Occurring Scripture for the
Hour of Matins
A reading from the epistle of Saint James the Apostle
James the servant of God, and of our
Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad,
greeting. My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into
diverse temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith works
patience. And patience has a perfect work; that you may be perfect and
entire, failing in nothing. But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask
of God, Who gives to all men abundantly, and Who does not upbraid; and it
shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, without wavering.
For he that wavers is like a wave of
the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not
that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double
minded man is inconstant in all his ways. But let the brother of low
condition glory in his exaltation: And the rich, in his being low; because
as the flower of the grass shall he pass away. For the sun rose with a
burning heat, and parched the grass, and its bloom fell off, and the beauty
of its shape perished: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed is the man that endures
temptation; for when he has been proved, he shall receive a crown of life,
which God has promised to them that love Him. Let no man, when he is
tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils,
and He tempts no man. But every man is tempted by his own
concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence
has conceived, it brings forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begets
death. Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren.
From the exposition of Saint Cyprian, Bishop and
On the Good of Patience. Sermon 3, at the beginning.
In speaking of patience, beloved
brethren, and in preaching on its benefits and advantages, how can I better
begin than by pointing out the fact that now, just for you to listen to me,
I see that patience is necessary, as you could not even do this, namely,
listen and learn, without patience. For only then is the word of God and way
of salvation effectively learned, if one listens with patience to what is
being said. Dearly beloved brethren, there are diverse paths of heavenly
wisdom, wherein we are invited to walk, if we would reach, in the end, the
reward which God has prepared to crown hope and faith—but
I find no path more conducive to life, nor more sure toward glory than this, that
while we humbly strive, in all fear, and in all godliness, to obey the
commandments of the Lord, we should set our chief guard in an unceasing
watch over our patience. The philosophers also say that they take this path,
but their patience is as much a sham as their wisdom is a cheat, for who can
be wise or patient who knows nothing of God's wisdom or God's patience.
But as for us, dearly beloved brethren, we are
the real philosophers, whose wisdom lies not in words but in deeds, and is
manifested not in appearances but in the truth. We are they whose knowledge
the inward consciousness, not the idle boasting, of strength. We are not
speakers of high-sounding words, but we live our lives as servants and
worshipers of God, of His patience, as the teaching authority of the high
places speaks thereof, ye may attend upon the services of that spiritual
Rock. For it is this virtue in common with God to us: from there begins with
the patience, and the declaration of the head of the clarity of the body
takes up from there. Yea, God is Himself the Source, the Fountain, and the
Greatness of patience, and it behooves man to love what is beloved of God.
That good thing which he loves is commended unto him of God's Majesty. If
God be our Lord and Father, let us follow after the example of our Lord and
Father's patience, since it is the duty of servants to be obedient, and of
sons not to be said to be degenerate.
By our patience God draws us toward Himself,
and keeps us His Own. Patience soothes anger, bridles the tongue,
governs the mind, keeps peace, sets rules of self-control, breaks the onset of
lust, stills the swelling of temper, puts out the fire begotten of hatred,
makes the rich meek, and relieves the need of the poor. Patience guards in
virgins their blessed wholeness, in widows their careful purity. in such as
be married their single-hearted love one toward the other. Patience
teaches those who are successful to be lowly-minded, those who are unfortunate to be
brave, and all to be gentle when they are wronged and insulted. Patience makes a man
quick to forgive them that trespass against him, and if he have
trespassed against anyone, long and humbly to ask his pardon. Patience
fights temptations, bears persecution, and endures until the end in
suffering and in the uplifting of our testimony. Patience is the moat that guards the stout foundations of the castle of our
The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to
"But I told you not these things from
the beginning, because I was with you. And now I go to Him that sent Me, and
none of you ask Me: Where go Thou? But because I have spoken
these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the
truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I do not go, the Paraclete
will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He
has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment.
Of sin: because they believed not in Me. And of justice: because I go
to the Father; and you shall see Me no longer. And of judgment:
because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things
to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit
of truth, has come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of
himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the
things that are to come, he shall show you. He shall glorify me;
because he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you.
A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
LXXXXIV on John.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples what things they should suffer after that
He was gone away from them, and then He said: "These things I said not unto
you at the beginning, because I was with you ; but now I go My way to Him
That sent Me." Let us first see whether it had been that He had not told
them before this what they were to suffer in time coming. That He had done
so amply before the night of the last Supper, is testified by the three
first Evangelists, but it was when that Supper was ended that, according to
John, He said : "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because
I was with you."
Are we then to try and loose the knot of this
difficulty by asserting that, according to these three Evangelists, it was
on the eve of the Passion, albeit before the Supper, that He had said these
things unto them, and therefore not at the beginning, when He was with them,
but when He was about to leave them, and go His way to the Father And in
this way we might reconcile the truthfulness of what this Evangelist said
here "These things I said not unto you at the beginning" with the
truthfulness of the other three. But this explanation is rendered
impossible by the Gospel according to Matthew, who tells us how that the
Lord spoke to His Apostles concerning their sufferings to come, not only
when He was on the point of eating the Passover with them, but at the very
beginning, when the names of the twelve are first given, and they were sent
forth to do the work of God.
It would seem then that when He said:
"These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you,"
He meant by " these things," not the sufferings which they were to bear for
His sake, but His promise of the Comforter Who should come to them, and
testify while they suffered (Ibid xv: 26, 27). This Comforter then, or Advocate, (for the
Greek word " Parakletos " will bear either interpretation,) would be needful
to them when they saw Christ no more, and therefore it was that Christ spoke
not of Him " at the beginning " (of the Gospel Dispensation) while He
Himself " was with " His disciples, because His visible Presence was then
their sufficient Comfort.
Let us pray O God, of Whom it comes that the minds of
faithful people be all of one will, grant unto the same Thy people that they
may love the thing which Thou command, and desire that which Thou dost
promise, that so, amid the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our
hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found. Through
our Lord Jesus Christ.
A reading from the letter of Saint James the Apostle
Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from
the Father of lights, with Whom there is no change, nor shadow of
alteration. For of His own will He has begotten us by the word of truth,
that we might be some beginning of His creatures. You know, my dearest
brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to
anger. For the anger of man works not the justice of God.
Therefore casting away all
uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted
word, which is able to save your souls. But be you doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your selves. For if a man be a
hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding
his own countenance in a mirror. For he beheld himself, and went his way,
and presently forgot what manner of man he was.
But he that has looked into the perfect
law of liberty, and has continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer,
but a doer of the work; this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if
any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but
deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion clean and
undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and
widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this
A Reading from the letter of Saint James the Apostle
My brethren, do not mix the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of
glory with the respect of persons. For if there shall come into your assembly a
man having a golden ring, in fine apparel, and there shall come in also a
poor man in mean attire, And you have respect to him that is clothed with
the fine apparel, and shall say to him: Sit thou here well; but say to the
poor man: Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool: Do you not judge
within yourselves, and are become judges of unjust thoughts?
Hearken, my dearest brethren: has not
God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom
which God promised to them that love him? But you have dishonored the
poor man. Do the rich not oppress you by might? and do they not draw you before the judgment seats?
Do they not blaspheme the good
name that is invoked upon you? If then you fulfill the royal law,
according to the scriptures, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"; you
do well. But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, being
reproved by the law as transgressors.
And whosoever shall keep the
whole law, but offend in one point, becomes guilty of all. For He that
said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," said also, "Thou shalt not kill." Now if
thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor
of the law. So speak, and so do, as being to be judged by the law of
liberty. The merciless will be judged mercilessly; And
mercy exalts itself above judgment.
A reading from the letter of Saint James the
What shall it profit, my brethren, if a
man say he has faith, but has not works? Shall faith be able to save him?
And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to
them: "Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled"; yet give them not those things
that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if
it have not works, is dead in itself.
But some man will say: Thou hast
faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without works; and I will show
thee, by works, my faith. Thou believe that there is one God. Thou believe
well: the devils also believe and yet they tremble. But would thou like to
know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham
our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar?
that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made
And the scripture was fulfilled,
saying: "Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice"
(Genesis 15:16), and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that
by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the
harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and
sending them out another way (cf. Josue 6:17, 25)? For even as the body without the spirit is
dead; so also faith without works is dead.
A reading from the letter of Saint James
Be ye not many masters, my brethren, knowing that you
would receive the greater judgment. For in many things we all offend. If any man
offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle
to lead about the whole body. For if we put bits into the mouths of horses,
that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body.
Behold also ships, whereas they are
great, and are driven by strong winds, yet are they turned about with a
small helm, with whatever force of the steersman wills. Even so the
tongue is indeed a little member, and boasts great things. Behold how
small a fire kindles a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of
The tongue is placed among our
members, which defile the whole body, and inflame the circle of our
mortality, being set on fire by hell. For every nature of beasts, and
of birds, and of serpents, and of the rest, is tamed, and has been tamed, by
the nature of man: But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil,
full of deadly poison.9 By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we
curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed
blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
A reading from the letter of Saint James the Apostle
From whence are wars and contentions among you? Are they
not hence, from your concupiscence, which war in your members? You covet,
and have not: you kill, and envy, and can not obtain. You contend and war,
and you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not; because
you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscence. Adulterers,
know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God?
Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becomes an enemy of
Or do you think that the scripture says
in vain: To envy does the spirit covet which dwells in you? But He gives greater grace. Wherefore
He said: God resists the proud, and
gives grace to the humble. Be subject therefore to God, but resist the
devil, and he will fly from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to
you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double
minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into
mourning, and your joy into sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord,
and he will exalt you.
Detract not one another, my
brethren. He that detracts his brother, or he that judges his brother,
detracts the law, and judges the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art
not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, and one Judge,
that is able to destroy and to deliver. But who art thou that judge thy
neighbor? Behold, now you that say: "Today or tomorrow we will go into such
a city, and there we will spend a year, and will traffic, and make our
gain." Whereas you know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your
life? It is a vapor which appears for a little while, and afterwards
shall vanish away. For that you should say: "If the Lord will, and if we
shall live, we will do this or that."
A reading from the letter of Saint James
Go to now, rich men, weep and howl in your
miseries, which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted: and your
garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered: and the rust of
them shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh like
fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. Behold
the hire of the laborers, who have reaped down your fields, which by fraud
has been kept back by you, cries: and the cry of them hath entered into the
ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have feasted upon earth: and in
riotousness you have nourished your hearts, in the day of slaughter.6 You
have condemned and put to death the Just One, and He resisted you not.
Be patient therefore, brethren, until
the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious
fruit of the earth: patiently bearing till he receive the early and latter
rain. Be you therefore also patient, and strengthen your hearts: for the
coming of the Lord is at hand. Grudge not, brethren, one against another,
that you may not be judged. Behold the judge stands before the door.
Take, my brethren, for an example of suffering evil, of labor and patience,
the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we account them
blessed who have endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you
have read, in that story, how kind and merciful the Lord is in rewarding us.
But above all things, my brethren,
swear not, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath. But
let your speech be, yea, yea: no, no: that you fall not under judgment. Is
any of you sad? Let him pray. Is he cheerful in mind? Let him sing. Is any
man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the
prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up:
and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess therefore your
sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For
the continual prayer of a just man avails much.