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prevailed, at length, in a synod held at the Oak,1 and composed of men unfriendly to him, to displace from office this mortally hated archbishop and his associates. The charges which they brought against him consisted, in part, of matters entirely alien from his character and wholly fictitious, and, in part, of wilful perversions and exaggerations; or were accusations which, in the judgment of every impartial person, could not but redound more to his honor than to his discredit. But however deficient these charges were in truth and force, this was compensated by the influence and malice of his opponents. His life, even, was in danger; for his enemies had laid against him complaints of high treason, accusing him of having in a sermon called the empress Eudoxia a Jezebel; and perhaps he did, on some occasion, thus express himself. Neither the empress, however, nor his other powerful adversaries, among whom several women of blemished reputation, yet considerable for their rank and wealth, played a chief part, could prevail on the weak Arcadius to condemn him. To take a man's life whom so many bishops and the whole Christian community regarded with the highest love and reverence, seemed to the emperor too dangerous a step. He could not get Chrysostom into his power; for the people, three days successively, guarded the bishop's palace, and requested, as did Chrysostom himself, that the matter might be examined before an impartial and a larger synod. But when Chrysostom saw that the people's opposition to the authority of the State was likely to occasion bloodshed, he privately withdrew from the protection of his friends and surrendered himself to his enemies. He was conveyed away to the coast of Bithynia; but after a few days was recalled. This sudden recall resulted from the joint influence of the continued threatening excitement of the people, of a violent earthquake which had filled the superstitious Eudoxia with remorse of conscience, and of the representations of some of Chrysostom's friends in the imperial court. He was received with signal demonstrations of respect and amid the unbounded joy of the people.2
1 Chrysostom's opponents deemed it unsafe to arraign him in Constantinople itself. The members of the synod repaired, therefore, to Chalcedon in the vicinity, and thence to a suburb of Chalcedon, named the Oak, and held their session in a church at that place.-TR.
2 "The Bosphorus," says Gibbon, " was covered with innumerable vessels; the shores of Europe and Asia were profusely illuminated; and the acclamations of a victorious people accompanied, from the port to the cathedral, the triumph of the archbishop."-TR.
Incidents in his Life.
But the quiet between him and the empress continued only two months. He had again censured her in his usual harsh manner, and found fault with the extravagant veneration which the people paid to her statue; and he is said to have commenced the sermon on the festival of the martyrdom of John the Baptist with an allusion to the empress and to his own proper name John, in these words: "Herodias rages anew; anew she is excited; anew she dances; anew she seeks to receive in a platter the head of John." From that time, the empress swore an unappeasable hostility to this unsparing orator. In connection with other enemies of Chrysostom, she succeeded, at a synod, in having him deposed a second time, and in procuring a decree for his banishment. But neither on this occasion could his enemies effect his removal from the city, till he delivered himself up in order to terminate the shocking and bloody acts of violence to which his adherents were exposed.
It was only for a few years, however, that he thus escaped the hands of hired assassins, from whom even in his own palace he had been in danger of his life. For his enemies, indignant at his finding friends even in his banishment at Cucusus, at his still exerting his influence in many parts of the East and even of the West, and at his adherents' continued attachment to him, procured an additional decree from Arcadius, by virtue of which he was to be removed to Pityus, a town on the eastern desert coast of the Euxine and near the extreme limits of the empire. The
1 Paniel here refers to the authority of Socrates. The sentence which he quotes from Socrates (Hist. Eccl. VI. 16.) contains the historical error respecting Herodias' dancing.
2 "The three years," says Gibbon, "which he spent at Cucusus and the neighboring town of Arabissus, were the last and most glorious of his life. His character was consecrated by absence and persecution; the faults of his administration were no longer remembered, but every tongue repeated the praises of his genius and virtue; and the respectful attention of the Christian world was fixed on a desert spot amid the mountains of Taurus. From that solitude the archbishop, whose active mind was invigorated by misfortunes, maintained a strict and frequent correspondence with the most distant provinces; exhorted the separate congregation of his faithful adherents to persevere in their allegiance; urged the destruction of the temples of Phoenicia, and the extirpation of heresy in the isle of Cyprus; extended his pastoral care to the missions of Persia and Scythia; negotiated, by his ambassadors, with the Roman pontiff and the emperor Honorius; and boldly appealed from a partial synod, to the supreme tribunal of a free and general council. The mind of the illustrious exile was still independent; but his captive body was exposed to the revenge of the oppressors, who continued to abuse the name and authority of Arcadius."-TR.
inhuman treatment he suffered during this journey, was too much for a constitution already enfeebled by the abuses he had so long endured. The noble sufferer did not reach the place of his banishment. Death overtook him on the way, in Comana, a city of Pontus. He expired, September 14th, in the year 407, with his favorite expression on his lips, "God be praised for everything."
His sixth successor in the bishopric of Constantinople had his remains removed to that city in the year 438, where they were received with marked reverence and with great pomp.
Such is a slight outline of the life and death of a preacher, of whom it may be justly said that all his prosperity and adversity, the honor to which he attained and the indignities which he suffered, his premature, and, in part, violent end, as well as his imperishable fame, sprung almost exclusively from his great eloquence and from the most praise-worthy, though not wholly unexceptionable, manner in which he employed it. Other celebrated preachers of antiquity, as Origen, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzum, also experienced the diversified lot of persecution and of respect, and have established the credit of their names even to our day. But in no one of thein was it pulpit oratory that caused both the pleasing and the painful events of life, so entirely as in Chrysostom. Their distinction resulted, in a great measure, from causes other than oratorical merit. But whatever distinction Chrysostom obtained by other services, his pulpit eloquence was the central point around which everything gathered that affected him for good or for evil, during his life and after his death.1
Chrysostom's Training for the Pulpit.
We pass now to the inquiry, How did Chrysostom become so distinguished an orator? In reply, it must first be said, that he was naturally endowed with most eminent oratorical talents. A strong, penetrating and comprehensive mind, a brilliant invention, an inexhaustible imagination, an abundant vein of wit, presence
It has always been the case that men of inferior abilities have, through want of extensive views, passed an unfavorable judgment on the spirit and sentiments of men of distinguished endowments, and have traced the calamities which have fallen to their lot, not to the envy and treachery of those with whom they had to act, but to their own failings. So it has been in respect to Chrysostom. The historian, Socrates, who is generally a discriminating man, accuses him, in quite an extravagant manner, of indiscretion in his judgment and conduct, of anger, of weakness towards his favorites, and of haughtiness. The most of these objections have always been made against eminent men.
Nature of his Training for the Pulpit.
of mind, fervor and depth of feeling, readiness and exactness of observation, a decidedly practical bent of disposition-in one word, all the highest and most essential requisites of a good orator, were by nature united in him. His character, also, though represented by his opponents as proud, repulsive, austere and cold, was nevertheless a noble one throughout; he was animated with zeal for the welfare of mankind, and was undaunted where the vindication of truth and right was concerned. Even the pride with which he kept aloof from every thing low, and avoided contact with the great mass of unworthy ecclesiastics and with a court passionately fond of flattery, was, notwithstanding the severe persecution which he thereby incurred, more becoming and dignified in him, as a clergyman and an orator, than the contrary would have been.
Besides his excellent natural talents, he enjoyed a most favorable education. From his childhood, his tender and pious mother, Anthusa, instilled into him the purest principles of piety and virtue, and inspired him with a most glowing zeal for the holy cause of the gospel. With the Scriptures he early became extremely familiar, and was led into a thorough understanding of them by his own inward experience and the invaluable instruction of the great Diodorus. To this man, who became noted for introducing and freely following grammatical and historical principles in the interpretation of the Bible, he owed that aversion to trivial allegorizing, as well as to other abuses of the simple meaning of the Bible, and that profound, impressive and practical use of the Scriptures, which so greatly distinguished him above all the other preachers of the ancient Greek church. His mind, naturally inclined to free and unconstrained action, was still more preserved from narrow and partial views, and was enriched with copious stores of knowledge, by his study of the ancients. Not less happy was he in being educated by Libanius, the most celebrated sophist of his time. His taste, and his principles of eloquence were formed according to the rhetorical views of this master, while the mental abilities of the scholar enabled him easily to detect and to avoid his teacher's sophistries.1
He also possessed that most necessary quality of an orator,
1 "From an intimate acquaintance," says Neander, " with the philosophy of ancient Greece, and from his remarkable powers of rhetoric, Libanius was easily enabled to excite the warm imagination of his youthful followers by a display of heathen mythology, and to prejudice them against Christianity by specious and impious sophisms."-TR.
knowledge of men. During his six years' residence with the monks, he acquired, by prayer and by the study of the Holy Scriptures and of himself, a deep insight into human nature, and thus laid the foundation of all true knowledge of men individually. When he afterwards took part in the care of one of the largest churches in the East, and became an actual observer of human conduct among the high and the low, he found it easy, as his sermons on the Statues show, to detect and bring to light the radical principles of moral evils. And though, after his removal to Constantinople, he gave so great offence in his preaching by a disregard of consequences, this did not arise from defective knowledge of the world and of men, but rather resulted from his ascetic strictness, from his burning zeal for the holy cause of religion, and, what can by no means be denied, a certain proud consciousness of his intellectual superiority and an elevated opinion of his official dignity. These two last qualities sometimes carried him beyond the limits of moderation and of allowable regard for others. And yet very many passages in his sermons show how well he understood the art of prudently regaining a favorable position, when the views he had presented were in danger of alienating
the hearts of his hearers.
Distinguishing Qualities of Chrysostom's Discourses.
In order to show his distinguishing qualities, we shall consider, first, the excellences, and then the faults, of his discourses. It will be requisite, also, to discriminate between the substance of his discourses and their composition.
In regard to their substance, their excellence appears in their mode of interpreting the Scriptures, in their manner of treating doctrinal and polemical subjects, and in the prominence they give to Christian morals.
The earlier pulpit-orators were deeply infected with the passion of interpreting the Bible allegorically. Even Chrysostom, who was familiar with Origen's writings, could not entirely avoid this prevailing tendency of the times, but indulged occasionally in allegorical and mystical explanations. He was, however, the first preacher, after Origen's time, who interpreted the Scripture in a natural manner, keeping true to its sense, and applying it carefully to practical purposes. Though his mode of explanation is, in many respects, defective, he yet holds fast the main design; namely, to interpret the Bible in an instructive manner, and to set