"And when He drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and was come
to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, saying,
Go into the village over against you, and ye shall find an ass tied, and
a coIt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say
aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway
he sendeth them. And this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by Zechariah the prophet, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold,
thy King cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the
foal of an ass." And yet He had often entered Jerusalem before, but never with so much circumstance.
What then is the cause? It was the beginning then of the dispensation;
and neither was He very well known, nor the time of His passion near; wherefore
He mixed with them with less distinction, and more disguising Himseif.
For He would not have been held in admiration, had He so appeared, and
He would have excited them to greater anger. But when He had both given
them sufficient proof of His power, and the cross was at the doors, He
makes Himself then more conspicuous, and doeth with greater circumstance
all the things that were likely to inflame them. For it was indeed possible
for this to have been done at the beginning also; but it was not profitable
nor expedient it should be so.
But do thou observe, I pray thee. how many miracles are done, and how
many prophecies are fulfilled. He said, "Ye shall find an ass;" He foretold
that no man should hinder them, but that all, when they heard, should hold
But this is no small condemnation of the Jews, if them that were never
known to Him, neither had appeared before Him, He persuades to give up
their own property, and to say nothing against it, and that by His disciples,
while these, being present with Him at the working of His miracles, were
2. And do not account what was done to be a small thing. For who persuaded
them, when their own property was taken from them, and that, when they
were perhaps poor men and husbandmen, not to forbid it? Why say I not to
forbid it? not to ask, or even if they asked, to hold their peace, and
give it up. For indeed both things were alike marvellous, as well, if they
said nothing, when their beasts were dragged away, or if having spoken,
and heard, "The Lord hath need of them," they yielded and withstood not,
and this when they see not Him, but His disciples.
By these things He teaches them, that it was in His power to have entirely
hindered the Jews also, even against their will, when they were proceeding
to attack Him, and to have made them speechless, but He would not.
And another thing again together with these doth He teach the disciples,
to give whatever He should ask; and, though he should require them to yield
up their very life, to give even this, and not to gainsay. For if even
strangers gave up to Him, much more ought they to strip themselves of all
And besides what we have said, He was fulfilling also another prophecy,
one which was twofold, one part in words, and another in deeds. And that
in deeds was, by the sitting on the ass; and that by words, the prediction
of Zacharias; because he had said, that the King should sit on an ass.
And He, having sat and having fulfilled it, gave to the prophecy another
beginning again, by what He was doing typifying beforehand the things to
How and in what manner? He proclaimed beforehand the calling of the
unclean Gentiles, and that He should rest upon them, and that they should
yield to Him and follow Him, and prophecy succeeded to prophecy.
But to me He seemeth not for this object only to sit on the ass, but
also as affording us a standard of self-denial. For not only did He fulfill
prophecies, nor did He only plant the doctrines of the truth, but by these
very things He was correcting our practice for us, everywhere setting us
rules of necessary use, and by all means amending our life.
For this cause, I say, even when He was to be born He sought not a splendid
house, nor a mother rich and distinguished, but a poor woman, and one that
had a carpenter as her betrothed husband; and is born in a shed, and laid
in a manger: and choosing His disciples, He chose not orators and wise
men, not rich men and nobly born, but poor men, and of poor families, and
in every way undistinguished; and providing His table, at one time He sets
before Himself barley loaves, and at another at the very moment commands
the disciples to buy at the market. And making His couch, He makes it of
grass, and putting on raiment, He clothes Himself in what is cheap, and
in no respect different from the common sort; and a house He did not so
much as possess. And if He had to go from place to place, He did this travelling
on foot, and so travelling, as even to grow weary. And sitting, He requires
no throne nor pillow, but sits on the ground, sometimes in the mountain,
and sometimes by the well, and not merely by the well, but also alone,
and talks with a Samaritan woman.
Again, setting measures of sorrow, when He had need to mourn, He weeps
moderately, everywhere setting us rules, as I have said, and limits how
far one ought to proceed, and not any further. So for this intent now also,
since it happens that some are weak and have need of beasts to carry them,
in this too He fixes a measure, showing that one ought not to yoke horses
or mules to be borne by them, but to use an ass, and not to proceed further,
and everywhere to be limited by the want.
But let us look also at the prophecy, that by words, that by acts. What
then is the prophecy? "Behold, thy King cometh to thee, meek, and riding
on an ass, and a young colt;"
not driving chariots, like the rest of the kings, not demanding tributes,
not thrusting men off, and leading about guards, but displaying His great
meekness even hereby.
Ask then the Jew, what King came to Jerusalem borne on an ass? Nay,
he could not mention, but this alone.
But He did these things, as I said, signifying beforehand the things
to come. For here the church is signified by the colt, and the new people,
which was once unclean, but which, after Jesus sat on them, became clean.
And see the image preserved throughout. I mean that the disciples loose
the asses For by the apostles, both they and we were called; by the apostles
were we brought near. But because our acceptance provoked them also to
emulation, therefore the ass appears following the colt. For after Christ
hath sat on the Gentiles, then shall they also come moving us to emulation.
And Paul declaring this, said, "That blindnesss in part is happened
to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel
shall be saved."
For that it was a prophecy is evident from what is said. For neither
would the prophet have cared to express with such great exactness the age
of the ass, unless this had been so.
But not these things only are signified by what is said, but also that
the apostles should bring them with ease. For as here, no man gainsaid
them so as to keep the asses, so neither with regard to the Gentiles was
any one able to prevent them, of those who were before masters of them.
But He doth not sit on the bare colt, but on the apostles' garments.
For after they had taken the colt, they then gave up all, even as Paul
also said, "I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls."
But mark how tractable the colt, how being unbroken, and having never
known the rein, he was not restive, but went on orderly; which thing itself
was a prophecy of the future, signifying the submissiveness of the Gentiles,
and their sudden conversion to good order. For all things did that word
work, which said, "Loose him, and bring him to me:" so that the unmanageable
became orderly, and the unclean thenceforth clean.
3. But see the baseness of the Jews. He had wrought so many miracles,
and never were they thus amazed at Him; but when they saw a multitude running
together, then they marvel. "For all the city was moved, saying, Who is
this? But the multitudes said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of
And when they thought they were saying something great, even then were
their thoughts earthly, and low, and dragging on the ground.
But these things He did, not as displaying any pomp, but at once, as
I have said, both fulfilling a prophecy, and teaching self-denial, and
at the same time also comforting His disciples, who were grieving for His
death, and showing them that He suffers all these things willingly. And
mark thou, I pray thee, the accuracy of the prophet, how he foretold all
things. And some things David, some things Zechariah, had proclaimed beforehand.
Let us also do likewise, and let us sing hymns, and give up our garments
to them that bear Him. For what should we deserve, when some clothe the
ass on which He was set, and others strew the garments even under her feet;
but we, seeing him naked, and not being even commanded to strip ourselves,
but to spend of what is laid by, not even so are liberal? And when they
indeed attend upon Him before and behind, but we, when He cometh unto us,
send Him away, and thrust Him off and insult Him.
How sore a punishment do these things deserve, how great vengeance!
Thy Lord cometh unto thee in need, and thou art not willing so much as
to listen to His entreaty, but thou blamest and rebukest Him, and this,
when thou hast heard such words as these. But if in giving one loaf, and
a little money, thou art so mean, and haughty, and backward; if thou hadst
to empty out all, what wouldest thou become?
Seest thou not those that show their magnificence in the theatre, how
much they give away to the harlots? but thou givest not so much as the
half, nay often not the smallest part. But the devil is exhorting to give
to whom it may chance, procuring us hell, and thou givest; but Christ to
the needy, promising a kingdom, and thou, far from giving, dost rather
insult them, and thou choosest rather to obey the devil, that thou mightest
be punished, than to submit to Christ, and be saved.
And what could be worse than this frenzy? One procures hell, the other
a kingdom, and ye leave the latter, and run unto the former. And this ye
send away, when He cometh unto you, that when he is far off, ye call unto
you. And what you do is the same as if a king bearing a royal robe, and
offering a diadem, did not win your choice, but a robber brandishing a
sword at you, and threatening death, were to win it.
Considering these things then, beloved, let us discern the truth at
length though late, and let us grow sober. For I am now ashamed of speaking
of almsgiving, because that having often spoken on this subject, I have
effected nothing worth the exhortation. For some increase indeed hath there
been, but not so much as I wished. For I see you sowing, but not with a
liberal hand. Wherefore I fear too lest ye also "reap sparingly."
For in proof that we do sow sparingly, let us inquire, if it seem good,
which are more numerous in the city, poor or rich; and which they, who
are neither poor nor rich, but have a middle place. As, for instance, a
tenth part is of rich, and a tenth of the poor that have nothing at all,
and the rest of the middle sort.
Let us distribute then amongst the poor the whole multitude of the city,
and ye will see the disgrace how great it is. For the very rich indeed
are but few, but those that come next to them are many; again, the poor
are much fewer than these. Nevertheless, although there are so many that
are able to feed the hungry, many go to sleep in their hunger, not because
those that have are not able with ease to succor them, but because of their
great barbarity and inhumanity. For if both the wealthy, and those next
to them, were to distribute amongst themselves those who are in need of
bread and raiment, scarcely would one poor person fall to the share of
fifty men or even a hundred. Yet nevertheless, though in such great abundance
of persons to assist them, they are wailing every day. And that thou mayest
learn the inhumanity of the others, when the church is possessed of a revenue
of one of the lowest among the wealthy, and not of the very rich, consider
how many widows it succors every day, how many virgins; for indeed the
list of them hath already reached unto the number of three thousand. Together
with these, she succors them that dwell in the prison, the sick in the
caravansera, the healthy, those that are absent from their home, those
that are maimed in their bodies, those that wait upon the altar; and with
respect to food and raiment, them that casually come every day; and her
substance is in no respect diminished. So that if ten men only were thus
willing to spend, there would be no poor.
4. And what, it will be said, are our children to inherit? The principal
remains, and the income again is become more abundant, the goods being
stored up for them in Heaven.
But are ye not willing to do this? At least do it by the half, at least
by the third part, at least by the fourth part at least by the tenth. For
owing to God's favor, it were possible for our city to nourish the poor
of ten cities.
And if ye will, let us make some calculation in proof of this; or rather
there is no need so much as of reckoning; for of itself the easiness of
the thing is discernible. See at least, upon public occasions, how much
one house hath often not been backward to spend, and hath not had so much
as a little feeling of the expense, which service if each of the rich were
willing to perform for the poor, in a brief moment of time he would have
seized on Heaven.
What plea then will there be? what shadow of defense, when not even
of the things from which we must assuredly be separated, when taken away
from hence, not even of these do we impart to the needy with as much liberality
as others to those on the stage, and this when we are to reap so many benefits
therefrom? For we ought indeed, even though we were always to be here,
not even so to be sparing of this good expenditure; but when after a little
time, we are to be removed from hence, and dragged away naked from all,
what kind of defense shall we have for not even out of our income giving
to the hungry and distressed?
For neither do I constrain thee to lessen thy possessions, not because
I do not wish it, but because I see thee very backward. It is not then
this I say, but spend of your fruits, and treasure up nothing from these.
It is enough for thee to have the money of thine income pouring in on thee
as from a fountain; make the poor sharers with thee, and become a good
steward of the things given thee of God.
But I pay tribute, one may say. For this cause then dost thou despise,
because in this case no one demands it of thee? And the other, who, should
the earth bear, or should it not bear, takes by force, and extorts, thou
darest not gainsay; but Him that is so mild, and then only demands, when
the earth bears, thou answerest not even to a word? And who will deliver
thee from those intolerable punishments? There is no one. For if, because
in the other case a very sore punishment will ensue to thee for not giving,
therefore thou becomest diligent about the payment, consider here too is
one more sore; not to be bound, neither to be cast into prison, but to
depart into the eternal fire.
For all reasons then let us pay these tributes first: for great is the
facility, and greater the reward; and more abundant the gain, and worse
the punishments to us if we are obstinate. For a punishment cometh upon
us, which hath no end.
But if thou tell me of the soldier's fighting for thee with the barbarians,
there is here too a camp, that of the poor, and a war, which the poor are
waging for thee. For when they receive, by praying they make God propitious;
and making Him propitious, they repulse, instead of barbarians, the assaults
of the devils; they suffer not the evil one to be violent, neither to attack
us continually, but they relax his might.
5. Seeing therefore these soldiers every day fighting in thy behalf
with the devil by their supplications and prayers, demand of thyself this
good contribution, their nourishment. For this King being mild hath not
assigned thee any to demand it of thee, but desires thou shouldest give
it willingly; though thou pay by little and little, He receives it; though
being in difficulty, thou shouldest pay after a long time, He cloth not
press him that hath not.
Let us not then despise His long-suffering; let us treasure up for ourselves,
not wrath, but salvation; not death, but life; not punishment and vengeance,
but honors and crowns. There is no need in this case to pay a hire for
the conveyance of the things contributed; there is no need in this case
to labor in turning them into money. If thou givest them up, the Lord Himself
removes them into Heaven; He Himself makes the traffic the more gainful
There is no need here to find one to carry in what thou hast contributed;
contribute only, and straightway it goeth up, not that others may be maintained
as soldiers, but that it may remain for thee with great profit. For here
whatsoever thou mayest have given, it is not possible to recover; but there
thou wilt receive them again with much honor, and shalt gain greater, and
more spiritual gains. Here the gifts are a demand; there a loan, and money
at interest, and a debt.
Yea farther, God hath given thee bonds. For" he that showeth mercy to
a poor man," it is said, "lendeth to the Lord."
He gave thee also an earnest, and bail, and this being God! What sort
of earnest? The things in the present life, the visible, the spiritual
things, the foretaste of the things to come.
Why then dost thou delay, and why art thou backward, having received
so many things already, looking for so many things?
For what thou hast received are these: He Himseif made thee a body,
He Himself put in thee a soul, He honored with speech thee alone of the
things on the earth, He gave thee the use of all the things that are seen,
He bestowed on thee the knowledge of Himself, He gave up His Son for thee,
He gave thee a baptism full of so many good things, He gave thee a holy
table, He promised a kingdom, and the good things that cannot be told.
Having then received so many good things, having to receive so many,
again I say the same thing, art thou making petty reckoning about perishing
riches, and what excuse wilt thou have?
But art thou looking altogether at thy children? and dost draw back
for the sake of these? Nay, rather teach them also to gain such gains.
For if thou hadst money lent out and bearing interest, and thou hadst a
grateful debtor, thou wouldest ten thousand times rather choose instead
of the gold to leave the bond to thy child, so that he should have the
large income from it, and not be constrained to go about, and seek for
others to borrow it.
And now give this bond to thy children, and leave God a debtor to them.
Thou dost not sell thy lands, and give to thy children, but leavest them,
that the income may remain, and that they may have a greater increase of
riches from thence; but this bond, which is more productive than any land
or revenue, and bears so many fruits, this art thou afraid to leave to
them? What great folly must this be, and frenzy. And this when thou knowest,
that though thou shouldest leave it to them, thou thyself also shall again
take it away with thee.
Of this nature are the things spiritual; they have great munificence.
Let us not then be beggarly; neither be inhuman and savage towards ourselves,
but let us traffic in that good merchandise; that we may both ourselves
take it away with us when we depart, and leave it to our own children,
and attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man
of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be unto the Father, together with the
Holy Ghost, glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
"And Jesus went into the temple,and cast out all them that sold
and bought in the temple, and overthrow the tables of the money-changers
and the seats of them that sold doves, and saith unto them, It is written,
my house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of
thieves." This John likewise saith, but he in the beginning of his Gospel, this at
the end. Whence it is probable this was done twice, and at different seasons.
And it is evident both from the times, and from their reply. For there
He came at the very passover, but here much before. And there the Jews
say, "What sign showest thou us?"
but here they hold their peace, although reproved, because He was now
marvelled at amongst all men.
And this is a heavier charge against the Jews, that when He had done
this not once only, but a second time, they continued in their trafficking,
and said that He was an adversary of God, when they ought even from hence
to have learnt His honor for His Father and His own might. For indeed He
also wrought miracles, and they saw His words agreeing with His works.
But not even so were they persuaded, but "were sore displeased," and
this while they heard the prophet crying aloud, and the children in a manner
beyond their age proclaiming Him. Wherefore also He Himself sets up Isaiah
against them as an accuser, saying, "My house shall be called a house of
But not in this way only doth He show His authority, but also by His
healing divers in firmities. "For the blind and the tame came unto Him,
and He healed them," and His power and authority He indicates.
But they not even so would be persuaded, but together with the rest
of the miracles hearing even the children proclaiming, were ready to choke,
and say, "Hearest thou not what these say? And yet it was Christ's part
to have said this to them, "Hear ye not what these say?" for the children
were singing to Him as to God.
What then saith He? Since they were speaking against things manifest,
He applies His correction more in the way of reproof, saying, "Have ye
never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected
praise?" And well did He say, "Out of the mouth." For what was said was
not of their understanding, but of His power giving articulation to their
tongue yet immature.
And this was also a type of the Gentiles lisping, and sounding forth
at once great things with understanding and faith.
And for the apostles also there was from hence no small consolation.
For that they might not be perplexed, how being unlearned they should be
able to publish the gospel, the children anticipate them, and remove all
their anxiety, teaching them, that He would grant them utterance, who made
even these to sing praises.
And not so only, but the miracle showed that He is Creator even of nature.
The children then, although of age immature, uttered things that had a
clear meaning, and were in accordance with those above, but the men things
teeming with frenzy and madness. For such is the nature of wickedness.
Forasmuch then as there were many things to provoke them, from the multitude,
from the casting out of the sellers, from the miracles, from the children,
He again leaves them, giving room to the swelling passion, and not willing
to begin His teaching, test boiling with envy they should be the more displeased
at His sayings.