Price Of Fearless Preaching
"It is said that Chrysostom (early Church father who lived about 347-407 A.D.) had a vision in which he saw the altar rails of Saint Sophia crowded with angels listening to the sermon. No wonder his words broke like thunder against the social scandal and loose living of the wicked city on the Bosphorus. No wonder the hatred of the emperor and empress was soon kindled against him, and that he was deposed and arrested, but the man who had seen angels listening did not fear.
"To his friends who gathered about him, embracing him, and kissing his garments, Chrysostom said, ‘What can I fear? Will it be death? You know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death. Will it be exile? The earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. Will it be the loss of wealth? We brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out. Thus, all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things. Poverty I do not fear. Riches I do not sigh for. Death I do not shrink from, and life I do not desire, save only for the progress of your souls.
"‘But you know, my friend, the true cause of my fall. It is that I have not lined my house with rich tapestry. It is that I have not clothed me in robes of silk. It is that I have not flattered the effeminacy and sensuality of certain men, nor laid gold and silver at their feet.
"‘Why need I say more? Jezebel is raising her persecution and Elias must fly; Herodias is taking her pleasure, and John must be bound with chains; the Egyptian wife tells her lie, and Joseph must be thrust into prison. And so, if they banish me I shall be like Elias; if they throw me into the mire, like Jeremiah; if they plunge me into the sea, like the prophet Jonah; if they stone me, it is Stephen that I shall resemble; John the forerunner, if they cut off my head; Paul, if they beat me with stripes; and Isaiah if they saw me asunder….’"