John_ChrysostomContinued from here….

See ye not the unfruitful trees, how strong they are, how fair, how large also, and smooth, and of great height?

But, if we had a garden, we should much rather have pomegranates, or fruitful olive trees.

For the others are for delight to the eye, not for profit, which in them is but small.

Such are those men who only consider their own interest.

[…] Such too were those virgins, chaste indeed, and decent, and modest, but profitable to none (Matt. 25:1)….

Such are they who have not nourished Christ.

For observe that none of those are charged with particular sins of their own, with fornication, for instance, or with perjury; in short, with no sin but the having been of no use to another.

Such was he who buried his talent, showing indeed a blameless life, but not being useful to another (Matt. 25:25). How can such a one be a Christian?

Say, if the leaven being mixed up with the flour did not change the whole into its own nature, would such a thing be leaven?

Again, if a perfume shed no sweet odour on those who approach it, could we call it a perfume?

Do not say “it is impossible for me to induce others to become Christians”—for if you are a Christian, it is impossible but that it should be so.

For as the natural properties of things cannot be gainsaid, so it is here: the thing is part of the very nature of the Christian. Do not insult God.

To say, that the sun cannot shine would be to insult Him. To say that a Christian cannot do good is to insult God, and call Him a liar.

For it is easier for the sun not to give heat, nor to shine, than for the Christian not to send forth light. It is easier for the light to be darkness, than for this to be so.

Tell me not that it is impossible; the contrary is the impossible.

Do not insult God. If we once get our own affairs in a right state, the other will certainly follow as a natural and necessary consequence.

It is not possible for the light of a Christian to be hidden; not possible for a lamp so conspicuous as that to be concealed.

Let us not be careless. For, as the profit from virtue reaches both to ourselves, and to those who are benefited by it, so from vice there is a two-fold loss, reaching both to ourselves, and to those who are injured by it.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homilies on the Book of Acts, 15 (on Acts 9:10-12) [slightly adapted].

Advertisements