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Chapter IV.—Not Peace, But a Sword.

Hence, also, He who hath sent us, when He had come, 777 and had seen that all the world had fallen into wickedness, did not forthwith give peace to him who is in error, lest He should confirm him in evil; but set the knowledge of truth in opposition to the ruins of ignorance of it, that, if haply men would repent and look upon the light of truth, they might rightly grieve that they had been deceived and drawn away into the precipices of error, and might kindle the fire of salutary anger against the ignorance that had deceived them.  On this account, therefore, He said, ‘I have come to send fire on the earth; and how I wish that it were kindled!’ 778   There is therefore a certain fight, which is to be fought by us in this life; for the word of truth and knowledge necessarily separates men from error and ignorance, as we have often seen putrified and dead flesh in the body separated by the cutting knife from its connection with the living members.  Such is the effect produced by knowledge of the truth.  For it is necessary that, for the sake of salvation, the son, for example, who has received the word of truth, be separated from his unbelieving parents; or again, that the father be separated from his son, or the daughter from her mother.  And in this manner the battle of knowledge and ignorance, of truth and error, arises between believing and unbelieving kinsmen and relations.  And therefore He who has sent us said again, ‘I am not come to send peace on earth, but a sword.’ 779



[The remaining chapters of this book (4–14) correspond with Homily XI. 19–33.  The discourse here is somewhat fuller, but the order of topics is the same throughout.—R.]


Luke xii. 49.


Matt. x. 34.

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