But when the multitude saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, who had given such power unto men.
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for the flesh was an offense unto them. But He did not rebuke them, but proceeds by His works to arouse them, and exalt their thoughts. Since for the time it was no small thing for Him to be thought greater than all men, as having come from God. For had they well established these things in their own minds, going on orderly they would have known, that He was even the Son of God. But they did not retain these things clearly, wherefore neither were they able to approach Him. For they said again, This man is not of God; John 9:16 how is this man of God? And they were continually harping on these things, putting them forward as cloaks for their own passions.
3. Which thing many now also do; and thinking to avenge God, fulfill their own passions, when they ought to go about all with moderation. For even the God of all, having power to launch His thunderbolt against them that blaspheme Him, makes the sun to rise, and sends forth the showers, and affords them all other things in abundance; whom we ought to imitate, and so to entreat, advise, admonish, with meekness, not angry, not making ourselves wild beasts.
For no harm at all ensues unto God by their blasphemy, that you should be angered, but he who blasphemed has himself also received the wound. Wherefore groan, bewail, for the calamity indeed deserves tears. And the wounded man, again—noth ing can so heal him as gentleness: gentleness, I say, which is mightier than any force.
See, for example, how He Himself, the insulted one, discourses with us, both in the Old Testament, and in the New; in the one saying, O my people, what have I done unto you? Micah 6:3 in the other, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. Acts 9:4 And Paul too bids, In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves. 2 Timothy 2:25 And Christ again, when His disciples had come to Him, requiring fire to come down from heaven, strongly rebuked them, saying, You know not what manner of spirit you are of.
And here again He said not, O accursed, and sorcerers as you are; O you envious, and enemies of men's salvation; but, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
We must, you see, use gentleness to eradicate the disease. Since he who has become better through the fear of man, will quickly return to wickedness again. For this cause He commanded also the tares to be left, giving an appointed day of repentance. Yea, and many of them in fact repented, and became good, who before were bad; as for instance, Paul, the Publican, the Thief; for these being really tares turned into kindly wheat. Because, although in the seeds this cannot be, yet in the human will it is both manageable and easy; for our will is bound by no limits of nature, but has freedom of choice for its privilege.
Accordingly, when you see an enemy of the truth, wait on him, take care of him, lead him back into virtue, by showing forth an excellent life, by applying speech that cannot be condemned, Titus 2:8 by bestowing attention and tender care, by trying every means of amendment, in imitation of the best physicians. For neither do they cure in one manner only, but when they see the wound not yield to the first remedy, they add another, and after that again another; and now they use the knife, and now bind up. And do thou accordingly, having become a physician of souls, put in practice every mode of cure according to Christ's laws; that you may receive the reward both of saving yourself and of profiting others, doing all to the glory of God, and so being glorified also yourself. For them that glorify me, says He, I will glorify; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed.
Let us, I say, do all things unto His glory; that we may attain unto that blessed portion, unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.