eklogai

polytheist extractions

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

“Some days ago I admonished your charity, brethren, that as holy and religious men, you should remove all pollution of idols from your properties and cast out the whole error of Paganism from your fields. For it is not right that you, who have Christ in your hearts, should have Antichrist in your houses; that your men should honor the devil in his shrines while you pray to god in church. And let no one think he is excused by saying, ‘I did not order this, I did not command it.’ Whoever knows that sacrilege takes place on his estate and does not forbid it, in a sense orders it. By keeping silence and not reproving the man who sacrifices, he lends his consent. For the blessed apostle states that not only those who do sinful acts are guilty, but also those who consent to the act. You, therefore, brother, when you observe your peasant sacrificing and do not forbid the offering, sin, because even if you did not assist the sacrifice yourself you gave permission for it. If your order was not behind the crime your will is still to blame. As long as you remain silent, what your peasant does pleases you: if he did not act in this way perhaps he would displease you. So the subject does not merely involve himself in sin when he sacrifices, he also involves his lord, who does not forbid him; if he had done so neither would have sinned. Idolatry is a great evil. It pollutes those who practice it. It pollutes the inhabitants of the region. It pollutes those who look on. It penetrates its ministers, it penetrates those who know of it and those who keep silent. The peasant’s offering defiles the lord of the land. He cannot not be polluted when he eats food gathered by sacrilegious hands, brought forth by earth stained with blood, stored in foul barns. For all things are defiled, all are abominable, where the devils dwell, whether houses, fields or peasants. There is nothing free from evil where everything is steeped in evil. If you entered a rustic shrine you would find there bleaching sods and dead coals – a worthy devil’s sacrifice when a dead god is worshiped with dead things. And if you went into the fields you would see wooden altars and stone images, suitable to a rite in which insensible gods are served at moldering altars. If you woke up earlier than you usually do you would see a rustic reeling with wine. You ought to know that he is what they call either a devotee of Diana, one who is epileptic or made mad by the moon, or a soothsayer. For a god who makes mad usually has a frantic priest. Such a priest prepares himself with wine for his goddess’ blows, so that, being drunk, the wretch may not feel his punishment. They do this not only out of intemperance but by design, so that, buoyed up by wine, they may feel less pain. The seer who thinks piety is intensified by cruelty is wholly useless. How merciful his god must be to others who is so cruel to his priests! To sketch briefly this seer’s dress. He has a shaggy head with long hair. His breast is bare, he has a cloth half round his loins, and like a gladiator prepared for combat, he brandishes a weapon in his hand. But he is worse than a gladiator, for he is forced to fight against another man, whereas this fellow has to fight against himself. The gladiator strikes at others’ guts, this man tears his own limbs to pieces, and if one can say this, as his trainer works on the gladiator, so his god urges this man on to self-flagellation. Wrapped in this dress, bloody with his self-slaughter, judge for yourselves whether he is a gladiator or a priest! As the public outrage of gladiators has been removed by the religious piety of our princes, these gladiators of insanity should be removed by Christians from their own dwellings.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

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