Wednesday, August 19, 2009

John Chrysostom: Searching the Scriptures is Safe

Do you not see that even people wanting to find precious stones do not find what they are after by sitting on the beach above the surface counting the waves? Instead, they dive to the very depths, though great effort is involved in the search, considerable risk in the discovery and little gain after the discovery. I mean, what great contribution does the discovery of precious stones make to our life? Would that it did not introduce great evils: nothing so overwhelms our life and turns everything upside down as a frenzy for possessions.

While people like that, however, still risk body and soul for daily sustenance and brave the waves, here by contrast there is no risk, the effort is not so extreme - instead, it is rare and light for the added reason of retaining what is found; people generally think that what it is easily found is of no great value. In the ocean of Scriptures there is no buffeting from the waves: this ocean is calmer than any harbor, there is no need to descend into the gloomy caverns of the deep, nor commit the safety of one's person to the rush of irrational waters. Instead, here there is a strong light brighter than the sun's rays, there is deep peace, no tempest in the offing, the value of what is found so great as to defy description. Instead of being lethargic, then, let us take to the search.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Sermon 3 on Genesis, in St. John Chrysostom, Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis, pp. 52-53 (2004), Robert C. Hill translator.