Saturday, December 24, 2016

The following piece by Chrysostom, one of our early church fathers, writing about covetousness, would hardly be heard in our "Mr. Rogers" pulpits today. Forgive my sarcasm. But I'm sure after you read it you will agree. He is comparing the demoniac who lived among the tombs in Mark 5,  with man unrestrained.

  "If we take off all the chains that bind and hold back man, such as the fears of the judges, the threatening of the laws, the condemnation of the multitude, the loss of reputation even the love of family, then see if he is not far fierce than the demoniac that lived among the tombs. Then we shall see clearly his manifest madness. Let us describe him; he shall have darting fire from his eyes, black, having from either shoulder serpents hanging down instead of hands; and let him also have a mouth, with sharp swords set in it instead of teeth, and for a tongue a gushing fountain of poison and some baneful drug; and a belly more consuming than any furnace, devouring all that is cast unto it, and a sort of winged feet more vehement than any flame; and let his face be made up of a dog and of a wolf; and let him utter nothing human, but something discordant, and unpleasing, and terrible; and let him have also in his hands a firebrand. Perhaps what we have said seems to you to be terrible, but we have not even yet fashioned him worthily; for together with these things we must add others besides. I mean, that he is also to slay them that meet with him, to devour them, to fasten upon their flesh. 
 Yet the covetous man is much more fierce even than this, assailing all like hell, swallowing all up, going about as a common enemy to the race of men. Why, he would have no one exist if he may possess all things. And he stops not even at this, but when in his longing he shall have destroyed all men, he longs also to mar the substance of the earth, and to see it all become gold; nay, not the earth only, but hills also, and woods, and fountains, and in a word all things that appear.
  And to convince you that not even yet have we set forth his madness, let there be no man to accuse and frighten him, but take away the terror of the laws, and just imagine thou wilt see him snatching up a sword, laying violent hands on all, and sparing none; neither friend nor kinsman, nor brother, nor even his very parent. Nay rather, no need even to ask, because in truth all men know that they who are under the power of this disease are wearied even of their father’s old age; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem them grievous and unwelcome: many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have maimed their nature, not only by slaying their children after birth, but by not allowing them even to be born at all."

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