Gregory of Nyssa, Sermons on the Beatitudes
7.2 (tr. Stuart George Hall):
Which of all the
things sought after in this life is sweeter for human beings to enjoy
than peace? Whatever pleasure you may name among those which
life offers, it needs peace in order to be pleasant. If one had all the
things which are valued in our life, wealth, health, wife, children,
house, parents, servants, friends, land and sea with the rich contents
of each, gardens, hunts, baths, wrestling-rings, gymnasia, luxury clubs
and youth clubs, and every thing that pleasure has invented, to which
should be added theatrical entertainments and musical performances,
and whatever else there is by which life is made pleasant for luxury-lovers, — if one had all these, but lacked the benefit of peace, what
would you gain from those things, with war curtailing the enjoyment of their benefits? Peace therefore is itself pleasant to those who
take part in it, and it sweetens all the things that are valued in life.
τί γὰρ εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν τῶν κατὰ τὸν βίον σπουδαζομένων τῆς εἰρήνης ἐστὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις γλυκύτερον; ὅτιπερ ἂν εἴπῃς τῶν ἡδέων τῶν κατὰ τὴν ζωὴν εἰρήνης χρῄζει τὸ εἶναι ἡδύ. εἰ γὰρ πάντα εἴη ὅσα κατὰ τὸν βίον τετίμηται, πλοῦτος, εὐεξία, γαμετὴ, παῖδες, οἰκία, γονεῖς, ὑπηρέται, φίλοι, γῆ, θάλασσα, τοῖς οἰκείοις ἑκατέρα πλουτίζουσα, παράδεισοι, θῆραι, λουτρὰ, παλαῖστραι, γυμνάσια, τρυφητήριά τε καὶ ἡβητήρια, καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἐστὶ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐφευρήματα — προσκείσθω τούτοις τὰ ἡδέα θεάματα καὶ τὰ μουσικὰ ἀκροάματα καὶ εἴ τι ἄλλο δι' οὗ τοῖς τρυφῶσιν ὁ βίος ἡδύνεται — εἰ ταῦτα μὲν εἴη πάντα, τὸ δὲ τῆς εἰρήνης ἀγαθὸν μὴ παρείη, τί κέρδος ἐκείνων, πολέμου τῶν ἀγαθῶν τὴν ἀπόλαυσιν ἐπικόπτοντος; οὐκοῦν ἡ εἰρήνη αὕτη τε ἡδεῖά ἐστι τοῖς μετέχουσι καὶ πάντα καταγλυκαίνει τὰ ἐν τῷ βίῳ τιμώμενα.