Saint John Chrysostom : HOMILY X. ROM. V. 12.

"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin, and so death passed upon (dihlqen 6 Mss. eis . . . ) all men, for
that all have sinned."
As the best physicians always take great pains to discover the
source of diseases, and go to the very fountain of the mischief, so
doth the blessed Paul also. Hence after having said that we were
justified, and having shown it from the Patriarch, and from the Spirit,
and from the dying of Christ (for He would not have died unless He
intended to justify), he next confirms from other sources also what
he had at such length demonstrated. 

And he confirms his
proposition from things opposite, that is, from death and sin. How,
and in what way? He enquires whence death came in, and how it
prevailed. How then did death come in and prevail? "Through the sin
of one." But what means, "for that all have sinned?" This; he having
once fallen, even they that had not eaten of the tree did from him, all
of them, become mortal. [
Ver. 13. "For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not
imputed where there is no law."
The phrase "till the Law" some think he used of the time before the
giving of the Law--that of Abel, for instance, or of Noah, or of
Abraham--till Moses was born. What was the sin in those days, at
this rate? some say he means that in Paradise. For hitherto it was
not done away, (he would say,) but the fruit of it was yet in vigor. For
it had borne that death whereof all partake, which prevailed and
lorded over us. Why then does he proceed, "But sin is not imputed
when there is no law?" It was by way of objection from the Jews, say
they who have spoken on our side, that he laid this position down
and said, if there be no sin without the Law, how came death to
consume all those before the Law? But to me it seems that the sense
presently to be given has more to be said for it, and suits better with
the Apostle's meaning. And what sense is this? In saying, that "till
the Law sin was in the world," what he seems to me to mean is this,
that after the Law was given the sin resulting from the transgression
of it prevailed, and prevailed too so long as the Law existed. For sin,
he says, can have no existence if there be no law. If then it was this
sin, he means, from the transgression of the Law that brought forth
death, how was it that all before the Law died? For if it is in sin that
death hath its origin, but when there is no law, sin is not imputed,
how came death to prevail? From whence it is clear, that it was not
this sin, the transgression, that is, of the Law, but that of Adam's
disobedience, which marred all things. Now what is the proof of
this? The fact that even before the Law all died: for "death reigned"
he says, "from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned."
How did it reign? "After the similitude of Adam's transgression, who
is the figure of Him that was to come." Now this is why Adam is a
type of Christ. How a type? it will be said. Why in that, as the former
became to those who were sprung from him, although they had not
eaten of the tree, the cause of that death which by his eating was
introduced; thus also did Christ become to those sprung from Him,
even though they had not wrought righteousness, the Provider of
that righteousness which through His Cross He graciously bestowed
on us all. For this reason, at every turn he keeps to the "one," and is
continually bringing it before us, when he says, "As by one man sin
entered into the world"--and, "If through the offence of one many be
dead:" and, "Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift;" and,
"The judgment was by one to condemnation:" and again, "If by one
(or, the one) man's offence death reigned by one;" and "Therefore as
by the offence of one." And again, "As by one man's disobedience
many (or, the many) were made sinners." And so he letteth not go of
the one, that when the Jew says to thee, How came it, that by the
well-doing of this one Person, Christ, the world was saved? thou
mightest be able to say to him, How by the disobedience of this one
person, Adam, came it to be condemned? And yet sin and grace are
not equivalents, death and life are not equivalents, the Devil and God
are not equivalents, but there is a boundless space between them.
When then as well from the nature of the thing as from the power of
Him that transacteth it, and from the very suitableness thereof (for it
suiteth much better with God to save than to punish), the pre
minence and victory is upon this side, what one word have you to
say for unbelief, tell me? However, that what had been done was
reasonable, he shows in the following words.
Ver. 15. "But not as the offence, so is also the free gift. For if through
the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and
the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded
unto the many."
For what he says is somewhat of this kind. If sin had so extensive
effects, and the sin of one man too; how can grace, and that the
grace of God, not the Father only, but also the Son, do otherwise
than be the more abundant of the two? For the latter is far the more
reasonable supposition. For that one man should be punished on
account of another does not seem to be much in accordance with
reason. But for one to be saved on account of another is at once
more suitable and more reasonable. If then the former took place,
much more may the latter. Hence he has shown from these grounds
the likelihood and reasonableness of it. For when the former had
been made good, this would then be readily admitted. But that it is
even necessarily so, he makes good from what follows. How then
does he make it good?
Vet. 16. "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift. For the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offences unto justification."
And what is this that he is speaking of? It is that sin had power to
bring in death and condemnation; but grace did not do away that one
sin only, but also those that followed after in its train. Lest then the
words "as" and "so" might seem to make the measure of the
blessings and the evils equal, and that you might not think, upon
hearing of Adam, that it was only that sin which he had brought in
which was done away with, he says that it was from many offences
that an indemnity was brought about. How is this plain? Because
after the numberless sins committed after that in paradise, the
matter issued in justification. But where righteousness is, there of
necessity follows by all means life, and the countless blessings, as
does death where sin was. For righteousness is more than life, since
it is even the root of life. That there were several goods then brought
in, and that it was not that sin only that was taken away, but all the
rest along with it, he points out when he says, that "the gift was of
many offences unto justification." In which a proof is necessarily
included, that death was also torn up by the roots. But since he had
said, that the second was greater than the first, he is obliged to give
further grounds again for this same thing. For, before, he had said
that if one man's sin slew all, much more will the grace of One have
the power to save. After that he shows that it was not that sin only
that was done away by the grace, but all the rest too, and that it was
not that the sins were done away only, but that righteousness was
given. And Christ did not merely do the same amount of good that
Adam did of harm, but far more and greater good. Since then he had
made such declarations as these, he wants again here also further
confirmation of these. And how does he give this confirmation? He
says, Ver. 17. "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one,
much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift
and (so Field with most Mss.) of righteousness shall reign in life by
one, Jesus Christ."
What he says, amounts to this nearly. What armed death against the
world? The one man's eating from the tree only. If then death
attained so great power from one offence, when it is found that
certain received a grace and righteousness out of all proportion to
that sin, how shall they still be liable to death? And for this cause, he
does not here say" grace," but "superabundance of grace." For it
was not as much as we must have to do away the sin only, that we
received of His grace, but even far more. For we were at once freed
from punishment, and put off all iniquity, and were also born again
from above (John iii. 3) and rose again with the old man buried, and
were redeemed, justified, led up to adoption, sanctified, made
brothers of the Only-begotten, and joint heirs and of one Body with
Him, and counted for His Flesh, and even as a Body with the Head,
so were we united unto Him! All these things then Paul calls a
"superabundance" of grace, showing that what we received was not
a medicine only to countervail the wound, but even health, and
comeliness, and honor, and glory and dignities far transcending our
natural state. And of these each in itself was enough to do away with
death, but when all manifestly run together in one, there is not the
least vestige of it left, nor can a shadow of it be seen, so entirely is it
done away. As then if any one were to cast a person who owed ten
mites (obolous) into prison, and not the man himself only, but wife
and children and servants for his sake; and another were to come
and not to pay down the ten mites only, but to give also ten thousand
talents of gold, and to lead the prisoner into the king's courts, and to
the throne of the highest power, and were to make him partaker of
the highest honor and every kind of magnificence, the creditor would
not be able to remember the ten mites; so hath our case been. For
Christ hath paid down far more than we owe, yea as much more as
the illimitable ocean is than a little drop. Do not then, O man, hesitate
as thou seest so great a store of blessings, nor enquire how that
mere spark of death and sin was done away, when such a sea of
gifts was brought in upon it. For this is what Paul intimated by
saying that "they who have received the abundance of the grace and
righteousness shall reign in life." And as he had now clearly
demonstrated this, he again makes use of his former argument,
clenching it by taking up the same word afresh, and saying that if for
that offence all were punished, then they may be justified too by
these means. And so he says, Ver. 18. "Therefore as by the offence
of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by
the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto
justification of life."
And he insists again upon it, saying, Ver. 19. "For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One
shall many be made righteous.
What he says seems indeed to involve no small question: but if any
one attends to it diligently, this too will admit of an easy solution.
What then is the question? It is the saying that through the offence
of one many were made sinners. For the fact that when he had
sinned and become mortal, those who were of him should be so
also, is nothing unlikely. But how would it follow that from his
disobedience another would become a sinner? For at this rate a man
of this sort will not even deserve punishment, if, that is, it was not
from his own self that he became a sinner. What then does the word
"sinners" mean here? To me it seems to mean liable to punishment
and condemned to death. Now that by Adam's death we all became
mortals, he had shown clearly and at large. But the question now is,
for what purpose was this done? But this he does not go on to add:
for it contributed nothing to his present object. For it is against a
Jew that the contest is, who doubted and made scorn of the
righteousness by One. And for this reason after showing that the
punishment too was brought in by one upon all, the reason why this
was so he has not added. For he is not for superfluities, but keeps
merely to what is necessary. For this is what the principles of
disputation did not oblige him to say any more than the Jew; and
therefore he leaves it unsolved. But if any of you were to enquire
with a view to learn, we should give this answer: That we are so far
from taking any harm from this death and condemnation, if we be
sober-minded, that we are the gainers even by having become
mortal, first, because it is not an immortal body in which we sin;
secondly, because we get numberless grounds for being religious
(filosofias). For to be moderate, and to be temperate, and to be
subdued, and to keep ourselves clear of all wickedness, is what
death by its presence and by its being expected persuades us to. But
following with these, or rather even before these, it hath introduced
other greater. blessings besides. For it is from hence that the crowns
of the martyrs come, and the rewards of the Apostles. Thus was Abel
justified, thus was Abraham, in having slain his son, thus was John,
who for Christ's sake was taken off, thus were the Three Children,
thus was Daniel. For if we be so minded, not death only, but even the
devil himself will be unable to hurt us. And besides there is this also
to be said, that immortality awaits us, and after having been
chastened a little while, we shall enjoy the blessings to come without
fear, being as if in a sort of school in the present life, under
instruction by means of disease, tribulation, temptations, and
poverty, and the other apparent evils, with a view to our becoming fit
for the reception of the blessings of the world to come.
Ver. 20. "Moreover the Law entered: that the offence might abound."
Since then he had shown that the world was condemned from Adam,
but from Christ was saved and freed from condemnation, he now
seasonably enters upon the discussion of the Law, here again
undermining the high notions of it. For it was so far from doing any
good, he means, or from being any way helpful, but the disorder was
only increased by its having come in. But the particle "that" again
does not assign the cause, but the result. For the purpose of its
being given was not "in order that" it might abound, for it was given
to diminish and destroy the offence. But it resulted the opposite way,
not owing to the nature of the Law, but owing to the listlessness of
those who received it. But why did he not say the Law was given, but
"the Law entered by the way?" It was to show that the need of it was
temporary, and not absolute or imperative. And this he says also to
the Galatians, showing the very same thing another way. "For before
faith came," he says, "we were kept under the Law, shut up unto the
faith which should afterwards be revealed." And so it was not for
itself, but for another, that it kept the flock. For since the Jews were
somewhat gross-minded, and enervated, and indifferent to the gifts
themselves, this was why the Law was given, that it might convict
them the more, and clearly teach them their own condition, and by
increasing the accusation might the more repress them. But be not
thou afraid, for it was not that the punishment might be greater that
this was done, but that the grace might be seen to be greater. And
this is why he proceeds, "But where sin abounded, grace did much
more abound."
He does not say did abound, but "did much more abound." For it
was not remission from punishment only that He gave us, but that
from sins, and life also. As if any were not merely to free a man with
a fever from his disease, but to give him also beauty, and strength,
and rank; or again, were not to give one an hungered nourishment
only, but were to put him in possession of great riches, and were to
set him in the highest authority. And how did sin abound? some will
say. The Law gave countless commands. Now since they
transgressed them all, trangression became more abundant. Do you
see what a great difference there is between grace and the Law? For
the one became an addition to the condemnation, but the other, a
further abundance of gifts. Having then mentioned the unspeakable
munificence, he again discusses the beginning and the root both of
death and of life. What then is the root of death? It is sin. Wherefore
also he saith, Ver. 21. "That as sin reigned unto death, even so might
grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, through our
Lord Jesus Christ."
This he says to show that the latter ranks as a king, the former,
death, as a soldier, being marshalled under the latter, and armed by
it. If then the latter (i.e. sin) armed death, it is plain enough that the
righteousness destructive hereof, which by grace was introduced,
not only disarms death, but even destroys it, and undoes entirely the
dominion thereof, in that it is the greatest of the two, as being
brought in not by man and the devil, but by God and grace, and
leading our life unto a goodlier estate, and to blessings unlimited.
For of it there will never be any end (to give you a view of its
superiority from this also). For the other cast us out of our present
life, but grace, when it came, gave us not the present life, but the
immortal and eternal one. But for all these things Christ is our
voucher. Doubt not then for thy life if thou hast righteousness, for
righteousness is greater than life as being mother of it.
Chap. vi. ver. 1. "What then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may
abound? God forbid."
He is again turning off to exhortation, yet introducing it not directly,
lest he should seem to many to be irksome and vexing, but as if it
rose out of the doctrines. For if, even so diversifying his address, he
was afraid of their being offended at what he said, and therefore
said, "I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort," (Rom.
xv. 15) much more would he have seemed to them, had he not done
so, to be too. harsh. Since then he showed the greatness of the
grace by the greatness of the sins it healed, and owing to this it
seemed in the eyes of the unthinking to be an encouragement to sin
(for if the reason, they would say, why greater grace was shown, was
because we had done great sins, let us not give over sinning, that
grace may be more displayed still), now that they might not say this
or suspect it, see how he turns the objection back again. First he
does it by his deprecation. "God forbid." And this he is in the habit of
doing at things confessed on all hands to be absurd. And then he
lays down an irrefragable argument. And what is it?
Ver. 2. "How shall we," he says, "that are dead to sin, live any longer
What does "we are dead" mean? Does it mean that as for that, and
as far as it goes, we have all received the sentence of death? or, that
we became dead to it by believing any being enlightened. This is
what one should rather say, since the sequel makes this clearly
right. But what is becoming dead to it? The not obeying it in anything
any more. For this baptism effected once for all, it made us dead to
it. But this must of our own earnestness thenceforth continually be
maintained, so that, although sin issue countless commands to us,
we may never again obey it, but abide unmovable as a dead man
doth. And indeed he elsewhere saith that sin itself is dead. But there
he sets that down as wishing to show that virtue is easy, (Rein. vii.
87) But here, as he earnestly desires to rouse the hearer, he puts the
death on his side. Next, since what was said was obscure, he again
explains, using what he had said also in the way of reproof.
Ver. 3, 4. "Know ye not," he says, "my brethren, that so many of us
as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? therefore
we are buried with Him by baptism into death."
What does being "baptized into His Death" mean? That it is with a
view to our dying as He did. For Baptism is the Cross. What the
Cross then, and Burial, is to Christ, that Baptism hath been to us,
even if not in the same respects. For He died Himself and was buried
in the Flesh, but we have done both to sin. Wherefore he does not
say, planted together in His Death, but in the likeness of His Death.
For both the one and the other is a death, but not of the same
subject; since the one is of the Flesh, that of Christ; the other of sin,
which is our own. As then that is real, so is this. But if it be real, then
a what is of our part again must be contributed. And so he proceeds,
"That as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Here he hints, along with the duty of a careful walk, at the subject of
the resurrection. In what way? Do you believe, he means, that Christ
died, and that He was raised again? Believe then the same of thyself.
For this is like to the other, since both Cross and Burial is thine. For
if thou hast shared in Death and Burial, much more wilt thou in
Resurrection and Life. For now the greater is done away with, the sin
I mean, it is not right to doubt any longer about the lesser, the doing
away of death.
But this he leaves for the present to the conscience of his hearers to
reason out, but himself, after the resurrection to come had been set
before us, demands of us another, even the new conversation, which
is brought about in the present life by a change of habits. When then
the fornicator becomes chaste, the covetous man merciful, the harsh
subdued, even here a resurrection has taken place, the prelude to
the other. And how is it a resurrection? Why, because sin is
mortified, and righteousness hath risen again, and the old life hath
been made to vanish, and this new and angelic one is being lived in.
But when you hear of a new life, look for a great alteration, a wide
change. But tears come into my eyes, and I groan deeply to think
how great religiousness (filosofian) Paul requires of us, and what
listlessness we have yielded ourselves up to, going back after our
baptism to the oldness we before had, and returning to Egypt, and
remembering the garlic after the manna. (Num. xi. 5.) For ten or
twenty days at the very time of our Illumination, we undergo a
change, but then take up our former doings again. But it is not for a
set number of days, but for our whole life, that Paul requires of us
such a conversation. But we go back to our former vomit, thus after
the youth of grace building up the old age of sins. For either the love
of money, or the slavery to desires not convenient, or any other sin
whatsoever, useth to make the worker thereof old. "Now that which
decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (Heb. viii. 13.) For
there is no body, there surely is none, to be seen as palsied by
length of time, as a soul is decayed and tottering with many sins.
Such an one gets carried on to the last degree of doting, yielding
indistinct sounds, like men that are very old and crazed, being
surcharged with rheum, and great distortion of mind, and
forgetfulness, and with scales upon its eyes, and disgustful to men,
and an easy prey to the devil. Such then are the souls of sinners; not
so those of the righteous, for they are youthful and well-favored, and
are in the very prime of life throughout, ever ready for any fight or
struggle. But those of sinners, if they receive even a small shock,
straightway fall and are undone. And it was this the Prophet made
appear, when he said, that like as the chaff which the wind scattereth
from the face of the earth (Ps. i. 4), thus are they that live in sin
whirled to and fro, and exposed to every sort of harm. For they
neither see like a healthy person, nor hear with simplicity, they speak
not articulately, but are oppressed with great shortness of breath.
They have their mouth overflowing with spittle. And would it were
but spittle, and nothing offensive! But now they send forth words
more fetid than any mire, and what is worst, they have not power
even to spit this saliva of words away from them, but taking it in their
hand with much lewdness, they smear it on again, so as to be
coagulating, and hard to perspire through. Perhaps ye are sickened
with this description. Ought ye not, then to be more so at the reality?
For if these things when happening in the body are disgustful, much
more when in the soul. Such was that son who wasted out all his
share, and was reduced to the greatest wretchedness, and was in a
feebler state than any imbecile or disordered person. But when he
was willing, he became suddenly young by his decision alone and
his change. For as soon as he had said, "I will return to my Father,"
this one word conveyed to him all blessings; or rather not the bare
word, but the deed which he added to the word. For he did not say,
"Let me go back," and then stay there; but said, Let me go back, and
went back, and returned the whole of that way. Thus let us also do;
and even if we have gotten carried beyond the boundary, let us go
up to our Father's house, and not stay lingering over the length of
the journey. For if we be willing, the way back again is easy and very
speedy. Only let us leave the strange and foreign land; for this is
what sin is, drawing us far away from our Father's house; let us
leave her then, that we may speedily return to the house of our
Father. For our Father hath a natural yearning towards us, and will
honor us if we be changed, no less than those that are unattainted, if
we change, but even more, just as the father showed that son the
greater honor. For he had greater pleasure himself at receiving back
his son. And how am I to go back again? one may say. Do but put a
beginning upon the business, and the whole is done. Stay from vice,
and go no farther into it, and thou hast laid hold of the whole already.
For as in the case of the sick, being no worse may be a beginning of
getting better, so is the case with vice also. Go no further, and then
your deeds of wickedness will have an end. And if you do so for two
days, you will keep off on the third day more easily; and after three
days you will add ten, then twenty, then an hundred, then your whole
life. (Cf. Hom. xvii. on St. Matt. p. 267, O. T.) For the further thou
goest on, the easier wilt thou see the way to be, and thou wilt stand
on the summit itself, and wilt at once enjoy many goods. For so it
was when the prodigal came back, there were flutes, and harps, and
dancings, and feasts, and assemblings: and he who might have
called his son to account for his ill-timed extravagance, and flight to
such a distance, did nothing of the sort, but looked upon him as
unattainted, and could not find it in him even to use the language of
reproach, or rather, even to mention barely to him the former things,
but threw himself upon him, and kissed him, and killed the calf, and
put a robe upon him, and placed on him abundant honors. Let us
then, as we have such examples before us, be of good cheer and
keep from despair. For He is not so well pleased with being called
Master, as Father, nor with having a slave as with having a son. And
this is what He liketh rather than that. This then is why He did all that
He has done; and "spared not even His Only-begotten Son" (Rom.
viii. 32), that we might receive the adoption of sons, that we might
love Him, not as a Master only, but as a Father. And if He obtained
this of us He taketh delight therein as one that has glory given him,
and proclaimeth it to all though He needeth nothing of ours. This is
what, in Abraham's case for instance, He everywhere does, using
these words, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And yet it
was the), of His household who should have found an honor in this;
but now it is the Lord evidently who does this; for this is why He
says to Peter, "Lovest thou Me more than these?" (John xxi. 17) to
show that He seeketh nothing so much as this from us. For this too
He bade Abraham offer his son to Him, that He might make it known
to all that He was greatly beloved by the patriarch. Now this desire to
be loved exceedingly comes from loving exceedingly. For this cause
too He said to the Apostles, "He that loveth father or mother more
than Me, is not worthy of Me." (Matt. x. 37.) For this cause He bids us
esteem that even which is in the most close connection with us, our
soul (or, life, v. 39, and John xii. 25), as second to the love of him,
since He wisheth to be beloved by us with exceeding entireness. For
we too, if we have no strong feelings about a person, have no strong
desire for his friendship either, though he be great and noble;
whereas when we love any one warmly and really, though the person
loved be of low rank and humble, yet we esteem love from him as a
very great honor. And for this reason He Himself also called it glory
not to be loved by us only, but even to suffer those shameful things
in our behalf. (ib. 23.) However, those things were a glory owing to
love only. But whatever we suffer for Him, it is not for love alone; but
even for the sake of the greatness and dignity of Him we long for,
that it would with good reason both be called glory, and be so
indeed. Let us then incur dangers for Him as if running for the
greatest crowns, and let us esteem neither poverty, nor disease, nor
affront, nor calumny, nor death itself, to be heavy and burdensome,
when it is for Him that we suffer these things. For if we be rightminded,
we are the greatest possible gainers by these things, as
neither from the contrary to these shall we if not right-minded gain
any advantage. But consider; does any one affront thee and war
against thee? Doth he not thereby set thee upon thy guard, and give
thee an opportunity of growing like unto God? For if thou lovest him
that plots against thee, thou wilt be like Him that "maketh His Sun to
rise upon the evil and good." (Matt. v. 45.) Does another take thy
money away? If thou bearest it nobly, thou shalt receive the same
reward as they who have spent all they have upon the poor. For it
says, "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing that ye
have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." (Heb. x. 34.)
Has any one reviled thee and abused thee, whether truly or falsely,
he weaves for thee a very great crown if thou bearest meekly his
contumely; since he too, who calumniates, provides for us an
abundant reward. For "rejoice," it says, "and be exceeding glad,
when men say all manner of evil against you falsely, because great is
your reward in Heaven." (Matt. v. 12, 11.) And he too that speaketh
truth against us is of the greatest service, if we do but bear meekly
what is said. For the Pharisee spake evil of the Publican, and with
truth, still instead of a Publican he made him a righteous man. (Luke
xviii. 11.) And what need to go into particular instances. For any one
that will go to the conflicts of Job may learn all these points
accurately. And this is why Paul said, "God for us, who against
us?" (Rom. viii. 31.) As then by being earnest, we gain even from
things that vex us, so by being listless, we do not even improve from
things that favor us. For what did Judas profit, tell me, by being with
Christ? or what profit was the Law to the Jew? or Paradise to Adam?
or what did Moses profit those in the wilderness? And so we should
leave all, and look to one point only, how we may husband aright our
own resources. And if we do this, not even the devil himself will ever
get the better of us, but will make our profiting the greater, by putting
us upon being watchful. Now in this way it is that Paul rouses the
Ephesians, by describing his fierceness. Yet we sleep and snore,
though we have to do with so crafty an enemy. And if we were aware
of a serpent nestling by our bed, we should make much ado to kill
him. But when the devil nestleth in our souls, we fancy that we take
no harm, but lie at our ease; and the reason is, that we see him not
with the eyes of our body. And yet this is why we should rouse us
the more and be sober. For against an enemy whom one can
perceive, one may easily be on guard; but one that cannot be seen, if
we be not continually in arms, we shall not easily escape. And the
more so, because he hath no notion of open combat (for he would
surely be soon defeated), but often under the appearance of
friendship he insinuates the venom of his cruel malice. In this way it
was that he suborned Job's wife, by putting on the mask of natural
affectionateness, to give that wretchless advice. And so when
conversing with Adam, he puts on the air of one concerned and
watching over his interests, and saith, that "your eyes shall be
opened in the day that ye eat of the tree." (Gen. iii. 5.) Thus Jephtha
too he persuaded, under the pretext of religion, to slay his daughter,
and to offer the sacrifice the Law forbade. Do you see what his wiles
are, what his varying warfare? Be then on thy guard, and arm thyself
at all points with the weapons of the Spirit, get exactly acquainted
with his plans, that thou mayest both keep from being caught, and
easily catch him. For it was thus that Paul got the better of him, by
getting exactly acquainted with these. And so he says, "for we are
not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. ii. 11.) Let us then also be
earnest in learning and avoiding his stratagems, that after obtaining
a victory over him, we may, whether in this present life or in that
which is to come, be proclaimed conquerors, and obtain those
unalloyed blessings, by the grace and love toward man, etc.

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