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64 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM We, on the contrary, place them not in our hands, but in our homes, when we ought to inscribe them on our hearts. Indeed, by purifying the present life in this way we shall attain to the blessings to come. Mayall of us obtain these by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him and with Him glory be to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, now and always, and forever and ever. Amen. Homily 54 (John 8.31-47) 'Jesus therefore said to the Jews who had come to believe in him, "If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." '1 In our affairs, beloved, we have great need of perseverance. And perseverance is the fruit, when [Christ's] teachings become deeply rooted in us. No assault of the wind will be strong enough to uproot the oak which has sent its roots deep down into the depths of the earth and has become firmly encompassed by them. Similarly, no one will be strong enough to overpower the soul that is nailed down by the fear of God, because to be nailed down is to be more securely fastened than to be rooted. In fact, the Prophet prayed for this, when he said: 'Nail my flesh with thy fear.'2 Do you, also, nail your flesh with it and fasten it as if pierced by a nail. For, just as those who do so are difficult to ensnare, so those who do the opposite are easily caught and readily vanquished. This is the affliction which the Jews suffered at that time. Though they had heard Christ and had come to believe in Him, they once more became incredulous. In the desire, therefore, to deepen their faith so that it might 1 John 8.31-33. 2 Ps. II 8.1 20. HOMILIES 65 not be merely superficial, He penetrated their souls with more forceful words. Now, though it is to be expected of those who believe that they be tolerant even of reproaches, these men immediately became indignant. How was this? First, He promised: 'If you abide in my word you shall be my disciples indeed, and the truth shall make you free,' He was as much as saying: 'I am going to wound your pride, but do not be disturbed.' Or, rather, by these very words He placed a check on their vain thoughts. Of what, then, would He set them free? Of their sins. But what did they reply in their conceit? 'We are the children of Abraham, and we have never yet been slaves to anyone.' Their thoughts at once turneci down to the earth, and this happened because they were clinging to the things of this world. The words, 'If you abide in my word,' were those of One who was revealing what was in their hearts and who knew that, on the one hand, they had believed, but, on the other, they did not persevere in faith. Moreover, He was making an important announcement to them, namely, that they would become His disciples. Inasmuch as some had recently defected from Him, He was indirectly referring to them when He said 'If you abide,' because they also had heard Him and come to believe and had gone away, since they did not persevere in their belie£.3 'For, many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about freely with him.'4 'You shall know the truth.' That is, 'You shall know Me, for I am the Truth. All the Jewish teachings were figures, but you will know the truth from Me, and it will free you from your sins.' Indeed, just as He had said to the others: 'You will die in your sins,' so also He said to these: 'It will make 3 That is. did not 'abide in His word: 4 John 6.67. 66 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM you free.' Actually, He did not say: 'I will rid you of slavery,' but He left it to them to conclude this. What, then, did they reply? 'We are the children of Abraham , and we have never yet been slaves to anyone.' Yet, if it were incumbent on them to wax indignant, they should have done so at the first part of what He said: 'You shall know the truth.' They should have said: 'What's that? Do...


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