Life Of John Chrysostom -- By: James Davie Butler

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:4 (Nov 1844)
Article: Life Of John Chrysostom
Author: James Davie Butler


Life Of John Chrysostom

James Davie Butler

There is a chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome which bears the name of Chrysostom, because his ashes repose beneath its pavement. Whoever enters the Basilica makes haste to this chapel; for it is daily filled with the Sistine choir, it is near the matchless dome of Michael Angelo, and still nearer the mosaic of Raphael’s last and greatest work.

As few of the Fathers were more worthy of perpetual anthems than Chrysostom, we are glad that so many adventitious circumstances combine to secure due homage to his remains. But we lament that the papal world is so hostile to the principles of him whose sepulchre it has built, and that the protestant world is at so little pains to commune with one so well fitted to be its ally,

teacher and friend. His works are encircled with no fewer extrinsic attractions than his tomb, and besides possess such intrinsic merits, as may well induce visiters in the Basilica of the Greek fathers to turn their first steps towards his pulpit.

Patristic Studies

As even the New Testament is oriental in its spirit and style, all oriental writings are in a degree interesting to the Biblical scholar. They derive an additional charm from the freshness and bloom, which a new medium of vision can give to withered and seedy truths. Yet many Orientals, especially the Hindoos, are surcharged with conceits too monstrous, and we had almost said frantic, to be tolerated by cool-blooded occidentals. The Greek fathers, standing on the confines of the East and West, and attempering oriental gorgeousness with Grecian taste, can more easily win our attention. But the Greek fathers, with their translations, annotations, and works attributed to them, amount to hundreds of ponderous tomes, a library which we may safely say no man ever read through. Sailing on such an ocean, we must fix on one course and deviate from it only by necessary tacks, or we shall never reach our desired haven. Entering this foreign realm, we shall do well to sit down in one place, till we have learned something of its language, customs, prejudices and other peculiarities; or if we may be pardoned a Germanism, till we have orienteered ourselves. In plain language, a judicious student of patristics will begin by making himself familiar with one author before he indulges himself in miscellaneous excursions.

Claims Of Chrysostom On The Student Of Patristics.

Among the reasons which may lead many to begin their study of the Greek fathers with Chrysostom, are the following: First, almost all his works are extant and preserved in their perfection. On the other hand, the works of the Apostolic and many sub...

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