(608) 524-5856 [email protected]

John Chrysostom [c. AD 347-407] was the Archbishop of Constantinople and preached faithfully against the moral evils of his day.

In this excerpt from his sermon on Romans 13:11, he exposes the connection between parties, drunkenness, fornication, abortion, and sorcery.

Let the Gentiles see that Christians know best how to indulge, and to indulge in an orderly way. For it says, “Rejoice in the Lord with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11) But how then can one rejoice? Why, by saying hymns, making prayers, introducing psalms in the place of those low songs.

Thus will Christ also be at our table, and will fill the whole feast with blessing, when thou prayest, when thou singest spiritual songs, when thou invitest the poor to partake of what is set before thee, when thou settest much orderliness and temperance over the feast.

So thou wilt make the party a Church, by hymning, in the room of ill-timed shouts and cheers, the Master of all things.

And tell me not, that another custom has come to prevail, but correct what is thus amiss. “For whether ye eat,” it says, “or whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

For from banquets of that sort you have evil desires, and impurities, and wives come to be in disrepute, and harlots in honor among you. Hence come the upsetting of families and evils unnumbered, and all things are turned upside down, and ye have left the pure fountain, and run to the conduit of mire.

For that an harlot’s body is mire, I do not enquire of any one else but of thine own self that wallowest in the mire, if thou dost not feel ashamed of thyself, if thou dost not think thyself unclean after the sin is over. Wherefore I beseech you flee fornication, and the mother of it, drunkenness.

Why sow where reaping is impossible, or rather even if thou dost reap, the fruit brings thee great shame?

For even if a child be born, it at once disgraces thyself, and has itself had injustice done it in being born through thee illegitimate and base. And if thou leave it never so much money, both the son of an harlot, and that of a servant-maid, is disreputable at home, disreputable in the city, disreputable in a court of law: disreputable too wilt thou be also, both in thy lifetime, and when dead.

For if thou have departed even, the memorials of thy unseemliness abide. Why then bring disgrace upon all these? Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also.

You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born.

Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?

For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine.

Hence too come idolatries, since many, with a view to become acceptable, devise incantations, and libations, and love-potions, and countless other plans. Yet still after such great unseemliness, after slaughters, after idolatries, the thing seems to many to belong to things indifferent, aye, and to many that have wives too.

Whence the mingle of mischief is the greater. For sorceries are applied not to the womb that is prostituted, but to the injured wife, and there are plottings without number, and invocations of devils, and necromancies, and daily wars, and truceless fightings, and home-cherished jealousies.

Wherefore also Paul, after saying, “not in chamberings and wantonness,” proceeds, “not in strife and envying,” as knowing the wars that result therefrom; the upsetting of families, the wrongs done to legitimate children, the other ills unnumbered.

That we may then escape from all these, let us put on Christ, and be with Him continually. For this is what putting Him on is: never being without Him, having Him evermore visible in us, through our sanctification, through our moderation.

So we say of friends, such an one is wrapped up in such another, meaning their great love, and keeping together incessantly. For he that is wrapped up in anything, seems to be that which he is wrapped in. Let then Christ be seen in every part of us.

Excerpted from John Chysostom’s 24th Homily on the Epistle to the Romans (Text: Romans 13:11)