye got them,
- ..........ye neglected them.
- Again, when the Temple stood,
- ..........ye worshipped idols:
- when it is His will to be worshipped without a Temple,
- ..........ye do the opposite.
Observe, he says not, "Ye resist God," but, "the Spirit:" so far was he from knowing any difference between Them. And, what is greater: "As your fathers did," he says, "so do ye." Thus also did Christ (reproach them),
- forasmuch as they were always boasting much of their fathers.
- "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?
- and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One:"
he still says, "the Just One," wishing to check them: "of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers"-two charges he lays against themEditor's Note 11: E. F. D. Edd. add, "that they knew (Him) not, and that they murdered (Him):" but the meaning is, that they betrayed, and that they murdered: or, as below, Their fathers slew the Prophets, and they, Him Whom they preached.
"who have received the Law by the disposition of Angels, and have not kept it." (v. 52.) How, "By the disposition of Angels?" Some say (The Law), disposed by Angels; or, put into his hand by the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush; for was He man? No wonder that He
Editor's Note 12: ton ekeina poihsanta, A. b.c. N. Cat. i.e. that Christ, Who, as the Angel, did those works, etc. The modern text touj ek. poihsantaj: that those who did those wickednesses, etc.: and so Oec. seems to have taken it: "If ye killed them who preached Him to come, no wonder that ye kill Me," etc.-Below, for Oi toinun antipoiountai tou nomou, kai elegon, A. B. N. (N. corrected outoi nun) have ou toinun k. t. l. and A. legontej: "Therefore they claim not the Law (on their side), saying," etc.
who wrought those works, should also have wrought these.
Editor's Note 13: 'Aggelwn (53) cannot refer (as Chrys.) to the Jehovah-angel of the bush. It refers to angels as the mediators in the giving of the law, an idea which appears in the lxx., the N. T. elsewhere (Gal. iii. 19; Heb. ii. 2) and is prominent in later Jewish theology (Cf. Josephus, Ant. XV. v. 3) Vid. note *, p. 107.-G. B. S.
"Ye slew them who preached of Him." much more Himself. He shows them disobedient both to God, and to Angels, and the Prophets, and the Spirit, and to all: as also Scripture saith elsewhere: "Lord, they have slain Thy Prophets, and thrown down Thine altars." (1 Kings xix. 10.) They, then, stand up for the Law, and say, "He blasphemeth against Moses:" he shows, therefore, that it is the), who blaspheme, and that (their blasphemy is not only against Moses, but) against God; shows that "they" from the very beginning have been doing this: that "they" have themselves destroyed their "customs," that there is no need of these:
- that while accusing him, and saying that he opposed Moses,
- they themselves were opposing the Spirit:
and not merely opposing, but with murder added to it: and that they had their enmity all along from the very beginning. Seest thou, that he shows them to be acting in opposition both to Moses and to all others, and not keeping the Law? And yet Moses had said, "A Prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you: and the rest also told of this (Christ) that He would come: and the prophet again said, "What house will ye build Me?" and again, "Did ye offer to Me slain beasts and sacrifices" those "forty years?" (Deut. xviii. 18.)
Such is the boldness of speech of a man bearing the Cross. Let us then also imitate this: though it be not a time of war,yet it is always the time for boldness of speech.
For, "I spake," says one, "in Thy testimonies before kings, and was not ashamed." (Ps. cxix. 46.)
if we chance to be among heathens, let us thus stop their mouths. without wrath, without harshness. (Comp. Hom. in 1 Cor. iv. §6; xxxiii. §4, 5; Col. xi. §2.) For if we do it with wrath, it no longer seems to be the boldness (of one who is confident of his cause,) but passion: but if with gentleness, this is boldness indeed. For
Editor's Note 14: Ou gar dunatai omou kai kata tauton (kat auton A. C. and N. originally) kai katorqwma ei/ai kai elattwma. 'H parrhsia, katorqwma: o qumoj, elattwma.
in one and the same thing success and failure cannot possibly go together. The boldness is a success: the anger is a failure. Therefore, if we are to have boldness, we must be clean from wrath that none may impute our words to that.
No matter how just your words may be, when you speak with anger, you ruin all: no matter how boldly you speak, how fairly reprove, or what not. See this man, how free from passion as he discourses to them! For he did not abuse them: he did but remind them of the words of the Prophets. For, to show you that it was not anger, at the very moment he was suffering evil at their hands, he prayed, saying, "Lay not to their charge this sin."
So far was he from speaking these words in anger; no, he spake in grief and sorrow for their sakes. As indeed this is why it speaks of his appearance, that "they saw his face as it had been the face of an angel," on purpose that they might believe. Let us then be clean from wrath.The Holy Spirit dwelleth not where wrath is: cursed is the wrathful. It cannot be that aught wholesome should approach, where wrath goes forth.
..........For as in a storm at sea, great is the tumult, loud the clamor,
..........and then would be no time for lessons of wisdom (filosofein):
So neither in wrath. If the soul is to be in a condition either to say, or to be disciplined to, aught of philosophy, it must first be in the haven.
Seest thou not how, when we wish to converse on matters of serious import, we look out for places free from noise, where all is stillness, all calm, that we may not be put out and discomposed?
But if noise from without discomposes, much more disturbance from within.
Whether one pray, to no purpose does he pray "with wrath and disputings:" (1 Tim. ii. 8) whether he speak, he will only make himself ridiculous: whether he hold his peace, so again it will be even then: whether he eat, he is hurt even then: whether he drink, or whether he drink not; whether he sit, or stand, or walk; whether he sleep: for even in their dreams such fancies haunt them.
For what is there in such men that is not disagreeable?
Eyes unsightly, mouth distorted, limbs agitated and swollen, tongue foul and sparing no man, mind distraught, gestures uncomely: much to disgust.
Mark the eyes of demoniacs, and those of drunkards and madmen; in what do they differ from each other? Is not the whole madness? For what though it be but for the moment? The madman too is possessed for the moment: but what is worse than this?And they are not ashamed at that excuse;
"I knew not (saith one) what I said."
And how came it that thou didst not know this, thou the rational man, thou that hast the gift of reason, on purpose that thou mayest not act the part of the creatures without reason, just like a wild horse, hurried away by rage and passion?
In truth, the very excuse is criminal. For thou oughtest to have known what thou saidst."It was the passion," say you, "that spoke the words, not I."
How should it be that? For passion has no power, except it get it from you.
You might as well say, "It was my hand that inflicted the wounds, not I." What occasion, think you, most needs wrath? would you not say, war and battle? But even then, if anything is done with wrath, the whole is spoiled and undone. For of all men, those who fight had best not be enraged:
of all men, those had best not be enraged, who want to hurt (touj ubrizontaj). And how is it possible to fight then? you will ask. With reason, with self-command (epieikeia): since fighting is, to stand in opposition. Seest thou not that even these (common) wars are regulated by, definite law, and order, and times?
For wrath is nothing but an irrational impulse: and an irrational creature cannot possibly perform aught rational. For instance, the man here spoke such words, and did it without passion.
And Eiias said," How long will ye halt on both your knees?" (1 Kings xviii. 21) and spake it not in passion. And Phinees slew, and did it without passion. For passion suffers not a man to see, but, just as in a night-battle, it leads him, with eyes blindfolded and ears stopped up, where it will. Then let us rid ourselves of this demon, at its first beginning let us quell it, let us put the sign of the Cross on our breast, as it were a curb. Wrath is a shameless dog: but let it learn to hear the law.
If there be in a sheep-fold a dog so savage as not to obey the command of the shepherd,nor to know his voice all is lost and ruined. He is kept along with the sheep:
but if he makes a meal on the sheep, he is useless, and is put to death.
If he has learnt to obey thee, feed thy dog: he is useful when it is against the wolves,
against robbers, and against the captain of the robbers that he barks,
not against the sheep, not against friends. If he does not obey he ruins all: if he learns not to mind thee, he destroys all.
The mildness in thee let not wrath consume, but let it guard it, and feed it up. And it will guard it, that it may feed in much security, if it destroy wicked and evil thoughts, if it chase away the devil from every side. So is gentleness preserved, when evil works are nowhere admitted: so we become worthy of respect, when we learn not to be shameless. For nothing renders a man so shameless, as an evil conscience. Why are harlots without shame? Why are virgins shamefaced? Is it not from their sin that the former, from their chastity that the latter, are such? For nothing makes a person so shameless, as sin. "And yet on the contrary," say you, "it puts to shame." Yes; him who condemns himself but him that is past blushing, it renders even more reckless: for desperation makes daring. For "the wicked," saith the Scripture, "when he is come into the depths of evils, despiseth." (Prov. xviii. 3.) But he that is shameless, will also be reckless, and he that is reckless, will be daring.
See in what way gentleness is destroyed, when evil thoughts gnaw at it. This is why there is such a dog, barking mightily: we have also sling and stone (ye know what I mean): we have also spear and enclosure and cattle-fold: let us guard our thoughts unhurt. If the dog be gentle (sainh) with the sheep, but savage against those without, and keep vigilant watch,this is the excellence of a dog: and,
..........be he ever so famished, not to devour the sheep;
..........be he ever so full, not to spare the wolves.
Such too is anger meant to be: however provoked, not to forsake gentleness; however at quiet, to be on the alert against evil thoughts: to acknowledge the friend, and not for any beating forsake him, and for all his caressing, to fly at the intruder.
The devil uses caressing full oft: let the dog know at sight that he is an intruder.
..........So also let us caress (sainwmen) Virtue,
..........though she put us to pain,
..........and show our aversion to Vice,
..........though she give us pleasure.
Editor's Note 15: Edd. from E. Sainei o diaboloj pollakij wj o kuwn, alla gnwtw paj oti. "The devil fawns full oft as the dog, but let every man know that," etc. A. b.c. N. wj o kuwn eidetw (idetw X.) oti. We restore the true reading by omitting wj. "The dog" is anger: the devil sainei, not as the dog, but upon the dog, as the allotrioj in the preceding sentence."Let our faithful watch-dog see at once that he is an intruder."
In the following sentence the image is so far incongruous, as sainwmen here has a different reference: viz. "as the dog fawns upon the friend though beaten, so let us," etc.
Let us not be worse than the dogs, which, even when whipped and throttled, do not desert their master: but ifEditor's Note 16: an de autouj kai trefh o allotrioj kai outw blaptousin (A. blayousin). The antithesis seems to require the sense to be, "While, if the stranger even feed them, for all that, they do him a mischief." But the words trefh and blaptousin are scarcely suitable in the sense, trofhn didw and lumainontai. Edd. have from E. alone, pwj ou mallon blayousin; in the sense, "If however the stranger (not merely caresses but) also (regularly) feeds them, how shall they not do more hurt (than good)?" i. e. "If the devil be suffered to pamper our anger, that which should have been our safeguard will prove a bane to us."-Perhaps this is the sense intended in the old reading; but if so, kai outw is unsuitable.
the stranger also feed them, even so they do hurt.
There are times when anger is useful; but this is when it barks against strangers. What means it, "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause?" (Matt. v. 22.) It means, Stand not up in thine own quarrel, neither avenge thyself: if thou see another suffering deadly wrong, stretch out thy hand to help him.
This is no longer passion, when thou art clear of all feeling for thyself alone.
David had gotten Saul into his power, and was not moved by passion, did not thrust the spear into him, the enemy he had in his power; but took his revenge upon the Devil. (1 Sam. xxvi. 7.)
Moses, when he saw a stranger doing an injury, even slew him (Exod. ii. 22): but when one of his own people, he did not so: them that were brethren he would have reconciled; the others not so. That "most meek" (Num. xii. 3) Moses, as Scripture witnesseth of him, see how he was roused! But not so, we: on the contrary, where we ought to show meekness, no wild beast so fierce as we: but where we ought to be roused, none so dull and sluggish. (Hom. vi. de laud. Pauli, ad fin.) On no occasion do we use our faculties to the purpose they were meant for: and therefore it is that our life is spent to no purpose.
For even in the case of implements; if one use them, one instead of other, all is spoilt: if one take his sword, and then, where he should use it and cut with it, uses only his hand, he does no good: again, where he should use his hand, by taking the sword in hand he spoils all. In like manner also the physician, if where he ought to cut, he cuts not, and where he ought not, he does cut, mars all. Wherefore, I beseech you, let us use the thing (tw pragmati) at its proper time. The proper time for anger is never, where we move in our own quarrel: but if it is our duty to correct others, then is the time to use it, that we may by force deliver others. (Hom. in Matt. xvi. §7.) So shall we both be like unto God, always keeping a spirit free from wrath, and shall attain unto the good things that are to come, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost together, be glory, dominion, and honor, now and evermore, world without end. Amen.
ACTS VII. 54.-"When they heard these things, they were cut to "the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth." See,
Editor's Note 1: In our mss. the Homily opens abruptly with the question, Pwj ouk elabon ek twn eirhmenwn aformhn eij to [mh Cat.] anelein auton; which is left unanswered, till some way further on. See note 2.-Montf. notes, "Unus, eisto mh anelein." But this reading does not appear in any of our mss. though the Catena has it. Edd. from E, have; "How it was that they did not take occasion from what he had said to kill him, but are still mad, and seek an accusation, one may well wonder. So ever in trouble are the wrong-doers. Just then as the chief priests, in their perplexity, said," etc. F. D. adopting part of this addition, "but are still mad, and seek an accusation. See once more," etc.
once more, the wrong-doers in trouble. Just as the Jews are perplexed, saying," What are we to do with these men?" so these also are "cut to the heart." (ch. iv. 16.) And yet it was he that had good right to be incensed, who, having done no wrong, was treated like a criminal, and was spitefully calumniated. But the calumniators had the worst of it in the end. So true is that saying, which I am ever repeating, "Ill to do, is ill to fare." And yet he (in his charges against them) resorted to no calumny, but proved (what he said). So sure are we, when we are shamefully borne down in a matter wherein we have a clear conscience, to be none the worse for it.-"IfEditor's Note 2: ouden padxomen. Kai eboulonto, fhsin (om. D. F.) anelein auton. (as if these words were part of the sacred text. Then) Profasin ('Alla prof. D. F.) hqelon eulogon k. t. l. A. b.c. D. F. The modern text substitutes, 'Eboulonto men oun anelein: all' ou poiousi touto, aitian qelontej eulogon k. t. l.-Oecumenius, however, begins his comment thus: Ei eboulonto anelein, pwj ouk aneilon e/qewj tote; #Oti profasin eulogon k. t. l. Hence we restore the true reading, and the proper order. Namely, for Kai we read Ei, and transpose to this place, as part of the interlocution, the question pwj ouk elabon-; So, the fhsin is explained, the question is followed by its answer, and there is no abruptness.
they desired," say you, "to kill him, how was it that they did not take occasion, out of what he said, that they might kill him?" They would fain have a fair-seeming plea to put upon their outrage. "Well then, was not the insulting them a fair plea?" It was not his doing, if they were insulted: it was the Prophet's accusation of them. And besides, they did not wish it to look as if they killed him because of what he had said against them -just as they acted in the case of Christ; no, but for impiety: now3Editor's Note 2: ouden padxomen. Kai eboulonto, fhsin (om. D. F.) anelein auton. (as if these words were part of the sacred text. Then) Profasin ('Alla prof. D. F.) hqelon eulogon k. t. l. A. b.c. D. F. The modern text substitutes, 'Eboulonto men oun anelein: all' ou poiousi touto, aitian qelontej eulogon k. t. l.-Oecumenius, however, begins his comment thus: Ei eboulonto anelein, pwj ouk aneilon e/qewj tote; #Oti profasin eulogon k. t. l. Hence we restore the true reading, and the proper order. Namely, for Kai we read Ei, and transpose to this place, as part of the interlocution, the question pwj ouk elabon-; So, the fhsin is explained, the question is followed by its answer, and there is no abruptness.
this word of his was the expression of piety. Wherefore, as they attempted, besides killing him, to hurt his reputation also, "they were cut to the heart." For they were afraid lest he should on the contrary become an object of even greater reverence. Therefore, just what they did in Christ's case, the same they do here also. For as He said, "Ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of God" (Matt. xxvi. 64), and they, calling it blasphemy, "ran upon Him;" just so was it here. There, they "rent their garments;" here, they "stopped their ears. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him." (v. 55-58.) And yet, if he lied, they ought to have thought him beside himself, and to have let him go.-But he wished to bring them over, "and said, Behold," etc., for, since he had spoken of Christ's death, and had said nothing of His resurrection, he would fain add this doctrine also. "Standing at the right hand of God." And in this manner He appeared to him:4Editor's Note 4: from E. outw de autw legei fanhnai, wj pou dieceisin, ina kan outw decwntai ton logon. "And Stephen describes Christ as appearing to Him in this manner, as one somewhere relates at large. in order that," etc.: meaning,
that he might have said "sitting at the right hand," but forbears to do this, because it was offensive to the Jews, and accordingly tewj peri thj anastaewj kinei logon, kai fhsin auton istasqai. The clause wj pou dieceisin seems to have been intended by the innovator, not as part of the text, but as a gloss, "as is somewhere shown at large." But what Chrys. says is, that Christ was pleased to appear in this attitude to Stephen for the sake of the Jews, in order, etc.-Hom. vi. in Ascens. (Cat. in 1,) he says,
"Why standing, and not sitting? To show that He is in act to succor His martyr. For thus it is said also of the Father, `Stand up, O God, and, Now will I stand up, saith the Lord, I will set him in safety. 0'"-Below, Dia touto k. t. l. Comp. de Mundi Crest. Hom. ii. t. vi. 447. C.
"Why did He cause the face of Stephen to shine? Because he was to be stoned as a blasphemer for saying `Behold, 0' etc., therefore God, forestalling this, crowned his face with angelic beauty, to show those thankless ones, that if he were a blasphemer, he would not have been thus glorified." But E. (Edd.) apo toutou stoxazomai dedoc. "I conjecture that it was from this vision (Erasm.,from this time: Ben. hence) that his face was glorified." In the next sentence, Edd. from E. di wn epebouleuonto ekeinoi, di autwn ebouleto autouj ekkalesasqai, ei kai mhden pleon egeneto. Kai ekbalontej k. t. l. "by means of the very machinations wherewith those were assailed He desired to call (the doers) themselves to Himself, even if nothing more had been done."
that, were it but so, the Jews might receive Him: for since the (idea of His) sitting (at the right hand of God) was offensive to them, for the present he brings forward only what relates to His Resurrection. This is the reason also why his face was glorified. For God, being merciful, desired to make their machinations the means of recalling them unto Himself. And see, how many signs are wrought! "And cast him out of the city, and stoned him." Here again, "without the city," and even in death, Confession and Preaching. (Heb. xiii. 21.) "And the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
And they stoned Stephen,
........... calling upon God, and saying,
........... Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (v. 59.)
This is meant to show them that he is not perishing, and to teach them. "And he knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." (v. 60.) To clear himself, and show that neither were his former words prompted by passion, he says, "Lord" "lay not this sin to their charge": wishing also even in this way to win them over. For to show that he forgave their wrath and rage in murdering him, and that his own soul was free from all passion, was the way to make his saying to be favorably received.
We repeat that it is a little known fact that the kingdom, the temple, the fixed location in Jerusalem, animal sacrifices and the musical worship during the animal sacrifices were not by God's Grace-oriented commandment. These were all added and walled off in Jerusalem because they were of a people who rejected God's grace in order to live and worship like the nations. This would continue until the nation of Israel was almost totally destroyed and Messiah came out of the tiny remnant to save only those willing to walk away from Jerusalem, the temple, animal sacrifices, the God-hiding musical rituals and find God out in the marketplace rather than in the "holy place."
Almost without exception (perhaps totally without exception) the same madness which destroyed Israel has infected so-called "churches" engaged in so-called worship or just works-oriented programs or "ministeries."
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