The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church/III

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VII. KL. JAN.

DECEMBER XXVI.

PASSIO BEATI STEPHANI, PROTOMARTYRIS.

THE PASSION OF THE BLESSED STEPHEN, PROTOMARTYR.

We rædað on ðære béc þe is geháten Actus Apostolorum, þǽt ða apostolas gehádodon seofon diaconas on ðære gelaðunge þe of Iudeiscum folce to Cristes geleafan beah, æfter his ðrowunge, and ǽriste of deaðe, and upstige to heofenum. Þæra diacona wæs se forma Stephanus, þe we on ðisum dæge wurðiað. He wæs swiðe geleafful, and mid þam Halgum Gaste afylled. Þa oðre six wæron gecigede ðisum namum: Stephanus wæs se fyrmesta, oðer Philippus, þridda Procorus, feorða Nicanor, fifta Timotheus, sixta Parmenen, seofoða Nicolaus. Ðas seofon hí gecuron and gesetton on ðæra apostola gesihðe, and hi ða mid gebedum and bletsungum to diaconum gehadode wurdon. Weox ða dæghwonlice Godes bodung, and wæs gemenigfylld þæt getel cristenra manna þearle on Hierusalem. Þa wearð se eadiga Stephanus mid Godes gife, and mid micelre strencðe afylled, and worhte forebeacena and micele tácna on ðam folce. Ða astodon sume ða ungeleaffullan Iudei, and woldon mid heora gedwylde þæs eadigan martyres láre oferswiðan; ac hi ne mihton his wisdome wiðstandan, ne ðam Halgum Gaste, ðe ðurh hine spræc. Þa setton hí lease gewitan, ðe hine forlugon, and cwædon, þæt hé tállice word spræce be Moyse and be Gode. Þæt folc wearð ða micclum astyred, and þa heafod-menn, and þa Iudeiscan boceras, and gelæhton Stephanum, and tugon to heora geþeahte; and ða leasan gewitan him on besædon, "Ne geswicð ðes man to sprecenne tallice word ongean þas halgan stowe and Godes ǽ. We gehyrdon hine secgan þæt Crist towyrpð þas stowe, and towent ða gesetnysse ðe ús Moyses tæhte." Þa beheoldon ða hine ðe on þam geðeahte sæton, and gesawon his nebwlite swylce sumes engles ansyne. Ða cwæð se ealdor-biscop to ðam eadigan cyðere, "Is hit swa hí secgað?" Ða wolde se halga wer Stephanus heora ungeleaffullan heortan gerihtlæcan mid heora forðfædera gebysnunge}} and gemynde, and to soðfæstnysse wege mid ealre lufe gebigan. Begann ða him to reccenne be ðam heahfædere Abrahame, hu se heofenlica God hine geceas him to geþoftan, and him behet, þæt ealle ðeoda on his ofspringe gebletsode wurdon, for his gehyrsumnesse. Swa eac ðæra oðra heahfædera gemynd, mid langsumere race, ætforan him geniwode; and hu Moyses, ðurh Godes mihte, heora foregengan ofer ða Readan Sæ wundorlice gelædde, and hú hí siððan feowertig geara on westene wæron, mid heofenlicum bigleofan dæghwonlice gereordode; and hu God hí lædde to ðam Iudeiscan earde, and ða hæðenan ðeoda ætforan heora gesihðum eallunga adwæscte; and be Dauides mærðe, þæs mæran cyninges, and Salomones wuldre, ðe Gode þæt mære tempel arærde. Cwæð þa æt nextan, "Ge wiðstandað þam Halgum Gaste mid stiðum swuran, and ungeleaffulre heortan; ge sind meldan and manslagan, and ge ðone rihtwisan Crist niðfullice acwealdon; ge underfengon ǽ on engla gesetnysse, and ge hit ne heoldon." Hwæt ða Iudeiscan þa wurdon þearle on heora heortan astyrode, and biton heora teð him togeanes. Se halga Stephanus wearð þa afylled mid þam Halgum Gaste, and beheold wið heofonas weard, and geseah Godes wuldor, and þone Hælend standende æt his Fæder swiðran; and he cwæð, "Efne ic geseo heofenas opene, and mannes Sunu standende æt Godes swiðran." Iudei ða, mid micelre stemne hrymende, heoldon heora earan, and anmodlice him to scuton, and hi hine gelæhton, and of ðære byrig gelæddon to stænenne. Þa leas-gewitan ða lédon heora hacelan ætforan fotum sumes geonges cnihtes, se wæs geciged Saulus. Ongunnon ða oftorfian mid heardum stanum ðone eadigan Stephanum; and hé clypode, and cwæð, "Drihten Hǽlend, onfóh minne gast." And gebigde his cneowu, mid micelre stemne clypigende, "Min Drihten, ne sete ðu ðas dæda him to synne." And hé mid þam worde ða gewát to ðan Ælmihtigum Hælende, þe he on heofenan healicne standende geseah. We read in the book which is called The Acts of the Apostles, that the apostles ordained seven deacons in the congregation which, from among the Jewish people, had turned to Christ's faith, after his passion, and resurrection from death, and ascension to heaven. Of these deacons the first was Stephen, to whom we do honour on this day. He was of great faith, and filled with the Holy Ghost. The six others were called by these names; Stephen was the first, the second Philip, the third Prochorus, the fourth Nicanor, the fifth Timothy, the sixth Parmenas, the seventh Nicolas. They chose these seven, and set them in the presence of the apostles, and they then, with prayers and blessings, were ordained deacons. The preaching of God waxed then daily, and the number of christian men was greatly multiplied in Jerusalem. Then was the blessed Stephen filled with God's grace, and with great strength, and he wrought miracles and great signs among the people. Then arose some of the unbelieving Jews, and would with their error quell the blessed martyr's doctrine; but they could not withstand his wisdom, nor the Holy Ghost, who spake through him. Then they set false witnesses, who belied him, and said that he spake blasphemous words of Moses and of God. The people were then greatly excited, and the elders, and the Jewish scribes, and they seized Stephen, and drew him to their council, and the false witnesses said of him, "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and God's law. We heard him say that Christ shall destroy this place, and change the usages which Moses hath taught us." Then looked on him they who sate in the council, and saw his countenance like the face of an angel. Then said the chief priest to the blessed martyr, "Is it as they say?" Then would the holy man Stephen rectify their unbelieving hearts with the example and remembrance of their forefathers, and, with all love, incline them to the way of truth. He began then to relate to them concerning the patriarch Abraham, how the God of heaven chose him for associate, and promised him, that all nations should be blessed in his offspring, for his obedience. In like manner, in a long narrative, he renewed before them the memory of the other patriarchs; and how Moses, through God's might, wonderfully led their forefathers over the Red Sea, and how they afterwards were forty days in the waste, daily fed with heavenly food; and how God led them to the Jewish country, and wholly destroyed before their sight all the heathen nations; and of David the great king's greatness, and of Solomon's glory, who the great temple raised to God. At last he said, "Ye withstand the Holy Ghost with stiff neck and unbelieving heart; ye are betrayers and murderers, and the righteous Christ ye enviously slew; ye have received a law by the disposition of angels, and ye have held it not." Then were the Jews greatly disturbed in their heart, and gnashed their teeth against him. But the holy Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost, and looked towards heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right of his Father; and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." Then the Jews, crying with a loud voice, held their ears, and with one accord rushed on him, and seized him, and led him out of the city to be stoned. The false witnesses then laid their coats before the feet of a young man who was called Saul. They then begun to stone with hard stones the blessed Stephen; and he cried, and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he bowed his knees, crying with a loud voice, "My Lord, place not thou these deeds to them as sin." And he then with that word departed to the Almighty Saviour, whom he had seen standing high in heaven.
Se wisa Augustinus spræc ymbe ðas rædinge, and smeade hwí se halga cyðere Stephanus cwæde þæt he gesawe mannes bearn standan æt Godes swyðran, and nolde cweðan Godes bearn; þonne ðe is geþuht wurðlicor be Criste to cweðenne Godes Bearn ðonne mannes Bearn. Ac hit gedafenode þæt se Hælend swa geswutelod wære on heofenum, and swa gebodod on middangearde. Eall ðæra Iudeiscra teona aras þurh þæt, hwí Drihten Crist, seðe æfter flæsce soðlice is mannes Sunu, eac swilce wære gecweden Godes Sunu? forði gemunde swiðe gedafenlice þæt godcunde gewrit, mannes Sunu standan æt Godes swiðran to gescyndenne þæra Iudeiscra úngeleaffulnysse. Crist wæs æteowed his eadigan cyðere Stephane on heofenum, seðe fram ungeleaffullum on middangearde acweald wæs, and seo heofenlice soðfæstnyss be ðam cydde gecyðnysse, þone seo eorðlice arleasnyss huxlice tælde. Hwá mæg beon rihtlice gecíged mannes Bearn, buton Criste anum, þonne ælc man is twegra manna bearn, buton him anum? Se eadiga Stephanus geseah Crist standan, forðan þe he wæs his gefylsta on ðam gastlicum gefeohte his martyrdomes. Witodlice we andettað on urum credan, þæt Drihten sitt æt his Fæder swiðran. Setl gedafenað déman, and steall fylstendum oððe feohtendum. Nu andet ure geleafa Cristes setl, forðan ðe hé is se soða déma lybbendra and deadra: and se eadiga cyðere Stephanus híne geseah standende, forðan ðe he wæs his gefylsta, swa swa we ǽr sædon. Ealra gecorenra halgena deað is deorwurðe on Godes gesihðe; ac ðeah-hwæðere is geþuht, gif ænig todál beon mæg betwux martyrum, þæt se is healicost seðe ðone martyrdom æfter Gode astealde. Witodlice Stephanus wæs to diacone gehádod æt ðæra apostola handum; ac hé hí forestóp on heofenan rice mid sigefæstum deaðe; and swa se ðe wæs neoðor on endebyrdnysse, wearð fyrmest on ðrowunge; and se ðe wæs leorning-cniht on háde, ongann wesan láreow on martyrdome. Ðone deað soðlice þe se Hælend gemedemode for mannum þrowian, ðone ageaf Stephanus fyrmest manna þam Hælende. He is gecweden protomartyr, þæt is se forma cyðere, forðan ðe hé æfter Cristes ðrowunge ærest martyrdóm geðrowode. Stephanus is Grecisc nama, þæt is on Leden, Coronatus, þæt we cweðað on Englisc, Gewuldorbeagod; forðan ðe hé hæfð þone ecan wuldorbeah, swa swa his nama him forewítegode. Þa leasan gewitan, ðe hine forsædon, híne ongunnon ærest to torfienne; forðan þe Moyses ǽ tæhte, þæt swa hwá swa oðerne to deaðe forsǽde, sceolde wurpan ðone forman stán to ðam ðe hé ær mid his tungan acwealde. Ða reðan Iudei wedende þone halgan stǽndon: and hé clypode, and cwæð, "Drihten, ne sete ðu ðas dǽda him to synne." The wise Augustine spake touching this text, and inquired, why the holy martyr Stephen said that he saw the Son of man standing at God's right hand, and would not say the Son of God; when it seemed worthier of Christ to be called the Son of God than the Son of man? But it was fitting that Jesus should be so manifested in heaven, and so announced on earth. All the malice of the Jews arose in this, Why the Lord Christ, who, after the flesh, is truly the Son of man, should also be called the Son of God; for the holy writ hath very properly mentioned the Son of man standing at the right hand of God, to shame the disbelief of the Jews. Christ was manifested in heaven to his blessed martyr Stephen, who was slain by the unbelievers on earth; and the heavenly truth gave testimony of him, whom earthly wickedness had shamefully calumniated. Who can rightly be called the Son of man, save Christ only, when every man besides him is the son of two persons? The blessed Stephen saw Christ standing, because he was his support in the spiritual fight of his martyrdom. Verily we confess in our creed that the Lord sits at the right hand of his Father. A seat is befitting to a judge, and standing to one helping or fighting. Now our creed acknowledges Christ's seat, because he is the true Judge of the living and the dead: and the blessed martyr Stephen saw him standing, because he was his helper, as we before said. The death of all the chosen saints is precious in the sight of God; yet it seems, if any difference may be between martyrs, that he is the most exalted who suffered martyrdom next to God. Now Stephen was ordained deacon at the hands of the apostles; but he preceded them in the kingdom of heaven by a triumphant death; and so he who was lower in order was first in suffering; and he who was a disciple in condition was the earliest to be a doctor in martyrdom. That death verily which Jesus vouchsafed to suffer for men, Stephen gave first of men to Jesus. He is called protomartyr, that is the first witness, because he first after Christ's passion suffered martyrdom. Stephen is a Greek name, which is in Latin, Coronatus, and which we express in English by, Glory-crowned, because he has the eternal crown of glory, as his name foretold to him. The lying witnesses, who had falsely accused him, begun first to stone him; because the law of Moses taught, that whosoever accused another to death should throw the first stone against him whom he had before slain with his tongue. The cruel Jews raging stoned the holy one, and he cried and said, "Lord, place thou not these deeds to them as sin."
Understandað nu, mine gebroðra, þa micclan lufe þæs eadigan weres. On deaðe hé wæs gesett, and ðeah he bæd mid soðre lufe for his cwelleras; and betwux ðæra stana hryre, ðaða gehwá mihte his leofostan frynd forgytan, ða betæhte hé his fynd Gode, þus cweðende, "Drihten, ne sete þu ðas dæda him to synne." Swiðor he besorgade þa heora synna þonne his agene wunda; swiðor heora arleasnysse þonne his sylfes deað; and rihtlice swiðor, forðan ðe heora arleasnysse fyligde se eca deað, and þæt ece líf fyligde his deaðe. Saulus heold ðæra leasra gewitena reaf, and heora mod to þære stæninge geornlice tihte. Stephanus soðlice gebigedum cneowum Drihten bæd þæt hé Saulum alysde. Wearð ða Stephanes bén fram Gode gehyred, and Saulus wearð alysed. Se árfæsta wæs gehyred, and se arleasa wearð gerihtwisod. Understand now, my brethren, the great love of this blessed man. He was placed in death, and yet he prayed with true love for his slayers; and amid the falling of the stones, when any one might forget his dearest friends, he commended his foes to God, thus saying, "Lord, place thou not these deeds to them as sin." He was more afflicted on account of their sins than of his own wounds, more for their wickedness than his own death; and rightly more, seeing that eternal death followed their wickedness, and eternal life followed his death. Saul held the garments of the false witnesses, and zealously instigated their minds to the stoning. But Stephen with bended knees besought the Lord that he would redeem Saul. Stephen's prayer was heard, and Saul was redeemed. The pious one was heard, and the impious justified.
On ðyssere dæde is geswutelod hu micclum fremige þære soðan lufe gebed. Witodlice næfde Godes gelaðung Paulum to lareowe, gif se halga martyr Stephanus swa ne bæde. Efne nú Paulus blissað mid Stephane on heofenan rice; mid Stephane hé bricð Cristes beorhtnysse, and mid him hé rixað. Þider ðe Stephanus forestóp, mid Saules stanum oftorfod, ðider folgode Paulus gefultumod þurh Stephanes gebedu. Þær nis Paulus gescynd þurh Stephanes slege, ac Stephanus gladað on Paules gefærrædene; forðan þe seo soðe lufu on heora ægðrum blissað. Seo soðe lufu oferwann ðæra Iudeiscra reðnysse on Stephane, and seo ylce lufu oferwreah synna micelnysse on Paule, and heo on heora ægðrum samod geearnode heofenan rice. Eornostlice seo soðe lufu is wylspring and ordfruma ealra godnyssa and æðele trumnys, and se weg þe lǽt to heofonum. Se ðe færð on soðre lufe ne mæg hé dwelian, ne forhtian: heo gewissað, and gescylt, and gelæt. Þurh þa soðan lufe wæs þes halga martyr swa gebyld þæt he bealdlice ðæra Iudeiscra ungeleaffulnysse ðreade, and he órsorh betwux ðam greatum hagolstanum þurhwunode; and he for ðam stænendum welwillende gebæd, and þær to-eacan ða heofenlican healle cucu and gewuldorbeagod inn-ferde. By this deed is shown how greatly avails the prayer of true love. Verily the church of God would not have had Paul as a teacher, if the holy martyr Stephen had not thus prayed. Behold, Paul now rejoices with Stephen in the kingdom of heaven; with Stephen he enjoys the brightness of Christ, and with him he rules. Whither Stephen preceded, stoned with the stones of Saul, thither Paul followed, aided by the prayers of Stephen. Paul is not there defiled through Stephen's murder, but Stephen rejoices in the fellowship of Paul, because true love rejoices in them both. True love overcame the cruelty of the Jews to Stephen, and the same love covered over the greatness of his sins in Paul, and it in both of them together earned the kingdom of heaven. Verily true love is the fountain and origin of all goodness, and noble fortitude, and the way that leads to heaven. He who journeys in true love cannot err nor fear: it directs, and shields, and leads. Through true love was the holy martyr rendered so courageous that he boldly reproved the disbelief of the Jews, and he continued tranquil amid the great stones, and benevolently prayed for the stoners, and, in addition thereto, entered the heavenly hall living, and crowned with glory.
Mine gebroðra, uton geefenlæcan be sumum dæle swa miccles lareowes geleafan, and swa mæres cyðeres lufe. Uton lufian ure gebroðra on Godes gelaðunge mid swilcum mode swa swa ðes cyðere þa lufode his fynd. Beoð gemyndige hwæt seo sylfe Soðfæstnys on ðam halgan godspelle behét, and hwilc wedd us gesealde. Se Hælend cwæð, "Gif ge forgyfað þam mannum þe wið eow agyltað, þonne forgyfð eow eower Fæder eowere synna: gif ge ðonne nellað forgyfan, nele eac eower Fæder eow forgifan eowere gyltas." Ge gehyrað nu, mine gebroðra, þæt hit stent þurh Godes gyfe on urum agenum dihte hu ús bið æt Gode gedémed. He cwæð, "Gif ge forgyfað, eow bið forgyfen." Ne bepæce nán man hine sylfne: witodlice gif hwa furðon ænne man hatað on ðisum middangearde, swa hwæt swa he to góde gedéð, eal he hit forlyst; forðan ðe se apostol Paulus ne bið geligenod, þe cwæð, "Þeah ðe ic aspende ealle mine æhta on ðearfena bigleofan, and ðeah ðe ic minne agenne lichaman to cwale gesylle, swa ðæt ic forbyrne on martyrdome; gif ic næbbe ða soðan lufe, ne fremað hit me nan ðing." Be ðan ylcan cwæð se godspellere Iohannes, "Seðe his broðor ne lufað, he wunað on deaðe." Eft hé cwæð, "Ælc ðæra þe his broðor hatað is manslaga." Ealle we sind gebroðra þe on God gelyfað, and we ealle cweðað, "Pater noster qui es in celis," þæt is, "Ure Fæder þe eart on heofonum." Ne gedyrstlæce nan man be mægðhade, butan soðre lufe. Ne truwige nan man be ælmesdædum oððe on gebedum, butan ðære foresædan lufe; forðan ðe swa lange swa hé hylt ðone sweartan nið on his heortan, ne mæg he mid nanum ðinge þone mildheortan God gegladian. Ac gif he wille þæt him God milde sý, þonne hlyste hé gódes rædes, na of minum muðe, ac of Cristes sylfes: he cwæð, "Gif ðu offrast ðine lác to Godes weofode, and þu þær gemyndig bist þæt ðin broðor hæfð sum ðing ongean ðe, forlæt ðærrihte ða lác ætforan ðam weofode, and gang ærest to þinum breðer, and þe to him gesibsuma; and ðonne ðu eft cymst to ðam weofode, geoffra ðonne ðine lác." Gif ðu ðonne þinum cristenum breðer deredest, þonne hæfð he sum ðing ongean ðe, and þu scealt be Godes tæcunge hine gegladian, ær ðu ðine lác geoffrige. Gif ðonne se cristena mann, þe ðin broðor is, ðe ahwar geyfelode, þæt ðu scealt miltsigende forgifan. Ure gastlican lác sind ure gebedu, and lofsang, and husel-halgung, and gehwilce oðre lác ðe we Gode offriað, þa we sceolon mid gesibsumere heortan and broðerlicere lufe Gode betæcan. Nu cwyð sum man ongean ðas rædinge, Ne mæg ic minne feond lufian, ðone ðe ic dæghwonlice wælhreowne togeanes me geseo. Eala ðu mann, þu sceawast hwæt ðin broðor þe dyde, and þu ne sceawast hwæt ðu Gode gedydest. Þonne ðu micele swærran synna wið God gefremodest, hwí nelt ðu forgyfan ða lytlan gyltas anum menn, þæt se Ælmihtiga God þe ða micclan synna forgyfe? Nu cwyst ðu eft, Micel gedeorf bið me þæt ic minne feond lufige, and for ðone gebidde þe me hearmes cepð. Ne wiðcweðe we þæt hit micel gedeorf ne sy; ac gif hit is hefigtyme on ðyssere worulde, hit becymð to micelre mede on ðære toweardan. Witodlice þurh ðines feondes lufe þu bist Godes freond; and na þæt an þæt ðu his freond sy, ac eac swilce þu bist Godes bearn, þurh ða rædene þæt þu þinne feond lufige; swa swa Crist sylf cwæð, "Lufiað eowere fynd, doð þam tela þe eow hatiað, þæt ge beon eoweres Fæder cild, seðe on heofenum is." Menigfealde earfoðnyssa and hospas wolde gehwá eaðelice forberan wið þan þæt he moste sumum rican men to bearne geteald beon, and his yrfenuma to gewitendlicum æhtum: forberað nu geðyldelice for ðam ecan wurðmynte, þæt ge Godes bearn getealde beon, and his yrfenuman on heofenlicum spedum, þæt þæt se oðer forðyldigan wolde for ateorigendlicere edwiste. My brethren, let us in some degree imitate so great a teacher's faith, and so great a martyr's love. Let us love our brothers in God's church with such affection as that with which this martyr loved his foes. Be mindful what Truth itself has promised in the holy gospel, and what pledge it has given us. Jesus said, "If ye forgive those men who sin against you, then will your heavenly Father forgive you your sins: but if ye will not forgive, your Father will not forgive you your sins." Ye hear now, my brethren, that it stands, through God's grace, at our own option how we shall be judged before God. He said, "If ye forgive, ye shall be forgiven." Let no man deceive himself: verily if any one hate a man in this world, whatever good he may have done, he loses it all; for the apostle Paul speaks not falsely, who says, "Though I spend all my wealth in food for the poor, and though I give my own body to be slain, so that I burn in martyrdom, if I have not true love, it profiteth me nothing." Concerning the same the evangelist John said, "He who loveth not his brother continueth in death." Again he said, "Every one who hateth his brother is a murderer." We are all brothers who believe in God, and we all say, "Pater noster qui es in cœlis," that is, "Our Father who art in heaven." Let no man presume on kinship without true love. Let no man trust in alms-deeds, or in prayers, without the aforesaid love; for so long as he holds black malice in his heart, he cannot in any way delight the merciful God. But if he desire that God be merciful to him, let him listen to good counsel, not from my mouth, but from that of Christ himself: he said, "If thou offerest thy gift at God's altar, and thou there rememberest that thy brother hath something against thee, leave forthwith the gift before the altar, and go first to thy brother, and reconcile thee to him, and when thou comest again to the altar, offer then thy gift." But if thou hast injured thy christian brother, then hath he something against thee, and thou shalt, according to God's teaching, gladden him, ere thou offerest thy gift. But if the christian man, who is thy brother, hath in aught done thee evil, that thou shalt mercifully forgive. Our spiritual gifts are our prayers, and hymn, and housel-hallowing, and every other gift that we offer to God, which we should give to God with peaceful heart and brotherly love. Now will some man say against this text, I cannot love my foe, whom I see daily bloodthirsty against me. O thou man, thou seest what thy brother hath done to thee, but thou seest not what thou hast done to God. When thou much heavier sins hast perpetrated against God, why wilt thou not forgive one man little offences, that the Almighty God may forgive thee great sins? Now again thou wilt say, It is a great hardship for me to love my foe, and to pray for him who meditates harm against me. We will not gainsay that it is a great hardship; but if it is difficult in this world, it turns to a great reward in the one to come. Verily by love of thy foe thou art the friend of God, and not only art thou his friend, but thou art also a child of God, by the condition that thou love thy foe; as Christ himself hath said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, that ye be your Father's children, who is in heaven." Many hardships and contumelies any one would easily endure that he might be accounted the child of some powerful man, and his heir to transitory possessions: bear now patiently, for the everlasting honour of being accounted children of God, and his heirs in heavenly riches, that which the other would undergo for a frail matter.
We secgað eow Godes riht; healdað gif ge willon. Gif we hit forsuwiað, ne bið us geborgen. Cristes lufu us neadað þæt we simle þa gódan tihton, þæt hí on gódnysse þurhwunion; and ða yfelan we mynegiað, þæt hí fram heora yfelnessum hrædlice gecyrron. Ne beo se rihtwisa gymeleas on his anginne, ne se yfela ortruwige ðurh his unrihtwisnysse. Ondræde se goda þæt hé fealle; hogige se yfela þæt hé astande. Se ðe yfel sy geefenlæce hé Paules gecyrrednysse; se ðe gód sy þurhwunige hé on gódnysse mid Stephane; forðan ðe ne bið nán anginn herigendlic butan godre geendunge. Ælc lof bið on ende gesungen. We tell you God's law; hold it if ye will. If we kept it in silence, we should not be secure. Love of Christ compels us ever to stimulate the good, that they continue in goodness; and we admonish the wicked that they may quickly turn from their wickedness. Let not the righteous be heedless at his beginning, nor the wicked despair through his unrighteousness. Let the good man dread lest he fall; the wicked take care that he stand. Let him who is wicked imitate the conversion of Paul; let him who is good persist in goodness with Stephen; for no beginning is praiseworthy without a good ending. All praise will be sung at the end.
Mine gebroðra, gyrstan-dæg gemedemode ure Drihten hine sylfne, þæt hé ðysne middangeard þurh soðe menniscnysse geneosode: nu to-dǽg se æðela cempa Stephanus, fram lichamlicere wununge gewitende, sigefæst to heofenum ferde. Crist niðer-astáh, mid flæsce bewæfed; Stephanus up-astáh, þurh his blod gewuldorbeagod. Gyrstan-dæg sungon englas "Gode wuldor on heannyssum;" nu to-dæg hí underfengon Stephanum blissigende on heora geferrædene, mid þam hé wuldrað and blissað á on ecnysse. Amen. My brethren, yesterday our Lord vouchsafed to visit this world in true human nature: now to-day the noble champion Stephen, quitting his bodily dwelling, went triumphant to heaven. Christ descended clothed with flesh; Stephen ascended, through his blood with glory crowned. Yesterday angels sung, "Glory to God in the highest;" now to-day they received Stephen rejoicing in their fellowship, with whom he glorieth and rejoiceth to all eternity. Amen.