Christianity is not a religion of self-help but of divine rescue its a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The message of the New Testament is that God the Son came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to rescue sinful human beings from God the Father’s just wrath.
The gospel reveals that Man is saved by God, from God. It also reveals that salvation is provided specifically through the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. We are saved by believing in Christ (faith) and repenting of our sins.
The cross is the crucial point of Christianity.
The Atonement is at the very heart of the Christian Faith but to understand “the atonement”, i.e., the reconciliation of men with God, a person must first understand both humanity’s sinful condition and God holiness, consequently God’s just wrath against sin. (m.a.)
In the first century after the death of the apostles the chief [Fathers]
were Ignatius and Polycarp, of whose writings fragments survive. In the second, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. In the third, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian, Amobius, [and] Lactantius. In
the fourth, Athanasius, Eusebius of Caesarea, Hilary of Poitiers, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius, [and] John Chrysostom. In the fifth, Augustine, Cyril of
Alexandria, Theodoret, Hilary of Arles, Prosper of Aquitaine, [and] Leo I. In the sixth, Fulgentius Afer, Gelasius, Gregory the Great, and others.
Christ is the beginning and the end of all sciences.
A man for the greater he seems to be, the more he ought to be humble, and the more he ought to seek, the common advantage of all, and not his own.
Letter to the Corinthians
Chapter 42. The Order of Ministers in the Church.
The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labors], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place,
I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.
Chapter 44. The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office.
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties.
To possess love is to be behind the reach of sin and to fulfill all demands of holiness.
The Lord live in patience, but the devil lives in an angry temper.
Fear is of two kinds, if you want to do something evil, fear the Lord and you will not do it. If you want to do something good, fear the Lord and you will do it.
These things are written that we bear not malice towards those who injure us; but rebuke them and weep for them; for the fit subjects of weeping are not they who suffer, but they who do the wrong. The grasping man, the false accuser, and whoever works any other evil thing, do themselves the greatest injury, and us the greatest good, if we do not avenge ourselves. Do you see how we are the greatest gainers from the insolence of others? Nothing so delights God, as the not returning evil for evil? But what say I? Not returning evil for evil? Surely we are enjoined to return the opposite, benefits, prayers.
For he who needs many things is the slave of many things, although he seem to be their master. Since the lord is the slave even of his domestics, and brings in another and a heavier mode of service; and in another way also he is their slave, not daring without them to enter the agora, nor the bath, nor the field, but they frequently go about in all directions without him. He who seems to be master, dares not, if his slaves be not present, to go forth from home, and if while unattended he do but put his head out of his house, he thinks that he is laughed at. Perhaps some laugh at us when we say this, yet on this very account they would be deserving of ten thousand tears. For to show that this is slavery, I would gladly ask you, would you wish to need some one to put the morsel to your mouth, and to apply the cup to your lips? Would you not deem such a service worthy of tears? What if you required continually supporters to enable you to walk, would you not think yourself pitiable, and in this respect more wretched than any? So then you ought to be disposed now. For it matters nothing whether one is so treated by irrational things, or by men.
Those who amass their possession through covetousness also shrink from alms giving, for he who learn to make money this way does not know how to spend it. How indeed a man all prepared to commit robbery, change his mind to do just the opposite? How in truth, will he who sizes on another man’s possessions be able to bestow his own possession on another man?
Let us not esteem riches and honor and pleasure and power but poverty, chains and bounds, and patience, practice for the sake of virtue.
For the covetous man, the slanderer, and the man guilty of any wrong doing injure themselves most of all, while they are a great benefit to us, if we do not avenge ourselves.
St. John Homily 71- 80 John Chrysostom
Chapter 32. None of the Heretics Claim Succession from the Apostles
But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs ] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men, — a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith.
The essence of persecution is the glory of God, whatever concern the glory of God will certainly proceed from the will of God. Therefore is clear that persecution, which works for the improvement of the servants of God cannot be blamed on the devil. Evil that seems required for the trial of faith provided the instruments of, but not the justification for persecution. The real cause of persecution is an act of God’s will, choosing that there be a trial of faith; than that follows evil on the part of the Devil as a chosen instrument of persecution. Thus a persecution happens through the Devil but not by him. Satan can have no power over the servants of the living God unless the Lords permit it. In order that the Devil may be destroyed by the victory of the faith of the elect in overcoming temptation, or that same people may be shown by their defection under fire to have belonged to Satan. God is the Lord of all if he will it you will suffer persecution.
Do you fear man, O Christian?–you who ought to be feared by the angels, since you are to judge angels; who ought to be feared by evil spirits, since you have received power also over evil spirits; who ought to be feared by the whole world, since by you, too, the world is judged. You have put on Christ you have been baptized into Christ.
We, then, alone are without crime. Is there ought wonderful in that, if it be a very necessity with us? For a necessity indeed it is. Taught of God himself what goodness is, we have both a perfect knowledge of it as revealed to us by a perfect Master; and faithfully we do His will, as enjoined on us by a Judge we dare not despise. But your ideas of virtue you have got from mere human opinion; on human authority, too, its obligation rests: hence your system of practical morality is deficient, both in the fulness and authority requisite to produce a life of real virtue. Man’s wisdom to point out what is good, is no greater than his authority to exact the keeping of it; the one is as easily deceived as the other is despised. And so, which is the ampler rule, to say, “Thou shalt not kill,” or to teach, “Be not even angry?” Which is more perfect, to forbid adultery, or to restrain from even a single lustful look?
Which indicates the higher intelligence, interdicting evil-doing, or evil-speaking? Which is more thorough, not allowing an injury, or not even suffering an injury done to you to be repaid? Though withal you know that these very laws also of yours, which seem to lead to virtue, have been borrowed from the law of God as the ancient model. Of the age of Moses we have already spoken. But what is the real authority of human laws, when it is in man’s power both to evade them, by generally managing to hide himself out of sight in his crimes, and to despise them sometimes, if inclination or necessity leads him to offend? Think of these things, too, in the light of the brevity of any punishment you can inflict–never to last longer than till death. On this ground Epicurus makes light of all suffering and pain, maintaining that if it is small, it is contemptible; and if it is great, it is not long-continued. No doubt about it, we, who receive our awards under the judgment of an all-seeing God, and who look forward to eternal punishment from Him for sin,–we alone make real effort to attain a blameless life, under the influence of our ampler knowledge, the impossibility of concealment, and the greatness of the threatened torment, not merely long-enduring but everlasting, fearing Him, whom he too should fear who the fearing judges,–even God, I mean, and not the proconsul.
kill vs anger
adultery vs lustful look
evildoing vs evil speaking
not to injure vs not to repay an injury
CAPO 45 — Noi soli possediamo la vera innocenza: perché nostro maestro è Dio, non, come per voi, un uomo; e la punizione della colpa sarà per noi eterna, non, come per voi, temporanea.
 E allora noi soli siamo innocenti. – Qua! meraviglia, se è inevitabile? E in verità è inevitabile. Avendo appresa l’innocenza da Dio, e la conosciamo perfettamente, come rivelataci da un maestro perfetto, e la custodiamo fedelmente, come impostaci da un giudice che non si può disprezzare.
 A voi, invece, un apprezzamento umano l’innocenza ha insegnato e, del pari, un dominio umano l’ha imposta: perciò né così completa, né tale da farsi altrettanto temere è la vostra disciplina, nei riguardi della innocenza vera. Quanta è la sapienza di un uomo a dimostrare un bene, tanta è la sua autorità a esigerlo: quanto è facile che la prima s’inganni, tanto è facile che la seconda venga disprezzata.
 E in verità, che è più completo, dire: ‘Non ucciderai’, – oppure insegnare: ‘Nemmeno devi adirarti’? – Che è più perfetto, proibire l’adulterio, oppure rimuovere perfino dalla solitaria concupiscenza dello sguardo? Che è più evoluto, interdire il maleficio, oppure anche la maldicenza?. Che è più sapiente, non permettere l’offesa, oppure nemmeno il contracambio dell’offesa consentire?.
 E dovete tuttavia sapere che anche le stesse vostre leggi, che aver di mira sembrano l’innocenza, la loro forma hanno derivato dalla legge divina, come più antica. Abbiamo parlato già dell’età di Mosè.
 Ma quanto scarsa è mai delle leggi umane l’autorità, se all’uomo spesso di eluderle capita, riuscendo a tener nascoste le sue colpe e, qualche volta, a non farne caso, rendendosi colpevole o volontariamente o costretto?
 Consideratela anche riguardo alla brevità del castigo, che, qualunque sia, tuttavia oltre la morte non durerà. Così anche Epicuro ogni tormento e dolore disprezza, dichiarandolo, se lieve, in verità, da non curarsene, se forte, di non lunga durata.
 E invero noi, che giudicati siamo sotto un Dio, che tutto scruta, e un castigo eterno da lui prevediamo, meritamente i soli siamo che l’innocenza raggiungiamo, e per la pienezza della sapienza e per la difficoltà del rimanere nascosti e per la grandezza del tormento, non di lunga durata, ma eterno; noi, che uno temiamo, cui dovrà temere anche colui che giudica, Dio, non un proconsole.
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (c. 155 Tunisia – c. 240 Tunisia)
Moreover, the will of God is what Christ both did and taught. Humility in conversation, steadfastness in faith, modesty in words, justice in deeds, mercy in works, discipline in morals, not to know how to do an injury and to be able to bear one done, to keep peace with the brethren, to love the Lord with a whole heart, to love Him in that He is Father, to fear Him in that He is God, to place nothing at all before Christ, because He placed nothing before us, to cling inseparably to His love, to stand bravely and faithfully at His cross; when there is a struggle over His name and honor to exhibit the constancy in speech with which we confess, under investigation the confidence with which we enter combat, in death the patience for which we are crowned; this is to wish to be co-heir with Christ; this is to do the commandment of God; this is to fulfill the will of the Father.
Release from worry through indifference is not negligence, but faith.
Hilary of Poitiers
The Welfare of their subjects lies in the integrity of their rulers;
The welfare and order of the Lord’s entire family will falter if what is required of the body is not likewise found in the head.
Leo the Great
A great faith makes light of discomfort : it knows the retribution that fell upon the rich man clothed in purple, who in his pride refused Lazarus aid. The sufferer whom we despise and cannot bear to behold, whose very aspect turns our stomachs, is a man like our- selves, formed of the same clay, made out of the same elements. Whatever he suffers we may possibly suffer also. Let us regard his wounds as our own, and then all our lack of sympathy for others will be overcome by our pity for ourselves.
Increasing her knowledge she also increased her sorrow.
The first habit ruins talk, the second character; and children should never learn what they will afterwards have to unlearn.
Things that have become a habit you will find it hard to blame.
It requires great skill to look for gold in mud.
A libertine is all the more ardent when he is pursuing virtue, and thinks that the unlawful is especially delightful.
No one ever weeps when he is lying.
A good conscience will shrink from no man’s gaze. Silent looks, unspoken words, a man’s whole bearing, at times spell uneasiness, at other times security.
God looks upon the heart, we only see the face.
As an arrow, if it be aimed at a hard substance, sometimes rebounds upon the archer and wounds the wounder — and so the word is fulfilled : ‘ They were turned aside like a deceitful bow,’ and in another place : ‘ Whoso casteth a stone on high casteth it on his own head.’ Meddle not with them that are given to detraction.
Truth does not love corners nor does she seek out whisperers.
So we read in another place ‘ that Jesus began both to do and teach.’ ” How- ever fine a man’s teaching may be, it is put to the blush when his own conscience reproves him ; and it is in vain that his tongue preaches poverty and teaches almsgiving, if he himself is swollen with the wealth of a Croesus.”
And again after many generations we have the proverb : ” Remember ever the day of death and you will never go wrong.” Lastly there is the satirist’s shrewd precept.
In the multitude of people is the king’s honor.
Select Letters of St.Jerome –
And the Apostle adds that we are “redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Forests are brought into ill repute when robberies abound in them, not because the ground or the trees commit sin but because they have gained a bad reputation as places where murders occur. We also despise the sword by which human blood is poured out as well as the cup in which poison is mixed, not because the sword and cup commit sin but because those who use these things for evil purposes deserve reproach. So also the age, which is a period of time, is not good or evil in itself; it is called good or evil depending on the people who live in it.
4.12a. Be as I am, for I was as you are
Happy is he who walks in the way of virtue, provided of course that he reaches perfection in it. There is no point in abstaining from vice unless you embrace moral excellence, because when it comes to noble pursuits, the beginning is not as praiseworthy as the end.
That proverb of the poet who is considered noble among the Romans is apt here, “Flattery attracts friends, and truth, hatred .” Once truth is taken out of the equation, the flattery by which he thought friends could be made is not so much flattery as it is adulation and obsequiousness, which as we all know should be called co¬ vert hostilities rather than friendships.
We should also bear in mind that today, too, we are praised, admired, and held in high regard as long as we explain Scripture according to the letter to infants and sucklings and to people in whose hearts Christ has never reached maturity or grown in stature, wisdom, and favor with God and men. But when we make a modest attempt to nudge them on to greater things, they go from being our panegyrists to being our enemies. They would rather follow the Jews than the apostles, who dissociated themselves from the teaching and traditions of the Pharisees.
The person who imitates the riches, power, and eminence of someone else emulates not what is good but what ought to be shunned. In the same way you should “be zealous for a good cause” and seek things that are spiritual rather than fleshly,
We find another type of zeal at work in the sons of Jacob, when they were jealous of their brother Joseph, and in Miriam and Aaron, when they were jealous of Moses because he was the friend of God. Neither the sons of Jacob nor Miriam and Aaron were zealous because they wanted to be better than Joseph or Moses; they were aggravated because they were inferior to them. That kind of zeal is akin to envy. And should there come upon him a spirit of jealousy.” This, though, may be a neutral form of jealousy that is neither good nor evil but hovers between the two extremes and is called rivalry.
Moses speaks in a similar vein about the people of Israel, “Did I give birth to all these people?” Who among us do you think is so concerned about the salvation of his students that he is plagued by worry his entire life—and not just for a few hours or two or three days at a time—until Christ is formed in them?
“Do not do to another what you do not want done to yourself,” and also here: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” I do not want my wife to be defiled, I do not want my property to be stolen, I do not want to be crushed by false testimony, and (to include everything under one heading) I do not tolerate in¬ justice to be committed against me. If, out of the love that expresses itself through me, I do, or intend to do, good to others, I have fulfilled the entire Law.
It is not hard to show how keeping the one commandment to love satisfies all of the commandments.
Commentary on Galatians