Tuesday, August 18, 2009

John Chrysostom: Deposit the Seeds of Warning with the Bankers of Nominalism

It was all to no avail, apparently, for us to appeal to those who joined us in the previous assembly, urging them to remain in their paternal home, and not attend and then absent themselves along with those who appear before us only on a feast-day. Or rather it was not to no avail: even if none of them was convinced by what was said, yet our fee is paid up and the requirements of a defense before God have been met. This is the reason the speaker, whether the people pay heed or not, must case the seed and deposit the money so that the debt with God may not longer be in his name but in the bankers'. That is what we in fact did by accusing, reproving, exhorting, admonishing. We brought to mind, remember, the son who had squandered his substance and returned to his father's him and we highlighted all the hardship, the hunger, the shame, the reproaches, and all the other things he endured in foreign parts in our wish to bring them to a better frame of mind with this example. Far from stopping short at that point, we brought out also the father's affection for them, not insisting on their liability for indifference but receiving them with open arms, offering pardon for their failings, opening the door, laying the table, clothing them in the robe of teaching, and providing them with every other form of attention. On their part, however, they did not imitate that famous son or condemn themselves for their former departure, nor did they stay in the paternal home; instead, they absented themselves again.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on Hannah, Homily 4, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, pp. 121-22 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.