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HOMILY 27 "And Noe lmilt an altar to the Lord, made a choice of all the clean cattle and all the clean birds, and offered sacrifices on the altar. "I ID YOU NOTICE [239] YESTERDAY the loving Lord's goodness, how he brought the good man out of the ark, freeing him from life there and releasing him from that strange and distressing prison, and bestowed on him the reward for his endurance in the words, "'Increase and multiply.'''2 Today let us learn about Noe's gratitude and his thankful soul, through which once more he invited further and greater favor towards him from God. You see, this is what God is like: whenever he sees gratitude in response to initial gifts, [240] he bestows in abundance further gifts from himself. Accordingly let us in our turn be eager to offer thanks to the Lord to the best of our ability for the good things already bestowed on us by him so that we may be accorded greater ones, and let us never forget the blessings coming to us from God, but rather let us always ponder these in our mind so that we may be constantly stirred by the memory of them and give thanks, even if their number is so great that our thinking could never measure up to the challenge of numbering his kindnesses to us. (2) After all, how could anyone imagine what has already come our way, the promises, the events of each day-the fact that he brought us from non-being to being, that he has blessed us with body and soul, that he has created us rational, that he has given us this fresh air to breathe, that he has formed all creatures for humankind, that he for his part intended from the beginning that human beings should enjoy 1. Gen 8.20. 2. Gen 8.17. 162 HOMILY 27 163 life in the garden, have a life free from pain, be relieved of any distress, and while happening to be in bodily condition to enjoy a status not inferior to the angels and those incorporeal powers but even be proof against bodily needs? Then, when he fell victim to the devil's deceit applied by means of the serpent, he did not then abandon the sinner nor cease blessing the transgressor; instead, even through the punishments he inflicted on him, as I said yesterday also, he showed the extraordinary degree of his characteristic loving kindness and laid up for him many samples of his kindness of other sorts and beyond counting. Later, as time passed and the human race multiplied and strayed into wickedness, he saw them incurring wounds that could not be cured, and so he destroyed the doers of evil like some noxious leaven, sparing this good man for the mission of being a root and beginning for the human race. (3) Notice once again how much generosity he displayed in his regard. From this good man and his sons he made plans for the whole human race to grow into such a vast multitude; he gradually selected the good men-I mean the patriarchsand appointed them instructors of the rest of the human race, being able as they were by their own virtue to lead everyone onwards and having the power like doctors to cure the afflicted. He led them on, at one time into Palestine, at another into Egypt, both exercising the endurance of his servants and at the same time revealing more conspicuously his own power; in this manner he continued constantly caring for human beings' salvation by raising up prophets and causing signs and wonders to be performed through them. Then (to make my point brief ), just as we would never be able to number the waves of the sea, even if we made the effort countless times, so could we neither compass the range of God's benefits which he has given evidence of in regard to our racefinally , however, when he saw the human race despite so much care still needing his great love beyond all telling, and that no great effect had come from the patriarchs, the prophets , those remarkable wonders, the punishments and reminders frequently applied, and those successive captivities, then 164 ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM as though pitying our race, he sent his only-begotten son from his fatherly bosom, so to say, and caused him to take the form of a slave,3 be born of a virgin, live...


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