John Chrysostom on Hebrews 10:24-25

Here is an excerpt from Chrysostom’s homily on the latter part of Hebrews 10.  To read the whole homily visit CCEL:

[3.] ( Ver. 24, 25 ) “And” (he says) “let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” And again in other places, “The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing.” ( Philip. iv. 5, 6.) “For now is our salvation nearer: Henceforth the time is short.” ( Rom. xiii. 11.)

What is, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”? ( 1 Cor. vii. 29.) He knew that much strength arises from being together and assembling together. “For where two or three” (it is said) “are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” ( Matt. xviii. 20 ); and again, “That they may be One, as we” also are ( John xvii. 11 ); and, “They had all one heart and [one] soul.” ( Acts iv. 32.) And not this only, but also because love is increased by the gathering [of ourselves] together; and love being increased, of necessity the things of God must follow also. “And earnest prayer” (it is said) was “made by” the people. ( Acts xii. 5.) “As the manner of some is.” Here he not only exhorted, but also blamed [them].

“And let us consider one another,” he says, “to provoke unto

love and to good works.” He knew that this also arises from “gathering together.” For as “iron sharpeneth iron” ( Prov. xvii.17 ), so also association increases love. For if a stone rubbed against a stone sends forth fire, how much more soul mingled with soul! But not unto emulation (he says) but “unto the sharpening of love.” What is “unto the sharpening of love”? Unto the loving and being loved more. “And of good works”; that so they might acquire zeal. For if doing has greater force for instruction than speaking, ye also have in your number many teachers, who effect this by their deeds.

What is “let us draw near with a true heart”? That is, without hypocrisy; for “woe be to a fearful heart, and faint hands” ( Ecclus. ii. 12 ): let there be (he means) no falsehood among us; let us not say one thing and think another; for this is falsehood; neither let us be fainthearted, for this is not [a mark] of a “true heart.” Faintheartedness comes from not believing. But how shall this be? If we fully assure ourselves through faith.

“Having our hearts sprinkled”: why did he not say “having been purified”? [Because] he wished to point out the difference of the sprinklings: the one he says is of God, the other our own. For the washing and sprinkling the conscience is of God; but “the drawing near with” truth and “in full assurance of faith” is our own. Then he also gives strength to their faith from the truth of Him that promised.

What is “and having our bodies washed with pure water”? With water which makes pure; or which has no blood.

Then he adds the perfect thing, love. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” which some (he says) do, and divide the assemblies.  For “a brother helped by a brother is as a strong city.” ( Prov. xviii. 19 , LXX.)

“But let us consider one another to provoke unto love.” What is, “let us consider one another”? For instance if any be virtuous, let us imitate him, let us look on him so as to love and to be loved. For from Love good works proceed. For the assembling is a great good: since it makes love more warm; and out of love all good things arise. For nothing is good which is not done through love.

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About Jeremy

I work at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA. I teach part-time classes from time to time, through Loyola University in New Orleans, Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. I also just finished a doctoral degree in Biblical languages through the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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