In antiquity and through the Middle Ages there was a distinction drawn between the contemplative and the active life. Chrysostom takes this dichotomy and applies it to the life of the monk and the priest, underling the superiority of the latter. Discuss Chrysostom’s argument and how one underlying principle guiding his argument is our responsibility to other human beings.  

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In "On the Priesthood: A Treatise in Six Books," John of Chrysostom explains why he did a good deed in tricking Basil into becoming ordained as a priest and explains why the priesthood is the most exalted of callings.

In Book six, he compares the life of the priest to life of the monk. The monk, he says, has more leisure time and is sheltered by the monastery from the realities of the world. Chrysostom compares the monk to a ship in a harbor: it is safe and easy to be in a harbor, as you never have to brave the perils and dangers of the high seas, but at the same, you don't test yourself and your character until you leave the harbor.

The priest, on the other hand, must manage his temptations amid what Chrysostom calls a raging tempest (storm) because he is in the middle of all the sins of the world. He must, therefore, be in the world and not of the world. He is more admirable than the monk because he faces the world head on.

John of Chrysostom is known for his concern for the poor and social justice, writing:

Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad.

Given his concern for the here-and-now and serving the needy, it aligns with his theology that John of Chrysostom would favor priests.

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