Therefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
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Hom., xxii: Having shown that it is not right to be anxious about food, He passes to that which is less; (for raiment is not so necessary as food;) and asks, “And why are ye careful wherewith ye shall be clothed?” He uses not here the instance of the birds, when He might have drawn some to the point, as the peacock, or the swan, but brings forward the lilies, saying, “Consider the lilies of the field.” He would prove in two things the abundant goodness of God; to wit, the richness of the beauty with which they are clothed, and the mean value of the things so clothed with it.
For lilies within a fixed time are formed into branches, clothed in whiteness, and endowed with sweet odour, God conveying by an unseen operation, what the earth had not given to the root. But in all the same perfectness is observed, that they may not be thought to have been formed by chance, but may be known tobe ordered by God’s providence. When He says, “They toil not,” He speaks forthe comfort of men; “Neither do they spin,” for the women.
As widely as truth differs from falsehood, so widely so our clothes differ from flowers. If then Solomon, who was more eminent than all other kings, was yet surpassed by flowers, how shall you exceed the beauty of flowers by your garments? And Solomon was exceeded by the flowers not once only, or twice, but throughout his whole reign; and this is that He says, “In all his glory;” for no one day was he arrayed as are the flowers.
Or the meaning may be, that Solomon though he toiled not for his own raiment, yet he gave command for the making of it. But where command is, there is often found both offence of them that minister, and wrath of him that commands. When then any are without these things, then they are arrayed as are the lilies.
If God then thus provides for the flowers of the earth which only spring up, that they may be seen and die, shall He overlook men whom He has created not tobe seen for a time, but that they should be for ever?.
He calls them no more lilies, but “the grass of the field,” to show their small worth; and adds moreover another cause of their small value; “which today is.”And He said not, “and tomorrow is not,” but what is yet greater fall, “is cast into the oven.” In that He says “How much more you,” is implicitly conveyed the dignity of the human race, as though He had said, You to whom He has given asoul, for whom He has contrived a body, to whom He has sent Prophets and gave His Only-begotten Son.