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Arguments of Consolation for Mourners.
And herewith consider this also, that though thou shouldest MATT. not hearken to us, thou wilt certainly yield to time. But no 22, 23. reward then for thee; for the consolation comes of the number of the days. Whereas if thou art willing now to command thyself, thou wilt gain two very great points: first, thou wilt deliver thyself from the intervening ills, next, thou wilt be crowned with the brighter crown from God. For indeed neither almsgiving nor any thing else is nearly so great as bearing affliction meekly.
Bear in mind, that even the Son of God died: and He indeed for thee, but thou for thyself. And when He said, If it be possible, let the cup pass from Me', and suffered pain, Matt. and was in agony, nevertheless He shunned not the end, 26, 39. but underwent it, and that with its whole course of exceeding woe. That is, He did by no means simply endure death, srà but the most shameful death; and before His death, stripes; and before His stripes, upbraidings, and jeers, and revilings; instructing thee to bear all manfully.
And though He died, and put off His body, He resumed it again in greater glory, herein also holding out to thee good hopes. If these things be not a fable, lament not. If thou account these things to be sure, weep not; but if thou dost weep, how wilt thou be able to persuade the Greek that thou believest?
[6.] But even so doth the event still appear intolerable to thee? Well then, for this very cause it is not meet to lament for him, for he is delivered from many such calamities. Grudge not therefore against him, neither envy him: for to ask death for yourself because of his premature end, and to lament for him that he did not live to endure many such things, is rather the part of one grudging and envying.
And think not of this, that he will no more return home : but that thyself also art a little while after to go to him. Regard not this, that he returns here no more, but that neither do these things that are seen remain such as they are, but these too are being transformed. Yea, for heaven, and earth, and sea, and all, are being put together afresh3, and then 3 dagshalt thou recover thy child in greater glory.
And if indeed he departed a sinner, his wickedness is
stayed; for certainly, had God known that he was being
Arguments of Comfort to bereaved Persons.
HOMIL. converted, He would not have snatched him away before his repentance: but if he ended his life righteous, he now possesses all good in safety. Whence it is manifest that thy tears are not of kindly affection, but of unreasoning passion. For if thou lovedst the departed, thou shouldest rejoice and be glad that he is delivered from the present waves.
For what is there more, I pray thee? What is there fresh and new? Do we not see the same things daily revolving? Day and night, night and day, winter and summer, summer and winter, and nothing more. And these indeed are ever the same; but our evils are fresh, and newer. Wouldest thou then have him every day drawing up more of these things, and abiding here, and sickening, and mourning, and in fear and trembling, and enduring some of the ills of life, dreading others lest he some time endure them? Since assuredly thou canst not say this, that one sailing over this great sea might possibly be free from despondency and cares, and from all other such things.
And withal take this also into account, that thou didst not bring him forth immortal; and that if he had not died he must have endured it soon after. But is it that thou hadst not thy fill of him? But thou wilt of a certainty enjoy him there. But longest thou to see him here also? And what is there to hinder thee? For thou art permitted even here, if thou be watchful; for the hope of the things to come is clearer than sight.
But thou, if he were in some king's court, wouldest not ever seek to see him, so long as thou heardest of his good report: and seeing him departed to the things that are far better, art thou faint-hearted about a little time; and that, when thou hast in his place one to dwell with thee?
But hast thou no husband? yet hast thou a consolation, even the Father of the orphans, and Judge of the widows. Hear even Paul pronouncing this widowhood blessed, and saying, Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth 11 Tim. in the Lord'. Because such an one will appear more approved, evincing as she doth greater patience. Mourn not therefore for that which is thy crown, that for which thou demandest a reward.
Since thou hast also restored His deposit, if thou hast ex
The World's Mutability, a Ground of Comfort. hibited the very thing entrusted to thee. Be not in care any MATT. more, having laid up the possession in an inviolable treasurehouse.
But if thou wouldest really learn, both what is our present being, and what our life to come; and that the one is a spider's web and a shadow, but the things there, all of them, immoveable and immortal; thou wouldest not after that want other arguments. For whereas now thy child is delivered from all change; if he were here, perhaps he might continue good, perhaps not so. Seest thou not how many openly cast off their own children? how many are1onnρύττουσι constrained to keep them at home, although worse than the open outcasts?
Let us make account of all these things, and practise selfcommand; for so shall we at once shew regard to the deceased, and enjoy much praise from men, and receive from God the great rewards of patience, and attain unto the good things eternal; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and might for ever and ever. Amen.
MATT. ix. 27-30.
And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened.
WHEREFORE can it be that He puts them off1, and they crying out? Here again teaching us utterly to repel the glory that cometh from the multitude. For because the house was near, He leads them thither to heal them in private. And this is evident from the fact, that He charged them moreover to tell no man.
But this is no light charge against the Jews; when these men, though their eyes were struck out, receive the faith by hearing alone, but they beholding the miracles, and having their sight to witness what was happening, do all just contrary. And see their earnestness also, both by their cry, and by their prayer itself. For they did not merely approach Him, but with loud cries, and alleging nought else but "mercy."
And they called Him Son of David, because the name was thought to be honourable. In many passages, for 2perhaps instance, did the Prophets2 likewise so call the kings, whom Ís. 37, they wished to honour, and to declare great.
Our Faith, a sort of Measure of God's Mercy. 461 And having brought them into the house, He puts to MATT. them a further question. For in many cases He made a point of healing on entreaty, lest any should suppose Him to be rushing' upon these miracles through vain-glory: and innot on this account alone, but to indicate also that they deserve healing, and that no one should say, " If it was of mere mercy that He saved, all men ought to be saved." For even His love to man hath a kind of proportion; depending on the faith of them that are healed. But not for these causes only doth He require faith of them, but forasmuch as they called Him Son of David, He to lead them up to what is higher, and to teach them to entertain the imaginations they ought of Himself, saith, Believe ye that I am able to do this? He did not say, "Believe ye that I am able to intreat My Father, that I am able to pray," but, that I am able to do this?
What then is their word? Yea, Lord. They call Him no more Son of David, but soar higher, and acknowledge His dominion.
And then at last He for His part lays His hand upon them, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And this He doth to confirm their faith, and to shew that they are participators in the good work, and to witness that their words were not words of flattery. For neither did He say, "Let your eyes be opened," but, According to your faith be it unto you; which He saith to many of them that came unto Him; before the healing of their bodies, hastening to proclaim the faith in their soul; so as both to make them more approved, and to render others more serious.
Thus with respect to the sick of the palsy also; for there too before giving nerve to the body, He raises up the fallen soul, saying, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee. Matt. And the young damsel too, when He had raised her up, He9, 2. detained, and by the food taught her her Benefactor; and in the case of the centurion also He did in like manner, leaving the whole to his faith; and as to His disciples again, when delivering them from the storm on the sea, He delivered them first from their want of faith. Just so likewise in this case: He knew indeed, even before their cry, the secrets of their mind; but that He might lead on others also to the same earnestness,