The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7

Author: Saint Chrysostom  | Date: folio, Paris, 1718-1738

The Blessings of Death*
(About 380)

Death is rest; a deliverance from the exhausting labors and cares of this world. When, then, thou seest a relative departing, yield not todespondency; give thyself to reflection; examine thy conscience; cherish the thought that after a little while this end awaits thee also. Be more considerate; let another’s death excite thee to salutary fear; shake off all indolence; examine your past deeds; quit your sins, and commence a happy change.

We differ from unbelievers in our estimate of things. The unbeliever surveys the heavens and worships it because he thinks it a divinity; he looks to the earth and makes himself a servant to it, and longs for the things of sense. But not so with us. We survey the Heaven, and admire Him that made it; for we believe it not to be a god, but a work of God. I look on the whole creation and am led by it to the Creator. He looks on wealth and longs for it with earnest desire; I look on wealth and contemn it. He sees poverty and laments; I see poverty and rejoice. I see things in one light; he in another.

Just so in regard to death. He sees a corpse and thinks of it as a corpse; I see a corpse and behold sleep rather than death. And as in regard to books, both learned persons and unlearned see them with the same eyes, but not with the same understanding—for to the unlearned the mere shapes of letters appear, while the learned discover the sense that lies within those letters; so in respect to affairs in general, we all see what takes place with the same eyes, but not with the same understanding and judgment. Since, therefore, in all other things wediffer from them, shall we agree with them in our sentiments respecting death?

Consider to whom the departed has gone and take comfort. He has gone where Paul is, and Peter, and the whole company of the saints. Consider how he shall arise, and with what glory and splendor!

* From one of his sermons preached while a presbyter at Antioch, where Chrysostom won high reputation for preaching and especially by his homilies on the "Statutes" of the Emperor Theodosius. His works, consisting mainly of homilies, commentaries, treatises, epistles, and liturgies, in the best edition (folio, Paris, 1718-1738) comprise thirteen volumes. Translations of some of the homilies and commentaries are given in the Oxford "Library of the Fathers."

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Chicago: Chrysostom, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 5–7. Original Sources, accessed April 24, 2024,

MLA: Chrysostom. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. The World#8217;s Famous Orations, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, pp. 5–7. Original Sources. 24 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: Chrysostom, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.5–7. Original Sources, retrieved 24 April 2024, from