1. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by
2. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that
he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, "Behold,
a sower went forth to sow;
4. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls
came and devoured them up:
5. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and
forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they
had no root, they withered away.
7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked
8. But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some
an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirty fold.
9. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Chrys.: When He had rebuked him that told Him of His mother and His
brethren, He then did according to their request; He departed out of the
house, having first corrected His brethren for their weak desire of vainglory;
He then paid the honour due to His mother, as it is said, "The same day
Jesus went forth out of the house, and not down by the [p. 480] sea aide.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 41: By the words, "The same day," he sufficiently
shews that these things either followed immediately upon what had gone
before, or that many things could not have intervened; unless indeed 'day'
here after the Scripture manner signifies a period.
Raban.: For not only the Lord's words and actions, but His journeyings
also, and the places in which He works His mighty works and preaches, are
full of heavenly sacraments.
After the discourse held in the house, wherein with wicked blasphemy
He had been said to have a daemon, He went out and taught by the sea, to
signify that having left Judaea because of their sinful unbelief, He would
pass to the salvation of the Gentiles. For the hearts of the Gentiles,
long proud and unbelieving, are rightly likened to the swelling and bitter
waves of the sea. And who knows not that Judaea was by faith the house
of the Lord.
Jerome: For it must be considered, that the multitude could not enter
into the house to Jesus, nor be there where the Apostles heard mysteries;
therefore the Lord in mercy to them departed out of the house, and sat
near the sea of this world, that great numbers might be gathered to Him,
and that they might hear on the sea shore what they were not worthy to
hear within; "And great multitudes were gathered unto him, so that he went
into a ship, and sat down, and all the people stood on the shore."
Chrys.: The Evangelist did not relate this without a purpose, but that
he might shew the Lord's will therein, who desired so to place the people
that He should have none behind Him, but all should be before His face.
Hilary: There is moreover a reason in the subject of His discourse why
the Lord should sit in the ship, and the multitude stand on the shore.
For He was about to speak in parables, and by this action signifies that
they who were without the Church could have no understanding of the Divine
The ship offers a type of the Church, within which the word of life
is placed, and is preached to those without, and who as being barren sand
cannot understand it.
Jerome: Jesus is in the midst of the waves; He is beaten to and fro
by the waves, and, secure in His majesty, causes His vessel to come nigh
the land, that the people not being in danger, not being surrounded by
temptations which they could not endure, [p. 481] might stand on the shore
with a firm step, to hear what was said.
Raban.: Or, that He went into a ship and sat on the sea, signifies that
Christ by faith should enter into the hearts of the Gentiles, and should
gather together the Church in the sea, that is in the midst of the nations
that spake against Him. And the crowd that stood on the sea shore, neither
in the ship nor in the sea, offers a figure of those that receive the word
of God, and are by faith separated from the sea, that is from the reprobate,
but are not yet imbued with heavenly mysteries.
It follows; "And he spake many things unto them in parables."
Chrys.: He had not done thus on the mount; He had not framed His discourse
by parables. For there were the multitudes only, and a mixed crowd; but
here the Scribes and Pharisees. But He speaks in parables not for this
reason only, but to make His sayings plainer, and fix them more fully in
the memory, by bringing things before the eyes.
Jerome: And it is to be noted, that He spake not all things to them
in parables, but "many things," for had He spoken all things in parables,
the people would have departed without benefit. He mingles things plain
with things dark, that by those things which they understand they may be
incited to get knowledge of the things they understand not.
The multitude also is not of one opinion, but of divers wills in divers
matters, whence He speaks to them in many parables, that each according
to their several dispositions may receive some portion of His teaching.
Chrys.: He first sets forth a parable to make His hearers more attentive;
and because He was about to speak enigmatically, He attracts the attention
by this first parable, saying, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow his seed."
Jerome: By this sower is typified the Son of God, who sows among the
people the word of the Father.
Chrys.: Whence then went out He who is every where present, and how
went He out! Not in place; but by His incarnation being brought nearer
to us by the garb of the flesh. Forasmuch as we because of our sins could
not enter in unto Him, He therefore came forth to us.
Raban.: Or, He event forth, when having left Judaea, He passed by the
Apostles to the Gentiles.
Jerome: Or, He was within while He was yet in the house, and spake sacraments
to His disciples. He went therefore forth from the house, [p. 482] that
He might sow seed among the multitudes.
Chrys.: When you hear the words, "the sower went out to sow," do not
suppose that is a tautology. For the sower goes out oftentimes for other
ends; as, to break up the ground, to pluck up noxious weeds, to root up
thorns, or perform any other species of industry, but this man went forth
What then becomes of that seed? three parts of it perish, and one is
preserved; but not all in the same manner, but with a certain difference,
as it follows, "And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside."
Jerome: This parable Valentinus lays hold of to establish his heresy,
bringing in three different natures; the spiritual, the natural or the
animal, and the earthly. But there are here four named, one by the wayside,
one stony, one thorny, and a fourth the good ground.
Chrys.: Next, how is it according to reason to sow seed among thorns,
or on stony ground, or by the wayside? Indeed in the material seed and
soil of this world it would not be reasonable; for it is impossible that
rock should become soil, or that the way should not be the way, or that
thorns should not be thorns.
But with minds and doctrines it is otherwise; there it is possible that
the rock be made rich soil, that the way should be no more trodden upon,
and that the thorns should be extirpated. That the most part of the seed
then perished, came not of him that sowed, but of the soil that received
it, that is the mind. For He that sowed put no difference between rich
and poor, wise or foolish, but spoke to all alike; filling up his own part,
though foreseeing all things that should come to pass, so that He might
say, "What ought I to have done that I have not done? [Isa 5:4]
He does not pronounce sentence upon them openly and say, this the indolent
received and have lost it, this the rich and have choked it, this the careless
and have lost it, because He would not harshly reprove them, that He might
not alienate them altogether.
By this parable also He instructs His disciples, that though the greater
part of those that heard them were such as perished, yet that they should
not therefore be remiss; for the Lord Himself who foresaw all things, did
not on this account desist from sowing.
Jerome: Note that this is the first parable that has been given with
its interpretation, and we must beware where the Lord expounds His own
teaching [p. 483] that we do not presume to understand any thing either
more or less, or any way otherwise than as so expounded by Him.
Raban.: But those things which He silently left to our understanding,
should be shortly noticed. The wayside is the mind trodden and hardened
by the continual passage of evil thoughts; the rock, the hardness of the
self-willed mind; the good soil, the gentleness of the obedient mind; the
sun, the heat of a raging persecution. The depth of soil, is the honesty
of a mind trained by heavenly discipline. But in thus expounding them we
should add, that the same things are not always put in one and the same
Jerome: And we are excited to the understanding of His words, by the
advice which follows, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Remig.: These care to hear, are ears of the mind, to understand namely
and do those things which are commanded.
10. And the disciples came, and said unto him, "Why speakest thou
unto them in parables?"
11. He answered and said unto them, "Because it is given unto you
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have
more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even
that he hath.
13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see
not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14. And in them is fulfilled thy prophecy of Esaias, which saith,
By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall
see, and shall not perceive:
15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull
of hearing, and their eyes they have closed: lest at any time they should
see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand [p.
484] with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for
17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous
men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them;
and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
Gloss., ap. Anselm: The disciples understanding that the things which
were spoken by the Lord to the people were obscure, desired to hint to
Him that He should not speak in parables to them. "And his disciples came
to him, and said, Why speakest thou to them in parables?"
Chrys., Hom. xiv: Wherein it is worthy admiration, that the disciples
who desire to learn of Him, know when they ought to ask Him, for they do
not this before the multitude. This Matthew declares, when he says, "And
they came to him;" and Mark more expressly says, that "they came to him
when he was alone." [Mark 4:10]
Jerome: We must enquire how they could come to Him at that time when
Jesus was sitting in the ship; we may understand that they had at the first
entered into the ship, and standing there, made this enquiry of Him.
Remig.: The Evangelist therefore says, came to him, to express that
they eagerly enquired of Him; or they might indeed approach Him bodily,
though the space between them was small.
Chrys.: And observe moreover their goodness, how great their thought
for others, that they enquire about what concerns others, before what relates
to themselves. For they say not, 'Why speakest thou to us in parables?'
but "to them. And he answered and said unto them, Because it is given to
you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven."
Remig.: To you, I say, who adhere to Me, and believe in Me. By the mystery
of the kingdom of heaven, He intends the Gospel doctrine. "To them," that
is, to them that are without, and who would not believe on Him, the Scribes
namely and Pharisees, and to the rest who continue in unbelief, it is not
given. Let us then, with the disciples, come unto the Lord with a pure
heart, that He may think us worthy to interpret to us the evangelic teaching;
according to that, "They who [p. 485] draw near to his feet, shall receive
of his doctrine." [Deut 33:3]
Chrys.: In saying this, He does not imply any necessity or fate, but
shews at once, that they, to whom it is not given, are the cause of all
their own miseries, and yet that the knowledge of the Divine mysteries
is the gift of God, and a grace given from above. Yet this does not destroy
free will, as is manifest from what follows; for to prevent that either
these should despair, or those be remiss, when they hear that "to you it
is given," He shews that the beginning of all lays with ourselves, and
then He adds, "For whoso hath, to him shall be given, and he shall abound;
and whoso hath not, from him shall be taken what he hath." As much as to
say, Whoso has the desire and the zeal, to him shall be given all those
things which are of God; but whoso lacketh these, and does not contribute
that part that pertains to him, to him neither are the things which are
of God given, but even those things that he hath are taken from him; not
because God takes them away, but because he hath made himself unworthy
of those that he has. Wherefore we also, if we see any hearkening carelessly,
and having exhorted him to attend, he do not heed us, let us be silent;
for should we persevere in urging him, his slothfulness will be the more
charged against him.
But him that is zealous to learn, we draw onwards, pouring forth many
things. And He well said according to another Evangelist, "That which he
seemeth to have;" [Luke 8:18] for, in truth, he has not even that he has.
Remig.: He that has a desire to read, shall have given to him power
to understand, and whoso has not desire to read, that understanding which
by the bounty of nature he seems to have, even that shall be taken from
him. Or, whoso has charity, to him shall be given the other virtues also;
and from him who has not charity, the other virtues likewise shall be taken
away, for without charity there can be nothing good.
Jerome: Or, To the Apostles who believe in Christ there is given, but
from the Jews who believed not on the Son of God there is taken away, even
whatever good they might seem to have by nature. For they cannot understand
any thing with wisdom, seeing they have not the head of wisdom.
Hilary: For the Jews not having faith, have lost also the Law which
they had; and Gospel faith has the perfect gift, inasmuch as if received
it enriches with new fruit, if [p. 486] rejected it subtracts from the
riches of ancient possession.
Chrys.: But that what He had said might be made more manifest He adds,
"Therefore speak I unto them in parables, because seeing they see not,
and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." Had this been a
natural blindness, He ought to have opened their eyes; but forasmuch as
it is voluntary, therefore He said not simply, 'They see not,' but, "Seeing
they see not." For they had seen the daemons going out, and they said,
"He casts out daemons by Beelzebub;" they heard that He drew all men to
God and they say, "This man is not of God." [John 9:16]
Therefore because they spake the very contrary to what they saw and
heard, to see and to hear is taken from them; for they profit nothing,
but rather fall under judgment. For this reason He spake to them at first
not in parables, but with much clearness; but because they perverted all
they saw and heard, He now speaks in parables.
Remig.: And it should be noted, that not only what He spake, but also
what He did, were parables, that is, signs of things spiritual, which He
clearly shews when He says, "That seeing they may not see;" but words are
heard and not seen.
Jerome: This He says of those who were standing on the shore, and separated
from Jesus, and who because of the dashing of the waves, heard not distinctly
what was said.
Chrys.: And that they should not say, He slanders us as an enemy, He
brings forward the Prophet declaring the same opinion, as it follows, "Thai
there might be fulfilled in them the prophecy of Isaiah, who said, With
the hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall
see and shall not behold." [Isa 6:9]
Gloss., non occ.: That is; With the hearing ye shall hear words, but
shall not understand the hidden meaning of those words; seeing ye shall
see My flesh indeed, but shall not discern the divinity.
Chrys.: This He said because they had taken away their own sight and
hearing, shutting their eyes, and hardening their hearts. For not only
did they not hear at all, but they heard obtusely, as it follows, "The
heart of this people is waxed gross, and they have heard hardly with their
Raban.: The heart of the Jews is made gross with the grossness of wickedness,
and through the abundance of their sins they hear hardly the Lord's words,
because they have received them ungratefully.
Jerome: And that [p. 487] we should not suppose that this grossness
of the heart and heaviness of the ears is of nature, and not of choice,
He adds the fruit of their own wilfulness, "For they have shut their eyes."
Chrys.: Herein He points out how extreme their wickedness, how determined
their aversion. Again to draw them towards Him, He adds, "And be converted,
and 1 should heal them;" which shews that if they would be converted, they
should be healed. As if one should say, If he would ask me I would immediately
forgive him, this would point out how he might be reconciled; so here when
He says, "Lest they should be converted and I should heal them," He shews
that it was possible they should be converted, and having done penitence
should be saved.
Aug., Quaest. in Matt., q. 14: Otherwise; "They have shut their eyes
lest they should see with their eyes," that is, themselves were the cause
that God shut their eyes. For another Evangelist says, "He hath blinded
their eyes." But is this to the end that they should never see? Or that
they should not see so much as this, that becoming discontent with their
own blindness and bewailing themselves, should so be humbled, and moved
to confession of their sins and pious seeking after God. For Mark thus
expresses the same thing, "Lest they should be converted, and their sins
should be forgiven them." From which we learn, that by their sins they
deserved not to understand; and that yet this was allowed them in mercy
that they should confess their sins, and should turn, and so merit to be
But when John relating this expresses it thus, "Therefore they could
not believe because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes and hardened
their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, and understand with
their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them," [John 12:39] this
seems to be opposed to this interpretation, and to compel us to take what
is here said, "Lest they should see with their eyes," not as though they
might come to see after this fashion, but that they should never see at
all; for he says it plainly, "That they should not see with their eyes."
And that he says, "Therefore they could not believe," sufficiently shews
that the blindness was not indicted, to the end that moved thereby, and
grieving that they understood not, they should be converted through penitence;
for that they could not, unless [p. 488] they had first believed, and by
believing had been converted, and by conversion had been healed, and having
been healed understood; but it rather shews that they were therefore blinded
that they should not believe. For he speaks most clearly, "Therefore they
could not believe."
But if it be so, who would not rise up in defence of the Jews, and pronounce
them to be free from all blame for their unbelief? For, "Therefore they
could not believe, because he hath blinded their eyes." But because we
must rather believe God to be without fault, we are driven to confess that
by some other sins they had thus deserved to be blinded, and that indeed
this blinding prevented them from believing; for the words of John are
these, "They could not believe, because that Elias said again, He hath
blinded their eyes."
It is in vain then to endeavour to understand it that they were therefore
blinded that they should be converted; seeing they could not be converted
because they believed not; and they could not believe because they were
blinded. Or perhaps we should not say amiss thus -- that some of the Jews
were capable of being healed, but that being puffed up with so great swelling
pride, it was good for them at first that they should not believe, that
they might understand the Lord speaking in parables, which if they did
not understand they would not believe; and thus not believing on Him, they
together with the rest who were past hope crucified Him; and at length
after His resurrection, they were converted, when humbled by the guilt
of His death they loved Him the more because of the heavy guilt which had
been forgiven them; for their so great pride needed such an humiliation
to overcome it.
This might indeed be thought an inconsistent explanation, did we not
plainly read in the Acts of the Apostles [margin note: Acts 2:37] that
thus it was. This then that John says, "Therefore they could not believe,
because he hath blinded their eyes that they should not see," is not repugnant
to our holding that they were therefore blinded that they should be converted;
that is to say, that the Lord's meaning was therefore purposely clothed
in the obscurities of parables, that after His resurrection they might
turn them to wisdom with a more healthy penitence. For by reason of the
darkness of His discourse, they being blinded did not understand the Lord's
sayings, and not [p. 489] understanding them, they did not believe on Him,
and not believing on Him they crucified Him; thus after His resurrection,
terrified by the miracles that were wrought in His name, they had the greater
compunction for their great sin, and were more prostrated in penitence;
and accordingly after indulgence granted they turned to obedience with
a more ardent affection. Notwithstanding, some there were to whom this
blinding profited not to conversion.
Remig.: In all the clauses the word 'not' must be understood; thus;
That they should not see with their eyes, and should not hear with their
ears, and should not understand with their heart, and should not be converted,
and I should heal them.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: So then the eyes of them that see, and will not
believe, are miserable, but your eyes are blessed; whence it follows, "Blessed
are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear."
Jerome: If we had not read above that invitation to his hearers to understand,
when the Saviour said, "He that hath ears to hear let him hear," we might
here suppose that the eyes and ears which are now blessed are those of
the body. But I think that those eyes are blessed which can discern Christ's
sacraments, and those ears of which Isaiah speaks, "The Lord hath given
me an ear." [Isa 50:4]
Gloss. ord.: The mind is called an eye, because it is intently directed
upon what is set before it to understand it; and an ear, because it learns
from the teaching of another.
Hilary: Or, He is speaking of the blessedness of the Apostolic times,
to whose eyes and ears it was permitted to see and to hear the salvation
of God, many Prophets and just men having desired to see and to hear that
which was destined to be in the fulness of times; whence it follows; "Verily
I say unto you, that many Prophets and just men have desired to see the
things that ye see, and to hear the things that ye hear, and have not heard
Jerome: This place seems to be contradicted by what is said elsewhere.
"Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad." [John 8:56]
Raban.: Also Isaiah and Micah, and many other Prophets, saw the glory
of the Lord; and were thence called 'seers.'
Jerome: But He said not, 'The Prophets and the just men,' but "many;"
for out of the whole number, it may be that some saw, and others saw not.
But as this is a perilous interpretation, that we [p. 490] should seem
to be making a distinction between the merits of the saints, at least as
far as the degree of their faith in Christ, therefore we may suppose that
Abraham saw in enigma, and not in substance. But ye have truly present
with you, and hold, your Lord, enquiring of Him at your will, and eating
with Him. [margin note: convescimini]
Chrys.: These things then which the Apostles saw and heard, are such
as His presence, His voice, His teaching. And in this He sets them before
not the evil only, but even before the good, pronouncing them more blessed
than even the righteous men of old. For they saw not only what the Jews
saw not, but also what the righteous men and Prophets desired to see, and
had not seen.
For they had beheld these things only by faith, but these by sight,
and even yet more clearly. You see how He identifies the Old Testament
with the New, for had the Prophets been the servants of any strange or
hostile Deity, they would not have desired to see Christ.
18. "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth
it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown
in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is
he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for
when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by
he is offended.
22. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth
the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth
the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth
forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Gloss., ap. Anselm: He had said above, that it was not given to Jews
to know the kingdom of God, but to the Apostles, and therefore He now concludes,
saying, "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower, ye to whom are committed
the mysteries of heaven."
Aug., De Gen. ad lit., viii, 4: It is certain that the Lord spoke the
things which the Evangelist has recorded; but what the Lord spake was a
parable, in which it is never required that the things contained should
have actually taken place.
Gloss, ap. Anselm: He proceeds then expounding the parable; "Every man
who hears the word of the kingdom," that is, My preaching which avails
to the acquiring the kingdom of heaven, "and understandeth it not;" how
he understands it not, is explained by, "for the evil one" -- that is the
Devil -- "cometh and taketh away that which is sown in his heart;" every
such man is "that which is sown by the way side." And note that which is
sown, is taken in different senses; for the seed is that which is sown,
and the field is that which is sown, both of which are found here. For
where He says "carrieth away that which is sown," we must understand it
of the seed; that which follows, "is sown by the way side," is to be understood
not of the seed, but of the place of the seed, that is, of the man, who
is as it were the field sown by the seed of the Divine word.
Remig.: In these words the Lord explains what the seed is, to wit, the
word of the kingdom, that is of the Gospel teaching. For there are some
that receive the word of the Lord with no devotion of heart, and so that
seed of God's word which is sown in their heart, is by demons straightway
carried off, as it were the seed dropped by the way side. It follows, "That
which is sown upon the rock, is he that heareth the word, &c." For
the seed or word of God, which is sown in the rock, that is, in the hard
and untamed heart, can bring forth no fruit, inasmuch as its hardness is
great, and its desire of heavenly things small; and because of this great
hardness, it has no root in itself.
Jerome: Note that which is said, "is straightway offended." There is
then some difference between him who, by many tribulations and torments,
is driven to deny Christ, and him who at the first persecution is offended,
and falls away, of which He proceeds to speak, "That which is sown among
thorns." To me He seems here to express figuratively that [p. 492] which
was said literally to Adam; "Amidst briers and thorns thou shalt eat they
bread," [Gen 3:18] that he that has given himself up to the delights and
the cares of this world, eats heavenly bread and the true food among thorns.
Raban.: Rightly are they called thorns, because they lacerate the soul
by the prickings of thought, and do not suffer it to bring forth the spiritual
fruit of virtue.
Jerome: And it is elegantly added, "The deceitfulness of riches choke
the word;" for riches are treacherous, promising one thing and doing another.
The tenure of them is slippery as they are borne hither and thither, and
with uncertain step forsake those that have them, or revive those that
have them not. Whence the Lord asserts, that rich men hardly enter into
the kingdom of heaven, because their riches choke the word of God, and
relax the strength of their virtues.
Remig.: And it should be known, that in these three sorts of bad soil
are comprehended all who can hear the word of God, and yet have not strength
to bring it forth unto salvation. The Gentiles are excepted, who were not
worthy even to hear it.
It follows, "That which is sown on the good ground." The good ground
is the faithful conscience of the elect, or the spirit of the saints which
receives the word of God with joy and desire and devotion of heart, and
manfully retains it amid prosperous and adverse circumstances, and brings
it forth in fruit; as it follows, "And brings forth fruit, some a hundred
fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold."
Jerome: And it is to be noted, that as in the bad ground there were
three degrees of difference, to wit, that by the way side, the stony and
the thorny ground; so in the good soil there is a three-fold difference,
the hundred-fold, the sixty-fold, and the thirty- fold. And in this as
in that, not the substance but the will is changed, and the hearts as well
of the unbelieving as the believing receive seed; as in the first case
He said, "Then cometh the wicked one, and carrieth off that which is sown
in the heart;" and in the second and third case of the bad soil He said,
"This is he that heareth the word." So also in the exposition of the good
soil, "This is he that heareth the word." Therefore we ought first to hear,
then to understand, and after understanding to bring forth the fruits of
teaching, either an hundred-fold, or sixty, or thirty. [p. 493]
Aug., City of God, book xxi, ch. 27: Some think that this is to be understood
as though the saints according to the degree of their merits delivered
some thirty, some sixty, some an hundred persons; and this they usually
suppose will happen on the day of judgment, not after the judgment. But
when this opinion was observed to encourage men in promising themselves
impunity, because that by this means all might attain to deliverance, it
was answered, that men ought the rather to live well, that each might be
found among those who were to intercede for the liberation of others, lest
these should be found to be so few that they should soon have exhausted
the number allotted to them, and thus there would remain many unrescued
from torment, among whom might be found all such as in most vain rashness
had promised themselves to reap the fruits of others.
Remig.: The thirty-fold then is borne of him who teaches faith in the
Holy Trinity; the sixty-fold of him who enforces the perfection of good
works; (for in the number six this world was completed with all its equipments;)
[margin note: Gen 2:1] while he bears the hundred-fold who promises eternal
life. For the number one hundred passes from the left hand to the right;
and by the left hand the present life is denoted, by the right hand the
life to come.
Otherwise, the seed of the word of God brings forth fruit thirty-fold
when it begets good thoughts, sixty-fold when good speech, and an hundred-fold
when it brings to the fruit of good works.
Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 9: Otherwise; There is fruit an hundred-fold of
the martyrs because of their satiety of life or contempt of death; a sixty-fold
fruit of virgins, because they rest not warring against the use of the
flesh; for retirement is allowed to those of sixty years' age after service
in war or in public business; and there is a thirty-fold fruit of the wedded,
because theirs is the age of warfare, and their struggle is the more arduous,
that they should not be vanquished by their lusts.
Or otherwise; We must struggle with our love of temporal goods that
reason may be master; it should either be so overcome and subject to us,
that when it begins to rise it may be easily repressed, or so extinguished
that it never arises in us at all. Whence it comes to pass, that death
itself is despised for truth's sake, by some with brave endurance, by others
with content, and by others with [p. 494] gladness -- which three degrees
are the three degrees of fruits of the earth -- thirty-fold, sixty-fold,
and an hundred-fold.
And in one of these degrees must one be found at the time of his death,
if any desires to depart well out of this life.
Jerome, vid. Cyp. Tr. iv. 12: The hundred-fold fruit is to be ascribed
to virgins, the sixty-fold to widows and continent persons, the thirty-fold
to chaste wedlock.
Jerome, Hieron. Ep. 48, 2: For the joining together of the hands, as
it were in the soft embrace of a kiss, represents husband and wife. The
sixty-fold refers to widows, who as being set in narrow circumstances and
affliction are denoted by the depression of the finger; for by how much
greater is the difficulty of abstaining from the allurements of pleasure
once known, so much greater is the reward. The hundredth number passes
from the left to the right, and by its turning round with the same fingers,
not on the same hand, it expresses the crown of virginity. [ed. note: ~
This alludes to the method of notation by the fingers described by Bede
(with reference to this passage of S. Jerome,) in his treatise 'De Indigitatione,'
vol i. 131. The expression, 'atque suos jam dextra computat annos,' Juv.
will occur immediately to the classical reader.]