38. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'An eye for an
eye, and a tooth for a tooth:'
39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat,
let him have thy cloak also.
41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow
of thee turn not thou away."
Gloss. non occ.: The Lord having taught that we are not to offer injury
to our neighbour, or irreverence to the Lord, now proceeds to shew how
the Christian should demean himself to those that injure him.
Aug., cont. Faust., xix, 25: This law, "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,"
was enacted to repress the flames of mutual hate, and to be a check on
their undisciplined spirits. For who when he would take revenge, was ever
content to return just so much harm as he had received? Do we not see men
who have suffered some trifling hurt, straightway plot murder, thirst for
blood, and hardly find evil enough that they can do to their enemies for
the satisfying their rage?
To this immeasured and cruel fury the Law puts bounds when it enacts
a "lex talionis;" that is, that whatever wrong or hurt any man has done
to another, he should suffer just the same in return. This is not to encourage
but to check rage; for it does not rekindle what was extinguished, but
hinders the flames already kindled from further spread. It enacts a just
[p. 197] retaliation, properly due to him who has suffered the wrong.
But that mercy forgives any debt, does not make it unjust that payment
had been sought. Since then he sins who seeks an unmeasured vengeance,
but he does not sin who desires only a just one; he is therefore further
from sin who seeks no retribution at all.
I might state it yet thus; It was said to them of old time, Thou shalt
not take unequal retaliation; But I say unto you, Ye shall not retaliate;
this is a completion of the Law, if in these words something is added to
the Law which was wanting to it; yea, rather that which the Law sought
to do, namely, to put an end to unequal revenge, is more safely secured
when there is no revenge at all.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For without this command, the commands of the Law could
not stand. For if according to the Law we begin all of us to render evil
for evil, we shall all become evil, since they that do hurt abound. But
if according to Christ we resist not evil, though they that are evil be
not amended, yet they that are good remain good.
Jerome: Thus our Lord by doing away all retaliation, cuts off the beginnings
of sin. So the Law corrects faults, the Gospel removes their occasions.
Gloss, non occ.: Or it may be said that the Lord said this, adding somewhat
to the righteousness of the old Law.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 19: For the righteousness of the Pharisees
is a less righteousness, not to transgress the measure of equal retribution;
and this is the beginning of peace; but perfect peace is to refuse all
such retribution. Between that first manner than, which was not according
to the Law, to wit, that a greater evil should be returned for a less,
and this which the Lord enjoins to make His disciples perfect, to wit,
that no evil should be returned for evil, a middle place is held by this,
that an equal evil should be returned, which was thus the passage from
extremest discord to extremest peace.
Whoso then first does evil to another departs furthest from righteousness;
and who does not first do any wrong, but when wronged repays with a heavier
wrong, has departed somewhat from the extreme injustice; he who repays
only what he has received, gives up yet something more, for it were but
strict right that he who is the first aggressor should receive a greater
hurt than he inflicted.
This righteousness thus partly begun, He perfects, who is [p. 198] come
to fulfil the Law. The two steps that intervene He leaves to be understood;
for there is who does not repay so much, but less; and there is yet above
him, he who repays not at all; yet this seems too little to the Lord, if
you be not also ready to suffer wrong.
Therefore He says not, "Render not evil for evil," but, "Resist not
against evil," not only repay not what is offered to you, but do not resist
that it should not be done to you. For thus accordingly He explains that
saying, "If any man smite thee on thy right cheek, offer to him the left
also." Which as being a high part of mercy, is known to those who serve
such as they love much; from whom, being morose, or insane, they endure
many things, and if it be for their health they offer themselves to endure
The Lord then, the Physician of souls, teaches His disciples to endure
with patience the sicknesses of those for whose spiritual health they should
provide. For all wickedness comes of a sickness of the mind; nothing is
more innocent than he who is sound and of perfect health in virtue.
Aug., de Mendac., 15: The things which are done by the Saints in the
New Testament profit for examples of understanding those Scriptures which
are modelled into the form of precepts. Thus we read in Luke; "Whoso smiteth
thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also." [Luke 6:29] Now there
is no example of patience more perfect than that of the Lord; yet He, when
He was smitten, said not, 'Behold the other cheek,' but, "If I have spoken
amiss, accuse me wherein it is amiss; but if well, why smitest thou me?
[John 18:23] hereby shewing us that turning of the other cheek should be
in the heart.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 19: For the Lord was ready not only to be smitten
on the other cheek for the salvation of men, but to be crucified with His
whole body. It may be asked, What does the right cheek expressly signify?
As the face is that whereby any man is known, to be smitten of the face
is according to the Apostle to be contemned and despised. But as we cannot
say 'right face,' and 'left face,' and yet we have a name twofold, one
before God, and one before the world, it is distributed as it were into
the right cheek, and left cheek, that whoever of Christ's disciples is
despised for that he is a Christian, may be ready to be yet more [p. 199]
despised for any of this world's honours that he may have.
All things wherein we suffer any wrong are divided into two kinds, of
which one is what cannot be restored, the other what may be restored. In
that kind which cannot be restored, we are wont to seek the solace of revenge.
For what does it boot if when smitten you smite again, is the hurt done
to your body thereby repaid to you? But the mind swollen with rage seeks
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or has your return blow at all restrained him from striking
you again? It has rather roused him to another blow. For anger is not checked
by meeting anger, but is only more irritated.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 20: Whence the Lord judges that others' weakness
should rather be borne with compassion, than that our own should be soothed
by others' pain. For that retribution which tends to correction is not
here forbidden, for such is indeed a part of mercy; nor does such intention
hinder that he, who seeks to correct another, is not at the same time ready
himself to take more at his hands.
But it is required that he should inflict the punishment to whom the
power is given by the course of things, and with such a mind as the father
has to a child in correcting him whom it is impossible he should hate.
And holy men have punished some sins with death, in order that a wholesome
fear might be struck into the living, and so that not his death, but the
likelihood of increase of his sin had he lived, was the hurt of the criminal.
Thus Elias punished many with death, and when the disciples would take
example from him they were rebuked by the Lord, who did not censure this
example of the Prophet, but their ignorant use of it, seeing them to desire
the punishment not for correction's sake, but from angry hate.
But after He had inculcated love of their neighbour, and had given them
the Holy Spirit, there wanted not instances of such vengeance; as Ananias
and his wife who fell down dead at the words of Peter, and the Apostle
Paul delivered some to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Yet do some,
with a kind of blind opposition, rage against the temporal punishments
of the Old Testament, not knowing with what mind they were inflicted.
Aug., Epist. 185, 5: But who that is of sober mind would say to kings,
It is nothing [p. 200] of your concern who will live religiously, or who
profanely? It cannot even be said to them, that it is not their concern
who will live chastely, or who unchastely. It is indeed better that men
should be led to serve God by right teaching than by penalties; yet has
it benefitted many, as experience has approved to us, to be first coerced
by pain and fear, that they might be taught after, or to be made to conform
in deed to what they had learned in words. The better men indeed are led
of love, but the more part of men are wrought by fear. Let them learn in
the case of the Apostle Paul, how Christ first constrained, and after taught
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 20: Therefore in this kind of injuries which
are wont to rouse vengeance Christians will observe such a mean, that hate
shall not be caused by the injuries they may receive, and yet wholesome
correction be not foregone by Him who has right of either counsel or power.
Jerome: Mystically interpreted; When we are smitten on the right cheek,
He said not, offer to him thy left, but "the other;" for the righteous
has not a left. That is, if a heretic has smitten us in disputation, and
would wound us in a right hand doctrine, let him be met with another testimony
Aug.: The other kind of injuries are those in which full restitution
can be made, of which there are two kinds; one relates to money, the other
to work; of the first of these it is He speaks when He continues, "Whoso
will sue thee for thy coat, let him have thy cloak likewise." As by the
cheek are denoted such injuries of the wicked as admit of no restitution
but revenge, so by this similitude of the garments is denoted such injury
as admits restitution. And this, as the former, is rightly taken of preparation
of the heart, not of the show of the outward action.
And what is commanded respecting our garments, is to be observed in
al things that by any right we call our own in worldly property. For if
the command be expressed in these necessary articles of life, how much
more does it hold in the case of superfluities and luxuries? And when He
says, "He who will sue thee," He clearly intends to include every thing
for which it is possible that we should be sued.
It may be made a question whether it [p. 201] is to be understood of
slaves, for a Christian ought not to possess his slave on the same footing
as his horse; though it might be that the horse was worth the more money.
And if your slave have a milder master in you than he would have in him
who seeks to take him from you, I do not know that he ought to be given
up as lightly as your coat.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For it were an unworthy thing that a believer should
stand in his cause before an unbelieving judge. Or if one who is a believer,
though (as he must be) a worldly man, though he should have reverenced
you for the worthiness of the faith, sues you because the cause is a necessary
one, you will lose the worthiness of Christ for the business of the world.
Further, every lawsuit irritates the heart and excites bad thoughts; for
when you see dishonesty or bribery employed against you, you hasten to
support your own cause by like means, though originally you might have
intended nothing of the sort.
Aug., Enchir., 78: The Lord here forbids his disciples to have lawsuits
with others for worldly property. Yet as the Apostle allows such kind of
causes to be decided between brethren, and before arbiters who are brethren,
but utterly disallows them without the Church, it is manifest what is conceded
to infirmity as pardonable.
Greg., Mor., xxxi, 13: There are, who are so far to be endured, as they
rob us of our worldly goods; but there are whom we ought to hinder, and
that without breaking the law of charity, not only that we may not be robbed
of what is ours, but lest they by robbing others destroy themselves. We
ought to fear much more for the men who rob us, than to be eager to save
the inanimate things they take from us. When peace with our neighbour is
banished the heart on the matter of worldly possession, it is plain that
our estate is more loved than our neighbour.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 19: The third kind of wrongs, which is in the
matter of labour, consists of both such as admit restitution, and such
as do not - or with or without revenge - for he who forcibly presses a
man's service, and makes him give him aid against his will, can either
be punished for his crime, or return the labour. In this kind of wrongs
then, the Lord teaches that the Christian mind is most patient, and prepared
to endure yet more than is offered; "If a man constrain thee to go with
[p. 202] him a mile, go with him yet other two." This likewise is meant
not so much of actual service with your feet, as of readiness of mind.
Chrys., Hom. xviii: The word here used signifies to drag unjustly, without
cause, and with insult.
Aug.: Let us suppose it therefore said, "Go with him other two," that
the number three might be completed; by which number perfection is signified;
that whoever does this might remember that he is fulfilling perfect righteousness.
For which reason he conveys this precept under three examples, and in this
third example, he adds a twofold measure to the one single measure, that
the threefold number may be complete.
Or we may so consider as though in enforcing this duty, He had begun
with what was easiest to bear, and had advanced gradually. For first He
commanded that when the right cheek was smitten we should turn the other
also; therein shewing ourselves ready to endure another wrong less than
that you have already received. Secondly, to him that would take your coat,
he bids you part with your cloak, (or "garment," as some copies read,)
which is either just as great a loss, or perhaps a little greater. In the
third He doubles the additional wrong which He would have us ready to endure.
And seeing it is a small thing not to hurt unless you further shew kindness,
He adds, "To him that asketh of thee, give."
Pseudo-Chrys.: Because wealth is not ours but God's; God would have
us stewards of His wealth, and not lords.
Jerome: If we understand this only of alms, it cannot stand with the
estate of the most part of men who are poor; even the rich if they have
been always giving, will not be able to continue always to give.
Aug.: Therefore, He says not, 'Give all things to him that asks;' but,
"Give to every one that asketh;" that you should only give what you can
give honestly and rightly. For what if one ask for money to employ in oppressing
the innocent man? What if he ask your consent to unclean sin? We must give
then only what will hurt neither ourselves or others, as far as man can
judge; and when you have refused an inadmissible request, that you may
not send away empty him that asked, shew the righteousness of your refusal;
and such correction of the unlawful petitioner will often be a better gift
than the granting his suit.
Aug., Epist., 93, 2: For with more benefit is food taken from the hungry,
if [p. 203] certainty of provision causes him to neglect righteousness,
than that food should be supplied to him that he may consent to a deed
of violence and wrong.
Jerome: But it may be understood of the wealth of doctrine: wealth which
never fails but the more of it is given away, the more it abounds.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 20: That He commands, "And from him that would
borrow of thee, turn not away," must be referred to the mind; for "God
loveth a cheerful giver." [2 Cor 9:7] And every one that receives, indeed
borrows, though it is not he that shall pay, but God, who restores to the
merciful many fold.
Or, if you like to understand by borrowing, only taking with promise
to repay, we must understand the Lord's command as embracing both these
kinds of affording aid; whether we give outright, or lend to receive again.
And of this last kind of shewing mercy it is well said, "Turn not away,"
that is, do not be therefore backward to lend, as though, because man shall
repay you, therefore God shall not; for what you do by God's command cannot
be without fruit.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Christ bids us lend but not on usury; for he who gives
on such terms does not bestow his own, but takes of another; he looses
from one chain to bind with many, and gives not for God's righteousness
sake, but for his own gain. For money taken on usury is like the bite of
an asp; as the asp's poison secretly consumes the limbs, so usury turns
all our possessions into debt.
Aug., Epist., 138, 2: Some object that this command of Christ is altogether
inconsistent with civil life in Commonwealths; Who, say they, would suffer,
when he could hinder it, the pillage of his estate by an enemy; or would
not repay the evil suffered by a plundered province of Rome on the plunderers
according to the rights of war? But these precepts of patience are to be
observed in readiness of the heart, and that mercy, not to return evil
for evil, must be always fulfilled by the will.
Yet must we often use a merciful sharpness in dealing with the headstrong.
And in this way, if the earthly commonwealth will keep the Christian commandments,
even war will not be waged without good charities, to the establishing
among the vanquished peaceful harmony of godliness and righteousness. For
that victory is beneficial to him from whom it snatches license to sin;
since nothing is more unfortunate for sinners, than the good [p. 204] fortune
of their sins, which nourishes an impunity that brings punishment after
it, and an evil will is strengthened, as it were some internal enemy.
43. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour,
and hate thine enemy.'
44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully
use you and persecute you;
45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth
rain on the just and on the unjust.
46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do
not even the Publicans the same?
47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?
do not even the Publicans so?
48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven
Gloss., non occ.: The Lord has taught above that we must not resist
one who offers any injury, but must be ready even to suffer more; He now
further requires us to shew to them that do us wrong both love and its
effects. And as the things that have gone before pertain to the completion
of the righteousness of the Law, in like manner this last precept is to
be referred to the completion of the law of love, which, according to the
Apostle, is the fulfilling of the Law.
Aug., de Doctr. Christ., i, 30: That by the command, "Thou shalt love
thy neighbour," all mankind were intended, the Lord shewed in the parable
of the man who was left half dead, which teaches us that our neighbour
is every one who may happen at any time to stand in need of our offices
of mercy; and this who does not see must be denied to [p. 205] none, when
the Lord says, "Do good to them that hate you."
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 21: That there were degrees in the righteousness
of the Pharisees which was under the old Law is seen herein, that many
hated even those by whom they were loved. He therefore who loves his neighbour,
has ascended one degree, though as yet he hate his enemy; which is expressed
in that, "and shalt hate thy enemy;" which is not to be understood as a
command to the justified, but a concession to the weak.
Aug., cont. Faust., xix, 24: I ask the Manichaeans why they would have
this peculiar to the Mosaic Law, that was said by them of old time, "thou
shalt hate thy enemy?" Has not Paul said of certain men that they were
hateful to God? We must enquire then how we may understand that, after
the example of God, to whom the Apostle here affirms some men to be hateful,
our enemies are to be hated; and again after the same pattern of Him "Who
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good," our enemies are to be
Here then is the rule by which we may at once hate our enemy for the
evil's sake that is in him, that is, his iniquity, and love him for the
good's sake that is in him, that is, his rational part. This then, thus
uttered by them of old, being heard, but not understood, hurried men on
to the hatred of men, when they should have hated nothing but vice.
Such the Lord corrects as He proceeds, saying, "I say unto you, Love
your enemies." He who had just declared that He came "not to subvert the
Law, but to fulfil it," by bidding us love our enemies, brought us to the
understanding of how we may at once hate the same man for his sins whom
we love for his human nature.
Gloss. ord.: But it should be known, that in the whole body of the Law
it is no where written, Thou shalt hate thy enemy. But it is to be referred
to the tradition of the Scribes, who thought good to add this to the Law,
because the Lord bade the children of Israel pursue their enemies, and
destroy Amalek from under heaven.
Pseudo-Chrys.: As that, Thou shalt not lust, was not spoken to the flesh,
but to the spirit, so in this the flesh indeed is not able to love its
enemy, but the spirit is able; for the love and hate of the flesh is in
the sense, but of the spirit is in the understanding. If then we feel hate
to one who [p. 206] has wronged us, and yet will not to act upon that feeling,
know that our flesh hates our enemy, but our soul loves him.
Greg., Mor., xxii, 11: Love to an enemy is then observed when we are
not sorrowful at his success, or rejoice in his fall. We hate him whom
we wish not to be bettered, and pursue with ill-wishes the prosperity of
the man in whose fall we rejoice. Yet it may often happen that without
any sacrifice of charity, the fall of an enemy may gladden us, and again
his exaltation make us sorrowful without any suspicion of envy; when, namely,
by his fall any deserving man is raised up, or by his success any undeservedly
But herein a strict measure of discernment must be observed, lest in
following out our own hates, we hide it from ourselves under the specious
pretence of others' benefit. We should balance how much we owe to the fall
of the sinner, how much to the justice of the Judge. For when the Almighty
has struck any hardened sinner, we must at once magnify His justice as
Judge, and feel with the other's suffering who perishes.
Gloss. ord.: They who stand against the Church oppose her in three ways;
with hate, with words, and with bodily tortures. The Church on the other
hand loves them, as it is here, "Love your enemies;" does good to them,
as it is, "Do good to them that hate you;" and prays for them, as it is,
"Pray for them that persecute you and accuse you falsely."
Jerome: Many measuring the commandments of God by their own weakness,
not by the strength of the saints, hold these commands for impossible,
and say that it is virtue enough not to hate our enemies; but to love them
is a command beyond human nature to obey. But it must be understood that
Christ enjoins not impossibilities but perfection. Such was the temper
of David towards Saul and Absalom; the Martyr Stephen also prayed for his
enemies while they stoned him, and Paul wished himself anathema for the
sake of his persecutors. [Rom 9:3] Jesus both taught and did the same,
saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [Luke 23:34]
Aug., Enchir., 73: These indeed are examples of the perfect sons of
God; yet to this should every believer aim, and seek by prayer to God,
and struggles with himself to raise his human spirit to this [p. 207] tempter.
Yet this so great blessing is not given to all those multitudes which we
believe are heard when they pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 21: Here arises a question, that this commandment
of the Lord, by which He bids us pray for our enemies, seems opposed by
many other parts of Scripture. In the Prophets are found many imprecations
upon enemies; such as that in the 108th Psalm, "Let his children be orphans."
But it should be known, that the Prophets are wont to foretell things
to come in the form of a prayer or wish. This has more weight as a difficulty
that John say, "There is a sin unto death, I say not that he shall pray
for it;" [1 John 5:16] plainly shewing, that there are some brethren for
whom he does not bid us pray; for what went before was, "If any know his
brother sin a sin, &c."
Yet the Lord bids us pray for our persecutors. This question can only
be resolved, if we admit that there are some sins in brethren more grievous
than the sin of persecution in our enemies. For thus Stephen prays for
those that stoned him, because they had not yet believed on Christ; but
the Apostle Paul does not pray for Alexander though he was a brother [2
Tim 4:14], but had sinned by attacking the brotherhood through jealousy.
But for whom you pray not, you do not therein pray against him. What
must we say then of those against whom we know that the saints have prayed,
and that not that they should be corrected, (for that would be rather to
have prayed for them), but for their eternal damnation; not as that prayer
of the Prophet against the Lord's betrayer, for that is a prophecy of the
future, not an imprecation of punishment; but as when we read in the Apocalypse
the Martyrs' prayer that they may be avenged. [Rev 6:10]
But we ought not to let this affect us. For who may dare to affirm that
they prayed against those persons themselves, and not against the kingdom
of sin? For that would be both a just and a merciful avenging of the Martyrs,
to overthrow that kingdom of sin, under the continuance of which they endured
all those evils. And it is overthrown by correction of some, and damnation
of such as abide in sin. Does not Paul seem to you to have avenged Stephen
on his own body, as he speaks, "I chastise my body, and bring [p. 208]
it into subjection." [1 Cor 9:27]
Pseudo-Aug., Hil. Quaest. V. and N. Test. q. 68: And the souls of them
that are slain cry out to be avenged; as the blood of Abel cried out of
the ground not with a voice, but in spirit [margin note: ratione]. As the
work is said to laud the workman, when he delights himself in the view
thereof; for the saints are not so impatient as to urge on what they know
will come to pass at the appointed time.
Chrys.: Note through what steps we have now ascended hither, and how
He has set us on the very pinnacle of virtue. The first step is, not to
begin to do wrong to any; the second, that in avenging a wrong done to
us we be content with retaliating equal; the third, to return nothing of
what we have suffered; the fourth, to offer one's self to the endurance
of evil; the fifth, to be ready to suffer even more evil than the oppressor
desires to inflict; the sixth, not to hate him of whom we suffer such things;
the seventh, to love him; the eighth, to do him good; the ninth, to pray
for him. And because the command is great, the reward proposed is also
great, namely, to be made like unto God, "Ye shall be the sons of your
Father which is in heaven."
Jerome: For whoso keeps the commandments of God is thereby made the
son of God; he then of whom he here speaks is not by nature His son, but
by his own will.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 23: After that rule we must here understand
of which John speaks, "He gave them power to be made the sons of God."
One is His Son by nature; we are made sons by the power which we have received;
that is, so far as we fulfil those things that we are commanded. So He
says not, Do these things because ye are sons; but, do these things that
ye may become sons.
In calling us to this then, He calls us to His likeness, for He saith,
"He maketh His sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous." By the
sun we may understand not this visible, but that of which it is said, "To
you that fear the name of the Lord, the Sun of righteousness shall arise;"
[Mal 4:2] and by the rain, the water of the doctrine of truth; for Christ
was seen, and was preached to good as well as bad.
Hilary: Or, the sun and rain have reference to the baptism with water
Aug.: Or we may take it of this visible sun, and of the rain by which
the fruits are nourished, as the wicked mourn in the book of Wisdom, [p.
209] "The Sun has not risen for us." [Wis 5:6] And of the rain it is said,
"I will command the clouds that they rain not on it." [Isa 5:6] But whether
it be this or that, it is of the great goodness of God, which is set forth
for our imitation. He says not, 'the sun,' but, "His sun," that is, the
sun which Himself has made, that hence we may be admonished with how great
liberality we ought to supply those things that we have not created, but
have received as a boon from Him.
Aug., Epist., 93, 2: But as we laud Him for His gifts, let us also consider
how He chastises those whom He loves. For not every one who spares is a
friend, nor every one who chastises an enemy; it is better to love with
severity, than to use lenity wherewith to deceive [margin note: see Prov.
Pseudo-Chrys.: He was careful to say, "On the righteous and the unrighteous;'
for God gives all good gifts not for men's sake, but for the saints' sake,
as likewise chastisements for the sake of sinners. In bestowing His good
gifts, He does not separate the sinners from the righteous, that they should
not despair; so in His inflictions, not the righteous from sinners that
they should be made proud; and that the more, since the wicked are not
profited by the good things they receive, but turn them to their hurt by
their evil lives; nor are the good hurt by the evil things, but rather
profit to increase of righteousness.
Aug., City of God, book 1, ch. 8: For the good man is not puffed up
by worldly goods, nor broken by worldly calamity. But the bad man is punished
in temporal losses, because he is corrupted by temporal gains. Or for another
reason He would have good and evil common to both sorts of men, that good
things might not be sought with vehement desire, when they were enjoyed
even by the wicked; nor the evil things shamefully avoided, when even the
righteous are afflicted by them.
Gloss, non occ.: To love one that loves us is of nature, but to love
our enemy of charity. "If ye love them who love you, what reward have ye?"
to wit, in heaven. None truly, for of such it is said, "Ye have received
your reward." But these things we ought to do, and not leave the other
Rabanus: If then sinners be led by nature to shew kindness to those
that love them, with how much greater shew of affection ought you not to
embrace even those that do not love you?
For it follows, "Do not even the publicans so?" [p. 210] "The publicans"
are those who collect the public imposts; or perhaps those who pursue the
public business or the gain of this world.
Gloss. non occ.: But if you only pray for them that are your kinsfolk,
what more has your benevolence than that of the unbelieving? Salutation
is a kind of prayer.
Rabanus: Ethnici, that is, the Gentiles, for the Greek word is translated
'gens' in Latin; those, that is, who abide such as they were born, to wit,
Remig.: Because the utmost perfection of love cannot go beyond the love
of enemies, therefore as soon as the Lord has bid us love our enemies,
He proceeds, "Be ye then perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect." He indeed is perfect, as being omnipotent; man, as being aided
by the Omnipotent. For the word 'as' is used in Scripture, sometimes for
identity, and equality, as in that, "As I was with Moses, so will I be
with thee;" [Josh 1:5] sometimes to express likeness only as here.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For as our sons after the flesh resemble their fathers
in some part of their bodily shape, so do spiritual sons resemble their
father God, in holiness.