The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church/XVI

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The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church by Ælfric, translated by Benjamin Thorpe
The First Sunday after Easter

DOMINICA PRIMA POST PASCA.

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.

 Cum esset sero die illo una sabbatorum: et reliqua.  Cum esset sero die illo una sabbatorum: et reliqua.
"Æfter ðæs Hælendes ǽriste wæron his discipuli belocene on anum huse for ðæs Iudeiscan folces ógan:" et reliqua. "After the resurrection of Jesus his disciples were shut in a house for dread of the Jews," etc.
Nu cwyð se godspellere Iohannes, þæt se Hælend worhte fela oðre tacna on gesihðe his leorning-cnihta, þe næron gesette on Cristes béc. Þas wundra sind awritene to ði þæt ge sceolon gelyfan þæt se Hælend is Godes Sunu, and ge sceolon habban þæt ece líf þurh ðone geleafan. Now says the evangelist John, that Jesus wrought many other miracles in the sight of his disciples, which have not been recorded in the book of Christ. These miracles are written to the end that ye may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that ye may have eternal life through that belief.
Nu trahtnað se papa Gregorius ðis godspel, and cwyð, þæt gehwá wundrað hu se Hælend become in to his apostolum, and wæron ðeah-hwæðere ða dura belocene. Nu cwyð eft se halga Gregorius, þæt Cristes lichama com inn, beclysedum durum, seðe wearð acenned of ðam mædene Marian beclysedum innoðe. Hwilc wundor is þæt se Hælend mid ecum lichaman come inn, belocenum durum, seðe mid deadlicum lichaman wearð acenned of beclysedum innoðe þæs mædenes? Now the pope Gregory, expounding this gospel, says, that everyone wonders how Jesus came in to his apostles, and yet the doors were shut. But again St. Gregory says, that Christ's body came in, the doors being closed, which was born of the Virgin Mary, of a closed womb. What wonder is it, that Jesus with an everlasting body came in, the doors being closed, who with a mortal body was born of the closed womb of the virgin?
We rædað on ðære bec ðe is geháten Actus Apostolorum, þæt þa heafod-men Iudeisces folces gebrohton Cristes apostolas on cwearterne: þa on niht com him to Godes engel, and lædde hí út of ðam cwearterne, and stód on merigen þæt cweartern fæste belocen. God mæig dón ealle ðing: nu sceole we wundrian his mihte, and eac gelyfan. Þone lichaman he æteowde to grapigenne, þone ðe he inn-brohte beclysedum durum. His lichama wæs grapigendlic, and ðeah-hwæðere unbrosnigendlic; he æteowde hine grapigendlicne and unbrosnigendlicne, forðan ðe his lichama wæs þæs ylcan gecyndes ðe he ǽr wæs, ac wæs hwæðere þeah oðres wuldres. We read in the book which is called The Acts of the Apostles, that the chief men of the Jewish people brought Christ's apostles into prison: then by night God's angel came to them, and led them out of the prison, and on the morrow the prison stood fast shut up. God can do all things: therefore we should wonder at his might, and also believe. He showed the body to be touched which he had brought in, the doors being closed. His body was tangible, and, nevertheless, incorruptible; he showed himself tangible and incorruptible, for his body was of the same nature that it before was, but was yet of another glory.
Se Hælend cwæð to him, "Beo sibb betwux eow." For sibbe com Crist to mannum, and sibbe he bead and tæhte, and nis nan ðing him gecweme þe bið butan sibbe gedón. "Swa swa min Fæder sende me swa sende ic eow. Se Fæder lufað þone Sunu, ac ðeah-hwæðere he sende hine to ðrowunge for manna alysednysse." Crist lufode eac his apostolas, and ðeah-hwæðere ne sette he hí to cynegum, ne to ealdormannum, ne to woruldlicere blisse; ac tosende hí geond ealne middangeard, to bodigenne fulluht and ðone geleafan ðe he sylf tæhte. Þa bododon hí swa lange oð þæt þa ðweoran hí ofslogon, and hí ferdon sigefæste to heora Drihtne. Jesus said to them, "Peace be among you." For peace Christ came to men, and peace he enjoined and taught, and nothing is to him acceptable which is done without peace. "As my Father sent me so I send you. The Father loveth the Son, but yet he sendeth him to suffering for the redemption of men." Christ also loved his apostles, and yet he established them not as kings, nor as governors, nor in worldly bliss; but he sent them over all the earth, to preach baptism and the faith which he himself had taught. They preached until the wicked slew them, and they went triumphant to their Lord.
Crist bleow on ða apostolas, and cwæð, "Onfoð Haligne Gast." Tuwa com se Halga Gast ofer ða apostolas; nu ǽne, and eft oðre siðe æfter Cristes upstige. Crist ableow þone Halgan Gast ofer ða apostolas, ða-gyt wunigende on eorðan, for ðære getacnunge, þæt ælc cristen mann sceal lufian his nextan swa swa hine sylfne. Eft siððan he to heofenum astáh, he sende þone ylcan Gast on fyres híwe ofer ða apostolas, to ði þæt we sceolon lufian God ofer ealle oðre ðing. An is se Halga Gast, þeah ðe he tuwa become ofer ða apostolas. Swa is eac án lufu, and twá bebodu, þæt we sceolon lufian God and men. Ac we sceolon geleornian on mannum hu we magon becuman to Godes lufe, swa swa Iohannes se apostol cwæð, "Se ðe ne lufað his broðor, þone ðe hé gesihð, hu mæg he lufian God, þone ðe he ne gesihð lichamlice?" Ær ðam fyrste wæs se Halga Gast wunigende on ðam apostolum, ac hí næron to ðan swiðe onbryrde, þæt hí mihton swa bealdlice Godes geleafan bodian, swa swa hí siððan mihton, þurh gife ðæs Halgan Gastes. Hí sæton beclysede, for ógan Iudeisces folces, on anum huse; ac syððan hí wæron gefyllede mid þam Halgum Gaste, hí wurdon swa gehyrte, and swa cene, þæt hí bodedon freolice Godes naman reðum cynegum and wælreowum. Christ blew on the apostles, and said, "Receive the Holy Ghost." Twice came the Holy Ghost over the apostles; once now, and again another time at Christ's ascension. Christ blew the Holy Ghost over the apostles, while yet continuing on earth, for a token that every christian man should love his neighbour as himself. Again, after he had ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Ghost in semblance of fire over the apostles, to the end that we should love God above all other things. The Holy Ghost is one, though he came twice over the apostles. So there is also one love, and two commandments, that we should love God and men. But we should learn in men how we may come to the love of God, as John the apostle said, "He who loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not bodily?" Before that time the Holy Ghost was dwelling in the apostles, but they were not stimulated to that degree, that they could boldly preach God's faith, as they could afterwards, through the grace of the Holy Ghost. They sat, for fear of the Jewish people, shut in a house; but after they were filled with the Holy Ghost, they were so encouraged, and so bold, that they freely proclaimed the name of God to fierce and bloodthirsty kings.
Crist cwæð to ðam apostolum, "Þæra manna synna þe ge forgyfað, þæra beoð forgifene; and ðam ðe ge ofteoð þa forgifenysse, ðam bið oftogen." Þisne anweald forgeaf Crist þam apostolum and eallum bisceopum, gif hí hit on riht healdað. Ac gif se bisceop deð be his agenum willan, and wile bíndan þone únscyldigan, and þone scyldigan alysan, þonne forlyst hé ða mihte ðe him God forgeaf. Þam mannum he sceal dón synna forgifenysse, þe hé gesihð þæt beoð onbryrde ðurh Godes gife, and þam he sceal aheardian þe náne behreowsunge nabbað heora misdæda. Crist arærde of deaðe þone stincendan Lazarum, and þaþa hé cucu wæs, þa cwæð hé to his leorning-cnihtum, "Tolysað his bendas, þæt hé gán mæge." Þa alysdon hí þæs ge-edcucedan mannes bendas, þe Crist arærde to life. Forði sceolon ða láreowas ða unbindan fram heora synnum þa ðe Crist gelíffæst þurh onbryrdnysse. Ælc synful man þe his synna bediglað, he lið dead on byrgene; ac gif he his synna geandett þurh onbryrdnysse, þonne gæð he of þære byrgene, swa swa Lazarus dyde, þaða Crist hine arisan het: þonne sceal se lareow hine unbindan fram ðam ecum wíte, swa swa ða apostoli lichamlice Lazarum alysdon. Ac se læweda mann sceal him ondrædan þæs bisceopes cwyde, þeah hé unscyldig sy; þylæs ðe he ðurh modignysse scyldig weorðe. Christ said to the apostles, "Those men's sins which ye forgive, they shall be forgiven; and those from whom ye withdraw forgiveness, from them it shall be withdrawn." This power Christ gave to the apostles and to all bishops, if they righteously hold it. But if the bishop act by his own will, and will bind the innocent, and loose the guilty, then loses he the power which God gave him. To those men he shall grant forgiveness of sins, whom he sees that they are stimulated by God's grace, and to those he shall be obdurate who have no repentance of their misdeeds. Christ raised from death the stinking Lazarus, and when he was quickened, he said to his disciples, "Loose his bands, that he may go." They loosed the bands of the requickened man, whom Christ had raised to life. Therefore should our teachers unbind from their sins those whom Christ quickens by stimulation. Every sinful man who conceals his sins, lies dead in the sepulchre; but if he confess his sins through stimulation, then he goes from the sepulchre, as Lazarus did, when Christ bade him arise: then shall the teacher unbind him from the eternal punishment, as the apostles bodily unbound Lazarus. But the layman shall stand in awe of the bishop's word, though he be guiltless; lest he become guilty through pride.
Ne getimode þam apostole Thome unforsceawodlice, þæt he ungeleafful wæs Cristes æristes, ac hit getimode þurh Godes forsceawunge; forðan ðurh his grapunge we sind geleaffulle. Mare ús fremode his tweonung þonne ðæra oðra apostola geleaffulnys; forðan ðaða hé wæs gebroht to geleafan mid ðære grapunge, þa wearð seo twynung þurh þæt ús ætbroden. Eaðe mihte Crist arisan of deaðe butan dolhswaðum, ac to ði he heold þa dolhswaðu, þæt he wolde mid þam þa twynigendan getrymman. He cwæð to Thoman, "Þu gelyfst, forðan ðe ðu me gesawe." He geseah ðone lichaman and þa dolhswaðu, and he gelyfde þæt he wæs God, seðe arærde þone lichaman of deaðe. Swiðe blissiað þas wórd ús þe her æfterfiliað, "Gesælige beoð þa þe me ne gesawon, and þeah on me gelyfað." Mid ðam cwyde sind þa ealle getacnode þe Crist on lichaman ne gesawon, and ðeah-hwæðere hine healdað on heora mode þurh geleafan. Se gelyfð soðlice on God, seðe mid weorcum begæð þæt þæt hé gelyfð. Se ðe andet þæt hé God cunne, and yfele weorc begæð, þonne wiðsæcð he God mid þam weorcum. Se geleafa þe bið butan godum weorcum, se is dead. Þis sind ðæra apostola word, undernimað hí mid carfullum mode. It happened to the apostle Thomas not unprovidentially, that he was unbelieving of Christ's resurrection, but it happened by the providence of God; for through his touching we are believing. Of greater benefit to us was his doubt than the faith of the other apostles; for when he was brought to belief by that touching, doubt was thereby taken from us. Easily might Christ have arisen from death without scars, but he held the scars, because he would thereby confirm the doubtful. He said to Thomas, "Thou believest, because thou hast seen me." He saw the body and the scars, and he believed that he was God, who had raised the body from death. Greatly gladden us the words which here follow, "Blessed are they who have not seen me, and yet believe in me." By that saying are betokened all those who have not seen Christ in the body, and, nevertheless, hold him in their mind through faith. For he believes in God, who by works practises that which he believes. He who acknowledges that he knows God, and performs evil works, denies God by those works. Faith without good works is dead. These are the words of the apostles, receive them with careful mind.
We sprecað embe ærist. Nu sind sume men þe habbað twynunge be æriste, and ðonne hi geseoð deadra manna bán, þonne cweðað hí, Hu magon ðas bán beon ge-edcucode? Swilce hí wíslice sprecon! Ac we cweðað þær-togeanes, þæt God is Ælmihtig, and mæg eal þæt he wile. He geworhte heofonas and eorðan and ealle gesceafta butan antimbre. Nu is geðuht þæt him sy sumera ðinga eaðelicor to arærenne ðone deadan of ðam duste, þonne him wære to wyrcenne ealle gesceafta of nahte: ac soðlice him sind ealle ðing gelice eaðe, and nán ðing earfoðe. He worhte Adam of láme. Nu ne mage we asmeagan hú hé of ðam láme flæsc worhte, and blod bán and fell, fex and næglas. Men geseoð oft þæt of anum lytlum cyrnele cymð micel treow, ac we ne magon geseon on þam cyrnele naðor ne wyrtruman, ne rinde, ne bógas, ne leaf: ac se God þe forðtihð of ðam cyrnele treow, and wæstmas, and leaf, se ylca mæg of duste arǽran flæsc and bán, sina and fex, swa swa he cwæð on his godspelle, "Ne sceal eow beon forloren an hǽr of eowrum heafde." We will speak concerning the resurrection. Now there are some men who have doubt of the resurrection, and when they see the bones of dead men, they say, How can these bones be again quickened? as if they speak wisely! But we say against them, that God is Almighty, and can do all that he will. He wrought heaven and earth and all creatures without matter. Now it seems that it is somewhat easier to him to raise the dead from the dust, than it was to him to make all creatures from naught: but truly to him are all things alike easy, and nothing difficult. He wrought Adam of loam. Now we cannot investigate how of that loam he made flesh and blood, bones and skin, hair and nails. Men often see that of one little kernel comes a great tree, but in the kernel we can see neither root, nor rind, nor boughs, nor leaves: but the same God who draws forth from the kernel tree, and fruits, and leaves, may from dust raise flesh and bones, sinews and hair, as he said in his gospel, "There shall not be lost to you one hair of your head."
Se apostol Paulus cwæð, þæt we sceolon arisan of deaðe on ðære ylde þe Crist wæs þaða he ðrowade, þæt is embe þreo and ðritig geara. Þeah cild forðfare, oððe forwerod man, þeah-hwæðere hí cumað to þære ylde ðe we ær cwædon; hæfð þeah gehwá his agenne wæstm, þe he on þissum life hæfde, oððe habban sceolde, gif he his gebide. Gif hwá alefed wære, oððe limleas on þissum life, he bið þonne swa hit awriten is, þæt "Ealle ða þe to Godes rice gebyrigað, nabbað naðor ne womm ne awyrdnysse on heora lichaman." Hwæt sceole we smeagan embe ða oðre þe gewítað to ðam ecum forwyrde, hwæðer hí alefede beon oððe limlease, þonne hí beoð on ecere susle wunigende? The apostle Paul said, that we should arise from death at the age that Christ was when he suffered, that is about three and thirty years. Though a child depart, or a worn-out man, they will, nevertheless, come to the age we before said; yet will everyone have his own growth, which he had in this life, or should have had, if he had awaited it. If any one be maimed, or limbless in this life, he will be as it is written, that "All those who belong to God's kingdom, shall have neither blemish nor hurt on their bodies." What shall we suppose concerning those others who depart to everlasting perdition, whether they are maimed or limbless, when they are dwelling in eternal torment?
Hit bið þonne swa swa Crist cwæð, þæt "Nan wer ne wifað, ne wif ne ceorlað, ne team ne bið getymed, ne hí deaðes ne abyrigað siððan, ac beoð englum gelice, þonne hí mid englum wuniað." Ne him ne lyst nanre galnysse, ne hí næfre siððan synna ne gewyrceað. Ne bið þær sorh, ne sár, ne nan gedreccednys, ac bið fulfremed sib and singal bliss, and beoð cuðe ge ða þe ær cuðe wæron ge ða þe uncuðe wæron, wunigende on broðorlicre lufe mid Gode á on ecnysse. Amen. It will then be as Christ said, that "No man taketh to wife, nor woman to husband, nor family is begotten, nor taste they of death, but will be like unto the angels, when they dwell with angels." No libidinousness will give them pleasure, nor will they ever perpetrate sins. No sorrow nor pain will be there, nor no affliction, but there will be perfect peace and continual bliss, and there will be known both those who were known before and those who were unknown, dwelling in brotherly love with God ever to eternity. Amen.