Part 4
Chapter 5—Of Perseverance

Section 21—Joannes Chrysostomus. A.D. 390.

Chrysostom represents the church, and all the people of God, as invincible, and the graces of faith and hope as always abiding. “He calls the church,” says he,[1] “a mountain, to ton dogmaton akatagoniston, ‘being as to its doctrines inexpugnable;” for a thousand armies may encamp against mountains, bending their bows, wielding their shields, and using stratagems, but cannot hurt them, and when they have destroyed their own power go away; so likewise all they that war against the church, tauten men ouk eseisan, cannot move her.” Again,[2] “Neither the tyrant, nor the populace, nor battalias of devils, nor the devil himself, perige esthai auton ischusen, are able to prevail against them, the saints.” He not only observes,[3] that faith is a foundation, and the rest the building; but[4] calls it tes petras tes arragous, “the unbroken rock;” and adds, “neither rivers nor winds failing upon us can do us any hurt, for we stand unshaken upon the rock.” And elsewhere,[5] “Well does he say, in which we stand; for such is the grace of God, that ouk echei telos, ouk eide peras, it has no end, it knows no bounds.” And in another place he observes,[6] that the apostle “rightly calls faith a shield, for as that is cast about the whole body, being as a wall, so is faith, panta gar aute eikei, ‘for all things give way to it;' wherewith,” says he, “ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one; ouden gar dunatai touton ton thureon diakopsai, seeing nothing is able to cut this shield in pieces.” And elsewhere he asks,[7] “Are our good things in hopes? In hopes, but not human; these fail, and often make the man that hopes ashamed; or he dies, who is expected to do these things; or if he lives, he changes; ours are not such, alla bebaia kai akinetos e elpis, but our hope is firm and immovable.” There are two or three places in this writer referred to by Vossius,[8] against the saint's perseverance, which have not occurred to me; and the last of these references is to a homily, which, and many others with it, he owns is none of his, but a collection from him; and, as he observes,[9] is not to be depended upon as genuine; it being usual with such collectors to add things foreign to the doctrine of Chrysostom, and out of other authors.


[1] Comment. In Isaiah 2:2, tom. 1. p. 1030.

[2] In Romans 8, homii. 15, tom. 3. p. 13l.

[3] In Hebrews 6, homil. 8, p. 431.

[4] In 1 Timothy 6:20, homil.18, tom. 4, p. 326.

[5] In Romans 5:2, homil. 9, tom. 3, p. 66.

[6] In Ephesians 6 homil. 24, tom. 3, p. 888.

[7] In Romans 5:5, homil. 9, tom. 3. p. 67.

[8] Hist. Pelag. 1.6, thes. 12, p. 566, 567.

[9] Vide Rivet. Critic. Sacr. 1. 4, c. l, p. 355.