After Eutropius having been found outside the Church had been taken captive.
1. Delectable indeed are the meadow, and the garden, but far more delectable the study of the divine writings. For there indeed are flowers which fade, but here are thoughts which abide in full bloom; there is the breeze of the zephyr, but here the breath of the Spirit: there is the hedge of thorns, but here is the guarding providence of God; there is the song of cicadæ, but here the melody of the prophets: there is the pleasure which comes from sight, but here the profit which comes from study. The garden is confined to one place, but the Scriptures are in all parts of the world; the garden is subject to the necessities of the seasons, but the Scriptures are rich in foliage, and laden with fruit alike in winter and in summer. Let us then give diligent heed to the study of the Scriptures: for if you do this the Scripture will expel your despondency, and engender pleasure, extirpate vice, and make virtue take root, and in the tumult of life it will save you from suffering like those who are tossed by troubled waves. The sea rages but you sail on with calm weather; for you have the study of the Scriptures for your pilot; for this is the cable which the trials of life do not break asunder. Now that I lie not events themselves bear witness. A few days ago the Church was besieged: an army came, and fire issued from their eyes, yet it did not scorch the olive tree; swords were unsheathed, yet no one received a wound; the imperial gates were in distress, but the Church was in security. And yet the tide of war flowed hither; for here the refugee was sought, and we withstood them, not fearing their rage. And wherefore prithee? Because we held as a sure pledge the saying
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 And when I say the Church I mean not only a place but also a plan of life: I mean not the walls of the Church but the laws of the Church. When you take refuge in a Church, do not seek shelter merely in the place but in the spirit of the place. For the Church is not wall and roof but faith and life.
Do not tell me that the man having been surrendered was surrendered by the Church; if he had not abandoned the Church he would not have been surrendered. Do not say that he fled here for refuge and then was given up: the Church did not abandon him but he abandoned the Church. He was not surrendered from within the Church but outside its walls. Wherefore did he forsake the Church? Did you desire to save yourself? Thou should have held fast to the altar. There were no walls here, but there was the guarding providence of God. Were you a sinner? God does not reject you: for
He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13 The harlot was saved when she clung to His feet. Have you heard the passage read today? Now I say these things that you may not hesitate to take refuge in the Church. Abide with the Church, and the Church does not hand you over to the enemy: but if you fly from the Church, the Church is not the cause of your capture. For if you are inside the fold the wolf does not enter: but if you go outside, you are liable to be the wild beast's prey: yet this is not the fault of the fold, but of your own pusillanimity. The Church has no feet. Talk not to me of walls and arms: for walls wax old with time, but the Church has no old age. Walls are shattered by barbarians, but over the Church even demons do not prevail. And that my words are no mere vaunt there is the evidence of facts. How many have assailed the Church, and yet the assailants have perished while the Church herself has soared beyond the sky? Such might has the Church: when she is assailed she conquers: when snares are laid for her she prevails: when she is insulted her prosperity increases: she is wounded yet sinks not under her wounds; tossed by waves yet not submerged; vexed by storms yet suffers no shipwreck; she wrestles and is not worsted, fights but is not vanquished. Wherefore then did she suffer this war to be? That she might make more manifest the splendour of her triumph. You were present on that day, and you saw what weapons were set in motion against her, and how the rage of the soldiers burned more fiercely than fire, and I was hurried away to the imperial palace. But what of that? By the grace of God none of those things dismayed me.
2. Now I say these things in order that you too may follow my example. But wherefore was I not dismayed? Because I do not fear any present terrors. For what is terrible? Death? Nay this is not terrible: for we speedily reach the unruffled haven. Or spoliation of goods?
Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I depart; Job 1:21 or exile?
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; or false accusation?
Rejoice and be exceeding glad, when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for great is your reward in Heaven. Matthew 5:12 I saw the swords and I meditated on Heaven; I expected death, and I bethought me of the resurrection; I beheld the sufferings of this lower world, and I took account of the heavenly prizes; I observed the devices of the enemy, and I meditated on the heavenly crown: for the occasion of the contest was sufficient for encouragement and consolation. True! I was being forcibly dragged away, but I suffered no insult from the act; for there is only one real insult, namely sin: and should the whole world insult you, yet if you dost not insult yourself you are not insulted. The only real betrayal is the betrayal of the conscience: betray not your own conscience, and no one can betray you. I was being dragged away and I saw the events — or rather I saw my words turned into events, I saw my discourse which I had uttered in words being preached in the market-place through the medium of actual events. What kind of discourse? The same which I was always repeating. The wind has blown and the leaves have fallen.
The grass has withered and the flower has faded. Isaiah 40:8 The night has departed and the day has dawned; the shadow has been proved vain and the truth has appeared. They mounted up to the sky, and they came down to the level of earth: for the waves which were swelling high have been laid low by means of merely human events. How? The things which were taking place were a lesson. And I said to myself will posterity learn self-control? Or before two days have passed by will these events have been abandoned to oblivion? The warnings were sounding in their ears. Again let me utter, yet again I will speak. What profit will there be? Certainly there will be profit. For if all do not hearken, the half will hearken; and if not the half, the third part: and if not the third the fourth: and if not the fourth, perhaps ten: and if not ten, perhaps five: and if not five perhaps one: and if not one, I myself have the reward prepared for me.
The grass withers and the flower fades; but the word of God abides forever. Isaiah 40:8
3. Have you seen the insignificance of human affairs? Have ye seen the frailty of power? Have ye seen the wealth which I always called a runaway and not a runaway only, but also a murderer. For it not only deserts those who possess it, but also slaughters them; for when any one pays court to it then most of all does it betray him. Why do you pay court to wealth which today is for you, and tomorrow for another? Why do you court wealth which can never be held fast? Do you desire to court it? Do you desire to hold it fast? Do not bury it but give it into the hands of the poor. For wealth is a wild beast: if it be tightly held it runs away: if it be let loose it remains where it is;
For, it is said,
he has dispersed abroad and given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. Disperse it then that it may remain with you; bury it not lest it run away. Where is wealth? I would gladly enquire of those who have departed. Now I say these things not by way of reproach, God forbid, nor by way of irritating old sores, but as endeavouring to secure a haven for you out of the shipwreck of others. When soldiers and swords were threatening, when the city was in a blaze of fury, when the imperial majesty was powerless, and the purple was insulted, when all places were full of frenzy, where was wealth then? Where was your silver plate? Where were your silver couches? Where your household slaves? They had all betaken themselves to flight; where were the eunuchs? They all ran away; where were your friends? They changed their masks. Where were your houses? They were shut up. Where was your money? The owner of it fled: and the money itself, where was that? It was buried. Where was it all hidden? Am I oppressive and irksome to you in constantly declaring that wealth betrays those who use it badly? The occasion has now come which proves the truth of my words. Why do you hold it so tightly, when in the time of trial it profits you nothing? If it has power when you fall into a strait, let it come to your aid, but if it then runs away what need have you of it? Events themselves bear witness. What profit was there in it? The sword was whetted, death was impending, an army raging: there was apprehension of imminent peril; and yet wealth was nowhere to be seen. Where did the runaway flee? It was itself the cause which brought about all these evils, and yet in the hours of necessity it runs away. Nevertheless many reproach me saying continually thou fastens upon the rich: while they on the other hand fasten upon the poor. Well I do fasten upon the rich: or rather not the rich, but those who make a bad use of their riches. For I am continually saying that I do not attack the character of the rich man, but of the rapacious. A rich man is one thing, a rapacious man is another: an affluent man is one thing, a covetous man is another. Make clear distinctions, and do not confuse things which are diverse. Are you a rich man? I forbid you not. Are you a rapacious man? I denounce you. Have you property of your own? Enjoy it. Do you take the property of others? I will not hold my peace. Would you stone me for this? I am ready to shed my blood: only I forbid your sin. I heed not hatred, I heed not war: one thing only do I heed, the advancement of my hearers. The rich are my children, and the poor also are my children: the same womb has travailed with both, both are the offspring of the same travail-pangs. If then you fasten reproaches on the poor man, I denounce you: for the poor man does not suffer so much loss as the rich. For no great wrong is inflicted on the poor man, seeing that in his case the injury is confined to money; but in your case the injury touches the soul. Let him who wills cast me off, let him who wills stone me, let him who wills hate me: for the plots of enemies are the pledges to me of crowns of victory, and the number of my rewards will be as the number of my wounds.
4. So then I fear not an enemy's plots: one thing only do I fear, which is sin. If no one convicts me of sin, then let the whole world make war upon me. For this kind of war only renders me more prosperous. Thus also do I wish to teach you a lesson. Fear not the devices of a potentate, but fear the power of sin. No man will do you harm, if you dost not deal a blow to yourself. If you have not sin, ten thousand swords may threaten you, but God will snatch you away out of their reach: but if you have sin, even should you be in paradise you will be cast out. Adam was in paradise yet he fell; Job was on a dung hill, yet he was crowned victorious. What profit was paradise to the one? Or what injury was the dung hill to the other? No man laid snares for the one, yet was he overthrown: the devil laid snares for the other, and yet he was crowned. Did not the devil take his property? Yes, but he did not rob him of his godliness. Did he not lay violent hands upon his sons? yes: but he did not shake his faith. Did he not tear his body to pieces? yes but he did not find his treasure. Did he not arm his wife against him? yes but he did not overthrow the soldier. Did he not hurl arrows and darts at him? yes but he received no wounds. He advanced his engines but could not shake the tower; he conducted his billows against him, but did not sink the ship. Observe this law I beseech you, yea I clasp your knees, if not with the bodily hand, yet in spirit, and pour forth tears of supplication. Observe this law I pray you, and no one can do you harm. Never call the rich man happy; never call any man miserable save him who is living in sin: and call him happy who lives in righteousness. For it is not the nature of their circumstances, but the disposition of the men which makes both the one and the other. Never be afraid of the sword if your conscience does not accuse you: never be afraid in war if your conscience is clear. Where are they who have departed? Tell me. Did not all men once bow down to them? Did not those who were in authority tremble greatly before them? Did they not pay court to them? But sin has come, and all things are manifested in their true lights; they who were attendants have become judges, the flatterers are turned into executioners; they who once kissed his hands, dragged him themselves from the church, and he who yesterday kissed his hand is today his enemy. Wherefore? Because neither did he yesterday love him with sincerity. For the opportunity came and the actors were unmasked. Did you not yesterday kiss his hands, and call him saviour, and guardian, and benefactor? Did you not compose panegyrics without end? Wherefore today do you accuse him? Why yesterday a praiser, and today an accuser? Why yesterday utter panegyrics, and today reproaches? What means this change? What means this revolution?
5. But I am not like this: I was the subject of his plots, yet I became his protector. I suffered countless troubles at his hands, yet I did not retaliate. For I copy the example of my Master, who said on the cross,
Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Now I say these things that you may not be perverted by the suspicion of wicked men. Now many changes have taken place, since I had the oversight of the city, and yet no one learns self-control? But when I say no one, I do not condemn all, God forbid. For it is impossible that this rich soil when it has received seed, should not produce one ear of grain: but I am insatiable, I do not wish many to be saved but all. And if but one be left in a perishing condition, I perish also, and deem that the Shepherd should be imitated who had ninety-nine sheep, and yet hastened after the one which had gone astray. Luke 15:4 How long will money last? How long this silver and gold? How long these draughts of wine? How long the flatteries of slaves? How long these goblets wreathed with garlands? How long these satanic drinking feasts, full of diabolical activity?
Do you not know that the present life is a sojourn in a far country? For are you a citizen? Nay you are a wayfarer. Do you understand what I say? You are not a citizen, but you are a wayfarer, and a traveller. Say not: I have this city and that. No one has a city. The city is above. Present life is but a journey. We are journeying on every day, while nature is running its course. Some there are who store up goods on the way: some who bury jewellery on the road. Now when you enter an inn do you beautify the inn? Not so, but you eat and drink and hasten to depart. The present life is an inn: we have entered it, and we bring present life to a close: let us be eager to depart with a good hope, let us leave nothing here, that we may not lose it there. When you enter the inn, what do you say to the servant? Take care where you put away our things, that you do not leave anything behind here, that nothing may be lost, not even what is small and trifling, in order that we may carry everything back to our home. You are a wayfarer and traveller, and indeed more insignificant than the wayfarer. How so? I will tell you. The wayfarer knows when he is going into the inn, and when he is going out; for the egress as well as the regress is in his own power: but when I enter the inn, that is to say this present life, I know not when I shall go out: and it may be that I am providing myself with sustenance for a long time when the Master suddenly summons me saying
You fool, for whom shall those things be which you have prepared? For on this very night your soul is being taken from you. The time of your departure is uncertain, the tenure of your possessions insecure, there are innumerable precipices, and billows on every side of you. Why do you rave about shadows? Why desert the reality and run after shadows?
6. I say these things, and shall not cease saying them, causing continual pain, and dressing the wounds; and this not for the sake of the fallen, but of those who are still standing. For they have departed, and their career is ended, but those who are yet standing have gained a more secure position through their calamities.
What then, you say,
shall we do? Do one thing only, hate riches, and love your life — cast away your goods; I do not say all of them, but cut off the superfluities. Be not covetous of other men's goods, strip not the widow, plunder not the orphan, seize not his house: I do not address myself to persons but to facts. But if any one's conscience attacks him, he himself is responsible for it, not my words. Why are you grasping where you bring ill-will upon yourself? Grasp where there is a crown to be gained. Strive to lay hold not of earth but of heaven. madness? Do you lay hold of the poor man who has little? Christ says
lay hold of me; I thank you for it, lay hold of my kingdom and take it by violence. If you are minded to lay hold of an earthly kingdom, or rather if you are minded to have designs upon it you are punished; but in the case of the heavenly kingdom you are punished if you dost not lay hold of it. Where worldly things are concerned there is ill-will, but where spiritual there is love. Meditate daily on these things, and if two days hence you see another riding in a chariot, arrayed in raiment of silk, and elated with pride, be not again dismayed and troubled. Praise not a rich man, but only him who lives in righteousness. Revile not a poor man, but learn to have an upright and accurate judgment in all things.
Do not hold aloof from the Church; for nothing is stronger than the Church. The Church is your hope, your salvation, your refuge. It is higher than the heaven, it is wider than the earth. It never waxes old, but is always in full vigour. Wherefore as significant of its solidity and stability Holy Scripture calls it a mountain: or of its purity a virgin, or of its magnificence a queen; or of its relationship to God a daughter; and to express its productiveness it calls her barren who has borne seven: in fact it employs countless names to represent its nobleness. For as the master of the Church has many names: being called the Father, and the way, John 14:6 and the life, Ibid and the light, and the arm, and the propitiation, 1 John 2:2 and the foundation, 1 Corinthians 3:11 and the door, John 10:7 and the sinless one, and the treasure, and Lord, and God, and Son, and the only begotten, and the form of God, Philippians 2:6 and the image Colossians 1:15 of God so is it with the Church itself: does one name suffice to present the whole truth? By no means. But for this reason there are countless names, that we may learn something concerning God, though it be but a small part. Even so the Church also is called by many names. She is called a virgin, albeit formerly she was an harlot: for this is the miracle wrought by the Bridegroom, that He took her who was an harlot and has made her a virgin. Oh! What a new and strange event! With us marriage destroys virginity, but with God marriage has restored it. With us she who is a virgin, when married, is a virgin no longer: with Christ she who is an harlot, when married, becomes a virgin.
7. Let the heretic who inquires curiously into the nature of heavenly generation saying
how did the Father beget the Son? interpret this single fact, ask him how did the Church, being an harlot, become a virgin? And how did she having brought forth children remain a virgin?
For I am jealous over you, says Paul,
with a godly jealousy, for I espoused you to one husband that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 What wisdom and understanding!
I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. What means this?
I am jealous, he says: are you jealous seeing you are a spiritual man? I am jealous he says as God is. And has God jealousy? Yea the jealousy not of passion, but of love, and earnest zeal. I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God. Shall I tell you how He manifests His jealousy? He saw the world corrupted by devils, and He delivered His own Son to save it. For words spoken in reference to God have not the same force as when spoken in reference to ourselves: for instance we say God is jealous, God is angry, God repents, God hates. These words are human, but they have a meaning which becomes the nature of God. How is God jealous?
I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God. 2 Corinthians 11:2 Is God angry?
O Lord reproach me not in your indignation. Does God slumber?
Awake, wherefore do you sleep, O Lord? Does God repent?
I repent that I have made man. Genesis 6:7 Does God hate? Isaiah 1:14 Well do not consider the poverty of the expressions: but grasp their divine meaning. God is jealous, for He loves, God is angry, not as yielding to passion, but for the purpose of chastising, and punishing. God sleeps, not as really slumbering, but as being long-suffering. Choose out the expression. Thus when you hear that God begets the Son, think not of division but of the unity of substance. For God has taken many of these words from us as we also have borrowed others from Him, that we may receive honour thereby.
8. Do you understand what I have said? Attend carefully my beloved. There are divine names, and there are human names. God has received from me, and He Himself has given to me. Give me yours, and take mine He says. You have need of mine: I have no need of yours, but you have of mine inasmuch as my nature is unmixed, but you are a human being encompassed with a body, seeking also corporeal terms in order that, by borrowing expressions which are familiar to you, thou who art thus encompassed with a body, may be able to think on thoughts which transcend your understanding. What kind of names has He received from me, and what kind has He given to me? He Himself is God, and He has called me God; with Him is the essential nature as an actual fact, with me only the honour of the name:
I have said you are gods, and you are all children of the most highest. Here are words, but in the other case there is the actual reality. He has called me god, for by that name I have received honour. He Himself was called man, he was called Son of man, he was called the Way, the Door, the Rock. These words He borrowed from me; the others He gave from Himself to me. Wherefore was He called the Way? That you might understand that by Him we have access to the Father. Wherefore was He called the Rock? That you might understand the secure and unshaken character of the faith. Wherefore was He called the Foundation? That you might understand that He upholds all things. Wherefore was He called the Root? That you might understand that in Him we have our power of growth. Wherefore was He called the Shepherd? Because He feeds us. Wherefore was He called a sheep? Because He was sacrificed for us and became a propitiatory offering. Wherefore was He called the Life? Because He raised us up when we were dead. Wherefore was He called the Light? Because He delivered us from darkness. Why was He called an Arm? Because He is of one substance with the Father. Why was He called the Word? Because He was begotten of the Father. For as my word is the offspring of my spirit, even so was the Son begotten of the Father. Wherefore is He called our raiment? Because I was clothed with Him when I was baptized. Why is He called a table? Because I feed upon Him when I partake of the mysteries. Why is He called a house? Because I dwell in Him. Why is He called an inmate of the house? Because we become His Temple. Wherefore is He called the Head? Because I have been made a member of His. Why is He called a Bridegroom? Because He has taken me as His bride. Wherefore is He called undefiled? Because He took me as a virgin. Wherefore is He called Master? Because I am His bondmaid.
9. For observe the Church, how, as I was saying, she is sometimes a bride, sometimes a daughter, sometimes a virgin, sometimes a bondmaid, sometimes a queen, sometimes a barren woman, sometimes a mountain, sometimes a garden, sometimes fruitful in children, sometimes a lily, sometimes a fountain: She is all things. Therefore having heard these things, think not I pray you that they are corporeal; but stretch your thought further: for such things cannot be corporeal. For example: the mountain is not the maid: the maid is not the bride: the queen is not the bond-maid: yet the Church is all these things. Wherefore? Because the element in which they exist is not corporeal but spiritual. For in a corporeal sphere these things are confined within narrow limits: but in a spiritual sphere they have a wide field of operation.
The queen stood on your right hand. The queen? How did she who was down-trodden and poor become a queen? And where did she ascend? The queen herself stood on high by the side of the king. How? Because the king became a servant; He was not that by nature, but He became so. Understand therefore the things which belong to the Godhead, and discern those which belong to the Dispensation. Understand what He was, and what He became for your sake, and do not confuse things which are distinct, nor make the argument of his lovingkindness an occasion for blasphemy. He was lofty, and she was lowly: lofty not by position but by nature. His essence was pure, and imperishable: His nature was incorruptible, unintelligible, invisible, incomprehensible, eternal, unchangeable, transcending the nature of angels, higher than the powers above, overpowering reason, surpassing thought, apprehended not by sight but by faith alone. Angels beheld Him and trembled, the Cherubim veiled themselves with their wings, in awe. He looked upon the earth, and caused it to tremble: He threatened the sea and dried it up: Isaiah 51:10 he brought rivers out of the desert: He weighed the mountains in scales, and the valleys in a balance. How shall I express myself? How shall I present the truth? His greatness has no bounds, His wisdom is beyond reckoning, His judgments are untraceable, His ways unsearchable. Such is His greatness and His power, if indeed it is safe even to use such expressions. But what am I to do? I am a human being and I speak in human language: my tongue is of earth and I crave forgiveness from my Lord. For I do not use these expressions in a spirit of presumption, but on account of the poverty of my resources arising from my feebleness and the nature of our human tongue. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I utter these words not in presumption but because I have no others: nevertheless I do not rest content with the meanness of my speech, but soar upwards on the wings of my understanding. Such is His greatness and power. I say this, that without dwelling on the words, or on the poverty of the expressions, you may also yourself learn to act in the same way. Why do you marvel if I do this, inasmuch as He also does the same, when He wishes to present something to our minds which transcends human powers? Since He addresses human beings He uses also human illustration, which are indeed insufficient to represent the thing spoken of, and cannot exhibit the full proportions of the matter, yet suffice for the infirmity of the hearers.
10. Make an effort, and do not grow weary of my prolonged discourse. For as when He manifests Himself, He is not manifested as He really is, nor is His bare essence manifested (for no man has seen God in His real nature; for when He is but partially revealed the Cherubim tremble — the mountains smoke, the sea is dried up, the heaven is shaken, and if the revelation were not partial who could endure it?) as then, I say, He does not manifest Himself as He really is, but only as the beholder is able to see Him, therefore does He appear sometimes in the form of old age, sometimes of youth, sometimes in fire, sometimes in air, sometimes in water, sometimes in armour, not altering his essential nature, but fashioning His appearance to suit the various condition of those who are affected by it. In like manner also when any one wishes to say anything concerning Him he employs human illustrations. For instance I say:
He went up into the mountain and He was transfigured before them, and His countenance shone as the sun, and His raiment became white as snow. He disclosed, it is said, a little of the Godhead, He manifested to them the God dwelling among them
and He was transfigured before them. Attend carefully to the statement. The writer says and He was transfigured before them, and His raiment shone as the light, and His countenance was as the sun. When I said
such is His greatness and power and added
be merciful to me O Lord, (for I do not rest satisfied with the expression but am perplexed, having no other framed for the purpose) I wish you to understand, that I learned this lesson from Holy Scripture. The evangelist then wished to describe His splendour and he says
He shone. How did He shine? Tell me. Exceedingly. And how do you express this? He shone
as the sun. As the sun do you say? Yea. Wherefore? Because I know not any other luminary more brilliant. And He was white do you say as snow? Wherefore as snow? Because I know not any other substance which is whiter. For that He did not really shine thus is proved by what follows: the disciples fell to the ground. If he had shone as the sun the disciples would not have fallen; for they saw the sun every day, and did not fall: but inasmuch as he shone more brilliantly than the sun or snow, they, being unable to bear the splendour, fell to the earth.
11. Tell me then, O evangelist, did He shine more brightly than the sun, and yet do you say,
as the sun? Yea: wishing to make that light known to you, I know not any other greater luminary, I have no other comparison which holds a royal place among luminaries. I have said these things that you may not rest contentedly in the poverty of the language used: I have pointed out to you the fall of the disciples: they fell to the earth, and were stupified and overwhelmed with slumber.
Arise He said, and lifted them up, and yet they were oppressed. For they could not endure the excessive brightness of that shining, but heavy sleep took possession of their eyes: so far did the light which was manifested exceed the light of the sun. Yet the evangelist said
as the sun, because that luminary is familiar to us and surpasses all the rest.
But as I was saying, He who was thus great and powerful desired an harlot. I speak of our human nature under that name. If a man indeed desire an harlot he is condemned, and does God desire one? Yea verily. Again a man desires an harlot that he may become a fornicator: but God that He may convert the harlot into a virgin: so that the desire of the man is the destruction of her who is desired: but the desire of God is salvation to her who is desired. And why did He who is so great and powerful desire an harlot? That He might become the husband thereof. How does He act? He does not send to her any of His servants, He sends not angel, archangel, Cherubim, or Seraphim; but He himself draws near Who loves her. Again when you hear of love, deem it not sensuous. Cull out the thoughts which are contained in the words, even as an excellent bee settles on the flowers, and takes the honey comb, but leaves the herbs God desired an harlot, and how does He act? He does not conduct her on high; for He would not bring an harlot into Heaven, but He Himself comes down. Since she could not ascend on high, He descends to earth. He comes to the harlot, and is not ashamed: He comes to her secret dwelling place. He beholds her in her drunkenness. And how does He come? Not in the bare essence of His original nature, but He becomes that which the harlot was, not in intention but in reality does He become this, in order that she may not be scared when she sees Him, that she may not rush away, and escape. He comes to the harlot, and becomes man. And how does He become this? He is conceived in the womb, he increases little by little and follows like me the course of human growth. Who is it who does this? The Deity as manifested, not the Godhead; the form of the servant not that of the Master; the flesh which belongs to me, not the essential nature which belongs to Him: He increases little by little, and has intercourse with mankind. Although He finds the harlot, human nature, full of sores, brutalised, and oppressed by devils, how does He act? He draws near to her. She sees Him and flees away. He calls the wise men saying Why are you afraid? I am not a judge, but a physician.
I came not to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47 Straightway He calls the wise men. Oh! new and strange event. The immediate first-fruits of His coming are wise men. He who upholds the world lies in a manger, and He who cares for all things is a nursling in swaddling bands. The temple is founded and the God dwells therein. And wise men come and straightway worship Him: the publican comes and is turned into an evangelist: the harlot comes and is turned into a maiden: the Canaanitish woman comes and partakes of his lovingkindness. This is the mark of one who loves, to forbear demanding an account of sins, and to forgive transgressions and offenses. And how does He act? He takes the sinner and espouses her to himself. And what does He give her? A signet ring. Of what nature? The Holy Spirit. Paul says
now He who establishes us with you is God who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 The Spirit then He gives her. Next He says
Did not I plant you in a garden? She says
yea. And how did you fall from thence?
The devil came and cast me out of the garden. You were planted in the garden and he cast you out: behold I plant you in myself, I uphold you. How? The devil dares not approach me. Neither do I take you up into Heaven; but something greater than Heaven is here: I carry you in myself who am the Lord of Heaven. The shepherd carries you and the wolf no longer comes: or rather I permit him to approach. And so the Lord carries our nature: and the devil approaches and is worsted.
I have planted you in myself: therefore He says
I am the root, you are the branches: so He planted her in Himself.
But, she says,
I am a sinner and unclean.
Let not this trouble you, I am a physician. I know my vessel, I know how it was perverted. It was formerly a vessel of clay, and it was perverted. I remodel it by means of the laver of regeneration and I submit it to the action of fire. For observe: He took dust from the earth and made the man; He formed him. The devil came, and perverted him. Then the Lord came, took him again, and remoulded, and recast him in baptism, and He suffered not his body to be of clay, but made it of a harder ware. He subjected the soft clay to the fire of the Holy Spirit.
He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Matthew 3:11 He was baptized with water that he might be remodelled, with fire that he might be hardened. Therefore the Prophet speaking beforehand under divine guidance declared
You shall dash them in pieces like vessels of the potter. He did not say like vessels of earthenware which every one possesses: for by a potter's vessels are meant those which the potter is fashioning on the wheel: now the potter's vessels are of clay, but ours are of harder ware. Speaking beforehand therefore of the remoulding which is wrought by means of baptism he says,
you shall dash them in pieces like vessels of a potter — He means that He remodels and recasts them. I descend into the water of baptism, and the fashion of my nature is remoulded, and the fire of the Spirit recasts it, and it is turned into a harder ware. And that my words are no empty vaunt hear what Job says,
He has made us as clay, Job 10:9 and Paul,
but we have this treasure in earthen vessels. 2 Corinthians 4:7 But consider the strength of the earthen vessel: for it has been hardened not by fire, but by the Spirit. How was it proved to be an earthen vessel?
Five times received I forty stripes save one, thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, and yet the earthen vessel was not shattered.
A day and a night have I been in the deep. He has been in the deep, and the earthen vessel was not dissolved: he suffered shipwreck and the treasure was not lost; the ship was submerged and yet the freight floated.
But we have this treasure he says. What kind of treasure? A supply of the Spirit, righteousness, sanctification, redemption. Of what nature, tell me?
in the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk. Acts 3:6
Æneas, Jesus Christ makes you whole, Acts 9:34 I say unto you thou evil spirit, go out of him. Acts 16:18
12. Have you seen a treasure more brilliant than royal treasures? For what can the pearl of a king do like that which the words of an Apostle effected? Set crowns innumerable upon dead men, and they will not be raised: but one word went forth from an Apostle, and it brought back revoked nature, and restored it to its ancient condition.
But we have this treasure. O treasure which not only is preserved, but also preserves the house where it is stored up. Do you understand what I have said? The kings of the earth, and rulers when they have treasures, prepare large houses, having strong walls, bars, doors, guards, and bolts in order that the treasure may be preserved: but Christ did the contrary: He placed the treasure not in a stone vessel but in an earthen one. If the treasure is great wherefore is the vessel weak? But the reason why the vessel is weak is not because the treasure is great; for this is not preserved by the vessel, but itself preserves the vessel. I deposit the treasure: who is able henceforth to steal it? The devil has come, the world has come, multitudes have come, and yet they have not stolen the treasure: the vessel has been scourged, yet the treasure was not betrayed; it has been drowned in the sea, yet the treasure was not shipwrecked: it has died yet the treasure survives. He gave therefore the earnest of the Spirit. Where are they who blaspheme the Spirit's majesty? Give heed.
He that establishes us with you in Christ is God who also has given the earnest of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 You all know that the earnest is a small part of the whole; let me tell you how. Some one goes to buy a house at a great price; and he says give me an earnest that I may have confidence: or one goes to take a wife for himself, he arranges about dowry and property, and he says
give me an earnest. Observe: in the purchase of a slave and in all covenants there is an earnest. Since then Christ made a covenant with us (for He was about to take me as a bride) he also assigned a dowry to me not of money, but of blood. But this dowry which He assigns is the bestowal of good things
such as eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man. 1 Corinthians 2:9 He assigned them for the dowry:— immortality, praise with the angels, release from death, freedom from sin, the inheritance of a kingdom (so great are his riches), righteousness, sanctification, deliverance from present evils, discovery of future blessings. Great was my dowry. Now attend carefully: mark what He does. He came to take the harlot, for so I call her, unclean as she was, that you might understand the love of the bridegroom. He came; He took me: He assigns me a dowry: He says
I give you my wealth. How?
Have you lost, He says,
paradise? take it back. Have you lost your beauty? Take it back; take all these things. But yet the dowry was not given to me here.
13. Observe, this is the reason why He speaks beforehand with reference to this dowry; He warranted to me in the dowry the resurrection of the body —immortality. For immortality does not always follow resurrection, but the two are distinct. For many have risen, and been again laid low, like Lazarus and the bodies of the saints. But in this case it is not so, but the promise is of resurrection, immortality, a place in the joyful company of angels, the meeting of the Son of Man in the clouds, and the fulfilment of the saying
so shall we ever be with the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 the release from death, the freedom from sin, the complete overthrow of destruction. Of what kind is that?
Eye has not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. Do you give me good things which I know not? He says
yea; only be espoused to me here, love me in this world.
Wherefore do you not give me the dowry here? It will be given when you have come to my Father, when you have entered the royal palace. Did you come to me! nay I came to you. I came not that you should abide here but that I might take you and return. Seek not the dowry here: all depends on hope, and faith.
And do you give me nothing in this world? He answers.
Receive an earnest that you may trust me concerning that which is to come: receive pledges and betrothal gifts. Therefore Paul says
I have espoused you. 2 Corinthians 11:2 As gifts of betrothal God has given us present blessings: they are an earnest of the future; but the full dowry abides in the other world. How so? I will tell you. Here I grow old, there I grow not old; here I die, there I die not, here I sorrow, there I sorrow not; here is poverty, and disease, and intrigue, there nothing of that kind exists: here is darkness and light, there is light alone: here is intrigue, there is liberty; here is disease, there is health; here is life which has an end, there is life which has no end; here is sin, there is righteousness, and sin is banished; here is envy, there nothing of the kind exists.
Give me these things one says;
Nay! Wait in order that your fellow-servants also may be saved; wait I say. He who establishes us and has given us the earnest — what kind of earnest? The Holy Spirit, the supply of the Spirit. Let me speak concerning the Spirit. He gave the signet ring to the Apostles, saying
take this and give it to all. Is the ring then portioned out, and yet not divided? It is so. Let me teach you the meaning of the supply of the Spirit: Peter received, and Paul also received the Holy Spirit. He went about the world, he released sinners from their sins, he restored the lame, he clothed the naked, he raised the dead, he cleansed the lepers, he bridled the devil, he strangled the demons, he held converse with God, he planted a Church, levelled temples to the earth, overturned altars, destroyed vice, established virtue, made angels of men.
14. All these things we were. But
the earnest filled the whole world. And when I say the whole I mean all which the sun shines upon, sea, islands, mountains, valleys, and hills. Paul went hither and there, like some winged creature, with one mouth only contending against the enemy, he the tentmaker, who handled the workman's knife and sewed skins together: and yet this his craft was no hindrance to his virtue, but the tentmaker was stronger than demons, the uneloquent man was wiser than the wise. Whence was this? He received the earnest, he bore the signet ring and carried it about. All men saw that the King had espoused our nature: the demon saw it and retreated, he saw the earnest, and trembled and withdrew: he saw but the Apostle's garments Acts 19:11 and fled. O the power of the Holy Spirit. He bestowed authority not on the soul, nor on the body, but even on raiment; nor on raiment only but even on a shadow. Peter went about and his shadow put diseases to flight, Acts 5:15 and expelled demons, and raised the dead to life. Paul went about the world, cutting away the thorns of ungodliness, sowing broadcast the seeds of godliness, like an excellent ploughman handling the ploughshare of doctrine. And to whom did he go? To Thracians, to Scythians, to Indians, to Maurians, to Sardinians, to Goths, to wild savages, and he changed them all. By what means? By means of
the earnest. How was he sufficient for these things? By the grace of the Spirit. Unskilled, ill-clothed, ill-shod he was upheld by Him
who also has given the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore he says
and who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:16 But our sufficiency is of God, who has made us sufficient as ministers of the new Testament, not of the letter but of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Behold what the Spirit has wrought: He found the earth filled with demons and He has made it heaven. For meditate not on present things but review the past in your thought. Formerly there was lamentation, there were altars everywhere, everywhere the smoke and fumes of sacrifice, everywhere unclean rites and mysteries, and sacrifices, everywhere demons holding their orgies, everywhere a citadel of the devil, everywhere fornication decked with wreaths of honour; and Paul stood alone. How did he escape being overwhelmed, or torn in pieces? How could he open his mouth? He entered the Thebaid, and made captives of men, He entered the royal palace, and made a disciple of the king. He entered the hall of judgment, and the judge says to him
almost you persuade me to become a Christian, and the judge became a disciple. He entered the prison, and took the jailor captive. He visited an island of barbarians, and made a viper the instrument of his teaching. He visited the Romans, and attracted the senate to his doctrine. He visited rivers, and desert places in all parts of the world. There is no land or sea which has not shared in the benefits of his labours; for God has given human nature the earnest of His signet, and when He gives it He says: some things I give you now, and others I promise. Therefore the prophet says concerning her
The queen stood upon your right hand in a vesture woven with gold. He does not mean a real vesture, but virtue. Therefore the Scripture elsewhere says
How did you get in here without a wedding garment? so that here he does not mean a garment, but fornication, and foul and unclean living. As then foul raiment signifies sin, so does golden raiment signify virtue. But this raiment belonged to the king. He Himself bestowed the raiment upon her: for she was naked, naked and disfigured.
The queen stood on your right hand in a vesture woven with gold. He is speaking not of raiment but of virtue. Observe: the expression itself has great nobility of meaning. He does not say
in a vesture of gold but
in a vesture woven with gold. Listen intelligently. A vesture of gold is one which is gold throughout: but a vesture woven with gold is one which is partly of gold, partly of silk. Why then did he say that the bride wore not a vesture of gold, but one woven with gold? Attend carefully. He means the constitution of the Church in its varied manifestations. For since we do not all belong to one condition of life, but one is a virgin, another a widow, a third lives a life of devotion — so the robe of the Church signifies the constitution of the Church.
15. Inasmuch then as our Master knew that if He carved out only one road for us, many must shrink from it, He carved out various roads. You can not enter the kingdom it may be by the way of virginity. Enter it then by the way of single marriage. Can you not enter it by one marriage? Perchance you may by means of a second marriage. You can not enter by the way of continence: enter then by the way of almsgiving: or you can not enter by the way of almsgiving? Then try the way of fasting. If you can not use this way, take that — or if not that, then take this. Therefore the prophet spoke not of a garment of gold, but of one woven with gold. It is of silk, or purple, or gold. You can not be a golden part? Then be a silken one. I accept you, if only you are clothed in my raiment. Therefore also Paul says
If any man builds upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones. 1 Corinthians 3:12 You can not be the precious stone? Then be the gold. You can not be the gold? Then be the silver, if only you are resting upon the foundation. And again elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 15:41 You can not be a sun? Then be a moon. You can not be a moon? Then be a star. You can not be a large star? Be content to be a little one if only you are in the Heaven. You can not be a virgin? Then live continently in the married state, only abiding in the Church. You can not be without possessions? Then give alms, only abiding in the Church, only wearing the proper raiment, only submitting to the queen. The raiment is woven with gold, it is manifold in texture. I do not bar the way against you: for the abundance of virtues has rendered the dispensation of the king easy in operation.
Clothed in a vesture woven with gold, manifold in texture. Her vesture is manifold: unfold, if you please, the deep meaning of the expression here used, and fix your eyes upon this garment woven with gold. For here indeed some live celibate, others live in an honourable estate of matrimony being not much inferior to them: some have married once, others are widows in the flower of their age. For what purpose is a paradise? And wherefore its variety? Having various flowers, and trees, and many pearls. There are many stars, but only one sun: there are many ways of living, but only one paradise; there are many temples, but only one mother of them all. There is the body, the eye, the finger, but all these make up but one man. There is the same distinction between the small, the great, and the less. The virgin has need of the married woman; for the virgin also is the product of marriage, that marriage may not be despised by her. The virgin is the root of marriage: thus all things have been linked together, the small with the great, and the great with the small.
The queen stood on your right hand clothed in a vesture wrought with gold, manifold in texture. Then follows
Hearken! O daughter. The conductor of the bride says that you are about to go forth from your home to the home of the bridegroom who in his essential nature far surpasses you. I am the conductor of the bride.
Hearken O daughter. Did she immediately become the wife? Yea: for here there is nothing corporeal. For He espoused her as a wife, He loves her as a daughter, He provides for her as a handmaid, He guards her as a virgin, He fences her round like a garden, and cherishes her like a member: as a head He provides for her, as a root he causes her to grow, as a shepherd He feeds her, as a bridegroom He weds her, as a propitiation He pardons her, as a sheep He is sacrificed, as a bridegroom He preserves her in beauty, as a husband He provides for her support. Many are the meanings in order that we may enjoy a part if it be but a small part of the divine economy of grace.
Hearken O daughter and behold, and look upon things which are bridal and yet spiritual. Hearken O daughter. She was at first a daughter of demons, a daughter of the earth, unworthy of the earth and now she has become a daughter of the king. And this He wished who loved her. For he who loves does not investigate character: love does not regard uncomeliness: on this account indeed is it called love because it oftentimes has affection for an uncomely person. Thus also did Christ. He saw one who was uncomely (for comely I could not call her) and He loved her, and He makes her young, not having spot or wrinkle. Oh what a bridegroom! adorning with grace the ungracefulness of his bride! Hearken O daughter! Hearken and behold! Two things He says
Behold, two which depend on yourself, one on your eyes, the other on your hearing. Now since her dowry depended on hearing (and although some of you have been acute enough to perceive this already, let them tarry for those who are feebler: I commend those who have anticipated the truth, and make allowances for those who only follow in their track) since the dowry then depended on hearing — (and what is meant by hearing? faith: for
faith comes by hearing faith as opposed to fruition, and actual experience) I said before that He divided the dowry into two, and gave some portion to the bride for an earnest, while He promised others in the future. What did He give her? He gave her forgiveness of sins, remission of punishment, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, the body of the Lord, the divine, spiritual Table, the resurrection of the dead. For all these things the Apostles had. Therefore He gave some parts and promised others. Of some there was experience and fruition, others depended upon hope and faith. Now listen. What did He bestow? Baptism and the Sacrifice. Of these there is experience. What did He promise? Resurrection, immortality of the body, union with angels, a place in the joyful company of archangels, and as a citizen in His kingdom, immaculate life, the good things
16. Understand what is said, lest you lose it: I am labouring to enable you to perceive it. The dowry of the bride then was divided into two portions consisting of things present and things to come; things seen and things heard, things given and things taken on trust, things experienced, and things to be enjoyed hereafter; things belonging to present life, and things to come after the resurrection. The former things you see, the latter you hear. Observe then what He says to her that you may not suppose that she received the former things only, though they be great and ineffable, and surpassing all understanding.
Hearken O daughter and behold; hear the latter things and behold the former that you may not say
am I again to depend on hope, again on faith, again on the future? See now: I give some things, and I promise others: the latter indeed depend on hope, but do thou receive the others as pledges, as an earnest, as a proof of the remainder. I promise you a kingdom: and let present things be the ground of your trust, your trust in me. Do you promise me a kingdom? Yea. I have given you the greater part, even the Lord of the kingdom, for
he who spared not his own son, but gave him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32 Do you give me the resurrection of the body? Yea; I have given you the greater part. What is the nature of it? Release from sins. How is that the greater part? Because sin brought forth death. I have destroyed the parent, and shall I not destroy the offspring? I have dried up the root, and shall I not destroy the produce.
Hearken O daughter and behold. What am I to behold? Dead men raised to life, lepers cleansed, the sea restrained, the paralytic braced up into vigour, paradise opened, loaves poured forth in abundance, sins remitted, the lame man leaping, the robber made a citizen of paradise, the publican turned into an evangelist, the harlot become more modest than the maid. Hear and behold. Hear of the former things and behold these. Accept from present things a proof of the others; concerning those I have given you pledges, things which are better than they are.
What is the meaning of this your saying? These things are mine.
Hearken O daughter and behold. These things are my dower to you. And what does the bride contribute? Let us see. What I pray you do you bring that you may not be portionless? What can I, she answers, bring to you from heathen altars, and the steam of sacrifices and from devils? What have I to contribute? What? Do you say? Your will and your faith.
Hearken O daughter and behold. And what will you have me do?
Forget your own people. What kind of people? The devils, the idols, the sacrificial smoke, and steam, and blood.
Forget your own people, and your father's house. Leave your father and come after me. I left my Father, and came to you, and will you not leave your father? But when the word leave is used in reference to the Son do not understand by it an actual leaving. What He means is
I condescended, I accommodated myself to you, I assumed human flesh. This is the duty of the bridegroom, and of the bride, that you should abandon your parents, and that we should be wedded to one another.
Hearken O daughter and behold, and forget your own people, and your father's house. And what do you give me if I do forget them?
and the king shall desire your beauty. You have the Lord for your lover. If you have Him for your lover, you have also the things which are his. I trust ye may be able to understand what is said: for the thought is a subtle one, and I wish to stop the mouth of the Jews.
Now exert your minds I pray: for whether one hears, or forbears to hear I shall dig and till the soil.
Hearken O daughter, and behold, forget also your own people, and your father's house, and the king shall desire your beauty. By beauty in this passage the Jew understands sensible beauty; not spiritual but corporeal.
17. Attend, and let us learn what corporeal, and what spiritual beauty are. There is soul and body: they are two substances: there is a beauty of body, and there is a beauty of soul. What is beauty of body? An extended eyebrow, a merry glance, a blushing cheek, ruddy lips, a straight neck, long wavy hair, tapering fingers, upright stature, a fair blooming complexion. Does this bodily beauty come from nature, or from choice? Confessedly it comes from nature. Attend that you may learn the conception of philosophers. This beauty whether of the countenance, of the eye, of the hair, of the brow, does it come from nature, or from choice? It is obvious that it comes from nature. For the ungraceful woman, even if she cultivate beauty in countless ways, cannot become graceful in body: for natural conditions are fixed, and confined by limits which they cannot pass over. Therefore the beautiful woman is always beautiful, even if she has no taste for beauty: and the ungraceful cannot make herself graceful, nor the graceful ungraceful. Wherefore? Because these things come from nature. Well! You have seen corporeal beauty. Now let us turn inwards to the soul: let the handmaid approach the mistress! let us turn I say to the soul. Look upon that beauty, or rather listen to it: for you can not see it since it is invisible — Listen to that beauty. What then is beauty of soul? Temperance, mildness, almsgiving, love, brotherly kindness, tender affection, obedience to God, the fulfilment of the law, righteousness, contrition of heart. These things are the beauty of the soul. These things then are not the results of nature, but of moral disposition. And he who does not possess these things is able to receive them, and he who has them, if he becomes careless, loses them. For as in the case of the body I was saying that she who is ungraceful cannot become graceful; so in the case of the soul I say the contrary that the graceless soul can become full of grace. For what was more graceless than the soul of Paul when he was a blasphemer and insulter: what more full of grace when he said
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 What was more graceless than the soul of the robber? What more full of grace when he heard the words
Verily I say unto you today shall you be with me in paradise? Luke 23:43 What was more graceless than the publican when he practised extortion? But what more full of grace when he declared his resolution. Luke 19:8 Do you see that you can not alter grace of body, for it is the result not of moral disposition, but of nature. But grace of soul is supplied out of our own moral choice. You have now received the definition. Of what kind are they? That the beauty of the soul proceeds from obedience to God. For if the graceless soul obeys God it puts off its ungracefulness, and becomes full of grace.
Saul! Saul! it was said,
why do you persecute me? and he replied
and who are You Lord?
I am Jesus. Acts 9:4-5 And he obeyed, and his obedience made the graceless soul full of grace. Again, He says to the publican
come follow me Matthew 9:9 and the publican rose up and became an apostle: and the graceless soul became full of grace. Whence? By obedience. Again He says to the fishermen
Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men: Matthew 4:19 and by their obedience their minds became full of grace. Let us see then what kind of beauty He is speaking of here.
Hearken O daughter and behold, and forget your own people and your father's house, and the king shall desire your beauty. What kind of beauty will he desire? The spiritual kind. How so? Because she is to
forget He says
hearken and forget. These are acts of moral choice.
Hearken! he said: an ungraceful one hears and her ungracefulness being that of the body is not removed. To the sinful woman He has said
Hearken, and if she will obey she sees what manner of beauty is bestowed upon her. Since then the ungracefulness of the bride was not physical, but moral (for she did not obey God but transgressed) therefore he leads her to another remedy. You became ungraceful then, not by nature, but by moral choice: and you became full of grace by obedience.
Hearken O daughter and behold and forget your own people, and your father's house, and the king shall desire your beauty. Then that you may learn that he does not mean anything visible to sense, when you hear the word beauty, think not of eye, or nose, or mouth, or neck, but of piety, faith, love, things which are within —
for all the glory of the king's daughter is from within. Now for all these things let us offer thanks to God, the giver, for to Him alone belongs glory, honour, might, for ever and ever. Amen.
Source. Translated by W.R.W. Stephens. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 9. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1915.htm>.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.