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"Brethren, be imitators of me.  And mark them which so walk even as ye have us for an example."  And "beware of dogs."  From such, Paul leads us away and rightly leads to those whom we ought to imitate. 

"Imitate me. . ." for not by words alone did he teach but also by deeds.  Imitation creates order, order is dissolved by sedition. 

The apostles were an archetype model.  Their life was compete and accurate; their life was an example and the living law.  What was in their writings was manifested in all their actions.  This is the best manner of teaching.  A philosopher speaks, but his actions are lacking or contrary.  Apostles teach with their lips and lead with their lives.  Because of this, the teacher is reverenced and the disciples easily yield to obedience. 

The philosopher speaks; the listeners say he commands impossibilities, and the best proof is the speaker who preaches but does not practice.  If good teachers are lacking, then look at Him who said: "They shall all be taught by God."  "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart."  Look at the disciples and saints.  See how one became holy in riches while another, in poverty.  Choose whatever is easier; just be certain it leads to God.  Another became holy through marriage, others through virginity.  John shined through fasting, while Job, without fasting. 

On the other hand, Samson was lost in marriage, Dives was lost in riches.  But it was not marriage  that destroyed Samson nor riches, Dives; they were both destroyed by their own choices. 

Captivity did not harm Joseph, Daniel, the three young men and St. Paul.  Lazarus, Job and Timothy were sick, but this did not harm them. 

Let the soul be noble and nothing can hinder it from being virtuous.  An artist is an artist whether in riches or in poverty; thus, too, the virtuous man who is devoted to God.  The apostles worked in every state; Paul knew how to work in abundance, in want, in hunger and in death. 

"For many walked with us; but they are now enemies of Christ, whose end is perdition, whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things." 

Nothing is so incongruous and foreign to the Christian character as to seek ease and rest; and to be engrossed with the present life is foreign to his profession and enlistment.  Christ was crucified and we live in ease; His hands were pierced with nails and we live delicately.  Many have made a pretense of Christianity, yet have lived in ease and luxury. 

"Take up thy cross. . ." means to be prepared to fight and die in doing good.  Do not wait for someone to crucify you; crucify yourselves, because the cross has done and will do much good.  The lovers of life, the lovers of the body, the friends of luxury are the enemies of the cross.  Such need lamentation because their god is their belly.  They boast of things of which they ought to be ashamed.  To do evil and be ashamed of it is natural; but to boast of what one must be ashamed of is excessive senselessness. 

These are the earthly minded:  those who say, "Let us build homes on earth, let us purchase farms on earth, let us obtain power on earth, let us enrich ourselves on earth."  Because all their possessions are here, so their minds are also on earth. 

John Chrysostom,  "On Phil."





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