It never ceases to amuse me, when I read stuff from the patristic age that could have been written yesterday. Apparently the man on the street in Constantinople and the man in the comment box aren’t so different.
In Homily 2 on the Letter to the Colossians, St. John Chrysostom (as a rhetorical device) loses patience with some typical combox religious arguments. Lemme run it through the Combox Converter:
“But if that is what you really feel, and you have the opinion that there is no afterlife, how is it that you call yourself a Christian?… Why did you accept the Laver of baptism? Why do you set foot within the Church?”
“….Why do you come, then, if you don’t believe the Scriptures? If you don’t believe Christ, I can’t call such a one a Christian — God forbid! — but worse off than the [pagan] Greeks. How? In this. You think Christ is God, but you don’t believe Him like God. In [the Greeks’] impiety there is at least consistency — he who doesn’t believe Christ is God, necessarily will not believe His words, either. But in this impiety, there is not even consistency — to believe Christ is God, but not believe Him worthy of belief in what He has said!”
He also has words for smartalecks like me, in Homily 3:
“But if the peacemakers are the sons of God, the makers of disturbance are sons of the devil.
“What do you say? Do you excite contentions and fightings? …Many there are who rejoice at evil, and who rip the Body of Christ into pieces more than the soldiers pierced it with the spear or… nails. A lesser evil was that than this. Those Members cut through in that way united again. But these, when torn off, if they not united here, will never be united, but will remain apart…. When you are minded to war against your brother, think that you war against the members of Christ, and cease from your madness.
“So what… if he be open to contempt? So says He, “It is not the will of My Father that one of these little ones should perish.” … God, for his sake, and yours, even became a servant and was slain; and do you consider him to be nothing? Surely in this respect also you fight against God, in that you deliver a judgment contrary to His.
“When he that is over the Church comes in, he straightway says, “Peace to all”; when he preaches, “Peace to all”; when he blesses, “Peace to all”; when he bids to salute, “Peace to all”; when the Sacrifice is finished, “Peace to all”: and again, in the middle, “Grace to you and peace.” How then is it not monstrous, if, while hearing so many times that we are to have peace, we are in a state of feud with each other; and receiving peace, and giving it back, are at war with him that gives it to us?
“….You say, “And with your spirit.” And do you insult him abroad? Woe is me! That the majestic usages of the Church have become forms of things merely, not a truth. Woe is me! That the watchwords of this army proceed no farther than to be only words. Whence also you are ignorant wherefore is said, “Peace to all.”
“….We are therefore ignorant; because we look upon this merely as a figure of words; and we assent not to them in our minds. For do I give the Peace? It is Christ who deigns to speak by us.
“Even if at all other times we are void of grace, yet are we not now, for your sakes. For if the Grace of God wrought in an ass… for the sake of an economy, and the advantage of the Israelites, it is quite clear that it will not refuse to operate even in us, but for your sakes will endure even this.
“Let none say then that I am mean, and low, and worthy of no consideration, and in such a frame of mind attend to me. For such I am; but God’s way always is, to be present even with such for the sake of the many.”