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Vice makes Men dead while they live.
HOMIL that heavy cover of insensibility. Wherefore above all things it behoves the friends of these dead men, seeing that they are past feeling, to come near to Jesus in their behalf, as Mary then did in the case of Lazarus. Though he stinketh, though he be dead four days, do not despair, but approach, and remove the stone first. Yea, for then thou shalt see him lying as in a tomb, and bound in his grave clothes.
And if ye will, let it be some one of them that are great and distinguished, whom we bring before you. Nay, fear not, for I will state the example without a name : or rather, though I should mention the name, not even so need there be any fear for who ever fears a dead man? seeing that whatever one may do, he continues dead, and the dead cannot injure the living either little or much.
Let us then behold their head bound up. For indeed, when they are for ever drunken, even as the dead by their many wrappers and grave-clothes, so are all their organs of sense closed and bound up. And if thou wilt look at their hands too, thou shalt see these again bound to their belly, like those of the dead, and fastened about not with graveclothes, but what is far more grievous, with the bands of Covetousness: obtaining as they do no leave from her to be stretched out for almsgiving, or for any other of such like good deeds; rather she renders them more useless than those of the dead. Wouldest thou also see their feet bound together? See them again fastened about with cares, and for this cause never able to run unto the house of God.
Hast thou seen the dead? behold also the embalmer. Who then is the embalmer of these? The devil, who carefully fastens them about, and suffers not the man any longer to appear a man, but a dry stock. For where there is no eye, nor hands, nor feet, nor any other such thing, how can such an one appear a man? Even so may we see their soul also swaddled up, and rather an image' than a soul.
Forasmuch then as they are in a sort of senseless state, being turned to dead men, let us in their behalf draw nigh unto Jesus, let us entreat Him to raise them up, let us take
μa, the lid of a coffer of any word is well known: see e. g. Odyss. kind here of a sarcophagus. xi. 602. "A shadow or phantom: not
f slowλov. The classical use of this
a true substantial soul."
We must intercede with Christ to raise them. away the stone, let us loosen the grave clothes. For if thou MATT. VIII. take away the stone, that is, their insensibility to their own 22. miseries, thou wilt quickly be able to bring them also out of the tomb; and having brought them out, thou wilt more easily rid them of their bonds. Then shall Christ know thee, when thou art risen, when unbound; then will He call thee even unto His own supper1. As many therefore of you! alludas are friends of Christ, as many as are disciples, as many 12, ing to as love him that is gone, draw near unto Jesus, and pray. 2. For even though his ill savour abound and be ever so intense, nevertheless not even so should we, his friends, forsake him, but so much the rather draw near; even as the sisters of Lazarus then did; neither should we leave interceding, beseeching, intreating, until we have received Him alive.
For if we thus order our own affairs, and those of our neighbours, we shall also attain speedily unto the life to come; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love to man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
MATT. viii. 23, 24.
And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed
Now Luke', to free himself from having the order of time required of Him, saith thus, And it came to pass on a certain day that He went into a ship with His disciples; and Mark2 in like manner. But this Evangelist not so, but he maintains the order in this place also. For they did not all of them write all things in this way. And these things I have mentioned before, lest any one from the omission should suppose there was a discordance.
The multitudes then He sent on, but the disciples He took with Himself: for the others mention this too. And He took them with Him, not for nought, nor at hazard, but in order to make them spectators of the miracle that was to take place. For like a most excellent trainer, He was anointing them with a view to both objects; as well to be undismayed in dangers, as to be modest in honours. Thus, that they might not be high minded, because having sent away the rest, He retained them, He suffers them to be tossed with the tempest; at once correcting this, and disciplining them to bear trials nobly.
For great indeed were the former miracles too, but this
Why our Lord slept on the Lake.
contained also in it a kind of discipline, and that no incon- MATT. siderable one, and was a sign akin to that of old. For this cause He takes the disciples only with Himself. when there was a display of miracles, He suffers the people also to be present; so when trials and terrors were rising up against Him, then He takes with Him none but the champions of the whole world, whom He was to discipline.
And while Matthew merely mentioned that He was asleep', 'See Luke saith that it was on a pillow; signifying both His freedom from pride, and to teach us hereby a high degree of austerity 2.
The tempest therefore being thoroughly excited, and the sea raging, They awake Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish3. 3 Matt. But He rebuked them before He rebuked the sea. Because as I said, for discipline these things were permitted, and they were a type of the temptations that were to overtake them. Yea, for after these things again, He often suffered them to fall into more grievous tempests of fortune1, and bare1ægáylong with them. Wherefore Paul also said, I would not, 66 of brethren, have you ignorant, that we were pressed out of things." measure beyond strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life; and after this again, Who delivered us from so great 2 Cor. deaths. Signifying therefore hereby, that they ought to be confident, though the waves rise high, and that He orders all things for good, He first of all reproves them. For indeed their very alarm was a profitable occurrence, that the miracle might appear greater, and their remembrance of the event be rendered lasting. Since when any thing strange is about to happen, there are prepared beforehand many things to cause remembrance, lest after the miracle hath passed by, men should sink into forgetfulness.
1, 8. 10.
Thus Moses also first is in fear of the serpent, and not merely in fear, but even with much distress; and then he sees that strange thing come to pass. So these too, having Exod. first looked to perish, were then saved, that having confessed the danger, they might learn the greatness of the miracle. Therefore also He sleeps: for had He been awake
a i. e. the miracle at the Red Sea, afterwards mentioned.
4, 3. 4.
416 The Disciples' notions of Him, still very imperfect. HOMIL. When it happened, either they would not have feared,
1. or they would not have besought Him, or they would not so much as have thought of His being able to do any such thing. Therefore He sleeps, to give occasion for their timidity, and to make their perception of what was happening more distinct. For a man looks not with the same eyes on what happens in the persons of others, as in his own. Therefore since they had seen all benefitted, while themselves had enjoyed no benefit, and were supine; (for neither were they lame, nor had they any other such infirmity;) and it was meet they should enjoy His benefits by their own perception: He permits the storm, that by their deliverance they might attain to a clearer perception of the benefit.
1 Matt. 15, 16.
Therefore neither doth He this in the presence of the multitudes, that they might not be condemned for little faith, but He has them apart, and corrects them, and before the tempest of the waters He puts an end to the tempests of their soul, rebuking them, and saying,
Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith; instructing them also, that men's fear is wrought not by the approach of the temptations, but by the weakness of their mind.
But should any one say, that it was not fearfulness, or little faith, to come near and awaken Him; I would say this, that that very thing was an especial sign of their wanting the right opinion concerning Him. That is, His power to rebuke when awakened they knew, but that He could do so even sleeping, they knew not as yet.
And why at all marvel that it was so now, after many other miracles their impressions were still rather imperfect? wherefore also they are often rebuked; as when He saith, Are ye also yet without understanding1? Marvel not then, if when the disciples were in such imperfect dispositions, the multitudes had no exalted imagination of Him. For They marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?
But Christ chode not with them for calling Him a man, but waited to teach them by His signs, that their supposition was mistaken. But from what did they think Him a man? First from His appearance, then from His sleeping, and His making use of a ship. So on this account they were cast into